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Lex Paulson
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Lex Paulson is a former Democratic candidate for the Connecticut General Assembly and a 2008 Obama presidential campaign organizer. From 2009 to 2011 he served as legislative counsel to Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.). Paulson studied Roman history at Yale and Cambridge University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Classics at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Entries by Lex Paulson

How to Become a Climate Negotiator Right Now

(1) Comments | Posted December 8, 2015 | 9:57 AM

LE BOURGET, FRANCE - Here in the Parisian suburb of Le Bourget, the mood is anxious and electric. Yesterday over 150 "high-level" negotiators -- mostly foreign ministers and secretaries of state -- arrived to take up French foreign minister Laurent Fabius' 21-page revised treaty, the product of last...

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Why Greece Needs Its Classics More Than Ever

(1) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 6:22 PM

Throughout the Greek crisis, all voices in the heated debate have agreed on one point: Classical references make you sound smart. From EU leader Donald Tusk warning of Sophoclean tragedy, to comparisons between Tsipras and ancient demagogues, to the BBC consulting the Delphic oracle,...

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Charlie Hebdo, Voltaire, and Us

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 2:54 PM

Paris has a way of drawing one's gaze to the past.

As we marched southeast yesterday from Place de la République, crowds singing and banners flying, we asserted proud and ancient sentiments against a tragedy that had blown us all back.

On most days, these words and symbols...

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Obama Is Epictetus

(2) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 7:17 PM

The world is out of control; or is it?

Barack Obama understands something most of us do not. Those of us who watched his speech last night, and who grew up in the half-century where America seemed to direct the world's affairs, are used to the following...

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Three Text Messages That Are Changing Africa

(2) Comments | Posted August 15, 2013 | 4:54 PM

Can a text message save a continent?

As President Obama traveled to Africa earlier this summer, his administration heralded the power of geeks to reshape America's approach to global poverty. Rather than hand out money to corrupt governments or rely on creaky international bureaucracies, a new notion...

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Doha, Plato and a Dangerous Poet

(2) Comments | Posted December 10, 2012 | 9:52 AM

Amidst Qatar's glittering towers and thrumming souks, the thousands of climate negotiators and reporters gathered last week in the tiny Gulf nation are unlikely to see one of its most exceptional sights -- a jailed poet.

Mohammed al-Dheeb al-Ajami, known to followers and fans as Ibn al-Dheeb, was sentenced last...

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Benjamin Franklin: Why I'm Voting Obama

(11) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 4:37 PM

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Permit me a story.

After a hot Philadelphia summer of very much wrangling, the day had arrived to sign our nation's new Constitution. Having put my own name to it, I was preparing to enjoy some fresh unpolitical air, when an agitated woman,...

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Aristotle's Strategy for Obama

(9) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 9:36 AM

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To: POTUS

From: Aristotle

Re: How you win

-----

Nice work last night.

You have 20 days left in this race. To win the election, you're going to have to trade your philosopher's toga for a warrior's sword. Last night proved you're willing...

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Citizen's Book Club: What Romney Could Learn From George Washington

(8) Comments | Posted September 20, 2012 | 4:45 PM

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Why are we over there?

After a week which saw American public servants killed brutally in Benghazi, a black Islamist flag hoisted above our embassy in Tunis, our diplomats and civil servants menaced by gasoline bombs and furious mobs from Sanaa to...

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Citizen's Book Club: Would Adam Smith Vote Obama?

(1) Comments | Posted September 5, 2012 | 10:40 AM

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In 1726, in one of the most important events in economic history, a three-year-old Scottish boy was stolen by gypsies.

Whether or not the boy, as his biographer later noted, "would have made, I fear, a poor gypsy," our praise is due to the...

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Citizen's Book Club: Why Isn't Our System Working?

(1) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 5:10 PM

Despair is easy. Diagnosis is harder.

The signs of America's political dysfunction are glaring, but like drivers near a pile-up, we can neither bear to watch nor turn ourselves away.

Congress failing to pass a budget for the third year in a row. Elections decided by million-dollar ad buys. Energy...

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Citizen's Book Club: Where Does American Democracy Come From?

(3) Comments | Posted July 18, 2012 | 2:12 PM

"Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried."

So said Winston Churchill in 1947, and he should know; the form of government he led to triumph in World War II was also the one that turned him out on his ear a...

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The Citizen's Book Club: A New Idea for 2012

(16) Comments | Posted July 6, 2012 | 7:32 PM

What do we really know about democracy?

Most of us do our best to stay informed about American politics, to read what we can in moments stolen from busy lives. We debate with friends and colleagues, we give money or volunteer, and at the end of it all, we...

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Applied Classics: François Hollande and the Socialists of Golden-Age Athens

(6) Comments | Posted May 11, 2012 | 3:20 PM

"Change is coming," François Hollande proclaimed to those of us who filled the Bastille Sunday night. Before it arrives, though, this petite pause may be Hollande's best chance to reflect for a few moments on the lessons and warnings which can be drawn from the past. And if he strained...

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Applied Classics: The Roman Romney: Why Rich Guys Fail at Politics

(17) Comments | Posted March 26, 2012 | 10:15 AM

Though I wouldn't bet $10,000 on it, I imagine that sometime in the past decade Mitt Romney spent a few moments perusing Forbes Magazine's list of the 100 wealthiest people in history.

Scanning past the well-known portraits of Carnegie and Rockefeller, Romney may have arched an eyebrow...

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Applied Classics: Santorum, Herodotus and the Art of Political Fantasy

(9) Comments | Posted February 15, 2012 | 1:39 PM

Never underestimate the political power of a tall tale. Dog-headed men. The climate hoax. Super-sized, gold-digging ants. Class warfare. 300 Greeks against five million Persians. Pray away the gay.

Whether in the 5th century BCE or the 21st century AD, politics requires truly outlandish fictions, and freshly minted Republican...

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Applied Classics: Cicero Predicts the Iowa Caucus

(2) Comments | Posted January 2, 2012 | 4:06 PM

PARIS, France - With the Iowa caucuses just hours away and another election season in full swing, the pages of political history can shed some fresh light on the present. All the hallmarks of twenty-first century campaigns -- face-to-face schmoozing, non-stop speechmaking, even negative ads -- were well-known to the...

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