• Blah

    So apologies for the lack of content today. One of those days where I just haven't had much to say. That's the problem with keeping a 5-8 pieces a day posting schedule, when the inspiration runs dry you feel guilty. In any case, I'm working on the Germany Health of Nations right now, so that should be up soon. In the meantime, if any of you have found some particularly provocative articles around, leave them in comments for me.
  • Taibbi Stabs

    Via a kind reader, Matt Taibbi's review of the Tom Friedman's new book is, without doubt, the funniest and sharpest-knifed book review I've ever read. Good times.
  • Bravo

    Michael Berube's David Brooks is pitch-perfect . Update : The Rude Pundit says: In today's column , Brooks places blame for the dissolution of national discourse, for the polarization of left and right, for the uproar about judicial activism squarely where it belongs: in the wombs of poor women. There's so many astonishing leaps of logic and ignorance of history in this single column that entire dissertations could be written about all that's absent from Brooks's "analysis" of the state of American politics.
  • Learning is Fun

    Happy Anniversary to Tangled Bank !
  • Buy Newsweek

    John Cloud, author of Time magazine's cover story on Coulter, sat down with CJR's Brian Montopoli to talk about his piece. It's a train wreck. Either Cloud doesn't know what he's doing, what he's saying, or how it's sounding, but something's going wretchedly awry as his words travel from tongue to tape recorder. I, for one, didn't much mind the Coulter piece. If Time wants to venerate her, she's a cultural figure and this is a magazine that regularly plasters nude models pantomiming back pain on their covers, it's their choice to continue their estrangement from serious reporting. But if they're going to defend her appearance as newsworthy and "new", they're going to have to do better than this: Brian, Brian, we have put Josef Stalin on the cover. We have made Adolf Hitler the person of the year. We are a news magazine. The cover of our magazine is not glorification. It is news. This whole idea is bizarre to me. If the New York Times did a front-page story on Ann Coulter, would it be...
  • Cryptic Linking

    Okay, now to explain my cryptic link to the Powers' column . I was vague because I was dashing out to class, so apologies for that. As for why you need to read it, there were two reasons: one self-interested, one altruistic. Starting with the second, Powers engaged the sheer cultural cost of all who've fallen in the last year, a task that no one else (that I know of) has been willing to face up to. From Bellows to Sontag to Thompson to Kennan, a truly stunning number of leading intellectual lights have died recently, and few have been brave enough to broach what that means. I've kept wanting to say something about it, but nothing I wrote matched the task, or even came close. Draft after draft of my efforts were discarded, and each time I got more frustrated that no one else seemed to be taking a shot at it. Maybe that's because, from my Gen Y vantage point, intellectual giants don't really exist anymore, save for a few relics whose heyday was 40 years ago, and I find that tragic. That...
  • Old Guard Turns New Again

    You know the internet has lost its "new" when Ted Kennedy makes a major entrance into it. But the net is old, he's created a sweet site , and you should look. As an aside, I don't like the Kennedy condescension that so many seem to exhibit. I assume it's a combination of the guy's distasteful past (adulterer, alcoholic, general weirdness) and the right's unrelenting campaign against him, but I wish we'd stop buying into it. Kennedy's worked his ass off as a progressive legislator for far longer than most of us have been alive, and while he's been wrong on a fair number of important fights, he's also been a lone voice for unpopular, wholly correct causes and radical, necessary legislation. So while I don't like everything the guy has done, I respect much of it, and in any case I wish we'd not let the press and the Republicans browbeat us into disowning one of our own whenever we're in polite company. I'll take Ted Kennedy over Tom Coburn any old day.
  • Why Medicine Sucks in '96*

    In a post attacking nationalized health care, Sebastian Holsclaw says something that's simply wrong : It takes a lot of work to become a doctor. It takes a lot of time and effort. Few people are going to put the time in if they aren't well compensated. It just ain't true. In France, physicians make about $55,000 (US dollars), around 1/3rd what American doctors make. So is there an enormous doctor shortage? Not in the least. France has 3.3 practicing physicians per 1,000 residents, America has 2.4. This is a common and, frankly, inexplicable oversight opponents of nationalized health care make. So let's say it slow: money is not the sole factor dictating occupational choices. Enormous swarms of folks sign up for endless years of education in order to make paltry sums in academia. I'm heading to Washington to -- hopefully! -- make an absurdly low wage as a writer. And you know what? I don't expect that I'll ever make much money in the profession. People go work for NGO's, in politics,...
  • Grace for the Pope

    I don't think Pope Ratzinger is going to be my favorite person in the world, but going after him for something he did when he was 14 is really a bit much. Ratzinger's 78, if we can find some anti-semitism in, say, his last 20 years, a case can be made. If we could find him criticizing the Pope's decision to apologize for Catholic inaction during the Holocaust, a stink should be raised. But the guy was a 14-year old in Nazi Germany, I don't even hold it against him if he joined the Hitler youth voluntarily. Propaganda, peer pressure, and government coercion are powerful forces, particularly for a kid, and while I expect a certain level of moral leadership from God's earthly emissary, I don't expect it to have been on display before his balls dropped. Thinking back to the election, what pissed me off most about the coverage of Kerry was the time spent unearthing aloofness and puck-hogging tendencies from his childhood. I can't stand that stuff. So, to me, it wasn't fair when they did it...
  • If You Love Me, You Will

    Read this article . No, don't ask questions, just read it . I'll tell you why later.