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Archive for February, 2013

Thursday Night Reading/Viewing

[ 10 ] February 28, 2013 |
  • Tiger and Expos fans may be interested in this story about Ron LeFlore, who Billy Martin (who else?) discovered in the Jackson State Pen, leading to a 1100 game career.  I have a special affection for him since he was the leadoff hitter for the first team I consciously followed.   Most salient point for the non-baseball audience: he hasn’t had medical insurance in several years.
  • Keri notes that, albeit far too late given its longstanding jihad against YouTube, MLB has opened some of its archives.  (I was at the famous Reggie Sanders/Pedro game too.)   And, indeed, it’s addictively easy to find lots of old memories captured on film.

The Dumbest Thing Ever Written Until The Next Time The National Review Publishes Something

[ 106 ] February 28, 2013 |

Shorter Heather MacDonald: First, feminists say that rape is bad. Then, they say that gender equality is good. Make up your mind!

The Past and the Future

[ 247 ] February 28, 2013 |

In a world where the key provision of the Voting Rights Act is about to be overturned, repealing civil rights won with the bloodshed of thousands of victims, it’s hardly surprising that open racism would come back into vogue. Take the brand-new cover of Bloomberg Businessweek:

Plutocrat created, Scalia approved!

To quote Yglesias: “The idea is that we can know things are really getting out of hand since even nonwhite people can get loans these days! They ought to be ashamed.”

Scalia: Not Just Offensive, Ludicrously Overrated

[ 95 ] February 28, 2013 |

As Mark Tushnet has pointed out, Scalia is erroneously considered an intellectual standout on the Court because of his unusual tendency to write and speak in prose more generally seen on political shoutfests and op-eds.  Very frequently, these glib, attention-grabbing phrases are used to advance arguments that are essentially self-refuting.   For example, the oft-quoted phrase in his Romer dissent that “The Court has mistaken a Kulturkampf for a fit of spite.”  Oooh, erudite!   Only, what the hell is he talking about?  OK, so the Colorado amendment permanently singling out gays and lesbians and preventing any state institution from offering them rights protections is like anti-Catholic progroms and imposed legal disabilities in 19th century Prussia.   Um…so you’re saying Kennedy is right?  How could a “Kulturkampf” be consistent with the equal protection of the laws?  If Scalia had just used the banal phrase he was presumably trying to invoke  — “culture war” — this would have attracted less attention but also would have had the advantage of not blowing his own argument to smithereens in the first line.

But, as I mentioned in my piece yesterday, Scalia’s campaign in two oral arguments to argue that the strong bipartsian support for the Voting Rights Act is more reason for the Supreme Court to step in may be the best example of why Scalia is so egregiously overrated.   To expand on my point a little, let’s return to what he said at oral argument in 2009:

Expressing skepticism about the significance of the 98-0 vote by which the Senate reauthorized the Voting Rights Act, Justice Scalia said, “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.”

First of all, we have a show of erudition that is at best irrelevant and misleading.   The use of the phrase “Israeli supreme court” suggests that the practice was used by the contemporary (rather than the biblical) state of Israel.   But, of course, the modern Israeli state does not have the death penalty for anything but war crimes and has never had a rule that it could only be applied by a majority-but-not-unanimous vote.   Explicitly making clear that this was a reference to biblical Israel would have immediately made clear how anachronistic his point was.

But that aside, what’s more striking is that the argument is transparently idiotic.   Nobody thinks that verdicts of a unanimous jury are less reliable than the verdicts of a mere majority.    Permitting juries to convict without unanimity is an anomalous practice in the Anglo-American legal tradition for obvious reasons. And even in the rare jurisdictions where a supermajority rather than a unanimous jury verdict is sufficient, a unanimous verdict isn’t seen as not constituting a guilty verdict.   Scalia’s glib attempted cleverness serves to make his opponent’s point perfectly once again.

