Monday, March 31, 2003
The Loyal Opposition Digs A Hole
Democrats are in trouble—and not only because of the war.
The Thin Envelope
Why college admissions has become unpredictable.
Affirmative Action: There's A Third Way
Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to a third alternative that has few political patrons but is supported by two-thirds of Americans: affirmative action for low-income students of all races.
Embedded, And Taking Flak
The 600 embedded correspondents have clearly braved difficult conditions to bring viewers and readers the most vivid, compelling and instantaneous coverage in the history of war. But they are taking considerable flak for overly sympathetic reporting, dismissed by some as part of the military propaganda machine.
Not So Safe Back Home
How terrible that women who face sexual assault as the price of war too often expect to face it from their compatriots in peacetime.
What's Fair In War?
The Geneva accords on the rules of the battlefield are 54 years old. Why they still matter.
3 Flawed Assumptions
With war underway, pre-war predictions have gone out the window. A look at the unexpected facets of the war.
How Green Was Our Warning
With such dread, there's almost a given in Washington: We'll never get down to green.
The MIA State Department
Diplomacy is not public relations, a crucial point this administration has yet to demonstrate it understands. Nor is diplomacy politics.
To The Victor Go The Spoils
If U.S. corporations get their way, none of their European competitors will be doing business in Baghdad.
Tech & Science
An Engineer By Any Other Name
Legislature to decide if computer programmers can legally use the title.
Over His Scares?
It seems reports of the King of horror's retirement have been greatly exaggerated.
Two Identities, But One Compulsion
As a psychologist I attempted to construct rules about human behavior. As a novelist I'm obsessed by the exceptions.
Director Of 'Titanic' Turns To 3-D Film Ventures
"Ghosts of the Abyss" is something of a test to see whether moviegoers and, more important, movie financiers, will warm to 3-D as more than a gimmick.
Sunday, March 30, 2003
An American Myth Rides Into The Sunset
It's worth recalling that the cowboy of the myth wasn't trigger happy and he wasn't a dominator. He carried a gun to protect himself and his cattle ó cattle that didn't even belong to him. His mission was their safe passage, and by extension, the safe passage of the civilizing society to follow. And his honor was grounded on his civilized refusal to fire first.
Missile Threat Means New Rules At Airports
Federal authorities will order major security improvements at several of the nation's largest airports after inspections showed that passenger planes taking off or landing at those airports would be vulnerable to attack by terrorists using shoulder-fired missiles, senior Bush administration officials said.
The Right Stuff
How conservatives control the media, and pretend they don't.
More Afraid Of Ideas Than Of Capitalism
Thus, Beijing, having lost its Leninist brother states in Moscow and East Europe in 1990-91, pioneers a new kind of authoritarianism, which co-opts everything yet is cynical about everything. Maybe it is stable in the short term, but it seems too hollow inside to endure for long.
Looking Inside Out: Al Jazeera's View
Fox is "hopeless" because its pro-war slant gets in the way. CNN is valuable as long as you understand that it looks at the world through American eyes. But Al Jazeera is "where you see all the news that's fit to print."
Saturday, March 29, 2003
A Woman's Work?
We cling to the image of women as peacemakers ó even if it no longer really fits.
In Defense Of Al-Jazeera
Attacking the messenger, and our message at the same time.
Bush Officials Battle News Media
In the struggle to shape public opinion, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other administration officials seemed determined to overcome what they see as "mood swings" and second-guessing by reporters and analysts which they fear could sap public support for the war.
Would The Real George Bush Please Stand Down
You may think the air of extreme witlessness impossible to mimic, but is the man on the podium the authentic Dubya, a trained stand-in or an animatronic lookalike?
Practice To Deceive
Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare sceanrio — it's their plan.
Tech & Science
Chinese Secrecy Blamed For Super-Pneumonia Spread
The Chinese government's secrecy has been blamed for the still growing outbreak of super-pneumonia around the world that has infected over 1400 people and killed 54.
The three laws of cloning will protect clones and advance science.
Finding An Office In New York City
Recently, I learned a lot more about commercial real estate than I ever imagined I would need to know.
Salon.com Nabs Funding
Salon Media Group, publisher of the Web site Salon.com, announced Friday that it received an $800,000 investment round from its existing investors.
Friday, March 28, 2003
Weblogs Cover The War Without Mainstream Restraints
Despite the onslaught of information from the networks, 24-hour cable stations and radio reports, information consumers are increasingly looking to the Internet for still more news about the conflict with Iraq.
Bush administration officials and their hawkish supporters now say they never promised an easy war — but the record shows otherwise.
The Bush And Blair Show
The president has the reputation for straight talk, but it's his British ally who actually delivers it.
Our Kind Of Law
When it comes to international law, the United States is a forgetful old man whose forgetfulness comes and goes with suspicious convenience.
The News Veteran
'Nightline' anchor Ted Kopel had to see for himself the shape of a conflict drawn in sand.
