Friday, September 30, 2022

Spooking the Voters

The whole aim of politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.

- H. L. Mencken

Worth Reading

 The New Criterion: "The American affirmative-action regime" by Frank Resartus.



Which Are We In?

If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society.

- Natan Sharansky

The Game of Thugs and Wimps

Jewish Journal: Berkeley law school groups walk down a path we've seen before.

Unfortunately, we've also seen weak responses before.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Getting Raymond Chandler Vibes


Back By Popular Demand

There is a story about a wily bandit who was finally captured by the king's troopers. The king, a man fond of games and riddles, made the bandit a proposition. He told the bandit that he was allowed to make one statement. If that statement contained the truth he would be shot, if it contained a lie, hanged. The bandit, after some thought, said: 'I am going to be hanged'.

- Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, Organizational Paradoxes

Plans B and C

 A survivalist in Florida was well-prepared for the hurricane.

What the Greeks and the Romans Can Teach Us


Perhaps the Robots We Are Creating Are in the Mirror

 The hacker culture is a culture of loners who are never alone.

- Sherry Turkle, The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Read the Book


The Power of Culture

The rising tide of political correctness has thwarted honest discussion about the centrality of culture in shaping life outcomes. That cultures vary widely in their prioritization of education, family, and vocation has become an unspeakable proposition on the left. The reaction to a recent John McWhorter column in the New York Times that argued against abolishing social-work licensing tests on grounds of racially disparate results is a case in point. The commentary drew accusations of racism from author Ibram X. Kendi, who interpreted McWhorter’s recognition of cultural differences across race as his arguing that “there’s something wrong and inferior about Black culture.”

Read the rest of Rav Arora at City Journal.


Class Scenario: A large municipality is in the path of an oncoming major hurricane. An evacuation order has been given. Most of the residents will be leaving the area in automobiles. Over 70 percent of the cars are electric.

 You are a disaster analyst. Discuss your planning efforts.

When Dealing with Weasels


Do not let them define the boundaries. Check the definitions of key words. If they make a seemingly frank assertion, consider how its content can be distorted. Never assume that they want resolution. Let their conduct, not their words, reveal their priorities. Carefully examine your own assumptions about what is acceptable. It may be that you have tacitly accepted part of their program. Always be prepared to walk away.

"Liberal Guy" Has Some Advice

 Don't take the bait. 

[HT: Althouse]

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Cancel Culture at Sundance Film Festival

The New York Times on what happened to Meg Smaker's "Jihad Rehab."

I've seen the film. 

It is very well done. Truly thought-provoking. 

There is no basis for denying it a platform at a film festival. 

The people at Sundance Film Festival and Abigail Disney owe Meg Smaker (and all of us) an apology for the damage they have done to artistic freedom.

Alert Cultural Offering!


The Stoic Florida Man

The FutureLawyer already occupies the high ground.

The Temptation to Indoctrinate

"For a teacher to have the passion of St. Paul is one thing; to have the aims of St. Paul to instruct in order to convert or capture is something else. And the higher the stakes - acceptance of the true faith, views on social justice, the belief that we should destroy American hegemony, a desire to further ethnic or racial solidarity or to advance the status of women or to celebrate and promote or despise and condemn alternative lifestyles - the greater always is the impetus to indoctrinate rather than to educate and free."

- John Agresto in The Death of Learning

Gentler Times on Late Night TV


Go for Fewer Hours, More Focus

So how we work creates its own feedback loop: the more attention we try to pay to everything, the less discerning we become.

- Margaret Heffernan, Beyond Measure

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Changing Fashion

Just before the French Revolution, Bourbon courtiers had already exchanged the aristocratic sword for the bourgeois walking stick. During the Napoleonic Wars, Wellington had to reprove his British officers for carrying umbrellas. And Beau Brummel, a shopkeeper's grandson, became the tyrant dandy who took English fashion from courtier's breeches to businessman's trousers and from the tricorne to the top hat.

