Monthly Archives: June 2010

A New Battle For Christopher Hitchens

I am startled, and terribly sorry, to hear that Christopher Hitchens appears to have esophageal cancer. Story here.

Good Lord!

Australia has a new Prime Minister. Her name is Julia Gillard, and in a gesture that would be utterly unthinkable here in America, she has announced that she doesn’t believe in God. Being an atheist myself, it is difficult for me not to be delighted. But recently I’ve come to wonder, as a purely practical […]

Your Turn

Which way is she spinning? Are you able to get yourself to see her going the other way? This thing drives me crazy. Sometimes I can reverse it at will, other times it seems quite impossible. Forgive me if you’ve seen it before; it’s been around for a while. I just ran into it again, […]

General Principles

What will become of Stanley McChrystal now that he has been relieved of his command? How did this sort of thing play out in a different era? Here are a few thoughts on the matter, courtesy of the Churchill Centre. [This item filed under category “General”, of course.]


Here’s an interesting little item. In 2000, the Supreme Court struck down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion. In their decision they cited a policy report by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). A key phrase in the report said that the procedure “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular […]

Straight To Hell

This was just a matter of time.

This Could Really Take Off

If you’re like me (which, of course, you are) you’ve been saying to yourself, as you have watched the accelerating march of technological progress these past few decades, “Yes, yes, all very nice — but where’s my flying car?” Well, according an item in today’s news, it may now be on the way. Have a […]

P.O.E, Cont’d

Kevin Kim continues his discussion of theodicy, here and here.

Blurb For Derb

John Derbyshire (who, by the way, if he ever finds himself at loose ends in midtown Manhattan at the end of the workday, should get in touch with me because I will buy him a good glass of whisky), aired a particularly snappy episode of his “Radio Derb” podcast last week. Have a listen here.

This Byrd Has Flown

Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia and the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, died this morning. I will leave it to others to provide the eulogy. It’s unclear what will happen to his seat. The state’s Democratic governor will appoint an interim Senator, but whether a special election will be held this […]

…Shall Not Be Infringed

In an enormously gratifying decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled that Second Amendment rights are binding on local governments. The decision was close, and split along the usual ideological fissure, but a win’s a win. Story here, text of the decision here.

Evil: Still A Problem, Apparently

Our friend Kevin Kim, whose academic specialty is theology and comparative religion (I recommend to you all his excellent book Water From a Skull), has been involved in a lively discussion about theodicy (also known as “the Problem of Evil”) over at Bill Keezer’s place. Bill’s position is that in order to arrive at a […]

Lightning Strikes

I’ll confess I’ve always had a soft spot for the A-10 Thunderbolt. Slow and ugly, loud as hell — they’re about as far from “stealthy” as a 747. But they are the last thing you want to see coming at you on the battlefield, because in just about every case “the last thing you’ll see” […]

Balance At The NYT

About a month ago the New York Times ran an aggrieved piece, on its front page, about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk statistics. The article, clearly intended to tar the police as racists, opened with: Blacks and Latinos were nine times as likely as whites to be stopped by the police in New York City in 2009, […]

Borderline Intelligence

Here’s Peggy West, Democratic county supervisor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, explaining why all right-thinking people should support a boycott of Arizona over SB1070.

Endangered Species

From a comment on today’s topic at Mangan’s, here is James Bowery, Chairman of the Coalition for Science and Commerce, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Space July 31, 1991: In short, the lack of a frontier is leading us away from the progressive values of the Age of Enlightenment, upon which our country was […]

Reid Between The Lines

In today’s Best of the Web James Taranto points out something both funny and sad. It’s the website of the Democratic candidate for governor of Nevada. His name is “Rory”, and the site is called “Rory 2010”. But what’s his last name? It doesn’t seems to say anywhere… how odd! Odd, that is, until you […]

Forget About It

Having got fed up with official press releases, oleaginous presidential puffery, and melodramatic news items, I decided to do a little spadework to find out what the experts are saying about this leaking oil well. I’ve found out, and it isn’t pretty. What I came across was an fantastically long and detailed comment, fairly bristling […]

Couldn’t Resist

I hate to pile on, but I just had to post this. It’s a 2007 clip of Nobelist Steven Chu (now Energy Secretary), speaking, um, gushingly, about how he and BP were going to “save the world”.

