Daily Office:



Junk: For me, the political problems attending the Beijing Olympics have taken second place to the terrible air pollution that has bedeviled the city ever since — well, I don’t know for how long, but certainly since the easing of economic constraints in the 1980s. How would you like to run a mile in this?*


What’s the Worst That Could Happen?: Want to know why I have trouble getting to sleep? Worrying about doofuses who ask the referenced question. Because the worst that could happen is often catastrophe, the question is not a very intelligent one. Adam Brown reports, at Cracked.  


Faculty: Here’s an interesting article in the Times — if you know what I mean by interesting — that appraises Barack Obama’s career as a law school professor (actually he was a “senior lecturer”).

Morning, cont’d

§ Junk. Jim Yardley’s story, “In Beijing, Blue Skies Prove Hard To Achieve,” suggests that the city’s best efforts are going to have to be bested somehow. Here’s hoping we get lucky, and a providential breeze blows all that smog away.

Meanwhile, Houstonians can be proud of having the lowest recycling rate of the nation’s thirty largest cities. “Houston Resists Recycling, and Independent Streak Is Cited.” Independence? Don’t be daft. It’s the synergy of Gulf Coast lassitude and Sun Belt sprawl.

Noon, cont’d

§ Worst. Mr Brown’s writing is droll, but the piece still brought on one of those awful Idiocracy moments — flashes of uncertainty, that is, about whether the dystopia rolled out in Mike Judge’s film hasn’t already come to pass.

And while we’re talking about little switches, I just discovered that the privacy options for this Web log have been set to block search engines. How clever was that? Just shoot me….

Night, cont’d

§ Faculty. I’m very disinclined to characterize Jodi Kantor’s report with a juicy quote. It is one of the most subtle, nuanced, wink/nudge pieces that I have read about the candidate. Bottom line: Mr Obama did his job vis-à-vis students but was not a collegial faculty member. Pas de schmooze. 

Oh, all right, here’s one very interesting tidbit:

Nor could his views be gleaned from scholarship; Mr. Obama has never published any. He was too busy, but also, Mr. Epstein believes, he was unwilling to put his name to anything that could haunt him politically, as Ms. Guinier’s writings had hurt her. “He figured out, you lay low,” Mr. Epstein said.

I’ve always thought that an instinct for laying low is what prevented Mr Obama from stepping up and denouncing the Bush Administration for its complicity in the good ole boys’ program of ethnic cleansing for New Orleans, after Katrina. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d quote myself. I disapproved of his prudence. May he still get to the White House!

* The elegant photo, by Jason Lee, suggests a collaboration between filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni, no?

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