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Jonathan Alter

Entries by Jonathan Alter

America Needs More College Graduates In Order To Improve The Economy

(135) Comments | Posted April 29, 2012 | 12:25 PM

From Bloomberg View

Anyone with half a brain knows that bolstering the middle class is critical to securing the future of the U.S. It’s a matter of national self-interest.

Setting aside the misery of poverty for a minute, the rich need a skilled middle-class workforce to make their...

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The Blackberry: Destroyer of Worlds -- And the New York Senate

(51) Comments | Posted June 12, 2009 | 6:38 PM

I finally understood this week that my wife was right--that the Blackberry is the tool of Satan. It is Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds. The way I came to understand this was itself a sign of the sickness that this instrument brings.

Please ponder the case of one Malcolm Smith, who...

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Why Chicago is My Kind of Town

(20) Comments | Posted August 14, 2008 | 8:08 AM

Chicago is "My Kind of Town" (Frank Sinatra) and not just because I was born and raised there. It's the best big American city because it has all the advantages of bigness (great food, arts, recreation, architecture) while feeling like a small town. New York (Wall Street), Los Angeles (show...

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Where Have You Gone, John?

(62) Comments | Posted August 3, 2008 | 7:41 PM

In the middle of John McCain's dopey Britney & Paris attack ad, the announcer gravely asks of Barack Obama: "Is He Ready to Lead?" An equally good question is whether McCain is ready to lead. For a man who will turn 72 this month, he's a surprisingly immature...

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Let The Second Guessing Begin: Five Reasons Obama Won and Five Reasons Clinton Lost

(10) Comments | Posted June 5, 2008 | 12:09 PM

Let the recriminations begin. After one of the greatest upsets in American political history, journalists, historians and bloggers will be talking for years about what happened. In such a close race, the winner (Obama) did plenty of things wrong, and the loser (Clinton) did a lot right. But that's not...

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The Democrats' Color Scheme

(13) Comments | Posted February 6, 2008 | 7:57 PM

Be still my heart! Political reporters like me might actually get the story we've been dreaming of, complete with enough complexities to keep us in clover all year long.

As the Super Tuesday number crunching continues, we know this: the Democratic nomination will come down to demographics and superdelegates, the...

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A November 'Electability Guide'

(59) Comments | Posted January 2, 2008 | 3:01 PM

Even at this late date, more than half of all voters in Iowa and New Hampshire say they have not made up their minds for sure. Many are still deciding which candidate they think would make the best president. But thousands of others are wrestling with a more cold-blooded question:...

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HuffPost Charity Chain: Needs-Generated Philanthropy at DonorsChoose

(15) Comments | Posted December 25, 2007 | 3:59 PM

Are you tired of writing a check to a worthy non-profit without knowing if you money is going for some paper-shuffler or fancy lunch? Fortunately, we are entering the era of "New Philanthropy," where you know exactly where your money is going. At, public school teachers all over...

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How Washington Is Nixing a Cancer Cure

(3) Comments | Posted November 15, 2007 | 9:56 AM

What if they found a cure for a cancer that afflicts half a million people, but a combination of stupid bureaucrats and greedy doctors kept patients from getting it?

It's the kind of scenario that seems like the province of conspiracy theorists or alternative-medicine wackos -- but is actually happening...

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Before We Bomb Iran

(82) Comments | Posted October 15, 2007 | 2:04 PM

Debra Burlingame says there's got to be a better way to confront Iran. Her brother Charles F. (Chic) Burlingame was the captain of American Airlines Flight 77, the airliner hijacked and flown into the Pentagon on 9/11. Since then, Ms. Burlingame can't get over our failure to fight a smarter...

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The Real Rudy

(28) Comments | Posted October 7, 2007 | 5:04 PM

All year, many New Yorkers have been trying to tell their friends in other parts of the country that there's another Rudy Giuliani than the one they're seeing in debates -- the bully boy who should spell his first name with an "e."

Now they -- and all of Giuliani's...

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I Know What You Did Last Summer

(12) Comments | Posted August 13, 2007 | 2:03 PM

I hate to sound melodramatic about it, but while everyone was at the beach or "The Simpsons Movie" on the first weekend in August, the U.S. government shredded the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the one requiring court-approved "probable cause" before Americans can be searched or spied upon. This is...

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The Case for National Service

(3) Comments | Posted June 24, 2007 | 8:37 PM

In 1992, the biggest applause line in Bill Clinton's stump speech came when he outlined a national-service plan that later became AmeriCorps. So it's surprising that until now no candidate has made service a central part of his or her campaign. President Bush's call for Americans to "go shopping" after...

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The 'Pull and Strike' Democrats

(52) Comments | Posted June 17, 2007 | 5:51 PM

Iraq is President Bush's war, but the Democrats are quickly getting tagged with some blame for it. One of the reasons Congress is in such bad odor--less popular even than Bush in recent polls--is that Democrats look feckless on how to proceed in Iraq, and not just because they lack...

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A Clear Blue-Sky Idea

(7) Comments | Posted June 14, 2007 | 4:32 PM

Think of the energy that has been wasted in recent years calling for a gas tax. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman alone seems to advocate it every week or so. So does every other "responsible" energy plan. Only one problem: Not Gonna Happen. Look at the public furor over...

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Best Ideas for Fixing America? Listen to Gore, Bradley

(25) Comments | Posted June 11, 2007 | 6:19 PM

As the primary campaign gets rolling, are we going to hear big, bold solutions to our big, hairy problems? The past is not encouraging. Seven and a half years ago--in another America--Vice President Al Gore and former senator Bill Bradley battled for the 2000 Democratic nomination. It got nasty, with...

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Phony Analogies

(53) Comments | Posted May 31, 2007 | 10:01 PM

President Bush thinks the Vietnam analogy for Iraq is wrong. Aside from the predictability of this (it's understandable that he doesn't like his policy called a "quagmire"), the president's reasoning is historically ignorant. Bush said last week that the difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that the enemy in Vietnam...

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Don't Believe the Falwell Hype

(73) Comments | Posted May 16, 2007 | 3:02 PM

I mean no disrespect to the dead, but I take the British view of obituaries, which is to try to capture the true public significance of the person who died, not just his good qualities. The truth about the Rev. Jerry Falwell is that he was a character assassin and...

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How Radar Sideswiped Me and Tom Edsall

(52) Comments | Posted May 10, 2007 | 8:07 PM

There's one dimension of the blogosphere that never ceases to amaze me: Some people disbelieve nearly everything they read in the "mainstream media" -- and believe nearly everything they read online. Never mind that the ground-breaking reporting on which they base their opinions often comes from the MSM publications like...

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Political Pledges

(4) Comments | Posted July 28, 2006 | 6:59 PM

Originally posted on

As if we needed any more proof, President Bush's recent veto of an embryonic-stem-cell research bill shows that the issue has now been fully politicized. So the question is, which party will exploit it better? Because three quarters of the public now supports this promising...

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