James Fallows, “Post-President for Life”; P. J. O'Rourke, “The Bill Show”; David Hajdu, “Wynton's Blues”; David Brooks, “Kicking the Secularist Habit”; Gertrude Himmelfarb, “The Victorian Achievement”; Christopher Hitchens, “The Perils of Partition”; Jonathan Rauch, “Caring for Your Introvert”; fiction by Kimberly Elkins; and much more.
The post-presidency of Bill Clinton will, like the Clinton Administration, be noisy and attention-getting. Will it accomplish anything—or turn out to be limbo in overdrive? Clinton is the youngest ex-President since Teddy Roosevelt—and he is still the most skillful politician in the Democratic Party. What he does with the rest of his life will set a precedent for the growing number of vigorous and long-lived ex-Presidents to come
For two decades Wynton Marsalis ruled the jazz universe, enjoying virtually unqualified admiration as a musician and unsurpassed influence as the music's leading promoter and definer. But after a series of sour notes—he parted from his record label, has been caught up in controversy at Jazz at Lincoln Center; and has been drawing increasing fire from critics and fellow musicians alike for his narrow neotraditionalism—perhaps the biggest name in jazz faces an uncertain future. Just like jazz itself
Since coming forward with allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, the professor has faced doxxings and death threats. Now, she’s also been given a misguided ultimatum to testify.
Earlier this week, Tucker Carlson did the thing Tucker Carlson is consummately good at doing: He got angry on national television. The Fox News host’s performance, this time around, concerned the allegations of sexual assault Christine Blasey Ford has made against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; Carlson, echoing an idea that has become a common one in the heated national debate that has resulted from the claims, was working to cast doubt on Ford’s overall credibility by casting doubt on a specific element of her story: the timing by which she finally made her private memories public. “It’s pretty straightforward,” Carlson said, flush with easy indignation. “If you believe a crime has been committed against you, you report it … It’s your obligation as a citizen.”
In their tween and teenage years, girls become dramatically less self-assured—a feeling that often lasts through adulthood.
The change can be baffling to manyparents: Their young girls are masters of the universe, full of gutsy fire. But as puberty sets in, their confidence nosedives, and those same daughters can transform into unrecognizably timid, cautious, risk-averse versions of their former selves.
Over the course of writing our latest book, we spoke with hundreds of tween and teen girls, who detailed a striking number of things they don’t feel confident about: “making new friends,” “the way I dress,” “speaking in a group.” In our research, we worked with Ypulse, a polling firm that focuses on tweens and teens, to survey more than 1,300 girls between the ages of 8 and 18 and their parents. (The sample was broadly representative of the country’s teen population in terms of race and geographic distribution.) The data is more dramatic than we’d imagined: The girls surveyed were asked to rate their confidence on a scale of 0 to 10, and between the ages of 8 and 14, the average of girls’ responses fell from approximately 8.5 to 6—a drop-off of 30 percent.
Dölen is a neuroscientist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who studies how the cells and chemicals in animal brains influence animals’ social lives. Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, interests her because it’s known to make people feel more sociable, more interested in others, and less defensive. The same effects also occur in rats and mice—the animals that Dölen usually studies.
But octopuses are very different creatures. They’re clearly intelligent and their behavior is undoubtedly sophisticated, but their brains have a completely different architecture than those of mammals—for one thing, they’re shaped like donuts. “It’s organized much more like a snail’s brain than ours,” Dölen says. With such a dissimilar anatomy, she wondered whether these animals would respond to drugs in unpredictable ways. And to find out, she needed a way of assessing how sociable an octopus is.
If the agenda of the Republican establishment excited rank-and-file voters, Trump wouldn’t now preside over the party.
The Republican Party’s prospects in the midterm elections are threatened in part by their trust in Donald Trump, Joshua Green argues this week in Bloomberg Businessweek, citing an internal poll by the Republican National Committee. It reportedly shows that while most American voters believe that Democrats are well-positioned to take back the House, a majority who describe themselves as strong Trump supporters don’t believe that the opposition party even has a chance of victory.
Even as Trump keeps telling his rally-goers and Twitter followers that the GOP might increase its advantage, the report asserts a need “to make real the threat that Democrats have a good shot of winning control of Congress.”
It starts too early for teens’ sleep patterns, and ends too early for working parents. Does the country have to be stuck with it?
The world does not revolve around you, teens are often told. Indeed it doesn’t, as they are reminded every school-day morning when disabling their alarms. The average start time for public high schools, 7:59, requires teens to get up earlier than is ideal for their biological clocks, meaning many teens disrupt their natural sleep patterns every school day.
