From David Erik Nelson’s final column for The Chronicle about his son’s elementary school class: “A whale. They made a whale, and then inflated it, and got inside it as a class, and made measurements so they could tape down 3×5 index cards labeling the locations at all the organs. … This is what we destroy when we permit ourselves to obsesses about the less-than-meaningless minutia of testing tests – to better test the tests’ capacity to test our kids’ capacity to test well on future tests of their test taking skills.”
In this month’s “In it for the Money” column David Erik Nelson shares a Terrible Revelation he had recently about being Jewish in America that began with an observation about Ann Arbor’s Jewish Community Center’s armed guard: “This is as good as it gets: A daycare with an armed guard and blast-proof windows. According to a recent poll from the Public Religion Research Institute 12% of Americans think it’s basically OK to refuse to do business with a Jew (and let us not forget the breadth of services that might ultimately fall under the auspices of “doing business in America”).”
David Erik Nelson’s monthly column recalls that back in March, for just shy of 24 hours, Michigan was willing to license, solemnize, and recognize the marriage of any two people without getting all particular about their genitals. … But without the work of county clerks, no one could have gotten married on Saturday, March 22, 2014. No offices would have been open, no staff would have been on hand, and the appropriate forms would not have existed. So Nelson’s column celebrates the quiet heroism of county clerks.
For this month’s “In in It for the Money” column David Erik Nelson obtained press credentials for U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Ann Arbor on April 2, 2014. He showed up and wrote about what he saw there. “You can see it in the video, a hint of it, but there in the room, you could feel the antic energy gathering. Even from 65 feet away, standing behind the crowd, I could feel a dad joke coming. It was like the portentous pressure front that proceeds a tornado; my ears popped, wasps went nuts, squirrels fled, dogs barked at locked doors.”
In this month’s “In it for the Money” column, David Erik Nelson writes a love note to the local library. The column lays out how the taxes he pays to support the Ann Arbor District Library work out to give him a ten-fold return on that investment. He interviewed associate director Eli Neiburger for the column, who’s quoted as follows: “The library is very unique among taxing entities, in that you pay a flat fee up front, and then the value you receive from it is in direct proportion to how much you choose to use it, with no additional cost required.”