Photographs are no longer rare artifacts, nor primarily a means of learning about the exotic or unknown. They arrive instantaneously on our phones every day from every corner of the world and from all kinds of people. With a smart phone, everyone is a photographer, and images compete for crowd approval on social media channels like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Or are they even more instructive today? Respond on Twitter using the hashtag tellnyt.
James Baldwin, whose cutting, unequivocal writing about race relations helped make America more equal than it was before, was born on this day in , according to many accounts. The Times wrote in his obituary on Dec. I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. What is ghastly and really almost hopeless in our racial situation now is that the crimes we have committed are so great and so unspeakable that the acceptance of this knowledge would lead, literally, to madness.
The human being, then, in order to protect himself, closes his eyes, compulsively repeats his crimes, and enters a spiritual darkness which no one can describe. Only white Americans can consider themselves to be expatriates. Once I found myself on the other side of the ocean, I could see where I came from very clearly, and I could see that I carried myself, which is my home, with me.
You can never escape that. I am the grandson of a slave, and I am a writer. I must deal with both. I was a maverick, a maverick in the sense that I depended on neither the white world nor the black world. It gave me another touchstone — myself. On March 10, , Professor Alexander Graham Bell stood in a Boston boarding house holding a receiving device connected to a series of wires that ran into an adjacent room.
There, his assistant, Thomas A. Watson , waited patiently, clutching another receiver to his ear. Come here! I want—! I heard you! From that experiment using just a few feet of wire would grow an industry that would transform the world. Alexander Graham Bell — who died at 75 on this day in at his estate in Nova Scotia in Canada — was fascinated by speech, sound and communication from a very young age. He was homeschooled by his father, a phoneticist and the developer of Visible Speech, a series of symbols designed to aid the deaf in oration.
Bell moved to Boston in the early s and there used methods that he had learned from his father to teach deaf students. His techniques proved so useful that he eventually taught them to others as a professor at the Boston University School of Oratory. During these years he continued his research into sound at the university, experimenting with electricity. He hired Watson, an electrical designer and mechanic, for his electrical expertise. Soon they were collaborating on acoustic telegraphy, hoping to transmit a human voice by means of pulses along a telegraph wire.
Bell was granted a patent for the telephone — No. The patent, however, proved controversial from the start. Even though Bell is known as the father of telephony, his claim as its inventor has been challenged repeatedly in hundreds of legal cases, some of which have appeared before the United States Supreme Court. He would go on to undertake important work in fields such as hydrofoils and aeronautics; make early advances in the creation of the metal detector; and develop a wireless telephone, called the photophone.
Well, fairy tales have a way of coming true in science and invention. I often wonder what Yves Saint Laurent, who was born on this day in , would think of the modern fashion world. This is in part because his name has been in the news recently, given the upheaval at the brand he built, where yet another creative director will debut a newish vision for the label next month.
In fact, he never saw them as causes per se, but rather as simply part of the definition of what it meant to be modern. Saint Laurent was among the first designers to embrace black models on the runway, claiming such women as Iman, Katoucha Niane and Dalma Callado as his muses. Naomi Campbell credits him with getting her her first French Vogue cover.
Yet every season, we still seem to have the same discussion about the color myopia of the industry. The power of pantsuits? He understood what they could mean for women back in , when he unveiled his first Le Smoking: a tuxedo for women worn with a ruffled white shirt and a satin cummerbund.
The idea shocked the world then. The New York socialite Nan Kempner was turned away from Le Cote Basque for wearing hers, only to return having divested herself of the trousers and wearing the jacket as a mini-dress. That was, somehow, more acceptable to the management. The democratization of fashion? Saint Laurent popularized the idea of high fashion ready-to-wear, introducing Rive Gauche, his Left Bank boutique and off-the-rack collection, in He was the first couturier to make his clothes available to consumers beyond the gilded doors of the haute salons.
Now e-commerce has moved the dial even further, and for the first time this season three designers Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry will be showing clothes that can be bought the next day, instead of six months down the line. So maybe Mr. Saint Laurent, who died on June 1, , would be rolling his eyes. Maybe he would be laughing. But the breathtaking disclosure was delivered with a major caveat: The practical application of the discovery, if any, would take 25 years. That prediction, as it turned out, was off by a long shot. Hahn made his discovery in his laboratory at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, working with his assistant, Fritz Strassmann.
Hahn said after the war that he had opposed Nazism. But the process of splitting the uranium atom would not be labeled nuclear fission until later, and Hahn himself, as a chemist rather than a physicist, initially described his discovery in the most equivocal terms. Hahn later said that he had never believed that his discovery would have military implications. He later became an antiwar activist who opposed nuclear proliferation and expressed his fears in this rhyme:. American elections — and the American electorate — grow more complex and confounding every campaign cycle.
George H. Gallup, who died 32 years ago this week at age 82 , could not, and probably would not, tell you who he thought would win in November. But he could tell you what forces were driving public opinion, from fear of crime and terrorism to a widespread unease about rapid cultural and demographic changes. And he most certainly would have pointed out the flaws in a presidential primary system that produced two candidates with such high negative ratings and so many voters in despair.
Gallup, an Iowan with a commanding presence and a bone-crushing grip, would also undoubtedly have strong feelings about the profound changes roiling the polling industry. His organization pioneered many of the advances in measuring public opinion , including use of the telephone rather than mail or face-to-face interviews.
That technology is now under scrutiny, as more and more pollsters are turning to the internet and mobile devices to conduct surveys. Gallup and The New York Times rely almost exclusively on telephone polling, but are experimenting with reaching the public in other ways. A Gallup poll famously predicted that Thomas E. Dewey would defeat Harry S. The company instead is now focusing on the mood of the public, taking, as Mr.
When Hillary Clinton formally clinches the Democratic presidential nomination this week in front of television cameras and a crowd of thousands, one vital influence will be conspicuously absent: her mother, Dorothy Rodham , whose quintessentially American story of resilience is woven into the fabric of her candidacy. It was sent to states for ratification and took effect 14 months later.
Dorothy and her little sister were sent on a cross-country train to live with their grandparents in California. Dorothy was 8, her sister was 3. Their grandmother was old-fashioned and strict. She preferred black Victorian dress and tolerated no disobedience — Dorothy was not allowed to attend parties or have visitors. After she went trick-or-treating one Halloween, she was confined to her bedroom for a year, let out only to go to school. She cooked, cleaned and nannied for a family in San Gabriel, Calif. She lived in near abject poverty, but in that household Dorothy learned what family was.
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But her mother lied: She brought Dorothy back to work as a housekeeper. Heartbroken, Dorothy eventually found secretarial work. In , Dorothy married Hugh Ellsworth Rodham , a conservative Republican who operated a small drapery business. They raised three children — Hillary Diane, Hugh Jr. Dorothy Rodham raised her daughter to stand her ground and hit back if necessary, Mrs.
Clinton wrote. In , after Hillary Rodham had entered Wellesley College as a civic-minded Republican and had become plagued by doubts about remaining there, her mother bucked her up. The war in Vietnam and the turmoil of the civil rights movement led Mrs. Clinton to undergo a political transformation. She graduated as an antiwar Democrat. During her unsuccessful campaign for the presidential nomination, Mrs. Later in life, Dorothy Rodham resumed her education by taking college courses. She died on Nov. Clinton wrote :.
Mom measured her own life by how much she was able to help us and serve others. I knew if she was still with us, she would be urging us to do the same. Never rest on your laurels. Never quit. Never stop working to make the world a better place. This is the story of Cassius Marcellus Clay — not that Cassius Clay, the heavyweight fighter and luminous worldwide presence best known as Muhammad Ali.
This story is about the original Cassius Clay: the 19th-century scion of a slaveholding family who became a belligerent emancipationist, globe-trotting statesman, unsparing duelist, early Republican and larger-than-life American eccentric. A firebrand publisher, Yale-educated lawyer, Kentucky state legislator, major general in the Union Army, survivor of multiple assassination attempts and the United States minister to Russia under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, General Clay was as well known for his private activities as for his public ones.
His obituary in The New York Times, published on July 23, , is remarkable for a level of catty candor rarely seen in American news obituaries of the era — traditionally staid, reverential documents — and, very likely, of any era. On one occasion, caught without his pistol, General Clay was shot above the heart by a would-be assassin.
He was 84 at the time. And so he did, taking Dora Richardson as his bride in Young Dora, who evidently had little say in the matter of her betrothal, did not take kindly to being yoked to a man more than five times her age. She ran away repeatedly from home and from the boarding school to which her husband sent her. The youngest son of Gen. His father had been a hero of the Revolutionary War and was a general in the War of ; Henry Clay, the United States senator and statesman, was a cousin. Returning home after earning a law degree in , he established a practice in Lexington, served three terms in the Kentucky General Assembly and was a captain in the 1st Kentucky Cavalry in the Mexican War.
