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Archive for December, 2011

Two national leaders passed away this past week. First, Vaclev Havel died on Saturday. Then yesterday, Kim Jong Il shuffled off this mortal coil. Through his dissident activity during Czechoslovakia’s Communist era, Havel inspired a nation; the North Korean ‘Supreme Leader’ terrorized his own country. While Havel’s tenure in government often met with frustration, history will nevertheless remember him as a hero. Kim Jong Il will either be chastised or forgotten.

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He was an original. I can just see God now: “Really, Chris? I hadn’t thought about it that way before – maybe I really don’t exist …”

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Really, Mr. Baldwin?

Quick note regarding Alec Baldwin getting thrown off a plane for refusing to shut down his iPad. Mr. Baldwin apparently had important business to attend to, namely playing a board game. In my own experience, I’ve found that the chances are good that at least one person on most long-distance plane flight is flying home because a loved one is dead or dying. Mr. Baldwin’s cavalier attitude toward the precious time of his fellow travelers hurt other people. Somebody quite likely lost precious time with a loved one, possibly forever.

I respect Mr. Baldwin’s comedic talents and I took a generally sympathetic view of his phone message tirade toward his daughter. He was going through a difficult time and I could understand his immense frustration; while not excusing his actions, they at least explain it. This particular case, however, is just selfishness in the extreme. I can only assume he has dropped his plans to run for mayor of New York City, because if he hasn’t, this episode all but ends any chance he might have had.

Mr. Baldwin hurt other people the other day. It’s not too much to ask him or anyone else traveling to simply remember the Golden Rule.

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12-7-41

 

It is 70 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Ask anyone who lived back then know exactly where they were when they heard about it and they’ll know.  The following day, President Roosevelt made his “Day of Infamy” speech and this country was plunged into war.

Today is a reminder that while, like FDR, many presidents run on and are elected on economic issues, they must govern on foreign policy and defense matters.  I hope that isn’t lost in the current presidential campaign.  In the midst of hearing about taxes, regulations and spending, we also need to hear how the candidates plan to guard American and its interests.  Because whether or not we as a nation go looking for trouble, it’s a safe bet that trouble’s looking for us.

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These days any Republican politician who thinks of himself or herself as presidential timber likes to channel Ronald Reagan. Mitt Romney is no exception. But he’s more like President Ford, basically a nice, albeit bland, northern moderate pragmatist. I wish he’d just run on that and stop trying to appear to be something else. In trying to be all things to all people in this election, Romney threatens to be more like Nixon in 1968. Romney may look at this comparison and say, “Nixon won; Ford lost – let’s be Nixon”. But Nixon only won in the short term. Ford is respected by history for his integrity and his role in healing a wounded nation. Nixon is remembered as a brilliant, but bitter man who let his ambition get the best of him. Romney is better of trying to play the role of Ford (albeit a pro-life version of Ford.) He needs to stop running away from who he is.

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