Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Laws Should Be Messy.

"Laws and lawmaking are dirtier, messier and less tasty than actual sausages," says America's sausage-makers, or at least those quoted by The New York Times : “I’m so insulted when people say that lawmaking is like sausage making,” said Stanley A. Feder, president of Simply Sausage, whose plant here turns out 60,000 pounds of links a year. “With legislation, you can have hundreds of cooks — members of Congress, lobbyists, federal agency officials, state officials,” Mr. Feder said. “In sausage making, you generally have one person, the wurstmeister, who runs the business and makes the decisions.” [...] At Simply Sausage, the bones and other inedible, indigestible, unsavory parts are dumped in a big garbage pail and discarded. On Capitol Hill, stale old ideas are recycled year after year. My problem with the sausage metaphor has less to do with its accuracy -- though, it's true, sausage making isn't particularly gross -- and everything to do with the general sentiment. Whenever the...

Friday Nerd Response.

To Adam , I say absolutely. I'll only add that this is basically true for the original series as well; in Star Wars and its sequels, failed religious fanatics successfully deceive and coerce a gifted young man into carrying out their insane plan for revenge. It's tragic, really. -- Jamelle Bouie

Obama Nominates a Judge, for Once.

Since I've done my fair share of criticizing Obama for his failure to nominate judges to circuit and district courts, I should probably take the time to give credit for when he offers a nomination, and a good one at that: U.S. District Judge Bernice B. Donald of Memphis has been nominated by President Barack Obama to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. "Judge Donald has shown an outstanding commitment to public service throughout her career and as a district judge in Tennessee," Obama said. "I am proud to nominate her ... for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals and I am confident she will serve the American people with distinction." Jill Fillopovic passes on the kind words of a former clerk: Diane Lucas , who is an attorney in New York and an occasional Feministe guest-blogger, clerked for Judge Donald and sent me this story, with the comment that “Judge Donald is an amazing judge who truly is bringing justice in our federal courts. She has been a staunch...

Debt = Less Important Than Unemployment.

Does Andrew Sullivan really believe this ? The debt is obviously the most pressing issue at hand; this commission represents the best hope in a long time to tackle it. Granted, what follows is a nice demolition of Paul Ryan 's budget nonsense, which as an avowed Ryan skeptic, I can appreciate. Still, with 9.8 percent unemployment (16 percent for African Americans), and millions of Americans poised to lose their unemployment benefits, it's plainly wrong to call debt "the most pressing issue at hand." That said, I understand Sullivan's enthusiasm for Simpson-Bowles. It's a nice conservative plan for a nice conservative guy. But ignoring the unemployed in favor of (what is still) a hypothetical crisis is ludicrous. And let's be clear: This isn't cowardice or ideological blindness. Rather, it's a recognition that balanced budgets are impossible without first tackling widespread joblessness, and the depression-like conditions that exist for millions in this country. Anything less is a...

What's So Hard About Hardball?

Kevin Drum on the Democratic Party's congenital inability to play hardball politics: Maybe a reluctance to play hardball is the issue here. But there are at least two other things involved. The first is simply that Republicans believe their own PR more than Democrats do. When Republicans get hysterical about something, it's genuine. They really believe, way down in their self-righteous little hearts, that they're speaking God's own truth, no matter how ridiculous it is. And it shows. The bigger issue, I think, is that Republicans have an astounding level of ideological unity and a keen understanding of the political dynamics at work. Most Republicans agree on the big things -- tax cuts are always good, regulation is always bad, and the more belligerent the better -- and those that don't are still able to see the utility in being a team player; if Democrats lose, the party wins, and the potential naysayers gain (or at least, avoid losing, in the form of a primary challenge or poor...