Debunking the NYT’s Numbers on Contraception


You may have seen the New York Times's much shared infographic on contraception failure rates, and I'm here -- statistics cop badge in hand -- to tell you that it ain't necessarily so.  There are some huge methodological flaws in the way that the NYT chose to model the risk of unplanned pregnancy over ten years, and I'm explaining just how badly they went wrong at The American Conservative. The NYT generated these graphs by looking only at failure rates for contraception over one year, and then … [Read more...]

And a little child shall lead them (for the lack of anyone else) [Pope Francis Bookclub]


In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along. In this week's chapter, Pope Francis praises the way that David follows God during the chaos of Absalom's rebellion: David places his liberty at the service of God's designs and cooperates with God's desires.  In so doing, … [Read more...]

Justice Laid (Possibly Unlawfully) Bare


I'm reviewing Arguendo today at The American Interest, and explaining how this play about a Supreme Court case deciding whether stripping was First Amendment protected speech winds up painting SCOTUS in a romantic and heroic light.The justices begin on a plinth that resembles the actual Supreme Court (set design by David Zinn), but shortly after the arguments begin, they send their wheeled chairs zooming down ramps to the main part of the stage. For the rest of the play they scoot around, co … [Read more...]

Nice Guys and Casual Dates [Sequence Index]


In the Fall, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of... friendzoning?  In September 2014, several other bloggers and I wound up in a dialogue about friendship, romance, and the very rickety bridge that connects them. We talked about the why of the frustration behind, "But I'm a Nice Guy!" (not to mention the frustration that girls feel when they get hit by that phrase) and the societal shifts that may make it a lot harder to date and discern marriage."Why is it easier to ask out s … [Read more...]

The Loves We Need From Other People

Friends mutually supporting each other

Apropos of our discussion of friendship, romance, and the very confusing boundaries and barriers between the two, I wanted to share this excerpt from Wesley Hill's Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.  In this part of the book (in the section titled "The End of Loneliness"), Hill is listening to a professor speak about a queer woman who was trying to figure out how (or if!) to sublimate her love and desires for women into love of God. In her desire for o … [Read more...]

To Mary Through Henry Adams


It's been a week of Marian feasts.  Yesterday was the feast of Mary's name and this past Monday was the feast of her birth.  I lucked into doing extremely thematic reading for the week, since this is when I finally got around to reading the copy of Henry Adams's Mont-Saint-Michel and Chatres that I had on my kindle.Adams (descended from the presidential Adamses) is also the author of The Education of Henry Adams, which was my favorite part of the curriculum of the "Political Philosophy as Edu … [Read more...]

7QT: Brutalism and Book Covers


--- 1 --- This Grantland profile of water parks is (as far as I can remember) the most exhilarating thing I've read this summer.  Lots of fun mechanical details about how slides and rides are built, both in terms of literal mechanics and in terms of the way they shape a park experience.  Plus, the people profiled are, well, a bunch of characters. At first glance, George Millay was an unlikely man to invent a slacker’s paradise. He was ex-Navy, a staunch conservative, a reactionary. “A lot of us … [Read more...]