Flashback

Flashback

A New York Couple: November 1992

By From the November 1992 issue

Editor’s Note: Happy Repeal Week! In honor of the abolition of the 18th Amendment, we're republishing this 1992 piece in which Richard Brookhiser of National Review praises his favorite hotel bars in New York City.

A drink in the lounge of the Algonquin Hotel was the setup for the best birthday present I ever got my wife.
 I am terrible at presents, especially birthday presents. Christmas comes the same day every year, that I can plan for. But the effort of remembering any birthday except my own, combined with the burden of picking an appropriate present, makes the birthdays of my loved ones botched and dreaded occasions. I have forgotten my wife's altogether. Other years, remembering at the last minute, I've grabbed presents that were cheesy or drab. One year I repeated the gift I'd gotten her the last Christmas. My wife, if she chose, could ponder a long ledger of my failings.

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If Only the Pilgrims Had Been Italian (November 2007)

By From the November 2007 issue

Editor's Note: A classic from our November 2007 issue.

I would be willing to bet serious money that right now in your kitchen you have olive oil, garlic, pasta, parmesan cheese, and dried basil (maybe even fresh basil!). Nothing exotic there, right? They’re ingredients we take for granted. But their appearance in our kitchens is a relatively recent phenomenon. Believe me, those big-flavor items did not come over on the Mayflower. It took generations, even centuries, for Americans to expand their culinary horizons to the point where just about everybody cooks Italian and orders Chinese take-out. Heck, the supermarket in my little Connecticut hometown even has a sushi bar.

Alas! It was not always thus. American cuisine, like the settlements at Jamestown and Plymouth, got off to a rocky start. Blame it on our English and ScotchIrish ancestors. As a people they possessed many admirable qualities; they were tough, they were independent, some of them could read. Yet the original settlers of the American colonies were not famous for their discerning palate. Let me give you an example.

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A Holiday of One’s Own (December 1999)

By From the December 1999 issue

Editor's Note: A classic from our December 1999 issue.

My favorite Thanksgiving is one I spent in London a few years back. The weather was gray, of course, though warmer than what I was used to from Connecticut. I spent the day at the National Gallery, which I found mercifully uncrowded, followed by half a dozen book shops. Then I walked back to the place where I was staying, the streets already dark at six o'clock and filled with people headed home from work. That evening I celebrated with my hosts and a few other Americans who lived in town, the holiday like a delicious secret among us on that ordinary English Thursday.

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In the Loup: May 2001

By 11.22.13

Editor's Note: Obamacare trudges on and Harry Reid has detonated the nuclear option. What better time for a drink? Pull up a bar stool and listen as the late Christopher Hitchens explains -- as he did in our May 2001 issue, using his favorite New York City establishment -- just the kind of place required to properly enjoy one. 

What does one seek in a place of refreshment? Or what qualities, once found, make one think of a bar as in some way one's own? I would list in no special order the following features. The place should be open early and late and in between. In line with this, it should be a setting of moods: a slow start in the mid-morning, a bit of a bulge around lunchtime, a languorous afternoon and then a gradual quickening of pace after 6 p.m., culminating in a commitment to some sort of late-night or after-dinner or post-theater crowd. (It's not absolutely necessary to experience all of these things in the same 24-hour cycle, but you should be able to say that you have experienced them all and can in some way count on them.)

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Ted Turner’s Cable Scam (March 1987)

By From the March 1987 issue

Editor's Note: The release of the fifth book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell, an alumnus of The American Spectator, has inspired us to mine our archives. In our March 1987 issue, Gladwell investigated Ted Turner's creation of CNN, which included all the usual elements of crony capitalism: duplicity and deception, sleazy lobbyists, and business protections enshrined by Congress.

Ted Turner first came to Washington to peddle his vision of how cable television would change America in 1976. "You have to remember that there are three supernetworks who only own four or five stations apiece that are controlling the way this nation thinks and raking off exorbitant profits," he told Congress. "They have an absolute, a virtual stranglehold, on what Americans see and think, and I think a lot of times they do not operate in the public good."

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Michael Brown Goes Free: Nov. 1997

By 6.21.13

Editor's Note: A basic rule of government is that nothing, even justice, remains inviolate from the political process. In 1997, the Justice Department chose to drop felony charges against Michael Brown, saving the reputation of a connected White House appointee. Who is AG Holder protecting? Incidentally, earlier this month Mr. Brown pleaded guilty to bribery charges stemming from his later service on the Washington, D.C. city council.
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The Perfect Storm

By From the February 2006 issue

THE FALL OF 2005 WAS A PERFECT STORM of troubles for the Bush administration and the Republican Congress: overspending, public tiring of the Iraq War, Katrina, Harriet Miers, the indictment of Tom DeLay, the Abramoff scandal, the Valerie Plame affair and its possible threat to Karl Rove, skyrocketing gas prices, and collapsing approval ratings for President Bush and the Republican Congress.

Bush's personal approval rating fell from 50 percent the day he was re-elected in 2004 to 39 percent in November 2005. The public sense of right track/wrong track moved from 44/51 in January 2005 to 33/64 by early December 2005. October 25 saw the  2,000th American death in Iraq, and fully 60 percent of Americans said they no longer thought the war was  worth it. Americans felt the Democrats would do better than the Republicans on Iraq by 6 points, on the economy by 12 points, and even on taxes by 8 points.

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