Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Soundtrack in the Background



Oberlin College had a very bad day.

Someone Alert Titania McGrath!


Every Year Should Have Some Heavy Lifting


I am currently considering these choices:

  • Proust
  • Tolstoy
  • Gibbon
Each one requires a time and focus commitment. 

Right now, I am tempted to re-read War and Peace if only because I was staggered by Tolstoy's insights on people. Many times, I had to pause to consider what had been revealed. 

There is much debate over which translation to get. My favorite is by Ann Dunnigan in the Signet Classic edition.

First Paragraph

Great power in America is concentrated in a handful of people. A few thousand individuals out of 310 million Americans decide about war and peace, wages and prices, consumption and investment, employment and production, law and justice, taxes and benefits, education and learning, health and welfare, advertising and communication, life and leisure. In all societies - primitive and advanced, totalitarian and democratic, capitalist and socialist - only a few people exercise great power. This is true whether or not such power is exercised in the name of "the people."

- Who's Running America? The Obama Reign (eighth edition) by Thomas R. Dye, published in 2014 

Find Your Style


[Photo by Vladimir Yelizarov at Unsplash]

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

A Reminder of the Important


Changing Meanings

To understand how we got into this morass, it is necessary to recall the fact that before the second half of the 20th century, the term "gender" represented a distinction within linguistics. Gender difference referred to the distinction between feminine and masculine nouns and adjectives. It was not associated with human sex difference - until 1955. 

- Michael Rectenwald, Beyond Woke


My problem with the people who say journalists must afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted is that they use this mantra to comfort themselves and afflict those they disagree with.

- Jonah Goldberg

Monday, August 29, 2022

Deserves More Attention

Tablet magazine: Michael Lind on "The Coming Resource Wars."

Late Night Reading

A fascinating book.

Woke Takeover of Publishing

 City Journal: Joanna Williams asks a good question: Would Salman Rushdie's book be published today?

Productivity Tips

Nicholas Bate on "
The Forward View."

And for inspiration, remember Kipling:

"Something hidden. Go and find it.
Go and look behind the Ranges --
Something lost behind the Ranges.
Lost and waiting for you. Go!"

Godin on Enrollment

The Tin Man enrolls with Dorothy to go to see the Wizard. He has his own agenda. He's after his own reward, as are the Scarecrow and the Lion.

But even though each member of the troupe has their own goal in mind, they are all enrolled in the same journey, with the same agreed-upon roles and rules and, probably, time frames.

- From The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin

Don't Be So Busy

Don't be so busy with the project that you forget the relationship.


[Photo by Dane Deaner at Unsplash]

About a Bunch of Animals Who Think They Are People


Saturday, August 27, 2022

When You Are Old


Still The Game

Tablet magazine: Tevi Troy on "Baseball's Golden Age."

Bock on Leadership


The perceptive Mr. Bock on ten things leaders should remember about people.

Crank It Up


Nitwittery Update

 New York Post article on Berkeley's segregated off-campus housing.

The Techie Addiction


From the wilds of south Florida, a cry for help.

The Surgeon

I am at the stage in a major project where the question is what to take out instead of what to put in. 

Any portion that has a whiff of boredom or cleverness will be a candidate for removal.

A Magical Place


Reality Dose

Empires, essentially, create order. In their absence, you don't end up with lots of happy, little nation-states full of people sitting around campfires singing John Lennon's "Imagine." What you end up with is civil war, anarchy.

- Niall Ferguson

Friday, August 26, 2022

Find Your Style

My favorite time of the year is approaching.

[Photo by Jasmin Chew at Unsplash]

Rogan and Wright


Implicit Bias Training

 Scientific American: "The Problem with Implicit Bias Training."

Seek Help

Podcast Movement at #PM22
Hi folks, we owe you an apology before sessions kick off for the day. Yesterday afternoon, Ben Shapiro briefly visited the PM22 expo area near The Daily Wire booth. Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence.
Show this thread

To Get an Education

"To get an education, you're probably going to have to fight against the institution that you find yourself in - no matter how prestigious it may be. (In fact, the more prestigious the school, the more you'll probably have to push.)"

