The Subtle Beauty of Renzo Piano’s New Building in Boston
March 29, 2012

The architect Renzo Piano is unpredictable. He has designed museums of extraordinary beauty and refinement, from the Menil Collection in Houston to a recent addition at the Art Institute of Chicago. And he has produced work that is downright bombastic, especially the Broad Contemporary Art Museum in Los Angeles, done around the same time as his work for Chicago. What attracts so many different clients to Piano is the sophisticated yet playful feeling for intervals, proportions, and materials that he brings to the cool geometric forms of mid-twentieth-century modernism.

Carmelo Anthony and the NBA’s One Percent Problem
March 16, 2012

For weeks I had eagerly anticipated the arrival of March 14, 2012, when I would attend my first New York Knicks game of the season at Madison Square Garden. I bought the tickets a month before, after the Knicks had won five games in a row with Jeremy Lin leading the charge. I wasn’t sure if Linsanity would last, but I figured the Knicks were on solid footing for the rest of the year. As a hardened life-long Knicks fan, of course, I should have known to prepare for the worst. As I entered the arena, the Knicks franchise was once again in a familiar state of disarray.

Better Bowl Game Matchups Through Economics!
January 02, 2012

Today, millions of Americans (who, unlike your humble blogger, are still on vacation) are trading the champagne of December 31st for the six-packs of January 2nd. That’s right: It’s time for college football. Today, Houston and Penn State play in the TicketCity Bowl, Ohio State and Florida play in the Gator Bowl, Michigan State and Georgia play in the Outback Bowl, Nebraska and South Carolina play in the Capital One Bowl, Wisconsin and Oregon play in the Rose Bowl, and Stanford and Oklahoma State play in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Dissenter
November 23, 2011

On July 30, 2011, thousands of public school teachers rallied on the southwest corner of the Ellipse, near the White House. Union members mingled with the occasional communist pamphleteer, and, on a temporary stage, a series of activists, students, scholars, and teachers put forward variations on a theme: Standardized tests and corporate interests are ruining public education. Late in the program, the actor Matt Damon showed up and began chatting amiably with an older, gray-haired woman sitting next to him on the stage. It turned out he wasn’t the only star in attendance.

The Permanent Candidate
September 28, 2011

What’s driving Rick Perry?

Perry vs. the Lap Dance Lobby
September 13, 2011

Rick Perry’s campaign for the presidency largely consists of touting the pro-growth policies of Texas—a state with no personal income tax, and the 47th lowest tax burden in the country—as a model for the rest of the United States. Perry’s claim is that his state, where he has served as governor for the past 11 years, has found more creative and more business-friendly ways to fill its coffers.  Don’t tell that to one of the state’s most vibrant industries: its nearly 200 strip clubs.

Rick Perry’s Conveniently Timed Conversion to Radical Evangelicalism
August 17, 2011

In the months leading up to his declared presidential candidacy, Rick Perry was busy shoring up his religious bonafides. In April, while his state burned under 8,000 wildfires and was afflicted by a pernicious drought, the governor decreed three days of prayer to call rain down from the heavens.

How Rick Perry Became the Unity Candidate of the GOP
August 10, 2011

During the last few weeks, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is said to be on the very brink of launching a presidential bid, has said and done some things that would have been big trouble, and perhaps mortally damaging, to most politicians. On two separate hot-button issues (gay marriage and abortion), he first identified with hard-line Tea Party “10th Amendment” interpretations that states should be responsible for sorting out such matters, only to then obsequiously flip-flop to hard-line Christian Right positions favoring the passage of a federal constitutional amendment.

July 28, 2011

Joel is one of the so-called minor prophets in the Bible. He appears to have been active in the late sixth- or early fifth-century BCE, in the aftermath of the destruction of the kingdom of Judah. A careful reading of his short and furious oration shows that it may have been also an interpretation of a second catastrophe. A plague seems to have decimated the land—locusts, cankerworms, caterpillars. “The field is wasted.” First the Babylonians, then the bugs: Joel is a morose man, an angry peddler of apocalypse.

Houston: Where "Big Oil" and "Big Green" Meet
June 28, 2011

With roughly 128,000 fossil fuel economy jobs in recent Census records, metropolitan Houston has the nation’s largest regional workforce in the fossil fuels industries. Yet, it is becoming a leader in the clean economy. Glimpses of this can be seen in gradual shifts in infrastructure and consumption.