January 2, 2014

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Discussing Ideas with Competence

The unnamed protagonist of Thomas Bernhard’s Woodcutters diagnoses the problem with damning clarity.  Jeannie is “utterly incompetent in discussing ideas.”  Worse, “nobody’s ever told her that for a really long time she’s been utterly incompetent in discussing ideas.” Jeannie is here a stand-in for the well-heeled and academically credentialed person. Competence in discussing ideas struck […]

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October 10, 2013

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Toynbee and the Government Standoff

Published in 1939, Arnold Toynbee’s work on the disintegration of civilizations (volumes five and six of A Study of History) suggests a model that may apply to the current standoff in American government. A Study of History traces the development and decline of civilizations, from the dawn of time to the moment of publication.  Across […]

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July 17, 2013

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Jumping the Race Shark

Racism has jumped the shark.  This is the lesson of the Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman saga. “Jumping the shark” is the clever term to describe when something has passed from relevance toward increasing absurdity.   Arthur “the Fonz” Fonzarelli literally jumped a shark on water skis at the start of the fifth season of Happy […]

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July 11, 2013

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What’s Wrong with the Media: Part 4,683.

As abrasive as politics can be, politics in journalism is worse.  It elevates the self-serving opportunism of politics by adding tragically unaware hypocrisy.  Two recent examples have emerged that shame anyone who values logic, or at least has some sympathy for journalism as a profession. Reporting on the expansion of concealed carry allowances in Illinois, […]

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July 9, 2013

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Obama is in Violation of the Constitution

Every school child learns the role of the three branches of government.  The legislative branch makes the laws, the judicial branch interprets the laws, and the executive enforces the law.  It is pretty straightforward stuff. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Michael McConnell clearly lays out the historical and legal foundation of the President’s mandate to […]

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