And Scalia’s attempt to argue that we should be suspicious of legislative consensus is problematic for an important reason.  The way the court’s reactionary wing treated the 15th Amendment yesterday stands the explicit purpose of the 15th Amendment on its head.   You would think, listening to Scalia and his fellow conservatives, that Congress was being subjected to strict scrutiny here, as if the core purpose of the 15th Amendment was to guarantee the equal treatment of states rather than the equal treatment of individuals.   But, of course, the 15th Amendment was ratified and included a provision giving Congress the “power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation” precisely because it believed the right of the franchise was more important than the “rights” of states.  And we also don’t need to ignore the fact that we tried nearly a century of trusting the states to enforce the 15th Amendment, with results that could scarcely have been more disastrous.    To try to turn the 15th Amendment into a states’ rights manfiesto in which the “federalism interest” trumps the Congress’s ability to protect the right to vote is as perverse as asserting that a jury system would function better if it ruled out unanimous guilty verdicts.  And while the strong, bipartsian support of the Voting Rights Act is not in itself dispositive, it’s certainly another good reason to defer to legislative judgment about what constitutes “appropriate” legislation, which has the additional advantage of being consistent with the purpose and structure of the 15th Amendment.

To cleanse the palate, let me finish with a couple of voices who actually understand the purpose of the Civil War amendments. First, let’s turn to Justice Sotomayor:

Meanwhile, Sotomayor, for whom this seems very, very personal, made an argument from history that discrimination is an infinitely mutable thing and that, as soon as you find a remedy for one form of it, human ingenuity will devise three new ones. And she was also sharply critical of the device by which finagling the vote had been divided, for the purposes of argument, into “first generation” and “second-generation” discrimination.

“I don’t know if I would call any discrimination secondary or primary,” she said. “Discrimination is discrimination.”

But what if preventing discrimination interferes with the Sacred Dignity of the States? The 15th Amendment protects that too! Somewhere in the back. And let’s not forget the provision that Congress has to have enough but not too much support when it passes legislation enforcing the amendment. Sotomayor really needs a copy of that Federalist Society Constitution rather than the old copy she seems to be relying on.

And, to conclude, genuine hero John Lewis:

Rep. John Lewis attacked Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Wednesday, calling comments he made during a Supreme Court argument on the Voting Rights Act “an affront to all of what the civil rights movement stood for.”

Scalia, a member of the court’s conservative wing, was intensely skeptical of the Act during Wednesday’s hearing, labeling its continued existence a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

“It was unreal, unbelievable, almost shocking, for a member of the court to use certain language. I can see politicians and even members of Congress — but it is just appalling to me,” Lewis said on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation.”

“It is an affront to all of what the civil rights movement stood for, what people died for, what people bled for, and those of us who marched across that bridge 48 years ago, we didn’t march for some racial entitlement,” he continued. “We wanted to open up the political process, and let all of the people come in, and it didn’t matter whether they were black or white, Latino, Asian-American or Native American.”

The AFL-CIO and Keystone XL Pipeline

[ 80 ] February 28, 2013 |

On Tuesday, the AFL-CIO gave tacit support for building the Keystone XL Pipeline, a very disappointing development for many involved in the climate movement, as well for some of the federation’s constituent unions that had fought the building trades over whether labor should support it. The Transit Workers’ Union took a particularly leading role on this issues, with the Laborers, IBEW, and Teamsters the unions most pushing for building it. I have more on this at LaborOnline. An excerpt:

I understand the tough situation that Keystone creates for organized labor. A union’s job is to protect the interests of its members, including keeping them employed, all too rare today. But in the early 21st century, with organized labor in deep decline, does it make sense to promote short-term job growth at the cost of telling the thousands of people who care deeply about a variety of progressive causes, including climate change, that organized labor is not an ally?

Let’s also remember that climate change is the greatest issue faced by humans in the 21st century. Events like Hurricane Sandy, the drought parching half the United States, and the massive forest fires in the West that are changing the ecology of states like New Mexico will almost certainly become far more common. Climate change will disproportionately affect the poor. Lack of air conditioning will cause higher death rates from heat exhaustion. Warmer weather will lead to higher cockroach populations that cause elevated asthma rates among urban dwellers. The poor in low-elevation nations like Bangladesh will suffer tremendously, not to mention those living in floodplains in the United States. Climate change is absolutely a working-class issue. Organized labor needs to play a leading role in conversations on how to fight this menace. Building a massive pipeline that makes the problem worse is counterproductive.

