The Washington Post

  • May 17, 2013

    by Jeremy Leaming

    The Rooney Rule, which has helped promote diversity in the NFL coaching and managerial ranks, should also be expanded in corporate America, says Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television.

    The Washington Post reports that Johnson and other African-American and Latino corporate leaders are calling on more companies to “voluntarily embrace a plan to interview at least two qualified black or Hispanic candidates for every job at the vice president level or higher.”

    The plan is based, The Post reports, on the NFL’s Rooney Rule that requires football teams to interview one or more minority candidates for head coaching and general manager openings. Cyrus Mehri, a founding partner of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, and the late Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. were instrumental in the NFL’s implementation of the Rooney Rule.

    Johnson told The Post that the business leaders have tried to get the Obama administration to help push more companies to adopt the rule and are now taking more aggressive actions on their own to influence more corporations. Johnson (pictured) said the group of business leaders would urge the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable to get behind the push for an expanded use of a Rooney-type rule in corporate America.

    Luis Ramirez, president and chief executive of Global Power, told The Post, “We need people who have diverse backgrounds and experiences to add to the populations of executives and corporate board members.”

  • December 10, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    During his early morning re-election speech, President Obama took note of the difficulties scores of voters faced in casting ballots this year, such as standing in lengthy, slow-moving lines for hours. Something we have to fix the president said. 

    Many of the problems for voters this election year, as noted often on this blog, were created by lawmakers in a string of states apparently bent on making voting a more difficult procedure, though they cloaked the intentions in language about protecting the integrity of the vote. But a closer examination of the actions taken by those lawmakers – limiting early voting hours, clamping down on voter registration drives and implementing onerous voter ID requirements – revealed political efforts to keep certain people away from the polls, namely minorities, college students, low-income people and the elderly. See the ACS Issue Brief by Loyola law school professor Justin Levitt on many of the restrictive vote measures, which he concluded made for poor and potentially unconstitutional policy.

    The Washington Post editorial board in “Repairing America’s elections,” highlighting voting difficulties in Northern Virginia, noted in part, “Poorly trained poll workers get confused by constantly changing laws and procedures. Voter registration and record-keeping are getting more high-tech, but there are still many kinks. Many states lack policies that could take some of the pressure off, such as early voting.”

    The editorial reports that some in Congress, such as Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) are pushing a measure similar to the Obama administration’s educational “Race to the Top,” initiative. That measure, in part, would “dangle the possibility of grants to states that put together election reform programs” that include expansion of early voting and “more flexible registration rules ….”

  • September 6, 2012

    by John Schachter

    As issues tinged (or perhaps overwrought) with racial overtones – voting rights, immigration, affirmative action and more – remain atop the political and legal agendas comes a new biography of a historical figure. Emory University professor Joseph Crispino has written “Strom Thurmond’s America,” a book about one of the last century’s longest-serving senators and key players in the racial politics of the 20th century.

    If you don’t have time to read the book, peruse The Washington Post’s review by longtime book critic Jonathan Yardley. Yardley has been the Post’s book critic since 1981 (when Thurmond was a spry 78) and has won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism. His decades of service have earned him the right to forgo any temptation to mince words or thoughts.

    Lest anyone wonder where Yardley is coming from, he notes up front that Thurmond (pictured) was “known primarily during his long career for racism, cynicism, opportunism, hypocrisy and ruthlessness.” And he soon calls him “one of the most perfervid racists of the 20th century.” But Yardley’s review is more than mere description as he provides evidence of his assertions.

    “Contrary to the warm and fuzzy views of Thurmond that emerged toward the end of his very long life…,” notes Yardley, “there is little that sheds any credit on him. What now seems fairly certain is that he will be remembered as a dour segregationist who, while in his early 20s, impregnated a 16-year-old [African American] girl employed in his family’s household.”

    “No doubt an assiduous researcher could uncover an even more blatant instance of hypocrisy in American politics,” Yardley continues, “but it is difficult to imagine what that might be.”

  • June 11, 2012

    by John Schachter

    Let me make one thing perfectly clear, Richard Nixon was worse than we ever knew or imagined. That’s the key takeaway from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s latest work in The Washington Post, some 36 years after their last joint byline. And as more and more tapes get released from Nixon’s time in office, we continue to see the pettiness, meanness, and darkness that consumed him.

    The intrepid reporting duo detail Nixon’s wars on many fronts – against the Democrats, the anti-war movement, the media, and history itself. But it’s Nixon’s war against the Constitution and the entire American system of justice that dominates his record.

    As we approach the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s astounding re-election in 1972 (and the 38th anniversary of his resignation), the enormity of his crimes and heinous actions have only become clearer over time.

    Former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sam Ervin (D-N.C.) said Watergate was Nixon’s attempt to “destroy, insofar as the presidential election of 1972 was concerned, the integrity of the process by which the President of the United States is nominated and elected.” But Woodward and Bernstein say that “Watergate was far more than that. At its most virulent, Watergate was a brazen and daring assault, led by Nixon himself, against the heart of American democracy: the Constitution, our system of free elections, the rule of law.”

  • April 18, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    Do we need another chart or study or poll to remind us of how clueless a nation we can be at times? More than likely the answer is a resounding “no.” 

    But nonetheless, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza points us to 2010 Pew poll, which shows that many do not know the basics about the nation’s top court. According to the survey, 54 percent do not know who the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice is, and eight percent believe that Thurgood Marshall, who died in 1993, is the Chief Justice. At the time, four percent thought Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid was the Chief Justice.

    Cillizza suggests that a survey might not look so sad now, especially since the high court’s opinion in Citizens United v. FEC, and recent oral argument in the health care reform law case, have garnered widespread attention. Still Cillizza concludes we must remember, “Regular people are simply not engaged – they don’t know or care – about the intricacies of the government in a way that people who live inside the Beltway and spend their lives in politics are.”

    But really, are we talking about the “intricacies of the government”? Yes, there are state Supreme Courts, but there’s only one U.S. Supreme Court with nine sitting justices, including the chief justice – that’s John Roberts Jr.