Thursday, December 19, 2002

CONGRATULATION, GRADUATES: Hoo-ray! Yesterday my better half Lola joined about 1,550 fellow students. She walked across the stage and received her degree from UNLV (specifically, from the school of hotel administration). She picked up her diploma only a few years later the rest of us typically do, but I'm still as pleased as punch she did it.

Of local interest, other than grandmotherly university Regent Thalia Dondero, who participated in the ceremonies, the only other regents on the platform were the embattled Howard Rosenberg and Linda Howard. They're in hot water for rifling through the private files of university students and employees, most likely in violation of federal law.

It's probably not a reach to consider Linda Howard (who's black) Nevada's answer to "Kerosene" Maxine Waters — petty, vindictive and dangerous. As this editorial I wrote recounts, Howard got into trouble for poring over the records of one student who called her "an idiot" in the UNLV student newspaper and another who criticized the regents at a public meeting.

Howard initially denied she had tampered with the private data, and then when she was caught red-handed, accused her critics of racism. Former RJ columnist Jon Ralston gave it to Howard with both barrels in this column.

Sad to say, Howard has the job for as long as she wants it. Nevada is the only state which elects its regents, and the black community blindly supports her. As Ralston says, "The problem African-Americans have here and elsewhere is that they reflexively circle the wagons around even the worst of their members, when they should just throw them out to be shot -- and should join the firing squad." I'm just thankful Lola's no longer affiliated with the institution.

YOU MEET THE MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE IN BLOGDOM: Got an e-mail from a fellow UNC alum (Class of '81) and ink-stained wretch Geitner Simmons, an editorial writer at the Omaha World-Herald. His Regions of Mind blog talks about "History, U.S. regionalism, foreign policy, politics, journalism, life." And he links to a band called Prairie Cats, distributed by Hepcat Records, the coolest music store on this or any other planet. Check it out.

Monday, December 16, 2002

LOTTS MORE: Great piece from Dave Kopel on NRO about the 1948 Dixiecrat platform, which "quoted from the 1840 Democratic platform, which was the platform of the great Democratic President Martin Van Buren. More than any other President, Van Buren faithfully followed the Constitution, so his platform — fewer than 1,000 words long — is an especially valuable guide for constitutionalists."

While Van Buren's platform offered a wonderful defense of federalism, the Dixiecrats just happened to delete this section: "that every citizen and every section of the country has a right to demand and insist upon an equality of rights and privileges, and to complete and ample protection of persons and property from domestic violence or foreign aggression." How convenient!

"That statement," Kopel writes, "is the principle on which the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments are based. States' rights were not a legitimate constitutional basis for states to violate the constitutional rights of their citizens."

Hence the Dixiecrats' support of lynching laws, and, presumably, of moves by state and local governments to disarm African-Americans. Is that what Trent Lott was celebrating?