She’s Not Ready

While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.

by Bob Herbert

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Published in: on September 14, 2008 at 11:44 am  Comments (1)  

There’s something wrong with us.

Overkill and Short Shrift

BOB HERBERT

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is no doubt (and regrettably) a big issue in the presidential campaign. But what we’ve seen over the past week is major media overkill — Jeremiah Wright all day and all night. It’s like watching the clips of a car wreck again and again.

Tough, Sad and Smart

They are a longtime odd couple, Bill Cosby and Harvard’s Dr. Alvin Poussaint, and their latest campaign is nothing less than an effort to save the soul of black America.

By BOB HERBERT

Published in: on October 16, 2007 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment  

The Trivial Pursuit

Yesterday began with the gratifying news that Al Gore, derided by George H.W. Bush as the “Ozone Man,” had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

By BOB HERBERT

The first thing media types wanted to know was whether this would prompt Mr. Gore to elbow his way into the presidential campaign. That’s like asking someone who’s recovered from a heart attack if he plans to resume smoking.

Published in: on October 14, 2007 at 1:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Send in the Clowns

By BOB HERBERT

It’s embarrassing.The U.S. is going through a transitional period at least as important as the early post-World War II years. New worlds in energy, technology, the economy and global interdependence are either upon us or coming fast.

Published in: on October 6, 2007 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Abusing Iraqi Civilians

By BOB HERBERT
July 10, 2007

With no end yet in sight for the long dark night of the Iraq war, The Nation magazine is coming out this week with an article that goes into great and disturbing detail about the brutal treatment of Iraqi civilians by some U.S. soldiers and marines.


[need access?]

Published in: on July 10, 2007 at 10:25 pm  Comments (1)  

When Is Enough Enough?

BOB HERBERT
June 30, 2007

Chances are you didn’t hear it, but on Thursday night Senator Hillary Clinton said, “If H.I.V./AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.”

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 10:57 am  Comments (1)  

Doubting the Police

by Bob Herbert
June 26, 2007

The woman was reluctant to let her name be used. She said she had a teenage son and was afraid that he might be harassed by the police. But her desire to have the truth come out overcame her fears.

Published in: on June 25, 2007 at 10:31 pm  Comments (1)  

Mr. Mayor, the Nader of ’08?

June 23, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

By BOB HERBERT

A huge ego and a few billion dollars can cause an awful lot of mischief.

Published in: on June 22, 2007 at 11:11 pm  Comments (2)  

When Dollars Trump Compassion

BOB HERBERT
June 19, 2007

You won’t see these stories on television, but Marian Wright Edelman and Dr. Irwin Redlener could talk to you all day and all night about children whose lives have been lost or ruined because they didn’t have health insurance.

Flip Side of the Dream

Op-Ed Columnist
Bob Herbert
June 16, 2007

‘It seems obvious that we should be putting as many young people to work as possible, but the opposite is happening.’

(To read the rest, you’ll need access.)

Published in: on June 16, 2007 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Divide in Caring for Our Kids

June 12, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

A few weeks ago, Teri Hatcher, one of the stars of the television series “Desperate Housewives,” was on David Letterman’s show, talking very animatedly about a time when her daughter needed emergency dental care.

Where to get a dentist on a Saturday?

Published in: on June 11, 2007 at 10:29 pm  Comments (4)  

School to Prison Pipeline

June 9, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

The latest news-as-entertainment spectacular is the Paris Hilton criminal justice fiasco. She’s in! She’s out! She’s — whatever.

Far more disturbing (and much less entertaining) is the way school officials and the criminal justice system are criminalizing children and teenagers all over the country, arresting them and throwing them in jail for behavior that in years past would never have led to the intervention of law enforcement.
(more…)

Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 10:50 pm  Comments (2)  

The Passion of Al Gore

June 5, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Al Gore is earnestly talking about the long-term implications of the energy and climate crises, and how the Arctic ice cap is receding much faster than computer models had predicted, and how difficult and delicate a task it will be to try and set things straight in Iraq.
(more…)

Published in: on June 4, 2007 at 10:40 pm  Comments (6)  

