Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a writing fellow at The American Prospect and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also blogs at Jack and Jill Politics and has written for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The Root, and the Daily News.

Recent Articles

Begging For Nixonland

Texas Governor Rick Perry doesn't have a particularly long list of contrasts between him and the last Texas governor to become president: "I am Rick Perry and he is George Bush," Perry declared as he marched through the Iowa State Fair, surrounded by reporters. "And our records are quite different." Asked what the biggest difference is, Perry responded: "I went to Texas A&M. He went to Yale." Getting into Yale is much easier when you're a legacy applicant , but it won't be hard for Perry to aim this kind of attack at Harvard and Columbia alumnus Barack Obama. Except in the latter circumstance, it'll come along with the implied subtext that the president is an affirmative action baby who only got in because he's black. He won't have to imply that himself either--his base, properly primed over the course of the last four years, will do it for him. Meanwhile, Rich Lowry begs for anticipates signs of liberal elitism, predicting Perry will be "an object of derision for self-appointed...

Mass Incarceration And Diminishing Returns

The ACLU's latest criminal justice infographic tries to dispel the notion of causation between an increase in the prison population and a decline in the crime rate. New York has seen its prison population decline along with its crime rates, while Indiana saw its prison population increase with a much more negligible dip in the latter: Most criminologists will acknowledge that incarceration does have an impact on crime rates but that given the sheer number of people in prison the U.S. has long passed the point of diminishing returns . Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, to his credit, tried to implement criminal justice policy reform in Indiana which included some of the ideas in Hawaii's HOPE probation program, but was stymied in part by members of his own party who watered down the bill to the point that, if it had passed, it would have actually "increased prison time, populations, and budgets; the state would have had to build three new prisons, at a cost of $210 million each with an...

CCR Report: S-Comm Harms Law Enforcement

The Center for Constitutional Rights, a foe of the Obama administration's "Secure Communities" Program, has released a report arguing that the program should be ended. The expected objections to the program "excessively punish[ing] marginal populations" are contained in the report, but it also includes testimony from law enforcement officials like former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and former Los Angeles Police Chief David Bratton. The law enforcement argument against Secure Communities goes something like this: Because the program is automatic, undocumented immigrants are discouraged from talking to police because of the possibility that they might end up getting deported. "When immigrants perceive the local police force as merely an arm of the federalimmigration authority," Morgenthau writes, "they become reluctant to report criminal activity for fear of being turned over to federal officials." The way Secure Communites works is that jurisdictions covered by the...

Correction Of The Day: Spymaster Moses

The New York Times has a pretty cool feature story on a summer camp for Jews of color, which I kind of wish had existed when I was growing up. The story also featured this awesome correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of spies Moses sent to report on the Promised Land. He sent 12, not 10. Let it be known that Moses was nothing if not a master in the conservation and deployment of human intelligence resources.

Presidents And Wearing The Uniform

According to Texas Governor Rick Perry, he's running for president because "I want to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of the United States respects highly the president of the United States." He later "clarified" by saying that “If you polled the military, the active duty and veterans, and said ‘would you rather have a president of the United States that never served a day in the military or someone who is a veteran?’ They’ve going to say, I would venture, that they would like to have a veteran." Maybe, but that doesn't mean they'd want Perry. Last time around, Obama ran against John McCain, a decorated Navy pilot and former prisoner of war in Vietnam. Yet according to a report the Center for Responsive Politics released in August 2008, active duty servicemembers deployed abroad gave six times the amount to Obama that they did to McCain. The anti-war Republican Congressman Ron Paul actually raised more money from active-duty servicemembers than McCain...