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  1. Harry and Me
  2. Propagatin' and Populatin' 2: Raw Numbers
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  5. Times and Journal Price Hikes
  6. Derek on Proteomics
  7. Quote for the Day: Elizabeth George
  8. Stones on YouTube
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  10. Propagatin' and Populatin' 1: To Have or Not To Have?

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry and Me
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- Yes, I bought it. The latest Harry Potter book. In fact, I also bought the previous book while at Barnes & Noble. But not at midnight, unlike what most of the rest of the world did. And not before I read a synopsis of Deathly Hallows. Harry Potter books get "darker" volume by volume, and I'm not about to blow twentysomething dollars plus 20 hours of my time on a downer. Not me. No way. I've been a peek-at-the-ending sorta guy from way back. I was thinking about buying the whole Potter series because, although I'd read the first five, it can be hard to remember minor characters and plot elements from years before. So it might be a good thing to just start from scratch and plow through the whole thing, no? Then I went to the Internet and discovered this source containing information about all the characters in the series. It looks like it'll be useful, but I might end up buying the first five anyway. I first encountered Harry Potter at Hatchards bookstore at 187 Piccadilly in London back in 1998. Near the entrance was a large stack of books with this cover: First British edition of the Harry Potter series Yep, it sure looked like a kids book. But why were there so many of the darned things at Hatchards? This was before the Harry Potter craze had jumped the Atlantic, so I was clueless. As I've grown older I find myself reading less and less fiction. What I do read tends to be escapist stuff -- most usually science fiction featuring well-imagined societal and physical settings along with a healthy dose of blood 'n' guts smeared on with savoir-faire, not a trowel. I'm not a fantasy reader aside from Harry Potter. I like Potter because of the world J.K. Rowling created for him. And it seems I'm not alone. Later, Donald UPDATE: Yes I know the title of this post ain't grammatical. I riffed on the title of the Michael Moore hatchet-job movie "Roger and Me" just for the hell of it.... posted by Donald at July 21, 2007 | perma-link | (14) comments

Friday, July 20, 2007

Propagatin' and Populatin' 2: Raw Numbers
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- In a recent posting I noted the surprise I often feel on encountering some of the conversations about propagatin' and populatin' that I run across online. My example there was the debate between breeders and nonbreeders. Hoo-eee, do some people get heated about that one. Another propagatin'-and-populatin' conversation that often startles me is the one about growth. It turns out -- to my intense surprise -- that there are people out there who think that growth in raw human numbers is always and everywhere a good thing. Who knew? Unlike the breeding-quarrel, the raw-numbers conversation doesn't usually take the form of a debate. (People who would make the opposing case seldom take on the growth-is-always-good crowd. They keep to their own pastures instead.) The growth-is-always-good crowd is out there fretting passionately about population sizes -- positing nightmare scenarios, and moving quickly from overblown worries into big-picture policy advocacy. Perhaps people drawn to this topic are more prone to monologue than to debate. I wonder why that should be. As in the previous posting, I'm going to let myself be impressionistic -- apologies for my failure to collect links to illustrate my points. I'll assume that you've bumped into the same kind of postings, personalities, rants, and articles that I have. If in fact you haven't, well, please come back in a day or two. Da Blowhards will be gabbing about some other topic soon, you can count on that. CONCERNS ABOUT RAW POPULATION NUMBERS MBlowhard description: Germany's birth rate is down! California is going to need millions of immigrants to pay for its retirees! Europe is in a state of demographic freefall! There's often a "the West vs. the Rest" subtext to these shrieks of concern, of course. But not always. Check out this Frank Furedi article in Spiked Online. Memorable sentence: "How can there be too many people?" My response: Easy! Fascinatin' too, the way that Furedi labels those who wince at the idea of a standing-room-only earth as humanity-haters. They're "strident and misanthrophic"; they're "anti-humanist"; they're "pessimistic"; they're "inhumane." "They harbour a powerful sense of loathing against the human species itself," roars Furedi, who apparently had one too many capuccinos the morning he wrote his piece. I guess the possibility that the people who disagree with him might wish humanity well isn't something Furedi cares to wrestle with. MBlowhard reactions and musings: Let me respond first with a visual. (I lifted the above from this place, but hundreds of versions of it can be found online.) I don't know about you, but when I eyeball that graphic what I most emphatically don't think is, "Wow, humanity has been running the risk of allowing itself to go extinct recently! We really gotta pump those numbers up!" Here's one way of looking at it: By 2050, there will be ten times the number of living humans as there were in 1800. Here's another: If I live to a ripe old age, the world will... posted by Michael at July 20, 2007 | perma-link | (46) comments

