Private Equity Ain’t No Reform Movement
May 22, 2012

New York Times columnist David Brooks, defending Mitt Romney against a new Romney-bashing ad from President Obama’s re-election campaign, describes private equity as a “reform movement”: "Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations. The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs.

The Facebook Part of Your Brain
May 08, 2012

Why do I post my opinions online, day after day? Ostensibly it's to earn money to feed my family. But there are much easier ways to do that. According to a new study by Harvard psychologists Diana I. Tamir and Jason P. Mitchell published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (and written up in the May 8 Wall Street Journal), I suffer from a "species-specific motivation to share one's beliefs and knowledge about the world" that kicks in at about 9 months, which means I've been doing it almost 54 years.

Winning The Hour
January 06, 2012

When editing or mentoring overeager young journalists, my friend and former Slate colleague Jack Shafer, now media columnist for Reuters, loves to repeat something Warren Beatty once said to the bombastic screenwriter John Milius. (The source is an interview with the depressive screenwriter Paul Schrader in Film Comment; Shafer has been using Beatty's line since that issue hit the newsstands in March 1976.) Beatty, Milius, and Schrader were having a script meeting and Beatty was trying to convey to Milius what was wrong with his full-tilt, relentlessly unmodulated approach.

How War Reignited In Sudan While No One Was Looking
November 30, 2011

Violence has escalated in recent weeks in many places in both (north) Sudan and the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. This is especially true in Blue Nile and South Kordofan—border states that ended up in the North, but are home to large populations that fought with the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and identify with southerners—militarily, politically, and culturally. Many Sudan observers are being asked if renewed war can be avoided in this tortured country.

Saif Qaddafi’s Capture and the End of the Arab Spring
November 23, 2011

Forgive the corny metaphors. But it was not I who framed developments in the Arab world with the sequence of the seasons. Still, you need only glance at the papers to recognize that Arab Spring is now Arab Winter without really ever having passed through summer or fall. Spring is, as ever, a romantic memory.  As I write, Reuters reports from the Cairo morgue that 33 to 46 protestors were killed by the police since Saturday—and that nearly 1,300 were wounded and maimed.

Could This Be Sarah Palin’s Moment?
October 04, 2011

We’re at a very strange juncture in the 2012 presidential contest. Rick Perry continues to struggle, as Mitt Romney savagely exploits his offensive-to-conservatives position on immigration and the Texan deals with new, potentially damaging revelations of a racially insensitive name for a hunting camp rented by his family. But Romney’s not benefitting much in the polls, and he remains a persona non grata to many conservatives.

EXCLUSIVE: New Forensic Details About Weinergate Photo
June 01, 2011

As the Anthony Weiner Twitter whodunit trundles on into almost a full week, it remains unclear where the now-infamous photo came from. To help shed some light on this, I contacted Hany Farid, a renowned expert in forensic photographic image analysis.

I'm Getting Scared About The Debt Ceiling
May 19, 2011

I had been assuming that somehow we'd figure out a way to muddle through the debt ceiling without imposing much harm on the economy, in part because the markets haven't yet assigned any weight to the risk of default. But I'm starting to think about the problem differently. Here is how Alan Blinder puts it: [M]arkets now assign essentially zero probability to the U.S. losing its fiscal mind. They'd be caught flat-footed if the threat of default suddenly started to look real, possibly triggering a world-wide financial panic. Remember how markets reacted to the Lehman Brothers surprise? As Mr.

Just Like Bush
April 01, 2011

Well, that was quick! It usually takes some time for the gap between how a White House justifies a military adventure to the public, and the reality of what is really going on to be revealed. It took the fall of Saddam Hussein for the Bush administration’s pretext for war—the threat of weapons of mass destruction—to be shown up as a fabrication. But from President Obama’s televised address on the evening of March 29, in which he claimed that the intervention in Libya was not about regime change, to the Reuters story revealing that he had signed an order allowing covert U.S.

Celebrating Christmas, Jihad Style In Nigeria; 53 Dead At Food Center In Pakistan
December 26, 2010

Aubuike Ihejririka, Nigeria’s army chief of staff, explained the terror that killed at least 40 people in northeast Nigeria on Christmas eve and Christmas day.