The Commons. Absolute power

Absolute power

Mohammed bin Salman modernizes stubborn pre-modern kingdom Graham Wood wrote: in April. He eliminated rivals and critics, creating an atmosphere of unprecedented fear in the history of Saudi Arabia.

Graham Wood’s article is the best argument I have read for some time about why the West should give up oil. Mohammed bin Salman is very cowardly, he has great power only because of our oil dependence. The prospect of him in power for 40 to 50 years is really terrifying, it should be all the stimulus we need to move towards renewable energy now.

Thomas Cannon
Leicester, NC

As soon as I read Graham Wood’s fascinating article on absolute power in Saudi Arabia, I saw the news that 81 people had been executed in the country in one day.

Wood concludes his article with great care and skill, but suggests that the United States should find a modus vivend to work with the heir to the throne. Is this possible?

Frank Vogel
Author:The Enablers:
Washington, DC

I have read Atlantic Ocean During years. While I find your post often different from mine, I find the essence of this interview to be dishonest.

I would like to know why you think MBS agreed to collaborate on this article. Do you think he likes attention? Do you think he knew his team could take credit for that? Do you think that he could whitewash his vicious legacy? It seems to me that he did all three.

Alex Chapman
New Orleans, LA.

There are no words for what Atlantic Ocean did here. The US intelligence community has come to the conclusion that the MBS has approved the horrific assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia has an unelected, authoritarian regime that brutally suppresses dissent. The status of women there remains inferior, and recent “reforms” are unlikely to even be described as cosmetic. Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. MBS did not condemn the murder of innocent Ukrainian citizens by Vladimir Putin. There is no excuse for crawling authoritarian murderers.

Gary Stewart
Laguna Beach, California.

I have never written a letter to an editor before, but I had to write after reading Graham Wood’s last article.Of course, journalists have to interview autocrats“, Was written in response to the criticism of his April cover. And this article, Mr. Wood’s original description of MBS, was really newsworthy, which informed me about the world leader, the assassin, who was largely left out of the news as the outrage over Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination subsided.

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That’s why I was disappointed to read that Mr. Wood’s article caused a stir among Western journalists. He was 100% right when he wrote in his next article: “Any publication that boasts that it is too sacred to accept an invitation to an interview with the heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia admits that it cannot cover Saudi Arabia.” If Mr. Wood’s words could be used by Saudi preachers to provoke controversy here in the West, I’m proud of him. Atlantic Ocean To give an interview to MBS.

Eric Wells
Miami, Florida.

I was amazed at how much character was revealed in the quotes Graeme Wood chose to include in his horrific portrait of the Saudi leader without ever expressing his own opinion.

Bruce S. Miller
Alexandria, V.


Richard Rousseau lost sympathy for COVID skeptics he wrote: in April – before he remembered his father.

Thanks to Richard Rousseau for his thoughtful essay on losing sympathy for anti-vaccines. How Rousseau linked this global issue to his personal experiences with his in-laws, the sometimes outdated views that his late father defended from his good seat, reaffirmed why he is one of my favorite writers. And his view of how the lack of access to good health care contributed to the anti-vaccine movement, I did not fully think about.

However, a bigger problem remains. Those who spread COVID skepticism or racism, like Rousseau’s father, simply do no harm. they harm the society. Perhaps, as Rousseau suggests, writing about others, reading about them, can give us the compassion that many seem to lack.

Adam Idelson
New York, New York

Just before reading Richard Rousseau’s beautiful essay, I was reviewing my students’ answers to the last few questions in the last quiz. Almost everyone got most of the questions correctly, but half of the students chose the wrong answer for one particular question. When this happens, either the question is formulated in a confusing way or the teacher has not been able to communicate the underlying principle effectively. It would be obviously inappropriate to conclude that since they chose the wrong answer, half of the students must be stupid. As Rousseau so cleverly points out, the same goes for protection against COVID-19 if you refuse to wear a mask or get vaccinated. If the majority of the population refuses to follow through on public health recommendations, it’s not something to do with either the message-delivering horse or the perception of many people’s life experiences. As a society, we must learn to function better on both fronts. Along the way, Rousseau’s comments can help restore the right level of compassion for those who suffer unnecessarily.

Steve Weissman
Lecturer, UC Berkeley
Goldman School of Public Policy

Berkeley, California.


What we learned from this fact check

in »Can you trust forensic science?Barbara Bradley Hagerti writes about public respect for forensic science, an area that gained new prominence when the series CSI: became a hit in the early days. That long-running show, like its many spin-offs and imitations, offered viewers a brilliant, high-tech vision of forensic examination, a world where convincing evidence is almost always available, sensible investigators drawing conclusions.

A number of so-called studies CSI: The effect is that familiarity with the show does not seem to affect the verdicts of the jurors. However, research suggests watching CSI: may affect the jury’s expectations of what evidence is to be presented in court.

Prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges are all aware of the possible pitfalls of such expectations, as I saw in the trial transcripts I read while reviewing Hagerty’s article. During the 2008 murder trial, an Ohio attorney asked jurors if they could set aside their assumptions “without feeling like Horatio.” [the protagonist on CSI: Miami] they would do this and that և the other thing. ”

Such approaches are not uncommon, as noted by law professor Tamara F. Lawson. Prior to the election, a Florida judge regularly asked jurors if they were aware that certain tests had been performed. CSI: is not possible in real life և confirms that they are ready to condemn without CSI:– style proof. The Maryland judge reminded jurors that “there is no legal requirement for the state to use any special investigative techniques or science tests to prove its case.” In anticipation that jurors would expect evidence of fingerprints, prosecutors now often give testimony to the fingerprint investigator, even when no evidence has been found.

As the prosecutor said in his closing speech at the 2008 murder trial. “We live in a. CSI: Age. We showed the show. “

Stephanie Hayes, Deputy Head of Research

With the lid on

in «In pursuit of Joan Didion,Caitlin Flanagan travels to some of California to visit the late writer. For the cover of the magazine, we wanted to recreate it in a bright light. We asked artist Wade Mackintosh to paint him on the beach in Malibu. McIntosh’s Didion meets the rich yellow, blues, and ‘green backgrounds’ of our eyes, reminiscent of the hills of Southern California where he once lived.

Gabriela Peskeira, Assistant to the Artistic Director

This article appears June 2022 A print edition entitled The Commons.

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