Sunday, April 30, 2023

Saturday, April 29, 2023

"The New Gatekeepers"

Nevertheless, the Great Awokening is a misleading term. Woke activists are not honest missionaries; they are infiltrators, acting with the specific goal of seizing control of institutions and imposing their views on others. Unlike the Protestant evangelists of the Great Awakenings, today’s activists do not use simple language to spread their message to sinners in need of repentance. On the contrary, they camouflage radical beliefs in bureaucratic acronyms like DEI and CRT, and anodyne-sounding terms like “gender-affirming health care”—in practice, often a euphemism for castrating boys and men and sterilizing and performing irreversible mastectomies on girls and women. Where Protestant evangelists sought voluntary and whole-hearted conversion, the new activists seek submission, imposed on penalty of ostracism.

Read all of Michael Lind's essay in Tablet magazine.

Our Guardians in the Media

ABC News edited an interview with presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to exclude comments he made about vaccines.

Rather than permitting you make up your mind, they decided not to let you hear those comments.

The contempt these people have for us is boundless.

But Look for Common Values

Regarding Wally Bock's observation, I'd say that a key part of success is being able to work with people who don't resemble you.

The Next Big Project? Perhaps.

 The first Big Project is done. It is rolling out.

The second, perhaps even bigger, Big Project is here. I was up at four o'clock this morning making notes on it.

My team is together. A small cadre of good and bright people who know how to maintain confidentiality.

An early step is next: Arguing against the project's importance.

Far-Sighted Ike

President Eisenhower's
January 17, 1961 farewell address merits careful study. Although it is usually quoted for its reference to the military-industrial complex, it also contains another warning:

"The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present -- and is gravely to be regarded.

"Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

Saving Higher Education

City Journal: Will the new University of Austin make a big difference?

Friday, April 28, 2023

First Paragraph

 This book is about manliness. What is that? It's best to start from examples we know: our sports heroes, too many to name; Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister who is the mightiest woman of our time (What! a woman, manly?); Harry S. Truman, who said "the buck stops here"; Humphrey Bogart, who as Rick in Casablanca was confident and cynical - cool before "cool" was invented; and the courageous police and firemen in New York City on September 11, 2001. Manliness seeks and welcomes drama and prefers times of war, conflict, and risk. Manliness brings change or restores order at moments when routine is not enough, when the plan fails, when the whole idea of rational control by modern science develops leaks. Manliness is the next-to-last resort, before resignation and prayer.

- From Manliness by Harvey C. Mansfield

A Breakfast Game

An old game involved choosing historical figures as dinner companions. Let's alter that and select famous figures as breakfast companions who would read and comment on the day's news.

Who would be on your list?

Mine would include:

  1. Tom Wolfe
  2. Joan Didion
  3. Christopher Hitchens
  4. Eric Hoffer
  5. Stanley Crouch
  6. William F. Buckley Jr.
  7. Booker T. Washington
  8. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
  9. Charles Krauthammer
  10. Lee Kuan Yew

[Photo by Randy Fath at Unsplash]

Disinfo Dictionary

 A public service by the editors of Tablet magazine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Hicks on Nietzsche and the Nazis


Nitwittery Update


Sage Advice

The FutureLawyer reveals some lessons he learned early in life.

Miscellaneous and Fast


"Savior of the City of Angels"

 City Journal: Joel Kotkin remembers Richard Riordan. An excerpt:

Of course, Riordan could not fix everything about Los Angeles, but the city’s trajectory remained positive under his stewardship. Today’s Los Angeles, where Republicans are essentially extinct and socialists are the rising political force, suffers from a declining population, high unemployment, and ongoing corporate flight, with the loss of over 80 headquarters just between 2018 and 2021. Over the past quarter-century, L.A. County has lost 500,000 manufacturing jobs. These positions generally paid better than current jobs, which are highly concentrated in social services and hospitality.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Indoctrination Break


Segregation via "Affinity Groups"

FAIR files a complaint against Seattle Public Schools

Because I Cannot Watch "Citizen Kane" Every Night


Not To Be Missed: #2

In addition to the Heather Mac Donald book listed earlier, this is the non-fiction book I'd most strongly recommend at this time in our history.

