Is Obama's Green Jobs Guru In Trouble?
September 03, 2009

For months now, various right-wing bloggers and Glenn Beck have been trying to whip up outrage over Van Jones, Obama's green-jobs guru. Their accusations to date—that he's a secret communist, say—have been absurd and easily ignored. But all of the sudden Jones may be turning into a real political headache for the White House. Yesterday, he had to apologize for an old YouTube clip in which he called Republicans "assholes" for thwarting environmental legislation.

More on Japan and Democracy
September 01, 2009

I got a message about Karel van Wolferen's comments from Tag Murphy, the author of The Weight of the Yen.  Tag adds the economic dimension to van Wolferen's argument: I completely agree with what Karel wrote.

New Hope for Japan: Why I Think It Could Finally Start Acting Like a Real Democracy
August 31, 2009

John B. Judis has brought in a very interesting piece on the Japanese elections by Karel van Wolferen. Here is John’s description of van Wolferen: He is the author of The Enigma of Japanese Power, considered a classic on the exercise of power in Japan, and its history. Van Wolferen was the first author to point out that Japan lacked a center of political accountability, and that many of its problems must be seen in that light. He was initially reviled when the book appeared in 1989, but his analysis is now widely accepted in Japan.

The Best and the Fastest
August 31, 2009

The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome By Christopher Kelly (W.W. Norton, 350 pp., $26.95) Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia From the Bronze Age To the Present By Christopher I. Beckwith (Princeton University Press, 472 pp., $35) The extraordinary reputation of Attila and his Huns requires an explanation, because they had so much competition.

Welcome to the New!
August 28, 2009

Welcome, dear readers, to the revamped We understand that reinvention is part of the very fabric of the internet, and so an overhaul like this is not usually regarded as an event of the same magnitude as, say, an old-fashioned print magazine relaunch. But this new site is a very big deal for us.  There are plenty of Old Media haunts where the marquee writers still turn up their noses at the web. You’ll find many venerable magazines with sites that have an entirely different roster of contributors and an entirely different sensibility from print.

Incitement to Murder
August 27, 2009

Israelis are furious about an article printed in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet last week accusing the Israeli army of killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs.

Why The National Review Would Have Loved Zora Neale Hurston
August 17, 2009

The drifting changes in the links between cultural alignments and political ones over time are always interesting, such as the fact that Republicans were once more interested in black rights than Democrats. It’s equally true in black history. Culturally, Booker T. Washington was much more of what is currently recognized as “culturally black” than W.E.B.

Should Older Power Plants Get A Free Pass?
August 17, 2009

When the original Clean Air Act was written back in 1970, it contained a tiny little loophole. Or, at least, it looked tiny at the time. But it actually turned out to be very, very significant. The bill initially set tight pollution limits for all new power plants and refineries, but older facilities were exempt.

Glenn Beck's Thoughtful Health Care Discussion
August 13, 2009

Riiiiiiiight. So here's how Beck set the tone for last night's "Health Care Special": Gentlemen, first of all, does anybody here believe eugenics is coming, building a master race? R.J. PESTRITTO, AUTHOR, 'WOODROW WILSON': No, sir. Absolutely not. BECK: No. OK, good. We're all clear on that. That's not what we're saying. Does anybody here think that Barack Obama wants to snuff out anybody's grandma? JOHN HOFF, FORMER HHAS OFFICIAL IN BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Absolutely not. BECK: OK. ... So this is going to be a calm, earnest discussion of the pros and cons of health care reform, got it? Good.

Tnrtv: Will Al-qaeda Assert Itself In Pakistan?
August 11, 2009

Nicholas Schmidle, fellow at the New America Foundation and author of To Live Or To Perish Forever, argues that if Al-Qaeda decides to throw its weight around in the selection process for the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Obama's Af-Pak strategy will be put to the test. --Ben Eisler Check out the latest on TNRtv: Chait/Wilkinson: What's The Problem With Income Inequality? Scheiber: How Obama Can Capitalize On The Latest Jobs Report Johnson: Should Geithner Have Told Regulators To F*ck Off?