Pundit Wire

The Love Affair That Sent the World to War

franzsophie2 The assassinations of Franz Joseph and Sophie set in motion the terrible machinery of great power alliances that had been building for years. A month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia mobilized to defend the Serbs, which brought a declaration of war from Austria-Hungary’s ally, Germany. France and Britain, which were allied with Russia, were quickly drawn into the conflict. War engulfed Europe.

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Editor’s Note: Commencement Season Hypocrisy

commencement American University Professor Leonard Steinhorn contributed to the The Hill blogs this week on the topic of commencement season hypocrisy. In several instances, students were rebuked by university officials and media outlets for their protesting of commencement speaker selections.

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More Alice Deals? There’s a better deal

Image-for-Alice-Deal-School 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.

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Five doubting dudes and the holy relics of Mount Mortality

800px-Mount_Athos_(7698222302) The trip was Sandy’s idea. His 95-year-old father is Greek, and though Sandy was baptized in the Orthodox faith, he would be the first to call himself an atheist. Two of us – Tim, an Englishman, and Adam, half English and half Swedish – are Christian, but only nominally. Geza, whose parents were Hungarian Catholics, is also an unbeliever, and vocally appalled by the historic carnage committed in God’s name. I’m Jewish. Though Adam dubbed us five the Mount Atheists, I hesitate to call myself that because of my ineluctable awe at the ineffable, at what Abraham Joshua Heschel calls “the inconceivable surprise of living”

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A Woman Against World War I

BvSuttner This summer marks the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. As we remember the jingoism, militarism, intrigue and paranoia that combined to produce one of history’s bloodiest debacles, we might spare a thought for the gallant and forgotten band of pacifists who offered Europe one last chance to pull back from the brink.

In particular, we might rescue from undeserved obscurity the Baroness Bertha von Suttner, whom the writer Stefan Zweig called the “majestic and grandiose Cassandra of our time.”

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Random Remembrances Of Dad

father's day Dad didn’t go to college. He served in the U.S. Navy in the Philippines. He was in the Seabees. He helped survey and build the Subic Bay Naval Base. He once caught and cooked a wild jungle boar.

Dad worked for the same company his whole life: Baker Engineers. He worked in their offices in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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Not Just a Pretty Face

prettyface Last week I was in New York to attend the founding meeting of the Professional Speechwriters Association. While there, I managed to take in a play at Manhattan’s Irish Repertory Theatre. Sea Marks: An Irish Love Story, tells of two middle-aged people: Colm, a fisherman who has lived all his life on a small rocky isle on the west of Ireland, and Timothea, a Liverpool divorcee who works in publishing.

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In Defense of Student Commencement Protesters

graduation 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.

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Posted in Civil Rights, Culture, Education, General, History, Media, Politics, Supreme Court & Judiciary, U.S. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment