Category Archives: Our World

Beaming Prince Harry says he is ‘thrilled’ to announce engagement to Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said today he is ‘thrilled’ to be marrying the Suits star and knew she was ‘the one’ from ‘the first day we met’ as they posed in his mother’s favourite garden.

Meghan, 36, also showed the world her engagement ring designed by Harry himself containing two diamonds from Princess Diana’s own personal collection set in a gold band.

The royal looked nervous but happy and his fiancee stroked his arm lovingly as they spoke to reporters, who asked him: ‘When did you know she was the one?’ and he replied: ‘From the very first time we met’.

I give it a couple of years.


Public Order Makes City Life Possible

In a culture that no longer teaches civility or citizenship, police have a greater burden than ever.

Two summers ago, a sobbing relative called to say that she’d just seen one youth stab another in the chest outside her front door in gentrifying Harlem. As she spoke, she noticed that the blood had splattered her shoes. The victim didn’t die, thank heaven, but staggered across the street and got help. It was a neighborhood annual reunion—barbecues blazing, salsa music blasting—and the victim and his assailant, simmering with decades’-long loathing now heightened by drug-dealing rivalry, exploded. I e-mailed my friend Bill Bratton, then still police commissioner, to say that a lack of quality-of-life policing in that neighborhood, including an official blind eye to petty dope traffic, clearly contributed to the do-what-you-want mind-set that prevailed in that precinct, whose former corruption once dubbed it the Dirty Thirty.


Sears, the store that should have and could have, but didn’t

A cartoon in iPolitics, its headline being the single word, “Sad.” shows a huddled mass of Canadian Sears employees crying over the loss of 12,000 jobs.

The second frame? A huddled mass of tearful Canada Revenue Agency employees crying over the loss of 12,000 Sears workers who will no longer be audited over accepting staff discounts.

It was cruel, but accurate.

I love this pic, my first “cool” bike was a Sears Spyder, which I believe is the one pictured. High handlebars and a Banana seat, thought I was the greatest thing since Jaw Breakers.


Missing Monuments

As Jews observe the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we enter a period not of celebration—notwithstanding the former being known as the “Jewish New Year”—but of profound reflection. Best known as a period of prayer and repentance, it is also, and explicitly, a period of remembrance: Yom Kippur is one of only four times each year when Jews recite the Yizkor prayer, primarily for deceased parents. It concludes, more broadly, with “Av Harachamim,” the eleventh-century prayer first written after crusaders destroyed German-Jewish communities.

We will recite it this year at a time when remembrance has become complicated—especially as it involves public memorials. It is in that context that a personal story of remembrance comes to mind, for suggesting what may currently seem counterintuitive: that there is much that we miss when a historic site has no monument.


The Generation that Wasn’t Ready

I was nine years old on August 19, 1991, but the day’s events remain unforgettable. It was the time I first feared for my way of life and my family’s safety.

As the summer drew to a close, existential dread was the furthest thing from my third grader’s mind. But the drawn, sober faces of my parents delivered me from my dreaminess. Their expressions, as they watched the breaking news of a hardliner coup in the Soviet Union, communicated the precariousness of our circumstances. I knew a little about the Soviet Union—its oppressive despotism, the Cold War that had been dying a slow death over the last 20 months, and the distant, theoretical prospect of nuclear annihilation. But before August 19, these were academic concepts. My ashen-faced parents took from me the illusion of security that morning, and I’ve been grateful for that ever since.


What’s Good for Tech Is Not Good for America

Big Tech’s arrogance is creating a new appetite for trust-busting.

In 1953, Charles Erwin Wilson, former CEO of General Motors and President Dwight Eisenhower’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, told the U.S. Senate that he had sold his GM stock with a memorable phrase. “For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.” As of his nomination, Wilson had clearly wised up.

