JAMES WATT

What the NYT Missed About Mitt's Hair
November 25, 2011

I don't know how the New York Times can run an entire Page One story about Mitt Romney's hair--some would end the sentence right there, but not me, I'm actually interested in Romney's hair--without mentioning Edwin Jones. It's like running a story about the invention of the steam engine without mentioning James Watt, or about the start of World War One without mentioning Archduke Franz Ferdinand, or about the causes of the 2008 financial crisis without mentioning subprime mortgages.  The New York Times Co.

The Usefulness of Cranks
September 30, 2009

Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery By Steve Nicholls (University of Chicago Press, 524 pp., $30) American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau Edited by Bill McKibben (Library of America, 1,047 pp., $40) Defending The Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, And The Legacy Of Madison Grant By Jonathan Peter Spiro (University of Vermont Press, 462 pp., $39.95) A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir By Donald Worster (Oxford University Press, 535 pp., $34.99) A Reenchanted World: The Quest for A New Kinship With Nature By James William Gibson (Metropolitan Books,

Coal Mines, Casinos, and Cocaine
December 16, 2008

If the news reports are accurate, Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado has been tapped by Barack Obama to head up the Department of Interior. Let's hope he knows what he's getting into. After the last eight years, the Interior Department has become fairly dysfunctional, and this may end up being one of the most difficult jobs in the Obama administration—not to mention one that gets remarkably little attention.  Looking back historically, the Interior Department has been a mess from the very beginning.

Right Reverent
March 25, 2002

It was during the summer of 2000 that Peggy Noonan’s adoration of George W. Bush began in earnest. The GOP candidate, she wrote in her Wall Street Journal column, “seems transparently a good person, a genuine fellow who isn’t hidden or crafty or sneaky or mean, a person of appropriate modesty.” Over the next year or so, she went on to call him “respectful, moderate, commonsensical, courteous,” and “a modest man of faith.” She has seen in him “dignity” and “a kind of joshy gravitas.” And this was before September 11. Since then, he has risen in her estimation.