Primary Concern

If last week's sagging poll numbers on Iraq marked the return of the war as a political issue, then Democrats found themselves playing the role of Wal-Mart greeters, gamely ushering it through the door. This month, several House Democrats have initiated resolutions calling on the White House to develop an exit strategy for Iraq. Elsewhere in the Capitol--or, more precisely, in the basement below it--Michigan Representative John Conyers recently staged a mock hearing on the war.

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College Try

"That's him over there." It's just after noon on the day before delegates to the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) are scheduled to elect a new chairman, and campaign workers for Michael Davidson have finally spotted his opponent, the current CRNC treasurer Paul Gourley. The College Republicans have taken over a floor of the Crystal Gateway Marriot in Arlington, Virginia, clogging hallways and conference rooms with professional-quality campaign paraphernalia and well-coiffed twentysomethings in business attire.

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Last Tuesday, The Truth About Hillary, a lurid new tale of Clintonian conniving, appeared, and not since Monica has the right frothed so indignantly about Hillary. Strangely, they're frothing in her favor. Writing in The New York Post, John Podhoretz called Ed Klein's biography "one of the most sordid volumes [he's] ever waded through." The New York Sun editorialized that the book oozed "off-putting smarminess" and that it "debases politics and government and turns the talk to genitalia." Gone, too, were the softball questions conservative publications usually lob at such attack dogs.

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In a recent report, Amnesty International referred to the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo as "the gulag of our time." The term--a Russian abbreviation for Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei, or Main Camp Administration--refers to the network of Soviet labor camps established during Stalin's rule that continued, in a different form, for much of the Soviet Union's history. During a press conference on Tuesday, President Bush rejected the charge as "absurd." Amnesty has defended its use of the term.

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Mary Magdalene

The door closes behind me. A short hallway I don't resist, as I did not decline your invitation an hour ago. It came quite unexpectedly amid the smoke, the worn-out armchairs, the endless litanies of gain and loss. It came with welcome urgency and added to my confusion, which accompanies me, step by step, as if it were hard to trust its outstretched arms, the region of light, the swaying of a silver fir in the arctic. As if thousands of years must pass before here, in this very room, simple but far from slight, it would be possible to believe in you again.

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War Stories

It's May 8, the sixtieth anniversary of V-E Day, and I'm standing in Berlin amid 1,000 neo-Nazis, gathered behind a small army of riot police to protest the end of World War II. Of course, any overt expression of Nazism is banned over here (the most common neo-Nazi accoutrement today is medical tape covering various tattoos and t-shirt slogans), and the sponsor of the rally--the extremist Nationalistische Partei Deutschlands (NPD)--disavows any direct connection to the Third Reich. But practically everyone sports a shaved head, and even those who don't, such as a group of buttoned-down, middle

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God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It By Jim Wallis (HarperSanFrancisco, 384 pp., $24.95) Taking Faith Seriously Edited by Mary Jo Bane, Brent Coffin, and Richard Higgins (Harvard University Press, 381 pp., $29.95) The phenomenon of martyrdom demonstrates that political success and personal salvation do not generally go together. The faithful find grace not in building winning coalitions, but in worshipping God's glory. Gazing toward heaven means stumbling on earth, a small price to pay for the rewards that await. For a deeply religious society, the Unit

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DOUBT (Walter Kerr Theatre) ROMANCE (Atlantic Theater Company) THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT (LAByrinth Theater) THE PILLOWMAN (Booth Theater) THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING) (DR2 Theatre) THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA (Vivian Beaumont Theater) Contrary to received opinion, the American theater is currently hosting as many good playwrights, and as many strong plays, as ever before. Although virtually none of these dramas originates on Broadway, a handful eventually enter the mainstream through the channels of resident, Off-Broadway, and London theaters. What follows is a brief roundup of six new work

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Correspondence

ACCOUNT ABILITY Professor N. Gregory Mankiw says that extra government borrowing required by personal accounts "is offset by a reduction in the government's liability to pay future Social Security benefits" ("Personal Dispute," March 21). This may be true in a balance-sheet sense, but it is not the end of the story. The government's liability on Treasury bonds differs from its liability on Social Security. If you increase the government's liability on Treasury bonds and reduce its liability to pay future Social Security benefits, you are doing three things.

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Prayer Center

It's 8 a.m.

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