The morning of Sept. 8, 2008, was like most mornings for Thomas S. Vander Woude, a former airline pilot who, in retirement, kept a farm in Nokesville, Virginia. He went to Mass, and then turned to the relentless demands of his 26 acres. By his side was his youngest son, Joseph, known as Josie, who was 20 at the time, and who had Down syndrome. Josie’s six older brothers had long ago moved out of the house, but Josie was his father’s inseparable companion.
Last week, in a column about the new billion-dollar Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, I mentioned an economist’s estimate that the heirs of Sam Walton, the founder of Wal- Mart Stores Inc., are collectively worth about the same as the bottom 30 percent of all Americans. Alice Walton, who founded the museum, is herself worth about $21 billion.
Here is some of what we know about the disorderly, nuclear-armed state of Pakistan: We know that the world’s most notorious terrorist, Osama bin Laden, found refuge there for several years. We know that bin Laden’s organization, al-Qaeda, has moved its headquarters to Pakistan’s sovereign territory.
Yehuda Etzion, a former member of a Jewish terrorist group in the West Bank, once drove me to the top of the Mount of Olives, to a ridge above the Garden of Gethsemane, and asked me to look out across the valley, to the Temple Mount on the far side.
The morning of April 17, on the tarmac at Reagan National Airport: The Delta shuttle to LaGuardia appeared to be No. 287 in line for takeoff. The plane was full, mainly with purposeful-looking middle-aged men in quality suits, fully absorbed in whatever it is that absorbs them.