Currently all about Bob Schieffer’s commentary from yesterday’s Face the Nation. He nailed it:
“The author Kurt Vonnegut once observed that life was more or less a replay of high school, and with every passing day, that comparison becomes more apt in describing Washington. The one difference is that high school stays in session most of the time. Yet the parallels with high school are inescapable. Just think about this: Distractions such as vanity and the mania for gossip and the short attention span that prevents focusing on problems even long enough to try to understand them. Unbridled meanness toward those who are not part of your crowd. The cliquishness that requires group think – if you don’t believe exactly what we believe you can’t be part of our crowd. We’re right, you’re always wrong, and don’t confuse us with facts. An inability to act for fear it will cause a loss of popularity…”
Read the whole commentary (Anthony Weiner’s behavior is appropriately up next) HERE.
(Photo credit: Michael Foley Photography)
This post is our regular weekly Purple State of Mind feature. Why not hop on over to Purple and read it there instead?
“Poisoning the Press” is a favorite fantasy of politicians caught in the crosshairs of a dogged investigative reporter. It’s also the title of a new book about “Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture.”
The author is journalist turned media ethics professor Mark Feldstein. The storytelling skills Feldstein honed over years of Peabody and Emmy award winning reporting make Poisoning the Press a scholarly work wrapped in a rockin’ good beach-read. For Village Squares trying to understand how our political culture got so ugly, Feldstein cracks the code.
Using previously classified documents and interviews with folks who were there, the author shows how Nixon and Anderson fed off each other in a twisted, mongoose-and-cobra kind of way. Nixon was obsessed with the press. He spent countless hours talking about journalists, but hardly any time with them. Read all »
Recently, as he promoted his “Restoring Courage” event in Jerusalem in August, Glenn Beck recalled the moving, meaningful and important movie Schindler’s List. His guests shared stories of courage in saving lives of Jews during WWII.
The safety and security of the Jewish people and the state of Israel is one near to American hearts for deeply human and compelling reasons, even if you sidestep the loaded topic of biblical history and prophecy that Beck is invoking.
Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree tells part of the history of the Jewish people during the establishment of the State of Israel and the central conflict in the Middle East through the very personal history one home in Ramallah, built by an Arab family who was later forced by events to leave it.
It tells the story of a Bulgarian Jewish family who fled Europe after the war to Israel with nothing but the dream of returning to their ancient homeland after the horror they had endured. In the tumult of politics, people and their imperfection, Jewish families were allowed to claim homes that had been left by fleeing Palestinians. Read all »
Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on the concept of authentic patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).
Kiernan writes of the personal sacrifices made by patriots in the founding generation for their love of country. Here he writes about John Adams:
“Picture John Adams in February 1778, climbing the gangplank of a ship bound for France. He is traveling as an envoy of the colonies, at that point not a nation but rebellious subjects of Great Britain. Adams’ task is to persuade Paris to loan millions of dollars so the rebellion can pay its army and begin to build a navy. The ship he boards is not outfitted for passengers. Between rough winter seas and King George III’s mighty naval patrols, crossing the Atlantic in that era is more dangerous than parachuting from a plane today. His only companion is his son, John Quincy Adams. John the elder will not see his wife for eighteen months, his personal finances are a mess, and he may die from British cannons on the sea. He goes anyway.”
Radio and cable talk show host Ed Schultz calls himself “The Nation’sÂ Number 1 Progressive Voice.”
This week, heÂ progressed to the Misogynist Hall of Fame with his radio reference toÂ fellow opinionator Laura Ingraham as a “slut.”Â Â Schultz managed to use the word twice in one sentence, which is one time more than would have gotten past the Village Square Civility Bell.
Impulse control is not one of Schultz’s strengths. Last summer, the New York Post reported his “meltdown in the [MSNBC] 30 Rock newsroom.”Â Schultz was enraged that the marketing folks ran commercials that he wasn’t in. When his huffing and puffing failed to win hearts and minds, he slammed down the telephone and shouted, “I’m going to torch this [bleep]ing place.” Read all »
“I believe that we are at a critical point in our nation’s history. We face difficult challenges at home and abroad. Meanwhile, divisive rhetoric and a culture of sound bites threaten to drown out rational dialogue and debate. We cannot afford to continue to neglect the preparation of future generations for active and informed citizenship.” –Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, The Sacramento Bee
(Thanks to Tanja for sending this our way.)
Welcome to today’s Purple Post (why not go on over and read it at Purple, John’s about to write about tomorrow’s rapture, which will probably not be boring):
This week’s brouhaha surrounding the newly-minted candidacy and ensuing political missteps of Newt Gingrich provides an opportunity to understand just how wacky our civic conversation has become. Here’s how the apparent crash and burn started:
DAVID GREGORY (Meet the Press): “…Do you think that Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors…” Read all »
Noting that “we live in an age of economic stagnation and social crisis, and the two are intimately connected,” Ross Douthat wrote this about the end of Mike Huckabee’s 2012 presidential prospects in The New York Times:
He’ll be missed because he embodied a political persuasion that’s common in American life but rare in America’s political class. This worldview mixes cultural conservatism with economic populism: it’s tax-sensitive without being stridently antigovernment, skeptical of Wall Street as well as Washington, and as concerned about immigration, family breakdown and public morals as it is about the debt ceiling.
This combination of views represents one of the plausible middle grounds in American politics.
Read the whole article HERE. Hat tip to Bill Mattox for sending it our way.
“Giant incredible rocket ships have a way of rendering politics meaningless, just as close proximity to scientific glory is a really good cure for cynicism, world weariness or being jaded about what human beings can accomplish.” — Rachel Maddow
(One of our theories here at The Village Square is that if we actually knew each other beyond the cut and paste quotes that uber-partisans regularly feed us, we’d like each other a little more. So please help me keep an eye out for people who’ve been – well, uh… divided — by the gaping partisan divide doing something intensely, decently human that you can’t help but kind of like…)