For season 2 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen each weekday I juxtapose book excerpts with a selection of the previous day’s headlines and noteworthy excerpts. The goal is to make fresh connections between the events of the day and the bigger picture of humanity’s place in the universe. Each day also starts with highlighting the contributions of an important writer.
These two years working with you have been an incalculable joy. I’ve cherished the opportunity to know you and come to understand your vision for PJ Media. You’ve been such a light in so many ways. In corresponding with the writers I edit and talking with other New Media colleagues, I find myself continually coming back to the themes you’ve written and editorial guidance you’ve given me.
Today, in attempting to motivate others to learn from you, I want to share the advice you gave me that now pops into my head every time I sit down at the keyboard: Do not overwrite. It’s a sign of insecurity.
From you and the glorious book you recommended, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, a new challenge emerged. I understand now, after my years drowning in blogosphere bloviations, that to write less is the mark of the advanced writer. Make the point in as few words as possible.
The more one feels a need to go on and on the more one reveals how unsure they are of their argument. One chooses to expend hundreds of words to argue a point or tell a story because one feels it is necessary. But the truth is that often the same argument made in 400 words is more effective than 2000 words.
The other side of the focused writing regimen is also the degree one chooses to respect his reader. One of the most liberating things you once told me when I first started and was adjusting my style, was that PJ’s audience was much smarter than average. In justifying your preference for focused, to-the-point articles and blog posts you described our readers: “They get it.”
A position to take when writing is to assume that your reader doesn’t need everything handed to them. The reader is generally smarter than we give them credit for. With this attitude in mind we can focus on the heart of whatever subject we’re writing, and deliver the most focused argument possible. Your columns embody models of these principles and I encourage everyone to read them regularly, catch up on those they may have missed, and pay particular attention to your important writings on the much-worse-than-Watergate of our time, Benghazi…
My sincere appreciations,
Today’s and the previous three writers in my writing round-ups — Roger L. Simon, Roger Kimball, Andrew Klavan, and Michael Walsh — constitute my literary core of contemporary writing influences. I argue that their literary styles and cultural focuses should act as a foundation for the next generation of Freedom-minded creative writers.
The next group of PJ columnists I’ll introduce will be three writers who most inform my understanding of history. Following that I’ll name the 8 PJ columnists and editors I regard as the most creative team of New Media innovators working today…
Thursday Morning Book Reading
From page 203 of volume 1 of Schrodinger’s Cat trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson:
Tuesday and Wednesday News Round Up
Lead PJM Stories
A pogrom against Christians — torching Churches and killing believers — is perfectly consistent with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic supremacist ideology. But there are many despicable things, consistent with that ideology, that are not on display at the moment. By contrast, the Brothers and their sympathizers are very consciously and very publicly besieging Christians due to a key tactical calculation: In Egypt, framing a dispute as “Islam v. the Enemies of Islam” works.
The pogrom tells us more about Egypt than it does about the Brotherhood. It is convenient to make the Brothers into the all-purpose villain here, and to comfort ourselves in the notion that if they could be defeated our problems would be solved. But doing so misses the main point: the Muslim Brotherhood is a product of Egypt’s Islamic supremacist culture, not the other way around. The Brothers are an effect, not a cause.
Have you seen the other news coming out of Egypt the last few days? For all the blather about how the armed forces were responding to “the will of the people” in ousting Morsi, polling now shows that only 26 percent of Egyptians support the military coup, with a whopping 63 percent against it. This reaffirms what I contend in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy — Egypt is a substantially Islamic supremacist country, a fact the mainstream media is obscuring by myopically focusing on the quarter of the population that is not. (As Egypt has a population of 84 million, and its decidedly minority secular elements tend to live in the cities, it is an easy thing for the media to make about 20 million people look like a groundswell.)
New at PJ Lifestyle on Tuesday and Wednesday
New at PJ Tatler on Tuesday and Wednesday
Some days I don’t even have the passion to rant against this devious administration anymore. Or the media, which keeps giving it pass after pass. Suffice it to say that if any Republican administration sought this particular authority, at the same time as it’s evidently having journalists’ docu-mules whisked off airplanes outside the US for 9-hour interrogations in basements and destroying computers at newspaper offices, well, it would be Armageddon on the evening news. Dan Rather would get himself back on the CBS Evening News just so he could set himself on fire in protest.
