The budget stalemate has quickened Democratic hopes and Republican fears of a new congressional majority in 1996, but the fate of both parties is more likely to be sealed by the latest judicial battles over racial gerrymandering. Faithfully applying the Supreme Court's recent command that race can't be the "predominant factor" in districting decisions, a federal appellate court last week proposed to eliminate two of Georgia's three majority black congressional districts.
When Craig Miller read in a local newspaper that Hope of Israel, a Russian branch of Jews for Jesus, was inviting the Russian Jewish community to a Chanukah party a little over a year ago, he called every rabbi in the neighborhood. In thirty minutes he had convinced one of them, Rabbi Samuel Berger, to host an alternative Chanukah party at his synagogue. Four days later, on Saturday, December 3, 1994, nearly ninety Jewish demonstrators with long black coats and beards milled in front of the Methodist church in Sheepshead Bay.
When 367 Republican House candidates signed the Contract with America on September 27, 1994, they pledged to create "a Congress that is doing what the American people want and doing it in a way that instills trust." As they stood on the steps of the Capitol, Texas Representative Dick Armey declared, "[W]e enter a new era in American government. Today one political party is listening to the concerns of the American people, and we are responding with specific legislation.
An extraordinary human and political drama is being played out in Burma. At center stage is the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), a hydra-headed military junta that has dominated the country since repressing a democratic uprising six years ago. Sharing the spotlight is the charismatic Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize-winning leader of the pro-democracy forces, daughter of the founder of modern Burma, Aung San.
Bill Clinton was being treated to the good side of Newt Gingrich. When congressional leaders gathered at the White House in July for a dinner devoted to foreign affairs, the Speaker was, recalls a top Clinton official, like Wellington opining on world affairs. Gingrich lamented those Republicans who would slash contributions to the U.N.
Two years ago in a Denver courtroom, when we last encountered the anti-gay rights case Evans v. Romer, Professors Martha Nussbaum of Brown and Robert George of Princeton were wrangling about the proper translation of tolmema, Plato's adjective for homosexuality. Nussbaum said "deed of daring"; George preferred "abomination." (See "Sodom and Demurrer," TNR, November 29, 1993.) In its journey up to the Supreme Court, however, the case has been transformed from one about the definition of homosexuality to one about constitutional limitations on plebiscitary democracy.
Dear Dr. Gingrich: Forgive the slightly formal mode of address. I know all the best people nowadays--phone salesmen, talk-show hosts, politicians--prefer a mode of instant intimacy, but I still find it hard to make bosom buddies out of people I don't know. There is also the matter of academic courtesy. You were once a professor. I still am. This is, in a manner of speaking, an academic letter. According to an article in The New York Times, you were inspired in your youth by Arnold Toynbee and Isaac Asimov but have as your "guide du jour" my study of the Hellenistic Age, Alexander to Actium.