Salva Kiir, Leader of South Sudan, signed his country’s constitution

Leader of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, signed his country’s constitution while wearing the cowboy hat former President George W. Bush gave him.

“Bush liberated more than 50,000,000 people during his time in office. Today the people of South Sudan were liberated thanks to his efforts.”




PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the UN

“President Abbas, why don’t you join me? We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let’s just get on with it. Let’s negotiate peace. […] And I suggest we talk openly and honestly. Let’s listen to one another. Let’s do as we say in the Middle East: Let’s talk “doogli”. That means straightforward. I’ll tell you my needs and concerns. You’ll tell me yours. And with God’s help, we’ll find the common ground of peace. ”


NEVER forget

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” – President George W. Bush, 2001

It is ten years ago today that the United States faced an unspeakable tragedy. It is also this day ten years ago that the United States came together and showed unity that was unparalleled. The events that unfolded that day affected everyone in the United States and across the world. It was one of those events where you knew exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the news.

I recently read an article by E.J Dionne titled “Time to leave 9/11 Behind.” to give you an idea of the tone of the article, I give you this little snippet:

“After we honor the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we need to leave the day behind. As a nation we have looked back for too long. We learned lessons from the attacks, but so many of them were wrong. The last decade was a detour that left our nation weaker, more divided and less certain of itself.”

I was in shock when I read the article. Who could ever say “This does nothing to honor those who died and those who sacrificed to prevent even more suffering.”

What happened that fateful day should never be forgotten. It was a day that our nation was threatened by pure evil, but it was also a day when it drew out the best in us in the form of our first responders, who while fully aware of the danger to their own lives, ran towards the Twin Towers.

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.” – President George W. Bush, 2001

This was evident in the short speech he gave to all the responders that very day. The unity displayed by all the workers is touching and the spontaneous USA USA USA chant showed how strong we are as a nation.

I was at the USC/Utah football game yesterday, the eve of 9/11, and after the National Anthem was sung, USC acknowledged and paid tribute to 9/11 by showing several pictures in remembrance. A spontaneous chant of USA USA USA broke out.

Most other days in the year, this sort of patriotism and unity is undemonstrated but still in the minds of everyone. It takes a tragedy like this or a big event, like the death of Osama bin Laden, to really bring everyone together. As evident by a small sample at USC yesterday, it is days like this that really unify us as a nation. It is clear that people do not want to forget, and nor should we. And these calls, to leave our memories behind by writers, like Dionne, are egregious and clearly not the sentiment of the American people.

The families of the victims and heroes will never be able to forget. They live it and relive it everyday of their lives. We owe it to them and ourselves as a nation to remember at least this one unforgettable day.

Linked here is the list of all the victims from September 11, 2001. Please take a little time out of your day and pray for their friends and families as well as those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom.

John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”

Condi – The Epitome of a Public Intellectual

Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alan Lightman’s paper,“The Role of the Public Intellectual,” discusses how the idea of who a public intellect is has changed over time. He points out that in the past, an Intellect was a person who embodied the whole.

Emerson puts forth the idea of the “One Man,” by which he meant the complete person, or the person who embodies all dimensions of human potential and actuality — the farmer, the professor, the engineer, the priest, the scholar, the statesman, the soldier, the artist. (If Emerson had lived today, surely he would have used the term “The One Person.”) The intellectual is this whole person while thinking.

The Intellect that Emerson describes is a person who with all his knowledge can create and think up his own beliefs and ideas and be able to communicate them with everyone not just other intellects.

Lightman then continues to argue that more recently, it was Edward Wadie Saïd, a professor at Columbia University, who thought a public intellect should be tied closely with the role of being an advocate, someone whose “mission in life is to advance human freedom and knowledge.”

Keeping all this in mind, Lightman then describes his “Hierarchy of Levels of Public Intellects.” He himself defines the Public Intellect today as someone who is a specialist in a certain field and who speaks and writes about that specialization to a greater audience than just their colleagues.

In the first level, the most basic level, the intellect merely speaks and writes about their specialization.

In the second level, the intellect writes and speaks about their chosen field but takes it one step further and relates it to the rest of the world; socially, culturally and politically.

In the highest level, the third level, the public intellect is asked to do all the above but also step out of the specialized field and comment on a variety of different issues as well.

It is in this third level that I place a person I admire most, Condoleezza Rice, known to most as Condi. In this post, I will walk you through her life and explain how she became the epitome of a public intellect as defined above.

