To bigotry no sanction

Brad DeLong linked to this post from Cogitamus celebrating George Washington's 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I. I hadn't read this before, partly, I suppose, due to some parochial Baptist fixation on Thomas Jefferson's 1802 Letter to the Danbury Baptists that kept me from reading any other correspondence between early presidents and [Read More...]

Meritocratic Utopia

I'm proud to report that our team at the Worthiness Bureau has completed the first step toward a more just world. Meritocratic utopia is now just around the corner. We have devised a new, perfect, authoritative metric for human worth: the Human Worthiness Algorithm. Our formula is, of course, proprietary and thus must be kept [Read More...]

Live-blogging the Black Death

I'm going to take the risk here of recommending a book I'm only a third of the way through: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, by Barbara Tuchman. It's a fascinating tour through a fascinating time and the sort of book that might make you decide Tuchman is your second-favorite history writer. I say [Read More...]


A segment on NPR yesterday had me going back to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From Birmingham Jail." What an astonishing and rich document that is. The epistle of Martin to the churches that are in Alabama is inspired and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness. Which may explain [Read More...]

Too hot to blog

It's way too hot out for sustained thoughts, so here are a handful of unsustained ones … Russell Moore is dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. For now, he is, anyway. Southern's president, Al Mohler, has a history of purging professors who stray from his conservative party [Read More...]

Song on the End of the World

Czeslaw Milosz would have turned 99 years old today. Song on the End of the World On the day the world ends A bee circles a clover, A Fisherman mends a glimmering net. Happy porpoises jump in the sea, By the rainspout young sparrows are playing And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always [Read More...]

Question & Answers

Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones reads a new study by British economist James Rockey and finds his some of his conclusions "perplexing." Rockey writes: It would seem that the better educated, if anything, are less accurate in how they perceive their ideology. Higher levels of education are associated with being less likely to believe oneself [Read More...]

Well, no, not really

Taegan Goddard reports: President Obama has relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his command over remarks made to Rolling Stone magazine. Well, no, not really. Gen. Stanley McChrystal lost his command because he had lost the map. Those remarks showed that he seemed to think he outranked the democratically elected civilian government it was his job [Read More...]