Kay Steiger

Kay Steiger is managing editor at Raw Story and a former Prospect editorial assistant.

Recent Articles


MINNESOTA POLITICIANS. Brother Ezra asked today at lunch, "What's the deal with Al Franken ?" It was a good question. I hadn't heard much in a little while about his Senate bid in Minnesota. Polling shows that Franken is likely to win the nomination, as he leads trial lawyer and fellow DFL contender Mike Ciresi 52-29, but [ corrected from the original ] that even if Franken does get the nomination, incumbent Norm Coleman currently has him beat by about 22 points in a general match-up. The latest news, meanwhile, is that Bob Olson has also joined the DFL primary. (Bob Olson is a hilariously common name in Minnesota, hence the campaign's slogan , "Vote for Bob Olson. It may be the Bob Olson you know.") Any impact Olson may have would likely draw even more support away from Ciresi. Besides, who can resist Stuart Smalley ? --Kay Steiger


THE LAW OF WAR. Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani is in court today to testify about what happened when a group of Marines went " out of control " in violating the law of war, killing 24 Iraqi civilians, "some of them children still in their pajamas." Chessani is under scrutiny because he didn't report the killings as anything different than the ordinary acts of war. Prosecutors in court are going to ask, how many civilian deaths would it take to raise alarm? In a place where a certain level of violence is expected every day, it will become harder and harder to determine which acts are intolerable. It's likely a question we will be struggling to answer for years to come. -- Kay Steiger


HOMELESS VETS. Congress is already worried about veterans returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan who simply don't readjust well, but obviously the situation can be more dire than just that. The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing last week to discuss how to prevent homelessness among veterans and the related problem of budget shortfalls faced by the VA. One thing Women's Policy, Inc. pointed out was that the increasing number of women veterans will cause unique challenges: Vietnam Veterans of America Deputy Director for Policy and Government Affairs Bernard Edelman voiced his support for S. 1384, stating, "[A]s highlighted in the 2006 recommendations made by the [VA] Secretary's Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, a survey of homeless women veterans showed that fewer women veterans are seeking services in VA domiciliary settings and residential treatment facilities because of concerns about safety, privacy, and what is a male-dominated environment. Ideally,...


MAKING RANK. The Chronicle of Higher Education had an excellent article this week about the controversy over U.S. News and World Report 's annual college and university rankings. As the WaPo reported this weekend, universities are as usual less than pleased with the power these listings have. The Chronicle fleshes out some of the methodological problems with the rankings: "In 1997 U.S. News hired a consultant, the National Opinion Research Center, to evaluate its methodology. 'The principal weakness of the current approach is that the weights used to combine the various measures into an overall rating lack any defensible empirical or theoretical basis,' the analysis concluded." The article further points out that the survey highly favors private institutions over public ones and that it hasn't adjusted faculty salaries for the disproportionate cost of living across the country. There are, of course, more sound ways to assess the quality of higher education. --Kay Steiger


STRAINED RESERVES. The Center for American Progress released a report today about the overstretched nature of the National Guard and Reserves, a follow-up to their report in March that stated the under-prepared nature of the United States to deal with natural and terrorist disasters domestically. The report today counted that in 2005, 46 percent of troops in Iraq were from the reserves. Since 2001, every single one of the 16 Army National Guard Enhanced Brigades (troops trained to act as reserves for active duty soldiers) has been deployed at least once to Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Balkans. Two have been deployed twice, totaling an average of 18 months overseas. This is nearly half of the total enlistment time. It's standard practice in the military to limit deployments to once every five years. If the DOD followed standard practice, it wouldn't be able to redeploy any more reserve troops until 2010, "at the earliest." The report says, "Nearly nine out of every 10 Amery National Guard...