Pundit Wire

Not Taking Sides Yet

IMG_20150623_093431-2I’m just back from a week South of the Border with 12,000 of my closest friends.  Information and Computer Technology (ICT) was the subject of discussion, and may yet democratize the world if anything can. I’m not a real teacher, but gave it a shot some decades ago in high school, and again in recent times at the university level.  I use the Internet all the time, consider it a blessing. I receive many messages each day showing methodologies and techniques which can meet the challenges and impositions of the digital age.

Latin America is full of brilliant and dedicated people, and as a continent it benefits from having a lingua franca (well, two or three) and no state-to-state conflicts. We should take closer note of how they carry on, the complete ease in conversing across borders, the many friendly rivalries which seem to benefit all.

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Prejudice is a powerful force

obamacharlestonIn the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting and the recent police incidents leading to the death and harassment of black men and women, many are calling for a national conversation on race.

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Posted in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Education, General, Health, History, Media, Political Rhetoric, Politics, Race & Ethnicity, U.S. | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Don’t Romanticize the Confederacy

tumblr_msod517M9z1s0hipbo1_1280Furl that Banner, for ’tis weary;

Round its staff ’tis drooping dreary;

Furl it, fold it, it is best;

For there’s not a man to wave it…
Photo by: Richard Norris Brooke

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Jon Stewart is getting serious

cul_jon-stewart_61815_539_332_c1What will we do without Jon Stewart?

I hear that a lot.  Of course I hope his writers will be able to make more magic with his successor, Trevor Noah.  And no matter what happens on “The Daily Show,” we will still have John Oliver and Larry Wilmore, and I’m praying that Stephen Colbert will find room for political satire on “The Late Show.”  We can keep counting on the openers on “Saturday Night Live,” the closers on Bill Maher and the vicious brilliance of “South Park.” But the question remains: How will we survive the mendacity and imbecility of American politics and the media that cover it without Jon Stewart?

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“A Conservative Government is Organized Hypocrisy.” Benjamin Disraeli

InhofeSnowball“One of the wonderful things about hypocrisy is that it so often comes around to bite the hypocrite on the butt.”

Of all the more popular political sins, my personal favorite is hypocrisy. One of the wonderful things about hypocrisy is that it so often comes around to bite the hypocrite on the butt. It’s widely practiced by people on both sides of the great political divide, but my friends in the Republican Party are working hard to raise the level of insincerity to new and dizzying heights.

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Posted in Campaigns & Elections, Culture, Environment, Media, Political Rhetoric, Politics, Science, U.S. | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How Lafayette Routed Napoleon—With a Speech

Gilbert_du_Motier_Marquis_de_Lafayette_-_high_resThe history books tell us that Napoleon was decisively defeated at the Battle of Waterloo two hundred years ago on June 18, 1815. Four days later, on June 22, he abdicated and was exiled by the British to the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic where he died in 1821.

This compressed version of events leaves out a wealth of fascinating details. It particular, it doesn’t tell us how Napoleon schemed to hold power even after Waterloo, and how the immediate cause of his abdication was not the bayonets of Wellington and Blücher, but a courageous speech by the Marquis de Lafayette.

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Saved by a Tux

DF-SC-82-05415“Négritude,” fashionable in the first half of the twentieth century, was a precursor of Black Pride for francophone countries.  It was a play on a French word which wasn’t flattering, though a little less abusive than the English equivalent.  It flew in the face of colonial condescension.

Because it had an element of assimilationism, it was rebuked by later generations, but put out some fine poetry while the going was good.

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Bronx Cheer for a Danish Court

5In a world of metastasizing injustices, Denmark would be one of the last places to get a red flag for public policy abuse.

Still, the Danish Supreme Court stepped in it June 3 in a case against Bent Jensen, who conveyed declassified records into a publication in 2007. The outcome has Danish writers and publishers running for cover.

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