Dylan Matthews

Dylan Matthews was a summer 2008 Prospect editorial intern.

Recent Articles

This Scene Shares More Than Blue Genes.

Nick Kristof 's column today on autism is a curious beast. While written like a typical, "let's quote the experts" policy wonk piece, it has a seriously disturbing assumption underpinning it: Autism was first identified in 1943 in an obscure medical journal. Since then it has become a frighteningly common affliction, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting recently that autism disorders now affect almost 1 percent of children. Over recent decades, other development disorders also appear to have proliferated, along with certain cancers in children and adults. Why? No one knows for certain. And despite their financial and human cost, they presumably won’t be discussed much at Thursday’s White House summit on health care. Yet they constitute a huge national health burden, and suspicions are growing that one culprit may be chemicals in the environment. An article in a forthcoming issue of a peer-reviewed medical journal, Current Opinion in Pediatrics, just posted online, makes this...

The Game Is Rigged.

Andrew Exum is very good at constructing straw men. Responding to Matt Yglesias ' post noting that many national security think tanks -- like CNAS, which employs Exum -- are funded by defense contractors, Exum writes: If [Yglesias] thinks this blogger -- or anyone else advocating the U.S. military take population-centric counterinsurgency more seriously -- is in the pocket of the military-industrial complex, he does not understand the acquisitions implications of an institutional move toward COIN, a form of warfare in which expensive weapons platforms like the F-22 have little utility. This makes sense in a world in which the only defense contractors are those supplying weapons. Suffice it to say, the industry is more complicated than that now. Whatever one thinks about the growth of private military contractors, it is hard to argue that even more mundane contracting groups -- those that provide catering, laundry, base security, and other support services -- do not benefit from troop...

He's a What? He's a What? He's a Newspaper Man.

Peter Baker , the White House correspondent for the New York Times , is very worried about the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo 's membership in the White House press pool: “This is really troubling,” said New York Times reporter Peter Baker in an email to POLITICO. “We’re blurring the line between news and punditry even further and opening ourselves to legitimate questions among readers about where the White House press corps gets its information.” Baker said he has no problem with outlets like Huffington Post, which he described “an important part of the marketplace of ideas.” But the site, he said, has a mission “to produce pieces with strongly argued points of view” and that puts the Times—or other non-partisan news organizations—“in a position of relying on overtly ideological or opinionated organizations as our surrogate news gatherers.” Ed Chen , the president of the White House Correspondent's Association and a reporter for Bloomberg, has the appropriate rejoinders:...

Wading in Seas Not Shining.

While Peter Beinart 's foreign policy has improved markedly since he was equating progressives with Truman -era fellow travelers, his conception of what "morality" means in foreign policy still seems to have precious little to do with actual consequences. Here he is attacking the Obama administration for "downsizing" -- that is, abandoning a broader "war on terror" in favor of targeting al-Qaeda: But downsizing also has its costs. The first is moral. Obama may be right that the U.S. can't vanquish movements like Hizballah and the Taliban or even an embattled regime like Iran's. Legitimizing them, however, will be hard for some Americans to swallow. Already, hawks have slammed Obama for negotiating with Iran's mullahs while the blood of Iranian protesters is still fresh on their hands. And "reconciliation" with the Taliban, while necessary for the U.S.'s eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan, might be a horror show for Afghan women. It is worth noting that while many historians applaud...

Huckabee Discovers Institutional Racism.

In case you haven't heard, Mike Huckabee has been taking heat this week for having granted clemency in 2000 to Maurice Clemmons , who is accused of killing four police officers in Washington this past Sunday. While everyone from Josh Marshall to Tim Pawlenty has attacked Huckabee for the decision, the criticism struck me as pretty off-base. As Matt Yglesias points out , Clemmons was serving an hundred-year sentence at the time of his clemency for largely nonviolent crimes committed as a teenager. What was effectively a life sentence for burglary and theft was excessive to say the least. Further, Ta-Nehisi Coates made an persuasive case that failures like this are the result of brutal policing that fails to respect black communities. Strangely enough, Huckabee appears to agree with Coates: The reasons were straightforward -- a unanimous recommendation from the board, support from a trial judge and no objections from officials in a case that involved a 16 year old sentenced to a term...

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