Politics

March 06, 2006

Blind Faith
12:00 AM

Last year, when news broke about Merck's successful trials of Gardasil, a vaccine intended to prevent cervical cancer, pundits braced for an all-out culture war. The vaccine blocks the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer--which in turn kills several thousand Americans (and hundreds of thousands worldwide) every year. Merck's vaccine had been shown to be completely effective against most strains that cause cervical cancer, with few side effects. But the Christian right seemed to view the vaccine as a license for promiscuity.

March 05, 2006

Centripetal Force

For a return visitor, Baghdad International Airport offers a fitting portal into the new Iraq. Unlike the military side of the airport, where U.S. transport planes and helicopters operate in an industrious roar, the civilian side, which USAID renovated in 2003, now languishes in disrepair. Iraqi Airways flights, on which it was possible to light up a cigarette until recently, still come and go. But, in the terminal itself, the rest room floors are smeared with excrement, wires hang from the ceiling, and pay phones have been ripped from the walls. An emblem of war and poverty? Not really.

February 20, 2006

NOAA's Flood
12:00 AM

John B. Judis on the politicization of climate science after the 2005 hurricane season

NOAA's Flood
12:00 AM

On November 29, top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Weather Service, held a press conference in Washington, D.C., to sum up this year’s disastrous hurricane season. The first question from a reporter was one the press had been asking since Hurricane Katrina reached land three months before: “I was wondering if one of you can talk about what extent, if any, global warming may have played in the storms this year?” NOAA’s chief hurricane forecast scientist, Gerry Bell, stepped forward to answer.

Danegerous Liaision
12:00 AM

I’ve had close calls working in the Middle East (rocket attacks, roadside bombs, food poisoning), but nothing beyond the usual occupational hazards of an American journalist—until Sunday, when I was mistaken for a Dane.   I HAD RECENTLY RETURNED TO BEIRUT from an assignment in northern Iraq and was thinking of spending the morning in my pajamas, when my friend Katherine, a reporter for a U.S. newspaper, calls. There’s an angry demonstration forming a few blocks from your apartment, she says. They’re heading for the Danish Embassy to protest the cartoon defamation of the Prophet.

Welcome to Hillaryland
12:00 AM

LAST SUMMER, AS other potential 2008 presidential candidates were making their first sojourns to Iowa, Hillary Clinton did something a little different. She brought Iowa to Washington. In June, the senator, who is up for reelection this year but who has yet to draw a Republican challenger worth fretting about, entertained several key caucus-state activists and donors at her five-bedroom brick home on Embassy Row. Known to Hillary aides simply as Whitehaven, the 4,700-square-foot mansion is the site of the senator’s regular Washington fund-raisers and strategy sessions.

Camp Fire
12:00 AM

ON JANUARY 29, the Sunday Times reported that British investigators had learned few details about the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks in London that left 56 people, including four suicide bombers, dead. Although the identities of the perpetrators were quickly uncovered last summer, a government document dated October 2005 and leaked to the newspaper last month said that MI5, Great Britain’s domestic intelligence service, knew virtually nothing about “how, when and with whom the attack planning originated....

NOAA'S Flood
12:00 AM

On November 29, top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Weather Service, held a press conference in Washington, D.C., to sum up this year’s disastrous hurricane season. The first question from a reporter was one the press had been asking since Hurricane Katrina reached land three months before: “I was wondering if one of you can talk about what extent, if any, global warming may have played in the storms this year?” NOAA’s chief hurricane forecast scientist, Gerry Bell, stepped forward to answer.

Standard and Poor
12:00 AM

One of the most familiar rituals in George W. Bush’s Washington is the fantasizing that accompanies the president’s annual budget. The ritual goes something like this: Bush announces plans to cut a variety of domestic spending programs. Conservatives cheer the spirit of the cuts—even as they worry that they could be tough to implement or that they aren’t ambitious enough. Then, during the budget process, most of these cuts are restored—except those that affect the poor. And those cuts are too small to have any practical effect on the deficit.

Religious Experience
12:00 AM

The riots currently engulfing the Islamic world, prompted by a Danish newspaper’s decision to caricature the Prophet Mohammed, require two responses. The first is easy: horror. In the physical assault on Denmark’s embassies and citizens, and in the diplomatic assault on Denmark’s government—all because a free government won’t muzzle a free press—multiculturalism has become totalitarianism. Religious sensitivity, say the zealots marching from Beirut to Jakarta, matters more than liberty. Indeed, it matters more than life itself.

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