Not To Be Missed: #1


First Paragraph

Virtually everyone has heard of how poorly American students perform, whether compared to foreign students or to American students of a generation ago. What everyone may not know are the specifics of how bad the situation has become, how and why the public has been deceived, or the dogmas and hidden agendas behind it all.

- Thomas Sowell, Inside American Education: The Decline, The Deception, The Dogmas (published in 1993)

Power-Mad Utopians

 What happens in politics when one major party, or a major faction in both parties, commits itself to doomed utopian projects of social and economic engineering and seeks to capture and use government to impose its vision from above? In such cases ordinary political consensus and compromise become irrelevant. What is needed, in such cases, is the broadest possible coalition to defeat the mad and impossible schemes of these utopians.

- Michael Lind, writing in Tablet magazine, on "The Power-Mad Utopians"



Monday, April 24, 2023

Way Over the Fence

Rick Georges hits a grand-slam home run.

[Photo by Hudson Graves at Unsplash.]

Reviewing the Assumptions

Your assumptions can become vulnerabilities. 

You assume that institutions you once knew well will remain roughly the same. You assume that the watchmen will continue to watch and that they will catch any breaches or threats. You assume that if changes are to be made to agreements, then the proper procedures will be followed. 

Our lives are filled with assumptions that only work if they are respected by others.

That is why assumptions need to be periodically reviewed.

The Transgender Children's Crusade

 Read the article by Kay S. Hymowitz in City Journal.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Author Never Sleeps


"Why Not Work Out What We Should Be Doing?"


Bock is Back

 After a brief absence, Wally Bock is back and always worth reading.

Social Media Rule

Do not say anything directed at an individual on social media unless you would be willing to say the same thing with the other person sitting directly across the table from you in a coffee shop.

[Updated with correction. Bear with me.]

First Paragraph

The idea of writing this book gained strength one day when I swiped my bank card to pay for groceries. I watched the screen intently, waiting for it to prompt me to do the next step. During the following seconds it became clear that some genius had realized that a person in this situation is a captive audience. During those intervals between swiping my card, confirming the amount, and entering my PIN, I was shown advertisements. The intervals themselves, which I had previously assumed were a mere artifact of the communication technology, now seemed to be something more deliberately calculated. These haltings now served somebody's interest.

- From The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an  Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford

Friday, April 21, 2023

"No U.S. History?"

“In 2016, we published No U.S. History? How College History Departments Leave the United States out of the Major, revealing that less than one-third of the nation’s leading colleges and universities require students pursuing a degree in history to take a single course in American history.”

- American Council of Trustees and Alumni

The Desk


We Need a Civility Revival


  • Returning phone calls.
  • Responding to emails and letters.
  • Hustling instead of sloth-like action.
  • Shunning meanness.
  • Listening respectfully.
  • Considering opposing perspectives.
  • Opting for kindness.
  • Checking yourself out.
  • Minding your manners.
  • Striving to be noble.
  • Following the Golden Rule.

There Are New Versions Today

It is chiefly to these pseudo-intellectuals that Communist Russia directs its appeal. It brings them the promise of membership in a ruling elite, the prospect of having a hand in the historical process, and, by its doctrinaire double-talk, provides them with a sense of weight and depth.

- Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change (1952)

My Neighborhood


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Bram, A Spy Story

Nicholas Bate's spy novel is out today!

This is a story of coming of age, of Queen and country and the origins of Covid-19.

First Paragraph

The currently fashionable discussions of religious belief arose partly in response to the confrontation between Christianity and modern science, and partly in response to the attacks of 9/11, which drew attention to another confrontation, between Islam and the modern world. In both confrontations, as popularly understood, reason points one way, and faith the other. And if faith justifies murder, faith is not an option.

- Roger Scruton, The Soul of the World (2011)

I Have a Dream

Cultural Offering has a description and photo of a dream shared by many of us.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

I Think I Need This


A Civilized Stroll


Is always to be had at The Hammock Papers.

Workshop Day

Today I'm teaching a class via Zoom to a group in another city. 

