Sam Petulla

Sam Petulla is a writer based in Washington, DC. His writing has appeared in Wired, Inside Higher Ed, and at the Nieman Journalism Lab's Web site.

Recent Articles

Lightning Round: The Senate Is Not Full of Lady Gaga Fans.

In a dismaying reminder of the poor state of government, Senate Democrats came up short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed on a defense spending bill that included an amendment repealing DADT. Greg Sargent says GOP obstructionism works as a tactic, exposing Dems to the charge that they're not trying hard enough, possibly hurting them in the midterms. For now, the last chance to repeal DADT this year will come in the lame duck session after the Department of Defense publishes a report on the policy. We now know the limits of going rogue. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkoswki and Florida Governor Charlie Crist have provoked the ire of the Republican base by refusing to stand down after suffering defeats in GOP primaries and instead campaign as write-in candidates or independents. Sarah Palin , seeming none too impressed, said that “The time for primary debate is over. It’s time for unity now.” And Republicans are floating the idea of stripping Murkowski of her committee slots. Time to make...

Lightning Round: Tax Pro-Cons.

Obama announced his tax-cut plan today, but some Blue Dog Democrats continue to oppose it. In a conversation with The Washington Post ’s Greg Sargent , Jim Matheson (D-Utah), explains that even though national polls show support for letting the tax cuts for the rich expire, that’s not necessarily true for his district. “In the midst of a recovery from a deep recession, I don't think that plays well in a lot of districts," he says. Dems now must decide which of their candidates to bolster -- and which not to. Delware native and newly minted Slate blogger Dave Weigel mourns Mike Castle’s crushing upset for the GOP nomination. Writing about the conservative commentariat's response, he balks: “These conservatives are not from Delaware.” He goes on to break down Delaware’s demographics and explain why Castle’s political career is not done yet -- at least not in Delware. In a strange twist of fate, the current populist resurgence on the right is starting to erode Republican Party unity from...

All Tax Cuts Are Tax Cuts for the Wealthy.

On Sunday, Republican Majority Leader John Boehner was asked [PDF] whether he would only support locking in middle-income tax cuts if Congress also made tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. "I want to do something for all Americans who pay taxes," he replied. The good news is, he can! As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported a month ago today, the wealthy will benefit far more from the "middle class" tax cuts than the middle class itself. This point seems lost upon both Republican politicians and the media, who have sometimes presented the current debate as a strict choice between a set of "middle class" cuts and a set of "wealthy" cuts, with no middle ground. It's simply not accurate to say that thanks to our progressive taxation system, cuts for lower brackets also benefit higher-earners. Democrats, for their part, would do well to start mentioning that their plan helps everyone, with some extra emphasis on the middle class and small businesses during a recession...

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