Isaac Chotiner

Fund Fun

Bloomberg has a good story on Robert Rubin's speech at a Washington conference, where he called on Congress to "double tax rates for many hedge fund managers and private equity partners who classify their pay as capital gains." As TNR noted in a recent editorial, fund managers are now frequently able to classify earnings as capital gains because of a tax loophole. In addition to Rubin, Larry Summers also spoke out on the subject recently. Let's see if this becomes an issue in the presidential campaign as we move towards the first primaries. --Isaac Chotiner

Snub-Continent

MUMBAI, INDIA LAST YEAR, a 25-year-old Mumbai native named Savita went out with her boyfriend to celebrate Valentine’s Day. (The names of characters in this piece have been changed to protect their identities.) The couple chose an expensive Middle Eastern restaurant in Mumbai where, a few minutes into the meal, a group of men burst in and began to verbally harass them. “Why are you celebrating this American holiday?” they demanded before leaving. After Savita and her date finished their meal, they found the same group waiting for them outside. The men beat Savita’s companion badly.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Saddam's Final Moments

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.

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The Ford Funeral

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.

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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

Presidential Blunders

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.

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Ford On Kissinger

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.

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