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

Have Your Burrito, and Eat It Too. With Nutella.

We all know that America has an obesity problem. But guess what – as usual, our brave advertising executives have the answer. First, there's this ad for Nutella. "As a mom," our friendly actress says, "I'm a great believer in Nutella, a delicious hazelnut spread I use to get my kids to eat healthy foods." And what are these "healthy foods," you ask? Bread. With Nutella on it. If you're hungry for more healthy food, you could try taking a carrot, wrapping it in a slice of bacon, and dipping it in chocolate frosting. After all that healthy eating, you might be looking to shed a few pounds. So why not stop in at Taco Bell? The fast-food giant is currently trying to sell us on something they call the " Drive-thru diet ," which involves eating at Taco Bell, and ordering something with less processed cheese than your usual fare. They've even got a spokesperson who lost 54 pounds allegedly doing just this. Public health crisis averted! To appease the spoilsports at the Federal Trade...

The Justices Learn a New Word.

Language is a many-splendored thing, and we should applaud those who explore its farther reaches in search of the most descriptive, interesting, or ear-pleasing variations to use in their speaking and writing. But sometimes, esoteric language is used to obscure and exclude rather that to enlighten and illuminate. Though I'm not much of a fan of Chief Justice John Roberts , I have to give him credit for something he did in court yesterday, calling attention to the scourge that is "orthogonal": Supreme Court justices deal in words, and they are always on the lookout for new ones. University of Michigan law professor Richard D. Friedman discovered that Monday when he answered a question from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, but added that it was "entirely orthogonal" to the argument he was making in Briscoe v. Virginia. Friedman attempted to move on, but Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. stopped him. "I'm sorry," Roberts said. "Entirely what? " "Orthogonal," Friedman repeated, and then...

Take That, Hippie!

The latest high-profile entry into our Washington media universe, Tucker Carlson 's Daily Caller , launched yesterday. With millions of dollars in venture capital, a staff numbered at 21 (a huge number for an online start-up), and plenty of publicity, the site hopes to be a conservative combination of the Huffington Post and Politico. Out of the box, there are certainly things you could criticize, like the pedestrian design ("Hey, what if we use a lot of bold, blocky capital letters, and everything will be red and blue? No one’s seen that before!"). But there is one thing that really stands out. Carlson has promised that the Daily Caller will do lots of original reporting on Congress and the executive branch, to which we should all say, more power to them. Ideologically motivated or not, we can never get too much reporting. Looking around the site, though, the reporting isn't yet much in evidence. What is evident is a lot of stuff seemingly designed to irritate liberals. Start with...

Yippee Ki-yay to You, Mr. Ailes.

Over the weekend, Fox News chief Roger Ailes was profiled in the New York Times , and some people have mocked Ailes' contention that he might be a terrorist target: As powerful as he is within the News Corporation, Mr. Ailes remains a spectral presence outside the Fox News offices. National security had long been a preoccupation of Fox News, and it was clear in the interview that the 9/11 attacks had a profound effect on Mr. Ailes. They convinced him that he and his network could be terrorist targets. On the day of the attacks, Mr. Ailes asked his chief engineer the minimum number of workers needed to keep the channel on the air. The answer: 42. "I am one of them," he said. "I've got a bad leg, I'm a little overweight, so I can't run fast, but I will fight. "We had 3,000 dead people a couple miles from here. I knew that any communications company could be a target." His movements now are shadowed by a phalanx of corporate-provided security. He travels to and from work in a miniature...

Can Obama Stop the War on Science?

For eight years, Republicans politicized science or ignored it. Now, Obama is trying to reverse the damage.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu looks at prototype magnets for the National Synchrotron Light Source II. (Flickr/Brookhaven National Laboratory)
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama warmed the hearts of progressives when he promised to change "the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology." And when he got into office, he took a number of steps that demonstrated his sincerity. He abolished George W. Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research and announced that he was "directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making." His Department of Energy -- run by Nobel-winning physicist Steven Chu -- is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on exploring innovative new energy sources under its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy ( ARPA-E ), modeled on the Defense Department's DARPA. Obama also increased spending for the National Science Foundation. And he just announced a $250 million public-...

Pages