Wednesday, July 20th, 2022
The virtues involved in being a good driver —the mix of independence and cooperation, knowledge and responsibility — really are virtues well suited to citizenship in a sprawling and diverse republic.
Ross Douthat, “What Driving Means for America” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times
Friday, February 11th, 2022
Radical Protestantism leads the pilgrim from the “howling wilderness” and the “enchanted ground” of the Old World and leads him to the Canaan of the spirit. The question is addressed to, and answered by, the individual pilgrim. The Jew is born into the people of Israel; the Christian seeks adoption into the Israel of the Spirit. American Christianity retains the radical individualism of its Protestant forebears, who chose as individuals to become Americans. We have become Americans by adoption, and we have adopted the history of Israel as our national common memory. A profound parallelism is involved. The biblical Election of Israel was not a prize that God awarded to an unlikely nation of shepherds, but rather the outcome of Israel’s free choice to accept the Torah and the responsibility of election. It is our free choice to become Americans that is the cornerstone of our culture.
Monday, February 7th, 2022
Christian Whiton likes Singapore and I very much like Christian Whiton:
As the Year of the Tiger begins, no one talks about Asian tiger economies anymore. But the potential is there. Despite some obligatory nonsense about climate change, this is after all a region still dependent upon making things. Much of the oil consumed in the Pacific Rim passes Singapore through the Malacca Strait—more than 16 million barrels per day by the middle of the last decade. Mining, energy development, forestry, and shipping are big business in Indonesia. Joining finance and telecom, the tech industry is accreting in Singapore, aided by the need to move servers and software development out of China for security and legal reasons. That raises the risk of importing California culture, but hopefully the government will cane any executives who deliver annual reports or product launches wearing black t-shirts.
Thursday, December 2nd, 2021
My Israel, Our Generation
Never have I come across a book quite like Einat Wilf’s 2007 My Israel, Our Generation in that I think it could only be produced by an Israeli.
She speaks to the fellow citizens of her generation presumptuously and familiarly like we are sitting around a living room; and she has her finger firmly on their — our, as I am one of the cohort — strengths and weaknesses, articulating the dynamic between the personal and the national at a particular moment in history. I hope writers in other nations might be inspired to produce something similar for their national generation.
No need for me to reiterate here Wilf’s intellectual pedigree — it’s always in her bio. I was led to this book after I watched her give a remote talk recently as she wrapped up a year at Georgetown and was just bowled over both by her positions and by her cogency, how she spoke answering questions in just the same manner as she gave her presentation, with the same steady unhesitating pace and fulsome complete sentences. Not to mention that I am in utter agreement with her every point on every matter. In fact I went and reread my recent Arab Insanity Eroding to see how she stated similar conclusions better.
But foreign policy is not the subject of this book, rather, it’s an exploration of the mindset of the 3rd generation of Israelis, where they feel lost and abandoned by their predecessors the 1st and 2nd generations, the builders and the fighters. I think by the end of the book she has subtly provided a role for we the 3rd: critique, with a view to ideational battle-tested consolidation (interestingly, I don’t think for a moment she looks to the Biblical patriarchs to see the respective roles of the first, second and third generations in founding a nation).
Since this outing she has not written much of book length, and I think my next read will be what appears to pick up where she left off: Mike Prashker’s A Place for Us All, written a decade later, which seems to explore the consolidating part.
Sunday, May 16th, 2021
Writing in TidBITS, Glenn Fleishman gives us 13 AirTag tracking scenarios.
Saturday, May 8th, 2021
This Dutch fellow tracked the mailing of an AirTag to his own home. It travelled 120km just go to 500m. Next he’s going to send one to Norway.
Thursday, April 22nd, 2021
MacStories does an AirTag review roundup.
Sunday, April 11th, 2021
Friday, April 3rd, 2020
Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life
Nusseibeh’s central thesis (well, secondary thesis, the primary implicit one being that the Palestinian people should all along have appointed both his Dad and then him their oh-so-reluctant leaders) I too have felt almost in my bones: that Israelis and Palestinians are natural allies. Or, more accurately, that there’s a natural affinity which will enable us to be powerful allies if and when we ever get over our admittedly fundamental conflict.
Friday, October 18th, 2019
Dore Gold primes us on why Israel must retain the Jordan Valley. Like the Golan, it’s not only about strategic depth but also strategic height. When driving down the magnificent road along the Dead Sea from Jerusalem to Ein Bokek, I would often loftily complain that one wouldn’t know one has exited Israel proper as there are no signs, just a little roadblock upon entering Ein Bokek (and a much more significant one upon reentering Jerusalem near the city limits). Whenever there’s no sign, it’s a sign that the State has deemed this land integral yet history has not yet ripened sufficiently for declaring it so.
