Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Nativists Are Great! Except When They Aren't, at All.

( source ) As one of the "sensible" conservatives on The New York Times ' editorial page, Ross Douthat has a habit of using his column to provide a thin veneer of respectability to otherwise ugly ideas. Riffing off of the Cordoba House controversy, Douthat relies on the country's past experiences with unfamiliar immigrants to endorse nativism and xenophobia as a way of pushing immigrants toward greater assimilation. But this is bad history; the nativists of 19th-century America weren't much interested in having "new arrivals adapt to Anglo-Saxon culture," rather, the nativists of mid-19th-century America wanted to keep immigrants off of American shores. In its 1856 platform , the American Party -- otherwise known as the "Know-Nothing Party" -- pushed for the mass expulsion of poor immigrants, and declared that "Americans must rule America, and to this end native-born citizens should be selected for all State, Federal, and municipal offices of government employment, in preference to...

Against Electing Judges.

In a new study published by the Brennan Center for Justice, Justice at Stake, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, researchers found that campaign fundraising for judicial elections has skyrocketed over the past decade. In the 20 states that held partisan elections for the state Supreme Court in the previous decade, candidates raised a total $153.8 million for their campaigns. The problem is twofold. First, electing judges runs counter to the American idea of an independent judiciary; elections require fundraising, and it's extremely difficult for a judge to appear impartial if -- as a candidate -- he must appeal to special interests and outside groups for cash and support. Moreover, appearance aside, fundraising influences judicial decisions; donors can pressure judges to support certain rulings in the same way that they pressure legislators to support certain legislation. The difference, of course, is that while legislators are tasked with reflecting their...

Release the Recess Appointments!

After noting that Senate Republicans have blocked the nomination of Frank Ricciardone , a veteran diplomat slated to become the United States' next ambassador to Turkey, Nick Beaudrot expresses his frustration with the GOP's senseless obstructionism: I'm rapidly approaching the point where I think Obama should start making recess en masse. Not a few dozen appointees, but everybody. Judges, sub-cabinet officials, the whole lot of them. Dare the Republicans to say that it's more important that they have input on who the Undersecretary of Treasury for International Affairs is than that we even have someone in that post. It's just gotten ridiculous. As you've probably guessed by now, I completely agree. At this point, GOP senators are grasping for straws in their opposition to Obama's nominees. In Ricciardone's case, Republicans are upset that he takes the time to understand the governments he works with and isn't interested in joining the conservative movement's effort to redefine Turkey...

When Racial Slurs are the Least Racist Thing About Your Rant, It's a Pretty Racist Rant.

A few days ago, Dr. Laura Schlessinger -- who still seems to have a radio show -- took a call from a distressed listener. The caller -- a black woman -- is in an interracial marriage with a white man, and is increasingly frustrated with the racist jokes and comments made by her husband's friends and family. Here's the audio, from Media Matters , of the initial exchange: From the outset, Dr. Laura is unconvinced that the comments were racist, and berates the caller's alleged "hypersensitivity," goes on to make a joke about a friend of hers -- which is actually kind of racist -- and dismisses the use of racial slurs by noting that "black guys say it [the 'N-word'] all the time." Finally, as if to underscore that last point, Dr. Laura elaborates by "quoting" a hypothetical black guy using the N-word. In the second segment of the argument, after the caller accuses Dr. Laura of having used the racial slur, she (oddly) denies and then repeats it six more times . In total, Dr. Laura uses the...

Life in a Cage.

( IMDB ) As Erik Eckholm reports in The New York Times , animal-welfare activists in Ohio have made real headway in a campaign to sharply restrict the close confinement of hens, hogs and other livestock: A recent agreement between farmers and animal rights activists here is a rare compromise in the bitter and growing debate over large-scale, intensive methods of producing eggs and meat, and may well push farmers in other states to give ground, experts say. […] After secret negotiations, the sides agreed to bar new construction of egg farms that pack birds in cages, and to phase out the tight caging of pregnant sows within 15 years and of veal calves by 2017. With these new rules, Ohio joins California, Michigan, Florida, and Arizona in a growing list of states who have decided to bar new construction of egg farms that pack birds in cages. As it stands, laying hens are among the most intensively confined livestock in agribusiness; according to the Humane Society of the United States,...

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