Sunday ReadingHappy New Year! In the last week I have survived Webs' year-end sale, finished rereading War of the End of the World, experimented with Latke recipes (using panko bread crumbs, zucchini) and become an uncle. I also got my haircut: it was necessary because I have phoned in several threats to attend the AHA, and I need a quick change of appearance in order to sneak in.
Thank you, for congratulating my wife and me on our big news. (Including Claire, Ralph and Geitner.)
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In the 1990s, violent urban crime fell while the immigrant population rose. Hmm? The Boston Globe looks at several theories to explain the apparent contradictions between facts and 'common sense.' One interesting finding: criminality becomes worse with each generation after immigration.
If any source has done a good job of reviewing the constitutional, legal and ethical issues of the wiretapping controversy, Balkanization has been superb. Our Legal and Political Culture is a great piece about how the practice of law has changed along with the push and pull of defining new executive powers.
... the question becomes, what restrains lawyers from being the most shameless tools of interest, or power, or both? ... the lawyers' craft is always hemmed in by larger social forces and by popular opinions about ethics and morality, opinions which are not always articulated or articulable in precisely legal ways. One important task that lawyers perform is to translate or channel these moral opinions into struggles about the law. But this moral constraint has its own limits: If the moral opinions of a time are deeply corrupt, the law is unlikely to be far better.
Pruned, updating a post from a few months ago, looks at one method of counting large crowds.
The New York Times' Book Review has several essays about recent biographies of great authors, including Franz Kafka and Isaac Babel.
Working things out: Taking a break after his first semester, AIR has been working out issues related to his impending thesis on French dandyism. Otto adds another installment to his look at Stalin's purges, this one examining executions and the practices of the NKVD. Something interesting to note:
These executions fell heavily upon Soviet citizens belonging to extra territorial nationalities. These groups constituted only 1.7% of the population of the USSR, but accounted for over a quarter of all arrests and executions during the Great Terror.Anyone who has an interest in Riesling-style wines should take a look at the current issue of Wine Spectator. It has come good recommendations for inexpensive (<$20) bottles. A new Counter-Reformation? Die Welt puts Cardinal Ratzinger's election to the Papacy in the context of growing German influence in the Catholic Church since the 1960s. One factor: the German Church's engagement with German philosophy