Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Hard Times for Rural Law Enforcement.

(Photo credit: Vulture ) You can count rural police departments to be among the many casualties of the recession. As NPR's Gail Banzet reports , small towns across the country are firing police officers, closing local police departments, or outsourcing policing to county and city departments: The International Association of Chiefs of Police says what's happening in small communities is worrisome. The association's John Firman says the fabric of American policing was built on small, rural agencies, but now that's changing. "Right now in America, police are losing officers at a rate that dips them below the threshold of being able to keep their citizens and their officers safe," Firman says. There is some evidence to bolster the view that rural crime rates have gone up since the recession began: according to the FBI's crime report for 2008, violent crime has gone up in cities with fewer than 10,000 residents. In particular, murders are up 5.5 percent, forcible rape 1.4 percent, and...

Sympathy for the Oil Industry.

Yesterday, as reported by The Washington Independent 's Andrew Restuccia , Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski came out swinging against Democrats who attack the Republican energy bill as a "bailout" for the oil industry: The Republican bill holds oil companies accountable and makes sure taxpayers are never on the hook for spill clean up costs. But, and this is a big difference, it ensures that smaller, independent oil companies can still get insurance to explore in the Gulf of Mexico – saving tens of thousands of Americans from being forced unnecessarily onto the unemployment line simply because Democrats want to punish Big Oil. Of course, Murkowski's protesting notwithstanding, the Republican energy bill is pretty much a giveaway to the oil industry. The " American Energy Act " aims to achieve energy independence by hugely expanding the scale of domestic drilling and massively subsidizing nuclear energy. It would lift the ban on oil exploration in the "outer continental shelf," expedite...

Where Race Isn't Off-Limits

Talking about race as if it were a thing apart is to deny the central role it plays in nearly every aspect of American life.

President Barack Obama, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley head to a talk in the Rose Garden. (White House Photo/Pete Souza)
In the aftermath of high-profile racial incidents (Shirley Sherrod, Henry Louis Gates, heck, the election of Barack Obama), mainstream pundits and writers have wondered aloud about the country's inability to talk sensibly about race. Perhaps most representative of this confusion was Matt Bai's lament in The New York Times : "Why haven't we moved beyond the old, stultifying debate in the age of Obama?" Here is my guess. As Americans, we insist on treating race as its own "thing" to be separately dealt with. Instead of a continuing dialogue, we have the occasional forum for grievance inspired by the controversy du jour . Indeed, it's safe to say that we only ever talk about race when it's impossible not to: in 2008, when the presidential election brought Jeremiah Wright into the spotlight; last year, when President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court; and again, when Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested at his Cambridge home. At each point, race rushed into...

What Ever Happened to the Maverick of South Carolina?

Not too long ago, The New York Times labeled Lindsay Graham "this year's maverick." Thanks to his occasional willingness to work with Democrats on legislation -- including major items like climate change and immigration -- the senior senator from South Carolina had earned something of a reputation for independence, replacing his friend John McCain as the go-to Republican on important legislation. Of course, we should be careful not to confuse independence with moderation. Yes, Graham has been willing to work with Democrats, but he's consistently brought a conservative approach to the issues. And when working on his own, he doesn't hesitate to champion conservative causes. For instance, Graham isn't too fond of children born to illegal immigrants in the United States -- "anchor babies," as the right-wing describes them. Indeed, Graham is so incensed by this that he wants to amend the Constitution to end it: “I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have...

Minorities Hugely Underrepresented in Financial Industry.

Politico 's Carrie Budoff Brown reports on a little-noticed section of the financial-reform law, which gives the federal government power to end its contracts with any financial firm that "fails to ensure the 'fair inclusion' of women and minorities": At its core, the section establishes at least 20 new Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion across the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission and other finance-related agencies. It orders the directors of these offices to develop standards that “ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities, women, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses in all business and activities of the agency at all levels, including in procurement, insurance, and all types of contracts.” This applies to “services of any kind,” including investment firms, mortgage banking firms, asset management firms, brokers, dealers, underwriters, accountants, consultants and law firms, the...

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