James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States, and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book, China Airborne, was published in early May. More
James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.
Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His two most recent books, Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009), are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book, China Airborne, was published in early May. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.
As Clinton loses caucus states, she keeps saying they favor Obama, and so does the press. The press in particular says that the caucuses reward greater organization. Whether or not that is so, and whether or not Obama is better organized than Clinton, the fact is that NEITHER candidate was that well organized for the WA caucuses (see my note below), and I suspect Obama was not for Maine.
The dispatch goes on to say that the point is not at all to belittle Obama's organizers. Rather, it's this: that at least in Washington, the contest appeared to have moved beyond the strict get-out-the-vote, nuts-and-bolts marshaling of resources, attrition-style warfare and onto some different level. (I have removed a few personally identifying details from the note):
REDLANDS, Calif. — The most trenchant symbol of the California presidential primary can be found on an isolated stretch of Interstate 15, smack in the middle of the Mojave Desert. There, affixed to an old trailer, is possibly the largest candidate billboard in the entire state, and it is for the Republican fringe candidate, Ron Paul.
Why did I notice?
1) Redlands is where I grew up and where my dad still lives, and it doesn't get that much national ink. So, great!
2) Redlands is not "smack in the middle of the Mojave Desert." To put this in terms that might resonate with the NYT copy desk, this would be like saying: White Plains is smack in the middle of the Adirondacks. More or less in the same part of the country? Yes. In the middle of? Not hardly.
3) Interstate 10 passes through Redlands. Interstate 15? Unt-uh -- at its closest point 15 or 20 miles away.
Maybe the writer was talking about some other place? Fine. But (not that I want to look a hometown gifthorse in the mouth), why this dateline? On to weighter matters another time. Update: Fellow son-of-Redlands Brian Beutler observed the same phenomenon on his blog. Seriously, wasn't sloppiness about datelines one of the complaints about the NYT during the wild and woolly days of Howell Raines? I'm sure what happened in this case was the following: the Ron Paul sign in question was probably someplace on I-15 en route to Barstow, which is in the middle of the Mojave Desert and which is the heartland of Paul-type libertarian/survivalist sentiment. And for the Times's purposes, it was no doubt all close enough to fit under a 40-miles-away dateline. On the other hand: Bill Keller, the NYT's editor, went to college right in this same area and presumably would have known better if he had seen the story. That's all on this subject.
Bush's 2008 State of the Union address, annotated by The Atlantic's James Fallows
"If somebody needs me to go do something [for the party], and nobody else can do it, I'll go do it." He pointed out that he had appeared at more than a hundred fundraising events for the party and its candidates in 2002. 'I'd like for my direct political involvement to go way down ..."Full transcript of the interview is here. Passages from the resulting cover story, "Post President for Life," come after the jump.
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|Blind into Baghdad||Boiled-frog|
|Brave little USB||Budget|
|China Airborne||China Daily|
|China Menace||China Today|
|Copenhagen||Crisis of the press|
|Doing Business in China||Dreaming in Chinese|
|Going to hell|
|Ideas 2009||Ideas 2011|
|Obama||Obama in Asia|
|Occupy Wall Street||Olympics|
|Public health||Reader comment|
|Security Sanity||Security Theater|
|Self-pity and its discontents||Small Business|
|Volcano||Walk like an American|
|Wine||Year end pensee|
The tech-industry veteran Linda Stone on how to pay attention
In his reprise as governor, he's been as ruthlessly practical as he's been reflective,…
James Fallows talks with space entrepreneur Eric Anderson about the next wave of space exploration.