- From A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889 by Frederic Morton

Lifelong Improvement

 Wally Bock has some excellent advice.

"Remember, you're a data point of one."

"Nice Court you have here; shame if something happened to it."

Read Adam J. White's Commentary magazine essay on saving the Supreme Court .

The Mass Conversion of Our Institutions

"One of the great mysteries is how every elite institution, from universities to corporations to media to even Sesame Street, all spontaneously coalesced on the same narrow set of values all of a sudden."

- Antonio García Martínez

"They dwell in a world of weakened religious and family ties, and their idea of community is a website."

- Martin Gurri

Read all of Martin Gurri's essay at City Journal.

The More I Read About Artificial Intelligence


Friday, September 23, 2022


"When it comes to colleges and universities, most bad reputations are deserved, but many good reputations are not."

- John Agresto, The Death of Learning

Beyond Tiger Mom

The Guardian: Emma Brockes on "jellyfish parenting."

I suspect we will be seeing a lot of burn-out.

Be sure to let your kids look at clouds.

[HT: Althouse]

Get Ready for the Conservative Counter-Culture

 N. S. Lyons, writing in City Journal, examines whether conservatives can form a counter-culture. An excerpt:

Moreover, young people living under the permanent revolution of today’s cultural mainstream often tend to be miserable. Their disillusionment opens the door to subversive second thoughts on such verities as the bulldozing of sexual and gender norms, the replacement of romance by a Tinder hellscape, general atomized rootlessness, working life that resembles neo-feudal serfdom, and the enervating meaninglessness of consumerism and mass media. In this environment, the most countercultural act is to embrace traditional values and ways of life—like the vogue among some young people for the Latin Mass. We shouldn’t be too surprised if at least a subset of those youth seeking to rebel against the Man might, say, choose to tune in to Jordan Peterson, turn on to a latent thirst for objective truth and beauty, and drop out of the postmodern Left.

"Crime is a Construct"

Suzy Weiss on what happened when a dog was killed and a few people tried to form a neighborhood group in New York.

What I DId Last Summer


First Paragraph

During the past twenty-five years, the field of decision making has concentrated on showing the limitations of decision makers - that is, that they are not very rational or competent. Books have been written documenting human limitations and suggesting remedies: training methods to help us think clearly, decision support systems to monitor and guide us, and expert systems that enable computers to make the decisions and avoid altogether the fallible humans. 

- From Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klein

One of the Best Books on the Topic

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Scarier Than Any Halloween Film


What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Google may or may not achieve these grandiose goals, but that's how the company views its role. When [Larry] Page describes Google reshaping the future of humanity, this isn't simply a description of the convenience it provides; what it aims to redirect is the course of evolution, in the Darwinian sense of the word. It's not too grandiose to claim that they are attempting to create a superior species, a species that transcends our natural form.

- From World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer

[If you haven't already read this book, I recommend putting it on your list.]



A Very Revealing Observation

The Americans would be less dangerous if they had a regular army.

- British General Frederick Haldimand, Boston, 1776 [quoted in Certain to Win by Chet Richards]

[Photo by Dan Mall at Unsplash]

Still Around

The FutureLawyer is correct. Whenever I am asked to provide an example of where the best product did not become the top choice, I reply, "WordPerfect."

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Time Travel


On My List

On Beauty

I once listened to a man who had gone through some horrific experiences. He said he'd decided to dedicate the rest of his life to the study of beauty.

As a young man, that mission struck me as somewhat strange. 

I no longer feel that way.

[Photo by Spencer Everett at Unsplash]

Activism on Campus

Today's campus tensions are ultimately rooted in the distortion of the fundamental institutional character of the academy by an increasingly hyperaggressive culture of activism. That culture is certainly formative - it shapes the students who come under its influence. But it is not itself sufficiently formed by the overarching purpose of the institution, and so it shapes those students in ways that answer to the broader culture war and not to the purpose of the university.

