Georgia

During the brief war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, one of the earliest targets was Gori, a nondescript industrial town near the border of South Ossetia, one of the two separatist provinces over which the conflict was fought. Russian jets bombed the city, hitting apartment buildings and a school. A missile thudded onto the grounds of the city’s hospital; cluster bombs exploded in the square. According to the Georgian government, at least 60 people died. It was curious, therefore, that two local landmarks escaped the bombardment entirely.

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Gingrich v. Palin

 As Michelle Cottle explained in a recent TNR piece, Sarah Palin has generally carried out a crafty and efficient strategy for intervening in 2010 Republican primary contests. In some cases (notably Iowa) she has simply endorsed a certain winner via Facebook from the comfort of her home in Wasilla, running up her winning percentage without much effort.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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March Madness

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.

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