Information’s dependence on advertising

Ezra Klein points out that in the 19th century the different newspapers were tied to and funded by political parties.  The news was slanted accordingly.  But then newspaper revenue switched to advertising. This led to a greater degree of objectivity–as well as blandness–since newspapers didn’t want to alienate any particular audience, the advertisers wanting to sell to everybody. After that interesting discussion, Klein segues into a larger discussion based on this observation: One of the most mind-bending facts of our… Read more

Our new military era

At the Pentagon last week President Obama announced the new defense budget, which will include some cuts and will also herald a new military strategy.  Briefly, the president declared that the last decade’s wars against Islamic radicals are over.  And we will be pulling troops out of Europe and re-positioning them to face China.   David Ignatius gives details: It was easy to miss the impact of Obama’s words: He was declaring that the era that began on Sept. 11,… Read more

A new kind of environmentalism

Classic environmentalism wants to restore things to their pristine condition, untouched by man.  But a new kind of environmentalism thinks that man should actively take the lead in steering “spaceship earth.” More and more environmentalists and scientists talk about the planet as a complex system, one that human beings must aggressively monitor, manage and sometimes reengineer. Kind of like a spaceship. This is a sharp departure from traditional “green” philosophy. The more orthodox way of viewing nature is as something… Read more

The CIA, patron of modern art

Frances Saunders reports in the British newspaper The Independent that modern art, particularly abstract expressionism, was funded by the C.I.A. as part of its covert war on communism. For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art – including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko – as a weapon in… Read more

Santorum’s philosophy of government

Michael Gerson on Rick Santorum’s brand of conservatism: Perhaps the most surprising result of the Iowa caucuses was the return of compassionate conservatism from the margins of the Republican stage to its center. Rick Santorum is not just an outspoken social conservative; he is the Republican candidate who addresses the struggles of blue-collar workers and the need for greater economic mobility. He talks not only of the rights of the individual but also of the health of social institutions, particularly… Read more

Government debt now greater than the whole economy

Factoid buried in a Washington Post graph caption: The federal debt of the United States — including debt owed to the public and to parts of the government itself, such as the Social Security Fund — climbed to $15.22 trillion on Dec. 30. That marked the first time since the 1940s that the national debt was larger than the American economy, as measured by the gross domestic product. Since Dec. 30, the debt has increased an additional $4 billion. via… Read more

The Captain Ahab of the primaries

Charles Krauthammer takes the prize for the best literary allusion in election analysis so far: Gingrich is staying in. This should be good news for Romney. It’s not. In his Iowa non-concession speech, Gingrich was seething. He could not conceal his fury with Paul and Romney for burying him in negative ads. After singling out Santorum for praise, Gingrich launched into them both, most especially Romney. Gingrich speaks of aligning himself with Santorum against Romney. For Newt’s campaign, this makes… Read more

Recess vs. pro forma sessions

Former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese on why, according to the Constitution, pro forma sessions in the Senate do not allow for recess appointments: As a former U.S. attorney general and a former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer who provided advice to presidents on recess appointment issues, we have defended and will continue to defend the lawful use of the recess appointment power. Although originally conceived by the Framers for a time when communicating with and summoning senators back to… Read more

Epiphanies

“Epiphany.  3  a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b : a revealing scene or moment” via Epiphany – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. And the essential nature and meaning, the grasp of reality through something simple and striking, the illuminating discovery, realization,… Read more

Conservative liberalism

Jerry Salyer at Front Porch Republic has written a stunning essay on “conservative liberalism”; that is, people who are conservatives while still embracing the assumptions of liberalism (for example, commercialism, progressivism, radical individualism).  Think of a church that claims conservative theology and values while throwing out all church traditions in an embrace of modern culture that contradicts its ostensible conservatism.  Or a conservative small town that replaces its historic downtown buildings with strip malls, in the name of economic progress. … Read more

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