America Needs a Miracle.” The first section of Andrew Sullivan’s musings, where he reflects on Ezra Klein’s Why We’re Polarized and Christopher Caldwell’s The Age of Entitlement, is balanced, nuanced, and quite insightful.

Mary the Priest and Phil the Groundhog Beat Out Super Bowl Hoopla.” Matthew Milliner reminds us of Groundhog Day’s Christian origins: “Learning only about a groundhog on February 2 affords a snapshot of what it is like to grow up in a country where sacred roots are sealed off by a layer of subterranean plastic garden sheeting.”

On Books For Middle America.” The University Bookman interviewed Bria Sandford, an editor for two imprints of Penguin, about the conservative publishing world. Among others, Bria’s looking forward to publishing forthcoming books by Patrick Deneen and Gracy Olmstead.

George Steiner, influential culture critic, dies aged 90.” Alison Flood remembers the remarkable life and work of the Jewish literary scholar. For more on Steiner’s understanding of what it means to be a Jew, see Jeffrey Salkin’s essay.

The End of the World as We Know It.” Ragan Sutterfield narrates the ways in which despair for a global “cure” for climate change led him to attend more lovingly to his place and community.

How Abortion Warps Our Politics.” Writing in the New York Times, Gracy Olmstead acknowledges that “this year’s presidential election demonstrates the power of our political moment to turn every issue — no matter how complex, painful or important — into a series of talking points, into opportunities to cast blame and castigate.” Nevertheless, she points toward organizations finding ways to promote a consistent life ethic.

Iowa Democrats Kept Their App Secret to Prevent Hacks. Instead, They Got Confusion and Chaos.” As Isaac Stanley-Becker and Michael Scherer report, maybe apps aren’t a solution to every problem.

A Luxury Dish Is Banned, and a Rural County Reels.” After the New York City Council banned foie gras sales, John Leland visited two farms that raise the ducks whose livers create the luxury dish. He discovers a complicated, many-faceted story. (Recommended by Matt Stewart.)

Michael Lind on Populism, Racism, and Restoring Democracy.” You know an interview is, well, interesting when the interviewee tells his questioner, “Well, it sounds like you’re really being hostile, Isaac. You sound very emotionally distraught.” Michael Lind wanted to talk about class, economics, and populism and all Isaac Chotiner of the New Yorker wanted to ask him about was Donald Trump. The result is a conversation that’s not much of a conversation, which sums up much of our political discourse these days.

Should I Stay, or Should I Go? How to Balance American Rootedness and Wanderlust.” Arthur Brooks ponders the benefits of moving vs. sticking:

There is a fundamental tension in American life today between opportunity and community. If you seek opportunity, you will probably be highly mobile, seek a relatively anonymous-but-prosperous urban area, and trade away the stability of knowing your neighbors and living near family. If you seek community, you will be more rooted, at the cost of benefiting from a national labor market.

The Ambivalent Politics of National Conservatism.” Titus Techera summarizes the main themes of the National Conservatism conference held in Rome this week.

The Democratic Party is Telling Millions of Pro-Lifers to Get Out.” Charles Camosy explains why he left the Democratic Party and joined the American Solidarity Party.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. Rather than pointing to Groundhog Day’s Christian origins I think it would be more accurate to say that article points to Groundhog Day and Candlemas’ pagan origins in the festival of Imbolc. Candlemas was just a co-optation of that.

    • Given that Candlemas (Feast of the Presentation) goes back to at least the 4th century in the Eastern Christian Church that seems highly unlikely.

      I’d never heard of Imbolc, but wikipedia says that it was “co-opted” not by Candlemas (Feb. 2) but by St. Bridgid’s Day (Feb. 1).

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