There is a debate as to whether there is a decline and fall of the public intellectual. There have been arguments on why people do not look to public intellects for knowledge anymore. So then how could Condoleeza Rice be considered a Public Intellect in this day and age? The New Democratic Review touches upon that debate and offers the argument that we are not ignoring public intellectuals :

“[T]he fact that academic institutions wield enormous financial, technological, and cultural power—and the fact that, more generally, education continues to be the centerpiece of some of our most cherished social myths (i.e., “the “American Dream”)—are both powerful reasons to doubt that Americans suffer from some instinctive hostility to intellectuals.”

With that argument in mind, there is no doubt in my mind that Condoleeza Rice should be considered one of the greatest recent public intellects.

Currently, Condi is a professor at Staford University, teaching both Political Science to undergraduates as well as Business in the graduate school. She most recently became the director for the Graduate School of Business’s Global Center for Business and the Economy. Additionally, Condi is also a Senior Fellow of Public Policy at the Hoover Institute along with another notable public intellect, Victor Davis Hanson who is outlined by a friend at Gipper’s Chutzpah in a post titled “Victor Davis Hanson and the Western Way”.

Condi graduated cum laude from the University of Denver with a degree in political science at an early age of 19. She then went on to earn her masters, also in political science, from the University of Notre Dame. After working for the Carter Administration at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, she went on to earn her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Denver, focusing her studies on communism in Czechoslovakia. Right after graduation, she began her teaching career at Stanford as an assistant professor. Later promoted to an associate professor, Condi became a Soviet Union specialist and lectured on that subject at Stanford as well as U.C. Berkeley. Condi began her career in the public eye when the former National Security Advisor to President Ford returned as the National Security Advisor for the George H.W. Bush administration and brought Condoleezza on the National Security Council as the Soviet specialist.

Now, with all her early career basic background knowledge in mind, lets turn back to the idea of the “public Intellect” and see where Condoleezza sits on the hierarchy. Keeping in mind that the public intellect must specialize and then speak and write about it and relay that message to a greater audience and then speak out about other issues, Condoleezza Rice, at the George H.W. Bush administration point in her life is nowhere near being considered a public intellect.

After her time in the George H.W. Bush administration, Condoleezza headed back to the Stanford University to the Hoover Institute under the guidance of George P. Shultz, the Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan. It was then that Condoleezza took steps in becoming considered a public intellect. She met weekly with a group of scholars to discuss foreign affairs and policy as a part of the “luncheon club”. With a recommendation from George P. Shultz, Condi branched out of foreign policy and into the business world; sitting on boards of big companies such as Cheveron, Transamaerica Corporation, and Hewlett- Packard.

So, now at this point in her life, Condoleezza is a known expert in foreign policy, specializing in the Soviet Union, and is also branching out into other fields like business but is still not known for this.

Where does this put Condi in the hierarchy of public intellects?

Well according to Lightman, she is somewhere in between the second and third level of public intellects.

Later on in her career at Stanford, Condi was acknowledged for her work at the Hoover Institute, and became Stanford’s Provost. She also received tenure, becoming a professor and later was named a Senior Fellow.

Taking a leave of absence from Stanford, Condi joined the George W. Bush’s administration as the National Security Advisor and became publicly known by all during the 9/11 attacks. In 2005, Condi was nominated as Secretary of State, making her the second woman, after Madeleine Albright, and the second African-American, after Colin Powell, but the first African-American woman to hold this position.

After George, W. Bush’s administration ended in 2009, Condi went back to Stanford. As I have mentioned above, she is currently teaching and serving as a senior fellow as well as a director for the graduate business school.

Now that I have walked you through her life and have shown you the steps that lead her to be known as a public intellect, I will explain why I believe she has made it to the highest level possible of public intellects and ranks amongst those noted in Lightman’s piece such as “Noam Chomsky, Carl Sagan, E.O. Wilson, Steven Jay Gould, Susan Sontag, John Updike, Edward Said, Henry Louis Gates, Camille Paglia.”

Going back to Emerson’s view of the public intellect of the “one-man,” Condoleezza Rice embodies this. She not only specializes in her studies field of the Soviet Union but has also become an expert on all foreign affairs relating to the United States. Along with being an international relations pundit, Condi has branched out into the business realm and has made significant strides in that industry sitting on the boards of several global companies.

