Two years ago, Nick Melvoin was hired to teach English at Markham Middle School, which serves some 1,500 students in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The school, which is 72 percent Hispanic, 27 percent black, and mostly poor, posts among the lowest test scores in the city. Last year, nearly 60 percent of students were suspended at some point. And, just off school grounds, students must navigate poverty, crime, and gangs. But, fresh out of college, Melvoin, a Los Angeles native, was excited to work with kids in one of his city's most challenging schools.
People who complain about Max Baucus seem to forget that not so long ago the likes of James Inhofe chaired Senate committees. And if you worked in a Democratic administration, those folks made your job a tough slog. Back in the Clinton White House, I was a middling staffer on the Domestic Policy Council, working on issues ranging from the adoption tax credit to media violence and its effect on children. One of my bosses, as it happens, was Elena Kagan.
The Gores always seemed to have a storybook marriage. They were Mom and Dad: reliable, comforting, occasionally goofy, and totally icky to watch mack in public. Their lives had plenty of high drama, but it never centered on their marriage. High school kids when they fell in love, the Gores long stood as (the increasingly rare) marital grownups on the political stage. Now it is over.
Israel does not need enemies: it has itself. Or more precisely: it has its government. The Netanyahu-Barak government has somehow found a way to lose the moral high ground, the all-important war for symbols and meanings, to Hamas. That is quite an accomplishment. Operation Make the World Hate Us, it might have been called. I leave it to others to make the operational criticisms of the Israeli action, and will say only that even my amateurish understanding of the tactical challenge posed by the interdiction of the boats suffices to suggest that there were other ways to do this.
I have held off on writing about Rand Paul’s take on the Civil Rights Act. Partly because I am finishing a book. But also because his idea that it shouldn’t have been made illegal for businesses, as private institutions, to discriminate strikes me as, oddly, both too interesting to sound off on without long-term reflection and too uninteresting to get excited about in the moment. Uninteresting because who among us really thinks that there will be a move any time soon to legalize segregation for American businesses?
Washington—It should become the philosophical shot heard 'round the country.
Click here to read Berman's response to Stephen F.
Two years ago, the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy wrote an insightful essay in Reason titled, “The Cult of the Presidency.” Healy argued that the office of the president had assumed an almost supernatural place in American life. Not only had presidents assumed powers far beyond those originally intended—though I’d take exception to Healy’s shrunken, nineteenth-century conception of the office’s proper role—but the broader culture had also assigned it powers that go beyond the realm of politics itself.
“Very well-written … but dead screaming wrong,” my critic wrote in an email that a friend forwarded to me. “Judis has managed to write about the Tea Party movement without referring to its profound racism.” This sums up the chief complaint that I received about the article I wrote on the Tea Party movement. It is also a common interpretation of the Tea Parties, especially on the political left.
An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on salt isn’t normally where you’d go to discover a muscular new approach to food regulation. But Fox News and the Salt Institute were not wrong to call last month’s report nanny statish. What it proposes is a revolution in the relationship between the government and the food we put on our plates. For one thing, the IOM report calls for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clamp down on salt in the absence of much evidence that consumers want the agency to do so.