War

Unwinnable

I’m not going to fisk this entire article at the New York Times, especially since I may agree with its conclusion. However, as my old business partner used to say, I may agree with what you say but I will deny to the death your right to say it. Consider, [Read More]

Israel

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

An enormous amount has been written about President Trump’s announcement about the U. S.’s moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Almost all of it has been completely predictable and I haven’t learned a great deal from it other than that Tom Friedman is a terrible negotiator. The one [Read More]

Economics

Do We Have a Labor Shortage?

To the editors of the Wall Street Journal’s list of reasons that employers find it hard to find workers: The biggest labor story this Labor Day is the trouble that employers are having finding workers across the country. Friday’s report of a modest gain of only 156,000 new jobs in [Read More]

Confederate monument, Oak Woods Cemetery
Culture

The Confederate Monument in Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago

In Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery, covering the mass grave of 4,000 Confederate soldiers, captured and held prisoner at Camp Douglas, there is a large monument, pictured above. Here is the National Parks Service’s description of it: Confederate Mound is an elliptical plot, approximately 475 feet by 275 feet, located between [Read More]

Weasel Watching

A Bridge Too Far

I’m going to pass this story on without further comment. From CWB Chicago: A woman accused of throwing her newborn baby from an 8th-floor apartment window in Uptown has been sentenced to four years probation. Mubashra Uddin had been charged with four counts of murder for allegedly killing the baby [Read More]

Government

The Rule of Law

Do you remember that presidential election commission organized by President Trump and its request to the states for voter registration information? So far 14 states have refused, as catalogued in this piece at NPR, California among them. The response from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to the request by [Read More]

Economics

Amerisclerosis

You used to read about “Eurosclerosis”, slow economic growth in Europe, quite a bit. At Bloomberg View Noah Smith points out that the United States has contracted it, too: …the implication is clear — the U.S. needs to put the Great Recession behind it. During the downturn, it made a [Read More]

Weasel Watching

Was It Terrorism?

There is no generally accepted definition of terrorism but the factors typically mentioned in definitions usually include: Unlawful Use of violence or intimidation Against civilians With political objectives Webster’s definition is “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion”. Hence my question. Was the guy driving his [Read More]

Culture

Remember

Today is Memorial Day. In our headlong rush towards long weekends many Americans have forgotten that today is the day on which we recall those who have died in war, particularly those who died in the American Civil War and among those particularly the Union dead. The holiday has its [Read More]

World

The U. S. Interest in Ukraine

Speaking of Wonderland, I have grave difficult in seeing anything through the mists of Anne Applebaum’s most recent Washington Post column lecturing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his duties other than more mist. Here’s her account of the last seventy years of European history, culminating with Russia’s occupation of [Read More]

Middle East

Putting Humpty Together

What should our policy with respect to Syria be? What do we want to happen? Although it’s nine months old, in the light of recent developments I found this analysis by Thanassis Cambanis at The Century Foundation useful in considering those questions. First, what has our policy been? In effect [Read More]

empty-movie-theater
Hollywood

Is There a Future for NATO?

Not the North Atlantic Treaty Organization although there’s some doubt about whether there’s a future for that, either. The other NATO. The National Association of Theater Owners. Movie theaters are having a bad time. Here’s what happened at their most recent convention as reported at The Verge: Studio after studio [Read More]

Social Issues

What’s the Secret of Our Success?

There’s a lot of stewing about the World Happiness Report and that the people of the United States, apparently, aren’t as happy as they used to be. At Bloomberg View Leonid Bershidsky remarks: Wealth is easy to quantify, so many governments concentrate on fixing this variable. That appears to be [Read More]

World

The People Have Spoken

The Dutch people have spoken but what the heck have they said? Parliamentary elections in the Netherlands took place on Wednesday. The euroskeptic anti-immigrant anti-Muslim candidate Geert Wilders’s party came in second with 13% of the vote (compared with the 21% showing of the center-right party that garnered the largest [Read More]

World

Dying Is Easy; Comedy Is Hard

For comedy writing it’s hard to beat Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Hans Binnendijk’s advice to the European members of NATO at the RAND Blog: Europe can deliver its portion of this bargain in three ways. First, it needs to demonstrate the value of its existing military contribution to the [Read More]

Social Issues

Loss

Regardless of where you place yourself on the political spectrum, I urge you to read Nicholas Eberstadt’s recent essay on the state of the United States in the 21st century at Commentary, “Our Miserable 21st Century”: On the morning of November 9, 2016, America’s elite—its talking and deciding classes—woke up [Read More]