May/June 2004

Cover Story: Who's Better Off?

We offer a different view of the state of the union, and a twist on Ronald Reagan's memorable line from 1980.

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FEATURES

$In Search of Common Ground

Why do we stand by as jobs vanish, schools deteriorate, and health care becomes a luxury? In an age of individualism, maybe we've simply decided nothing much matters—except ourselves.

$Class Dismissed

No more teachers, no more books. In Oregon and elsewhere, a combination of budget cuts, federal underfunding, and a Dick Armey-led tax revolt are devastating the schools.
P L U S :
Reading, Writing, and Landscaping

How teachers make ends meet

$Whose Hospital Is It?

In the brutal economics of today's health care business, there may no longer be room for institutions like Philadelphia's MCP Hospital—or for the communities they serve.





$Contracts with America

From Iraq to homeland security, the Bush administration is turning over crucial government jobs to private contractors— including the task of policing the contracts.

$Stats of the Union
Painting America, by the numbers

$Losing Friends & Alienating People

Career diplomats weigh in on the Bush foreign-policy record. And the verdict is sobering.

$The End of Empire

Rather than launching a U.S. quest to remake the Middle East, Iraq may signal the end of the neoconservatives' grand vision.

$One Liberty at a Time

As go the rights of Padilla, Hamdi, and the other detainees, so go the rights of us all.

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DEPARTMENTS

Editor's Note
Masthead
Contributors
Backtalk


Is the Pentagon pushing pathogens?; the quotable Mr. Byrd; one widow's year of lobbying dangerously; misadventures of a middle Shrub; Medicare's new Golden Rule; and a Hellraiser who brings low power to the people


The Radio Flyer goes off-road; plus playing with the president


$The No-Exit Strategy

Four honest lessons from the war


$The Stump Speech

I Am the President, I Speak for the Trees


For their God and country?

Chips off "The Rock"


Debra J. Dickerson reviews the human fallout of New York's drug-sentencing laws; truth teller Billy Bragg on Bush, Blair, and American Idol; plus more book, music, and film reviews


Resources for getting involved


Fancy Footwear
Cartoon by Greg Clarke