Category Archives: Politics

Links and Comments: Trump vs California; Rural America vs the big cities

Here’s another. Paul Krugman, Sept. 20th: Trump Declares War on California. Subtitled: “It’s a liberal state, so it must be punished.” I’m on a number of right-wing mailing lists, and I try to at least skim what they’re going on … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Fear and Playing Dirty

Two items from about a month ago, both from The New York Times. Why Republicans Play Dirty. Subtitled: “They fear that if they stick to the rules, they will lose everything. Their behavior is a threat to democratic stability.” The … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Petty Rage; EO Wilson; Rutger Bregman; Conservative Causes; Zealots

Paul Krugman’s March 11 column, The Power of Petty Personal Rage discusses incidents about plastic straws, hamburgers, and Captain Marvel. The point is that demented anger is a significant factor in modern American political life — and overwhelmingly on one … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Scientific Humanism; the Socialist Menace; Border Crisis

Michael Shermer’s final Scientific American column, in January, summarizes The Case for Scientific Humanism, a “blending of scientific naturalism and Enlightenment humanism,” echoing my own Provisional Conclusion #5: Modern science arose in the 16th and 17th centuries following the Scientific … Continue reading

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Lilla: THE ONCE AND FUTURE LIBERAL

THE ONCE AND FUTURE LIBERAL: After Identity Politics (Harper, 2017) is by Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia University, and is much more explicitly about politics than most books I read. (Because my concerns extend far outside the relatively narrow … Continue reading

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Gladstone: THE TROUBLE WITH REALITY

The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time (Workman, 2017) is by Brooke Gladstone, co-host of a syndicated radio program, “On the Media,” that I occasionally hear on my NPR station. The book is small, 91 … Continue reading

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Kakutani: THE DEATH OF TRUTH

Michiko Kakutani’s THE DEATH OF TRUTH: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump (Tim Duggan Books, 2018) is, remarkably, the first book by the long-time and influential book reviewer for the New York Times, now retired. It has extensive … Continue reading

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Levitan: NOT A SCIENTIST

Journalist Dave Levitan’s NOT A SCIENTIST: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science (Norton 2017) addresses a dozen or so kinds of mistakes that are typically behind any politician’s use of the phrase “I’m not a scientist, but…”, and … Continue reading

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Levitin: A FIELD GUIDE TO LIES

Daniel J. Levitin’s A FIELD GUIDE TO LIES: Critical Thinking in the Information Age (Dutton, 2016) is a nice complement to the book previously reviewed. Levitin an academic at UC Berkeley and has written three previous books, including This Is … Continue reading

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Hawking: BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS

This is the lightest Stephen Hawking book you are likely to read. Published posthumously, it’s a set of reminiscences on 10 big questions compiled and edited from various speeches, interviews, and essays in Hawking’s personal archives, “completed in collaboration with … Continue reading

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