Jim Grossfeld

Jim Grossfeld is a writer living a Bethesda, Maryland.

Recent Articles

A Temporary Fix

With the White House and congressional conservatives ramping up to make the coming four years as memorable as the last, it is easy to miss some of their less conspicuous exploits. Many of those have taken place at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has issued multiple decisions that are costing millions of Americans their best chance to join the middle class. One such decision came in November of last year, when the conservative-dominated board overturned the MB Sturgis decision. Sturgis , as it came to be called, was the 2000 NLRB ruling that acknowledged that workers who perform the same job for a company under the same supervision as regular employees can share a “community of interests” even though they may be employed through a temporary-services agency. By removing a legal obstacle preventing unions from organizing and negotiating for these workers, Sturgis gave the labor movement a new opportunity to grow and gain strength in industries that rely heavily on temps...

Losing Lansing

Count me among the many whose lives were touched by Ronald Reagan. For me, it began in 1980 in Lansing, Michigan. I was living on the city's east side, an older neighborhood tucked between Michigan State University and the big Oldsmobile plant. That year I was the Democratic nominee for the Ingham County Board of Commissioners. Though at 23 I wasn't the ideal candidate for a district made up of auto workers and state employees, I was convinced that my tough-minded rhetoric about stray dogs -- and the district's Democratic bent -- would help me overcome the Republican incumbent. But something didn't seem right. Few of us who were active Democrats really liked Jimmy Carter to begin with. Even those who backed him over Ted Kennedy did so with all the enthusiasm of someone paying off a parking ticket. When my new down coat was stolen at a neighbor's party, the thief left only the wad of green Carter-Mondale bumper stickers I was carrying with me. My friends' reactions were about the same...

Ambassador's Journal

John D. Negroponte is expected to be the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Jim Grossfeld recently unearthed pages from the future journal of the ambitious diplomat: Day 1 Dear Diary, As the jet entered Iraqi airspace, I felt humbled by the enormity of the task before me, but almost giddy over the possibilities. With all the turmoil of the recent weeks, I wasn't sure what to make of the president's sending me here as ambassador. Now I know he's presented me with the greatest gift of my career. W. plainly understands that this posting is no place for a diplomat who's squeamish about mixing it up from time to time. Some of my colleagues just don't get that. All I know is that had I sat idly by in the 1980s, the people of Honduras might all be working on banana collectives or imprisoned in jungle gulags making Hacky Sacks for UNICEF. That why I am especially grateful that Paul Wolfowitz suggested I bring the very savvy Christopher Hitchens with me as my aide-de-camp. He is a kindred spirit, even...

Unhealthy Choice

With the exception of U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson's appearance before the Supreme Court on Tuesday -- to argue against affirmative action in the University of Michigan cases -- few within the Republican Party seem to have much to say these days about racial reconciliation. It's a far cry from the way things were last December, when Sen. Trent Lott's (R-Miss.) nostalgia for the Old South transformed the once-mighty Republican leader into so much political roadkill. At the time, it was hardly surprising when Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) used his first major press event as Lott's replacement to talk about the state of race relations in America. The soft-spoken Tennessee doctor could have chosen to offer up mere platitudes about racial healing -- but he went one step further, saying: For reasons we don't fully understand, but we've got to face and we've got to elevate, we know that African Americans today do not live as long. They don't have the same access, and the doctor-patient...

The Espy Award

If Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is on the same career track as Boston's Bernard Cardinal Law, it's not too soon to consider what will become of Lott's Senate seat should he opt for retirement over a return to the back benches. Recent history offers little guidance to governors faced with filling a Senate vacancy. After Sen. Paul Wellstone's (D-Minn.) death, independent Gov. Jesse Ventura suggested he would name a Democrat but later reversed himself, picking soul mate and car-wash owner Dean Barkley. Prior to that, when Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Ga.) died in 2000, Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes could have chosen to fill the vacancy with civil-rights legend and U.S. Rep. John Lewis. Instead, guided by conventional political wisdom, Barnes tapped Sen. Zell Miller, a Democrat so conservative that his eventual defection to the GOP has been predicted almost from the moment he took his oath of office. Like Ventura, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D-Miss.) could pick a pal to keep the seat...

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