A Burmese House of Mirrors

Burma is such a complex mess of a nation that it calls for the talents of a reporter like Hannah Beech to hold those responsible to account. The best Western journalist in Southeast Asia, Beech dropped a Christmas special in the New York Times that unmasked a seemingly sympathetic business figure’s dealings with the murderousContinue reading “A Burmese House of Mirrors”

The Landfill Squeeze Reaches Long Island

If Americans stand accused of precipitating a supply-chain seizure by demanding too many goods in the past year, their purchasing habits also are perpetuating problems at the other end—the landfills. Many if not most population centers of the U.S. have more trash than they know what to do with. It’s not just the capacity ofContinue reading “The Landfill Squeeze Reaches Long Island”

A COP Vs. Calories: How (Less) Sweet It Would Be

In the spirit of Thanksgiving gourmandizing and the recent COP26 climate conference, might I suggest a global summit to de-calorize our environment? For as surely as the planet is warming, prompting calls to de-carbonize, we’re getting fatter and only scientific guesswork can tell us which will doom more of us. The body mass problem thatContinue reading “A COP Vs. Calories: How (Less) Sweet It Would Be”

The Hamptons Has a New Favorite Hedge

There’s been a lot more green in the Hamptons stretch of Long Island in recent years, and it’s not just the incoming wealth tide. Hybrid arborvitae trees of the Thuja standishii x plicata cultivar, or Green Giants, have become the default landscaping choice for lot perimeters as the area’s trophy homes get bigger and closerContinue reading “The Hamptons Has a New Favorite Hedge”

‘Bad News’ for the Wage Workers–Or No News?

The woke bent of many American newsrooms gives a topical edge to Batya Ungar-Sargon’s new book of reflections on class and race in America. “Bad News” (Encounter Books) is a useful check on the identity politics of the era from an avowed Jewish labor populist who is an opinions editor at the current iteration ofContinue reading “‘Bad News’ for the Wage Workers–Or No News?”

Shortage Economy: Will We Go Marching?

Washington pundits generally see the supply-chain hiccups and partially related price inflation as political risks for the Biden White House. Probably that’s so but there’s also opportunity for a left-ward administration. Check out the essay by reliable old Robert Kuttner in the latest New York Review of Books. After fondly recalling the marching orders givenContinue reading “Shortage Economy: Will We Go Marching?”

In the Wings, Another $Trillion Biden Push: Student Loans

It might seem like every major domestic spending program of the U.S. government is caught up in the multi-trillion-dollar budget “reconciliation” negotiations, but no. A significant exception is the huge college-student loan program and the massive ($1.7 trillion?) debt outstanding. It’s a separate agenda item. The Biden administration, under constant progressive pressure, is trying toContinue reading “In the Wings, Another $Trillion Biden Push: Student Loans”

The Rise of the Entrepreneurial Creative

The pandemic disrupted the labor force, but in the process also seems to have accelerated a certain type of entrepreneurialism: the startup “creative.” This includes performers of various sorts on platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, and writers and visual artists using the likes of Substack and Medium. Many of these individuals would have previouslyContinue reading “The Rise of the Entrepreneurial Creative”

Filling the News Hole: Advantage, Left

I’ve always enjoyed reading the lefty press—the honest-to-goodness lefty press, not the mainstream one that masquerades as impartial—because it tends to put a premium on information and sometimes reporting. If that side is indeed more informational than its right-wing counterparts, maybe that’s because the documentary instincts are stronger among the camp that sees its struggleContinue reading “Filling the News Hole: Advantage, Left”

5 at Feed: Ozy, Vietnam, Vegan Virtue, School Counts, Pakistan

10/1/21 This busy week features a fivesome of punditry nuggets at Newsfeed – Tim W. Ferguson (timwferguson.com) In reverse order, there’s the scandal that is overwhelming the once-adored (if unread) Ozy Media, the conflict that pits Vietnam’s quest for global commerce against its authoritarian state, the pretentious veganism of a star Manhattan chef, the latestContinue reading “5 at Feed: Ozy, Vietnam, Vegan Virtue, School Counts, Pakistan”