Monthly Archives: July 2011

Nyaah Nyaah

Here’s Paul Krugman talking to Christine Amanpour this morning about spending cuts: “From the perspective of a rational person — in other words a progressive…” If you want to foreclose on civil discourse, to go beyond argument to mere polemic, to whip up bitter factional antipathies, to make the process of democratic government little more […]

Over There

John McCreary at NightWatch, always an indispensable resource for those who like to keep an ear to the ground, has offered some particularly pointed commentary on the Mideast over the past few days. First, Afghanistan. Our open-ended nation-building project having foundered on some sharp and immovable realities, we are leaving. But rather than make clear […]

How Not To Use The Word ‘Unique’


Pain At The Pump

Blogger Iowahawk tweets: Instead of car that gets 55 miles per gallon, how about a govt that gets 180 minutes per billion? I like that: minutes per billion as a measure of government bloat. Currently we get about 137 MPB. Related content from Sphere


I find myself imagining a gathering crowd watching the Capitol from some safe distance as the frenzy increases inside, with the two houses of Congress joined by the President in a furious battle-royal. The mighty building starts to quiver and shake. Clouds of steam begin to rise, and the walls start to glow — at […]


As the markets begin to totter in anticipation of the coming global collapse, investors are naturally wondering where to put their money. According to the latest data from NASA, I’d say definitely not the beach-umbrella or swimwear sectors. Maybe coal-mining and hockey equipment. Related content from Sphere

Harris on Hedges

In this new climate of austerity, when we have to wean ourselves from so many lavish indulgences, it’s good to be reminded of life’s simple pleasures — like seeing someone give that Chris Hedges a good poke in the eye. Sam Harris does so here. Related content from Sphere

This And That

I had hoped to find some quiet time today for getting some thoughts written down about recent events (in particular the massacre in Oslo and what it means for the defense-of-the-West club that has been spotlighted from all angles in its aftermath), but it was not to be, and now, with a couple of very […]

Dinner And A Dance

I’ve been brooding and distracted, and trying to organize my thoughts for a serious post or two, but have hardly had a moment to myself all day, and so have nothing much to offer tonight. Except, of course, this appetizing illustration of sodium-ion channels in action, courtesy of my daughter Chloe. Related content from Sphere

For The Spirit Of The Living Creature Was In The Wheels

A conversation with my father on the subject of the Armenian mystic Gurdjieff has led me to a re-reading of Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, which apparently G. had recommended to his study groups. (My father was a member of Gurdjieff’s London group after the war until G.’s death in 1949, and in fact went to […]

For What End?

In a dark mood, I ran across this little shaft of light yesterday: When the sound and wholesome nature of man acts as an entirety, when he feels himself in the world as a grand, beautiful, worthy and worthwhile whole, when this harmonious comfort affords him a pure, untrammelled delight: then the universe, if it […]

I Can Quit Anytime I Want

According to this item, Internet-connectivity addiction is as powerful, and as difficult during withdrawal, as habituation to alcohol or tobacco. This is such palpable nonsense that I thought it warranted an immediate post. Perhaps I’ll mention it on Twitter, too. But first I’ll see what the reaction’s been around the blogosphere. Related content from Sphere

Movers And Shakers

Dear Mayor Bloomberg: According to Scientific American, a meta-analysis of seven studies of the effects of salt consumption finds little or no health benefit from reduced-sodium diets. Would you mind calling off the mutaween? Related content from Sphere


It is too soon to write a post that comments in any analytical way on the Oslo massacre, though its ramifications will be profound, perhaps even to the point of changing the arc of European history. In its grotesque particulars, which are still coming to light, it is an act of such devastating horror, of […]

Near-Death Experience

I’m talking about the weather, of course. This heat wave is as bad as it ever gets here in Gotham, and that’s saying something. Every year, as Spring latens, a creeping, hope-killing fear begins to stir in me, as I hear the brazen hinges of the Hell-mouth starting to swing open, and know that Satan, […]

Send In The Clowns

Forgive me for asking, but what the hell are we doing aligning ourselves with these people? We’ve just given them the stamp of official US recognition, and granted them access to billions of dollars of frozen Libyan assets. Also: can someone explain to me why on Earth we should be giving one nickel of foreign […]

What Goes Around Comes Around

Looks like a little turf war brewing in Gaza. Story here.

Master Of Disguise

I hardly know what to say about this one: Police arrest goat accused of armed robbery Hat tip to hbd chick.

