Reading recommendations

Interesting and valuable news and insights about our changing world.   Number 5 is a must-read!

  1. The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better“, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, reviewed in the London Review of Books, 22 October 2009
  2. Chimera of Victory“, Gian P. Gentile (Colonel, US Army), op-ed in the New York Times, 31 October 2009 — Powerful words from someone worth listening to; extraordinary article by a serving officer in the US Army.
  3. The Golden State isn’t worth it – Our high-benefit/high-tax model no longer works, especially compared with low-tax states like Texas“, William Voegeli, op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, 1 November 2009
  4. The Flying Imams Win – And the rest of us lose“, Scott W.  Johnson, The Weekly Standard, 9 November 2009
  5. Mentoring Hamid Karzai“, Max Boot, Commentary, 2 November 2009 — Insane arrogance.  Karzai must be laughing his ass off reading this kind of nonsense from America.

A note on the West’s evolution:  we’re not yet sufficiently multicultural

It seems the New York Times overlooked these hot stories.  Perhaps they will report the next case of honor killings.  Or the one after that…

But gives us a few years, and we might be more tolerant of these things.  Here’s a look at what lies ahead, coming soon to our newspapers:

  • A Piece of White Silk“, Jacqueline Rose, London Review of Books, 5 November 2009 — First person accounts of honor killings. 


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6 thoughts on “Reading recommendations”

  1. A critic of the Spirit Level which may be a bit off.

    “In fact, a graph that would point in exactly the opposite direction to all the others in the book is one that ranks countries by Nobel prizes won over the past generation or so. The US comes way out in front with 189 in the past 35 years, the UK is second (39), then we get Germany (27), France (15), Japan (11), Sweden (6), Norway (2), Finland (1). Even if you rank by prize per head of population, the US remains on top (though Sweden, with home advantage, comes a close second), while Japan, which tends to come first on most of the other quality of life indicators, is bottom. Of course, all sorts of cultural and other factors might go into explaining this, including the readiness of top scientists (like top footballers) to move where the money is. Still, on this measure at least, inequality does not look like the enemy of excellence.”

    The critics forget that quite a few of the American Nobel prizes winners were not born and raised in the USA. They moved there and gained citizenship.

    A sign that the USA until now have being an attractive country to live in. But will that last or was it a short term phenomenon connected with the unique role in the world of science after WW2?

    On the other hand research budgets matter.

  2. Karzai needs not an ambassador but a makeover . From Gaddafi , perhaps ?Shave his neck , grow a neatly trimmed beard over his jowls , use some Grecian 2000 , and most of all , remove that utterly ridiculous dunce’s hat . I dont care if his visually impaired granny knitted it for him .

  3. Unmanned Karzai Vehicles can perform a wide variety of functions. But pull the strings gently. Remember that someday he will be a real boy!

  4. Karzai needs his own Afghan power base, even more than US mentoring. But the unspoken problem is that the US can NOT create a country with “rule of law”, when everybody who has any money has it partly because of the illegal drug trade.

    Either give up rule of law as part of the nation building goal, or give up keeping heroin/ poppy growing illegal (and hugely profitable for those with enough power to oppose the enforcers).

    Also, Afghanistan needs more medium businesses and business investment, far more than ‘better’ coached gov’t.

  5. RE: “The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better“, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

    Winston Churchill once said “Capitalism is the unequal sharing of wealth, socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”

    We badly need a third way, don’t we?

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