The group blog of The New Republic

October 31, 2013

Where to begin? Should I lead with my morning commute during which, while waiting to cross the street, I saw a grown-ass man in a full-body Gumby costume with no immediately apparent breathing holes but with his Cole Haans still visible saunter casually out of an office building? Or the party invitations stipulating that a costume is "mandatory"? Or the requisite "I don't hate Halloween, but..." because, in this city, you have to say you don't hate Halloween, when in fact, that gnawing feeling that can only be relieved with a hearty eye-roll can only be described as hate, pure and hot?

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On the Internet, there are no average photographs, judging by headlines and tweets. Every single gallery is "fantastic," "stunning," and most frequently of all: "amazing." But is amazing always the most amazing adjective to use? Below, more accurate headlines for web photo collections. 

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The New Republic's Leon Wieseltier has already taken a satisfying whack at T.M. Luhrmann, the occasional New York Times columnist who writes about spirituality and religion. But Luhrmann's Thursday column, written in honor of Halloween, begs several questions, none of which she attempts to answer.

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A couple of hours after the Boston Red Sox, who finished last in their division in 2012, beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series on Wednesday night, BuzzFeed's sports verticle predictably posted a photo listicle titled "Boston’s World Series Run In 43 Photographs." I found it incredibly boring—and that's coming from someone who grew up in Massachusetts.

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President Obama was in Boston on Wednesday—not to watch a baseball game, but to send a message about health care reform: The idea really works. Given all the news about Obamacare lately, it’s a message the country very much needs to hear. The template for the Affordable Care Act is the reforms that Massachusetts officials enacted in 2006.

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That was fast: Polls now show the Democrats doing just the same as before the shutdown

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October 30, 2013

Gallup released a poll Tuesday showing that 60 percent of Americans favor capital punishment—the lowest rate in nearly 40 years. This comes about a month after the FBI released its 2012 national crime statistics, the latest data point in a long-term reduction in violent crime since the early 1990s. As the two graphs below show, these two figures have similar trajectories.

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While researching my rankings of the most racist Native American–themed sports teams, I noticed a curious thing about my choice for the absolute worst, Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians: “Interestingly, mascot Chief Wahoo is not too prominently displayed on the team’s official website,” I wrote, before noting that the red-faced, big nosed, smiling caricature—

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Close your eyes and picture a libertarian. Maybe Rand Paul’s grinning visage and satyr-like curls swim before your lids. Maybe you see that guy from college who hijacked a seminar on Madame Bovary by pontificating about laissez-faire economics. Either way, you are definitely picturing a white dude. 

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