Charles Barkley's round face and massive body may be ubiquitous on television, but, in person, the former All-Star power forward is even more physically imposing. At the Atlanta studio that anchors TNT's NBA playoff coverage, Barkley greets me warmly with a strong handshake. Throughout the day, he greets guests in his green room--staffers, a reporter's father--by teasing them affectionately. When a young man, the son of a former TNT employee, enters and informs Barkley about his straight-A grades, Barkley tells him that he can have, as promised, $100 from his money clip.
In addition to editing The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus is an an expert on American conservatism. I talked with him last week--after his long essay about William F. Buckley went to press--about Buckley's particular style of conservatism, the future of the Republican Party, and whether the recent election actually presents a chance for the right to regroup. Hi, I'm Isaac Chotiner of The New Republic and I'm talking to Sam Tanenhaus who is the editor of The New York Times Book Review. Sam, Welcome. Hi, Isaac. Happy to be here. shi Sam has a piece in our new issue about William F.
The New York Times's Marc Santora has a riveting account of Saddam Hussein's final minutes, including this exchange between the late dictator and two guards: The room was quiet as everyone began to pray, including Mr. Hussein. "Peace be upon Mohammed and his holy family." Two guards added, "Supporting his son Moktada, Moktada, Moktada.? Mr.
Over at The Atlantic's website, Robert D. Kaplan has a short piece arguing that, in his words, "Ford has been our greatest contemporary ex-president." More Kaplan: The fact that Ford embargoed, until after his death, an interview he gave Washington Post writer Bob Woodward in 2004 is further proof of his estimable reticence. While his displeasure at President George W. Bush's Iraqi policy was real, he seems to have had mixed feelings about publicly airing them.
Despite a flood of articles on Gerald Ford's decision to pardon Richard Nixon, I haven't seen anyone put forth the best reason for prosecuting Nixon all-out: deterrence. Wouldn't it have been valuable to throw a president in jail, or at least see him convicted of serious criminal charges? I know, I know, it might have prevented our country's "healing" so soon after Watergate and Vietnam. But seriously, a lot of American presidents have done a lot of bad things. Wouldn't the example of Nixon have served as a nice warning? --Isaac Chotiner
Sprinkled among some glowing tributes to the late President Ford have been references to his biggest gaffe. During a debate with Jimmy Carter he said the following: I don't believe ... the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Rumanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of those countries is independent, autonomous: it has its own territorial integrity ... This was, of course, in 1976.
Bob Woodward's not-so-shocking scoop in this morning's Washington Post, that Gerald Ford felt the decision to invade Iraq was a mistake, is mildly interesting (the late president revealed this to Woodward in July of 2004). But it is overshadowed by Ford's thoughts on Henry Kissinger, invariably the most colorful (if you'll pardon the euphemism) aspect of every story he is involved with. Here's Woodward: Most challenging of all, as Ford recalled, was Henry A.
Two New York Times stories today give a nice glimpse into where the Iraq debate stands, politically speaking. The first is a rather positive profile of Oregon Senator Gordon Smith.
Just to briefly follow up on Brad's post, it's worth checking out C.J. Chivers's harrowing and depressing story in this morning's New York Times on prison conditions in Kurdistan: Their rations were meager and often moldy. Sometimes the guards beat them, they said, and several inmates had disappeared. The entire inmate population had either been denied trials or had been held beyond the terms of their sentences, they said--lost in legal limbo in the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq. The prison strike here, on Dec.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece detailing the anti-poverty efforts of Tony Blair's government. Using a combination of tax credits and government-run child care, Britain has seen it's child poverty rate fall precipitously: The proportion of British children living in poverty fell to 11 percent in the year ended March 2005 from 24 percent in the year ended March 1998, according to one official definition used by the U.K. government. That definition adjusts the poverty line each year for inflation. The U.S.