July 12, 1999

Standing by her man TO THE EDITORS: I'm, neither a New Yorker nor Hillary Clintons biggest fan, but I found something troubling in Michelle Cottle's article ("The Wrong Race," June 7).

The Stasi and The Swan
April 19, 1999

In the spring of 1995, Jim Clark, who had spent half his life spying on others, was sure someone was spying on him. He first noticed the person when he got off the plane in Germany. Now, at the train station in Bonn, he could see the man's reflection in the ticket counter window.

Murder, I Wrote
September 15, 1997

I used to cover crime on the late shift in Baltimore for The Sun. It was a living measured, by and large, in four-paragraph installments. You’d call the cops, ask what was going on, and then, when they emitted a handful of facts about which body fell on which corner, you’d write it up briefly and send it to the night editor.

The Plague Year
July 17, 1995

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (Random House, 300 pp., $23) The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance by Laurie Garrett (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 750 pp., $25) In the spring of 1983, a flock of wild ducks carrying a strain of avian influenza virus settled on a pond in a chicken farm in eastern Pennsylvania. The virus was excreted in the ducks' feces, which meant that it got onto the ground and then onto the boots of a farmer, which is why in turn it soon found its way into the chicken barn.

Affirmative Action: A Solution
May 08, 1995

Is there a middle ground on affirmative action, an oasis between radical color-blindness on the right and racial quota-mongering on the left? As President Clinton prepares to unveil his conclusions on the subject, it's hard not to sympathize with his political predicament, but hard also not to anticipate his speech with a sense of dread. Having raised expectations so dramatically, he no longer has the luxury of embracing contradictory positions, or retreating into euphemisms. But is his task impossible?

The INS Mess
April 13, 1992

"No, no, I do not know what is the number of the form. It is the one for a person who has a family to bring to the country. Do you have that one? The one for relatives?... No. I tell you. I do not know the number of the form." It was early afternoon on a Wednesday in December, and the line at the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service's regional office in Northern Virginia was backed up to the door.

The Minority Minority
September 30, 1991

Last July Clarence Thomas attended a private dinner in Washington with a handful of NAACP officials. This was shortly after he’d been nominated to the Supreme Court, and Thomas hoped to soften the antipathy of the black civil rights establishment toward him. Not a chance. He was soon trashed in public statements as a snake, a black copy of David Duke, “Bork in blackface,” and putty in the hands of his conservative white wife. Gary Franks, the first black Republican elected to the House of Representatives since 1932, got better treatment, but not much.

The Shot Heard Round The World
July 18, 1988

"Here once the embattled farmers stood And fired the shot heard round the world."  —Hymn sung at the completion of the Battle Monument, Concord, July 4, 1837   The claim in Emerson's line is expansive. Can it be true that the shot was heard round the world—when there were no satellites, no television, no radio, no telephone? Let us see. It then took from five to six weeks for news to cross the Atlantic.

Uneasy Holiday
February 03, 1986

There was always a special patriotism to the speeches of Martin Luther King. No other American orator could bring audiences to their feet by reciting three full stanzas of "My Country, Tis of Thee." From there he often soared across the American landscape in perorations calling on freedom to ring "from the granite peaks of New Hampshire . . . from the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania . . . from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado . . . from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee! Let it ring . . .

Monkey Business
June 02, 1982

“This is vivisection,” proclaimed scores of X posters that appeared overnight all over Washington to designate April 24 an International Day for Laboratory Animals. “Don't let anyone tell you differently.” The posters were illustrated with a lurid photograph of a monkey trapped in an elaborate scaffold, its neck wedged in a narrow aperture and its arms extended, Christ-like, to the outer bars, where they were tightly bandaged. The photograph was a little deceptive.