October 31, 2020

  In late August, I drove from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Maine with my younger son. A baby seal was on my mind while we drove, which had been left to fend and forage for itself only weeks following its birth. Prior to leaving Washington state, I’d been watching it for about 10 days and become quite invested in its struggle to survive (about 40 percent of baby seals do not). The road trip was a surreal window into our… Read more

October 30, 2020

But the federal courts have always been the big play for Republicans, and an obvious play when one considers the role of constitutional jurisprudence in mediating political conflict and the fact that federal judges are appointed for life. The 11th-hour confirmation of right-wing Catholic “originalist” Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat vacated by the passing of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg represents the crowning achievement of this effort, to install the Republican Party version of Hitler’s Thousand-Year Reich. Supreme… Read more

July 28, 2020

The Secret Mission is the title of my weekly Substack Newsletter. This is the 3rd issue. If you like the newsletter, feel free to sign up to receive it by email. I publish it every Monday at 7:00 pm ET. It is free! If we accept the premise of the New York Times Magazine 1619 Project (which I do), that slavery and anti-black racism are at the center of the American historical experience, we must also accept the complexity of the enduring legacies… Read more

July 22, 2020

The Secret Mission is the title of my weekly Substack Newsletter. This is the 2nd issue. If you like the newsletter, feel free to sign up to receive it by email. I publish it every Monday at 7:00 pm ET. It is free! Contents Random Bites Calvin’s Ghost (#8): Ripped Balloon (Fiction) The Divinity of Data (Essay) Is “Anti-Racism” by Definition Self-Defeating? The Case of Princeton University (Note) Alt-Right Obsessions: Lord of the Rings (Note) Inklings Random Bites   President… Read more

July 7, 2020

In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo descending into one of the darker moments of his soul when he cannot shake Gollum–when, indeed, he imagines (presciently) that Gollum will haunt and harry him to the fiery chasms of Mount Doom–seeks counsel from Gandalf, and Gandalf tells Frodo that paths into the future do not run along straight tracks, they wind indifferently, with a dense air of mystery, into bramble and swamp alike, through darkness and light alike. We cannot fathom… Read more

July 6, 2020

Sometimes writing connects us to the world. Sometimes writing helps us to escape from the world. And sometimes writing simply brings the weight of the world down upon us. In the last few weeks, the weight of the world threatened to crush me whenever I urged myself to write. So instead I built Inkling. Inkling is a news portal. It contains hundreds of customized, curated news feeds and thousands of stories. And it is fully automated. There are currently 10… Read more

June 16, 2020

In this essay, I investigate the fragility of post-war liberal institutions and belief structures as bulwarks against the legal conservative onslaught. I locate these failings in liberalism’s “cosmological emptiness.” First published in The Descent of Man Substack newsletter. We are moving backward in time. And then moving forward. The tide receding to disclose its diverse cabinet of rocks, shells, weeds, and pools, its scurrying characters of all manner. The tide receding and then advancing. I introduced the Creation Project portion of… Read more

June 15, 2020

This essay recalls how an essay I wrote in 2013 about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia alerted me to the deeper structures and dynamics of the modern American conservative movement. First published in The Descent of Man Substack newsletter. At the tail end of 2012, I sold a small online legal news and research company I had founded a decade before to legal data purveyor LexisNexis. Grudgingly, I assumed my new identity as a subaltern at this large company. Lexis… Read more

June 14, 2020

This essay emphasizes how neo-Thomist Natural Law moral philosophy animates and defines the political and legal philosophy of Attorney General William Barr and his Federalist Society associates. First published in The Descent of Man Substack newsletter. Read more

February 13, 2020

Like many/most Americans, I loathe Donald Trump. I loathe him on his worst day, and I loathe him on his best. He is a bad person and the people who surround him and support him – in his family, in the White House, in the Republican Party, in the right-wing think tanks and political action committees – are also bad people. I loathe Trump and believe he is bad, not because of anything he has done or said in his… Read more




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