War

Before Sunrise
November 12, 2009

When President Obama arrives in Tokyo on Friday, he will confront a country that seeks to be an ally of the United States. For Japan has never been an American ally. It was first a rival, then an enemy, and finally, after it lost the war it foolishly started with the U.S., it became a protectorate, not an ally.   The distinction matters. An alliance is an institution negotiated between two sovereign governments in which each agrees to a series of reciprocal obligations that have the force of law.

The November Pogrom
November 12, 2009

In our collective memory of the Holocaust, Kristallnacht occupies a central but ambiguous place. If you look simply at the statistics, there is little reason why the events of November 9-10, 1938, should loom so large.

New Evidence of Pharma's Sweetheart Deal
November 10, 2009

Critics have complained that a drug industry got a sweetheart deal when it struck a bargain with the White House and Senate Finance Committee over health care reform. There’s new reason to think those critics were right. It comes from an October forecast by IMS Health, a respected global research and consulting firm. The report, which IMS distributed to clients and which a source provided, projects that the drug industry will see average annual growth of 3.5 percent between 2008 and 2013. Back in March, IMS had projected no growth at all during that same five-year stretch.

Ok, Nidal Malik Hasan Is Not A Terrorist. He's A Banana ... Or A Monkey Wrench. So What!
November 10, 2009

By the way, I don't think I've written that Nidal Malik Hasan is a terrorist. But, believe me, it's not because I pondered the aptness of the word. It's enough for me that, having killed 13 people (and wounded 28 others) because of his religious beliefs--yes, his religious beliefs--and surely also his deranged mind, he is a mass murderer. And, please, none of this crap about "innocent until proven guilty." On the other hand, John Judis is very perturbed about the terrorist nomenclature. Jason Zengerle is less perturbed, and may even be ready to concede the point.

A Bit More on Fort Hood and Terrorism
November 09, 2009

I appreciate (and share) John's concern that calling the Fort Hood shootings terrorism arouses fears of a Jihadist conspiracy in our midst that may not exist, or that may be containable by the same means we are presently using. But that's ultimately why I think it's not a good idea to shy away from using the word terrorism. I agree that the definitive piece of evidence that Nidal Hassan was, in fact, committing a terrorist act would be his own admission that he was doing so (and that may yet be forthcoming now that he's reportedly awake and able to talk).

What To Do About Juvenile Sentencing
November 09, 2009

In August, I wrote about efforts to reform California's sentencing laws, which allow courts to condemn minors to life without parole. According to the Fair Sentencing For Youth Project, the United States has 2,503 juveniles--in California and a handful of other states--serving life sentences without the chance for rehabilitation, while the rest of the world has none. Today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two juvenile sentencing cases out of Florida, both involving mentally impaired minors who were convicted of non-homicidal crimes and still given life without parole.

A Painting, A Portrait
November 07, 2009

Rembrandt’s J’Accuse Film Forum The Maid Elephant Eye Films  Peter Greenaway, the British director who was educated as a painter, first came to wide attention in 1982 with The Draughtsman’s Contract, a silky comedy about seventeenth-century aristocrats. Greenaway then promptly set out not to build on this success, undertaking one eccentric film project after another. It was almost as if he were determined not to grow cumulatively, as most of the best directors have done. Of the Greenaway works that I have seen, only two of them--quite unlike each other--stand out in memory.

‘With Them or With Us’
November 05, 2009

Almost three decades ago, a group of radical Islamist students, dressed in army fatigues or covered in scarves and black chadors, forced their way into the American embassy in Tehran. According to some accounts, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then a student at a second-tier technical college in Tehran, was invited to join the hostage takers. He declined, saying he would join only if they would also occupy the Soviet embassy in Tehran.

On Predicting the Future
November 04, 2009

I don't want to get too Noam-y here, but I love Dave Leonhardt's new column raising--if not quite endorsing--the possibility that current economic pessimism is overstated, and that another boom could be hiding around the corner. In particular I find this compelling: When Bill Clinton convened a conference in the dark economic days after his 1992 election, some of the country’s top economists flew to Little Rock, Ark., to share their vision for the future. As Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff, likes to point out, they didn’t spend much time talking about the Internet.

Tall, Bronze, and Hideous
November 04, 2009

James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun, now writes on culture for several publications.  That Golem that was just unveiled in one of the main squares of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, turns out to be none other than William Jefferson Clinton. Apparently he is something of a god over there: The locals are grateful for his initiating, in 1999, the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia that curbed Serbian aggressions against the ethnic Albanians, and so they have raised this astounding monument to the man.

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