The New Republic

And That's the Way It Was
July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite had, and deserved, a monumental reputation, helped along by a splendid poker face and a voice that incarnated authority in a time that believed authority was rather unproblematic. Now that he has passed, his career will be inspected for meaning--not least, political meaning. Was he: (a) The very personification of trustworthiness? (b) An agent of rebellious influence? (c) A spokesman for many of America’s bygone, no-longer-reliable authorities? (d) All of the above?

The Other Highway Funding Crisis
July 17, 2009

Robert Puentes is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program. Adie Tomer is a research analyst at the Program. Last month, Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood confirmed that, by August, the highway trust fund will "run out of money," due to the fact that Americans are driving less (and more efficiently), while the gas tax hasn't changed in 16 years. Last summer, Congress had to transfer $8 billion from the general fund to keep transportation programs solvent.

The (delayed) Movie Review: '(500) Days Of Summer'
July 17, 2009

I've been out of the country all week, so I'm afraid my review of the winning, winsome (500) Days of Summer will have to wait until (hopefully early) next week. Though not without its flaws, the film is sharp and witty, and captures with striking immediacy the simultaneous elation and terror of new, untested love. Though I'm still too jetlagged to make large pronouncements with any confidence, it may be the most enjoyable film of the summer since Up. In any case, more next week. For those who can't wait, I recommend the characteristically excellent reviews by A.O.

Campus Regress
July 16, 2009

WASHINGTON--It's the silent education crisis, the one we don't talk about much because its existence undermines the story we like to tell about our country.The problems we face from kindergarten to 12th grade get regular, if still insufficient, attention. But we rarely confront how badly we're faring when it comes to educating our people after high school.

Rafsanjani's Day of Reckoning
July 16, 2009

Tomorrow, Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will deliver the Friday sermon in Tehran--the most important pulpit for policy and polemic in Iran. The former president and speaker of the parliament has been a regular on the Friday circuit over the past 30 years, but has been eerily absent for more than two months. More crucially, though the reformist cleric has met with families of those arrested in recent weeks (an important symbolic act), his words since the controversial elections of June 12 have been characteristically ambiguous. This Friday is his hour of reckoning.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
July 16, 2009

Columns of paramilitary police are now keeping a tenuous peace in Urumqi, the western Chinese city where more than 1,000 Uighurs rioted ten days ago in the bloodiest clash in decades between the authorities and the Turkic-speaking Muslim minority group. The eight million Uighurs who live in Xinjiang province have long chafed at Beijing’s rule.

Senate Climate Debate To Heat Up In September
July 16, 2009

Expect a Senate climate bill to materialize in early September—after the six-week August recess. That's according to E&E News, which quotes Barbara Boxer saying she might even snag a Republican co-sponsor: Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) plans to unveil a major global warming bill immediately after Congress returns from the August recess, she said today....

Take My Columnist. Please.
July 15, 2009

In his column today, Tom Friedman treated his readers to the comic stylings of Kirkuk Deputy Provincial Council Chairman Rebwar Talabani, using a joke of Talabani's to emphasize the importance of putting aside historical grievances to solve problems. It's hardly the first time Friedman has used a joke to prove a point. Indeed, a quick search through The New York Times archives reveals about 17 other instances when he used comedy to expound upon, among other things, the flatness of the Earth or the interconnectedness of Lexuses and olive trees.

Ahmadinejad II
July 15, 2009

It is becoming increasingly clear that the opposition protests that have rocked Iran over the past month have seriously undermined the credibility of the regime. In the last month, four of Iran’s highest ranking ayatollahs have issued statements defiantly declaring the current regime “illegitimate.” Iranian Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has asked the international community to refuse to negotiate with the Ahmadinejad presidency until the crackdown on opposition ends.

Washington Diarist
July 15, 2009

On a rainy day in 1993, I sat with my parents at the opening ceremonies of the Holocaust Museum and heard President Clinton, who was doing nothing to stop the genocide in Bosnia, suggest that the genocide in Bosnia must be stopped, because never again can we allow genocide to occur. My mother laconically whispered that "he talks about Bosnia as if he is somebody else." I was reminded of her distinction between the president and the rest of us when I read a piece on this magazine's website by my haver Michael Walzer, who made the same distinction but for the opposite end.

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