Poisonous Police Behavior

June 2, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By Bob Herbert

You most likely have no idea of the abusive treatment that students and teachers at many of New York City’s public schools are enduring at the hands of overly aggressive police officers and security aides assigned to the schools. (more…)

Published in: on June 2, 2007 at 8:02 am  Comments (1)  

Arrested While Grieving

May 26, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

No one is paying much attention, but parts of New York City are like a police state for young men, women and children who happen to be black or Hispanic. They are routinely stopped, searched, harassed, intimidated, humiliated and, in many cases, arrested for no good reason. (more…)

Published in: on May 26, 2007 at 4:28 pm  Comments (2)  

American Cities and the Great Divide

May 22, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

A public high school teacher in Brooklyn told me recently about a student who didn’t believe that a restaurant tab for four people could come to more than $500. The student shook his head, as if resisting the very idea. He just couldn’t fathom it. (more…)

Published in: on May 21, 2007 at 11:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Young, Ill and Uninsured

May 19, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Fourteen-year-old Devante Johnson deserved better. He was a sweet kid, an honor student and athlete who should be enjoying music and sports and skylarking with his friends at school. Instead he’s buried in Houston’s Paradise North Cemetery. (more…)

Published in: on May 19, 2007 at 1:34 pm  Comments (1)  

The Right to Paid Sick Days

May 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

It sounds reasonable: seven paid sick days a year. Why should you have to lose a couple of days pay, or maybe even your job, because you had the misfortune to catch the flu?
(more…)

Published in: on May 14, 2007 at 11:02 pm  Comments (2)  

The Millions Left Out

May 12, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

The United States may be the richest country in the world, but there are many millions — tens of millions — who are not sharing in that prosperity.
(more…)

Published in: on May 11, 2007 at 11:07 pm  Comments (1)  

More Than Just Talk

May 8, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

New Orleans

It was a nice moment. The sky was filled with thick, dark clouds and a monsoonlike storm was on its way, but there was the presidential candidate, John Edwards, in work boots, jeans and a navy blue shirt, talking with a handful of neighborhood people gathered outside a house that was being built in the Ninth Ward. (more…)

Published in: on May 7, 2007 at 11:13 pm  Comments (1)  

An Invisible War

May 3, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Paul Rieckhoff looked across the crowded restaurant, which was not far from Times Square.

“During World War II,” he said, “we could be in this place and there would be a guy sitting at that table who was in the war, or the bartender had been in the war. Everybody you saw would have had a stake in the war. But right now you could walk around New York for blocks and not find anybody who has been in Iraq.
(more…)

Published in: on May 2, 2007 at 10:52 pm  Comments (3)  

Working the Truth Beat

April 30, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

The initial feeling is shock, and then comes anger, the anger bursting through even before the inevitable sadness sets in.

Two people whom I respected a great deal were killed — one of them insanely and the other absurdly — in the past three weeks.
(more…)

Published in: on April 29, 2007 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hooked on Violence

April 26, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Two days after the massacre at Virginia Tech, a mentally disturbed man with a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun opened fire in a house in Queens, killing his mother, his mother’s disabled companion and the disabled man’s health care aide. The gunman then killed himself. (more…)

Published in: on April 25, 2007 at 10:14 pm  Comments (1)  

A Volatile Young Man, Humiliation and a Gun

April 19, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

“God I can’t wait till I can kill you people.”
— A message on the Web site of the Columbine killer Eric Harris.

In the predawn hours of Monday, Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman, a former marine and Eagle Scout in Austin, Tex., stabbed his wife to death in their bed. The night before he had driven to his mother’s apartment in another part of town and killed her.

Later that Monday morning, Whitman gathered together food, water, a supply of ammunition, two rifles, a couple of pistols, a carbine and a shotgun and climbed the landmark 30-story tower on the campus of the University of Texas.

