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. 42, No. 7-8, July-August

After Decades of Effort, a Decade of Progress
No major city in America has worked longer and harder on its dropout problem than Philadelphia. Yet those efforts, going back nearly half a century, have gained traction only in the last ten years. Between 2001 and 2009 the percentage of Philadelphia...
All the Advantages, and Nothing to Show for It
If any big-city school district should have a handle on its high school dropout problem, it would surely be Portland, Oregon. Compact and bike friendly, this darling of urban planners draws middle-and upper-middle-income professionals to live inside...
Big Gains in the Big Apple
Last fall, the New York City public schools granted Justin Skeete, a twenty-year-old dropout from a crime-ridden section of Coney Island, a third and last chance to graduate from high school. Once he turned twenty-one, he would be too old. His new...
Can Obama Reverse the Dropout Crisis?
In his first address to Congress in February 2009, when the nation teetered on the brink of economic collapse, President Obama declared that "dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself, it's quitting on your...
Dirty Medicine: How Medical Supply Behemoths Stick It to the Little Guy, Making America's Health Care System More Dangerous and Expensive
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] When Thomas Shaw gets worked up, he twists in his chair and kneads his hand. Or he paces about in his tube socks grumbling, "They're trying to destroy us," and "The whole thing is a giant scam." And Shaw, the founder of a...
French Connection: What the Dreyfus Affair Does-And Doesn't-Tell Us about Guantanamo
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The most remarkable moment of the Dreyfus affair, which noisily consumed France for over a decade at the turn of the twentieth century, occurred quietly in May 1895. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew and a captain...
Mama Bear: How Sarah Palin Has Inspired an Army of Republican Women to Run for Office
Speaking last May at the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin described what she saw as a new breed of feminist, the kind who takes her cue from the likes of Annie Oakley--a woman, as Palin would have it, who can shoot...
Pushing Past Reform Fatigue
Back when health care reform was wearing us all down with its Bataan-like march through the legislative process, I remember thinking, Well, maybe there's an upside to this. At least the country is being forced to have a more substantive discussion...
Show Him the Money: Tom Donohue Scares Millions of Dollars out of Corporations and Republicans. but Is His U.S. Chamber of Commerce Good for Business?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has a well-developed talent for self-promotion. He makes a point of being the last person on any stage, and he leaves no detail to chance. The Chamber's...
Small School, Big Results
BRONX, New York -- Jayquan Hyman, a gangly fifteen-year-old ninth grader, seemed destined to drop out after starting high school last September. He failed fifth grade and was older than his classmates, had spent years in special education classes,...
The Agnostic Cartographer: How Google's Open-Ended Maps Are Embroiling the Company in Some of the World's Touchiest Geopolitical Disputes
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] One fateful day in early August, Google Maps turned Arunachal Pradesh Chinese. It happened without warning. One minute, the mountainous border state adjacent to Tibet was labeled with its usual complement of Indian place-names;...
The Shipping News: Start Moving Freight by Water Again, and We'll Use Less Oil, Emit Less Carbon, Cut Highway Traffic-And Perhaps Even Save St. Louis
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Every four days, a 4,200-horsepower tugboat, having crossed the Gulf of Mexico from Brownsville, Texas, slips into the ship channel off Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay. The vessel pulls a single barge. On board are stacks...