An Interview with Rod Rosenstein
Season 3, Ep. 32
Our guest today served as the 37thDeputy Attorney Generalof the United States from April 2017 until May 2019. Prior to his appointment, he served as aUnited States Attorneyfor theDistrict of Maryland. At the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney General on April 25, 2017, he was the nation's longest-serving U.S. Attorney. The Senate approved his nomination by a vote of 94-6.We are so excited to announce that Words Matter Media is partnering with CAFE Studios to bring you a new season of the Words Matter podcast. CAFE strives to inform its listeners about the most critical issues of the day.Each week, Katie and Joe will do their best to bring facts and context to the often fraught political conversations that dominate our national discourse.They’ll be speaking with an array of guests, including people who have made a great impact on American politics or who make it their business to understand what’s really happening in Washington.For now, you can continue to listen to episodes of Words Matter for free.In the coming weeks the show will be available exclusively to members of CAFÉ Insider.We hope you’ll consider joining the Insider community, whose members enjoy a collection of podcasts created for engaged citizens around the world.You can head to https://cafe.com/offer/words-matter/ to get 2 free weeks of membership.You’ll get access to all future episodes of Words Matter and other exclusive content including the Insider podcast co-hosted by Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Anne Milgram, former Attorney General of New Jersey, along with much more excusive content. https://cafe.com/offer/words-matter/
Katie and Joe Return
Season 3, Ep. 31
We're back! This week Katie and Joe officially return with a thank you and a message for our listeners.
Presidential Words Matter: FDR at the 1936 Democratic Convention
Season 3, Ep. 30
Since we currently have a president who doesn't seem to know or even understand the importance of words, especially when they are spoken by the president of the United States, we thought it might be helpful in a time of national crisis to remember that we have had presidents of both parties who did understand this.President Franklin D. Roosevelt, led our country through difficult times with the power and eloquence of his words.In 1936 during the Great Depression and as the clouds of war gathered over Europe, he delivered one of the most important political speeches ever given by a sitting president.The occasion was the Democratic National Convention held that year in Philadelphia four years earlier in 1932. FDR had made history by flying to Chicago and becoming the first presidential candidate to accept his party's nomination in person.In an earlier episode of Words Matter, we discussed this important speech with Professor Harvey Kaye, who has just published a new book entitled: FDR on Democracy.In his 1936 acceptance speech, Roosevelt used the language of the founders and decried the economic royalists who were trying to fight back against the progress of the New Deal because it threatened their power.As you listen to his words, pay particular attention to the part where Roosevelt tells his audience they have a rendezvous with destiny.
Presidential Words Matter: Ronald Reagan on the Challenger Disaster
Season 3, Ep. 29
The Space shuttle Challenger’s launch had already been delayed twice when it finally took off on January 28th 1986.This particular launch was widely publicized because for the first time a civilian—a teacher named Christa McAuliffe—was traveling into space. The plan was to have McAuliffe communicate to students from space. According to the New York Times, nearly half of America’s school children aged nine to thirteen watched the event live in their classrooms.But tragically - After a short seventy-three seconds into flight, the world was stunned when the shuttle burst into flames, killing all seven crew members on board.President Ronald Reagan cancelled his scheduled State of the Union address that evening and instead addressed the nation’s grief.A young speechwriter — a friend and hero of mine — Peggy Noonan was tasked with drafting the president’s remarks.It was a heavy burden - as she later recalled “I kind of figured the entire nation had seen an auto accident,”Peggy Noonan draft a speech that was aimed - as she put it “at those who were 8-years-old, those who are 18, and those who are 80 without patronizing anybody.”It was one of the greatest speeches in presidential history and earned Ronald Reagan his now famous title “The Great Communicator”
America's Mission Statement - Read by John F. Kennedy
Season 3, Ep. 28
On July 4th we celebrate the birth of the American Experiment. The Declaration of Independence -- written in the Spring of 1776 by a 33 year old Thomas Jefferson -- is America’s mission statement. And like all mission statements, the words represented not what we were, but what we aspired to be. In fact, the author himself was a gifted writer, but a deeply flawed person who – like his country -- did not embody the ideas and ideal of that document.For more than two hundred and forty years, the story of America has been the struggle between those who want to move us close to the words of our mission statement– and those who want to stop them.It is often forgotten that the Declaration itself was meant to be spoken.In 2004 the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library released a previously unknown1957 recording of then-Senator Kennedy reading the Declaration of Independence in New York on July 4th.So this week to honor Independence Day -- And to remind ourselves that as a country must continue the struggle to turn America’s founding words into reality – we give John F. Kennedy’s reading of the Declaration of Independence the final word.
Preview - GURU: The Dark Side of Enlightenment
Wondery has new tru-crime mini series that we think you’ll really enjoy.In the Mid 2000s James Arthur Ray was a charismatic self-help guru who promised his followers a path to wealth and happiness.But not all who followed him finished their journey.This is the story told in a new true crime mini-series from Wondery called “GURU: The Dark Side of Enlightenment”.James Arthur Ray wasn’t really well known until he was in a movie called “The Secret”, and then was a guest on Oprah’s TV show a few times. Soon after that, thousands of people started attending his seminars, and he was pegged to be the next great self-help guru.But what many didn't know about were his more...extreme methods. Methods that pushed his students to their limits, giving some the transformative life experience they dreamed of ... and killing others.Be sure to subscribe to Wondery’s new tru crime mini-series “GURU: The dark side of enlightenment”, wondery.fm/wordsmatter_guru on Apple podcasts.