Delusions Of Power
In the last two years Mr. Cheney and other top officials have gotten it wrong again and again ó- on energy, on the economy, on the budget. But political muscle has insulated them from any adverse consequences. So they, and the country, don't learn from their mistakes ó- and the mistakes keep getting bigger.
Osama Must Be Laughing
Perhaps most alarming, US policy towards Iraq has alienated many of the important moderate voices, both secular and religious, which until now had been unwilling to join militant anti-American forces.
America: An Empire In Denial
The former American Secretary of State Dean Acheson famously said that Britain had lost an empire but failed to find a role. Perhaps the reality is that the Americans have taken our old role without yet facing the fact that an empire comes with it.
Help Iraqis Arise
The answer is to adopt the proposition set forth by Gen. U. S. Grant in our Civil War, and Roosevelt and Churchill in World War II: declaring irrevocably that the only acceptable end to hostilities is unconditional surrender.
It seems not to bother the folks at the Department of Defense or anybody else that the recently unveiled design for the Pentagon's Sept. 11 memorial places it on one of the most restrictedó-not to mention wind-swept and noisy-ópieces of real estate in Northern Virginia.
Thursday, March 27, 2003
The CNN Factor
In the war "time" of modern and impatient America, consolation is a near instantaneous telephone call from Katie Couric or Paula Zahn and airtime to grieve. Progress this may not be.
BBC's Coverage Is Drawing Fire From All Sides
This cover-all-sides style, even as British troops are under fire, has brought the BBC a steady fusillade of criticism.
Casting A Wider Net For World News
Will the Internet bear out Marshall McLuhan's 1960s predictions of electronic media shattering the homogeneity of print-dominated culture and ushering in a return to diversity in a "global village"? I think so.
Words Of War
When our lives are transformed by violence, we need works of imagination to confirm our faith in humanity.
One Rule For Them
Five PoWs are mistreated in Iraq and the US cries foul. What about Guantanamo Bay?
Tech & Science
Behold, The Invisible Man, If Not Seeing Is Believing
Enveloped in a green plastic raincoat, Kazutoshi Obana slowly raised his arms. Then, with a click of a button, Mr. Obana, a graduate student at Tokyo University, faded away.
Do Cheaters Ever Prosper? Just Ask Them
While breaking the rules has always been an accepted part of single-player games, new online games match competitors remotely, which changes the dynamic.
Kill The Airlines... In Order To Save Them
The problem in the friendly skies isn't simply too many planes and employees serving too few flyers. The problem is too many airlines.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
When Women Go To War
If the argument about women in combat is over, the conversation about women in the military should not be — just as the conversation about women in the law, or in business, or in factories did not end when more women took those jobs.
Take Down Saddam TV
Despite the vast sums we spend on our intelligence and diplomatic services, American officials often seem clueless about the culture of our adversaries.
The End Of The Nation-State As We Know It?
Is Mr Bush a latter-day Brezhnev, and can it be that the United States is some reincarnation of the old USSR — a power feared, never liked, and labelled the 'Evil Empire' by Ronald Reagan?
How To Take Back America
Marching in the streets is important work, but wouldn't we have greater success if we also took control of the United States government?
Something Suspicious Is In The Air
The sign above the highway leading into the nation's capital advised motorists to "Report Suspicious Activity" and gave an 800 number for the Office of Homeland Security. As a reporter, I figured this was right up my alley and set out yesterday to report on things that struck me as suspicious.
Channels Of Influence
Who has been organizing those pro-war rallies? The answer, it turns out, is that they are being promoted by key players in the radio industry ó- with close links to the Bush administration.
TV Anchors Fighting Own Hard Battles
Deprived by the American military of anything that promoted "shock" or "awe" or, most important of all, "ratings," the anchors of CNN's morning program were yesterday reduced to devoting a rather unseemly amount of air time to coverage of how great their coverage has been so far. "Fascinating stuff!" said Bill Hemmer.
Powell's Doctrine Decommissioned
Either we continue to do everything we can to minimize the bloodshed, quite possibly limiting our ability to bring the war to a successful close; or we untie the military's hands, let them bomb Baghdad and other cities to bits and not worry about the "collateral damage."
Tech & Science
Prime Numbers Not So Random?
A team of physicists may have stumbled upon a surprising discovery about one of the deepest and best-studied questions in pure mathematics: whether or not prime numbers appear randomly in the sequence of whole numbers.
Keeping The Edge On Technology's Sword
Sophisticated weaponry gives the U.S. an awesome advantage. But what happens when enemies change tactics to counter it — or simply buy it?
New York Restaurants Now Cope With A War, Too
Diners and restaurateurs respond to unease with the war in Iraq -ó and with the French.
It is a paradox of war that some people who have lived through its slaughter and madness never lose the itch to go back and live through it again.
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
By Flouting War Laws, U.S. Invites Tragedy
For two years, the Bush administration has ignored and violated international law and thus has undermined the very legitimacy of the treaties and principles that constitute the law of nations.
Firing First Without The Cover Of Rhetoric
The claim that this preemptive war is something new in our history registers as a touch naive.
