January 2011

How’s that Islam working out for ya?

January 31, 2011

Those who think nothing can be worse than Mubarak hanging on in Egypt have yet another Islamic alternative to consider besides the shopworn examples of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Indonesia, the fourth most populated nation in the world and the largest predominantly Islamic state, authorizes Shari’a law in one part of the country, […]

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Jockeying starts for 2012

January 31, 2011

Barack Obama has made it clear he’s going to seek a second term, reportedly planning a more than $1 billion re-election fundraising goal (compared to the estimated $750 million 2008 campaign). As his poll numbers have recovered after the mid-term shellacking, any doubts that the incumbent will be a formidable challenge for the GOP should […]

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Big bubble on campus

January 31, 2011

Back in 2004, Tom Wolfe wrote a baggy novel called I Am Charlotte Simmons that received poor reviews with many critics feeling Wolfe–then 73 years old–had turned into a puritanical old man, envious of the sexual liberalities of young coeds. The NY Times wrote, “In the course of a very long 676 pages [Wolfe] serves […]

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Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia…?

January 30, 2011

The Belmont Club points to the next crisis, assuming Mubarak falls: With a Shi’ite dominated government in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a Muslim Brotherhood that may keep Egypt in neutral or tacitly accept Teheran’s leadership, how could things possibly get worse? They can if Saudi Arabia starts to go.  And what response can the […]

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True True Grit

January 30, 2011

I don’t want to review the new True Grit because I think Stanley Fish has already written the definitive response to it. Nevertheless, after watching it I do have a few remarks: When I first heard this movie was being made, I thought Jeff Bridges was crazy to reprise John Wayne’s signature character of Rooster […]

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The Character who wasn’t there

January 29, 2011

I’ve been revisiting the works of Tennessee Williams lately and two of his plays in particular have made me think of all the many narratives–in whatever form–that feature an absent character who is of critical importance to the story. The classic example of this device is Godot in Waiting for Godot, in which the play’s […]

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Political Correctness is back

January 29, 2011

Did it every go away? First liberals used the shootings by Jared Loughner as a call to clamp down on political dissent. Now this idiocy: “I want an apology at the very least,” said New York Assemblywoman Grace Meng, a Queens Democrat. “Making fun of any country’s leader is just very disrespectful for someone who […]

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Mubarak is the Shah

January 28, 2011

Barack Obama seems destined to undermine the United States diplomatically as well as economically in a way not seen since the Carter years. To be sure, there are no easy responses to what is happening in Egypt, but the timidity and indecisiveness that has characterized this administration gives one little hope of clear and crisp […]

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When the deal goes down

January 25, 2011

“Chicago politics”: a phrase synonymous with the urban machines, one-party rule, and insider corruption that hearken all the way back to Boss Tweed. During the first Mayor Daley’s era, Chicago was referred to as the city that works–a sort of Mussolini-style praise indicating that “Da Mayor” (El Duce) at least made the trains run on […]

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A metaphor for our times

January 24, 2011

The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building…and boondoggle. At an estimated cost of $1.5 billion, it is believed to be less than 10 percent occupied. Now comes worse news for the oil-rich United Arab Emirates and their capital, Dubai; their flagship development, The World, is sinking back into the Persian Gulf: According to evidence […]

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