Secrets v. mysteries

Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism: In 1979, the security expert Susan Landau drew a distinction between secrets and mysteries. Surveying the way that the Iranian Revolution had taken the United States completely by surprise, she noted that the intelligence community was focused on secrets–trying to understand the things the shah’s government was hiding–rather than…

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Raining poetry

Aria Bendix at CityLab writes on Boston’s new poetry initiative. It’s ingenious. Poetry is applied to sidewalks around the city with a biodegradable, water-activated spray paint. When it rains, the sidewalks share their poems: Thanks to a partnership between Boston’s City Hall and Mass Poetry, a nonprofit that supports the Massachusetts poetry community, the city’s showers are being…

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Trump’s finger trap

David Frum synthesizes perspectives from Trump country, with this cherry on top: “You tell us we’re a minority now? OK. We’re going to start acting like a minority. We’re going to vote like a bloc, and we’re going to vote for our bloc’s champion. So long as he keeps faith with us against you, we’ll…

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Love, secularism, and tolerance

Veronica writes on the DNC in Philadelphia this week: The Democratic Convention seemed to turn into a big love-fest last night. I know I’m not the only one who felt like I was being lectured to by a revivalist preacher during Cory Booker’s speech, because it’s all over social media—along with his big-hearted “I love you”…

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DNC in Philadelphia

The Democratic National Convention is happening in Philadelphia this week, specifically South Philadelphia. In Center City, scattered events and protests have been happening from time to time. I ran down to the Well Fargo Center and stadiums last night and as far down as Oregon Avenue tonight. It was a nice, traffic-free way to get a feel…

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Democrats for Life

Greg Kendra speaks with Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats for Life of America in this short interview, who has maybe “the loneliest job in the world.”  Democrats for Life declares: “We believe in the fundamental worth, dignity, and equality of all people. We believe that the protection of human life is the foundation of…

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Lower North Philadelphia

Jake Blumgart tells some of the stories of Philadelphia’s fringe neighborhoods as the Democrats converge on South Philadelphia for their convention. The neighborhoods Blumgart focuses on most have been strongholds of stability and integration where median incomes are nonetheless falling and divestment is a far larger problem than gentrification. Paul Levy’s Center City District is…

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Liberty v. license

The following is excerpted from Professor Robert George’s 2003 commencement address at Hillsdale. Hillsdale is a classical liberal arts college in Michigan which George noted experienced its “founding during the struggle over slavery in the mid-nineteenth century” and has since then sought independence through self-reliance, benefactors’ generosity, and a refusal to accept federal funding that could…

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A small, beautiful tradition

I was so thrilled to learn yesterday that Penn State is continuing its tradition of naming some of its residence halls after people of historical and communal merit, rather than simply financial merit: At today’s (July 22) meeting of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, held on the Wilkes-Barre campus, trustees approved names for two new…

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Fake culture wars

Travis LaCouter wrote a while ago on culture war, and I excerpted some of what I aligned with the most last year. Peter Thiel delivered a short, compelling speech in Cleveland this week at Donald Trump’s nominating convention. Thiel basically introduced the thesis of his book, which is that America has forgotten where to set…

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