Ben Adler

Ben Adler writes on national politics and domestic policy. Ben has been a staff writer for Politico and an editor at Newsweek and the Center for American Progress. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, The Guardian and Next American City among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Recent Articles


MISSING TIME. Time , to their great credit, has put out a special double issue this week on global warming and what you can do to prevent it. But their exhaustive list (it includes 25 items) contains some rather curiously small suggestions and omits one crucial big one. While they had room to encourage their readers to create a "green wedding," Time did not discuss the role of urban planning. It is certainly wise to suggest, as Time does, that Americans move into apartment buildings and take mass transit. But Americans cannot live an eco-friendly, auto-independent lifestyle under current zoning restrictions. Right now, it is illegal to build dense apartment buildings or row houses in much of the country, illegal to build mixed-use commercial and residential districts, and all new shopping centers take the form of strip mall development because of the minimum parking requirements. Making the very life choices that Time correctly recommends will also require that citizens agitate on the...


AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: An economics professor named J.C. Bradbury has an incredibly unconvincing op-ed in the New York Times today on baseball. He argues that performance enhancing drugs have not been responsible for the obliteration of home run records, but rather, "The origin of the modern home run era can in fact be traced to the expansion of the league. In the 1990s, Major League Baseball grew to 30 teams from 26." Expansion, he claims, diluted the talent level and allowed exceptional players to tower over their counterparts more than before. To attribute the entire home run explosion to the league growing 1/6.5 larger is so non-sensical on its face I'm amazed the piece got into the Times . Bradbury is actually arguing that Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds , doubled their home run totals purely because of an addtional forty pitchers per year being added to major league rosters. He ignores the fact that both of those players grew visibly and measurably larger and...


PLANET GORE. I know that to be considered a respectable independent thinker, and not a partisan hack, I'm supposed to take conservatives seriously. And I try , really I do. But then sometimes they go and do something so ridiculous that makes it just too hard for me. Case in point: National Review has started a special blog called " Planet Gore " (how clever!) devoted entirely to stopping any reasonable movement to prevent climate change. Sample post title: "The Admirable Crichton." Yes, they are seriously touting the novelist Michael Crichton as a global warming expert. This struck me as hilarious until I remembered that President Bush does too. --Ben Adler


MCCAIN'S AMBITION: I think it's interesting that the story Dana tells about John McCain 's near-party switch gets so little attention (the general story of how McCain might have switched, that is, not the specific confirmation offered in today's Hill piece). It seems like a pretty big deal that the Republican front-runner almost switched parties, and yet I don't see the cable news and slick weeklies chewing it over much as the presidential race gears up. What I think the anecdote reveals about McCain, though, is pretty serious. If you look at his legislative record, as Jon Chait has pointed out , he veered sharply leftward in 2001-2002, and then just as sharply veered back. Clearly McCain is willing to make some pretty big compromises in his pursuit of power. -- Ben Adler


WASHINGTON POST NEEDS A HISTORY LESSON. The Washington Post story on New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg 's potential presidential ambitions contains a bizarrely inaccurate assertion: "His money -- and a post-Sept. 11 desire for a steady hand -- helped elect Bloomberg mayor in 2001." I have never seen a shred of evidence, nor does the article's author, Michael Shear , offer any, that a "desire for a steady hand" explains Bloomberg's surprising victory in 2001. Prior to Sept. 11, Bloomberg was running well behind either likely Democratic mayoral nominee ( Fernando Ferrer and Mark Green ) in polls. It was only the fact that he was outspending them 10 to 1 (he ultimately spent $70 million on his mayoral bid) that put him remotely within striking distance. Then Sept. 11 blessed Bloomberg in two different ways, though not the one Shear alleges. First, it was supposed to be the day of the Democratic primary. The primary had to be rescheduled for several weeks later, thus dragging out the bloody...