Maybe A Little

This afternoon, a commenter on our previous post asked me: Malcolm, are you cynical? Meanwhile, an old friend wrote me today to quote something I had, apparently, said to him when I was about 17 or 18. I don’t remember saying it, but here it is anyway: Everyone needs a pack of lies to live […]


There’s a savory juxtaposition on the Op-Ed page of today’s Times. In the top-left position we have yet another column from former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, calling for further government stimulus of the economy (he’s been tag-teaming with Bob Herbert on this theme for months now). It begins: Spend now, while the economy remains depressed; […]

Well, At Least He’s Being Transparent

As the Obama administration prepares its legal attack upon Arizona for trying, in desperation, to enforce federal immigration law, Allahpundit over at Hot Air reports that Arizona Senator John Kyl says that President Obama actually told him in a meeting that he won’t do anything about border security because it doesn’t serve his political interests. […]

Up, Up And Away

In this item from a couple of days ago, we learn that representatives of various Muslim nations have appealed to that supremely impartial and impeccably credentialed arbiter of justice, the U.N. Human Rights Council, to protest a rising tide of “Islamophobia” in Western nations. We read: “People of Arab origin face new forms of racism, […]

Top Predator

For those of you who pay attention to these things, a long era of American technological superiority in air-combat systems appears to be at an end with the deployment of the Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA. This aircraft’s raison d’etre is to match or exceed the capabilities of our own F-22 Raptor, and early assessment seems […]

Let Us Therefore Brace Ourselves To Our Duty

June 1940 was one of the darkest moments in Britain’s long history. The Germans had overrun Western Europe, mighty France had just fallen, and the over-matched Allied forces had barely managed, only a fortnight earlier, to flee the Continent in the panicky and humiliating evacuation at Dunkirk. The Nazi juggernaut seemed unstoppable, and all in […]

Attractive Proposal

Florida scientist Dr. Rainer Meinke has a new and clever idea for sealing the leaking oil pipe. Here.

Adults Only

As the conservative eye surveys the field of presidential prospects for 2012, it is hard for it not to linger appreciatively upon New Jersey’s straight-talking new governor, Chris Christie. To understand why, have a look at this collection of video clips, which the National Review has gathered together under the title Chris Christie’s “Common Sense […]

Filler Time

What with working all day, and class in the evening, I keep running out of gas on Thursdays. For tonight, then, a closer look at the dynamics of starling flocks, with video. Here.

Class Act

Following on our previous post about violent ethnic disaggregation in Krgyzstan, here’s an item from yesterday’s paper that I found interesting. It begins (emphasis mine): MOSCOW — The violence that has claimed scores of lives in Kyrgyzstan is frequently ascribed to ethnic tensions, but regional experts say the causes are more complex. “I don’t believe […]

Not So Fast

We’ve been hearing breathless reports today about how new geological findings have shown, to the astonishment of all, that Afghanistan is sitting atop a dragon’s hoard of mineral resources, an immense and “game-changing” cache of hidden treasure. As usual, there’s more to the story. Here.

That’s The Way Of The World

Reading today’s paper on the subway to work this morning I learned about a clever new way to cut health-care costs: pay people to take their medication. In a Philadelphia program people prescribed warfarin, an anti-blood-clot medication, can win $10 or $100 each day they take the drug — a kind of lottery using a […]

On Open Borders

On the front page of today’s Times we read about Kyrgyzstan, which is busy providing intelligent observers, at sanguinary cost, with yet another data-point about the incomparable blessings of Diversity. Meanwhile, Dennis Mangan brings to our attention an outstanding paper on said blessings, by Australian academic Frank Salter (original here, but visit Dennis’s place for […]

From Inclusiveness To Aboutness

Our conversation with Jim Kalb and Kevin Kim continues, here.