- Mark Edmundson, professor, University of Virginia

The Personal Dictionary


Each of us has a personalized dictionary. Over time, we hope that people who know us in our business and personal lives have a grasp on what we mean when we say certain things or take certain positions.

Here are some tricky examples from my own dictionary:

  • "I believe that is the best course of action" means "I STRONGLY BELIEVE that is the BEST course of action."
  • "I don't think that is a good idea" may be my little way of saying "Are you out of your mind?"
  • On the other hand, "I don't have any preference on where we should go for dinner" means "I don't have any preference on where we should go for dinner."
[Photo by Joshua Hoehne at Unsplash]

I'd Better Read the Book


Zing and Zap - A Series

"Mortimer Adler had much to tell us about Aristotle's Ethics, but I had only to look at him to see that he had nothing useful to offer on the conduct of life."

- Saul Bellow

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Big Camille


Simple and True

 A Large Regular has Kurt Vonnegut on "The Shape of Stories."



College Loan Forgiveness

The Wall Street Journal on President Biden's college loan forgiveness decision.

That deals with the "should" decision. Let's see what happens in court on whether he can take such action.

The issue of the insane expense of a college education needs to be addressed. Employers can help by not requiring college degrees for a bunch of jobs where that credential is not really necessary.

The Raven on My Shoulder

I wanted to work on a large project but was distracted by a smaller project - call it a raven - that was nearing its deadline. 

Every time I worked on the far more important task, I could sense the raven's presence.  A caw here. A claw there. 

I eventually earned that with ravens, it pays to shift your priorities if only to discover the joy that comes with their departure. 

[Photo by Casey Horner at Unsplash]

Science? Some Loopholes are Designed for Abuse

Check out the "standards" of Nature Human Behavior.

This is scary stuff. 

On My List


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Speak Up!

If you don't want to stick around for the fire sale (The Federalist Papers! "Letter From Birmingham Jail"! Everything must go!) and you're not too eager to get knifed on a Friday morning because of somehting you said, you might want to look into relocating to one of the other countries shaped by the principles of the American Revolution. They aren't hard to find. Just go to Google and type in the free world.

Read all of Caitlin Flanagan's essay in The Atlantic.

Rogan and Haidt: When Did SJW Start?


The Save Money Seven

Nicholas Bate with some practical tips

Don't Mistake Ambition for Achievement


When I was in the army, I often heard of officers who were "ticket-punching" by accumulating certain assignments which could enhance their chances for promotion. I'm sure that some of them took the assignments seriously but others simply wanted a springboard to another spot.

For those people, ticket-punching was one notch above "going through the motions."

Both concepts came to mind while reading about the frenzied activities of high school students seeking to increase their chances of getting into Ivy League universities.

Reminder: Make a point of periodically taking a few steps back and asking, "What in the hell am I doing?"

First Paragraph

Official American racial and ethnic classifications are arbitrary and inconsistent, both in how they are defined and how they are enforced. The categories are socially constructed and historically contingent. They evolved from older racist categories and have barely been updated since the 1970s.

- From Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America by David E. Bernstein 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Back By Popular Demand

Commentary magazine in 2020: Barton Swaim on "The Know-Nothing Elite."



"Where Did Wokeness Come From?"

City Journal: Theodore Kupfer examines the theories.

The Best and the Brightest

Look beneath the façade of affable confidence and seamless well-adjustment that today's elite students have learned to project, and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation. We all know about the stressed-out, overpressured high school student; why do we assume that things get better once she gets to college?

- From Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite & The Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz

The "Jihad Rehab" Documentary

 The Los Angeles Times in February: Lorraine Ali on the efforts to suppress the "Jihad Rehab" documentary.