So I understand why LIUNA and the building trades are behind the pipeline. I won’t criticize them too harshly for a stance that will create jobs. But if organized labor wants to remain relevant within the 21st century progressive movement, it can’t support policies that intensify climate change. Endorsing more petroleum pipelines may create a few jobs in the short-term, but has starkly negative long-term consequences, both for the planet and for labor’s ability to make much-needed alliances with other organizations.

From my perspective, it just comes down to whether it makes more sense to get a few jobs now or be relevant in the movement to make a world a better place. Labor is getting crushed left and right and part of the reason is that it by and large has not made itself available to be part of the social movements trying to change this country for the better. It’s come around on immigration, much to its credit. Environmental issues are just as hard, but parts of organized labor are excellent on these issues and others are at least willing to have conversation. Some unions though, they just don’t care. Meanwhile, the climate is changing more every day.

WBC

[ 54 ] February 28, 2013 |

My latest at the Diplomat is on the opening of the third World Baseball Classic.

The Dominican Republic, led by Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes, and Hanley Ramirez, is the odds on favorite to win the Classic, followed by the United States and Japan. In 2009, however, a strong Dominican team failed to escape pool play, losing twice to the Netherlands. The popularity of the WBC in Korea and Japan may give those teams an edge in morale; U.S. play in the first two tournaments occasionally seemed lackadaisical, as players looked ahead to the Major League season.

Indeed, the major league connection has proven a handicap for many of the American teams.  Major league teams have discouraged many of their players (especially pitchers) from participating in the WBC due to injury and exhaustion risks.  Consequently, some of the most devastating players in baseball, including Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, and Johnny Cueto, are sitting the WBC out.  On the other hand, the participation of Joey Votto lends no small degree of punch to the Canadian team.

The broader question is the extent to which the WBC helps produce a Pacific rim baseball community. Although major Japanese and Korean stars have played in the United States (and American players are common in Japan), the trans-Pacific relationship remains substantially outside the integrated system that characterizes baseball in the Americas. Of course, whether such integration is desirable is an altogether different question; baseball has a distinct character in each of Korea, Japan, and North America, adding a regional and cultural richness to the sport.

Given that I am now a person who has written about baseball in America, I believe that my invitation to join the Baseball Writers Association of America shall arrive any day.  In anticipation, I am already becoming indignant about steroids, and increasingly impressed by the feats of Jack Morris.  In any case, I will cheer heartily for Canada if Joey Votto is part of the team (unclear at the moment); otherwise, United States.

Why the Kamikaze Campaign Against Hagel?

[ 90 ] February 27, 2013 |

Why did the GOP go down Yamato-style, guns blazing on a suicide mission against impossible odds in the Hagel fight?  Conor Friedersdorf’s suggests that part of the answer is information asymmetry, bred by the conservative echo chamber:

But Americans who get their news from anti-Hagel conservatives discovered Tuesday that much of the analysis they’ve long been fed on this subject left them as misinformed about the likely course of events as they were about Mitt Romney’s prospects for victory during Election 2012. Of course, a single nomination battle isn’t nearly so consequential as a presidential election. This is nevertheless another reminder for the rank-and-file on the right: Demand better from the journalists whose work you patronize, or remain at an information disadvantage relative to consumers of a “mainstream media” that is regularly outperforming conservative journalists.

I don’t think that this is entirely wrong, but I also don’t think it’s quite right. First, I don’t think that the rank-and-file on the right are terribly interested in repairing this information disadvantage; who wants to hear unpleasant things? I also think it’s reasonably clear that there are no rewards within movement conservative journalism for accuracy. Rather, imaginative, well constructed adherence to the editorial line of of the Commentary-National Review-Weekly Standard Axis leads to upward mobility, with the Free Bacon and the Daily Tucker provide entry points into the machine. I find this simultaneously abhorrent and admirable; you have to respect a movement so certain of itself that it feels no need to bother with inconvenient aspects of reality.

More broadly, I think that it’s wrong to read the “to-the-barricades” style journalism on Hagel as symptomatic simply of the closed information loop. While there’s some danger in imposing too much solidarity on the neocon faction of the Republican elite, I think it’s fair to say that the faction has done an excellent job of institutionalizing message coherence. Effective control over the two most important think tanks and several of the most important journals helps in that regard. I suspect that the decision to maintain the fight against Hagel even after it became obvious to everyone that it was hopeless rests on two foundations, one strategic and one cultural.

