Monthly Archive: January 2012


The Problem with IT, Part I

There have been a number of comments on a recent post that have glanced sidelong at a problem domain with which I’m reasonably familiar… and since we have a number of digital gearheads who...


The Politics of ‘Homeland’ are Incredibly Squicky

(Spoilers for the first three episodes of ‘Homeland’ follow. Be warned.) I’ve been working on catching up with the Showtime series “Homeland” for the last couple days on the recommendation of basically everyone on...


Rural Mobility and Education Policy

From The Rural Blog: Studies regarding student mobility — how often students switch schools — has usually been focused on poor urban areas, but new research suggests rural student mobility may be as big...


In Which I Discuss Jonathan Franzen’s Remarks at Length

Speaking recently at the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia, American novelist, Jonathan Franzen, attacked what he identifies as the impermanence of ebooks.  His following remarks are what Andrew Sullivan recently dismissed as “Wieseltierian piffle,”


A Grim Alternative

For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say. For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a...


The Third Tribe

Maybe this would be otherwise if I’d followed the discussions around here of Charles Murray’s Coming Apart thesis a little more closely, but I was struck by the math in David Brooks’ column* today:


Announcing The Mindless Diversions Book Club!

We won’t make you read, though. We’re going to watch the first season of Fringe and talk and argue about it. We’ll hammer out how many episodes we want to watch between posts (which...


Are Federal Workers Overpaid?

This CBO study is being touted as proof by conservatives that the answer to this question is a resounding “YES!”  Going nearly as far is Megan McArdle, who nonetheless argues that “the CBO’s data suggest...


Making a Living in the Wake of the Pelican Disaster

From the Wikipedia entry: On September 1, 1951, as the Fisherman’s Special emptied its passengers, 62 fares climbed aboard the PELICAN, plus its Captain, Eddie Carroll and mate. The 42 foot PELICAN left Fishangrila...


Playwriting Contest

Hey folks! I’m getting back to play writing with a screwball comedy. It’s about a corrupt big city mayor who takes on some grand and insincere endeavor to improve his image. It has to be something...


Hobbes: The American West and 21st-Century America

In my last post on this topic, we got through Hobbes as relative and Hobbes as overstated. To continue our discussion: Claim 3: There is a significant difference between political and personal liberty. Lockeans...


Underripe Thoughts On Inevitable Litigation

The porn industry is quick to raise the First Amendment as its primary argument against governmental intervention of any sort. And not without justification — governments from the Feds down to municipalities are notoriously...


Butchery and Burial (or, Sympathy for McClellan)

I wrote, some time ago, that Grant becomes the hero of Shelby Foote’s Civil War because “he fights, unlike his colleagues on either side, who dilly-dally, blundering into and through battle and prolonging the...


Is “Israel First” The Worst?

Responding to this Spencer Ackerman piece in Tablet, in which the senior writer comes down on the anti- side of the ongoing controversy over the phrase “Israel-Firsters,” Freddie has a spot-on summary of...


Grasping at Belief : Week 2

(Note: For those that are stumbling upon this enterprise for the first time, an explanation of of my Grasping at Belief posts can be found here.)   Lessons Jonah 3: 1-5, 10 1 Then the...


Insert Your Own McRib Joke Here

I’m currently visiting family in Oklahoma, the state that passed a law last year that made it illegal for judges to rule using Sharia instead of State and Federal law.  (Because clearly that’s where...


In Defense Of Newt Gingrich

Or, well, at least in defense of a moon colony. That’s the ground I stake out in my latest piece in The Atlantic.