I wrote Why the Democrats Are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party (Encounter Books), released this October. The book touches on many subjects I intend to write about for GetReligion: the media's treatment of secularism; the Catholic Church and Catholic social thought; American politics and government; and American mores and culture. To see why I am interested in and qualified to write about these subjects, a little background seems in order.
I was born in San Francisco in 1970 and raised in the Bay Area. I earned a B.A. in political science from Santa Clara University and an M.A. in the social sciences from the University of Chicago. In between, I worked for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps to redevelop an inner-city neighborhood in Baton Rouge, La., and worked as a literary assistant at America.
After school, I became a newspaper reporter. My stories on a contracting scandal in Brentwood, Calif., led to the resignation of a top city official. In 1997, the late great Michael Kelly hired me as a reporter-researcher at The New Republic. I then covered Congress for States News Service and was a staff writer at Education Week.
My stories have been cited by The Week in August 2003 as among the best in the country and received an honorable mention in 2005 from Washington Independent Writers.
My articles have appeared in many national publications, including The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, Christianity Today, Commonweal, National Catholic Register, and Inside Catholic. To research Why the Democrats are Blue, I received grants from the Phillips Foundation in Washington, D.C., and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation at the University of Texas in Austin.
I am the product of an eclectic, wonderful, and enfeebled Bay Area Catholic culture from the 1970s and ’80s. This helps explain why I play basketball and follow most team sports; love the Bay Area, especially San Francisco; read newspapers, magazines, and books; listen to U2, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and ’80s pop music; watch mainstream movies; jawbone with my friends; and attempt to follow the Seven Sacraments.
I live in Washington with my wife, Angy, and our daughter, Grace. We are parishioners at St. Peter's Catholic Church on Capitol Hill.