Monthly Archives: November 2005


Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Amy Harmon has a front-page New York Times article today entitled “Young, Assured and Playing Pharmacist to Friends.” All of her sources are youngish adults who obtain mood-altering or performance-enhancing drugs by sharing stockpiles, buying medications online, … Continue reading

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citizens’ role in diplomacy and conflict-resolution

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Picture a classic diplomatic scene–perhaps Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill side-by-side at Yalta, or Nixon and Mao in China. It’s easy to interpret these scenes according to a “realist” theory of politics. The leaders have power and are … Continue reading

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the new sans-culottes

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Some French intellectuals really believe it. They are convinced that the Arab and African youth who are rioting in their suburbs are completely French, totally committed to the traditional ideology of the French leftist working class, which … Continue reading

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how to cut federal spending

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Moderate Republicans have beaten back an effort to cut federal spending by $54 billion, partly because the proposed cuts would have hurt poor Americans. However, it is both possible and desirable to cut federal spending that benefits … Continue reading

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21st century skills

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0I’ll be spending today at a meeting of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a broad coalition that includes businesses and the teachers’ unions. The meeting began last night with some speeches about the need to increase … Continue reading

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0I just finished reading Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, an amazing novel about the “return of English magic” during the Napoleonic era. It resembles books in which the author conducts research into some occult or … Continue reading

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open-ended politics

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0A good citizen may certainly fight hard for a political position. However, there is also an important kind of political work that does not pursue any particular policies. It attempts to strengthen our capacity for self-government by … Continue reading

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trying to look at Las Meninas

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Last week in Madrid, I spent a long time staring at Las Meninas by Velazquez. I soon realized that some of the other tourists, especially those accompanied by professional guides, were deliberately looking at the painting in … Continue reading

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speaking in Madrid

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0I just gave my speech on “Education for Democratic Citizenship” to an audience in Madrid. The text is here. Speaking in a large auditorium is always a surreal experience: the strong lights block out the audience and … Continue reading

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the monastery of the royal shoeless

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Yesterday, before my conference began, I explored Madrid and took a tour of El Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales. This is actually a Franciscan convent, which is why the nuns are “shoeless.” They were originally “royal” because … Continue reading

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