The Strongman
June 09, 2011

The Esenyurt District of Istanbul is classic new Turkey: pastel-colored office buildings with plastic-looking facades, rows of high-rise apartment buildings organized into little vertical gated communities, skeletons of shopping malls waiting to be filled with Mango and Starbucks. On a recent May afternoon, the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made a campaign stop there. The people who gathered to meet him were both covered and loose-haired, lower-middle class and middle class, and they eagerly sandwiched their way through security checkpoints.

Labor Needs More Than Labor
April 01, 2011

The waves of demonstrators who thronged around and inside the Wisconsin capitol this winter could not stop Governor Scott Walker and the Republican legislature from passing a bill to curtail collective bargaining rights for public workers. But the massive support the unions drew from students, faculty, small farmers, and immigrant rights groups, among others, imparted an old lesson that progressives often forget: to advance its interests, labor needs to look less like an interest group and more like a moral cause that appeals to allies from outside the wage-earning class.

The Sexism of 'Morning Joe'
December 13, 2010

One Monday morning in November, according to the admittedly rough transcript provided by the Federal News Service, “Morning Joe,” anchor Joe Scarborough spoke 3,213 words; his co-anchor Mika Brzezinski spoke just 644. Most of her words seemed merely to remind the audience that she was still awake: Yeah. Okay. Yes. No. Maybe. Right. Terrific. Scarborough dominated the meaty segments; Brzezinski piped up mainly during the transitions.

Poison Penn
May 06, 2010

One fact that has grown increasingly clear over the last two years is that the Democratic Party dodged a bullet by not nominating or electing a presidential candidate whose chief political adviser is Mark Penn.

Too Much Trash? Try Giant Deodorant Guns
March 29, 2010

Can't imagine anything going wrong with this plan: Beijing is to install 100 deodorant guns at a stinking landfill site on the edge of the city in a bid to dampen complaints about the capital's rubbish crisis. ... Beijing's waste problem—and China's—is expanding as fast as its economy, at about 8% each year. With millions more people now able to afford Starbucks, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other elements of a western, throwaway lifestyle, the landfill sites and illegal tips that ring the capital are close to overflowing. Granted, deodorant guns aren't the only option out there.

A Serious Mankiw
March 10, 2010

Former Bush economic adviser Greg Mankiw whips up an analogy to explain why he's leery of even a deficit-neutral health care reform: Imagine you have a friend who has a budget problem.  Every month he spends more than he earns.  His credit card bills are piling up.  He is clearly on an unsustainable path.  Then one day he comes to you with an idea. Friend: I am going to take off a few days from work and fly down to Bermuda for a quick vacation. You: But isn't that expensive?  Won't that just add to your growing debts? Friend: Yes, it is expensive.  But my plan is deficit-neutral.  I have deci

For the Love of Culture
January 26, 2010

Can American culture survive Google?

Against Transparency
October 09, 2009

I. In 2006, the Sunlight Foundation launched a campaign to get members of Congress to post their daily calendars on the Internet. "The Punch-Clock Campaign" collected pledges from ninety-two candidates for Congress, and one of them was elected. I remember when the project was described to me by one of its developers. She assumed that I would be struck by its brilliance. I was not. It seemed to me that there were too many legitimate reasons why someone might not want his or her "daily official work schedule" available to anyone with an Internet connection. Still, I didn’t challenge her.

Truther Consequences
October 07, 2009

Alex Jones is a husky man with short sandy hair, weary eyes, baby cheeks, and the kind of deep, gravelly voice made for horror-movie trailers. And it’s horror he has in mind. "Your New World Order will fall!" he screams through a megaphone at the shiny façade of a nondescript office building. "Humanity will defeat you!" A syndicated radio host, filmmaker, and all-around countercultural icon based in Austin, Texas, Jones has long been one of the country’s most significant purveyors of paranoia.

Apple Unplugs Itself From Chamber of Commerce
October 05, 2009

We can now add Apple to the list of companies bidding the Chamber of Commerce farewell over the group's obstruction on climate policy. This is the Chamber's highest-profile defection to date, and one that's guaranteed to keep the story percolating in the news a bit longer.