San Francisco

I waited in vain for Orly. We’d spoken twice that day over the phone, and Orly Taitz, leader of the birther movement and candidate for secretary of state in California’s Republican primary, had told me she’d be attending the Republican shindig at the Anaheim Hilton that evening. But that was when the Republican establishment was still in a mild panic over the possibility she would win. I suspect that losing by a disappointing margin—her opponent took about 75 percent of the vote—scotched her initial plans to show up.

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Off to the Races!

Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.

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Off to the Races!

Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.

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[Guest post by Jonathan Cohn] Advocates for health care reform (including yours truly) have frequently argued that it is possible to reduce the amount of care without reducing the quality--or, to put it more simply, that less care doesn't have to equal worse care. A story in today's New York Times may leave readers thinking that argument is bunk. It isn't.

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Out in Dunhuang in western China, it's still fairly bright out at 10 o'clock at night, thanks to the fact that there's only one time zone in the entire country—everyone is synched to Beijing time. No one I've talked to here seems to mind; freakishly late sunsets are just a fact of life. (The one exception is in the autonomous Xinjiang region in the far west, where people wake up for work two hours later.) And when I try to explain the logic behind multiple time zones, I realize I have no real idea why, say, the U.S.

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There’s been a lot of talk lately on the ins and outs of a new supplemental poverty measure being developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. As named, this new measure will not replace the official measure, but will supplement it by offering more information on people’s economic wellbeing. Nancy Folbre’s recent Economix post gives a good round up of why this new measure matters, but here’s the upshot.

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On Wednesday, TNR senior editor Ruth Franklin explored the way authenticity is played with in David Simon’s new HBO show, “Treme.” Here, John McWhorter offers his own, markedly different opinion on the subject. People can get irritating about their authenticity.

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The key to understanding radical Islam and Communism? Prison culture.

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Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field Edited by Antonio Giustozzi (Columbia University Press, 318 pp., $40)   My Life with the Taliban By Abdul Salam Zaeef Edited by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn (Columbia University Press, 331 pp., $29.95) After several hours of driving down one of the two-lane asphalt roads that wind through Pakistan’s tribal areas, our kidnappers entered the territory of Baitullah Mehsud, the widely feared leader of the Pakistani Taliban. It was the middle of March in 2009.

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The northern California coast tends to get smothered with fog during the summer—it just sits there and won't go away. (I'm pretty sure I complained about it constantly when I lived in San Francisco.) But now it turns out that the fog has actually been dwindling over the decades, which could spell bad news for the region's redwood trees: A surprising new study finds that during the past century the frequency of fog along California's coast has declined by approximately three hours a day.

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