Lots of case examples. Much discussion. Old school. Minimal use of Evil Power Point.

Practical information. Easy to understand. Can be put to immediate use.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The Decline of the Family is a Disaster

The decline in our social institutions is really without equivalent. Most importantly, and absolutely essential, is the decline of the family. The small platoons without which a society this large just cannot function.

- Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1978

The Novel is Great


Buckley and Wolfe on Modern Architecture


A Continuing Problem

Secrecy is a form of regulation.

- Daniel Patrick Moynihan

First Paragraph

Edmund Burke is both the greatest and the most underrated political thinker of the past 300 years. Born in 1730, he came from an extraordinary period in British history, the age of Samuel Johnson, Adam Smith, Edward Gibbon, David Garrick, Joshua Reynolds, and David Hume, all of whom were his friends.

- From Edmund Burke: The First Conservative by Jesse Norman

Monday, April 17, 2023

On Target

 A Large Regular has a 2014 letter by Donald Rumsfeld to the Internal Revenue Service.

Miscellaneous and Fast


The Week

There is a lengthy workshop to be taught via Zoom. Several meetings are lurking. Some reports will arrive. Tiresome administrative stuff needs tending. I have to get back wth a committee. A large meeting is set for Thursday morning although I might not be able to attend. I need to review the draft of a novel I'm writing.

And, of course, time must be set aside for thinking and brainstorming.

All in all, a quiet week (perhaps!) but an important one.

One thing to avoid: wasting time by anticipating problems that are not even on the horizon. In some instances, planning ahead can be a time-waster.

In the Pipeline


The Best AI Film?


Sunday, April 16, 2023

Saturday, April 15, 2023

The Big Benefits from Core Knowledge

"You must know at least a little about the subject you're reading to make sense of it. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes." 

Read all of Robert Pondiscio's essay on E.D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge theory.

Smart and Fashionable Cities: A Series

The New York Times
Nearly a third of all shoplifting arrests in New York City last year involved just 327 people, the police said. Collectively, they were arrested and rearrested more than 6,000 times.

Bock's Back

Wally Bock is back in action, reading and reviewing books.

The Fast Casual Society

In 2001, I started working at what used to be called a “white shoe” law firm, an anachronistic reference to the white buckskin shoes worn by Ivy League men of a bygone age. By the time I got there, the attorneys were wearing black or dark brown oxfords or brogues, but the code, while different, was enforced with equal rigidity. One afternoon, having been at the firm without sleep since the previous night—about 30 hours—I staggered onto the elevator with my collar open and my tie loose. An older partner turned and spoke to me in a voice that seemed to come from the late nineteenth century: “Young man, we have not met, but I assume you are employed by this firm. You will find that we do not open the collars of our shirts before 5 P.M., and certainly not in the public spaces, where we might easily be observed by a client.”

Read the rest of the Jonathan Clarke article in City Journal.

For and To

What a choice does for you is only one aspect to decision-making. What it does to you is another.

And that may be far more important.


As threatening as the nearest drug cartel.

Friday, April 14, 2023

"Their Smug Civility Was Infuriating"

 Jonathan Turley on an editorial at Yale.

Read This

At Cultural Offering: "I arrived at the address and honked the horn."

Not Quite Like The Spencer Tracy - Katherine Hepburn Films



The project will take at least three times longer than you anticipate. If it is successful, well-meaning people will try to lure you into other projects. In most cases, your answer should be no. 

Examine the most important part of the project and search for a bigger picture or a larger meaning. There probably is one. That's your new project. It deserves scrutiny.

Be wary of titles and labels. They are meant to cloak reality. Don't think everything was done on purpose. Purpose usually requires effort and most teams are lazy. 

But do consider drift as in "If there was no resistance five or ten years ago, would the picture resemble where it is now?" If so, drift is an important component and the offices that are in charge of setting limits have been asleep at the switch. 

Consider who is smiling at this development. He or she will be drift's defender.

Do your homework. Without it, no one will believe you.

New Tolerance Campaign

 A new civil rights group.