But it’s Obama the Lightworker authoring the end of privacy on a global scale, so it’s cool. Nothing to worry about. Look, puppy!
This Navigator system is one of the messiest parts of this hot mess thus far (and that’s saying a lot). They are set to go to work soon yet none of them have been hired or trained yet. And the guidelines for for keeping the private information private aren’t really in place. Think “TSA but giving your financials a pat-down”.
Manning got people killed, and betrayed the trust that the military had placed in him. During the trial, his defense team tried to argue that he was nuts because he pulled a Klinger. He’ll serve at least two-thirds of his sentence. That’s not nearly enough time in jail, given the magnitude of his crimes.
The facts of the case do not support any gun control measure short of full confiscation of all firearms in the United States. All three of the accused are underage, so firearm ownership is illegal for them in most circumstances. They cannot legally purchase a firearm without assistance from someone over the age of 18. The shotgun that was recovered from the car that the boys used had its serial numbers filed off, which is a felony. Current gun laws against possession of guns by minors, and against filing off serial numbers, did not stop the boys from doing either one, just as laws against gang activity did not stop the boys from self-identifying with the Crips gang. Laws against murder did not stop them from murdering.
Did “bored” teen James Edwards learn about crime from his mother? Edwards is the 15-year-old apparent gang member accused of shooting Australian baseball player Chris Lane in the back last Friday. He appeared in court Tuesday and reportedly made a mockery of the proceedings.
A search on Mugshots.com turns up one Brenda M. Edwards, 50, of Stephens County, Oklahoma. I called the Stephens County district attorney’s office today and confirmed that Brenda M. Edwards is James Edwards’ mother.
Also Around the Web Tuesday and Wednesday
At News Aggregators
A Department of Homeland Security employee who works on, among other things, the procurement of guns and ammunition for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, spends his nights and weekends preparing for a coming race war and advocating for anti-gay causes, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Meet Ayo Kimathi, a.k.a. “the Irritated Genie,” who told his bosses at the DHS that his anti-white, anti-gay site, “War is on the Horizon,” was just an entertainment site that sells concert and lecture videos.
You see, DHS employees, even those with office jobs like Kimathi’s, have to get outside activities approved by their supervisors, according to the SPLC. Kimathi’s former supervisor told the watchdog group, which tracks hate speech and groups in the U.S., that despite her former employee’s banal description of his extracurricular activities, the actual content of the site left her “stunned.” She continued: “To see the hate, to know that he is a federal employee, it bothered me.” She added that had Kimathi’s site been accurately described to the agency, there’s no way the DHS would have signed off on it.
Left of Center News and Opinion Sources on Tuesday and Wednesday:
Any hopes, fears or predictions for the presidential elections in 2016?
As a registered Democrat, I am praying for a credible presidential candidate to emerge from the younger tier of politicians in their late 40s. A governor with executive experience would be ideal. It’s time to put my baby-boom generation out to pasture! We’ve had our day and managed to muck up a hell of a lot. It remains baffling how anyone would think that Hillary Clinton (born the same year as me) is our party’s best chance. She has more sooty baggage than a 90-car freight train. And what exactly has she ever accomplished — beyond bullishly covering for her philandering husband? She’s certainly busy, busy and ever on the move — with the tunnel-vision workaholism of someone trying to blot out uncomfortable private thoughts.
I for one think it was a very big deal that our ambassador was murdered in Benghazi. In saying “I take responsibility” for it as secretary of state, Hillary should have resigned immediately. The weak response by the Obama administration to that tragedy has given a huge opening to Republicans in the next presidential election. The impression has been amply given that Benghazi was treated as a public relations matter to massage rather than as the major and outrageous attack on the U.S. that it was.
Throughout history, ambassadors have always been symbolic incarnations of the sovereignty of their nations and the dignity of their leaders. It’s even a key motif in “King Lear.” As far as I’m concerned, Hillary disqualified herself for the presidency in that fist-pounding moment at a congressional hearing when she said, “What difference does it make what we knew and when we knew it, Senator?” Democrats have got to shake off the Clinton albatross and find new blood. The escalating instability not just in Egypt but throughout the Mideast is very ominous. There is a clash of cultures brewing in the world that may take a century or more to resolve — and there is no guarantee that the secular West will win.
At the Atlantic Wire:
At The Daily Beast:
At 35, Talia Braude left her job at a high-end architecture firm in Manhattan to be her own boss.
