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. 40, No. 4, April

An Idea Whose Time Has Gone: Conservatives Abandon Their Support for School Vouchers
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In 1955, the libertarian economist Milton Friedman proposed what was, for its time, a radical idea: that school-children be given government-funded vouchers to enable them to attend private schools. As ubiquitous as the notion...
Chris Kimball
For the aspiring politician, eating can be a very dangerous thing. President George H. W. Bush once alienated a powerful constituency when he banned broccoli from the menus of the White House and Air Force One, prompting broccoli growers to send truckloads...
Confessions of a Sweatshop Inspector: Presidential Candidates Are Calling for Tougher Labor Standards in Trade Agreements. but Can Such Standards Be Enforced? Here's What I Learned from My Old Job
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I remember one particularly bad factory in China. It produced outdoor tables, parasols, and gazebos, and the place was a mess. Work floors were so crowded with production materials that I could barely make my way from one...
Louisiana Purchase: Love of Family Inspired William Jefferson to Do Great Things. It Also Explains That $90,000 in His Freezer
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] On August 3, 2005, FBI agents raided the New Orleans home of nine-term U.S. Representative William J. Jefferson of the and District of Louisiana. What they found became instant fodder for talk-show hosts, late-night comedians,...
Majority Rule at Last: How to Dump the Electoral College without Changing the Constitution
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] It was the end of a long, sweltering summer at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Delegates were anxious to finish, but a looming question remained: How would the new office of president be filled? Some...
Policy Is the Best Honesty
A lot of journalists get lured into the profession by the excitement--the chance to cover wars, natural disasters, political campaigns, or the lives of powerful people. I'm not immune to such inducements and have done a bit of all of the above. But...
Portrait of an Inbox: Fixing America's Worst School System, One E-Mail at a Time
Monday, March 10, 6:45 a.m.: The first e-mail of the week arrives on Margie Yeager's Palm Treo, from an elementary school principal in the District of Columbia who needs volunteers to restock his library shelves. Yeager reads the e-mail in bed a few...
Tilting at Windmills
My pastor problem When I last attended church regularly, my pastor, like Reverend Jeremiah Wright, was a good man in many ways but had a few truly bizarre ideas. For one thing, he was obsessed with the cause of the Chinese Nationalists who had retreated...