Albany

The New York mayor's accomplishments have been overshadowed by avoidable missteps with the media and in Albany.

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Behind Andrew Cuomo's Book Bout With Fredric Dicker

Did a presidential contender quash an unfriendly biography?

Did a presidential contender quash an unfriendly biography?

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Why did the Times Magazine reject Martin Luther King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail"?

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American Sublime

Haines Falls, New York—Like every other summer resident of a rural region, I come to the Catskills to get away from my life. If winter is when we second-home owners disappear like pale ghosts into our routines and our urban surroundings, then summer is the time when nature is supposed to restore us to our ruddier, truer, more spontaneous selves. Driving around in my SUV, thinking “Glory be for dappled things,” I amuse myself by imagining that, down in the valley, civilization has screeched to an end, and that my family and I will revert to our instincts and live by our wits.

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The revelation that suspected Russian spies have been hiding in the suburbs of major U.S. cities has been regarded by some as a throw back to postwar Cold War novels replete with money drop-offs, hidden identities, and old school technology.  Perhaps the most telling aspect of these Russians’ retro status is their attempt to “fit in” with a suburbia that no longer exists. At least eight of these alleged spies were classic suburbanites replete with dogs, families, or suburban jobs which could be part of any 1950s “welcome wagon” contingent.

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One of the persistent memes of conservative discourse is that any right-of-center figure who deviates from the right-wing line must be searching for the financial and social rewards of mainstream respectability.

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Last week at a forum on local government’s fiscal straits, Mayor Elaine Walker of Bowling Green, KY, supplied her top desired federal recession response: “For us,” she said, “the biggest thing is… the Community Development Block Grant….In Bowling Green, we use it for everything.” Said Walker: CDBG could be a critical anti-recession measure because it allows local governments “not to balance [their] budgets but to… get money into the local economy.” CDBG—a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address development needs particularly in urban or struggling locales--hasn’t

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Thomas Paine: Collected Writings edited by Eric Foner (The Library of America, 906 pp., $35) Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom by Jack Fruchtman Jr. (Four Walls Eight Windows, 557 pp., $30) Thomas Paine: A Political Life by John Keane (Little, Brown, 644 pp., $27.95) I. Every twenty-ninth of January, Thomas Paine's admirers assemble at his old farm in New Rochelle, New York, to celebrate his birthday and to lay a wreath on his monument.

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The School for Scandal

THE NATION'S political professionals—all the consultants, campaign managers, lobbyists, pollsters, and media wizards who have overrun Washington and established a serious beachhead in most big cities and state capitals—have a problem. On the surface, things seem to be going pretty well. The pros have built the political system into a multibillion-dollar industry, employing thousands of people. They've made themselves seemingly indispensable to every kind of high-officeholder, would-be officeholder, and moneyed interest with an ax to grind.

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Uneasy Holiday

There was always a special patriotism to the speeches of Martin Luther King. No other American orator could bring audiences to their feet by reciting three full stanzas of "My Country, Tis of Thee." From there he often soared across the American landscape in perorations calling on freedom to ring "from the granite peaks of New Hampshire . . . from the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania . . . from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado . . . from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee! Let it ring . . .

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