Clearing my spindle

When this site was redesigned, we added the Picks feature above so that we could note news as it was breaking, bring items of interest to the attention of readers about which we didn’t necessarily have anything to say, or take note of pieces that were otherwise worthy of your attention. The Picks feature has obviated the need I occasionally felt to post installments of this series that served the same purpose, but I have a few items I would like to draw to your attention this morning without having much of interest to say about them myself other than placing them into a context.

Weekly Standard deputy editor Richard Starr tweeted a recommendation of Gene Weingarten’s Washington Post Magazine article on Brian Murtagh, the prosecutor who put Jeffrey MacDonald away in 1979 and kept him there ever since. Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has a new book touting MacDonald’s innocence, and it has received attention that is both substantial and favorable in the New York Times. Richard is a shrewd editor with a keen eye. In his tweet Richard asserted that Weingarten deserves a third Pulitzer Prize for “Since 1979, Brian Murtagh has fought to keep Jeffrey MacDonald in prison.” Read it and see why.

Rian Malan is a South African journalist and author of the best-selling book My Traitor’s Heart. He is the author, most recently, of a book that I think I’m going to have to read, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, recently reviewed by Douglas Rogers in the Wall Street Journal.

If you saw the fantastic documentary film Searching For Sugar Man, you caught a glimpse or two of Malan. If you haven’t seen the film, check out the Wall Street Journal backgrounder by Rachel Dodes, “A rock ‘n’ roll mystery.”

Malan himself is also the author of an utterly compelling Journal book review. Ron Radosh picked up a thread of Malan’s review and linked to Malan’s related essay, “Mandela’s secret history.” This is all compelling reading, highly recommended.

I have singled out Washington Post foreign affairs columnist several times over the years as a moral cretin unable to distinguish friend from enemy or good from evil in the Middle East. Ignatius’s column yesterday — “Our man in Cairo” — is an exception to the rule. Better yet is Andrew McCarthy, whose compass is unerring.


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