National Football League
October 19, 2009
The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb (W.W. Norton, 224 pp., $24.95) A certain amount of sensationalistic misinformation was circulated in the press last spring, here and in England, when word got out that R. Crumb had done an illustrated version of Genesis. Crumb was the leading innovative figure of the underground comics movement of the late 1960s and has enjoyed a devoted following ever since. His graphic work, always memorable, is often physically aggressive, raunchy, and sexually explicit.
October 12, 2009
Nobel reactions from around the web. What's more important for China's future: social or financial reforms? Daily Beast: Raleigh-Durham is America's smartest city. Is the dollar doomed? The ethnic split in the political donations of NFL players. Can network maps prevent the next financial crisis?
In Defense Of Rfk Stadium
August 17, 2009
Matt Yglesias is right that it would be absurd for the District of Columbia to build a new a stadium for the Redskins on the site where their old stadium, RFK, now sits. Since pro football stadiums go unused for most of the year, owing to the NFL's 16-game schedule, they don't help their surrounding neighborhoods in the same way baseball and basketball/hockey stadiums do. Better to do something else with the RFK site; Yglesias's sensible alternative plan for the site unexpectedly even includes a park! That said, I do think something was lost when the Redskins abandoned D.C.
Let Vick Play
July 25, 2009
I’m fed up with the anguished deliberations about whether former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who served 21 months in jail for promoting dog-fighting and killing, should be allowed to play pro football again. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has spent his adulthood as a pro football front office guy, is going to judge whether Vick is morally fit to put on a helmet and pads and risk life and limb before thousands of screaming fans. I don’t condone breeding dogs to kill each other.
May 19, 2008
As the Iraq war grinds into its sixth year, policy-makers in the U.S. would do well to remember the story of Phineas Gage. For those in need of a refresher, the 25-year-old construction foreman lost a hunk of his frontal lobe back in 1848 when a three-foot iron rod shot through his left cheekbone and out the top of his head. Miraculously, Gage could walk and talk again just minutes after the accident, staying conscious on the three-quarter-mile oxcart trek into town, where doctors patched his wounds and sent him on his merry way. But the tale didn’t end there.
The Fifth Columnist
January 24, 2008
This fall, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. launched a search for a new conservative columnist. It had been nearly three years since William Safire had retired from his weekly column in 2005, and Sulzberger’s initial replacement, libertarian John Tierney, lasted just 20 months before abandoning his column.
Misguided Angeleno Nfl Hatred
January 21, 2008
As a native of the city that boasts Southern California's only NFL franchise, I'm a bit puzzled by Kevin Drum's antipathy towards the league: [L]ike any sensible resident of the Los Angeles area in the post-Rams era, I hate the NFL with a burning passion. Local LA politics might not give us much to be proud of, but it does give us at least one reason to hold our heads high: our steadfast refusal to give an inch to the smarmy blackmailers of the NFL who, to a man, are convinced that every city in the country should shower them with riches for the privilege of hosting one of their teams.
Senate Judiciary Committee 1, Nfl 0
December 26, 2007
Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter have succeeded in their battle to get the NFL to show Saturday night's potentially historic (ugh, let's hope not) matchup between the Giants and the 15-0 Patriots on regular broadcast channels. The game was originally scheduled to be shown only on the much-derided NFL Network, which isn't included in most standard cable packages, but will now air on NBC and CBS. How did Congress manage this, while all the nation's big bad cable companies have huffed and puffed for two years and still haven't blown the NFL's house down?
The Survival Of The Fattest
March 19, 2007
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think By Brian Wansink (Bantam, 276 pp., $25) The idea of "the survival of the fittest" is one of the most powerful organizing principles in all of science. That simple idea, stated by Herbert Spencer on the basis of Charles Darwin's work and later endorsed by Darwin himself, captures the theory of evolution, the process of natural selection, and a host of associated notions. And yet the phrase can produce confusion.
The Reason for Everything
January 16, 2006
The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success By Rodney Stark (Random House, 304 pp., $25.95) "Had the followers of Jesus remained an obscure Jewish sect," concludes Rodney Stark in his new book, "most of you would not have learned to read and the rest of you would be reading from hand-copied scrolls." I had always known that Jesus Christ was a pretty important person, but I had not quite realized that were it not for him, there would be no one to buy Rodney Stark's books. Jesus, Stark goes on, is responsible for more than liberating us from scrolls; t