The American Prospect

A monthly political journal of liberal though. Contains articles that generate debate, further ideas, and set agendas; and provides a forum for working through the controversies and hard choices facing all Americans. Includes regular topics and features.

Articles from Vol. 20, No. 10, December

Beyond Bars: The "Tough on Crime" Era Is Coming to an End, Leaving Bloated Prisons and Blighted Neighborhoods in Its Wake. but What's Next?
Eric Haines lives in his father's basement in Paterson, New Jersey, just across the street from a freshly anointed memorial to a childhood friend who was shot to death two weeks ago--Haines' second friend to die violently in as many weeks. A white...
Changing the Tone
Of all the aspirations set out by the newly inaugurated Obama administration one year ago, the promise to reduce the level of acrimony in American political life is the one that has most plainly gone unfulfilled. And that's not surprising--it's always...
Don't Blame the Billionaires: Who Cares about the Excesses of the Rich? It's the Fate of the Poor That Matters
When I was growing up, my mother used to sing me the old adage, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer," before hastening to add, "And it's all Ronald Reagan's fault." Because I had campaigned for Jimmy Carter as a wide-eyed 11-year-old, this...
Faster, Please
The continuing rise in the unemployment rate, up to 10.2 percent in November, has to give a sense of urgency to Democrats in Congress and the administration about the work they have at hand before next fall's elections. In 2010 Republicans are looking...
Fed Up with Federalism: How America's Commitment to States' Rights Is Undermining Our Economic Recovery
By accident of its birth--a collection of separate colonies that slowly came together to form an independent union and revolted against the remote power of the British government--the United States has an enduring bias toward localism, an aversion...
Gay on Trial: Why More Than Marriage Is at Stake in the Federal Legal Challenge to Prop. 8
On Nov. 4, 2008, when the polls closed on the West Coast and media outlets reported that California voters had passed Proposition 8, gay-rights supporters across the country were stunned. How could the purported gay haven of California--home to Hollywood,...
Is Democracy a Dirty Word? Advocates Hated Bush's Attempts to Impose Freedom at Gunpoint but Worry Obama's Approach Isn't Much Better
Last fall, Joshua Marks, a program officer from the National Endowment for Democracy, met with a group of community activists in a classroom in Abeche, a city in eastern Chad. Many of the activists had received small grants, ranging from roughly $200...
One More Bubble to Go: If the Dollar Crashes, It Will Take Our Economic Cushion Down with It
The word from Washington and Wall Street is that the worst is over. Sure, it will take a while for jobs to recover, for housing to come back, and for wages to rise. But we are definitely on the road to recovery from the biggest debt-bubble collapse...
Parody
"[Republicans] protested that the [climate change] bill's cost to the economy ... had not been fully examined.... [Sen. George Voinovich] said an analysis by the EPA ... falls far short of what is needed."--AP Dear EPA analysts, We are disappointed...
Push Comes to .Gov: How Federal Agencies Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Web 2.0
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Barack Obama, widely heralded as the first "Internet president," is inseparable from his BlackBerry and delivers a weekly address on YouTube. The White House has its own Flickr stream. Senators now duke it out via Twitter....
Read Local: As the Broader Publishing World Flounders, Alternative Presses Are Turning to Their Communities for Support
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." So said Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch priest born less than 20 years after the printing press was invented. This holiday season, publishers...
Should Weapons Be Allowed on Amtrak?
ADAM SERWER: The Senate just voted to allow guns on trains. I don't see the problem. ALEXANDRA GUTIERREZ: Well, there are a few. As the legislation is written, Amtrak has to make sure that handguns can be checked on trains by next April. Otherwise,...
The 1960s, Refracted
One summer over 15 years ago, three books crossed my horizon at exactly the same time. One was Greg Tate's Flyboy in the Buttermilk. The second was Stanley Crouch's Notes of a Hanging Judge. The third was Lisa Jones' Bulletproof Diva. Read simultaneously,...
The Company We Keep
Several years ago, The American Prospect held a "What is Liberalism?" contest. The winner, Todd Washburn, submitted this definition: "Liberals believe our common humanity endows each of us, individually, with the right to freedom, self-government,...
Wall Street Meets Its Match; If Congress Ends Up with Effective Financial Regulation, Sen. Maria Cantwell Will Deserve a Lot of the Credit
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In the showdown over the regulation of potentially toxic securities like credit-default swaps, the savviest and toughest battler for effective legislation turns out to be not Barney Frank or Chris Dodd, who chair the key House...