Magazine

Tilting at Windmills Archives

September/October 2014 Religious criminals belong in jail ... Use Amazon to order an X47B ... Nowhere to go by up

Fire Mary Barra Early last winter, the Justice Department fined Toyota $1.2 billion for failing to disclose a possible electronic defect that turned out not to exist. Shortly afterward, it...

By Gregg Easterbrook

June/July/August 2014 Mobilizing chick power ... Male menopause ... Can Dems match gun raffles?

Is McConnell’s “free speech” machine about to meet its match?

By Michelle Cottle

March/ April/ May 2014 A bygone age … The unraveling … Faith in institutions

This column marks the dawn of the post-Charles Peters era of “Tilting at Windmills”; at eighty-seven, Charlie has decided to stop writing the column himself, and from now on a...

By Nicholas Lemann

January/ February 2014 Why bad news should always trickle up ... Polyester and merlot ... The hippest fund-raiser in New York

No exit Imagine your reaction to being trapped in the backseat of a car having to listen to Ted Cruz quote from one speech of his after another. I suspect...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2013 Fair, balanced, and untrue ... A Barry bad legacy ... Glamorizing the glamour industry

Fair-weather Democrats You probably read about the two Democratic state senators who lost recall elections in Colorado because they voted to strengthen gun laws in the state. What struck me...

By Charles Peters

September/ October 2013 Cashers in … Swat teams … And the new Enron

The Gilded City For many years, Washington was a city of modest lifestyles, largely determined by the civil service salary scale. That began to change in the 1970s with the...

By Charles Peters

July/ August 2013 Launch pad follies ... Roger and Rupert ... How to refuel your private jet

More scrutiny, not less For the Internal Revenue Service and tax-exempt groups, the real scandal lies not with the few that have been over-investigated, but with the many that continue...

By Charles Peters

May/ June 2013 In praise of better government ... Welfare for the Rockefellers ... Whatever happened to truth in labeling?

Large and in charge Attorney General Eric Holder recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee that some banks have become “so large” that it’s “difficult for us to prosecute them.” Wait...

By Charles Peters

March/ April 2013 McCruzyism ... Too big to jail ... Wake up, Democrats

Wake up, Democrats It’s time for Democrats to wake up to the need to get out their voters in nonpresidential election years. This is where Republicans have been winning races...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2013 Petraus's demands ... Fox News's GOP ambitions ... Washington's merry-go-round

Langley’s Bartlebys I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about “the talking points,” but it’s fascinating to discover that the real culprit was not Susan Rice or a sinister White House...

By Charles Peters

November/December 2012 Woodward’s folly ... Romney’s hardship ... Finishing what Clinton started

President, dictator, whatever In the long parade of books on the topic of what Obama could or should have done, which began with Ron Suskind's Confidence Men, the silliest of...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Guilty party

"G.O.P. Edge As Dynamics Shift in House Races," read a frightening headline in the New York Times this summer. How can this be happening after a record of ceaseless obstructionism...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 They were for it before they were against it

Speaking of Republicans' "unified opposition" to Obama's initiatives, I had known that the individual mandate to buy health insurance had originally been proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation and was...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Don't forget 2010

When I read that there is an "enthusiasm gap" in the 2012 campaign that favors the Republicans by a considerable margin, I thought: If ever there was a time when...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Where's the beef?

One of the main problems of Obama's health care bill has been the lack of public understanding of its provisions. Why doesn't the public know? One answer comes from the...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 The Me-First Era

Both the very conservative Charles Murray and the moderate conservative David Brooks agree about what Murray calls the "segregation of capitalism from virtue." I can remember that in the 1950s...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 How was the sense of responsibility lost?

