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Jonathan Rauch

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Why Not Strip J. Edgar Hoover’s Name From the FBI Building?

September 15, 2015 Now that the Confederate flag has been furled at South Carolina’s Capitol, it’s time to deal with another symbolic insult to minorities and the Constitution—the one inscribed over the door of the nation’s top law-enforcement agency. A consummate bureaucrat and institution-builder, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s first director, was also...

The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis

December 4, 2014 This summer, a friend called in a state of unhappy perplexity. At age 47, after years of struggling to find security in academia, he had received tenure. Instead of feeling satisfied, however, he felt trapped. He fantasized about escape. His reaction had taken him by surprise. It made no sense....

The Case for Corruption

February 20, 2014 The government shutdown last fall wasted billions of dollars, upset innumerable plans, and besmirched both political parties. But it did have one constructive effect. Surveying the wreckage, grown-ups in both parties realized that the politics of public confrontation is a lot better at closing the government than running it. So,...

Louisiana parish creeps toward recovery

August 25, 2006 CHALMETTE, La. -- By the time water encroached on the Chalmette Medical Center parking lot, the worst of Hurricane Katrina was over. Upstairs on the second floor, Dr. Bryan Bertucci had spent a sleepless night admitting emergency cases, taking medical histories, conducting physicals. That job done, he caught an hour's...

Bush quietly beefs up government's role

July 25, 2003 "I was a lightweight trading on a famous name, they said." That was George W. Bush, then still governor of Texas, writing in his 1999 book, "A Charge to Keep." He might have been pleased to know that "they," the purveyors of conventional wisdom, had said the same of Franklin...

Small wars

June 18, 2002 The opening shot in the war launched by al Qaeda was fired not on Sept. 11 but two days before. On September 9, two Tunisian Arabs, posing as journalists and carrying forged Belgian passports, insinuated themselves into the presence of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of Afghanistan's anti-Taliban Northern Alliance....

Beyond Government

January 1, 2000 ashington is about to succumb to old age. But at least its timing isn't bad. Although America's government is decreasingly flex- ible and adaptive, America's leading problems are increasingly non-governmental. Strangely, government's debilities may have the perverse but useful side benefit of forcing Americans to focus less on Washington at...

The dawn of the era of microgovernment

September 23, 1998 On Feb. 12, Americans awoke to read in their newspapers that the U.S. government-settler of the West, vanquisher of totalitarianism, conqueror of the moon-now writes the rules of golf. Casey Martin is a professional golfer who suffers from Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, a congenital circulatory disorder that gives him pain and swelling...

The Easy Way Out

May 9, 1997 Historians will write that in 1997 the Republicans and Democrats girded for budgetary battle, marched afield and sat down together on the grass for a beer. After seemingly endless negotiations, the two sides agreed on a package to reduce the deficit by about $350 billion over the next five years,...

The End of Government

September 7, 1996 National Journal, Vol. 28, No. 36 n June, when congressional Democrats unveiled ``Families First,'' their new policy agenda, the most important part was written between the lines: an acknowledgment that a politician's place, these days, is at the margins. The Democrats contented themselves with a program to prevent teen pregnancy,...

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