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- * Raise the IQ question and watch the number of commenters shoot up. * That Hitler sure had a nice way with home decor, didn't he? (Link thanks to Charlton Griffin.) * Claire couldn't resist temptation. * So there was this old barn on this guy's property, and when he finally got around to cracking it open ... (Link thanks to Susan, who has been enjoying a Friedrich von Blowhard favorite, Saul Bellow's "Henderson the Rain King.") * Say it ain't so: Sales of women's stockings have halved in Britain over just the last four years. Ladies, won't you please reconsider? * Marc Andreessen notices a neat wrinkle in the immigration issue: Our agricultural policies, especially the way we subsidize corn, are helping drive Mexicans north. * Learn some nifty facts about Terrierman, Matt, Reid, Steve, and Henry. * British feminist Fay Weldon seems to think that this gender-equality thing has gone a little too far. * Is this the YouTube equal of the opening shot of "Touch of Evil"? * David reports that time really does slow down when you get hit by a car. * Empires come and empires go ... * Alias Clio has some good words for the historical novelist Mary Renault. * MBlowhard Rewind: To celebrate -- haha -- the financial success of Michael Bay's "Transformers," here's my appreciation of his extravagant 2005 bomb, "The Island." Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 19, 2007 | perma-link | (18) comments

Politician Books
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- I don't bother reading politician books, though once upon a time I did. When I was in my twenties or thereabouts I'd buy and read a book by a politician (or his ghost-writer) or perhaps a politician's biography or autobiography. This activity was inspired by John F. Kennedy's presidential run, which I ardently supported. (I reached voting age less than a week before the 1960 election.) By "politician books" I'm referring to books related to the current election cycle or a future one. Such books tend to be either puff-pieces or hatchet-jobs motivated by a desire to mold public opinion. This is different from biographies or studies of politicians whose time has passed. For example, JFK, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon have been gone long enough that their presidencies and related issues are becoming hard to tie to current political matters. That is, they are now the stuff of History (though still subject to the biases of historians). Ronald Reagan is entering the transition zone between relevant and historical. So might Jimmy Carter but for the fact that he's still alive and searching the world for dictators and America-haters to embrace. One reason I abandoned the genre is because I learned that politician books can be pretty deceitful. In particular, the 1960-vintage pro-Kennedy books ignored the seriousness of the man's health problems -- information that came fully to light only a few years ago. Another reason is that the Internet offers easy access to gobs of information on biographical details, positions on issues and so forth that weren't so available in the past. In other words, I have a pretty fair perception of politics and politicians and believe reading books would largely be a waste of my time. The rest of the world seems to operate differently, if the piles of politician books at Borders and Barnes & Noble are any indication. Given the high likelihood of pro / con bias and the easy access to information, why are politician books still being published? Some possible reasons: Some such books actually sell well and earn a profit for the publisher. Perhaps some money changes hands under a table and a politician's campaign gets a boost by having their man presented in a "prestigious" setting -- a book. A publisher friendly to a candidate will okay publication of a prestige-building book even though it will lose money: call it a form of campaign contribution. Perhaps Michael, who knows book-trade stuff, can give us the skinny. And who buys such books? And actually reads them? Doubtless a few pimply-faced enthusiasts such as I was in my JFK phase. And probably political staffers and consultants looking for stray insights and opposition ammunition. Then there might be a scattering of folks who prefer to get most of their information from books while smugly feeling that they are going beyond the call of civic duty thanks to the number of pages they're turning. Later, Donald... posted by Donald at July 19, 2007 | perma-link | (8) comments

