The Great American Argument
December 24, 2010
Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787 - 1788 By Pauline Maier (Simon & Schuster, 589 pp., $30) At the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, one of the greatest editorial projects in American history has been under way for nearly thirty-five years. Since 1976, the successive editors of the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution have published twenty-three volumes, and there are at least eight more to come.
End of Innocence
December 16, 2010
A moment of high drama interrupted the Supreme Court’s summer recess last year. Troy Davis, a Georgia death-row inmate, had filed an emergency appeal in May arguing that he was innocent of the 1989 murder for which the state condemned him—and that new evidence proved it. His lawyers asked the justices to override the usual limits on death-penalty appeals and give Davis an opportunity to make his case. On August 17, to the astonishment of Court watchers, the justices granted Davis a stay of execution and a new hearing before a federal district judge.
December 03, 2010
A verdict in the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky—formerly Russia’s richest man and the founder of what was once the country’s largest private company, Yukos—is due to be read on December 15. Yet long before November 2, when Judge Viktor Danilkin of the Moscow Khamovnichesky District Court heard the final statements of prosecution and defense, adjourned the trial, and withdrew to his chambers to deliberate, the Moscow rumor mill had churned out a spate of likely sentences. They range from acquittal to the 14 years that the prosecutors asked for.
A Comprehensive 2010 Election Guide
November 01, 2010
This is your comprehensive hour-by-hour guide to Election Night 2010. It will help you follow all of the bellwether indicators throughout the day and interpret the returns. So what are you waiting for? Print it out and keep it close during every minute of the agonizing countdown. What to Look for Early on Election Day: There will be lots of anecdotal reports during the early hours of voting about turnout and the expectations* of both parties and many candidates. It’s colorful, but don’t believe any of it.
Up From Abramoff
September 30, 2010
“God’s not looking for perfect people—there’s only been one perfect person in the history of the human race,” Ralph Reed tells the crowd at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington. It’s the weekend of September 11, and Reed is holding the inaugural conference for his new Faith and Freedom Coalition (FFC), which is aiming to mobilize evangelicals the way the Christian Coalition did in the 1990s. “God’s looking for broken people,” he says, “humble and contrite people.” “Broken” was once the perfect word to describe Reed’s career.
The Velvet Surrender
September 17, 2010
Václav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic, is legendary for his lack of manners. When his country assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union in 2009, Klaus—a stocky and vigorous man with close-cropped white hair and a fastidiously trimmed moustache—got into a scrap with a group of European politicians because he had refused to fly the EU flag above his office in Prague Castle. Nicolas Sarkozy pronounced the snub “hurtful,” yet Klaus was anything but contrite. Instead, he used his first address to the European Parliament to compare the EU to the Soviet Union.
Understanding a Mad, Mad Primary Season
September 15, 2010
Christine O’Donnell is not someone you’d expect to be a Republican nominee for a competitive U.S. Senate contest, particularly in the staid state of Delaware, and particularly as the choice of primary voters over Congressman Mike Castle, who up until yesterday had won twelve consecutive statewide races. O’Donnell is a recent newcomer to Delaware and, since arriving, has managed to get into trouble with her student loans, her taxes, her mortgage, and her job. She also unsuccessfully sued a conservative organization for gender discrimination.
Statue of Limitations
August 12, 2010
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.
Gingrich v. Palin
July 20, 2010
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.
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.