by Sanford Levinson I wonder if anyone else finds it noteworthy that the ostentatiously self-identified "Dr. Bill Frist" is leading the fight against the McCain-Graham-Warner bill that would prevent the US from engaging in torture or other similar procedures not defined as such by the Administration (but identified as such by most of the rest of the world)? The first injunction of the Hippocratic Oath, after all, is "First, do no harm." Dr.
by Casey Blake I'm delighted to read Darrin McMahon's account of philo-Americanism in Argentina. That's encouraging news in these dark times. Unfortunately, I'm afraid the situation remains quite different in Western Europe, at least among people on the left and center-left (including most intellectuals). This is largely a new development, in my view. Even during the Vietnam war, Europeans' denunciations of U.S. "imperialism" coexisted with admiration for the democratic strains in American culture and politics.
by Sanford LevinsonFor what it is worth, I note that Menachem Begin, generally not thought to be a particular bleeding heart liberal, wrote, with regard to his own experience of being tortured in the Soviet Union, that the spirit of a sleep-deprived prisoner "is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire to sleep, to sleep just a little, not to get up, to lie, to rest, to forget. ...
by Eric Rauchway We went to see Tom Stoppard's Travesties at ACT over the weekend. It was, per ACT usual, a brilliant production. Herewith some thoughts about its arguments on art, including the question: Does Travesties (first staged 1974) still need its second act? Travesties takes off from the apparently true tale of a British diplomatic official, Henry Carr, starring in a production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest staged by James Joyce in Zürich during the Great War. Stoppard noted that Tristan Tzara, the Dadaist, and V. I.
by Daniel Drezner While much of the political blogosphere seems obsessed with, er, cleavage, it's worth pointing out that yesterday the National Academy of Sciences panel released its report,"Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering." In the New York Times, Cornelia Dean provides a summary:Women in science and engineering are hindered not by lack of ability but by bias and "outmoded institutional structures" in academia, an expert panel reported yesterday.
by Eric RauchwayThis is an episode about how people get you to do what they want. If they can, they'll buy or bully you; but if they can't, they'll use the soft eyes. And sometimes (no, I can't resist a cheap pun) the eyes have it. Freamon gets Pearlman to issue his subpoenas against the powerful politicos by giving her the eyes above the reading glasses, like (as Daniels explains) the father you can't bear to disappoint.
by Darrin McMahonI was in Argentina last week, and surprised at how often and how warmly the people I met there responded to the fact that I was American. One particularly endearing man, now in his 80s, had worked for Sears in the 1950s selling appliances, and relished the thought of going back. Another told of how he had watched his parents weep over the news of President Kennedy's assassination ("Era Católico!"), and rocked out in his teens to Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.
I suppose it's good news. Or is it? The European Union has been scavenging for any evidence that Hamas has lost its mandate. A dispatch from the Deutsche Presse Agentur in Monday's Haaretz may give it what it seeks. In a polling study done by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, based in Ramallah, 1,200 adults were canvassed in the West Bank and Gaza on crucial issues of the bedraggled polity. Well, it turns out that Hamas' favorable ratings have fallen from 47 percent in March down to 38 percent currently. Also, 54 percent said they were dissatisfied by Hamas rule.
I'm on the shuttle, again, from Boston to New York to visit my granddaughter, born last week, and to celebrate the publication of Niall Ferguson's new book, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West. I haven't read this one yet. But I've read all his other books, and each of them deals with a significant historical or political topic and is written really gorgeously and argued logically, with a subtle structure of overwhelming evidence. In any case, this post is not about Niall, it's about airplane safety, sort of. ...
The New Republic was just about the first publication to recognize in Eliot Spitzer a national figure (click here to read Noam Scheiber's 2002 profile of Spitzer and here and here for what Spitzer has written for TNR), just as we were the first to recognize Barack Obama as an aspirant with talent who would develop a deep reservoir of support (click here for Noam's examination of Obama's 2004 Senate campaign). The Siena College poll, a very reputable and, as it happens, reliable survey, shows that New York Attorney General Spitzer would trample over Republican State Assembly Minority Leader Joh