Sometimes a speech succeeds before it even begins. That is precisely the intent of significant numbers of employees in political offices around the country—people who design backdrops, shape messages as if they were ice sculptures, and stay awake at night worrying about all the unpleasant unforeseeables that might damage a well-scripted event, and by extension, a well-scripted career as a communications adviser.Read More
The chief justice of the state of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, has ordered the state’s probate judges to defy a federal district court ruling and refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The result is that some judges in Alabama are issuing licenses and some are not. The confusion may continue until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of gay marriage in June.Read More »
February is Black History Month, so my post today is devoted to a notable speech by the great civil rights leader, Booker T. Washington.
The date was September 18, 1895. The occasion was the Cotton States and International Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. The organizers of the event wanted to impress visiting Northerners with the progress of race relations in the South. So Washington, the founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, was invited to speak at the opening ceremonies.Read More »
…when Dick Cheney reappeared to defend the practice of torture, it was the worst specter of Christmas past.Read More »
By this point in the summer, a sane person could reasonably conclude that the world is going nuts. Spiraling out of control, descending into darkness, making optimism a delusional last recourse – that kind of feeling.
“What fresh hell is this?” – the question Dorothy Parker asked when her doorbell rang – now applies to the news. If you’re staying informed, you’re licking the razor. Unfortunately, not following what’s happening in the world isn’t really an option. These horrors seize our lizard brains; we’re hard-wired to pay attention to danger.Read More »
The concern over why we’ve fallen behind other countries seems reasonable. How can U.S. students test behind those from 33 countries? Behind Croatia!
But that’s not because all American schools fail. It mostly reflects the dismal results by Hispanic/Latino and African-American students — especially African-Americans, whose results in that test would have put them 54th. White kids (15th) and Asian-Americans (4th) do fine. Overall, American white kids finish ahead of Germany and Australia. Not a disaster.
African-American scores are, though. And in Washington, with the biggest white/black achievement gap of any city in the country, you’d think we could find solutions.Read More »
Has America entered a Bizarro world in which money equals speech but speech itself gets labeled intimidation?
That’s not a far-fetched conclusion to draw in a political culture that has unleashed campaign spending and given it First Amendment protection while at the same time branding the supposed free speech of college students as bullying, tyranny, censorship, and intolerance.Read More »
Nil nisi bonum de mortuis. “Speak only good of the dead.” Generally, that’s a sound maxim. But what if the dead person is the Reverend Fred Phelps, who died last week at the age of 85?
Never heard of Rev. Phelps? His Westboro Baptist Church has a website where you can read all about him.Read More »