Daily Office:
Tuesday, 26 October 2010


¶ Having concluded that, when it comes to their own economic self-interest, Tea Party Americans are as deluded as the madwoman of Sunset Boulevard, Chris Lehmann is appalled to find a liberatarian professor at George Mason (where else) who argues that income inequality is “good.” (The Awl)


¶ When a trouble-making director brings a Handel opera to China, you can be sure that he won’t leave well-enough alone. That’s why there are censors. Andrew Jacobs reports in the Times.


¶ In a recent study, small businessmen in the Dominican Republic were divided into two groups. The first received accounting instruction. The second group was given a collection of rules of thumb (“write everything down,” and the like). The second group’s performance improved, while the first’s remained flat. This oughtn’t to be a surprise. We don’t want the best advice available; we want the best advice that we can actually use, given our lives as they are. As Barbara Kiviat concludes, it wouldn’t be hard to provide Americans with straightforward guidelines of roughly universal utility. (Felix Salmon)


¶ We’re appalled to find that anyone doubts the dangers of BPA, especially where children are concenred. At the very least, doubts about its safety ought to preclude its use as a container for foodstuffs. David Melzer and Tamara Galloway file a somewhat querulous opinion piece. (New Scientist)


¶ The blogging world came to standstill yesterday, when it was revealed that Alex Balk, one of the founders of The Awl, never gives interviews. (It was not mentioned whether or not he has ever been asked.) The reason, it turns out, is national security.


¶ In what amounts to a chapbook primer, Robert Reich explains the character difference between Republicans and Democrats — and why a sense of hopefulness is essential to the latters’ advance.


¶ At Brainiac, Josh Rothman gives Helen Vendler’s annotation of 150 Emily Dickinson poems top marks, adding that ” the graduate seminars I took with Vendler were among the best intellectual experiences of my life” — something that we’ve heard before. Vendler is truly one of the great teachers, and Dickinson is, at least on some days, our best poet.


¶ We’re beginning to hope that Nicholas Carr’s book about the anxiety of connectivity will encourage people to use the Internet with greater self-awareness — and less hand-waving about how its cascades of information are dulling our thought processes. Emily St John Mandel has made a first small step. (The Millions)

Have A Look

¶ Very, very salty advice to President Obama and to Democrats. All it needs is a bit of backup rhythm. Gaga! (3 Quarks Daily)

¶ Ezra Klein shares a Britannica page: why it takes two cents to make one. (Washington Post; via The Morning News)

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