- Yuval Levin, A Time to Build

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Sound Thinking

I will buckle down to work as soon as I finish reading the Internet.

- Stewart Brand

Saving the Universities

 Heterodox: The Blog: Jonathan Haidt on "The Two Fiduciary Duties of Professors."

Woke Meets the Doctors

 City Journal: Heather Mac Donald on what is happening in the medical profession.

Great Commercials: A Series


Book Your Place Free

 The Counterweight Conference is this week and you can attend free of charge.

They have very good speakers but I'm especially interested in the Roland Fryer presentation.

Speech Squelchers

"I know the saying is that we live in uncertain times, but that is not the case today. America's metaphorical culture war increasingly feels like a religious war, with too many crusaders and high priests and too few heretics on each side."

- Greg Lukianoff, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate

Another Remembrance


First Paragraph

The first day of December 2020, almost a month after the presidential election, was gray and rainy. That afternoon, the President, strugglng to come to terms with the election result, had heard I was at the White House for another meeting and sent word that I was to come see him immediately. I knew what was coming. I soon found myself standing in the President's small dining room off of the Oval Office. The President was as angry as I had ever seen him.

- From One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General by William P. Barr

Monday, September 19, 2022

Health Food Update

Pie Snob is calling my name.


The Babylon Bee: "Caving In to Demands for Diversity, SNL Hires a Funny Cast Member."

The Antilibrary

The insight - no surprise - is at The Hammock Papers.

Great Commercials: A Series



Great doubt, great awakening. Little doubt, little awakening. No doubt, no awakening.

- Zen maxim

First Paragraph

On the evening of January 13, 1913, Vienna's Bank Employees' Club gave a Bankruptcy Ball. It was the height of the pre-Lenten carnival - in mid-winter at its meanest. Ice floes shivered down the Danube, galas sparkled inside baroque portals, and the bankruptcy gambol really warmed the Viennese imagination. 

- From Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913 - 1914 by Frederic Morton

Find Your Style

 [Photo by Samanta Sokolova at Unsplash]

Tell Me True

 A Large Regular has a video that may make heads explode in the standard Political Science Department.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Slicker Than "Plan 9 From Outer Space"


Career Advice via Bass Voice Lessons

 Wally Bock draws some positives from a thwarted singing career.


Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

- Sun Tzu

Can You Hear Me Now?


Look Up Your School


FIRE: The 2022-2023 College Free Speech Rankings are out.

Coffee Drives Business

Well, there were (and still are) breakfast meetings and lunch meetings and, of course, dinner meetings.

Special credit should be given, however, to "meeting for coffee." Shorter, more casual, easier to arrange, and seriously fueled.

A Tale of One City

City Journal: Bruce Bawer reviews a new history of Berlin.

He finds something missing.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Martha's Vineyard Must Have Changed

If someone told you they were giving you a ride to Phoenix and instead dropped you in the Sonoran desert, you wouldn’t be like “oh wow it’s beautiful here!”

- Chris Hayes

Time to Re-Watch


The Back Kitchen

Althouse has a story about a kitchen for the kitchen.

A working kitchen, not a show kitchen.

The Missing Group

 In reading large numbers of news stories about immigration over the years, I have seen many stories about the immigrants, the policy makers, and the border patrol.

The group that is usually missing is both large and important. Its ranks contain the people who have legally applied for admission but remain in their countries, awaiting permission to come.

Just Started


Unusual WWII Novels

I just finished reading "All for Nothing" by Walter Kempowski, an excellent novel about a German family in east Prussia near the end of World War II.

Some other unusual WWII novels that I highly recommend:

  • "The Time of the Assassins" by Godfrey Blunden
  • "Life With a Star" by Jiri Weil
  • "Mendelssohn Is on the Roof" by Jiri Weil
  • "The Balkan Trilogy" by Olivia Manning
  • "The Levant Trilogy" by Olivia Manning
  • "An Operational Necessity" by Gwyn Griffin


Patrick Rhone tells how he became "handy."

