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Shame at a terrible price

The immortal songstress Ella Fitzgerald once sang of Love for Sale “Who’s prepared to pay the price, for a trip to paradise… If you want the thrill of love, I’ve been through the mill of love. Old love, new love, every love but true love. Love for sale.”

No Prince among the royalty

Today marks an important popular culture milestone. Late in the evening of Jan. 28, 1985, a group of musical artists assembled to record “We Are the World,” a megahit whose proceeds aided famine relief in Africa.

Fizzy history moves a nation

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” While the precise origin of this aphorism is lost to time, this weekend we note an important milestone in technological innovation: the 80th anniversary of the first canned beer.

The Five Year Election Sale

It’s often amazing how one U.S. Supreme Court can change the whole course of American social and political life. There are cases in pursuit of social fairness, the most famous of which is the 1954 decision in Brown v. the Board of Education. Then there are cases of fair process, like Miranda v. Arizona. Then there are cases that serve to protect our right of free speech. It’s difficult to single out a single case as the exemplar of protecting speech, but we know one where oligarchical designs masquerading as a speech interests has been allowed to poison American politics: Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission.

Verdict uncertain motives unclear

Sixty-five years ago today, disgraced State Department official, Alger Hiss, was convicted of perjury, in what has become one of the most hotly debated cases of the 20th century. Hiss had been the subject of aggressive investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee, led by an ambitious California representative, Richard Nixon.

Enough humility to be courageous

All we can say is ‘Wow!’ When is the last time you heard an elected official come right out, admit a mistake and then apologize for it? And to boot, this one wasn’t one of those I-got-caught-and-now-I-better-appear-contrite apologies; this was a straight up, acknowledgement of fault and mea culpa.

MLK a clarion for service

As the nation honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we should pause to reflect on his ideals and vision for America. We all know King’s work in the cause of civil rights, but his call for committed public service should also be remembered.

Truth or grave consequences

With new revelations on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture in the so-called “war on terror,” it becomes painfully, shamefully clear that bad things have been done in our name. It has always been so. It will likely always be so. If we are not a better nation than depicted in the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report, we need to become one.

Degenerate Art then and now

Almost every day appears to give us a new decadence against which to rail. Some mover within popular culture produces a new spectacle and the critics recoil. It’s probably been this way since the dawn of humankind. It’s certainly not a phenomenon exclusive to the United States.

Waning moderation in all things

Earlier this week, Sen. Mark Pryor made a farewell address to the United States Senate. One can speculate as to why Pryor lost his bid for reelection. Perhaps he was too much of a Democrat; or perhaps not enough; or maybe it was the great influx of outsider campaign donations to his opponent. Certainly, in today’s Arkansas, having a “D” behind one’s name was pretty much all that was necessary to get one unelected. Whatever the reasons, Pryor must now ply his trade elsewhere.

Infamy cycled and condemned

President Ronald Reagan once observed: “History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” This sentiment is particularly apt this weekend as we observe the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Closeted heroes reflect social bias

It was a run for the record books, but like most competitive streaks, this too came to an end. Back in late 2004, contestant Ken Jennings’ string of 74 consecutive wins on the television game show, Jeopardy ground to a halt with one missed question. Of course, by that time, Jennings had amassed $2.5 million in winnings.

Focus, partner, achieve

As World AIDS day approaches, we are reminded that the pace of new infections remains too high, and although treatments have made living with the disease easier, there still is no cure for AIDS or the HIV that causes it.

Great work from a small man

Earlier this week the online giant, Google, commemorated the sesquicentennial of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s birth with a so-called Google Doodle. Such an honor is fitting for an artist who created some of the most iconic and memorable advertising images in history.

Gratitude focused and framed

For what shall we give thanks? The world is full of people whose lot is so sad and wanting that we might give thanks for just not being them. We are thankful not to be homeless. We are thankful not to be hungry. We are thankful not to be alone.