This Tuesday, seven leaders of Iran's Bahai movement will go on trial on capital charges of espionage and threatening national security. They have been in prison for more than a year. The group’s two lawyers have not only been refused the legally required visits with their clients, but neither will be in court on Tuesday.
The conservative attacks on health care reform and Barack Obama's economic plan seem to have reached a fever pitch this week. Their obsession with the topics has been matched only by the inanity of most of their critiques. Why are the conservative talking points on these issues grounded in such weak arguments? Is there something else at play here? This reaction seemed strangely familiar as I read Matthew Yglesias's recent post about the Christian Right's obsession with gay marriage.
Across the country, town hall discussions about health care are being drowned out by mobs of booing, threatening, and screaming activists. The phenomenon has worsened to the point that some, like Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, are refusing to hold such events at all during the recess--reasoning that disagreement is welcome, but "I don't have to put up a stage for them." What's making these town hall meetings so frustrating?
Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the Russian-Georgian War. Last summer, battles were fought, lives were lost, and land was destroyed. Yet one year out, what is most striking is how little the politics related to the war seem to have changed and how many questions surrounding the conflict remain unanswered. Let’s go back in time to early last August. In Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili was under attack from a hostile opposition that often took to the streets, accusing him of “hoarding and abusing power,” according to The New York Times.
A joke has been circulating widely in Iran these past few years: One day, a fox sees a friend running fast through the forest. “Why are you running?” asks the fox. “They are killing foxes who have three testicles,” the friend replies. “So, why are you running?” the bewildered friend asks again.
Despite its celebrated slogan “Diamonds Are Forever, De Beers, which has dominated the diamond business for over a century, is discovering that diamond profits are not forever. It reported in July that its profits for the first half of 2009 fell by no less than 99%. The problem is not that the mining giant is running out of diamonds. Its highly efficient diamond mines in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia still supply about 40 percent of the world’s gem-sized diamonds. Nor have diamonds lost their value.
The Obama administration is increasingly being compared to the Carter and Clinton administrations--and the comparisons are not meant to be favorable. Both of those earlier administrations stumbled seriously during their first two years, with dire consequences for their legislative agenda and for their party. I expect, and hope, that Barack Obama will avoid this fate. Obama has surrounded himself with people far more savvy in the ways of Washington than Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton initially did.
With the news of Merce Cunningham’s death has come a blizzard of wonderful photographic portraits of the dancer in action. He was a great camera subject, often caught in mid-flight, lyrical yet hyperbolic, arrestingly individualistic. To this extraordinary photographic record--and to Jennifer Homans’s obituary salute here a few days ago--I would like to add a small trove of images of Cunningham from around 1946, which unlike so much of what we have been seeing are not products of the photographer’s eye.
In his latest “TRB From Washington” column, TNR senior editor Jonathan Chait takes exception with a paper on income inequality by The Cato Institute’s Will Wilkinson. Watch them go head-to-head in this TNRtv special.Is Inequality Inefficient?Do The Rich Wield Political Influence To Preserve Their Wealth?If Everyone Started On Equal Footing, Would The Poor Deserve Welfare?
Two Israeli writers caused a stir last week by calling on President Obama to speak directly to Israelis, similar to the way he has addressed populations from Cairo to Moscow. “Simply stated, take your campaign directly to the Israeli people, and soon,” Bradley Burston wrote in a Haaretz blog post.