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
Latitudinal psychology? “Like happiness, [individualism and creativity] trend higher as one moves away from the equator.”
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
This Gates Foundation presentation on global inequality is clear, straightforward, well-written, nicely illustrated with animated graphs, and surely worth the time of anyone who can access it.
Sunday, May 26th, 2019
Goodbye, Judith Kerr, goodbye!
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
Friday, May 11th, 2018
“The Moment” is an occasional column/blog by novelist Amit Chaudhuri in The Paris Review.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A review of the new disenchantment with our overly-enchanting digital lives by one Arianna Huffington of all people.
Monday, December 4th, 2017
On the EconTalk podcast recorded recently on stage in New York, Simeon Djankov speaks to the global Doing Business Report that he produces annually at the World Bank. This is world-improving stuff by dint of managed competition. It would be cool to see a a canonical BPMN version of each process.
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Now that it’s over, time to tell the neo-medievalists: hurricanes are not new to Florida. Nicely researched and written piece by a chagrined resident.
Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
From Dore Gold’s JCPA: The Jews are among the oldest of indigenous peoples.
Friday, July 7th, 2017
What Cuba is like now, after the thawing with the United States. J. S. Tennant in The White Review.
Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
Good point, yes. If under Trump it’s between the symbol of a U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem or the reality of continued building throughout the city—as it may well come down to—then the choice is clear, writes Nadav Shragai.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
Ian Buruma on Brussels. I found it a pretty exciting city so when I saw this article I jumped on it (plus I vaguely remember being impressed by something else this fellow wrote) and it’s pretty sweeping and fun.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars; it’s where the rich use public transportation.
Petro Gustavo, Mayor of Bogota
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
An inviting tour of the Hebrew writer’s oeuvre as Shai Agnon is translated into English. [via aldaily.com]
Monday, July 11th, 2016
These small things—nutrition, locality, climate, recreation, the entire casuistry of selfishness—are inconceivably more important than everything that has hitherto been considered important.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo
Thursday, July 7th, 2016
There can only be religion where there is a desert country.
Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography
Thursday, February 4th, 2016
Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
If you were troubled by the song persuading Ariel to remain under the sea, here’s why.
Monday, January 5th, 2015
0n the 70s forty years later: “The depression can seem not like confinement but a kind of freedom; the aimlessness can seem like spaciousness, a shambling kind of grace.”
Friday, March 28th, 2014
Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous. The dawn is my Assyria; the sun-set and moon-rise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Friday, March 8th, 2013
Considering how central it is for Londoners, Why is the Tube so underrepresented in stories? The writer suggests that, like sex and prayer, and unlike on the street, any human significance down there is internal.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
On Google Glass:
What happens in Vegas stays… at Google.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
“Cheese-surrendering eating-monkeys” — apologies for giving away the most brilliant line, but Mark Steyn is back on form. I’d stopped reading because his doom and gloom about Europe just didn’t jibe with the reality I see living here. But here he expresses my misgivings just brilliantly: Americans are in many important ways less free than Europeans.
Sunday, July 1st, 2012
Mercer’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2012. Most expensive: Tokyo. London is #25, Tel Aviv #31, New York #33, and Rome #42.
Exhaustive and wonderful list of what Alli Magidsohn expects to miss upon leaving Israel after 7 years, published by the impressive David Horowitz’s new The Times of Israel. (Not so sure about “the ferocity of celebration here” though, at least among the non-religious.)
Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
Sunday, February 19th, 2012
Hayarkon Park will spread into Bnei Brak. Good news.
Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Video tribute to Brighton shot as a series of stills.
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
More vital than ever is the city, argues Edward Glaeser.
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
Friday, November 18th, 2011
Friday, October 14th, 2011
Designs to replace Britain’s electricity pylons.
Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Vivid, loving portrait of the beach at Brighton that gets in some of my own favorites, like Jack and Linda’s Smokehouse.
Monday, May 16th, 2011
All good things come to those who wait (and spend $250m). The iconic Hiriya garbage dump is set to become Ariel Sharon Park.
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Michael Totten reposts his masterly visit to Tripoli in light of Libya’s pending liberation.
Friday, January 21st, 2011
The great Kobi Oz on his development as an artist.
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
My goodness: a long juicy New Yorker piece on David Grossman.
Saturday, July 24th, 2010
A graduate moves to India for work. That ain’t America.
Monday, April 19th, 2010
The Strong Horse: Power, Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations
A rich mixture of travelogue, history and policy pamphlet that is ultimately more of the former than the latter, it casts itself as a critique of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, but isn’t really. Rather, it’s a diving in. A lively and exciting diving in. I did want it to be longer than it is.