Eight Pieces, Really One: Iran, Israel's Military Doctrine, The President And One Dumb Jewish Woman, The Wages of Copenhagen, The Christmas Terrorist, We Should All Stop Talking About The Middle East
December 26, 2009
Jews usually go out to the movies on Christmas ... and then they go out to eat "Chinese." I've spent it writing. Below is my harvest. I wish you all good cheer. Here are the motifs of my writing day. Alas, none of them cheery. 1. THE REAL GRIM REAPER: HOLY DAY VICTIMS IN IRAQ AND PAKISTAN 2. COLD COMMON SENSE ABOUT IRAN FROM, MIRABILI DICTU, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" 3. A WISE EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTER: "WE SHOULD SHUT UP ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST" 4. A SOBER "TIMES" PIECE ON ISRAELI MILITARY DOCTRINE 5.
December 16, 2009
In the popular imagination, the United States and Europe are assumed to be radically opposing poles--"Mars" and "Venus"--on issues such as market regulation, public education, social policy, health care, crime, and the environment. But is that really the case? The numbers would suggest otherwise. My book, The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike, presents quantifiable data on a wide array of social conditions on each side of the Atlantic.
Will Anyone Buy Electric Cars? Ask The Danes.
December 02, 2009
This is certainly one way to entice people into plug-in vehicles: Perhaps the main reason to think electric cars might have a shot in Denmark is their remarkable tax advantage. The country imposes a punitive tax of about 200 percent on new cars, so a vehicle that would cost $20,000 in the United States costs $60,000 here. For a quarter-century, electric cars have been exempt from that tax.
Road Trains Of The Future
November 13, 2009
Via Tom Lawasky, the E.U.'s now testing out "road trains" in Britain, Spain, and Sweden as a way to make long-distance car travel more enjoyable. And what, pray tell, are road trains? Here's how a road train works: the convoy is controlled by a lead vehicle with a professional driver at the helm--one day, this is where all Formula 1 retirees will end up. The other cars communicate with the leader to join and leave the train when they want, thanks to wireless sensors and their existing sat nav systems.
November 10, 2009
Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West By Christopher Caldwell (Doubleday, 422 pp., $30) As its subtitle makes clear, this is a book about immigration, Islam, and the West. But at the same time this is also a book about a particular moral culture, a set of attitudes, habits, and beliefs that has developed in Western Europe over the past sixty years. There isn’t a good shorthand way to describe this moral culture. Sometimes it is called “political correctness,” though politics as such does not define it.
On the Social Status of Swedish Doctors
October 01, 2009
Just a quick coda to my earlier post about the debate Megan McArdle and I had over Obamacare and doctor shortages. At one point in our back-and-forth (about 2:35 in) Megan claimed that people would choose not to become doctors if salaries started to fall post-health care reform.
The Stockholm Syndrome
September 18, 2009
When Zvi Mazel was summoned to the Swedish Foreign Ministry back in January 2004, he knew he was in trouble. As Israel’s top diplomat in Stockholm, the 64-year-old had just done something markedly undiplomatic--not exactly rare for Israeli envoys. No, he hadn’t remarked upon the “yellow skin and slanted eyes” of Asians. No, he hadn’t taken part in a child-pornography ring.
A Letter From a Swedish Friend On the Blood Libel
September 01, 2009
“Well, it is blood libel isn't it? Of the most horrendous sort. It is also odd. Aftonbladet is a tabloid owned by the Social Democrats (I can't quite remember how, via a union perhaps, or trust). They have usually been quite pro-Israel. And traditionally in Sweden, while there was a huge degree of racialist nonsense in the interwar period, it was not directed towards the (800-odd) Jews. I know because I read the literature for an academic article I wrote.
If Mary Robinson is entitled to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Swedes are certainly entitled to refabricate one of the great libels in European history. The very leftist Aftonbladet, the most popular evening tabloid in Sweden, has published a story, "They Plunder the Organs of Our Sons," accusing the Israel Defense Forces of seizing Palestinian young men and then returning them to their families without crucial and transferrable parts. (The two stories in Ha'aretz unveiling this vile piece of journalism are here and here.) Mrs.
The Trouble With Negative Interest Rates
July 17, 2009
As you might remember, Sweden's Riksbank is now charging a negative interest rate (-0.25%) on excess reserves. But Scott Fullwiler thinks that this won't have the intended effect of moving cash into circulation: Instead of providing an incentive for banks to lend, banks instead will have an incentive to rid their balance sheets of reserve balances. ...