New Orleans Postcard
August 14, 2006
My wife and I were about to put our house on the market before Hurricane Katrina. I remind myself of this as we contemplate an act that has taken on the trappings of civic treachery--putting our house on the market now, a year after Katrina. It's true: We really were talking to realtors last summer. It was time to downsize, we said. Empty-nest syndrome, we said. That was our cover. Secretly, we were a bit freaked out about hurricanes even before Katrina. (At least I was.) Not so secretly, we were certain the national real estate bubble had reached its soapy and iridescent limit.
July 10, 2006
At dawn, the sky over Baghdad turns red for a few minutes before sunlight breaks through the dust. Combat engineers have been clearing IEDs from the streets of Amiriyah since 3 a.m., but the 500 American soldiers about to descend on the western Baghdad neighborhood wait for the sun. Just as it rises, Apache helicopter gunships arrive overhead, and, in the blinding light above them, two F-15 attack aircraft begin circling in a wide arc. The radio chatter quickens as the Bradley Fighting Vehicles on the ground and the aviation units above check in with one another.
February 06, 2006
IT WAS A cold night in December, and Patrick Murphy was standing in the back room of a downtown Philadelphia bar. As usual, he was telling war stories. It had been nearly two years since Murphy returned from Iraq, where he served as a JAG officer in the 82nd Airborne, but the memories of his time there were still fresh, and, as he mingled about the room, he shared them with many of those he met. He told of leading convoys through a section of Baghdad called “Ambush Alley” and of prosecuting cases before Iraq’s Central Criminal Court. “When I was in Iraq,” Murphy would almost invariably say at
February 09, 2004
RETIRED GENERAL Wesley Clark has faced many enemies in his career, from the Viet Cong to Slobodan Milosevic. At last week’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire, however, Clark was ambushed by an unexpected foe. ABC News anchor Peter Jennings took the general to task for staying silent while liberal filmmaker—and Clark supporter—Michael Moore labeled President Bush a “deserter” at a campaign rally. “That’s a reckless charge not supported by the facts,” Jennings admonished Clark, all but demanding that he exhibit “a better example of ethical behavior” by repudiating the claim. An off-guard Clark
July 12, 1999
So what does the Second Amendment mean? A lot, says the National Rifle Association. Not much, say gun-control groups. Until recently, it didn't much matter who was right--on all but the mildest of measures, the NRA had the votes (and the cash), and that was that. Then came Littleton. Now proposals for serious federal gun controls are in the air. Thus far, the House and Senate have failed to agree on any specific gun measures, and whatever Congress ultimately decides in conference promises to be modest at best, targeting only gun shows and youngsters.
July 12, 1999
Akhil Reed Amar examines what the right to bear arms really means.
TRB from Washington
February 26, 1990
Michael Kinsley: Do the gun nuts have a point?
September 12, 1989
The Bush-Quayle ticket is a powerful symbol of the moral decline of the American ruling class. Con- sider the response of each half of this generationally balanced ticket to its generation's war. In 1941 George Herbert Walker Bush, scion of a rich and politically influential family, was a 17-year-old senior at a prestigious New England prep school, A secure and idyllic childhood, spent in the bosky suburban towns of Milton, Massachusetts, and Greenwich, Connecticut, and in summerhouses and sailboats on the Maine coast, was behind him.
October 31, 1988
Despite his pee-pants performance in the Omaha debate against Lloyd Bentsen, it looks as if Dan Quayle, 41, will be president one of these days. Consider the politico-actuarial probabilities. Assuming the Republican lead endures, the junior senator from Indiana will be elected vice president. This alone will give him an even chance of becoming president. Three out of the last five presidents were vice president first. Seven out of the last ten vice presidents have ended up heading a national ticket, and four (five if you presumptively count George Bush) got all the way to the Oval Office.