Pay it Forward
January 22, 2007

HOURS AFTER Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as House speaker last week, Democratic Representative Rahm Emanuel held a celebratoryreception at Johnny's Half Shell, an upscale Capitol Hill restaurant. Having just overseen his party's victorious campaign aschairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Emanuel resembled a mafia don who had taken down a rival family andwas now receiving visitors (Harold Ickes, Paul Begala, James Carville) to kiss his ring. Filing into the restaurant along with the giddy Democrats, however, was a crowd with markedly longer faces.

At Long Last
October 02, 2006

At first, McCarthyism was a partisan affair. Wisconsin’s junior senator rocketed to political stardom in February 1950, when he told the Republican Women’s Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, that Harry Truman’s State Department was infested with Communists. As that year’s midterm campaign progressed, Joe McCarthy’s staff helped doctor a photo of Maryland Democrat Millard Tydings, making him appear to be huddled with former U.S. Communist Party chief Earl Browder.

Out Of Tune
August 31, 2006

Since this blog is called "Open University," I might as well start my own contributions with a pop quiz. Question: Which American state has an official state song that praises the Confederacy, denounces Abraham Lincoln as a "despot" and "tyrant," and refers to the citizens of the Union as "northern scum"? Hint: it's not in the deep South. Yes, it's none other than my own home state of Maryland.

Smoked Out
February 06, 2006

IN HIS FINAL column of the year, science columnist Steven Milloy listed “the top 10 junk science claims of 2005.” For number nine, Milloy attacked the research of Michael Mann, a Penn State scientist who, in 1999, published research showing a dramatic rise in global temperatures during the twentieth century, after hundreds of years with little climate change. Calling Mann’s science “dubious,” Milloy praised Representative Joe Barton of Texas, whose calls for an investigation into Mann’s methodology last June were cut short when the scientific community and members of Congress prote

The Boss
August 02, 2004

Robert Shrum, John Kerry's chief strategist and speechwriter, is considered the poet laureate of populism--the man who injected the phrase "the people versus the powerful" into Democratic vernacular. Over his 35-year career, Shrum has been responsible for many of the memorable lines to leave the mouths of such Democratic eminences as Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, and Al Gore. But one of his most telling speeches won't ever be collected in an anthology of great oratory. For many years, Shrum plied his trade on behalf of Richard Gephardt.

Mourning After
June 28, 2004

The primary cause of our current problems in Iraq is the reckless, and often foolish, manner in which this administration has waged the war and the reconstruction.

May 05, 2003

BIBLE STUDY Andrew Sullivan and The New Republic have made a great contribution to the discussion of the issue of homosexuality by giving readers the article about Lawrence v. Texas, the sodomy case before the U.S. Supreme Court (“Unnatural Law,” March 24). My only concern is with Sullivan’s closing, which says that hopefully the Supreme Court will now end this violation of civil rights and invasion of privacy by “liberat[ing] a whole class of persons.” It seems to me that the Supreme Court will follow the precedent set by the decision it made in the Colorado Amendment 2 case, Romer v.

Rogue State
August 19, 2002

Until one day several years ago, I, like most people, harbored no ill feelings toward the state of Delaware. I suppose in some vague sense I thought of it as harmless and even endearing, the way you tend to regard other small things, such as Girl Scouts or squirrels. But all that changed the summer day I moved to Washington, when, making my way down I-95 in a rental truck with all of my worldly belongings, I screeched to a halt in front of what turned out to be a two-hour backup in Delaware.

Odd Job
June 24, 2002

In its first week of hearings, the joint House-Senate Intelligence Committee investigating September 11 chose not to call CIA Director George Tenet to testify. Which is a good thing, since Tenet wasn't in the country. As the committee began its inquiry into the greatest intelligence failure in modern American history, the man responsible for making sure it doesn't happen again was doing his other job.

July 02, 2001

"You want to know about the awakening? This is the awakening." Ginny Gong, a manager in the Montgomery County culture and recreation department, is crowded into the wood-paneled school board chamber in Rockville, Maryland. Squeezed into the aisles around her are a Vietnamese financial analyst from Lockheed Martin, a Chinese administrator from the National Institutes of Health, and about a dozen other activists.