Wednesday January 28, 2015
January 1st, 2015
More than a century has passed since Norman Angell, a British journalist and politician, published "The Great Illusion," a treatise arguing that the age of conquest was or at least should be over. He didn't predict an end to warfare, but he did argue that aggressive wars no longer made sense - that modern warfare impoverishes the victors as well as the vanquished.
If a war on Christmas actually exists, it began with Bing Crosby and a Jew.
Crosby and composer Irving Berlin didn’t mean to wage war on Christmas. They meant to have a hit song. “White Christmas” was that.
In a PBS documentary about Crosby, biographer Gary Giddens calls the song, the most popular recording of all time, the first to secularize Christmas.
When it comes to products, sports or politics, matchups matter. There's a premium for quality, but whom you're selling to or competing against often affects outcomes.
That's a useful framework for assessing the 2016 Republican presidential contest at this early stage. If, as all signals suggest, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and brother and son of presidents, is about to get in, the race quickly intensifies.
Rolling Stone magazine has decided to enlist the Columbia Journalism School to audit its handling of a discredited Nov. 19 story about rape on the campus of the University of Virginia, according to a just-released statement from Editor and Publisher Jann Wenner, which reads as follows:
Politics in a democracy is a team sport that leans heavily on individual high performers. This explains the paradoxical closing of President Obama's most difficult year in office.
He ends 2014 in surprisingly buoyant spirits, having proved that he still has the power to push policy in new directions in foreign affairs and on issues ranging from immigration to climate change.
A young dove of peace with dreams in her eyes almost got shot down.
A schoolgirl named Malala has lessons for us all. She's just joined the rare company of female winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala Yousafzai, a champion for girls' education, was shot and almost slain for speaking out in her country, Pakistan.
December 24th, 2014
Last week I spoke at a seminary and graduate school in New York about the protests following the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.
It was invigorating and inspiring to be among so many young people with so much passion about social justice, young people beginning to feel their power as change agents and brimming to exercise it by disrupting the status quo.
On Wall Street, 2010 was the year of "Obama rage," in which financial tycoons went ballistic over the president's suggestion that some bankers helped cause the financial crisis. They were also, of course, angry about the Dodd-Frank financial reform, which placed some limits on their wheeling and dealing.
Childhood is dead.
Please don't be alarmed – there are still plenty of children around, and some of them will actually thrive. But childhood as we know it – knew it, anyway, for us white middle class Baby Boomers – is dead.
The reaction to the Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency's torture program has been almost as depressing as the report itself - which is saying something. There's been impotent outrage from people you'd expect to be outraged; lame excuses from people you'd expect to make excuses; and muddled ambivalence from the vast uncommitted.