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Saturday, March 10, 2007
Where's the Reading List?

I thought I saw this coming when it was still distant. Sure enough, it came.

Readers, I've come to a decision. For 60 weeks or so I've produced a weekly digest of excellent readings. It was less regular for a while before that. Much as I enjoy reading political and social commentary voraciously every week (nearly every day), separating a few dozen kernels of mostly conservative wheat from the chaff, and recommending them for your enlightenment and enjoyment, it can't go on forever. The numbers of hours I have for blogging in a week might surprise you, they are so few, and lately they've been even fewer.

There is a growing backlog of things I want to write and perhaps already should have written. (No, I'm not talking about my long-dormant doctoral dissertation, just the blog. Well, mostly the blog.) A portion of the backlog reaches as far back as last summer. Henceforth I will devote such blogging time as I have to other things, not to the reading list. I may from time to time recommend something to read; I probably can't help myself. That's how the list got started in the first place. But the foreseeable future does not include any more long weekly lists of excellent things to read.

Fortunately, this is not a great loss to the World Wide Web. In general, I chose the readings from other digests on the Web -- three in particular, RealClearPolitics.com, Townhall.com, and JewishWorldReview.com -- and from several other minor sources, augmented by an assortment of automated Google News searches and suggestions from readers.

I regret disappointing a small cadre of devoted listhounds. This includes the gentleman who once said he had no time for his own blog any more, because he was always reading the commentary I listed. It also includes the readers who -- somewhat disturbingly -- have told me they get all of their news from my blog. (Not even I do that.)

If you'll miss my weekly list, here are my recommended alternatives. You'll find they overlap somewhat.

RealClearPolitics.com is probably best for the national politics junkie who needs a strong daily dose or two. It tends to lean conservative -- a refreshing thing, to be sure -- but frequently pulls in mainstream (or more extreme) liberals. Its lists are posted seven days a week, and six of those days offer an "evening edition." You'll find polling data and interviews there, among other delights.

Jewish World Review publishes more than politics five days per week (except Jewish holidays), including a long list of political cartoons. For the interested non-junkie, this is my top recommendation. Most of the content is not specifically by, for, or about Jews, and in general the lean is conservative. It has more cultural commentary than RealPolitics.com. If you get hooked, please consider a small annual or semi-annual donation. It's a one-man operation, for the most part. I have learned great admiration for that one man, Binyamin L. Jolkovsky, by doing weekly a portion of what he does daily. JWR will happily e-mail itself to you every day it's published.

Townhall.com is more consistently and more aggressively conservative than the other two sites; much of what I read there doesn't delight me much, but some does. If you want some sense of the range of conservative thought, it's a good place to hang out. I'm going to scale back my own reading for a while, so I'll probably exploit Townhall.com's automatic e-mail announcements of articles by specific writers. Townhall.com has a number of other e-mail options; my favorite has been the Townhall Daily.

One parting thought: Someone will ask, who are my favorite writers from the lists? (If you've been reading them long, you won't have to ask.) Not considering content or stance, just consistently beautiful writing, they are Paul Greenberg and Peggy Noonan. The second tier would probably consist of George Will and Orson Scott Card. But a lot of others are very good, too.

One more thing. Today's list was already under way when I decided it was time to redirect my efforts. I deleted the other categories, such as they were, but here are the three articles that were already in "Favorites."


The New York Post editors interviewed Newt Gingrich about the war and other topics. Here is a partial transcript, in which Gingrich lives up to his reputation as one of the smartest guys in the room -- any room.

Facts don't seem to be working yet against the insane prescriptions of the eco-religionists. How about mockery based on facts? Mark Steyn gives it a whirl.

When I saw the word "Chimerica" in Niall Ferguson's title, I thought he was making a clever and insightful pun on the word chimera. Not so. The "Chi" is from China, and he's talking about "the seismic impact of China's entry into the global economy" -- and the recent stock market correction, the trade imbalance, and other things.

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