What happened on February 17, 2008
The miracle of melancholia Eric G. Wilson, Eric G. Wilson is a professor of English at Wake Forest University and author of "Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy."
Not pack men Joel Pett, Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appears in USA Today.
The test of a president Susan Jacoby, Susan Jacoby is the author of "The Age of American Unreason."
View from a squad car Jack Dunphy, Jack Dunphy is the pseudonym of a Los Angeles police officer who writes a column for National Review Online.
A war on women Ann Jones, Ann Jones, the author of "Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan," works as a volunteer with the International Rescue Committee on a special project for its gender-based violence unit. A longer version of this article appears at Tomdispatch.com.
The monstrosity next door Todd Gish, Todd Gish is an architect and urban historian in Los Angeles.
Lies Sacramento tells itself Mark Paul, Mark Paul, senior scholar at the New America Foundation, was formerly deputy treasurer of California and deputy editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee.
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Roll 'em Richard Schickel, Richard Schickel is the author of many books, including the forthcoming "Film on Paper."
Wild things Richard Eder, Richard Eder, a former Times book critic, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1987.
A prodigal son Jonathan Kirsch, Jonathan Kirsch's most recent book is "A History of the End of the World."
A line in the sand Josh Kun, Josh Kun is a professor in USC's Annenberg School of Communications.
A life underground Wendy Smith, Wendy Smith is a critic and the author of "Real Life Drama: The Group Theatre and America, 1931-1940."
Tangled Lynell George, Lynell George is a Times staff writer.
The fog of war Evan Wright, Evan Wright, author of "Generation Kill," has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Friends and enemies Jane Smiley, Jane Smiley is the author of many novels and works of nonfiction.