Mr. Coffee and Mr. Fixit
March 13, 2010
Raymond Carver: Collected Stories By Raymond Carver (Library of America, 1019 pp., $40) Raymond Carver: A Writer’s LifeBy Carol Sklenicka (Scribner, 578 pp., $35) In the summer of 1984, the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami and his wife traveled to the remote coastal town of Port Angeles, Washington, to visit Raymond Carver in the glass-walled “Sky House,” overlooking the ocean, which he shared with his partner, the poet Tess Gallagher. It was more of a pilgrimage than a social call.
Amazon’s Kindle: Symbol of American Decline?
February 24, 2010
Apple’s iPad is dominating the gadget buzz this winter, but a few years ago, we and others made a big deal about the “polyglot” iPod, turning it into a talisman of the globalized supply-chain. The point was to accent the global context in which U.S.
“A War Is A War. A War Is Not A Crime, And You Don’t Bring Your Enemies To A Courthouse.”
February 23, 2010
It is so simple. And elegant. What’s more, it is also true. Why are so many liberal Democrats reluctant to concede that there is an intricate international network of ideological gangsters who recognize each other as ikhwan? These brothers do not define themselves by nation. They define themselves by religion, although there are many hundreds of millions of Muslims who are defined out--and define themselves out--of the bloody fraternity of the faithful. Sometimes, they too are stigmatized as enemies, which means they are also targets.
Terrorists Without Borders
February 23, 2010
Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field Edited by Antonio Giustozzi (Columbia University Press, 318 pp., $40) My Life with the Taliban By Abdul Salam Zaeef Edited by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn (Columbia University Press, 331 pp., $29.95) After several hours of driving down one of the two-lane asphalt roads that wind through Pakistan’s tribal areas, our kidnappers entered the territory of Baitullah Mehsud, the widely feared leader of the Pakistani Taliban. It was the middle of March in 2009.
February 10, 2010
Freedom's faithful are right now assembling in Tehran to mark the revolution that for three decades ate away at the ever-fewer rights that they had. So this is a protest not only against the regime, but against its seizure of power three decades ago. We had always known that there was an enlightened and democratic cohort in Iran. But, for years, it was silenced and, so, remained silent. Still, the boot on the human face can not last forever. Now we know that this cohort is enormous.
The Full Text of Obama's Speech
January 27, 2010
Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery The State of the Union Wednesday, January 27, 2009 Washington, DC Madame Speaker, Vice President Biden, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For two hundred and twenty years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They have done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they have done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggl
Muhammed Gives the Met the Jitters
January 10, 2010
This is an inside New York story that I read in the New York Post. But it's really an international story with serious ramifications. This is actually a postscript to the twelve Danish cartoons of four years ago, one of which was the image of a bomb in Muhammed's turban. There was an attempt on the life of this particular cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, by a Somali jihadnik a week after the Christmas bomber struck. The Somali was arrested, as was the Nigerian.
Barack Obama, You Remind Me of Herbert Hoover
January 05, 2010
Barack Obama has been compared to almost every American President of the last hundred years--favorably to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan; and unfavorably to Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.
January 04, 2010
On the night of December 1, shortly after Barack Obama announced plans to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, retired Lt. Colonel John Nagl appeared on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Maddow was dismayed by Obama’s new plan, which she called “massive escalation,” but, when she introduced Nagl, a counterinsurgency expert who has long called for a greater U.S. commitment to Afghanistan--even if it means raising taxes and expanding the military--she was surprisingly friendly.
The End of Hunger?
January 02, 2010
Famine: A Short History By Cormac Ó Gráda (Princeton University Press, 327 pp., $27.95) The earliest recorded famines, according to Cormac Ó Gráda in his brief but masterful book, are mentioned on Egyptian stelae from the third millennium B.C.E. In that time--and to an extent, even today, above the Aswan dam in Sudan--farmers along the Nile were dependent on the river flooding to irrigate their fields. But one flood out of five, Ó Gráda tells us, was either too high or too low. The result was often starvation.