Ohio Vs. Virginia: A False Choice?
November 22, 2011

Earlier this month, after Ohio voters roundly rejected Gov. John Kasich's attempt to eviscerate public employee unions, I mused on the result's implications for the Obama re-election campaign. Despite signalling their intent to hang onto the 2008 pickups of Virginia, North Carolina and Colorado -- home of disproportionate numbers of minority and young voters and college-educated professionals -- would the Obama team actually be better off focusing on holding onto blue-collar voters in the Rust Belt, and Ohio in particular? In the weeks since, a healthy debate has sprung up on this front.

David Thomson on Films: Remembering the Man Who Mastered Technicolor
August 16, 2011

He was born in Norfolk as the Great War began, and he died in Cambridgeshire at 94. He looked like someone content with English country life, a slender, bright-eyed man, handsome when young, and modest, decent, and amiable as he grew older. He had an honest humility not common in the movie business. Even in the technical pursuits or the laboring jobs, movie people like to think they own their worlds. The limo drivers have a catalogue of famous people they have driven, and the scandalous stories they have heard confessed.

The Race Man
October 26, 2009

Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington By Robert J. Norrell (Harvard University Press, 508 pp., $35)   I. Once the most famous and influential African American in the United States (and probably the world), Booker T. Washington has earned at best mixed reviews in the decades since his death in 1915. Black intellectuals and political activists, from W. E. B.

Why Health Reform Matters: Some Personal Illustrations
September 09, 2009

Want a hint about what the president will say tonight? Check out the guest list for the First Lady's box, which the White House just published.

Paste and Future
November 19, 2008

Scrapbooks: An American HistoryBy Jessica Helfand (Yale University Press, 244 pp., $45) Mark Twain had one. So did Anne Sexton, Lillian Hellman, Harry Wolfson of Harvard, and little Hattie Briggs of rural Michigan. I also had one, and I suspect that you did, too. I am referring to the scrapbook--that odd assemblage of memorabilia and mucilage that once ruled the roost when it came to recording the details of one's life and one's sentimental education.

The Fixer
April 23, 2007

BEFORE THERE WAS Walter Reed—before the revelations in The Washington Post, before the congressional hearings and presidential commissions and resigning generals—there was Joshua Murphy and his bad dream. In November 2005, Murphy returned home to Wichita Falls, Texas, after service that included a year patrolling the treacherous Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City as a specialist in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Prior to the war, he had been outgoing, social, well-liked—“just your basic eighteen-year-old kid,” in the words of his mother, Monica.

Private Enemy
July 08, 2002

It is June 2005. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy goes on a fact-finding mission to Guantanamo Bay, where he meets with Al Qaeda prisoners of war. Furious over Leahy's refusal to confirm federal judges, President George W. Bush plots revenge. When Leahy arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport, he is arrested by military police on the grounds that he has passed information to the enemy and is therefore an enemy combatant.

The Shipping Bottleneck
May 25, 1942

THE GREAT DAY arrives. “I christen thee Western Light!” the woman cries.