January 13, 2011
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery By Eric Foner (W.W. Norton, 426 pp., $29.95) I. As we begin a raft of sesquicentennials that will carry us through at least the next half-decade—the secession of Southern states, the formation of the Confederacy, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Appomattox, and so on—I confess to feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. These are all signal events in our history, the roadblocks and thoroughfares in the making of modern America, and at a time of general crisis they are especially important to revisit.
An Ode To Ted Stevens
July 29, 2008
Ted Stevens predates the State of Alaska. In 1953, he drove to Alaska Territory in a Buick, and--like a modern Al Swearingen--he built himself into a local luminary, successfully lobbied Congress to make Alaska a state, and then used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to transform himself into a patronage-distributing warlord. As one local journalist put it: "In Alaska, the presence of so-called Stevens money is as prevalent as the winter snow. Everywhere you look, Stevens has left his mark. ...