University of Rochester

The famed historian, who died last month, began his career as a Marxist and finished it as a conservative Catholic.

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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.

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Libertarians and others from the right-ish side of the ideological spectrum have lately been building a compelling case against worrying about income inequality. Here's Will Wilkinson writing on Cato Unbound in October: As far as I can tell, when most people are worried about economic inequality, they’re usually worried about inequalities in real standards of living — in the real material conditions of life. Income plays a crucial role in this story, but it’s a supporting role.

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Dr. Know

For many years, the main alternative to bypass operations was the cardiac stent, a tiny mesh tube placed in the heart's arteries, where it supposedly protects against blockages. Doctors loved stents because they could put off cracking open someone's chest for a while, or forever, and because stents were much cheaper than surgery.

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Irrational Exuberance

During the early '80s, Harvard University's James Q. Wilson was a role model for the political science profession: a leading specialist in organizational behavior and public administration and a bona fide expert on urban affairs, crime policy, and government reform. The winner of his discipline's most prestigious awards, he wrote several books that today remain standards for the profession—from The Politics of Regulation to his widely used textbook, American Government: Institutions and Policies.

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Happy days

Popular opinion may still support him as against the outrageous Republican alternative, and may yet conceal ... a growing and substantial dissatisfaction because of the meager results that have followed his magnificent promises, and because of the confusion and lack of direction that his rapidly shifting and self-contradictory program embodies. --"Is Roosevelt Slipping?" TNR, August 14, 1935. As President Clinton prepares to become the first two-term Democrat since FDR, commentators on the left and the right are busy expressing skepticism about his achievement.

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Astaire Dancing: The Musical Films by W John Mueller (Knopf, 448 pp., $45) Sinatra: My Father By Nancy Sinatra (Doubleday, 340pp., $50) One mercy of living between 1930 and 1960, if you took notice, was the good fortune of having the show put on by Astaire and Frank Sinatra. Not that their worth erased in 1960, when they started to move toward saloon chairs, golf, and more humdrum ways of passing their tune.  You can still see The Gay Divorcee, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” from Blue Skies, or Silk Stockings; and you can listen to In the Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers, or Only the Lonely.

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