Posts by: Denis Smith

How could the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans provide us a lesson about memorials dedicated to Ronald Reagan?

Hang on to that thought about The Gipper for a moment. Let’s look at the Civil War lesson first.

For years, public sentiment has questioned the appropriateness of an obelisk honoring the killing of police officers by white supremacists in the Crescent City during the turbulent post-Civil War period as well as statues depicting Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Pierre Beauregard. Finally, there is action to remove these symbols of treason that date from […]

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“The government should be run like a great American company.”

We’ve heard this tired, oft-repeated saw before. And if you follow this reasoning, those who come out of a corporate environment, as we are told by Jared Kushner and his father-in-law, possess training and knowledge superior to anyone else’s life experience.

But in our fact-free world of the present, should we ever totally believe this supposed truism?

Nope. But we can thank none other than The Donald for destroying a myth deeply embedded in our consciousness.

But why are people still believing this myth? […]

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As we reflect on a tumultuous week where the FBI Director confirmed that an investigation of some of the president’s closest aides is being conducted to determine if there was coordination of campaign tactics with Russian operatives linked to Kremlin strongman Vladimir Putin, this headline among many was startling: ‘There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air.’

The New York Times headline notwithstanding, if the subject is treason, we’ve been there before. Several times.

In spite of the headlines documenting Russian interference and possible collusion by the Trump campaign to fix the 2016 election, whatever is turned […]

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Who would have ever thought that the term March Madness referred to more than just a basketball tournament? With the Trump Administration, however, madness is second nature, regardless of the month on the calendar.

Last week, we found out that March Madness also refers to the Trump budget process and the cruel, vindictive, and mean-spirited nature of the people who are at war with the sick, the poor, the elderly, and kids. All of these constituencies deserve advocacy as they are caught in the ruthless tactics of the unfeeling budget cutters. Please understand, however, that as an educator, I must […]

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What is it about karma that eventually winds up biting you in the arse? Michael Flynn should certainly know something about that subject.

The guy who exhorted stalwarts in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention in July to Lock Her Up! could himself be vulnerable to being locked up as a result of not registering as a foreign agent with the U.S. Department of Justice.

As thousands of people have recently viewed the grating video of the retired three-star general working the crowd of rabid Hillary haters, many are thinking of one word to describe what has happened […]

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Many of us remember Ronald Reagan’s effective use of the line, “there you go again.” In light of the purposeful Republican destruction of national education policy, it’s fitting that we use the plural form of that riposte and call out the Great Communicator’s successors in the GOP for their serial vandalism of public education.

Yep, there they go again. As Cole Porter would put it, in looking at Republican education policy today, anything goes.

With the spectre of St. Ronald Reagan haunting us, what is it about old nightmares that return, yet again, more than 35 years later? […]

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The pleasant looking woman sitting on the wooden bench directly across from me several weeks ago in the shiny, new red cable car in Wellington, New Zealand had a good ear in quickly picking up American speech.

“Things don’t seem to be going so well back home now, don’t you think”? she asked me in her distinctive Kiwi accent.

“Yep, things seemed to have changed overnight,” I replied. “From what we’ve seen on television in the last few weeks, I’m not sure I recognize my own country anymore.”

“Yes, I’m sure of that,” she responded.


As […]

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The story is told that after Lyndon Johnson attended his first meetings early in the new administration of John F. Kennedy, he was in awe of the talent and abundant Ivy League pedigrees of those seated around the table. When he told his mentor, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, about how impressed he was with the JFK team, the Speaker replied.

“I’d feel a lot better if some of them had run for sheriff just once,” the wily Texas sage observed.

In looking at Donald Trump’s cabinet, clearly none of the cast of billionaires and CEOs […]

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In late December, the website 3rd Rail Politics published a piece, The Curious Case of William Phillis, about the former Ohio Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction and long-time Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding. As part of the title for the article, curious is an interesting – and ambiguous – word choice.

According to one dictionary, curious is defined as having aspects of the strange or novel. It also means inquisitive or having interest in others’ concerns.

There is nothing strange about Bill Phillis. But throughout his professional career, he has […]

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In December, we were treated to two very interesting but seemingly unconnected events. One happening created large headlines and continued a nearly two-year long controversy. The other generated a few stories but was otherwise unnoticed on evening news programs.

Upon closer examination, the two events are very much related, and when you examine them together, they provide us a lesson to apply in the current political upheaval in this country.

But wait: the warning signal these two disparate stories generate is more important than what might be visible on the surface.

The first event was the waves made by Michigan Attorney […]

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In the space of two days, we lost two well-known heroes from the Greatest Generation, men who represented the adjoining states of Ohio and West Virginia in the U.S. Congress. One, John Glenn, a Marine fighter pilot and United States Senator from the Buckeye State, died on December 8 at the age of 95. The other, Dr. Ken Hechler, an Army colonel, professor, military historian and nine-term congressman who represented West Virginia, the Mountain State, died on December 10 at the age of 102. Both also served together in Congress for two years, with Hechler leaving the House to […]

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