Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pakistan’s 60 Year Nightmare: It’s Not Barack Obama’s Fault

This article on President Obama’s failure at managing the U.S.-Pakistani relationship by Kapil Komireddi was recommended and endorsed by David Frum, so I gave it a close read, and I was surprised to find it consisting of mostly hysterical ad … Continue reading

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Barney Frank and the Case for Congressional Expertise

Barney Frank is retiring next year, and we’ve been seeing a lot of deserved commentaries about his famous pugnacity, his erudition, his wit. One thing I think his career shows is the importance of congressional longevity and seniority in acquiring … Continue reading

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Israel "Climbing the Mountain of Conflict" with Iran

I rewatched the brilliant and hilarious political satire In the Loop last night, in which midlevel officials in the US and UK governments stumble fecklessly toward war with an unspecified Middle Eastern country. This time around it reminded me of … Continue reading

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Death in Venice; and Madrid, and Lisbon, and Athens, and Paris, and…

In Thomas Mann’s short novel Death in Venice, a well known German writer takes a holiday on the Venice coast to overcome his writer’s block. At first, his staid, prudent German manners are offended by the signs of decadence and … Continue reading

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Rick Perry’s Modest, Conservative Plan to "Uproot, Tear Down, and Rebuild" Our Entire System of Government

The rise of modern Republicanism as a Christianist cultural-resentment club has corresponded nicely with the hibernation of true conservatism. As a quaint historical artifact, here is something close to the essense of true conservatism; the parable of G.K. Chesterton’s fence: … Continue reading

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Romney on Toughness and Seriousness and Boldness

A few weeks ago I made fun of politicians’ penchant for insisting that the solutions to our most intractable problems involve nothing more than applying the correct mixture of toughness, seriousness, and boldness. Mitt Romney has an op-ed in the … Continue reading

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In Defense of Flip-Floppery

Republicans are not too enthralled at the prospect of a Mitt Romney White House. While his polling has been remarkably consistent, and his fundraising and organizational strength far ahead of his rivals, he can’t seem to crack 25% in the … Continue reading

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The Onion, on Complexity

Apropos of my long essay below, as usual, the Onion got there first: Nation Finally Breaks Down And Begs Its Smart People To Just Fix Everything WASHINGTON—Overwhelmed by the frustration of being utterly unable to solve any of the numerous … Continue reading

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Complexity and Institutional Distrust, a Blogger’s Lament

After every post I write attempting to elucidate a small sliver of a difficult question, I’ll soon stumble upon a piece by some other writer which raises a different angle to the question that I did not consider. Sometimes it … Continue reading

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