Western ideas about good cities descend from Athens, Jerusalem and Rome. From Athens we inherit two seminal ideas: that the good life is the life of moral and intellectual excellence, and that the good city is one that makes this good life possible for its citizens.
If good reporting can be judged by the enemies it makes, then al-Jazeera must be doing something right. The Arabic-language TV channel provoked rebukes from the U.S. government and military officials in the early days of “The War on Iraq” (al-Jazeera’s phrase) when it rebroadcast Iraqi footage of dead and captive U.S. soldiers.
When war or national crisis sets our hearts churning, people normally accustomed to taking their cues from the daily news suddenly discover that Pentagon briefings, op-ed pieces and Oval Office updates provide little consolation for their deep spiritual distress. They turn to the one source they believe might have a spiritually significant word to utter—the church. And well they should.
In his State of the Union speech, President Bush set a goal of achieving high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. “We must work toward a system in which all Americans have a good insurance policy,” he said, so that people can “choose their own doctors, and seniors and low-income Americans receive the help they need.”
On the five Saturday nights before the 2003 Academy Awards show on March 23, a young adult group at a large church in Pasadena, California, has been discussing the five Oscar nominees for best picture.