I'm Afraid To Look, Afraid To Turn Away
Day and night, I watch my husbandís war play out on TV. I know what a mixed blessing that can be.
America Shows Its Colors
Humility, not hubris, is crucial to winning the peace.
The American Prime Minister
Why Blair has gained rare influence: he has strengths that Bush lacks.
POW TV: Why Rumsfeld Should Be Careful About Lecturing Saddam About The Geneva Conventions
To be sure, the Iraqis aren't taking their human rights cues from Guantanamo. But if they want a precedent, there it is.
This Is Not America
In increments, we have become a different nation. Will I have to flee my country as my ancestors did theirs?
"Shut Your Mouth"
As radio giants censor antiwar musicians, TV networks bully pro-peace actors, and Attorney General John Ashcroft prepares a new assault on civil liberties, a climate of intimidation creeps over America.
Using The News As A Weapon
The Pentagon may have been dragged kicking and screaming into its current embrace of the news media. But it is making the most of it.
Just Following (Saddam Hussein's) Orders
In Iraq, lamentably, nothing has changed.
The Goal Is Baghdad, But At What Cost?
There is little doubt that the United States military has the skills, training and weapons to take the capital and dislodge the Hussein government. The questions are how long it will take, and what the cost will be in terms of casualties, both allied and Iraqi.
'Bias' That Bends Over Backward To Right Itself
The better journalists do their job, the more likely conservatives are to see them as liberal.
Today's advocates of American empire share one surprising trait: Very few of them were born in the United States.
Tech & Science
Wheeled Robots Are Ready To Explore Mars, Past And Present
Mars is rising over NASA's horizon even as engineering analyses and soul-searching continue over the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts. Two identical rovers are to be launched in May and June, and are scheduled to land next January near the planet's equator.
When I Woke Up This Morning, Everything I Had Was Gone
The man I want to tell you about, the one I met at the bar at Jimmyís Steak House, was on a tear. Hardly surprising, since this was a bar, after all, and what do people do at bars except drink, and one drink leads to another-óand if youíre in a certain frame of mind, I suppose, you donít stop for a day or two, or maybe more. But this manó-he was in his forties, tall, no fat on him, dressed in a pair of stained Dockers and a navy-blue sweatshirt cut off raggedly at the elbows-óseemed to have been going at it steadily for weeks, months even.
Monday, March 24, 2003
Battling The Fog Of Finance
The truth about the three-year decline in stock prices and the hot-and-cold-running economy is that they have their roots in prosperity, not in war.
How Bush Made This His War
We are in the age of passion. You joined this war (or its opponents) years ago, without knowing it. I suppose human history has always catapulted itself ahead, or backward, with similar blindness. There is not much anyone can do now until it is all over; but once we have some breathing room we must start to take the duct tape off of our eyes.
I Was A Naive Fool To Be A Human Shield For Saddam
The human shields appealed to my anti-war stance, but by the time I had left Baghdad five weeks later my views had changed drastically. I wouldn't say that I was exactly pro-war - no, I am ambivalent - but I have a strong desire to see Saddam removed.
It Looks Like A Documentary And Quacks Like A Documentary... But Is It Really Just Michael Moore In A Duck Suit?
"Bowling For Columbine" sold as a documentary. Is it? Not in a conventional sense, no. It's brilliant filmmaking and in many ways it's a very important film. But shouldn't we call it a Filmed Essay instead of a Documentary?
Sunday, March 23, 2003
The last thing the world needs is a return to the stalemate of two world power blocs facing each other down. The United States and the European Union must learn to work together.
Why Are These People Smiliing?
With war underway, and a Bush victory a possibility, the antiwar movement appears to be in denial about its future influence.
We Forgot The Russians
It's too late to salvage the Security Council resolution that would have legitimized the war against Iraq. But it's not too late to start rebuilding an international consensus around the objective of providing a better, more democratic future for the people of Iraq. That is the side of the United States that is most attractive to the rest of the world. It's time to begin showing it. And this time, we should start by lining up the Russians.
The Western Front
The angry chasm between France and both England and the U.S. has shocked many people in Paris and prompted some to ask whether France went too far.
Academy Awards Can Mean More In Times Of War
Isn't this a little like going ahead with the wedding even though your grandmother just died? The hall's been rented, the preacher's been booked and you've paid the band, so you might as well go ahead and tie the knot.
Making espresso is a habit that, by paying close attention to the most minute detail, I have inadvertently turned into a ritual.
Awards Shows: The More Obscure, The Juicier?
While the glut of televised awards is most conspicuous during Oscar season, the explosion of cable has brought a year-round deluge of shows, honoring doggies and kiddies, fashion and history, pop idols and ethnic groups.
Saturday, March 22, 2003
A Double Standard On Dissent
The more a president's supporters use the term "commander in chief" to enhance his authority, the more important it is to remember his role as the political leader of a free republic who is not endowed with infallibility, unlimited power or immunity from criticism.
