The Bush-Perry Double Standard, Cont'd
October 13, 2011

Thanks to all for the smart responses to my query yesterday asking why it is that Rick Perry's maladroit debate performances are being judged to be so much more devastating to his prospects than were George W. Bush's back in 1999. My colleague Noam Scheiber, who will be soon be gracing the Stump on a regular basis, offered another theory that elaborates on one of my suggestions, that Perry suffers from a class bias, or as I put it: "Bush and his loyalists shrugged off his shaky debates with the cockiness of the prep-school slacker shrugging off a bad grade.

Forget Stonewall. Frank Kameny (1925 - 2011) Made the Gay Rights Movement Happen.
October 13, 2011

Frank Kameny never thought he would live to see what happened on April 23, 2009. Over five decades earlier, in December of 1957, Kameny was fired from his job at the Army Map Service. Two years earlier, he had been arrested in a police sting at a San Francisco men’s room, a routine incident in an era when local authorities devoted significant resources in the entrapment of homosexuals.

The Internet Intellectual
October 12, 2011

Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live  By Jeff Jarvis  (Simon & Schuster, 263 pp., $26.99) In 1975, Malcolm Bradbury published The History Man, a piercing satire of the narcissistic pseudo-intellectualism of modern academia. The novel recounts a year in the life of the young radical sociologist Howard Kirk—“a theoretician of sociability”—who is working on a book called The Defeat of Privacy.

Early Enlightenment
October 12, 2011

The Abacus and the Cross: The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages By Nancy Marie Brown (Basic Books, 310 pp., $27.95) A study of twenty member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (recently re-named the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC—the international body that represents Ummah al Islam, with a permanent delegation to the United Nations) found that between the years 1996 and 2003 those countries spent 0.34 percent of their GDP on scientific research, one-seventh of the global average.

The Ghost of Romneycare Returns
October 11, 2011

Just in time for Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate, NBC News is out with a story reminding everybody of just how closely the architects of Obamacare modeled their efforts on Romneycare. The story, by Michael Isikoff, cites White House records showing that three key analysts who worked on the Massachusetts reforms met with administration officials at least a dozen times.

Why Liberians Are so Unimpressed by Their President’s Nobel Prize
October 11, 2011

Monrovia, Liberia—The sirens usually sound on Monrovia’s Tubman Boulevard in the early evening. In the Sinkor district of the Liberian capital SUVs belonging to NGOs, motorbikes, and local jalopies pull over to either side of the road to make way for the absurdly over-sized motorcade that follows. There are men with guns in pickups, cars and four-wheel drive vehicles, perhaps an ambulance, and U.N. personnel in bulky Nissan Patrols.

Raise Their Taxes! (And Ours!)
October 11, 2011

From this week's TNR editorial: Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor now running for U.S. Senate, is getting a lot of attention for the video of a speech she made recently. It wasn’t just because she was taking on Republican talking points more forcefully than most Democrats do these days.

Sliming Elizabeth Warren
October 07, 2011

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is taking a lot of flack for something he said about his top Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren.  A few days ago, during a primary debate, Warren had joked that "I kept my clothes on" when finding ways to pay for college. It was a reference to Brown's decision to pose nude, in a spread for Cosmopolitan magazine, while he was a student at Boston College. On Thursday, a radio host asked Brown if he had a response.

Nader and the Corvair
October 04, 2011

A number of readers have expressed surprise at my statement (which I attributed to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then a Harvard professor and subsequently a senator from New York) that Ralph Nader was wrong about the Corvair. I thought the story was well known, but apparently it isn't. In his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader made the Corvair a case study in corporate irresponsibility. I don't know the details but the car had some sort of rollover problem. Many of the same criticisms of the Corvair were made around the same time by the journalist James Ridgeway in this magazine.

GOP To Harvard: Dump Warren
October 03, 2011

A new poll of 1,005 registered Massachusetts voters conducted Sept. 22-28 shows Elizabeth Warren in a statistical dead heat with Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, 38-41. That's pretty remarkable considering the fact that 37 percent of those polled still don't know who she is. The Boston Herald poll follows a Public Policy Polling survey released Sept. 20 that also showed her in a statistical dead heat, in that instance with a slight edge, 46-44. Just a few weeks earlier Brown was leading Warren by nine points. How is the Massachusetts GOP responding to this emergency?