"Open conversation that leads to nothing." That's how Jon Stewart summed up his interview with popular right-wing historian David Barton. He was right: After 30 minutes of glib back-and-forth with Barton (ten of which made it onto TV), Stewart was flummoxed, worn down, unfunny.
In 1831-32 two
young Frenchmen, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont, traveled
through the United States, ostensibly to study the prison system on behalf of
the French government. But the prisons bored and often appalled them--Quaker-inspired
prisons in Philadelphia being the exception--so they spent very little time in
Eliza Griswold's book is a nearly perfect puzzle. On the one hand, she is doing some of the most important religious journalism being done these days. If God has, as one of her interview subjects puts it, "moved his work to Africa," then Griswold possesses a sharp pair of eyes for God's new work. It doesn't hurt that Griswold writes like an angel and has an eye for irony and detail.
Jay Stooksberry argues that the way to reduce gun-related homicides in the United States is to halt the war on drugs. Nearly half of homicides involving guns today are drug-related. He notes that during the Prohibition era, gun deaths increased, as did alcoholism, which Prohibition was meant to prevent. Gangs then controlled the black market, just as they control the distribution and sale of illegal drugs today. Prohibition was a failure, and for similar reasons the war on drugs hasn’t worked—but it has led to the killing of innocents in gang warfare and the militarization of law enforcement, at the cost of a trillion dollars spent over the past four decades (Newsweek, August 16).