This issue: November 14, 2011 (Vol. 17, No. 09)
Over the last few weeks the ground of American politics has shifted to the left. The process began when President Obama’s tour to promote his jobs bill improved his standing in some polls and forced Republicans to play defense. Next came Occupy Wall Street, which gave the media an excuse to put questions of “social justice” at the top of their agenda. The Congressional Budget Office then released a report highlighting increased income inequality and seeming to prove Occupy Wall Street’s claim that the top 1 percent of Americans might as well live in a different country. Toss in a couple glimmers of economic hope—an improved third-quarter GDP number, a slightly falling unemployment rate—and the recipe for the left-liberal revival was set.
For every Southern boy 14 years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s ...
Is this finally a Mitt Romney that conservatives can love? Or at least support?
With its 7 billionth person stunt, the U.N. boosts the overpopulation hysteria.
Last week the United Nations Population Fund released a report heralding the birth of the world’s 7 billionth person. The milestone is important, the United Nations explains, because their calculations now project that global population is likely to hit 9.3 billion by 2050 and could go as high as 15.8 billion by the end of the century. As you might imagine, these dire warnings were greeted with eager and solicitous concern by the alarmist media.
“Population Growth Taxing Planet’s Resources,” announced one Washington Post story. CNN tried to contextualize the number 7 billion by helpfully informing readers, “Seven billion ants, at an average ...
Cameron picked a bad time to make his party more Europe-friendly.
All eyes are on the supercommittee.
The 12 members of the congressional supercommittee aren’t isolated and alone, working like monks, as they pursue at least a $1.2 trillion ...
The Obama administration bungles the Palestinians’ membership vote.
The Palestinian Authority succeeded last Monday in becoming a member state in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The vote was 107 in favor, 14 opposed, and 52 abstaining, ...
So far: less poor, less nasty, and less brutish than under Qaddafi.
A Tea Party-Occupy Wall Street agenda
What if the two prominent grassroots movements of the day, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, joined forces to support an agenda that would be good for America?
Both groups are short on policy specifics. As popular movements, they lack organizers and spokesmen; both are to some extent expressions of mood. Nonetheless, there are several policies that reflect the concerns of at least a large part of both groups and that would be beneficial for the ordinary Americans whom both claim to represent. These policies would be a departure, however, from the current positions of the Democratic and Republican parties—whose shortcomings caused the two movements to spring up in the first place. So here it is, the Tea Party-Occupy ...
Our troops can win in Afghanistan. But the key battleground is in Washington.
Flannery O’Connor, illustrator
In 1955 Flannery O’Connor wrote to her friend Elizabeth McKee that “the only way to get here”—her home, the antebellum farm Andalusia—“is by bus or buzzard.” Yet many came to see her, and many still come. In fact, there’s a small sign to let you know where to turn off Highway 441 for Andalusia—it’s right across the street from a barbeque place—but the sign is so small you might mistake it for a back or side entrance. Go past the sign, and within a few minutes’ drive you’ll see O’Connor’s red-roofed house set on a slight hill and girded by pecan trees.
Richelieu and the invention of modern France.
For the past three centuries and a half, Cardinal Richelieu has captivated students of politics.
I should acknowledge that I’m extraordinary.
Have you noticed that whenever a newspaper columnist uses the phrase “full disclosure,” it’s primarily for purposes of ...
What seems like familiarity just might be deference.
My wife and I—we are in our early seventies—sit down in a local restaurant. After handing us menus, the waitress returns a few minutes later: “Are ...
The philosophical approach to high and low culture.
Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture expounds Immanuel Kant’s defense of retribution as a duty intimately related to ...
A new rendition of an old-fashioned theme.
The swoony romantic drama, once a staple of the cinema, is all but nonexistent now. These movies—the ones that immortalized the longing glance, the ...
Joseph Epstein, by the book
The other day I asked my five-years-younger-than-I brother—the wit in our family—if he had taken to using a Kindle. “My Kindle,” he said, “is at the cleaners.” I’m not sure why I found that funny, but I did, and still do, and take it that he means he would never think of using this new aid to reading with which so many people are so very pleased.
If I owned a Kindle, I, too, would take it to the cleaners but never bother to pick it up. I’m sure that this miraculous new device has lots to be said for it in the realm of convenience (many books can be stored in it at once) and ease of handling (it’s much lighter than most hardcover books), but ...
The Scrapbook, which is a strong believer in the institution of marriage, couldn’t help but notice the collapse of the 72-day-old union of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries last week. Readers will be forgiven for not necessarily recognizing the name of either the groom or bride—he’s a second-tier professional basketball player, she is difficult to characterize in a single phrase—but anyone who has stood recently in a supermarket checkout line or watched cable television should be aware of their glittering nuptials (Lindsay Lohan attended!) and the now-disputed price of the 20.5-carat wedding ring ($2 million).
Anyhow, after all the ...
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