10 Fascinating Things to Read from Monday, January 6, 2014


“What wouldst thou know, my queen?”

This is Week 1 of my New 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at [email protected]

1. At the Wall Street Journal: “Book Review: ‘Friendship’ by A.C. Grayling: In the era of Facebook and ‘the friend zone,’ are we forgetting the value of a true boon companion?”

Aristotle, Mr. Grayling notes, recognized a wider range of relationships. In the “Nicomachean Ethics,” he describes three kinds of friendships: those founded on mutual utility, those founded on pleasure and those founded on virtue. Churchill’s friendship with King George VI, with whom he had little in common, developed out of working toward a mutually beneficial goal. Conversely, Nick Carraway’s friendship with Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s novel is all women, gin and cars.

It’s no surprise that friendships founded on shared virtue are of the highest order for Aristotle. Such friends, he writes, “resemble each other in excellence” and care for each other because of “what the other is.” One requirement of being a virtuous friend is a proper respect for oneself. Aristotle famously stated that a friend is “another self.” But in order for someone to love his other self properly—”wish what is good” for someone else—he must first wish what is good for ourselves. Only then can he love others rightly.

Hat tip to my friend of all three sorts: AH.

2. Ben Shapiro Starts his afternoon show on Mondays-Friday from 3-6 PM PST on KTTH. Listen Here. Read a profile of him here:

Now, Shapiro is bringing his unique rhetorical voice to Seattle. Today, his weekday afternoon show debuts on KTTH. Though only 29, Shapiro has been working in national conservative media since age 17, when he began writing a syndicated column. He has earned a reputation as a fair, intellectually curious social and fiscal conservative.

He’s looking forward to working in Seattle, especially, for its thoughtfulness.

“It’s a thinking market,” he says. “I like being in areas that tend to be more left leaning because I like the debate.”

3. Jeff Dunetz at Truth Revolt Today: “Is Rachel Maddow Running MSNBC?

Eliana Johnson’s article “Rachel’s Show” in Monday’s National Review Onlinecontends that Rachel Maddow has become the behind-the-scenes power at MSNBC. Johnson cites multiple insider sources who insist that Maddow, rather than Phil Griffin, is the true source of editorial direction at MSNBC, holding “considerable sway over personnel decisions.” In fact, one source even points to Maddow as the reason both Bashir and Baldwin were released.

4. A Quote of the Day from the Dennis Prager Show Today

5. The new trailer for Netflix’s House of Cards via Mediaite:

Whoever at Netflix is behind the rollout of House of Cards’ second season apparently has the same sinister sense of humor as the blackhearted show.

The new episodes were already set to drop on Valentine’s Day, which means couples less enthused by schmaltzy restaurant packages than coordinated murder can order takeout. Now some genius chucked the trailer into the ether on the same day Congress came back into session. If you were about to tweet about how evil those fatcats in Washington are, Netflix is here to remind you it could always be worse.

6. Also at Mediaite: “Rachel Maddow Calls National Review Profile ‘Categorically False’”

In an official statement, MSNBC said:

“The NRO story is absurd and full of inaccuracies from beginning to end. To start, Rachel has absolutely no role in network management decisions. Writing her show every night is more than enough work. She gladly leaves talent management to her bosses. We’re disappointed that the National Review would run a story with more anonymous, uninformed sources than you’d ever find on the gossip pages.”

7. This morning’s reading, Robert Spencer’s Did Muhammad Exist? page 208: “The earliest Arab rulers appear to have been adherents of Hagarism, a monotheistic religion centered around Abraham and Ishmael.”

And page 215, “… there is compelling reason to conclude that Muhammad the messenger of Allah came into existence only after the Arab Empire was firmly entrenched and casting about for a political theology to anchor and unify it.”

8. Glenn Reynolds at USA Today: “Consider alternative schooling“:

Public schools were designed to be rigid. Back in the 19th century, whenMassachusetts Board of Education Secretary Horace Mann toured Europe looking for models of public education to import to America, the one he chose came from Prussia. Inflexibility and uniformity were Prussian specialties, and when Mann brought Prussian-style education to America, those characteristics were seen not as a bug but as a feature.

School was practice for working in the factory. Thus, the traditional public school: like a factory, it runs by the bell. Like machines in a factory, desks and students are lined up in orderly rows. When shifts (classes) change, the bell rings again, and students go on to the next class. And within each class, the subjects are the same, the assignments are the same, and the examinations are the same, regardless of the characteristics of individual students.

This had its advantages back during the Industrial Revolution, an assembly-line era where uniformity was more important than anything else, when Henry Ford was happy to sell you a car in any color you wanted, so long as it was black. But this is the 21st century, and now times have changed. You can buy a thousand different kinds of shampoo, so why should your kid have only one kind of education?

9. Salacious story of the day from the Daily Mail: “Meth addict mom, 30, ‘raped three of her children and charged adults to watch before nine-year-old son escaped and turned her in to police’

A brave nine-year-old boy has given a graphic and detailed statement to Oklahoma police about his mother, who allegedly sexually and physically abused her three other children repeatedly as her friends paid to watch.

Authorities in Beckham county were alerted to the accusations against Natalie Lynn Webb, 30, in August after a Department of Human Services investigator spoke to the eldest child and reported that Webb was ‘selling sex’ with her kids to other adults.

According to the police affidavit – obtained by The Huffington Post and almost completely based on an interview with the nine-year-old  – the victims were an eight-year-old boy and his two three-year-old sisters.

10. At the Daily Mail: “‘Jihad Jane’ gets reduced 10-year prison sentence for terror plot to kill artist after telling judge she was once obsessed with militant Islam

LaRose, of Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, told the judge she once had thought about jihad from morning to night, saying she was ‘in a trance.’ ‘I don’t want to be into jihad no more,’ she said.

She was sentenced to 10 years in prison plus five years of supervised release.

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See Also At PJ Lifestyle today:

Megan Fox: The Price I Paid for Fighting for a Library Free of Porn and Sex Offenders

Chris Queen: Book Review: The Forest of Assassins by David Forsmark and Timothy Imholt

Robert Spencer: The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians

Susan L.M. Goldberg: U.S. Concentration Camps on Pravda’s List of Top 10 in 2013

Bonnie Ramthun: My Nomination for Worst Dad of 2014

Rhonda Robinson: The Existential Vacuum: Birth Canal of the Knockout Game?

Bridget Johnson: NFL Playoffs Wildcard Open Thread: Cold Bowl Doesn’t Ice the Niners

And At PJ Media today:

Bryan Preston: Ta-Nehisi Coates Brands MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry ‘America’s Foremost Public Intellectual’

Barry Rubin: The Middle East, at the Beginning of 2014

Roger L. Simon: Gore and Kerry: The Perils of Presidential Losers (updated)

Ed Driscoll: Interview: Glenn Reynolds onThe New School

Stephen Green: A Tale of Two Rollouts

Andrew Klavan: The Left’s Cultural Jenga