In The Land Of Diverse Opinion... Hollywood?
Despite outspoken celebrities, insiders say views of the war aren't nearly as unified as outsiders think.
A world away, Iraqi exiles watch the news, torn by fear and hope.
The Anti-American Lifestyle
Americans are convinced that the French hate America every bit as much as many Americans hate the French. But the reality I've encountered is more interesting — a France whose values are quite different from the anti-Americanism of Parisians in black 501 jeans and ponytails.
Why Colin Powell Should Go
Such a loyal and optimistic man would make some president a great secretary of state. Just not this president.
War News: Go Beyond The Usual Suspects
Maybe you didn't have time at the start of this war to check out the alternatives. In coming weeks and months, please make the time.
Past Mideast Invasions Faced Unexpected Perils
From Napoleon's drive into Egypt through Britain's rule of Iraq in the 1920s to Israel's march into Lebanon in 1982, Middle East nations have tempted conquerors only to send them reeling.
Tech & Science
The War Machine
The military's laptop of choice provokes shock and awe.
'Lost City' Yielding Its Secrets
Working with new evidence and a trove of re-examined relics, many of them recovered from the basement of a Yale museum here, archaeologists have revised their thinking about the significance of Machu Picchu, the most famous "lost city" of the Incas.
Friday, March 21, 2003
Operation Inflate The Coalition
During the last Gulf War, 32 nations sent troops to support the U.S. This time around, 3 nations did. So how is Donald Rumsfeld claiming Operation Iraqi Freedom is larger than the '91 coalition?
Don't Go Back To The U.N.
If we're going to negotiate terms, it should be with allies who helped us, who share our vision and our purposes. Not with France, Germany, Russia and China, which see us — you — as the threat, and whose singular purpose will be to subvert any victory.
By Whose Authority?
If we knew which babies would turn out to be murderous dictators, we could smother them in their cribs. If we knew which babies would turn out to be wise and judicious leaders, we could crown them dictator. In terms of the power he now claims, without significant challenge, George W. Bush is now the closest thing in a long time to dictator of the world. He claims to see the future as clearly as the past. Let's hope he's right.
Note To The Security Council: Get Involved
The involvement of Kofi Annan, the secretary general, is needed immediately to overcome the acrimonious atmosphere on the Security Council. Without Mr. Annan's guidance, the council will remain embroiled in petty politics and, unable to see beyond the horizon, fail to renew the United Nations' mandate for Iraq.
Who Lost The U.S. Budget?
The fault lies not in our stars, but in our leadership.
France In A Trance
For a long time, in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, no one dared question the Emperor about his new suit—but finally someone does.
Anger And Fear: Our War On The Home Front
As war begins, Britain has divided into two nations — those with loved ones going into action, and the rest of us. One father, whose Royal Marine son is in the Gulf, explains the dark and lonely fears of those who, like him, have found themselves on the other side of an invisible screen.
Now Bush's Doctrine Of War Will Be Put To The Test
Military pre-emptive doctrine will survive Iraq, in particular if its contradictions are cleared up and if the rules for intervention are subject to genuine multilateral discussion. But in the particular form that the Bush administration has proposed it, this may prove to be a one-war doctrine, even if that war goes very well, a doctrine tailored for Iraq and only distantly relevant to other situations.
UK Troops Told: Be Just And Strong
British troops waiting to attack Iraq have been told to behave like liberators rather than conquerors. But they have also been warned some of them may not return from Iraq alive.
Truth Already A Casualty
They say that the first casualty of war is truth. In the Internet age, it's the first 10 casualties.
Media Giant's Rally Sponsorship Raises Questions
In a move that has raised eyebrows in some legal and journalistic circles, Clear Channel radio stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, San Antonio, Cincinnati and other cities have sponsored rallies attended by up to 20,000 people. The events have served as a loud rebuttal to the more numerous but generally smaller anti-war rallies.
Now We're All Ugly Americans
I hope that my neighbors will make the distinction between American values and the outlaw administration currently running the country.
Tech & Science
China - Where Viral Outbreaks Are Born?
What does a taste for delicious Cantonese delicacies like suckling pig, roast duck and steamed herbal chicken have to do with the recent outbreak of atypical pneumonia sweeping across the globe?
La Guardia Makes Delays An Adventure
Smaller than John F. Kennedy International or Newark Liberty International airports, La Guardia has the charm that comes with intimacy.
Oscar Show Will Go On—In More Appropriate Way
To compare the 75th anniversary Academy Awards to the Windmill may seem disrespectful, but tell that to a Windmill Girl.
First Lambs, First Sauce
Modern, urban indicators are now needed to show that today is the first day of spring.
We Inerrupt This Broadcast, But How Much For How Long?
The fog of war has already settled over the entertainment divisions of the broadcast networks, as executives worry about when to return to regular programming after hostilities fully break out and what adjustments they will then have to make to their prime time lineups.
War Dawns In Prime Time
It's amazing how riveting television can be even when it doesn't show you what in hell is going on — and even when the journalists who are supposed to be telling you what's going on aren't quite certain themselves.
