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Kausfiles Drills Down!

Flynt follow-up; bilingual blockade;
plus Al's adolescence.


Posted Saturday, December 11, 1999

        English Maybe: Remember Proposition 227, the initiative by which (in theory) California voters threw out that state's disastrous bilingual education program and replaced it with "English immersion"? For an excellent, maddening report on how anti-227 school administrators and teachers in Los Angeles are defying the law and continuing to teach "limited English" children in Spanish, read Jill Stewart's recent New Times Los Angeles account. ... The question begged by Stewart's story is: Isn't it time for some pro-227 parents to sue to get that law enforced? As it is, the main lawsuit on the table in Los Angeles is being brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), which is trying to get the Los Angeles school board to enter into a semi-collusive "consent decree" that will effectively undermine English immersion. Stewart describes this possible sellout to MALDEF here. ... Those districts that really do try English immersion, according to Stewart, have seen rising test scores. They include Sacramento, Inglewood, and Oceanside. Time for some national reporters from the Washington Post and New York Times to pay them a visit, no? Rene Sanchez, this means you! ...

        Reader Nails: Kausfiles reader Michael S. Nadel of Washington, D.C., had this reponse to the previous item, which concluded that Larry Flynt's investigation of congressional sex "served Clinton well" by possibly helping to cow House Speaker Newt Gingrich (who was at the time have a risky affair with a congressional aide):

How did Newt's silence "serve Clinton well"? Wouldn't having Gingrich as his main antagonist have helped Clinton? He would have had a foil even better than Ken Starr--even without the Bisek affair in the public eye.
Good question! Here two possible answers: 1) Gingrich's low-turnout, put-em-to-sleep strategy for the 1998 election was a disaster, which in turn encouraged Republican senators to acquit the president. A different, more active GOP House election strategy might have worked better, but it might also have required that Gingrich take a higher profile (and, inevitably, attack Clinton); 2) Bet if you'd asked Clinton's aides in the spring of 1998 whether they'd rather have an unencumbered Gingrich or a subdued Gingrich, they would have picked the latter--even if, in hindsight, that might have been a mistaken calculation.

        A plea to my colleagues: Please, please stop calling the old Fairfax Hotel, where the young Al Gore lived, a "luxury Washington hotel," as PBS did a few nights ago. During the '60s, when my family took a vacation to see the East Coast sights, we stayed at the Fairfax, because (we were told) it was the cheapest hotel in town. I remember it as a decent, shabby old thing--not a fleapit, but nothing that attempted to be in any way sybaritic. My mother remembers that we got a whole suite for something like $14 a day. ... Only much later, with Al Gore long gone, was the building refurbished and turned into an overpriced luxury hotel, once part of the Ritz chain, now called the Westin-Fairfax. ... Charles Peters made this very point in his "Tilting at Windmills" column in the Washington Monthly last May, but to no avail. ... Peters even pointed out that the Fairfax was so affordable Meg Greenfield lived there as a young reporter. ...

        Yent-a-Matic update: A recent edition of the authoritative Yent-a-Matic paired up Sen. Robert Torricelli, the publicity-seeking chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with Arianna Huffingon, the publicity-seeking bleeding-heart conservative columnist. As far as I know, this high-potential matchup has not yet been realized. But Torricelli is going out with MSNBC pundette Laura Ingraham, which is about as close as you can get to going out with Arianna Huffington without going out with Arianna Huffington ... Kausfiles still contends that Torricelli-Huffington is inevitable, sort of like globalization, or the collapse of communism in Cuba. ... No point trying to fight history, Bob! ...

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Gore's Secret Weapon

posted 08.03.99

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Copyright 1999 Mickey Kaus.