In an era of social media and 24-hour news cycles, people disagree often. Whether it’s Miley Cyrus, the government shutdown, award shows, or football games, people disagree vehemently always and often. In this era, there is arguably no one who invokes more ardent loyalty or utter disgust than Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Some view him as the lone voice of reason in the wilderness standing for what is right in America, while others think he hates minorities of every kind and is terrible for America. Most admit that he is one of the smartest and wittiest minds in the legal field today, although people debate to what extent he uses his legal powers for good or evil.
Regardless, Scalia is a fascinating figure and has had a front-seat to U.S. legal, political, and cultural shifts since the mid-1970s. So it was refreshing recently when New York Magazine interviewed Scalia in a free-wheeling, no-holds-barred interview. While there is a lot of insight for legal nerds of all ideologies, there was a lot revealed in the interview that should be interesting to all Americans. What does Scalia think about Facebook, Seinfeld, different media outlets, the current state of political gridlock, Pope Francis, poker, heaven, hell, the Devil, and his place in history?
Well, here’s the Top 20 things we learned. Enjoy! To read the entire interview (which is well worth doing especially if you want to understand how he thinks about legal matters), click here.
As a conservative Republican, there are many complaints I have against President Obama’s leadership and our expanding federal government. Whether it is the Internal Revenue Service’s unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups, more tax hikes than spending cuts, or rising health care costs even after the passing of ObamaCare, the federal government under President Obama has been expanding, with very little to show for it.
But I’m saddened when some fellow conservatives criticize Common Core State Standards as another example of the centralized federal government taking over education.
There are many ways in which the federal government is infringing upon our freedoms. Common Core State Standards are not one of them.
As a former 11th and 12th grade social studies teacher at Whites Creek High School in Nashville, TN, I experienced firsthand how the educational policies and standards of the past two decades have made equality of opportunity a myth for far too many of our children. I also learned what an educational standard is and is not. Standards are the goals that we set for our students. Curriculum is the path we navigate to get them to those goals. The Common Core State Standards are not a dictation on how we should teach. They are meant to raise the bar to make our students nationally and internationally competitive with higher order thinking and problem solving skills needed to meet the needs of the future.
I woke up this morning to a phone call from Mary. Most of my mornings start this way. Like most of us, she’s anxious in the morning about the day’s events and responsibilities. She’s anxious about what she’s doing that day. She’s curious about what I’m doing. So we chat for several minutes before we each start our day.
This morning, after our usual conversation, Mary asked me, “What’s today?”
She remembered. She’ll never forget. She can’t forget. She was only 12 years old, but she remembers 9-11-2001. She remembers the fears, the tears, and the confusion. She also remembers more clearly the bravery of the firemen and policemen. The bravery of the ordinary Americans. The sacrifice of our soldiers.
If all Americans only remembered as well as Mary does. [Update 9/11/2014: Mary called me once again. This morning, she wondered aloud, “You know what we needed on 9/11? Jack Bauer.” She recently watched the most recent season with my Dad. She’s a quick learner.”]
I still remember where I was that morning. In 9th grade at White Station High School in Memphis, TN, I had first period gym. I jogged over to the office to drop off the attendance. I saw the images of flaming buildings on the news. The secretaries’ faces were glazed over. I assumed it was an early morning movie on TBS or the latest schtick on The Daily Show. Then, I saw the CBS logo in the corner. I knew it was real. And I had goosebumps all over.
Occasionally, I write posts over at PolicyMic discussing matters of law, politics, and public policy. Today, I published a piece that has created quite the stir. I wanted to share it with y’all here at The Wise Guise as well. Shockingly, liberals have come out of the wood works to criticize the fairly straight-forward data that shows our most elite higher education institutions are not very ideologically diverse. Don’t believe me? Check out the facts below…
As another school year begins and our nation’s political leaders enjoy the waning days of their August recess vacation, many political journalists are beginning to assess the landscape for the 2016 Presidential Elections. Although it’s both always too early and never too early to begin speculating, a lot of what politicians are doing now in elections, fundraising, policymaking, and speeches tell us a lot about what doors they want to leave open in the future. So for those of you out there who don’t read Politico every day and are generally weary of the return of presidential politicking, but you’re still interested in what names are being thrown around to become the 45th President of the United States, enjoy my latest edition of the Political Passport – Who is Making Moves for 2016?
June 6, 1944. One of the turning points in modern history. You don’t have to be a history nerd like me to realize the importance of that day on everything that came afterwards.
The sacrifices. The courage. The odds stacked against us. The first research paper I ever wrote analyzed D-Day, why it should have failed, and why it succeeded. But I’m hardly qualified, on this day, to provide any sort of wisdom or reflection. Besides, my best friend Jay Salato did that so well last year when he was at the American Cemetery on D-Day and participated in the ceremonies. You can read all about that in this post from last year.
Instead, to commemorate D-Day, I’m going to provide you with the words and images that resonate most strongly in my mind. Three YouTube videos that I urge you to watch and/or listen to on June 6, 1944. It’s a day that should be remembered more often than it is. God Bless those who fought, those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of millions, and these United States of America!