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Times and Journal Price Hikes
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- I somehow missed the June announcement and entered a state of shock yesterday when I discovered that the news stand price of The Wall Street Journal went up 50%, from a dollar to $1.50. The New York Times went from a dollar to $1.25, a mere 25% increase. That doesn't affect me personally because my love affair with the Times ended 15 or 20 years ago. Now that I'm retired and several years away from running a demographics data business, business news isn't the necessity it once was. Plus, as I posted here, the Journal's editorial page slipped in quality markedly when Paul Gigot took the baton from the great (but, sadly, now late) Robert Bartley. Nevertheless, I was still buying the paper at the rate of three or four copies per week. And now? I think I'll fork over the buck-fifty for the Friday edition. That's because I enjoy the big arts / culture / etcetera Weekend section. I'll miss the reviews from the Tuesday-through-Thursday Personal section. Ditto Walter Mossberg's Thursday computer column. That's life. Will I subscribe to the on-line WSJ? Perhaps, but it's not likely. I truly enjoy scanning newspapers and picking out stuff to dip into or read entirely, and that's still not conveniently done on the Web. I read someplace that WSJ news stand and paper-box sales are less than seven percent of total paid circulation. So if the 50% price hike translates into a 50% sales loss in that segment, then the WSJ will lose three percent overall circulation. (From what I read, subscription prices have yet to change. Moreover, that circulation hit at boxes and stands won't be nearly as much as 50%. Even so, total circulation might take a one percent decline.) What does this mean? Thomas Lifson speculated on The New York Times here. He concludes that the paper is shrinking by almost any important measure: read his article to see how he builds his case. The WSJ situation is harder to figure out. Traditional circulation and advertising sales aren't going as badly as at the Times, and the WSJ presence on the Web has decent paid circulation. The major uncertainty for the short run is whether or not the Bancroft family will sell to Rupert Murdoch; a sale might well mean a new business strategy. It's a commonplace in the newspaper industry that paid circulation revenues don't cover production and distribution costs -- advertising is what opens the possibility for black ink on the ledger. Some observers mention that printing and distribution costs can be huge, and reducing a "newspaper" to a Web-only presence might be viable economically because only reporters, editors and support staff would be necessary. Assuming, of course, that enough advertising can be sold. At any rate, I find the 50% price rise hard to take. I might have tolerated a 15 or 25 cent hike, but 50 cents drops me to one paper per week. My best hope is that... posted by Donald at July 18, 2007 | perma-link | (4) comments

Derek on Proteomics
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- More evidence that the blogosphere rocks: Biochem brainiac and pro Derek Lowe takes a crack at explaining the unexplainable, namely the newish field of "proteomics." Derek has a terrific knack for making the incomprehensibly complex clear to civilians. Why aren't major publishers offering him tons of dough to write popular-science books? Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 18, 2007 | perma-link | (1) comments

Quote for the Day: Elizabeth George
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- Flipping through a notebook I keep, I ran across a quote from the mystery writer Elizabeth George that I've always wanted to post: Novels were designed to entertain, and those of us who wish to keep the art form alive need to keep this in mind. To aim for lofty literature instead of aiming for a good story with real characters who grow and develop and a setting that's brought to life is to go at the art form, like putting the varnish on the canvas first. I attempt to write a good novel. Whether it is literature or not is something that will be decided by the ages, not by me and not by a pack of critics around the globe. Hey, folks: The early English novels were tacky affairs -- the equivalent of today's reality TV. There is such a thing as high culture, of course, but much of it has its roots solidly planted in the mud. An example: For much of its history, opera -- today's highest of the high -- held a place in the general culture analogous to today's movies. Small MBlowhard hunch: When you pull an artform out of the earth it grows from, even if you do so with the best or the loftiest of intentions, it's likely to whither and then die. Connecting with the basics -- and then reconnecting with them again and again -- matters. Ohio and California-raised, Elizabeth George is known for writing mysteries set convincingly in Great Britain. She has been a very popular author; she sells well, and a number of her Inspector Lynley novels have been turned into TV shows by the BBC. A quick but maybe not-unfair characterization of her work: She's like an American P.D. James. She uses the form of the mystery story to deliver full-bodied fiction experiences that are similar to those supplied by the 19th century novels that many people complain aren't being written these days. Yes they are, love. You just have to open your mind and look outside of the "literary fiction" genre. I've read a couple of Elizabeth George's novels -- this one and this one -- and I found them both impressive, substantial, satisfying, and enjoyable. They may not exactly be my kinda thing; neither are P.D. James' books. (I don't love-love-love 19th century novels either.) But both women are superb novelists, and I'll be reading more of both of them. Here's Elizabeth George's website. I also loved her book about writing fiction, which I found helpful, thoughtful, and (praise heaven) practical. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 18, 2007 | perma-link | (16) comments

