On Christmas Eve we received a message from Thomas Lifson of Berkeley, California announcing the arrival of a new group blog modeled in part on Power Line: “I read your blog every day, and enjoy it tremendously. The intelligence and analytical acuteness you bring to the site have been an inspiration to me. Six days ago, I began my own collective blog, partially based on your model. We are still working-up our level of posting, and also debugging our software. Following the holidays, we expect to gear up to a fairly high level of posting. Our blog is The American Thinker.”
I wrote Mr. Lifson and requested additional information about his contributors. You might say it’s an impressive group. In his response Mr. Lifson did not include the group’s formidable academic and professional accomplishments, but they are included on the site’s “Contributors” link.
In his response he did include information about the group’s special interests and expertise that is not available on the site. “Like Power Line, we are all devoted friends of Israel. That is probably the single biggest issue for us, but we are interested in many other issues, encompassing national security, politics, ethics and religion, science and medicine (especially abortion, but not limited to it), technology, business, and the arts and culture, as well. I think it would be fair to characterize us as ‘realists’ about the use of power, while being internationalists in terms of background and experience living overseas. You can read up on us under the ‘contributors’ link. In sum:
-Richard Baehr is a math genius, who can analyze numbers and explain them better than anyone I know of. He follows electoral politics closely, and rivals Michael Barone in his knowledge of Congressional districts, and surpasses him in the ability to digest and remember the quantitative data. He is also superlatively knowledgeable about Israel and Middle East politics, to the extent that the Israeli Consulate in Chicago uses him as their spokesman. He has spent a lot of time in Europe and Israel.
-Ed Lasky (like me) is a compulsive web reader, up very early in the morning scanning the news wires very broadly. Ed mostly feeds articles to the rest of us, and is cryptic in his analyses. Ed, like me, has lived in Japan, and is very knowledgeable about China.
-Mary Davenport (my spouse) is an extraordinary physician, utterly dedicated to the Hippocratic Oath, and to medical ethics and integrity. She has taken a national leadership role in the pro-life movement, as an OB/GYN willing to testify on legislation and debate abortion activists on scientific, moral, theological, and political grounds. Mary has spent a lot of time overseas, principally in India and Europe.
-I am a recovering academic, with degrees and teaching experience in a bunch of fields, and interests which range even wider. I speak Japanese and Chinese, and have spent much of my life interpreting East Asia to Westerners, as well as working with East Asians. In my spare time, I am also a wine maker, and a member of Hugh Hewitt’s council of wine guys. I also co-host Lucianne Goldberg’s radio talk show on Thursdays, on the Talk Radio Network. (I also call Hugh Hewitt pretty regularly.) I have done a fair amount of work behind-the-scenes in talk radio (a medium I consider to beextremely important in the dissemination of ideas), and have been a prolific poster on Lucianne.com – a kind of pre-blog for me.
“TAT really began years ago, as daily email exchanges among a group of friends, who would send each other articles, comment on them, and often end up debating the finer points. Like Powerline’s principals, we are all successful, highly educated professionals, who are motivated to participate in public affairs out of the conviction that our ideas are needed. This is a calling for us.
“Eventually, I realized that we ought to be blogging, since we often came up with better analyses than most of the professional journalists. Here is where the collective nature of Powerline (along with your arresting design) served as a genuine inspiration.
“I then took the initiative, about nine months ago, to create the site. It has taken THAT long because I wanted to create a unique look, reminiscent of Nineteenth Century newspapers: the era in which mass journalism was created, and in which opinionated journalism was the norm. By inference, I am likening the internet to the industrialization of the printing press. Incidentally, I am also a business historian, published in the field. Ed also has a strong interest in business and technology history.
“First, I had to find an artist capable of meaningfully rendering Uncle Sam as Rodin’s ‘The Thinker,’ which was the touchstone image I had in mind to convey the combination of thoughtfulness, patriotism, and concern which animates us. Luckily, I eventually found Sean Cheetham, a truly remarkable young painter. You can read more about Sean by clicking on our merchandise link.
“Then, I had to find web designers who understood what I had in mind. It has taken far too long, and cost too much money, but we are finally up and running, although still debugging the details. I consider us in our ‘shakedown cruise’ phase. We will really focus our efforts on reaching the public and being prolific in January, after the holidays.
“We have both a blog section (‘our views on the news’) and an articles section. The articles section is open to other authors, whom we mostly expect to be non-journalists with expertise and/or unique analytical capabilities. I already have a couple of fascinating people interested in contributing longer articles for us, and welcome submissions.”
Please take a look at the site and bookmark it for regular visits.
UPDATE: Lifson’s post today is worth a special look: “The Indo-Israel alliance deepens. Yet again.”
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