An OECD report out this morning shows that the United States isn't the only country experiencing a widened rich-poor gap--on average, inequality is increasing across the developed world.


As long as we're talking about meat consumption, I wanted to mention the (controversial) recommendation made a couple of weeks back by IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri, who suggested that everyone give up meat one day each week in an effort to curb the massive impact of livestock farming on global warming.



Earlier this summer, when the Obama campaign announced that Jason Furman was joining its staff as director of economic policy, the storyline seemed to write itself: Centrist adviser will pull Obama to the right. Furman had first made a name for himself as a wonky twentysomething wunderkind in the later years of the Clinton administration--a period when, to the consternation of many liberals, Clinton emphasized balanced budgets, free trade, and welfare reform.


Sergeant Schmidt. The Artillery Shell.


As the world frets about climate change and starts rooting around for sources of carbon-free energy, nuclear power is poised for a comeback. Peter Scoblic wrote a fantastic piece in this week's TNR about that renaissance, and how it will increase the danger of nuclear proliferation. It's also worth asking, though, how large a role nuclear power can actually play in a carbon-constrained future.


Chuck Grassley's suspicion of institutional power.


Occupational Hazard

'Take off your veil!" the Somali soldier shouted at the woman in the mostly empty street. Steadying his assault rifle with his right hand, he ripped away the woman's black niqab with his left. "Why are you coming so close to us? You have explosives?" He leveled the muzzle of his gun against the bridge of her nose. Her mouth, suddenly embarrassed and exposed, broke into a jester's forced grin. "I just want a juice," she pleaded. Except for a handful of armed soldiers, the only other person on the deserted street was a man selling mango juice from behind a table.


Debating Fatwas

A few days ago I posted a Spine about how the head of the Hadith Department (that's the department which studies the prophet's maxims) had found a way to break the bar that keeps women and men from working in private if they are not of her immediate family. The solution was for her to breastfeed. Ipso facto, he'd become a member of her family. Well, how did the Muslim world take to that unscrambling of the religious edict? Here, thanks to MEMRI, you can have your fill.

Character Flaw

Of all the low points during the Bush administration, perhaps the most surreal was the week in December 2004 when Bernie Kerik was poised to become secretary of Homeland Security. By the traditional measures used to judge qualifications for this sort of job, Kerik was not an ideal candidate. The main points in Kerik's favor were his loyal service to Rudy Giuliani, first as driver for his mayoral campaign, then corrections commissioner, then police commissioner--the last of which was commemorated by the casting of30 Kerik busts.


Empire Falls

With Hurricane Katrina still over the Gulf of Mexico, Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman, New Orleans's chief jailer, convened his ranking officers for an emergency meeting. Present in the sheriff's conference room that Saturday were most of his wardens, as well as the officer in charge of supplies and the head of the jail's kitchen, a huge feeding operation that prepared more than 18,000 meals per day. The sheriff went around the table, asking the officers if they were prepared for a storm.