At 38, she bought a vial of sperm, via the California Cryobank, from a guy with blue eyes who is an avowed atheist.
At 39, she became a single mom.
Talia and her baby boy, now 10 weeks old, live in a fourth-floor walkup with a cat named Jini, in a Brooklyn brownstone she renovated with her business partner. As her own boss, she doesn’t exactly get paid maternity leave, so she went back to work pretty quickly, her sister helping out with the baby before a part-time sitter was hired. In a few weeks, the baby will go to day care.
If this isn’t the life Talia dreamed of back when she was 23, dating men she thought she might one day settle down with, then it’s a pretty f**king good alternative.
“It’s been great,” she told me recently over dinner. “My social life is better than ever. The baby sleeps, he never cries, I’m enjoying working, I’m enjoying everything more.”
We were at a restaurant in Park Slope, and Talia had walked there from her house in Bed-Stuy, pushing baby Rian in a stroller—that’s a 4.6-mile walk, if you’re curious. We ate, we drank wine, and at the end of the night, she hopped on a subway home, carrying Rian and about 15 pounds of gear.
Right of Center News and Opinion Sources:
At National Review:
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the vice president’s inner circle is swabbing the decks, battening down the hatches, and hoisting the mainsails for USS Bidenpalooza 2016. “Everyone involved in his world,” a Democratic official told the Journal, “is engaged in taking all the steps that make sense to prepare for a run, if he does run.” Biden’s people are apparently willing to go for it even if the allegedly inevitable nominee, Hillary Clinton, decides to run.
Why is this happening?
It’s a difficult question to boil down to a single variable, given the swirling maelstrom of egos, agendas, and issues at play.
Yet online, we’re going further than just responding “sensibly” to unkindness; we’re too often the ones promoting it, via sharing stories on social media. People who would never insult a person they had met in person seem careless to hurts they can cause by attacking those who they haven’t met.
At the Daily Mail:
Monday Evening Book Reading
A tremendously moving passage about the stealth practice of the Christian faith in a Communist dictatorship. Ion Mihai Pacepa, a truly gifted writer and heroic man, page 113 of Red Horizons:
Thursday News Round Up
Lead PJM Stories
Our president dithered at the outset of this war, when he might have done some good, and has continued to dither vis-a-vis Syria’s patron Iran, which is exponentially more dangerous as nuclear weapons are to chemicals.
As of now that dithering continues, our government is awaiting the proposals, or lack thereof, of new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who is known to have participated in the 1994 Buenos Aires Jewish community center terror bombing that killed 85.
In other words again, our government awaits policy changes from a mass murderer.
But not to worry, we are assured Rouhani is a “moderate,” just as we were once assured Bashar Assad, a medical doctor, would moderate the policies of his murderous father Hafez. Actually, he doubled down on them. Or quintupled down. Or something.
If he is responsible for the Ghouta gassings, he’s left his father far behind and is moving into Pol Pot territory.
And if he’s not, if the Syrian resistance, or whatever they’re called, is responsible for this horror show, it’s no better. The moral is the same. Anyone who allows weapons of mass destruction into the hands of anyone in that part of the world is out of his bloomin’ mind.
PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page
New at PJ Lifestyle on Thursday
New at PJ Tatler on Thursday
Also Around the Web Thursday
At News Aggregators
Now’s efforts to gratify progressives’ wildest fantasies, the ones they only allow themselves to verbalize in the most forgiving company, is admirable. You have to be impressed with Now‘s unashamed insularity. While the liberal pep talk isn’t what it used to be, it probably does not get any better than this show.
Left of Center News and Opinion Sources
It’s also delicious. As with the rest of the DLT series, the slightly odd mouthfeel of Doritos blends quite nicely with the equally odd mouthfeel of Taco Bell ground beef. But with the Fiery DLT you really get heat. This is one spicy taco shell. The spicy shell plays brilliantly off the cool blandness of the shredded iceberg lettuce that tops the taco, and is wonderfully complemented by the fatty goodness of the cheese. The beef adds some heft and protein. You’re left with a Fiery Doritos aftertaste that’s quite pleasant and the urge for another bite. It’s an extremely well-balanced dish, and at a $1.49 price point at the location I visited you really can’t beat it.
Yglesias should switch to writing about food instead of economics and politics.
