New York Times
Citizens United? Don’t Worry Your Pretty Heads About It
July 23, 2012
Everyone loves a good counter-intuitive story, but Washington loves one sort in particular: the kind that assures us all that something we’ve been led to believe was a worrisome problem is, in fact, not all that big a deal after all, thus allowing us to return to watching “Veep” or “The Newsroom.” Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine offered a classic of this form, a Matt Bai piece arguing that the Citizens United ruling of 2010 is not nearly as responsible for the boom in campaign spending by outside groups as those whiny goo-goo types make it out to be: The oft-repeated narrative of 2012 goe
Climate Optimism—and Realism
July 23, 2012
The nation is headed for a large scale cleantech subsidy pull-back, so it was gratifying to see our work on that and energy innovation referenced in David Leonhardt’s surprisingly optimistic essay on climate change mitigation in yesterday’s New York Times. The piece provided a refreshing counterpoint to the gloom many in the climate community are feeling this summer given political gridlock, the summer’s insane weather, and the steady flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. According to Leonhardt, an investment-oriented, technology-driven push toward climate sanity is beginning to emerge a
The Idea Biz
July 10, 2012
Today’s New York Times op-ed page carries two separate citations from last week’s Aspen Ideas Festival, which probably means the thing has already paid for itself. The ideas cited are good ones, but the increasing dominance of corporate-sponsored idea-disseminators like the Aspen festival and the TED conferences (gently lampooned by my friend Nathan Heller in a recent New Yorker takeout) makes me wonder whether ideas upsetting to the moneyed classes will become harder to shoehorn into the national conversation.
The Idea Biz
July 10, 2012
Today's New York Times op-ed page carries two separate citations from last week's Aspen Ideas Festival, which probably means the thing has already paid for itself. The ideas cited are good ones, but the increasing dominance of corporate-sponsored idea-disseminators like the Aspen festival and the TED conferences (gently lampooned by my friend Nathan Heller in a recent New Yorker takeout) makes me wonder whether ideas upsetting to the moneyed classes will become harder to shoehorn into the national conversation.
Don't Try This at Home, J-School Grads
July 09, 2012
A few years ago, national journalists discovered Detroit—or, rather, discovered that the city of Detroit was a dream subject. Its ruins of abandoned buildings made for astounding photo spreads of an apocalyptic wasteland, and writers big and small tried to wrestle with the question of how the former auto capitol of the world could have turned into this shell of a city. Detroiters hate these stories, say they’re the journalistic equivalent of rubber-necking.
Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! William Faulkner’s boldest attempt to tackle race, writes John Jeremiah Sullivan, somehow managed to dramatize a changing historical consciousness. New York Times | 13 min (3,183 words) A new Polish account of the Holocaust has not only sparked the interest of historians.
Has Obama Lost His Best Chance to Rally the Youth Vote?
July 03, 2012
Congressional leaders announced last week—after months of bickering—that they finally reached a deal to prevent student loan rates from doubling, just days before the July 1 deadline. This may be good news for the many Americans who are currently suffering from an aggregate total of over a trillion dollars in student loan debt. But it's decidedly more ambiguous for one of the loudest supporters of the issue: President Obama. As we know, the youth vote was a crucial part of Obama’s successful 2008 coalition.
From Prop 8 Advocate to Gay Marriage Supporter: In Praise of David Blankenhorn’s Nuanced Evolution
June 22, 2012
David Blankenhorn—lead witness for Prop. 8—has announced that he is changing position on same-sex marriage. In today’s New York Times, he writes, “for me as a marriage advocate, the time has now come to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do.” In particular, he wants to work with pro-marriage forces within the gay community to strengthen the institution for everyone. Blankenhorn’s announcement is not merely a victory for marriage-equality advocates, it is a victory for reason and nuance.
Great Britain's Sexual Politics and Snow White's Long-Awaited Personality: Today's TNR Reader
June 22, 2012
Editor’s Note: We'll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! Is our obsession with monthly jobs reports hurting the economy? Er, maybe. New York Times | 4 min (1,110 words) The Grimm tale of Snow White has seen many incarnations. Snow White and the Huntsman, finally, gives its heroine a personality. The New Yorker | 5 min (1, 330 words) How can the left win the culture wars?
The Unwitting Beneficiaries of Obamacare
June 21, 2012
Now that the Supreme Court has left the fate of the Affordable Care Act hanging another few days, it seems an opportune moment to pose a question that has been growing on me after several recent reporting trips: why aren’t the most obvious beneficiaries of the law more aware of it? There is an assumption in much national coverage of the law’s unpopularity that the right has won the “messaging war” on the law, partly, as Abby Goodnough lays out in a strong New York Times piece today, by spending far more to bash it on the airwaves than the law’s supporters have to defend it.