Ben Adler

Ben Adler writes on national politics and domestic policy. Ben has been a staff writer for Politico and an editor at Newsweek and the Center for American Progress. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, The Guardian and Next American City among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Recent Articles

WEISBERG'S FAULTY LOGIC....

WEISBERG'S FAULTY LOGIC. Jacob Weisberg 's new piece on Al Gore in Slate is simultaneously terrific and infuriating. On the one hand, he makes some of the same criticisms I made about the movie (its irritating excessive focus on Gore's personal journey and its refusal to discuss how and why the Clinton administration didn't do more to combat global warming). And, being the talented writer and thinker he is, Weisberg does so much better than I. On the other hand, Weisberg twists all of this into a ridiculous thesis, sort of the Slate version of The New Republic 's tendency to follow counter-intuition to some bizarre, plainly illogical endpoint. Weisberg argues that because the end of Gore�s political career has allowed Gore to finally focus on raising awareness about global warming, he will actually do a better job of saving the planet if he is not elected in 2008. In other words, Weisberg is seriously suggesting that because global warming is such a terrible looming problem, it would...

AN OFF-BEAT ARGUMENT...

AN OFF-BEAT ARGUMENT FOR D.C. STATEHOOD. File this one under more evidence of the Bush administration's cynical politicization of what should be apolitical national security issues. Whenever public pressure to actually protect the homeland wanes, the administration seems to find out a way to subvert security. Today, for instance, The Washington Post reports: The Department of Homeland Security yesterday slashed anti-terrorism money for Washington and New York, part of an immediately controversial decision to reduce grant funds for major urban areas in the Northeast while providing more to mid-size cities from Jacksonville to Sacramento. The announcement that the two cities targeted on Sept. 11, 2001, would suffer 40 percent reductions in urban security funds prompted outrage from lawmakers and local officials in both areas, who questioned the wisdom of cutting funds so deeply for cities widely recognized as prime terrorist targets. Ah, yes, those all powerful D.C. senators and...

SO NOW IT'S...

SO NOW IT'S SAFE. Within hours of Ken Lay 's and Jeff Skilling 's guilty verdicts coming down, the MSM had begun to form their inane analysis. No less a barometer of conventional wisdom than Newsweek 's Howard Fineman wrote : If you want a date to mark the beginning of the end of the Bush Era in American life, you may as well make it this one: May 25, 2006. The Enron jury in Houston didn�t just put the wood to Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. The jurors took a chain saw to the moral claims of the Texas-based corporate culture that had helped fuel the rise to power of President George W. Bush. Ha! I would that it were so, but this is utter nonsense. If Enron was going to bring down the Bush presidency, it would have done so a long time ago. It was a much bigger news story a few years ago when it broke. And remember, back then Enron was Bush 's largest donor throughout his political career. He still won re-election, and Enron barely even figured into the 2004 campaign. Now, several years of...

Blowing Smoke

On its opening weekend in Washington, Thank You for Smoking , the new movie based on Christopher Buckley's novel, played to sold-out houses on multiple screens at the Lowes Cineplex in Georgetown. Smoking has no overt political agenda -- it isn't exactly pro-tobacco -- but it betrays Buckley's conservative leanings nonetheless. It is the story of Nick Naylor, a tobacco industry lobbyist, and death-dealing sleaze, who you can't help loving. He and his buddies from the alcohol and gun lobbies call their weekly lunch club the M.O.D. squad, short for Merchants Of Death. Merrily amoral, cheerfully morbid, and maligned by self-righteous health and safety advocates, they're the vessels for Buckley's essentially conservative message, delivered, in his father's style, with a grin rather than a grimace. And that is where the film's subterranean conservative message lies: in a sympathetic portrayal of the profit-driven Naylor and an unsympathetic portrayal of his public-interest driven...

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