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Mar 19th
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Breaking a town from the center PDF Print E-mail

By Bill McKibben and Sue Halpern

Robert Frost wrote once that "good fences make good neighbors." We love Frost - we live on land he once owned in this small Green Mountain town - but that's the poet being cynical. What really makes for good neighbors, as the 562 residents have learned over the years, is a post office like the one this town has enjoyed since the 1800s. Tucked into a tiny corner of the general store, the post office is our town commons, a place where neighbor has no choice but to rub shoulders with neighbor.
Slow Train to Champagne PDF Print E-mail


Uniformity of style is one of the depressing aspects of globalization, and nowhere more so than in the wine business. The global craving for big, fruity, caramel-laced reds, heavy on berry-filled taste but short on structure, has caused winemakers the world over to jump on the easy-drinking bandwagon.

I drink Chiantis these days that have nothing to do with the wonderful, rough, tannic wine I consumed by the fiasco when a student in Florence in the 1970s.
A Farm Boy Reflects PDF Print E-mail


In a world in which animal rights are gaining ground, barbecue season should make me feel guilty. My hunch is that in a century or two, our descendants will look back on our factory farms with uncomprehending revulsion. But in the meantime, I love a good burger.

This comes up because the most important election this November that you’ve never heard of is a referendum on animal rights in California, the vanguard state for social movements. Proposition 2 would ban factory farms from raising chickens, calves or hogs in small pens or cages.

Fast food invasion PDF Print E-mail

By Peter Popham

THE Mediterranean diet’s guarantee of lightness, flavour and health has gained devotees all over the world because it is low in animal fat and high in fruit, vegetables and olive and sunflower oils. But a report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reveals that the people of Mediterranean countries increasingly spurn it.

'All citizens must be equal' PDF Print E-mail

Listening to teenagers at an Arab-Israeli summer camp talk was like watching a new generation of politicians forging their manifestos

Seth Freedman

"When we're inside Sadaka Reut, I believe that everyone is good to each other," said Lena, describing her Arab-Israeli summer camp. "But then we go out on to the street, and it's [a different story] …"

Seconds later, her point was proved perfectly. On a busy intersection in the heart of Yafo, a middle-aged man cast a disapproving eye over the street exhibition the group were displaying.

Drilling in Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail


Sometimes in politics, particularly in campaigns, parties get wedded to slogans — so wedded that no one stops to think about what they’re saying, whether the reality has changed and what the implications would be if their bumper stickers really guided policy when they took office. Today, we have two examples of that: “Democrats for Afghanistan” and “Republicans for offshore drilling.”

OPEC 2.0 PDF Print E-mail


AMERICANS today spend almost as much on bandwidth — the capacity to move information — as we do on energy. A family of four likely spends several hundred dollars a month on cellphones, cable television and Internet connections, which is about what we spend on gas and heating oil.

Just as the industrial revolution depended on oil and other energy sources, the information revolution is fueled by bandwidth. If we aren’t careful, we’re going to repeat the history of the oil industry by creating a bandwidth cartel.
All human life is just a 999 call away PDF Print E-mail

Thomas Sutcliffe

I nearly called 999 the other day. Getting up early to pick my wife up from the airport, I noticed two central-casting ne'er-do-wells shuffling along the road apparently testing car door handles, while looking about them in much the way you would do if you were playing charades and had drawn the word "furtive".
Can Obama Run the Offense? PDF Print E-mail


Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Barack Obama is a United States senator, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his party’s candidate for president of the United States — and yet it was somehow presumptuous of him to meet with foreign leaders last week during his trip to the Middle East and Europe.

The Biggest Issue PDF Print E-mail


Why did the United States become the leading economic power of the 20th century? The best short answer is that a ferocious belief that people have the power to transform their own lives gave Americans an unparalleled commitment to education, hard work and economic freedom.

Bad in Berlin, Perfect in Paris PDF Print E-mail



This is the time and the city to deconstruct Obama. Barack was bad in Berlin and pitch-perfect in Paris. Is it just that he’s a Rive Gauche kind of guy? Or is something deeper at work?

