Last week's column featuring Philadelphia's three great cheesesteak emporiums: Jim's, Pat's and (most famously) Geno's, generated correspondence about which cheesesteaks are the best. My answer: NOT Geno's.
I've been around for 12 presidential administrations—starting with that of Franklin Roosevelt, who died in office when I was 10. In my memory bank are five deeply flawed men who turned the highest office into a national nightmare and were rendered politically impotent during the final years of their presidencies: John F. Kennedy (Bay of Pigs, Cuban missile crisis, assassination), Lyndon Johnson (Vietnam), Richard Nixon (Watergate), Jimmy Carter (Iran hostage crisis) and Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky).
My family was not Democratic nor Republican. Nor am I. I've always voted for whomever I believed to be the best person for the job. As a result, I'm a registered Independent, which means I never vote in primary elections. If that's a cop-out, so be it.
For the record, up to the current administration (on which the jury is still out) I voted Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton.
Only twice in my life have I seen the country crippled and disfigured, resulting in genuine grassroots passion in a presidential election: 1968 and 2008.
The year I got passionate about politics—and dispassionate—was 1968.
I disagree with Michelle Higgins. She is a whiner and a handwringer. Getting on a plane is emphatically NOT “roughly akin to entering the ninth circle of hell.” It’s a miracle. The late author and critic Alfred Kazin said his idea of happiness was settling into an airliner seat with a book, a notebook and a martini. Amen. Jet planes have taken me higher and faster and to places around the world only dreamed of by my grandparents—and usually for only a few hundred bucks. If you want to spend $400 to $3000 or more an hour to fly in obscene luxury, plenty of
The record of human rights in China today is abysmal. From the Amnesty International Report 2007: An increased number of lawyers and journalists were harassed, detained, and jailed. Thousands of people who pursued their faith outside officially sanctioned churches were subjected to harassment and many to detention and imprisonment. Thousands of people were sentenced to death or executed. Migrants from rural areas were deprived of basic rights. Severe repression of Uighurs in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region continued, and freedom of expression and religion continued to be severely restricted in Tibet and among Tibetans elsewhere. Now various organizations and individuals with single-issue agendas are
This past Sunday on CNN, eight Democratic contenders debated the issues and each other. Tonight, the 10 declared Republicans are going to take on each other in the same venue before a national TV audience. In the words of the CNN press release: Due to the historical nature of presidential debates and the significance of these forums to the American public, CNN believes strongly that the debates should be accessible to the public. The candidates need to be held accountable for what they say throughout the election process. I watched the Sunday evening Democratic debate, growing more and more depressed for two reasons:
Being a news junkie, I watched the TV coverage of Gerald Ford’s final trip to Washington, D.C.—and thence to Michigan for burial—frequently switching channels and listening to all of the talking heads—politicians, pundits and presidential historians. The centerpiece of Ford’s accidental presidency was granting “a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.” The action roiled the country and very likely cost Ford his reelection. I remember being absolutely certain at the