December 05, 2008

Freedom Fighters
12:00 AM

The word "Freedom" is scribbled on the light-blue door of Jameel Aldweek's classroom in the New Kufar Aqab Girls School on the outskirts of Ramallah. It is a welcome reprieve from the swastika and “All Jews are pussies” emblazoned on the security barrier as I entered the West Bank. Aldweek, director of the Al-Razee Association and co-teacher of a new pilot project in two Palestinian schools, begins by asking the dozen sixth-grade girls in attendance, "What does democracy mean to you?" "Liberty and responsibility," one student immediately shoots back.

What Napolitano Means For The Border Fence
12:00 AM

Environmentalists should be pretty excited about having Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security—and not because, as Ed Rendell so awkwardly noted, she's single and will have more time to spend on the job. As the governor of Arizona, Napolitano has been forced to consider the impacts that immigration—and attempts to stop immigration—are having on wildlife in the border region. And she's had the sort of firsthand border experience that makes her question the utility of the security fence that's currently under construction along several sections of the border.

Wake Up America
12:00 AM

Will you pardon an occasional rant? Isn’t that partly what blogs are good for? My subject today is the failure of Congress and the Bush administration to bail out the American auto industry. If today’s news stories are accurate, any bailout will have to await the new Congress and administration in January, and by then the price tag will have climbed much higher, making the public more resistant to helping, and one or two of the firms might have gone under. Why is that a problem?

Will The New Office Of Urban Policy Go Green?
12:00 AM

Among the major reorganizing principles telegraphed in the early days after president-elect Barack Obama’s win, I’m most intrigued by his announcement of an office of urban policy, to be stationed in the White House proper.

December 04, 2008

"For Their Own Good"
12:00 AM

In 1836, the United States and the State of Georgia forced the Cherokee Indian tribe to leave its home in Georgia and to move to the West. The Tribe did not want to move. It believed it had a legal right to stay; and in the early 1830s, it brought two actions at law in the Supreme Court designed to enforce that legal right. The story of those lawsuits is a story of courts caught in a collision between law and morality, between desire and force.

Ballot Boxed
12:00 AM

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, the hand-wringing over voting irregularities reached a fever pitch. Rolling Stone published a feature by Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., warning that Republicans may have already stolen the election. The McCain campaign highlighted accusations that the civil rights group ACORN was trying to commit voter fraud by fabricating voter registrations. Voting rights groups sent nearly daily e-mail blasts to reporters obsessing over every state and local incident of voter intimidation or suppression.

Why Israelis Love Chabad

Jerusalem, Israel Gavriel and Rivkie Holtzberg, the young Israeli couple who ran the Chabad House in Mumbai and were murdered there by jihadists, died bound and helpless, like those Jewish martyrs disparaged for their quietism by the Zionist ethos. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, the Holtzbergs never served in the Israeli army--yet when they were buried on Tuesday, Israeli society mourned as though they were fallen soldiers. When their coffins arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport, they were draped in the national flag.

Samantha Power Is A Friend Of Israel
12:00 AM

Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the first Jew to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court, was also the leading American Zionist and, for some years, the great titanic figure of international Zionism itself, even above Chaim Weizmann, who ended his career as the first president of the State of Israel.

Does Obama Need Congress To Act On Climate Change?
12:00 AM

What happens if Congress can't—or won't—pass a climate bill in the next two years? Does that mean Obama will just have to scrap his promise to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions? No, not necessarily. As we've discussed before, and as Marc Ambinder pointed out yesterday, thanks to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, the EPA has the option of using the existing Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 from power plants and large industrial facilities. Here's Ambinder's take: If Obama decides to do this, climate change conservatives will go ape. An end-run around Congress.

Was Nov. 4 The End Of Racial History?
12:00 AM

A recent review of Tom Sugrue's Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North in the New York Observer makes a startling accusation. Sugrue, argues critic Jonathan Liu, plods through decades of racial conflict and uneven progress without ever considering “the potential and potency of a single transformative racial moment … Sweet Land of Liberty will forever be the last major work on race relations published before the astounding uplift of The Change.” That change, needless to say, is the election of Barack Obama as the nation's first black president.