I saw reports this week about former Florida Governor John Ellis “Jeb” Bush thinking about taking his rightful place running for President of the United States in 2016. As Lawrence Welk might be saying from up above, “wunnerful, wunnerful!” Nothing more to say right now about another Bush in the White House—really—but I did enjoy Frank Bruni’s piece, Fathers, Sons and the Presidency, from the 10/25 New York Times. Never mind tax returns and medical exams; we need a psych exam on anyone polling above 5% in the primaries.
And speaking of presidents, The American Conservative posted Obama is a Republican on October 21. Bruce Bartlett wrote the piece. He advised Ronald Reagan and served in the Treasury Department when Bush I was next door. Mr. Bartlett has become an apostate, but he’s also smart and, I think, right. (Can you imagine a Bush III, or do we do 41, 43, 45?)
Elisabeth Babcock wrote Rethinking Poverty for the Stanford Social Innovation Review this fall. Ms. Babcock’s essay offers worthy insights, along with a clear acknowledgment that the problems are very hard to solve. The message for me? Be sure, when we’re helping disadvantaged people, that we’re focused on the problems and solutions, and not on what we want to do. Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds!
For film fans, I offer 30 Years of Coens: Closing Thoughts and Rankings by Christopher Orr for The Atlantic on September 30. Thirty years. Wow! See what you think of Mr. Orr’s rankings.
With thanks to the New Yorker yet again for opening up its archives, I really enjoyed The Secret of Excess from the August 19, 2002. It’s a lengthy feature story about Mario Batali, and even though it’s more than a dozen years old, it’s worth reading. (BTW, Bill Buford is an excellent writer. Check out Heat!) And in keeping with the Italian theme, here from Food & Wine is Rome Street Food.