The world, apparently, does not revolve around parents either. Their lives also tend to be mismatched with school-day schedules, which usually end a good two hours before the typical American workday does. As Kara Voght recently wrote in The Atlantic, that leaves a daily gap of unsupervised time for many children, forcing their parents to find affordable care for their kid or to adjust their own working schedule.
It’s not a Cold War. But the dispute between the world’s two largest economies is taking the world into unknown territory.
“New U.S.-China Tariffs Raise Fears of an Economic Cold War,” proclaimed a Washington Post headline. The New York Times alleged that the United States and China were already “on the cusp” of such a “new Cold War.” Driving this hysteria was the Trump administration’s Monday announcement unveiling tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports, followed nearly immediately by a Chinese promise to retaliate. This back-and-forth has been ongoing since January, and a resolution does not seem anywhere close, if one’s even possible.
As the U.S.-China competition expands across multiple domains, there are even worries that trade tensions could, over the long term, make the prospect of a military confrontation between the two more likely. Which raises the urgent question: How does this end?
Mindfulness programs have become popular on K–12 campuses, but in some parts of the country concerns about religious intrusion keep the trend at bay.
In certain parts of the United States, it’s getting more and more likely that rather than a game of dodgeball in gym class or a round of Heads-up, Seven-up as a break between lessons, students will instead find themselves doing downward-facing dog. The internet is saturated with yoga-based lesson plans, teacher-training courses, and “mindful” music playlists designed for schools, while programs for certified yoga instructors who want to bring their practice onto campus have also gained popularity.
While up-to-date data on the prevalence of school-based yoga is hard to come by, a 2015 survey led by the New York University psychologist Bethany Butzer identified three dozen programs in the United States that reach 940 schools and more than 5,400 instructors. School-based yoga programs, Butzer and her co-authors concluded, are “acceptable and feasible to implement.” The researchers also predicted that such programs would grow in popularity.
When I was in high school, I faced my own Brett Kavanaugh.
“Dear Caitlin,” an inscription in my 12th-grade yearbook begins. “I’m really very sorry that our friendship plummeted straight downhill after the first few months of school. Really, the blame rests totally on my shoulders. To tell you the truth, I’ve wanted to say this all year. I know you’ll succeed because you’re very smart and I regard you with the utmost respect … Take care—love always.”
He was headed to a prestigious college. I was headed to a small, obscure liberal-arts college, which was a tremendous achievement, not just because I was a terrible student, but also because I had nearly killed myself as a response to what he apologized for in my yearbook. He had tried to rape me during a date that I was very excited to have been asked on, and his attempt was so serious—and he was so powerful—that for a few minutes, I was truly fighting him off.
There are two big truths about eating meat from animals.
First, animal flesh imposes a high moral and ecological price for a tender medallion of food. Factory farming incurs the torturous treatment of millions of chickens, cows, and pigs each year. This constitutes a rolling moral catastrophe. What’s more, one-sixth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are directly attributable to raising livestock, and the figure is rising as more countries enter the global middle class. For most Americans, cutting meat out of their diets would reduce global warming more than giving up driving.
But here’s the second truth: Americans don’t really care about all that. Or, perhaps more subtly, many of them do care. But weighed against the panoply of meat-related rewards—the succulence of a perfect ribeye, the abundance of affordable meat options at the grocery store, the convenient protein-density of the food, and the opportunity to try the glazed duck at that place all your friends have been going on about for weeks—the moral and environmental costs of meat register as real, yet ignorable; snowflake static on the radar. In 1970, the average U.S. adult consumed about 200 pounds of meat per year. After four decades of factory-farming photos, vegetarian movements, and economic papers precisely calculating the life-cycle costs of a pound of beef, American meat consumption has gone up, by 20 pounds. Today, 95 percent of Americans—yes, including me—eat meat.
Polarization. Conspiracy theories. Attacks on the free press. An obsession with loyalty. Recent events in the United States follow a pattern Europeans know all too well.
On December 31, 1999, we threw a party. It was the end of one millennium and the start of a new one; people very much wanted to celebrate, preferably somewhere exotic. Our party fulfilled that criterion. We held it at Chobielin, the manor house in northwest Poland that my husband and his parents had purchased a decade earlier, when it was a mildewed ruin. We had restored the house, very slowly. It was not exactly finished in 1999, but it did have a new roof. It also had a large, freshly painted, and completely unfurnished salon—perfect for a party.
The guests were various: journalist friends from London and Berlin, a few diplomats based in Warsaw, two friends who flew in from New York. But most of them were Poles, friends of ours and colleagues of my husband, who was then a deputy foreign minister in the Polish government. A handful of youngish Polish journalists came too—none then particularly famous—along with a few civil servants and one or two members of the government.