Martin Luther King Day: They Never Heard Him Give a Speech

Eddie Martinez

Kafi D. Blumenfield: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This generation of leaders has taken Dr. King’s injunction to heart and they are taking action. They and their peers find common ground by connecting not only through race, gender, sexual orientation or citizenship status, but also, on higher ground, through shared aspirations and hope for the future.

Tpaw and the Campaign ‘Autohagiography’

tim pawlenty

Michael Sigman: Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty this week joined Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls who’ve published campaign books that might best be called “autohagiographies.”

Look Away, Dixieland

slaves

Tom Degan: Listening to some of them defending the the secession ball was amusing, to say the least. In their minds, the War Between the States had not a thing to do with human bondage. It was all about “states rights”. Oh, brother!

Every Man His Own Historian

Alexander Hamilton

Stanley Kutler: The right’s twist of history to please its backers and fuel its agenda is a vigorous enterprise. Serious history, serious scholarship and serious discussion of facts and ideas are dismissed with tunnel vision.

Obama Can Learn From FDR

Franklin D, Roosevelt

Tom Degan: Is the president serious when he tells us that he plans on “working with” the opposition party in the next two years? Part of me has to believe that he’s not, that he’s merely taking on the guise of the good loser, holding his cards close to his vest.

Rand Paul and Rebel Flag Republicans

confederacy

Berry Craig: Paul, who beat moderate Democrat Jack Conway, ran unabashedly as a tea party Republican. In Kentucky and elsewhere, a lot of latter day Johnny Rebs seem to be tea party Republicans.

An Early Post-Mortem: A National Day of Pouring?

national day of pouring

Bob Letcher: Regardless of who “wins” and who “loses” next Tuesday’s election, can there be any doubt that the results will end the country’s slow downward slide… and send it plunging headlong toward disaster of the sort and scale that the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, must have foreseen when he admonished the citizenry, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Rewriting History

billie-holiday

Tom Degan: So let’s all take a deep breath, shall we? These silly Republicans (in their present incarnation anyway) are about as much responsible for the gains of the civil rights era as I am for the invention of Cheese Doodles. Get a grip.

The Other Lincoln

Robert Illes: But thank you Madame Lincoln for the clarity of the political landscape, and the Democratic Party. This insane healthcare debate is when we knew the “60-vote majority” was useless.

The Presidents and the McGenerals

obama mcchrystal

Kenneth Weisbode: Gen. McChrystal is far from the first general to scoff at the White House. His fate echoes that of Generals MacArthur and McClellan but the comparison ends there, says historian Kenneth Weisbrode, because today there’s a greater reliance on the military in foreign relations.

Carl Sandburg’s Wisdom through Humor

carl sandburg

Walter G. Moss: Wise person that he was, Sandburg saw that life is both a comedy and tragedy, containing vibrant life and sad death, the beautiful and the ugly, the wise and the foolish, moments of transcendence and ones of banality. As the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes says (and Sandburg admirer Pete Seeger later adapted for his folk song “Turn, Turn, Turn”)

Obama Suggests Lincoln-Like Humility

President Barack Obama's spring 2010 commencement address at the University of Michigan will come 10 years and one day after President Bill Clinton delivered the commencement address at Eastern Michigan University in 2000.  (AP Photo)

Walter Moss: One of the great ego traps for any president is being surrounded by “yes men and women” who tell him (and maybe someday her) that he is always right. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote of an occasion when President Bush’s “eyes became fixed, his voice took on the agitated, rapid tone of someone neither accustomed to nor welcoming interruption. His easy affability was replaced by an almost messianic certainty. As I watched my mostly Republican Senate colleagues hang on his every word, I was reminded of the dangerous isolation that power can bring, and appreciated the founders’ wisdom in designing a system to keep power in check.”

Keep Grant on the 50

Berry Craig: When Reagan said he was a “states’ rights” guy, “he was elbow deep in the same old race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon” and “tapping out the code,” Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times in 2007. “It was understood that when politicians started chirping about ‘states’ rights’ to white people in places like Neshoba County they were saying that when it comes down to you and the blacks, we’re with you. And Reagan meant it.”

Goldman Sucks

john boehner mitch mcconnell

Tom Degan: It’s highly unlikely that any serious reform is going to be put forward until the Republican presence on Capital Hill has been significantly diluted if not eradicated. I do not believe that it is a given that they are going to gain major ground come Election Day. In fact there is every reason to believe that they will only continue to self-destruct between now and then. They can’t win without the section of the electorate who describe themselves as “moderate”. The moderates are taking a good look at the train wreck that is the modern GOP and by all accounts they’re becoming more and more disgusted by what they see.

Mitch: Plutocracy’s Patsy

Tom Degan: I have spent enough time in Kentucky to know that it is chock full of good, decent, and honorable citizens. Knowing this as I do, another perplexing question forces itself on my consciousness: Why would such wonderful and lovely people consistently send a flaming jerk like Mitch McConnell to represent them in Washington? It just doesn’t make any sense!

Exit Gen. Grant – Enter St. Ronald?

ulysses s grant fifty

Steven Conn: A Republican member of Congress wants to remove the visage of Ulysses S. Grant from the $50 bill and substitute Ronald Reagan. But why? Historian Steven Conn speculates that the party wants to make its past match its present orthodoxy.

Extremism in the Defense of Librium

Rep. Michelle Backman (Rep. Stillwater, Minnesota)

Tom Degan: On the one hand the latent threats of violence and intimidation that underlies the actions and speech of the Tea Party crowd is enough to make any clear-thinking person seriously alarmed about the direction the lunatic fringe of American politics seems to be headed. On the other hand, these people are just so damned funny! We’re talking Ambivalence City here! Part of me wishes them to go away and the other part would mourn their loss if they ever did. Let’s face it: These assholes are the best thing to happen to progressive politics in this country since Eleanor Roosevelt.

To Succeed, Obama Needs to Channel His Inner LBJ

Obama should let any Democratic foot-draggers know that if they do not get with the program, he will un-elect them and put in Democrats more in tune with his priorities. The threat would be credible, as he is one of the great campaigners of modern political history.

Has a Stake Been Driven through Neo-Conservative Foreign Policy?

gop-comeback

Neo-conservatives used the Republican Party as a vehicle to promote and employ their policies of muscular nation-building overseas. But like the parasite that eventually kills its host, the Republican Party’s virtual collapse, in large part because of the failed nation-building adventure in Iraq, has left neo-conservatives discredited and facing policy extinction. Unfortunately, neo-conservatism will probably [...]

Who Won the Civil War? Organizations Refuse to Defend Farley

kkk

As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the inauguration of America’s first black president, and Black History Month, it’s worth pondering the question, “Who won the Civil War?” On November 20, 2002, I wrote in a Nashville [...]

GOP White Party

bipartisanship

started to laugh when I heard that Michael Steele was selected as the first African American to chair the Republican National Committee. I don’t think much of the “new” Republican Party, but then again, that doesn’t prevent me from writing about it. But don’t get me wrong, I think that the former Maryland lieutenant governor [...]

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