Alexander Nguyen

Alexander Nguyen, a former Prospect writing fellow, is a student at Yale Law
School.

Recent Articles

The Immigrant Trap:

In his address to the nation Thursday night, President Bush made several impassioned pleas for Americans not to blame Arabs or Muslims for the terrorist attacks. "I ask you to uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come here," he said. "No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith." His appeals were more than called for at a time when Arab immigrants and their descendants have been facing harassment, threats, and even death at the hands of wrathful Americans. Bush's rhetoric defending immigrants is not new. In a July visit to Ellis Island -- the historical gateway for immigrants -- Bush argued, "New arrivals should be greeted not with suspicion and resentment, but with openness and courtesy." But some Bush Administration decisions this week contradict his munificent language. The New York Times reported this week that U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's Justice Department drafted...

Bill Clinton's Death Penalty Waffle --

Bill Clinton recently spared Juan Raul Garza's life -- at least for a little while. On August 5, Garza -- a drug trafficker convicted of ordering the murder of three people -- would have become the first person executed by the federal government in almost 40 years. Though few question whether Garza is guilty, Clinton wants to give him time to request clemency under new guidelines, which are still being drafted. Some Republicans have suggested that Clinton did this to make it easier for Al Gore to attack George W. Bush as the murderingest politician (137 served, and counting). But the real story here may be how Bill Clinton has morphed from an opponent of the death penalty to an avid supporter to a near agnostic -- and the lessons it may offer for execution's opponents. Moral Opponent In his early days, Clinton opposed the death penalty. And while he and his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton were both teaching at the University of Arkansas Law School, she wrote an appellate brief that helped...

Impeachment at Harvard

B enbrook Lake near Fort Worth, Texas, is the kind of place where fishermen catch sandbass and lovers wake up to a tequila sunrise. But on a December day in 1983, violence came to Benbrook Lake in the person of Ronnie Dale Gaspard. He was affiliated with the Bandidos, a motorcycle gang whose members snorted methamphetamine off the tips of knife blades, and he was going there to settle a score. Which is why he was in a car and not on his bike. Which is also why he had been drinking a large amount of whiskey. Gaspard was giving a ride to 23-year-old Denise Sanders. As they approached the lake, Gaspard stopped the car. Sanders stepped outside, clueless. A year or so prior, she had testified against the Bandidos, sending some of them to jail for drug trafficking. She shouldn't have done that, Gaspard thought, before he got out of his car and shot her in the head. It wasn't long before police seized Gaspard and charged him with the murder. And then something happened that is the stuff of...

Beer and Debates

"Ladies and gentlemen, this year, this Bud's not for you," the American Reform Party (ARP), a Reform Party splinter group, announced in January, telling members to stop drinking Anheuser-Busch beers, including Budweiser and Michelob. Why boycott beer? After all, Donald Trump, the famously teetotaling tycoon who briefly contemplated angling for the nomination, has withdrawn. And this was, until recently, the party of regular guy Jesse Ventura. Shouldn't beer be, like, part of the platform? It's not that the Reform Party has anything against beer. What it objects to is Anheuser-Busch's corporate sponsorship of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Recently, the debate commission announced that candidates had to command at least 15 percent in popular support to be included in the three presidential debates to air nationally later this year. This threshold--three times higher than what is required for national party recognition by the Federal Election Commission--will make it "...

Our Ford

Last September AT&T approached the financially struggling First Christian Church in Alexandria, Virginia, with this bargain: In return for letting the company erect a 130-foot-tall cross doubling as a cellular phone tower, the congregation would receive $18,000 annually. Residents were split: Was the money--in the words of the Reverend Tim Mabbott, who supported the idea--a "blessing from God" or simply a Faustian kickback? Cell phones have limited range--one to eight miles, typically--so calls must be placed near a tower. This is fine if a call is made from a nearby office, but not if it's from a cab moving out of range. In this latter case, another cell phone tower must pick up the signal the way a runner takes a baton from his team-mate. Cell phone towers are often hidden in pre-existing structures--trees, water towers, even church steeples-- but this time, lacking other options, the company wanted to build a stealth site from scratch. In a fit of corporate diplomacy, AT&T...

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