Freedom Writing

AUGUST 2, 2012 9:02PM

Farewell, Eleanor

I was looking at the obituary section of my hometown newspaper's website, and I saw that an old friend of the family passed away this week.

Her name was Eleanor Opitz, and she was one of my mother's closest friends. They were community activists together in the central Arkansas town where I… Read full post »



We've reached the point in the presidential campaign when challengers select their running mates and incumbents (presumably) decide whether to keep theirs.

As I have said before, I don't expect Barack Obama to drop Joe Biden from his ticket — even though, as always, there are those in…

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JULY 30, 2012 3:25PM

What Democrats Learned From Bush



Today, George W. Bush is widely regarded, by Democrats and Republicans alike, as a failed president.

Most Democrats tend to go beyond that point in their assessment; Republicans not quite so far. In the absence of a clear consensus, I suppose failed is a good, fairly middle–ground term.

One thing…

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JULY 24, 2012 10:32PM

R.I.P., Sally Ride



Sally Ride.

Twenty–nine years ago, it seemed like the ideal name for America's first woman in space. Well, it seemed that way to me, anyway.

And I didn't even realize it had already been immortalized in a song, "Mustang Sally."
"All you want to do is ride around Sally, ridRead full post »
JULY 22, 2012 3:36PM

Predictable Responses

Like most Americans, I have been watching a lot of interviews — and I have been reading a lot of articles — about the tragic movie theater shootings in Colorado.

And, as is usually the case following something like this, there is a predictable wave of responses coming from our polarized po…

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JULY 20, 2012 5:19PM

The Tragedy in Colorado



It is still Friday, July 20, 2012.

The smoke (please excuse the pun) is still clearing in Colorado following the shooting at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

In the coming days, I am sure, more will be known about the gunman, what led him to his heinous act and the…

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JULY 18, 2012 5:53PM

Of Islands and Villages



"No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's
Read full post »
JULY 16, 2012 4:19PM

Clinton's Covenant



Twenty years ago tonight, Bill Clinton accepted the presidential nomination for the first time.

That was a memorable time in my life. Just four years earlier, I had moved from Arkansas, where I grew up, went to school and began my adult life, to Texas, where I intended to enroll in graduate…

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JULY 14, 2012 7:56AM

A Voice in the Wilderness



"... George McGovern was about to have his moment. The moment was 2:48 in the morning. ... [T]he audience for his speech had dropped from 17,400,000 to 3,600,000. Yet he was speaking beautifully. He had sucked up from his experience in one of the longest campaigns in American history a knowledgeRead full post »
JULY 7, 2012 7:05AM

'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'



"I came here to tell you the truth — the good, the bad and the ugly."

Lt. Col. Oliver North
July 7, 1987

A good word to describe Oliver North when he began his Iran–Contra testimony a quarter of a century ago would be defiant.

He seemed to enter the hearing room with a chip…

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JULY 6, 2012 5:36PM

When Did the Holocaust Begin?



I've been studying history most of my life, and I think I have a pretty good understanding of things that have happened and how they have influenced the days, months and years that followed.

Some events in history are easy to pinpoint — like battles. You know when they began. You know…

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JULY 2, 2012 4:17PM

A Name on a Suitcase

I recall one occasion when my grandmother — my father's mother — visited my family when I was a child.

My memory is that my grandmother's visits were rare.

Both sets of my grandparents lived in Dallas, Texas, when I was a child. That made sense. My parents grew up in Dallas.

But, when… Read full post »

JUNE 29, 2012 3:12PM

Read His Lips


"My opponent won't rule out raising taxes. But I will. And the Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again, and I'll say, to them, 'Read my lips: no new taxes.' "

Vice President George H.W.Read full post »
JUNE 28, 2012 3:45PM

Winning By Losing



Occasionally in the past, I've heard it said that, at times, it is possible to win by losing.

I heard that — or its equivalent — said a lot in the lead–up to today's Supreme Court ruling on the legal challenge to the so–called Obamacare legislation.

Initially, I was in…

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Editor’s Pick
JUNE 24, 2012 6:28PM

Choosing a Running Mate



With the primaries over and the battle for the Republican presidential nomination apparently decided, political writers find themselves in an historically dreary period until the parties gather for their conventions.

It is at this time when there is much speculation about the ultimate identity…

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JUNE 23, 2012 8:27AM

The Smoking Gun



In an historical context, it's ironic that Barack Obama should claim executive privilege this week.

For two years, Richard Nixon got away with telling the American people that he was not involved in the Watergate coverup.

As time passed, fewer and fewer Americans believed what Nixon said, but his…

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JUNE 20, 2012 8:13AM

Rose Mary's Boo-Boo


Rose Mary Woods re–enacts the "Rose Mary Stretch" for photographers.


The official accounts of the Watergate break–in and its subsequent coverup all say that the Oval Office conversation in which the so–called "smoking gun" was found to be in Richard Nixon's h…

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JUNE 18, 2012 10:30AM

My Goddaughter's Birthday

This is a special day.

Today is my goddaughter Nikki's 25th birthday.

I never had a sister, but I know from my experiences with my mother and my grandmothers that ladies don't like to disclose their ages — so I figure this is probably the last time Nikki will let me get away…

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"The absurdity of the idea still appalls in retrospect — the idea that there were secrets of value to anyone in the brawling, boisterous, open Democratic Party, whose appeal to the American people for so many generations had come from its air of humanity, its common vulgarity. TheRead full post »


"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Ronald Reagan
June 12, 1987

Presidents are remembered for say…

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JUNE 7, 2012 12:17AM

The Age of Miracles

My father had a heart attack on Sunday.

There was a time in my life when a heart attack or a diagnosis of cancer was the same as a death sentence.

But, in my lifetime, I have seen so many conditions that conventional wisdom once regarded as terminal reduced to survivable by the…

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JUNE 3, 2012 5:21PM

Operating Without a Net



I realize it is foolhardy to make blanket assertions, but I feel relatively safe in saying that most Americans have probably been to a circus at some point in their lives — or at least they have seen video clips of a circus on television.

There are all kinds of attractions at…

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JUNE 2, 2012 9:20PM

The Silver Lining

As I have observed here before, I grew up in Arkansas.

And when I was growing up, there was a saying that nearly everyone around me could be heard to utter, at one time or another: "Thank God for Mississippi!"

I don't know how long they were saying that in Arkansas — and…

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JUNE 1, 2012 5:22PM

You Can't Spin This



I've seen this countless times before — and, as Weird Al Yankovic put it in his parody of MC Hammer's hip hop song, I can't watch this. I feel as if I have seen this before, and I don't want to watch this again.

But I don't really have a choice.

The monthly…

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MAY 31, 2012 11:05PM

Goodbye and Good Luck



Five years ago, I was a John Edwards supporter.

I had one of his bumper stickers on my vehicle, and I believed he was the best hope for the country.

The economic meltdown hadn't happened yet, and my assessment at that time, in the summer of 2007, was that the American public simply…

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