A few days ago, the brother of my friend Osman was one of seven Sunni workers in a shop in a mixed neighborhood of western Baghdad who were rounded up at gunpoint by Mahdi Army militiamen and taken to the local Shia mosque. There, they were taunted about Saddam Hussein's death sentence and then, one by one, shot in the head. Osman's brother was only grazed and survived. But, when the bodies were loaded into a pickup truck and brought to a nearby Iraqi Army checkpoint, a soldier in uniform noticed that he was still alive.
Civil marriage is not permitted in Israel. Historically--that is, when the state was founded in 1947-1948--this was less a concession to the rabbis than to the Muslims and especially to the Christians of Palestine, who were fiercely represented by the Catholic countries in the U.N. General Assembly. The representatives of these governments extracted many concessions from the Zionists in exchange for support of the Partition Plan. Among these was that matters of personal status were to be left to the official religious communions.
"Time is running out, and we need to move forward on this," Senator Barbara Boxer declared in a conference call with reporters last week, referring to global warming. The California Democrat will take over as chair of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee in January, and she has already vowed to make climate change a top priority, reversing a decade of inaction by congressional Republicans.
by David A. Bell It's a pity that John Mueller's book Overblown isn't getting more attention. Its provocative--and certainly debatable--thesis is very simple: The threat to the United States from Islamic terrorism has been exaggerated, and may be close to non-existent. There is little evidence that Islamic terrorists have the capacity (as opposed to the desire) to carry out further attacks on the scale of 9/11 on U.S. soil, let alone anything more destructive. Anxieties about chemical, biological, and radiological weapons are particularly unjustified.
Norwalk, Connecticut There's no greater softball question in all of politics than the one reporters lob at candidates right before they go into their local polling places to vote for themselves: How do you feel? All politicians, even the ones destined for certain defeat, invariably respond with something upbeat, like Great! or Confident! But, on Tuesday morning, as the embattled Connecticut Representative Chris Shays headed into an elementary school in his Bridgeport neighborhood to pull the lever for himself, he couldn't muster anything quite that optimistic.
by Sanford Levinson I have on several occasions railed against what I regard as basic defects in our constitutional order. Here I want to focus on a decidely "non-constitutional" defect that is every bit as serious, which is the present Succession in Office Act establishing who would succeed to the presidency in case there is no vice president.
For a few days, there was hope. To be completely truthful, I had no hope about the tired old problem of Darfur. But Kofi Annan had announced that the United Nations "had reached any agreement with Sudanese envoys for a mixed force of about 20,000 peacekeepers" to enter Sudan. But on Saturday, Jan Egeland, undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, that the situation was about to become "infinitely worse ... The government and its militias are conducting inexplicable terror against civilians ...
The concept of "countervailing power" was introduced by John Kenneth Galbraith in his book American Capitalism (1952) as a picture of how democratic capitalism and capitalist democracy work. Big industry is balanced by big labor. Big commerce is balanced by the developing consciousness and organization of consumers. As big pharma evokes counter-pressure by insurance companies. This is not a perfect model, and politics often tilt the equilibrium from one side to another. Republicans tend to move the balance to business.
On Monday, Nancy Pelosi made an announcement that was buried amid the tumult over the Steny Hoyer-Jack Murtha battle for House majority leader. It was the appointment of Representative Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, to be the head of Pelosi's "transition team" as she assumes the job of House speaker.