Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is executive editor of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Barry Bonds: Less Ruthian Than Faustian

Bonds' decision to use steroids, if that was his decision, was deeply wrong. But his sins are distinctly sins of our time.

The home-run king was on a steady regimen of performance-altering illegal substances. No, not Barry Bonds, who whacked No. 756 Tuesday night in San Francisco. I'm talking here about Babe Ruth, whose years of home-run production coincided almost precisely with the years that Prohibition was in effect, during which the liquid portion of his diet consisted chiefly of beer, gin, scotch, rye and bourbon. So should the Babe's record rate an asterisk, too? Seven hundred fourteen homers, a record possibly affected by a steady diet of what in lesser mortals would have been performance-depressing drugs of incontestable illegality. But for the wear and tear on his stomach lining, and the years he spent pitching rather than playing every day, and the fact that he played when seasons were 154 games, not the 162 they've consisted of since the '60s, he would have hit more. That, of course, is not the reason a de facto asterisk will cling to Bonds's home-run record. Bonds's prodigious late-career...

The Speaker in Charge

Iraq, emissions, and impeachment remain thorny and potentially divisive issues. But for now, with several important Democratic bills about to pass both houses of Congress, Nancy Pelosi is a happy warrior.

This is one of those odd weeks when Congress may actually work. Both houses are likely to pass Democratic bills to expand SCHIP, the children's health coverage program. Yesterday, the House enacted lobbying reform, and the Senate may follow suit tomorrow. Also yesterday, the House passed a bill restoring the right of victims of pay discrimination to sue their employers. In short, it's one of those weeks when Nancy Pelosi has no doubts about the wisdom of her decision to become speaker of the House. "What's it like?" she asked herself, beaming, at the conclusion of a breakfast meeting with roughly 20 liberal journalists yesterday morning. "It's fabulous! Absolutely fabulous!" It can't always be thus. Her biggest frustration, of course, is Congress's inability to end the war in Iraq, which she terms "a huge moral catastrophe for the country." It is the public's biggest frustration as well, she says, and the main reason that popular support for Congress has plummeted. In September, Iraq...

Outsourcing in the Dark

A new Congressional inquiry into outsourcing may shed some light on how well the federal government monitors the performance of its contractors.

You don't trifle with Robin Smith when it comes to keeping America safe. Smith is a former airman first class who won a Sharpshooter badge and was one of 125 women selected by the Air Force for a test combat training program. She comes from a family that was almost a stranger to civilian life; until her brother retired from service in the mid-'90s, she says, "there was a member of my family on active military duty for over 100 consecutive years." Smith is black; her forebears joined up in the days of the Buffalo Soldiers. Since she left the service, Smith has worked for several private security contractors, which is how she came to be stationed at the Department of Homeland Security headquarters here in Washington, in the employ of Wackenhut Services, the company that provides security at a multitude of nuclear, defense and other highly sensitive federal facilities. For a time she was stationed in the building where Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff worked, and she saw him...

The GOP's Spineless Sages

When it comes to getting us out of Iraq, top Republican Senators are all talk and no action.

Anyone searching for the highest forms of invertebrate life need look no further than the floor of the U.S. Senate last week and this. These spineless specimens go by various names -- Republican moderates; respected senior Republicans; Dick Lugar, John Warner, Pete Domenici, George Voinovich. They have seen the folly of our course in Iraq. The mission, they understand, cannot be accomplished. The Iraqi government, they discern, is hopelessly sectarian. In wisdom, they are paragons. In action, they are nullities. Perhaps they are simply farsighted. They have seen the problem with Nouri al-Maliki's administration in faraway Baghdad. They seem unable to see the problem with the Bush administration at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Lugars and the Warners seem to share with many of their Democratic colleagues a common assessment of our presence in Iraq: It has become an unfocused and costly occupation in a land beset by civil war. We should, in good order, pull back, leaving...

Global Safeguards for a Global Economy

The FDA's failure to keep us safe from tainted goods produced abroad is a reminder that it's time to better regulate the global economy.

With our nation just having celebrated its birthday, I'd like to make a modest proposal for a project that might occupy us for the next century or so: Taking the regulated, more-social capitalism that created mass prosperity in this nation and Western Europe in the second half of the 20th century and re-creating it on a global scale. At present, our debate over how best the United States should relate to the rest of the world isn't very fruitful. On one side are the realists who believe that advancing our interests may require abandoning many of the values we espouse. On the other are those who believe our interests are better served when we seek to advance these values, either in tandem with our allies (the liberal viewpoint) or by ourselves and by force (the neoconservative viewpoint). None of these viewpoints focuses on the dominant social reality of our time: that a unified global economy has emerged that is ending our economic sovereignty, and that this brave new world imperils...

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