Archive

  • Maybe Better Reporting Would Help

    Circulation Plunges at Major Newspapers --Dean Baker
  • ABRACADABRA. Having tracked...

    ABRACADABRA. Having tracked the religious right's rise over the last two decades, I must say that, unlike Scott and Sam , I find the argument, rendered via Amy Sullivan , over whether or not the religious right is a tool of the man, or poised to become the man himself, largely irrelevant; either way, we wind up with law written by self-appointed religious sages. The most prescient thing ever said to me about a Republican Party high on religion came from the late Rabbi Arthur Hertzerg , a celebrated scholar whom I interviewed for a 1995 Mother Jones cover story on the religious right. (The cover featured a Photoshopped picture of the White House with a cross on its gable, and the headline, "House of God?" A decade later, the Prospect offered a new riff on the theme): Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, Ph.D., of the Interfaith Alliance, a coalition of clergy formed to oppose the religious right, sees something sinister in the language of the right: the exploitation of a religious impulse felt by...
  • EVANGELICALS FOR AGNOSTICS....

    EVANGELICALS FOR AGNOSTICS. To vaguely weigh in on whether Christians are getting used by the right or taking it over, this point of Amy 's struck me as interesting: I, and many Democrats, supported expanding the charitable tax exemption so that more Americans could donate more money to charity. I think you'll agree that it was a supremely conservative idea--increase private giving to private charities so they can do good work without the public sector getting involved. It was the most significant and dramatic part of Bush's original faith-based plan, and it would have resulted in enormous injections of funds into the charitable sector--certainly much more than the faith-based initiative has already dispersed. (One respected estimate projected an increase of $160 billion in charitable giving over ten years.) Unfortunately--and this gets back to our original question of whether the White House has delivered on its promises to religious conservatives--the Bush administration turned its...
  • SULLIVAN VS. LEMIEUX.

    SULLIVAN VS. LEMIEUX. Amy responds to Scott here . --Sam Rosenfeld
  • GOLD IN THEM THAR CREDITS.

    GOLD IN THEM THAR CREDITS. Last week the investment bank Morgan Stanley announced it was investing almost $3 billion in emissions credits made possible by the much-vilified Kyoto protocol . The announcement happened to coincide with the release of the World Bank's annual "State of the Carbon Market" report, at Carbon Expo Asia , trumpeting the news that the carbon market grew from nearly $11 billion in 2005 to almost $22 billion during the first three quarters of 2006. The Stern report flagged by Kevin Drum , which contains dire warnings about the economic consequences of global warming, is making Morgan Stanley's investment look prescient indeed. News that many European countries won't be able to meet their Kyoto targets means there is ample opportunity to make a killing while doing good for the environment. Businesses are more likely to heed the clarion call of the almighty dollar than earnest newspaper editorials . As for the Bush administration, that's another story. -- Blake...
  • POPULISM WITHOUT XENOPHOBIA?...

    POPULISM WITHOUT XENOPHOBIA? Peter Beinart has a smart column this week on the downsides of Democratic populism: For writers like [Thomas] Frank, the tragedy of that era was that the free-trading, Wall Street-friendly Bill Clinton did not use economic populism to permanently lure these angry white males into the Democratic fold. Now Democrats have another chance. But renouncing future naftas won't be enough. Many liberals would like to pick and choose their anti-globalization politics--arguing for more regulation of international trade and investment, but resisting punitive measures to regulate the flow of international labor. Morally, that's perfectly defensible. But, politically, it is likely to fail. There is a reason that the late nineteenth-century populists Frank admires were nativists: While low-skilled immigration may benefit the United States as a whole, it rarely benefits low-skilled Americans. And, for many blue-collar Americans today, Mexican immigration--whether legal or...
  • IRANIAN NUKES.

    IRANIAN NUKES. I was all ready to write a long post on Noah Feldman's article about the Iranian nuclear program, but that determination foundered upon my inability to figure out what Feldman was actually arguing. Feldman included a long, interesting, and rather pointless discussion of the Islamic position on suicide bombing, danced around a realist analysis of the nuclear situation in the Middle East without really committing to it, and soldiered through a discussion of Islamic theology without coming to any conclusions. Marty Peretz liked it, which means that it must have been incoherent. Fortunately, Matt Yglesias is a better man than I, and managed to slog through and produce some observations. Most notable, I think, is Matt's observation that contemporary Western discussions of suicide bombing suffer from some fatal definitional flaws: And, again, why all the talk of suicide bombers in the context of nuclear deterrence? The West lacks a significant tradition of literal suicide...
  • THEOCRACY HYPE.

    THEOCRACY HYPE. Scott , I agree with you that Amy Sullivan 's prescriptive arguments about Democratic outreach to evangelicals are thin. (And for a small-but-perfect illustration of the limited efficacy of even the rather ostentatious rhetorical gambits that Hillary Clinton has attempted in an effort to reach religious voters, see here .) But I do feel compelled to take Sullivan's side on the broader issue of liberal "theocracy" narratives. You're right that the "religious right taken for suckers" notion is widely understood by plenty of liberals, that it is central to Thomas Frank 's argument, and that it renders David Kuo 's book more banal confirmation than explosive revelation. But I think Sullivan's right that there is some real tension and dissonance between that understanding of Republican political dynamics and works such as Michelle Goldberg 's Kingdom Coming , Jesus Camp , to a limited extent Garry Wills 's latest in The New York Review of Books , and many many more. The...
  • AND THEN WHAT?

    AND THEN WHAT? I have a lot of problems with Amy Sullivan 's recent piece about the opportunities allegedly presented by David Kuo 's new book. First of all, I reject her entire premise that Democratic politicians don't reach out to religious believers, and since she never mentions the names of prominent Democrats who treat believers with contempt it's impossible to evaluate her claims. Second, Sullivan's claim that liberal bloggers have "spent so much time fear-mongering about American theocracy that a book illustrating the opposite simply makes no sense to them" is belied by the fact that what is surely the most-discussed liberal book of the second Bush era makes the well-known case that evangelicals are being played for suckers by the business elite that really holds the power in the GOP. Kuo's revelations aren't so shocking as to be incomprehensible to knowledgeable liberals, but are rather banal. But my biggest problem with Sullivan's argument continues to be that she's...
  • GRAND OLD PORNO....

    GRAND OLD PORNO. There are better reasons to vote the Republicans out of office, but it's certainly delicious to see that the GOP has taken money from pornographers, including one who reportedly has expressed a desire to do the Bush twins. Josh Marshall reported this weekend that even as the Republican National Committee tars, in a spectacularly vicious television spot, Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford for allegedly having taken campaign money from "porn movie producers," the party has apparently had its own traffic with the adult video industry. Topping, perhaps, Marshall's revelation of the RNC's lucrative relationship with porn distributor Nicholas T. Boyias , is John Aravosis 's post on porn queen Mary Carey 's largesse, bestowed last year on the National Republican Congress Committee (NRCC). Writing of Ms. Carey and "her boss," Aravosis asserts, "Their $5k donation got them dinner with the president and a slew of top Republican congressional leaders, and even lunch with Karl Rove...

Pages