Pennsylvania deserves better than Dr. Oz
America does, too.
Sree’s newsletter is produced with Zach Peterson (@zachprague).
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NAME RECOGNITION IS A MAJOR PART OF POLITICS, and Dr. Oz has it. Unfortunately for Pennsylvanians, he doesn’t offer much else as a U.S. Senate candidate.
He is endorsed by Donald Trump — which tells you everything you need to know — and he’s also very much cut from the Trump mold of modern politics. Network TV is likely the reason you know Dr. Oz but don’t know his full name.
In fact, you may have seen me on his show once, where I learned first-hand that he was egotistical, self-centered and hazy on the facts.
This piece by Olivia Nuzzi captures Oz perfectly. He’s a narcissist who is singularly driven to be a snake oil salesman at the highest possible level of our society. It’s all here — his weight loss stuff, general charisma, and unreal ability to separate his being a truly world-class surgeon from his quest to be a media personality, have made him a juggernaut.
There’s every reason to believe that his running bit as a Trumpian know-nothing is just that — a bit. This anecdote from an anonymous friend of Oz sounds so familiar it hurts:
“I love Mehmet, but I’m really pissed,” one of them said. “I would have loved to see normal Republicans, but there’s no way you can be normal now. This would end his career in a second because Republicans would hate it, but it’s Lisa who is pro-life. Mehmet once told me, ‘I’m pro-life, but I’m not against a woman’s right to choose.’ He said, ‘As a physician, there are times when it has to happen, unfortunately.’ He’s a smart guy. He’s pragmatic. And that just doesn’t work in the Republican Party. Wait until they find out that he’s a Muslim! Or that he served in the Turkish army!
It’s easy to pass this off with standard cynicism — there’s simply no way for anyone to win a Republican primary in a swing state without Trumpism, and he had to out-Trump his opponent — but I’m not willing to just take away Oz’s agency here. He’s known success like few ever will, is clearly a person of intelligence, and he certainly is capable of making the decision to abandon Trump. But he hasn’t and he won’t.
We are a country of short attention spans, and Dr. Oz is doing exactly the sort of euphemism-based linguistic hop scotch that won Trump the White House.
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I appreciate your support of four years of this newsletter or a subset of that time. So grateful to you all! And a big thanks to our sponsors, Armory Square Ventures.
A word from Armory Square Ventures
“Life really isn’t stranger than fiction, but you have to keep reading, and rereading, to know that.” — Xu Xi
We digest harrowing news this week. But we believe artists can and do help. Often they offer quiet wisdom, the kind that travels beyond the material world and public realm.
Two such authors, Xu Xi and Robin Hemley, have written at length on historical moments of tumult both in the United States and Asia. Eschewing platitudes and easy description, both Xu Xi and Robin Hemley have perspectives that travel and offer solace at times like these.
Robin Hemley has a speculative and provocative memoir titled, Oblivion, in which he imagines a new existence for himself rooted in the afterlife.
Xu Xi, from Plattsburgh, in Upstate New York, has authored works such as Insignificance: Hong Kong Stories that reflect on moving out of Hong Kong.
Together, Xu and Robin, both award-winning writers, hold workshops titled, “Authors At Large,” which bring published writers who live transnationally in contact with those who wish to write world literature. We encourage you to connect and commend their dedication and commitment to a gentler humanity.
Tech Tip w/ @newyorkbob: Breathe Deep, But Keep an Electronic Eye on the Air
By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Bob Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.
With the imminent arrival of summer comes the chance to open windows or step outside and enjoy the sunshine and long, satisfying breaths of fresh air. No, the pandemic isn’t quite over, and you still might need to keep a face mask handy, but there are new tech devices that can help you feel more confident about inhaling and maybe even help you breathe more freely.
Carrier’s new Air Monitor can alert users with lights or over the Internet if indoor air quality degrades to certain levels. A ring on top of the $120 unit lights up in green, yellow, orange or red to give users a quick, one-glance air-quality rating.
The Carrier Air Monitor, which is compatible with Amazon’s and Google’s voice-assistant services, can also send wireless alerts to the Carrier Home mobile app, which also imports outdoor air-quality data. In addition to monitoring microscopic airborne particles and TVOCs (total volatile organic compounds, the unit also incorporates humidity and air temperature data its air-quality assessments.
While indoor air purifiers are nothing new, they continue to evolve and provide more feedback. The Alen BreatheSmart 45i True HEPA Air Purifier promises to remove 99.99 per cent of harmful particles down to 0.1 microns while generating a “soothing pink noise” which can help users sleep. The unit, which comes in white ($429) or five other colors ($468), is rated to cover areas up to 800 square feet.
A top-mounted control panel tracks fan speed and the state of the replaceable filter while a light, using data from a built-in sensor, rates the quality of the air from blue (excellent), through green, orange and red to purple (bad).
The Alen BreatheSmart 45i connects with the new Alen Air mobile app, billed by the company as “the first app of its kind in the air purification market.” While the app can be used by home users, it can actually monitor and control up to 2,000 Alen air purifiers in up to 20 locations—good news for schools or businesses with large numbers of air purifiers to manage.
Of course, air purifiers and monitors can’t cure allergies or other air-related maladies, but they can at least provide enough warning and/or air cleaning to prevent an irritating day from turning into a trip to the hospital.
Our national experiment in trying to ignore away the Covid pandemic is going terribly. Infection rates are at all-time highs, everything is open, and we just don’t talk about the more than a million deaths and the countless lives forever changes by this virus. Read through this thread and many of the replies and I bet you’ll find yourself like me, nodding throughout. We have no idea what the long-term effects of Covid infection are, but it sure doesn’t seem good.
🙌 JOB LISTING! The Rockefeller Foundation is seeking its next Managing Director, Multimedia Strategy and Digital Content. Our firm, Digimentors, is managing the search. This is a prime opportunity to help a preeminent nonprofit craft its message and improve lives around the world.
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