Yale grads

My Memory of George H. W. Bush

I sang in the Yale Whiffenpoofs, an a cappella group that’s been around for over a century and was invited more than once to sing for Yale alum George H. W. Bush. My group met him during the administration of his son. We were singing at the Yale Club in New York and he was in the front row.

It’s traditional for every set the group sings to end with The Whiffenpoof Song, and all alums get the honor of being invited up.

We made a point of saying that all honorary Whiffs were welcome to come up and sing too, which caught the president’s attention. He hesitated a bit, then got up and joined us. He hadn’t sang while at Yale and he’d been made an honorary member by some past group while in he was in the White House.

But he joined us anyway. He knew all the words to the song and put his arms over the shoulders of the Whiff on his right and left during the chorus, as tradition demands. And afterward he shook each of our hands and seemed to genuinely appreciated the honor, as perhaps only a Yalie can.

I didn’t agree with his policies and wouldn’t have voted for him if I’d been able back in the 1990s. But he had a grace, charm, and gravitas which filled the room. We could use his touch in the world of presidential politics today.

 

Susan Crawford on the state of the Internet, or, why you’re paying too much for slow service

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Because of the furor over net neutrality, I’m reposting my interview with Susan Crawford. If you don’t know Susan, she’s basically the Elizabeth Warren of the Internet.

What we talk about in the interview is how and why our country, the one that invented the Internet, is now falling behind the rest of the world in speed and ubiquity of access.

Behind the scenes info: Susan and I were both musicians while undergraduates at Yale. She was a violinist for the Yale Symphony Orchestra and I sang with The Whiffenpoofs.  So together, we could perform beautiful music about the woeful state of America’s under-regulated media business.