In a 2004 feature story for Newsweek, Nancy Reagan showed us how to mourn with dignity and grace.
Appearances can deceive. We picture John F. Kennedy's inauguration, 50 years ago this month, through a warm haze of nostalgia and regret. How romantic it seems now, how far away, and how unlike our own dreary time. Washington must have been Camelot then, or so the mythmakers tell us, and so we wish to believe.
For all its excesses, America is an extraordinarily stable country. The overlooked consolation of terrible, seemingly earth-shattering events like the slaughter in Tucson is that the country is not forever changed by lunatics with guns or even zealots flying airplanes into buildings.
Officers have been complaining about the politicians back in Washington for as long as anyone can remember, but they generally do it privately. But while Gen. Stanley McChrystal was foolish to be so unguarded around Rolling Stone, it’s better to have a commander who feels compelled to speak the truth than one who just tells his civilian bosses what they wish to hear.
Frustrated sons of privilege, caught between East and West, sometimes make for dangerous militants. Mohamed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, was the son of a Cairo lawyer and the grandson of a doctor. The so-called underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is the son of a wealthy Nigerian diplomat. Faisal Shahzad, too, appeared to be a fairly secularized, Westernized Pakistani. His father was once a high-ranking official in Pakistan’s Air Force, and Faisal had become a U.S. citizen. But unknown to many who knew him superficially, his life was riven by tensions that propelled him toward terrorism.
John Paul Stevens went from judicial conservative to liberal light, but the court he served for 35 years stayed mostly in the middle.
A leading reformer and a union head square off over teacher tenure.
While the political parties duke it out over divisive social issues, the majority of Americans remain steadfastly in the middle.
Moderate Republicans—yes, they are not yet extinct, though most are in hiding—scoff at Sarah Palin and wish she would go away. But she's not going away. This week she's going on-air with Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey to flog her new book, Going Rogue: An American Life, and to promote her brand of in-your-face, power-to-the-people conservatism. President Obama is no doubt happy to have her out there on full display. He cannot help but relish the prospect, no longer farfetched, that the Republicans will nominate Palin to oppose his reelection in 2012. A student of history, Obama could be thinking of his predecessor in presidential coolness, John F. Kennedy. In 1963 Kennedy's advisers counseled against giving Sen. Barry Goldwater national stature by posing with the GOP's conservative insurgent at a White House photo op. "What are you giving that SOB all that publicity for?" demanded White House aide Kenny O'Donnell. "Leave him alone," JFK replied. "He's mine." (Article continued...