It's hard to think of Anthony Fauci as a pessimist. He's headed up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. And given how few and far between major AIDS breakthroughs come, you've got to possess some truly audacious hope to keep that gig for two decades.
A rash of noose incidents across the country has reopened old wounds of racial intimidation. Law makers are reaching for hate crime law as a balm, but until America faces its past, racial terrorism will continue to plague us.
In this photo released by the New York City Police Department, a four foot long noose hangs from the office door knob of Columbia University professor Madonna Constantine, who is African - American. (AP Photo/NYPD)
Time does not heal all wounds. That's what Andy Sheldon learned when his firm helped federal prosecutors try James Ford Seale earlier this year for a 43-year-old crime.
Seale, a one-time Ku Klux Klan goon and sheriff's deputy, was finally being tried for torturing and assassinating two Mississippi civil rights organizers -- he had violently extracted (false) information, anchored one man to an engine block and the other to some loose railroad tracks, and then dumped both men into the Old Mississippi River. A generation later, Seale's macabre crime still rubbed the community so raw Sheldon could barely seat a jury. "I had people in their 60s who had known people who were lynched," Sheldon explains. "It's not that far off in the past."
Clarence Thomas doesn't trust white folks. He doesn't have much faith in black people, either, but that's another matter. What comes through most strikingly in his screed of a memoir is how much white power frustrates him, and how similar he is in that regard to other African Americans of his class -- ambitious, successful and, yet, embittered by the always present but difficult to identify specter of white supremacy.