Thursday, March 20, 2003
The President's Real Goal In Iraq
This war is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman. It would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making, carried out by those who believe the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the "American imperialists" that our enemies always claimed we were.
After The Shooting Stops, Dreams Of Politicians Often Fall Apart
Will the architects of this war be more successful in shaping the course of events than their predecessors in the early 20th century? Or are they committing an act of monumental folly? One thing is certain: They have changed the way the U.S. is perceived around the world forever.
Move To War Leaves Some Feeling Alienated
As Americans braced in recent days for a war against Iraq, many Californians were feeling strangely out of it. The great expanse between the two coasts appeared ever vaster. The sense of threat, so acute in the East, was real but less immediate here.
Ready For The Peace?
Is it a good idea to liberate the people of Iraq from the clutches of a degenerate like Saddam Hussein? Sure. But there were better, less dangerous, ways to go about it.
Oil, Intimidation, Rage - Why We Are Really At War
To get closer to the truth, we must focus not on the probable consequences of this war, which will almost certainly be benign for the Iraqi people, but on Americaís motives.
Beyond The Sandstorm
Three visions of the future compete. Blair's is best, but can it ever be realised?
This War Is Brought To You By...
For all the president's (sales)men, the whole game is about global preeminence, if not unilateral world domination - military, economic, political and cultural. This may be an early 21st century replay of the "white man's burden". Or this may be just megalomania. Either way, enshrined in a goal of the Bush administration, it cannot but frighten practically the whole world, from Asia to Africa, from "old Europe" to the conservative establishment within the US itself.
Tech & Science
Iraq War Could Send German Cars In Wrong Direction: Club
Drivers whose cars are equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) may be the first to know when war breaks out against Iraq, a German automobile club said Tuesday.
The War? We'd Rather Watch The Simpsons
Children are pretty phlegmatic, and I have not noticed mine feeling any more anxious as war looms. For them it is a pretty abstract proposition in a faraway country, worthy of debate but barely impinging on their lives.
Why It's Best To Tell The Truth
From today our children will be unable to escape the images of death and destruction that are the inevitable result of war. When they ask why, how should we respond? By being honest, a family therapist says.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
How To Tell If We're Winning In Iraq
A score card for the first few days.
See No Evil
Progressives have lots of arguments against the war on Iraq — some of them compelling. But why aren't they burning to free Saddam's oppressed masses?
Pro Or Anti-War, We Should Cherish Our Differences
Let them pray... and be heard.
Those who know the Mideast should help democracy along.
A Last, Grim Look At Gaza
I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see.
Addressing The Naysayers
The president demonstrated Monday night that he understands a tested political axiom: If you do not like the news, make some of your own.
Blair In Agony
Until now, Blair has always tried to play by the rules of multilateral Europe and to back the United States. Now he knows that he can't have it both ways, and his agony shows on his face.
9/11 Families Fight Tears And A New Year
"It's very insulting to hear President Bush say this is for September 11."
Having more allied support in rebuilding Iraq will increase the odds that we do it right, and because if the breach that has been opened between us and our traditional friends hardens into hostility, we will find it much tougher to manage both Iraq and all the other threats down the road.
We're Not All Peaceniks — But You Wouldn't Know It
Even so, it is one thing (and far from dishonourable) to refuse to support the war because it has not been given the official seal of approval by the UN. It is quite another actively to oppose an operation which will have the effect of removing one of the worst and most violent tyrannies in the world.
Trust Tony's Judgment
Blair is in a position not of his own making, because Iraq and other nations were unwilling to follow the logic of 1441.
See Men Shredded, Then Say You Don't Back War
I do not have a monopoly on wisdom or morality. But I know one thing. This evil, fascist regime must come to an end.
Tech & Science
In Click Languages, An Echo Of The Tongues Of The Ancients
A new genetic study underlines the extreme antiquity of a special group of languages, raising the possibility that their distinctive feature was part of the ancestral human mother tongue.
Good Morning, New York: Eggs Over Easy, Business On The Side
All over New York, in restaurants that are better known for lunch or dinner, breakfast is becoming increasingly important.
A Trip ToThe Heart Of Dim Sum
Hong Kong, which has about 10,000 places to eat, probably more per capita than any other city, is utterly obsessed with dim sum, and no place else comes close to offering dim sum of equal excellence and variety. This is dim sum nirvana.
Late Night TV Hosts Cultivate War Neutrality
They're not exactly for it, nor are they solidly against it, either. They are, it seems, on both sides at once. They're the comedic equivalent of Switzerland. And proud of it.
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Freedom Of Speech — Or Of Intimidation?
In an era where demonstrators can be hired for the right price, mob rule is beginning to replace peaceful protests as the preferred means of making a point.
Pearl Habor 2003?
The United States is facing a deep and terrible crisis in Northeast Asia, and the repeated statements by the secretary of state and others to the contrary are making it worse.