Fascinating. Quite the story.

[Photo by Sidney Pearce at Unsplash]

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Mr. Anonymous


BYU and the Media

 Common Sense: Jesse Singal on "How the Media Fell for a Racism Sham."

Gain Curiosity and Patience

It's a busy world. So what?

  1. Read the minutes.
  2. Research the subject.
  3. Consider the counter-arguments.
  4. Understate your case.
  5. Coordinate with possible allies.
  6. Be patient.
  7. Check precedents.
  8. Review definitions.
  9. Challenge the assumptions.

Get curious. Be patient.

Don't run down to win a battle when you can walk down and win the war.

[Photo by Duane Mendes at Unsplash]

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Your Usual Christmas Movie


Tying the Unknown Loose Ends

Last night. This morning. Later today.

The beauty of tracking down valuable pieces of information and saying, "Hello."

It is prompted by looking at what you think is definitive and then asking, "What do we not know?"

On My Desk


First Paragraph

The Georgenhof estate was not far from Mitkau, a small town in East Prussia, and now, in winter, the Georgenhof, surrounded by old oaks, lay in the landscape like a black island in a white sea.

- From All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski

Woke or Real?

City Journal: Thomas Hogan on the prosecutor's decision in Memphis.

Alert the Historians


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Health Food Update

 Molten desserts.

Big Aaron


First Paragraph

They call at all hours with a thousand problems, and our satellites fix their locations to the square foot while our operators try to help them or put them in touch with specialists who can. They call because they've fallen and can't stand up, because they're alone and choking on their food, because they've been abandoned by their mates, because they smell gas, because their babies won't nurse, because they've forgotten how many pills they've swallowed, and sometimes because they're afraid that we're not here and crave reassurance in case they need us later. It's a costly service - sixty dollars a month for the Palladium Global Access package, not including the optional Active Angel Plan, which remotely coaches users through more than six hundred common Life Challenges, from administering infant CPR to negotiating the purchase of a home - and clients deserve to know we're at our stations even when the skies are fair and blue.

- From The Unbinding by Walter Kirn

Interview Subject From Years Ago

I wanted to ask what it was like when the KGB arrested him but other subjects intervened and now I'll never know.

All I now recall of the other subjects is they weren't very interesting.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Young Spielberg


The Project

 A draft will go off to the team tonight, perhaps earlier. I've been the primary investigator and it has been the sort of investigation that is not regarded as one but truly is and so I've had more time than is usually the case when clients are barking to be thorough but fast.

When, in reality, you can have one or the other.

But the subject has been fascinating because it involves issues of real importance - pythons that will choke you if they are allowed to grow stronger - and I hope to prevent that.

How did it get to this point? People got busy with other things and forgot the jungle is always out there.

Monastic Monday Morning


Heavy focus on completing a project this morning. Back soon.

[Photo by Medena Rosa at Unsplash]

Saturday, September 10, 2022

To Be an Individual

"If there is a single theme that joins the essays in this book, it is my attempt to defend, and, as well as I can, to enact, a certain conception of the self. It is one that I have come to think of as the modern self, a self that emerged in the Renaissance, reached its zenith in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and appears now to be passing into history. In other words, the individual: developed in solitude, in fearless dialogue, by reading, through education as the nurturing of souls; embodied in original art and independent thought; beset by the online cacophony, by education as the manufacture of producers, by groupthink and the politics of groups. To be an individual, the years have taught me, takes a constant effort. These essays are an offering to those who wish to be one, too."

- William Deresiewicz

Conversation Lessons from Dr. Cole

 Wally Bock recalls what happened when some frightened parents met with Dr. Cole.

Getting Classical

 Cultural Offering feels a playlist coming on.

