Sunday, January 23, 2011


A round-up of news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our attention from this past week.

David Harsanyi of the Denver Post: Hey, let's not get all freaked out about China.

Gawker TV has a round up of the 65 top videos of the week, here.

Included is what apparently what broad swaths of the East and Midwest are doing for entertainment and their high school physical science classes.

On the 50th anniversary of the event, E.J. Dionne fondly remembers JFK's inaugural speech:

And Kennedy advisers Harris Wofford and Louis Martin won the insertion of six words and helped change history.

In the original draft, Kennedy declared that the new generation for which he spoke was “unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today.”

To which Wofford and Martin got Kennedy to add, “at home and around the world,” thus marrying the struggle for freedom abroad with the cause of domestic civil rights. There would be no turning back.

Perhaps I should acknowledge that I fell in love with this speech when I was young, purchasing a long-playing record of Kennedy addresses for 99 cents at the supermarket and listening to it over and over after Kennedy’s assassination.

You might say that I still hear its trumpet summoning us again. And when Kennedy said, “I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation,” I knew — millions of others felt this way too — that he was speaking for me.

David Brooks weighs in on the hot cultural topic du jour: Amy Chua is a wimp.

Her critics echoed the familiar themes. Her kids can’t possibly be happy or truly creative. They’ll grow up skilled and compliant but without the audacity to be great. She’s destroying their love for music. There’s a reason Asian-American women between the ages of 15 and 24 have such high suicide rates.

I have the opposite problem with Chua. I believe she’s coddling her children. She’s protecting them from the most intellectually demanding activities because she doesn’t understand what’s cognitively difficult and what isn’t.

Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls. Managing status rivalries, negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group — these and other social tests impose cognitive demands that blow away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale.

A little bit more on China: saw this article and the closing paragraph addressing human rights in China.

And China typically defines human rights in terms of improvements in quality of life such as higher incomes and better living conditions, rather than civil liberties such as freedom of speech that define such values in the West.

We don't think it's coincidence that the American and international left view human rights in a very similar fashion as China, though they more often refer to it as "social justice".

The Pardonater's shameful exit interview:

Arnold Schwarzenegger is pulling no punches in his first formal interview since leaving office, claiming that the highest office in the state left him “addicted” to its power.

In a recent sit-down the former governor granted to the Austrian newspaper Krone, Schwarzenegger estimates that his seven years as governor cost him about $200 million – $70 million of that in lost movie roles.

Schwarzenegger also laments the fact that Hollywood salaries have dropped since he left the business.

He said his abysmal popularity rankings were “just a snapshot” and that “they would have rocketed to the top” had he not been forced out of office by term limits.

Nowhere in the transcripts from the interview posted on the newspaper’s website did Schwarzenegger face any questions about alleged favoritism in his decision to grant clemency to the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.
Too bad he wasn't addicted to competence as well. Pathetic.

We hesitated even providing a link to this guy's article as it was that atrocious but in the interest of, you know, fairness and context somebody named Joe Lambiet provided his take on the Tucson shooting with this particular insight with respect to the political leanings of Gabby Gifford's surgeon's parents:

Ironically: Among their favorites are some of the very people whose controversial rhetoric and campaigns are said to provide fertile ground for Jared Loughner who allegedly injured Giffords and killed six others in Tucson.
(italics, ours)

"... are said..."?

Nothing like a firm stand on journalistic integrity, huh?

Congratulations, Joe. It's still way early but you have established yourself as a front-runner in BwD's absolute worst column of the year contest.

B-Daddy has a nice round-up of what has been a very busy first two weeks for the 112th Congress, here.

And finally, the most e-mailed 'New York Times' article ever:

It’s a week before the biggest day of her life, and Anna Williams is multitasking. While waiting to hear back from the Ivy League colleges she’s hoping to attend, the seventeen-year-old senior at one of Manhattan’s most exclusive private schools is doing research for a paper about organic farming in the West Bank, whipping up a batch of vegan brownies, and, like an increasing number of American teenagers, teaching her dog to use an iPad.

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