Why It’s So Hard to Tell Where Mayor Bloomberg Stands on Occupy Wall Street
October 24, 2011

Last weekend’s Saturday Night Live opened with a gray-haired Fred Armisen as Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Donning a jacket with lapel pins and a blue tie, Armisen spoke in a dry cadence that amplified the mayor’s at once lenient but strident response to the Occupy Wall Street protests pitched at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. “Occupy Wall Street, I’m on your side,” said Armisen’s Bloomberg. “Come to New York and let your voice be heard. You’ll be treated with dignity and respect by the city and the police.

Spending Time, Spending Money
October 17, 2011

Kudos to Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times, who yesterday took on, in an illuminating but not-insensitive way, a key chapter in the life of Mitt Romney, the prominent leadership role he took within the Mormon church in metro Boston in the 1980s and '90s. The press has generally treaded so carefully around the fact of Romney's religion that I suspect many Americans don't realize how central the church has been to Romney's leadership resume.

Why I Support Occupy Wall Street
October 17, 2011

Paul Berman on why Occupy Wall Street is an exuberant festival.

Daily Deadline: Exposing Scott Brown
October 10, 2011

Yes, we've decided to add a daily aggregation feature to this blog. Why? Because we hope you'll read it. Also, I'm a very slow blogger. On most days I have about ten items I'd like to write -- and I get to one or two of them, at best. For now, we're calling it "Daily Deadline," because we'll post it in the late afternoon. I'm still a newspaper reporter at heart and I'll always associate this time of day with deadlines.

Poison Ivy: Why Elizabeth Warren's Day Job May Undo Her Senate Campaign
September 14, 2011

Few things are more grating to the proud people of Massachusetts than claiming to understand their worldview on the basis of a few Good Will Hunting quotes. Still, even the most jaded Bay Staters should admit that sometimes a dose of Ben Affleck helps to clarify things.

Small Town America is Metropolitan America
August 25, 2011

Each year, Money magazine sets out to identify the “100 Best Places to Live in America.” As we noted when we reviewed the magazine’s 2009 list here, the American appetite for rankings and hometown pride drives a plethora of such lists. Reflecting America’s “small town” mythology and nostalgia, Money’s focus in both 2009 and 2011 was on small-to-medium sized communities (populations between 8,500 and 50,000) with a desirable location (within 60 miles of a major airport) and a modicum of diversity (less than 95 percent white).

The Best Responses to 9/11—and the Worst
August 24, 2011

I was in bed at a New York hotel when my stock trader called to say that one of the Twin Towers had been hit by an airplane. “A horrible accident,” he surmised, adding “unprecedented” to the presumption. He told me to turn on the “tube,” such nomenclature dating him as middle-aged. The phone rang again: “The second tower is on its way down. And, of course, this means it is no accident at all.” Which was my intuition as soon as I’d heard the first terrible tidings. Moreover, I knew instinctively who’d done the dreadful deed; and it wasn’t a new version of the Unabomber.

How to Predict the Next Earthquake in D.C.
August 23, 2011

At precisely 1:51 PM EST, much of the nation panicked, turned to the nearest person, and asked, “Did you feel something?” The 5.9 magnitude earthquake that shook the Eastern seaboard today was the biggest ever to hit Washington, D.C., spanning from its epicenter near Mineral, Virginia all the way to Boston. As we anticipate the inevitable aftershocks in a state of fear and trembling, the Study asks the question on everyone’s mind: Could we have known this was going to happen? Can we predict earthquakes? Well, we can’t.

Pull Yourself Together, D.C.! Perrymania Is Overrated
August 16, 2011

Like much of his career, Rick Perry’s entry into the presidential campaign was exceptionally well-timed. Announcing the very day that his main rival for the “electable conservative alternative to Mitt Romney” mantle, Tim Pawlenty, was driven from the race by a poor third-place showing at the Iowa Straw Poll, the Texan has a lot of open political space to occupy.

McWhorter: ‘Tar Baby’ Isn’t Actually a Racist Slur
August 03, 2011

It was five years ago now that Mitt Romney and the late White House spokesman Tony Snow both spent time in the hot seat for using the term “tar baby.” Romney was referring to the Big Dig highway project in Boston, and Snow to an abstract debate. But there are those who consider the term, originally referring to something difficult to free oneself from once touched, a racial slur.