Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Big Brother Was a Piker

If you walk around any city in America (and a lot of other countries) these days, you'll be moving from they eye of one surveillance camera to another. Some belong to the authorities, some belong to businesses, but they create a web in which we're all being watched. It's hard not to feel a little unnerved when you think about it, even if you manage not to think about it most of the time. But you want to get unnerved? Get a load of this, from Fast Company : Biometrics R&D firm Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI) announced today that it is rolling out its iris scanning technology to create what it calls "the most secure city in the world." In a partnership with Leon -- one of the largest cities in Mexico, with a population of more than a million -- GRI will fill the city with eye-scanners. That will help law enforcement revolutionize the way we live -- not to mention marketers. "In the future, whether it's entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy...

Darrell Issa, Getting Warmed Up

Rep. Darrell Issa , who will become a subpoena-issuing machine should Republicans take back the House, is apparently mad about Recovery.gov , the website where the administration puts information about the stimulus. It's pretty snappy for a government website, with all kinds of animations and interactive tools. But a new report Issa has issued says "Recovery.gov became a taxpayer-funded tool to promote false and misleading propaganda to support the Democrat-backed stimulus." Now, a certain amount of propaganda from the administration is to be expected. Your tax dollars pay Robert Gibbs ' salary, for instance, and his whole job is to tell America why the administration is totally awesome. But there are obviously limits. For instance, when the first round of George W. Bush 's tax cuts were passed in 2001, the administration spent millions of dollars to send a letter to every American household, telling them, "We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed -- and...

Today's Depressing Space News.

In most sci-fi movies, the problem with the long time periods required for interstellar travel is solved by putting those traversing the stars into some kind of "stasis," often in a comfy pod. Upon waking, they rub their necks, stretch their arms, and within about 30 seconds are good to go fight aliens, despite having been lying still in a pod for the last couple of months or years. Unfortunately, it looks like that's not really how things are going to work: The first cellular analysis of muscles from astronauts who have spent 180 days at the International Space Station shows that their muscles lost more than 40 percent of their capacity for physical work, despite in-flight exercise. No matter how good their shape was before the astronauts left, they returned with muscles tone that resembled that of the average 80-year-old. In fact, the astronauts who were in the best shape before they launched were the most likely to come back with withered, or atrophied, muscles. NASA currently...

Two Principled Republicans Located.

For a while now, I've been wondering whether a prominent Republican with something to lose -- like a 2012 presidential candidate -- might come out and condemn the ugly turn the GOP is taking, with its new obsessions over the Islamic center near Ground Zero and repealing the 14th Amendment so little brown kids born in America wouldn't get to be citizens. We may not have seen that yet, but this, via Think Progress , is at least something: Mark McKinnon is an extremely rich and successful media consultant who used to be a Democrat, and was something of a fan of Barack Obama , so it's not all that surprising coming from him. As for Joe Scarborough , he's a television host, and finding places to demonstrate independence from your party is good business. It's not that I doubt his sincerity -- it's just that it isn't as though he's risking his future by calling out his fellow Republicans. Nevertheless, we should give them credit for taking this stance. Scarborough notes that although he hasn...

The Trouble With Ideology

One thing people often say about libertarians is, "Well, there are some things I disagree with them about, but I admire their consistency." Supposedly, libertarians have a pure philosophy, and they're willing to take unpopular stands in the service of it. That stands in contrast to, say, conservatives who talk a lot about "getting government off our backs" but also think the government ought to do things like control what women do with their wombs. Today, the country's most prominent libertarian is Rand Paul , the Republican Party's nominee for a Senate seat in Kentucky. You'll recall that Paul's debut on the national stage came when he couldn't bring himself to endorse the Civil Rights Act of 1964, since it violated the individual freedom of Jim Crow-era restaurant owners who wanted to serve only white people. As Talking Points Memo tells us today, Paul and his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway , are battling over drugs. Paul apparently believes that the federal government ought to...

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