May 03, 2004
ON MAY 17, by order of the state supreme court, the first same-sex couples in the United States will be legally married in Massachusetts. For many supporters of gay marriage, this is not only a cause for celebration; it is a manifesto for future litigation. Many people understandably see gay marriage as the great civil rights issue of this generation, and they are determined to extend it across the United States by any means necessary.
VEERASINGHAM ANANDASANGAREE’S campaign headquarters is a bunker. Heavily armed soldiers and coils of concertina wire surround the one-story compound on a side street in Jaffna, the largest town on the peninsula of the same name in northern Sri Lanka. The unused metal detector and bullet-riddled, sheet-iron doors give visitors pause. But Sangaree, as Anandasangaree is known, at 71 years old and a member of Sri Lanka’s parliament since 1971, remains determined. A Tamil politician of the old school, he has bulldog jowls, a dapper moustache, and a smoldering fire in the belly.
LAST MAY, CONGRESS brushed up on its physics and debated whether to proceed with research on the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), a nuclear bomb intended to penetrate the earth before detonating, thus enhancing the military's ability to destroy buried bunkers. The administration was pushing hard for the weapon, which it claimed could destroy rogue-state weapons of mass destruction hidden underground, and it enjoyed strong support from congressional Republicans.
LAST WEEK, U.N. Special Envoy to Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi stood before TV cameras, journalists, and diplomats in Baghdad's convention center and outlined his plan for the country's interim government, which will be vital to ensuring progress toward democracy. "There is no substitute for the legitimacy that comes from free and fair elections," Brahimi said. "Iraq will have a genuinely representative government." But there are different kinds of "representative government," some that merely represent the majority and others that protect the rights of minorities as well.
TRB From Washington: Enemy Within
REPUBLICANS SAY THEY ARE dismayed by the partisanship of the 9/11 Commission and, if you define partisanship as criticism of the Bush administration--the working definition on much of the right--they are exactly right. But, if you define partisanship the way it's traditionally understood--as placing party interests above national ones--then the 9/11 Commission hasn't been very partisan at all. And that's what really irks the GOP: They're dismayed that the 9/11 Commission isn't partisan enough.
March 29, 2004
On the morning of February 10, the Bush administration released payroll records from President Bush's National Guard stint 30 years before. The records were far from conclusive, and they fell short of Bush's earlier promise to release all documents pertaining to his service. Having been starved of information on the subject--and then teased with the promise of a full meal, only to be tossed a few scraps--the White House press corps was ravenous and baying for more. It was not, in other words, a good day to be White House press secretary.
March 22, 2004
WE ARE TOLD we live in the New Economy, an economy of computers and fiber-optic cables, capital without borders, and competition on a global scale. This is mature market capitalism, and its promise for human advancement—when combined with democracy and individual freedom—is rightly touted at every turn. But, if our economy is a creature of the twenty-first century, our thinking about government’s role in the economy is mired in the nineteenth. Two essentially opposite viewpoints dominate today’s debate.
The Notebook: Stewart Little
LAST FRIDAY, a jury convicted Martha Stewart of lying about a 2001 stock sale in which her broker gave her insider information on pharmaceutical maker ImClone.
WHEN FIVE SHIA members of the Iraqi Governing Council dramatically (if temporarily) refused to sign the provisional Iraqi constitution last week, a senior American official dutifully told The Washington Post they walkout was no big deal. After all, the objections raised by the five council members had nothing to do with the laboriously negotiated provisions for individual rights enshrined in the provisional constitution, technically known as the Transitional Administrative Law.
AT JANUARY’S SUMMIT of the Americas in Mexico, a gathering of nearly every nation in North and South America, President Bush took his push for democratization to the United States’ backyard. "At past summits, we resolved that democracy is the only legitimate form of government in this hemisphere and that the peoples of the Americas have an obligation to promote it and defend it, " Bush said.