The strategic logic of holding out beyond hope in the Hagel battle is that the fight isn’t really about Hagel; it’s about control of the foreign policy apparatus of the Republican Party. Hagel is representative of the realist faction that neocons loathe. The old guard of that faction (Powell, Scowcroft, Hagel) is leaving the scene, but the Tea Party holds some disturbingly isolationist ideas, and may even value tax cuts (gasp!) over foreign wars and a high defense budget. Fighting the Hagel fight (especially as Hagel represents apostasy) is a fabulous way of asserting the grip of the neocon faction over GOP foreign policy, and narrowing the debate such that alternative views become “extreme.” In this context, it’s clearly very interesting that Rand Paul ended up voting against cloture both times, and against for the nomination, although Paul may have had his own reasons. In any case, forcing the Hagel fight is about launching a winning an intra-party battle, and doesn’t have much to do with Obama at all. The secondary logic here is that if the neocons hold the reins in the GOP, they’re assured of a strong position in the next GOP administration, and there will eventually be another GOP administration, whether in 2016, or 2020, or 2024.

The cultural story runs as follows; one of the central planks of neoconservative foreign policy thinking is the important of resolve. Resolve aids both deterrence and compellence; throwing a country against the wall now and again enhances U.S. power and prestige. If resolve works on the international level, it probably works on the domestic level. The Hagel fight represented a cheap opportunity to display resolve; even in a hopeless fight, the neocons show that they’re willing to push beyond all reasonable means to carry on the struggle. The strategy works if Obama thinks twice about the next potentially controversial nominee, or if other elements in the GOP respect the display of resolve. Indeed, difficult, hopeless fights represent fantastic opportunities for developing a reputation for resolve, if you believe that sort of thing matters (and I don’t).

I don’t know how much either of these logics contributed to the Hagel suicide mission, and again it’s always dangerous to impute clear motivations to a faction, which is an informal organization that includes multiple actors with a variety of motives.  Nevertheless, I suspect it’s wrong to think that the neocons just didn’t understand the odds against Hagel.

Live Free or Stupid

[ 74 ] February 27, 2013 |

New Hampshire has moronic legislators that challenge any state in the nation:

A Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire made a startling comment Tuesday during a debate on a bill that would reduce the penalties for simple assault, claiming that “a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.”

The remark by state Rep. Mark Warden (R) was caught on tape during a meeting of the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. He was speaking in support of a bill his fellow lawmakers on the committee overwhelmingly voted to kill.

“Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law?” he said. “I’d say no. People are always free to leave.”

Give him credit, here’s one New Englander that could win election from Idaho to South Carolina.

Fables of the Post-Reconstruction, With Antonin Scalia

[ 101 ] February 27, 2013 |

Today’s oral arguments concerning the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act were as depressing as you’d expect. As has been his recent tendency, Scalia did is the favor of using his hypotheticals to give away the show. He sees the robust federal protection of voting rights as a problem that the Supreme Court needs to solve, using the same kind of arguments about “special rights” the Supreme Court used to help pave the way to Jim Crow in the late 19th century:

The most remarkable example of the contemporary Republican hostility to civil rights came, unsurprisingly, from Antonin Scalia. Ensuring equal access to the ballot, asserted Scalia, represents “a phenomenon that has been called the perpetuation of racial entitlement.” As it happens, Scalia’s argument has precedent … in the white supremacist arguments made by the Supreme Court in the 19th Century when it was dismantling Reconstruction. In the Civil Rights Cases, the majority opinion sniffed as it struck down the Civil Rights Act of 1875 that “there must be some stage in the progress of his elevation when [the freed slave] takes the rank of a mere citizen and ceases to be the special favorite of the laws.” As Justice Harlan noted in dissent, this line of argument was nonsense: “What the nation, through Congress, has sought to accomplish in reference to [African-Americans] is what had already been done in every State of the Union for the white race—to secure and protect rights belonging to them as freemen and citizens, nothing more.” Harlan was right then, and he’s even more obviously right now. Ensuring equal access to the ballot does not represent a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” It simply provides the foundation equal citizenship.

