Kate Cambor

Kate Cambor, a former American Prospect writing fellow, is the Managing Editor of Talking Points Memo, TPMCafe, and TPMMuckraker. Her first book, Gilded Youth, will be published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2007.

Recent Articles

Devil in the Details

Love Boats What—besides ideological antipathy—do the National Review and the Nation have in common? Sea legs. Since 1994, the National Review has sponsored six cruises to places like the Caribbean and Alaska, on which subscribers could play shuffleboard with the Family Research Council's Gary Bauer or drink martinis with the ur-conservative himself, William F. Buckley. This summer NR will be hosting a Baltic cruise to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Caspar Wein berger, Alexander Haig, Edwin Meese, and others will regale passengers with the story of how they brought down the Evil Empire. This sort of thing sounds very, well, National Review –ish. The Nation 's Eric Alterman, who reported on the 1997 cruise, observed: "The great thing about being a right-winger, so far as I can tell, is that you get to exploit people and feel good about it. Any self-respecting liberal would feel guilty about being so well served by so many apparent Third...

Recasting the Stones

In our multicultural society, traditional monuments may no longer possess the unifying power they once did. Some projects by contemporary artists suggest a way around this conundrum. 

T he corner of Ludlow and Rivington, a slightly run-down intersection on Manhattan's Lower East Side, is not a place where you would expect to find a profound statement about the relationship between public art and memory. Yet every night for three weeks last October, as a thin blue laser beam silently wrote out the dreams and memories of the neighborhood's ethnically mixed inhabitants on tenement walls, otherwise nondescript buildings became reanimated by history. Visitors walk ed up and down the street, talking and pointing to the moving beam as it scrolled across the wall in five different languages. "I remember the Jewish church on Rivington. I was 17 years old when I saw it for the first time. I am 72 years old now," the beam wrote across old bricks and above open windows. "I remember when we lived in a tenement on the top floor in very bad condition. It was like a dream. . . ." On the first night, a woman who saw her own words appear on the walls cried, "Here it is, it's my life...

Bad Apples

Juliet Ellery was a terrible teacher. But she couldn’t be fired. How can we get rid of bad teachers without hurting unions?

Juliet Ellery is the Willie Horton of bad teachers—an extreme exception used to tarnish an entire institution, yet a mark of the system's imperfections just the same. As a veteran high school teacher in the Grossmont Union School District near San Diego in the early 1980s, Ellery refused to answer students' questions, assigned baffling work, and belittled her students. Parents complained and students transferred out of her class. "I had never seen a teacher that bad and the thing that was most damning about her was the complete unwillingness to accept any reason to change," Arthur Pegas, the principal who evaluated Ellery, told the Sacramento Bee. Yet it still took four years for the district to gather what it considered to be sufficient grounds for dismissal. Then, despite the overwhelming evidence against her, Ellery chose to fight her termination, even trying unsuccessfully to get the Supreme Court to hear her case. By the end of the protracted legal battle, which took eight...