The Ivy Gang
August 03, 2007
At my back-in-the-day former employer, the Boston Phoenix, Steven Stark laments John Edwards's chances at the nomination. Why? Edwards, you see, didn't go to Harvard or Yale. In the Democratic landscape of 2007, that doesn't seem as if it should be a problem. But you'd have to go back to 1984 to find a Democratic nominee (Walter Mondale) who didn't attend one of those elite universities for either college or graduate school. Before that, a number of Democratic also-rans, including Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas, and Jerry Brown, were also graduates of either Harvard or Yale.
The Pathetic Bobby Seale
July 24, 2007
You know the name "Bobby Seale?" But do you know who he is now? And what he was back then? This is not a nostalgia story. It is a pathetic story. But it is the pathos of the present a direct result of the pathos then. A report from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, this year, not on the late sixties, from San Francisco or from Yale.
The Enterprising American
May 21, 2007
MARCH 9, 2006, was a bad day for the White House. Weeks before, Claude Allen, the president’s chief domestic policy adviser, had resigned, saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family. Then, on March 9, Allen was charged with having stolen some $5,000 worth of merchandise from Washington-area department stores during a months-long shoplifting spree.
May 21, 2007
Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative DestructionBy Thomas K. McCraw (Harvard University Press, 719 pp., $35) I KNEW Joseph Schumpeter only in the last five years of his life, from 1945 until his death in 1950, at the age of sixty-six. To say that I knew him is actually a bit of an exaggeration. First as a returning undergraduate and then as a doctoral student in economics at Harvard, I attended his courses on advanced economic theory andthe history of economic thought. The theory lectures bordered onincoherent; they alluded to everything but analyzed nothing.
May 21, 2007
“THANK GOD for President Bush, and thank God for Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito,” intoned Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention last week, after the Supreme Court announced its decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, the so-called partial-birth abortion case. But Land also should have thanked Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose majority opinion dangerously reframes the abortion debate. Kennedy doesn’t proceed from the question of harm to the unborn—the premise on which the congressional act in question is based.
Cock and Bull
December 25, 2006
There is an obscure publishing doctrine known as "the small penis rule." As described in a 1998 New York Times article, it is a sly trick employed by authors who have defamed someone to discourage their targets from filing lawsuits. As libel lawyer Leon Friedman explained to the Times, "No male is going to come forward and say,`That character with a very small penis, `That's me!'" This gimmickwas undoubtedly on the mind of Michael Crichton, the pulp science-fiction writer of Jurassic Park fame, when he wrote the following passage in his latest novel, Next. (Caution: Graphic imagery.
October 30, 2006
It’s not news that the pharmaceutical industry routinely suppresses negative data, with the effect of exaggerating the benefits of its drugs and glossing over their risks. Take, for example, the painkiller Vioxx. According to court testimony, the drug’s manufacturer, Merck, withheld data showing that the drug caused five times as many heart attacks as a similar painkiller, naproxyn. The result? Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety expert David Graham calculated that Vioxx caused an estimated 39,000 to 60,000 heart-attack deaths before it was pulled from the market in 2004.
October 16, 2006
Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War By Robert L. Beisner (Oxford University Press, 768 pp., $35) I. "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." The speaker could have been Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton. In fact, it was George W. Bush, in his second inaugural address; and what he said is what historians will probably remember as the Bush Doctrine.
September 11, 2006
Surry Hill. So reads a plaque at the end of the long, winding private road that leads to the crown jewel of McLean, Virginia: the 18,000-square-foot mansion that Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers and his wife Edwina call home. To get there from Washington, you drive across the Potomac River and along a parkway that, in the summer, is canopied by lush green trees. Shortly before the guarded entrance to the CIA, you turn off McLean's main road and then down a private lane, passing through brick gate posts adorned with black lanterns and into a grand cul-de-sac. A massive brick Colonial with majestic
March 20, 2006
Hillary Clinton, congratulations. You’re the lucky recipient of a winning political issue, which has the added virtue of being morally important. Send your thanks to Columbia University and the U.S. Supreme Court. This week, the Court unanimously upheld the Solomon Amendment, which denies government funding to universities that prohibit military recruiting on campus.