Beneath a blazing sun, with temperatures headed toward the mid-90s, Whitman opened fire. His first target was a pregnant teenager. Over the next 80 or so minutes he killed 14 people and wounded more than 30 others before being shot to death by the police.
(more…)

Published in: on April 18, 2007 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Signs of Infection

April 16, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Signs of Infection
By BOB HERBERT

People in positions of great power are the ones who define those who are relatively lacking in power. So when Don Imus, a very powerful radio personality, dropped his disgusting verbal bomb on the members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team, he sent a powerful message across the airwaves: that the young women on the team (the black ones, at least) were crude, ugly and genetically inferior, and that all of the women were whores. (more…)

Published in: on April 16, 2007 at 12:08 am  Comments (5)  

Paying the Price

April 12, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

You knew something was up early in the day. As soon as I told executives at MSNBC that I was going to write about the “60 Minutes” piece, which was already in pretty wide circulation, they began acting very weird. We’ll get back to you, they said.
(more…)

Published in: on April 11, 2007 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Our Crumbling Foundation

April 5, 2007
By BOB HERBERT

Fifty-nine years ago this week — on April 3, 1948 — President Truman signed the legislation establishing the Marshall Plan, which contributed so much to the rebuilding of postwar Europe. Now, more than half a century later, the U.S. can’t even rebuild New Orleans. (more…)

Published in: on April 4, 2007 at 11:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stepping on the Dream

March 22, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

One of the weirder things at work these days is the fact that we’re making it more difficult for American youngsters to afford college at a time when a college education is a virtual prerequisite for establishing and maintaining a middle-class standard of living.
(more…)

Published in: on March 21, 2007 at 10:32 pm  Comments (8)  

The Danger Zone

March 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

The national unemployment rate came in at 4.5 percent last week and was generally characterized as pretty good. But whatever universe those numbers came from, it was not the universe that black men live in.
(more…)

Published in: on March 14, 2007 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Indentured Servants in America

March 12, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

A must-read for anyone who favors an expansion of guest worker programs in the U.S. is a stunning new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center that details the widespread abuse of highly vulnerable, poverty-stricken workers in programs that already exist.
(more…)

Published in: on March 11, 2007 at 11:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Lift the Curtain

March 8, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Neglect, incompetence, indifference, lies.

Why in the world is anyone surprised that the Bush administration has not been taking good care of wounded and disabled American troops?
(more…)

Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 10:44 am  Comments (1)  

Education, Education, Education

March 5, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

It’s an article of faith that the key to success in real estate is location, location, location.

For young black boys looking ahead to a difficult walk in life, the mantra should be education, education, education.
(more…)

Published in: on March 5, 2007 at 9:47 am  Comments (3)  

Slavery Is Not Dead. It’s Not Even Past.

March 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

The Rev. Al Sharpton seemed subdued, quiet, reflective — which was unusual.

Just when we thought the news couldn’t get any weirder, we learned this week, via The Daily News, that Mr. Sharpton’s great-grandfather was a slave who was owned by relatives of Senator Strom Thurmond, the longtime archsegregationist who ran for president as a Dixiecrat in 1948. (more…)

Published in: on March 1, 2007 at 12:22 am  Comments (1)  

Mud, Dust, Whatever

February 26, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

If Bill and Hillary Clinton were the stars of a reality TV show, it would be a weekly series called “The Connivers.” The Clintons, the most powerful of power couples, are always scheming at something, and they’re good at it. (more…)

From Anna to Britney to Zawahri

February 22, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Have they buried Anna Nicole Smith yet?
(more…)

Published in: on February 22, 2007 at 12:22 am  Comments (1)  

The Real Patriots

February 19, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

If we could manage to get past the tedious and the odious — like the empty speculation on whether a woman can win, or whether Barack Obama is black enough — we might be able to engage the essential issue facing the U.S. at this point in our history.
(more…)

Published in: on February 19, 2007 at 1:22 am  Comments (2)  

Until the War Ends …

February 12, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Almost all the talk about the 2008 presidential election is about the horse race: Who’s up? Who’s down? Can Hillary hold her lead? Can a pro-choice, pro-gay-rights candidate like Rudy Giuliani outrun a hawkish maverick like John McCain?

It’s a sport. It’s fun. Why spoil it by being too serious?
(more…)

Published in: on February 11, 2007 at 11:35 pm  Comments (1)  

‘They Beat Gary So Bad’

February 8, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

ST. ROSE, La.

Juanita Tyler lives in a neat one-story house that sits behind a glistening magnolia tree that dominates the small front lawn.

