Former NPR and current Fox News political analyst Juan Williams made an excellent point Monday night on "The O'Reilly Factor." Williams said the major reason President Obama had not endorsed same-sex marriage is because of the strong opposition to it in the black and Hispanic communities.
Who could have doubted, though, that the president favors expanding the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians?
"Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." is another of the Harvard professor's wonderful television series for PBS. This is "must-see TV" and a more than worthy sequel to three previous projects Gates has hosted about how some of us came to be what and who we are.
In this latest 10-part series, Gates explores the genealogical and genetic history of a diverse group of people, from entertainer Harry Connick Jr. and Pastor Rick Warren to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Brown University President Ruth Simmons. There are less famous people, but the famous get you hooked for the rest.
In the 1993 movie "Dave" the faux president (played by Kevin Kline) calls in his best friend (played by Charles Grodin) and they stay up all night balancing the federal budget, not by raising taxes, but by cutting unnecessary and wasteful spending.
If only it were that easy. Most presidents have talked about cutting spending, but few succeed because Congress holds the power of the purse and is reluctant to give it up.
After Richard Nixon lost the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy and the California governor's race two years later (when he uttered the immortal line to the media, "You don't have Nixon to kick around anymore") the former vice president knew he must reinvent himself to run for president again in 1968.
Thus was born "the new Nixon," an attempt to transform himself from "the old Nixon" the public didn't like, into a warmer, softer, more approachable person. As it turned out, the "new Nixon" was simply the "old Nixon" with a new coat of political paint.
Dick Clark, who died Wednesday at 82, was called "America's oldest teenager." That's not only because he looked so good late into life, but also because he carried with him the teen memories of those of us who grew up watching "American Bandstand" on glorious black-and-white, small-screen television sets.
Every weekday afternoon, I would arrive home from school, say hello to Mom, grab a snack and plop down in front of the TV to watch a dance show broadcast live from South Philadelphia.
Virtually everything said and done in a presidential election year distorts the truth, much like concave and convex mirrors in a carnival attraction alter one's true reflection.
That kind of distortion occurred in the recent dustup over whether women who choose to stay at home can completely understand the economic challenges and personal struggles faced by women who choose, or need, to work outside the home while raising children.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Here, where Titanic, the massive White Star Line luxury liner, was built -- the joke for years has been, "It was fine when it left here." This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship "Not even God himself could sink...." and the centenary is being observed in diverse ways.
There are solemn remembrances. A "Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic" is scheduled for St. Anne's Cathedral and there's a Titanic Commemoration Service and Unveiling of the Titanic Memorial Gardens at City Hall.
Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear three days of oral arguments in the healthcare lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare."
We now know the law was based on phony predictions about its cost. After promising the price would be under $940 billion over 10 years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has issued a correction of its initial estimate, which appears to have been based on sleight of hand accounting tactics by congressional Democrats and the White House. CBO now projects the measure will cost taxpayers at least $1.76 trillion over a decade.
You've got to hand it to Democrats and the Obama re-election campaign. Like a quarterback who looks left to draw the defense away from his intended target on the right, Democrats have managed to divert our attention. Instead of debating President Obama's dreadful record on just about everything, Democrats have managed to get Republicans talking about sex and morality. Rather than figuring out what to do about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, Democrats have put Republicans on the defensive over the use of vulgar words applied to liberal women. For their use of equally offensive or similar words applied to conservative women, they mostly get a pass, because this isn't about the words; it's about politics.
The strategy seems to be working. After a week of debating, discussing and deploring what Rush Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke, the Democrat-friendly Washington Post ran a front-page story last Saturday announcing "GOP gains dwindling among women." They must be toasting each other at President Obama's 2012 national headquarters in Chicago.
"Seeing is believing" is an ancient idiom. It teaches that a dispute can often be resolved by presenting physical evidence.
