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Twenty years ago, California public schools were forcing thousands of Latino children into Spanish-almost-only classes against the wishes of their parents. In 1996, The Los Angeles Times told the story of a group of Latino immigrant parents who began a public protest against their local elementary school for refusing to teach their children English, boycotting... Read More
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How Los Angeles undercut its pathbreaking IHP project
In late September I attended a memorial service for William M. Fitz-Gibbon, a retired public school teacher who had passed away a few weeks earlier, just short of his 78th birthday. Without doubt Bill Fitz-Gibbon—“Fitz” to everyone—was the individual who had the greatest academic influence on my life, and my feelings were shared by many... Read More
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Remembering Alexander Cockburn (1941–2012)
I first encountered the writing of Alexander Cockburn in the early 1990s on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, where he served as a regular columnist. Given that Alex was one of the premier radical-left journalists of our era, this highlights the unique background of the man. Being myself then a rather moderate... Read More
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Romney owes his only win to English for the Children.
With Mitt Romney now the de facto Republican presidential nominee, I sometimes recall how I inadvertently launched his political career a decade ago, which is less implausible than it might sound. Unlike the vast majority of previous major-party presidential candidates, Romney has a remarkably slender record of election victories, having previously won just a single... Read More
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The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
Will mass immigration destroy the GOP? Can our middle-class society survive high immigration levels? Is there any political solution to our current immigration difficulties? Last June the U.S. Census disclosed that non-white births in America were on the verge of surpassing the white total and might do so as early as the end of this... Read More
Go ahead, spend lots of cash. You’ll still lose.
Yesterday, the National Association of Bilingual Educators concluded its 2001 annual national convention in Phoenix on a desperate note. According to a front-page story in the Arizona Republic, the 7,000 participants were beseeched to pony up millions of dollars to fight the forthcoming state-wide "English for the Children" campaigns in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and... Read More
For the first time in living memory, California's entire diverse galaxy of campaign finance reform groups has united behind a single ballot measure campaign. Surprisingly, this reform grand alliance is actually aimed at defeating a campaign finance reform proposal--namely, Proposition 34, a measure placed on the November ballot by Gov. Gray Davis and the Democrats.... Read More
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The Golden State isn't too liberal for the GOP. Its leaders simply scared away immigrant voters
Just 10 years ago, California was a GOP bastion, regarded as the cornerstone of the Republican Electoral College "lock." The 1990 elections merely confirmed this impression, with the GOP winning its third gubernatorial race in a row, its fifth of seven. Two years earlier, the 1988 presidential race had marked the sixth straight California victory... Read More
In November, a turning point for U.S. education
Originally proposed by Economics Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman in 1955, educational vouchers and related types of school choice have increasingly become the main focus of conservative education- reformers, as attractive to parochial-school Christian conservatives as to free-market libertarians. In the past year, some prominent liberal journalists, such as Matt Miller writing in The Atlantic and... Read More
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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Tuesday's crushing defeat of a sweeping campaign finance measure in California thwarted reform in a state much in need of it. It also put the lie to the conventional wisdom that the Democratic Party is less opposed to campaign reform than the Republicans are. With absolutely no limits on the size... Read More
Everyone agrees that the current campaign-finance system is dreadfully flawed, consisting as it does of a mishmash of contribution limits unadjusted for 25 years of inflation and a gigantic "soft money" loophole that has grown large enough to devour any and all financial restrictions. But the virtual defeat yesterday of the McCain-Feingold bill marks an... Read More
WITH THE DEFENSE of Marriage Act on California's March ballot, the subject of gay rights is likely to move to the forefront of the political debate. Already, many Democratic candidates are said to be desperate to avoid taking a position on this controversial measure while many Republicans wish that the issue would simply disappear. The... Read More
The flow of money to candidates and causes calls the idea of the people's best interests into question
There are many areas of the world where ordinary citizens suspect that their elections are for sale. But California is one of the few places where these purchases are publicly disclosed. Consider last November's Proposition 9, an initiative sponsored by consumer activists that would have slashed utility rates in the state. The utility companies spent... Read More
The recent release of campaign finance reports for the first half of 1999 has revealed a surprising fact: unlike its national counterpart, the California Republican Party has suddenly become the party of the poor. Early press accounts mostly emphasized the astonishing pace of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’s post-election fund-raising, in which he racked up nearly... Read More
Republican presidential front-runner George W. Bush has now announced that he will not impose an abortion litmus test on his Supreme Court nominees. Such views may also be shared by most of Mr. Bush's leading rivals, thus transforming abortion into a word whose pronunciation is silence. The wide consensus of reporters, pollsters, consultants and major... Read More
In an effort to find common political ground on the vexing issue of public school reform, The Nation passes on to its readers a set of provocative proposals from Ron K. Unz. A conservative Republican who ran in the 1994 primary against California Governor Pete Wilson, Unz campaigned strongly against that year's anti-immigrant Prop 187.... Read More
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As the hot-button political issue of the 1998 election, educational reform has inspired a host of political proposals, ranging from the foolish to the ridiculous. Unfortunately, political sloganeering makes doubtful public policy, and if incoming California Gov. Gray Davis and his weakened Republican opposition actually hope to do something about our poorly performing school system,... Read More
The following correspondence was found in the personal papers of a retired U.S. Senator from Arizona after his death in 1998. Dearest H., Almost 30 years have gone by, and nobody suspects a thing! The strength of your determination still astonishes me. I never dreamed that the fiery "Goldwater" girl who visited me in my... Read More
Category Classics
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
An alliance of pro-immigrant Democrats and anti-immigration Republicans could finally fix our broken system
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind