New York Times

The Idea Biz
July 10, 2012

Today’s New York Times op-ed page carries two separate citations from last week’s Aspen Ideas Festival, which probably means the thing has already paid for itself. The ideas cited are good ones, but the increasing dominance of corporate-sponsored idea-disseminators like the Aspen festival and the TED conferences (gently lampooned by my friend Nathan Heller in a recent New Yorker takeout) makes me wonder whether ideas upsetting to the moneyed classes will become harder to shoehorn into the national conversation.

The Idea Biz
July 10, 2012

Today's New York Times op-ed page carries two separate citations from last week's Aspen Ideas Festival, which probably means the thing has already paid for itself. The ideas cited are good ones, but the increasing dominance of corporate-sponsored idea-disseminators like the Aspen festival and the TED conferences (gently lampooned by my friend Nathan Heller in a recent New Yorker takeout) makes me wonder whether ideas upsetting to the moneyed classes will become harder to shoehorn into the national conversation.

Don't Try This at Home, J-School Grads
July 09, 2012

A few years ago, national journalists discovered Detroit—or, rather, discovered that the city of Detroit was a dream subject. Its ruins of abandoned buildings made for astounding photo spreads of an apocalyptic wasteland, and writers big and small tried to wrestle with the question of how the former auto capitol of the world could have turned into this shell of a city. Detroiters hate these stories, say they’re the journalistic equivalent of rubber-necking.

Bangalore’s Booze and Poland’s Outrage: Today’s TNR Reader
and
July 03, 2012

Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! William Faulkner’s boldest attempt to tackle race, writes John Jeremiah Sullivan, somehow managed to dramatize a changing historical consciousness. New York Times | 13 min (3,183 words) A new Polish account of the Holocaust has not only sparked the interest of historians.

Has Obama Lost His Best Chance to Rally the Youth Vote?
July 03, 2012

Congressional leaders announced last week—after months of bickering—that they finally reached a deal to prevent student loan rates from doubling, just days before the July 1 deadline. This may be good news for the many Americans who are currently suffering from an aggregate total of over a trillion dollars in student loan debt. But it's decidedly more ambiguous for one of the loudest supporters of the issue: President Obama. As we know, the youth vote was a crucial part of Obama’s successful 2008 coalition.

From Prop 8 Advocate to Gay Marriage Supporter: In Praise of David Blankenhorn’s Nuanced Evolution
June 22, 2012

David Blankenhorn—lead witness for Prop. 8—has announced that he is changing position on same-sex marriage. In today’s New York Times, he writes, “for me as a marriage advocate, the time has now come to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do.” In particular, he wants to work with pro-marriage forces within the gay community to strengthen the institution for everyone. Blankenhorn’s announcement is not merely a victory for marriage-equality advocates, it is a victory for reason and nuance.

Great Britain's Sexual Politics and Snow White's Long-Awaited Personality: Today's TNR Reader
and
June 22, 2012

Editor’s Note: We'll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! Is our obsession with monthly jobs reports hurting the economy? Er, maybe.  New York Times | 4 min (1,110 words) The Grimm tale of Snow White has seen many incarnations. Snow White and the Huntsman, finally, gives its heroine a personality.  The New Yorker | 5 min (1, 330 words) How can the left win the culture wars?

The Unwitting Beneficiaries of Obamacare
June 21, 2012

Now that the Supreme Court has left the fate of the Affordable Care Act hanging another few days, it seems an opportune moment to pose a question that has been growing on me after several recent reporting trips: why aren’t the most obvious beneficiaries of the law more aware of it?  There is an assumption in much national coverage of the law’s unpopularity that the right has won the “messaging war” on the law, partly, as Abby Goodnough lays out in a strong New York Times piece today, by spending far more to bash it on the airwaves than the law’s supporters have to defend it.

The Syrian ‘Civil War’: Discuss
June 14, 2012

A front page story in yesterday’s New York Times quoted Hervé Ladsous, the head of United Nations peacekeeping operations, opining that the violence in Syria had descended into “civil war.” The same story, however, points out that “opposition leaders are wary of the term civil war because it suggests that the conflict is somehow an even match”; meanwhile, the Assad regime is still holding fast to its story that the violence is nothing more than the product of terrorists. So, which is it? Is Syria in a civil war or not? The answer, it turns out, is maybe.

Jenny Craig’s Overseas Ambitions and a New Olympic Sport: Today’s TNR Reader
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June 14, 2012

Editor’s Note: We'll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! In America, food is both the enemy and the cure. We overeat, we diet, we overeat. Is France heading in the same direction? Jenny Craig hopes so. The New York Times | 14 min (3, 449 words) Even though the Green Revolution was a tragic failure, Iran’s Mullahs are steadily losing their grip. World Affairs Journal | 11 min (2, 632 words) This summer, the Olympics will debut a new sport: women’s boxing.

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