Saint and Sinner
February 08, 2010
Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone By Stanislao Pugliese (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 426 pp., $35) In June 1950, Ignazio Silone and Arthur Koestler, two of the most prominent anti-communist writers of that era, attended a convivial dinner party in West Berlin. They had gathered with several other intellectuals to celebrate the founding conference of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an American-sponsored riposte to the Soviet Cominform’s “peace conferences” of the preceding year.
The Left Is Playing With Fire (Updated)
December 16, 2009
Liberals frustrated with the decision to drop a public option are now attacking a core principle of health care reform: the individual mandate. Greg Sargent and Ben Smith quote Jim Dean, brother of Howard, in an e-mail that just went out to Democracy for America: Senate leaders are all over Washington claiming they finally have a healthcare reform bill they can pass, as long as they remove the public option.
December 16, 2009
In the popular imagination, the United States and Europe are assumed to be radically opposing poles--"Mars" and "Venus"--on issues such as market regulation, public education, social policy, health care, crime, and the environment. But is that really the case? The numbers would suggest otherwise. My book, The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike, presents quantifiable data on a wide array of social conditions on each side of the Atlantic.
5 Things You Don’t Know About North Korean Soccer
December 08, 2009
The World Cup is only six months away, and adding to the list of South Africa’s many hosting challenges is accommodating one of the world’s most peculiar teams: North Korea, who will be competing for the first time since 1966. When the team merely qualified in June of this year, they were greeted back home as heroes, with hoards of fans welcoming them at the airport with pink and red pom-poms while showering them with flags and leis. Last week, the team found out their first opponent will be international powerhouse Brazil.
"Train Crash in Russia Caused by Bomb"
November 29, 2009
This was the headline in the Jerusalem Post which, one might think, wouldn't be so finicky about the source of the attack on the Moscow-St. Petersburg railway that left at least 26 dead, about 100 wounded and 18 missing, presumed also gone to their maker. This mass homicide was a massacre, and I assume it was carried out by...well, take your choice.
Murder in the Bronx, Business as Usual: A Suggestion for Obama in 2014
November 19, 2009
It’s one of those hideous little episodes making minor headlines this week that will be forgotten by the media next week. 15-year-old Vada Vasquez of the Bronx is in a coma with a bullet in her brain, after being caught in the crossfire when a group of Bloods took aim at 19-year-old Tyrone Creighton (and succeeding; he’s in the hospital, too). The Bloods went after Creighton at the behest of friends of a man in Rikers who suffered a beatdown by Creighton’s two brothers in Rikers with him.
Place of Grace
November 03, 2009
Over a decade ago, I trundled my good-natured family across miles of southern Switzerland to see every building I could by Peter Zumthor, who is this year's winner of the Pritzker Prize. Then as now, most of Zumthor's work was off the beaten track, not only literally but metaphorically, little known to the general public although admired by professionals.
Killing Kazstner. Killing Who?
October 27, 2009
You probably don't know who Rudolf Kasztner was. But, actually, I've know about him since I was a teenager. Was he a Jewish hero? Or was he a traitor to the Jews? I can still hear the familiar piercing locutions of my parents' bad marriage, fought out over politics, Jewish politics, daily, unrelenting, almost viperous. My mother was for him, this Dr.
Matters of Fact
October 24, 2009
In the mid-1950s, a photographer named Robert Frank, lately emigrated from Switzerland, drove around the United States to see and to join his new country. He shot pictures. The results, or his choices among them, were published in a book of eighty-three photos called The Americans, which was an immediate and lasting success. The book was not only a unique way for a newcomer to learn about his new home: in some ways it showed a social candor that was as yet unusual in photography.