Sam Boyd

Sam Boyd is a former assistant web editor at the Prospect

Recent Articles

ELIZABETH EDWARDS SLINGS SOME MUD.

ELIZABETH EDWARDS SLINGS SOME MUD. In a recent Salon interview (via Marc Ambinder ) Elizabeth Edwards unloads some really harsh and, to my mind, mostly unfair criticisms of Hillary Clinton and, to a lesser extent, Barack Obama : Look, I'm sympathetic, because when I worked as a lawyer, I was the only woman in these rooms, too, and you want to reassure them you're as good as a man. And sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women's issues. I'm sympathetic -- she wants to be commander in chief. But she's just not as vocal a women's advocate as I want to see. John is. And then she says, or maybe her supporters say, "Support me because I'm a woman," and I want to say to her, "Well, then support me because I'm a woman." The question is not so much how she campaigns -- that's theater. The question is, what does her campaign tell you about how she'll govern? And I'm not convinced she'd be as good an advocate for women. She needs a rationale greater for her campaign...

I'LL TAKE THAT BET.

I'LL TAKE THAT BET. Bill Kristol may or may not actually believe that Bush will be judged as a successful president, as Ezra points out, but in order to appear at least somewhat credible he has to at least pretend to believe it. The one sure way to find out if someone really believes something is whether they're willing to bet on it. I would, for instance, be very willing to bet any sum of money at any set of odds that the sun will come up tomorrow. Kristol may not be that sure about Bush's reputation, but he does say the following: What it comes down to is this: If Petraeus succeeds in Iraq, and a Republican wins in 2008, Bush will be viewed as a successful president. I like the odds. The only way to interpret this logically is that Kristol likes the odds of Petraeus succeeding and a Republican being elected in 2008 to which I can only say... I'll take that bet. I'll even give him very good odds. Somehow don't think he'll take me up on the offer, but the next time he shows his face...

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH RICK PERLSTEIN'S ESSAY?

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH RICK PERLSTEIN'S ESSAY? Rick Perlstein is one of my favorite journalists, and I read his excellent blog religiously. So I was excited when I found out that he had written an article for the New York Times Magazine about the university I currently attend . Unfortunately, I found the article itself deeply disappointing. Maybe the title, "What's the Matter With College," should have been my first clue. To start with, the idea of using the University of Chicago as a typical college experience is something like judging the experience of the average car owner by interviewing a guy in rural Idaho who drives a biodiesel-fueled Yugo -- he has his reasons and his choice is admirable, but it's also hardly typical. The UofC is a great place and I'm glad I don't go somewhere else, but it is a very odd place. We print t-shirts that say "where fun comes to die" and "hell does freeze over," and people who choose to go there are almost all very academically-focused and...

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SIGN OF GROWING INEQUALITY.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SIGN OF GROWING INEQUALITY. The New York Times reports today that, contrary to what we've been told in recent months, the housing market is actually doing fine. Unfortunately, this is only the case if you happen to own a very expensive home: It is one of the expensive suburbs of San Francisco just over the Golden Gate Bridge, and much of the housing market there seems to be doing just fine. One three-bedroom house sold for $1.4 million last month without ever being officially put on the market. The seller accepted a pre-emptive bid -- $20,000 above the asking price -- from somebody who had heard that the house was about to be listed for sale. " The homes that are having a hard time selling are the average-priced homes, ," said Vanessa Justice , a real estate agent with Pacific Union GMAC in the Bay Area, where the median house price is about $750,000. For upper-end homes, she said, it's actually pretty crazy right now." Nor is this just another vapid trend piece...

WELL DEVELOPED SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND A BOTTLE OF RUM.

WELL DEVELOPED SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND A BOTTLE OF RUM. Forget Scandinavia, the people we should take tips from on building a fairer society are... pirates! According to a recent New Yorker piece by James Surowiecki , high-seas marauders had a functioning constitutional system: Pirate ships were governed by what amounted to simple constitutions that, in greater or lesser detail, laid out the rights and duties of crewmen, rules for the handling of disputes, and incentive and insurance payments to insure that crewmen would act bravely in battle. Workers compensation: The rules that governed a ship that the buccaneer John Exquemelin sailed on, for instance, provided that six hundred pieces of eight would go (pdf) to a man who lost his right arm. Separation of powers: Pirates adopted a system of divided and limited power. Captains had total authority during battle, when debate and disagreement were likely to be both inefficient and dangerous. Outside of battle, the quartermaster, not the...

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