In , he freed his own slaves and the next year started The True American, an emancipationist newspaper published in Lexington. His proposals for gradually ending slavery, which he also promulgated in public lectures, did not go over well in Kentucky. He kept a cannon on hand to protect the newspaper office from looming mobs and weathered several more attempts on his life. General Clay, who in the s helped establish the Republican Party, was a friend and staunch supporter of Abraham Lincoln.
After the outbreak of the Civil War, he organized the Cassius M. Clay Battalion, a corps of several hundred volunteers charged with protecting the White House. In , Lincoln appointed him minister to Russia, a post he held through the following year and again from to Dispatched to St. Petersburg, General Clay was instrumental in brokering the deal that in let the United States purchase Alaska.
Barricaded in White Hall with a veritable arsenal beside him, he pined for the faithless Dora and worried obsessively that enemies, real and imagined, were coming to kill him. Clay Decreed Insane. He fathered a string of children — as many as 10 in some estimates — most with his first wife, although at least one with a St. Petersburg mistress. In , he donated the land for what became Berea College in Berea, Ky.
Established two years later, it was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, open to blacks and to women from its inception. July 20, — a date that lives in my memory as the great divide, the B. It was the day of the first walk on the moon by humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and I covered the event for The Times from mission control in Houston. I began my front-page article with a sentence as simple as it was astonishing:. Two Americans, astronauts of Apollo 11, steered their fragile four-legged lunar module safely and smoothly to the historic landing yesterday at P.
Neil A. Armstrong, the year-old civilian commander, radioed to earth and the mission control room here:. Just think, the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk is only three years away. Although I am now 82, my doctors seem to think I have a good chance of still being around for it. I doubt I will be up to the dawn-to-dawn workdays and multiple deadlines of yore, but a bit of the remembered excitement should be a tonic. Sadly, Neil Armstrong will be absent. He died on Aug. Aldrin is living and so is the third astronaut, Michael Collins. The Armstrong obituary I wrote ran above the fold on the front page on Sunday, Aug.
As I wrote it, I felt the old surge of Apollo emotion returning. Ever so briefly, I was young again, responding to a deadline and waiting presses. In the obituary , I continued the exchange between Armstrong and mission control:. Thanks a lot. The same could have been said for hundreds of millions of people around the world watching on television. One reader that Sunday was a woman I had known and been fond of more than 50 years ago.
She was still a space buff and in an email praised the obit. One thing led to another and in our rediscovery we dispelled creeping loneliness in favor of love. Today we are together. Before Bruce Lee sprang into martial arts movies in the early s, the average actor in a kung fu film may have been better prepared to deliver a Shakespearean soliloquy than a roundhouse kick. But the audiences can tell the difference. It knows a real fighter when it sees one. He began studying martial arts in earnest as a teenager, augmenting his fighting with strength training and dancing. In time he developed his own style, Jeet Kune Do.
Lee did his own stunts, helped write the script and choreographed the fight scenes. The film transfixed audiences around the world and cleaned up at the box office. Rumors that he had been murdered by gangsters added to his mystique, but the cause of death was thought to be a brain edema , possibly resulting from an adverse reaction to medication. More than police officers had to bar thousands of screaming fans from his funeral service. They inspired the next generations of martial arts movie stars, like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and helped open up Hollywood to Asian actors although the extent to which that has happened is questionable.
He has inspired video game characters, even entire games. A statue of Lee, poised to strike, on the Hong Kong waterfront still attracts throngs of fans. The one by Mr. Lee, who also staged the combats, died very recently. Here he could not be more alive. He made his first appearance in The Times when he was one day old , and undoubtedly has yet to make his last. From the start, every detail of his life hurtled round the world: his baptism ; his first Christmas ; his first teeth, first steps and first haircut; the box of stuffed animals he received from Madame Charles de Gaulle; the time he caught a cold.
Years later that photograph — taken on Nov. For if John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. John Jr. His wife of barely a thousand days, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren Bessette also died in the crash. His adult exploits were chronicled no less voraciously than his childhood ones had been: his graduations from college and law school; his admission, after well-documented struggle, to the bar; his founding, in , of George, a glossy magazine of politics and popular culture. Bessette, a fashion publicist, in , in a humble wood-frame chapel on a secluded island off the Georgia coast. But a darker thread ran through it all.
By the time they died, Mr. Kennedy and his wife were reported to have been living apart. Bessette Kennedy — a golden-haired beauty fit for a prince — was said to be hotheaded and volatile. He wanted children; she did not. He embraced the limelight; she abhorred it. The magazine, too, was in trouble, condemned by some media watchers as little more than bombast and already embarked on an economic decline. It ceased publication in They took off at dusk, amid hazy, erratic weather and limited visibility, with Mr. Kennedy — a relatively untried pilot who had been told by doctors not to fly because of a recent broken ankle — at the controls.
In a speech he gave by the sea in Newport, R. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came. Kennedy Jr. William Henry McCarty Jr. He died in in New Mexico, which was still only a territory and did not yet furnish official death certificates.
And, by the time he was dubbed Billy the Kid, just a few months before his death, he had already reached his majority and barely qualified for the moniker anymore. Also known as William H. According to one version, his mother had moved with her two sons to the Midwest, then to New Mexico to recover from tuberculosis. Still, as recently as six years ago, Gov. He testified, but Wallace reneged, and Governor Richardson ultimately decided against a pardon. Near-mirror images, they reflect love and loss and ideas surrounding beauty.
The two hold hands, connected by shared veins that flow to their exposed hearts. The other is intact with blood pumped to a framed photo of Diego Rivera , the celebrated muralist with whom Kahlo had a tumultuous marriage and had divorced that year. The couple remarried the following year.
Together, the two Fridas suggest the physical and emotional toll of the divorce. Kahlo expressed herself in dress as well, using her raiment as both adornment and armor. She embraced traditional Tehuana clothing, which in her paintings was often interpreted as a symbol of female authority. The choice to wear it in self-portraiture was a nod to her own fortitude. It was amputated later in life. If her clothing was an embrace of cultural identity, her signature unibrow and her wispy mustache were in some ways a rebuke to conventional standards of beauty.
At her death on this day 62 years ago, she was well-known as an artist but nevertheless remained overshadowed by Rivera. By then her paintings had been exhibited and well-received in major cities like Mexico City, Paris and New York. Her work today sells for millions of dollars, and her likeness has appeared on everything from T-shirts to beer bottles. As noted by Graham W. In it, a white-haired gent, moving with unhurried and ominous purpose, unpacks a set of dentistry implements and sets to work on a young man who is bound to a chair.
Knighted in and raised to a life peerage in , Lord Olivier was, of course, one of the great theatrical performers — some say the greatest of all — of the 20th century, equally adept at comedy and tragedy, especially revered as a Shakespearean of charismatic intensity and daring physicality. But illness and age led him to retire from the stage in ; few, if any, people under 50 today saw him perform live.
His Szell was too cruel, too evil to be believed and yet memorably credible — frightfully, shudder-inducingly persuasive. Try to watch it. But perhaps inevitably, such a portrait feels a little musty, as though the man himself was a figure most alive in the distant past, a sepia-colored character to be revered — Lord Olivier, not Larry, as he was known to friends and colleagues — who could not be the technicolor movie villain whose villainy he so clearly relished embodying and enhancing. He enjoyed playing good guys, too, of course, and did so, even in his dotage, with similar verve.
Many would suspect that Conan Doyle, a trained physician who was often beseeched by the public to apply his skills to real-life cases , might have been as inflexibly rational as Holmes. But by the end of his life, on July 7, , Conan Doyle was a fervent believer in spiritualism , having spent decades researching ghosts, fairies and the paranormal. His fascination with the supernatural grew after his son Kingsley and his younger brother, Innes, battle-weary from service in World War I, died amid the worldwide influenza pandemic shortly after returning home.
Conan Doyle attended seances and wrote and lectured on spiritualism. He befriended Harry Houdini , the escape artist and magician, maintaining that Houdini had psychic powers even though Houdini himself denied it. Leckie produced several pages of automatic writing, in fluent English and signed with a cross.
By the time he died, Conan Doyle — after killing off Holmes in , only to be forced by popular demand to revive him 10 years later — had forsaken Holmes for good. To jazz aficionados, he was also something more: the trumpet virtuoso with the boundless musical imagination who almost singlehandedly shifted the focus of jazz from collective improvisation to individual expression — the man whose playing on the remarkable Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions , recorded when he was in his 20s, virtually defined the art of the jazz solo.
