Divided We Stand
May 31, 2010

Washington—Why is it that every Memorial Day, we note that a holiday set aside for honoring our war dead has become instead an occasion for beach-going, barbecues and baseball? The problem arises because war-fighting has become less a common endeavor than a specialty engaged in by a relatively small subset of our population. True, some people slipped out of their obligations in the past, and military service was largely, though never exclusively, the preserve of males. The steady growth of opportunities for women in the armed forces is a positive development.

How They Did It (Part Four)
May 25, 2010

This is the fourth of a five-part series explaining, in remarkable detail, how Obama and the Democrats came to pass health care reform. (Click here to read parts one, two, and three.) Be sure to come back tomorrow for the final installment, which reveals how the White House decided not to drop health care reform in the wake of Scott Brown's victory, and what Nancy Pelosi did to broker the final deal.   Reset Barack Obama, the law professor, was acting like a prosecutor. He’d invited Grassley to the Oval Office, to talk about the senator’s concerns.

THE PICTURE: Picasso ♥ New York City
May 12, 2010

“Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art” is wretchedly installed. I cannot imagine what Gary Tinterow, the curator at the museum who organized the show, thought he was doing. Tinterow has crammed so many paintings, drawings, and prints so close together that it is virtually impossible to see anything on its own terms or to make distinctions between major and minor works. In this absurdly overcrowded hanging, key paintings—Gertrude Stein (1905-06), Woman in White (1923), Dora Maar in an Arm Chair (1939)—are treated like straphangers in a rush-hour subway.

Jeremiah, American-Style
April 30, 2010

Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch By Eric Miller (Eerdmans, 394 pp., $32) In a moving tribute to Christopher Lasch written shortly after his death in 1994, Dale Vree, a Catholic convert and the editor of the New Oxford Review, wrote that “Calvinism was his true theological inspiration.” Lasch was certainly not one of the faithful.

It's Getting A Little Chippy
April 29, 2010

One amusing strand of right-wing paranoia is the persistent fear that the government will implant microchips in people in order to track them. Timothy McVeigh claimed in the early 1990s that the government had implanted a microchip in his buttocks. Georgia Republicans recently moved a bill to prevent microchip implantation: Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee entertained SB 235, the bill sponsored by Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville) to prohibit the involuntary implantation of microchips in human beings.

Living Without Stevens
April 21, 2010

Tom Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and lecturer at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools. He is the founder of SCOTUSblog. A version of this piece was originally posted there on April 18, 2010. Supreme Court retirements inevitably produce much more coverage of process than substance. The press is dominated by political rather than legal reporters. Politics is also more familiar and therefore more accessible to the public than are court decisions. The irony is that this attention to process is not very meaningful—at least at this stage, when there is no nominee.

The TNR Primer: Kyrgyzstan
April 09, 2010

Earlier this week, the small Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan erupted in violence. Days after protests broke out in a few small towns, thousands of people opposed to President Kurmanbek Bakiev's corrupt regime took to the streets of Bishkek, the capital city, and clashed with government forces. At least 75 people have died and hundreds more have been injured. Several government buildings have been set on fire, and countless businesses have been looted.

March Madness
March 22, 2010

Walking across the Capitol lawns yesterday morning, a little Hispanic girl noticed something exciting: protesters massing on the steps, waving flags and chanting. “Look at all the signs here!” she exclaimed to her father (in a mixture of Spanish and English), pointing toward the white marble dome. Her father might have explained to her, however, that it wasn’t their protest. The family was there for an immigration reform rally, which drew at least 100,000 participants. Meanwhile, on the steps of the Capitol were tea partiers taking a last stand against health care reform.

What's the Matter With Arkansas (and Idaho, and Oklahoma, and…) With Maps!
March 20, 2010

I noted in a previous post that wavering House members represent districts that have the most to gain from health reform. Thanks to my colleague Louis Woynarowski, we can see this in mapped form. He mapped uninsurance rates for every district represented by a wavering House member, as listed in FiredogLake's invaluable whip count. Each district is shaded to represent the percentage of nonelderly people who lack health coverage. The data comes from the Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey, as reported by Genevieve Kinney and colleagues.

Behold China
March 17, 2010

For decades, various Chinese officials and outsiders have reassured the world that the country’s Communist Party leadership eventually planned to open up its one-party political system. The regime would undertake major political reforms and liberalization, it was said, to accompany the economic reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping in the late ’70s. It was merely a question of choosing the right time. Writing in Foreign Affairs two years ago, John L.