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 Tea Party's Days Are Numbered

Josh Green tells us that coverage of the oil spill has driven the Tea Party out of the news. That's to be expected, but what we've seen in recent days is that the rest of the country is starting to grasp what we lefties have been saying all along: these people are kind of crazy. As some of their favored candidates become nationally known - your Rand Paul s, your Sharron Angle s - they are revealed as having rather extreme views, whether about civil rights, or the danger to the integrity of our precious bodily fluids posed by flouridation . As Yogi Berra said, making predictions is always risky, particularly about the future, but here goes: After November's election, the Tea Party movement will quickly fade into nothingness. Maintaining a political movement is hard, particularly one that has already been so discredited. Most of the Tea Party candidates will lose, and then Republicans will turn their attention to their party's 2012 nomination contest, caring more about whether Sarah...

Luck Will Out

TAP talks to filmmaker Jeffrey Blitz about his new documentary on the lottery, and how luck and hard work interact in America.

Jeffrey Blitz (Big Beach Films)
In his new documentary film Lucky , director Jeffrey Blitz explores what happens when lightning strikes -- in the form of a winning lottery ticket. The film, a fascinating exploration of the effects of sudden wealth, raises questions about American society, our relationship to money, and how we define our identities in the modern world. Blitz was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2002 documentary Spellbound and won an Emmy last year for directing an episode of The Office . He also directed the 2007 feature film Rocket Science . Blitz spoke to the Prospect about his film, the lottery, and the nature of luck. Lucky will be shown on HBO in July. You've said that Lucky is in some ways a companion piece to Spellbound -- Spellbound was about kids trying to reach the American dream through almost maniacally hard work; this film is about people who got rich by doing nothing. So is there something almost un-American about the lottery? Actually, I think there are these two American ideas...

The Folks Behind Your iPad

You may have heard in recent days about Foxconn, a company that owns factories in China that assemble electronics for such companies as Apple, Dell, and HP. You didn't think your iPhone was put together in Cupertino, did you? Of course not. Unfortunately, people working at Foxconn's gigantic Shenzen factory, which makes iPhones and iPads, keep killing themselves , presumably because of the psychological effects of poor working conditions and low pay. In response to the bad publicity, the company announced that it was raising wages 30 percent, which is good to hear. In any case, the story is a reminder that every product we use involves a bunch of people's effort, and most of the time we have no idea what goes into it (and, let's face it, we'd rather not think about it). The video below, from the 2006 film "Manufactured Landscapes," gives a sense of what working in a huge Chinese electronics factory is like. I have no idea if conditions at the one shown in the film (which is not named...

Supreme Court Takes Aim At Clean Elections.

Boy, it sure is a good thing the Roberts Court isn't a bunch of judicial activists. Here's their latest move : The Supreme Court stepped into another campaign finance controversy on Tuesday when it blocked Arizona from distributing campaign subsidies to publicly funded candidates facing big-spending opponents. The justices granted a stay of a portion of the state's 12-year-old Clean Elections program, which authorizes public money for state candidates who bypass most private fundraising. The court stopped the state from providing "matching funds" to those candidates whose opponents are spending large sums of private money. The court's action disrupts a funding scheme already well underway, with early voting beginning at the end of July for an August primary. One of those most hurt by the decision is Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who is a publicly funded candidate. To understand how radical a move this is on the part of the Court, you have to understand how Arizona's "clean elections" law (and...

Rand Paul Returns to TV, Whines About Being Criticized.

I'd never want to run for public office, for a number of reasons. But if I did, I'd go into it knowing that part of the deal was suffering a whole lot of slings and arrows. No one should accept people lying about them, of course, but if you become a candidate, people on the other side are going to criticize you. Some may even mock you. That may not be fun to endure, but if you think you can run for office and not be the target of rhetorical assaults, you're a fool. The smart ones figure out ways to turn the criticism to their advantage -- Barack Obama , who has probably been on the receiving end of more vile slander than any politician in memory, certainly has. Nikki Haley , who is likely to be South Carolina's next governor, has shown that talent. But it's always amazing to see politicians who whine and moan about the fact that people are criticizing them. Sarah Palin , of course, is the ne plus ultra of politician whiners, but now Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul is giving it his...

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