Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a contributing editor for the Prospect and the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

The FDA Does Its Job.

Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new initiative to increase the safety of imaging devices that use radiation, like CT scans. This came about because of a New York Times investigation detailing horrifying cases of patients being given overdoses of radiation when going in for routine scans. Hospitals are employing incredibly powerful equipment that can -- and has -- killed people if used incorrectly. The machinery sometimes lacks systems that would prevent these deaths, like an alarm telling the technician when they're about to deliver an overdose of radiation. Regular readers will know by now that I think it's important to draw attention to the times when the government is doing its job, and we all need that job to be done. Whatever the limitations of the Obama administration's legislative record (so far), we should remember that if nothing else, they have staffed the executive branch with people who believe that regulatory agencies ought to, you know, regulate...

Very Serious Republicans, Working Hard to Achieve Bipartisanship.

If you want to understand the depths of Republican intransigence on health-care reform, I'd encourage you to read Ezra Klein 's interview with Sen. Lamar Alexander . Alexander is not the most conservative senator, or the one most prone to the kind of bomb-throwing and mendacity that characterizes some of his colleagues. Which is why it's so revealing to hear him actually try to explain his position to an interviewer willing to press him. If you're a Republican who wants to seem like a serious person, part of the problem when discussing your opposition to health-care reform is that most of the key arguments your side has made are based on either distortions or outright lies. There are no "death panels," no "government takeovers," no "socialism." Everyone understands the simple political reality: If reform passes, it will be very good for Democrats, and if it fails, it will be very good for Republicans. But of course, Republicans can't say that. So in an attempt to sound like he has...

Your 2010 Apocalypse, In a Handy Interactive Infographic.

Wondering just how human society might collapse into chaos and cannibalism this year? Want to know what the chances are of, say, a cyclone, and how it might relate to an asset price collapse and food price volatility? The World Economic Forum, the masters of the universe who put together those glamorous conferences in Davos, have provided a snappy infographic to tell you the odds, and economic impact, of various economic, social, environmental, geopolitical, and technological catastrophes (via ). It's actually a pretty well-constructed infographic. You may not understand the world much better after seeing it, but it's nicely interactive – you can play around with all the different potential causes of global upheaval, see how they relate to each other, and see the (essentially arbitrary) probabilities the WEF has assigned to each. Just something to brighten your Tuesday. -- Paul Waldman

The Lessons of Air America.

Danny Goldberg , a music-industry veteran and prominent progressive donor who spent what he describes as "one unhappy year midway through Air America's life as its CEO" has an interesting piece on Alternet about the radio network's demise. While it's true that there was terrible mismanagement over the course of Air America's existence, Goldberg argues that the whole idea of an ideologically driven radio network that could generate profits was probably misguided: The fatal flaw in Air America's genetic code was the pretense that liberal talk radio was a great business opportunity, that progressives could have their cake and eat it too, could do well by doing good, make big salaries and get a great return on investment while also pursuing an ideological agenda. Sure, every once in a while political media like Michael Moore 's movies or Rush Limbaugh 's radio show will make money, but for those interested in influencing public opinion, media in all venues is vital whether it makes money...

What Is the Sound of One Senator Tweeting?

Gawker tells us that in addition to being far ahead of their Democratic counterparts in the donning of tri-corner hats, GOP members of Congress are leading the way on Twitter: According to a newly released survey, Republican politicians dominate the congressional Twitter-verse. Meanwhile, Barack Obama just sent his first "Tweet" last month. Twitter Gap! A Congressional Research Service report released last week (and published by Secrecy News ) found that 60% of the members of Congress with Twitter accounts are Republicans, and that fully half of all congressional Twitterers are House GOP members. The study, which was conducted in August of last year is limited to U.S. senators and House members, shows GOP pols out-Twittering Democrats in virtually every category: A whopping 67% of all congressional "Tweets" are written by Republicans. To this, I offer a resounding, "Meh." Is there anything less valuable than the tweets of a member of Congress? Just how meaningless is your time if you...