Pundit Wire

We Hold These Truths to be Inconvenient

CAN-ON-PetroCanada-7314MarkhamRd-FuelPump11b-2005Jun12The Congressional Republicans’ willingness to turn their backs on the sanctity of private property rights demonstrates a lack of genuine belief in anything beyond “feed the kitty.”

Among the most sacred rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution is the ownership and control of private property. It’s not quite as sacred as our God-given right to cruise Main Street with military-style automatic weapons, of course, but still pretty sacred.

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Winning!

Unknown-16Partisan political rhetoric is constantly drawing lines in the dirt.

You’re on one side or the other.

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Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” Speech

Booker_T_Washington_retouched_flattened-cropFebruary 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.

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A Half-Finished State of Our Union

Unknown-15When President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech on January 20, he addressed Republican House members holding the largest majority since Herbert Hoover was president.

A record number of Americans believe the legislative process in Washington is, for all intent and purposes, broken. Political discord rules the day. Cooperation is a sign of weakness.

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The State of the Union is still very much alive

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 8.28.31 PM“Rumors of my death have been highly exaggerated,” Mark Twain is supposed to have said after one news story reporting it.

Actually, he didn’t. He wrote a brief, dull note telling someone they had confused him with a cousin. Someone else made it better.

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DIPLOMACY: IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU

John Kerry - Lassana BathilyThe planet gawps at the spectacle of US Secretary of State John Kerry descending on hapless French President Hollande (who has enough to worry about these days without weird foreigners embarrassing him in public) and hug-kissing him in no little profusion.

As if this were not enough, John Kerry brought with him to Paris James Taylor to play “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”. But this highest-profile gesture of American solidarité after the Paris terrorist attacks was bungled: the organisers made the rookie error of not checking and re-checking before the performance started that the practical sound arrangements were working. Watch the whole ghastly spectacle unfold here. Poor James Taylor is perched high on a stool but hunched awkwardly over a useless microphone so that you can’t see his face. John Kerry stands there in ill-suppressed tension. As diplomatic self-mutilations go, this is right up there.

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Speechwriting for Leaders

Final_Cover_vivzyl Why, do leaders or generally important people have speechwriters at all? And why might foreign leaders engage experts not from their own country? Self-indulgence, or a good investment?

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The Ghost of Christmas Past

Former Vice President Dick Cheney Speaks At Luncheon On Long Island…when Dick Cheney reappeared to defend the practice of torture, it was the worst specter of Christmas past.

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