Person Education

'bollinger V. Suzman'

Lee Bollinger clearly considers himself to be a hero. It was so evident in his preening, faux-heroic speech on Monday, in which the Columbia University president valiantly told a Holocaust-denying, homosexual-murdering, genocide-inciting dictator "You exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator." What courage. Several days ago, I received the following message from Helen Suzman, the legendary South African parliamentarian who spent 36 years in office opposing apartheid, often as the only voice of reason in that body.

Thoughts On Ahmadinejad And Iconography
September 25, 2007

I. Once again, Iran's President Ahmadinejad's reputation was rescued by the ineptitude, rudeness and stupidity of a well- known reporter and then by those opponents of his who reenact the Yeats depiction of a world of discourse in which "the worst are full of passionate intensity." On the "60 Minutes" interview with Scott Pelley, Ahmadinejad showed himself--as in time past he'd done with such other famous and inept interviewers as Mike Wallace and Brian Williams--good- humored, well-informed and patient under rude, persistent, clumsy questioning.

The Ivy Gang

At my back-in-the-day former employer, the Boston Phoenix, Steven Stark laments John Edwards's chances at the nomination. Why? Edwards, you see, didn't go to Harvard or Yale. In the Democratic landscape of 2007, that doesn't seem as if it should be a problem. But you'd have to go back to 1984 to find a Democratic nominee (Walter Mondale) who didn't attend one of those elite universities for either college or graduate school. Before that, a number of Democratic also-rans, including Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas, and Jerry Brown, were also graduates of either Harvard or Yale.

Who Is David Lammy?
May 14, 2007

Who is David Lammy? You are not obliged to know. But you should take notice...because he is an independent black Labor MP from Tottenham, one of the most ethnically diverse constituencies not only in Great Britain, but in all of Europe. The Guardian (or it's Sunday equivalent, The Observer) gave his visibility a boost by referring to him as the "black Blair," even though he shies away from the term.

Mcwhorter's Pick-axe Critique
April 26, 2007

John McWhorter, who is an off-and-on cotributor to our "Open University" blog (see here, here, here and here), is one of the most perceptive and challenging writers on race today. And since race relations--black and white, black and black--is expressed in language, McWhorter is a step ahead of everyone else in understanding both the subtle and the gross shifts in the culture of, and towards color. This is because he is a a learned linguist (he received his PhD in linguistics from Stanford and taught the subject at Cornell and Berkeley) and is alert to nuances that others don't notice.

Kyle Sampson, Cub Attorney
April 03, 2007

by Christine Stansell Not enough has been said about the dream of Kyle Sampson, Cub Attorney, to be U.S. attorney for Utah. Sampson graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1996. After a brief stint at a white-shoe law firm, he joined the right-wing stampede to Bush's Washington and landed a White House job via a friendship with Liz Cheney. By my calculations he was a little over 30 when he started axing career attorneys. But that wasn't enough for Sampson. After firing so many grownups, he thought he could be a grownup, too. And why not?

Freaks and Geeks; How Freakonomics is ruining the dismal science.
April 02, 2007

Related Links: Steven Levitt's response to Scheiber's argument, and Scheiber's response to Levitt. One of the few papers I actually read as a grad student was written by a pair of economists named Josh Angrist and Alan Krueger. In the early '90s, Angrist and Krueger set off to resolve a question that had been gnawing at economists for decades: Does going to school increase your future wages? Intuitively, it seemed obvious that it did. When you compared the salaries of, say, Ph.D.s with those of high-school dropouts, the grad-school set almost always did better.

It's The Hacks, Stupid
April 02, 2007

The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last argues that the real attorney scandal isn't a matter of political corruption (I'm not so sure) but rampant hackery (I totally agree). He focuses on the case of Monica "Taking the Fifth" Goodling: Goodling's background is curious. Now 33, she graduated from Messiah College, an evangelical Christian school, in 1995. After a year at the American University Washington College of Law, she enrolled at Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School in 1996 - the year it received full accreditation from the American Bar Association. She graduated from Regent in 1999.

The Two Monicas And The American Culture War
March 28, 2007

by Sanford Levinson Monica Lewinsky was involuntarily recruited into the American culture war as myth and symbol, and she is still paying a cost, as Richard Cohen noted a couple of months ago in an eloquent Washington Post column, saying she should be granted an honorable discharge from that war upon her recent graduation from an altogether serious program at the London School of Economics.

Libby's Tattered Record
March 07, 2007

by Richard Stern Hard to think that an American jury would convict a well-spoken, clean-featured, polite little fellow called "Scoooter." Who next, Tom Sawyer? Sure enough, a juror, minutes after the verdicts were handed over, said the jurors liked Scooter and wondered why it was he, rather than, say, Karl Rove, in the courtroom. Little Scooter looked to them like "a fall guy." As they were arriving at their logically imperative verdict, Jean Baudrillard, one of the most famous "postmodern gurus," died in Paris, age 77.