He learned fast. Before he was out of his teens, he was a fixture on the New Orleans music scene; a few years later he moved to Chicago, where he made the records that changed jazz history. In due time he became the first jazz superstar, embraced by the world for his bravura playing, his ebullient singing and his larger-than-life personality.
Louis Armstrong died at his home in Queens on July 6, That this quintessential American success story was born on July 4, , always seemed too perfect to be true. Call it poetic license. The date he and everyone else celebrated was, as the old saying goes, close enough for jazz. Being born on Feb. Celebrating your birthday every Dec. We culled our obituary files for people born that day to explore what, if anything, they had in common.
Were they more patriotic? Their ranks include Calvin Coolidge , the laconic 30th president; Stephen Foster , whose songs celebrated Americana; and Stephen Mather , the first director of the National Park Service. They do not, however, include George M. Cohan , the Yankee Doodle Dandy who, contrary to popular wisdom, was actually born on July 3.
Mayer born in what is now Belarus. For all the celebrities who were born on the Fourth of July, the holiday may be more famous for two adversaries who died on that date. A star athlete in high school, he participated in the Allied invasion of Europe, rising to the rank of sergeant before his honorable discharge in But for Evers, who was born on this day in to an African-American farming family in Decatur, Miss. The racial injustice there rankled so much that he resolved to fight it, becoming the first field officer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Mississippi.
He recruited new members, championed school integration, encouraged blacks to vote and staged daring protests against racial inequality in the South. He also called for a new investigation of the murder of Emmett Till , a year-old African-American who was lynched in Mississippi in , supposedly for flirting with a white woman.
People called his home threatening to shoot his family, and his house was firebombed. He did not back down. The battlefields of Europe did not stop Evers; those of Mississippi did. Early in the morning of June 12, , a bullet from a rifle ripped through his back, the gunfire awakening his neighborhood and reverberating through the civil rights movement for decades. He was shot returning home from an N. Kennedy delivered a televised address calling for equal rights for all American citizens , regardless of race. Evers managed to drag himself to his doorstep, where his wife, Myrlie , an activist who later became chairman of the N.
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At the emergency room he was initially refused admittance because he was black, until his family explained who he was. He was 37 when he died less than an hour later. His murderer was Byron De La Beckwith , an avowed white supremacist. In two all-white, all-male juries deadlocked and refused to convict Beckwith. A second trial that year ended in a hung jury, and he spent most of his days as a free man. In documents surfaced that indicated that jurors had been illegally screened, and Beckwith was brought to trial and convicted in He died in prison in Two months later, in August , the protests culminated with the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a pivotal, galvanizing moment for the civil rights movement.
As a war veteran Evers was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, achieving in death what he had been denied in life — equality with his brothers-in-arms and his fellow citizens. President Theodore Roosevelt signed two historic bills aimed at regulating the food and drug industries into law on June 30, With decisive strokes of his pen on that oppressively hot day , Roosevelt also provided Upton Sinclair with the greatest validation for which any muckraker could hope. It remains an inspiration to journalists investigating the food industry and food health scares, workplace conditions and the environmental impact of industry.
WHAT I FOUND OUT IN THE HOUSE OF A GERMAN PRINCE
Sinclair later said that his readers had missed the point by focusing on the health risks created by unsanitary stockyards and meatpacking facilities rather than on the dehumanization of workers and the brutal treatment of animals. Still, Sinclair was quick to harness the reaction. He died on Nov. Roosevelt invited Sinclair to the White House, then ordered a federal investigation. Sinclair took every opportunity to harangue the Beef Trust, as the meatpacking industry was known, and sent a stream of telegrams to the White House demanding reform.
Sinclair did no such thing. He was invited to the White House again in , the year before his death, to witness the signing of a new food safety law by President Lyndon B. On June 28, , an year-old student named Gavrilo Princip fired a pistol in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and changed the world. Ferdinand was aware of the danger — earlier that day he had deflected a bomb hurled at him by another would-be assassin, The Times reported.
Many contemporary accounts say the bomb actually bounced off the car. He was traveling to visit people injured in that blast when he was killed. Such courage, or perhaps obstinacy, was typical for Ferdinand. After the assassination Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Soon Europe, and much of the world, spiraled into war as one country after another, enmeshed in a web of previously established alliances, took sides — either with the Central Powers Germany, Austria-Hungary and their allies or the Allies France, Britain, Russia and others, including, eventually, the United States.
What became known as the Great War, or later World War I, would prove to be more devastating than any that had come before. Those two shots brought the world to arms, and the war that followed has brought devastation upon three continents and profoundly affected two others, and the tocsin has sounded in the remotest islands of the sea. Towns have been bombarbed in the Society Islands and battles have been fought in all the oceans, from the extremity of South America to the Malay Peninsula, from the heart of Africa to the coast of China. Nation after nation has been drawn into the whirlpool, and more are drawing toward it, and the end is far off.
What face the world will wear when it is all over no man can predict, but it will be greatly changed, and not geographically alone. During the four years that followed, millions of young men died as they scrambled between trenches or were killed by disease and chemical weapons like mustard gas.
There were more than 30 million servicemen killed or wounded. By the time an armistice was declared in , a generation had lost its innocence, and writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald were inspired by the malaise of their contemporaries. The war formally ended when the Germans signed the Treaty of Versailles , agreeing reluctantly to terms dictated by the Allied forces.
The date was June 28, , exactly five years after Ferdinand was killed. In 20 years the world would be at war again, the wounds of World War I never having fully healed. An earlier version of this article misidentified the country that Austria-Hungary declared war on after Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. It was Serbia, not Bosnia. They were both fighters. They had both devoted themselves to defending what was right.
And they were both nearing 50 on June 27, , as a summer night fell over Greenwich Village. By the time the sun came up, however, Mr. Pine, a deputy police inspector, and Ms. DeLarverie, a cross-dressing lesbian singer, were standing together at an intersection of history — even if they were on opposite sides of what appeared at first to be an old-fashioned donnybrook outside a mobbed-up bar.
It was Deputy Inspector Pine who led the police raid on the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street that night; the night that queer patrons fought back. And it was Ms. No one dared cross her, Ms. DeLarvarie said. For the police, a raid on a joint like the Stonewall had been, until June , a no-brainer. Gay bars were often controlled by organized crime. Corraling homosexuals was a good way for officers to boost their arrest records.
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Pine said when discussing the Stonewall uprising at the New-York Historical Society on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Until they did. Pine apologized for the raid in , six years before his death on Sept. Not Forgotten is asking that of influential people this summer in a series of posts called Breaking Bread. A raconteur who loved good food, a fine cigar and a stiff drink, he would also be a convivial table guest.
Brokaw wrote. And in his imagination he put himself there, with some specific questions in mind:. Sir Winston, I am limited to three questions, which is the interview equivalent of a teaspoon of domestic champagne. Were there any moments after one of your famous speeches that you privately thought Great Britain was in greater peril than you let on? Was that a humbling sign that the best days of the British Empire were in the past? You had a lifetime of cigars, brandy, wine and very little exercise. You were a prisoner of war and escaped.
Your political career seemed to be over in the s, but your glory days were yet to come. You lived to Was it your indomitable will, or was it a higher being looking out for you? Sir, your country has been an empire, a leading member of a western alliance and now has voted to go it alone. Is this wise? Scientists racing to develop a vaccine against Zika virus disease this summer may be hoping for results like those of Dr.
Jonas Salk, creator of the first successful vaccine against poliomyelitis. Salk died on this day in at the age of 80, decades after the polio vaccine he developed helped vanquish the deadly, paralyzing disease throughout much of the world. Schmeck Jr. The discovery made Dr. Salk a hero. Schmeck wrote. In recent years, however, fears of rare, vaccine-preventable diseases have subsided.
Albert B. Sabin, who developed a live polio virus vaccine that ultimately replaced the use of Dr. The live vaccine, given orally, is easier and cheaper to administer, and is particularly useful during epidemics because a vaccinated person temporarily sheds the vaccine virus and can passively immunize others. It was precisely because of this risk that, five years after Dr. Children in America now exclusively receive the inactivated poliovirus vaccine , known as IPV, that resulted from Dr.
Worldwide eradication of the disease has remained an elusive goal. This year and last, polio cases unrelated to the vaccine have occurred in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Earlier in the decade, children in Somalia, Nigeria, Syria and more than a dozen other countries were infected by wild polio virus. Vaccination campaigns have sometimes been thwarted by war and distrust of medical teams. Even after she ascended to worldwide stardom, she constantly sought the love, adulation and acceptance that she felt had eluded her since childhood.
