July 02, 2001
"You want to know about the awakening? This is the awakening." Ginny Gong, a manager in the Montgomery County culture and recreation department, is crowded into the wood-paneled school board chamber in Rockville, Maryland. Squeezed into the aisles around her are a Vietnamese financial analyst from Lockheed Martin, a Chinese administrator from the National Institutes of Health, and about a dozen other activists.
Twenty-five years before he became the most unlikely star in the U.S. Senate, Lincoln Chafee was a shaggy-haired nomad, fresh from a drug-enhanced stint at Brown University, shoeing horses at harness racetracks in the United States and Canada. His father, Senator John Chafee, may have been a titan of Rhode Island politics, but Linc, as he is known, had little interest in the family business. It wasn't until he grew bored with the private sector--he was working as a manager in a steel mill at the time--that he decided to enter public life.
It's not often that a high-ranking administration official tells a reporter that another high-ranking administration official is essentially dead weight. It's even rarer that such assertions are made on the record. But that's pretty much what happened in early June, when top White House education aide Sandy Kress, during an interview with The Wall Street Journal, described Education Secretary Rod Paige as "a little bit on the periphery." Even more remarkably, Kress was almost certainly guilty of understatement.
An almost remarkable piece ran in last Sunday's Washington Post. I say "almost" because the Post has run articles before that reflect mild black hostility to whites. But it is still rare for even the Post or The New York Times to run articles that openly defend racial separatism as a goal in itself. The article, by Post staffer Natalie Hopkinson, is a tale of how she and her husband moved to D.C. and bought an expensive Victorian house in the District's Bloomingdale section. Her intent was not merely to live in the District but to prevent white people from buying the house.
June 25, 2001
New York representative Peter King likes to tell a story about his friend, the cabletelevision talk-show host Chris Matthews. Last May, King was a guest on Matthews's show. Rudy Giuliani had just hinted that he was about to drop out of the New York Senate race, and King's colleague, Rick Lazio, was preparing to step in as his replacement. King, who had once eyed the nomination himself, wasn't especially keen on the upstart from Long Island. But Matthews was even more dismissive.
June 18, 2001
Now that they control the Senate, some Democrats want to treat George W. Bush's judicial nominees as badly as Republicans treated Bill Clinton's. Senate Republicans repeatedly distorted the records of Clinton's nominees to the federal appellate courts, painting judicial moderates as judicial activists and denying them hearings. While Ronald Reagan and Clinton appointed similar numbers of appellate judges, 87 percent of Reagan's nominees were confirmed, compared with only 61 percent of Clinton's.
May 21, 2001
Going for Gold
The debate over the Bush tax cut has been shrouded in a fog of cant and untruth. But every so often the fog clears, just for a moment. One such moment occurred in early March, when the Republican leadership in Congress held a rally in support of the president’s tax cut. As is often the case with such events, the rally organizers needed bodies as a backdrop, a visual cue indicating the support of the populace. And so they contacted Washington’s business lobbies, many of whom have pledged themselves to the tax cut effort. But the congressional leadership understood that a visual backdrop of Arma
May 14, 2001
In my criminal procedure class this year, we tried to decide whether a driver who has been pulled over by the police because of his race has suffered a constitutional injury. "The problem isn't being pulled over," said one African American student. "It's what happens after. You have to do this step-'n'-fetch-it routine, showing that you're subordinate to the officer, to make sure he won't arrest you. Even if the officer is black, it's incredibly degrading." The comment changed the way the class and I thought about the constitutionality of racial profiling.
April 09, 2001
Last week, the Supreme Court held that a Circuit City employee in California who claimed he had suffered race discrimination couldn't sue the electronics dealer under the state's antidiscrimination law. When he'd applied for the job, the employee had agreed to resolve employment disputes through arbitration. And last week the five conservative justices announced that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 requires judges to enforce arbitration agreements even when they conflict with state law.
March 19, 2001
In Defense of Conventional Wisdom
There are certain ideas so beyond the pale they cannot be publicly defended. You never see politicians arguing for child molestation or op-eds defending Hitler. But there is one particular idea so disdained, so monstrous, that it must be pulled out and flayed almost daily: conventional wisdom. Since 1980 the New York Times editorial page has published at least 38 columns condemning world hunger, 241 against South African apartheid, and 465 containing the phrase "conventional wisdom"--and never once did the Times mean it in a nice way. Like muckrakers railing against J.P. Morgan and John D.