Family Relation

The reason Republicans tiptoe so carefully around the birther question is that birthers constitute a significant portion of the Republican base.

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Radley Balko at Reason again leaps to the defense of the Koch brothers. The question at hand is whether liberals are irrational to regard the Kochs as right-wingers and ideological adversaries. I argued that liberals are not irrational to think this way, since the Kochs heavily support Republicans in their political giving, and even their "battle of ideas" donations have a right-leaning tilt: Gillespie's implication is that, if you're horrified by the Bush administration's civil rights record and supportive of gay marriage, the Koch brothers are for you. In fact, they're not.

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The Grounds of Courage

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy By Eric Metaxas (Thomas Nelson, 591 pp., $29.99) Early in January 1939, the precocious German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, age thirty-two, learned that all males in his age cohort had been ordered to register with the military. A dedicated opponent of the Nazi regime, he might have responded by declaring himself a conscientious objector, but there were two problems with such a course of action.

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In the few hours between landing after a swing through Pakistan, the Middle East, and North Africa and taking off again for Berlin, Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found time on Friday to stop over in much friendlier territory: a subterranean banquet hall at Washington’s Reagan International Trade Center.

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At around 10:40 a.m., the House erupted into applause as Representative John Dingell of Michigan took the gavel in order to preside over the House of Representatives. Dingell, the longest serving representative in Congress, has been pursuing universal health care since the day he took office in 1955. It's a crusade that Dingell inherited from his father, John Dingell, Sr. who in 1945 co-sponsored the Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill.

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Rembrandt’s J’Accuse Film Forum The Maid Elephant Eye Films  Peter Greenaway, the British director who was educated as a painter, first came to wide attention in 1982 with The Draughtsman’s Contract, a silky comedy about seventeenth-century aristocrats. Greenaway then promptly set out not to build on this success, undertaking one eccentric film project after another. It was almost as if he were determined not to grow cumulatively, as most of the best directors have done. Of the Greenaway works that I have seen, only two of them--quite unlike each other--stand out in memory.

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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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The Race Man

Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington By Robert J. Norrell (Harvard University Press, 508 pp., $35)   I. Once the most famous and influential African American in the United States (and probably the world), Booker T. Washington has earned at best mixed reviews in the decades since his death in 1915. Black intellectuals and political activists, from W. E. B.

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Newt Gone Wild

Via Alex Massie, I notice that New Gingrich is saying really, really crazy things (again!). Basking in the warm embrace of the National Review staff that interviewed him, the former speaker sounds positively deranged.

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One could now accurately write that headline more than once a day, unfortunately. But this one stands out for me, mostly because he came from roughly where I grew up, and also because he was an acquaintance of someone close to me.

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