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Obama on Dylan at the White House

In his interview in the current issue of Rolling Stone, President Obama speaks about Bob Dylan’s performance at the White House in February of this year (video above): Here’s what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you’d expect he would be. He wouldn’t come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set […]

Republicans’ “Pledge to America”: lacking credibility, full of intensity

Last week House Republicans announced their “Pledge to America”, which promises to restrain government spending. But the fact is, despite all their puffed up rhetoric, Republicans lack credibility when it comes to deficit reduction. Two useful articles published today make this point. First, Jacob Sullum in Reason argues that Republicans’ vows to restore more balance to the government accounts “ring hollow”. The […]

The “small schools are better” dogma

At times it seems that everyone in the education debate is in favor of smaller schools and class sizes. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent millions to break up bigger schools. A new movie, Waiting for Superman, extols the benefits of charter schools with smaller-than-usual student numbers. As commensensical as it sounds, there is […]

In the Tea Party debate, who’s really acting crazy?

Thumbnail : In the Tea Party debate, who’s really acting crazy?

Liberal activists’ dismissal of the Tea Party as “insane” only shows how cut-off they are from the American masses. Read my spiked article in full here.

This week’s articles of note

“The Connecticut country-club crackup,” The New York Times Magazine, by Matt Bai “America’s true history of religious tolerance,” Smithsonian, by Kenneth C. Davis “The ‘Freedom’ agenda,” The New York Times, by David Brooks [On Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom] “The non-economist’s economist,” Wall Street Journal, by James Grant [Essay on John Kenneth Galbraith]  “The idea of a […]

Read science fiction for “the most interesting thought about human society”?

Historian Walter Russell Mead thinks so: At a time when many academics have become willfully obscure, political science is increasingly dominated by arcane and uninspiring theories and in which a fog of political correctness makes some forms of (badly needed) debate and exploration off limits, science fiction has stepped forward to fill the gap. In the […]

Mapping segregation in New York and other cities

Thumbnail : Mapping segregation in New York and other cities

An interesting map of segregation by race in New York City, by Eric Fischer. Red is for Whites, Blue is for Blacks, Green is for Asians, Orange is for Hispanics, Gray is for Others. Each dot is 25 people. Fischer has mapped the largest 40 cities in the US (see here). Hard to know exactly what […]

Liberals are blind to what drives the Tea Party

Thumbnail : Liberals are blind to what drives the Tea Party

Calling the Tea Party “crazy” is just liberals’ way of saying they are aloof and clueless Over the past week, US politics has been dominated by talk of the Tea Party. Its favored candidates won upsets over more moderate Republicans in some primary elections last week: most notably, for the Senate in Delaware and for […]

Promising start to Boardwalk Empire

Last night saw the opening in a new HBO series about Prohibition-era Atlantic City, Boardwalk Empire. It was a promising start. With Martin Scorsese directing, and lots of investment, it had feature-film production values.  Almost inevitably, the opening episode spends time introducing the characters. But even so, it kept a pretty good pace. Prohibition, which lasted from […]

The recession is over: time to move on

The National Bureau of Economic Research announced today that the recession officially ended in June 2009. Starting in December 2007, the 18-month period was the longest recession since the Second World War. No big deal? Well, first of all, as Barry Ritholtz points out, the news from the NBER (with its accompanying evidence) puts paid […]

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