An Assortment of Links
* Foreign Policy picks the worst predictions of the year.
* Bill Kauffman visits a secessionist conference.
* Is maritime piracy increasing or decreasing?
* Finally, apropos of nothing, I'd just like to quote a little rant about Ken Burns I found in a comment thread last night:
[L]ike a lot of people I was fortunate that The Civil War was the first Ken Burns film I saw. The elegiac air of nostalgic rue (to take a phrase a writer for The New Republic used) seemed perfectly pitched to the subject matter. It was only later that we found out that he probably applied that style to his wedding video. It's the way he does everything. The trouble with Baseball is that one game of baseball is a lot like another, and hour after hour of it gets numbing, the monotony broken every 20 minutes or so by another trip to the woodshed to be scolded about the color bar. One tries in vain to think of the conceptual equivalent of the Ken Burns history of Jazz—the Margaret Dumont history of whorehouses, perhaps. As for The War, if you're going to show how World War II affected four different cities you really ought to choose at least one where the war was actually fought.
Full disclosure: I haven't watched The War and I've only seen a smidge of Baseball. But I did sit through all of Jazz, carefully counting the number of times in 19 hours that PBS's golden boy allowed a whole song to be played without interruption. The final total: 1.