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. 11, No. 21, September 25

Beyond Checkbook Democracy
This special double issue of the Prospect focuses on money and politics. It is part of a continuing series on this set of topics, which is central to the project of reviving progressive politics. In this century, there have been successive waves...
Boogie Nice
For up-and-coming Hollywood directors, it's a regular stop on the pay-your-respects express: a visit with Billy Wilder, the man generally considered to be the greatest living American film maker, the sardonic impresario who gave the world Some Like...
Chinese Water Torture
My fourth-grade research project on dams lacked data from the field until I got a lucky break: An uncle had connections at the Conowingo Dam. (He was in the concrete business; Conowingo is 435,000 cubic yards of concrete.) We drove down U.S. 1 to the...
Clean Money in Maine
The first thing visitors to Maine's statehouse in Augusta notice is that one-third of the historic building is boarded up, sealed off, and undergoing a late-summer renovation. It's a fitting parallel to the historic transformation taking place within...
Correspondence
ANOTHER NYPD MURDER TO THE EDITORS: Thank you for publishing Harvey Blume's very important article, "Another NYPD Murder" [September 11, 2000]. It was extremely well-written and discusses a case of police brutality that has been hushed up for...
Declaring War on the Drug War
There are few issues on which Americans are as much out of sync with their elected leaders as they are on the so-called war on drugs: suppression of crops and traffickers abroad, interdiction at the border, criminal sanctions for users at home. If...
Fathers in Court
It's often difficult for a feminist to garner much sympathy for the fathers--rights movement. At first glance it seems, at best, redundant. Fathers monopolized familial rights and power for much of our history. Nineteenth-century common law gave men...
Good for America
Nowhere but America do we find the kind of knee-jerk antiunionism that was on display in a Wall Street Journal editorial this summer (July 31, 2000). Having congratulated George W. Bush on Texas's education record, the Journal went on to take a...
How Would Gore Govern?
What a pleasant surprise that A1 Gore, having tried just about everything else, stumbled on the idea of running as a progressive. Maybe this shift was inevitable. Despite the appeal of centrism to elites, voters just do not elect Democrats to kiss...
Inequality and Social Security
Social Security is center stage in the presidential campaign, as it should be. The stakes are enormous. George W. Bush and some Democrats want to divert part of the program to individual retirement accounts. Al Gore would maintain the present system,...
In Praise of Hypocrisy
The 2000 presidential campaign may well turn out to be the most hypocritical in modern American history. But that s okay. Hypocrisy in the cause of progressive ideals is no vice. It may yen be a harbinger of reform. The hypocritical roundup: George...
It's the EPA and OSHA, Stupid!
The Bush campaign would like you to think this election is about taxes and character; the Gore campaign is focusing on the dangers of debt and the promise of expanded health insurance; and the various interest groups in Washington are pushing their...
Leveling Politics in the Green Mountain State
HOW THE NATION'S MOST RADICAL PUBLIC FINANCING LAW BRINGS ORDINARY PEOPLE INTO POLITICAL LIFE In June 1997, Vermont passed one of the most comprehensive campaign finance reform laws in the country, and the signing of the "clean election" bill was...
Lost Causes
How K Street Democrats Undermine Liberal Politics Back in his day, Tom Downey was the proverbial good liberal congressman. Elected to the House in 1974 as the youngest representative in U.S. history, Downey was one of the Watergate Babies--that...
Merit, Testing, and Opportunity
Paul Attewell ["Mirage of Meritocracy" July 17] writes that California s new policy to admit to university the top 4 percent of each high school class has "reversed" declining black and Hispanic admissions. But he errs. So far, the policy hasn't reversed...
Mothers of Invention
As the political season heated up, the mass media delightedly revived a favorite clash-of the-titans saga from the mid-1980s: the supposed battle between outspoken rock star Frank Zappa and Tipper Gore over nasty lyrics peddled by the music industry....
Pleasing Sallie Mae
Since 1980 the average tuition at four-year colleges (in inflation-adjusted dollars) has doubled. Median income for families, however, has not kept pace, increasing just 12 percent over the same period. Student loans help families fill the cash gap....
Poison Ivy
Novelists delight in retailing life and times in the academy. Write about what you know, the adage goes, and many authors stay solvent by teaching their craft to the next generation of literary hopefuls. Besides, what transpires in the intellectual...
Rescuing Politics from Money
A SYMPOSIUM The Clean Money Solution BY ELLEN S. MILLER The editors ask, "Wasn't it ever thus?" Yes, money over the years has carved deeper and deeper channels into politics, and yes, all the reforms of the twentieth century have failed to...
Shopping for the Cure
Millions of American women are now running, swimming, and climbing for breast cancer, raising extraordinary sums of money for charities whose workings they know almost nothing about. This odd throwback to the earliest breast cancer fundraising campaigns...
Strategic Neglect
When Jose Imperatori, a secretary of the Cuban mission in Washington, D.C., was ordered out of the country last February for his alleged role in a Cuban spy ring, he went on a hunger strike and hired a lawyer. It took four burly FBI agents to get him...
The Dimming Down of America
SO FAR, ELECTRIC UTILITY DEREGULATION HAS BROUGHT US POWER SHORTAGES AND EXORBITANT PRICE HIKES. Electricity became more valuable than gold this summer--or at least more valuable than finished aluminum ingots. At the beginning of June, 270 workers...
The High Cost of Speech
Sometime in the next few years, it is likely that the Supreme Court will be asked, "Are elections in the United States so distorted by the influence of money that they have ceased to be democratic?" It's not hard to imagine the average attentive American...
The Rise and Reform of Stealth PACs
Nonprofit organizations are being used as front groups to disguise campaign spending. Congress recently narrowed this loophole in the campaign finance laws--a step forward, or sideways? During the last week of June, as Congress was rushing toward...
The Taxonomist
OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL It's been widely publicized that GOP vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney left his job as CEO of Halliburton with a pretty sweet severance package. Nobody's yet pointed out, however, that American taxpayers may have...
Treasure Island
PUERTO RICANS CAN'T VOTE FOR CONGRESS OR THE PRESIDENCY. BUT THEY CAN WRITE CHECKS. A CASE STUDY OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN POLITICS IS ALL MONEY AND NO VOTERS. What would happen in a political system where there are no votes, but only money to influence...
When Museums Sell Out
On July 15, in the midst of the summer tourist season, Chicago's Field Museum opened one of the most popular exhibits in its 100-year history. On display were almost 250 props from the Star Wars movies, including Darth Vader's mask, Princess Leia's...
Why I'm Not a Populist
It was just about 100 years ago, after the defeat of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, that the original, agrarian Populist movement collapsed and gave way to the more broadly based Progressivism of the early 1900s that permanently altered American government...
Will Pseudo-Scandals Decide the Election?
THE CONTROVERSY OVER AL GORE'S BUDDHIST TEMPLE "FUNDRAISER" IS THE LATEST IN A LONG LINE OF ARTIFICIAL SCANDALS. BUT EVEN FAKE SCANDALS TAKE A POLITICAL TOLL. In a pathbreaking study of the mass media and modern culture, The Image, first published...

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