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The Historian Who Changed History: “Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left”

February 15, 2013 • 1
Sadly, it was a story about a historian destroying history.
Harold Koh: this dude abides!

Harold Koh: Lawyer, Professor, Statesman

February 1, 2013 • 1
Immediately after Barack Obama’s second inauguration on Jan. 21, the State Department’s legal adviser, Harold Hongju Koh, returned to Yale. Koh served as the dean of Yale Law School from 2004 to 2009 and as a professor there since 1985. Last week, he was appointed Ster- ling Professor of International Law. Koh, who had been a strong critic of President George W. Bush’s ’68 “War on Terror,” is an interna- tionally renowned scholar of human rights. However, in the Obama administration, he has come under fire from former allies for his expan- sive views on the president’s authority to use unmanned drones to kill suspected terrorists abroad. On Tuesday, Koh spoke at a packed Master’s Tea in Davenport. Hours before that, WEEKEND sat down with Koh to discuss executive authority, drones and who he wants to see fill the next opening on the Supreme Court.
Are you smarter than Nate Silver?

Predicting the Unpredictable (or at least tyring)

January 25, 2013 • 4819
“The Signal and the Noise” is an excellent attempt to teach the reader how to judge predictions. Most of the book, reviewers have noted, are about issues that modern statistics cannot predict—in the stock market, in predicting climate change, in the housing bubble, in predicting natural disasters. Perhaps this is why “The Signal and the Noise” is somewhat unsatisfying to me. In spite of Silver’s decent attempt, the book remains largely inaccessible to me.
Fascism + propaganda = a whole lot of scary.

A Stroll through Fascism: “Selling War” at Sterling

January 25, 2013 • 4944
When you walk into the main foyer of Sterling, head up to the desk, make a right, and walk past the entrance to the stacks, continuing down the sun-dappled corridor. There, in five display cases on the left side of the wall, is “Selling War.”
Can success be measured through IQ tests, vocabulary quizzes, the SATs?

‘Is Our Children Learning?’

December 7, 2012 • 5539
Why do our children seem not to learn? Why do some children do better than others? How do some children break the cycle of poverty? In “How Children Succeed,” freelance journalist Paul Tough addresses all these questions.
Sarah Palin looks surprised. What's the matter, gurl?

Game Change –> Game Over

November 9, 2012 • 0
By 11:30, it was over. All the major networks had announced that Barack Obama was going to be the winner. Shortly thereafter, his rival conceded in an awkward if apparently sincere statement. The election that had seemed like it would go on forever was finally at an end. Fast-forward four years. By 11:30, it was »
J.K., I've a feeling we're not in Hogwarts anymore!

Rowling gets real

October 12, 2012 • 38
Apparently, J. K. Rowling thinks a lot about sex. Genitalia, masturbation, pedophilia, incest, rape, teen pregnancy — these are all peccadillos that delight her fancy. Now, after decades of writing magical children’s stories, her pent-up prurience can finally break free; the reader is treated to such phrases as “pink labia pulled wide to show dark »
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“Passing” for love and politics

September 28, 2012 • 0
It is a grainy video clip, shot with a shaky camera. A reporter offscreen asks ominously, “Is there anything else that’s going to come out about you that we don’t already know?” The woman laughs nervously, “You know, I don’t think so, but who knows?” It’s clear that she was kidding, but in the context »
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“Gone Girl” twists, shocks, surprises

September 14, 2012 • 0
“Gone Girl” was awesome, but I can’t tell you why. Gillian Flynn’s new novel was darkly comic, deliciously entertaining, ridiculously addictive and downright messed-up, but I can’t tell you why. Seriously. To give away the shocking plot twists and titillating psychological thrills would just be criminal. It looked like Nick and Amy Dunne had it »
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Sex and God (and pretentiousness) at Yale

August 31, 2012 • 764
Let’s get a few things out of the way. First, I was predisposed to hate “Sex and God at Yale” by Nathan Harden. I did. (More on that later.) Second, it was engaging, funny and, at times, well-written. I’ll admit that much. Finally, it amounted to little more than a pretentious argument against pornography and »
prison

‘The New Jim Crow’: An absolute must-read

April 13, 2012 • 0
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander is an important book. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Baltimore Sun, which called it an “important book.” Still not convinced? Well, the Birmingham News called it “Undoubtedly the most important book published this century about the U.S.” In my opinion, »
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2011

Greenhouse’s Very Short Introduction is Very Short — And Very Good

March 23, 2012 • 1
When “The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction” arrived in the mail, I initially thought I had ordered incorrectly. It looked too short, too cute — maybe only nine inches tall with barely 100 bite-sized pages. Yet after a moment’s pause, I realized that this was what the title had promised: a very short, »