Signifying Nothing

I’ve never been much of a soccer fan, but I’ve been watching some of the World Cup games this time around. What made the biggest impression on me, however, was not the play on the field, but the unvarying, awful blare of plastic trumpets that fills the arena. It is a horrible, buzzing drone, and […]

S.U. In The News

I’ve written in the past about the idea, popularized by the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, of an impending “Technological Singularity”: a convergence of accelerating progress in computer science, neuroscience, and biotechnology that will, in a few decades, lead to a kind of critical mass in all these fields, with historically discontinuous effects. (If, as […]

Waka Waka

Traffic has been creeping up around here lately, and now is more than double what it was a month or two ago. I was glad to see it at first, thinking my humble star was ascending, but then I realized it was due to the World Cup’s official theme song, whose title is roughly congruent […]

Troubled Waters

I stand corrected. Following on our gloomy post on the Gulf oil leak, here, thanks to the most steady and stalwart of our Southern sources, is a story about a prior spill that still holds the lead. There are at least two mitigating factors, however. First, the Ixtoc I spill described in the article happened […]

Still Doomed

Too pooped to post tonight, so here’s a dismal item by John Derbyshire on the absurdities of our educational system.

Blows Against The Empire

Good news from Holland: I’m gratified to see that Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party made substantial gains in yesterday’s elections. Read all about it in this catty little article.

OK, Start Worrying

For weeks now, boffins examining the BP well-head videos with such techniques as particle image velocimetry have insisted that the rate of flow has been a good deal greater than the official estimates. Now the U.S. Geological Survey has joined them, saying that prior to the latest cap-and-suction manoeuvre the rate was probably in the […]

I’m Feeling The Ambiguity

Here’s a conversation-starter: the National D-Day Memorial is planning to add a bust of Josef Stalin, to go with the ones it already has of FDR, Truman, and Churchill. Obviously whoever makes these decisions wishes to acknowledge the Soviet Union’s key role in defeating the Nazis, but Stalin was arguably even viler than Hitler himself, […]


Blogging can be a dispiriting business, and most of us scribble away in near-perfect (and perhaps well-deserved) obscurity. Existentially speaking, it can feel rather like shouting up a drainpipe. So it’s encouraging to see a hard-working blogger’s voice rise suddenly above the din, particularly when it’s a voice that was deserving of wider attention all […]

Kalb On Kalb

Jim Kalb, founder of View From The Right and author of the Inclusiveness essay-series that we discussed in a recent post, has dropped by to comment. Here.

Oh Dear

It appears that our good name (which, along with our tag-line, owes its derivation not to Pac-Man, nor to the Muppets, but to the song Coffin for Head of State, by the remarkable Fela Kuti) has now taken on a somewhat unsavory connotation in our deteriorating popular culture. Oh well, between this and Shakira, maybe […]

The Man Is Father To the Child

It’s getting harder and harder to remember that this was once a virile and vigorous nation. Here’s an appalling letter from today’s Times: To the Editor: In “The Hard Sell on Salt” (front page, May 30), it was said that the food industry successfully persuaded the Food and Drug Administration not to regulate the salt […]

Steyn Talks Turkey

Pessimistic, black-hearted, hate-filled bigots like me occasionally feel the need to point out that Islam — not “extremist” Islam, or “radical” Islam, mind you, but Islam — presents rather a problem for the rest of us, and in particular is fundamentally incompatible with Western norms. Morally enlightened Western folks who want us all to feel […]

Bee Here Now

Think you’re a good speller? Well then, give this a go.


A reader sends along the widely circulated image below, with which the U.S. continues to burnish its gleaming international reputation for the education and intellectual engagement of its citizenry: (I see the predicted low temperature was 49°. How I wish; we’re sweltering here.)

Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t

Jonah Goldberg also weighs in on the IHH flotilla debacle: Question: If Israel is always hell-bent on murder, massacres, and genocide, why is it so bad at it? If its battle plan called for a slaughter, why kill “only” nine people? Why not sink all of the boats? … North Korea recently sank a South […]

Legal And Rational

Charles Krauthammer has published today a fine piece on the Israeli blockade of Gaza. An excerpt: [A]s Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, the blockade is not just perfectly rational, it is perfectly legal. Gaza under Hamas is a self-declared enemy of Israel — a declaration backed up by more […]