"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
Sometimes, you get the feeling that's the only King quote conservatives know.
But it works."
That, in three syllables, has been the go-to argument of the last two presidential administrations to justify assaulting civil liberties in the name of rooting out terrorists.
It's a dubious line of reasoning, proceeding as it does from the implicit assumption that if a thing works, if it achieves the important goal for which it was designed, that trumps all other considerations.
Maybe it's something you were born with, maybe something that happened to you, maybe something you did to yourself through bad habits or neglect. But everybody's got something, some physical or emotional blemish measuring the distance from you to perfection.
Perhaps you've heard of the Fourth Amendment.
That's the one that guarantees freedom from unfettered government snooping, the one that says government needs probable cause and a warrant before it can search or seize your things.
Marlise Munoz was 33 when she died.
She was at home when she collapsed from an apparent blood clot in her lungs. It was an hour or more before her husband, Erick, found her. He says doctors pronounced her brain dead, though John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, citing privacy concerns, has declined to confirm that diagnosis
Here is what he said: "...all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be."
It would seem to be a self-evident truth. After all, your First Amendment right to freedom of speech is regulated. If you don't believe it, write something libelous about a guy with deep pockets and man-eating lawyers. Your Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is regulated and then some. If you don't believe that, pick up your phone and ask the NSA agent tapping your line.
Fair warning: This is about the "Duck Dynasty" controversy. Yes, I know. I'm sick of it, too.
You want to know the worst part?
It isn't the incident where a police officer stopped a man at the 207 Quickstop convenience store and threw his purchases -- cans of Red Bull -- to the sidewalk.
Every once in a very great while, we get these people who rise above the confines of self. Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95, was one of those.
I like capitalism.
Specifically, I like the idea that if I write a better book, have a better idea, build a better mousetrap, I will be rewarded accordingly. A system where everyone gets the same reward regardless of quality or quantity of work is inconsistent with excellence and innovation, as the mediocrity and inefficiency that beset the Soviet Union readily proves.
The N-word again. Of course.
Six years after the NAACP staged its symbolic burial, that word has proven rumors of its demise greatly exaggerated.
You may not dance.
You may not listen to music or sing. You may not read. You may not leave the house except under certain strict conditions. You may not watch movies or television. You may not aspire. You may not learn.
These are the strictures the Taliban seeks to impose upon women and girls in the places it infests, including the Swat Valley in Pakistan.
With George Zimmerman out on bail last week after his latest run-in with police, it seems an opportune time to discuss the second killing of Trayvon Martin.
We were never innocent.
That word is invariably used to describe what changed in America on Nov. 22 50 years ago when a dashing young president was murdered in Dallas. But the word has never been quite right.
The greatest words any American ever said were spoken by a gaunt, war-haunted man in a tiny Pennsylvania college town 150 years ago Tuesday.