Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

eBooks and Open Standards.

At Balloon Juice, mistermix worries about the future of the ebook market: The existence of a digital music dystopia was thwarted by an open standard (MP3), the existence of high-quality digital copies (CDs) that could easily be converted to MP3, and music sharing services like Napster. This made consumers demand players that could play their existing MP3s, and it gave them an alternative when labels were screwing with them by releasing content on a format they couldn’t play. Unfortunately, there’s no eBook equivalent of CDs and MP3s, so, for example, if you want to buy the book associated with the popular movie The King’s Speech, you can’t get it on your Kindle, but you can get it on your Nook. Even though the book is out in paperback, you’ll still pay the hardback price on the Nook ($9.99) which is 7 cents less than the price for a paper copy that can be resold or given to a friend who has a Kindle, which can’t read Nook ebooks (and vice-versa). This is a completely legitimate...

The New Bailout.

Is it time to bail out the states? Peter Brown says yes : Amid all the talk in Washington, D.C., about cutting the federal budget deficit, there is little public discussion of what might be among the most contentious issues that will face the new Congress in January – whether to bail out the states. Obviously, sending money to the states to reduce their red ink would make it more difficult for Congress to meet its goal of trying to get the federal deficit under control. But the rough estimate is that the various states face budget shortfalls exceeding $100 billion. Without a bailout from Washington, a large number of states will be forced to endure unprecedented levels of spending reductions or tax increases. If you remember, the collapse of state finances in 2009 contributed to the stimulus' short reach; in the end, the $787 billion package was just large enough to cover the output gap created by slashed state and local budgets. The recovery is slowly moving along, but in the absence...

Sorry, You Can't Have It Both Ways.

I wonder if Jennifer Rubin sees the contradiction in defending the filibuster against Democratic reform and decrying President Obama 's recess appointments. Here she is on the filibuster : Those planning on tinkering with Senate rules are well advised to do some serious thinking about the unintended consequences of their desire to give the Senate majority more power. So long as McConnell, 46 other Republicans and a slew of nervous red state Democrats are there, they might want to leave well enough alone. And for those who find wisdom in the Founders' design of the Senate, it would be wise to retain a filibuster rule that, as Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation, succinctly put it, "makes it harder for the politicians that cater to rent-seeking special interests to enact more laws that are generally unconstitutional, fiscally irresponsible and/or undermine our liberty." Well, you can understand why the left would be on the other side in that debate. Ha, clever. Here she is on recess...

We Can All Agree.

Chief Justice John Roberts agrees -- we need a functioning judicial system: There is an "urgent need" for Senate Democrats and Republicans to put aside their bickering and fill federal judicial vacancies, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote Friday in his annual State of the Judiciary report. It was his first comment about the partisan gridlock on judges that affects President Obama's nominees. But Roberts noted that Democratic and Republican presidents have been frustrated by the "persistent problem" of senators from the opposing party blocking action on nominees. According to the most recent Alliance for Justice report , there are 111 vacancies on the federal courts, with 44 "judicial emergencies" as determined by the Administrative Office of the U.S. courts. It's hard to exaggerate the costs of an understaffed judiciary; in the absence of outside help -- other courts or retired justices -- affected courts are forced put thousands of cases on standby, delaying (or denying)...

Best of TAP 2010: Arana on the 'It Gets Better' Campaign.

For my contribution to this series, Gabriel Arana had a great piece critiquing the "It Gets Better" campaign as it moved away from addressing the unique challenges of gay teens and became a generic anti-bullying campaign. Here is a sample: When kids bandy about the term "gay" as a slur -- or its more derogatory counterparts, "fag" and "queer" -- it bears the force of society's homophobia. It's not just the schoolyard jerk who picks on you. It's the pastor who rails against the "gay agenda" on Sunday, the parent who stands up at a city council meeting and says he moved to your city because it's "the kind of place that would never accept the GLBT community with open arms," and politicians like New York's would-be governor Carl Paladino, who on the campaign trail said things like "there is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual." Even once you get past high school, you still can't get married or serve in the military, and in most states, your employer can fire you...

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