Today, it is far from impossible to imagine a tech CEO being forced to eventually make the same admission about their industry, and sooner rather than later. Why? Well, as a headline in Axios this week announces, “Tech is at war with the world” because, as Axios editor, Mike Allen writes, “America’s largely romantic view of its tech giants — Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. — is turning abruptly into harsh scrutiny. Silicon Valley suddenly faces a much more intrusive hand from Washington.”


The Blessing of a Soviet Education

When I was living in the Soviet Union I did not believe the state’s newspapers when they told me Americans were thirsting to conquer the USSR. I did not believe Khrushchev when he said it was the Americans who triggered the Cuban missile crisis. No, I thought, if they are telling me the Americans are to blame then it must have been the Kremlin’s doing because lies were our leaders’ stock in trade. I did not believe Pravda when it said the murder of Israeli athletes in Munich was a legitimate blow against the oppressors of Palestine, which I knew didn’t exist. I did not believe them when I was told Israeli commandos who rescued the Entebbe hostages were instruments of a Zionist plot to take over the world. Most of all I did not believe that the Western proletariat was groaning in poverty beneath the chains of capitalist bloodsuckers, whereas the Soviet workers lived and worked in freedom and prosperity. That one was a no-brainer. I could look out the window and see it wasn’t true.


Today’s Global Elites Are The Reason Imperialism Is Back

In the new world disorder, empire is the ultimate safe space.

In the wake of the presidential election, we have all come face to face with two difficult truths. The West’s globalized liberal order is weak and fragmented—but so are the countries making up the Western world. Too few are convinced that the politics of nationalism offers safe harbor from the crisis of liberal globalism.

Yet the ranks of critics arrayed against the global order keep rising. With postmodern and anarcho-capitalist options generally considered to be farfetched or remote, it’s sensible in a certain way that the imperial ideal would return to tempt troubled minds.


Hi Ho… Pirate Mom Update

Howdy y’all,

I have been working some insane hours of late, burning the midnight oil since last Friday. Just got in from work only to find Mom is having a “cardiac event”.

I am off to the ER, she is OK as it goes, lucid but complaining of palpitations, shortness of breath, weakness and a choking sensation.

The paramedics were great as usual, she does have an elevated BP and some beat irregularity.

Gonna be a long day and an even longer night.

PS> Pirate Mom’s eye is progressing well, vision has improved significantly.


G20: our greatest moral challenge is preserving the West

The main news headline to come out of the G20 seems to be, in essence, that “The United States’ influence in the world is diminishing because Donald Trump doesn’t come to agreement on climate change”.

What it really should say is “Donald Trump gives remarkable speech declaring preservation of the West the greatest moral challenge of our generation”.

But of course, this isn’t allowed. Don’t forget, the media can’t acknowledge anything remotely successful he does because Hillary lost. You don’t have to like him, but credit where credit is due.


Once the Cathedral of Kensington, now a heroin shooting gallery

The gas company supervisor showed up at Mother of Mercy, a storefront church on Allegheny Avenue, in late June. He’d just been inside the long-shuttered Ascension of Our Lord, a hulking cathedral of a building at F and Westmoreland. After what he’d seen, he needed to speak with a priest.

He’d been working in the neighborhood, the PGW man said, and slipped through a broken stained-glass window to take some photos for his wife, who had grown up in the parish. That’s when he saw the mess of needles carpeting the floor and pews — and the figures moving in the darkness.

h/t MW


Leadership: Secrets Are Not What They Used To Be

When the Cold War ended in 1991 and Russian archives were opened for a while a lot of mysteries were revealed. Some revelations still cause problems, not because so many myths were disproved but because about the same time the Internet came along and made it much more difficult keep secrets or create false realities and maintain them in the future. Thus Russia and China, as well as traditionally the more open societies in the West, could not revive the useful (for all governments) secrecy and control of information that reached a peak in the 20th century. It was the reach and control of pre-Internet mass media that made so many corrupt and murderous dictatorships possible. A few are still trying to hang on, but that proves difficult in an age of instant worldwide communications that cannot to a few.