She is 74 now and unfailingly gracious, but she admits to being tired from a lifetime of hard work and trouble. I went to see her to talk about her son, Gary.
(more…)

Published in: on February 8, 2007 at 1:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Gary Tyler’s Lost Decades

February 5, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Destrehan, La.

The term “time warp” could have been coined for this rural town of 11,000 residents that sits beside, and just a little below, the Mississippi River. A remnant of the sugar-plantation era, the region’s racially troubled past is always here, seldom spoken about but inescapable, like the murk in the air of a perpetually stalled weather front.
(more…)

Published in: on February 4, 2007 at 11:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Death in Destrehan

February 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Destrehan, La.

On the afternoon of Oct. 7, 1974, a mob of 200 enraged whites, many of them students, closed in on a bus filled with black students that was trying to pull away from the local high school. The people in the mob were in a high-pitched frenzy. They screamed racial epithets and bombarded the bus with rocks and bottles. The students on the bus were terrified.
(more…)

Published in: on January 31, 2007 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

More Than Antiwar

January 29, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Washington

It was a few minutes after 11 a.m. when the scattered crowd began moving slowly toward the stage at the end of the Mall. The sky was a beautiful sunlit blue and the Capitol building, huge and white and majestic, offered the protesters an emotional backdrop that seemed almost close enough to touch.
(more…)

Published in: on January 29, 2007 at 2:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Long on Rhetoric, Short on Sorrow

January 25, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

President Bush showed what he does well at the beginning of the State of the Union ceremony when he graciously acknowledged and introduced Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House of Representatives. He seemed both generous and sincere, and it was the right touch for a genuinely historic moment.
(more…)

Published in: on January 24, 2007 at 11:55 pm  Comments (1)  

Your MasterCard or Your Life

January 22, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

Americans are increasingly living in a house of cards — credit cards.

A disturbing new report shows that with health care costs continuing their sharp rise, low- and middle-income patients are reaching for their credit cards with alarming frequency to cover treatment that they otherwise would be unable to afford.
(more…)

Published in: on January 21, 2007 at 10:37 pm  Comments (2)  

The Lost Voice of Protest

January 18, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

On the evening of the fourth of April, 1967, one year to the day (almost to the hour) before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. walked into Riverside Church in Manhattan and delivered a speech that was among his least well known, yet most controversial.

“I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight,” he said, “because my conscience leaves me no other choice.” (more…)

Published in: on January 17, 2007 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Descending to New Depths

January 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

New Orleans

I was surprised recently by a sudden shift in the tone of a veteran cabdriver, Stanley Taylor, who had been kind enough to take me on a nearly four-hour tour of the flood-wrecked regions of the city.
(more…)

Published in: on January 14, 2007 at 10:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Home in the Ruins

January 11, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By BOB HERBERT

New Orleans

As its problems mount, the Big Easy is becoming increasingly unnerved.

Local officials, who will never be mistaken for the brightest lights in the firmament, have been unable to stem a hideous wave of murders. On Tuesday Mayor C. Ray Nagin said, “Enough is enough,” then added, “But we’ve said that before.”
(more…)

Published in: on January 11, 2007 at 12:44 am  Comments (1)  

Working Harder for the Man

January 8, 2007

By BOB HERBERT

Robert L. Nardelli, the chairman and chief executive of Home Depot, began the new year with a pink slip and a golden parachute. The company handed him a breathtaking $210 million to take a hike. What would he have been worth if he’d done a good job?
(more…)

Published in: on January 7, 2007 at 11:07 pm  Comments (1)  

Another Thousand Lives

January 4, 2007

By BOB HERBERT

How long can this go on?

Saddam is dead. The weapons of mass destruction were a mirage. More than 3,000 American G.I.s and scores of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. Voters in the United States have made it clear that they no longer support American involvement in this exercise in sustained barbarism. Incredibly, the U.S. military itself is turning against the war.
(more…)

Published in: on January 3, 2007 at 11:15 pm  Comments (2)  

Lessons Never Learned

December 28, 2006

By BOB HERBERT

It would not be easy to find two men more different than Gerald Ford and James Brown. But I had a similar reaction to each of their deaths — a feeling of disappointment at some of the routes the nation has traveled since their days of greatest prominence.
(more…)

Published in: on December 28, 2006 at 12:49 am  Comments (1)