I've seen the documentary. It's fascinating. Those who are working to prevent its distribution are doing no one any good and are seriously harming the cause of free expression.

Variety: An interview with film-maker Meg Smaker on the controversy.

University Goal: Pursuit of Knowledge or Social Justice?


Monday, August 22, 2022

The Authoritarians Are Always with Us

 Cultural Offering provides examples.

[Photo by Arib Neko at Unsplash]

On Order



 Walter Kirn on "The Holy Anarchy of Fun."

Summer Reading

What Hugh Hewitt is reading this summer. [The list goes far beyond a mere summer but it's a good one.]

My own summer reading has included:

  • Slow Horses by Mick Herron
  • Post journalism and the fall of newspapers (sic) by Andrey Mir
  • The Breakdown of Higher Education by John M. Ellis
  • Nimitz at War by Craig L. Symonds
  • World Without Mind by Franklin Foer
  • A Time to Build by Yuval Levin
  • Reinventing Racism by Jonathan M. Church
  • Dead Lions by Mick Herron
  • The Rothchilds by Frederick Morton
  • Getting Under the Skin of "Diversity" by Larry Purdy
  • Beyond Measure by Margaret Heffernan
  • The Dumbest Generation Grows Up by Mark Bauerlein

Preparation for Freedom

There is always much to think about at A Layman's Blog.

As with this thought on education.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Saturday, August 20, 2022

"The Intuitive Prosecutor" and Other Concepts


Check Your Map

 Wally Bock on "Leadership 'Wisdom' That Makes Me Crazy."

Learning By Heart


Saves Time

I need to keep reminding myself that a truly independent thinker may look like an accountant.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The New Ideological Regime


Producing The Shallow

To cut the young off from a living past was to deprive them of a profound and stabilizing understanding of life, of themselves. To immerse them with one another, the private space of the teen's bedroom now a bustling social space open for business all night long, was to ramp up peer pressure like crazy. To neglect the masterpieces of art and ideas, epic events and larger-than-life personages, was to level their enjoyments to the mundane. 

- Mark Bauerlein, The Dumbest Generation Grows Up

Friday, August 19, 2022

Oliver Wendell Holmes and His Train Ticket

 A story to remember and take to heart.

Serious Improvement

Our society will be greatly improved when we get back to addressing the other person's argument instead of attacking the other person.

[Photo by Elisa Ventur at Unsplash]

Behind the Curtain in China

 In the first place, the authorities probably already have your computer and mobile phone, including, of course, your WeChat account, under constant surveillance. They’ve probably compiled a detailed dossier as well—everything from what you’ve said and done while overseas, whom you’ve encountered, whom you plan to meet with, right up to and including the details of conversations on certain topics, the things you’ve taken an interest in, even what films you’ve been going to, or what you’ve published. They’ll pretty much have scoped out what you’re thinking today and what you’re planning to do tomorrow.

Xu Zhangrun, “From My Anguished Heart—A Letter to My Daughter,” as translated by Geremie R. Barmé (ChinaFile)

Viewpoint Tolerance on Campus

How tolerant are college students when it comes to dating or rooming with people who hold different political opinions?

NBC News has a very interesting story.

Back By Popular Demand


Heading into a Rainy Phoenix Weekend

Wheaties. Bacon. Espresso. Paperwork. Coffee. Blog. Reading. More paperwork. No meetings. Bach. Coffee. Correspondence. Review/purging of files. Preparing upcoming project boxes. Review of next week. [Who scheduled those meetings?]

[Photo by Robert Murray at Unsplash]



Thursday, August 18, 2022



Reading Time Must Be Protected

Don't just fit in small amounts of reading when it's convenient. 

Block out time to read.

[Photo by Drew Coffman at Unsplash]

George Steiner on Music, Organized Noise, and Civilization


"A borderless credit union"

With the euphemism “undocumented” immigrant, the distinction between citizenship and noncitizenship completely collapses. A foreign national who violates immigration laws by sneaking into the country or overstaying a temporary visa becomes someone “without papers,” reducing citizenship—once an honor to be fought for—to a matter of paperwork, with no moral or political significance.

