April 20, 2012

Did you know this blog had an RSS feed? Me neither! If you squint at this blog's Ben Shahn-esque logo (not the one on the home page, but the one on the blog itself) you will find, in the top left corner, an RSS logo that looks like an orange dreidel. Here it is magnified 1000 times (or thereabouts): Click on that and it will take you to my RSS feed. The URL is: feed://  While I'm sharing such personal info, my Twitter feed is timothynoah1. My Facebook page is here. My author Web page is The "Articles" section now has an RSS feed to my blog!

The War on [Insert Noun]: The Uses and Misuses of Martial Rhetoric
April 19, 2012

In case you weren’t convinced that we’ve reached the campaign’s silly season, the War on Dogs has arrived to erase all doubt. It started with Democrats poking fun at Mitt Romney’s dog-on-car incident. The Daily Caller retaliated earlier this week with a post “uncovering” the “shocking” “news” that Barack Obama once ate dog meat as a child (an event he had mentioned in his memoir). The battle moved to a new front when Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom alluded on Twitter to Obama’s dog-eating. And thus began the War on Dogs, just the latest of the innumerable wars waged this election cycle.

How a New Clip of Anne Frank’s Life Brings Us Closer To Her Death
April 18, 2012

The video lasts all of twenty seconds. We see the doorway of a nondescript apartment building, several stories high, and neighbors above peering curiously down. A newlywed couple proceed down the steps: The groom wears a top hat and formal suit, the bride carries a lavish bouquet. The camera pans up, and there she is, leaning out of a second-floor balcony, instantly recognizable. It’s Anne Frank: Her mop of thick dark hair, her angular features. She looks down at the bride and groom—she turns her head to call to someone inside—she looks out again.

Does Media Cynicism Matter? A Retort
April 16, 2012

Congratulations to Elspeth Reeve who, writing at Atlantic Online, became, as far as I can tell, the first person to lampoon my upset over the false outrage that blew up around Democratic talking head Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney having never "worked a day in her life." Writing with a wizened cynicism impressive for her relative youth, Reeve argues that, contra my lament about days lost to inanity, the explosions of faux umbrage and Twitter-fed media hysteria around episodes like the daylong outbreak of the Mommy Wars come at little cost.

My True Outrage About False Umbrage
April 12, 2012

For those of you who were doing something more valuable with your Wednesday night than monitoring Twitter—like, say, clipping your toenails or watching the Home Shopping Network—let me report that the explosion over Democratic talking head Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney on CNN was quite something to behold.

Chuck Grassley Says Obama Is Stupid. Compared With. . . ?
April 09, 2012

Noted intellectual and Twitter phenomenon Chuck Grassley has found himself in a bit of a dust-up after calling President Obama “stupid” in a tweet over the weekend. The Republican Senator was referring to Obama’s comments about healthcare reform and the Supreme Court, but his rudeness raises a bigger question: When it comes to brains, how does the president stack up against his predecessors? A survey of presidential scholars gives some insight. In a survey of 238 experts conducted by Siena College, Obama was ranked eighth among all presidents in the intelligence category.

Jeffrey Toobin’s Big Week
April 02, 2012

There are two ways to explain the early onset of liberal panic over last week’s health care hearings at the Supreme Court. In the first, Solicitor General Don Verrilli turned in an unexpectedly weak performance during last Tuesday's oral arguments, flubbing tough questions from the court’s skeptical swing votes.

Global Cities’ Success Isn’t A Zero-Sum Game
March 30, 2012

Two of the country’s best-known urban thinkers have a discussion underway at Atlantic Cities and New Geography about changes in the urban hierarchy brought along by globalization. It paints a picture of globalization as a zero-sum game in which one city’s growth comes at the expense—at least relatively—of another’s. They suggest that peaks—concentrated centers of population and prosperity—get higher while valleys—economic left-behinds—get lower. Global competition certainly can sap a region’s assumed strengths and lead to periodic even multiple decade long population decline if a transition in

Why Trayvon Martin’s Death Has Sparked a Call For Dignity
March 27, 2012

On Wednesday morning when I was checking the Occupy Wall Street website, I saw the announcement: “1,000,000 HOODIE MARCH FOR TRAYVON MARTIN,” over a photograph of a black teenage boy wearing a light-colored sweatshirt with a hood.

The Thought Police
March 14, 2012

Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom WorldwideBy Paul Marshall and Nina Shea (Oxford University Press, 448 pp., $35) I.