Monthly Archives: November 2011

It Only Encourages Them

Interesting item over at Jeffery Hodges’ place: Jeff comments on an interview with the prominent Egyptian Protestant Ramez Atallah. Atallah talks about the unique centrality of Islam in Arabic-speaking lands. He also has this to say about Western indignation over the ubiquitous persecution of Christians in Muslim territory: I need you to please understand that […]


This from the Telegraph: Olympic swimming records set to tumble at London 2012 as Speedo unveil Fastskin3 swimwear system I realize I’m just an old fossil, but this is a depressing trend. Next it’ll be quantum-tunneling suits, or something. I think the ancient Greeks had the right idea: make ’em compete in the nude. It’d […]


Bonneville Salt Flats, 462 m.p.h. Here.

Ask Chuck!

As you already know, the Congressional deficit-reduction “supercommittee” failed to find a paltry $1.2 trillion dollars worth of trimmable fat in the Federal budget over the next ten years. Given that you could confiscate all corporate profits each year in America and still only cover six months of government spending, we’re obviously living way, way […]

Keeping The Heat On

There’s been another wave of leaked “Climategate” emails, if you’re interested in this sort of thing. Jim Lacey discusses them over at NRO, and Alana Goodman does the same at Commentary. See also this searchable database — and this item too, over at Duff and Nonsense. Related content from Sphere

Mola Mola!

I stopped by Wellfleet Harbor shortly before sunset today to take in the view. Here’s the scene, looking southwest from the seawall at Kendrick Avenue (forgive the poor quality – I took these shots with the camera in my phone, which has a blurry lens): Wait a minute — what the hell is that thing […]

Paul Motian, 1931-2011

Here’s one that I missed on Tuesday (and thanks to our friend Peter for mentioning it) — Paul Motian, a jazz drummer of sublime artistry and one of the most versatile and influential players of all time, died last week at the age of 80. (The cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, the same affliction that took […]

Tom Wicker, 1926-2011

Tom Wicker, one of the leading journalists of his era, has died at 85. His New York Times obituary is here. Wicker was with JFK in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963, and filed his report from a pay phone on the evening of that awful day. You can read it here. Related content from Sphere

This And That

We’ve been on the road all day, so nothing substantial here tonight — just a few brief items. First: yesterday’s Thanksgiving prep presented a good example of why punctuation matters, with particular regard to the hyphenation of compound adjectives. When you string together a pair of adjectives so that the first modifies the second, as […]

Happy Thanksgiving!

To each and every one of you. Among the many blessings I am grateful for today is having you all as readers and correspondents. I’m too busy cooking to write an extended meditation, but for a perfect Thanksgiving homily it would be hard to do better than the one Dr. William Vallicella posts every year. […]

It’s All Good Fun, Till Somebody Puts An Eye Out

For centuries, Sikhs have been the warriors of choice for elite fighting units throughout South Asia. And here’s why.

Euro Watch

Matt Yglesias comments at Slate on the three realistic prospects for the Eurozone: disintegration, German domination, or… actual democracy. As Mr. Yglesias points out, creating a unified, pan-European democratic republic would be a very “tall order”. As for German domination, my memory’s not as good as it once was, but it does seem to me […]

Skunk Works

A recent article in the Times took a look at Google X, Google’s hush-hush advanced-projects lab. It’s a place where your refrigerator could be connected to the Internet, so it could order groceries when they ran low. Your dinner plate could post to a social network what you’re eating. Your robot could go to the […]

All Roads Lead

Here’s something odd I just read in a tooltip at XKCD: Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at “Philosophy”. I’ve spent the past fifteen minutes trying it. So far, it’s worked every […]

Two Pictures

Here’s an unusual image, courtesy of Wish I Didn’t Know:

Into This Nothingness

Here’s an almost unbearably poignant tale of the Japanese tsunami.