Opponents of the ultrasound bill passed last week by the Virginia legislature and expected to be signed soon by Governor Bob McDonnell, thought they could stop the measure because they said it would require an invasive vaginal probe to determine the age of the fetus in an early-stage pregnancy. The bill passed after it was modified to mandate only a non-invasive procedure.
There have been many "gaps" in modern politics. There is the gender gap, the generation gap and now the God gap, which is the gulf between people who take God's instructions seriously and those who don't. Which side of the gap you're on could influence your vote.
Pat Buchanan might have seen the end of the line coming at MSNBC when last month network president Phil Griffin commented on his latest book, "Suicide of a Superpower," by saying, "I don't think the ideas that (Buchanan) put forth are appropriate for the national dialogue, much less on MSNBC."
When Buchanan was let go last week after 10 years as a commentator on the network, no one was surprised.
Black History Month honors the achievements of African Americans throughout history and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, a reliance on family and faith, which allowed many African Americans to survive the horrors of Reconstruction, racial injustice and violent acts of discrimination, has become a casualty of the modern welfare state, which has contributed to the destruction of family cohesion, supplanted faith in God with faith in government and fashioned many African-Americans into a Democratic voting bloc that has not improved the lot of the impoverished among them.
While African-American history is important, the way it is most often presented through a liberal political lens skews the contributions and examples of African Americans who do not toe the liberal line. One especially sees this in the civil rights establishment's response to Justice Clarence Thomas and more recently to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.)
For 60 years the National Prayer Breakfast has been a nonpolitical event where speakers put aside their earthly biases and focus on a Higher Authority. Last Thursday, President Obama departed from that tradition to claim the endorsement of Jesus for raising taxes. It beat the endorsement of Mitt Romney by Donald Trump.
In his remarks, the president quoted Luke 12:48: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." The president sees this verse as a command for him to raise taxes on the successful so the money can be "spread around" to the less successful. If the president's interpretation of this verse sounds a little like Karl Marx, it should. Marx said, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Summertime is usually when TV networks air repeats of shows we've already seen. In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, the president got a five-month jump on the summer season by re-running a class-envy video he has broadcast more times than local stations have shown episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show."
Instead of a credible assessment of the state of the union, which is not good, the president delivered a slightly toned down campaign speech. We heard more of the same about how "the rich" aren't paying their "fair share" in taxes.
A group of conservative evangelical leaders met in Texas last weekend and endorsed a Roman Catholic for president. Given the history of evangelical antipathy toward the theological underpinnings of the Roman Catholic Church, that in itself signals a remarkable evolution (pardon the word), along with a considerable amount of political pragmatism.
The blessing of what was once called the "Religious Right" fell on the once-married Rick Santorum and not the thrice married and more recent convert to Catholicism, Newt Gingrich.
While most attention is focused on the presidential race and Republican hopes to oust President Obama from office, some significant steps were taken last week on issues dear to the hearts of conservatives.
In Texas, a federal appeals court upheld the state's sonogram law, which requires that women seeking abortions view a picture of their baby before having the procedure. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling, which had issued an injunction, preventing the law from taking effect. The decision allows the state to begin enforcing the law, mandating doctors to give pregnant women "truthful, non-misleading and relevant" disclosures before they have an abortion.
Even fair-minded liberals, of which there must be a few, should acknowledge that the Saturday-Sunday "blitz" of the Republican presidential candidates by ABC and NBC correspondents looked like a play designed by the left wing of the Democratic Party.
Clearly the questions by ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer about contraception and same-sex marriage were asked to trap the GOP candidates into delivering sound bites that the Obama re-election campaign could use against the eventual nominee and the party at large. These were the types of accusatory questions that would never be asked of a Democratic president. One would not expect to hear, for example, a question like this to President Obama: "Mr. President, millions of babies have been legally aborted in this country since 1973; how can you so callously dismiss unborn children, many of whom would now be productive, taxpaying citizens, by taking a pro-choice stance on abortion?"
LISBON, Portugal -- When the Republican presidential candidates tire of bashing each other, perhaps they will start addressing the expansion of radical Islam. Only Rick Santorum raised the issue in last Saturday's debate in New Hampshire.
