Lower Education
May 30, 2007

I am not a big fan of those surveys ranking restaurants, doctors, lawyers, hairdressers, beers, and ice creams. I don't think much more of the surveys ranking universities and research institutions either. But when the faculties of three British universities initiate a boycott of all of the universities of one whole nation--in this case, you guessed it, of Israel-- I begin to think: What are those universities, anyway?

Secret Plots
May 30, 2007

Over at Planet Gore, Henry Payne explains that "enviro-activists" are only talking up the dangers of carbon dioxide because other air pollution has been cleaned up over the years--no word on why that might be--and now the greens need a new boogeyman, since "their power relies on keeping the public spooked." (It's not always apparent, but "enviro-activists" are incredibly powerful people.) Fascinating.

On "10 Percent" Plans
May 29, 2007

by Sanford Levinson Much has been written over the past decade about "10%plans" as an alternative to the use of self-conscious racial- and ethnic-preferences. The term largely derives from a Texas law, passed in the aftermath of the Hopwood decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down UT's affirmative action program.

A Scientific Titan
May 25, 2007

Steven Weinberg, the Nobel prize-winning physicist and professor at the University of Texas, has changed his mind about participating in an Imperial College, London event honoring a fellow Nobel laureate, the Pakistani physicist Abdus Salam. This is according to the Guardian. Here is a titan. And against him are arrayed a tawdry band of other academics and also the National Union of Journalists who are all pledged to boycott Israeli products. Wow.

Shrum On Dean
May 23, 2007

Last bit of the day--there's no greater meaning to this, it's just kind of colorful: But for [Howard] Dean, Wisconsin was the last primary. The state's famously liberal Democratic electorate had dismissed him as irrelevant. Shortly after he withdrew and went home to Vermont, I had another glimpse of the cruel coldness of politics. Kerry called Dean's cell phone, got no answer, and left a message. When Dean called back, he apologized. He didn't have staff anymore; he was taking a nap, his cell phone had fallen under his bed, and he couldn't get to it in time. --Michael Crowley

Greatest Generation
May 21, 2007

Republican Duncan Hunter makes a bid for the '50s-nostalgia vote by kicking off a South Carolina bus tour--the "Right Stuff Express"--with General Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier in 1947 and who became the romantic ideal for swaggering pilots everywhere. On his website, read Yeager touting Hunter and his sweet new Caterpillar. --Eve Fairbanks

Overthrow King George!
May 20, 2007

There are a lot of "Impeach Bush" bumper stickers around Cambridge where I live. There is a web-site (, in case you want its quarter hour reports) that has my e-mail address and gives me all the good news about city councils and state Democratic parties calling for impeachment. I posted something on the Spine sometime ago about the state legislature of Vermont petitioning the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings, the only state legislature in the country to do so. Actually, the movement is not gaining much steam.

Diplomats And Double Standards
May 18, 2007

The New York Sun is a feisty newspaper. And, aside from a few columnists, it is a reliable newspaper. Today's paper features an editorial, "The Wolfowitz Standard," showing how common were arrangements in the U.N. and other oh, so ethical international institutions that look like nepotism or much worse. And here's something that is much worse. It appears that the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank have been complicit in helping diamond companies violate the Kimberley Process.

Stu Jackson's Midas Touch
May 16, 2007

Following up on Chris's obit for the NBA playoffs, let's take a closer look at the man who killed them: Stu Jackson, who makes Isiah Thomas look like an underachiever when it comes to failing upward. Jackson got his first job in the NBA due to a lucky break: he was working as an assistant coach to Rick Pitino at Providence College when Pitino was hired by the New York Knicks.

Military And Counterfactual History
May 15, 2007

by David A. Bell My recent TNR essay on military history--which itself grew out of a discussion on this blog last fall [starting five posts down the page]--seems to have touched a nerve of sorts. I cannot remember receiving so many interesting and thoughtful e-mails about a piece of writing. I doubt this was due to the piece itself, which was brief, but simply to the large public interest in military history, and the feeling that it is ignored in American universities. The mail has prompted some further thoughts.