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Forget about the economy. Forget about the environment. Forget about the mess that he has made of US relations with the rest of the world. The issue that is on George W. Bush's mind is more basic: Does a leader end up paying a political price if voters think he lied his country into an unwise and unnecessary war in Iraq?

For the answer to that question, the president and his aides might want to look to Britain, where Bush's closest comrade-in-arms before, during and since the Iraq invasion, Prime Minister Tony Blair, just took a political body blow.

In a multi-ethnic, working-class section of London that has for decades been a political stronghold for Blair's Labour Party, voters used a special election to fill a vacant seat in the Parliament to send the prime minister a message that has shaken the British political establishment. It is a message that ought to be heard, as well, in the United States.

"I want to do everything," Madonna said recently. I thought she was talking about positions. (I was a keen reader of her X-rated 1992 book of photography, Sex.) My twelve year old daughter thought she was talking about her MTV Video Music Awards' open-mouth pump and grind kissing routine with Britney Spears and Cristina Aguilera.

Turns out that we were clueless. Madonna has found another way to have it all. On September 15th, this kinder and gentler forty-four year old mother of two, America's premier mistress of reinvention (once married to bad boy Sean Penn and involved romantically with, among others, Warren Beatty and Dennis Rodman), tackled J.K. Rowling's empire.

Madonna's first children's book, English Roses, was simultaneously released in more than one hundred countries in forty two languages with all the hoopla and publicity that normally surrounds Rowling's Harry Potter. The plot is based on Madonna's spiritual lodestar Kabbalah--the mystical Jewish guide to the universe. ("Yikes, I for one never knew Madonna was Jewish," writes some strange columnist called Mr. Joel of Hollywood, an independent blogger.)

In his 1998 book, One Nation, After All, Alan Wolfe chided
liberals for their misapprehensions about the political attitudes of
ordinary Americans.

In her new book, Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag's
focus is upon theaters of war and the way in which photographers have
interpreted their role in the production of images of

In his 1997 song "Highlands," Bob Dylan reports a conversation between
himself and a waitress. "She says, You don't read women authors, do
you?/...

Politics as usual on the front-runner's tour.

September 11 is often said to be the defining moment in the Bush
presidency, even of modern history.

Click here to read more from Katha Pollitt.

Read special extracts from Jonathan Schell's new book, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and The Will of the People.

It may not do much good to beg her
To cast her vote for Schwarzenegger:
His flicks, the tales make pollsters rate her
A hater of the Terminator.

ANOTHER WIN FOR MEDIA DEMOCRACY

Democrats who want to deny Howard Dean the party's 2004 presidential
nomination have a new issue: They are complaining that the front-runner
is insufficiently unequivocal in his support for Isr

When activists began cobbling together a Draft Wesley Clark for
President campaign, their Internet initiative looked to be longer on
idealism than pragmatism. George W.

The collapse of the WTO talks in Cancún is in fact a profoundly
hopeful turn of events. The developing nations have found their
voice--and power.

The tangled web that a narrow Supreme Court majority wove to shut down
the Florida recount of presidential ballots in December 2000 made it
possible for Republican George W.

Two questions will dominate the 2004 presidential campaign: how to make
the United States secure in an age of terror, and how to get the economy
to work for all Americans. George W.

The threshold between one and zero
Blurs--
Blurs-- a drift of charge filters through--

Their reporters had the goods, but the Washington Post editors chose not to display them.


We were peppered with volleys of mail from the young, and others,
responding to Thomas Geoghegan's "Dems--Why Not Woo

'Misspeak' first for the front page, 'correct' it later in the back...

When the World Trade Organization's fifth ministerial conference in Cancun collapsed Sunday without reaching agreement on how to launch new free-trade initiatives, American activist Gretchen Gordon declared, "This is a major victory for the social movements of the world, and a reality the Bush administration can't ignore if it continues to pursue the same failed policies in other regional trade agreements."

Gordon, the director of the Washington-based Citizens Trade Campaign, was right to turn the attention to Bush. The collapse of the WTO's Cancun summit represents a serious blow for the president. How serious a blow remains to be seen -- with much of the impact to be determined by the willingness of Bush's Democratic challengers to make an issue of trade policy in the 2004 election campaign. But there is no question that the administration's free-trade policies and politics took a hit in Cancun. Gordon and her allies are hoping the blow could prove sufficient to weaken the president's secretive effort to negotiate a Fast Track agreement for a Free Trade Area of the Americas that would create a hemispheric corporate free-trade zone stretching from Argentina to Alaska.

The optimism and enthusiasm displayed by Gordon was echoed by her allies in the labor, farm and human rights organizations that worked around-the-clock in recent weeks to prevent the WTO from writing trade policies that would help global corporations to further dominate the economic, social and political life of the planet.

The insurgent delegations were in many respects the product of years of anti-WTO organizing.

Is there some deadline approaching, after which Bush administration officials have to engage in honest debate? It seems as if there has been a rash of misle...