Scalia’s arguments about “racial entitlements” also represent an odd theory of democracy. The strong support for the VRA, Scalia argues, is just a product of the fact that “when a society enacts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the ordinary political process.” Note, first of all, the hostility evident in Scalia’s phrasing: he seems to take for granted that it’s an important goal to “get rid of” what he erroneously calls a “racial entitlement.” And leaving that aside, his argument perversely assumes the effectiveness of the bill and the political support it generated are reasons the Court should strike it down. This makes no sense. As Justice Breyer noted, it’s not irrational for legislators to want to continue to apply a remedy that has largely (but not fully) eradicated the disease of disenfranchisement.

So if I understand Scalia’s jurisprudence correctly, the 14th Amendment (which says nothing about race) applies only to racial discrimination (that affects white people) (unless a Republican has a presidential election to win), while the 15th Amendment (which explicitly forbids racial discrimination in voting and empowers Congress to enforce the provision) should not be construed as allowing Congress to prevent racial discrimination in voting, because this would be a “racial entitlement.”  Fascinating.

The rest of the Republican justices weren’t quite as explicit in their hostility, but while I guess you cold hold out some faint hope that Kennedy will pull back from the brink, I agree with Rick Hasen that the heart of the Voting Rights Act is doomed. We’ll get a superficially “minimalist” Roberts opinion that strikes down the preclearance requirement, while holding out the theoretical possibility that Congress could pass a new one, although it’s clear that no way Congress could go about it would satisfy the Court’s Republican majority.

…Paul linked to it below, but make sure to read him as well.

…see also Flatow and Millhiser. And then Serwer on Roberts’s long war on the Voting Rights Act.

…Pierce:

If the Roberts Court declares Section V of the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional, as seems sadly likely, it will have complete a historically resonant parlay through which corporate influence over elections is enhanced while minority participation is made more difficult. This did not work out very well the last time, and it is unlikely to work out well now.

Book Review: Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek

[ 56 ] February 27, 2013 |

On November 29, 1864, Colonel John Chivington, a former abolitionist preacher, led a military expedition against an encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians at Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado. The Cheyenne and Arapaho, having seen their power diminish rapidly with the arrival of whites since 1859, were there under an understanding of peace. Despite this, Chivington and his men mercilessly attacked without warning. Up to 160 Cheyenne and Arapaho were killed in one of the most brutal incidents in the history of white colonization of the United States. Chivington thought this would make his political career. But two officers testified against him before a congressional committee investigating the incident, of which one was soon murdered by a Chivington supporter. Sand Creek led the Cheyenne and Arapahos into full-fledged war that would not stop until military defeat in the late 1870s.

In 1998, Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the first Native American to serve in the Senate, introduced a bill to acquire the Sand Creek Massacre site for the National Park Service. It required compromise between the many stakeholders the project, including the NPS, local landowners and residents of isolated, conservative, and nearly all-white Kiowa County; the Northern and Southern Cheyennes, and the Northern and Southern Arapahoes, as well as other interested parties in Colorado.

Ari Kelman, who many of you may know from his former blogging at Edge of the American West, has a new book out detailing the intense struggle over commemorating Sand Creek. A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek does a fantastic job at exploring the process of officially memorializing Sand Creek. Calling it a “‘history front’ in a simmering ‘culture war,’” Kelman details the painful and complex process that remembering our past necessitates when both conqueror and conquered have roughly equal voices in determining what that remembrance will look like.

Perhaps the best way to review this book is to focus on one primary issue: where the massacre actually took place. Fairly quickly after 1864, people couldn’t figure out quite where it had happened. The general area was known, but even those who had participated were unsure when they returned. An exception to this was George Bent. The half-Cheyenne trader, Bent survived the massacre and produced maps with a sympathetic white historian between 1905 and 1914, over forty years after the fact. For the Cheyennes and Arapahos, Sand Creek is a “living memory,” a defining point in their history that still resonates today in a world where its consequences include in entrenched poverty on reservations in Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. Because of that and because of the importance of Bent’s testimony in giving them a mental map to that site, the Cheyennes and Arapahos insisted that Bent’s map showed precisely where the battle took place. Even questioning it reeked of colonialism. For the tribes, officially memorializing the massacre was a positive potential step, but it wasn’t their top priority, which allowed them to use it as a tool for reparation claims against the federal government. They were determined to not just hand over a site so central to their tribal memories to the federal government without stipulations, so maintaining cultural sovereignty and prioritizing their traditional memories of the place were of the utmost importance.

