Approximately 16,000 books have been written about Abraham Lincoln, arguably our most revered President. Is there possibly anything new to say about him? Surprisingly, the answer is: yes! In this highly original book, David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften offer a fresh perspective on Lincoln’s oratory, as a lawyer and as a politician. The conventional wisdom is that Lincoln used colorful phrases, flowery oratory, and funny stories to persuade and charm his listeners. Hirsch and Van Haften offer a radically different perspective: that the key to Lincoln’s success was intellectual fidelity to the principles of Euclid, the Greek mathematician and logician.
|By: William Gormley Sunday February 17, 2013 1:59 pm|
|By: Peterr Saturday January 19, 2013 9:05 am|
On the eve of President Obama’s second inaugural address, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s, delivered on the eve of both the end of the Civil War and his own assassination. Lincoln packed more into four paragraphs than others can deliver in forty pages, and every president since him dreams of trying to get even close to his eloquence. The last paragraph of that speech gets enormous attention — as it should — but if one doesn’t see what Lincoln does in the first three, that last immortal paragraph is robbed of its full power, and the powerful vision of the future he paints remains just that: a vision of the future.
|By: masaccio Sunday December 23, 2012 11:00 am|
The problem is that the demands of conservatives are out of control. They utterly reject the power of the mind to reason to a plausible understanding of moral values and their application to complex circumstances. Conservatives only use reason to extend by remorseless logic the demands of their primal moral feelings. They do not see that their views, when pushed to their logical limits, are incoherent.
The Newtown murders are a perfect demonstration of that incoherence.
|By: David Dayen Monday November 26, 2012 1:23 pm|
And now, here’s my entry in the “Why the movie Lincoln is not a plausible model for political debates of the recent past and future.”
|By: David Dayen Monday July 25, 2011 9:00 am|
Just a gentle reminder that the President doesn’t actually have to wait around for the political mess on Capitol Hill to sort itself out before he ensures an increase in the debt limit. The first thing he could do is demand a clean bill. The politics of the debt limit are such at this point that asking for a clean bill isn’t as fanciful as it was before.
|By: Peterr Monday May 2, 2011 9:45 am|
“Justice has been done,” proclaimed President Obama last night.
I beg to differ.
Justice is not simply someone getting what they deserve. “He did X, and deserved his punishment” may be a verdict and a sentence, but these two things alone are hardly justice.
Bin Laden did not face justice last night; he faced death.
There is a difference.
|By: Peterr Saturday February 26, 2011 9:00 am|
In one of the local Kansas City area school districts, a proposed levy increase that would have put an end to three years of major budget cuts failed, and so the cuts continue even as enrollment rises. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, cuts are driven not so much by the economy but by union-busting politicians. Elsewhere in the US, teacher layoffs are being announced. ‘Tis the season . . .
And yet, despite all this, the teachers still teach.
I am so grateful for those who taught me, and even today I am still realizing just how much of a gift they gave me.
|By: Glenn W. Smith Sunday November 28, 2010 9:30 am|
It’s hard these days to keep faith in a progressive American future, but a lonely Mississippi ship’s whistle and Albert Camus’ advice that we “must imagine Sisyphus happy” help show the way.
|By: Peterr Thursday November 25, 2010 9:00 am|
For me this year, I think I’ll skip the discussions of pilgrims and native Americans dining at Plymouth. I’m more caught up in the shift from Thanksgiving as a bunch of local harvest festivals to Thanksgiving as a national holiday — an act undertaken in the midst of the bloody battles of the Civil War. Indeed, on this day of thanksgiving in the midst of massive economic turmoil, I give thanks for those things which transcend haves/have nots or winners/losers, and bind us together in our shared humanity.