Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

D'Souza's Pro-Colonialism.

Dinesh D'Souza 's latest ode to disingenuous stupidity has already been picked over by the blogosphere -- Adam Serwer had a particularly exquisite contribution -- but I wanted to make note of the Economist 's take , which adopted D'Souza's own approach of biographical exegesis to dismantle his argument. Here's an example: If Mr D'Souza hailed from a tiny Westernised elite that allied itself with the European colonialist project against the national independence movement of his own country, that would explain his monomania about anti-colonialism. The amusing thing is that D'Souza does have something of monomania about anti-colonialism; in 2002, he wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education challenging the academic consensus that colonialism was a bad thing. Jumping off from his own experiences, he argues that "the descendants of colonialism are better off than they would be if colonialism had never happened." As someone who sees the value in political regimes that don't rely...

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Boehner?

Democratic leaders are hoping to scare Democratic voters into action with their new John Boehner bogeyman : A new ad to begin running on cable television beginning Tuesday takes on Mr. Boehner over his opposition to a measure that provided money to preserve jobs of teachers and emergency workers and was partly paid for by closing a tax loophole for companies that do business overseas. Brad Woodhouse , a party spokesman, said the ad should serve to remind voters of the days of Republican majorities in the House, when the party in power “did the bidding of corporate America while leaving ordinary American families to fend for themselves.” I doubt this will have much of an effect on November's outcome; even with his relatively high profile, John Boehner isn't particularly well known. A Gallup survey taken in March found that while 29 percent had a favorable view of him, and 32 percent had an unfavorable view, 39 percent had no opinion either way. My guess is that this hasn't changed;...

Yes, Government Jobs Are Real Jobs.

I don't spend enough time on libertarian blogs, so I can't tell if Reason's Tim Cavanaugh is joking or not when he cites Cuba's massive lay-off of government employees as evidence that the failed worker's paradise is "more capitalist than [the] USA": While the United States, under local, state and federal leadership that could collectively be described as Bloomschwartzenbama, can't seem to stop the growth of government employment, the Castro Brothers -- who directly employ most of Cuba's population -- plan to lay off half a million government employees by March and expand the issuing of "licenses for self-employment." According to the MSNBC article Cavanaugh quotes, "More than 85 percent of the Cuban labor force, or over 5 million people, worked for the state at the close of 2009." By contrast, a mere 17 percent of the United States' labor force is employed by federal, state, or local government, ranging from 12 percent in Ohio to 38 percent in Washington, D.C. If Cuba wanted to get...

Prisoners of Age.

( Ackerman/Gruber Images ) Today's Washington Post has a fascinating article on the problem Virginia has with its growing population of elderly inmates: Deerfield, Virginia's only geriatric prison, is where the state's inmates are sent to grow old. They're transferred to this facility in Capron, near the North Carolina border, when they're too weak to stand or feed themselves, when they don't have much time left. Since the General Assembly abolished parole for the newly convicted in 1995, the number of elderly inmates in custody has soared. In 1990, there were 900 inmates over the age of 50. Now there are more than 5,000. Deerfield Correctional, which once housed 400 inmates, has become a 1,000-bed facility with a long waiting list. As the Post notes, Virginia's experiences with geriatric prisoners foreshadowed a national trend, "between 1999 and 2007, the number of inmates 55 or older in state and federal prisons grew 76.9 percent, from 43,300 to 76,600." At least 16 states have...

The Low-Crime Recession.

This recession has been extremely low on good news, so it's worth noting that crime has been on the decrease since the recession began in 2007. With a 5.3 percent decline in 2009, violent crime was down for the third consecutive year, according to a new FBI report . This drop was accompanied by a 4.6 percent decline in property crime, which marks the seventh straight decline in nonviolent crime. Of particular note is a significant drop in the murder rate, as well as the number of robberies: This seems counterintuitive, since we tend to associate economic downturns with higher crime rates, but the truth is that there isn't a clear connection between crime and the economy, particularly as it relates to violent crime. In contrast to the high-crime (and prosperous) 1920s, the Great Depression saw significant declines in violent and property crime (the unemployed are poor targets for theft). Violent crime soared during the 1970s and early 1990s, but in both cases, drug violence was the...

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