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

ANTI-AIPAC JEWS?:

ANTI-AIPAC JEWS?: I like Dana 's post analogizing the fact that AIPAC doesn't represent the views of American Jews on Iran to how Bill Donahue's Catholic League is far to the right of most American Catholics on social issues. However, I take mild issue with the idea also expressed by Ezra that AIPAC, or its views on Israel, are "aligned with conservatives." As has been mentioned ad nauseum in the media recently, major liberal Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have spoken before AIPAC and been warmly received. Strong support for Israel is a position that crosses party lines in this country. I think that Dana's and Ezra's and Ari Berman 's view that AIPAC is totally out of step with the majority of American Jews on Israel proper, not just Iran, reflects a generational divide. Our parents generation of Jews, who are overwhelmingly liberal Democrats as well, came of age at a time when strong support for Israel--a social democracy in the Middle East and the homeland for refugees...

Procuring Failure

The president's budget proposal for this year increases the Department of Defense allocation from $410.8 billion to $439.3 billion -- a nearly seven percent increase. * Among the many things that might be said about that spike in funding, one is especially clear: it stands as yet one more symbol of Donald Rumsfeld's failure as defense secretary. At his confirmation hearings in 2001, Rumsfeld unveiled ambitious plans to reform the military. He intended to reshape the notoriously bloated, bureaucratic Pentagon to become, in his words, "light on its feet." While there has been significant coverage of how Rumsfeld implemented this vision when it came to combat forces -- and its impact on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan -- much less attention has been paid to his plans for revolutionizing military procurement (the mechanism through which the military buys any product). Over the years, military procurement has become notoriously bloated, wasteful, and inefficient. It takes too long...

BLOOMBERG'S CANDIDACY:

BLOOMBERG'S CANDIDACY: Following up on Garance 's post from yesterday regarding New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg 's staunch support of gun control and the unpopularity it has earned him south of the Mason-Dixon line, there's an important caveat worth raising. Though Bloomberg is a Republican, all the speculation on his potential presidential campaign has him running as an independent, possibly on the Unity '08 ticket (as Garance suggests in her post title and the link she includes). So while the analogy to Rudy Giuliani (two Republican New York mayors with liberal records on gun control and social issues) holds up on policy it doesn't on politics. Bloomberg doesn't need to win Republican primaries to run. If he runs, it will be as a self-financed late entrant, like Ross Perot . What Garance's post demonstrates, however, is how damaging Bloomberg would be to the Democratic nominee. Someone with his personal and political profile will have no appeal in red states. His sole effect will be...

WHERE HEALTH FUNDING MEETS DISABILITY RIGHTS:

WHERE HEALTH FUNDING MEETS DISABILITY RIGHTS: I was a little torn about the case of Ashley , the nine year old in Seattle who has a debilitating condition that stopped her brain development at the age of three months and leaves her mostly paralyzed. Her parents and doctors have subjected her to surgeries over the years, including removal of her ovaries and high doses of estrogen to stop her growth. The reasons are to make her stay small enough to be easily lifted and to prevent bed sores later in life, to prevent her from getting pregnant should be she be raped, and to spare her the confusion of the pain caused by getting her period. Though initially I agreed with disability rights activists who argued that this was clearly a violation of her dignity and humanity, I heard semi-convincing counter-arguments that it was all in her best interest. But Patricia J. Williams , in an excellent column in this week's Nation removes any doubt in my mind. She convincingly argues, �Who of us, with...

TRANSIT FUNDING RULES:

TRANSIT FUNDING RULES: Brad Plumer has an enlightening addition to my recent argument on this website for a shift in federal transit funding from highways to mass transit. He writes, Under federal rules, transit projects have to undergo far more scrutiny. Before Congress hands out money for transit, they demand a cost-benefit analysis of the system, an analysis of its effects on land use, an environmental analysis, and often a comparison among various alternatives. Now, that all sounds perfectly reasonable, except that highway projects don't have to undergo most of these procedures�except for a looser environmental analysis. Federal oversight is rather minimal.... Not surprisingly, many of those communities find it far easier to build new highways than to set up, say, a light-rail system, no matter how popular the latter may be. He goes on to mention Milwaukee as an example of a city that has buckled to all the perverse incentives and built more highways instead of mass transit. This...

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