Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger and senior writer. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

The Trouble With Ideology

One thing people often say about libertarians is, "Well, there are some things I disagree with them about, but I admire their consistency." Supposedly, libertarians have a pure philosophy, and they're willing to take unpopular stands in the service of it. That stands in contrast to, say, conservatives who talk a lot about "getting government off our backs" but also think the government ought to do things like control what women do with their wombs. Today, the country's most prominent libertarian is Rand Paul , the Republican Party's nominee for a Senate seat in Kentucky. You'll recall that Paul's debut on the national stage came when he couldn't bring himself to endorse the Civil Rights Act of 1964, since it violated the individual freedom of Jim Crow-era restaurant owners who wanted to serve only white people. As Talking Points Memo tells us today, Paul and his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway , are battling over drugs. Paul apparently believes that the federal government ought to...

The GOP's Ticket to November.

You've probably been asking yourself, "What do the candidates running for City Council in Grand Forks think about the Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero?" No? You haven't been asking that? Well why the heck not? It's not quite the Grand Forks City Council, but Rick Scott , a candidate for the GOP nomination for governor of Florida, who thinks folks have been dying to know what he thinks about the issue: What's remarkable about this is that Scott doesn't make even the most perfunctory attempt to tie the issue to Florida itself, much less the Florida governorship. Nothing. It's just that he doesn't like "Muslim fanatics," and "the fight against terrorism isn't over." Not even a "We need a leader in Tallahassee who understands that." While Scott may be a particularly repellent figure, you can feel Republicans everywhere deciding that this issue is the shot of extra speed that will carry them over the finish line in November. Kind of a last PowerBar of hate to chew on when the legs...

The Next Redistricting Battle

Even if Democrats lose seats this fall, they may come out ahead on the redistricting fight thanks to a slew of new organizations.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger removes red tape showing how legislative districts can divide neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Were he around today, Elbridge Gerry would no doubt complain that history has sullied his name. Following the 1810 census, Gerry, as governor of Massachusetts, signed off on a redistricting map including one district that looked to a newspaper editor like a salamander. The paper called it a "gerrymander," and the name stuck. But the district in question was far less sinuous and stretched than the districting modifications we routinely see today, two centuries later. The increasing sophistication of mapping software and the copious amounts of data available on all of us have made it possible to draw maps with extraordinary precision, down to the household. Districts for both state legislators and members of Congress wind crooked paths down city streets, skirt unfriendly neighborhoods, and pack unfriendly voters into districts where they can be contained. As Washington wonders whether the shudder-inducing words "Speaker of the House John Boehner" will soon be on lips across the country...

Broadband Adoption Flattening?

(Flickr/ adrienneserra ) According to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, broadband adoption seems to have plateaued in the last year, after steady growth. The number of adults with broadband at home in this year's survey was 66 percent, not statistically different from last year's 63 percent. In one bright spot, broadband use among African Americans increased by 10 percentage points, from 46 percent to 56 percent. But what I find most interesting is the non-users, and people who don't think it's something useful. When they asked what they thought of "expanding affordable high-speed internet access to everyone in the country," 26 percent said it was something the government shouldn't do at all, and another 27 percent said it was "not too important a priority." Since they haven't yet done (or reported, anyway) much of the multivariate analysis that would help us sort this stuff out, we'll have to guess at why this is. Some of it may be trendy anti-government...

Muslims Attempt to Take Ownership of Time Itself; Could Sharia in America Be Far Behind?

According to Agence France-Presse, the Saudi government is almost ready to unveil a really, really big clock, in the hopes that "Mecca Time" will replace Greenwich Mean Time as the standard by which the world sets its clocks. Hard to see that happening, but what's for sure is that this is one spectacular clock. Not only are the faces 151 feet across, it will be housed in a tower that will become the world's second-tallest building when completed. And they are not kidding around when it comes to bringing the bling: More than six times larger in diameter than London's famed Big Ben, the clock faces, with the Arabic words "In the Name of Allah" in huge lettering underneath, will be lit with two million LED lights. Some 21,000 white and green coloured lights, fitted at the top of the clock, will flash to as far as 30 kilometres (18.7 miles) to signal Islam's mandatory five-times daily prayers. On special Muslim occasions, 16 bands of vertical lights will shoot some 10 kilometres (6.2...

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