Commentary

Commentary — May 22, 2015, 1:10 pm

Part of the Problem

Jonathan Chait's flawed attack on David Bromwich's critique of Barack Obama's presidency

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Commentary — May 4, 2015, 12:53 pm

A Legitimate Distinction

In defense of the PEN America Center’s decision to give Charlie Hebdo its Freedom of Expression Courage Award

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Commentary — December 18, 2013, 4:22 pm

Proxy Syndrome

Afghanistan fights fire with fire in its war against the Taliban

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Commentary — December 12, 2012, 4:33 pm

New Power Generation

Why I write about Prince

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Commentary — October 22, 2012, 2:27 pm

An Excerpt From “How to Rig an Election”

Why the Help America Vote Act has done anything but.

Illustration (detail) by John Ritter

Commentary — October 10, 2012, 8:46 am

The Democratic Argument for Compulsory Voting

Mandatory voting would greatly expand American electoral participation—and help the Democrats.

Commentary — September 14, 2012, 10:27 pm

Syria’s Summer of Stalemate

Looking back on Taftanaz and the slowly shifting course of Syria’s revolution.

Commentary — September 6, 2012, 11:03 am

Samuel James’s Scenes From Nigerian Oil-Refining Communities

This month’s issue of Harper’s Magazine features ”The Water of My Land,” a portfolio of photographs by Samuel James, who spent two months this past February photographing life in the riverine communities of the Niger Delta. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and the fifth-largest supplier of oil to the United States, but many delta residents have been shut out from this multibillion-dollar industry, and so have resorted to the clandestine trade of bunkering crude oil and refining it themselves. Through his photographs, James hopes to convey how communities engaged in this relentless and destructive practice are risking …

Commentary — September 4, 2012, 9:01 am

Christopher Hitchens’s Very Personal Handbook on Cancer Etiquette

It is strangely humbling to read the last writings of a dying atheist whose opinions seemed of near-stratospheric condescension, and who stood among a group of modern anticlerics who consider empiricism a virtue, disparage religion without consulting theological texts, and in general exercise the same merciless rigidity they despise in their opponents. Humbling because these are the words of a man who was dying. To gripe with his ideas seems petty, irreverent even. And there is, after all, a difference between a man and his beliefs. Christopher Hitchens, who died on December 11, 2011, is the author of the posthumous …

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“In the seventh year of his presidency, Barack Obama was presenting himself as a politician who followed the path of least resistance. This is a disturbing confession.”
Photograph by Pete Souza
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“If this woman — who spent her days studying gray screens for early signs of gestation — could not see my pregnancy, what were the chances that anyone else would?”
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“My husband is forty-six. I am forty-five. He does not think that, in my forties, after cancer, chemotherapy, and chemically induced menopause, I can get pregnant again, but sisters, I know my womb. It’s proven.”
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“Cuban eyes often look close to tears.”
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“If you short-circuit the bottom, you threaten the entire cycle,” Joye told me. “Without a healthy ocean, we’ll all be dead.”
Illustration by John Ritter

Length in days of the sentence Russian blogger Alexei Navalny served for leading an opposition rally last year:

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Israeli researchers developed software that evaluates the depression of bloggers.

A teenager in Singapore was convicted of obscenity for posts critical of Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding father, that included an image of Lee having sex with Margaret Thatcher.

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