The George W. Bush Presidential Library Is So … Conservative
December 07, 2009

James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun, now writes on culture for several publications. To put the matter politely, presidential libraries tend not to inspire very good architecture. One generalization that can be made about the twelve libraries already in existence is that they tend to err on the side of dullness, like the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda and the Bush 41 Library in Texas.

Obama and the Veil
October 28, 2009

Let me be clear: I don't doubt for a moment that Barack Obama genuinely believes that he can calm the roils that trouble the United States in its relationship with the Muslim world and the Arab orbit within it. The problem is, alas, that he hasn't a clue. Moreover, he hasn't had the chance to learn. And maybe--just maybe--he is not inclined to learn because in his generation wisdom doesn't come from study but from ideological narrative. George W. Bush had his own favorite narrative.

What's the Cost of Graduating in 2009?
October 23, 2009

The OMB blog has an interesting item up about the effects of entering the labor market during a recession versus a tight labor market. On the one hand, there are the immediate effects you'd expect: lower wages and scarcer jobs. Per the item: "[A]ccording to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, less than 20 percent of the class of 2009 graduated from college with a job offer in hand, compared to 25 percent in the class of 2008 and more than 50 percent in the class of 2007." More interestingly, though, are the apparent longer-term effects.

How Soon Liberals Forget: Is McChrystal the New Shinseki?
October 06, 2009

Liberal pundits, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and National Security Advisor James Jones are in agreement: General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was wrong to give public voice to his views about the best way forward in that beleaguered country.

The Looming Deficit Disaster, Modeled
September 30, 2009

Yale's Ray Fair, well-known for his economic model predicting the outcome of presidential elections, has a new forecast out on the macroeconomic effects of large budget deficits -- and it's not pretty: A depreciation of the dollar leads to inflation, as expected, but this is of only modest help regarding the debt problem. It does not appear that the United States can inflate away its debt problem. The picture is worse regarding output if there is a flight from U.S. stocks as well as the dollar. Personal income tax increases and transfer payment decreases have similar effects on the economy.

The Usefulness of Cranks
September 30, 2009

Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery By Steve Nicholls (University of Chicago Press, 524 pp., $30) American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau Edited by Bill McKibben (Library of America, 1,047 pp., $40) Defending The Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, And The Legacy Of Madison Grant By Jonathan Peter Spiro (University of Vermont Press, 462 pp., $39.95) A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir By Donald Worster (Oxford University Press, 535 pp., $34.99) A Reenchanted World: The Quest for A New Kinship With Nature By James William Gibson (Metropolitan Books,

Today at TNR (September 19, 2009)
September 19, 2009

The GOP No Longer Represents Interest Groups--Rather, It Has Become One, by The Editors 'The Informant!' Is the Funniest Movie in Five Years Without a Potty Joke, by Christopher Orr Washington Diarist: Burke is Back!by Leon Wieseltier From the Archives: Irving Kristol in TNR, and TNR on Irving Kristol, by the TNR Staff Beyond the Baucus Bill: How Liberals Can Still Win on Health Care Reform, by Jonathan Cohn Did the 1999 Yale Murder Ruin This Man’s Life?

The Victims and Villains of New Haven
September 18, 2009

 The wall-to-wall coverage this week focusing on the murder of Yale student Annie Le goes to show just how mad these Ivy League murders drive us. They create instant victims and villains, but almost never a mix of the two. However, this week, it was hard not to remember the case if James Van de Velde, the Yale lecturer accused of killing Yale senior Suzanne Jovin in December 1998. Once called “Richard Jewell with a Ph.D,” Van de Velde’s life was turned upside down that winter after being publicly named a suspect--the only to be named--despite a lack of any hard evidence.

Cool... But, Yes, Communist
September 10, 2009

He's tall, trim, with shaved head, a confident demeanor, wearing a dark turtleneck, kind 'a funny and Yale Law School. Cool. Co-o-o-l. Or maybe even wow! He's Van Jones, and he resigned on Saturday as what the White House called its "czar" for the environment. There are actually many czars at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in this administration, and I wonder why the historical resonance of the word doesn't just give the Obama crowd the creeps. Unless, of course, they want to govern like czars ... and czarinas. To be sure, Mr.

What A City Needs
September 04, 2009

Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City By Anthony Flint (Random House, 256 pp., $27)   For urbanists and others, the battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs was the great titanic struggle of the twentieth century. Like the bout between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, their conflict has magnified significance, as the two figures have become symbols. Jacobs is the secular saint of street life, representing a humane approach to urban planning grounded in the messy interactions of the neighborhood.