Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. 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 Robot Army Comes.

Popular Science shows us the latest from Boston Dynamics, a company that, with your tax dollars, is developing robots to do things like carry soldiers' gear for them. This R&D is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), creator of that which is wicked cool and that which is nearly terrifying. The interesting thing about these bots is that instead of using wheels or tracks, they walk, in a way so similar to carbon-based lifeforms as to be almost creepy. Check it out: My favorite part -- other than the wistful musical score -- is when they tout the ability to allow for "safe human interaction with possibly dangerous robots." Yeah, that'd be good. This little puppy is called Little Dog; you can see its cousin Big Dog, who does cool stuff like run up hills and right itself without falling down after slipping on ice, here . Right now, soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have to lug around a huge amount of equipment, sometimes weighing over 100 pounds. But the...

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" On the Way Out?

Pretty big news on the military's ban on gay service members: WASHINGTON — President Obam a , the Pentagon and leading lawmakers reached agreement Monday on legislative language and a time frame for repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, clearing the way for Congress to take up the measure as soon as this week. It was not clear whether the deal had secured the votes necessary to pass the House and Senate, but the agreement removed the Pentagon’s objections to having Congress vote quickly on repealing the contentious 17-year-old policy, which bars gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the armed services. House Democratic leaders were meeting Monday night and considering taking up the measure as soon as Thursday. But even if the measure passes, the policy cannot not change until after Dec. 1, when the Pentagon completes a review of its readiness to deal with the changes. Mr. Obama, his defense secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff would also be...

No Country for Straw Men

Some on the right have cast the president as their own personal villain. When facts won't convince them that a dictatorship isn't nigh, there's no point in arguing.

Former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin waves goodbye after her speech during the NRA national convention in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, May 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
History, the novelist Milan Kundera wrote, is but a thin thread stretched across the ocean of what is forgotten. This may explain why the further back you go into American history, the more consensus there tends to be about our presidents. If you wanted to come up with a revisionist view of George Washington, it would require a lot of work, since what most of us have at hand are a few images -- the first president at Valley Forge, crossing the Delaware, nobly stepping down for the good of the country. But one of the many advantages of the modern age is the ready availability of the raw materials out of which we can construct our own convincing version of contemporary political reality. Pour a foundation out of imaginary concrete, erect joists and beams of speculation, place a thousand bricks of tendentious conclusions, and before you know it, the structure is impervious to any assault by facts. You will have made your own imagined Barack Obama, in whatever shape you like. Pick a...

Do You Know About the Holograms?

During the health-care debate, progressives got to know, and intensely dislike, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Doing his best to move from object of scorn to object of mockery, yesterday he offered up a gem to rival Ted Stevens ' immortal declaration that "the Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes." Behold : The Nebraska Democrat pleaded ignorance when asked this week whether Congress should cap ATM fees. Nelson said that while he's no fan of unnecessary fees, he's unfamiliar with the charges. "I've never used an ATM, so I don't know what the fees are,” Nelson said, adding that he gets his cash from bank tellers, just not automatic ones. “It's true, I don't know how to use one. "But I could learn how to do it just like I've. ... I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about the holograms." By "holograms,” Nelson clarified that he meant the bar codes on products read by automatic scanners in the checkout lanes at stores...

Submit, Puny Earthlings, to Your New Olympic Overlords.

(Image: London 2012) The horrifying monsters in this photo are Wenlock and Mandeville, the just-unveiled mascots for the 2012 London Olympics . They've got videos !. They've each got their own Twitter feed ! They'll hypnotize you with their cyclops eyes before crushing your skull in their mandible claw-hands! For some reason, the organizing committee of every Olympics feels the need to come up with an alien mascot, which is supposed to be fun and inviting, imparting to us all the excitement of sporting competition in a huggable package. Yet without exception, they come out looking either stupid or frightening, leading to universal mockery. So why bother? It's not as though Wenlock and Mandeville will make anyone say, "Man, I really do have to get tickets to see Usain Bolt run!" If anyone has any ideas for American Prospect mascots, please submit a description in comments, along with a link to where we can see either your drawings or your lovingly sewn mock-up. -- Paul Waldman

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