Renovating Academia, Part III

Not surprisingly, most academics want to focus on the work they are doing, some of which (and it is impossible to tell, now, what will prove so) will be extremely important to our… Continue reading

Renovating Academia, Part II

In my last post on this issue, I described a problem that rises at least as much from outside perception as from actual abuse: tenure. Here, I want to talk about something that… Continue reading

Losing Freedom to Rights

On July 5, 2005, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Resolution 177 inspired by David Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights.” The Pennsylvania resolution establishes a select committee to examine the academic atmosphere… Continue reading

War News Radio

Yesterday, a young woman walked into my store in Brooklyn.  She browsed a bit and we chatted.  As is usual these days, the subject of the war in Iraq and the London bombing… Continue reading

July 4, 1918

This is a letter my grandfather sent home just before landing in France in WWI (where he would lose his leg): On Board July 4, 1918 Dear Mamma and Grandma,When we first embarked… Continue reading

"Piecemeal Solutions" for Africa

That’s the phrase William Easterly uses in an opinion piece in today’s New York Times. He’s right, sweeping programs aren’t going to work.  Not for development in Africa, at least. When we were… Continue reading


Among certain of us teachers of literature, “close reading” has developed a slightly unseemly odor these past few years. Like that steak that has been sitting in the refrigerator almost too long, it… Continue reading

Renovating Academia

Since the start of David Horowitz’s campaign to have his “Academic Bill of Rights” and “Student Bill of Rights” instituted by law for state-run institutions of higher education, academia has closed ranks against… Continue reading

American Christianity, Two Hundred Years Ago

The passages below are from a sermon delivered by William Ellery Channing in Baltimore in 1819: We regard the Scriptures as the records of God’s successive revelations to mankind, and particularly of the… Continue reading

Benefit of the Doubt, Part III

In Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: A great man has sad that ignorance lies at both ends of knowledge. Perhaps it would have been truer to state that deep convictions lie… Continue reading