Inside Hillary Clinton’s complicated relationship with organized labor.
T.A. Frank turns a profile of George Pataki into a psychological investigation of long-shot presidential candidates: Why do people run for president even though they cannot win? And how should we the voters feel about them?
How Washington derailed Amtrak.
As the city’s political and business elite woo expats with post-bankruptcy blueprints, a native son contends with his hometown’s past and future.
A heartbreaking account of the emotional and financial toll of Alzheimer’s, from the perspective of a woman who must care for her aunt.
A profile of Ken Feinberg, who has assisted in determining how to dole out funds for the victims of 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Newtown shooting, and the BP oil spill. The story raises larger questions about when we give to victims of tragedies, and when we don’t and why:
“All of this raises fundamental questions of fairness, he says. On one hand, the 9/11 payout was an expression of political sentiment; few Americans objected. And as far as private money goes, well, that’s the marketplace in action. Donors are free to send checks in one case and not another, just like they’re free to choose between the Jerry Lewis telethon and the March of Dimes. On the other hand is the unsettling feeling that human life ends up being valued in all manner of disparate ways, based on publicity, geography, the nature of the crime, and the identities of the victims. ‘It’s horrible,’ Feinberg says. A woman who lost a spouse in the Boston bombings will receive more than $2 million. A family who lost a child at Sandy Hook Elementary will see less than $300,000. Meanwhile, the families of African-American children killed by stray bullets on the streets of Chicago, Washington, New Orleans, and elsewhere may not be able to cover the cost of the funeral.”
A black gay man running for mayor in a Mississippi town is murdered, leaving residents with lots of questions, but few answers:
“When McMillian decided to run for mayor, Owens and his friends saw it as a chance for a fresh start. His death has given Owens a sort of helpless feeling, like shadowy forces are conspiring against him and his town.
“‘It could have been a political hit, you never know,’ he says. ‘He knew. That’s the funny thing. He knew he was going to die. He said they was gonna kill him…. He knows how this town is. If you want to be on top, something that comes with money and power, you can pay a big price.'”
A journalist takes his son, who has Asperger’s, to meet Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and learns to be a better father after the meetings:
“Bush had connected. With an impish smile, he told Tyler about the time that rocker/humanitarian Bono was scheduled to visit the White House. The president’s aides, knowing that their boss was unimpressed by celebrities, worried that Bush would blow it. ‘[Chief of Staff] Josh Bolten comes in and said, “Now, you know who Bono is, don’t you?” Just as he’s leaving the Oval Office, I said, “Yeah, he’s married to Cher.” ‘ Bush raised an eyebrow. ‘Get it?’ he asked Tyler. ‘Bone-oh. Bahn-oh.’
“Afterward, I asked Tyler about the Bono joke. He said, ‘Sounds like something goofy you would say.’ But for me, the exchange was an eye-opener. Tyler was terse, even rude, but Bush was solicitous. Rather than being thrown by Tyler’s idiosyncrasies, he rolled with them, exactly as he had in the Oval Office nine years earlier. He responded to every clipped answer with another probing question. Bush, a man who famously doesn’t suffer fools or breaches of propriety, gave my son the benefit of the doubt. I was beginning to think that people are more perceptive and less judgmental toward Tyler than his own father is. Bush certainly was.”
A writer debates his dad about the legacy of Baby Boomers: Do they deserve blame for our current economic situation?
“You could call this anecdote Exhibit A in my father’s defense of the boomers, which he offered over coffee on the first day of our weeklong dispute. It boils down to a claim that he didn’t exactly inherit a great deal, either. Tom Tankersley’s argument breaks into two categories. First, he deflects blame for all of the bad stuff of the past several decades to previous generations and myopic politicians. Second, he builds a case that the boomers did far more good than harm.
“The Greatest Generation, his parents’ cohort, paid a lot less into Social Security and Medicare than it took out of it, he says. (This is true.) It did nothing to reduce pollution, conserve natural resources, or halt the nation’s growing and dangerous addiction to fossil fuels. ‘Previous generations did not have a Clean Air Act or a Clean Water Act,’ he says. His enacted both. (Also true.)