The seeds of her discontent were sown when she was very young. She had a strained relationship with her mother, a fierce stage parent, and was devastated when her beloved father died of meningitis in Garland said she was on a lifelong quest for love. She was married five times and was quoted as saying she longed for the sincere love of one man, rather than the applause of thousands of fans.
Garland turned to drugs and alcohol to fill the void. She died from an apparently accidental barbiturate overdose. She was At least I hope she has. Her rosy complexion as a toddler gave her the nickname Pinky. She returned to the United States 16 years later, in , not as Pinky but as Benazir Bhutto, the new prime minister of Pakistan — the first woman elected to lead an Islamic country. Her time in office would be as tumultuous as her childhood had been idyllic, ending in her assassination by the Pakistani Taliban on Dec.
Bhutto was born on this day in to a wealthy family whose lands were once so extensive it took days to appraise them. In a country where families dominated business and politics in an almost feudal manner, the Bhuttos seemed destined to rule. As Ms. He imparted lessons to her along the way. But her political education went into overdrive when a top army general, Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, overthrew her father and imprisoned him. Bhutto visited him often, absorbing one-on-one political seminars in the grimmest of settings.
Her father encouraged her to study other female leaders, including Indira Gandhi and Joan of Arc. Bhutto was hanged in , charged with orchestrating the murder of a political rival. Bhutto was forbidden to attend his funeral. But as the opposition to a military regime, Ms. Bhutto spent half her time in prison or under house arrest, sometimes in solitary confinement. She was elected twice, serving from December to August and again from October to November Bhutto could be imperial in bearing, charming and also ruthless.
After accusing her government of corruption, her younger brother Murtaza, a member of the provincial legislature, was gunned down outside his home in a police ambush. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, whom she had named minister of investment, was indicted in the murder but exonerated. Witnesses were either arrested, intimidated or killed. Each of her terms as prime minister ended when she was dismissed by the president on graft charges. When she and her husband left office in , they were worth hundreds of millions of dollars, though the source of their wealth was unclear.
Bhutto spent most of the last nine years of her life in self-imposed exile, much of it in a palatial estate in Dubai. After receiving amnesty on the pending charges, she returned in late to seek a third term. A close ally of the Afghan Taliban — which her government supported in its infancy in — killed her at a rally outside the capital.
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Pakistan still waits today for a real democracy to emerge, and an elected leader from outside the few feudal families that have ruled the country, alternating with the military, since its birth. In New York City, Siegel was a core member of the infamous hit squad Murder Incorporated and implicated in many high-profile killings. But Siegel, who died in a hail of bullets 69 years ago today , was also something of a visionary.
He eventually moved west and pioneered the development of Las Vegas as a casino capital, investing in it when it was little more than a sleepy desert town with a pliant City Council and lax gambling regulations. In New York, Siegel, a product of the tough streets of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, was, like his associate Meyer Lansky, a kingpin in what was known as the Jewish mob. Seeking to expand his empire, he left New York City in the s to set up bootlegging and gambling operations on the West Coast.
But Siegel wanted more. When the casino struggled at first, Siegel used millions of dollars from mob investors to prop it up. Without him, the Flamingo would have folded. On June 20, , he was shot through the living room window of Ms. The casino he built in her name endured until , when the last of the original buildings were razed and replaced by Hilton. He wrote about his father, Wyatt Cooper, a screenwriter and actor from Mississippi. The paper was lying on the kitchen counter, and I was startled to see his face staring up at me as I passed by.
It was two days after his death. The article was short. What would happen to my family and me now? As a teenager I used to imagine that he had written me a letter, and every birthday I secretly hoped it would arrive. After a while, no matter how much you love someone, no matter how hard you try to remember, you start to forget little details — the sound of their voice, the way they smell, the look in their eyes when they smile and laugh.
If I could see my father just once more, sit down and talk with him, look into his crystal blue eyes, feel the safety of his arms around me, I would give anything for that. Is he proud of me? What would he have done if he were me? I just turned 49, and my doctor assures me I have many years yet to live. What path forward should I take? How should I live out these years I never expected to have, these years he never lived to see? Unlike many of her jazz world contemporaries — the list is practically endless — she was abstemious.
When she was not onstage or on tour, where she spent most of her life, she preferred tranquil days at her Beverly Hills home and a placid social life with friends like Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan and Peggy Lee. Yet her quiet, abstemious side probably contributed to her longevity; her career lasted six decades. Fitzgerald had a protean voice.
She sang show tunes, swing, bebop, novelties, bossa nova and opera. An inscrutable point in space, which contains all other points simultaneously, inspires a poet, and revenge. Despairing curators wander in a labyrinthine library stocked with innumerable, unintelligible books. A mild-mannered reader dreams of gauchos, knife fights and death. These and all other manner of the mystical, enigmatic and paradoxical imbued the writing of Jorge Luis Borges , an Argentine author whose concise, intricate work overflowed with wonder. He penned densely philosophical short stories and poems of his own and literary hoaxes that intentionally blurred the line between reality and fiction.
Borges was widely considered a candidate for the Nobel Prize for literature, but he never received it. Some speculated that the Nobel committee overlooked Mr. Borges because of his reluctance to engage with the political violence that engulfed Argentina in the 20th Century. But Mr. Borges, an otherworldly figure himself, preferred the printed page to our unruly and unwelcoming reality.
That reality grew more distant when he went blind in the s and was forced to rely on others to transcribe his words and read to him. He departed this world for good when he died of liver cancer on June 14, Toward the end of his life, however, Mr. Borges said he recognized himself in his most fantastical writing. Borges said. Clinton replied. In he asked president George W. Bush replied. A war of choice or a war of necessity? For almost 17 years as moderator Mr. The show regularly reached an audience of almost four million people.
And he was working until the end. Below is a tribute episode that aired after his death. Russert covered elections through the s and early s. In one memorable instance he brought comprehensible analysis to the confusing ballot tumult in Florida in the presidential election that ended with a Supreme Court decision and victory for Mr. Russert was an unlikely candidate for broadcast stardom. The son of a garbage collector from Buffalo, N. Mario M. Cuomo of New York. He was meaty and sometimes cross-looking with his dramatically knitted eyebrows; he could be prosecutorial one moment and jovial the next.
He joined NBC in as an executive. The show still draws a comparable number of viewers with Chuck Todd occupying Mr. Today we have David H. Petraeus, a former C. Besides celebrating writers and those in the arts, the club, in Midtown Manhattan, has also recognized military and government leaders including the former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and me at its annual state dinners.
Hosting Grant — a great writer as well as a great leader — at the Lotos Club would thus be very fitting. He would feel welcome there. Coincidentally, the lovely old townhouse that houses the club, on East 66th Street just off Fifth Avenue, is next door to the address at which Grant lived the final years of his life. I have long admired Grant and felt that some historians were unduly critical of him at various points in the last century although more recent biographies have once again recognized his extraordinary qualities and how fortunate we were to have him in uniform during the Civil War, in particular.
In my view, Grant stands alone among American military leaders as hugely impressive at all three levels of war: tactically as shown in his capture of Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee early in the war ; operationally the Vicksburg victory in , one of the greatest operational-level campaigns of all time ; and strategically devising and overseeing the first truly comprehensive strategy for the Union forces to defeat Robert E. Especially impressive was his sheer fortitude in the face of congressional sniping, press criticism, political pressures, battlefield setbacks and terrible casualties.
Most important, as the first Union commander to come up with a comprehensive strategy to defeat the Confederate forces, he was the first to give battle to Lee and not retreat back to Washington immediately afterward. And although as president he was tarnished by financial scandal after placing too much trust in some members of his cabinet, he sought to be compassionate during the Indian Wars and in the conduct of Reconstruction, and demonstrated integrity in guiding the nation through a host of financial crises. And he was modest and unassuming in all that he did.
They are still regarded as the most literate, forthright memoirs of any major American military figure. With the help of Mark Twain, the memoirs were an enormous commercial success when published after Grant died, on July 23, , at an Adirondacks retreat. Twain, by the way, was among the earliest members of the Lotos Club. For me, Grant was always captured best in the pithy response he offered to Gen. Sherman had emerged from the darkness to encounter Grant sitting under a tree with the rain dripping off his slouch hat.
