December 05, 2009
A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon By Neil Sheehan (Random House, 534 pp., $35) In late March 1953, a colonel named Bernard Schriever sat in a briefing room at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, listening as John von Neumann, the brilliant mathematician, and Edward Teller, the physicist, discussed the future of the hydrogen bomb, the far more powerful follow-on to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki eight years earlier.
Industry Clusters: A Rural Boon?
December 02, 2009
With a House-Senate “conference” committee soon to decide whether to create a truly valuable regional industry clusters initiative, misconceptions linger. Some rurally oriented conferees fear that cluster strategies pertain exclusively to urban development and leave rural America out. Others fret that cluster initiatives point exclusively toward high technology growth. However, none of the doubters need worry.
The Most Frustrating Body
November 19, 2009
WASHINGTON--Normal human beings--let's call them real Americans--cannot understand why, 10 months after President Obama's inauguration, Congress is still tied down in a procedural torture chamber trying to pass the health care bill Obama promised in his campaign. Last year, the voters gave him the largest popular vote margin won by a presidential candidate in 20 years. They gave Democrats their largest Senate majority since 1976 and their largest House majority since 1992. Obama didn't just offer bromides about hope and change. He made quite specific pledges.
Would UAW Wage Concessions Have Been Good for Louisville?
November 05, 2009
Just after Ford Motor Company announced third-quarter profits of nearly $1 billion, its UAW-represented workers rejected a package of concessions including a wage freeze for newly hired workers and a no-strike pledge when the current contract expires in 2011. The concessions would have put Ford’s labor costs on par with those that GM and Chrysler obtained earlier this year. Those concessions, in turn, brought the companies’ wages and benefits down to the levels of the (non-union) Japanese manufacturers with plants here.
The Race Man
October 26, 2009
Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington By Robert J. Norrell (Harvard University Press, 508 pp., $35) I. Once the most famous and influential African American in the United States (and probably the world), Booker T. Washington has earned at best mixed reviews in the decades since his death in 1915. Black intellectuals and political activists, from W. E. B.
October 17, 2009
Whatever happens in the National League and American League Championship series unfolding over the next week or so, one outcome has already been decided--the effective end of the theories of Moneyball as a viable way to build a playoff-caliber baseball team when you don't have the money. That no doubt sounds like heresy to the millions who embraced Michael Lewis's 2003 book, but all you need to do is keep in mind one number this postseason: 528,620,438.
Karl Rove, Lifelong Gay-Baiter
October 07, 2009
In the course of discussing with Sam Tanenhaus his book The Death of Conservatism (an expansion of this essay he wrote for TNR), Reihan Salam claims in passing Karl Rove never imagined that opposition to same-sex marriage would cement a permanent Republican majority. It was a distraction that I'm sure he found distasteful. Andrew Sullivan pounces Rove thought this was a distraction? From his realignment? Does Reihan recall the kind of politics Rove cut his teeth on in the South?
Water Warnings from Atlanta
September 08, 2009
Southern cities and suburbs are used to drought restrictions in the summer, watering the lawn only certain days of the week every year. But what if the rules were year round and also applied to indoor water use too? Atlantans may soon have such a situation in 2012. Last month, a federal judge ruled that the Atlanta metro cannot use Lake Lanier as a drinking water source.
What Is Malcolm Gladwell Talking About?
August 04, 2009
In The New Yorker this week, Malcolm Gladwell has an alternately confusing and maddening essay about To Kill a Mockingbird and what he calls "the limits of southern liberalism." According to Gladwell, the Atticus Finch character in Harper Lee's book--later immortalized onscreen by Gregory Peck--was the novelistic version of an all-too-common southern politician in the days of Jim Crow. Gladwell's piece begins with the story of Big Jim Folsom, the Alabama governor who sympathized with the plight of black citizens, but resisted profound change.
Sweet Home Something Or Other
May 14, 2009
Via Drudge, I see that the boys of Kappa Alpha at the University of Alabama have gotten into a little bit of hot water for marching past the black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha during AKA's 35th anniversary celebration. Oh, did I mention that the KA boys were dressed in Confederate uniforms and were waving Confederate battle flags? It was all part of KA's "Old South" festivities, which, unfortunately, fell on the same day as AKA's 35th anniversary party.