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

THINK TANK ROUND-UP: FAILURE TO STIMULATE EDITION.

The latest in wonkish activities from the policy front. It's just not a good morning unless you get your daily dose of employment research. A Mixed Bag for Boomers . According to the Urban Institute , as many as 68 percent of baby boomers may be willing to work past their retirement age, due factors including improved health, a decline in physically demanding jobs, and reductions in health care and pension funding. However, employers view these workers as insufficiently trained and more costly to employ than their younger counterparts. The report recommends that policymakers pass clearer phased retirement legislation and expanded government training and employment services to make the most of this vast human resource. Forgetful even in recession. No one can say for sure whether the economic stimulus payments had any positive impact on the economy. But that may be because millions of Americans never claimed theirs. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has compiled data to show...

TURNING OUT HIP HOP VOTERS.

I took a field trip yesterday to a really well-done piece of political theater, the only press conference I've been to that had a go-go band opener and involved a D.J. asking, "Where my single ladies at?" to a crowd a few hundred strong, turned out by celebrity and good old-fashioned D.C. machine politics. All for a good cause, of course, as the Hip Hop Caucus launched its voter registration/get-out-the-vote drive, to be led by "street teams" in seventeen cities across the country. The best part of the program is that it targets 18 to 29 year-olds who are not enrolled in college, a constituency that doesn't receive a lot of attention -- or vote much (only one in 14 voted on Super Tuesday, for instance). Rapper T.I. turned out as chief spokesman. Interestingly, T.I. can't vote, as he's pled guilty to felony gun charges, giving the rapper, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood , the head of the Hip Hop Caucus, an opportunity to make a double point about the importance of allowing felons who have...

WHY IS THIS SO HARD?

To join in with excellent new colleague Adam Serwer on the media's weird approach to Iraq coverage, let me offer Exhibit A: John Dickerson 's article in Slate today, which suggests that Obama is throwing up some Nixonian shield of secrecy over his Iraq policy. The piece has all the best tropes of the genre: Impossible to know anything without having been to Iraq . Dickerson is mad because Obama's Iraq trip hasn't changed his mind about his strategy. To Dickerson, this means Obama could be a Bush -like ignorer of facts, but on the other hand it is possible to assess the strategic situation in Iraq without going there . Intelligence reports, journalism, numerous experts, testimony from key policy-implementers, etc. are all available to U.S. Senators who need to make strategic judgments. A decrease in violence means a change in policy . Obama recognizes that conditions have improved in Iraq (though, as we learn today, not necessarily because of the Surge ) but he hasn't changed his...

WILL COBURN HOLD ON?

This article about Senator Tom Coburn captures a truly antidemocratic moment in the U.S. Senate, as party leaders bring to the floor a "Tomnibus" bill of some 35 pieces of legislation that the good Senator from Oklahoma is personally holding up. Senate customs that allow small groups of senators to hold up legislation have been used much more successfully by Republicans than than Democrats in recent years, but getting into a procedural battle about eliminating them wouldn't be a good use of time with so little legislative time left before campaign season. On the other hand, it may be that the only way to force these bills through is to make Coburn actually filibuster them -- and I'm confident that the Oklahoman would relish getting a good ten hours of floor time to talk about whatever he pleases. It'll be interesting to see how Harry Reid handles this one (the Times seems pessimistic about his chances for success) since it will be a preview of his ability to handle obstructionist...

CHARM YOUR WAY ACROSS THE KHYBER PASS.

U.N. Dispatch and the Washington Note have convened a bunch of experts for a " salon " on counterterrorism, and the results are worth reading. Greg Djerejian makes some good points in this post about the dangers of our strategy in Afghanistan. Peter Bergen replies in two posts . The first has a good discussion of the bigger strategic picture while the second is more specific to Afghanistan and cites the polling numbers I mentioned here, which indicate that Afghans favor U.S. efforts in their country and dislike the Taliban. At the risk of being contrarian, I do worry (as does Dejerejian ) that these numbers could change very quickly if we send more troops and increase combat operations in the country, especially without very dedicated development efforts -- something a President Obama is more likely to do than a President McCain . But Bergen also highlighted a key material difference between U.S. intervention and the Soviet experience: "The Soviets killed at least 1.5 million Afghans...

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