Memorial Day Reading

This afternoon, I came across George Orwell’s “Revenge is Sour” in a collection of his essays.  Originally published in the Tribune in November 1945, it speaks to the emptiness of revenge and — more topically for today — to the disconnect between civilians and soldiers in war.  Below is the final paragraph: The Belgian averted … Read more

Icing Bros

James Taranto at the WSJ writes Best of the Web Today and occasionally adds a ruthlessly mocking section titled “Everything is Spinning Out of Control” (itself a snide poke at a dumb AP article, “Is Everything Seemingly Spinning Out of Control?”). Regardless, I’ve finally found evidence that everything is actually spinning out of control. Deepwater … Read more

The Quants Revisited

I reviewed Scott Patterson’s book The Quants for our summer issue, and I’d like to expand upon my conclusion.  I wrote: The professors are the new barons of Wall Street, and they appear poised to accrue even more power. They are like “civil engineers … after a bridge collapse,” Patterson writes: they’re to blame, but … Read more

House Democrats Vote to Raise Taxes

Just before its Memorial Day recess, the House passed a bill that, according to The New York Times, would raise the taxes that investment managers pay on carried interest, just at the moment new long-term investment is most needed. General executive partners of long-term investment partnerships, including investments in real estate, venture capital, private equity, … Read more

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Harvard ROTC

Protest of ROTC's policies toward homosexuals (at UW-Madison, 1990) At Harvard’s Reserve Officer Training Corps commissioning ceremony this Wednesday, Drew Faust urged Harvard’s class of 2010 future officers to: Help reinforce the long tradition of ties between Harvard and the military, as we share hopes that changing circumstances will soon enable us to further strengthen … Read more

A Lebanese Angle on the Rima Fakih Story

Apart from being an excellent excuse to boost web traffic with pictures of bikini-clad women (cf. The Huffington Post), you may not have seen Lebanese journalist Hanin Ghaddar’s very interesting article last week  in Foreign Policy comparing American and Lebanese reactions to the Rima Fakih story. In America: Not many people — let along beauty pageant … Read more

The Relative Value of Valor

The New York Times Magazine has a fantastic article about the puzzle of the paucity of valor awards-those medals given for high acts of courage. Only six Medals of Honor have been awarded in Iraq or Afghanistan: a fraction of previous wars either absolute or percentage terms. In the Pentagon’s defense, the article quotes one … Read more

Too Real for the Big Screen?

Two sci-fi allegories provoke unjust criticism Avatar, directed by James Cameron, 20th Century Fox, 2009. District 9, directed by Neill Blomkamp, TriStar Pictures, 2009. In a nationally televised speech in October 2002, President George W. Bush argued that toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime would bolster American security and win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi … Read more

Couple More Thoughts on Rand Paul

First, I think Adam Serwer has really crystallized the basic problem with how conservatives (and a fair number of over-polite liberals) talk about race. It seems really weird to give Goldwater all this credit for not being personally racist while championing a cause supported by racists, and say this is the same thing as Kennedy … Read more