"Nothing to Share"

The Washington Free Beacon: Microsoft's discriminatory research fellowship.


 At the foundation of every successful accountability discussion lies safety. When others feel unsafe, you can't talk about anything. But if you can create safety, you can talk with almost anyone about almost anything - even about failed promises.

- From Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Well Done


Partial Listing: Some Thought-Provoking Films on Ethics


  • Shoah
  • The Sorrow and the Pity
  • Schindler's List
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Third Man
  • Stand and Deliver
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Matrix
  • The Green Mile
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • The Pawnbroker
  • Dr. Zhivago
  • The Apartment
  • Do The Right Thing
  • Mr. Jones
  • The Inner Circle
  • The Help
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • A Most Wanted Man
  • Jaws
  • Moneyball
  • The Ides of March
  • Glory
  • Nobody's Fool
  • Gone With the Wind
  • A Man for All Seasons
  • Guns at Batasi
  • Ryan's Daughter
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
  • Taken
  • A Few Good Men
  • Breaker Morant
  • The Godfather
  • The Cider House Rules
  • Interstellar
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Empire of the Sun
  • The Battle of Algiers
  • The Verdict
  • Cry, The Beloved Country
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • 12 Angry Men
  • Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Paths of Glory
  • Amistad
  • The Searchers
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • Lifeboat
  • Up in the Air
  • It's a Marvelous Life
  • Sophie's Choice
  • Minority Report
  • Anatomy of a Murder
  • Stalag 17
  • Woman in Gold
  • Nowhere in Africa
  • A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • The Firm
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • Ex Machina
  • Groundhog Day
  • Inherit the Wind
  • Lord Jim
  • The Last Hurrah
  • A Good Man in Africa
  • The Dead Poet's Society
  • The Last Metro
  • Downfall
  • Margin Call
  • Mountains of the Moon
  • Munich
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Gandhi
  • Sullivan's Travels
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • The Truman Show
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • 3:10 to Yuma
  • High Noon
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Witness for the Prosecution

Heartbreaking and Infuriating


The Vulnerability of Large Targets

 When the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) became law in 1970, the American Mafia was demolished with striking ease. In the course of the 1980s, twenty-three bosses from around the country were convicted, along with thirteen underbosses and forty-three captains. The network had made the fatal mistake of becoming the hierarchy depicted in the movies.

- From The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

Friday, September 09, 2022



Keep in Mind

It's the mortar, not just the bricks, that makes a building robust.

- Margaret Heffernan 

[Photo by Behnam Norouzi at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

The new bloke's name was Roper. Soon as I set eyes on him I knew he'd never make a salesman. He was about twenty-four and not very tall, and he'd a pink face with a long pointed nose and blond hair slicked straight back with the pink puckered skin of a scar running up into the roots of it. The scar looked odd on him somehow: he didn't seem the kind of chap who'd have a scar like that. You'd never think he'd been to sea. That's how he got the scar: a lascar with a bottle in Marseille.

-From Of Love and Hunger by Julian Maclaren-Ross

The "We are Unworthy" Virus

The Washington Post: George Will on insanity and groveling at the American Historical Association.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Silicon Valley's Meritocracy

Anyone who claims the valley is meritocratic is someone who has profited vastly from it via nonmeritocratic means like happenstance, membership in a privileged cohort or some concealed act of absolute skulduggery.

- Antonio Garcia Martinez



When "To Do" Is "To Contact"

My "to do" list today has the names of people I need to contact. It's a reminder not to be diverted by paper and screen.

[Photo by John-Mark Smith at Unsplash]

You Can Get Better

 Nicholas Bate with important reminders: It may not get better for a while BUT . . . .

[Wade note: Watch "Groundhog Day" for some inspiration.]