Looks promising. I'm volunteering with FAIR.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Failing Our Students

We have been so bombarded by the supposed educational virtues of diversity and multiculturalism that we no longer see how peculiar such a position actually is. Why was it that a program that was meant to be an introduction to Western civilization had to be made into something else? Why was it that Stanford, rather than adding courses that might cover other cultures in serious and sympathetic ways, felt compelled to make a survey of the core texts of Western civilization into something that it was not? And why was it that it all culminated in a chant not of "Let's read more minority writers!" but of "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!"

- John Agresto, The Death of Learning: How American Education Has Failed Our Students and What to Do About It

Couperin Break


Think Different

 Steve Layman has a great question about Steve Jobs.

Hands Off of First Ladies

 Althouse on the latest loon criticism of Melania Trump.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023



"The Borg are here"

"We call them university presidents."

Professor Todd Pettigrew in 2010.

The 100 Best Film Noirs of All Time

Slant magazine: A great collection although the ranking is always debatable.

[How any of them can beat "The Third Man" is beyond me.]

[HT: Althouse]

Remember Atari?

 The Arcade Blogger looks at Atari.

And much more! It's a fascinating site.

First Paragraph

Three billion smartphones. Two billion social media users. Two-trillion-dollar companies. San Francisco's tallest skyscraper, Seattle's biggest employer, the four most expensive corporate campuses on the planet. The richest people in the history of humanity.

- From The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

More Timely Than We Realize



The data bank society is nearly upon us now. We must program the programmers while there is still some personal liberty left.

- Senator Barry Goldwater, 1974

[Updated with inserted "there." Argh. Quote taken from The Code by Margaret O'Mara.]

First Paragraph

Once, he exuded power. Films he produced and distributed garnered 81 Academy Awards and 341 Oscar nominations. Only Steven Spielberg was thanked more often from the awards stage. He boasted of his friendships with Presidents Clinton and Obama, and of the famous actresses he claimed to have bedded. Inside the office, he terrified the four assistants who serviced his needs, and he bellowed at most of his executives. Outside the office, he flashed a dazzling, capped-toothed smile while strolling hundreds of red carpets, trailed by clicking cameras, often accompanied by his second wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, who dressed some of the stars lit by the paparazzi flashes. He was that rare Hollywood figure known instantly by his first name: Harvey.

- From Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence by Ken Auletta

Then I Am a Mountain of Wisdom

Managers cannot learn from doing things right, only from doing things wrong.

- Russell L. Ackoff

Signs of Decline

There are people who graduate from high school without having read a Charles Dickens novel.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Close to Recent Headlines


Corporate Hiring Decisions: A Series

New York Post: The marketing wizard at Bud Light

And While We're On the Subject of "How"

If you want to examine some educational Hows, explore how the cases were made for:

  • The Edsel
  • The Maginot Line
  • The Bay of Pigs
  • New Coke
  • Nazi Germany's decision to invade the Soviet Union/declare war on the United States

[Photo by Peter Secan at Unsplash]

Anyone Can Tell You the "What"

It gets helpful, however, when they talk about the "How."

Saturday, April 08, 2023

First Paragraph

George Washington is dying. The rumor spread quickly through Manhattan neighborhoods ravaged by influenza, the "contagious distemper" first diagnosed on Roman streets half a century earlier. Impartial to class, color, or politics, the disease was more democratic than the young American republic whose ruling elite it threatened. At a boardinghouse on Maiden Lane, Congressman James Madison took to his bed, too sick to argue with Alexander Hamilton over the secretary of the treasury's audacious plan to consolidate federal power by having the government in New York assume the debts and revenue sources formerly reserved for individual states.

- From The Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation by Richard Norton Smith 

Our Unique Life Purpose

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I?  And if not now, when?

- Rabbi Hillel

Will Be Reading This




Friday, April 07, 2023

Change of Venue

Jonathan Turley: Plan B From Outer Manhattan.

