New York City
April 15, 2009
On the basketball courts of New York City, there may be no truer measure of a player's stature than his nickname. If a player is considered good, then his moniker will be something straightforward: "Pee Wee" if he is short; "Lefty" if he shoots with that hand. But if a player is viewed as great, then his talent can actually inspire poetry. He will be called "Half-Man Half-Amazing" for his superhuman dunks or "Skip to My Lou" for the way he hopscotches down the court as he dribbles past hapless opponents.
The Black Widower
March 18, 2009
Last fall, during Asif Ali Zardari's first foreign trip as head of state, the Pakistani president met with Sarah Palin in New York City. The meeting occurred amid Palin's other campaign cameos with U.S.-friendly world leaders, most of whom could manage little more than an awkward grimace amid the onslaught of flashbulbs. (Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo reportedly flat-out refused to meet her.) But Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto and oft-described playboy, looked delighted as he greeted--and then charmed--the vice-presidential candidate.
Conservatism Is Dead
February 18, 2009
An intellectual autopsy of the movement.
December 24, 2008
In November, Barack Obama bewildered education reformers by tapping Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford professor who had advised his campaign, to oversee the transition's education policy team. Their verdict was swift and harsh. "Worst case scenario," wrote Mike Petrilli, vice president for national programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank, the day after The Wall Street Journal leaked the news. "This is a sign that the president-elect isn't a bona fide reformer," he later told me.
December 24, 2008
'Giorgio Morandi, 1890-1964' -- Metropolitan Museum of Art 'Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937' -- Museum of Modern Art 'Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone' -- New Museum 'Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton' -- New Museum 'Douglas Blau' -- Institute of Contemporary Art I. What will be the impact of the financial crisis on artists, galleries, and auction houses?
Greenland Dispatch: Europe's Last Colony And The Big Melt
November 14, 2008
Alexander Zaitchik is a freelance journalist based in New York City. He visited Greenland in August as part of an official press delegation sponsored by the island's home-rule government. It's become a cliché of Arctic reportage to begin stories by describing the calving of glaciers—that process by which enormous vertical slabs of ice, some as tall as skyscrapers, slice off the glacial shelf and collapse into the waiting sea. During a recent reporting trip to Greenland, I quickly understood the impulse to chronicle this phenomenon.
The Message Keeper
November 05, 2008
In 1992, a Chicago woman named Bettylu Saltzman met Barack Obama, who had graduated from Harvard Law School one year earlier and was now in her city leading a voter-registration drive called Project Vote. Saltzman, an heiress to a shopping-mall fortune who's long been active in Democratic politics, was volunteering for Bill Clinton's presidential bid when, one day, Obama dropped by the campaign's Chicago office to discuss Project Vote. Saltzman came away from the encounter very, very impressed.
Need A Stimulus? Go For The Grid
November 02, 2008
There's a broadening consensus that a hefty chunk of whatever Congress is planning to spend on an economic-stimulus package should go toward infrastructure. Ideally that would mean "green" projects like efficiency upgrades or transit, rather than just building more highways (though it's certainly worth fixing up existing roads and bridges). Obama's certainly thinking along these lines; as he explained to Rachel Maddow the other day, Congress should focus on updating the nation's electrical grid. But why would we want to do a thing like that?
July 02, 2008
Who’s interested in Zimbabwe, and why? How should Westerners understand the situation there? And could this all be Jimmy Carter’s fault? T.A. Frank and James Kirchick discussed the situation over IM. Why Zimbabwe? T.A. Frank: As people like to point out, there are a lot of rotten countries out there. So why this rotten country? Let’s talk about why you and I happen to care about Zimbabwe. James Kirchick: Well, personally, I've been there.
Stopped Making Sense
May 07, 2008
To build a building is hard; to criticize a building is, by comparison, easy. For a serious critic, the impulse to write uncomplimentary things should always provoke a bout of preliminary introspection. Does one write from the lofty principle that truth must be spoken to power, or at least to fashion? Will the reader come away from this exercise in scorching criticism of buildings and urban spaces with a heightened appreciation for the built environment and its importance to our daily lives?