Seeing and Believing
October 30, 2009
Are representations of the Prophet Muhammad permitted in Islam? To make or not to make images of the Prophet: that is the question I will try to answer. It is an unexpectedly burning question, as the newspapers regularly demonstrate. But both the answer to the question and the reasons for raising it require a broader introduction. There have been many times in recent years when one bemoaned the explosion of media that have provided public forums for so much incompetence and ignorance, not to speak of prejudice. Matters became worse after September 11, for two additional reasons.
The Hard Sell
October 22, 2009
President Obama faces an enormous political challenge in figuring out how to respond to General Stanley McChrystal's request for more soldiers in Afghanistan. One the one hand, resisting troop requests from the military during a time of war is difficult for any chief executive--particularly for Democratic presidents.
October 13, 2009
Are economists upset that a political scientist won the Nobel? Bloomberg tries to build a case that inflation expectations are rising. People are still worried about interest rate spreads. A potential benefit of congestion pricing: healthier babies. WaPo on possible cuts to pensions after big losses at funds. How far should the dollar drop?
The Nobel in Economics--Another Political Message?
October 12, 2009
It seems more or less beyond dispute that the Nobel committee was trying to send a political message by giving Barack Obama the Peace Prize. Now it looks like the Nobel brass has decided to send a similar, if slightly more subtle, message in awarding the economics prize to Elinor Ostrom of Indiana and Oliver Williamson of Berkeley.
An Afghanistan Poll That Should Worry Obama
October 06, 2009
I'm not familiar with Clarus Research Group, but they did poll 1,000 people and 68 percent of them said they think Afghanistan is "a conflict that will go on and on without a clear resolution." If you believe the research of political scientist and former Bush White House advisor Peter Feaver, the most important variable in determining whether the public will support an ongoing war is not how it is perceived to be going today, but whether people think victory is possible. That may help explain why just 38 percent of respondents want to increase troop levels.
September 10, 2008
Why political oratory sounds so weird.
April 10, 2006
What does Jerry Falwell have in common with Paul Wolfowitz and Howard Dean? What links columnist George Will with The New Republic? All, according to a recently issued "working paper," a shortened version of which appeared in the London Review of Books, are agents of an amorphous but incalculably powerful "Israel Lobby." That same inscrutable organization, the paper alleges, has dictated the decisions of politicians from George W. Bush to Jimmy Carter and determined the content of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The goal of the lobby?