Looking at Edward Wadie Saïd’s argument (“A more political tone to the concept of the public intellectual”) that a public intellect should be an advocate of “freedom and knowledge,” Condoleezza embodies this idea too.

Condoleezza founded the Center for New Generation in 1992 with the goal of raising the  number of high school graduates in East Palo Alto. Sure it is on a much smaller scale but this action along with her many years as a professor proves she is an advocate of knowledge.

In her political career she has been seen as a figure who pushes for freedom. Under W’s administration and having to deal with the War on Terror, Condoleezza was quoted as saying this:

“Our work has only begun. In our time we have an historic opportunity to shape a global balance of power that favors freedom and that will therefore deepen and extend the peace.”

Her main job was not only to keep the United States safe and protected but also to spread the idea of democracy and freedom to other countries which will in turn lead to a more peaceful world.

Now looking at what Lightman considers to be today’s idea of the public intellect, the highest level of public intellect is one who is asked to do all the above but also step out of the specialized field and comment on a variety of different issues as well. Condoleezza Rice fits this description almost perfectly.

As a foreign policy expert and senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, Condoleezza is a trusted specialist in international affairs and not just the Soviet Union. As a board member of multiple large companies, professor at Stanford’s graduate business school as well as a director at the school’s institute, Rice is also a trusted expert on business affairs. Condoleezza Rice, over the years, has been asked to speak at various conferences around the world. Her expertise in an array of fields has made her one of the most sought after intellects in the world. Being a political figure has helped her reach out and be known to the public. Because of that, we can see how Condoleezza Rice fits not only the description of a public intellectual but also the description of the highest level of public intellectuals.

The Race to the Republican Nomination

As the Republican debate fast approaches, voters will get a good insight into what each Republican candidate is really about. This will be the first debate Rick Perry participates in and the public is waiting in anticipation. This will be the first debate since Michelle Bachmann ran the show at the Ames Straw Poll. Mitt Romney has been here a time or two before but how will he stack up against Perry since he slid to the number two position? There are a few questions that run through a political nerd’s mind like mine. Will this debate solidify Perry’s position as the front runner? Will he flub and fall in the polls? Who will take jabs at each other and who will take the “high-road”? What about Ron Paul? Wait who?? you know, Ron Paul. Will he finally get the media attention he needs to climb the polls? How about Jon Huntsman? I haven’t heard him squeak in a while? Herman Cain? oh that Pizza Guy? Rick Santorum? He’s still in the race? Thaddeus McCotter? Come on now are you just making up names?

In my opinion, the only players that really matter in this race are Perry, Romney, and Bachmann. But what about the rest? They should save their time and money and quit now. Well, that’s not really fair of me to say. They are all respectable candidates; just not the type of candidates we need right now. So lets break down the top three candidates; their backgrounds, their campaign strategy, and how they will match up against Obama in the generals.

Rick Perry. My personal favorite, but I will try to put my personal bias aside and analyze the line up from an outsider’s prospective. Perry is new to the race; officially announcing the Sunday after the Ames straw Poll. Stealing Bachmann’s thunder? Yes. And what a smart move that was. Who is Rick Perry? Well liberal media likes to point out that he’s just another Bush. For a lot of Republicans I know, that exactly what we want! “Miss me yet?” Yes W! Please come back!. No, let me be real for a second. He is nothing like Bush. While they both do have a lot in common like being gun toting, Jesus praying Republican Texas governors, that is just the surface, and the surface is where the liberal media likes to stop. When you look at Perry’s record however, you realize that he has achieved so much as a governor, most notably the recent surge in job creation which at approximately 850,000 jobs is more than all the other states combined! But liberals love to point out that those jobs are low paying jobs. Well the facts and figures don’t lie. In the State of Texas, by law, the minimum wage must be equal to the Federal minimum wage. Now I ask a question back. What is worse, a low paying job or no job at all? Most people would say a low paying job. Money is money, and in a bad economy, people are happy with whatever jobs they can get. Now that I briefly touched on Perry’s background, I will turn to campaign strategy. There are only a few candidates that can appeal to the umbrella Republican; that is there are only a few that can pull support from the social conservative group, the fiscally conservative group, and the conservative national security and foreign policy group. Yes, I know what you are thinking, what about those that overlap multiple groups? For the sake of this discussion lets keep them separate. As I mentioned before, only a few candidates can appeal to all. Ronald Reagan was one of them. Any guess as to who the other candidate I see doing this is? Drum-roll please……RICK PERRY. If we look just at the right side of the political spectrum Rick Perry falls right in the middle with Bachmann to his right and Romney to his far left. I will explain why the others cannot appeal to the umbrella republican later on in their respective sections. Because he has followers of all types of Republicans, he has surged to the top of the polls since his announcement and has become a target for the other candidates. Perry is in a position which allows him to target multiple Republican groups. A good position to be in. Is Perry just a shiny new bobble toy in cowboy boots? We will see. Only time and upcoming debates will tell. Which brings me to some challenges he will have to face. Because he is the front runner, he has to sustain jabs and blows from all other candidates. In Iowa, Perry has stolen the Evangelical Christian hearts that have formerly belonged to Bachmann. Of course, this will not sit well with her. The fight for Iowans is officially on! In New Hampshire, Perry has stolen the business mindset away from Romney. Can he hold on to them? Suppose Perry wins the Republican nomination, how will he stand up to Obama? Well, with the all the other candidates who tore him apart in the primaries, Perry had to move further and further right. Can he move back to the center to win over independents? Recent polls are looking good for him. They have Perry at 44% to Obama at 41%.

