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The Sliver Strategy

It’s a plain, squat building on a billboarded Albuquerque boulevard, the office of an insurance agency called MLA—entirely unremarkable except perhaps to those who know it is owned by a U.S. congressman. Early in the 1970s federal funds started to disappear here. The money wasn’t being stolen. Nor was it being fumbled away through incompetence. […]

Posted inMagazine

Putting the Mind Over What Matters

In Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift there is a scene where the crazy poet-hero, Von Humboldt Fleisher, now widely known as Delmore Schwartz a clef tells his protege Charlie Citrine about his hopes and dreams for the presidency of Adlai Stevenson. “If you could believe Humboldt (and I couldn’t),” says Charlie, “Stevenson was Aristotle’s great-souled man. In his […]

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The Difference One Man Can Make

A familiar literary conception holds that when an honest man challenges a dishonest system, it’s the man who gets destroyed. At one end of the literary scale, this is the message of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, in which the citizens of a resort town ostracize their local doctor rather than let him […]