The underwhelming, ineloquent, triumphant reign of Thomas Menino
Boston has historically been a fractious place, down to its marrow: white against black, Irish against WASP, Italian against Irish, Dorchester against Brighton, us against them, us against us if them weren’t around. A political culture rooted in an actual revolution and an actual tea party later produced characters like James Michael Curley, who, according to lore, threatened to use his authority as mayor to open the sewer mains under Brahmin banks if the bankers didn’t loan money to city projects. READ MORE >>
Will Wayne LaPierre defend every American's right to build a pressure-cooker bomb?
Like many of us, Wayne LaPierre had no idea you could build a terror weapon out of a bit of scotch tape, a couple of rubber bands and an old pressure cooker (or was it a toaster oven?). “Well I’ll be damned,” said the head of the National Rifle Association, no doubt correctly.Wayne’s second thought came just as automatically, if not as quickly. “I wonder,” Wayne thought, “what we at the NRA are doing to protect the right of all citizens under the Second Amendment to own and use double boilers and other terror weapons?” READ MORE >>
It's time to retire the meaningless word
Last week, when the FBI released wanted pictures of Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, almost immediately, they were dubbed “bros” for their backwards baseball caps and their apparently Caucasian features (which turned out to be, literally, Caucasian). Tweets came fast and furious about “brofiling.” “I hate to brofile, but suspect 2 literally looks like he just got back from a charity kickball greek week mixer,” wrote one user, referring to Dzhokar and his white baseball cap. READ MORE >>
The unthinkable eventually happens. Why not exploit it?
Observers of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday were treated to the spectacle of two members, Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, accusing one another of using the horrific attack on the Boston Marathon to achieve political goals. READ MORE >>
More than a decade after 9/11, the “war on terrorism” continues to produce new legal questions. The Supreme Court has plenty of cases about “enemy combatants,” the Bush-era designation for detained Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, but it’s never had to consider Senator Lindsey Graham’s latest idea. READ MORE >>
A conversation with Olivier Roy on the nature of the alleged Marathon terrorists
Olivier Roy has a different view of radical Islam from many of the experts you find writing in the American press. Roy, now 63, first went to Central Asia as a 19-year-old high school dropout, but eventually become a leading expert on Islamic politics. He has been a consultant to the French Foreign Ministry and United Nations and is currently a professor at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. READ MORE >>
Why I avoided the media last week
Those of you who have arrived here hoping for a heart-racing account of how I survived the past week in Boston, brace for a letdown.Despite the images of chaos broadcast nonstop on every available channel, my hometown was not turned into “a city under siege” by the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt. This would imply that tens of thousands of residents were in imminent danger, which is, simply put, bullshit. READ MORE >>
How Russia responded to the Boston bombings
Shortly after Barack Obama finished his press conference after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dramatic apprehension last night, a Russian newspaper reported that the president did not mention the “Russian footprint” in his address. READ MORE >>
I had not been following yesterday's manhunt in detail, so when last night I learned, from a friend who was being a more diligent Twitter fiend than I, that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in a boat, and then that he was surrounded, and then that we had caught him, it seemed to me merely like nice symmetry. What had begun a little after noon on Monday, with the fatal explosions at the Boston Marathon, concluded around sundown on Friday. Nice when things work out like that. READ MORE >>
It's not about not offending. It's about protecting.
In one of the news media’s many embarrassing moments from this past week, CNN’s John King, who went on to incorrectly report that the authorities had someone in custody on Wednesday, initially stated that the suspect was a “dark-skinned male.” King was rightly ridiculed on the internet for his errors, and especially for his comment about skin color. READ MORE >>