Michael J. Sandel, “The Case Against Perfection”; P. J. O'Rourke, “The Enthusiasts”; Jeffrey Rosen, “John Ashcroft's Permanent Campaign”; Jonathan Rauch, “A More Perfect Union”; Benjamin Schwarz, “Clearer Than the Truth”; Tish Durkin, “The Buffness Deficit”; fiction by Christopher Buckley; and much more.
In the liberal imagination Attorney General John Ashcroft is an authoritarian and a religious zealot, bent on sacrificing liberty to achieve the illusion of safety from terror. But those who see Ashcroft as a zealot are missing Ashcroft the canny politician—a man beholden to both his polls and his God
A year ago this month Michael Kelly, a former editor in chief of The Atlantic, died in Iraq while on assignment for the magazine. A collection of Kelly's writings, Things Worth Fighting For, will be published in April by the Penguin Press. The editor of that volume remembers his colleague and friend as a writer and as a man
Cassidy Hutchinson’s account of Donald Trump’s behavior destroys any defense the president once had.
Updated at 6:28 p.m. ET on June 28, 2022.
Donald Trump knew the protesters marching on the Capitol on January 6 were armed. He knew they could do harm to someone. He wanted to go to the Capitol with them as they marched that afternoon. And he did nothing to stop them as they attacked.
These are the stark and rattling takeaways from today’s hearing of the House committee investigating former President Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, which centered on first-person accounts from the former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who was deep inside the president’s inner sanctum in the days leading up to the insurrection and that day.
By the morning of January 6, Trump’s attempts to steal the election had largely failed. Every lawsuit had foundered, every state-level ploy seemed to have stalled, and Vice President Mike Pence had declared that he would not engage in chicanery concocted by the attorney John Eastman and his confederates. There was one last hope: somehow disrupting Congress’s certification of the result.
A cryptic utterance from a supposed spambot never lost its relevance.
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Though everybody complains about Twitter, no one can deny that it has brought some amazing phrases into our lives—things we can’t imagine having read in any other place, or at any other time in history.
Near the top of any list of the most treasured sentence fragments posted there, the now-defunct account @Horse_ebooks would have several entries. Twitter users still recirculate strange classics like “(using fingers to indicate triangular shape) SMELL SMELL SMELL GOOD NEW NEW NEW slice drink MATCH SPARKLER (thrown in air) STARS STARS STARS.” But the best-known @Horse_ebooks tweet, posted 10 years ago today, was astounding in its clarity and salience. It described both the internet and our entire human world. “Everything happens so much,” @Horse_ebooks tweeted on June 28, 2012.
Hundreds of thousands of deaths, from either tobacco or the pandemic, could be prevented with a single behavioral change.
It’s suddenly become acceptable to say that COVID is—or will soon be—like the flu. Such analogies have long been the preserve of pandemic minimizers, but lately they’ve been creeping into more enlightened circles. Last month the dean of a medical school wrote an open letter to his students suggesting that for a vaccinated person, the risk of death from COVID-19 is “in the same realm, or even lower, as the average American’s risk from flu.” A few days later, David Leonhardt said as much to his millions of readers in the The New York Times’ morning newsletter. And three prominent public-health experts have called for the government to recognize a “new normal” in which the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus “is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”
If, after the latest January 6 hearing, House Republicans persist in their policy of pro-Trump cover-up, American democracy is in dire peril.
In the last few minutes of today’s January 6 committee hearing, Representative Liz Cheney presented evidence of possible witness intimidation. Several witnesses, she reported, had received messages from shadowy persons purportedly close to former President Donald Trump that implicitly warned of consequences to follow if those witnesses told the truth about his conduct.
That is one sort of attempted cover-up. The most effective cover-up of the January 6 conspiracy is not the one being organized in the shadows but the one taking place in broad daylight.
Everybody in any way connected to the investigation anticipates that if Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in November, these hearings will be shut down. Congressional Republicans who took the other side against Trump have lost their political careers: Liz Cheney is now a pariah within a party that has a place for Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar. The hearings happened only because the Democrats held a majority in the House, and the hearings will continue only so long as that majority remains in place.
For the first time, COVID vaccines are getting an update in the U.S. But Americans still need to be persuaded to take them.
In one sense, this is how it was always supposed to go: When viruses evolve, vaccines should follow, and sometimes try to leap ahead. The COVID-19 shots that the U.S. has used to inoculate hundreds of millions of people are simply so new that they’ve never had to undergo a metamorphosis; up until now, their original-recipe ingredients have stood up to SARS-CoV-2 well enough. But the virus they fight has changed quite radically, and this fall, the vaccines will finally, finally follow suit.
Today, an advisory committee to the FDA recommended that our current slate of shots be updated to include a piece of an Omicron subvariant, with the aim of better tailoring the vaccine to the coronavirus variants that could trouble us this fall. Neither the agency nor its outside expert panel has yet reached consensus on which version of Omicron will be the best choice, and whether the next round of shots will still contain the original version of the virus as well. Regardless, a new formulation with any bit of Omicron will constitute a bet that these ingredients will better protect people than another dose of the original vaccine recipe, whose protective powers have been fading for many months.