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Turkish Generals and American Judges

On September 12, 58% of voters in a referendum approved changes in the constitution of Turkey which significantly reduced the power of the military—the staunchest supporter of the secularism which had from the beginning characterized the republic established  by Kemal Ataturk in 1923.  The outcome of the referendum is another victory for the AKP, the […]

The End of the Iraqi Government Impasse

The government formation stalemate in Iraq—well into its seventh month and counting—may at last be nearing an end. The next few weeks could seal a deal between rival electoral blocs that will produce the next national government. Two scenarios with very different outcomes appear to be jockeying for rail position in the race to produce […]

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Electric Car Industry Isn’t Going to Save Us

We all have our off days; Tom Friedman (a man I admire) had one last Sunday in a New York Times column calling for higher gas taxes and a crash program to build electric cars.  As usual, he’s worried about the right things and is even ahead of the curve.  The piece raises some serious […]

Three Cheers for Kansas

In 2004 Thomas Frank, a liberal journalist and writer, published a book entitled What’s the Matter with Kansas? He was trying to explain why some people, notably in Kansas, voted Republican in obvious defiance of reason and morality. In this exercise, of course, he reflected the worldview of a cultural elite confident of its superior […]

In the Footsteps of the Kaiser: China Boosts US Power in Asia

Is China the best friend of American power?Beijing’s recent missteps in Asia — moving ahead with reactor sales to troubled Pakistan and crudely threatening Japan over the arrest of a Chinese fishing captain — are swiftly solidifying America’s Asian alliances.  The new Japanese government came into office hoping to rebalance Japan’s foreign policy and reduce […]

Thoughts From a Country Mouse

It’s a little past midnight here in the rolling hunt country of Dutchess County where the Catskills guard the path of the Hudson down to the narrows at West Point.  The leaves are beginning to turn this high and this far north; the dry summer didn’t help, and even though the days can still be […]

How to Keep a Closed Community Closed

On September 3 The New York Times carried a story about a twenty-six-year old man being charged in Curryville, Missouri, with two sexual assaults on under-age girls and suspected of several more over a period of ten years. I am not clear why the Times found this event newsworthy. Because it did not involve a […]

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

First Things is a journal published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life in New York, founded by the late Catholic theologian Richard John Neuhaus and now edited by Joseph Bottum. At the end of every issue there is a section headed “While we’re at it”, containing various tidbits, some quite amusing, from the […]

Literary Saturday: Science Fiction is a Genre That Everyone Should Read

Something about blogging brings out my confessional side.  Already this week I’ve confessed my shameful love for Walmart; in one of my first posts I confessed my addiction to the $5 necktie.  Now I’m overwhelmed with the urge to share a dark, dirty literary secret: that I not only read science fiction, I love it, […]

A Postscript on Democracy and Ethnic Culture

After finishing the last post on Islamophobia in Europe an unexpected association occurred to me—I thought of an earlier post in which I discussed problems with democracy in Israel. In both cases there is a tension between democratic principles and the desire to preserve an ethnic culture. Of course there are significant differences between the […]

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Duterte Harry

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seems to be tightening his grip over the Senate, sidelining rivals opposed to his drug war.

Fuzzy Math

Riyadh says Saudi Aramco is worth $2 trillion. Analysts say it’s worth as little as $400 billion. Who’s right?

Dutch Election Watch

Whatever the outcome of the Dutch elections, Geert van Wilders has already shifted the public discourse, leading mainstream politicians to tack to the right on the EU and migration.

unions versus the public

The purple state push for public sector union reform is a good thing for taxpayers and quality of governance.

No Left Left

Your’s children’s socialism won’t look much like your grandparents’ socialism.

Things Fall Apart

What this means for the running of the Nigerian government and the health of Christian-Muslim politics in West Africa’s regional power remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t bode well.

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