The Importance of Being Earnest
July 28, 2011

The Pale King By David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown, 548 pp., $27.99) Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will By David Foster Wallace (Columbia University Press, 252 pp., $19.95) Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace By David Lipsky (Broadway Books, 320 pp., $16.99) I. Today we think of the 1920s as a golden age of American fiction. But to Edmund Wilson, looking back in 1944, the most striking thing about this modern generation, which he did more than any critic to foster, was its failure to reach full development.

Telling War Stories
June 30, 2011

I. On a hot Saturday in September 1962, I crowded with my brothers and cousins into my aunt and uncle’s station wagon and drove off to war. Passing through our county in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, we headed toward Charles Town, West Virginia, then crossed over the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers at Harpers Ferry into Maryland. We had traveled through the familiar historic landscape of Stonewall Jackson’s skirmishes, Mosby’s raids, Sheridan’s ride, and John Brown’s capture and hanging to witness the centennial re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam.

"Politifact" Unfairly Attacks The GOP
June 24, 2011

Republicans have been slamming Democrats for their vote to cut $500 billion out of Medicare as part of the Affordable Care Act: The NRSC revised and reissued a three-day-old news release that targeted virtually identical statements at Brown, of Ohio, and four other senators who all are Democrats up for re-election next year: Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Bill Nelson of Florida. "Despite Sherrod Brown's transparent political strategy to mislead Ohio seniors and demagogue Medicare, this serves as another reminder he is the only candidate in Ohio

June 23, 2011

Transgender people are some of the least protected, most persecuted people in the United States.

The Cable Box Ate My Budget
June 21, 2011

If you’re like my family, you have a DVR in your house. Those wonderful little boxes of commercial-skipping, season-passing, "I’ll watch 'The Killing' when I want" goodness. Well, it turns out those magical little boxes are wreaking havoc on our disposable income. Via the always-on-point Lifehacker, air conditioning is not the only component in your surging summer utility bill. Yes, our television addiction is another seemingly unlikely culprit.

California Dreaming
June 04, 2011

Some of the most interesting developments in health care policy these days aren’t taking place in Washington. They’re taking place in Sacramento and the rest of California, where public officials, private sector leaders, and activists are working to implement the Affordable Care Act. Remember, under the terms of the law, states must must do everything from setting up new insurance exchanges to slapping regulations on insurers.

Pssst. Health Care Reform Is Moving Forward.
May 27, 2011

You hear a lot about state officials trying to fight the Affordable Care Act, whether by challenging it in the federal courts or refusing to implement its provisions. But plenty of states officials are enthusiastic about the law. And perhaps none are moving as quickly, or effectively, to follow through on the law as Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley.  Sarah Kliff has the story in Politico Pro (subscription required): Maryland has, in some ways, flown under the radar on implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Color Blind
April 22, 2011

“I favor integration for integration’s sake,” Bob Herbert wrote in one of his last columns for The New York Times, on what we supposedly need to make poor black students learn more in school.

The Planned Parenthood P.R. Coup
April 08, 2011

All day Friday, there were two big, conflicting narratives floating around Capitol Hill about why there wasn’t yet a budget deal to keep the government open for the rest of the fiscal year. The Republican story: We’re still bickering over how much spending to cut. And the Democratic version: False! Both sides have basically agreed on an amount to cut—somewhere in the vicinity of $38 billion. The only holdup is that Republicans still want to slash federal funds for Planned Parenthood, and that’s an absolute no-go for us Dems. Someone had to be lying, right? But who?

Atomic Anxiety
March 18, 2011

It’s hardly a mystery why the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan is so horrifying—and so riveting. A country already savaged by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and 24-foot-high tsunamis is now facing the prospect of meltdowns at multiple reactors, with a handful of technicians risking their lives to avert further radiation leaks. But the crisis is attention-grabbing for another reason, too: The fear of nuclear disaster has long claimed a special hold on our collective psyche. Pro-nuclear advocates love to grumble that people are disproportionately, even irrationally, afraid of nuclear power.