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January 2014

Peggy Noonan's column today is terrific

I don't use that adjective lightly.

This is the great political failure of progressivism: They always go too far. They always try to rub your face in it. . . . 

Washington sees the disaffection. They read the polls, they know.

They call it rage. But it feels more like grief. Like the loss of something you never thought you'd lose, your sense of your country and your place in it, your rights in it.

"The evolving role of the Oxford English Dictionary"

The third edition will be bigger:

The first edition, published in 10 instalments between 1884 and 1928, defined more than 400,000 words and phrases; by 1989, when two further supplements of 20th-century neologisms were combined with the original to create the second, this had risen to some 600,000, with a full word count of 59m. Once the monumental task of revising and updating that last (and possibly final) printed incarnation is complete, the third edition is expected to have doubled in overall length.

"Los Angeles Is Overdue for a More Powerful Earthquake Than We Thought"

From The Atlantic:

Whether this new assessment will push the city to force reform upon the owners of unsafe properties is unknown. Right now, more than 1,000 concrete structures could collapse during a major quake, including homes and offices, according to a recent investigation by the Los Angeles Times. Even an ultra-conservative amount of temblor-induced mayhem would destroy up to 50 buildings and expose "thousands to injury or death," warns the paper.

"The Real Roots of Islamic Extremism"

Stephen Schwartz argues that it's not Israel and not the West.

The principled jihads of al-Jazairi and Imam Shamyl, who remain legendary heroes to Muslims everywhere, contrast brusquely with the heartless terrorism of Osama bin Laden. But the fact that Muslims facing humiliation and even the threat of genocide do not automatically turn to extremism and terrorism is most dramatically illustrated by the recent history of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the war that savaged that country in the 1990s, thousands of Muslim women and girls were raped, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were murdered, at least half a million became refugees, and 2,000 mosques were destroyed by Serbian forces. Yet the Bosnian Muslims never turned to terrorism, nor even to an extremist form of Islam. Not one Christian church or Jewish synagogue was attacked in the Bosnian Muslim zone. The Bosnian Muslims looked the same and spoke the same language as their Serb foes; had they wished to carry a terror war deep into Serbia, it would have been absurdly easy. The Bosnian Muslims, like Abd’ al-Kader al-Jazairi and Imam Shamyl, strictly distinguished between combatants and noncombatants.