Tim Fernholz

Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Recent Articles

FOR SLATE, IRAQ MATH IS HARD.

John Dickerson , whose analysis of the candidates' positions on Iraq I've critiqued before, has a short piece up on Slate making the argument that " McCain and Obama don't think that differently on Iraq." All hail the false bipartisan consensus, I suppose. The clever formula Dickerson and his co-author Chris Wilson use has a couple of errors, but is in fact an excellent tool to prove why the two candidates are so far apart on the issue. I'm going to try to do a shoddy reproduction here, but for full effect go look at it at Slate. X stands for conditions on the ground, Y for the size of a residual force, and T for the number of troops. As they point out, to figure out how many soldiers will be left simply multiply the number of troops withdrawn per month, times the number of months and subtract that from the number of troops currently there: CANDIDATE NAME: NUMBER OF TROOPS - TROOPS WITHDRAWN PER MO. x No. of Months = RESIDUAL FORCE Obama : 140,000 - {2,500-5,000}x * 16 = Y(x) McCain...

MAKING HIMSELF SMALL.

There's a lot to say about John McCain's new advertisement , but I think his former adviser John Weaver says it best: The ad is "childish" and "diminishes John McCain ... There is legitimate mockery of a political campaign now, and it isn't at Obama 's. For McCain's sake, this tomfoolery needs to stop." I'm one of those liberals who used to admire John McCain, and frankly expected him to prosecute a very honorable, issue based campaign. But this latest campaign model, with false personal attacks about troop visits and gas prices combining with adolescent stunts isn't just unpleasant, it may also be ineffective. I'm mainly referring here not to the false negative advertising on television, a proven vote getter, but rather the smaller-run or web only videos, like the one today, designed to stir up media attention. Jon Chait has gotten at this as well. These ads are designed to create cultural resentment of Obama as "the Other," the kind of identity politics Mark Schmitt wrote about in...

STALEMATE AT THE WTO

The collapse of WTO talks has some observers despairing that further trade negotiations will move forward in the coming years. Unfortunately, it seems like we're seeing China and India acting out an eerie parody of our own doesn't-play-well with others approach to the world. One expert quoted in the piec e points out that this may be because "China and India might find it more advantageous to negotiate bilateral agreements in which they can apply more pressure on a single trading partner." Between U.S. ambitions and those of China and India, the WTO couldn't compromise on ways to protect farmers in developing countries from deeply subsidized agriculture in the developed world. I wonder if part of the reason some people see international neo-liberal institutions like the WTO, IMF and World Bank as predators who wreak havoc with poor countries' economies is the fact that U.S. policy doesn't allow them to act in favor of the greater good that would come from a fair international trading...

What Next for Affordable Housing?

The sub-prime mortgage crisis offers a silver lining -- the potential for the less-well-known problem of affordable housing to get some well-deserved attention and funding.

The Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago were demolished as part of HOPE VI. (AP Photo)
Affordable housing programs have fallen lower and lower on Congress' priorities list over the last decade. But the sub-prime mortgage crisis offers a silver lining: the potential for the less-well-known problem of affordable housing to piggyback on the attention given to its more glamorous cousin. For example, a measure of the recent housing bill allows local housing authorities to purchase foreclosed homes to provide affordable housing. It's a start, but real improvement will require broader efforts. What is needed for more affordable housing -- attention and funding -- will come only when its challenges are linked with policy challenges like climate change, crime, education, and economic development. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there are 6 million households that qualify for the full extent of government affordable housing assistance, though many fewer will receive it. This is the largest number of households with worst-case housing needs...

BAD FOR STEVENS, BAD FOR DEMS?

Ted Stevens' indictment is certainly good news for those of us who love honest government. Isaac Chotiner thinks this is bad for the GOP , and it does tarnish their national brand even more. However, it may be problematic for the Democratic Party, as well. Alaska represented a critical opportunity to switch a Senate seat and increase the Democratic majority in the upper house. But now that Stevens has been indicted, he may not make it into the general election, either because he drops out of the race/is forced out by the party, or because he loses Alaska's Republican primary election at the end of August to back-bench GOP candidate Dave Cuddy . On the Democratic side, Mark Begich , the popular Mayor of Anchorage, is running a strong campaign and could still win a race against Cuddy. But given the GOP tilt of Alaskan politics, Begich would much rather run against Stevens and his corruption baggage than a reform-minded Republican. The scenario is similar to the 2006 results in...

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