State of the Union - As Prepared
January 24, 2012

THE WHITE HOUSE Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery State of the Union Address: “An America Built to Last” Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 As Prepared for Delivery – Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.

In Defense Of Rick Perry, Lousy Debater
October 12, 2011

Shortly after the Republican debate in Orlando, when Rick Perry was being pummeled for his mangled answers on Pakistan, Mitt Romney's flip-flopping, and more, I happened to find myself talking to a Texas Democrat who has known Perry since his first days in the state legislature. I asked if she was surprised at how things had gone for Perry in the debates so far. Yes, she said. She was surprised he was doing as well as he was. Perry's lack of aptitude for the debate stage has been common knowledge for years in Texas.

GOP Elites Can’t Decide Between Perry and Romney. And It’s Hurting Both of Them.
September 29, 2011

Until just last week, things were looking up for Republicans, with Obama’s approval ratings sinking and the GOP nomination process settling down to a choice between two potentially formidable candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. But after the demolition derby of “P5”—the series of candidate events in Orlando including a candidates’ debate, a state straw poll, and several speaking opportunities—fear and panic have gripped elite GOP circles. Indeed, what’s been revealed is that the two front-runners are locked in an increasingly savage competition that exposes both of their vulnerabilities.

Humanism As Revolution
September 28, 2011

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern By Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton, 356 pp., $26.95) Midway through the greatest literary work of the Italian Renaissance, the paladin Orlando, the hero of Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso, which appeared in 1516, goes crazy with unrequited love and jealousy. His poet creator is in no better shape: he is writing, he winkingly tells us, in a “lucid interval” of his own lovesickness.

Ignorance Is Strength
September 23, 2011

"It’s not who is the slickest candidate or the smoothest debater that we need to elect,” Rick Perry said today at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. “We need to elect the candidate with the best record, and the best vision for this country. The current occupant of the White House can sure talk a good game, but he doesn't deliver. Matter of fact, remember President Clinton? Man, he could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. And the next day be against ice cubes! The alternative is candidates who stick to principle, stand their ground, because they believe in something." So ...

Pre-Debate Post-Debate Analysis
September 22, 2011

To: Editor From: TN Re: Republican debate I've got a social engagement tonight and I know the copy desk doesn't like to work late. So here's my post-debate analysis. The debate will air on Fox News from 9 to 11 p.m., so please do not post before 11 p.m. Repeat: do not post before 11 p.m. We don't want to give readers the idea that the press knows what to say even before the candidates take the stage.

Florida Will Decide the GOP Nominee. Who Has the Upper Hand There?
September 21, 2011

When Rick Perry lays down his head on Saturday night, he’s going to be one tired Texan. By then, the consensus GOP front-runner will have endured a 48-hour gauntlet of events in Orlando, Florida, including a televised presidential candidates’ debate, an ideological beauty contest sponsored by the American Conservative Union, and a state party straw poll. Moreover, all this is occurring in a state that will hold a crucially timed 2012 primary, is considered a must-win for Republicans in the general election, and has demographic characteristics that could pose a real challenge to Perry.

Our Troops Abroad: What Does a Soldier Need to Read?
June 11, 2011

I fell in love with the BBC Radio 4 program “Desert Island Discs” years ago while living in Scotland, a place that felt a little like a desert island to me, on my own in an unfamiliar place really for the first time. The premise of the show, which first aired in 1942, is that a celebrity guest selects eight records, together with a book and a luxury item, that he or she would most wish to have if marooned on a desert island.

Nude Breach
December 13, 2010

Eight years ago, officials at Orlando International Airport first began testing the millimeter-wave body scanners that are currently at the center of a national uproar. The designers of the scanners at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offered U.S. officials a choice: naked machines or blob machines? The same researchers had developed both technologies, and both were equally effective at identifying contraband.

Florida, Florida, Poverty
October 22, 2010

If you’ve seen any of our maps, you know Florida hasn’t been faring well on any metric ( employment, unemployment, poverty, lender-owned properties to name a few). But two swing districts are getting squeezed from all angles: Central Florida’s 8th and 24th Congressional Districts (see map with arrows; the two are in the middle of the state and eastward). Not only do these districts encompass much of Orlando, its metropolitan sprawl, and its deteriorating economy, but they are at the tipping point of the congressional and campaign debate between the mounting urgency to get people back on their