A broken iPhone in a broken country

My iPhone has a broken screen. It’s actually had one since July, when Kira accidentally dropped it at my parents house. I didn’t bother replacing it, since I figured I’d get an iPhone 7. This might not be relevant if I had not been one of the people who lined up to buy the original iPhone on the first day it came out (it’s tough to remember now, but we were a ridiculed bunch of buying a phone with no 3G or keyboard!). I then bought every subsequent iPhone on release day. Then I started skipping the “S” versions. And now, here I am, 10 years later and questioning whether to upgrade at all. My evolution from die-hard Apple fan (new Macs, iPhones and iPads on day of release) to non-Apple Watch owner is a perfect anecdote to explain:

The end of the Apple dynasty?
I’m not ready to switch to an Android or a Surface Pro, but it’s pretty clear Apple just is not the exciting, boundary-pushing company it used to be. In October, I linked an article about how Apple under Tim Cook has become an operationally excellent but wholly uninventive company. At this point it’s not even about creating something new and daring — it’s just about showing a willingness to take a risk on an idea that seems valuable. The iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad were all risky propositions. The last several years of iPhone designs and the launch of the Apple Watch, represent incremental improvements on established categories. Big risks don’t always pay off, but a company that can afford to take them should to stay ahead. Instead, Apple these days plays scared.

What the Taiwan call means
The transition to President Trump has certainly been a mixed bag (can someone take away the guy’s Twitter account?). While you can quibble with his overall strategy towards China, I think it’s hard to argue that the publicized call with Taiwan’s call was anything but brilliant. If Trump’s intent is to set a drastically new tone with China, show them he is serious about pushing back, and wants to take an aggressive tone, a call with the president of Taiwan is a far less risky maneuver than deploying a carrier group. Now, if we could get him to appoint a Secretary of State, that would be great.

The electoral college should not stop Trump
Of all places to come out and plead the Electoral College defeat Trump, The Atlantic is not exactly a surprise. While I’m no fan of Trump, there are a lot of holes in the argument that stopping Trump from assuming the presidency would be the “framer’s intent.” In a vacuum, I’d argue that’s true. But the role of the electors is rooted in the framer’s enshrinement of state’s rights, a concept liberals (and too many conservatives) have been happy to run roughshod over for decades as it suited them. The rule of law is not meant to applied when it is convenient to you only. Trump may well be a disaster, but that might have been something to consider as the balance of powers and states rights were gleefully eroded under previous administrations. 

Victory of “No”
“The purpose of the minority is to become the majority.” While I understand, in a vacuum, that this may be true, I’m not sure the founders intended such a myopic approach when they designed the legislature. The GOP’s approach of fighting Obama at every turn was successful in many ways (it won them the majority), and a failure in others (Obamacare). But now that the party is in the majority, its clear that the years of obstruction has created a problem in governance — constituents and representatives to whom compromise is anathema. 

How one Supreme Court case won the Presidency
Although I have been personally in favor of gay marriage, I commented at the time that I thought the Obergfell decision was absolutely wrong. The court’s job is not to right the wrongs of society — it’s to interpret the law. David Bernstein argues that Obergfell and its aftermath is at the root of a shift that’s happened in American dialogue: where progressives have gone from disagreeing with conservatives (especially the religious) to labeling them as bigoted or hateful.