Last year I traced the explosion of greed and selfishness since the 1980s to the self-indulgence that developed out of the gradual morphing of the 1950s and early-1960s movement for...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Split by snobbery

The snobbery for which we criticized Spywas another development we did not like about the late 1960s. It was expressed most notably by the largely college-educated antiwar protestors who called...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Pill payola

Television's Dr. Drew—his last name is Pinsky—has been caught taking payoffs from the drug company GlaxoSmithKline for endorsing its antidepression drug Wellbutrin. Of course, Dr. Pinsky is just the tip...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Feed the beast

One reason why I fear we will never get real campaign finance reform is that the media industry is reaping such vast profits from the sale of time for all...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Two scandals that weren't

Two recent articles in the New York Times have made me wonder which Timeseditors were asleep the day they were published. One, by Motoko Rich, ran as the lead article...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 A problem with Obama books

What is most gratifying about Michael Grunwald's The New New Deal is that it gives full attention to explaining the good about Obama's stimulus program while also acknowledging the not...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Clinton's catch-22

As the Clintons were entering the White House in January 1993, I wrote an article for the New York Times Magazine advising them about what to do and what not...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Remembering Raspberry

William Raspberry was one of Washington's genuinely wise men. As a black man he had the courage to criticize his fellow blacks: "civil rights leadership, for all its emphasis on...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Fun with complex geometric shapes

Not only have Republican legislatures sought to suppress Democratic votes by passing voter ID laws, they are removing Democratic voters from close congressional districts by redistricting. In Pennsylvania, for example,...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 Making the same mistakes again

Read Rajiv Chandrasekaran's and weep. In Afghanistan, Foreign Service and USAID employees are largely sealed off from Afghans, rarely fluent in the local language, frequently serving tours too short for...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 You know?

Have you ever caught yourself abusing "you know"? Then you will sympathize with Barack Obama, who managed to use "you know" fifty-two times in just one interview, the one with...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 More Ginsberg memories

Now, to more memories of Allen Ginsberg. In some ways, Allen was a bad influence during that first year I knew him, in 1946-47. In teaching me how to be...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 A shifting wind

A high-end costume jewelry store serving Washington's wealthiest neighborhood ran a poll in 2008 based on how many McCain or Obama pins it sold. Obama won by a comfortable margin....

By Charles Peters

September/October 2012 The enthusiasm gap... Clinton's catch-22... The Me-First Era...

Guilty party "G.O.P. Edge As Dynamics Shift in House Races," read a frightening headline in the New York Times this summer. How can this be happening after a record...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Allen Ginsberg and me... The littlest one-percenters... The bias toward seeing pro-Obama bias...

The bias towards, seeing pro-Obama bias Arthur S. Brisbane, the ombudsman for the New York Times, wrote a column this spring urging his paper’s reporters to take “a hard look...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 First in class

You may have read about the recent death of Lieutenant Commander Wesley A. Brown, who in 1949 became the first black midshipman to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. Other...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Details, details

It is the contention of many people that Obama’s stimulus should have been quicker and bigger. But the facts are that his stimulus bill became law on February 17, 2009,...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Even a broken clock…

The Columnist, a new play about Joseph Alsop, whose observations on public affairs were a staple of op-ed pages for forty years, has attracted a lot of attention and praise...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Read once, then bang head repeatedly

Back to West Virginia: the Charleston Gazette’s Phil Kabler recently uncovered a maddening catch-22 for 1,800 inmates of the state’s regional jails. The regionals are the jails that house lower-...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Of bullies and blowing smoke

If the recent story of Romney’s prep school bullying belonged on the front page of the Washington Post, so does the story of Obama’s collegiate pot smoking. So goes the...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Strong hair, weak spine

Two suggestions for those who were shocked when Mitt Romney joined hands with Donald Trump at a Las Vegas fund-raiser just hours after Trump had restated his doubts about Obama’s...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 The floating cost of a vestigial organ

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and reported by the Associated Press reveals that in California, the cost of an appendectomy can range from $1,500 to $180,000,...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 CSI: FBI

That Mueller’s efforts have not been totally successful, however, is suggested by a recent series on the FBI’s forensic labs, by Spencer Hsu of the Washington Post. Flaws in the...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 The clowns in black

Be sure to read Tim Weiner’s Enemies. It is a history of the FBI’s many failures and occasional successes. The former include Ruby Ridge; Waco; the escape of the traitor...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Lost in translation

One of the consistent problems with our foreign policy is that those executing it have been less than fluent in the languages of the people with whom they are working....