Monkey Steals Peach

One of the ways China has been eating our lunch lately is by sitting on the sidelines as we spend and bleed in God-forsaken Mideast ratholes, then snapping up the opportunities left behind as we stagger homeward with our pockets turned out. The latest example is here. Related content from Sphere

Just Sayin’

The investing website Seeking Alpha has published a transcript of CEO Steve Wynn’s remarks during the Q&A portion of Wynn Resorts’s Q2 conference call yesterday. A notable excerpt: Well, here’s our problem. There are a host of opportunities for expansion in Las Vegas, a host of opportunities to create tens of thousands of jobs in […]

Know Your Stuff

With a hat-tip to our friend The Stiletto, we direct you to a pungent example of the machinery of justice at work. The case concerns an Iowa jailbird who, it was alleged, had thrown feces at one of the screws — a simple act of defiance that is fully conformant with traditional primate style, and […]


I’ve been reading Diarmaid MacCulloch’s outstanding history of Christianity (it’s enormously absorbing, and full of fascinating detail) and I’m currently immersed in the factional disputes of the fourth century A.D., when the biggest problem of the day was to work out a good account of the Trinity, and in particular the nature of Christ. It’s […]

Nice Work If You Can Get It

With a hat-tip to commenter “Scott” over at Mangan’s, here’s a meaty interview, from King World News, with financial analyst Jim Rickards on the arcane topic of credit default swaps (and why they’re evil). Related content from Sphere

Hardware Bug

Well, here’s something I just found out the hard way: insects can get inside your laptop screen. I was sitting at the computer, saw a bug crawling across the screen, reached up to knock it away, and ended up squashing it. I went to wipe it off and realized it was behind the clear plastic […]

Just The Check, Please

Four years ago I reported on a chicken-wing-eating competition I chanced upon at Grand Central Station. I had never seen professional gurgitators at work before; the best thing I can say about the experience was that it has helped me, in contemplating the great arc of civilization, to lower my expectations. Like other sports, though, […]

In Defeat, Defiance

Sadly, the BULB Act, H.R. 2417 (see our earlier post here) died in the House the other day. Due to some procedural maneuvering the only way to bring it to the floor for a vote was in such a way as to require a two-thirds majority, and it fell slightly short. (This was in part […]

Just For The Record

A week or so ago we posted a little poll, asking readers what they thought was the best album ever. Given the number of people who pass by here every day, I thought we’d see a lot more responses — it’s something that everyone has an opinion about, and unlike most topics, you won’t get […]


With a hat tip to a commenter at Mangan’s, here’s a story that needs to be told: America’s forgotten Negro astronauts.

Help Wanted

A friend and former magazine editor contacted me recently to ask my help in finding a designer for a freelance project she’s doing: a new magazine for a branch of our armed services. The person she thought best qualified for the job, a former colleague, turned down the work because of the moral distastefulness of […]

Peas Be Upon Them

I haven’t said much about the debt-limit squabble, for at least two reasons: First, what’s the point of having a debt limit anyway, if it just gets raised whenever we approach it? Second, in the real world, as Kevin Williamson points out here, the only meaningful debt limit isn’t one that you impose upon yourself; […]

No Good Deed…

… goes unpunished. Next time, just throw it back. Accountants say the man who caught the home run ball that Derek Jeter smashed for his 3,000th hit Saturday will have to pay as much as $14,000 in taxes, New York media report. Christian Lopez, 23, caught the ball and promptly handed it over to the […]

Why The Long Face?

From the historian Diarmaid MacCulloch: Human societies are based on the human tendency to want things, and are geared to satisfying those wants: possessions or facilities to bring ease and personal satisfaction. The results are frequently disappointing, and always terminate in the embarrassing non sequitur of death. — Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, p. […]

Be Vewy Quiet

If you’ve ever wondered what the Recording Industry looks like from the inside, you’re in luck. Have a peek here.

Close Call!

I’m happy to report that the BULB Act — a cheeky little bill that would have preserved for Americans the freedom to buy whatever kind of light bulbs they like for use in their own homes — now appears unlikely to pass. Well, good. It was a dumb move anyway. After all, our leaders have […]


We’ve just watched the 37-year-old Derek Jeter launch his 3000th career hit (that’s a pretty big deal in these parts, and Gotham has been on pins and needles for weeks). Jeter’s never worn any uniform other than the pin-stripes, so all of those hits were for the Yankees — and to add a spectacular touch, […]

Tweet This!

As you probably know, President Obama hosted a Q&A session on Twitter yesterday. The acerbic blogger Iowahawk presented a list of questions, none of which were presented to POTUS, which is a shame, because some of them are awfully good. Go and read them here. Related content from Sphere

Take An Umbrella

Here’s a striking image of that enormous storm on Saturn. (Al Gore was unavailable for comment.)

Assembly Of God

Boffins at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have made a nifty find: an animal that’s screwed together. (Just like we’re all going to be.) Have a look here.


Well, we’ve just got back to the city after a very long day’s drive, and things will be getting back to normal here shortly. For tonight, just a couple of links: First, as the debt-limit deadline looms, you might enjoy this series of essays by Arthur Laffer on taxation. And here’s an item from Dennis […]

Happy 4th!


OK, everybody, setting aside our usual topics, here’s a question for you all: What’s the greatest album of all time? (I originally wrote “rock album”, but let’s just make it “album”.) You only get to pick one. All readers, even the most casual visitors, and all of you who usually stay on the sidelines, are […]


We’re tuning out for the long weekend; I’m sure the world will manage to keep on going straight to hell without us for a couple of days. Thanks as always for visiting, and please feel free to browse our endlessly fascinating archives, or to give the View a Random Post link a whirl. Related content […]