Obama looks like America reinvented; he summons from Europeans that imagined land of opportunity, foreign to their tired shores and confined spaces, that F. Scott Fitzgerald rendered at the end of “The Great Gatsby:”
It is almost impossible for Mr Brown to cling on. And it is almost impossible to replace him PDF Print E-mail

The average Labour MP oscillates between febrility, fantasy, fear and despair

Bruce Anderson

Gordon Brown is finished. As the Prime Minister, he is in office, not in power. As a party leader, he is confronted by insubordination on an unprecedented scale; far worse than anything John Major experienced. As an electoral asset, Mr Brown is toxic waste. Yet it is still likely that he will fight the next election.
Why Bush has been a liberal's best friend PDF Print E-mail

Nick Cohen

If you search on the net for 'Jon Stewart', 'finance reform' and 'Obama', you will find one of the most unintentionally funny sketches the US Comedy Central network has broadcast. Stewart dissects Barack Obama's hypocrisy with his usual goggle-eyed relish. He shows that the Democrat had been all for the public funding of presidential candidates until he realised that his privately raised campaign donations would allow him to outspend John McCain.
Indiaís N-deal with US PDF Print E-mail

By Tariq Osman Hyder

THE US-India agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy is the high-water mark of the US-India strategic partnership.

Only a few isolated voices in the international arms control community, particularly in America and India, have voiced concerns. George Perkovich of the Carnegie Endowment perceptively noted inter alia two US objectives: that a more powerful India would balance China’s growing power and influence in Asia, and that changing national and international laws on nuclear cooperation would also help bolster India’s strategic capabilities, including nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, which will further balance China’s strategic power.
How Obama Became Acting President PDF Print E-mail


IT almost seems like a gag worthy of “Borat”: A smooth-talking rookie senator with an exotic name passes himself off as the incumbent American president to credulous foreigners. But to dismiss Barack Obama’s magical mystery tour through old Europe and two war zones as a media-made fairy tale would be to underestimate the ingenious politics of the moment. History was on the march well before Mr. Obama boarded his plane, and his trip was perfectly timed to reap the whirlwind.

Brendan Simms: If Britain had its way, Karadzic would be a free man now PDF Print E-mail

Doing deals with war criminals is not only wrong but bad realpolitik. It's a lesson that applies to Darfur

The capture of Radovan Karadzic, and his prospective extradition to face the war crimes tribunal at The Hague, comes in the nick of time. It boosts the credibility of the indictment recently issued against the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, for his alleged complicity in the genocide in Darfur.
Americans Move to the Middle PDF Print E-mail


Can you hear that? I can. It’s the sound of political action committees and party extremists sharpening their wedge issues and setting the timers on their bombshells. The fall’s battle is looming. It’s going to get ugly.
Once again they’ll cast the opposition as binary caricatures to rally their bases, swing the independents and capture the defectors.

The left will be reduced to fist-bumping blacks and intellectual elites with gun aversions and gay agendas. An amoral, tail-tucking lot that coddles criminals, raises taxes and has gone Chicken Little over global warming.
EUís interest in Pakistan PDF Print E-mail

By Shadaba Islam

A COLUMN on European concerns over Pakistan’s uncertain political future may seem irrelevant as Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his top aides prepare to visit Washington.

But here’s the rub: while America can provide Pakistan with military hardware to tackle urgent security risks, consolidating democracy and avoiding economic collapse will require help from a variety of actors, including support and assistance from the European Union.
Giving the jobless capacity for change PDF Print E-mail

More reforms will be needed unless staff and claimants themselves are the engines of change

Frank Field

There can be little doubt that welfare reform still awaits a radical government. Despite this Government spending £60billion on the New Deal and initiatives to make work pay, and a bouyant economy that has created more than three million additional jobs, the total out of work has fallen only from 5.7 million to 5.4 million.

Playing Innocent Abroad PDF Print E-mail


Radical optimism is America's contribution to the world. The early settlers thought America's founding would bring God's kingdom to earth. John Adams thought America would emancipate "the slavish part of mankind all over the earth." Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush preached their own gospels of world democracy.

To Fight Poverty, Tear Down HUD PDF Print E-mail


WITH the nation embroiled in a housing crisis, one would expect the Department of Housing and Urban Development to be playing a central role. But HUD is a marginal player. Although its Federal Housing Administration division has agreed to underwrite new mortgages, it is merely following the leadership of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.
This is no accident.

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