Phoebe Connelly

Phoebe Connelly is a former web editor of the Prospect. Previously, she was managing editor of In These Times. She writes on political culture, human rights and feminism.

Recent Articles

THE PROBLEM WITH MILITIAS.

Spencer Ackerman explains why the U.S. military should reconsider its claims of recent victories in Iraq: Consider the case of the newest militias on the block -- the so-called Concerned Local Citizens, a mostly Sunni collection of ex-insurgents and rejections that's responsible for much of the spring in the steps of U.S. officials. The CLCs represent the U.S.' first attempt at actually creating Iraqi militias, and U.S. officials are enthusiastic about the effort. Few seem to have noticed that everything Crocker says about the "major challenge" posed by the militias applies to U.S.-friendly militias as much as it does to U.S.-opposed militias. And yet, these new militias are, in large part, the basis for the success that U.S. and Iraqi officials are claiming. Read the rest (and comment) here . -- The Editors

MORE ON THAT ENDORSEMENT.

Kate is on top of reporting Pat Robertson 's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani , which broke after press time for this week's FundamentaList. As I've written both here and elsewhere , the endorsement of the big figures is a bit overrated in the eyes of the press; to the rank and file, endorsements of top leaders are helpful, but not decisive in forming their own opinions. Robertson's endorsement may in fact hurt Giuliani more than it helps him. Robertson is not that popular among the rank and file; while his 700 Club remains a widely watched program, I'm told that the program's ratings actually go down when Robertson himself is hosting. Giuliani may feel like this is a big boost, but both George W. Bush and his father were advised to avoid appearances with Robertson because of negative public opinion of him, even among evangelicals. That was years ago, and Robertson has only lost influence since then, yielding ground even to his own protege and Mitt Romney backer Jay Sekulow . What's more...

A NEW ERA OF GREEN ACTIVISM.

Anabel Lee interviewed Bill McKibben on green activism and his new book Fight Global Warming Now: The Handbook for Taking Action in Your Community : While writing this book, did you and the Step It Up team have in mind any movements of the past? I think for us the civil rights movement is the great touchstone of American history. It’s certainly one that I’ve studied and thought about an awful lot. I think that there are real similarities; I think that there are real differences, too. One of the differences is that nobody engaged in this work has to be as brave as the people who were in the civil rights movement. I don’t foresee a moment where anyone is going to come burn down my house because of climate change activism or throw a bomb in my church. On the other hand, the civil rights movement had one great advantage, which was that its leaders knew that eventually they would win. They knew they would have to go through hell, but they knew they would emerge on the other side. Martin...

IT'S A FOOD BILL.

If you haven't been following the discussion about this year's farm bill, head over to the New York Times and read Michael Pollan 's op-ed> to understand why nothing has really improved with this year's bill: When you consider that farm income is at record levels (thanks to the ethanol boom, itself fueled by another set of federal subsidies); that the World Trade Organization has ruled that several of these subsidies are illegal; that the federal government is broke and the president is threatening a veto, bringing forth a $288 billion farm bill that guarantees billions in payments to commodity farmers seems impressively defiant. How could this have happened? For starters, farm bill critics did a far better job demonizing subsidies, and depicting commodity farmers as welfare queens, than they did proposing alternative — and politically appealing — forms of farm support. And then the farm lobby did what it has always done: bought off its critics with “programs.” For that reason “...

THE CASE AGAINST MUKASEY.

Scott takes up the challenge: Before the hearings ... I was fully prepared to endorse Mukasey as the least bad option. This was contingent, however, on his backing away from the policies of the administration on two crucial questions: arbitrary executive power and torture. However, Mukasey's testimony at the second day of hearings was unacceptable. On the issue of executive power, for example, he did not fully repudiate the lawlessness of the Bush administration but rather asserted that the executive can violate congressional statutes under circumstances where the executive claims broad authority to "defend the nation," which (given the vague contours of national security claims) allows the executive potentially substantial discretion to ignore valid congressional statutes. As Marty Lederman pointed out, Mukasey strangely cited the Prize cases in defense of administration lawlessness, although in that case -- which involved the blockade of Southern ports in the initial stages of the...

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