Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Would Stricter Gun Control Have Saved Lives in Arizona?

Jared Loughner used a 32-round semiautomatic handgun in his attack on Rep. Giffords and her constituents. The magazine -- as well as the weapon itself -- were illegal until 2004, when Congress failed to renew the assault-weapons ban. As Mark Kleiman notes, this made a difference: Still, this is a case where excessively loose controls permitted avoidable violence. The shooter hadn’t been convicted of any crime or been officially judged a risk to others due to his mental-health problems, but there’s no way he could have passed even a cursory training program for concealed carry; he couldn’t even get through a community-college algebra class without being spotted as a dangerous person. Arizona is one of only three states to allow concealed carry without a special permit. But even assuming that he would have simply ignored that law, there’s no reason to think that he would have been sufficiently dedicated or knowledgeable to acquire an illegal high-capacity magazine. If he’d had only 10...

Political Violence Is Still Very Rare.

You should read James Fallows on the massacre in Tucson: We don't know why the Tucson killer did what he did. If he is like Sirhan, we'll never "understand." But we know that it has been a time of extreme, implicitly violent political rhetoric and imagery, including SarahPac's famous bulls-eye map of 20 Congressional targets to be removed -- including Rep. Giffords. It is legitimate to discuss whether there is a connection between that tone and actual outbursts of violence, whatever the motivations of this killer turn out to be. At a minimum, it will be harder for anyone to talk -- on rallies, on cable TV, in ads -- about "eliminating" opponents, or to bring rifles to political meetings, or to say "don't retreat, reload." One point can't be stressed enough; regardless of Loughner's motives, this is an inherently political situation. Howie Kurtz (and others) notwithstanding , you can't separate the attempted assassination of a public official from the politics of the day, and as...

Friday Nerd Blogging.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, George Lucas announced that the Star Wars movies would finally make their way to Blu Ray. But it's not all good news : The original movies will be the Special Edition versions, with their extra “funny” SFX creature-shots and stupid stepping-on-Jabba’s-tail scene. Speaking to the New York Times, Lucas said that, due to time and cost concerns, only the special editions were transferred to digital media. It looks like the original movies will never make it to HD. Not to refight this battle, but it's hard to overestimate the extent to which the Special Editions are a stain on the Star Wars narrative, especially in the original film. By giving Greedo the first shot -- to use one prominent example -- and turning Han Solo into a hero from the very beginning, Lucas ruins an important narrative thread. Like the Western protagonists he's clearly modeled on -- or, alternatively, Toshiro Mifune -- Solo is a clear anti-hero . There are no subtitles in the...

No More Czars.

A group of House Republicans wants to put an end to the tyrannical czars who rule from the White House with an iron, un-Senate-confirmed fist: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and 28 other House Republicans introduced legislation to do away with the informal, paid advisers President Obama has employed over the past two years. The legislation, which was introduced in the last Congress but was not allowed to advance under Democratic control, would do away with the 39 czars Obama has employed during his administration. [...] Republicans had complained about the president's use of czars to help advance his agenda in Congress. In particular, the GOP had harped about the personal history of Van Jones , the president's czar for "green jobs," over past comments Jones had made about Fox News came to light. Jones eventually resigned. For what it's worth, I would happily vote to eliminate czars if the bill came with a measure to vastly reduce the number of Senate-confirmable positions in the executive...

Don't Like the Facts? Ignore Them.

As a rule, ideologues are blinded by their devotion, but I'm continuously impressed by the GOP's ability to ignore all inconvenient facts, like the Congressional Budget Office's projections on health-care reform: Rescinding the federal law to overhaul the health-care system, the first objective of House Republicans who ascended to power this week, would ratchet up the federal deficit by about $230 billion over the next decade and leave 32 million more Americans uninsured, according to congressional budget analysts. With equal speed, Boehner and other House Republicans repudiated the forecast of the nonpartisan CBO, saying that its analysts had relied on flawed assumptions they had been provided by Democrats. "CBO is entitled to their opinion," Boehner declared at his first news conference as speaker. So, there is no data and there are no facts, only opinion and belief. The nonpartisan budget office doesn't agree that health-care reform is a job-killing, deficit-busting monstrosity?...

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