At the Atlantic Wire:
What a massively lame rebuttal attempt. I’m hardly a devotee of the “10,000 Hours” Rule from Outliers or Gladwell himself but the bigger point — practice your craft a lot and eventually you can attain mastery — is valuable and true. A sports author tried to rebut Gladwell’s thesis by claiming that genes were more dominant for high speed runners and jumpers. Gladwell’s rebuttal: he’s comparing apples to oranges. Devoting 10,000 hours to complex mental tasks is not the same as 10,000 hours to running in a straight line or jumping really high.
At The Nation:
So we’ll march. We’ll march for jobs but where do you line up for the march for leisure?
The last time US labor unions marched for that, it was for the eight-hour day, after the depression of 1884. Their banners called for “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what we will.”
The “what we will” part seems to have fallen off the map in the 1930s—and we’ve had no reductions in work hours since, Duke Professor Kathi Weeks told GRITtv in an interview this week.
Right of Center News and Opinion Sources:
At Breitbart News:
At National Review:
For most former executive-branch appointees, this is the good life. Paid speeches, prestigious op-ed placements, a TV contract, and a think-tank fellowship — not bad for a 64-year-old former diplomat, a onetime power broker now out of power. “I like to say that I don’t have one job, but several,” Bolton tells me with a quick chuckle, quite aware of his plum perch. “I write, I speak, and I practice law.” As Mark Leibovich observes in his book This Town, such amorphous employment is the ultimate sign of clout in the capital. “You know you’ve made it in D.C.,” he writes, “when someone says that ‘it isn’t clear what he does’ about you.”
But this life, this plush political winter, isn’t enough for Bolton, who’s best known for his controversial tenure at Turtle Bay during George W. Bush’s administration. He wants to be president of the United States, or, at the very least, a provocative contender for the Republican nomination in 2016. “My hypothesis is that voters are practical and they care more about national security than the media seems to believe; I think, right now, especially after two terms of President Obama, they want a president who has the know-how to lead during a crisis, a president who can defend our national interests,” he says.
When I mention that such a bid, however well intentioned, would be fraught with difficulty, Bolton immediately acknowledges that the idea of a run sounds fanciful — even to his wife and daughter, who have expressed their own reservations. “It’d maybe be a little unorthodox,” he admits. And until now, he has kept quiet about his brewing plan, so as not to invite scorn from his critics until he gets his political shop up and running. But these days, he thinks about it nearly daily, and the prospect excites him more than any other project has since his time at the U.N. Soon enough, he says, he’ll be talking more about it at rubber-chicken dinners, so now’s as fitting a time as any to be more candid.
Yes, please. John Bolton obliterating Rand Paul in a foreign policy debate sounds very, very good to me…
Moving ahead, Bolton is expecting two things: Conservatives who have long cheered him may be turned off by some of his social views, and the national political press will likely be divided between hostility and indifference. “I have the advantage or disadvantage of having never run before, and I speak in longer sentences than you find on Twitter,” he says. “But that’s part of my hypothesis. People are ready for something with more depth.” On domestic issues, he says, he’s a self-proclaimed “libertarian,” which he knows will jar people who think he’s interested in running purely to irk Senator Rand Paul, another likely 2016 candidate and Bolton’s ideological opposite on foreign policy. “My argument is that you can’t protect your liberties at home unless we are protected internationally,” he says. “I think that argument can have currency across the Republican spectrum.”
To the extent that there is some form of gun control involved, there is a crucial difference: the police are seeking to control the use of illegal guns, not the possession oflegal guns. One can, therefore, support both stop and frisk and a robust respect for the Second Amendment.
Your Daily Dose of Pop Culture Polytheism News and Opinion
[Celebrity Gossip, Entertainment and Other Amusements]:
At Ain’t It Cool News:
At The Mary Sue:
At Wonder How-to:
See the previous weeks of reading and headline round-ups:
- 18. Monday, August 5: ‘War, and Preparation for War, Are the Normal Conditions of Mankind, While Peace Is Extremely Rare.’ – Michael Ledeen
- 19. Tuesday, August 6: Muslim Brotherhood Operatives Have Infiltrated America’s Political and Cultural Institutions to Conquer Us from Within
- 20. Wednesday, August 7: First We Define Anti-Americanism, Then We Crush It Again Even Harder
- 21. Thursday, August 8: The United Nations is a Corrupt Failure That Does Not Unite Nations
- 22. Friday, August 9: No to Corporate Neoconservatism, No to Paleo-Libertarian Anarchism, Yes to Augustinian Realism