Saturday December 20, 2014
August 21st, 2014
The tragedies unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, are doubly infuriating.
First, there is the obvious outrage of yet another unarmed black teenager being stopped by one of the town’s white police officers as he was walking to his grandmother’s home.
African-Americans are not alone in being horrified by the killing of Michael Brown. They are not alone in their concern over the police's behavior. And there's evidence that a large number of white Americans have still not fully formed their views on this tragedy. This means that how we discuss and debate the events in Ferguson, Mo., in the coming weeks really matters.
The story of a young man's speed-hiking the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail has raised some environmentalist eyebrows, albeit only slightly. He was racing from California's border with Mexico to Washington state's with Canada.
The cause was a good one -- to raise money for the families of cancer patients. And it wasn't like he was making noise and pollution.
Wall Street is one of the biggest sources of funding for presidential campaigns, and many of the Republican Party's potential 2016 contenders are governors, from Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas to Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. And so, last week, the GOP filed a federal lawsuit aimed at overturning the pay-to-play law that bars those governors from raising campaign money from Wall Street executives who manage their states' pension funds.
Some of President Barack Obama's supporters sound notably disappointed by his third speech on the Ferguson, Missouri, crisis. Too timid, they say. Here are some representative tweets.
Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic: "Feel like he is utterly exhausted. Actually feel bad for him. Not sarcastic pity. Like really feel bad."
Affectations can be dangerous, as Gertrude Stein said.
When Barack Obama first ran for president, he theatrically cast himself as the man alone on the stage. From his address in Berlin to his acceptance speech in Chicago, he eschewed ornaments and other politicians, conveying the sense that he was above the grubby political scene, unearthly and apart.
Mike Johnston's mother was a public-school teacher. So were her mother and father. And his godfather taught in both public and private schools.
So when he expresses the concern that we're not getting the best teachers into classrooms or weeding out the worst performers, it's not as someone who sees the profession from a cold, cynical distance.
The fire this time is about invisibility. Our society expects the police to keep unemployed, poorly educated African-American men out of sight and out of mind. When they suddenly take center stage, illuminated by the flash and flicker of Molotov cocktails, we feign surprise.
Late last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued an oblique news release announcing that it was awarding an unnamed whistle-blower $400,000 for helping expose a financial fraud at an unnamed company. The money was the latest whistle-blower award - there have been 13 so far - paid as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which includes both protections for whistle-blowers and financial awards when their information leads to fines of more than $1 million.