Things To Come
Victory in Iraq won't end the world's distrust of the United States because the Bush administration has made it clear, over and over again, that it doesn't play by the rules.
Bush, Shame And The Dixie Chicks
The arch-conservative country music biz forced Natalie Maines to apologize to the president. But for a moment she was the bravest American entertainer.
A subway planned for Iraqís capital was never builtóor was it? Saddamís biggest secret may be a weapon of mass transit.
The Arrogant Empire
Americaís unprecedented power scares the world, and the Bush administration has only made it worse. How we got hereó-and what we can do about it now.
Is The Pram In The Hallway The Enemy Of Good Art?
I've always known about the school of thought that says writing plus babies does not go.
London? I Must Be California Dreaming
After years of living in Santa Monica, our reporter returns to Britain to find its capital bursting with pilates, yoga and life coaches — albeit served up with crisps, Danish pastries and wine.
So Did Agent Mulder Kill The "The X Files"?
David Duchovny doesn't mourn the final passing of the conspiracy-driven science fiction series that made his name. But mystery persists: what destroyed his working relationship with Gillian Anderson?
'I Can Stratch The Itch'
He swears like a docker, berates his viewers, and mocks his president. So why has Jon Stewart been handed a show with a global audience of 160 million?
In Defense Of The Slippery Slope
Despite the metaphor's poor reputation, a good decision now can lead to a bad one later.
Monday, March 17, 2003
A Long, Winding Road To A Diplomatic Dead End
Just about everyone involved now acknowledges that a train of miscalculations and misunderstandings has produced a setback for American diplomacy and world standing.
American corporations with close ties to the White House are poised to cash in on Saddam's defeat. French companies need not apply.
The War Of Misinformation Has Begun
Of course, the Americans and British just might get into Baghdad in three days for their roses and rice water. That's what the British did in 1917. And from there, it was all downhill.
Domestic Policies Give Cause For Fear
An imminent war tends to overshadow everything else in the public mind. But our focus in one area should not turn into tunnel vision; things at the periphery matter, too.
What France Really Wants
A medium-sized power with super-sized ambitions.
Sorry, I'm Busy That Night
TV viewers and the networks, standing each other up on Saturdays.
On The Streets
Arthurs ordered liver and peas and mashed potatoes in Strode Street. When it came, the liver didnít taste good. A skin of fat was beginning to congeal on the surface of the gravy where the potato hadnít soaked it up. The bright-green peas were more or less all right.
Sunday, March 16, 2003
Joe Nation Nation
It's amazing how an area that prides itself on its tolerance and diversity elects so many politicians happy to use their power to ban behavior they don't like. Or to hammer other people to live as they do.
Equal Time For Protest Signs
In a controversial decision, a federal court says that if California allows Old Glory to hang from overpasses, it must allow political banners, too.
Repairing The World
What does Tony Blair get that George Bush doesn't? The only way I can explain it is by a concept from the Kabbalah called "tikkun olam." It means, "to repair the world."
English Sans French
dispute falling out over the best approach way to disarming Iraq take away Iraq's weapons has resulted in perhaps the highest level of anti-French feeling in the United States Lands since 1763.
Tech & Science
What Science Is Cooking Up
Advances in food research promise not only healthier products but also ways to avoid deadly disease. That's the good news.
Checking One's Bags
Why pack light when your husband has a bag too?
In Defense Of Twinkies
People always suspected that this delectable snack had staying power, but 73 years? That makes it an icon.
Why Blockbuster Flicks Suck
As it turns out, even the worst big-budget movies can incite a strange feeling of nostalgia.
Poetry And War, Again
The old question of poetry's authority in political life has been in the news again.
The Mystery Of My Eggs
By extracting a single cell from a speck-size embryo, I glimpsed my family's future.
Pixels At An Exhibition
For museum aficionados, the Internet can be a serendipitous joy, but it can also be a tease.
Recipde for satisfaction: an old friend, a few chicken necks and Maryland's most famous resident.
Beethoven wanted to write music full of comedy and tragedy — if only he could find a piano robust enough for the job.
Saturday, March 15, 2003
For modern women writers, balancing work and family is agony. For Jean Kerr, it was an art form.
Friday, March 14, 2003
The Bubble Of American Supremacy
I see parallels between the Bush administration's pursuit of American supremacy and a boom-bust process or bubble in the stock market.
The Rage, The Pride And The Doubt
To avoid the dilemma of whether this war should take place or not, to overcome the reservations and the reluctance and the doubts that still lacerate me, I often say to myself: "How good if the Iraqis would get free of Saddam Hussein by themselves. How good if they would execute him and hang up his body by the feet as in 1945 we Italians did with Mussolini." But it does not help. Or it helps in one way only.
Opinion For Sale
Confessions of an expert witness.
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Tech & Science
Universe As Doughnut: New Data, New Debate
A new detailed map has provided a series of hints that the universe may have a more complicated shape than astronomers presumed.
Walking And Chewing Gum And Fouling Up Royally
The studies are in: Multi-taskers take longer and do things worse. So much for efficiency.