A life of crime is usually lived in the shadows. But John Gotti, the longtime boss of the Gambino crime family, preferred the spotlight. He was a publicity hound long before social media and smartphones made oversharing ubiquitous. Bruce Mouw, a former F. Gotti died on June 10, , in a federal prison in Springfield, Mo. Gotti took control of the Gambino family after engineering the assassination of his predecessor, Paul Castellano, in The next morning, he will learn he has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
If I have to buy a pair of shoes, then I have to eat ramen noodles for dinner. I still apply. Every day is a gamble with my health. Struggling builds character. But at the end of the process, you feel that your voice was heard. For the surge in Afghanistan, there was an enormous amount of pressure to make a decision. There were all kinds of numbers being floated around in the press, lots of unfortunate leaks. This might have been a day or two before the election, but the point is: There is no doubt that we did not stay on top of that the way we needed to.
This underscored a failing in my first year, which was the sort of perverse faith in good policy leading to good politics. Is the auto industry going to collapse? Will layoffs accelerate? It was better to go ahead and push through and then show that we had gotten something done that was really important to the American people. But I give Nancy and Harry and a whole lot of Democrats enormous credit. It was one of those moments where a lot of people did the right thing even though the politics of it were bad.
For all its warts and all the mistakes that any political party makes — including catering to the interest groups that help get people elected — the truth is that the ACA vote showed that when people had to do something they thought was right even if it was not going to be helpful to their reelection, the majority of Democrats were willing to do it. Certainly Nancy and Harry were willing to do it. One thing that I had to learn fairly early on in the process is that you have to have a plan B. But we had begun to look at what other paths might be possible.
Once we knew it was possible, then it was really just a matter of working Congress. A year later, when the left got irritated with me because of budget negotiations, there was always this contrast between Obama and LBJ, who really worked Congress. But I tell you, those two weeks, that was full LBJ. Every day we were working Democrats, because at this point there was no prospect of us getting any Republicans.
Poll numbers were rotten, people were angry. Good-government reforms have hamstrung an administration, which I think is for the most part for the best. The folks who I will always consider the real heroes of the ACA were the legislators, mostly younger and in swing districts, who had tough races and were just a great bunch of guys. Three thousand years ago, confronted with the mysteries of the universe, the Greeks invented a pantheon of gods and assigned each of them power over the sky and ocean, over love and intelligence.
To explain the unexplainable is the realm of mythology. So when America woke up to find that a black man from Planet Harvard with a Star Trek name was suddenly the president — the commander-in-chief! Thus the Obama Conspiracy Theory was born. Here are an even dozen:.
The good news is the Obama-conspiracy period is unlikely to survive his presidency. As Obama leaves office, one of the more painful memories is the recollection of all that talk of the post-racial society he was supposed to usher in. Now that was a real conspiracy theory. One small child wounded. Ah, damn. Oh, well. She needs to get evaced. We need your location, over. It was the first time where we learned how to work through that noise.
Objectively, if you look back, we managed what was the largest environmental disaster in American history — at least on the continental United States — better than or as well as any administration ever has. But in the midst of it there was this sense that things were completely out of control. The gap between the perception and the reality of what we were doing was stark. We were on top of this thing from the start. When it happened, we assigned all our best people from all our agencies to start working on it.
What made it unique was that, to my chagrin and surprise, nobody had ever seen anything like this before. And we had to invent a way to solve it. It came in very handy that I had a Nobel Prize—winning physicist as my Energy secretary. And he literally designed a little cap that essentially served as the specs for the construction of a mechanism to close the darn hole. But that took three months. What you realized was the degree to which [it mattered that the] camera down there is showing the plume of oil coming out.
We started having gallows humor about the pelican, that it seemed like they had one pelican that they showed over and over again, covered in oil. Staying focused and disciplined in moments where people — and certainly the press — are most likely to panic has overall served us well. Our hard-won reputation for good management took a well-deserved blow.
That was dropping your left and getting socked in the jaw. He likes to roll in style, comfort and convenience. His over-the-top idea in Paris that winter started as a limo timeshare service. I think his original pitch had me and him splitting the costs of a driver, a Mercedes S-Class, and a parking spot in a garage, so that I could use an iPhone app to get around San Francisco on-demand. Tech bro lolz!
John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald
And btw thanks for introducing surge pricing after the Chelsea bombing the other week. On a recent visit to Toronto, I was lucky enough to stay part of the week in a townhouse chosen through Airbnb, a quirky number in a surprising neighborhood that opened up the city in a way that three days at the DoubleTree by Hilton conspicuously failed to do. Viewed through the lightest imaginative scrim we use to turn the quotidian into a kind of ongoing romantic-dramatic narrative, interactions with the so-called sharing economy have added value to my life in ways I never expected.
The prevailing and largely correct narrative is about the isolation and dislocation wrought by the smartphone and social media, but societal trends inevitably provoke strong countertrends. The explosion of DIY handcrafting of everything from beer to chocolate to butchering to the crap you find on Etsy likely would not have happened but as a back-to-the-farm reaction to the alienation of digital-only life. Likewise, the sharing economy has begun to allow us to grow back the connective social tissue that social media tore asunder. And the shift from communal work spaces like those offered by WeWork to communal, hostel-style living is already under way.
He was signing as a free agent with a team filled with really good friends, rather than the one that had criminally underpaid him and refused to sign any decent players to surround him with. Strange as it is to say, their careers ran in parallel. Before Obama gave his career-catapulting speech at the Democratic National Convention, reporter and later Obama biographer David Mendell asked if he was ready for his big moment.
Obama smiled wide, Mendell later wrote. I got some game. But at the time, LeBron was a year-old, still just a month out of his rookie season, figuring his way around a league that eyed the young phenom and all his hype warily. After all, if a skinny black kid with an awkward jumper could make it all the way to the White House, what else is possible? Is that too strong a word for you? BS : Reform would be to say that it is bad public policy when six financial institutions have assets equivalent to 57 percent of the GDP of the United States.
That would be reform. In fact, the major banks are larger today than they were before Dodd-Frank. FF : Okay, you like Obama. BS : This country is a lot better as a result of Obama, and he had to do that against fierce opposition. On the other hand, to my mind, the great issue of our time is the movement toward oligarchy. And that means the power of Wall Street, the power of corporate America, the power of the billionaire class to own the politics of this country.
So we have made progress, but the fundamental issue of taking on the one percent and the greed of the billionaire class, that has not occurred. Do you think that that misses the point? BS : The president appoints people. President Obama, in a big mistake, basically did what Republicans wanted and appointed Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson to chair a commission on the deficit crisis. So that tells you something. Still, the bottom line is: Today in America, the economy is in much better shape than when Obama first came in. He deserves credit. More people have health insurance, poverty is down.
On the other hand, the angst of the moment is that people see this country moving into an oligarchic form of society — where we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality where the political system is being bought by Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. BS : Right. I think what the president had to do, which he chose not to do, is to make it clear that we have got to deal with the greed of the one percent of corporate America and Wall Street, that their practices cannot continue.
That is an approach he has chosen not to take. In order to have real leverage going forward, he needed to scare the crap out of these guys on some level. BS : In , he ran one of the great campaigns in the history of the United States. Brilliant campaign. Did he mobilize the energy and the coalition that he put together into a powerful political force which would have helped him fight for the change that this country needed?
The answer is no. BS : Yeah, it is harder than you think to mobilize people. That is a true point. Did he do everything that he could have? I think the answer is no, he did not. Rather than making the Republicans an offer they could not refuse because millions of people were standing behind him, he chose to sit down with Republicans and negotiate. I think his politics are not the politics of taking on these people. Americans are addicted to hope. We think the world is infinitely malleable and that with enough pluck and elbow grease anything is possible.
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We believe that everything and everyone can be redeemed, that the movie will always end with the hero walking away from the wreckage or the town cheering. We believe in conversions and getting a new life. We scoff at the ancient Stoic lesson that recognizing limits and living within them is the key to happiness. Limits are undemocratic, reality a construct. And tomorrow is another day. We bring the same attitude to politics. That and a very short memory. We spend the next two years stewing and blaming Washington and the media, encouraged to do so by Washington and the media.
And then, as the debates and primaries and conventions come round again, we forget all that and convince ourselves that this time the messiah really is coming. We are a nation of children. Barack Obama understood the power of hope — he campaigned on it. Even Bill Clinton, who ran as the man from Hope, did not have the audacity to present himself as the man heading for Hope. It appears that Obama genuinely believed his own rhetoric. But once elected, Obama did what grown-up politicians do: He got to work. He learned and talked to experts; he read documents and stayed up late.
