Adam Serwer

Bankers Got It Hard.

I've liked The Economist's coverage of corrections issues in the United States over the years, but a friend pointed out an amusing part of their last piece that my eyes somehow glazed over the first time I read it:


Affirmative action in the form of legacy admissions doesn't make anyone angry.

Dave Weigel on life in the gray zone.

I don't know that I buy Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan.

Happy to see Sara Mayeux blogging at Ta-Nehisi's.

NBPP Obsession Gaining Momentum In Congress.

So now mainstream Republicans in Congress are latching on to the New Black Panther Party Case, with Senate Republicans pushing for a hearing and House Republicans pushing for a special prosecutor. All for a voter-intimidation case in which zero voters said they were intimidated. Meanwhile, during the Bush years the political leadership at the Civil Rights Division was in the business of pushing modern-day poll taxes, but Republicans didn't care because making it harder for minorities to vote made winning elections easier.

An Activist Court.

Via Monica Potts, Adam Liptak puts some numbers behind the idea that we are looking at an incredibly activist conservative court under Justice John Roberts:

In its first five years, the Roberts court issued conservative decisions 58 percent of the time. And in the term ending a year ago, the rate rose to 65 percent, the highest number in any year since at least 1953.

Webb And "White Privilege."

There are a number of things about Senator Jim Webb's op-ed "The Myth of White Privilege" to dislike, starting with the fact that one of the awesome things about the existence of white privilege is that you can be part of a body like the U.S. Senate, which has a total number of zero elected black members, and write something titled "The Myth of White Privilege" without anyone batting an eyelash.

Obama's Not Black Again.

Around the time of the 2008 election, there was an irritating trend of questioning Barack Obama's racial authenticity by arguing that he's not "really black" because he is not the descendant of African slaves brought to the United States during the Middle Passage. That mostly went away when he started winning an overwhelming share of the black vote during the primaries, but in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod controversy, Maureen Dowd is attempting to lead a renaissance of stupid:

Defining Lynching Down.

My apologies for being in Shirley Sherrod overdrive recently, but this piece from Jeffrey Lord nearly made my eyes pop out of my head. After reviewing the Screws case, Lord concludes that Sherrod lied about Sheriff Claude Screws lynching Bobby Hall because he and his colleagues simply beat him to death rather than using a rope:

The WikiLeaks "Afghan War Diary."

The remarkable thing about the WikiLeaks documents is that they reinforce what we already know about the war in Afghanistan -- the lack of a credible partner, the links between Pakistani intelligence and the forces the U.S. is fighting, the difficulty in building the Afghan Army and police. Which means for all the complaints about the media these days, the coverage of Afghanistan has been broadly accurate. If the war is out of sight and out of mind for most Americans, it isn't because they aren't getting a good idea of what's going on over there.


Will Saletan dismantles the remaining excuses for labeling the NAACP racist based on the Sherrod video.

Straight from an institution with exactly zero black elected members, Sen. Jim Webb says white privilege is a "myth."

Joe Biden
is very clean and articulate.

IG: No Way To Know If Re-Entry Grants Are Effective.

Ryan J. Reilly reports on some frustrating news for re-entry advocates -- the Office of the Inspector General found that the systems for evaluating whether or not the programs receiving federal grant money are actually effective in reducing recidivism:

According to the report, the Inspector General’s office could not determine if Office of Justice Program grants were successful in reducing recidivism rates because the office does not effectively track how the programs that receive grants spend their funds.

No One Could Have Predicted, Military Commissions Edition.

Chisun Lee:

Decisions on two legal challenges to the Guantanamo military commissions system, both expected this summer, could undo half the convictions won so far before the tribunals and disrupt a number of pending cases.

The appeals of two 2008 convictions attack several core aspects of the young trial system. One potentially explosive argument is that the most commonly charged offenses -- conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism -- are not war crimes that can be tried in a military court.

A Better NAACP?

North Carolina State University Professor Blair Kelley addresses the role of the NAACP in contemporary times, a question I tried to grapple with in my profile of Ben Jealous last year:

What Happened To Abdul Aziz Naji?

Abdul Aziz Naji was a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp who was involuntarily transferred home to Algeria last week after seven years in custody. Why "involuntarily?" He didn't want to leave Gitmo, not because it was awesome, but because he was worried about being tortured or killed when he returned home.

Yesterday, his lawyers (via Marcy Wheeler) said neither they, nor his family, could reach him:


Jill Filipovic on "rape by deception."

Oh what, you didn't know Tucker Carlson wanted to join Journolist before he started trying to smear everyone on it?

I'm pretty sure that Steve King thinks the existence of black people is racist.

Noah Millman thinks that the Shirley Sherrod incident has turned out well for Obama.