Read "The End of Citizenship" by Michael Lind in Tablet magazine.

Glenn Greenwald: Christopher Rufo Interview


Some Thoughts on the Good Stuff


Excellent observations by Patrick Rhone. 

Post this in the conference room or inside of a kitchen cabinet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Well, Naturally


Ah, the subtle politics of a Hollywood trailer.

Great Questions

 "What are all the reasons this is the right decision? What are all the reasons it is the wrong decision?"

- Margaret Heffernan, Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes


Changing the ESG label.

Meet the new boss.

Nitwittery Update

 "How Gender Radicalism Conquered Sacramento Schools" by Christopher F. Rufo.

4 a.m. Idea

Bear with me. I am working on a 4 a.m. idea.

It builds on an idea I carried around yesterday but didn't start because I knew something was missing. 

That something arrived this morning.

On My List


The Search

The pleasure lies not in discovering truth, but in searching for it.

- Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

On Liberty


Historian and Writer

David McCullough, who died last week at 89, was a gregarious man in what is normally a somewhat cloistered profession. He wrote a gregarious kind of history, in which people took precedence over events. He saw the world as driven by individual character more than by mass, impersonal shifts. “To me, history ought to be a pleasure,” McCullough said. “To me it’s an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is.”

Read the rest of Jonathan Clarke on David McCullough in City Journal.

Great Mottos

"Concordia, Integritas, Industria" 

(Harmony, Integrity, Industry)

- The motto of the Rothschild family

Remarkable Man. Remarkable Life.

 Cultural Offering notes the passing of Frederick Buechner.

"Listen to your life."

Tumbling Across the Landscape

Periodically in Western history twilight ages make their appearance. Processes of decline and erosion of institutions are more evident than those of genesis and development. Something like a vacuum obtains in the moral order for large numbers of people. Human loyalties, uprooted from accustomed soil, can be seen tumbling across the landscape with no scheme of larger purpose to fix them. Individualism reveals itself less as achievement and enterprise than as egoism and mere performance. Retreat from the major to the minor, from the noble to the trivial, the communal to the personal, and from the objective to the subjective is commonplace. There is a widely expressed sense of degradation of values and of corruption of culture. The sense of estrangement from community is strong.

- Robert Nisbet, Twilight of Authority

A Time to Build

The social crisis that has sent us on this expedition through our institutions is first and foremost a crisis of the interpersonal. It shows itself in isolation, alienation, failures of responsibility, and scarcities of belonging and solidarity. In considering its causes, we have surveyed political, professional, academic, and cultural institutions - and in each case, we found that Americans increasingly expect institutions not to form and socialize the people within them but rather to display those people and provide them with arenas for self-expression. 

- Yuval Levin, A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream

[Photo by Max Sulik at Unsplash]

Monday, August 15, 2022

A Longing for London



 Every good idea sooner or later degenerates into hard work.

- Calvin Trillin

Great Soundtracks: A Series


Vivek Ramaswamy Finds Leverage

Quote from the James Taranto interview with Vivek Ramaswamy (author of Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam) in the August 13-14, 2022 copy of The Wall Street Journal:

Thus, he says Strive might introduce or support a resolution stating: "All current and future investments shall be evaluated exclusively through the lens of financially measurable return on investment." A "no" vote from an ostensibly apolitical investment firm would amount to a disavowal of its fiduciary duty to its clients. But if the resolution passes, Mr. Ramaswamy says, it would "govern over any other prior shareholder resolution" and thereby direct management to pursue profit regardless of political objectives.



Orange Man Syndrome

Matt Taibbi: "The Espionage Act Gets an Instant Make-Over."

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Saturday, August 13, 2022

To the Barricades

City Journal: Martin Gurri on "The Elite Panic of 2022."

