Tomorrow the nation will participate in an observance that has its roots in the Christian celebration of Candlemas Day. Candlemas is a Christian tradition of German origins in which the clergy would bless and distribute the candles needed for winter. The candles became a symbol of the long and cold winter. The German people broadened the observance with another symbol — the hedgehog. In Germanic lore, the hedgehog was said to be a good predictor of winter’s severity.
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The warmer weather last week is a reminder that spring is not too far away.
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.”
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.
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.
In 1964, the Surgeon General published its first report on smoking and health.
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.
President Barack Obama proposed in his State of the Union address last week that two years of community college be free for responsible students across America. The kneejerk reaction of some, predictable with anything this president advocates, is that Obama wants yet another giveaway program.
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.
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.