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New York Postcard
October 23, 2006

The DiTomasso brothers may not have much in common with George W. Bush, but there's one thing the president and the mob-linked contractors share: Both have reason to rue the day they met Bernard B. Kerik. In 2004, Bush nominated Mayor Rudy Giuliani's former police commissioner to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Within days, allegations surfaced that Kerik had faced arrest for unpaid bills, had close ties to some federal contractors, and had failed to pay taxes on his nanny. The nomination collapsed, calling the White House's judgment into question.

Open University Contributors
October 20, 2006

David A. Bell, a contributing editor who has been writing for TNR since 1984, is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins. His new book, The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare As We Know It, is published by Houghton Mifflin in January. Casey N. Blake is professor of History and American Studies at Columbia University and a regular contributor to several journals of opinion and scholarly publications. His work in U.S.

Fair Detention
October 19, 2006

You don't often find in the Boston Globe an article that puts forth Israel as a model for the legal treatment of terrorist detainee rights--or, for that matter, as an exemplar of anything good. Except insofar as it puts the United States in a terrible light. I don't think that was the intent of the authors of yesterday morning's op-ed, "The Israeli model for detainee rights," by Professor Martha Minow and Assistant Professor Gabriella Blum, both of the Harvard Law School and formidable legal scholars. I don't know Blum. But I do know Minow, and she is a very exacting civil libertarian.

They Shoot Talking Points, Don't They?
October 11, 2006

by Eric Rauchway I'd like to root for Steven Pinker in the Pinker/Lakoff quarrel, if only because Steve's a fellow Open U faculty member. (Go, Virtual Dons!) But then he trotted out this point: Whose Freedom? shows no trace of the empirical lessons of the past three decades, such as the economic and humanitarian disaster of massively planned economies, or the impending failure of social insurance programs that ignore demographic arithmetic.

The Foley Distraction
October 09, 2006

The Democrats are lucky to have had the Mark Foley affair thrown in their laps. Now, we will see how not different they are from the Republicans. This scandal has about as much to do with Dennis Hastert as it does with Tip O'Neil.

A Friend Writes In Response To My Last Post
October 04, 2006

by Richard Stern Who says Bush et al want to 'win their War on TERRORRRRR' or their war against Iraq? I think that they would prefer the latter to be at a lower level, just to justify the permanent US bases astride the oil supplies but not so intense as to give traction to the bleeding-heart liberals and the traitorous wing of the Protestant clergy.

What Is Political Sophistication?
September 24, 2006

by Jeffrey HerfIn this age of terror fueled by the ideology of Islamic extremism, some old insights of the liberal historiography of the roots and nature of Nazism remain relevant. In works published in the 1960s and 1970s, two of Nazism's preeminent historians, George Mosse in this country, and Karl Dietrich Bracher, in the Federal Republic of Germany made a similar point about the political significance of ideological fanaticism.

A Note From Rhode Island
September 13, 2006

by Ted WidmerYesterday, in one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country, moderate Republican Lincoln Chafee defeated a robust challenge from a right-wing conservative, Stephen Laffey. The Boston Globe said Chafee "eked out" a narrow victory, but in fact he won by a comfortable 54-46 margin, an impressive victory after many commentators and polls had predicted his defeat. He now faces a hard challenge in the general election from a former state attorney general, Sheldon Whitehouse, who faced little opposition winning the Democratic nomination yesterday.

The Real "path To 9/11"
September 12, 2006

I am in New York to welcome my granddaughter into the world. It is an auspicious day: sunny, comfortably warm, but with a cool under-breeze and with many taxis on the streets, since people are taking in the air instead of riding in the city's normal daytime snail's pace traffic. Yesterday was September 11, and the weather, like today's, was as balmy as the 9/11 of history, when a half-million hapless people, most of them dazed and many in near-trauma, were walking, mostly northward, on the long journey home.

Patriot Games
September 10, 2006

Joseph C. Wilson and Valerie Plame were one of those Washington couples whose careers had ended on the lower-middle rungs. Of course, this judgment depends on what you call "lower-middle." OK, Wilson did end his State Department career as an ambassador, with the "your excellency" stuff and all that. But his last posting was as envoy to Sao Tome and Principe, two small volcanic islands situated in the equatorial Atlantic, consisting of 386 square miles and populated by 160,000 people. This republic has no yellowcake. It surely is one of those designated diplomatic hardship spots.

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