[Photo by Kae Ng at Unsplash]

Leading Yourself

Wally Bock has a great baker's dozen of things to master

[Photo by Kadri Karmo at Unsplash]



Dangerous Assumptions

  • That the lawyers will stop it.
  • That the corporate executives won't fund it.
  • That the teachers won't teach it.
  • That the students won't believe it.

It is a Jarring Moment

When you learn how some major decisions are made.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Crank It Up


Bate's First Novel

 Nicholas Bate and Amazon are making it very easy to "Meet Molly."



Attorney-Poet at Beach


The FutureLawyer brings a poet's touch to being a lawyer.


 George Will on Merrick Garland.

First Paragraph

In the beginning here there was nothing. No Thompson seedless vines, no plums or peaches. The nectarines outside the window did not yet even exist as a species. There was no house. No wells, pumps, or pipelines. No roads, no town, no neighbors. In 1878 there was no gas, propane, or electricity here, no power other than wind, horse, and muscle.

- From Fields Without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Idea by Victor Davis Hanson

On My List


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Class Act

You and I have been friends for a long time. But I know in my heart that I've always needed you more than you've needed me. And I'll miss our time together more than I can say.

- Sports announcer Vin Scully in his final sign-off, October 2, 2016

Less is Usually More

So much of editing involves subtraction. Very little requires addition. 


[Thanks to Cultural Offering.]

Back Soon

Another draft of The Big Report. Had computer problems yesterday. Am back on track.

I now know more about this organization than most of its department heads.

Very interesting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022




Althouse and her readers discuss books you cannot put down.

Which ones would be on your list?

Some which I'd quickly note are Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry; City Primeval by Elmore Leonard; The Road by Cormac McCarthy; and The Price You Pay by Aiden Truhen.

Show Us the Evidence

There is no more reason to expect "drug prevention" programs to prevent drug usage or "public interest" law firms to serve the public interest than to expect that most "profit-making" enterprises will in fact make profits. Whether any of these organizations do or do not live up to their expectations or claims is a question of empirical evidence. Pending the presentation of such evidence, such organizations can be analyzed in terms of what they actually do, not what they hope or claim to achieve.

- Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions


There are those who will thank you for what you gave them and others who will blame you for what you did not give them.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Rufo on The Long March


Good Book to Read Before Supreme Court Decisions on Preferences


Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Dash of Humor

 It is the malady of our age that the young are so busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn.

- Eric Hoffer

Rufo on The Cultural Revolution


Show Me the Man and I'll Find You the Crime

The media system based on ad revenue manufactured consent. The media system based on soliciting the audience's support manufactures anger. The ad-driven media produced happy customers. The reader-driven media produces angry citizens. The former served consumerism. The latter serves polarization.

- Andrey Mir in Postjournalism and the death of newspapers 

Monday, August 08, 2022

David McCullough, R.I.P.

What an extraordinary man

It may be that one of David McCullough's greatest benefits was that he had a degree in English Literature and not in History.

In the Pipeline


Delicate and Bold


Little Boxes

The Housing Hour in a 2013 post on the history of American subdivisions.

I'd add that many of those older subdivisions at least had different colors and styles for their "little boxes."

Check out the new subdivisions in which all of the homes have the same tan/brown/beige color and the same design. They have taken conformity to a new level.

Where is the beauty?

Why Place Matters

Could it be the case that the global-scale interconnectedness of things may be coming at too high a price? Could it be the case that the variety and spontaneous diversity of the world as we have known it for all the prior centuries of human history is being gradually leveled and effaced, and insensibly transformed into something standardized, artificial, rootless, pastless, and bland - a world of interchangeable airport terminals and franchise hotels and restaurants, a world of smooth surfaces designed to facilitate perpetual movement rather than rooted flourishing? A world of space rather than place, in which there are no "theres" there?

- Wilfred M. McClay, Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America

Don't Get Lost in a Cloud


Sunday, August 07, 2022