Eli Kintisch

Eli Kintisch is former Washington correspondent for the Forward.

Recent Articles

Tipping Point

Yesterday in Kennebunkport, Maine, President Bush managed to tip over a Segway while attempting to ride it -- despite the fact that the recently invented motorized scooters are equipped with tilt sensors and five high-tech gyroscopes, which are supposed to prevent them from tipping over . So how did Bush manage to nearly fall flat on his face? After seeing photos of the gaffe today, I tried to find out by speaking to a number of Segway enthusiasts. The possibilities were numerous: The ground could have been slippery. Maybe Bush impatiently got on the machine before waiting the few seconds needed for the Segway to warm up. Could the battery have run out? A spirited discussion raged on the chatboards of SegwayChat.com. One Washington resident and Segway enthusiast -- who compared the Segway's effect on his life to "having kids" -- told me he would "put money" on the theory that Bush had thought the machine was in "Power Assist Mode," not the "Balance Mode" that is required to ride it...

Stated Intentions

On Tuesday voters in Columbia, Mo., rejected a decriminalization measure on marijuana by roughly 60 percent to 40 percent. The fact that the statute failed was hardly surprising; voters in other states defeated similar measures last year. What was unusual was the appearance of a high-ranking White House official in Columbia before the vote on the initiative, which would have allowed patients using medical marijuana to carry up to 35 grams of the drug with no penalty and make others caught carrying the same amount pay a municipal fine. "I'm not here to tell anybody how to vote," Scott Burns told a local columnist during his daylong visit there last week. At an anti-initiative news conference organized by Columbia's Phoenix Programs rehabilitation center, he declared he was in town to "help those who have been caught up in the lie" that marijuana is not harmful. Burns, a George W. Bush appointee, is deputy director for state and local affairs in the Office of National Drug Control...

Left Behind

JERUSALEM -- On Monday last week in a cramped Jerusalem convenience store, politics was the topic of the morning. And I didn't have to stay long to realize that things were over for Amram Mitzna, the Labor Party's candidate for prime minister in tomorrow's elections. " Mitzna? Hu pashut loser," laughed a scraggly looking man making sandwiches, employing an English word I had not heard used before by working-class Israelis. The last few weeks have not been kind to Mitzna, and things only seem to be getting worse. Maariv , one of Israel's two most widely read dailies, printed a poll last Sunday showing that if Labor stalwart Shimon Peres were to run in Mitzna's place, the party would win 29 seats in the Knesset as opposed to the 20 it is predicted to win with Mitzna at the helm. (The Likud Party is predicted to win 30 seats.) The devastating poll created a mini-crisis, with Mitzna vowing to stay on as head of the party. The irony of anyone polling lower than the dovish Peres -- who for...

Citizen Bane

JERUSALEM -- As checkpoint experiences go, the one at Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem is an easy one. Relatively speaking, anyway. For 45 minutes one recent morning, I breathed the gas fumes as the line of vehicles inched forward. Aside from an Arab selling coffee in plastic cups to the drivers, there was little action. The school children in uniforms in the car behind me fidgeted; their parents looked exhausted. I watched some Israeli soldiers take the keys from a few drivers of the omnipresent white van-taxis. (One soldier kept calling a particular driver a "liar" in Hebrew, but I couldn't make out what the driver was or was not lying about.) Muddy taxis streamed in, dropping off workers who travel daily to Tel Aviv for coveted jobs with Israeli employers. My turn came, and a soldier yelled at me for pulling up without his permission before letting me pass without incident. I hit the gas and bounced out of East Jerusalem on the pockmarked road, squeaking past the traffic light at what...

Paperless Trail

Where is the Environmental Protection Agency's 2002 Report on Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends when we need it most? True, it's not the sexiest of reports, and when it reliably appears each September, it invariably gets lost amid the snowdrifts of paper created by Washington's daily bound-binding output. But with a war -- which will no doubt have an effect on oil supply -- looming in Iraq, the report should have taken on added significance this year. And the fact that it hasn't appeared at all may be a story in and of itself. The report -- which looks at the sales figures and calculated fuel efficiencies for current-year model cars -- gives a valuable glimpse of the numbers behind America's gas guzzling. Its message has been the same since the late 1980s: Urban fuel economy in the U.S. car fleet is declining slowly toward 20 miles per gallon as our cars become bigger and more powerful. And though fuel efficiency on the highways is slightly higher, it, too, is...

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