After the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1706, which authorizes a robust peacekeeping force in Darfur, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton seemed confident that it would force the unwilling Sudanese government suddenly to allow U.N. peacekeepers into strife-ridden Sudan. "The Security Council has just adopted a resolution. We expect the government of Sudan to comply with it," Bolton announced. But someone as familiar with Darfur as Bolton is ought to be less sanguine. To the surprise of very few, Khartoum bluntly rejected the invitation to allow U.N. troops into the country.
In gracious response to my question about the desirability of a more populist Democratic Party, Brad DeLong writes, My natural home is in the bipartisan center.... Me too, Gogo. But, how long have we been homeless now? I forget. More seriously, this is an issue that affects directly the issue of institutions, group behavior, and polarization already evidently a major theme of Open University. DeLong explains, I am ... a reality-based center-left technocrat....
Since this blog is called "Open University," I might as well start my own contributions with a pop quiz. Question: Which American state has an official state song that praises the Confederacy, denounces Abraham Lincoln as a "despot" and "tyrant," and refers to the citizens of the Union as "northern scum"? Hint: it's not in the deep South. Yes, it's none other than my own home state of Maryland.
The Heritage Foundation has never been known as an intellectually adventurous place. For decades, its policy briefs and studies have closely tracked Republican talking points. So did the opinions of the think tank's senior foreign policy analyst, John Hulsman. In his op-eds and Fox News appearances, he cheerfully whacked the French, John Kerry, and other enemies of the cause. But all these years of fidelity to the conservative cause couldn't spare Hulsman from suffering the wrath of his comrades.
The Arab waiter in the hummus restaurant was explaining to me why Israel was the aggressor in Lebanon when the air-raid siren went off. We were in Wadi Nisnas, Haifa's Arab quarter near the city's port, where several Katyushas had fallen and whose old stone buildings aren't equipped with shelters. The waiter led the half-dozen Jewish and Arab patrons into the small kitchen. "The walls are thick," he explained. We were pressed so closely we almost touched. "Co-existence," said a Jewish woman wryly.
My wife and I were about to put our house on the market before Hurricane Katrina. I remind myself of this as we contemplate an act that has taken on the trappings of civic treachery--putting our house on the market now, a year after Katrina. It's true: We really were talking to realtors last summer. It was time to downsize, we said. Empty-nest syndrome, we said. That was our cover. Secretly, we were a bit freaked out about hurricanes even before Katrina. (At least I was.) Not so secretly, we were certain the national real estate bubble had reached its soapy and iridescent limit.
There are no drifting corpses this time, no families clinging to sun- baked roofs or huddling in the lightless squalor of the Superdome. But the year following Hurricane Katrina has been its own catastrophe--quieter, but in many ways more appalling than the storm's passage. If Katrina suggested a rot in American society--a decrepit federal government, a blunted sense of social solidarity, the entrenchment of poverty--the aftermath has confirmed it. We can no longer plead ignorance about broken, vulnerable New Orleans, yet we've done a shameful job of rescuing it.
The spring of 2006 brought hope that the West might finally do something to end genocide in Darfur. Activists and celebrities rallied on the National Mall, journalists called for a robust peacekeeping force, and top U.S. officials (including then-Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick) were on the ground in Abuja, Nigeria, to finalize the contentious peace agreement between the Sudanese government and rebel groups--a first step toward ending violence in the troubled region. A poll released in March showed that a majority of the country supported limited military intervention in Sudan.
With Hurricane Katrina still over the Gulf of Mexico, Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman, New Orleans's chief jailer, convened his ranking officers for an emergency meeting. Present in the sheriff's conference room that Saturday were most of his wardens, as well as the officer in charge of supplies and the head of the jail's kitchen, a huge feeding operation that prepared more than 18,000 meals per day. The sheriff went around the table, asking the officers if they were prepared for a storm.
Last April, when comedian Stephen Colbert appeared before the White House Correspondents' Association dinner and memorably lacerated the assembled reporters for having spent much of the last five years as lazy courtiers for the Bush administration, he exempted one person from his barbs: Helen Thomas, the 85-year-old columnist for Hearst Newspapers.