February 17, 2010
Ajami Kino International The Last New Yorker Brink Films North Face Music Box Films A Palestinian, Scandar Copti, and an Israeli, Yaron Shani, have co-written, co-directed, and co-edited Ajami. This title is the name of a multi-ethnic district in the city of Jaffa, so it fits the film, not merely in facts but in feeling. Copti and Shani knew what they were doing and why they were doing it. Coincidentally, they prove again that the film medium has made a contribution to social revelation.
More Calls To Fix The IPCC
February 11, 2010
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done indispensable work over the years in assessing the vast amount of research out there on the Earth's climate system and putting it all together into an accessible summary for policymakers and laypeople. I'd very much recommend the IPCC's Working Group 1 report from 2007 to anyone who wants to delve deeper into the basics of how scientists know that humans are warming the planet. Still, the panel isn't perfect.
Live-Blogging the Iranian Protests
February 10, 2010
The New Republic is live-blogging news of events in Iran today, on the eve of 22 Bahman (February 11), the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution. The Iranian opposition movement is slated to co-opt the state's annual rallies to stage another mass demonstration--the largest since December's violent protests on the Shiite holy day of Ashura. February 11, 2010, 6:41 pm.
What’s Old Is New Again
February 09, 2010
A few years ago, few places on Earth were as hellish as Iraq’s Anbar Province. Spanning the country’s western desert, Anbar is best known by its major cities, Fallujah and Ramadi, both of which became home bases for Al Qaeda-linked terrorists who flooded across Iraq’s border with Syria and joined with Sunni insurgents to carry out bombings, executions, kidnappings, and torture across the country.
Saint and Sinner
February 08, 2010
Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone By Stanislao Pugliese (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 426 pp., $35) In June 1950, Ignazio Silone and Arthur Koestler, two of the most prominent anti-communist writers of that era, attended a convivial dinner party in West Berlin. They had gathered with several other intellectuals to celebrate the founding conference of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an American-sponsored riposte to the Soviet Cominform’s “peace conferences” of the preceding year.
January 30, 2010
The White Ribbon Sony Pictures Classics Creation Newmarket Films Michael Haneke, whose new film is called The White Ribbon, has given it a subtitle: A German Children’s Story. That is warning enough. This Austrian director is by now so distinctively established as a connoisseur of darkness--with Funny Games, about neighborliness as murder; with Caché, about the past seeping into the present; with The Piano Teacher, about the animal in the civilized--that his dainty subtitle must be seen as a deadpan tease.
The Social Pathology of Dubai
January 19, 2010
Everybody is aware of the drama now being played out in Dubai. And, frankly, the relief given by Abu Dhabi, its abutting oil-rich emirate in the confederation of self-indulgent and non-productive Arabs, will only buy time for Dubai, which will have to turn over to its cousins whatever assets remain under its robes. The New York Times published a Sunday editorial which seems to counsel aid to Dubai, as if any structural disaster would follow if there weren’t any.
Why China's Trains Are Breaking Records
January 11, 2010
This month, China started operating the fastest high-speed rail system in the world—a 600-mile line between Wuhan and Guangzhou that clocks an average of 193 miles per hour (and peaks at 245). MIT Technology Review explains what makes the new train so fleet.
Linc Chafee on Why He Almost Joined the Green Party
January 05, 2010
Lincoln Chafee has officially--finally--announced his candidacy for the governorship of Rhode Island. Last year, I spoke with him about his decision to leave the Republican Party in 2007 and become an Independent. He explained that he originally wanted to "energize a moribund party or start a new one"--and that he had pondered running for governor as a Green, a Libertarian, or even as a candidate of the Progressive Party: I asked, is there a party out there that's got some roots in the ground? I looked at the Progressive Party from the 1920s. … The Greens were attractive to me.
December 16, 2009
In the popular imagination, the United States and Europe are assumed to be radically opposing poles--"Mars" and "Venus"--on issues such as market regulation, public education, social policy, health care, crime, and the environment. But is that really the case? The numbers would suggest otherwise. My book, The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike, presents quantifiable data on a wide array of social conditions on each side of the Atlantic.