On My List


Random Thoughts

He has a lot of ideas and so must not be in power. ~ There are teams that use the map more than the windshield. ~ Some people who would be wary of making a decision based on what happened three weeks ago have no problem basing their decisions on what happened three years ago. ~ It is very easy to underestimate patience. ~ Organizations, not people, can die of a low-grade fever. ~ A lot of problems are enthusiastically invited by the Human Resources Department. ~ If you want to know the root cause of many difficulties, examine the agendas of professional conferences for the past ten years. ~ No subject is so trivial that it cannot become a matter of national urgency. ~ I worry less about the charlatans than I do about the corporate executives who give them bundles of money. ~ Which current authors could match the ones writing for pulp fiction magazines in the Forties and Fifties? ~ Those who downplay the risks of artificial intelligence don't answer the most important question: What if you are wrong? ~ Snake oil is often sold in impressive buildings by people with a lot of letters after their names. ~ Press secretaries are a signal of how an organization regards your intelligence. ~ Beware of those who would rather shape the news than report it. ~ It is very rare to hear someone confess to abusing a virtue. ~ Dictators never have any problems filling stormtrooper and commissar positions. ~ When considering what policies can do for people, also consider what they can do to people. ~ All organizations drift but they never drift into greatness.

Revolution By Elites

 "This revolution is run by elites and is a top-down operation."

- Victor Davis Hanson on America's French Revolution

Paper Boxes

Paper boxes sit on a shelf of soft wood painted brown. In the boxes names are arranged in alphabetical order. There are 77,297. These are the names of victims from Bohemia and Moravia. Each name has a transport number, year of birth, last place of residence, and date and place of death. Sometimes the date and place of death are not given. No one knows when and where they died. The names are inscribed on the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue, which stands next to the Old Cemetery. Thus will their memory be preserved.

- From Lamentation for 77,297 Victims by Jiří Weil

"Don't Divide Us"

"The United Kingdom's commonsense voice on race."

Thursday, April 06, 2023


 Cultural Offering has a great message from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.



Sounds Like Today

"There is a German proverb which runs Mut verloren - alles verloren: 'When courage is lost, all is lost.' There is another Latin one, according to which loss of reason is the true harbinger of destruction. But what happens to a society in which both these losses - the loss of courage and the loss of reason - intersect? This is the picture which I found the West presents today."

- From a speech Alexander Solzhenitsyn delivered over the BBC radio network on March 24, 1976

First Paragraph

Terror of isolation is the natural bedrock upon which tyrannies are built. Severe loneliness is an abnormal state for human beings. That's why the prospect of being condemned to solitary confinement is akin to the biblical curse of being cast into the outer darkness. It renders us so vulnerable that in the hands of tyrants, this terror of being alone is the perfect weapon to control our actions, our speech, our associations, and our thoughts. We may be oblivious to the practice, but loneliness is constantly weaponized. This will continue to happen by stealth unless we wise up to the process and become self-aware enough to build counterstrategies.

- From The Weaponization of Loneliness: How Tyrants Stoke Our Fear of Isolation to Silence, Divide, and Conquer by Stella Morabito

Wednesday, April 05, 2023



"The Waning of the Modern World"

Something new is coming. Just as farming societies differed in kind from hunting-and-gathering bands, and industrial societies differed radically from feudal or yeoman agricultural systems, so the New World to come will mark a radical departure from anything seen before.

- James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg, The Sovereign Individual (1997)

On My List


Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Crank It Up


Scribble Scribble

Patrick Rhone, who knows more than a few things about writing books, provides a classic story about James Patterson.

Civilization Impact Statement

We've all heard of environmental impact statements.

Without getting into the issue of governmental involvement, it would be wise to consider the impact that various programs have on civilization. 

A may produce B but it can also produce Y and Z.

Revolutionary Nostalgia

City Journal: Guy Sorman on
the current substitute for the Bastille.

The Crucial Gap

For many years, I have studied checklists and descriptions of major projects.

Rather than 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, what I have often found is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-(crucial gap)-10.

It is similar to reading a history that describes all of the preparations that Napoleon made and then, at the end of the essay, finding "and in the morning, he won the battle."

Watch out for the crucial gap during planning.


Knowledge is good, method is good, but one thing beyond all others is necessary; and that is to have a head, not a pumpkin, on your shoulders, and brains, not pudding, in your head.

- A. E. Housman