Syria is disintegrating. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood government has been overthrown, and its leaders are behind bars. Iran has a new president. The debate between Islamists and secularists in Tunisia is heating up. The United States is preparing to pull out of Afghanistan. With all of this going simultaneously, I thought I would call up Olivier Roy, an expert on political Islam who teaches at the European University Institute in Italy.
As the first of what will be semi-regular chats with former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, I called him up on Monday to hear his opinions on Syria, Obama’s second-term agenda, and Larry Summers vs. Janet Yellen at the Fed. Isaac Chotiner: Do you think that Obama’s going to get this vote on Syria through Congress? Barney Frank: Oh, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a possible way. There are people who would have a much better idea of that than I would. IC: Do you talk to any old friends in the House about what they’re thinking? BF: I’ve talked to exactly three members.
Businessweek senior writer Brad Stone has written a book about Amazon—titled The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon—that will be released by Little, Brown in October. Stone spent several years reporting the book; he interviewed Bezos, members of his family, and hundreds of former and current Amazon employees. But the first he heard of Bezos’s decision to buy The Washington Post, he told me, was an instant message yesterday afternoon from his editor at Businessweek.