Dead, Man
May 29, 2010

There was a time when Dennis Hopper exulted in the reputation of being the first kid who knew what was wrong with Hollywood. What he said, more or less, was that the movies have gone dead, man, that it’s just old-timers doing it all on automatic pilot, that there’s no truth, anymore, man, and they won’t put me in lead parts. There was some truth in what he said, and it was certainly the case that a number of veteran directors found Hopper an intolerable smart-ass who said he had known Jimmy--Jimmy Dean--and that what he was saying now was only what Dean would have said.

Gas Prices and Consumer Behavior
March 15, 2010

The discussion around the oil industry’s proposal for a linked carbon fee has raised some interesting questions about altering consumer behavior. Will a rise in the retail price of gasoline lead Americans to drive less or consume less fuel overall? Empirical evidence from 1980 to 1990 found that a 1 percent increase in the price of gas is estimated to reduce gas demand by 0.3 to 0.35 percent in the short run and 0.6 to 0.8 percent in the long run.

The Republican Sprint Away From Sanity
February 19, 2010

Because Congress failed to adopt a bipartisan deficit commission on its own, President Obama created one through executive order on Thursday. This comes as a disappointment to members of both parties who had endorsed the Conrad-Gregg bill: that proposal would have forced the Congress to vote on the commission’s recommendations, while the administration’s initiative does not. The failure of Conrad-Gregg was surprising as well as troubling. By last December, the bill had garnered almost three dozen cosponsors across party lines and seemed to be gaining momentum.

The Tea Party Glossary
February 03, 2010

Here's one thing about the Tea Party movement everyone can agree on: It's confusing. With decentralization as a core value, the Tea Party phenomenon can seem like a baffling collection of individuals and organizations, often divided against each other. But with its first national convention now underway in Nashville, and as Tea Party groups gear up for campaigns around the country, it's time we met the movement's main players.

High Speed Rail Dollars Flow--But Not to the Desert
January 29, 2010

With much excitement across the country, this week marked the true beginning of America’s recommitment to passenger rail service.  Eight billion dollars in stimulus funding was doled out to 31 states in every region of the country.  Those investments ranged from a massive down payment on true high-speed rail in Florida to planning grants in Kansas. However, conspicuously absent were concrete investments in the Intermountain West.  Specifically, the peanut-butter spreading missed two of the country’s 10 most traveled air corridors: Los Angeles-Las Vegas and Los Angeles-Phoenix.

Conservative Crocodile Tears About "Corporatism"
December 21, 2009

TNR published a piece I did the other day examining the ideological underpinnings of the left/center split in the Democratic Party over the propriety of a universal health care system based on regulated and subsidized private health insurers. I suggested there was a burgeoning, if questionably workable, tactical alliance between “social-democratic” progressives and some conservatives to derail much of the Obama overall agenda.

The Civilian Surge Myth
October 15, 2009

How can we snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Afghanistan? There's one solution that has attracted analysts of all stripes: a "civilian surge," where development and political advisers working for (or contracted by) the State department and the U.S. Agency for International Development flood the country and turn the tide against the insurgents. The logic, at least, is sound: It takes more than military success to defeat insurgents. Insurgency grows where a corrupt and weak government does not provide security, justice, and opportunity.

TNR’s Supreme Court Archive
July 11, 2009

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings begin this week.

Sebelius And (possible) Fireworks Over Abortion Rights
March 01, 2009

So why did it take so long for Obama to decide on Kathleen Sebelius for HHS Secretary? Several factors were at play, including political considerations about taking her out of the running for the Kansas Senate seat up for election in 2010. But it's even more clear today that, as several media outlets have been reporting, the administration was weighing the pros and cons of a fight over abortion rights--and then preparing to fight it. Admittedly, Obama was never going to appoint an HHS Secretary opposed to abortion rights.

Seeing and Believing
February 04, 2009

Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution By Karl W. Giberson (HarperOne, 248 pp., $24.95) Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul By Kenneth R. Miller (Viking, 244 pp., $25.95) I. Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809--the same day as Abraham Lincoln--and published his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, fifty years later.