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

Republican Members of Congress Continue Their Assault on Family Values.

Here we go again: Another "family values Republican," Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana, has been caught having an affair with one of his (female) aides. But so far, the story lacks the zazz you really need for it to become a front-pager. Like tickle fights. Why did this happen? One explanation is that Indiana is only a couple of hundred miles from Iowa, where they legalized gay marriage last year, and Souder's own union couldn't withstand the values-undermining force of gay people being allowed to marry nearby. But that's probably not it. While reliable statistics aren't easy to come by, let's make a low estimate and say that in a given year, 5 percent of the married population is stepping out on their spouses. In a Congress with 535 members, that would give us 27 adulterers per year. And its probably true that being a powerful and somewhat narcissistic person who has in his employ a rotating cast of comely 20-somethings who practically worship the ground you walk on just might increase...

Throwing Away the Key.

(Flickr/ Tim Pearce, Los Gatos ) Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided that the indefinite detention of "sexually dangerous persons" after they have completed their sentences is constitutional. In case you weren't aware of it, in recent years, many states have established procedures whereby officials can, at the end of someone's prison sentence, place them in some kind of preventive psychiatric detention, essentially forever. The plaintiffs in the case (which concerned federal prisoners) argued that they had served their sentences and should therefore be set free, not given an indefinite sentence at the whim of federal officials. There are currently fewer than 100 federal prisoners in such detention, though those held by states numbered a few thousand . What you have here is a fundamental principle of justice coming in conflict with a powerful practical consideration. On one hand, in a system like ours, if you're convicted of a crime and given a sentence, and you serve that sentence,...

Three Reasons a GOP Landslide Won't Happen

Come November, Democrats will still be stronger than the troubled GOP.

(White House/Pete Souza)
While most of those in the business of predicting elections are smart enough not to offer a specific number of seats they think the parties will gain or lose, there is fairly wide agreement on this proposition: Come November, the Democrats are doomed. They'll hold the Senate, but the House is all but lost. Charlie Cook, probably the most popular of this group, has for months been saying things like, "It's very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don't lose the House." Others have been only somewhat more pessimistic about the ruling party's chances. The Democrats will certainly lose seats. The president's party almost always does in off-year elections, and Democrats have to defend seats they won in many conservative districts in 2006 and 2008. Put that together with the still-struggling economy and a broad anti-incumbent mood, and you've got a lot of nervous Democrats -- and a lot of Republicans who believe that we'll soon be adding the phrase "Speaker of the House John...

R.I.P. Man On the Silver Mountain.

Katie Couric may not mention it tonight, but head-banging just lost one of its greats: Ronnie James Dio , lead singer for such bands as Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio, passed away at age 67. He had the perfect voice for a particular brand of heavy metal, the one that spent a lot of time on occult imagery, swooping vocals, and somewhat ridiculous lyrics. The bands Dio sang for were the kind mocked in This Is Spinal Tap ("Stonehenge, where the demons dwell/Where the banshees live, and they do live well"), and yes, it was all kind of silly. But in retrospect, sort of sweet, too. As the obituaries have noted, Dio took credit for making the "devil's horns" symbol the universal sign of "Rock n' roll! Yeah!" He said he got it from his Italian grandmother, who used to make the sign to ward off the evil eye, and he figured if he was singing about Satan, it seemed appropriate. Wikipedia, however, documents some pre-Dio musical appearances of the gesture. In any case, Dio was outspoken in...

The Future of Parking.

(Flickr/ MattJP ) When asked why he spent so long looking for a parking spot instead of going to a garage, noted philosopher George Costanza replied, "A garage. I can't even pull in there. It's like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?" There are few rituals of modern life less pleasant than driving around a congested area searching for a parking space. But what if you could get a text message from the city telling you where there was an open parking space? As this local TV report explains, San Francisco is beginning limited trials of just such a system, where sensors on meters detect open spaces, then communicate with a central database, which can send the information to your phone. At first it'll be only in a few places, and will only direct you to a block where there are some spots. But you can see where it's headed. Once a system like this is complete, and it's linked up to the GPS system embedded in your car (they'll all...

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