links for 2010-03-28

  • A lawsuit filed by the former police chief of the posh St. Louis suburb of Ladue claims he was pressured to pull over blacks and set ticket quotas for out-of-towners, but be lenient with the town's residents, even those who drove drunk. When he refused to go along, he was fired, Larry White said. His suit filed Monday in St. Louis County Circuit Court seeks unspecified damages. It names the city, Mayor Irene Holmes and members of the city council.
  • For the illegal immigrants who came to the lawyer, the benefits were immediately apparent. The immigrants, many of whom were from Pakistan and India, were able to live out in the open, work, pay taxes and travel abroad. And of course there was the glimmering prospect of a shortcut to citizenship. The lawyer, Thomas Archer, was taking advantage of a two-year window that allowed longtime illegal immigrants — those who came to the country before 1982 and remained through 1988 — to apply to become legal residents and to live out in the open while the applications were pending. Over the course of a year and a half, Mr. Archer, who worked in Queens, submitted applications for more than 230 illegal immigrants, charging his clients $1,500 to $2,500 each. None of them were approved. And on Wednesday, Mr. Archer was convicted of visa fraud for preparing and filing those applications and, prosecutors claimed, encouraging his clients to lie.
  • A judge on Friday blocked the closing of 19 schools for poor performance, finding the city engaged in “significant violations” of the new state law governing mayoral control of city schools. The ruling, a setback to one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s signature education policies, means the city will have to start over in making its case to close the schools, this time, the judge wrote, with “meaningful community involvement.”…The schools that received at least a temporary reprieve included Jamaica High School and Beach Channel High School in Queens; Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx; Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn; and Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan, along with smaller schools, including the Global Enterprise High School in the Bronx and the high school grades of the Choir Academy of Harlem.
  • There was a time when the sight of Sandra Schulze's blond hair in the middle of Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park would have been a shock. But last week, as the 38-year-old graphic designer played with her two-year-old son, it was more a sign of the times. Harlem has long been one of the most famed names in black American culture. The neighbourhood produced jazz greats, political giants and sports heroes. It kept a firm black foothold in the heart of Manhattan. But that is changing, and fast. Schulze, who moved to Harlem from Connecticut a week ago with her advertising executive husband, is the new face of what was once a place synonymous with either black pride or black ghetto-isation. Not that Schulze, who is German, sees it that way. She just sees a wonderful place to raise her son, with cheap rents, enormous apartments and friendly locals. "So far, it's been wonderful. It is a little like Paris, a little like Berlin. I love it," she gushed.
  • Nell Irvin Painter’s title, “The History of White People,” is a provocation in several ways: it’s monumental in sweep, and its absurd grandiosity should call to mind the fact that writing a “History of Black People” might seem perfectly reasonable to white people. But the title is literally accurate, because the book traces characterizations of the lighter-skinned people we call white today, starting with the ancient Scythians. For those who have not yet registered how much these characterizations have changed, let me assure you that sensory observation was not the basis of racial nomenclature.
  • Tens of thousands of Cuban exiles wearing white, and carrying gladioluses and flags marched for blocks along Calle Ocho with singer Gloria Estefan in support of Cuba's Damas de Blanco, Ladies in White, the peaceful dissidents who last week were attacked by government security forces in Havana.