Long gone are the days when TV stars stated that they were careful about the kind of entertainment they provided. Back then when a television set was a new addition in so many households, TV personalities were aware they were being allowed into living rooms across the country — and they were grateful to be part of the family for the night. Television was carefully screened and sponsors were boycotted should anything deemed offensive take to the airwaves and invade the home sanctuaries of America. It was a given that a bad example was bad for children — bad and unpleasant for most adults as well.
It should surprise no one that someone who had served in the Eisenhower administration would call FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's attention to the charge made by John Birch Society founder Robert Welch that President Dwight Eisenhower was aiding and abetting the worldwide Communist conspiracy. But it might be surprising to learn that the cabinet official thought Welch was right, at least in the effect the Eisenhower policies were having in advancing rather than containing Communism and ultimately "rolling back the Iron Curtain" — as Republicans said they would do in winning the White House and gaining effective control of Congress in the 1952 elections.
One of the many stories that grew out of John F. Kennedy’s aborted term as President has to do with an idle question put to him by a reporter aboard Air Force One. What would happen, the reporter wondered, if the plane went down, killing all on board?
Long ago scholars identified the arches and loops of John Locke’s fingerprints on the writings of James Madison. Evidence of this influence is often noted in Madison’s espousal of Lockean liberalism in the arguments set forth in the Federalist, particularly Federalist, No. 51. That Madison benefited from Locke’s analysis of the machine of government and its relationship to the virtue of a people is indisputable, but to describe all Madisonian philosophy as some sort of diluted mimicry of Lockean principles is lazy and incorrect. Madison, it has been said, was a “profoundly original thinker” and “no mere follower of the philosophers.” The design of this article, however, is not to expose the originality of Madison’s thinking; rather it is to note how in regard to his view of religious toleration (a term Madison despised as being, as Thomas Paine said, “not the opposite of intolerance, but the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it.”)
The Pledge of Allegiance is often a controversial and, unfortunately, an unwelcome component in the public arena. Last month, on two separate occasions, guests at congressional political debates were angered by the hosts’ unwillingness to begin the debates with the Pledge of Allegiance and took matters into their own hands by standing up and reciting it themselves. Most disputes regarding the Pledge of Allegiance follow similar story lines, with one group opposed to reciting the Pledge and another in support of it. In the North Collins school district of upstate New York, however, the debate over the Pledge of Allegiance takes on a unique twist.