Diana Moon Glampers, Call Your Office

Here’s one that’s been making the rounds: it’s an Op-Ed from yesterday’s Times making a point that in a less Orwellian world would come as no surprise to anyone, namely that innate qualities make a significant difference in the statistical distribution of life outcomes. We read: Exhibit A is a landmark study of intellectually precocious […]

Suitable For Framing, Or Wrapping Fish

Here’s a summary of the prospects for the Obamacare case coming up at SCOTUS. This one’s a biggie: it’s the last line of defense for those who believe that the idea of “enumerated powers” has any meaning at all. Related content from Sphere

Wow, Pretty Super

Well, it looks as if the deficit-reduction “supercommittee” is about to fail. Political analyst Larry Sabato tweeted: Could it really be that 12 able legislators will fail utterly at the most important task they’ll ever be asked to do? Yeah, I’m sure he’s shocked, along with the rest of us. U.S. government spending is an […]


This from VOA: Grenades Hit Syria’s Baath Party Building in Damascus Syrian activists say several rocket-propelled grenades hit a ruling Baath Party building in Damascus Sunday, as President Bashar al-Assad vowed he will not “bow down” to international pressure to ease his brutal crackdown on dissent. The Local Coordination Committees activist network and several residents […]

Angels And Demons

Here’s a dark item by Victor Hanson on the supple reality inhabited by our chief executive.

The Doomsday Machine

More Shatner! This time a cautionary tale, and a timely one, too. Can you believe this guy’s 80 years old?


As we grow more and more dependent on interactive electronic media, we’re also giving away more and more information about everything we say and do. We don’t seem to mind much, given that we’ve blithely been making this tradeoff en masse for some time now, but the latest generation of smartphones have upped the ante […]

Bears In The China Shop

In the discussion we linked to yesterday (well worth your time, by the way, if you are interested in matters military and strategic), George Friedman argued that although China has made a Great Leap Forward beyond anything Mao could have imagined, it is now reaching a point of economic fatigue, if not exhaustion. In particular, […]

China’s Blue-Water Navy

For you strategic-security wonks, here’s a meaty item: an in-depth discussion between foreign-policy expert Robert Kaplan and STRATFOR’s George Friedman on the changing balance of sea power between the U.S. and China. Related content from Sphere

Jon Gomm

I don’t usually go in much for “tappers”, but this is pretty cool. HT: Devin Townsend.

A Wellfleet Walk

It was an unusually mild November day here in the Outer Cape, and I went for a walk in Wellfleet’s Fox Island Marsh & Pilgrim Spring Woodlands Conservation Area, which I’d never explored. While it’s hardly the Bridger Wilderness, the conservation area offers a lovely trail through pine forests down to the salt marshes at […]

Offense Taken

There’s a good piece by Katie Roiphe on “sexual harassment” in today’s Times. Money quote: The creativity and resourcefulness of the definitions, the broadness and rigor of the rules and codes, have always betrayed their more Orwellian purpose… Also: Codes of sexual harassment imagine an entirely symmetrical universe, where people are never outrageous, rude, awkward, […]

Land of Opportunity

One melodic voice in the complex polyphony of the “OWS” uprising is the lament of the young college grads who, despite their hard-earned degrees in important fields of study, today find themselves laden with scholastic debt and unable to descry a clear path to prosperity. It’s terribly unfair: they’ve done what they were supposed to […]

The Last Best Hope Of Earth

Longtime readers will know that I am something of a chauvinist as regards Western civilization, ever-ready to mount the ramparts for the sake of its defense and preservation. Every now and then, though, I think it’s important to remind ourselves just why this incomparable edifice is so worthy of our devotion and sacrifice — and […]

Surf’s Up!

Way up.

That Gap

Here’s a tart item by Charles Murray about the prevalence of certain groups in educational “gifted” programs, and the willfully blinkered obstinacy of media commentators thereupon. One quibble. In response to a journalist’s claim that “most gifted programs explicitly target students with natural talents and aptitude, which are spread evenly across racial groups and social […]

‘Furrier New’, Or Perhaps ‘Hairial’

Busy today, so just a brief item. Leg-Hair Font.

