The group blog of The New Republic
August 31, 2013
Today, President Obama finally addressed the main question that has gripped this town on Syria: will he or won't he?
He will, as we knew he would. But now he has added for himself another hurdle on the road to Damascus: Congress.
Citing "some people's" reluctance to repeat the example of David Cameron losing control over his party in Parliament, Obama said, no, he was going to take this thing to Congress because we are a Constitutional democracy.
I'm pro-intervention in principle, but Obama hasn't sold me on it
I’m not remotely an expert on foreign policy in general or Syria in particular. At best I’d call myself a semi-informed lay-person.
August 30, 2013
Seamus Heaney was the lyrical Virgilian guide for a bewildered Irish generation.
Today, Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the case against Assad, summarizing the unclassified intelligence assessment that was just then landing in reporters' inboxes: Bashar al-Assad and his minions knew about, prepared for, and carried out a massive attack using a nerve agent on areas outside Damascus that his regime had trouble clearing of the opposition, "to break a stalemate." The
This week's cover story, by Elizabeth Weil, documents a new and disturbing trend in childhood education: emotional self-regulation. This new ideal for American school children does away with traditional discipline and encourages students to control their own impulses—but at what cost to non-conformist children? Read the story online Monday night.Photograph by Erin Patrice O'Brien
I largely dislike reading op-ed columnists. All too often, columnists hem and haw and posture and drop references to their famous friends and fancy trips. They make points that are obvious. They are overly pious. They hew to the party line. They love moderation. They love pointing out how they love moderation even more than they love moderation. They give credit where it is not due for politeness’s sake. They gin up fake controversies out of deadline desperation. They feign shock they don’t really feel. Even when I agree with them, I am bored by about paragraph three.
There's a lot of chatter this morning about the big piece above the fold on the front page of today's Washington Post laying out the deep misgivings of many in the military about launching an attack against Syria to punish it for the regime's apparent use of chemical weapons against its own people. These misgivings are of course to be reckoned with.
In your high school or college experience, did the Student Council ever institute any truly ground-breaking, long-lasting reforms that extracted real concessions from the administration and made life substantially better for students? Probably not. Part of the problem is that students are younger and less experienced and are usually not the ones paying. It also isn’t their full-time job to “govern” students, whereas that is precisely the administration’s full-time job.
Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney died this morning in Dublin. Over the years, he published many poems in The New Republic. In tribute, here is "The Rainstick," first published in the magazine in 1993.
To start, Seamus ordered cherrystone clams and I had a half-dozen oysters ...