June 07, 2012
Sanctuary in the Wilderness: A Critical Introduction to American Hebrew PoetryBy Alan Mintz (Stanford University Press, 520 pp., $65) I. ON DECEMBER 17, 2007, on the storied stage of the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Hebrew language—its essence, its structure, its metaphysic— entered American discourse in so urgent a manner as to renew, if not to inflame, an ancient argument. The occasion was a public conversation between Marilynne Robinson and Robert Alter: a not uncommon match of novelist with literary scholar.
Last week, Brookings published a paper by my colleague, Jonathan Rothwell, focused on the extent to which low-income kids are concentrated in low-performing schools, as measured by test scores.
A Brief Audit of Politicians’ Tax Problems
April 17, 2012
If you’re still filling out your tax forms, it may be tempting to cut some corners and tell a few white lies. But as the ethics-deficient politicians listed below can tell you, tax evasion doesn’t end well. Here’s a guide on “what-not-to-do,” courtesy of political figures, past and present. Spiro Agnew. The only vice president to resign due to criminal charges, Agnew left office in 1973 just ten months before Richard Nixon’s departure would have made him president.
Willard Mitt Romney, Unzipped
April 02, 2012
For a well-bred, horse-loving mother of five, Ann Romney sure has a way with the double entendre. Asked what could be done to improve voters’ connection with her buttoned-up husband on Baltimore’s WBAL radio station today, Ann declared: “we better unzip him.” Except it was even better than that in context: ... the host asked her, “And one of the things, Ann Romney, that folks talk about with your husband, Mitt Romney, and I’ve seen him in casual conversation-He comes off very smooth and okay. But sometimes he comes off stiff.
Thus Spake Still
February 08, 2012
Clyfford Still Museum Denver, Colorado I have never been strongly attracted to the feverish visionary heights that can be reached by a prophetic voice. Of course I feel the power of the Book of Lamentations, and Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, and Wagner’s Ring, and Blake’s apocalyptic extravaganzas. But there are other registers that touch me more deeply, or at least more directly. I think a convincing argument can be made that the prophetic mode does not come naturally to the visual artist, surely not to the visual artist in the modern world.
Freaks and Geeks
February 08, 2012
The fans who descended upon Baltimore in September 1983 for the forty-first annual World Science Fiction Convention hadn’t come to meet Newt Gingrich. They were there to see Isaac Asimov and the test pilot Chuck Yeager, to listen to Jim Henson hold forth on The Dark Crystal, to hear panel discussions like “Is There Pornography in the Future?” In this milieu, the gentleman from Georgia’s sixth district stood out mostly because of his conservative attire. “He was a novelty,” recalls the author Virginia Postrel, who met Gingrich at the convention. “People were wearing blue jeans.
Chasing Phantom Ships Post-Panamax
January 03, 2012
The end of 2011 brought discouraging news for advocates of effective goods movement policy, as evidenced by new developments in the standoff between the ports of Charleston and Savannah. As reported by the Charleston Post & Courier (h/t to Peter T.
December 14, 2011
On a warm Saturday in early July, an employee at the Maryland Historical Society placed a call to the police. He had noticed two visitors behaving strangely—a young, tall, handsome man with high cheekbones and full lips and a much older, heavier man, with dark, lank hair and a patchy, graying beard. The older man had called in advance to give the librarians a list of boxes of documents he wanted to see, saying that he was researching a book. At some point during their visit, the employee saw the younger man slip a document into a folder.
In October, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that banned misleading advertisements for the city’s crisis pregnancy centers. The ordinance allows courts to fine crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel pregnant women against abortion, up to $500 every time they falsely imply in advertisements that they offer abortion services. First Resort, Inc., one of the centers singled out by the law, responded with a suit accusing the city of a First Amendment violation in less than a month. The case is now going to the United States District Court for Northern California.
Daily Deadline: Beware the Ides of March?
October 14, 2011
The time demands of fatherhood have forced me to see most movies vicariously, through the eyes of reviewers. So while I don’t know film all that well, I do know the people who write about film. My favorites are the ones whose reviews reflect knowledge of something besides the art – science, history, politics. A.O. Scott and Rogert Ebert come quickly to mind. Another is my former colleague, Christopher Orr, who now works for the Atlantic.