Archive of Articles for January, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Vietnam Speech

[ Posted Monday, January 17th, 2011 – 18:02 UTC ]

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the young black men who had been crippled by our society and sending them 8,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

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Friday Talking Points [151] -- Obama's Speech

[ Posted Friday, January 14th, 2011 – 17:11 UTC ]

To honor the fallen this week, we're going to refrain from our usual heated political rhetoric here for a change. It's only fitting, really, after such an emotional week for America. So, just to warn everyone up front, we're not going to be heaping our usual amounts of scorn on Republicans this week. Instead, we're going to (briefly) heap some scorn on the mainstream media, and then after a foreshortened awards section, we are going to reprint the text of President Obama's moving speech in Tucson this Wednesday, for those of you who haven't had the chance to view it or read it.

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Obama Hits A Milestone

[ Posted Thursday, January 13th, 2011 – 18:15 UTC ]

Obama's mojo has apparently returned, to some extent or another.

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Guest Column: Obama on Education -- A-Plus Values, F-Minus Policies

[ Posted Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 – 19:22 UTC ]

Roughly once a year or so, I turn this column space over to a guest author. This usually happens when a point of view is presented to me either in public comments or private emails which has impressed me. I haven't always completely agreed with these points of view, but have thought that they deserved a wider audience because the writing was so thoughtful and the reasoning so impressive. Other times, I do heartily agree with the guest author. But sometimes the author writes on subjects which I don't feel qualified myself to tackle. Today, I am once again turning my column over to a group of three authors who have a point to make -- a point that lies mostly outside my experience, which is why I don't comment on it very often: the state of education in America, and how politics relates to it.

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The Search For Meaning

[ Posted Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 – 19:16 UTC ]

Both of these urges run deep. It's part of the human condition to try to fit things into a rational framework in our minds, and to reassure ourselves that if we only had done things a little differently, we could have avoided this tragedy. The problem is, neither one of these is any sort of universal truth. Sometimes craziness happens for no reason other than mental imbalance, and sometimes it happens explosively with little warning.

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[ Posted Monday, January 10th, 2011 – 18:26 UTC ]

When a national tragedy happens -- especially one with political relevance -- the country explodes in a paroxysm of commentary about the incident, in what psychologists would probably label a desperate attempt to attach some sort of meaning. Looking around the media universe today, I see that this is now happening from all sides. Snap judgments are made, spin is spun, and everyone tries to fit what happened into their own view of the world, whatever that happens to be. But since everyone else is covering the bases on this front, I thought I'd focus on heroism.

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Friday Talking Points [150] -- A Fortean Week

[ Posted Friday, January 7th, 2011 – 18:18 UTC ]

Sometimes it is hard to come up with a metaphor to describe the week that was. This was not one of those weeks.

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The Media And The Tea Partiers

[ Posted Thursday, January 6th, 2011 – 16:36 UTC ]

In taking in the news of the 112th Congress' first new steps (especially those taken by the Republican House of Representatives), I had to wonder -- how will the Tea Party and the Tea Partiers be treated by the mainstream media, going forward? Will they still have a voice in the media's political coverage of the next two years, and what will that voice say? To put the point I'm trying to make more succinctly: will the Tea Partiers become "old news" to the media?

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Reading The Constitution

[ Posted Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 – 16:41 UTC ]

The newly-Republican House of Representatives is going to start off their tenure with a gimmick. Or, to be slightly more charitable, a bit of political theater. They're going to read the entire United States Constitution on the floor of the House, as a sop to the Tea Party Republicans. Their aim is twofold -- to appease the Tea Party Republican faction, right from the get-go; and to provide stirring video clips of Republicans faithfully reading our country's founding document. There's one problem with this second goal, though: who gets to read the uncomfortable bits?

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Epic Viral Fail -- The Official Banished Words List

[ Posted Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 – 17:14 UTC ]

Thanks once again to the intrepid folks at Lake Superior State University, this year's "Official Banished Words List" has now gone viral. Whoops! I guess we're going to have to rewrite that sentence, since "viral" was on the top of the list of words and phrases that have just become so annoying that -- for the good of the language (and, of course The American People) -- the only possible reaction is to banish them completely from our lexicon.

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