Disaster

The artist Lori Nix, who  considers herself a “faux landscape photographer,” spends months constructing tiny dioramas out of cardboard, glue, and point—only to destroy them. Collected in The City, a recently published book, her photographs of these crumbling miniature buildings imagine a post-apocalypic future, room by room.

Building a Better Disaster-Funding System

A tornado puts Oklahoma's Republican senators to the test

A tornado puts Oklahoma's Republican senators to the test.

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What's to Come in West, Texas

After Wednesday's fertilizer plant explosion, the town is still picking up the pieces

After Wednesday's fertilizer plant explosion, the town is still picking up the pieces.

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On February 25, 1994 Dr. Baruch Goldstein, a physician in the Israel Defense Forces living in the historically contested ancient city of Hebron, walked into the Ibrahimi Mosque, located in the Cave of the Patriarchs, and with his machine gun murdered 29 Muslim men at prayer. The tremor that ran through Israelis and Jews around the world was two-fold. The first tremor was that here was a massacre of innocents attributable to a madman. But this attribution could not stand by itself for long.

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Not many Ph.D. students expect their research to generate outrage among Washington pundits decades later, but, as it turns out, that's exactly what happened to Stephen Schneider. Back in 1971, Schneider was studying plasma physics at Columbia and moonlighting as a research assistant at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

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On the Job

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. When Senate Majority Leader Reid held a press conference announcing the inclusion of a version of a public health insurance option in the merged Senate health reform bill, he didn’t mention the outcome of another major difference between the two Senate committee proposals--what would be responsibility of employers with regard to on-the-job coverage.

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Did Karzai Play Us?

When John Kerry persuaded Hamid Karzai to agree to a run-off election, the New York Times correctly described this victory as "little more than a catastrophe averted." So how do you describe the situation as it exists now, with the run-off called off due to Abdullah Abdullah's withdrawal? I'd say it's a pretty big victory for Karzai, and not just because he's won himself another term. By agreeing to the run-off (and satisfying the U.S.) but then refusing to take the steps necessary to make that run-off fair (and thus failing to satisfy Abdullah), Karzai bought himself some precious time.

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Seeing and Believing

Are representations of the Prophet Muhammad permitted in Islam? To make or not to make images of the Prophet: that is the question I will try to answer. It is an unexpectedly burning question, as the newspapers regularly demonstrate. But both the answer to the question and the reasons for raising it require a broader introduction. There have been many times in recent years when one bemoaned the explosion of media that have provided public forums for so much incompetence and ignorance, not to speak of prejudice. Matters became worse after September 11, for two additional reasons.

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Obama and the Veil

Let me be clear: I don't doubt for a moment that Barack Obama genuinely believes that he can calm the roils that trouble the United States in its relationship with the Muslim world and the Arab orbit within it. The problem is, alas, that he hasn't a clue. Moreover, he hasn't had the chance to learn. And maybe--just maybe--he is not inclined to learn because in his generation wisdom doesn't come from study but from ideological narrative. George W. Bush had his own favorite narrative.

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I've been thinking for a couple weeks that Joe Lieberman is the Democrats' biggest potential problem. The rest of the party has a strong incentive to pass health care reform and avoid a 2010 catastrophe. But Lieberman? He's not a Democrat and won't be running on the Democratic ticket in 2012. Moreover, my read on him is that he's furious with the party, resentful of President Obama (who beat his friend in 2008) and would relish a Democratic catastrophe. Of course, I can't prove this.

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