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 The informant

Speaking of West Virginia, the former superintendent of the Upper Big Branch Mine, the scene of the 2010 explosion that cost twenty-nine miners their lives, has testified, according to the...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 A bit too obvious

The job of general counsel of the West Virginia Educational Association, the teacher’s union in my home state, recently became vacant. “We had an opening and saw this as an...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Not tough, just obnoxious

All that I dislike about CNBC was captured recently in an interview of Sheila Bair, the former head of the FDIC, by CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. When Bair would start to...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 It’s not just the return of giant glasses and leggings

Have you noticed how many of the unfortunate trends of recent years, though they may have had earlier roots, really took off in the 1980s? Most notable was the explosion...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 How’s this for moral hazard

Speaking of overpaid corporate executives, did you know that Vikram Pandit received a total compensation of $42,815,263 as CEO of CitiCorp in 2011, even though his shareholders saw their returns...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Department of mixed connections

Have you noticed how many of the commercials on cable television are by manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices? And aren’t you just a bit troubled by how many of...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Allen Ginsberg and me

I see that this fall will bring two new movies about Allen Ginsberg and the beats, which reminds me, since I’m getting along in years, that it’s time to try...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 Diluted and delayed

You have probably read about Wall Street’s attempts to water down the Volcker Rule. Less well known, and just as disturbing to me, is that the rule will not truly...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 The littlest one-percenters

A recent Thursday Styles section in the New York Times gave prominent display— including a photograph that took up at least a third of the front page—to two children wearing...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2012 The bias towards, seeing pro-Obama bias

Arthur S. Brisbane, the ombudsman for the New York Times, wrote a column this spring urging his paper’s reporters to take “a hard look at the president,” implying that they...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Koch d'etet... The liberal Republicanosaurus... Romney's attack machine...

Wonder why? The Discovery Channel recently ran an hour-long documentary on the Costa Concordia disaster <more> A ray of hope “Fewer graduates of elite Ivy League schools are choosing careers...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 A challenge for the media

For all his faults, Barack Obama is obviously the best presidential candidate. And the Democrats in Congress, for all their faults, are clearly better than their Republican counterparts. This should...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 The liberal Republicanosaurus

For those too young to recall that there were once more than one or two liberal Republicans, I can assure that they actually existed in considerably greater number. When I...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Missing in action

In all the coverage of the shooting rampage by the soldier in Afghanistan, and the role that his repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan may have played in it, I...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 The great “Great Divergence”

As we all know, income inequality in this country has been growing for a long time. The latest evidence: in 2010 the top 1 percent of taxpayers captured 93 percent...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Never look a gift exposé in the mouth

If you wonder why I beat the drum so constantly for better media coverage of government, here’s a quote from Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense, about his time...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Pick your poison

One error that some school reformers make is to place too much emphasis on testing, even when it takes into account different student backgrounds. Consider the case of a teacher...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Michael ♥ Lloyd

If you were one of those liberals flirting with the notion of a third party headed by Michael Bloomberg, consider this recent headline from the New York Times. “With Visit...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Koch d’etat

The Koch brothers, you may have heard, have tried to oust the leadership of the CATO Institute. CATO’s policies agree with the Kochs’ right-wing positions 80 percent of the time....

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 A bad argument

The New York Review of Books seems to have embraced Diane Ravitch’s campaign against public school reform. It has published articles by her in back-to-back issues this year. In the...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Under the radar

The latest example of White House inattentiveness comes courtesy of the General Services Administration, which managed to create a scandal by squandering $823,000 on a conference of its employees at...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Cashing in by going public

The sponsors of the new JOBS Act seem to have assumed that encouraging IPOs will help small businesses in their struggle to survive. But what these initial public offerings of...

By Charles Peters

Land o’ Likes

As you may recall, I am not a fan of Facebook, fearing it has become a major encourager of self-involvement. Confirmation of my concern comes from a study reported by...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Can you believe it?

