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The Pacific starts

  (Video: The Pacific trailer) HBO aired the premiere of its new ten-part series, The Pacific, last night. It was, as the network says, an “event”. The Pacific is a drama about the US Marine Corps operations in the Second World War’s Pacific theatre. Many are referring to it as similar to Band of Brothers (a […]

Restoring teacher authority

Guest Post by Alex Standish Good teaching is essential to learning, yet interference by politicians, policymakers and business in schools has undermined the authority of teachers. We need to value the transfer of knowledge for its own sake and give teachers the freedom to educate. Elizabeth Green’s recent article the New York Times Magazine (“Building a better teacher”) contains some […]

The New York taxicab rip-off

Thumbnail : The New York taxicab rip-off

  New York’s yellow taxicabs are iconic. So iconic, that I put one up on my blog’s masthead. But news arrived this weekend of a “mind-boggling rip-off” in which cabbies were found price-gouging customers over the past two years – to the tune of $4-$5 per ride for 1.8 million rides, for a total of $8.3M. The trick was to charge […]

Iraq: no self-determination, no democracy

Earlier this week, American commentators from across the political spectrum praised the Iraqi parliamentary elections. Some 60 to 65 percent turned out to vote, in some cases in defiance of bombs. The official results have yet to be announced.  The Iraqi people should be commended for their determination to make the best of a bad situation. But we cannot let stand […]

Childe Hassam redux

Thumbnail : Childe Hassam redux

  When I saw rows and rows of American flags flying on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan the other day I was reminded of  the flag paintings of the American impressionist artist Childe Hassam, made from 1916 onwards. Here is Hassam’s painting “Flags, Fifth Avenue”: In his landmark history, American Visions, Robert Hughes writes that Hassam delighted […]

This week’s articles of note

“Obama’s lost year,” The New Yorker, by George Packer [abstract; full article requires subscription] “An exceptional debate,” National Review, by Richard Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru “Man versus Afghanistan,” The Atlantic, by Robert D. Kaplan “China’s economic rise is truly glorious,” Real Clear Markets, by John Tamny “What is the good of the ‘examined life’? Some […]

Why we need to talk about innovation now: the Big Potatoes manifesto

Thumbnail : Why we need to talk about innovation now: the Big Potatoes manifesto

A new manifesto “thinks big” with the aim of kick-starting a debate over innovation. In these times of financial crisis and severe economic downturn, we are constantly told by the powers that be that now is not the time for long-term investments. Our energies need to focused on putting out the fires: stop the banks from falling […]

In defense of the dot-com bubble, ten years on

It has been ten years since the dot-com bubble burst. On March 10, 2000 the tech-dominated Nasdaq index peaked at 5048.62. Today it closed at less than half that level, at 2358.95. Many now see the end of the tech boom as the beginning of the most recent financial crisis. On the Opinion page of the Wall Street Journal today, author and […]

Wanted: top Illinois Democrat, no experience preferred

Democratic Party politics in Illinois – President Obama’s adopted home state – is in a bad way.  Last year governor Rod Blagojevich was ousted in a scandal, and last month the party’s nominee for lieutentant governor (the number two role) resigned due to allegations of domestic assault, unpaid child support and steroids use. Today’s Times reports […]

“Some bullshit happening somewhere”

Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere

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