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Stones on YouTube
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- Back the early '70s, the Rolling Stones commissioned the gloomy Beat photographer Robert Frank to make a documentary about them. "Cocksucker Blues," the resulting film, has never been released commercially. With its footage showing many of the Stones as the egomaniacs and druggies they then were, it was nothing the boys wanted shown in public. So what's this short clip doing on YouTube? And this one? Pretty soon it'll be impossible to keep a banned movie banned. Stones fans owe it to themselves to catch up with the work of heroic uploader BumNote. I especially enjoyed this performance of "Bitch." Is that from "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones"? I wrote about the Stones here; and about Jimmy Miller, the producer who helped the Stones make some of their best music, here. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 17, 2007 | perma-link | (5) comments

Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- * Cowtown Pattie reads a juvenile novel that strikes her as pretty darned good. Alexandra reads a sci-fi romance and thinks it's pretty good too. * Philip Murphy recalls the '70s. * Americans are consuming 23 percent more sugar than they were 25 years ago. * Roissy remembers his first encounters with porn. * It seems conclusive: Dieting will almost certainly make you put on, not lose, weight. * Amity Shlaes thinks that it's time to reconsider FDR. * John Powers praises Chris Marker, the one-of-a-kind French filmmaker I raved about here. (Link thanks to DarkoV.) * Vince Keenan discovers Elvis' '68 Comeback Concert. * Thanks to Bryan, who turned up this gorgeous clip of Cyd Charisse in Nicholas Ray's "Party Girl." Has any performer ever combined the elegant and the lewd in quite such nice ratios as Cyd Charisse? * Mexico is drowning in its trash. (Link thanks to Rick Darby.) * Colleen turns up a fascinating explanation of why pop CDs have been sounding crappier in recent years. * Skeptical materialist Alan Little discovers his chakras. * WhiskyPrajer tries and enjoys his first Tony Hillerman mystery. * Mencius wonders when and how we might go about beginning to abolish the U.S. * Marc Andreessen raves about William Grant Still's "Afro-American Symphony." Stuart Buck turns up some CDs of spirituals that sound awfully good. * Thursday thinks that French Canadians and English Canadians might do well to split up. * George Borjas buys an iPhone and likes it. "Despite all the hype," he writes, "it won't mow my lawn or bring my breakfast to bed. But it is truly an exquisite mix of hardware and software." * Kevin Cure visits some Arab lands. * Free market-fan Chris Dillow thinks that Karl Marx made some good points. * Anne Thompson reports that a group of webshorts produced by Glamour magazine have been hits. * Maclin Horton remembers unfiltered Kool cigarettes, and labels himself "a retired smoker, but one who keeps a hand in." * Gawain rhapsodizes over and muses about the gorgeous, mysterious floors of the Basilica of St. Mark's in Venice. That's some gorgeous, mysterious writing too. * Jim Kalb falls for Kieslowski's "The Decalogue." * MBlowhard Rewind: I wrote an appreciation of James M. Cain's novel "Mildred Pierce" here. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 17, 2007 | perma-link | (10) comments

