Category Politics/Culture

An Excerpt That Says Most Everything About Putin’s War Against Ukraine


“Yahidne was captured by Russian troops in the early days of the war and badly damaged in the fighting with Ukrainian forces that followed. After killing a number of men in cold blood, the invaders herded the remaining population of the village, 367 people (including 70 children, the youngest a 21-day-old baby), into the basement of the local school. They were kept there for 26 days and nights, with less than half a square metre of space per person, four buckets for toilets and barely enough air. Ten people died of suffocation, untreated medical conditions and neglect. As the bodies piled up, the Russians allowed a burial party, but opened fire on it in the cemetery. The villagers carried the wounded back to the basement in the wheelbarrows they’d used to carry out the dead. At the end of the month the Russians retreated.

“Anna Zvyagintseva’s photograph The Same Hair shows a young child sitting on...

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Regarding Joe Biden’s Age

There’s almost no escaping it, so no reason to try. If you google “polls on Joe Biden’s age,” you get a grim story, with precarious portents for his re-election campaign.

Sample headlines:

Biden’s Age Is Wearing on Democrats (Newsweek, July 25)

Nearly Half of Independent Voters Say Biden’s Age ‘Severely’ Limits Ability to Be President (The Hill, June 7)

Broad Doubts About Biden’s Age and Acuity Spell Republican Opportunity in 2024: Poll
(ABC News, May 7)

Less Than 35% Think Biden Has “Mental Sharpness” for Second Term (Axios, May 7)

Many other such citations suggest the steep hill the now 80-year-old Biden must climb to overcome voters’ doubts that he will be up to the job and continue his record-breaking run as the oldest person ever to hold the American presidency. (Ronald Reagan was the previous geriatric champion when he finished his second term at age 77 in 1988.)

Those doubting voters include o...

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Our Glass Half-Full (or Is It?) Democracy

Soooo…how are we to look at this time, this tumult, this dark collision of forces that seem on one hand to be head-shakingly outrageous and on the other to be the logical and inevitable denouement to Donald Trump’s brawl of a presidency? With the benefit of hindsight, it seems obvious: It was always going to come to this, wasn’t it?

In just four short years, the ex-president seemed to land himself and the entire country somewhere between reality television antics and the deadly goals of a Third World dictator employing every lever of illicit power in a desperate attempt to hoard it forevermore.

The questions haunt our days (and nights). Where are we, and where are we going?

Glass half-full or half-empty, the center holding or splintering, the rule of law abiding or anarchy and chaos ahead?

Whatever your metaphor, we seem poised on some awful precipice in our history, one without any true parallel, and anyo...

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Notes on “The Most Pro-Life President in Modern American History”

History just keeps confounding us—both as we look back upon it with modern sensibilities (“How could they have???”) and how it unfolds in front of us in real time. (“Could this really be happening?”)

But there’s also an in-between take on history that is the recent past. Viewed more from the vantage point of years rather than decades or centuries, it follows upon daily journalism’s “first draft of history” with enough data and perspective to weave together a more complete picture of issues that have vexed or misled us in the whirlwind of everyday life.

Early this past week, “New York Times” columnist David French, a conservative  evangelical Christian, anti-abortion advocate and former attorney who specialized in cases defending religious liberty, did something unusual in the largely partisan world of opinion-mongering. He examined actual data about abortion trends since Roe v...

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All Is Flux, Change Happens, Everything Passes–Grudgingly

Sixth century B.C. Greek philosopher Heraclitus, like many who came before and after him, noted the endless flux of existence, he with a particularly rich metaphor that ensured his name would be etched forevermore into the canon of universal wisdom: “You can’t step into the same river twice.”

True enough. The sun rises, the sun sets, and before it rises again, however placid the intervening hours may have seemed, nothing and nobody is exactly as it was the day before.

We’re a day older, a dollar richer or poorer, and, inconveniently enough, our planet a day closer to the exploding fireball it will inevitably become in the course of geologic time. (Whereupon all its parts will change into something else.)

Out of all this comes a synthesis: new knowledge, insights, accommodations and compromises that come together in a fresh and life-giving new reality that honors humans’ dual needs for both tradition/securi...

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