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The weekly essay by Hendrik Hertzberg and others.

Published: Mon, 23 Sep 2013 22:56:50 GMT2013-09-23T22:56:50Z

Copyright: Copyright 2006 CondeNet Inc. All rights reserved.

Hendrik Hertzberg: The Afghanistan strategy.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 05:00:00 GMT2009-12-07T05:00:00Z

There are no good options for the United States in Afghanistan. That has been the conventional wisdom for some years now, and this time the conventional wisdom—the reigning cliché—happens to be true. President Obama did not pretend otherwise in his address at West Point last . . .

Jill Lepore: The history of health-care reform.

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 05:00:00 GMT2009-11-30T05:00:00Z

8220;At present the United States has the unenviable distinction of being the only great industrial nation without compulsory health insurance,” the Yale economist Irving Fisher said in a speech in December. December of 1916, that is. More than nine decades ago, Fisher thought that universal health coverage was . . .

Steve Coll: War and Politics

Mon, 19 Oct 2009 04:00:00 GMT2009-10-19T04:00:00Z

Over the summer, the Afghan Taliban’s military committee distributed “A Book of Rules,” in Pashto, to its fighters. The book’s eleven chapters seem to draw from the population-centric principles of F.M. 3-24, the U.S. Army’s much publicized counter-insurgency field manual . . .

Hendrik Hertzberg: Nobel Surprise

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 04:00:00 GMT2009-10-12T04:00:00Z

If President Obama really had to get a gift postmarked Scandinavia this month, he would probably, on the whole, have preferred the Olympics. At least at the Olympics the judges wait till after the race to give you the gold medal. They don’t force it on you while . . .

Michael Specter: Swine flu rumors and fears.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 04:00:00 GMT2009-10-05T04:00:00Z

On April 21st, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that two children in Southern California had developed a “febrile respiratory illness” caused by a flu virus that had never before been recognized in humans. The C.D.C. referred to the infection, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly . . .

Elizabeth Kolbert: Leading Causes

Mon, 28 Sep 2009 04:00:00 GMT2009-09-28T04:00:00Z

On October 13, 1992, the United States became the world’s first industrialized nation to ratify a treaty on climate change. The treaty committed its parties to the important, if awkwardly worded goal of preventing “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” In acknowledgment of the fact . . .

Adam Gopnik: Read All About It

Mon, 21 Sep 2009 04:00:00 GMT2009-09-21T04:00:00Z

In hard times, we look to the single savior, the knight in shining armor. Or knights: the Beatles, forty years on, have reappeared, walking across the same old London road, to rescue what’s left of the record industry. At the same moment, the publishing industry, still afloat but . . .

Hendrik Hertzberg: Lies

Mon, 14 Sep 2009 04:00:00 GMT2009-09-14T04:00:00Z

After the tea-partying, town-meeting-disrupting, pistol-packing mensis horribilis of August, more than a few commentators complained, as one of them put it, that “Obama should have seen it coming.” No one doubted that the current attempt to overhaul America’s uniquely wasteful and unjust . . .

Lauren Collins: Times Square vs. The High Line.

Mon, 07 Sep 2009 04:00:00 GMT2009-09-07T04:00:00Z

In 1642, a wheelwright named Claes Rademaker, stooping over a chest of duffels cloth, which he had intended to barter for beaver pelts, was axed in the back of the neck. The murder occurred, the settler David de Vries wrote, “on the Wickquasgeck road over which the Indians passed . . .

Nicholas Lemann: Kennedy Care

Mon, 31 Aug 2009 04:00:00 GMT2009-08-31T04:00:00Z

8220;One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who . . .