Propagatin' and Populatin' 1: To Have or Not To Have?
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- In a comment on a posting not long ago, Peter made an apt joke: Read enough blogs and you'll think that most people vote for the Libertarian Party, homeschool their children, and have no cultural interests other than sci-fi and fantasy. And ain't that the case? Another impression that spending too much time online can leave you with is that most people are obsessed with questions about propagatin' and populatin'. I felt the same sense of surprise on discovering this as I did finding out how many online people are fans of Ayn Rand's. "Where'd this come from?" I wondered. In my non-online life, I almost never run into anyone who wants to talk about Ayn Rand. Similarly, I go about my non-online day assuming that most intelligent, rich-world people think that 1) it's lovely that we're able to live a life that gives us some freedom over whether or not to propagate; and that 2) 6 billion people -- actually a little closer to 7 billion than to 6 billion these days -- is a lot of people. (The earth's human population has more than doubled in the short time I've been around.) But here they are online: scads of people bursting with urgent feelings about propagating or not-propagating, and about whether populations are declining or booming. I've noticed three main forms these conversations and monologues tend to take. Here's my description of and reactions to the first of them. Apologies for the lack of links this time around -- I haven't had the presence of mind to collect evidence so I'm going to rely on vague impressions instead. Here's hoping I don't commit too many injustices. BREEDERS VS. NON-BREEDERS MBlowhard description: Why is this argument so prone to break out online, and why is it so prone to become so vicious? You'd think that it would be easy for breeders and non-breeders to wish each other well. We're all sharing the earth; we're all in this crazy thing called life together, etc. Why view each other as members of antagonistic teams, particularly where breeding is concerned? Whenever I stumble across this particular debate, it always seems both well-scripted and long-underway. I feel like I'm coming in on it at a very late stage -- like I often feel when I tune into NPR: "People are still arguing about this crap? Weren't they done with it in 1980?" I choose 1980 because I assume that the breeder-vs.-nonbreeder squabble has its roots in '60s and '70s eco discussions. But I could certainly be wrong about this, and am, as ever, eager to learn better. (By the way: I once interviewed for a job as a producer at NPR. When I toured the place, many of its employees seemed to me to be exactly what you'd imagine from listening to NPR -- a bunch of entrenched and self-righteous old hippies. Had I been offered the job, I probably would have turned it down: Imagine trying... posted by Michael at July 17, 2007 | perma-link | (51) comments

Monday, July 16, 2007

Angels and Impasto
Donald Pittenger writes: Dear Blowhards -- Interesting late-19th century American paintings are easy to find in Washington, DC, as I noted in in this post about Thomas Wilmer Dewing. In addition to a room nearly filled with Dewings, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art has several important paintings by Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921). No, that's not a misspelling: the second letter of his middle name is "a," not "e." Biographic information on Thayer can be found here, here and here. Unfortunately, the sources do not agree on all the details. For example, the Wikipedia article (at the time I'm drafting this post) says that Thayer moved from New York City to New Hampshire in 1901, an event followed by the death of his first wife. Other sources say she died in 1891, but agree that the move happened in 1901. In any case, the deaths of two children and the illness and death of his first wife influenced the mercurial Thayer to add angel wings to female figures in what became his best-known works. In addition to allegorical paintings, he painted floral still lifes as well as landscapes of New Hampshire and the Cornwall coast. In the years before the Great War, Thayer became interested in camouflage and wrote a book (published in 1909) that became influential in that field. His art training was classical. He studied at the Brooklyn Art School and the national Academy of Design. After his 1875 marriage, he went to Paris for four years where he studied under Jean-Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux-Arts. Gallery Angel - 1887 Thayer's wife was seriously ill when he painted their 12 year old daughter Mary with angel wings. Thayer liked to paint rapidly, preferring to spend no more than three days at a time on a painting for fear of overworking it -- though he might choose to return to it later. This painting is roughly done, aside from central facial details. If I remember correctly, either it or the Stevenson Memorial painting (see below) in the National Gallery exhibits almost slapdash paint application in the mouth area when viewed in person. Virgin Enthroned - 1891 This was painted not long before his wife's death. Daughter Mary is at the center with her sister Gladys "on her right" and her brother Gerald "on her left" according to information from the National Gallery. (For some reason upper middle class families sometimes dressed little boys as girls in the late 19th century. But I wonder of the reverse of the directions might be more correct.) If you look closely at Mary's chin area you can see some of the odd treatment mentioned above. Young Woman - study, no date I'm including this to further illustrate Thayer's portraiture skills. The Stevenson Memorial - 1903 This is a tribute to author Robert Louis Stevenson. The model was a Thayer household servant, not a family member. It too can be seen at the National Gallery. Monadnock in Winter - 1904 Thayer... posted by Donald at July 16, 2007 | perma-link | (6) comments

