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 No. 25, March-April

Animal House Meets Church Lady
You have to wonder whether the apostles of the conservative movement, the self-anointed champions of public morality, read their own press. In May 1995, the American Spectator ran an article by senior editor P.J. O'Rourke entitled "Why the GOP...
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Couch-Potato Democracy?
Robert Putnam's analysis of the decline of civic engagement suggests that Americans have become a nation of couch-potatoes, turning to television for solitary entertainment, leaving bowling leagues, PTA meetings, and the Rotary Club behind. If true,...
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Gambling on the Presidency
The College of Business Administration at the University of Iowa runs the Iowa Electronic Market, a futures market on this year's presidential election. Anyone can buy a contract on President Clinton, the yet-to-be-designated Republican candidate,...
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Get Me Rewrite
A very long time ago, when I was the manager of a listener-supported radio Station, we were planning our annual on-air fundraising drive. "The only thing we have to sell," one staffer said earnestly, "is our integrity." A wise guy replied, "What do...
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Global Villagers: The Rise of Transnational Communities
When the residents of Ticuani, a small farming community in the Mixteca region of Mexico, wanted a clean water supply, they turned to a private civic group, the Ticuani Potable Water Committee. As it had many times before, the committee delivered:...
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How the West Is Won: Astroturf Lobbying and the "Wise Use" Movement
The term "wise use" comes from Gifford Pinchot, the first head of the U.S. Forest Service, who used it to describe the conservation movement. Pinchot chose words that implied balance, not to mention a fundamental concern for the well-being of the...
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Orbit of Influence: Spy Finance and the Black Budget
A spy satellite silently drifting across suburban Virginia and Maryland would count hundreds of buildings that are part of the vast and mostly hidden "intelligence-industrial complex." It is a network that stretches from coast to coast and around...
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Restoration Fever
Most of us like to think that our views represent the innermost beliefs of the majority of our fellow citizens. Recent polls may show a ridiculous preference for a position we despise, our candidates may lose at election time, and the radio may broadcast...
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Robert Putnam Responds
Any social change as broad gauged as that sketched in "The Strange Disappearance of Civic America" is surely complex--with multiple causes, conflicting countertrends, and uncertain consequences--so I welcome a lively discussion of these issues, especially...
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The Crusade That's Killing Prosperity
The great untold story of the American economy in the 1990s is the disguised high rate of unemployment and its direct impact on stagnating living standards. Properly calculated, our rate of joblessness is well into double digits. No wonder workers...
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The Surrender of Economic Policy
There is a common ground on economic policy that now stretches, with differences only of degree, from the radical right to Bill Clinton. Across the spectrum, all declare that the main job of government is to help markets work well. On the supply side,...
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The Ultimate Self-Referral: Medicare Reform, AMA-Style
Tilting their heads upward, delegates to the annual convention of the American Medical Association (AMA) last June gazed at an enormous closed-circuit television screen in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton. Suddenly, Newt Gingrich's face filled...
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Unravelling from Above
If only folks would turn off the TV and start attending PTA meetings, America's future could be as bright as its civically engaged past. This diagnosis is taking shape in foundation-sponsored gatherings and among highbrow columnists. Privileged men...
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We'll Talk about That: Can Liberals Do Talk Radio?
Welcome back to the Talk Radio story that challenges all that right-wing nonsense on the air!! Did you see that Rush Limbaugh now claims to have 20 million listeners to his daily show?! I don't believe it! It's another one of Rush's tricks. Just not...
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What If Civic Life Didn't Die?
Robert Putnam's important and disturbing work on civic participation The Strange Disappearance of Civic America," TAP, Winter 1996) has led him to conclude that television is the culprit behind civic decline. But lest we be too disturbed, we ought...
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