sojourn

 A rumor of a possible military coup against Pakistan’s sitting though often invisible president, Asif Ali Zardari, made big headlines in the country this Christmas weekend. Leading newspapers claimed that a selection of top army brass had met in early December with leaders from the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), a party led by two-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

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The Neoconservative Persuasion: Selected Essays, 1942-2009 By Irving Kristol (Basic Books, 390 pp., $29.95) Daniel Bell, now of blessed memory, used to enjoy recounting a piece of lore from the 1930s, back when New York was said to be the most interesting part of the Soviet Union. It was about the travails of a young member of the Revolutionary Workers League named Karl Mienov. When Mienov’s doctrinal differences with that small party became too great to bear, he split and formed his own cell, the Marxist Workers League. His party even launched a theoretical organ, called Spark.

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Requiem for the DLC

After a good quarter-century run, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) has announced it will close its doors this month. Its original mission has long been accomplished: This small but famous—or, depending on your orientation, infamous—organization was founded in the wake of the 1984 Walter Mondale debacle by two House Democratic Caucus staffers named Al From and Will Marshall, who enlisted an assortment of elected officials with names like Clinton, Gore, Gephardt, Nunn, Babbitt, and Robb.

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In most of the early newspaper reviews of "The Adams Chronicles" the big pitch was bigness. Six million dollars, nine scriptwriters, 3000 costumes—these were figures to conjure with, and the reviewers conjured, and the ones I read came up with the unusual theory that bigness had not destroyed the series. No, intelligence and restraint had saved the day. I've now watched all but two of the first nine shows (the total is 13, running into mid-April) and beg to differ. Bigness is still a disaster in America, and in "The Adams Chronicles" the disaster is bigger than ever.

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