Shortly before George W. Bush's second inauguration, The Washington Post sent one of its best reporters into the heart of America to explore the "Red Sea"--that uncharted territory populated with those great unknowns who had recently voted to reelect the president. "[W]e were tired of hearing pundits tell us about 'Red America' and wanted a firsthand look," the paper's explorer declared. Here is what he discovered: "I found ordinary people with various motivations, sundry stories, personal beliefs, custom-made decisions.
Late last summer, Sam Bell set out to acquire an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It was an unusual shopping expedition for a private citizen, much less a 22-year-old only a few months removed from his political science and philosophy studies at Swarthmore College. But, ever since graduation, and even while in school, Bell had been working to do what the U.S. government and the United Nations had so far failed to: stop the genocide in Darfur.
The French love political dramas, but lately the plots have all looked suspiciously similar. The basic trajectory goes something like this: France is contentedly savoring its role as the birthplace of continental democracy and high culture. The country even modernizes, just a little, to keep pace with the new global economy and to compete with its ambitious EU partners. Unemployment and a burgeoning Muslim population complicate things, but the reliable social welfare system is there to reassure. But then, the inciting incident: A renegade politician or party attempts to reform France.
FORGIVE MY TARDINESS, BUT last month The New York Times published an article that compared liberals unfavorably to fundamentalist mobs. The piece appeared on the paper’s fun op-ed page, on the occasion of the “cartoon riots” that were provoked by the publication in a conservative Danish newspaper of scornful images of the Prophet—no, that’s not accurate. The riots were provoked by Muslim politicians and diplomats for whom the Western blasphemy was an Allah-sent opportunity to divert the attention of various Muslim societies from what ails them.
THE GEORGICS OF VIRGIL Translated by David Ferry(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 202 pp., $30) VIRGIL’S GEORGICS Translated by Janet Lembke(Yale University Press, 114 pp., $25) IN VIRGIL’S AENEID, THE EPIC story of the founding of Rome, the Trojan foreigner Aeneas carries into battle a shield elaborately wrought by the divine craftsman Vulcan, a stand-in for the poet. On it the god has prophetically sculpted scenes of future Roman history.
She took a sip of red wine, then set the glass down on the bedside table. Unceremoniously, she pulled her top over her head and dropped her skirt. She was wearing nothing beneath. Still in her high heels, she walked toward him....
THE AUTHOR SERVED for four and a half years as the head of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. As a thought experiment, he placed himself inside the mind of a Palestinian spymaster to provide a cold assessment of the challenges faced by the new Hamas-led government. The following is a memo to Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian prime minister. Mr. Prime Minister: Your rise to power has been meteoric and unprecedented.
Hillary Clinton, congratulations. You’re the lucky recipient of a winning political issue, which has the added virtue of being morally important. Send your thanks to Columbia University and the U.S. Supreme Court. This week, the Court unanimously upheld the Solomon Amendment, which denies government funding to universities that prohibit military recruiting on campus.
THERE’S NOTHING MORE fun in politics than good, old-fashioned hate. How would LBJ screw Bobby next? To what depths would Ken Starr sink in his crazed pursuit of Bill Clinton? Sadly, however, the days of pure, unabashed malice have faded. Hillary Clinton now clamors to sponsor legislation with the people who voted to impeach her husband. Dishonest civility has replaced honest hatred as the ruling ethos in the capital. People who despise each other pretend to get along just fine.