Politico seems to have actually succeeded in shaming a K Street firm into dropping a valuable client. This rare feat was apparently accomplished by its revelation that the Livingston Group—composed...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Block the vote

If you have doubted that the efforts of Republican state legislators to suppress minority voting are succeeding, ponder this news. From the time when Florida’s new election law took effect...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 When the 800-pound gorilla speaks ...

You may recall the firing of Shirley Sherrod. Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, dismissed her hours after a video purporting to show her making a racist remark was posted...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 “It’s a great idea, but ...”

As a veteran observer of clever bureaucrats, I have come to admire a tactic often employed by the secretary of the treasury, Timothy Geithner. When the White House is considering...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 A ray of hope

“Fewer graduates of elite Ivy League schools are choosing careers in finance,” reported the New York Times recently. The Wall Street Journal, however, ran this headline: “On Campus, Wall Street...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2012 Wonder why?

The Discovery Channel recently ran an hour-long documentary on the Costa Concordia disaster. If the name of the ship’s owner, Carnival Cruise Lines, was mentioned, it was so sotto voce...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Highballing at Bain Capital... Groundhog Day in D.C. ... A Bastille Worth Storming...

With heroes like these... The Bain con Goldman Sachs is our compass Some things never change One SWAT too many There’s something about Marco Did the Kennedys buy West Virginia?...

By Charles Peters

January/ February 2012 Casino Jack knows... Longing for Bill... JFK's best and worst

Casino Jack knows what he's talking about Memories of Bill Life inside the 1 percent The best think JFK ever did The worst thing JFK ever did Why he had...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 David Brooks's mistake... Barack Obama' successes... And his critics and their choice in 2012

Hidden capital Consider the alternative The company you keep They know not what he does The takeover Christie as cynic Regulation is not the problem The danger of doing nothing...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 With heroes like these …

It is now well known that Apple’s Chinese suppliers have employees who work twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and are housed in dorms with, according to the...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 The Bain con

One of the most common tactics employed by defense and other contractors is called “lowballing.” They win government contracts by making the lowest bid and then, once the work has...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Goldman Sachs is our compass

Similar to my qualms about Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, I am puzzled that the Human Rights Campaign appears to believe that the cause of gay marriage gains moral authority...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Some things never change

If you’re comforted by stories showing that, in some respects at least, the good old days are still with us, then you’ll appreciate the latest news out of West Virginia....

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 One SWAT too many

In another story from my hometown paper, the Gazette reports that a SWAT team from the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office has been found innocent of wrongdoing after its members managed...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 There’s something about Marco

If you’re a Democrat, worry about Marco Rubio. He seems destined to be the Republican vice presidential candidate, and he has the potential to change the political equation in the...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Did the Kennedys buy West Virginia?

In defense of my home state, I should explain that not every election can be bought. Electoral hanky-panky flourishes when voters are indifferent, not when they care. And even the...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Jodi and Michelle

When Michelle Obama recently seemed to perceive Jodi Kantor’s new book The Obamas as another portrayal of her as an “angry black woman,” media observers were practically unanimous in defending...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Ravitch vs. Rhee

The counterattack led by Diane Ravitch on the movement to improve teacher quality has gained considerable steam, yet it is based on a totally false premise that because the overall...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Quality, control

It turns out that the terrible train collision in China last year was caused by a failed signal mechanism. It had not been properly tested because the leader of the...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Doesn’t sound wise

I continue to worry that the wrong cuts will be made in the Pentagon’s budget—that too many of the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan will be lost just as those...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Groundhog Day in D.C.

Speaking of constants, see “The Amoral City Government,” the headline of a recent column by Colbert King in the Washington Post. Sadly, it could have appeared on a great majority...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Back in the saddle again

Like the vote buyer who is running for sheriff in West Virginia, Gerard E. Evans, the Washington Post reports, has regained his top spot among Maryland lobbyists after serving a...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 A Bastille worth storming

I’m delighted that Barack Obama has taken on the cost of college. It is outrageous, and I’ve long marveled at how Americans meekly accept one tuition increase after another. We...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Jaded about the JD

As for the cost of a legal education, David Segal of the New York Times has recently described how existing law schools are controlling the accreditation process to keep out...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 A good tax

