October 06, 2009
Return to Afghanistan with a group of journalists, escorted by the French defense minister, Hervé Morin. A limited view: We only see valleys in Surobi and Kapisa. But an invaluable glimpse, nevertheless, because it counters what is heard almost everywhere. First chapter, Tora, a small fort sitting on stones, some distance from Kabul. Welcome by Colonel Benoît Durieux, leader of the regiment and an intellectual, author of the excellent Rereading Clausewitz's On War.
Why Climate Change Isn't Like Health Care
October 01, 2009
In case you missed it on the homepage today (or on that sidebar to the right), Bill McKibben has a piece in our current print magazine on why global warming, as a policy issue, is going to be fundamentally different from health care. Physics and chemistry, he argues, don't tend to be terribly flexible negotiating partners: In Washington, and in Copenhagen, political realism dictates reaching some kind of deal.
October 01, 2009
Jewish history in the 20th century is full of might-have-beens, most of them too sorrowful to bear thinking about. The brief cultural moment that Kenneth B. Moss resurrects in Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press) is one of the least known and most fascinating of those aborted futures: a two-year period when writers, artists, and activists in Russia and Ukraine believed they were midwiving the birth of a new Jewish culture.
The Usefulness of Cranks
September 30, 2009
Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery By Steve Nicholls (University of Chicago Press, 524 pp., $30) American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau Edited by Bill McKibben (Library of America, 1,047 pp., $40) Defending The Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, And The Legacy Of Madison Grant By Jonathan Peter Spiro (University of Vermont Press, 462 pp., $39.95) A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir By Donald Worster (Oxford University Press, 535 pp., $34.99) A Reenchanted World: The Quest for A New Kinship With Nature By James William Gibson (Metropolitan Books,
Holy See to World: I Know You Are But What Am I?
September 29, 2009
From The Guardian: The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.... The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse. Only?
The End of the Beginning
September 28, 2009
With apologies to Winston Churchill, President Obama may not have presided over the beginning of the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last week in New York, but he seems finally to have marked the end of an embarrassing beginning to his Middle East diplomacy. The president and his senior advisors came to office nine months ago eager to say and do what George W. Bush didn’t.
Tucker Max Isn't Just A Jerk. He's Pitiable.
September 27, 2009
Few movies released in recent years--or, let's be honest, ever--look as abysmal as I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, a beer-and-boobs-saturated bro flick that came out Friday. Based on the book of the same name, the movie is a vehicle for popular blogger Tucker Max, whose claim to fame, put bluntly, is thinking that he's totally awesome because he parties and sleeps with women (allegedly). Lots of women (allegedly). And then, he writes about it. His blog, Tuckermax.com, begins with the salutation, "My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole." Charming.
A Just Withdrawal
September 25, 2009
The headlines of the last few months make it clear that there are going to be no free passes for America when it comes to getting its troops out of Iraq. The recent bombing of a Shiite mosque in Baghdad, like the internal warfare in Sunni-dominated Anbar Provice, shows how many Iraqi security problems persist. But as President Obama continues the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, he should do more than pay attention to conditions on the ground.
Love and Capitalism
September 25, 2009
Caritas in Veritate: On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth By Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius Press, 157 pp., $14.95) I. Are we facing an economic crisis? I do not mean the crisis of the credit markets that has wiped trillions off the global balance sheet and plunged the world into recession. I mean a spiritual crisis, of which the crash is but a symptom. According to Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, we are in the midst of a “late capitalist . . .
CORRESPONDENCE: Defending 'The Evolution of God'
September 24, 2009
Robert Wright responds: The title of my book refers not to biological evolution but to the evolution of the human conception of God. So it's odd that The New Republic chose a biologist, Jerry A. Coyne, to review the book ("Creationism for Liberals," August 12). But it turns out that Coyne's misplaced expertise wasn't the main problem. Of his many serious misrepresentations of my book, most seem rooted in a simple failure to read it--or read it attentively, at least. Here is a small sample of Coyne's errors.