Plans to Register a Million New Democrats

Feb. 25, 2004

The thought of four more years of President George W. Bush — and the possibility of seeing him actually winning the title of president in an election! – sends chills up the spines of many Americans. The passion with which people oppose this unelected president has helped to create a wild ride of a Democratic nominating process. We’ve seen some good candidates generate a lot of activism, bring new people into politics, and then lose out.

The nominee will be the favorite read more

Why it Takes Years to Spot Fiction in the AP

Also published at AlterNet at and in the Tacoma Reporter.

The Associated Press recently fired a “reporter” named Christopher Newton after learning that he had invented people and institutions for his articles for two-and-a-half years. Imaginary sources at imaginary and real organizations and universities provided quotes so boring that no one paid much attention. As Jack Shafer at Slate has pointed out, it wouldn’t have made much difference if the sources read more

Why the Media Can't Read the Bankruptcy Bill

April 5, 2005
The most remarkable thing about the bankruptcy bill (which has now been postponed in the House until next week) is something that the corporate media is incapable of reporting on and probably in some cases incapable of even recognizing. Namely, this bill offers an ideal test for the Democrats.

Most bills contain some redeeming features, some elements that are good for people, not just good for corporate profits. With most bills, a case can be made, however contorted and unconvincing, read more

Progressives for Kerry: It's not Just About Beating Bush

Oct. 27, 2004

Kerry’s appeal to progressives is generally thought of as no more or less than the appeal a pumpkin would have if it could run: neither Kerry nor the pumpkin is Bush. I’d like to suggest another reason for progressives to support Kerry, one that does not require holding our noses.

Of course, parts of Kerry’s record are admirably progressive, and – unlike Bush – Kerry has a record of responding to public pressure (itself admirable in a democracy and an read more

Vote Your Greed

May 17, 2004
I’m a Democrat, and I have often heard Democrats accuse Republicans of being selfish. In this year’s election, I think we will be better off if most Republicans become a lot more selfish than they have been.

read more

Why I Quit My Job to Work for Dennis Kucinich

Also published on and
I’ve always been an activist. I’ve always seen the purpose of a life as changing the world for the better, not observing it or recording it or drifting through it or playing it for my own gain, but altering it so it’s a better place with less hardship, destruction, humiliation, and hunger. I used to be a reporter, and I found that I was able to do some good, but that too often I had to write about things I didn’t read more

Tweaking the Legalized Bribery System Pleases Few

Also published at BuzzFlash at and at Bartcop Reader at

May 16, 2002

Last week conservatives and liberals separately filed suit to claim that various parts of the recently passed Shays-Meehan/McCain-Feingold bribery reform legislation should be thrown out as unconstitutional. Last night (May 15) in a debate at the National Press Club over the proposition “The Government is Still for Sale,” all four participants, two arguing the read more

Cara Italia, Ci Perdona!

March 16, 2005

Dear Italy, forgive us. Bring your dear soldiers home from Iraq. Teach them about peace. Teach us in the United States about peace. We need to learn from you.

I spent some terrific years of my life in your bel paese, and one of the first things that caught my attention was your humility and your cosmopolitanism. When I was a young exchange student in Italy I had the pleasure of making myself liked, of making myself almost a movie star, simply by telling people that I was an American. read more

Hey, Dick, We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists

Sep. 8, 2004

“If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” Dick Cheney said on September 7th, threatening the American public that if we elect Kerry and Edwards rather than Bush and Cheney, we’ll be attacked by “terrorists.”

But that statement was unambiguously intended to influence our votes by terrifying us. Cheney wants us to vote for him for fear that otherwise we and our loved ones will be subjected to random attacks. By the read more

Bend it Like Bentham

April 5, 2004

When most people hear of utilitarianism these days in the United States, if they think of anyone they think of the admirable Peter Singer, or perhaps of John Stuart Mills. When we hear of Jeremy Bentham, we think first – if of anything at all – of Michel Foucault’s critique of the panopticon. We could do better by Bentham and by ourselves.

Foucault, of course, used Bentham’s design of the panopticon ( a building in which a guard in the middle can observe prisoners read more