Concerned Women for America is impressive for its size. They claim as many as 500,000 members, and their media reach includes a daily radio show and a widely circulated newsletter. Yet, for all its size, CWA has remarkably little influence. It's like one of those 7-footers who plays basketball for a Division III school. The other team is intimidated when this NBA-sized player first takes the court, but the fear goes away when they see him during lay-up drills. The… Read more

Just got back from the logistical nightmare of the annual class trip to Washington, D.C., with students from the introductory course in Theology and Public Policy at Eastern Baptist Seminary. The purpose of the trip is to give students an appreciation of the scope and diversity of Christian political thought by visiting as many Christian political groups as time and the Metro will allow in a two-day period. This year's agenda included: * Concerned Women for America * Bread for… Read more

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank has the best article I've seen on the meaning and the ramifications of President Bush's surprise Thanksgiving visit to an airport outside of Baghdad. … it is too soon to know whether the image of Bush in his Army jacket yesterday will become a symbol of strong leadership or a symbol of unwarranted bravado. Iraqis may be reassured that the United States will put down the insurgency and restore order in their country. Or they… Read more

In a Washington Post article on the "spiritual struggle" of Democrats (about which more later), Jim VandeHei quotes the DLC's Ed Kilgore on the importance of religious language: "Natural use of scriptural language and allegories connects with people of faith," Kilgore said. A week earlier, L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. official in occupied Iraq, provided a fine example of how not to do this. In response to the latest audio tape purportedly carrying a message in the voice of… Read more

It's sleazy — but is it illegal? Friend of mine works for a large corporation, the identity of which I will delicately avoid mentioning. Like most big corporations, they offer a decent benefits package. And like most big corporations, they can be incredibly miserly. The company policy is that anyone who works at least 21 hours a week qualifies for benefits. My friend works four days a week — 28 hours. But she doesn't get benefits. Her human resources office… Read more

Ten easy steps to change the world 1. Go to and print out pages 2-5. (This is a .pdf file, page numbers refer to the Acrobat reader pages.) 2. Scroll down to locate the specific voter registration instructions for your state. Print the page listing the instructions for your state. (State-by-state instructions are listed in pages 8-32.) 3. Go to Kinkos or go to work and wait for the boss to leave. Make one double-sided copy with the registration… Read more

Ethanol, the gasoline substitute produced from corn or wheat, seems to be an outlandish boondoggle. While promoted as a clean, efficient source of energy, it seems in fact to be a colossal waste of energy and a massive source of air and water pollution. Ethanol exists only because of taxpayer subsidies. It is a purely political creation — something no market would ever demand or sustain. To produce ethanol, you have to grow corn. A lot of corn. And the… Read more

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reminds us, in The Los Angeles Times, that President Bush's environmental record is a disaster. I've rearrayed some of RFK's main point in a numbered list: 1. American waterways are getting dirtier… for the first time since passage of the Clean Water Act; 2. Administration policies have driven automobile fuel efficiencies to their lowest levels in decades. 3. Superfund cleanups for millions of Americans in tainted communities have been halted … 4. Any prospect of dealing… Read more

I draw your attention to this local story from The News Journal (Del.) to highlight one particular detail. It seems a routine story of run-of-the-mill small-time political corruption. A local builder admits having paid $5,000 to a county councilman to ensure the approval of a new housing development. Confronted with the evidence, the councilman cuts a deal with prosecutors and admits to receiving $4,400. Did you catch that? What happened to the other $600? Apparently the going rate for a… Read more

Delaware, a state with a population smaller than that of nearby Baltimore, is in somewhat better fiscal health than most states. This is mainly due to the First State's position as the whore of corporate America. The old system of kickbacks for irresponsible incorporation is now a slightly more legitimate system of corporate taxes and fees that helps to keep Dover in the black. Thanks to this unique source of revenue, Delaware is in much better shape than its neighbors… Read more

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