Work Schedules: Always Check the Basics

 "Maclean and Burgess fled from Maclean's house in Tatsfield to Southhampton, where they boarded the pleasure boat Falaise to Saint-Malo - a service that did not require passports - proceeding by train from Rennes to Paris to Berne, where they were issued with false passports by the Soviet embassy. In Zurich the two men boarded a plane bound for Stockholm via Prague, but at the Czech capital they changed planes and flew to Moscow. Two of the five birds had flown simply because MI5's counterespionage department lacked the resources to maintain surveillance at weekends."

- From The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, From the Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson

"Instead, when night fell, the NYPD went home. During almost any twenty-four hour period, shootings in the city peaked between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., but the vaunted Narcotics Division went off-duty at 7 p.m. And I heard all the reasons why: The courts weren't equipped to process the arrests quickly enough at night, so the waiting would drive up overtime costs; the cops had to be able to identify suspects out on the street, but they don't see well enough in the dark; the last thing anybody wanted was for a cop to find himself in the middle of a gun battle in the wee hours of the morning. Oh, and somehow that all meant they couldn't work weekends either."

- From The Crime Fighter: How You Can Make Your Community Crime Free by Jack Maple with Chris Mitchell

Shaping the Nation

 Writing in City Journal, Allen Guelzo reviews "African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals" by David Hackett Fischer.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Varsity Jacket


Another Eye Operation

Another minor eye operation today. Messes with the schedule but otherwise fairly low-key.

I honestly don't know how I would have handled life in the pioneer days. I would have been bumping into trees.

Walter Kirn on the Urban Elite

The boogeyman is always somewhere west of New Jersey and east of Palo Alto.

- Walter Kirn, author of "Up in the Air"

Harvard More Than Tips the Scales

It has long been established that Asian-Americans and whites suffer disproportionately due to Harvard’s race-based admissions, which have created an upswell of resentment from frustrated Asian and white college applicants. In his expert witness testimony, Duke University economist Peter Arcidiacono estimates that an Asian-American with a 25 percent chance of admission to Harvard would have a 33 percent chance if he or she were white, a 75 percent chance if Hispanic, and a 95 percent chance if black. Furthermore, the average Asian-American admittee to Harvard had SAT scores roughly 120 points higher than blacks admitted and 50 points higher than whites. (This is a low estimate, as a third or more of Asian applicants would have scored higher than the maximum SAT score had the maximum been increased.)

Read all of Kenny Xu's essay in City Journal.

Monday, September 05, 2022





A Man for All Seasons

 In addition to being a Man for All Seasons, Nicholas Bate is very kind.

Why Do We Read Stories?

We live on the surface of our planet. Human life happens on a shell as thin, relative to the size of the earth, as an egg's, or as thin as the paint on a wall. We have lifestyles on the surfaces of our lives: habits and culture, clothes, modes of transit, calendars, papers in wallets, ways of killing time, answers to the question "What do you do?" We come home from long days of doing what we do and tuck ourselves under the thin sheets. We read stories printed on even thinner paper. Why, at the end of the day, do we read stories?

- Jonathan Safran Foer in his introduction to The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories by Bruno Schulz

We're in the Best of Hands

Why are there so many people who cannot read cursive? Let us count the reasons. An excerpt from Education Week:

“One of the things we heard from teachers around the country—in some cases, obviously not all—was that sometimes cursive writing takes an enormous amount of instructional time,” she said. “You could be spending time on other things rather than students practicing cursive writing. It’s really a matter of emphasis.”

[Photo by Sincerely Media at Unsplash]

Fascinating Book

There is no place in the public, private or nonprofit sectors where those who run afoul of the managerial oligarchy can hide from punishment.

- Michael Lind, The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Metropolitan Elite

Back By Popular Demand


Sunday, September 04, 2022

Saturday, September 03, 2022

First Paragraph

My wife and I made the move to Austin,Texas, in the way of middle-class American migrants. We rented a Ford Taurus at the airport, bought an Austin map at a U-Tote-Um quick stop, and toured the city in search of a place to live. We didn't have a list of necessities - granite countertops or schools with killer SATs - as much as we had a mental image of the place we belonged. We drove and when a place felt comfortable, seemed right, my wife, the daughter of one of Kentucky's last New Deal liberals, drew a smiley face on the map.

