Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time to Revisit Another "Good War"

Last week's shocking dismissal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, which was triggered by the publication of disparaging remarks made by the general and his staff members regarding the Commander in Chief and other senior members of the Obama Administration, made for a good news story and led to some entertaining talk show content.  But now that the dust is settling, there is a far more important story that needs to rise to the surface of our national political discourse.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lessons from the Politics of Civil Rights

This week in 1964, the U.S. Senate passed the landmark Civil Rights Act, a sweeping piece of legislation that outlawed discrimination in places of public accommodation, publicly owned facilities, employment and union membership, and federally aided programs. It also gave the Attorney General new powers to speed school desegregation and enforce the right to vote that had been extended to African Americans.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Sour Electorate

One of the reliable adages in American politics is that most American voters can't stand politicians but they like the one from their town.  This is one of the reasons -- in additon to the inherent financial advantages and gerrymandering power -- that historically there is very little turnover in Congress, with 90 to 98% of incumbents being re-elected every two years for the past generation.

For this trend to remain in place again this fall, it's going to take some very creative campaigning by incumbents and just the right voter turnout on Election Day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

John Wooden's Life Masterpiece

In his autobiography, They Call Me Coach, John Wooden described two items he used to carry in his pocket daily.  A lucky rabbit's foot and a diamond-studded money clip perhaps?  No.  Maybe a momento from one of his record 10 NCAA basketball championships as a coach at UCLA and a photo collage of his two College Basketball Hall of Fame plaques (one as a player and one as a coach)?  No.

The two items that Coach Wooden carried with him daily throughout his extraordinary life and incomparable coaching career were a simple laminated cross, which reminded him of his Christian faith and the importance of living a life of humility, and a personal note of advice written to him by his late father, which contained this nugget of counsel: "make each day your masterpiece."

The passing of John R. Wooden yesterday marked more than just the death of the greatest college sports figure of all-time and the loss of one of the most important Americans of the 20th century.  It was the final day of a 99-year life that can only be described as a masterpiece.