He was responsible. For this, he was punished. He raised expectations he could not meet, which just infuriated the kids, who kept pouting until Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders offered them ice cream. Even Shepard Fairey, the artist who designed his famous hope campaign poster, abandoned Obama for Sanders. When, he wonders, will they ever grow up? The answer is never. Because we treat bowing to reality as a punishable offense, we are stuck in this cycle.
There is no exit. Once an anxious friend who read his stories asked him whether he thought there was any hope in the world at all. Under the radar, they and their donor group poured money into races all over the country. Many of the ugly lies and slurs you see now were first trotted out in those midterm races. The single most important item the Koch network has obstructed is congressional action on climate change. They and their allies represent the combined force of the fossil-fuel industry, and they have funded contrarian science that denies the reality of climate change. By spending strategically, they successfully killed efforts to put a price on carbon pollution — the so-called cap-and-trade bill — as well as many other efforts to help the country move toward alternative energy.
The president told the New York Times recently that climate change is the most terrifying issue we face. The story of the economy in the Obama years is in many ways a tale of loose money. Back in the grim autumn of , Chair Ben Bernanke took the most important weapon in his arsenal, the Fed-funds target rate, and slashed it all the way to zero — an unprecedented move and a clear signal of just how seriously he was taking the economic emergency.
That move, along with three rounds of so-called quantitative easing, or QE, where the Fed pumped money into the financial markets by buying bonds, constituted the biggest and mightiest monetary-policy experiment ever undertaken: an unorthodox attempt by the Fed, along with other leading central banks, to prevent the collapse of the global economy. There was one minuscule rate hike, of one-quarter of one percent, in December The effects of ZIRP and QE were wide-ranging and mostly felt in the prices of financial assets, like stocks, bonds, and real estate. For financial investors, the Obama years turned out exceptionally well.
But really they have the central bank to thank, much more than the president. What if we had the singularity and nobody noticed? In , Barack Obama had been on the trail for weeks, using a BlackBerry like all the cool campaigners, when the new thing went on sale and throngs lined up for it. The new thing had a silly name: iPhone. The iPhone was a phone the way the Trojan horse was a horse. At the Rio Olympics you could see people, having flown thousands of miles to be in the arena with the athletes, watching the action through their smartphones.
As though they needed the mediating lens to make it real. This device, this gadget — a billion have been made and we scarcely know what to call it. Contact lenses have been rumored; implants are only a matter of time. Silicon passes carbon in the life-form sweepstakes. You may consider this an apocalypse or an awakening, according to taste. Machinery that takes over our biological functions may serve us, like prosthetics, expanding and amplifying our humanity, but not everyone feels expanded or amplified.
With every gain comes a loss — memory being the first to go. Amnesiacs with prosthetic memory. We become sidewalk zombies, downward facing, oblivious to our immediate fellows and the storefronts past which we glide. We resemble wraiths. Still, the zombies are often smiling — evidently chatting or texting with invisible spirits who are, after all, just other humans. Before, the internet was just a place we visited. Now we seem to have moved in.
That is the true purpose of the magic box. So, sure, call it a fancy phone. A mini-camera. An electronic commodity, a status object, a bit of bling. But in a short few years, it has changed what it means to be human. ADAM PLATT: Many things in Foodlandia, these days, have a political element to them, and if you want to emblazon a flag to be carried into battle, you could do worse than a bristly, semi-digestible bunch of locally grown kale. AP: The idea of kale is much more powerful than kale itself. In short order it went from being discovered, to appreciated, to being something that was parodied.
AS: The same thing happened to pork. Remember bacon peanut brittle? Bacon-fat cocktails? AP: Ahhh, bacon versus kale. The two great, competing forces of our time. AS: Do you think one gave way to the other? Bacon is the great symbol in the comfort-food, farm-fresh-dining movement, a kind of merry, unbridled pulchritude. AS: But pork has an advantage: People like the way it tastes. All the bridesmaids have come to the fancy bridal shop to see Maya Rudolph try on wedding dresses.
This should be a familiar scene: The bride emerges from the changing room and … This is the dress! The friends clap. The mother cries. Everyone is a princess. Go ahead and twirl! But when the bride emerges in Bridesmaids, almost all of her friends have started to feel sick. Sweat coats their skin. Red splotches creep over their faces. It starts with a gag from Melissa McCarthy, followed by another gag. Then a gag that comes simultaneously with a tiny wet fart.
We breathe a sigh of relief. Then sweet Ellie Kemper gags, and the sound effect is surprisingly nasty. They look bad. They are embarrassed. How far is this going to go? Wendi McLendon-Covey wet-farts quietly, and the manager is horrified. Now we get another fart from Melissa. This one is deeper and darker. Kristen Wiig stares at Rose Byrne, as both women realize how serious this could be. Wendi tells everyone she has to get off the white carpet. She runs to the bathroom. The bridesmaids follow. This must be where it ends. Suddenly, we are in the bathroom, running alongside Wendi as she races for the toilet.
We barely have time to react, when Melissa runs in after her. The camera pans up fast to see her desperation. We are watching a war now. I need the toilet! It will be funny, and then it will be over. That is the limit of our imagination. We cut wide again to see the bathroom. Why are we in such a wide shot? Melissa knocks the Kleenexes and towels off the bathroom counter. And then … she starts to hike up her dress. This is the moment. Change for women in this country has come in many forms. Some change is big and loud and hard-won and can be put in writing.
Some change is as small and simple as a handshake. Melissa McCarthy starts to hike up her dress. She hoists her body up onto the sink. She is fully on top of the sink now. The kicker. The cherry on top. The camera cuts. We are above now. We look down from a safe perch as the release we have been anticipating and dreading begins. A woman has just pooped in a sink. The revolution has begun. I think they both shared a belief in the art of the possible, and they both did not think compromise was a dirty word. When our cover was blown — a Wall Street Journal editorial came out saying that Boehner and Obama were working on this and attacking the whole premise — that was devastating.
It resulted in Cantor being a part of the talks. Paul Ryan said if we do this deal, it will guarantee your reelection. If we agree with Barack Obama on spending and taxes, that takes away one of our big weapons. That conversation was quite illuminating. Both parties like their daggers. That was the dance. There was a moment in time where they had the outlines of an agreement and we went off to fill in some additional details between the two staffs pursuant to a meeting that had occurred on a Sunday morning at the White House. We shipped them some paperwork Sunday night. Monday — nothing. I literally probably had a couple hundred hours of private meetings at my home with them.
One of the problems, though, is that old bad joke: What happens when the dog catches the bus? Well, they caught the bus in But we spent an awful lot of time in detailed, detailed discussions about how to deal with everything from the potential for a government shutdown in to the budget deal in to the fiscal cliff in and beyond. Not a single thing leaked out of those discussions, and we went through the budget literally line by line — where would they be willing to raise revenue? Could they, for example, raise revenue by eliminating the tax cuts for small aircraft that are not taxed the same as commercial airlines?
It got that detailed. We would shake hands and have a deal. Illustrations by Lauren Tamaki. And the very next year, I was one of the most hated men in America. What I remember from my show is the fact that I did get an opportunity to warn people of what could be over the horizon. I was trying to teach them the history of our country and the Founding Fathers. They would be horrified by his policies and by everything he says.
But because he has an R after his name, they suddenly accept it and hold him up as the great savior. And I was worried our country was hurtling toward a disastrous, self-inflicted economic crisis. That morning, when it became clear the vote was going to be close, my husband, Mark, and I knew we needed to get to Washington quickly. I went straight from my rehabilitation appointment to the airport, and Mark was at our house in Houston packing our bags so he could meet us at the plane.
That night, I remember seeing the Capitol for the first time since I was injured and feeling so grateful to be at work. I will never forget the reception I received on the floor of the House from my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats. And then, like I had so many times before, I voted. After I resigned from Congress to continue my recovery, and Mark retired from the U.
Navy and NASA, we hoped to have a second chance at service. We wondered what our path might be. The tragedy at Sandy Hook gave us the answer. There is a sea change happening in the movement to prevent gun tragedies. Groups like ours are finally helping to bring some balance back to the politics of this issue; no longer does the gun lobby have the playing field to itself. I worked so hard to get my speech back, and honestly, talking to people who share my determination helped me find my words again. Best of all, I got back on my bike. Riding my bike once seemed like such a huge challenge.
It seemed impossible. It was a nice tactic on their part—they set up a meeting in the Great Hall of the People with more press than I thought lived in China. All the financial reporters came too because Biden was going to get his comeuppance: Man, the United States was downgraded for the first time. I walked in, and Hu was being very smart. He looked at me and said he thought America would come back and that they wanted to be able to help, but he wanted to be sure their investments in our Treasury bills were secure. I went and saw him in midst of that at the White House. We went down to the basketball court.
