"Professor Chafe argued that trauma or tragedy strengthened them and gave them the qualities of leadership they displayed later in life. Could adversity temper a jurisprudence that critics of the chief justice have discerned as bloodless and unduly distant from the messy reality of the lives of ordinary people who fail to file their appeals on time?" -Linda Greenhouse's "Supreme Court Memo" August 1, the day after Chief Justice John Roberts' seizure.
Obligatory Thatcher Slam
"British skinhead culture, which had emerged from the Mod scene in the late 1960s, took a nasty turn in the '80s. Although the movement had its nonviolent element, tolerant of multiculturalism, the National Front exploited the jingoism of the early Thatcher years to instill racism in those with weak minds and steel-capped boots." - Graham Fuller's profile of Shane Meadows, director of the new movie "This Is England," July 22.
Anti-War Film Critic Recommends Oval Office Viewing
"In some ways 'No End in Sight' asks a very simple question, one that is already beginning to be asked in political circles, in journalism, on talk shows, the question Who lost Iraq? Who's responsible for the fact that this war has gone on for four years, more than four years, with so much violence? And the movie supplies very specific answers. It names names. It says Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, L. Paul Bremer, Dick Cheney, George Bush. Perhaps not surprisingly, all of these people declined Charles Ferguson's offer to be interviewed for this movie. One can only hope that one of these days they'll get around to watching it." - Chief movie critic A.O. Scott, in a July 27 online video accompanying his favorable review of the anti-war documentary.
Well, When You Put It That Way....
"The Children's Health Insurance Program has suddenly become a vehicle for an ideological struggle between President Bush and Congress over the future of the health care system. But in the short term, members of both parties say, the broader outline of that struggle is likely to be reduced to a simple question: 'Are you for or against children?' - Robert Pear, August 1.
Why the Quotation Marks?
"...Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, who describes himself as both 'pro-life' and a Giuliani supporter." - Robin Toner, July 30. The more critical term "Anti-abortion" was used by Toner previously in the story without quotation marks around it.
How "Nice" that Some Rockers Say Bush Should Be "Hung and Shot"
"On Saturday night Mr. De La Rocha responded. He attacked the 'fascist' Fox News pundits for 'claiming that we said that the president should be assassinated.' As the crowd shouted its approval, he continued, 'No: he should be brought to trial as a war criminal and hung and shot. That's what we said.' Despite the insistence on due process, this still isn't a position any mainstream politician would endorse. But that's precisely the point: At a time when unimpeachable causes and pragmatic endorsements are the norm, it's nice to be reminded that rock stars can get political without sounding like politicians." - Music writer Kelefa Sanneh on the Zack De La Rocha, singer for the left-wing rap-rock group Rage Against the Machine, July 30.
The Long Shadows of New Haven
"It was part of a raid that has complicated, but not defeated, this city's novel plan to bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows." - Nina Bernstein, on the New Haven, Conn., municipal ID card plan for illegal immigrants, July 23.
Flashback: "Over the last several years, [New Haven] has gone to great lengths to turn itself into a kind of haven, quite literally, for illegal immigrants. It was not that new immigrants were pouring in, but that there were thousands already living here, and the officials who have long run the city wanted to bring them out of the shadows."- Jennifer Medina, June 8.
Conservative? Since When?
"Andrew Sullivan, a conservative blogger writing on theatlantic.com, put it this way: 'The current old white men running for the G.O.P. already seem from some other planet. Ducking YouTube after the Dems did so well will look like a party uncomfortable with the culture and uncomfortable with democracy.'" - Katharine Seelye, August 2.
Reality Check: "And what has this messianic maniac in the White House done? He has set loose a fantastically murderous war in Iraq, he has sacrificed thousands of young Americans with the result not of restraining but empowering our enemies, he has done incalculable long-term damage to the country's fiscal standing, he has indirectly caused the massacre of tens of thousands of innocents, he has come close to wrecking the military of the United States, and he has robbed the United States of its long and hard-won record of humane and decent warfare. This is not the work of a conservative statesman; it's the mark of a delusional fanatic." - From a July 17 posting at Sullivan's blog at The Atlantic magazine website.
John Edwards, the New JFK
"Surrounding him were about 100 voters, all seated on outdoor chairs provided by the local Congregational church, in a scene that could not have been more picturesquely American - democracy in action at its most intimate level. Even the music of John Mellencamp - 'Our Country' - helped make that point. For Mr. Edwards, Iowa is his field of dreams." - Leslie Wayne, July 22.
Gee, Didn't See That One Coming...
"The madman in charge doesn't know what he's doing. Nobody trusts anybody else. All conversation is obfuscation. And if you open your ears, you hear a rising murmur of discontent among the people the institution is supposed to be serving. Does that sound like your office? Then how about your country? The creepy workplace portrayed in Harold Pinter's political-Gothic comedy 'The Hothouse,' which opened last week in a revival at the National Theater, has a familiarity that draws hard but anxious laughter from London theatergoers, the kind that erupts when the lines between funny and scary blur." - Theatre critic Ben Brantley writing from London on July 24.
So the Times Now Backs English-Only Laws?
"Given those results, a new McDonald's menu item is a bit of a stunner. Remember Supersize sodas? They're back, except this time the chain is trying a new name. Meet the 'Hugo,' a 42-ounce drink now available for as little as 89 cents in some markets. A Hugo soda contains about 410 calories. McDonald's might as well have called it the Tubbo. Making matters worse , Hugo ads are available in several languages, making sure that minorities - who are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic - are aware of the budget beverage." - Business reporter Andrew Martin, July 22 (headline hat-tip to James Taranto's "Best of the Web").