Monthly Archives: May 2007

No Comment — May 31, 2007, 6:05 pm

Defining Conservatism Up

Among the army of columnists that populate the American print world, George Will is my favorite Tory. I use “Tory” in the best sense – in the sense that Samuel Johnson and Dr. Arbuthnot were Tories, for instance. In an English way that lays a proper value on tradition and the cultural accomplishments that have gone before us. In a way that longs for a thick chop and pint of ale. Will is not likely to be found in the pantheon of too many Harper’s readers (I have a theory formed from reading my Harper’s email box that our median …

No Comment — May 31, 2007, 4:53 pm

Matthew Diaz and the Rule of Law

Law professor and Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks examines the court-martial of Commander Matthew Diaz and comes out almost exactly where I did. The prosecution of Diaz highlights the degree to which U.S. interrogation and detention policies have become unjustifiably arbitrary. Our detention policies scoop up the innocent and the guilty alike — and Diaz, who broke the law in an effort to prevent abuses, found himself aggressively prosecuted, while others who committed abuses remain wholly unaccountable. That’s no way to promote the rule of law… The jury understood that the persistence of deep injustice may lead some to …

Washington Babylon — May 31, 2007, 11:22 am

How Gregory Nickerson Parlayed House Job Into Lavish Estate (Illustrated)

In mid April, I reported on the case of Gregory Nickerson, the former top staffer at the House Ways and Means Committee who in 2004 helped shepherd through Congress a $140 billion corporate tax break with the Orwellian name of the “American Jobs Creation Act.” General Electric was the biggest beneficiary of the AJCA, winning a multi-billion dollar windfall. I’ve now learned that the AJCA originated in 2001, as a report prepared by the National Foreign Trade Council, a group of 450 multinational corporations whose board members includes GE. According to a Washington Post story, the Council’s report was prepared …

No Comment — May 31, 2007, 11:04 am

Therapy for Font Sluts

Slate has been taking an interesting look at graphic design over the last few days, including a fascinating piece on the evolution of the world’s most ubiquitous font: Helvetica. The piece is adapted from the fascinating exhibition now running at the Museum of Modern Art – one of the season’s must-sees. But this is a web treat – another reason, if needed, why a visit to Slate never goes unrewarded. Then check out the depressingly uninspired survey of writer’s font preferences. Indeed: an overwhelming preference for Courier. What numbskulls. If you’re stuck on typewriter type (and it has a certain …

No Comment — May 31, 2007, 8:58 am

Progress? What Progress? Troops Vent at Lieberman

No U.S. senator has made more trips out to Iraq than Joe Lieberman. He’s a fixture out there. The regular junket has been a part of his campaign to be “Mr. Iraq” in the Senate. About a year ago, when I was working in Baghdad, I listened to a young captain vent about all the time and energy the Army was forced to expend on the regular visits of CODELs – Congressional delegations. “I guess our democratic process requires it. But I really wish these dopes would open their eyes and actually learn something, rather than use Iraq as a …

No Comment — May 31, 2007, 8:22 am

More Partisan Harassment of the Troops

Marine Corporal Adam Kokesh is an Iraq war veteran who has exactly three weeks of service remaining as a reservist. Now he’s facing a dishonorable discharge. Why? He wore fatigues to an anti-Iraq War rally, the Associated Press reports. He was singled out for disciplinary action after military authorities identified him from a protest photograph published in the Washington Post. Military rules preclude personnel from appearing in uniform at political functions. However, under the Bush administration this rule has been violated hundreds of times – as service personnel appear in uniform at Republican Party functions. Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking …

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In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

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On December 3, 2016, less than a month after Donald Trump was elected president, Amanda Litman sat alone on the porch of a bungalow in Costa Rica, thinking about the future of the Democratic Party. As Hillary Clinton’s director of email marketing, Litman raised $180 million and recruited 500,000 volunteers over the course of the campaign. She had arrived at the Javits Center on Election Night, arms full of cheap beer for the campaign staff, minutes before the pundits on TV announced that Clinton had lost Wisconsin. Later that night, on her cab ride home to Brooklyn, Litman asked the driver to pull over so she could throw up.

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In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

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One sunny winter afternoon in western Michigan, I took a ride with Leon Slater, a slight sixty-four-year-old man with a neatly trimmed white beard and intense eyes behind his spectacles. He wore a faded blue baseball cap, so formed to his head that it seemed he slept with it on. Brickyard Road, the street in front of Slater’s home, was a mess of soupy dirt and water-filled craters. The muffler of his mud-splattered maroon pickup was loose, and exhaust fumes choked the cab. He gripped the wheel with hands leathery not from age but from decades moving earth with big machines for a living. What followed was a tooth-jarring tour of Muskegon County’s rural roads, which looked as though they’d been carpet-bombed.

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Abby was a breech birth but in the thirty-one years since then most everything has been pretty smooth. Sweet kid, not a lot of trouble. None of them were. Jack and Stevie set a good example, and she followed. Top grades, all the way through. Got on well with others but took her share of meanness here and there, so she stayed thoughtful and kind. There were a few curfew or partying things and some boys before she was ready, and there was one time on a school trip to Chicago that she and some other kids got caught smoking crack cocaine, but that was so weird it almost proved the rule. No big hiccups, master’s in ecology, good state job that lets her do half time but keep benefits while Rose is little.

Illustration by Katherine Streeter

Number of cast members of the movie Predator who have run for governor:

3

A Georgia Tech engineer created software that endows unmanned aerial drones with a sense of guilt.

Roy Moore, a 70-year-old lawyer and Republican candidate for the US Senate who once accidentally stabbed himself with a murder weapon while prosecuting a case in an Alabama courtroom, was accused of having sexually assaulted two women, Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson, while he was an assistant district attorney in his thirties and they were 14 and 16 years old, respectively.

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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