Monday, January 25, 2010

"You said I was the finest man you ever knew. Probably am. Most of humanity isn't all that goddamned fine to begin with. I am flawed. You are flawed. But we are not flawed beyond the allowable limit. And our affection for each other is not flawed at all."

She had stopped looking at the distance and was looking, for the first time, at me.

"And every day I have loved you," I said, "has been a privilege."

She kept looking at me and then soundlessly and without warning she turned from the bridge railing and pressed her face against my chest. She didn't make a sound. Her hands hung by her side. I put my arms around her carefully. She didn't move. We stood that way for a time as the pedestrians on the bridge moved spectrally past us. After a while, Susan put her arms around my waist and tightened them. And we stood that way for a time. Finally she spoke into my chest, her voice muffled.

"Thank you," she said.

"You're welcome."

And we stood some more and didn't say anything else.
Robert B. Parker, Sudden Mischief

Sunday, January 24, 2010

John Steele Gordon: "The public-sector unions have become the engine behind ballooning state and federal budgets. There will be no cure for excess government spending until their power is decisively curbed."

Later: This piece (via Gordon) gives useful background on the links between public-sector unions and the Democrats.


How snotty leftists reason: I know because I share their instincts, which I'm glad to say I've trained myself to ignore, having realized they're ridiculous. Allow me to demonstrate.

Snotty leftists who read this report* on a Quincy, IL, Tea Party event will likely think,
  • The comma after "President" shouldn't be there, and "groups" should be "group's" (both times!);
  • Only idiots would make such mistakes;
  • Therefore Tea Partiers are idiots.
  • The major premise is true. The minor premise is false, but snotty leftists believe it because they overvalue the kinds of skills that earn good grades in English Lit, and so they believe, wrongly, that the conclusion is valid.

    Arguing with such people, heavily concentrated in L.A./NYC/DC and the news media and academia, is pretty much futile. They need to learn, as I eventually learned (shamefully late), that an intelligent person can be clumsy in such matters as grammar and punctuation. Until they do—and few of them ever will—they won't respect even someone as patently bright and capable, but not Ivy-League slick, as, for instance, Sarah Palin.

    *No author is listed, and it reads like a press release, so I'm guessing it was written by a Tea Partier or someone sympathetic to the cause.

    (Note: I've amended this item, for clarity, since I originally posted it.)

    (Link via Instapundit.)


    Huge problems with American temperature data, according to Marc Sheppard of American Thinker.


    Theodore Dalrymple on Haiti.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    From the abstract of a paper, "Formidability and the logic of human anger" (pdf), by Aaron Sell, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8/09:
    Individuals with enhanced abilities to inflict costs (e.g., stronger individuals) or to confer benefits (e.g., attractive individuals) have a better bargaining position in conflicts; hence, it was predicted that such individuals will be more prone to anger, prevail more in conflicts of interest, and consider themselves entitled to better treatment. These predictions were confirmed. Consistent with an evolutionary analysis, the effect of strength on anger was greater for men and the effect of attractiveness on anger was greater for women. Also as predicted, stronger men had a greater history of fighting than weaker men, and more strongly endorsed the efficacy of force to resolve conflicts—both in interpersonal and international conflicts. The fact that stronger men favored greater use of military force in international conflicts provides evidence that the internal logic of the anger program reflects the ancestral payoffs characteristic of a small-scale social world rather than rational assessments of modern payoffs in large populations.
    (Via Tim Blair.)

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Two smart posts from Jonathan V. Last, on the NBC late-night ruckus and Flight 253.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    "The monkey got lucky." You think? (Via Arbroath.)


    Nice, from Kiefer Sutherland: "People I'm flying with say they feel safer with me on the plane. They must not watch the show. Everyone around me gets killed."

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Two very troubling interviews on national security. Our intelligence agencies are soliciting our jihadist enemies' advice and criticism, which means that jihadists are helping control how we fight them. This infuriating, unacceptable, unforgivable problem predates Obama's presidency. If we don't fix it we'll lose the war, and not just in Afghanistan. (Via Instapundit.)


    Jennifer Rubin: "Watch out when the Obami use the word smart — or even worse, smarter. It usually means something very silly is in the cards."

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    On Obama's (and Bush's) conduct of the war, from a military historian and former Air Force intelligence officer: "Poor leadership generates a virulent uncertainty that infects and disables bureaucracies."

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    John Derbyshire has a lovely essay on technology and change in the current National Review. If you subscribe (and you should), be sure to read it. I'm posting on it now mainly to increase the likelihood that I'll remember to link it once Derbyshire's posted a freely available version on his site.

    Later: Free link here.

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    This too is jihad. They'll challenge the West in every way they can, and each "compromise" we make, no matter how small it may look, is their victory. We must stop bending.

    Later: And from a "moderate" Muslim state: "A 23-year-old British woman on holiday in Dubai told police she had been raped, only to be arrested herself for having illegal sexual intercourse." (Via Media Blog.)

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    Lots of good posts (mostly links) at Newmark's Door. This acting lesson (via this post) is very cute.


    Tonight I watched the relevant episodes, so I felt ready to read this at last: "Why David Tennant and Russell T Davies are leaving Doctor Who." Very entertaining, and great to know that it wasn't because of bad feeling on the show.

    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Ed Driscoll is right: this piece on Detroit, by Matt Labash, is brilliant.


    Today's mp3 deal from Amazon: James Taylor's Greatest Hits for $2.99. Every track is worth having.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Nice summary from "an attorney with national security experience":
    In Abdulmutallab, we have a terrorist in custody who's probably a lot smarter than the Richard Reids and Zacarias Moussaouis of the world, at least based on his educational background, and who therefore may be a rich source of intelligence --and we're letting him invoke Constitutional protections that he has only by virtue of coming to our country to murder hundreds of people!

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    "The playboy element" in jihadist terror.


    Rich Lowry:
    This is a bizarre division of labor. You carefully pack to avoid any liquids more than three ounces. You stand in a security line. You take off your shoes. You get your fingernail clippers confiscated. You run your carry-on bags through an X-ray machine and walk through a metal detector, with an extra wanding if your spare pocket change sets off the alarm. And after all that, it’s still your responsibility to subdue the terrorist in the next row trying to set off the pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) secreted on his body.


    Lots of good posts at NRO's Media Blog.


    Happy New Year.