Appraising the Moment: A Cowardly New World

Since the night of November 8th, when a friend who was watching the returns with me started vomiting and had to go home, I’ve tried to understand (not just explain) what prompted 46% of America’s shrunken electorate to vote for Donald Trump. I’ve failed. What I do know is, we are about to reap the whirlwind - and politically speaking, they will own it.

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Some Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo

Today, while walking past the Center for Jewish History on West 16th Street in New York, I observed four policemen with submachine guns; several other patrolmen; a patrol car; and a police dog. Unless there's some specific threat I don't know about, this strikes me as a bit of an overreaction to what happened in Paris last week. Forgive me for saying what I believe: it amounts to feeding and encouraging paranoia, at the taxpayers' expense.

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The Matter with Kansas

American politics is an endlessly fascinating procession of national and local selfies: little snapshots that tell us a little bit from moment to moment about who we are as a country. And often those snapshots are split-screen, presenting conflicting images of a nation that is not just deeply divided ideologically but also riven by conflicts, paradoxes, and contradictions.

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And for What? Reflections on the First World War

The centennial of the outbreak of World War I, which began a century ago this month, has excited the usual sort of checkbox-ticking media comment. Here’s some further perspective: more than 15 million people died in the conflict, including some 8.5 million soldiers and 7 million civilians. Millions of widows, orphans and single women were left behind.

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