Obama-hillary: A Dream Or A Nightmare?
May 24, 2008

I am not going to get into the game of saying whom Barack Obama should choose to be his vice-presidential nominee. I am chastened from having argued for John Kerry to pick John Edwards in 2004. And I am not going to say whom he shouldn't choose either. But I want to suggest that there are pitfalls to his endorsing the "dream ticket" of himself and Hillary Clinton, which prominent Clinton supporters like Diane Feinstein are promoting. There are two arguments for Obama choosing Clinton: one is plausible; the other is bogus.

Gaming Out Oregon
May 20, 2008

For those still hanging on every pledged delegate, FiveThirtyEight has an interesting, district-by-district breakdown of the way things are likely to shake out in Oregon tonight. In general, he argues that demographics should have made Oregon a toss-up, but that Hillary's recent strategic decisions have made it pretty safe for Obama: My modeling was consistently showing Oregon to be a toss-up state -- leaning only slightly to Obama. And if Oregon had voted back in February, maybe it would have been a toss-up.

The Vital Centrist
February 13, 2008

Journals: 1952-2000 By Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Edited by Andrew Schlesinger and Stephen Schlesinger (Penguin Press, 894 pp., $40) I. FEW HISTORIANS write personal journals that deserve publication, which is not surprising. How much interest can there be in the academic controversies and petty jealousies that dominate the lives of working historians, much less in the archives, the private libraries, and the lecture halls where they spend so much of their time?

The Politics Of Iraq
December 28, 2006

Two New York Times stories today give a nice glimpse into where the Iraq debate stands, politically speaking. The first is a rather positive profile of Oregon Senator Gordon Smith.

Parting of Ways
October 02, 2006

Old Joy (Kino International) The Beat movement in literature is said to have begun in 1952 with Jack Kerouac and John Clellon Holmes. No such specific date that I know is cited for the movement’s spread to films. (Underground film is something else.) The first Beat picture that I can remember didn’t come until almost forty years later, with Richard Linklater’s Slacker in 1991. Since then there has been a fairly steady stream. I’d dub them Listless Films, even though that term is easy to misunderstand. The people in these films, mostly in their twenties, are not dull or lazy.

Student Aid
March 27, 2006

Late last summer, Sam Bell set out to acquire an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It was an unusual shopping expedition for a private citizen, much less a 22-year-old only a few months removed from his political science and philosophy studies at Swarthmore College. But, ever since graduation, and even while in school, Bell had been working to do what the U.S. government and the United Nations had so far failed to: stop the genocide in Darfur.

Cambridge Diarist
January 16, 2006

When Eugene McCarthy died a month ago, I rushed to compose what I wished to be a meditation on what the man had meant to me, to my generation, and to our history. But eulogies always suffer from the press of deadlines, and so I decided to get an opinion of what I wrote from a truth-teller I've known since the 1968 campaign. I read my piece to John Callahan, a professor of English at Lewis & Clark College and the author of books on Ralph Ellison and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the harshest of the truth-tellers.

Half Empty
December 21, 2004

Jack and Hank are professors at a small college in rural Oregon, and they are best friends. Jack is sleeping with Hank's wife, Edith. Hank seems to know this and seems not to mind. In part this is because he wants to sleep with Jack's wife, Terry, who is also Edith's best friend. Not only does Jack not mind, he goes out of his way to push Terry into Hank's arms. Ah, academic life. Not that anyone much enjoys themselves.

Officer Politics
September 13, 2004

Merrill "Tony" McPeak doesn't like George W. Bush. But it's more than that. McPeak has contempt for the president, which he freely expresses. Speaking from his home in Oregon, the John Kerry partisan describes Bush in terms usually employed by the likes of MoveOn.org. "Not even his best friends would accuse this president of having ideas," McPeak says. Mild stuff in the age of Michael Moore. Except that McPeak's first name is General. The former Air Force chief of staff is not the only general describing the president in such vivid terms.

Enemy's Enemy
August 04, 2004

KAMPALA, UGANDA--On a steamy Sunday morning, several hundred students are dancing in the aisles of a dilapidated college lecture hall. Dressed in shabby, secondhand sport coats, the men pivot their hips, flinging their elbows back and forth to a lively gospel tune. The women's cornrows bounce up and down. With a showman's sense of timing, Pastor Martin Ssempa sidles slowly onto the stage, grooving to the beat. "Thank you, God!" shouts the bespectacled, 36-year-old evangelist. He has unbuttoned the top button of his natty, cream-colored shirt, and his blue tie hangs loose. "Can you feel it?