December 27, 1997 |
In Sunset Boulevard, silent-screen star Norma Desmond listens as a young admirer tactlessly recalls her faded glory. "You used to be in pictures," says the fan. "You used to be big. " "I am big," replies Norma, her voice dripping with contempt. "It's the pictures that got small. " If only our fading Constitution could speak, it would summon all the grandeur of its illustrious past and say, echoing Norma Desmond, "I am big. It's the Supreme Court that got small. " Have you wondered why the Supreme Court's docket always seems to be littered with arcane issues of little consequence, while our vital liberties are being continually eroded by government?
February 3, 1991 |
"This is what we call a shower," says Koos van der Merwe. Is he kidding? I can't tell. Koos, Conservative Party whip in the South African Parliament, is showing me around his house in suburban Johannesburg so I can see "how a typical Afrikaner lives. " It's more or less how a typical American suburbanite lives, except for a lot of dead animals on the wall. His "shower" is a shower. Perhaps that's his point: the international fellowship of white people. "We are First World people like yourselves," he says.
June 19, 1990 |
President Bush has tried to jump-start the Middle East peace process with a lengthy private letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Shamir, he revealed yesterday in an interview on foreign-policy issues with the Inquirer Washington Bureau. The letter included "several suggestions" that Bush said he hoped would clear the way for peace talks in the Middle East. In the interview, the President also declined to endorse majority rule in predominantly black South Africa and spoke with great optimism about prospects for settling differences with the Soviet Union over the democracy movement in Eastern Europe.
May 28, 1993 |
It may have been somewhat premature to choose South Africa's President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress President Nelson Mandela to be co- recipients of the Philadelphia Liberty Medal. That medal, which will be presented by President Clinton in a July 4 ceremony at Independence Hall, is for "leadership and vision in the pursuit of liberty of conscience or freedom from oppression, ignorance or deprivation. " Nelson Mandela has demonstrated he meets all of those standards.
February 22, 1990 |
During the past two weeks, the world has been watching with fascination as tremendous change comes to South Africa. The release of Nelson Mandela is a joyous victory for his family, a major step forward for the people of South Africa and a remarkable symbol of hope. I came to South Africa at the invitation of Walter and Albertina Sisulu and the South African Council of Churches. I wanted to learn first hand from the people the day to day realities of life under the apartheid system.
November 17, 2005
TO THE editor and management: Sorry about your "sagging profits. " That can be turned around, but you can't replace the honesty, wisdom and clarity of Carol Towarnicky. To borrow from another medium, she is your anchorwoman who, with deep thinking, made the complexities of issues critical to democracy easy for us to understand so that we can participate as citizens should. That's a gift. Hope to read her contributing opinions often. Arline Jolles Lotman, Philadelphia Outraged by K12 Re the K12 controversy: As an African-American female, I was appalled when I heard Bill Bennett's statement.
November 15, 2003
Now that the Senate has concluded 39 continuous hours of speeches on the status of President Bush's judicial nominations, the best that can be said is that the republic is still standing. This festival of public posturing orchestrated by Republicans changed nothing. When it ended yesterday, Democrats again resorted to the same parliamentary ploy that has so rankled the GOP, to block the same three conservative judges from receiving a vote on their merits by the full Senate. In the best of all worlds, both parties would openly debate a nominee's qualifications, put the candidate to a vote, and let the majority rule.
June 3, 1993 |
The City of Philadelphia, cradle of Liberty, is about to plunge itself into an abyss of international outrage if the citizens of this up and coming city would go along with the ill-conceived invitation to F.W. de Klerk to receive the Liberty Medal on Independence Day. The other recipient is deservedly so: Nelson Mandela who spent 26 years of his life in confinement for standing up against the tyrannical evil called apartheid. Philadelphia has made some strides in recovering from the social malaise of the racial polarization of the Rizzo era and the MOVE debacle.
January 7, 2002 |
President Bush returned to Washington last week with progress in the war against terrorism but knowing the conflict is nowhere near over. He faces a situation nearly identical to the one his father confronted: a Democratic majority in the Senate led by a man with a nice smile whose sole objective was to beat Bush in the next election. The President's father faced Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. George W. Bush faces his political reincarnation in Tom Daschle (D., S.D.). The elder Bush mistakenly believed he could get along with Mitchell and that his "kinder-gentler" approach would bring Mitchell around.
January 7, 1997 |
Do Democrats stand for anything? We'll find out early in this Congress, when the balanced budget amendment comes to a vote. If Democrats let this thing through, little else they do for the rest of the Congress will matter. The balanced budget amendment would add a provision to the Constitution requiring that Congress enact balanced budgets. To run any sort of deficit, Congress would have to muster a three-fifths majority. Right off the top, this should kill the idea. For more than two centuries, the United States government has run its fiscal affairs on the basis of majority rule.