Liberal Disillusionment of ALL Democratic Presidents

Jon Chait is spot-on in this NY Mag piece.

"Did liberals really expect more? I didn't." And neither did I.


US Debt Accumated Per President

Tax and spend........ Republicans?


Decision Fatigue

This NYT piece on new research showing how increased decision making (even minor choices) can lead to a decrease in willpower to make further decisions. As a young lawyer, this explains a lot!



Amazing New Yorker article on how we "got" Bin Laden. Tale for the ages....


Zeppelin and Cormac McCarthy

(via Newk) Chuck Klosterman does a great post on Led Zeppelin - how they can be so ostentatious, yet so awesome.

(via Meals) An old Rolling Stone article by David Kushner about Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic views, mules, blue corn, life & death, and hanging out with particle physicists at the Santa Fe Institute.


'Anti-Urban' Policy Bias

(via VH1) David Leonhardt explains in the NYT why the early states - Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada - totally skew federal policy and the tenants of "one man, one vote." It turns out that a voter in one of the above states have 5x the weight of a Super Tuesday voter. Also, the focus on these states - smaller, more rural, older, etc. - skews federal policy on a range of issues.


Nothing Better for the Inside of a Man than the Outside of a Horse

(via Meals) Mother Jones has a good story on a program that allows inmates to train wild mustangs. A very cool program that touches also on the government's management and policies for mustang grazing in the West.


The "Consequentialist"

Ryan Lizza, one of my favorite political writers, has an expose in the New Yorker on Obama's foreign policy in light of the recent "Arab Awakening." It really draws out the friction between the realist and idealist factions in Obama's administration (and in Obama's own mind) and on Obama's somewhat strained and haphazard handling of Mubarek and Tunisia and Lybia.

Oh yeah - and this is the article where, the much decried on the right, "leading from behind" comes from.


Where the Buffalo Roam

(via Syd O) Mother Jones reports on American Prairie Foundation's efforts to restore thousands of acres in the de-populated plains back to Bison Range. The last half page describes the dilemma - and the contradictions - extremely thoughtfully.

Frank nods as he chews through a forkful of pasta. "I am absolutely in awe of the guy," he proclaims, shifting into enthusiast mode. "An older pioneer type who you don't see in the Berkshires. I am fascinated by that."

[ ]

I tell her about the view of the prairie from the top of a buffalo jump near the APF's base camp, where native hunters stampeded short-sighted bison off a sheer 150-foot cliff. The scene of waving grass, exposed riverbeds, and rolling green land below seemed iconic, like something drawn from the collective human unconscious, I add, as Deborah nods.

Part of the paradox of our appreciation of nature is that we put ourselves in the landscape even as we want to remove ourselves from it, I suggest. Out on the prairie, shadows of passing clouds move across the open spaces just as the landscape itself is shadowed by the human presence, light but always visible in the man-made scars on a nearby rock—perhaps recording a bison kill—or the outlines of a vanished corral.

Removing ranchers from the land to which they have given their lives is no less a deliberate and destructive human act than exterminating bison. An empty landscape that reminds us of the origins of our species is no less a reflection of human imagination and priorities than a ranch. The imagined past is the same as the imagined future. Both are figments of our imagination. The question is, which do we value more?

What would Roderick Nash say?

Boehner Caught in the Middle - for the foreseeable future

Heilemann describes how Boehner and is caught between a rock and the Tea Party on the budget standoff, and things aren't going to get better anytime soon.


Hipster Church

Christianity Today had a great article on "hipster churches" back in September - both the encouraging and the annoying aspects.



Scientology is Jacked Up

Last week's New Yorker has a very long - but very interesting story - about writer, Paul Haggis' resignation from Scientology. What a weird, but extremely corrosive and powerful, cult.


Halftime Adjustments

John Heilemann has a great profile in New York Magazine about all the shake-ups in Obama's white house, his readjustments, his boosted numbers, etc. ... including how Obama wrote the key (and most memorable) parts of the Tuscon speech.

Think You Know What the Founders Thought of Gov't Sponsored Health Care....

....Think again. Read this interesting post in Forbes about the bill John Adams signed in 1798 whereby the government mandated that certain citizens have health insurance. It's not exactly apples to apples, but it's enough to show that the original tea partiers weren't as crazy as the current tea partiers.


Lockheed Martin as Big Brother

Guernica has a good article about how Lockheed has its fingers in the entire gov't and is all over your private life.


As If I Needed Any More Reality Checks

This is old news to me (and a source of a continuing headache). Kids should think long and hard about whether law school is really worth the investment.


Hickenlooper Profiled in the NYT

"The John Hickenlooper Exception" runs in the NYT Magazine, profiling his unorthodox manner and rise to governor.


White House Year in Photos

White House photographer Pete Souza's favorites from this year. Some wonderful frames.


Landslide Harry

I've never really liked Harry Reid ... but maybe that's because I never (like most Americans) really knew anything about him. This Esquire piece is a great background on his life and demeanor.


The North Star President

Obama's press conference last week, announcing his much derived tax-cut deal with republicans ended on a massive note. This Daily Beast article sums it up. Essentially Obama took to task idealists on both sides and made the case for long view ("north star") goals that allow for short term concessions. And - brilliantly - he reminds us that our union was built on compromise .... and that he couldn't have "walked through the front door" at the nation's inception.

I was really moved, even though I thought that he should have made the GOP explicitly and publicly fight for the rich. But he reminded me I'm not President ...

Watch - starting at 26:00 - here.


If Productivity Has Been Rising - Who's Benefiting?

(via Syd O) Check out Charles Hugh Smith's post on Baumol's Disease and productivity. It's a tour de force describing how productivity over the last quarter century has actually increased the debt, rising cost of education and service sector salaries, rising health care costs, corporate profits, and income disparity. Check it out.


The Christian Argument for Vegetarianism

I found this Pauline argument for a meat taboo based on global warming to be very convincing (unfortunately, because I love meat). Take a read. The author was a friend's Ph.D adviser at Durham University, England.