Monthly Archives: March 2013

Phil Ramone, 1934 – 2013

Phil Ramone, arguably the greatest record producer of all time, died on Saturday. He was a towering presence in the recording industry, and his death is an enormous loss to us all. His work, and his influence, touched every aspect of recording. (He’s even the man responsible for putting that long-familiar pair of Shure SM-57s […]

Lawrence Auster, 1949 – 2013

Lawrence Auster has died. There are things I would like to say about him, his influence on my own thinking, and the grace with which he faced his final ordeal, but I must say them later. He was a brilliant and difficult man. For now, go and read Laura Wood’s entry at VFR. See also […]

Service Notice

Things will be quiet around here for the next two weeks or so: the lovely Nina and I are off to fabled Cathay, where our brilliant and beautiful daughter is teaching science at an international high school in Guangzhou. We’ll all be spending a few days in scenic Yangshuo, and the memsahib and I will […]

Class Of ’17

There’s grist for every ideological mill in this item, which came over the transom from a reader this morning. It lists the admissions this year, by race, to New York’s premier public high school, Stuyvesant. Admission to Stuy is a pure meritocracy; do well enough on the entrance exam, and you’re in. Here are the […]

Hollingsworth v. Perry

Today was gay-marriage day at the Supreme Court. Read the transcript here. Key points, I think, were two lines of questioning directed from the bench to Ted Olson, one from Antonin Scalia (“You — you’ve led me right into a question I was going to ask…”), and one from Sonia Sotomayor (“Mr. Olson, the bottom […]

Sauce For The Gander

One of the intrinsic disadvantages conservatives have in the P.R. war with the Left is that we weren’t brought up to think that victimhood is an appropriate foundation for a well-built life. For traditional, conservative sorts, weaned on solid Christian pessimism, it is simply the plain truth that life will always dish out insults and […]

Idiots, Cont’d

Charles Cooke, who is a very sensible fellow for one so young, comments at length on Albany’s stupid, histrionic, opportunistic, and authoritarian reaction to Newtown.

Opportunity Nocks

Here’s Alfred Jay Nock, writing in 1936 about a little-sought-after but highly rewarding career path: prophet to the Remnant.

Convergent Evolution

This one’s been making the rounds: the fish with “human teeth”.


The perfect should never be the enemy of the good, but we should always let the good be the enemy of the merely convenient.

Brave New World

This caught my eye: US plan calls for more scanning of private Web traffic, email Non-electronic communication will soon be a thing of the past. It’s interesting that the simplest of technologies — a packet of paper, a drop of wax — made possible, for thousands of years, something that for most people will soon […]


When you abandon reason and due process, and act only upon hysteria, emotion and sensationalism, this is what you get. That such people are in charge of our public affairs — and have the power to revise and abridge our cherished liberties at their whim — is horrifying.

When In Doubt, Butt Out

Here is a sensible piece by George Will on why the Court should strike down the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’. In brief: the definition and regulation of marriage is not among the Federal government’s enumerated and carefully limited powers. Students of history will recall that this actually used to mean something.

Diana Moon Glampers, Call Your Office

I’m working late again tonight, so all I have, I’m afraid, is this brief item from NRO, in which we learn that a Connecticut principal has canceled his school’s annual celebration of its honors students, in order not to bruise the emotions of those less successful. Yes, readers, America is well on the way to […]

Not Much, But We’ll Take It

Today’s good news: it looks like Dianne Feinstein’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” is dying on the vine.


I was wondering when this was going to happen. One Twitterer remarked: If Silicon Valley is a meritocracy (or aspires to be) why not let everyone see company hiring stats for women and people of color. Here’s a guess: It’s because Silicon Valley (which is really just a proxy for companies that make their money […]

Flow, My Tears

Here is a very beautiful performance of Lachrimae Pavane, written by the English Renaissance composer and lutenist John Dowland. The player is the Swedish guitarist Per-Olov Kindgren. It’s hard to describe the emotional effect of Dowland’s music; it’s terribly sad, but just to call it “melancholy” is too one-sided. There is also something deeply comforting […]

When In Rome

On the elevation of the new Pope, we’ve seen a lot of sulking about the Catholic Church’s inexplicable reluctance to get itself properly aligned with the Left’s social-issues agenda. It is, as Dennis Mangan points out here, perfectly understandable for socially ‘progressive’ sorts to consider the Church a political opponent, and to seek to reduce […]

This And That

As usually happens, the middle of this week has meant long hours at work. So for the moment, just a few links: — A fine rant, from across the pond, on the new subjectivity of justice, and the culture of victimhood. — A necessary government expenditure that appears, so far, to have survived the sequester. […]

Have A Coke And A Smile

I don’t drink Coke, but I certainly had a smile when I read that Michael Bloomberg’s infantilizing sugary-drink ban had been smacked down by the Supreme Court of the State of New York. (Smacked down by the very researchers he quoted in support of it, too, but that’s another story.) From the Times: In an […]

Suppose You Wanted To Ruin A Nation

Well, that’s a big job, but it can be done! You just have to work hard, and keep the goal in view. As with all big jobs, the trick is to break it down into smaller parts. Here’s Victor Davis Hanson on how to take care of the economy. (Hat tip: Bill Keezer.) Forgive me, […]

Guns: Reality vs. Fantasy

Here’s an outstandingly clear and well-informed article addressing the commonest of the Left’s positions on gun-control. It’s long, but well worth your time.

It Got Worse

From Democracy In America, here’s Alexis de Tocqueville on the complexity of American law: The French codes are often difficult of comprehension, but they can be read by every one; nothing, on the other hand, can be more impenetrable to the uninitiated than a legislation founded upon precedents. The indispensable want of legal assistance which […]

Lying Low

After a round of too-long-put-off periodontal surgery today at the hands of the gifted healer Louis Franzetti, I am in a deep post-operative torpor. Back soon.

Lest We Forget

All right, I know what you’re thinking: “Yeah, sure, all this ‘civilization’ stuff you’re always on about is probably kind of important, I guess… …but what about knotted vortices?” Right you are. And here you go.

Hugo Rafael Chávez, 1954-2013

Finally. From ‘The Diplomad’, a brief and accurate summary. Excerpt: In short, his was a bravura performance which has left Venezuela awash in debt, crime, and poverty–the signature achievement of leftism everywhere in the world. Thanks to Bill Keezer for the link. And here’s another.

Gun Control Does Nothing To Reduce Gun Violence

With a hat tip to Bill Vallicella, we urge you to read an excellent article at The Jurist, by criminologist Don Kates, on the lack of empirical evidence for the Left’s position on gun bans. The article includes links to public recantations by many former gun-ban advocates, including a 1995 paper by noted criminologist Marvin […]

Difficult Thoughts

Here’s yet another interesting item from, this time an interview with a young psychologist named Adam Alter, whom I hadn’t heard of before now. The article’s accompanying biographical note says this about him: ADAM ALTER is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Stern School of Business, NYU. He is the author of Drunk Tank […]

Pretty Sharp!

I guess we’re all feeling pretty low, now that the Sequester has gone into effect. I haven’t been paying much attention to the news since Friday (been busy arranging the canned goods down in the shelter), but if the predictions I’d been hearing have turned out to be correct, the entire nation is now unemployed, […]

Hysteria, Folly, Madness As Western “Civilization” Devours Itself

Yes readers, it’s gotten this bad.

Not So Fast

Back in January the New York State legislature rammed through a major gun-control bill, in the middle of the night, as a hysterical reaction to the Newtown shootings. The legislators were given just a few minutes to read the bill before a vote was called, in violation of a law that imposes a three-day review […]