Steve on the North American Union
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- Should we dismiss the possibility that our rulers are trying to fuse Canada, the U.S., and Mexico into a single North American Union just because some zany people are obsessed by the idea? I don't think we should. Evidence is everywhere around us, from the recent, underhanded Kennedy-Bush attempt to fold tens of millions of Mexicans into the U.S. to the North American SuperCorridor Coalition. Here's a well-organized PowerPoint-style presentation that may not be the final word on the subject but that is well worth a ponder nonetheless. In his new Vdare column, Steve Sailer traces and evaluates some of the connections (and generously includes a link to 2Blowhards -- thanks, Steve!). A great Steve quote: Who could imagine that the powers-that-be in Washington would ever try to fundamentally alter America behind closed doors and then ram it down our throats in a rush? (Oh, wait; they just did try that with amnesty, didn't they? Never mind.) Steve volunteers a point that I hadn't given enough thought to about the practical consequences of fusing together countries that don't share a common language: The language problems are fundamental. A single language unifies a country into a shared "information sphere." When citizens can understand each other, they can monitor politics across their society and intelligently participate in debates. In contrast, multiple languages make political awareness difficult for the non-elites. In the EU, power tends to drift into the hands of the self-perpetuating Eurocrats of Brussels, professional Europeans who are either multilingual or can afford translators. Are these power-grabs being adequately taken-note-of by the traditional media? Are the likely outcomes of these schemes anything that the rest of us find desirable? Why aren't more people holding our self-serving elites to better account? And ... well ... mightn't it be worthwhile reminding them whose compliance their cushy status in life depends on? Hint: That'd be us. Hey, these are the same questions that I like to ask about the activities and agendas of our architectural, literary, and critical establishments. Funny how these things work ... I linked to a few more resources in this posting. Patrick Cleburne points out that the righties who were right about GWBush all along were the -- surprise, surprise -- iconoclastic, non-establishment righties. Funny how these things work too. Joe Guzzardi reports that some black people are starting to wake up to what's being put over on them. Best, Michael UPDATE: Thanks to Yahmdallah, who points out a very a-propos Salon interview with Jerome Corsi.... posted by Michael at July 16, 2007 | perma-link | (8) comments

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back: Searchie, Peter, Rick
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Blowhards -- Some of my favorite bloggers have made returns from hiatuses (hiati?) and slowdowns. In each case I'm a little late in reporting the fact -- mea culpa. But don't let my ineptness deter you from some serious blogging pleasure. * After a few months away, some of it spent in her beloved Eastern Europe, Searchie blogs again. Searchie is part punkette, part intellectual, and part Left Bank dreamer. She's unafraid of both pain and beauty, and she's always a delight. Don't miss a couple of beautiful Euro-doorways that captivated her during her recent travels; photos are shown in this posting. For my money, that's some seriously great architecture. * Back in the day, Peter Briffa was one of the bloggers who opened my eyes to the kinds of opportunities blogging was making possible. Funny, smart, offhand, both blunt and crisp, he surprises initially because of his unapologetically reactionary point of view. "Reactionary" as a positive virtue -- you don't run across that very often in the mainstream press, that's for sure. Some of Peter's postings are cryptic and merry demolitions of British media and political figures I know nothing about. (Tony Blair? Gordon Brown? Who dat?) But many are mischievous blasts of crusty and provocative good sense that even a cluelessly provincial American can enjoy. A major plus: Peter never stops giving amusing and vigorous demonstrations of the art of writing short. * On a visit to the Southeast, Rick Darby -- who recently returned to blogging after a heart scare -- ventures on and off the Interstates, and marvels at all the shapeless new sprawl straggling this way and that. Great Rick quote: The United States has added a hundred million to its population since 1970 (most of it through immigration). Rural sprawl is one result. Yet for some reason I have never been able to understand, the country remains addicted to booming population. USA Today recently carried a front page piece on the fastest growing cities, and their local officials beamed with pride. New York City's reigning idiot, Mayor Bloomberg, could hardly contain his glee at predictions that the city will add another million people in a few years. Politicans and businessmen see in population growth only more tax revenue and more customers, respectively; the rest of us see more congestion, less open space, and more herd behavior. That's a seriously good topic Rick touches on: Who are the people who promote endless and fast population growth -- raw-number growth that isn't wanted by most of us? (A striking number from that poll: "Only one in ten agreed the population should reach 400 million or more, a number some have estimated the country will reach by 2050 if current rates of immigration and fertility hold." In other words -- and I'm going to blast this loud and clear -- current U.S. policies are promoting results that 9 out of 10 Americans don't want.) Why are these powerful people forcing sharp and unwanted... posted by Michael at July 15, 2007 | perma-link | (2) comments