The Washington Monthly

An independent monthly magazine devoted to politics, government, culture, and the media in America, from a progressive perspective. Publishes investigative and opinion-based feature articles by notable authors, short news items, humorous sidebars, and boo

Articles from Vol. 29, No. 10, October

As Goes the Supreme Court
In 1971, a jury in New York City was split 11 to 1 in favor of a robbery conviction, but the case was dismissed by the judge after only 12 hours of deliberation because he had another engagement. This enabled the robber to escape punishment because...
Block Island Diary: The Biggest (Non) Event of the Summer
August 1 News Flash: The New York Post's gossip column lets drop that none other than Barbra Streisand and her fiance, actor James Brolin, will be getting married this August 9 on Block Island. That's a pretty big event for a sleepy resort town off...
Guilty Victims: How States' Failure to Separate the Innocent from the Guilty Is Costing the Victims Compensation Program Millions
More than a decade ago, when Congress established a fund to provide financial compensation to crime victims, it no doubt intended to aid society's least powerful members, especially abused women and children. It probably did not intend to help the...
La Dolce Vita: The Supreme Court's Relaxed Work Ethic
As jobs go, Supreme Court Justice is not a bad gig. If you're the chief justice, you get chauffered to work in a stretch limo every morning. And even if you're just a regular Supreme, you're provided with an elegant three-room office suite -- complete...
LBJ vs. RFK: A Case of Mutual Contempt
The story unfolds like a Greek tragedy played out on a nation's center stage. The protagonists are flawed, very human men, and their conflict illuminates not only their characters but their era. As historical figures, Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy...
The Case for More Regulation
In March of 1996, all 1,700 residents of Weyauwega Wisconsin skipped town for three weeks -- involuntarily. The reason for their impromptu spring break: an 81-car train carrying propane and sodium hydroxide derailed and exploded just outside the city...
Tilting at Windmills: Carrot Addiction; the Price of Pro-Bono; Downward Devolution; All in the Family; New-Class Nuptials
Of all the tobacco industry's attempts to defend itself, my favorite was supplied by Andrew Schindler, president of R.J. Reynolds, who told a plaintiff's lawyer that he didn't believe that tobacco was any more addictive than coffee or carrots. ...
Two Cheers for the Property Tax: Everyone Hates It, but the Property Tax Has Some Good Attributes That Make It Indispensible
To most Americans the property tax is about as revered as communism and as popular as a pro-lifer at a NOW rally. The reasons are not hard to understand. At first glance, the property tax system seems arbitrary, unreasonable, and just plain unfair....
Unwieldy and Irrelevant: Why Is the Military Clinging to Outdated and Ineffective Command Structures?
When a truck bomb exploded outside the Khobar Towers military complex in Saudi Arabia on June 25, 1996, killing 19 American airmen and injuring hundreds more, it seemed like the nd of external threat that even a superpower cannot prepare for. But...
Why Mitch McConnell Should Know Better
Forget everything you think you know about money in politics. The system is not broken. Sure, a few loopholes need to be closed to prevent violation of existing election laws (e.g., foreign money should not be financing U.S. political campaigns),...