And if Scotland’s seats were removed from the Westminster parliament, the...– Save us! (Ashley has more.)
It is also striking to observe that virtually all of the Muslim deaths were the...– Walt
I predicted weeks ago that the result of the strategy review would be a decision...– Lynch, bang on the money
Instead, Iraqis treat their Constitution — like the benchmarks — the way they...– Steven Lee Myers
Yes when voters are unhappy it’s something the opposition party [can]...– Atrios on deficits
Officials of one allied nation who have been extensively briefed on the...– NYT. How long will be the British ‘while’? As long, I suppose, as our relationship is special.
Note on lust
Johann Hari has a necessary column about the treatment (and conduct) of boylove by eminent adult males. (I’ve discussed Bennett elsewhere.) Despite the heading I don’t think it is dark enough: I think that in striving for sympathy it shortcircuits empathy. It does not, that is, admit enough of the Id. Hari’s tentative case is that men abuse (or touch and snuggle, in fantasy or...
‘Practised ease’ is very nasty, and it’s hard to imagine anything more...– Michael Wood
couplet after Hill
Light through or behind clouds – filtered, occluded, bare – wet-sand-ochery, salt gold, umber there.
we’re just hoping we can ignore our way out of it,– CB
Note on climate
Only climate scientists know enough about climate science to say with confidence whether claims that derive from it are true or false. Therefore I (for example) cannot say that global warming is true, only that a majority of climate scientists think so. While it seems likely, I don’t know and I haven’t felt able definitively to judge they are right. And since I would say with great...
What surprises is how easily people capitulate when they come because the...– Western official
There’s nothing McChrystal’s non-Pashto speaking soldiers can say or...– Escobar again. It’s amazing how cheaply western discourse summarises the unassimilable for its bipolar template
In 2009 alone, more than two million Pashtuns have been forced to become...– Asia Times
skilful management cannot resolve Karzai’s main dilemma: any bargain he strikes...– Alex de Waal
Richer than absolutes, we should take solace in true inevitabilities. We waste too much playing them down. The one eliciting coldest awe: There will be a concluded history of man. Barring interplanetary or interstellar expedition — granting hard limits to the capability of the technology we create — which both we may well bar, and well grant — to humanity’s history there is an inevitable...
What Obama seems to have discovered is that this is no longer the war that began...– Hertzberg
How Prose Works
Violent accidents perforate the narratives, —James Wood Let’s see, can’t have ‘punctuate’, that’s a cliché and Martin’s got a war on against those, how about – wait – where do we find punctuation? Paper. And what are all the other little black dots we find on paper called? Which look like full stops. Like holes punched through, at points. P – pate – p –...
Humility is a virtue in context of others' vanity:...
To quote Bill Moyers
But once again we’re fighting in remote provinces against an enemy who can bleed us slowly and wait us out, because he will still be there when we are gone. Once again, we are caught between warring factions in a country where other foreign powers fail before us. Once again, every setback brings a call for more troops, although no one can say how long they will be there or what it means to...
But they know perfectly well we do not garland terrorism suspects nor honour...– An official
Note on winning
I’ve been worrying at this question. I think (yeah, it’s pretty well a priori): insurgencies like that of the Taliban are categorically difficult to win against, such that it is essential for politicians (and fair) clearly but not brazenly to redefine ‘victory’ in a campaign they will lose in the usual sense of loss. Conventional-war victories are actually surrenders –...
BPM’s criticism of his own thesis
I just finished for good 26 000 words about the reception of Geoffrey Hill that I hope to be published (in some form) and admired. When a writer makes a dent in you, a deep dent, you’ve got to feel it out, and this is that work. It took some time. But I think it has FLAWS GALORE. Its empirical, empiricist cheer reflects my own. In the cause of openness then I will recount here what I...
the mainstream media, which […] loves nothing more than a political...– MT
She also includes a single, dry 261-word passage on the September 11 attacks,...– FP
That day the weather bright enough I saw her falter Yet gone forever and only she and I remember, who hate each other
I usually quite like women– Brooker
There is no surprise to us any more, just relief, when things go wrong
Ministers assume the Sun gave the Conservative party support in return for...– Guardian
So all the old restraints are gone.– PK
Everyone keeps saying that America is not an empire, but our military finds...– Robert D Kaplan
In 2007, I watched a British patrol demolish a house with heavy machine guns,...– Burke
I came away convinced the war was failing and the claimed victories often hollow...– Beaumont
Afghanistan: Not giving up
All I know about this war is what reporters tell me. I don’t have expertise, I follow the news and the blogs. And when I, an observer with only my own scepticism to resort to, double-take the terms in which more knowledgeable writers are defending the war, they disintegrate with a queasy swiftness. Paddy Ashdown, for example, whom I quote below and according to Oliver Kamm ‘a figure...
Biden may be a wanker, but he isn’t Cheney.– Tom Ricks
The back burner is a game, and while the Diarists have various ideas about what...– Wesley Yang
Randall Munroe: Jim Holt: A few minutes later, he [Lévi-Strauss] was asked to give a little speech. He spoke extemporaneously, without notes, in a slow, stately voice. ‘Montaigne,’ he began, ‘said that aging diminishes us each day in a way that, when death finally arrives, it takes away only a quarter or half the man. But Montaigne only lived to be 59, so he could have no idea of the extreme...
The international limelight
If we are going to have a European President, there is a good case for having Blair rather than anyone else – and that is precisely why he won’t get it. For all his faults, Tony Blair is an Atlanticist, who understands the vital role of America in the world. He is instinctively a free-trader. He has earned such phenomenal sums from speaking to audiences of Right-wing Americans that we can...
First, failure or withdrawal would mean the certain fall of Pakistan. Pakistan...– How does Ashdown know this? Pakistan has an army of 600 000
whatever flowery kaleidoscope of overwrought...
that’s my dissertation
If you’ve ever been in an actually democratic medium, there’s like a...– Kaus
what we might have to look forward to in 2012, when the Republican Party may...– Taibbi
Due to the scarcity of helium-3 it was to be mined from the atmosphere of...– Wikipedia
In her 70s Rand found herself dying of lung cancer, after insisting that her...– Slate
a new breed of digitally enabled puritan
N. Cohen; well heard
I was eating all those Penguins. I couldn’t leave them. Blue followed yellow...– Russell Brand. Impressive if extempore