No Labels, No Apology
December 22, 2010

Within a week after its official launch, the No Labels movement—which I helped found—has accomplished a hitherto unimaginable feat: It has united a bitterly divided commentariat. Tribunes of left and right have issued issue denunciations and pronounced anathemas. Polarization, they say, is a wonderful thing, and those who would weaken it are at best deluded and naïve. Civility is a euphemism for the prissy repression of uninhibited democratic discourse, and the self-appointed speech police should butt out.

Portnoy Agonistes
November 19, 2010

Nemesis By Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 280 pp., $26)  I. Even before it begins, Philip Roth’s new novel tells us something interesting about his career. Longtime readers will be familiar with the shape the author’s “Books By” list—the catalogue of previous work that precedes the title page—has taken on in recent years. Instead of the usual chronological enumeration, a set of categories: Zuckerman Books, Roth Books, Kepesh Books, Miscellany, and a bit forlornly, Other Books.

Citizens of the Week
August 06, 2010

Good Citizen of the Week: Mo Vaughn Maurice "Mo" Vaughn had an illustrious career with the Boston Red Sox, winning an MVP title and thrilling a generation of Fenway faithful with laser shots out of the park. But he injured his knee when he tumbled down the dugout steps, while fielding a pop-up in foul territory. He was never the same and, after two lackluster seasons with the Mets, he retired. Vaughn, who idolized Jackie Robinson and wore #42 to honor him, said he wanted to give back to society after retirement. Unlike most pro athletes, he meant it.

April 01, 2010

 In which we, semi-regularly, highlight articles and resources of note:  Can St. Louis compete? A Post-Dispatch series looks at the region’s challenges as the next economy emerges from recession.  Witold Rybczynski examines private sector involvement in city building and finds it crucial for these constrained times.  Conan might be off the air, but his former partner in feud, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, soldiers on as his city recorded its first calendar month without a homicide since 1966.  

Are We Ready For The Rising Seas?
January 14, 2010

One aspect of climate change that's already affecting people in various parts of the world is the slow but steady rise in sea level (via YaleE360): Pacific and Indian Ocean atoll nations are already being abandoned because of the direct and indirect effects of sea level rise, such as saltwater intrusion into groundwater. In the Marshall Islands, some crops are being grown in abandoned 55-gallon oil drums because the ground is now too salty for planting. New Zealand is accepting, on a gradual basis, all of the inhabitants of the Tuvalu atolls.

Why China's Trains Are Breaking Records
January 11, 2010

This month, China started operating the fastest high-speed rail system in the world—a 600-mile line between Wuhan and Guangzhou that clocks an average of 193 miles per hour (and peaks at 245). MIT Technology Review explains what makes the new train so fleet.

Today's Dispatch From Planet Krauthammer
December 11, 2009

The increasingly nutty columnist unearths a novel historical counterfactual: In the 1970s and early '80s, having seized control of the U.N. apparatus (by power of numbers), Third World countries decided to cash in. OPEC was pulling off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in history. Why not them? So in grand U.N.

Today At TNR (October 15, 2009)
October 15, 2009

The ‘Civilian Surge’ Myth: Stop Pretending That the U.S. Can Actually Nation-Build, by Steven Metz A Geek Grows in Brooklyn: Jonathan Lethem and the Disappearing Line Between High and Low Art, by William Deresiewicz From Supreme Allied Commander to … Ethanol Lobbyist? The Strange Journey of Wesley Clark. by Lydia DePillis Scheiber: Was Wall Street Safer in the Hands of Stodgy WASPs? Cohn: Tearing Apart the Latest Misleading Report on Health Care Hey Conan, Here’s the Real Reason Why You Don’t Want to Live in Newark, by Jonathan Rothwell Why Won’t Baseball Adopt Instant Replay Already?

What’s So Funny About Newark?
October 14, 2009

The on-going “Tonight Show”/YouTube feud between Conan O’Brien and Newark Mayor Cory Booker will evidently reach its culmination Friday when Booker appears on the NBC broadcast. In the interim it has spawned a spate of news stories, an “intervention” by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and, earlier this week, was the focus of Bob Herbert’s New York Times op-ed column.  In paraphrasing Conan, Herbert reports that he “threatened to form an alliance with the mayors of nearby municipalities, thus “creating a geographic toilet seat around the city of Newark,” making it possible to flush the ci

Bank Shot
October 12, 2009

I don't pretend to be an expert in the voter dynamics of the New Jersey governor's race.