May 10, 2005
Early in Bottle Rocket, writer-director Wes Anderson's 1996 debut film, a little girl asks her recently de-institutionalized 26-year-old brother when he will be coming home. "I can't come home," he explains. "I'm an adult." With that scene Anderson, himself 26 at the time, announced the theme that would dominate all his movies to date: the plight of the man-child, too old to live life like a kid but not mature enough to stop trying. In Bottle Rocket, it was half-hearted thieves Anthony and Dignan straddling the gap between boyhood and manhood.
May 02, 2005
PATRIOT GAMES Early this month, when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took his case for renewing several provisions of the Patriot Act before the Senate Judiciary Committee, his interlocutors were not wholly convinced. Naturally, the newly confirmed A.G. turned on the charm. He even injected some rhetorical flourish in defending a few particularly controversial provisions of the Act, which the Justice Department admitted it had never actually had occasion to use. "It's comparable to a police officer who carries a gun for 15 years and never draws it.
March 21, 2005
“THANK YOU, MOSES.” When I heard those words outside the marshal’s office at the Supreme Court the other day, I trembled for my country. I had come to hear the oral arguments in the Ten Commandments cases, and was prepared for a morning’s appreciation of what Moses brought down from the mountain; but in the courtroom, not in the corridor. My liberal’s back went up. Thou shalt not mistake the Torah for the Constitution.
July 08, 2002
A few of us at The New Republic have gotten into the habit of expressing our mundane daily conversations in the lingo of 30 second political attack ads. (Just the sort of behavior that made us so cool in high school.) Suppose a colleague wants to head to a familiar spot for lunch, and I prefer a new place.
May 13, 2002
On a clear day, when the sun shines so brightly that the Kentucky bluegrass actually looks just a little bit blue, Arthur Hancock can stand atop one of Bourbon County's rolling hills and survey a good portion of the 2,000 acres he calls Stone Farm. He can see the low-slung barns; the tall ash and oak trees; the miles of wooden fence; and, most importantly, the horses. Stone Farm has more than 200 of them—mares looking after their foals, yearlings grazing together, stallions prancing in their private paddocks.
October 29, 2001
Electric razor in hand, barber Jane Hill offers up her prescription for personal safety in these tense times: "I think all women oughta carry a cell phone and a three-fifty-seven. Loaded." Everyone else at the Royal Barber Shop here in rural Front Royal, Virginia, bursts out laughing. Smoothing the near-bald pate of the customer occupying the shop's second chair, barber Marlene Daniels (Jane's older sister) recounts in disbelief a "20/20" episode her daughter recently saw about the run on anthrax medication. "That blew my mind," she says. The others murmur in assent.
January 29, 2001
Noam Scheiber on how Al Gore led the Democrats away from gun control.
January 17, 1999
These days you can barely walk down the street in Washington without being accosted by some Wise Man hawking scandal advice. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is selling his complicated censure scheme. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford are marketing their own censure proposal. Sundry other formers—Lloyd Cutler, Richard Ben-Veniste, Robert Drinan—have weighed in authoritatively as well. Now that Bimbroglio has graduated to the Senate, it's not surprising that these old lions (or perhaps "old badgers") have been joined by Democratic Senator Robert C.
The Great Liberal Smokeout
May 18, 1998
When the Democratic leaders of Congress sat down with President Bush in 1990 to hammer out a budget agreement, they insisted that the deal not impose any additional tax burdens on the poor. After every new twist in the negotiations, the conferees would pause as their staff economists compiled tables detailing how each income category would fare under any given combination of taxes.
March 31, 1997
Spring fever is in the air at the Supreme Court as the justices prepare to hear arguments about the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act on March 19. To familiarize themselves with the technological obstacles to finding pornography in cyberspace, some law clerks have obtained lists of especially salacious addresses on the World Wide Web and diligently browsed at their leisure.