You Made All This Yourself?
Antipasti, an assortment of small tastes that stimulate the palate without filling you up, are an ideal start to any dinner.
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Why Can Shopping Malls Limit Free Speech?
Because malls are private property, and our constitutional rights are triggered only when the government (and not a private citizen) tries to limit our freedoms.
Wrong Way To Do The Right Thing
The paradox is that creating the more democratic world we seek requires more than power. It demands alliances, institutions and trust. Doing the right thing the wrong way for the wrong reasons could squander all three.
Tech & Science
The Unbearable Loneliness Of Being Homo Sapiens
Homo sapiens is a lonely species. We have no living relatives in our genus, and the thought that we might have spent some time with another human species, even if it did go extinct, is comforting.
Wes Amerigo's Giant Fear
Wes awoke suddenly in his bed. He did not hurt anywhere or need water. His wife, Helen, sighed and twitched beside him, as she had for sixteen years. He looked out the window and saw snow mounting on his lawn. The clock glowed midnight, an hour Wes rarely saw. Somehow he felt an emergency at hand. An unfamiliar dread filled his mind and lungs, a feeling that he hadnít awoken by accident but been summoned like a minuteman to a war just taking shape.
Monday, March 10, 2003
Chipping Away At Roe
Abortion foes are poised to pass a ban on partial-birth abortion. Is it a meaningful change, or a manufactured political issue?
A Bad Idea In Vietnam, An Even Worse Idea Today
A group of scientists concluded in 1966 that crossing the nuclear threshold would be disastrous in Southwest Asia. The same would be true in Iraq.
The fear is that one (or both) of these men will overplay his hand and hurl us into a war no sane person could want and whose most serious casualties could come after the bombing stops. How did we come to such a pass?
Tech & Science
Birds of a feather arenít the only ones to flock together. The science of synchrony shows that order and cooperation are as much natureís way as disorder and chaos.
And Here's To You, Mrs Robinson
This subject of the younger man having an affair with an older woman still interests me greatly, because time passes and ìyoungerî and ìolderî mean different things to me.
Actors, Writers Grin And Bear A Harsh Reality
Jokes may flow at awards shows, but anxiety is mounting over long-term effects of the trend toward unscripted series.
In A Digitally Animated World, Oscar Stands Rigid
Digital technology may have transformed the movies, but the Oscars have yet to acknowledge its existence.
Sunday, March 9, 2003
On Being Back In America
It has become fashionable overseas to hate America because of the stupidity of Bush's foreign policy decisions. How said is that?
Public Prayer Fanatics Borrow Page From Enemy's Script
When Ashcroft and his enemies both begin their days with displays of their godliness, do we feel safer after they rise from their devotions?
Saturday, March 8, 2003
To Get More Voters, Make Voting Easier
Effective election reform requires more than replacing "butterfly ballots" with electronic voting machines, as some states started to do last year. It requires encouraging people to use those new machines. In short, it isn't enough to make voting possible. We need to make it as easy as possible.
Tech & Science
Smart-Mobbing The War
Eli Pariser and other young antiwar organizers are the first to be using wired technologies as weapons. But some of the old difficulties won't go away.
A Buyer's Market
You don't need to speak Chinese to get the freshest and cheapest provisions in town.
Our Snoopy Pups
Like the rest of the entertainment industry, the toy business sometimes offers revealing clues about what's on our collective mind — or, at any rate, about what the people in the marketing department think the rest of us might be thinking.
Blond Power: Its Siren Call
Blondes. The very word sets off reactions: identification, hostility, envy, attraction, even jokes. All are relatively harmless compared with the impact of blondes through the ages. In the West alone, they have variously personified seduction, sanctity, innocence, immorality, intellectual simplicity and racial superiority. What exactly is the strange power exercised by blondes?
Friday, March 7, 2003
What Conservative Media?
In this battle, of course, bias is often in the eye of the beholder. That's why the only way to see it clearly is through actual media competition - where markets, rather than benevolent, politically appointed moguls, determine the content of the product.
Tech & Science
Study Of Antarctic Points To Rising Sea Levels
New evidence from a rapidly warming part of Antarctica suggests that ice can flow into the sea much more readily than had been predicted, perhaps leading to an accelerated rise in sea levels from global warming.
Threats And Consequences
I should probably call the Secret Service, but I cringe at the thought of diming out the poor old guy. I call our lawyer, the Poynter Institute, the national editor at The New York Times. They all say the same thing.
Thursday, March 6, 2003
There's More Than Just U.S. Credibility At Stake In Iraq
Weíre all hostage to the Bush administrationís incompetence, whether we like it or not.
Keep Out Sign Irresistible Online
Despite one website creator's plea to stay away from his site, people just can't stand not clicking on the Don't Go There button. The site, programmed to go dark after 100 visitors, stayed live just shy of one hour.
The Torch Is Passed, Handle First
For at least four generations in my family, the beloved tools have been antique bone-handle forks. Although they vary in shape and size -ó so much that it is nearly impossible to find two that are identical -ó all of ours share a few qualities.
