Tagged Reading

Quote of the Day

When Mencken is interested, he goes to work with a writing style that retired undefeated. The hot dogs of his time were served in pastry shells, not “the soggy rolls prevailing today, of ground acorns, plaster of paris, flecks of bath sponge and atmospheric air all compact.” Mencken applies the balm of humor to raw nostalgia. He caps an obligatory yarn of childhood play by stating: “A few years ago . . . I encountered a ma’m in horn-rimmed spectacles teaching a gang of little girls ring-around-a-rosy. The sight filled me suddenly with so black an indignation that I was…

Chilling Story of the Day

If this is true, then I am appalled beyond measure: The intrusions into former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computers constitute the narrative spine of the reporter’s new book “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.” The book starts with not really a word, but a sound: “Reeeeeeeeeee.” That’s the noise that Attkisson’s Apple computer was making at 3:14 one morning. A Toshiba laptop computer issued by CBS News did the same thing a day earlier, around 4 a.m. All this goes down in October 2012, right in the midst of the…

Quote of the Day

I stand by what I wrote today: the videos of [ISIL] beheadings need to be independently confirmed before they are part of the historical record. They may well be completely accurate but there are not yet independent confirmations that they are accurate. On a larger picture note: had an evening with a group of well-informed international attorneys and prosecutors. A Pakistani lawyer who is a fourth-generation scion of a major Pakistani political family explained what I keep hearing from many parts of the plugged in educated elite of the Middle East: ISIS, he said, is grassroots Wahabism – the extreme…

Naomi Klein: Hack

I have written in the past about Naomi Klein’s seemingly pathological need to commit massive amounts of intellectual fraud. I see that nothing has changed: Naomi Klein keeps coming up with fresh new ideas about how to spark an elusive mass social movement against capitalism and corporations. In her 2000 bestseller No Logo, the progressive journalist attempted to harness the nascent anti-globalization movement to unleash “a vast wave of opposition squarely targeting transnational corporations.” In 2007, her book The Shock Doctrine bogusly asserted that free market institutions spread only by taking advantage of coups, wars, and natural calamities. The book…

God Help Me . . .

Once again, I am in the position of actually–gasp!–agreeing with Maureen Dowd: CHELSEA CLINTON never acted out during the eight years she came of age as America’s first daughter. No ditching of her Secret Service detail. No fake IDs for underage tippling. No drug scandal. No court appearance in tank top and toe ring. Not even any dirty dancing. Despite a tough role as the go-between in the highly public and embarrassing marital contretemps of her parents, Chelsea stayed classy. So it’s strange to see her acting out in a sense now, joining her parents in cashing in to help…

More Clintonian Pablum

Behold Hillary Clinton’s review of Henry Kissinger’s new book, in which Clinton takes the time to hype her own very bad book, and scribble soporific foreign policy statements in advance of a likely presidential campaign. I won’t excerpt anything; just read the review for yourself, and tell me if anything resembling a bright, interesting or original thought jumps out at you. For my part, I won’t hold my breath waiting for a “yes.” Of course, it is worth remembering that this entirely banal book review is of a piece with an entirely substance-free pre-campaign for the presidency. To be entirely fair…

Will We Settle for Hillary Clinton?

Anne Applebaum has not-very-nice-things to say about the latest book written by Hillary Clinton’s incredibly vapid ghostwriters Hillary Clinton: Even while Hard Choices was still wafting its way across the Atlantic Ocean— and long before it landed on my desk in central Europe, an entire twenty-four hours after the official publication date—Hillary Clinton’s account of her State Department years had already led several news cycles, inspired thousands of megabytes of commentary, and left its subsequent reviewers with serious literary and philosophical dilemmas. Normally, the process of writing a book review begins after the reviewer has read the book in question. The…

Not a Good Week for Hillary Clinton

First, there was this. Then, there was the fact that Diane Sawyer–of all people–laid into Clinton over Benghazi (in the event that you do not recall, Benghazi has been deemed not to be a scandal, nope, no chance whatsoever that it might be a scandal, nothing to see here, move along, don’t worry your pretty little heads about this story, darlings). And then, there is the fact that her book . . . well . . . it isn’t so good: Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s new memoir “Hard Choices” officially launches Tuesday morning, but it’s already being savaged by critics for being…

Quote of the Day

Defenders of markets usually speak in the language of economics, while defenders of socialism speak in the language of morality. The problem is that most defenders of markets–from Adam Smith to F. A. Hayek to Milton Friedman to my own mentor David Schmidtz–concede the moral high ground to socialism. They admit that the market is a good system for bad people, while socialism is a good system for good people. Even if economics tells us that socialism is a bad system for bad people, the fundamental problem is that people are bad. Time for a different approach. Time to take…

Still More on the Piketty Wars

Responding to Piketty’s response (linked here) to the charges raised by the Financial Times, Chris Giles notes that there remain concerns with Piketty’s presentation: There are a few things on which we agree. First, the source data on wealth inequality is poor. I have written that it is “sketchy” and Prof Piketty says it is “much less systematic than we have for income inequality”. Second, it would have been preferable for Prof Piketty to have used a more sophisticated averaging technique than a simple average of Britain, France and Sweden to derive an estimate for European wealth inequality. Third, the available…