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News > Issues

Battle Company Is Out There

"I went to Afghanistan last fall with a question: Why, with all our technology, were we killing so many civilians in air strikes? As of September of last year, according to Human Rights Watch, NATO was causing alarmingly high numbers of civilian deaths — 350 by the coalition, compared with 438 by the insurgents... To find out, I spent much of the fall in the Korengal Valley and elsewhere in Kunar province alongside soldiers who were making life-and-death decisions almost every day — decisions that led to the deaths of soldiers and of civilians." READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    afghanistan | war

News > World

Anthropologists at War: Are they crossing ethical lines?

“There may be some hope … in the military's approaching anthropology for guidance in the morass that is the 'war on terror.' One can see it as an encouraging sign for the future that more soldiers and policy makers want to think anthropologically, to see and understand the world from the perspective of others. If only military and government officials had come to anthropologists and other social scientists for insight about Iraqi culture, society, and history before the invasion of Iraq, perhaps we could have avoided this tragic war.” READ MORE >


News > Politics

Obama: Is it all about him?

“[According to Michelle Obama,] America’s illness goes far beyond a flawed political process: “Barack knows that at some level there’s a hole in our souls.” But they can be repaired… ‘Barack Obama... is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.' So we don’t have to work to improve our souls. Our broken souls can be fixed — by our voting for Barack Obama.” READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    barack obama | cynicism | elections

Opinion > Life

A night with the gang

It was my third night at the parish welcoming a group of homeless men for a wonderful meal, which tonight was cooked up by a lovely couple whose chili, both a vegetarian and meat version, was outstanding. I am getting to know some of the men. They spend their days in a center in midtown New York where they can’t spend the night. For… READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    homeless | lent

News > Issues

Artist hanged herself after aborting her twins

Her suicide note read: 'I told everyone I didn't want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late...' The inquest heard that Sylvia Beck, the victim's mother, wrote to the hospital after her daughter's death, saying: 'I want to know why she was not given the opportunity to see a counsellor. She was only going ahead with the abortion because her boyfriend did not want the twins. I believe this is what led Emma to take her own life - she could not live with what she had done.' The doctor said: 'I discussed Emma's situation with her, and wrote on the form, 'Unsupported, lives alone, ex-partner aware.'" READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    abortion | post-traumatic | suicide

Reviews > Books

After the Apocalypse

After the Apocalypse “As they travel the father feeds his son a story, the nearest that he can come to a creed or a reason to keep on going: that he and his son are ‘carrying the fire.’ …the boy seems to intuit a promise: that life will not always be thus; that it will improve, that beauty and purpose, sunlight and green plenty will return; in short that everything is going to be ‘okay,’ a word which both characters endlessly repeat to each other, touching it compulsively like a sore place or a missing tooth. They are carrying the fire through a world destroyed by fire, and therefore—a leap of logic or faith that by the time the novel opens has become almost insurmountable for both of them—the boy must struggle on, so that he can be present at, or somehow contribute to, the eventual rebirth of the world.” READ MORE >


Reviews > Movies

Penn’s ‘Into the Wild’ Is Beautiful, Stirring, Complex

Penn’s ‘Into the Wild’ Is Beautiful, Stirring, Complex "…too-muchness is the essence of the story—a hero's gallant, possibly mad and inevitably doomed attempt to channel too much experience and too many ideas through one young life that can't possibly hold it all… Moviegoers will argue the question of whether the young man's quest succeeds or fails: Is he a pilgrim who finds the transcendence he sought, or a wounded bird flying blind on lofty ambitions, or both? There's no arguing, however, that ‘Into the Wild’ is a new experience, even though some of its countercultural themes and tropes may seem familiar. It's a mainstream movie of ideas that lives in a world of fateful action.” READ MORE >


News > World

Stifled, Egypt’s Young Turn to Islamic Fervor

“'I can’t get a job, I have no money, I can’t get married, what can I say?’ Mr. Sayyid said… In their frustration, the young are turning to religion for solace and purpose, pulling their parents and their governments along with them. With 60 percent of the region’s population under the age of 25, this youthful religious fervor has enormous implications for the Middle East. More than ever, Islam has become the cornerstone of identity, replacing other, failed ideologies: Arabism, socialism, nationalism.” READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    egypt | islam | middle east

Reviews > Movies

California Burning

California Burning “A strange and enthralling evocation of frontier capitalism and manifest destiny set at the dawn of the 20th century… There's hardly a dull moment. Digs collapse, gushers burst into flame, God metes out punishment and so does man. Revelations overturn the narrative: The last 20 minutes are as shocking in their way as the plague that rains from the sky in Magnolia's finale. By the time the closing words "There Will Be Blood" appear (with a burst of Brahms) inscribed in heavy gothic letters on the screen, Anderson's movie has come to seem an Old Testament story of cosmic comeuppance and filicidal madness—American history glimpsed through the smoke and fire that the lightning left behind.” READ MORE >


News > Life

Overselling Overmedication: The panic over pill-popping may be wrong

“People have been unofficially drugging themselves for as long as they’ve had the capability to do so. They smoked cigarettes to boost their concentration. They drank cocktails with lunch and dinner — and more — to deal with anxiety and despair. Prior to the modern era of F.D.A.-regulated prescribing practices, they slugged down untold quantities of tonics and bromides. All of which suggests that what social critics now identify as the signature event of our time (the urge to manage psychic pain through substance use) may, in fact, almost always have been a facet of the human condition. It may just be that we’re better at it than ever before – with cleaner, safer, less addictive and debilitating tools at our disposal.” READ MORE >


News > Business

Too many stores: How long will the anti-shopping backlash last?

“The extreme consumption of this current gilded age has inspired a backlash. In December, hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio ran full-page advertisements in newspapers urging Americans to eschew Christmas gifts and instead make donations to charity. Maybe he's just run out of things to buy. Or maybe he's surfing the zeitgeist… [but] the cultural anti-retail moment will likely pass. Thoreau lasted only 26 months in his cabin by Walden Pond. The elevation of frugality into a virtue seems likely to last about as long as modern recessions do—about eight months.” READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    consumerism | frugality | shopping

News > World

Nicolas Sarkozy embraces God as good for society, igniting debate over church and state in France

Last December Sarkozy expounded on "’France's essentially Christian roots. A man who believes is a man who hopes,’ said the president. ‘And the interest of the republic is that there be a lot of men and women who hope.’ He advocated a new ‘positive secularism’ that ‘doesn't consider religions a danger, but an asset.’ And he declared, ‘In the transmission of values and in the teaching of the difference between good and evil, the schoolteacher will never be able to replace the priest or the pastor.’" READ MORE >


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