CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS LIKE THERE’S A WAR GOING ON: learning from LBJ

I’m almost ready to say that when it comes to achieving a goal — especially an ambitious one — I believe your outcome isn’t so much determined by what you do, but who you do it with. Outcomes, like math problems, are determined by a factorization of known quantities. Math is never magic. There is an inescapable fatalism in it. Embrace it, because you cannot outwit it or outrun it. Make the absolute most of every piece you’ve got on the board, and remember what every good chess player knows: pawns win games. Spend no time mourning the weakness of your fellow cast. Improve it whenever you can, but if you make an enemy, never let it be by accident. After all, in real life pawns don’t wear pawn costumes and queens wear no crowns.

There’s a lot of talk on Twitter and right-wing media about Republicans being the “party of Lincoln” and the heroes of the Civil War. Yale professor and Pulitzer Prize winner David Blight explains why that’s ridiculous—

Lincoln Would Not Recognize His Own Party by David W. Blight He would see the Republicans as the antithesis of everything he fought for. By David W. Blight Dr. Blight, … Continue reading There’s a lot of talk on Twitter and right-wing media about Republicans being the “party of Lincoln” and the heroes of the Civil War. Yale professor and Pulitzer Prize winner David Blight explains why that’s ridiculous—

I was not always called Serene

I was not always called Serene, although it is my legal name. For the first five years of my life I was Tami. This is the name I first heard myself called; it is the name I first learned to write.

PICK YOUR FRIENDS LIKE THERE’S A WAR GOING ON

Who are my allies and who are my enemies? LBJ was my introduction to the algebraic equation of influence. For LBJ everything was a pissing contest. He took up space – all of it – with pure brute force. But once I realized that identifying a viper in the grass wasn’t a moral failing, LBJ was a good starting point in my attempt to develop a philosophy for choosing teams.