Another Journal op-ed that surprised and delighted me was one proposing a wealth tax. Capital assets are not touched by the income tax. A wealth tax, however, could get at...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Fox News and its viewers

Here’s a clue to the political orientation of the Fox News audience: Bob Beckel is the token liberal—and a very moderate one at that—on a Fox panel show called The...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Good cut, bad cut

Mitt Romney is advocating a cut across the board in the number of federal employees. He is right in thinking that the government workforce can be reduced, but across the...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Bombs away

One cut that could be made in the national security budget is to our nuclear arsenal. It is far larger than we need, as articles by Philip Taubman in the...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Don’t piss off Dick Nixon

One of Obama’s proposals for government reorganization involves moving NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Interior, which would seem to...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2012 Keeping score on Wall Street

“Even for those making seven figures or more, cuts are ‘a blow,’ ” writes James B. Stewart of the New York Times. Here Stewart is quoting Michael Driscoll, a former...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Casino Jack knows what he's talking about

I never expected to find myself in agreement with Jack Abramoff, who recently emerged from prison after serving three years for his leading role in one of Washington’s biggest corruption...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Memories of Bill

During the last year or so I’ve heard an increasing number of my liberal friends speak longingly of Bill Clinton’s presidency, either impliedly or explicitly comparing him favorably to Obama....

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Life inside the 1 percent

The New York Times is, without doubt, the nation’s best newspaper. Sometimes, however, its need to cater to its more affluent readers, the targets of much of the paper’s advertising,...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 The best thing JFK ever did

I really enjoyed reading Chris Matthews’s Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero. Chris’s understanding, unique among the commentariat, of working-class voters, especially the Irish Catholic subset, helps explain the ardent and crucial...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 The worst thing JFK ever did

The book, however, does not mention what I think is the worst thing Kennedy ever did. After he saved the world from a nuclear catastrophe, he then kept secret his...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Why he had to appear tough

In the years immediately before World War II, the Democrats gained the reputation of being the strongest party on national security. But postwar accusations that the Democrats had let Russia...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Justice in coal country

God bless D. Booth Goodwin II. He’s the U.S. attorney who, at long last, really stuck it to a coal company. After years of token penalties that have been far...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Credit where due

Honoring the U.S. attorney in West Virginia reminds me of other recent heroes deserving of praise. Among them is Carolyn Lerner, who is doing such an outstanding job as head...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Moonshine morality

The recent PBS series on prohibition was at once frightening and reassuring: scary when it revealed that a really bad constitutional amendment could get passed by thirty- six state legislatures...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 The Pentagon is a spoiled brat

I have mostly been an admirer of Leon Panetta during his long career of public service, but I worry about his recent statement that budget cuts could “hollow out” the...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 A bad trade

Do you know how much water is required by the drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”? The answer, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Russel Gold and Ana Campoy,...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Pension rackets

A recent study of the Washington area’s Metro system of subways and buses identified a serious problem of worker fatigue. Surprisingly, it turns out that pensions are a contributing factor....

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Spoiler alert

Americans Elect, a group that’s generously funded by secret Wall Street donors, according to Salon’s Jason Elliot, promises to put a third party on the ballot in fifty states. It...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 The trouble with redistricting

Partisan redistricting of congressional seats has, of course, been a major factor in the gridlock that cripples Washington. Virginia provides a striking example of what it is doing to the...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 The old college fail

A couple of years ago, I wrote about how my son, a teacher in a high school in San Bern- adino, in southern California, had gradually realized that, despite his...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Unreasonably Hatched

A Pennsylvania police officer has been told he can’t run for the local school board because his bomb-sniffing dog is funded by the Department of Homeland Security. If that doesn’t...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 Nothing personal, Mr. Cordray

If the Wall Street reforms enacted under Obama are as weak as many of us thought, why are Wall Street and the Republicans fighting so hard to sabotage them? The...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2012 As goes California …

“Since 2004 we’ve seen younger people voting much more Democratic than average and older people much more Republican than average,” concludes Andrew Kohut, in a study by the Pew Research...

