Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger and senior writer. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Broadband Adoption Flattening?

(Flickr/ adrienneserra ) According to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, broadband adoption seems to have plateaued in the last year, after steady growth. The number of adults with broadband at home in this year's survey was 66 percent, not statistically different from last year's 63 percent. In one bright spot, broadband use among African Americans increased by 10 percentage points, from 46 percent to 56 percent. But what I find most interesting is the non-users, and people who don't think it's something useful. When they asked what they thought of "expanding affordable high-speed internet access to everyone in the country," 26 percent said it was something the government shouldn't do at all, and another 27 percent said it was "not too important a priority." Since they haven't yet done (or reported, anyway) much of the multivariate analysis that would help us sort this stuff out, we'll have to guess at why this is. Some of it may be trendy anti-government...

Muslims Attempt to Take Ownership of Time Itself; Could Sharia in America Be Far Behind?

According to Agence France-Presse, the Saudi government is almost ready to unveil a really, really big clock, in the hopes that "Mecca Time" will replace Greenwich Mean Time as the standard by which the world sets its clocks. Hard to see that happening, but what's for sure is that this is one spectacular clock. Not only are the faces 151 feet across, it will be housed in a tower that will become the world's second-tallest building when completed. And they are not kidding around when it comes to bringing the bling: More than six times larger in diameter than London's famed Big Ben, the clock faces, with the Arabic words "In the Name of Allah" in huge lettering underneath, will be lit with two million LED lights. Some 21,000 white and green coloured lights, fitted at the top of the clock, will flash to as far as 30 kilometres (18.7 miles) to signal Islam's mandatory five-times daily prayers. On special Muslim occasions, 16 bands of vertical lights will shoot some 10 kilometres (6.2...

Judging Politicians.

Today's New York Times featured a profile of Congressman Paul Ryan , in which the author, Matt Bai , dismissed questions about the substance of Ryan's vaunted budget road map, saying, "The more pertinent question is whether Mr. Ryan is the kind of guy who just wants to make a point — or whether his road map represents the starting point in what could be a serious negotiation about entitlements and spending." Paul Krugman , who has been extremely critical of Ryan's plan, gets frustrated : That's completely wrong-headed. My experience — very much based on Bush 2000 — is that a politician's policy proposals offer the best clue to what "kind of guy" he is. Back then, all the professional political reporters were hanging out with W and reporting what a swell guy he was, while I was looking at the flimflam in his tax and Social Security plans, and reaching the conclusion that he was a scammer. Who was right? This points to a couple of long-standing gripes I've had with political reporting...

Freedom Lives.

Ben Smit h wonders whether President Obama will see what a "teachable moment" the controversy over the Islamic center near Ground Zero is and weigh in with a characteristically sensitive and insightful speech or something. "He can understand the pain and anger of both sides, offer something that sounds like a synthesis but winds up roughly where Mike Bloomberg stands." Yeah, that'd be nice. But the thing about teachable moments is that people need to be willing to learn. This episode has reminded us (not that we needed a reminder) that Americans' commitment to American values is, on the whole, pretty thin. Generally speaking, lots and lots of us (including those who proclaim their patriotism most loudly) tend to support things like freedom of speech or freedom of religion only so long as the speech or religion in question is one they otherwise feel warmly toward. But there is one example in recent history of conservative Americans bravely standing up for the constitutional rights of...

Treat Us Better, You Dirty Hippies!

Barack Obama 's White House has plenty of problems these days, one of which is that they feel like they aren't getting enough love from the left. The people who should have their back, who should be touting their accomplishments, aren't -- in their view anyway -- doing enough to help. So press secretary Robert Gibbs apparently thinks the way to address this problem is to mock and insult them : The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity. During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough. "I hear these people saying he's like George Bush . Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy." The press secretary dismissed the "professional left" in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the...

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