Resurrecting Lochner

Besides a fabulous name, Rufus Peckham is remembered in American jurisprudence for penning one of the most notorious decisions in the era between Reconstruction and the New Deal. Lochner v. New York invalided state laws regulating maximum hour laws. Something called “liberty of contract” existed in what William O. Douglas would later (in)famously call theContinue reading “Resurrecting Lochner”

‘If my heart could do the thinking, will my head begin to feel?’ — Van Morrison remastered

It can’t have escaped the grouch’s notice that his seventieth birthday lands three days after his catalog gets digitized. I’m not much of a Van Morrison fan — I prefer Saint Dominic’s Preview and Tupelo Honey to the earlier classics when I remember I own them — but it took this kind of availability forContinue reading “‘If my heart could do the thinking, will my head begin to feel?’ — Van Morrison remastered”

Jonah Goldberg in 2005: ‘I think it’s time to face facts’

Thank Digby for reminding me what my right wing confrères were writing ten years ago after Hurricane Katrina doomed New Orleans residents poor enough to watch their homes join the Gulf of Mexico: ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS – I think it’s time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord ofContinue reading “Jonah Goldberg in 2005: ‘I think it’s time to face facts’”

Safety in numbers: The Wolfpack

Few items have the cultural ubiquity of a Pulp Fiction DVD. The six Angulo brothers and one sister, homeschooled and kept as virtual prisoners in their Lower East Side apartment, have had little to no contact with the world but their list of favorite movies is no different and no less boring than what I’dContinue reading “Safety in numbers: The Wolfpack”

‘I thought I was doing everything right for you’

Working my way through the glitz and thud of Smokey Robinson’s eighties productions, I found this track from 1987’s One Heartbeat album. The home of “Just To See Her” also accommodated this narrative about a home wrecker: a father announces that he’s walking out on his family, to their astonishment. Then the situation repeats itselfContinue reading “‘I thought I was doing everything right for you’”

Jimmy Carter and voting rights

Last week I took a stab at a James Earl Carter obituary. Rick Perlstein, who will presumably finish his trilogy about post-sixties Republicanism with the triumph of Ronald Reagan in 1980, concentrates on Carter’s lifelong interest in voting rights, a subject that his southern colleagues knew much about after Congress’ 1965 act pushed the mostContinue reading “Jimmy Carter and voting rights”

Bare cupboards: H.W. Brands’ ‘Reagan’

As Republican super PACS prepare to Brylcreem candidates who babble about liberty and marauding Mexican invaders, yet another biography about the greatest leader in world history emerges from a reputable publishing house. But H.W. Brands, who distinguished himself with molding fine FDR and U.S. Grant bricks in 2008 and 2012, respectively, emerges no less stunnedContinue reading “Bare cupboards: H.W. Brands’ ‘Reagan’”

‘How come you’re so calm?’ — A Bigger Bang

Two weeks ago, I aired a reappraisal of Dirty Work, the Rolling Stones’ most misunderstood album. Almost ten years ago I reviewed the album around which consensus has hardened, notably now that we have seen no followup. The second side has title that Poison thunk up, but otherwise the record boasts a concision I doubtContinue reading “‘How come you’re so calm?’ — A Bigger Bang”

Singles 8/28

In 2012, Angel Haze issued Reservation, one of my favorite mix tapes in recent years. Although lumpy as such things are, it included tracks about being about being a young woman accepting how her sexual dynamism will forever cause conflict with relatives. She wasn’t sentimental about it either. “Impossible” is at the level of Reservation‘sContinue reading “Singles 8/28”

Weightless, semi-erotic: Interpol in 2007

As nostalgia objects, Interpol are more fun than when they fooled a lot of us into thinking they were going to be a great band. Few kids of either sex took Duran Duran seriously — those sassy boys with impeccable makeup and two-finger synth hooks. Turns out I was the one who took Interpol tooContinue reading “Weightless, semi-erotic: Interpol in 2007”

‘A Good Journalist must pretend they have no opinions…’

This morning’s Washington Post: In thirteen words, we see a classic example of false equivalence, abetted by reporters conscripted by phony both-sides-do-it twaddle. Helen Thomas got the same treatment during the Bush administration. Because her questions didn’t defer to the authority of a Cabinet secretary or vice president, she got ridiculed by her sometime colleagues.Continue reading “‘A Good Journalist must pretend they have no opinions…’”