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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.