October 22, 2008
On my way to Denver for what is being billed as the political speech of my lifetime, I am doing my best to open up a lotus-like space inside my head in which I can enjoy the pleasurable sensation that comes to lucky Ivy League meritocrats of a certain age, when friends from college and graduate school are on the verge of really running things in America. On any given Sunday, you stand a better-than-even chance of knowing Barack Obama's speechwriters, his economic advisers, the New York Times correspondent covering his campaign, or someone who played basketball last Tuesday with the candidate.
Former Clinton Speechwriter On Obama's Speech
June 04, 2008
We asked David Kusnet, Bill Clinton's former chief speechwriter and author of Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America's Best Workers Are Unhappier than Ever, to give his impression of Barack Obama's declaration of victory speech. Last night, Barack Obama's opponent was John McCain, not Hillary Clinton.
Sarah Williams Goldhagen on Architecture: Extra-Large
July 31, 2006
A FRIEND RECENTLY TOLD me that his most important pedagogical tool as an architect is this maxim: the architect's primary ethical responsibility is to be the guardian of the public realm, in contrast to the myriad others who currently configure our built landscape— clients, politicians, contractors, developers, and NIMBY-driven "community action" committees.
August 08, 2005
Existential Crisis DEMOCRACY HAS BECOME George W. Bush's reflexive answer to terrorism. Before the wreckage left by the July 7 bombings in London had even cooled, he broke from the G-8 summit in Scotland to explain how we would defeat the perpetrators of such attacks: "We will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate." Four days later, he elaborated, "Today in the Middle East, freedom is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger and hatred and despair.
February 07, 2005
The governor of the Indonesian province of Aceh, Abdullah Puteh, easily survived the tsunami that killed more than 173,000 Indonesians last month. At the time, he was safe in his cell at Salemba Penitentiary in central Jakarta, 1,000 miles away, awaiting trial for a million-dollar scam involving a gubernatorial helicopter. The aging, Russian-made Mi-2 now gathers dust in a remote hangar at the airport in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, a Cyrillic-script instruction manual helpfully stuffed into its lifeless console.
The Ungreat Washed
July 07, 2003
The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad By Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton, 286 pp., $24.95) I. Midway through Fareed Zakaria’s attack on democracy, one realizes that his animus toward popular government is not only theoretical but also personal, and in some ways it is even quite understandable.
November 04, 2002
In the weeks leading up to the October 12 bombing in Bali, warnings of pending terror flooded U.S. intelligence channels. Analysts from the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, and the FBI combed through threats suggesting that car-bomb attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings were planned against Americans on three continents. The volume of electronic and telephonic communications--what intelligence professionals call "chatter"--between assumed Al Qaeda operatives spiked in late September.
The Traveler's Luck
July 13, 1998
Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples By V.S. Naipaul (Random House, 408 pp. $27.95) Some years ago, in Finding the Centre, V.S. Naipaul wrote of the impulse that sent him on the road to remote places.
After the Tsunami
March 12, 1998
Until the East Asian miracle went up in a cloud of smoke, most East Asian specialists and comparative political scientists were optimistic about the prospects for democracy in the region. That's because nearly everyone subscribed to the “modernization thesis” first proposed by Stanford University Professor Seymour Martin Lipset in 1959. According to this thesis, economic development produces a new urban middle class--professionals, entrepreneurs, managers, and so on--motivated to challenge authoritarian rule.