On the morning of September 11, Virginia's Republican gubernatorial nominee, Mark Earley, was sitting in a hotel conference room in Richmond, meeting with his political strategists. In the midst of reviewing his campaign's game plan for the race's eight-week homestretch, one of Earley's consultants—who was participating in the meeting from his own office via telephone—interrupted the proceedings to report the horrible scenes he was witnessing on his television.
It's the last weekend in May, and Baltimore's elite has escaped the sweltering city. Attorneys are relaxing on the beach in Ocean City. Bankers are playing golf at lush country clubs in the northern suburbs. And then there's Kurt Schmoke--not only a member of the city's elite, but its mayor-- who can't seem to break free from either Baltimore or the job that's keeping him there.Schmoke is spending his Saturday afternoon at Dunbar High School, a drab fortress of a building in blighted East Baltimore, where he has come to hear from the neighborhood's beleaguered residents.