Presidential Words Matter: Bill Clinton "Time for Healing" - Oklahoma City, 1995
Season 3, Ep. 27
This week on Presidential Words Matter - we highlight Bill Clinton’s remarks in the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.On April 19, 1995 adomestic terroristused atruck bombto destroytheAlfred P. Murrah Federal Office BuildinginOklahoma City, Oklahoma.Perpetrated by American terroristsTimothy McVeighandTerry Nichols, the bombing killed at least 168 people, including 19 children,- and injured more than 680 others.The blast destroyed more than one third of the building, which had to be demolished.In addition, The blast destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius,Until theSeptember 11 attacksin 2001, the Oklahoma City bombing was the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the United States. It remains the deadliest confirmed act of domestic terrorism in American history.Four days later, On April 23, 1995 - President Bill Clinton attended a memorial prayer service in Oklahoma City called “A Time for Healing”With the 1996 presidential election less than 18 months away - President Clinton spoke of unity and healing over the politics of division and hatred.
Presidential Words Matter: Barack Obama's Eulogy for the Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney
Season 3, Ep. 26
On June 26th 2015 President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy at the funeral of the ReverendClementa C. Pinckney, the senior pastor oftheEmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Churchin Charleston and a South Carolina State Senator.Reverend Pinckney and 8 other Black church members had been murdered a week earlier during Bible Study in a racially motivatedmass shootingperpetrated by a white supremacist.TheEmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Churchis one of the oldestBlack churchesin the United States, and it has long been a center for organizing events related tocivil rights.Founded in 1816, the church played an important role in thehistory of South Carolina, duringslaveryand Reconstruction, during thecivil rights movementof the 1950s and 60sandin theBlack Lives Mattermovement.It is the oldestAfrican Methodist Episcopal Churchin theSouth, often referred to as "Mother Emanuel".Rev.Pinckney, was a well known activist who had held rallies after theshooting of Walter Scottby a white police officer two months earlier, in nearbyNorth Charleston. As astate senator, Reverend Pinckney had pushed for legislation requiring police to wearbody cameras.The Reverend and his church were targeted because of their history and role in civil rights activism.With a rousing eulogy and a chorus of “Amazing Grace,” President Barack Obama called on the country to honor the nine victims of the South Carolina church massacre by working toward racial healing.He said that included removing the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House grounds.“It’s true, the flag did not cause these murders,” The President said, but “we all have to acknowledge the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.”“By taking down that flag,” he said, “we express God’s grace.”But I don't think God wants us to stop there.“On July 6, 2015, theSouth Carolina Senatevoted to remove the Confederate flag from display outside the South Carolina State House.Make no mistake - the protests we have seen in the last month are a continuation of that struggle. And none of us can stop - none of us should rest until we dismantle and remove every symbol and every fact of thesystemic oppression and racial subjugation that President Obama described in his eulogy of Reverend Pinckney.
Presidential Words Matter: LBJ 1965 Howard University Commencement Address
Season 3, Ep. 25
On June 4, 1965, President Johnson delivered the commencement address at Howard University, the nation’s most prominent historically black university.In his address, Johnson explained why “opportunity” was not enough to ensure the civil rights of disadvantaged Americans.The ‘To Fulfill These Rights’ speech as it is widely known was the intellectual framework for affirmative action.President Johnson spoke of racial injustice and economic disparities between black and white Americans.For many in the audience that day, it was one of the first times they felt a president - any president - really acknowledge the treatment of black citizens from slavery to Jim Crow.As one graduate - Lillian Beard -recalled on the 50th Anniversary- “I believe that afternoon in 1965 changed a lot of minds, because we felt that he spoke directly to us.”LBJ’s Howard University address came only a few months after he had gone before a Joint session of Congress to speak in support of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March.It was in that message to Congress that Johnson famously identified himself with the civil rights movement when he declared, “We shall overcome.”The Howard speech, which was principally the work of presidential speech writer Richard Goodwin and then-Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan was an extension of Johnson’s March voting-rights speech.The goal was to take the civil rights movement from one focused on legal justice to one focused on economic justice.In the Howard speech, Johnson pointed out that the racial barriers to freedom were slowly tumbling down, but instead of resting on that progress and what his administration had done to that point - Johnson went a step further: “Freedom is not enough,” the President told the graduates.It was important for American society to achieve “equality as a fact and equality as a result.”The next day President received a telegram from Martin Luther King Jr., telling him, “Never before has a president articulated the depths and dimensions of the problems of racial injustice more eloquently and profoundly.”Dr. King was not exaggerating the importance of the Howard speech.In August Johnson would sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, and two years later, he would appoint Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, making him the nation’s first black justice.But unfortunately- the racial transformation Johnson had promised and hoped to bring about when he spoke at Howard did not take place.55 years later the same underlying conditions exist and the economic disparities LBJ described have not gotten better - far from it. They have gotten exponentially worse.If we are to fulfill the promise of social and economic justice made By LBJ to Black Americans more than a half century ago - all of us must commit ourselves to radical and immediate change. Anything less would be a monumental failure.