Perry Stein

The Real Reason Assault Weapons Won’t Be Banned? The Market For Them Is Booming
July 24, 2012

 In the wake of the shooting in Aurora, it’s unsurprising that the demands have grown louder for restrictions to be placed on the purchase of the types of assault weapons that James Holmes allegedly used. But one thing that commentators have failed to note is just how much the pro-gun lobby’s resistance to such restrictions isn’t just a matter of ideology or cultural attachment, but a calculation of dollars and cents.

The Paul Ryan Higher Education Cuts That No One Is Talking About
April 27, 2012

When Representative Paul Ryan released his proposed federal budget for 2013, among the first provisions to attract the attention of critics was its choice not to renew the current interest rate of loans for low-income college students.

Slideshow: The Animals Still Suffering From the BP Oil Spill
April 21, 2012

Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the disastrous BP oil spill. Triggered by the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010, the tragedy took the lives of 11 people and continues to threaten the animals and ecology of the Gulf of Mexico. Two years later, TNR takes a look at some of the animals that continue to be affected by the spill, which spewed about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the water.  DolphinsIn the two years since the BP spill, over 600 dolphins have been found washed up on Louisiana beaches: 95 percent are already deceased.

The War on [Insert Noun]: The Uses and Misuses of Martial Rhetoric
April 19, 2012

In case you weren’t convinced that we’ve reached the campaign’s silly season, the War on Dogs has arrived to erase all doubt. It started with Democrats poking fun at Mitt Romney’s dog-on-car incident. The Daily Caller retaliated earlier this week with a post “uncovering” the “shocking” “news” that Barack Obama once ate dog meat as a child (an event he had mentioned in his memoir). The battle moved to a new front when Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom alluded on Twitter to Obama’s dog-eating. And thus began the War on Dogs, just the latest of the innumerable wars waged this election cycle.

Is Michelle Obama Pioneering a New Model For First Ladies?

When Jackie Kennedy led a television crew through the White House in February 1962, millions of Americans were riveted to the screen. This Wednesday, when Michelle Obama appears on The Colbert Report, it will be a much less exciting, and more commonplace event. It’s starting to seem like the First Lady has been everywhere on our televisions lately, celebrating her “Joining Forces” initiative to help military families or promoting her “Let’s Move!” campaign to combat childhood obesity.

Off the Record: The Ineffective Archival Methods of the Supreme Court
March 29, 2012

[Guest post by Perry Stein and Simon Meiners] The three-day marathon Supreme Court hearing on Obamacare is over and, to no one’s surprise, Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t say a word. The justice has long-been famous for his silence on the bench, having spoken just once since 2006. We decided to determine precisely how many times Thomas has spoken during oral arguments since he joined the bench in 1991. The task seemed pretty simple: just search through the Supreme Court transcripts.

Who Said It: ‘Mad Men’ Character or GOP Candidate?

Much of the thrill of watching Mad Men is the unabashed way it displays the retrograde views of its leading characters. The same is true, of course, of the ongoing Republican presidential primary. In fact, while it’s hard for us to picture the GOP candidates joining the hedonistic adventures of 1960s Madison Avenue (one pictures Mitt Romney gleefully pouring himself a second glass of chocolate milk), we did think some aspects of their personalities (and their political platforms) would fit right in.

The Strange Pop Culture Tastes of Dictators
March 16, 2012

One of the most prurient aspects of reading the personal emails written to and by Bashar al Assad that were obtained by The Guardian has been the chance to observe the dictator’s strange shopping habits on iTunes. Apparently, the Syrian dictator is a big fan of contemporary party music. But Bashar is far from the first dictator to have a strange relationship with pop culture.

A Long List of Republicans Who Have Yet to Endorse Mitt Romney

Given that Mitt Romney is ostensibly the “establishment candidate” of his party, it’s surprising to see just how much of the Republican establishment has refrained from endorsing him. And that reticence is now starting to take its toll: There’s little doubt that if Republican elites more consistently rallied around Mitt, he could probably be spared an even longer, more dragged-out primary.

A Preemptive Eulogy for the Ludicrous Dennis Kucinich

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum aren’t the only ones facing voters this Super Tuesday. Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich is one of eleven incumbents in Congress who will be fighting to keep their seats as a result of redistricting. Current polls suggest that Kucinich will lose to fellow Democratic Congressman Marcy Kaptur. But if today marks the end of Kucinich’s political career, no one can claim it was a boring ride.