Post Mortem
October 21, 2009

Several years back, I worked as an editor at The Washington Post, and I still have good friends there. So it is with a combination of sadness and astonishment that I've watched the paper's precipitous editorial decline over the last few years. Lately it seems that hardly a week passes without some controversy arising--further embarrassing revelations about the salons, a shoddily researched editorial*, an online post by a columnist filled with falsehoods and undisclosed conflicts.

Eat Your Brauchli
October 19, 2009

One further thought on the weekend revelation--thoroughly hashed out here by Gabe--that WaPo editor Marcus Brauchli did in fact know that the paper's marketing department was promoting its salons as off-the-record affairs. Brauchli is maintaining that the NYT reporter simply misunderstood what he was saying and that he did not mislead the reporter--in other words, that he didn't lie.

Daily Treatment, Thinking Aloud Edition
October 14, 2009

Editor's Note: A few months ago, I started posting a daily list of articles worth reading--and then dropped it. It still seems like a good idea, though, so I'm starting it up again. Mike Tomasky thinks "reform looks to have the votes to pass" but warns "[t]here will be heart-attack moments between now and passage." Ezra Klein thinks Ron Wyden made some progress on his free choice amendment. Merrill Goozner thinks we shouldn't be so enamored of high-tech medicine. Marc Ambinder thinks the health insurance lobby really blew it with that PriceWaterhouseCoopers study...

Seize the Pen
October 08, 2009

For years, I have been reading Michael Greenberg's remarkable column in the Times Literary Supplement and wondering what the English make of it. The New York Jewish quality of Greenberg's take on the writer's life, under the rubric "Freelance," is emphasized by the way he takes turns writing the column with an English poet, Hugo Williams, who is a writer of a wholly different species.

Spinning Public Opinion
October 06, 2009

National Review editor Rich Lowry gloats over the rightward turn of the electorate: It all explains the Obama administration’s rush to push sweeping legislation. The fall from grace of George W. Bush, coupled with the financial crisis, created a golden hour for American liberalism. The public’s attitudes shifted left, and anything — a New New Deal! a Greater Great Society! — seemed possible.

Things Come Together
October 06, 2009

The Thing Around Your Neck By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf, 218 pp., $24.95)   In “Jumping Monkey Hill,” the most wicked story in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new collection, a group of young writers selected from all over Africa have gathered for a workshop at a fancy resort outside Cape Town--”the kind of place,” thinks Ujunwa, the representative Nigerian, “where . . .

The Former Editor of the 'Times' Remembers William Safire
September 29, 2009

A few years back, I chided Bill Safire via Times e-mail that he had erred in writing that "the best team" had won the World Series. He shot back that the comparative, my preference, was improper in this case because dozens of teams had started out the season. Anyway, he said, "Usage rules." The triumph of idiom was one of his core principles in regard to language. It always amused me that this conservative Eastern elitist was a deep-dyed populist when it came to grammar and usage, while I, liberal to radical on most issues, was a traditionalist in such matters.

Call of the Wolf
September 16, 2009

Long before Martin Wolf became the chief economics columnist for the Financial Times, he wrote the newspaper letters--lots and lots of letters. It was the early 1980s, the height of the Thatcher era, and Wolf was running research at a think tank in London that was sympathetic to the government's pro-trade agenda.

September 16, 2009

To the Editor: Although I could have done without the "pathological," believe it or not, a part of me is glad that, in her review of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev, Anne Applebaum refers to "Navasky's pathological inability to believe that there really were Soviet spies in America." The reason: It gives me a second shot at correcting an egregious New Republicerror. The last time a New Republic writer misstated my position on the fact of Soviet spies in America, it was Martin Peretz ("Red Dusk: The Rosenberg Bombshell,"

From The TNR Archive: Cass R. Sunstein
September 10, 2009

Harvard Law professor and TNR contributing editor Cass R. Sunstein was confirmed as the Obama adminisration's regulatory czar today when the Senate approved Sunstein's nomination by a vote of 57 to 40. And that gives us a very good reason to look back at some of the pieces Sunstein has written for TNR in his nearly two decade history with the magazine. Click here for the archive of Sunstein's TNR work. Below, you'll find just a taste: "The Visionary Minimalist: Toward A Theory Of Obama-ism," January 30, 2008.