The American Staff

Recent Articles

Howard the Chair

If the anecdotal evidence I've been collecting from Democratic National Committee (DNC) delegates over the last couple of weeks proves to be any sort of indicator, Howard Dean is poised to become the next party chairman. Lest the guy who represents (as the conservative Club for Growth put it in a memorable advertisement) the “latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show” class of the Democratic Party put the panic of permanent Republican majority in you, I say: Don't fear the doctor. Sure, he's likely (for better or worse) to rile up all sorts of emotions in voters; people seem to love him or hate him, with little in between. But his appeal to voters is beside the point. After all, did anyone really decide for whom to vote in 2002 and 2004 based on Terry McAuliffe's temperament? Dean's detractors' understandable fear is that the doctor's northeastern roots might contribute to the problematic consolidation of Democratic...

Dossier: Loose Nukes

Russia's estimated stockpile includes 18,000 assembled nuclear warheads at some 150 to 210 sites … Additionally, it retains an estimated 603 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 170 metric tons of separated plutonium … A working nuclear bomb requires at least 16 kilograms of uranium or 4 kilograms of plutonium … Only 3 percent of Russia's total nuclear material stockpile is subject to U.S. monitoring … 84 1-kiloton “suitcase nukes” are missing, according to former Russian national-security adviser Alexander Lebed … The United States has verified the dismantlement of zero Russian nuclear warheads … 10 nuclear cities employ approximately 120,000 to 130,000 people believed to have access to nuclear weapons or weapons-usable nuclear material … Russia hopes to cut this workforce by 35,000 by the end of 2005 … Al-Qaeda has actively sought nuclear weapons since at least 1992 … In that year, coincidentally, Leonid Smirnov stole 1.5 kilograms of HEU from the Russian laboratory...

Devil in the Details

Ethics DeLayed House Republicans finally have an ethics committee they can call their own. The relationship between the GOP caucus and the committee has been strained ever since the panel handed down three admonishments to Majority Leader Tom DeLay last fall for various improprieties and ethical lapses. Perplexed and alarmed that the committee, under the chairmanship of conservative Republican Joel Hefley of Colorado, had somehow gotten the impression that it had the right to extend ethics rebukes to Republicans, the leadership set out to fix this heinous system of functioning accountability and oversight. The package of ethics rule changes it proposed to the House Republican conference on January 3 amounted to a full-scale evisceration of the committee's powers: One change revoked a 30-year-old ethics rule requiring that House members behave in a manner that reflects creditably on the institution; another made the approval of a majority of the committee (which is evenly split between the...

In Other News

There's always too much news to fit into a 24-hour day -- especially when the national media is focused on the crucial election-year topics of windsurfing and “values” voters. But under the radar were all sorts of unanswered questions and unnoticed stories. Here are four of the most interesting. The Sound of Silence Where was the Democratic Party when the Republicans had their convention? During the Democratic national convention in Boston, the GOP was almost scarily successful at making sure its message was as loud and clear as the Dems'. When the Fleet Center festivities commenced, Republican flacks were inescapable on the cable news networks. (Ralph Reed was the first commentator that CNN turned to for a response to John Edwards' speech on Wednesday, while the next day, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Ed Gillespie served as the network's go-to guy for John Kerry's speech.) It could be fairly said that if the Republicans didn't actually dominate the Democrats'...

Dossier: Red-State Values

In red states in 2001, there were 572,000 divorces … Blue states recorded 340,000 … In the same year, 11 red states had higher rates of divorce than any blue state … In each of the red states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico, 46.3 percent of all births were to unwed mothers … In blue states, on average, that percentage was 31.7 … Delaware has the highest rate of births to teenage mothers among all blue states, yet 17 red states have a higher rate … Of those red states, 15 have at least twice the rate as that of Massachusetts … There were more than 100 teen pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in 5 red states in 2002 … None of the blue states had rates that high … The rate of teen births declined in 46 states from 1988 to 2000 … It climbed in 3 red states and saw no change in another … The per capita rate of violent crime in red states is 421 per 100,000 … In blue states, it's 372 per 100,000 … The per capita rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in Louisiana is...

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