Heidi Pauken

Heidi Pauken is an assistant editor at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

Injudicious

With civil rights, reproductive rights, environmental protections, workers' rights, and yes, even the presidency (see Bush v. Gore ) at stake, it's no surprise that the Senate Committee on the Judiciary is a hot spot for politics -- not the handshaking politics of the campaign trail but a passionate, big-picture politics where senators duke it out over the ideological balance of our nation's courts. The committee, which vets the president's nominees for the federal bench, has surely seen excitement over the years, but it was always still the Senate -- navy suits, cordial smiles, professional conduct. Not anymore. In their latest pursuits to pack the courts, Republicans have bent, twisted, and broken the rules, spawning unmatched acrimony, a criminal investigation, and some really angry Democrats. According to George W. Bush, we have only the Democrats' "unprecedented obstructionist tactics" to blame. But how obstructed can the process be when committee Republicans outnumber Democrats...

Devil in the Details

With millions of Americans on the Atkins Diet, nobody would disagree that it's a big year for eggs. But who knew that so many would be headed straight for FOX News? Certainly not FOX viewers -- who, admittedly, have already proven themselves vulnerable to misinformation, and who were led to believe that, by this point, Iraq weapons of mass destruction skeptics far and wide would be protein-covered and apologizing profusely. When we find those weapons, "[A] lot of people are going to have a lot of egg on their face," warned Sean Hannity of Hannity & Colmes last February 7 -- and February 19, and March 18, and July 18, and August 1. But, as former chief weapons inspector David Kay and the woman on My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance will tell you, things don't always work out as planned. In fact, much to the dismay of this administration, Kay's long-awaited and recently released report showed nary a weapon of mass destruction but, instead, a big, fat egg. From the channel that's taken...

Three's Company

With John Edwards and Wesley Clark courting Tennessee and Virginia, and Howard Dean declaring Wisconsin his "must win" state, it would be easy to overlook this weekend's caucus trifecta. Don't. In total, these three states hold 204 delegates -- almost as many as last Tuesday's seven states combined. Michigan (128 delegates) is the weekend's heavy hitter, and voters here have three choices this year: They can vote online, via snail mail, or show up at one of 590 caucus sites on Saturday. The mail-in and Internet voting systems have been running for five weeks now, and as of last weekend, 123,000 people had requested the mail-in or Internet ballots. Who knows how many Michiganders cast their votes before the primary season even started? Dick Gephardt, though no longer in the race, may have scored a good number of those early votes. With Michigan 185,000 factory jobs lighter over the last four years, he was an attractive option. Gephardt had also locked up endorsements from the Teamsters...

Fat Tuesday

Pumped by back-to-back victories and eager to take their newfound momentum for a spin, supporters drowned out John Kerry's New Hampshire victory speech Tuesday night with shouts of, "Bring it on! Bring it on! Bring it on!" But not so fast. Only 67 delegates have been claimed. That means there's 98.5 percent to go. It's a long haul ahead -- especially when you consider that the candidates have spent more than $3.5 million in advertisements this past week alone. With the February 3 primaries six days away, it's time to see who can be seven states wide and many, many dollars deep. Kerry lacks regional ties to the states ahead, but he's got a winner's spark. Howard Dean just placed a respectable second in New Hampshire and is deciding whether to target his strong states or to go for all seven. Wesley Clark's third-place finish is a portent: He'd better win soon or it will be time to say goodbye. John Edwards secured Tuesday's fourth-place slot, then hopped a jet to his native South...

How a Bill Becomes a Law (Revised)

Forget what you learned in Government 101 (or math class for that matter), because in Congress these days, a negative plus a negative equals a positive. And even though R's control everything, a House "yea" plus a Senate "yea" can still equal a firm "no" when the White House horns in. A quick lesson: Our story begins this past spring, when the Labor Department announced a modest change in the rules affecting overtime pay. These new rules, which could take effect as early as 2004 and didn't require congressional action, prevent white-collar workers earning more than $65,000 a year from collecting overtime pay while simultaneously raising the salary bar -- from $8,060 to $22,100 -- under which employers must pay time and a half. The latter provision, which the administration says would make 1.3 million workers eligible for overtime, sounds good, but it functions even better as a diversion from the pay cut that an estimated 8 million workers would suffer if their overtime were offed...

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