In an earlier posting on Open University, I suggested that we have, as a society, strange, even bizarre, attitudes toward risk. That is, as is well known, we overestimate the risks of certain events, sometime to the point of panic, even as we underestimate others, to our severe detriment.
August 25, 2007
The export trade of China is in a shambles. Not proportionally, of course. Still...could the most rapacious of capitalisms have been worse? It's not just that the guy whose company had been black-balled by Mattel for coating its toys with toxic paint had committed hari-kiri. No, no, that's a Japanese guilt ritual. Anyway: Mattel has turned back at least 18.2 million toys. Including some of my grandson's favorites: Thomas the truck. Or is it Thomas the tank? I think, actually, that it's Thomas the engine.
The Wapo's Romney Drive-by
August 24, 2007
I realize I'm coming to this a little late, but it's egregious enough to weigh in on anyway: Like Marc Ambinder, I thought yesterday's Washington Post front-pager on Mitt Romney's continued abortion flip-flopping was pretty unfair. The premise of the piece is that Romney has made contradictory statements about his abortion stance over the last few weeks. On August 6, Romney told George Stephanopoulos that he supports the so-called human life amendment to the Constitution. Then, a few days ago, Romney told Nevada political commentator Jon Ralston that he'd like to see Roe v.
A Less Cheery Dispatch From The Uae, For Once
August 23, 2007
I saw Jason DeParle's byline over a New York Times dispatch from Dubai. Jason, who started his career at The New Republic is a correspondent not given to cheery subjects. So when I saw his name matched with the dateline I knew something serious was afoot.
I Hate New York!
August 21, 2007
Fred Thompson has posted a blog item on his (non-) campaign website decrying an "attack by New York City on the Second Amendment" by "the same activist federal judge from Brooklyn who provided Mayor Giuliani's administration with the legal ruling it sought to sue gun makers." Meanwhile, as Jason noted, Mitt Romney's new radio ad bashes "cities like Newark, San Francisco and New York City that adopt sanctuary policies" for illegal immigrants. A lot of media folk say Rudy has no shot at the GOP nomination. But his rivals don't seem to feel that way! --Michael Crowley
Is Romney Really A Homer?
August 21, 2007
Over at Swampland, Karen Tumulty notes that although Cambridge, MA, was one of the first "sanctuary cities," Mitt Romney fails to mention it along with Newark, New York, and San Francisco in his new immigration radio ad. Tumulty's implication is that Romney's being hypocritical by not mentioning a sanctuary city in his own backyard.
August 17, 2007
A secret correspondent of mine has just passed on her reflections on the behavior of an immensely distinguished academic press when its coffers were threatened by a Saudi financial bully who was a little antsy about his monetary links (and that of others) to Islamic terrorism. Contrast the difference between the American approach and timorous Europeans (including Brits). Namely, Cambridge University Press has just pulped the entire edition of its 2006 book by two respected writers on Saudi financing of terrorism, because it was intimidated by legal action of Saudi financier bin Mahfouz.
The Times On Thompson
August 15, 2007
Is it me, or does this NYT frontpager on Fred Thompson's "stealth campaign" read like it was written three months ago--or, better yet, written by Thompson himself? Yeah, yeah, he's got a good website and it's great that NBC can run his "Law & Order" re-runs without having to worry about other candidates demanding equal time.
Blood On The Track
August 14, 2007
The New York Times, reflecting on the recent day Eliot Spitzer spent at the racetrack, reveals that the New York governor comes by his NASCAR fandom honestly: Ever since he married his North Carolina-born wife, whose brother is a top engineer at Hendrick Motorsports, one of Nascar's top teams, Mr. Spitzer has followed stock car racing, and has made Jeff Gordon, a Hendrick driver, his favorite. Here's the problem, though.
August 14, 2007
"All the vulgar issues of life were a matter of indifference to this lofty soul, to whom nothing had yet afforded a profound emotion."--Stendhal, "The Rose and The Green" (tr. Richard Howard) Only weeks after the first complete human genome, that of the great bio-chemist James Watson, was posted on the internet, we are getting reports of theories of transformation influenced by wondrous confidence in genetic determinism.