Entertainment

Is the West Soft on North Korea?
November 02, 2009

I noticed over the weekend that the Economist is indignant that the West doesn't focus more on human rights atrocities in North Korea: At some point the West will need to address its shame of not facing up to the abuse sooner and more viscerally. In the meantime President Barack Obama hardly sent the right message by taking eight months to appoint his special representative for human rights in North Korea. Still, the question is what to do about the place. Regime change is out of the question.

Is Verizon better than Comcast?
November 02, 2009

Two years ago, I wrote about my long-standing problems with Comcast’s broadband and television service. The intermittent outages, the frequent slowdowns, the unavailable phone support, and the incompetent repair people, to whom Comcast had outsourced its service to customers. So why did I stick with Comcast? Well, the people Verizon sent over couldn’t figure out how to connect the FIOS line from the garage across the house to the cable television and computer. In addition, Comcast not only promised to be good but made me one of those $99 a month offers for phone, internet, and TV that I couldn

‘He Hasn’t Lost Anything Yet’
November 02, 2009

It was Halloween 2001, and Kennesaw State freshman Nick Ayers was sitting anxiously in an Atlanta airplane hangar. A friend had recommended him for a campaign position with Republican state senator Sonny Perdue, who was mounting a long-shot gubernatorial run against Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes. The portly, middle-aged politician disembarked his Bellanca Super Viking and, as Ayers recounts the story, walked down the stairs holding a lid-less cup of coffee. Eager to make a good first impression, the nervous blonde teenager extended his hand for a firm shake.

Why Read Heidegger
November 01, 2009

German philosopher Martin Heidegger gets a lot of bad press. And for good reason. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazis, he did and said and wrote some nasty things before and after serving as the rector of Freiburg University from 1933-1934, and though he eventually distanced himself from his earlier enthusiasm for Hitler, he seems never to have ceased believing that there was an "inner truth and greatness" (those are Heidegger's own words, spoken in a lecture from 1935) to the National Socialist movement. That sounds bad, and it is.

Weight Watchers
October 31, 2009

In New Jersey, any candidate for high office can count on getting smeared over taxes, corruption, the economy, or all of the above. But in this fall's hard-fought gubernatorial race, an unlikely issue has popped up amidst the usual mud-slinging: the portly physique of Republican challenger Chris Christie. Ever since Jon Corzine released his now-infamous attack ad, in which a disdainful voiceover claims Christie improperly "threw his weight around" as a U.S. Attorney, neither candidate has managed to entirely escape the politics of fat.

Could A Boycott Bog Down The Senate Climate Bill?
October 30, 2009

There are all sorts of lingering questions about the timing of the Senate climate bill. It's not just a matter of whether something will pass. What are the odds something will pass before the Copenhagen talks? Earlier this week, John Kerry told a group of activists that he was "confident" his bill could win a floor vote before international negotiations pick up again in mid-December, but that seems awfully ambitious.

Update: Hillary Backpedals in Pakistan
October 30, 2009

So much for getting tough. No sooner had I finished praising her tough talk in Pakistan than she began walking it back. Clinton carefully scaled back her comments from a day earlier suggesting that some Pakistani officials knew where al-Qaida's upper echelon has been hiding and have done little to target them. When the U.S.

O Brother
October 30, 2009

Something wonderful, or terrible, is taking place in Philadelphia. The city's sports fans, whose only consistent love has been for an inanimate object--the statue of Rocky--are becoming warm and fuzzy. Sort of. Kind of. Well, about as nice as they are ever going to get in Philly, where fans have made their national mark with nastiness, boos, and a perverse fondness for losing. But now the city is confronted with a success story greater than any since the signing of the Constitution (which wasn't so pretty, either). It's the Philadelphia Phillies, of course.

Seeing and Believing
October 30, 2009

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.

Rahm Taking Direct Interest in Reg Reform
October 29, 2009

Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was up at the House Financial Services Committee testifying on the administration's proposal for dealing with threats to the financial system ("Too Big To Fail," etc.). One day earlier, he and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel held a closed-door meeting with Democrats on the committee to field questions about the proposal and urge them to hang together. For Rahm, it was at least the second time this week he'd participated in an event with top Treasury officials.

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