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Washington: A Life

George Washington seems simultaneously the most iconic of American presidents, but also most inscrutable. A true hero of the Revolution, Washington’s legacy became one of the first truly American myths.

Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life does not fracture the implacable edifice Washington constitutes today, but the book does a great deal to humanize exactly which virtues this ambitious Virginia planter cultivated on his path to greatness. In a phrase, self-control; it was the trait that ingratiated him to older patricians before and during his early days in the French and Indian War, leading to the military credibility and “known quantity” factor that enabled him to receive such power in the early federal government.

What’s more, at least from the time he received his continental command, Washington seems to have realized his own historic significance; from the attention to his archives to his measured demurral of the Presidency and constant yearning for the pastoral life on Mt. Vernon, he seems a man who stood separate from the whims and fancies of his contemporaries. If only his views on slavery had progressed more quickly it would be hard to litigate a single complaing against this first American President.

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Thoughts

Less, More, and None

My friend Ethan shared his Less, More, and None list (inspired by Jacoby Young). Cool idea, thought I’d give it a try. Always good to remind yourself of your better aspirations.

Lenfest Institute and Digital First Media?

Notes on dynamic meters

Notes on newsletters

Notes on the membership model for news

Essays

Capturing Shawmont Station before its $1,000,000 preservation begins – the oldest extant passenger rail station in America

Originally a 18′ by 36′ stone house (Wissahickon Schist), the structure wouldn’t have stood out from the other country homes in this part of Philadelphia, at the tip of the Manayunk Reach, situated at the end of today’s Manayunk Canal Towpath.

Testing WordPress Gutenberg on a high volume news site

Water, sand, and societal change

The best restaurant? Matunuck Oyster Bar

Does Perry Raso run the best restaurant? Yes, I think he does.

EverQuote and patent medicine

In a thread begun October 2016, Washington Post technology director Aram Zucker-Scharff tweeted about the shady advertising practices of EverQuote, a Boston-based startup. Since then these ads have become prolific on the web (and nearly as prolific are Aram’s tweets documenting the malfeasance).

Lenfest Institute and Digital First Media?

What if Alden let another organization manage its newspaper assets as a blind trust? It would lose a great deal of flexibility in using DFM assets to leverage other companies it owns, but it would be able to wash its hands of the growing public relations crisis. Furthermore, it would give space for the strategic direction of DFM to be explored and pursued without the added baggage of hedge fund cross-percolation.

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