Next door in Spain, two new satellite TV stations recently signed on. They won't be airing "Judge Judy," but instead are broadcasting Islamic theology and political propaganda. It was not coincidental that the launch of Islamic TV in Spain coincided with Christmas. One of the early broadcasts featured a story, from Islam's perspective, on the Virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus. Not surprisingly, it differs significantly from the biblical account with which even secular Americans are familiar.
How does one measure whether a life was a success, or a failure?
Some would measure it by recognition, that is, how many knew the person's name. For others, the measure of a successful life would be the amount of wealth accumulated, or possessions held. Still others would say a life was successful if the person made a major contribution to society -- in medicine, sports, politics, or the arts.
President Obama's decision in 2010 to cut NASA's budget and abandon the Constellation program, established by the Bush administration, which was charged with returning Americans to the moon by 2020 and creating an "extended human presence on the moon," has created a vacuum, which China will attempt to fill.
China has announced an ambitious five-year plan that includes the launch of space laboratories, a manned spaceship to the moon and the creation of its own global satellite navigation system that will almost certainly be used for military purposes.
A friend of mine hands me what looks like a business card. It says, "Don't Die Stupid." As America begins another round of voting to select the next president, or retain the current one, what we need is a stupid test. Flunk it and you shouldn't vote.
Is there, or should there ever be, a point when a state is no longer penalized for its discriminatory past?
Not according to the Department of Justice, which last Friday rejected a South Carolina law that would have required voters show a valid photo ID before casting their ballots.
Justice says the law discriminates against minorities. The Obama administration said, "South Carolina's law didn't meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices preventing blacks from voting." Why South Carolina? Because, the Justice Department contends, it's tasked with approving voting changes in states that have failed in the past to protect the rights of blacks.
In a season in which there is very little "peace on Earth" and even less "good will towards men," it is a particularly tough time for Jews, who may be finding it more and more difficult to tell who their real friends are.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta fired an unusually harsh salvo across the Israelis bow. In a speech at a Brookings Institution forum, he urged Israel to get to the "d--n table" for peace talks. It must have escaped Panetta's notice that the Palestinians are the ones refusing to come to the "d--n table" unless their unacceptable demands are met. These include, depending on the day, the cessation of construction projects, even on pre-1967 Israeli land, the so-called "right of return" of "Palestinian refugees," a concession by Israel to re-draw its borders to 1967 lines -- though such borders would be completely indefensible against an inevitable attack -- and the re-division of Jerusalem, which Israel rightly sees as its capital. Meanwhile, the Palestinian side concedes almost nothing and fulfills none of its promises. Neither is it held accountable for its behavior.
We live in a bipolar culture. We allow ourselves to be drenched in sexual images in movies, on television and on the Internet and then defend First Amendment protection to even the most graphic of them. Then, when a politician acts out what culture promotes, we criticize him, especially if he's conservative, branding him with the equivalent of a "scarlet letter."
In our not too distant past, a feeling of shame made people go into hiding after an adulterous relationship was exposed. Now they go on television to talk about the sleazy details. They either deny it (Herman Cain), admit it and say they've asked God for forgiveness (Newt Gingrich), or pay no political price at all (space limitations prevent me from listing the legion of politicians that fall into this last category.)
Seventy years ago this month, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and brought America into a war that had begun in Europe in 1939.
In his masterful new book "December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World," Craig Shirley takes readers back to a very different America. Through hundreds of stories and advertisements culled from newspapers, Shirley not only transports us back to that tumultuous time, but reminds this generation that denial about an enemy's intentions can have grave consequences.
During the presidential campaign of 2000, George W. Bush was criticized by some conservatives for calling himself a "compassionate conservative." Some believed the term to be redundant.
Now we're in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign and candidate Newt Gingrich has called for a "humane" policy on illegal immigrants. Gingrich wants illegal residents who have been in America for 25 years to stay, so as not to "separate families."