Visual Source: Newseum
Roger Cohen is both cheered and chilled by thoughts of the decade since 9/11.
Perhaps it’s the skies of a 9/11 blue, perhaps it’s the passage of a decade, perhaps it’s the thought of all the articles and reflections and memorial services now just weeks away, I can’t help seeing the city as a kaleidoscope of now and then, jagged images of molten steel and lost ones alternating with scenes of careless summer laughter.
New York has won again. It has come back. America has not. That’s the kernel these images secrete.
The city has asserted its ability to come together. The “homeland,” awful post-9/11 neologism, has not. America struggles still to rediscover its bearings and sense of direction. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with their more than 6,000 U.S. dead, still take their toll. The “banksters,” salvaged by tax dollars, get richer. Ordinary folk get poorer. Youth unemployment is at 24 percent. Corporations sit on their cash piles. Algorithms drive Americans to the news that comforts their prejudices and stokes their anger. No wonder ideological division has become so paralyzing in Washington.
A beautifully written, evocative piece by a man who appreciates good writing.
Leonard Pitts looks at the other side of 9/11 to see what we can learn by sifting the trash left behind by bin Laden.
In some ways, arguably the most telling revelation is the most recent. U.S. officials poring over bin Laden’s writings say the world’s number one terrorist had concluded that he — or, more accurately, al Qaeda — had an image problem.
Having killed too many Muslims, the group had, he thought, alienated much of the Muslim world. Murdering your customer base will tend to have that effect. ... There are two particularly effective methods for manipulating people. The first is to create fear. Fearful people — the last decade of American history proves this — are easily stampeded.
Very good point. So good that someone else may be writing a piece about this. Say, in this space about two hours from now.
The New York Times points up that the Defense of Marriage Act requires the government to constantly engage in discriminatory behavior.
The many couples who will take advantage of New York’s new marriage equality law will not be married in the eyes of Washington. ... they cannot receive Social Security benefits for spouses ... cannot file joint federal income tax returns ... If they work for the federal government, they cannot extend their health insurance policy to their spouses. A childless soldier with a same-sex spouse will not receive the housing allowance for dependents, even after “don’t ask, don’t tell” is fully repealed.
And what about repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell? NYT editors also remind us that this remains unfinished business.
t has been six months since Congress voted to allow military service by openly gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans, but the law banning their service is still in effect. The Pentagon has not certified that the military is ready for the change, and while that process needlessly drags on, soldiers continue to be discharged for acknowledging their sexuality.
Get on it, Leon.
Virginia Heffernan admits that it can be difficult to see the value in violent games, but points out that the audience for games and the nature of gaming, isn't always what we expect.
Thanks to the explosion of mobile games that have drawn in the crossword and Sudoku crowd, adult women now make up a bigger proportion of gamers (37 percent) than do boys 17 or younger (13 percent), according to a study by the Entertainment Software Association. ... Sometimes, when you don’t know exactly what’s going on, you need to keep the parameters of boredom and frustration narrow. You need to confront rigged cartoonish challenges that, as it happens, you can — with pleasurable effort — perfectly meet. Games, like nothing else, give a break from the feeling that you’re either too dumb or too smart for this world.
Frank Bruni says that kids may not be dominant in the gaming market, but they do dominate one area of our lives: politics.
In its infancy (pardon the term), this campaign season has already become excessively showy with exhibitionist parenting. Just last week President Obama asserted that Congressional Republicans, playing brinkmanship with the deadline for raising the debt ceiling, should emulate his daughters, Malia, 12, and Sasha, 10.
At least the president shows more restraint than many of his Republican challengers, who used the opening minutes of their presidential debate a few weeks ago to engage in a kind of reproductive arms race, each of them one-upping the other on the fecundity front.
Rick Santorum mentioned his seven children. Michele Bachmann followed up by plugging her five children and her 23 foster kids, making the latter sound like permanent charges rather than the temporary lodgers they were. Mitt Romney ticked off five sons, five daughters-in-law and, lest he let Bachmann lap him, 16 grandchildren.
Then Ron Paul outpaced them all. Instead of giving a count of his own kids (five), he tallied roughly 4,000 lives that he, as a physician, had helped usher into the world. Go, babies, go.
If we're going to declare that our kids are "off limits" to politics, then what about... making kids off limits to politics?
George Will wants you to know that he's not a crazy, paranoid ideologue. Got that? OK, now here's how Democrats in 1977 were to blame for the 2008 fiscal crisis.
Dana Milbank isn't laughing about Stephen Colbert's latest trip to D.C.
Colbert set out to prove how flimsy campaign finance limits have become since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, and the SuperPAC he created is egregious enough, allowing contributions of any size. But what he proposes to do isn’t nearly as abusive as what’s already going on. While Colbert’s PAC has to release the names of people who give him more than $200, the campaign finance vehicles preferred by Karl Rove allow individuals to give millions of dollars to elect candidates without the donors’ names becoming public.
The structure of Colbert SuperPAC is so limited that, campaign finance experts said, there was no need for him to seek permission from the FEC. And that’s the trouble: The real campaign finance abuses are more horrible than Colbert’s fiction.
New Scientist is not suggesting that if you skip the hot dogs and concentrate on the brews you'll come out of this weekend younger than you went in, but...
As the cells get older, they acquire clumps of proteins and extra pieces of DNA, but when Angelika Amon at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and colleagues tracked spores from old and young yeast cells they found that such abnormalities disappeared, meaning all spores had the same lifespan.
My prediction: when I'm 80, science will find a way to stop aging. When I'm dead +1 day, they'll discover a way to reverse it, with immortality for a side dish. The rest of you just need to hang on.
And for Pete's sake, be careful with those fireworks.