December 29, 2008
It's probably best not to think too deeply about the meaning of where politicians vacation (just like it's best not to think too deeply about what it means when they don't wear socks), but Ben Smith makes some smart points about Obama's Hawaii sojourn: Aside from the devotion to exercise, Obama's seems like a pretty ordinary vacation. Random trips to water parks, old friends, and relatives; no apparent celebrities. Bill Clinton, notoriously, polled his vacation spots.
December 28, 2008
The Short War
The comparisons are as banal as they are unavoidable. Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, began his term with a boom--a war in Lebanon in 2006--and is now leaving with a bang--the 2008 war in Gaza. Today, however, Olmert is more experienced, more somber, less cocky. He now plays the role of the responsible adult. The goals he set for the war are limited: “The operation is meant to improve the security reality of southern residents in a thorough manner,” he said yesterday. Not even “security”--just the very modest “improve” in the security.
A Crisis And An Opportunity
CNN International’s coverage of yesterday’s fighting in Gaza concluded at midnight with a rush of images: mangled civilians writhing in the rubble, primitive hospitals overflowing with the wounded, fireballs mushrooming between apartment complexes, the funeral of a Palestinian child.
December 27, 2008
The New New Deal Goes Global
Comparisons between President-elect Barack Obama and President Franklin D. Roosevelt abound. Time put Obama on its cover wielding Roosevelt’s trademark hat, pince-nez, and cigarette holder. “A lot of people around Barack are reading books about FDR’s first hundred days,” said one Obama adviser. Most of the attention has focused on Roosevelt’s domestic policy, and the possibility of a New New Deal. But Roosevelt’s foreign policy--and his focus on global architecture--offers equally important lessons for Obama.
Before California's Proposition 8 passed, banning gay marriage in the state, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Just debated the California Supreme Court's decision to protect gay marriage.
December 26, 2008
In 1996, Michael McGough looked at the debate over holiday displays and the comically absurd "reindeer rule" that regulates where menorahs and nativity scenes can be displayed across the country. It's a controversy that ultimately homed in on a specific menorah in Pittsburgh: From this chronicle it is obvious that the combatants in Pittsburgh's menorah wars have been faithful to the spirit if not the letter of recent Supreme Court pronouncements in this area. That spirit is one of dissembling about what is really at stake in the debate over religious displays at government buildings.
December 25, 2008
The Jesus of Christmas
WASHINGTON--Each era depicts Jesus in its own characteristic way, and the late historian Jaroslav Pelikan wove a brilliant book around this theme. He traced images of Jesus from the earliest days of Christianity as "the rabbi" and "the king of kings" to more modern portrayals as "the teacher of common sense," "the poet of the spirit" and "the liberator." The Jesus of Christmas, Pelikan tells us in "Jesus Through the Centuries," owes a particular debt to St.
Bush And The Shoe Thrower
Mark Bowden of the Atlantic Monthly has published a piece in the December 24 issue of the Wall Street Journal recommending an action that has probably occurred to no one in George Bush's White House, perhaps least of all Bush. It is that the president publicly forgive the Iraqi "journalist"--why not call him what he claims to be?--and, by that gesture, give an indication to the Baghdad government that it should lay off.
A Tnr Holiday: Nativity Scene
In this piece from 1997, Tom Dunkel takes a look at the holidays through the eyes of Rita Warren, nativity scene creator extraordinaire and the center of several church-and-state controversies: It's Christmastime in Washington. Congress has adjourned, lunch reservations can easily be had even at the places Larry King frequents, the national Christmas tree glimmers across the street from the White House. And Rita Warren, the ever-affable cr
December 24, 2008
Summers of Our Content
It's been a month since Democrats swept the elections, right about the normal time for internecine warfare to break out. Last time the party won power, moderate deficit hawks and liberal neo-Keynesians immediately set out to wage a War for the Soul of the Clinton Presidency. Things got pretty vicious.