Pundit Wire

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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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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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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FCC Chief Tom Wheeler is five-sixths of a superhero

11934229614_66a3256877_oThe last best hope to stop Big Money’s rout of American democracy is a former trade group lobbyist who’s reluctant to stretch his spandex superhero suit too thin.

Plutocrats have been on a roll for a while in the U.S., and campaign finance reform is in full retreat. Though Americans hate money’s “obscene” role in politics, according to a new New York Times/CBS poll, they feel hopeless about changing it. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Buckley and Citizens United decisions, money is speech and corporations are people, so forget about limiting what billionaires and Super PACs can contribute to campaigns.

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Also posted in Business, Campaigns & Elections, Politics, U.S. | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Monument to Intellectual Integrity”

LittlemoreWhen I was in England in April, I lunched with some old friends at Oxford. Then I turned my back on the majestic towers and spires of the great university and took a bus to the obscure village of Littlemore some three miles away. My destination was a row of shabby, single-story cottages that had served as a coaching station in Victorian times.

And yet, as the English writer A.N. Wilson has observed, that row of shabby cottages is, “much more than the grand colleges of Oxford, a monument to intellectual integrity.” Because it was here, in 1845, that John Henry Newman was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

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When it Comes to Outrageous Lawmaking, Don’t Mess With Texas

gov-rick-perry-gun-240jdf0428101…if Congress wants to challenge the Texas Legislature to a crazy contest, they’d better bring their lunch.

For example, Congress voted to cut funding for veterans’ programs and then complained about veterans’ services being cut. Big deal! Back in Texas, just a few days after nine people died and 18 were injured when bullets flew in a Waco biker bar, the state senate voted to allow people to carry guns openly wherever they go, accept, of course, in the Texas Capitol Building. Not really a surprise because most Texans agree that packing heat is just about our most sacred Constitutional guarantee, placed in the founding document by the Almighty him or herself. If everybody in that bar had been armed, they could all have defended themselves instead of running for cover.

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Also posted in Campaigns & Elections, Political Rhetoric, Politics, Supreme Court & Judiciary, U.S. | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

May 23, 2015

“As potentially the first African-American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?”

-Michelle Obama, First Lady of The United States, commencement address at Tuskegee University, May 9, 2015

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“A Dealer In Hope”

speakerNapoleon once said that a leader is “a dealer in hope.” If putting heart into people is the touchstone of leadership, then General Colin Powell is one of the outstanding leaders of our time.

I had the chance to observe the General at close range during the three years that I worked for him as his speechwriter. (See the picture of me with the General on the home page of my web side, www.ringingwords.com. I no longer have the beard but I’m still recognizable.)

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