Pundit Wire

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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Some Still Don’t Know What We Knew Then and Aren’t Sure What We Know Now

Jeb_Bush_at_CPAC_2015,_National_Harbor,_MD_05“…every other real or imagined candidate felt compelled to jump in with their response to what they would have decided twelve years ago based on what we knew then or what we know now or what we thought we knew then or think we know now but didn’t know then.”

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Also posted in Campaigns & Elections, History, National Security, Political Rhetoric, Politics, U.S. | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

U.K. – United or Federated Kingdom?

6997132774_8fa975c208_oThe big story to emerge from Britain’s recent elections is the remarkable showing by the Scottish National Party or SNP.

The SNP went from 6 seats to 56 seats out of a total of 59 Scottish seats in the U.K. parliament. The upset, which came at the expense of Britain’s Labour Party, makes the SNP the third-largest party in parliament. The SNP is a regional party; it is a party pledged to make Scotland an independent country; and it is a party that is ideologically further to the left than the Labour Party.

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Lusitania: How the Unthinkable Happened

article-0-14059853000005DC-49_634x380One hundred years ago on May 7, just ten months after the start of the First World War, the British luxury liner RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank in just 20 minutes. Out of nearly 2,000 passengers and crew only 764 survived. The dead included 123 Americans.

To mark this tragic anniversary, I am reading the much-acclaimed new book by Erik Larson–Dead Wake: The Lusitania’s Last Crossing.

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Magic Fire

WalkureMusic critic Deems Taylor (1885-1966), who composed operas himself, once said of Richard Wagner that “There never lived a composer who was more ready with copious and articulate explanations of what he intended to do in his music—or more certain to do something quite different.”

For example: “He fulminated against the absurdity of the operatic aria, and wrote Siegmund’s Love Song; he excommunicated the operatic duet, and wrote the second act of Tristan and Isolde; he cursed the operatic ensemble number, root stock, and branch, and wrote the quintet from Die Meistersinger.”

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Gay Marriage: Who’s Sorry Now?

Rainbow_flag_breezeThe April 28 issue of the Wall Street Journal carried an editorial warning of grave consequences if the Supreme Court rules that there is a constitutional right to gay marriage.

“Discovering a fundamental right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution,” tut-tutted the Journal’s editors, “pre-empts the democratic process and assumes that the people aren’t capable of mediating their differences with decency and tolerance.”

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Also posted in Civil Rights, Culture, Politics, Religion, Supreme Court & Judiciary, U.S. | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

“Have you thought about resuscitation?”

KevorkianIn England recently, a man with a serious heart ailment returned home after getting some bad news from his doctor and immediately received a follow-up phone call from one of the nurses in the doctor’s office. “Hello,” she chirruped brightly, “we’re ringing all our patients with chronic conditions to see how you are and whether you have thought about resuscitation.”

The patient immediately dropped dead from shock.

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