“I am shocked, shocked to find ... gambling ...” This famous line of the cynical Captain Renault to nightclub manager Rick in the film classic “Casablanca” comes to mind in reflecting on the practices of American credit rating agencies.
“The happy and powerful do not go into exile” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the brilliant visitor from France who struggled to understand the dynamic new American nation nearly two centuries ago. His trip to the United States in the 1830s, and his book, “Democracy in America,” speak directly to the historic current reform of immigration.
The inauguration of Barack Obama of Illinois, the 44th President of the United States, for a second term in that office is a historic occasion in ways subtle and obvious. As the first African-American to hold the highest national political office, he personifies an especially important milestone.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day January 21 provides occasion for reflection as well as recognition. We honor his personal courage as well as political impact as catalyst for the civil rights revolution. Initially he was reluctant to assume leadership beyond his local community, concerned as well as insightful in seeing that might ultimately cost his life.
The start of the New Year, and also of U.S. President Barack Obama's second term, is a good time to pause for perspective on the sources of the current political constellation in our country. To help understand the recent national electoral success of Obama and the Democratic Party, study Al Smith.
“Nattering nabobs of negativism,” is probably the most enduring of the many alliterative announcements of Spiro Agnew, vice president in the Nixon administration until forced to resign because of corruption. This particular phrase, penned by Nixon speechwriter William Safire, derogatively denigrated diligent reporters for placing bad news above good.
The election on Dec. 19 of Park Geun-hye as President of South Korea represents a milestone event in the remarkably rapid evolution of that country from wartime devastation to post-Cold War leadership. She is the first woman to be elected chief executive of her country, which alone represents significant forward movement in fairness, as well as democracy.
This Christmas season, devoted to charity and peace, is also the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the largest land battle in the history of the United States. The U.S. military remains engaged in Afghanistan, and involved elsewhere on the globe even with withdrawal from Iraq. Do lessons of World War II apply? Absolutely.
The successful launch on Dec. 12 of a space satellite by North Korea is cause for concern, but no sign of a basic strategic shift — yet. Nonetheless, a tough response with teeth is required by the world community.
“Big Brother is watching You” was the pervasive punch-line in British writer George Orwell's novel “1984.” Recent developments in Britain give fresh currency to the classic.