June 19, 2006

How Governments Nurture Soccer
12:00 AM

Determining the political and economic conditions that yield soccer glory.

June 05, 2006

Thank You For Sharing
12:00 AM

Now celebrating her twentieth year as the host of the world's most influential talk show, Oprah Winfrey is to television what Bach is to music, Giotto to painting, Joyce to literature. Time magazine hit the nail on the head when it recently voted her one of the world's handful of "leaders and revolutionaries." (Condoleezza Rice wrote Oprah's citation: "She has struggled with many of the challenges that we all face, and she has transformed her life. Her message is empowering: I did it, and so can you.") Like all seminal creative figures, her essential gift lies in her synthesizing power.

June 02, 2006

Triangle Offense
12:00 AM

On a recent edition of "Inside the NBA," TNT's long-running studio show, Charles Barkley badly mangled a word's pronunciation. Barkley is one of the show's co-hosts, and is very comfortable on television to boot, so he continued speaking without much of a pause. Ernie Johnson, the show's moderator, patiently waited for him to finish his point, then immediately began chiding him for the mistake.

May 31, 2006

Blame The Court
12:00 AM

If there's one thing that can unite members of Congress across party lines, it's their privileges. Responding to the FBI's recent raid of Democrat William Jefferson's congressional offices, Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement condemning this "violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the speech or debate clause of the Constitution, and the practice of the last 219 years." They demanded the immediate return of all materials seized and a commitment to keep their contents secret.

May 29, 2006

Base Running
12:00 AM

Rick Santorum has enough trouble in his reelection race. The incumbent GOP senator has trailed his opponent, Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey, by double digits almost since Casey declared his candidacy. Santorum's campaign has been mired in questions about why Pennsylvanians pay to homeschool his six children in Virginia and about his involvement with the now-infamous K Street Project. Even Republicans have privately started to refer to Santorum's campaign as a lost cause and are lobbying party leaders to shift money to more promising contests.

Net Neuter
12:00 AM

Love affairs between the press corps and flacks are highly unusual, but they do happen. And, for years, Mike McCurry has been deeply involved in one. In January 1995, when Bill Clinton appointed the former State Department spokesman to press secretary, one of the White House's most high-profile (and high-pressure) positions, The Washington Post celebrated the arrival of "a jolly fellow" who had won "high marks from…the media." The New York Times looked forward to the "equanimity and wit" that McCurry would bring to the White House briefing room.

May 22, 2006

12:00 AM

Was Stephen Colbert funny? No, he was not being funny. He was being ironic, satirical, brutal. Don't you get it? These issues are just too painful for humor. Since Colbert's 20-minute routine at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner two weeks ago, the question has been asked and answered thus in the blogosphere, that underground realm of steaming resentment not exactly famous for the refinement of its irony, where the president is the "chimp," Laura is "his bitch wife," and the press is "the MSM." It is time—it is always time—for some literary criticism.

Boston Marathon
12:00 AM

Dominating the eastern entrance to Boston's Roxbury Community College, and wedged between the college's red brick administration office and sports complex, is a nearly completed $22 million Islamic cultural center and mosque. In 2003 the city of Boston, through its development arm, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), agreed to transfer the ownership of this 1.9 acre parcel of city land to the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB).

May 15, 2006

The politics of "24."
12:00 AM

It's 11:20 p.m., and agent Jack Bauer has had a very long day. In the morning, he worked to rescue the secretary of defense and his daughter (who also happens to be Bauer's girlfriend) from a terrorist kidnapping and Web- telecast execution. The afternoon was mostly spent unraveling a plot to melt down all of the nation's 104 nuclear reactors simultaneously.

The Trial
12:00 AM

Khartoum, Sudan--I am a human rights advocate in a country where human rights are in short supply. Several years ago, though I am also an engineer, I co-founded a volunteer group called the Sudan Social Development Organization, which monitors atrocities by my government, including those committed in Darfur. Naturally, this line of work lands me in trouble with some regularity. Actually, "trouble" is a euphemism. Not long ago, I was detained without access to legal counsel. Thanks to international pressure, I was released without having to stand trial.