In Defense Of New Hampshire
October 24, 2011

Now that Nevada has backed down from its plan to hold its caucuses January 14, the path is clear for New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to set his state's primary for January 10 without violating the state's self-decreed law that there be no "similar contest" within a week of the primary. Once again, New Hampshire has triumphed in the game of chicken, after having once again gone so far as to threaten the nuclear option -- moving the primary forward before Christmas.

Herman Cain’s Debate Loss Is Nobody’s Gain
October 12, 2011

With former pizza magnate Herman Cain suddenly running second to Mitt Romney in most national polls, a Cain Mutiny was as inevitable as the Iowa caucuses moving into the Christmas season. The rebellion against Cain as a top-tier candidate was led by three lagging GOP contenders who must know that they will never be president—Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. The occasion for the rhetorical caning of Cain by his jealous rivals was Tuesday night’s forgettable theater-in-the-round Dartmouth debate featuring the candidates all seated at the same circular table.

Peter Theo Curtis's Writing on The Twisted, Terrifying Last Days of Assad’s Syria
October 04, 2011

On-the-ground reporting from the journalist who was just released after a year in captivity.

Why There’s Still Space—and Time—For Another GOP Contender
September 30, 2011

This weekend in Little Rock, Bill Clinton and an all-star cast of political alumni will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his formal entry into the 1992 presidential race. But the candidate decision that did the most to bequeath Clinton the Democratic nomination did not occur until December 20, 1991.

What Will Obama's Speech Accomplish?
September 08, 2011

It always seemed clear to me, though it has not seemed clear to many liberals, that the exquisite care President Obama takes to establish his reasonableness and moderation is the first step of a two-step process.

July 06, 2011

--Shutdown Minnesota government fires the people who could tell them how shutdown they are --Stiff upper lip: David Cameron celebrated Christmas season and went horse-riding with embattled tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks.  --Elizabeth Samet untangles Joseph Heller --David Leonhardt on the business lobby's faux-roundtable on the deficit --And Jim Sleeper probably isn't a fan of twitter townhalls

David Hajdu on Music: The Afterplace
May 19, 2011

Paul Simon So Beautiful or So What It appears that Paul Simon has been thinking about going somewhere unlike all of the many lands around the globe that he has visited over the years in search of musical inspiration. He is giving thought to the final expedition, the big trip across the divide to the only place that even he cannot plunder. Simon will turn seventy in the same year as both Art Garfunkel, the creamy-voiced journeyman who stood placidly at Simon’s right side for years, and Bob Dylan, the peer of Simon’s whose towering specter has always hovered near Simon’s other side.

Why Are There No Great Easter Songs?
April 22, 2011

Although I don’t have time to count them, since life expectancy in the United States is only 78.2 years, I suspect that the number of winter holiday songs—and I refer ecumenically not only to Christmas music but to tunes broadly celebrating the wintery season—must be around a zillion kazillion. From the morning after Halloween until New Year’s Day, they are inescapable, and singers in innumerable styles (and of varying religious and cultural backgrounds) keep making CDs of songs still widely thought of as Christmas music.

Did Anne Frank Really Have An ‘Infinite Human Spirit’?
March 09, 2011

“The concentration camps are a dangerous topic to handle,” the British critic A. Alvarez once wrote. “They stir mud from the bottom, clouding the mind, rousing dormant self-destructiveness.” This has perhaps never been more true for anyone than for Meyer Levin, the author of middlebrow Jewish-American novels such as The Settlers who is now better known, alas, for an obsession with the diary of Anne Frank that seems to have sent him over the edge of sanity.

David Thomson on Films: The 2011 Best Picture Oscar
February 24, 2011

For a while in this awards season, The Social Network seemed to be the favorite for the Best Picture Oscar. But the later opening of The King’s Speech has served it well. In the crucial nomination and voting period, The Social Network’s domestic box office slowed down, and it has earned less than $100 million. The picture has been hard to find in theaters, in part because it appeared on DVD in January.