Joshua Green

Joshua Green is an editor at The Washington Monthly and a former staff writer at
The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Second Thoughts on the Death Penalty

Republican Governor George Ryan of Illinois made national news last month by announcing that he would halt executions until properly satisfied that "everyone sentenced to death in Illinois is truly guilty." His concern isn't difficult to understand. Since Illinois reinstated the death penalty in 1977, more death row inmates have been exonerated (13) than executed (12), and more than half the state's 285 death sentences have been reversed on appeal. Ryan's decision makes Illinois the first of the country's 38 death penalty states to formally suspend executions, and it has generated a flood of attention. "One Courageous Governor" declared the St. Petersburg Times. "Principled Governor Bravely Halts Executions," blared the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Other outlets touted the move as "bold" and evidence of "gritty political courage." In fact, it was evidence of something entirely different. Only a year ago, Ryan dismissed the notion of a moratorium when he declared the case of Anthony Porter...

Clean Money in Maine

T he first thing visitors to Maine's statehouse in Augusta notice is that one-third of the historic building is boarded up, sealed off, and undergoing a late-summer renovation. It's a fitting parallel to the historic transformation taking place within the legislature itself: Maine's Clean Election Act, the first campaign finance reform of its kind, has allowed one-third of the candidates for state office this fall to forgo private fundraising in exchange for a publicly funded campaign. In all, 115 of the state's 353 candidates are "running clean"--vowing not to accept any private money or contribute any personal money to their campaign. Proponents hope this new alternative will convince more people to seek office, diminish the influence of money in politics, and break the grip of special interests. Its early success with candidates, voters, and the courts suggests that this bold experiment in electoral politics could become a model for campaign finance reform. Glenn Cummings was the...

A Conversation with Alan Berlow

Sleeping Lawyers, Mass Executions, and George W. Bush's Abdication of Responsibility Alan Berlow [ "Lethal Injustice," TAP Vol. 11 Issue 10 ] is a former National Public Radio reporter who frequently writes on capital justice issues. He is also the author of Dead Season: A Story of Murder and Revenge (Vintage Books). Q: How legitimate is George W. Bush's claim -- frequently used to distance himself from actual executions -- that he essentially lacks the power to halt an execution? A: It's legally legitimate. The law says that without a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, he has no authority to act on a death sentence. So he can say, in any of the cases that have come before him, that since the Board recommended clemency in only one case, he had no authority to act otherwise. I don't think that's legitimate, because Bush has appointed all 18 members of the Board. Many of them are political appointees, people with party affiliations -- in short, people who would...

Apocalypse Now

Some Democrats may have lost faith that they'll be electing another president in the year 2000. But a host of evangelical novelists seem to think a liberal president in the new millennium is a near certainty. They just expect his stay in office will be a short one. And his downfall won't come by scandal, character issues, or a Republican Congress, but by the end of the world. Such soothsaying is the currency of Christian apocalyptic novels, an increasingly popular genre of Grisham-type thrillers that serve up a heavily fictionalized version of the Book of Revelation with a strong fundamentalist slant. With millennium fever at a pitch, they're also selling millions. These thrillers have all the plot points you'd expect--floods, famine, locusts, Satan's return to earth. And one more: a liberal president. A typical example of these apocalyptic page turners is The Illuminati , by Larry Burkett. On page one, readers are introduced to...

Comic Crusade

In January, Salon reported that drug czar Barry McCaffrey and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) had coerced television networks to include governmentapproved antidrug messages in prime-time shows. Under the arrangement, the major networks secretly submitted scripts to McCaffrey's office in exchange for credit toward public-service advertising that Congress had required them to sell to the government at half-price as part of a $1-billion ad buy in 1997. Working antidrug messages into scripts subject to ONDCP approval allowed the networks to recover some of the advertising time still owed to the government, and then to sell the ad slots to commercial advertisers willing to pay premium rates. By in effect selling their scripts to ONDCP propagandists, the networks have recouped at least $25 million in lost advertising revenue. Widespread outrage may have spoiled the plan, but McCaffrey won't have trouble getting his antidrug message to kids...

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