By Charles Peters

November/December 2011 Hidden capital

There is a problem with government accounting that drives me around the bend, but that I rarely see noted elsewhere. When corporations build a factory, it is considered a positive,...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 Consider the alternative

I agree with those who say both parties are responsible for the sorry state of Washington, but isn’t it time to face the fact that much more than half the...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 The company you keep

One of the most disturbing trends is the one away from Obama among so many liberal American Jews. Are they going to let themselves be swayed by the right wing...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 They know not what he does

One little-noted Obama accomplishment was recently acknowledged by Kevin Sack in the New York Times. He reports that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of uninsured young...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 The takeover

In previous columns I have noted that congressional staffers now dream not of becoming members, as they once did, but of earning big bucks as lobbyists. Now comes a study...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 Christie as cynic

Back to Obama. I agree with the criticism that he has spent too much time reaching out to Republicans. But I do understand and admire his desire to find common...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 Regulation is not the problem

Conservatives with minds as capable of subtlety and irony as David Brooks's are rare. Recently, however, Brooks fell into an outrageous right-wing cliché, asserting that "a growing government sucked resources...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 The danger of doing nothing

"Imagine a football field packed 20 feet high with highly radioactive nuclear waste," as Mark Moremond of the Wall Street Journal recently asked his readers to do. That, he explains,...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 Learning on the job

If Solyndra was a mistake, it was, as my friend Joe Nocera made clear in a recent New York Times column, an understandable one. But it also illustrates Obama's greatest...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 When going public was bad for the public

If the age of greed did not officially begin until the 1980s, there were some early signs that it was on its way. One was the craze for "going public"...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 The tune-up

Speaking of Steven Rattner reminds me of another Obama triumph, the rescue of the auto industry, in which Rattner was the administration's point man. This effort saved more than a...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 How both sides got wiser

Many of the reforms are in management management, which is becoming more flexible and innovative. But one significant reform, reported by the Wall Street Journal, came from big labor. The...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 Medical laissez-faire

"At least 15 drug and medical device companies have paid $6.5 billion since 2008 to settle accusations of marketing fraud or kickbacks," reports the Washington Post. These kickbacks were typically...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 Who's in charge?

In case you live in the Washington area and worry what would happen in the event of another event like 9/11 or the Cuban missile crisis—during which the possibility of...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 How the Washington, D.C. area got rich

In 2010, the Washington metropolitan area enjoyed the highest median income of any in the country. A major factor in the growth of our wealth has been government contracts. The...

By Charles Peters

November/ December 2011 The right time to propose

In only its second issue, March 1969, this magazine exposed one secret of the clever contractor. It was to make his proposal toward the end of a fiscal year, when...

By Charles Peters

September/October 2011 The Monkey Wrench Gang... All the take that's fit to print... Corporate jetting to the Hamptons

The hand he was dealt Liberals’ anger at Obama during the default debate was based on the fact that they actually seemed to think he had the power to do...

By Charles Peters

July/August 2011 Layer cake... The Department of Housing and Unbelievable Delays... God help the squeaky wheel

Layer cake Much of this column will be devoted to a short course on how Washington really works, with special emphasis on truths that are not widely understood. One of...

By Charles Peters

May/June 2011 Supreme Amnesia…A slam Dunc…Your thoughts, please…

Take a load off, Army One of the problems with our educated elite’s failure to serve in the military is their ignorance of the problems of the average soldier, and...

By Charles Peters

March/April 2011 The ugly truth in twenty-one words… The bakery-industrial complex… Make-believe = survival

Washington at its best I For those of us who came to Washington with John Kennedy, January was a time for both mourning and celebration. On the 20th, a ceremony...

By Charles Peters

January/February 2011 Cool Hand Barack … Don’t let sleeping lies dog … Capitalism could break your heart …

Finally, an audience! The members of the Foreign Service owe a great debt to Julian Assange. He got their cables read. One of the major frustrations of Foreign Service officers...

By Charles Peters

November/December 2010 Mad money… Regulation by milquetoasts… Pulp this item…

Jobs versus schools: It’s complicated In January of 1979, Marion Berry was about to take office for his first term as mayor of Washington. A mutual friend mistakenly thought we...

By Charles Peters

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