Ben Adler

Ben Adler writes on national politics and domestic policy. Ben has been a staff writer for Politico and an editor at Newsweek and the Center for American Progress. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, The Guardian and Next American City among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Recent Articles

BAN THE BATS.

BAN THE BATS. In the new issue of City Journal , the neoconservative urban policy magazine associated with the Manhattan Institute, Paul Beston argues against a new law in New York City banning the use of metal bats in high school baseball. Dismissing it as "nannying," Beston links the law to other recent policies in New York City like the smoking ban and the trans-fat ban. He concludes "Banning bats my seem like small ball. But it perfectly expresses the council's and the mayor's underlying belief: too much liberty is hazardous to your health." This clearly expresses a fundamental tenet of conservative/libertarian thinking: that engaging in risky behavior with serious social costs is an entitlement. People who are injured by metal bats, or fall ill from smoking or fatty food, cost the rest of us money. We pay their emergency room bill, their Medicare bills or their Social Security disablity insurance. Only someone willing to forgo those benefits should have the right to also opt out...

NY STATE OF MIND.

NY STATE OF MIND. My home city and state have made me proud these last few days. Two days ago, The New York Times reported that "nearly two-thirds of the members of the City Council are co-sponsoring a measure to shed a little light on the shadowy process by which co-op boards decide which apartment buyers to accept and which to reject." This is an important move to do away with a mechanism that currently allows illegal discrimination on the basis of age, race or other factors. Then, on Earth Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an ambitious plan to reduce New York's pollution and contributions to greenhouse gas emissions (including a long overdue proposal for congestion pricing in Manhattan.) And finally, the Times reported today that "Gov. Eliot Spitzer will introduce a bill in the coming weeks to legalize same-sex marriage in New York." It is heartening to see cities and states take the lead on issues where Washington has remained so stubbornly retrograde. But this is also a...

THE YOUTH VOTE:

THE YOUTH VOTE: Zack Roth's piece in the new Washington Monthly on Tim Ryan , identifies a potentially important swing constituency in the '08 elections: young people. As Roth notes, "In last fall�s midterms, Democrats increased their share of the vote among eighteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds by 11 percentage points, while gaining only around 6 points with voters thirty and older, according to exit polls." So it is clear that young people have been up for grabs in recent years, and that performing well among them is key to the Democrats' success--especially because, as Roth points out, people who vote for the same party in several consecutive presidential elections before they turn 30 almost always stick with that party throughout their life. All of this is intensified by the fact that youth turnout has reached historic highs in the last two elections. Right now, President Bush and Republicans poll particularly poorly among young people, as the recently released Harvard Institute of...

Cities For Sale

The Neoliberal City: Governance, Ideology and Development in American Urbanism by Jason Hackworth (Cornell University Press, 256 pages) If you live in or near a big city, you may not realize that neoliberalism is fiendishly taking over your environ. No, it's not just the Starbucks by your office, or the Gap that just opened in the once-edgy neighborhood. It's also the high-rise condominium apartment building going up over the subway station, the new sports arena downtown, the industrial loft conversion, and even the brownstone getting flipped in that sketchy neighborhood. Jason Hackworth, an associate professor of geography and planning at the University of Toronto, has found a common theme among those trends -- gentrification, privatization, corporate invasion, and public-private revitalization projects -- that have come to symbolize renewal in America's urban core in recent years. In his new book, The Neoliberal City , he argues they are all manifestations of the international trend...

GIULIANI ON RACE:

GIULIANI ON RACE: The New York Times was right to condemn, in an editorial today, Rudy Giuliani 's recent statement in Alabama that it should be up to the state's voters whether to fly the confederate flag over their capitol. But I think they are making quite a leap in automatically accusing Giuliani of pandering to win over southern conservatives. How do they know that Giuliani doesn't really believe what he says? As I've noted before , Giuliani had a terrible reputation before 9/11 in the African-American community in New York City for being unresponsive to their concerns on a range of issues, most notably police brutality. Giuliani's initial political ascendence in New York is widely attributed to a white backlash against crime. He has always made coded racial appeals. Maybe it's pandering, but when he's been doing it for this long, the distinction between pandering and a sincere position begins to lose meaning. Just as you rarely hear complaints that George W. Bush is pandering to...

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