He went off on vacation shortly after that and he spent a lot of time thinking about how to come out of this and fight his way back. On September 17, , three years after the financial crisis and the dawn of the Great Recession, there was every reason to believe that public attention to bank fraud, massive foreclosures, executive wealth, and middle-class debt had come to an end — if it had ever really begun.
While the city and the current owners bickered over who should eject the unwanted public, they built a library, a free canteen, a sleeping village, a drum corps, and a media center, and held a twice-daily town meeting to deliberate the running and political purpose of their Occupation.
World War II
It was, more or less, a working model of real democracy, steps from where the Bill of Rights had been adopted, in the heart of the financialized fake Manhattan that had paved democracy over. The sitting and talking of a few hundred, then many thousands, of people, in Manhattan and then at sites across the United States and Europe, for about two months accomplished several things. It pushed media, not very skillful with abstractions, to focus on long-known truths about the redistribution of wealth upward to the richest one percent.
Historians are obligated to use positive data: unemployment reports, foreclosure peaks, homicides eyewitnessed and livestreamed. But those of us who lived through it can insist on the importance of mood, of atmosphere, and of silence. There was the belief, at the election in and after, that even though Obama propped up the big banks in the Great Recession, he was going to save the rest of us, too.
He would prosecute wrongdoers, at least, or halt foreclosures and fraud. A three-year lag. And there was a belief in that Obama, in his second term, would now have the political safety to launch measures to save African-Americans specifically — to deliver the country from the era that threw people in jail for practically nothing and shot them for black skin and a justified fear of the cops.
A two-year lag. Yet its curious effect was primarily to set the stage, through caution and blocked action, for an upsurge of genuine social movements that began from his absences. Perhaps the old community organizer knew that for a real democracy, citizens must do things for themselves. That winter and going into , we began raising rounds pretty quickly. At one point, we were growing at new people every two weeks in the Chicago office.
So you would come in and not only would your desk be gone, but that entire wall would be missing. We did pranks for our own employees, just so they were excited to come to work every day. We got accustomed to things like that. You were wondering what fun, crazy things happened. Every day we would share by email different success stories of merchants whose businesses we had saved.
I remember there was one about us saving a zoo, where this woman had a llama farm and she was going out of business. We put her on Groupon, and suddenly she was booked for six months. I would wake up ina cold sweat and think: Oh, maybe I have a cold. Oh my God, it was difficult for me to go into a crowd.
I isolated myself. After I left work I stayed in my condo. Total-shutdown mode. I was angry at everything. It could have been ants walking across my coffee table. I was angry because my dog Rocsi was wagging her tail. Of course I was angry that — why was I chosen to go back the second time? I mean, you got me in , then you sent me again in ? When I got home, I was back working in a hospital.
For years, I thought I was doing well. I was still functioning as a mom. Then, in , my daughters were gone and I had nobody else to worry about. Graduating from a liberal-arts college in meant finding yourself cast in a bleak comedy and realizing quickly that no one felt all that sorry for you. She was also someone with an HBO series, as opposed to a self-involved intern with a half-finished manuscript.
From the beginning, the volume of analysis the show generated threatened to overwhelm the show itself. What did Girls mean for millennials? Why was the cast on the first season so white, and so populated by the children of famous people? Dunham went through the ringer of creating pop culture in the era of social media as few others had before: Girls gave her a platform just as more people than ever could publicly question who got such platforms, and why, and how they used them. She knew that daytime calls signaled an emergency.
The worst one had come the previous year, when her sister told her ICE agents had placed their father in federal custody. Garcia was attending Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, when her father was marched out of her childhood home. But this call was different. Undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the United States as children could apply for Social Security numbers and work permits. Garcia qualified: Her parents had brought her to this country when she was 7 years old. DACA transformed her into a premed student who could actually become a doctor.
And those hundreds of thousands of immigrants are outnumbered by the approximately 2. The daughter is poised to join the U. The father was caught up in a policy that has expelled almost as many immigrants as the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations combined. At first, President Obama saw this as a necessary first step to immigration reform. He came to the attention of ICE agents after they combed through the personnel records at the carpet factory where he worked. He is required to periodically check in with ICE authorities, however, and had to wear an ankle bracelet for several months.
His deportation is still a live possibility. There were moments during the Obama years when the Garcias thought they might be able to come out of the shadows, just like their daughter. After the election, the administration pushed hard for immigration reform; it passed the Senate but never received a vote in the House. In , Obama tried to expand the DACA program to include undocumented parents of children who are citizens. The Garcias would have qualified, because their youngest daughter was born in the U. The Supreme Court deadlocked on its constitutionality this past June.
A man told me that he had a son with multiple sclerosis, and he and his wife were always worried that if something happened to them, and they no longer could use their health insurance to cover him, what would happen to their son? And now they could rest easy. I also felt extremely privileged to have the opportunity to play this role in history.
Some of the political folks in the White House were wary because it was in the spring of an election year — and their concern was that Obamacare could be parodied or tarred as just a big tax. But the president made a judgment back then that we ought to include an argument about the tax power, and he basically never looked back. When I became the solicitor general, I increased the focus and attention on the tax argument. It became a bigger part of our briefs. We argued it in more detail. We added some important precedents into the analysis, and we just gave it more emphasis, more oomph, in the Supreme Court, than when it was in the lower courts.
It took a lot of work to get it on the table, but eventually I did. It was an example of trying to craft legal arguments in the recognition that in order to prevail, we needed to secure the votes of one or more justices who were jurisprudentially conservative and who were skeptical about the broad exercise of federal-government power. The border of West Virginia and Ohio is full Appalachia, deep football country. In the back of the car and at that party, they pushed a penis in her mouth, forced their fingers inside her, ripped off her shirt.
And they took photos and videos of it all, which made their way from texts to Twitter and to Facebook and soon to the national media. Hormones and alcohol and all that! The football team went undefeated last season. It was the same education agenda that had proliferated across the country since Undoubtedly, in the years that followed, the teachers have won the PR war. From Brooklyn to Baton Rouge, battalions of teachers and parents have since joined forces against so-called corporate school reform.
Perhaps the only area of agreement among rural tea-partyers and gentrifying urban hipsters — both on their respective upswings in the s — is the venality of the Obama-backed Common Core standards. If Obama lost public opinion, though, he and his supporters won the policy war. For all the red solidarity T-shirts, charter schools in urban areas continue to proliferate, traditional public schools continue to be closed, and standardized tests live on.
The Common Core? Once upon a time, a willingness to look for love online was considered a sign of insanity or desperation. But internet dating never really lost its stigma as a last recourse for loners and crazy perverts until it migrated from computers to phones and got rebranded as the kind of game you could play with friends at a bar. Sort of like Erotic Photo Hunt, but with the possibility of actual sex. We had armed him with a joke — it was his 20th anniversary, and he addressed Michelle — and it turns out Romney was expecting just such a line and had a really great comeback.
Obama looked like he was at a press conference. When we went down to Williamsburg, Virginia, for the next debate camp, he seemed really eager to engage in the prep. We had a decent first night. That was on Saturday. On Sunday night, [John] Kerry, playing Romney, got a little more aggressive and Obama a little less so; it looked very much like what we had seen in Denver.
A few of us basically had an intervention the next morning, and he was very, very candid. I have to prepare in a different way. After that conversation, he came back and just worked really hard, question by question. He did what he hates to do, which is to kind of script himself. And when we got up the next morning and we were getting ready to go, he had outlined 14 of the most likely questions on one sheet of paper, front and back, with his own notes of how he was going to handle it. When we went to see him in his locker room before the second debate at Hofstra University, he was sitting, and on the table was this sheet of paper.
Again, we knew within the first ten minutes that he was right. He just completely absorbed what he wanted to do, and he nailed it.
It was really the first time that I worked closely with him that he experienced failure on a large stage. On the way to the third debate, when he was really very confident, he reflected on what happened in Denver and he said the hardest thing about it was traveling around after and seeing all these young volunteers who were keeping a stiff upper lip to encourage him.
In , no state allowed for the legal sale of weed. Now four do, and after November, another five could well join them. The number of states allowing medical marijuana has doubled, from 12 to So has the percentage of adults who say they smoke marijuana, from 7 to 13 percent, just in the last three years alone. In the early s, it was a tiny-minority position within a tiny minority. In the s, when support for gay marriage was a mere 27 percent, a Democratic president signed the Defense of Marriage Act. When Obama became president, only two states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, allowed same-sex couples to marry.
