It was, and perhaps still is, one of those trick questions used by kids to trip up their schoolmates: "Do they have fourth of July in England? " Well, of course, the English have a July 4th. Their calendars would look rather silly without it. But they probably don't celebrate American Independence on that or any other day, except, of course, at the U.S. embassy.
Most of us will undoubtedly find reasonably pleasant ways to spend the extra hours away from work that a holiday weekend gives us; and nearly all, I expect, will have more fun than Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama’s choice to succeed the retired John Paul Stevens on the U.S Supreme Court. For General Kagan, as I learned from reading Joe Wolverton’s article on TheNewAmerican.com, has made a pledge to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that she would reread The Federalist Papers to refresh her understanding of the framers’ original intent.
On the editorial page of my local newspaper this Memorial Day, there appears a two-panel cartoon. This first panel shows a small boy in summer attire, his baseball cap on backwards as the fashion of the day dictates. The lad, with hot dog and bun on his plate, is standing next to a man at an outdoor grill, busy frying hamburgers and hot dogs.
Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter defended the court against what he described as “charges of lawmaking and constitutional novelty.” Delivering the commencement address at Harvard University on Thursday, Souter said the criticisms “tend to miss themark” and reflect a “hunger for certainty and control that the fair reading model seems to promise.”
Elena Kagan, Solicitor General of the United States and former dean of Harvard Law School, is widely believed to the frontrunner for President Obama's nomination to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court.
It's an annual ritual for millions of Catholics around the world, but when Vice President Joe Biden appeared in public with ashes on his forehead on Ash Wednesday, some newscasters and commentators found it quite remarkable. And at least one, Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, found it quite humorous. Beckel was participating in a Fox News telecast about President Obama's economic stimulus, when Biden appeared on screen. Beckel began to laugh and then offered the following "apology":
There is a saying about well-intentioned but misguided friends that takes on a special meaning this time of year: "God save me from my friends — I can protect myself from my enemies." And no, I don't mean friends or even family members who might better have given to charity the money they have spent on gifts for you they think are perfectly charming, but from which you derive no pleasure and for which you can find no use. No, I mean the well-intentioned friends of Christ who launch an unofficial campaign each year to "Keep Christ in Christmas."
It has been widely reported that Rep. Joe Barton has embarrassed the Republican Party. That by itself might be considered a monumental achievement, given what it usually takes to embarrass politicians these days. But Barton's offense is most egregious. He apologized to BP (formerly British Petroleum) for what the Texas Republican characterized as a "shakedown" by President Obama in getting the company to agree to put $20 billion into an escrow account for the compensation of victims of damage done by the explosion at BP's Deepwater Horizon rig and the massive and ongoing spillage of oil off the coast of Louisiana.
If Robert Taft had been a baseball player instead of a United States Senator, he might have led the league in left-handed compliments. As it was, he was often “damned with faint praise” by people who, while paying tribute to the power of his intellect, quite often suggested both the man and the mind had come of age in the wrong century. The Ohio lawmaker would hear himself praised as one possessing “the best eighteenth-century mind in America” by people who obviously considered an 18th-century mind ill-suited to mid-20th-century politics. Others, frustrated by the Senator’s stubborn insistence on examining the facts of any controversy before deciding whether to go with or against the prevailing political winds, were fond of saying, “Taft has the best mind in the Senate — until he makes it up.”
John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State in the administration of President James Monroe, offered a toast to his native America on July 4, 1821. The Republic was yet young, just 45 years after declaring its independence of Great Britain. The glories of its destiny were mainly to come. But the glories foreseen by Adams, the son of America’s second President and destined to be its sixth, were not triumphs of conquest, but rather the majesty of a nation leading truly by the force of example instead of the example of force.