The Shame of Living in an Authoritarian Democracy

In Hungary, Nationalist Politicians Help Themselves (and Their Lovers) to the Spoils of Power

I was a young man studying journalism when conversation about the first Fidesz government in Hungary broke into our dining room. It ended with a dead political silence in my family.

It was 1998. Before that, the debates during family lunches on Saturdays had never been particularly meaningful; we never listened deeply to each other. I usually wanted to express to my parents my disappointment and hatred towards our leading politicians. But the rise of Fidesz—a conservative party led then and now by Prime Minister Viktor Orban—changed the dynamic in our …

Can the Sharing Economy Make Politicians More Responsive?

We Need an App to Help Us Inform Our Elected Leaders of What We Want and Need

California-based companies like Uber and Airbnb claim to be remaking the world according to the values of sharing and the Silicon Valley magic of leveraging empowering networks. They even say …

Driving Fred Thompson

The Senator Never Aspired to Washington—or Hollywood—but Nevertheless Moved Seamlessly Through Them Both

I spent an evening with Fred Thompson because I drew the short straw.

A lawyer and actor, Thompson had been elected U.S. Senator from Tennessee by that night in the …

Why Early 20th-Century Muckraker Lincoln Steffens Is a Man For Our Times

The New York Political Reporter Understood Political Corruption Was About a Warped System, Not Just Immoral Politicians

Voters are in a bad mood. Again. We are routinely (and justifiably) frustrated with our politicians, but “throwing the bums out” doesn’t seem to change much. And we are all …

Why I’ll Miss Our Flawed Mayor

At His Best, Antonio Villaraigosa Made L.A. Feel Like a Small Town

Antonio Villaraigosa is the only politician to ever call me an asshole to my face. And, come to think of it, he’s the only politician I’ve ever called an asshole …