Salvador

What Crisis?

I hate to interrupt a good brawl. But, while politicians and Supreme Court justices debate how, and at what level of government, to halt the national crisis of illegal immigration, it might be worth considering whether the crisis has, um, passed. The Pew Hispanic Center recently issued a report stating, “[T]he net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed.” The report got some pickup in the press but not nearly as much as you might think.

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I adore Crazy Horse, Frederick Wiseman’s documentary about the Crazy Horse Saloon, the Parisian nude revue putting on a show called, appropriately, “Desirs.” Like many of Wiseman’s earlier films, this one uses shadows to illuminate its subject—in this instance, the intense anguish and the fantastical, melancholy, delicious illusions underlying carnal love.

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This story is one of a series aiming to answer a simple question: Why are undocumented immigrants that the administration says it intends to help stay in this country still facing deportation? For earlier stories on this topic, see “One Family In Limbo: What Obama’s Immigration Policy Looks Like In Practice” and “Are Bureaucrats Blowing Off Obama's New Immigration Policy?” In El Salvador, in the spring of 2004, Fernando Quinteros-Mendoza was dating a woman who lived in a rough neighborhood riddled with gang violence.

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Are Afghan negotiations hopeless? In the wake of last month’s assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the country’s High Peace Council, the mood in both Afghanistan and the United States is pessimistic, to say the least. But negotiations are still possible, and understanding why that’s the case, as well as the difficulties of succeeding, requires understanding the history of similar negotiations, quieting Afghan suspicions, and abandoning myths that cloud public discussion. Saying negotiations are possible is a long way from saying that they will necessarily succeed.

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The United States may have missed its chance to play Spain in the World Cup final Sunday (and the Netherlands in the semifinal, and Uruguay in the quarterfinal), but similar battles take place every day on American turf, where the world meets for pick-up soccer games. There’s weekdays outside an MIT building in Cambridge, weekend mornings behind the White House, and barefoot on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. There are, in fact, times when the U.S.

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After The Fall

On Saturday night, April 24, 2010, five days before John Edwards’s mistress Rielle Hunter sat down with Oprah to talk about the by-then-infamous sex tape and other embarrassments that had destroyed his political career, the former presidential candidate showed up at the West End Wine Bar in downtown Durham, North Carolina. It was around ten o’clock, and Edwards wanted a glass of wine after finishing dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant. When he got to the door, Edwards was disappointed to learn the bar was closed for a private event.

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These did not reach the intensity of the 100 hours war in 1969 between Honduras and El Salvador which was also over fought over World Cup soccer matches. After all, in that war, according to John Signoriello, 900 El Salvadoran troops and civilians met their maker and 100 Honduran combat troops plus 2,000 (!) just ordinaries met theirs. TNR's editor, Frank Foer, narrates many other such violent episodes in his book, How Soccer Explains the World, which is itself amazing. But the Arab soccer wars are nothing to laugh about.

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Political Pitch

This article was adapted from The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup. There have been revolutions to create socialism, democracy, and authoritarian dictatorship. But humankind has yet to fight a revolution to guarantee one of the most vital elements--if not the most vital element--of the good life. That is, a winning soccer team. If we were to take up arms for this reason, what kind of government would we want to install? Political theory, for all its talk about equality and virtue, has strangely evaded this question.

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Flash Back

In April, when the Senate begins considering John D. Negroponte's nomination as the nation's first intelligence czar, much of the hearings are likely to focus on his role in Central America's "dirty wars" of the 1980s. Questions abound over just how much Negroponte, who was ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, knew at the time about death squads and other abuses in the region, and Democratic Senate staffers have promised to grill Negroponte about this history. The answers they uncover promise to have more than historical relevance.

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Exorcisms

The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa translated by Edith Grossman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 404 pp., $25) "There are no limits to deterioration: it can always be worse." This observation by Alejandro Mayta, the disenchanted guerrilla fighter of Mario Vargas Llosa's novel The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, who returns to his birthplace after many years, freed of ghosts but devoid of hope, came to mind in March, 1990.

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