Tag: James Stockdale
My 16-year-old granddaughter was outraged and she gave me specific instructions.
"You must write about this asinine nonsense about the president speaking to us," she said. "How could anyone object to their sons or daughters being told by the president of the United States to stay in school? That's incredible. Why would anyone take that position?"
I had no answer other than to explain that there are people who see ulterior motives in every action, who believe that no discourse that includes a politician can be honest and most likely hides a conspiracy. That is particularly true if the politician is not one they have supported.
After eight divisive years under President George W. Bush, Americans looked forward to a united nation under the leadership of Barack Obama.
But America today is more divided than ever and partisan bickering, deepening resentment and outright racism have polarized the opposite ends of the political spectrum.
From deep divisions in the health care reform debate to petty bickering over Obama's "back to school" speech, the rhetoric of political debate is filled with hate, mistrust and hyperbole like never before.
When I came back from vacation last week, I felt that I had done my part to contribute to the national obesity crisis -- and I felt a great shame.
It used to be that people would be excused their excessive weight on the grounds that they were "big boned." Unfortunately, that no longer applies, because too many people have grown big bones inside their bellies and spoiled it for all of us.
As it happens, Pittsburgh is not the worst place to be tubby. It's not one of those fashionable places like Los Angeles where if you are not thin you are socially dead. Quite the contrary.
In fact, I have long thought that Pittsburgh's promotional motto should be: "Want to Look Slimmer? Come to Pittsburgh and Stand Next to Us."
Back in 1969, Woodstock organizers billed their three-day festival as "An Aquarian Exposition." But although the concert became free when an expected crowd of 200,000 grew "half a million strong," it was conceived as a business proposition.
And the business has endured. Woodstock Ventures, the firm that oversees the licensing and intellectual property related to the Woodstock festival, is still run by the original producers of the event. And for several decades now, that once ragtag group of hippies has evolved into -- if they weren't already -- good businessmen with savvy instincts.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her deputy, Steny Hoyer, stand accused of calling the impassioned, enraged and generally incoherent protesters currently disrupting town-hall meetings as "un-American."
As usual in the health-care ruckus, this charge is a half step away from the truth. What they said, in an op-ed for USA Today, is, "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American." Wrong. Oh, so very wrong.
I was one of the students hearing Professor Homer G. Barnett's lectures on the history of anthropology at the University of Oregon the year before he retired. That was more than three decades ago.
I'm often intrigued by the conversations I overhear when I am having my hair cut. OK, I admit that it's something of a guilty pleasure to read People magazine while listening to various discussions among people I don't know, and finding out what they are concerned about and interested in.