Steamy Tales From A Barista In A Coffee Shop
Ever since I started getting milk all over my apron three years ago, the coffee industry and I have had a love-hate relationship.
Wednesday, March 5, 2003
The Thirty Year Itch
Three decades ago, in the throes of the energy crisis, Washington's hawks conceived of a strategy for US control of the Persian Gulf's oil. Now, with the same strategists firmly in control of the White House, the Bush administration is playing out their script for global dominance.
God, Satan And The Media
One of the deepest divides in America today is the gulf of mutual suspicion that separates evangelicals from secular society, and policy battles over abortion and judicial appointments will aggravate these tensions further in coming months. Both sides need to reach out, drop the contempt and display some of the inclusive wisdom of Einstein, who wrote in his memoir: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
Tech & Science
The Case Of The Mute Scientists
Sherlock Holmes once solved a murder mystery by asking why the watchdog did not bark. It is time to ask why, in light of this ongoing distortion of scientific reality, American scientists are not barking in protest.
Fake Accent For 'Voice' Of Hussein?
In an environment in which many inside and outside the media business worry about the blurring of the lines between news and entertainment, the notion of CBS News hiring someone to fake an accent has met with some gasps, a few laughs and a lot of puzzlement.
The Marvelous Michelin Man
Don't blame the top restaurant guide for a French chef's suicide.
Some Reality Shows Have Survival Value
Like dung beetles, Fox reality shows are not always lovely to look at, but they have an ingenious ability to put embarrassing material to use.
Tuesday, March 4, 2003
Tech & Science
In Bad Days, Science Must Muzzle Itself
In this age of terror, when should science silence itself? Apparently, now.
At South Pole, New Home For A New Era
Residents of the South Pole -ó astronomers, chemists, technicians, cooks, construction workers ó are carrying their possessions 100 yards across snow and ice, bidding farewell to the windowless geodesic dome that has served for three decades as a symbol of polar exploration. On March 4, they begin taking up residence in a huge enclosure on stilts that resembles an economy motel, complete with windows.
When you met Christie for the first time, it took only minutes to learn that she was from Greenwich, Connecticut, but months could go by before you got another solid fact out of her.
Monday, March 3, 2003
Problems Of International Law
Even if Saddam Hussein were well-meaning, he still wouldn't be all-knowing. The United States actually is well-meaning, but we're not all-knowing either.
Bush Misleds The Average Joe On Tax Cuts
The administration persists in pushing its tax-cut numbers, ignoring their obvious problems and evidently calculating that repetition and the public's desire to trust in the president's veracity will win the day on support for the package.
Inspecting US Weapons
Why can't we have independent inspections of the US military's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons stocks?
Tech & Science
U.S. Citizens Get More Organs Than They Give
Mixing politics, nationality and medicine makes doctors and the transplant network uncomfortable.
Take That, Monica! Kapow, Chandler!
Online performance is, in a way, a form of street theater, and audience participation is expected to enliven the action.
Stop Clapping, This Is Serious
Tom Lehrer is still feisty and funny, but the king of sophisticated satire says there's no place for his style of humor now: the world just wouldn't get it.
Sunday, March 2, 2003
Forget The Advice - Give Us Vaccinations
Our government is once again treating us like docile second-graders in a dusty basement.
Psychiatric Friends Network
Entertaining a houseful of shrinks can really mess with your head.
You Are What You Queue
Our lives and psyches are more public than ever, thanks to Netflix.
Saturday, March 1, 2003
Life Along The DMZ
As tensions rise over North Korea's nuclear program, the world is focusing once more on the stark dividing line that has split a region for half a century.
Too Old To Work?
If you're over 40 and work for a big company, your future may well be tied to the fate of 6,400 Allstate agents who refuse to be "streamlined."
A Costly Charade At The U.N.
The entire exercise is ridiculous, but for unfathomable reasons it matters to many, both at home and around the world, that the United States should have the permission of Guinea to risk the lives of American soldiers to rid the world — and the long-suffering Iraqi people — of a particularly vicious and dangerous tyrant.
Tech & Science
The Seven Warning Signs Of Bogus Science
I have identified seven indicators that a scientific claim lies well outside the bounds of rational scientific discourse. Of course, they are only warning signs — even a claim with several of the signs could be legitimate.
Online Library Wants It All, Every Book
The directors of the new Alexandria Library, which christened a steel and glass structure with 250,000 books in October, have joined forces with an American artist and software engineers in an ambitious effort to make virtually all of the world's books available at a mouse click.
Sneakers, Sweater And Warm Heart: Mr. Rogers
There are people in this world who really shouldn't be allowed to die and Fred Rogers was one of them.
RHC Decides To Close Red Herring Magazing
RHC Media Inc. has decided to shutter its Red Herring magazine, according to a person familiar with the matter, ending a 10-year period in which Red Herring was a pioneering force in the market for "New Economy" magazines.