Monday, September 29, 2008
I consider Makheru Bradley a friend in the same way that Patrick Ewing considered Michael Jordan a friend. He is a tenacious black partisan and even when I disagree with him about the implications for an Obama presidency I retain respect and admiration for his principles.
Walter Benn Michaels writing in the recent New Left Review shows the limits of white radicals:
The point, then, is that the nomination of Obama is great news for American liberals, who love equality when it comes to race and gender, but are not so keen when it comes to money. Liberals are the people who believe that American universities and colleges have become more open because, although they are increasingly and almost exclusively populated by rich kids, more of these today are rich kids of colour. (Obama’s popularity on college campuses is no accident—he is diversity’s pin-up.) And having helped keep the poor out of college and thus made sure they remain poor, liberals are now eager to point out that white voters with only a high-school education (the very people who do not go to Harvard) are disproportionately sceptical of Obama; they are happy to deplore the ignorant racism of people whom they have kept ignorant, and whose racism they have thus enforced. The Obama candidacy is great news, in other words, for a liberalism that is every bit as elitist as its conservative critics say—although not, of course, quite as elitist as the conservative critics themselves.
Omitted from his analysis is the historical fact that committed opposition to savage economic inequality isn't synonymous with confronting racism. New Deal palliatives, for instance, did not translate into gains for blacks commensurate with those of whites. Moreover, there are real racial distinctions such as stereotype threat that become obscured when you consider only income. Until I see black versions of entitled mediocrity equal to George W. Bush and Sarah Pailin, I'm not buying what Professor Michaels is selling.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Below is a letter that I sent to my representative this past week.
Dear Senator Cardin,
Don't do this. Please. Take a precious moment to reflect even though everyone including the President and the Secretary of Treasury is screaming for you to act now. I can empathize with what you're going through. Being a physician practicing emergency medicine in Baltimore, there are few non-military professionals that can match me in the frequency and severity of making life-altering decisions. What I’ve learned is that the best doctors couple speed with deliberateness.
Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard, has written about the battle for the soul of capitalism as boiling down to shareholders confronted by managers. The recent round of passed and pending bailouts has brought this into sharp relief. No plan should be enacted that doesn't undertake to limit the exorbitant remuneration for corporate executives despite company losses and ends abuses born out of deregulation. Additionally, individual, at-risk homeowners must be afforded some modest degree of protection.
We are in crisis. But it's the kind of crisis that the Senate was designed to meet. As a United States Senator, you are uniquely capable of providing the leadership and skill required to navigate the current economic challenges while enduring the turbulence of a national election. The White House, market, and public are clamoring for action. Without wisdom and reason, however, the proposed cure may result in something worse than the disease which inspired it. I trust that you will uphold your constitutional duty and not merely consent but also advise.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Next Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 12:PM the Urban Institute will host a forum on Presidential Politics and Poverty. The truth, of course, is that middle and upper-middle class angst has consumed public deliberation. Nonetheless, elimination of poverty is vital to the national interest. You can sign up for the audio telecast here.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Mandated bilingual education doesn't work. At least that's what the latest paper published by the Lexington Institute asserts. First, there aren't enough good bilingual education teachers. Consequently, schools are forced to settle for mediocrity in order to be compliant. Second, the material isn't of very high quality. Because of relatively less demand, there is little incentive for publishers to create superior teaching materials. It's too bad that kids are a political football.
Friday, September 5, 2008
This is big. Coming as it does on the tails of the GOP convention, it has a potency that is not easily dismissed by serious observers. In the clip that I've seen, Barack Obama definitely modulates his views and the atmosphere is tense. But if you've ever pledged an historic Black fraternity, you know that sometimes it's not about how well you perform under pressure but that you simply endure.
Last night John McCain confirmed his inability to perform the rhetorical and ceremonial duties of the Presidency. He was stiff. McCain's tendency to swivel his entire body to face the audience made me wonder if he has surgically fused cervical vertebrae. His arms are short and appear to have a range of motion limited to seventy degrees of abduction. Inexplicably, the podium was set barely above his knees. The Arizona senator, too, could have used a Greek colonnade for a backdrop rather than the digitized blue sky background with a flag waving askew. Even his smile seemed so rehearsed that it reminded me of Nixon.
The speech itself was not the angry or defiant one delivered by Sarah Palin during her acceptance of the Vice Presidential nomination. But I am still quite confused and surprised that McCain uttered "We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us." That line served no other purpose than to propel Palin and to undermine the Republican candidate for president's claim to maverick status .