Wednesday December 04, 2013
Archive - 2013
The release of the last 340 hours of the Nixon White House tapes adds little to what we know by now about the first American president to resign. Indeed, the final installment doesn't tell us much more than we should have known about him long before the first tapes were ever released.
A few months ago, a saleswoman at Macy's tried to wheedle me into renewing my expired store credit card by offering a deep discount on the towels I was buying. So I dug it out of my wallet, where it was nestled between an expired press pass to the Texas state Capitol and an expired library card from Manchester, N.H., and happily handed it over.
She looked at it, puzzled. "But this isn't your name," she said.
Monday there was the dedication in Washington of the new Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, a brilliant re-creation of the nation's first public high school for African Americans, with its legacy of producing some of America's best and brightest achievers. From 1870, Dunbar, staffed with outstanding academics, produced a cadre of men and women who rose to the top of their fields of law, medicine, education, the arts, science, government, sports and entertainment at a time when the odds were stacked against them.
If you follow the commentary on U.S. foreign policy toward Egypt and the broader Middle East today, several themes stand out: People in the region argue: "Whatever went wrong, the United States is to blame." Foreign policy experts argue: "Whatever President Obama did, he got it wrong." And the American public is saying: "We're totally fed up with that part of the world and can't wait for the start of the NFL season. How do you like those 49ers?"
On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Kerry Bentivolio, a Michigan congressman, has a dream, too: to impeach the nation's first black president.
"If I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true," the freshman Republican told a local GOP club meeting Monday in Birmingham, Mich., in a video posted on YouTube and reported by BuzzFeed.
Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.
Christopher Columbus discovered America.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had a "dream."
We like to remember history in short and snappy bumper-sticker sound bites. Real life is a bit more complicated.
Columbus "discovered" a "New World" that was new to him anyway, not to the people who already lived in it.
President Obama, in a sea of foreign policy troubles, accepted his leadership responsibilities in a CNN interview last week while lamenting the complexity of these challenges.
He noted the old Harry Truman dictum that "the buck stops" in the Oval Office and asserted U.S. power and influence in the world must be "in our long-term national interests." He mentioned both in the context of the developing civil wars in Egypt and Syria and growing calls for American intervention.
How do cities reduce and control -- before they get out of hand -- the challenges they know they'll be facing?
Prevention and invention are the magic words. And increasingly imaginative cities are finding keys, with a fascinating cross-section identified in recent studies by two New York City institutions: the Center for an Urban Future and New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Are you ready for the Big Magilla of American politics? This fall, every important domestic issue could crash into every other: health care reform, autopilot budget cuts, a government shutdown, even a default on the national debt.
If I were betting, I'd wager we will somehow avoid a total meltdown. House Speaker John Boehner seems desperate to get around his party's Armageddon Caucus.