FIRST AMENDMENT BEDFELLOWS
Every once in a while it behooves this 135-year-old journal (136 on July 5!) to remind ourselves that, like the broken clock that is right twice a day, the conservative nuts and true believers aren’t always wrong. That’s why we are pleased to join William Safire, the editors of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times, and Dave Shiflett of National Review Online–all of whom shouted “First Amendment!” when Senator Patrick Leahy asked R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., the editor of The American Spectator, to turn over materials related to the nefarious Arkansas Project for hearings on Theodore Olson’s nomination to be Solicitor General. Olson had served as the Spectator‘s lawyer and on its board of directors, and even wrote, anonymously, some of its anti-Clinton articles. But we agree with the above rogues’ gallery of the right that the First Amendment requires that magazines, like the rest of the press, be immune from such Congressionally compelled turnovers. The Senate has since confirmed Olson, so we’re stuck with him, but nothing in the First Amendment stops reporters from investigating the Spectator‘s $2.4 million Arkansas (Get Clinton) Project. Which articles did Olson write? Did he lie to the Senate when he swore he had no involvement with the A-Project? In the spirit of the First Amendment, we urge the Spectator to cooperate with inquiring journalists–but not at the expense of its Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
CAROL BERNSTEIN FERRY
Carol Bernstein Ferry, who died on June 9 after a long illness, was, with her late husband W.H. (Ping) Ferry, a friend and generous supporter of this magazine. The DJB Foundation, which she administered with three others after the death of her first husband, Daniel J. Bernstein, was a model for such enterprises. It distributed its entire capital of $6 million and the accrued income thereon as quickly as possible–without bureaucratic hurdles or petty conditions. Its giving, she wrote, “turned more and more away from usual objects of philanthropic attention toward the victims of what seem to us increasingly to be official malevolence and indifference.” A memorial service will be held on June 27 at 5:30 pm at the Cosmopolitan Club, 122 East 66th Street, New York City.
At The Nation‘s 136th Anniversary Dinner held June 18 in New York, the Nation Institute and the Puffin Foundation Ltd. announced the first recipient of the $100,000 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship–to be given annually to “an individual who has challenged the status quo through distinctive, courageous and socially responsible work.” And the winner is–civil rights leader and math-literacy advocate Bob Moses. In the early 1960s Moses organized the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Following six years of teaching mathematics in Tanzania, Moses was working toward his PhD at Harvard when he noticed that his daughter wasn’t offered algebra in the eighth grade. He subsequently founded the Algebra Project, which devises curricular materials, trains teachers and provides other support for schools seeking to improve their math curriculum. It now reaches some 10,000 students a year in ten states. The Puffin/Nation prize is the brainchild of Perry Rosenstein, founder of the New Jersey-based Puffin Foundation, and is administered by the Nation Institute.
NEWS OF THE WEAK IN REVIEW
Representative James Hansen, Utah Republican, illuminates the Vieques issue: “I dunno, I come down to the idea that I don’t see where Puerto Rico should get any favored treatment over the rest of these people. Now what have they done to get it? They sit down there on welfare and very few of them paying taxes. Got a sweetheart deal, I don’t really see the equity in it.”