The Netherlands

Why The World Cup Has Been Crap So Far
June 16, 2010

Alex takes on the important question of why the World Cup has been crap so far. Or, if you want to stick to a proposition that's not debatable, why we've seen so few goals -- just 23 in 14 games, a clear drop-off from previous Cups. I agree it would have been better to have had Croatia for Slovenia, the Czechs for Slovakia, the Russians for Greece, and anyone for Denmark -- whose utter lack of anything resembling goal-scoring ambition against Holland I had the misfortune to watch live Monday.

The Wrong Teams
June 15, 2010

"Why," asks a friend, "is this World Cup so rubbish?" At least, he says, "Italia 90 had a good sound track going for it." And it's true: Pavarotti is better than the Vuvuzelas. But is this tournament a disappointment so far? I'm not convinced it has been. True, there's not been too much spectacular football—though Germany and Argentina have had more than their share of moments—but did anyone really expect much from, say, France? Or England? And wasn't Italy-Paraguay always likely to be a tactical affair?

When Every Day Is Bike to Work Day
May 19, 2010

This Friday is Bike to Work Day in which bicycle commuters and their one-day companions get free coffee and other refreshments at various pit stops around their cities and regions. Seemingly in anticipation, this video from the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands has been making the rounds of the series of tubes in recent days. This is what a 33 percent mode share for bicycle commuters looks like.

Jeremiah, American-Style
April 30, 2010

Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch By Eric Miller (Eerdmans, 394 pp., $32) In a moving tribute to Christopher Lasch written shortly after his death in 1994, Dale Vree, a Catholic convert and the editor of the New Oxford Review, wrote that “Calvinism was his true theological inspiration.” Lasch was certainly not one of the faithful.

Gone South
April 29, 2010

These are obviously dark days for the Roman Catholic Church. For over a decade, the U.S. church has been assailed by abuse charges and devastated by the resulting litigation. The Vatican used to console itself with the belief that this was a peculiarly American crisis, but, this year, similar abuse cases have arisen all over Europe—most agonizingly in Ireland, one of the world's most faithfully Catholic countries. Across the continent, bishops are facing demands to resign, while critics are urging Pope Benedict himself to consider standing down.

THE PICTURE: Time in Milwaukee
March 31, 2010

Richard and Erna Flagg were married in Frankfurt, Germany in 1932. Richard was Jewish, the son of a wealthy businessman. Erna was Protestant; her father, Bernhard Zubrod, was an architect. I had not heard of the Flaggs until a couple of years ago, when I first visited the Milwaukee Art Museum, and found myself lingering over a display of sixteenth and seventeenth-century clocks, fantastically intricate creations, which the Flaggs gave to the museum in the early 1990s.

High Speed Rail: A Social Cohesion Strategy for the U.S.?
March 09, 2010

When President Obama unveiled his budget allocation for high-speed rail, he said, “In France, high-speed rail has pulled regions from isolation, ignited growth [and], remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations.” His remarks emphasize how high-speed rail is increasing the accessibility of isolated places as an argument for similarly investments.

No Hire Power
February 24, 2010

The latest unemployment statistics show a much worse story than had been previously accepted. The Obama administration is now projecting that the unemployment rate will average 10 percent this year, 9 percent in 2011, and more than 8 percent in 2012. It is not projected to get back to a more normal rate until 2016. The severity of the problem would easily justify another stimulus package as large or larger than the one passed last year. Instead, it looks like we are going to get a $15 billion jobs package based on a proposal from Senators Charles Schumer and Orrin Hatch.

Why Is The British Press So Sloppy On Climate Issues?
February 15, 2010

If you're looking for a careful breakdown of the various allegations against the IPCC that have been swirling around over the past few weeks, then check out this RealClimate post. At this point, it seems like the only glaring error that's been uncovered in the IPCC's climate reports is that statement about Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035—a goof, yes, though hardly anything that's fatal to the broader body of climate research.

Let Europe Mind Its Own Business. It Brings Nothing To The Table Save For Mischief.
February 12, 2010

Europe is a mess. Greece is the country on the continent closest to utter wreck. (And, if not for statements yesterday by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, there would literally be no hope for a life raft anywhere near Athens soon. This morning's FT smothers even those wan hopes.) Spain, Portugal and Ireland are not far behind ... or under. Each of these countries has views on how Israel deals with the Palestinians, and they don't like it at all. Neither do the past and present "foreign ministers"—so to speak, but not exactly—of the European Union.

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