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Franklin bifocals Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Playwright Moliere    Moliere play    Playwright Moliere
[1622 - Moliere, playwright, born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin in Paris]

Pierre du Pont    Pierre du Pont in 1915
[1870 - Pierre Samuel du Pont, industrialist, born in Wilmington, Delaware]

Actor Rex Ingram    Director Rex Ingram
[1892 - Rex Ingram (Hitchcock), actor, writer, director, born in Dublin, Ireland]

Physicist Edward Teller    Physicist Edward Teller    Physicist Edward Teller receiving Medal of Freedom
[1908 - Edward Teller, mathematician, engineer, physicist, born in Budapest]

Drummer Gene Krupa    Drummer Gene Krupa
[1909 - Gene Krupa, drummer, bandleader, born in Chicago, Illinois]

Actor Lloyd Bridges    Actor Lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt garb
[1913 - Lloyd Bridges, actor, born in San Leandro, California]

Actress Maria Schell    Actress Maria Schell
[1926 - Maria (Margarete) Schell, actress, born in Vienna, Austria]

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.    Martin Luther King and LBJ    Martin Luther King receives Nobel Peace Prize    Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
[1929 - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., minister, civil rights leader, born in Atlanta, Georgia]

Pentagon - view from Patomic River
[1943 - Pentagon (world's largest office building) is completed in Arlington, Virginia]

Super Bowl I - MVP Bart Starr    Super Bowl I
[1967 - Super Bowl I: Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10]


On the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as we reflect on the life and tragic end of the most important African American of another era, we are drawn to the story of the most important African American of a more recent time, Colin Powell. In the run up to the presidential elections of 2000, it seemed for a time that General Powell would seek the presidency as an independent candidate. He was, at that point, perhaps the best known and most popular public figure in the good old USA, based on the lasting impression he had made as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War. When he passed on the presidency, threw in his lot with George W. and Co., and was named Secretary of State, one could hope that he would be a voice of reason in the Bush Administration, and perhaps provide the conscience that was so evidently lacking in its other principals. How sad to watch this proud man die the death of a thousand cuts over the next four years as he was progressively marginalized, used, and discarded.

The incomparable Adlai Stevenson, one of the best governors the State of Illinois ever had, an orator second only to Winston Churchill in his time, and a two time Democratic Party nominee for the presidency, is most remembered for his performance in the U.N. as US Ambassador during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war, Stevenson calmly but resolutely called out the Soviet Representative on worldwide TV with proof in hand (U-2 surveillance photos of Russian Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Sites in Cuba). Colin Powell will likewise be remembered, in spite of his brilliant military career, admirable personal qualities, and lifetime of public service, as the man who in the same U.N. building made his President's case for the invasion of Iraq based on junk intelligence that he knew (or should have known) was spurious (his own State Department intelligence unit was at odds with George Tenet's "slam dunk" fantasies, and surely had told him so).

Perhaps, like another four-star general who made a wrong turn over half a century ago, Colin Powell will just fade away into the shadows of history, certainly not the last in a line of tragic figures.

General Powell with Bush the Elder

William's Whimsical Words:

It is better to die with your boots on than to be booted out.

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