May 23, 2005
It's 8 a.m.
When Government Writes History
May 23, 2005
The 9/11 Commission was "set up to fail." So says its chairman, former Republican Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean. "If you want something to fail," he explains, "you take a controversial topic and appoint five people from each party. You make sure they are appointed by the most partisan people from each party--the leaders of the party. And, just to be sure, let's ask the commission to finish the report during the most partisan period of time--the presidential election season." He could have added that President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress had agreed to create the commission onl
February 14, 2005
The science of gender difference.
Body of Evidence
February 14, 2005
There are many iconic photographs of Marie Curie: Early on with her husband, Pierre, with whom she shared the first of her Nobel Prizes; and, after his death, standing alone with her instruments in the lab. But there are other, more telling, images as well: With her peers--among them Michelson, Rutherford, Millikan, Poincare, Kapitza, Pauli, Bohr, Fermi, and, of course, Einstein--always the lone woman. In a 1911 photograph, she is surrounded by 23 men at the Solvay physics conference in Brussels. In a photograph at Lausanne, she sits, front-row, dead center, between Einstein and Fermi in a con
Closing of the Presidential Mind
July 05, 2004
On February 27, 2001, George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress. When the president had last ventured to the Capitol for his inauguration 37 days earlier, he had delivered a homily urging the nation to move past the sting of the Florida recount.
June 28, 2004
"Events" in Washington, by which I mean public discussions of public subjects, are, even on a quiet week, abundant. They vary in prestige, according to the quality of the expert panel, the urgency of the issue to be discussed, and the availability of food. I have attended many such gatherings in my two years in Washington, due to my employment first at a think tank (think tanks forming the backbone of event society) and then at this magazine.
The End of an Elite
June 07, 2004
The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment By Geoffrey Kabaservice (Henry Holt, 573 pp., $30) The commitment of America's great universities to admitting students on the basis of merit rather than lineage--whether or not that commitment is wholly observed in practice--is today virtually uncontested. Similarly, the belief in the value of diversity, while under assault in courts and legislatures, is a core conviction of almost all educators.
March 22, 2004
THOUGH THE DECEMBER movie Mona Lisa Smile failed at the box office, its romanticized portrayal of Wellesley College in the 1950s as a place where well-coiffed women had little ambition beyond learning proper etiquette reignited a heated debate on the virtues of single-sex schools. In fact, three months later, Wellesley's alumnae website still offers an interactive section devoted to a discussion of the film and the future of single-sex education. As one graduate summed up in an article for Boston magazine: "If Wellesley women are so smart and talented ...
March 04, 2004
The snickering began as soon as the shock from the 1994 election wore off. The Republicans had won back the Senate, and Alfonse D'Amato would become chairman of the Senate committee looking into Whitewater. Al D'Amato? The name was synonymous with sleaze. Would anyone take an ethics investigation under his direction seriously? Probably not--or at least not without the help D'Amato has received from a New Jersey prosecutor with an ethical record that is the reverse image of his own.
Tramps Like Who?
December 15, 2003
Bruce Springsteen's America: The People Listening, A Poet Singing By Robert Coles (Random House) Thirty years ago this fall, Bruce Springsteen released his first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey. I knew from whence he greeted, having grown up in the same state a few years behind him.One of Springsteen's teenage bands, the Castiles, had been the entertainment at my friend Doug's eighth-grade graduation party; so when Columbia Records sent the twenty-four-year-old and his new group, the E Street Band, on a tour of midsized Northeast colleges to promote his record debut, Doug and I d