Question of the Day

So how was the finale of Lost? (I haven’t watched it since somewhere in the middle of season 3 where I felt it went from being one of the best shows on tv (season 1) to a tremendous waste of my time that could should be used in a more constructive fashion…. Like finding cute videos of cats attacking babysitters…)

Questions for Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The NY Times Magazine interviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Your own life has been a case study in female subjugation. At age 5, you underwent genital mutilation under the supervision of your Somalian grandmother. Did that include stitching you shut?
Of course I had the stitch-up part. If your family is convinced that you should remain a virgin until your wedding night, they’re going to apply the approach where you get sewed.

You were expected to enter into an arranged marriage with a cousin of yours.
I just looked at him and told my father, I don’t want to marry him. He said, “My child, your presence is not required.” He went on and conducted the marriage without me.

Mark Twain’s Autobiography to be Published

From The Independent:

Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain’s dying wishes is at last coming true: an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the last decade of his life to writing is finally going to be published.

The creator of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and some of the most frequently misquoted catchphrases in the English language
left behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs when he died in 1910, together with handwritten notes saying that he did not want them to hit bookshops for at least a century.

That milestone has now been reached, and in November the University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript is in a vault, will release the first volume of Mark Twain’s autobiography. The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words, and shed new light on the quintessentially American novelist.

The lesson of Rand Paul: libertarianism is juvenile


There’s the key — “the underlying realities of how the world works.” Because never, and I mean never, has there been capitalist enterprise that wasn’t ultimately underwritten by the state. This is true at an obvious level that even most libertarians would concede (though maybe not some of the Austrian economists whom Rand Paul adores): for the system to work, you need some kind of bare bones apparatus for enforcing contracts and protecting property. But it’s also true in a more profound, historical sense. To summarize very briefly a long and complicated process, we got capitalism in the first place through a long process of flirtation between governments on the one hand, and bankers and merchants on the other, culminating in the Industrial Revolution. What libertarians revere as an eternal, holy truth is in fact, in the grand scheme of human history, quite young. And if they’d just stop worshiping for a minute, they’d notice the parents hovering in the background.