But by , that had increased to five, including Iowa. By , it was By , it was 36 — and then, a year later, Over 60 percent of the country now supports marriage equality — and 40 percent of Republicans do. Why were these two issues different from all the others? Notably, Obama never openly campaigned for either.
He dismissed legalization of marijuana with a condescending chuckle in his reelection campaign. This year, in a classic Obama straddle, his DEA continued to insist that cannabis remain a Schedule I drug — more dangerous than many of the addictive opioids devastating America — but simultaneously opened up marijuana research. That crucial element of federalism allowed Republicans to acquiesce in something they would otherwise ferociously oppose at a national level.
But most important, both issues could be seen as both conservative measures as well as liberal ones. Conservatives who believe in individual freedom already had one foot in the legal-weed camp, and those who had spent the previous few decades lauding the social benefits of civil marriage found it somewhat awkward to suddenly insist that those same values did not apply to gays. Neither measure required government itself to do much or spend anything ; government just had to get out of the way.
Support for both phenomena also transcended the usual demographic polarities. And with gays, every family, red and blue, turns out to have them. Fazio Sr. Kennison Jr. Montgomery Sr. Depayne V. Daniel Simmons Sr. Rios Jr. Next one! But binge-watching as an alternate method of consuming culture truly came of age a year later, on February 1, It made little sense — for starters, no one had seen even a single episode, so who, exactly, was clamoring for instant access to all 13?
Not to mention that, while viewers no longer tended to watch everything at the same time, they did tend to gravitate to social media to buzz about their favorite episodes every week. How could anyone buzz when everyone is watching a different episode? The tactic seemed not only nonsensical but counterintuitive. Instead, it was revolutionary. Netflix based the choice largely on internal data about how people watched old shows on Netflix.
So why not offer the same option for a brand-new show? As often happens with technical innovation, creative repercussions followed. TV creators can now assume a different kind of attention from their audience. The way-before-its-time show Arrested Development , stuffed full of inside jokes and Easter eggs that thwarted weekly network audiences, turned out to be perfectly suited to the streaming environment.
The coy weekly striptease of network TV now seems quaintly anachronistic, and TV as a whole feels less like an all-you-can-eat buffet of delights than like the overkill of the apocryphal Roman vomitoria. Of course, as in every feminist golden age, there has also been dissent: furious clashes over the direction and quality of the discourse, especially as the movement has become increasingly trendy, shiny, and celebrity-backed. Perhaps the most public feminist conflagration of the Obama years came at the nexus of policy and celebrity, of politics and pop power.
The book, which tackled the variety of social and psychological traps laid for women in the contemporary workplace, was an instant best seller. But the critical resistance, both to the often misunderstood messages Sandberg was sending and to her unlikely perch as a feminist spokesperson, was loud and fierce. Sandberg, many noted, was a wildly wealthy woman, and in urging women to reform themselves rather than the systems — from the gendered and racial pay gap to the lack of paid leave and subsidized child care — that left them with less power than their male counterparts, she was simply adding to the pressures they faced, blaming them in some way for their own inequitable predicament.
But to skeptics, the danger was that Lean In feminism would eclipse a movement for bigger alterations to our social and economic policies. What we are not talking about in nearly enough detail, or agitating for with enough passion, are the government policies, such as mandatory paid maternity leave, that would truly equalize opportunity. We are still thinking individually, not collectively. But a funny thing happened while feminists were yelling at each other about Sheryl Sandberg: The United States started to make big, swift strides on economic policies favorable to women and families.
Since , five states — including New York in — have passed paid-family-leave bills, with campaigns active in 20 more states. In , Barack Obama talked about federally mandating paid leave in his State of the Union address and established paid sick leave for federal workers. The same year, California congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the EACH Woman Act , which would override the Hyde Amendment which prevents poor women from accessing abortions through federal insurance programs including Medicaid.
And in this election, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton supports paid sick leave, paid family leave, subsidized child care, and higher wages for child-caregivers, more-affordable education, expansion of the health-care system, a higher minimum wage, free community college, and the abolishment of Hyde.
We have, as they say, come a long way, baby. But neither did her brand of feminism get in the way of those advances, as many seemed to fear it would. Perhaps it would even be fair to argue that the amplification of these discussions — thanks to Sandberg and, yes, her many critics — has helped to raise the volume and awareness of gendered inequities enough that we have managed to move forward faster than we thought possible.
Sometimes, attacking from all angles is the most effective strategy. The message that came out of Washington at that time is that Al Qaeda had been decapitated, that the group was on the run, that whatever was left of it were these isolated cells. At that point I was based in North Africa. I was just about to become a bureau chief for the AP. The thing that was transformative for me was that in Timbuktu, in Mali, in a building that had been occupied by the jihadists, I was able to retrieve some of the pages of documents that they had left behind after the French pushed them back in Those documents were eye-opening.
That to me was the first moment when I went, Oh, okay. I realized that I needed to very much question what was coming out of Washington. The way these people would just light up when they were talking about it, you know, you felt like when you imagine a girl lighting up when she first sees Elvis or something. The skit spirals outward in ever more fantastical directions — all three read for the part of Mrs. Claus, but J. Lo snagged it! Vanity Fair ran an oral history of the sketch.
It was hardly the first or the last time Schumer went viral with a feminist conceit: There was the time she skewered the difficulty women have in accepting compliments, the sketch about a link between football and rape, the send-up of male-gaze rap videos, and many more. She became the walking embodiment of self-actualization feminism, circa ; that role became as important, or even more important, than her jokes.
The jokes themselves, if you look a little closer, have a complicated, fairly specific relationship to the female experience. It became impossible for Amy Schumer to walk outside in sweatpants without its being labeled empowering. But we should be wise and restrained in how we use that power. But do I think the critiques from the left, about drones, are fair or fully informed? Not always. Sometimes they are. With bin Laden, we had the option — the less risky option — of just firing a missile into that compound.
I made the decision not to do so primarily because I thought it was important, if in fact it was him, that we be able to identify him. But depending on how you define innocents, a couple people in that compound that were not bin Laden and might be considered innocent, including one of his wives, were killed. As a percentage, that could be counted as collateral damage that might have been higher than if we had just taken a shot when we knew that the compound was relatively empty.
I will say, though, that what prompted a lot of the internal reforms we put in place had less to do with what the left or Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or other organizations were saying and had more to do with me looking at the way in which the number of drone strikes was going up and the routineness with which, early in my presidency, you were seeing DOD and CIA and our intelligence teams think about this. It troubled me, because I think you could see, over the horizon, a situation which, without Congress showing much interest in restraining actions, you end up with a president who can carry on perpetual wars all over the world, a lot of them covert, without any accountability or democratic debate.
And that work has continued over the course of years now, such that this year, for example, after a lot of interagency wrestling, we were able to start our estimates of civilians who may have been killed by some of these actions. But by the time I leave here, the American people are going to have a better sense of what their president is doing.
Their president is going to have to be more accountable than he or she otherwise would have been. And I think all of that will serve the American people well in the future. In which case the best thing for me to do is to try to figure out what the right thing to do is and just do it, and worry later about how Washington is grading me. And that was a valuable lesson. It was a valuable lesson in two ways. One, because it taught me to trust my judgment. You take the case of Syria, which has been chewed on a lot. But it continues to puzzle me, the degree to which people seem to forget that we actually got the chemical weapons out of Syria.
My decision was to see if we could broker a deal without a strike to get those chemical weapons out, and to go to Congress to ask for authorization, because nowhere has Congress been more incoherent than when it comes to the powers I have. Maybe both.
A doctor inserted a catheter that morning. I had a real scare. After an hour, I started getting really uncomfortable. I realized nothing was draining into the bag. Literally minutes before I was supposed to be on the floor, the nurse practitioner came in and realized there was a stopper in the tube. As soon as she removed it, everything was fine. What was different on that day was that for the first time ever, the Texas Tribune had been granted [the right] to use its technology to livestream from the Senate floor. I did not know people were watching to the extent that they were, not even close.
I expected the gallery to be full, but I could hear them out on the lawn, I could hear them roar in the halls and in the rotunda, and from time to time I could literally feel the vibration of their voices beneath my feet on the Senate floor. My Republican colleagues were going to treat this filibuster very differently.
In the past, there has been a lot of leeway — senators can read names out of the phone book under the idea that everyone will be affected by the bill. And then I knew that they had plotted to call three strikes — that they were going to do everything they could to bring it to an end. My back was hurting, and I got another strike when a colleague helped me put a back brace on. But then I started getting mad, and when I got mad it was really great, because it kept me sharp and then time just flew, it really did. Within a few hours we received 16, stories.
The hardest part of the day, for me, was when I came to a story from a woman named Carol M.