Washington Monthly

The College Rankings Ranking

Which bogus list of universities is the best?

The 100-pound book of dubiously ranked universities has long been a hallmark of the college application process.

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Rick Santorum has received, and courted, plenty of comparisons with Mike Huckabee since his near-victory in the Iowa Caucuses, but not all of them have been earned. Yes, like Huckabee in 2008, Santorum has been heavily dependent on grassroots campaigning, with direct appeals to evangelical voters, and a veneer of folksy, blue-collar economic populism. But the comparison ought to stop there. What Santorum cannot match is Huckabee’s status as a genuine Washington outsider, someone untainted by the corrupt dealings inside the beltway.

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Having already received three very generous public introductions (from TNR’s Richard Just, Jonathan Cohn, and my predecessor, Jonathan Chait), I’ll try to keep this brief. My name is Timothy Noah. Until recently I was a senior writer at Slate magazine, a position I held for about a dozen years. At Slate I wrote something called Chatterbox that pretended to be a gossip column but was actually a column mostly about domestic politics and policy.

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It’s not exactly the Rapture, but the tornadoes that have been tearing through the Midwest and South this year certainly have an end-times feel to them. Just this past Sunday, an EF-5 level tornado (that’s as fierce as it gets) plowed through Joplin, Missouri, killing at least 125 people, flaying the bark off trees, crumpling cars like aluminum cans, and basically flattening everything in its six-mile path.

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More news about that horrible, no-good health care reform plan, via the Los Angeles Times: An economist and two health policy researchers at the nonprofit Rand Corp. conducted a simulation to predict what is likely to happen once employers are able to offer coverage through these exchanges. Overall, they estimate that the proportion of U.S. workers who will have access to health insurance through their jobs will jump from 84.6% to 94.6%.

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Remember when Republicans were complaining about "uncertainty"? As the argument went, businesses weren't expanding and hiring new workers because they feared struggling with new regulations and taxes. Businesses, the Republicans said, needed certainty and financial relief. Apparently Republican thinking has evolved, as Steve Benen at Washington Monthly and Pat Garofalo at Wonk Room explain today. In late July, the Democrats were poised to pass a small-business assistance bill, full of tax breaks and other incentives designed to reward small businesses that hire new workers.

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U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth made headlines yesterday for ruling that President Obama’s program providing funding for embryonic-stem-cell research is illegal. Here are four things you should know: 1. He’s a long-time public servant: Lamberth got his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Texas and then spent the next six years in the Army JAG Corps. From 1974 to 1987, he was the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and led its civil division from 1978 to 1987, when President Reagan appointed him to the D.C. U.S. District Court.

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Thanks to the fiasco in the Gulf, there have been more and more discussions lately about how the United States can start weaning itself off oil, and both Craig Severance and the Center for American Progress have some useful, concrete suggestions on this score. One big-picture thing that's worth pointing out, though, is that our crude dependency isn't just a question of our love affair with gas-guzzling SUVs.

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Pizza Power Run Amok

There is much to be disturbed by in this Washington Monthly piece about the rise and fall of Ave Maria Law School, the brainchild of Domino's pizza billionaire and super-Catholic Tom Monaghan. But for some reason, the part that really creeps me out is the bit about how, when constructing his planned community of Ave Maria in Southwest Florida, Monaghan and his business partner convinced state legislators to tinker with the law so that the two men could permanently control the local government: In Florida, developers can petition to act as the local government for a number of years while a deve

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The Obama DoJ's decision to drop espionage-lite charges leveled by the Bush administration against Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman--two former AIPAC officials who were accused of spreading state secrets--is drawing applause from Yglesias, Spencer, and bloggers at the CJR and Washington Monthly.

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