February 5, 2014 |
Despite persistent polarization in Washington, a bipartisan consensus is emerging around the proposition that too many Americans are incarcerated for too long. Democrats tend to emphasize the injustice of excessive sentences that disproportionately affect racial minorities. Republicans are more likely to stress the cost of over-incarceration. But the common ground is real and significant. Last week, by a vote of 13 to 5, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Smarter Sentencing Act, sponsored by Sens.
March 2, 2004 |
By the end of his career, the Pulitzer Prize-wining historian Daniel Boorstin, who died last weekend at 89, had come to be derided in some quarters as a conservative. In an age that viewed national myths with skepticism, Boorstin celebrated American exceptionalism and touted Western achievements.
September 17, 2013
Re "The end of U.S. exceptionalism," Opinion, Sept. 12 Apparently vexed by the "oddness" of President Obama's speech on Syria last week, Timothy Garton Ash's commentary is an odd piece itself. The term "exceptionalism" was used in the title but never again appeared or explained thereafter, hence leaving the reader guessing. "Exceptionalism" in this article could mean "isolationist" at times and "interventionist" at others, or both, depending on the zeitgeist. Parenthetically, for your "average" American reader, "exceptionalism" has often been thought of as American material and cultural superiority.
December 2, 2011 |
If you want a gauge of an America on the downward slope, you could look at the recent poll commissioned by the newspaper the Hill, in which a startling 69% of respondents said they considered the country to be in decline. Or you could just consider the soaring language of this season's presidential candidates. Mitt Romney, in a recent Republican debate on foreign policy, was typical, insisting that "this century must be an American century" in which "America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.
October 24, 2010 |
So the options are these: You laugh with Kenny Powers, you laugh at Kenny Powers, you laugh at yourself for not laughing at Kenny Powers, you laugh at everyone else who does laugh at Kenny Powers. How about just not laughing? Now in the middle of its second season on HBO, "Eastbound & Down" remains one of the most perverse, confounding shows on television, a miasma of upturned middle fingers, offhand racism, casual drug use and profanity, all buoyed by a potent sense of American exceptionalism.
September 10, 2012 |
It can sometimes take a tragedy to reveal a truth. Who does not remember where they were on Sept. 11 when they heard that the towers had come down? But terrible times also can provide insight that might otherwise never come. In 2001, I was teaching in Chicago. My main break from work was frequent participation in a daily pickup soccer game that I stumbled onto soon after arriving in town. It was a virtual United Nations, with players from Argentina, Russia, Germany, Iran, Italy, Turkey, Georgia, Brazil, Poland, Korea, China and Mexico.
February 12, 2012 |
Coming Apart The State of White America, 1960-2010 Charles Murray Crown Forum: 407 pp., $27 Charles Murray's new book is hardly the bombshell that placed him on the Politically Incorrect Ten Most Wanted list 18 years ago when he co-wrote "The Bell Curve" with Richard J. Herrnstein in 1994. But by providing a data-driven argument for inequality's cultural and sociological roots, "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010" arrives just in time for the central political and policy debate in the 2012 elections: What is the nature of the widening gap between the rich and everyone else - and what can, or should, be done about it?
September 20, 2009 |
The documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has a story he clearly loves to tell. He was walking in New York City a few years ago -- on a date -- when he heard a man he'd just passed yell violently back at him: "What about Mingus?!" Preceding the name of the protean jazz bassist was a pungent (and unprintable) expletive. Burns turned to his date and reassured her. "It's just about 'Jazz,' " he said, referring to his 10-part history shown on PBS in 2001, which drew big audiences and critics' complaints that he overlooked key figures.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 2, 2003 |
Activists gathered in Redondo Beach on Saturday for an Amnesty International conference concluded that they don't have to venture overseas to find human rights abuses. Instead, they said, there are plenty here at home. The group's annual western regional conference, which began Friday and ends today at the Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach hotel, discussed different faces of discrimination around the globe -- everything from violence against women and gays to the ravages of AIDS in Africa to U.S.
February 19, 2010 |
Both rising stars and faces from the past borrowed from the movement of the moment Friday at an annual meeting of conservatives, where the language and energy of the "tea party" movement took center stage. "Patriots in this room and patriots across this country are rising up. And we have a message for liberals: We're planting the flag on common ground, and if you try to take our freedoms, we will fight back!" Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the activists gathered for the Conservative Political Action Conference.