No Definable Grievance

Further thoughts on OWS from Victor Hanson, here.

On The First Day Of Christmas, The Government Snatched From Me…

…15¢ to pay for “a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees”. Story here. (Or maybe here.) (HT: Drudge.) — Update! No doubt due to the uproar generated by this post, the administration is now reconsidering. Related content from Sphere

The EU Unravels

What’s at the root of the deepening crisis in the European Union? George Friedman of STRATFOR attributes it to persistent nationalism, and in recent weeks has written a pair of substantial posts articulating this view. The first, The Crisis of Europe and European Nationalism, was published on September 13th. We read (boldface emphasis added by […]

All Our Vices Are Made Virtues

Here’s an entertaining item by “David Kahane”: The Cold Civil War.

Bad Lip Reading

I know I’m way behind the curve here, and you’ve probably already seen it, but this stuff just kills me. See Rick Perry, here, and Mitt Romney, here. Homepage here. Related content from Sphere

No Question

In an exchange of emails with an old friend just now about the Conrad Murray verdict, I wrote “I really can’t comment much about the trial because I paid it no attention at all, and don’t know any of the details.” But when I looked at the note before sending it, I saw that I […]

At Yale, 60 Years On

Here’s a splendid remembrance of William F. Buckley, by one who had the privilege of editing his copy.

Guy Stuff

Here’s an important breakthrough: Boys do better on tests of technical aptitude (for example, mechanical aptitude tests) than girls. The same is true for adults. A new study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, describes a theory explaining how the difference comes about: the root cause is […]

Razing Cain

Here’s Juan Williams, formerly of NPR, responding to the storm of criticism that Herman Cain has faced from liberal black commentators. Everybody’s wondering who was behind the airing of the sexual-harassment allegations against Mr. Cain. I’m inclined to doubt that Barack Obama’s organization is responsible, because it would serve their cause far better to wait […]

Andy Rooney, 1919-2011

We note with sadness the death, at 92, of Andy Rooney. People tended to poke fun at him a bit in his later years, but I always liked him for his gentle humor and his plain-spokenness. Related content from Sphere

America: Hell On Earth

Today a friend mailed me a clipping from last Saturday’s New York Times. It was an Op-Ed by Charles M. Blow, in which Mr. Blow presented a chart summarizing a report ranking the world’s nations on their level of “social justice”. (I’ve reproduced it below the fold.) The columns in the chart include an “overall […]

1: Destroy Civilization. 2: ? 3: Profit!

Looking At The Left‘s El Marco pays a visit to Occupy Denver, with notebook and camera. Here.

Looking Ahead, Long Ago

Nice: for a limited time, free access to Scientific American archives from long ago. Have a look.

The 99% Kneads Some Dough

Our friend The Stiletto has a nourishing little parable for us, here.

Free To Obey

A while back I wrote a post examining why a society’s need to maintain public harmony in the face of increasing diversity necessarily comes at the expense of meaningful liberties. George Will takes up the same topic in his latest column, Conformity for diversity’s sake. We read: Illustrating an intellectual confusion common on campuses, Vanderbilt […]

Islamism, Or Just Islam?

Over at NRO today, Andrew McCarthy and Robert Spencer debate the distinction between Islam and “Islamism”. Mr. Spencer argues that Islam is in its very essence “Islamist”: that its core doctrines, on any coherent and broadly acceptable interpretation, are normative and prescriptive not only spiritually and socially, but also legally and politically. Mr. McCarthy insists […]

It Depends

Here’s one for you, language weenies: can you think of an irregular English verb that becomes a regular verb when applied to a particular subject? (I’ll post the answer if nobody gets it in a day or so.) Related content from Sphere