James Kirchick

Here's a vivid picture of what it costs -- or seems to cost  - to live a wealthy life-style in London.  According to a Harris poll done for Saturday's Financial Times ("Britons say 432,000  feels like a capital fortune"), "A family of four needs a pre-tax income approaching half a million pounds a year to feel rich in London."  This is eighteen times the average wage of 23,800.An adjoining article by Bob Sherwood identifies the items that make a family feel rich.  It is, of course, more than a bit subjective.What would the figure be for Americans in New York or Los Angeles?  Not much less, I s

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Bill Clinton was quoted Friday as saying that Hillary was a "genius," at least a genius at solving other people's problems.  It's too bad she couldn't solve his problem.  It would have saved them a lot of troubles -- and the country a great and ugly rupture. Genius she is not.   But even a genius could not run as her authentic steely self, which maybe she can't help but doing, and also as a warm and caring soul.  Long ago, when she was still pal with Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense League and not Denise Rich of the fortune which no one cares (or dares) to tell its origins, eve

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  Matthias K

I am all for globalization, and I believe that -- whatever disruptions it causes in the lives of peoples and in the conditions of their societies -- it will ultimately benefit all mankind.Of course, many individuals will pay for this progress with lower pay and fewer respectable jobs so that others elsewhere will get higher pay and real jobs that they had not seen before.There will also be some comedies.I am a co-signer for three student loan borrowers through Sallie Mae.  One of them, a young man from Czechoslovakia, pays his debts on time, and he is also almost debt-free.The second, from New

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This morning's Times, like most other news sources, reports that at an international conference in Paris presided over by Nicolas Sarkozy -- a gathering which Jacques Chirac would have never been allowed to chair -- the attendees pledged nearly two billion dollars more than the Palestinian Authority had requested from what is coyly termed the "international donor community."  This turned out to be, as the Times reminded, the "most ambitious" such venture since 1996, at which point Yassir Arafat was still ruling the roost from Ramallah and there was absolutely zero progress on arrangements betw

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This is rich. President Robert Mugabe has suspended Zimbabwe's attorney general while he is investigated on charges of abusing his office, state radio reported on Saturday. --James Kirchick

I've noted in this space on several occasions the by-now dogged and suspicious habit of the Times to hype the emirate of Dubai as a "fantastic" tourist destination.  On December 9, it had two articles shilling for travelers: One, about the Art Fair in March of 2008, with 70 galleries participating, with a "forum [that] will bring together different personalities to generate an East-West Dialogue on modern art."   Wow, I can't wait.  The second is about Dubai as a party destination: "Clubs Bloom in the Desert."  Double wow!  Frankly, I can't think of a less interesting and more vapid place to v

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The old-time black politicians and other public figures are mostly in Hillary Clinton's camp.  It is, of course, habit -- how could it not have been otherwise?

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Iran's Shady Dealings

 The N.I.E. on Iranian nuclear ambitions unravels day by day. Yesterday, according to a Reuters dispatch reporting a story in Der Spiegel, the German government expelled a Tehran diplomat from the country.  What was "Moharamali D" doing that got him bounced?  He had tried to buy nuclear processers in Bavaria. This doesn't seem like Iran actually did cancel its atomic programs or, for that matter, was in compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation regime to which it has pledged fidelity.

There is something so smarmy about Hillary Clinton's campaign for president, and the most smarmy moment was the attack on Obama for telling the truth about his use of cocaine as a young man. After all, it was a very common experience in his generation; and, if someone smart and cool denied having used it, I suspect that he was a liar. Actually, cocaine wasn't so absent in my generation when we were in our twenties. So here is Barack Obama admitting to a quotidian truth for his age set, and he's pilloried by the national co-chairman of Mrs.

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