Mitt Romney. Where have I heard that name before? Oh that’s right, he is in the same exact position he was in the last election we had. Why is he running again? Well traditionally the Republican party has always nominated the second place candidate in the previous election as the nominee in the following election. So this is Romney’s year right? It would have seemed so until Perry joined the race. Who is Romney and what does he stand for? To be honest, I actually don’t know. Pro-life? No, I think he’s pro-choice. Pro gay marriage or anti? I think he’s anti right now. Or maybe I am mistaken. I guess those answers depend on the time and day and Romney’s mood. So why is Romney a Republican? I guess the only thing that really puts him in the right are his fiscal policies. With his business experience at Bain & co., his fiscal position is that growth and development in the private sector is as a direct result of lower taxes and regulations on businesses and that is the position of the Republican party. What is his strategy keeping his background in mind? As Bachmann and Perry duel it out in Iowa, Romney is going strong in New Hampshire hoping to save the pro-business backing he has. Given that Romney already has the name recognition, he has decided not to participate in bashing the other candidates. Rather, he is sitting back and enjoying watching them rip each other apart. What are his challenges? Well during the primaries, his main challenge is to pick up some of the votes on the right. He definitely has the center and all the pseudo Republicans, but will he gain enough real conservative Republican votes to push him to the top? Unlike his main competitor, gaining support from the umbrella republican, Romney only has the fiscal conservative vote. Let’s now say that Romney is the Republican nominee. How will he stand up to Obama? What are the challenges he will face? Recent polls have shown that Romney versus Obama show that they would be about even. Of course there will need to be a strong push from the Romney camp for a win to happen. The main challenge for him is to excite the right enough to actually come out to vote for him on election day.

Let me know turn my attention to Michelle Bachmann. Bachmann was riding high after the Ames Straw Poll until that is Perry made his announcement the next day. Who is Michelle Bachmann; the real Michelle Bachmann not the one portrayed in the media? Well this one is tough too. My mind is clouded with sound bites of her saying “What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love of liberty…You’re the state where the shot heard round the world in Lexington and Concord” and unflattering pictures of her eating corn dogs. In all seriousness though, Bachmann is a viable candidate. Why you ask? Because she has the “Tea Party” movement behind her. She already has the votes of the social conservatives. All she needs to do now is stick to the ideology of small government and less taxes and stop speaking off script and she’s golden. Can she win the nomination? She has high potential but with all the competitor bashing, she is moving too far right that the Republicans in the center and the left of the right side of the spectrum are left basically forgotten. She is not gaining support from the whole right side of the spectrum and instead only focusing on social conservatives. So now lets say she somehow surges in the polls and wins the the nomination. How will she stand up to Obama? Polls show that she is slightly down from a week ago. The challenge that she will have to face is how to pull herself back to the middle, at least enough to win over some independents.

Now that I have broken down each of the candidates that matter in the primaries we will see if the upcoming debates will be game changers. For now though, Perry, despite all of his off-script, brash and bold remarks, is looking pretty good. The nominations is really his to lose. I can see no current or potential candidate stealing his thunder. If Perry continues to do what he is doing he will do well in the primaries. He will have to change strategies in the generals, but we will cross that road when we have to.