Nashville

Last night in &c I linked to a story about a woman who quit her job by emailing to her office a series of photos of herself holding up white board messages. I wrote, "I really wish I could buy stock in this (currently unemployed) woman’s career." The story turns out to be a hoax. Although I can't prove this and nobody will believe me, I actually thought there was a very strong chance the whole thing was a hoax, which only made me more certain the woman was bound for fame and fortune.

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A couple days ago I opined that defenses of the electoral college seem to be driven by two factors: A partisan Republican desire not to retroactively delegitimize George W. Bush's 2000 election, and a general attachment to the status quo.

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The United States may have missed its chance to play Spain in the World Cup final Sunday (and the Netherlands in the semifinal, and Uruguay in the quarterfinal), but similar battles take place every day on American turf, where the world meets for pick-up soccer games. There’s weekdays outside an MIT building in Cambridge, weekend mornings behind the White House, and barefoot on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. There are, in fact, times when the U.S.

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Last week, President Obama delivered a major speech on the need for federal immigration reform. He made his case to Congress, especially Republicans, to step up, put aside political posturing, and have the courage to get the job done rather than continuing to “kick the can down the road.” The federal lawsuit against Arizona’s recently adopted state immigration enforcement law, set to be filed today, may also add impetus for a federal, rather than a piecemeal, solution.

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Over at the World Cup Blog, Stefan Fatsis is again full of soccer triumphalism: A poster named “Irishman” puts it nicely: “The USA has the extraordinary luck to be both Germanic and Hispanic, black and white and brown, African and European and Asian, all in one driven national character.” Progress is uncertain for every national side, but it’s highly likely for the U.S. Irishman quoted Gandhi: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” To which JustinO replied: “First they ignore you (to 1989). Then they laugh at you (1990-2001).

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Every time the World Cup is on the same annoying question comes up: Will Americans accept soccer? Well, frankly, I could not care less. Yesterday I watched the US-Ghana game in a steakhouse in the suburbs of Nashville, with the game sound replaced by a country music selection so immaculately insufferable that they’re surely using it to extract bogus information in the Guantanamo Bay torture resort. Apart from me, there was a guy drinking alone, and some of the kitchen staff. Did I care less about the game because of that? No.

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Click here to read Margo Howard’s first dispatch from the Blagojevich trial. Click here to read her second. A note about Mrs. Blagojevich and the bathroom, and Mrs. B. and the courtroom. I encountered her in the loo again, only there were more people than last time. I did hear her say, once more, that it’s tough to hear people tell lies about you. I guess that’s how she responds to “how are you?” Also, I wrote yesterday that she would not be allowed in the courtroom once the trial began because she would be a witness.

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The continuing undersea gusher of oil 50 miles off the shores of Louisiana is not the only source of dangerous uncontrolled pollution spewing into the environment. Worldwide, the amount of man-made CO2 being spilled every three seconds into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding the planet equals the highest current estimate of the amount of oil spilling from the Macondo well every day.

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Weak Brew

Mark Skoda, one of the organizers of the first-ever national Tea Party convention in Nashville, is no revolutionary. “I get irritated when people say, ‘Let’s take our country back.’ We have a country,” he told one interviewer at the three-day-long gathering earlier this month. “In America, we only have to move the dial a little bit. We’re not off the rails.

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The People's People

I should not speak ill of the dead, but what of the dead who spoke ill of the dead? Many years ago an acquaintance of mine applied for a position at the Museum of the City of New York, over which Louis Auchincloss presided. The search committee met in the writer’s apartment on Park Avenue. When the candidate was asked to describe what he would do to improve the institution, he replied that too many people were not represented in its galleries, and noted in particular the inadequacy of the museum’s portrayal of African Americans.

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