The National Park Service had different priorities. Some looters came out to the massacre site with metal detectors, but found nothing. They reported this to the Colorado Historical Society, leading to a long search for evidence of the battlefield. It was during this process that Campbell crafted legislation for the park, which made finding the site imperative for the NPS.

Now we can rightfully question whether “finding Sand Creek” should have been a necessary condition to the NPS commemorating it. As Euro-Americans, we have an overly inflated sense of the importance of actual physical sites where something happened. If it was close to the massacre site, I’m not sure that it should have mattered much. But for the tribes, this process was infuriating. Bent said it was there so it was there. Period. Never mind the lack of physical evidence.

As a historian with a pretty conservative methodological viewpoint, this question of Bent’s memory as arbiter is a tough one, even if I know the historical background of why this is so. Fundamentally, do the Cheyennes have the right to determine the location of the massacre site based upon their cultural authority alone? If we accept that idea, do we also have to accept Native American claims that they have been in the Americas forever, Bering Land Bridge evidence notwithstanding? Or Mormon cosmology? Or the Creation story? In other words, does cultural cache and politics trump evidence, even when a history of very real oppression gives particular stories moral weight? There’s no easy answer. Similarly, to what extent do we as historians take oral traditions as evidence that holds the same weight as written or other forms of evidence? If we do take them as methodologically equal to other sources, what are the implications for the accuracy of the history? If we don’t, are we part of a larger racist and colonial project? Moreover, it’s not like the Cheyennes and Arapahoes necessarily see eye to eye, or for that matter the Northern Cheyenne and Southern Cheyenne. Some Cheyennes, including many of the most prominent involved in this struggle, denied the Arapahoes were even at Sand Creek in 1864. When they don’t agree, whose histories and ideas get prioritized? Does that the fact that a few Northern Cheyenne families took a particularly aggressive stance in this process mean their views receive the most attention? In this case it did. They did eventually find the site, not all that far from where Bent said it was. Late in the process, a cartographical study suggested at an irrigation ditch probably changed the channel of the creek at some point, which made it possible that Bent (and the Cheyennes) were right after all.

Kelman’s fascinating book is filled with issues like this. Campbell’s Sagebrush Rebellion-esque concerns about federal ownership of public lands gave the white landowners enormous power to determine the selling prices. Colorado whites arguing amongst themselves over whether Sand Creek is a battle or a massacre or whether “political correctness” has taken over our triumphalist history. The sometimes bumbling though well-meaning actions of the NPS, unnecessarily alienating stakeholders through its top-down approach. There’s a lot to chew on in this tale.

In the end it came together. You can visit it today. That hardly means that relations between the Cheyennes and whites have improved. The installation of a Sand Creek exhibit at History Colorado has caused all sorts of headaches, despite the fact that the exhibit is so disturbing in its portrayal of Sand Creek that there’s a warning against kids going inside. But the Cheyennes still see the idea of state interpretation of their history, as sympathetic as it might be, as something extremely suspicious. Still, the fact that this got done shows, as Kelman states, “each of the interested parties understood that a commitment to remembering the past meant accepting the existence of multiple, sometimes even competing, recollections rather than a single, unified collective memory.” And really, we should probably take this stance with most of American history.

In the end, the commemoration of Sand Creek should matter to all of us because these are unhealed scars that matter a great deal to a lot of Americans. We can’t just express white guilt about what our ancestors did 150 years ago and forget about it. For the Cheyenne and Arapaho and conservative whites in Colorado and a lot of people, these battles are still fresh and there’s no easy answers in even how to talk about them, not to mention officially memorialize them.

So buy a copy and try to figure out the politics of historical memory for yourself.

VRA arguments; the end of the affair

[ 9 ] February 27, 2013 |

I have a piece in Salon about the Voting Rights Act case the supremes heard today.

Also, I’m closing down my other place. I’ll still report and comment on the law school mess here from time to time.

The World’s Worst Designed Apartment Complex

[ 166 ] February 27, 2013 |

Good god.

But wait, there’s more.

Someone make it stop. What did the British do to deserve this?

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