- From The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop

[Update: Typos corrected. Editor flogged.]

On My List


Creating Teams or Collecting Talent?

 Wally Bock examines a common problem. Collecting talent can be a form of fake action.

And remember, if you want diversity of thought, directly search for that. Don't assume that it automatically ensues.

My Breakfast Reading


One of the joys of reading about Admiral Nimitz is the discovery that he was a truly good - as well as a great - man. A leader who did not regard people as props.

In Search of the Hollow

 At the core of bureaucracy is the evisceration of anything distinctly human.

- William Swatos, sociologist

Friday, September 02, 2022

Whatever Happened to NPR?


Discrimination via Lay-Off

The lead attorney for the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) sends a letter to the Superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools protesting their race-based lay-off agreement.

"We the People, but not you people."

Feeling united?

Ann Althouse analyzes President Biden's hellfire and unity speech

Aside from the content, I kept wondering about the White House advance team. Who puts the President in front of a red and black background? They should be sacked. 

You may recall all of the Mussolini references from commentators when Trump gave a speech from the White House balcony. 

The above title is from this Althouse post. She also examines "I give you my word as a Biden."

We live in strange times. 

Schools versus Parents

In Missouri, parent complaints about “diversity and equity” efforts prompted a local school-district literacy coordinator to email teachers and direct them to keep lesson plans dealing with racial profiling, civil disobedience, and police violence off the online classroom-management system where parents could see them. Parents are “looking for specific things to then complain about,” read the email to teachers. “This doesn’t mean throw out the lesson and find a new one. Just pull the resource off so parents cannot see it.”

Read all of the Robert Pondiscio article in Commentary magazine.

Great Map

A Layman's Blog has Tony Isola's tips for living an examined life.

A Reminder of the Benefits of a Small Consulting Practice


First Paragraph

Different members of the Spiegelglass family had different opinions of the Brick. Some considered it a sacrament. Others suspected - without ever saying so - that it was a millstone handed down from parent to child. For a sacrament it looked scruffy; it resembled a bathing sponge, ocher and creviced, rectangular and fossil-dry; stuck into its crevices were yellowed slips of paper which did not make it look prettier.

- From The Forever Street by Frederic Morton

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Quiet Amusement: Policies and Traffic Signs


Some company policies remind me of traffic signs. 

For example, you see a sign that declares "Merge Left. Right Lane Ends Up Ahead." That may mean one of the following:

  1. The right lane will end shortly.
  2. The right lane will eventually end but not any time soon.
  3. The right lane will never end.

The Bad Old Days

...When I applied to Wall Street law firms, I was turned down by every one of them, despite my credentials, which included being first in my class at Yale Law School, the editor in chief of Yale Law Journal, a championship debater, a prospective Supreme Court law clerk, and a potential professor at a leading law school. Wall Street law firms practiced a brand of legal apartheid: there were "white-shoe" firms that hired only White Protestants with an occasional German Jew from a prominent banking family. But a Jewish kid from Brooklyn whose grandfather had immigrated from Poland was simply not eligible for these firms.

- Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Color-Blind Equality in an Age of Identity Politics

Fractured Europe


This novel, one of a series on a fractured Europe, is looking more realistic by the month.

Beware of the Self-Appointed Prosecutors

Whenever I hear that you aren't "supposed" to say something, I want to know, where did this "supposed" descend from? Who decided, and who gave them the right to decide? And whenever I hear that a given group of students says this or demands that, I want to ask, whom exactly are we talking about: all of them, or just a few of them? Did the group choose its leaders, or did the leaders choose themselves?

- William Deresiewicz, The End of Solitude: Selected Essays on Culture and Society

In My Stack