Archive for the ‘oratory’ Category

America’s Change of Poetic Vision

December 18, 2008

America's Change of Poetic Vision

The program for the January 20th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony is shaping up, and a few angles have people bent out of shape. Chief among them is the choice of clergyman for the traditional Invocation, Rick Warren of California’s Saddleback Church.

 Pastor Warren’s views, especially regarding sexual minorities, differ from those of the President-elect and many of his supporters, and some human rights advocates feel a strong sense of betrayal. The worst part of this controversy may be that the noise drowns out news of the strong, sure voice which will be heard  at the Presidential Podium after Rick Warren’s, the voice of poet Elizabeth Alexander.

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Refuge of Scoundrels

October 27, 2008

Refuge of Scoundrels

Milton Greenberg, professor emeritus of government at American University, wrote “I Swear I Am a Patriot” in today’s InsideHigherEd.com. Political wonks know Dr. Greenberg as co-author of the standard reference The American Political Dictionary. History buffs and WWII vets may know his book The G.I. Bill: The Law That Changed America, companion to the PBS broadcast of the same name.

Excerpts from Dr. Greenberg:

Patriotism is generally defined as love for one’s country. It is an easy step to identify one’s self-interest with the national interest and make it a test of patriotism. Nothing puts a person more on the defensive than a challenge to his or her loyalty to the nation. Claims of patriotism are often referred to, in the words of Samuel Johnson, as “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” though others see it as the first and last refuge of scoundrels. George Washington, in his Farewell Address, cautioned against the “impostures of pretended patriotism.”

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Palin Did Not Sell Jet on eBay

September 4, 2008

Palin Sis Not Sell Jet on eBay

Vice Presidential hopeful Governor Sarah Palin told fellow Republicans at the GOP Convention that she sold the state’s 20-year-old business jet, adding with a giggle that she “put it on eBay.” But she did not sell it on eBay.

Not for lack of trying. She put it up for sale on eBay (with a $2.5 Million reserve) four times during her first year in office. Ms. Palin had campaigned on this issue and really wanted the headline-grabbing notoriety of a jet plane sale on eBay. There was an offer of $1.9 million, but the state bungled the terms of sale and the customer bought elsewhere. The Alaska state government continued to pay off the plane at the rate of $62,492.79 per quarter.

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Miss Congeniality Rocks GOP Convention

September 4, 2008

Miss Congeniality Rocks GOP Convention

Sarah Louise Heath Palin, Governor of all 670 000 Alaskans, energized the Republican Base at the Republican Convention last night, causing a brief shortage of blood pressure medication in the St. Paul area. As Vice President, Governor Palin said, she will employ the same administrative skills she used as Mayor of Wasilla, AK (population then: 5500). That means she and John McCain will hire a City Administrator to do their jobs so they can spend their time trying to ban books in public libraries and and keep Sex Ed out of classrooms.

In her prepared remarks, Governor Palin chastised “Community Organizers” and their failed, unAmerican methods of “Self-Help” and “Citizen-Involvement.” Thanks to the efforts of Mayor Palin (and suburban sprawl from nearby Anchorage), Wasilla today is a thriving metropolis of beautiful big box stores and spacious parking lots. The population has grown to nearly 8,000, as Sarah Palin is an ardent proponent of Abstinence-Only Sex Education.

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Jesse Helms

July 5, 2008

Jesse Helms

Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr., October 18, 1921 – July 4, 2008.  Sportswriter and reporter, Raleigh, NC News & Observer;  U.S. Navy recruiter; assistant city editor and city editor, the Raleigh (NC) Times; Administrative Assistant to Senator Willis Smith (D-NC); executive director of the North Carolina Bankers Association; executive vice-president, vice chairman of the board, and assistant chief executive officer of Capitol Broadcasting Company; commentator, WBCT-Radio in Roanoke Rapids and WRAL radio and WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC; U.S. Senator from North Carolina, Republican (News & Observer timeline).

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Senator Clinton Bids Farewell to her Troops

June 6, 2008

Senator Clinton Bids Farewell to her Troops

On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will “hold an event.” “Hold an event?”  That’s what the press releases say. Is the senator going to speak words of significance or pass around the canapés? Honestly. Some media relations people sorely lack a sense of history and gravitas.

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Imperial Presidency is Contagious

May 31, 2008

Imperial Presidency is Contagious

You may have heard about the controversy over the last commencement speech given by George W. Bush as U.S. President. Half the full-time faculty of Furman University expressed outrage at the actions of two presidents: not just President Bush but also  Dr. David E. Shi, president of Furman University.

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Further Furman Funnies

May 26, 2008

Further Furman Funnies

The plight of Furman University’s faculty reached today’s Washington Post, where it will no doubt be ignored, as no one reads the paper on holiday weekends. Half the full-time faculty have signed a letter requesting to be relieved of duties at graduation exercises, to protest policies of commencement speaker George W. Bush by their absence.

 

The protest and counter-protest letters are back on the university website. Furman President David Shi had said “How well a university balances competing ideas is an index to its health,” so surpressing the polite protest suggested that Furman had bubonic plague.

Furman commencement and the South Carolina Republican Convention are the same weekend, 100 miles apart. Is South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, the Furman alumnus who arranged the presidential graduation oratory, hoping to get some pure political mileage out of the Bush trip? A coincidence, I’m sure.

Want tickets to hear the president at Furman? Sorry, the 10,000 tickets are all spoken for. I guess the 650 graduates all come from very, very large families. Certainly the administration would never pack the house with Bush supporters to guarantee him a friendly crowd.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Shotgun Commencement Speech

May 21, 2008

Shotgun Commencement Speech

It’s that time again, when young people are forced to rent dowdy gowns, wear funny flat hats, and listen to celebrity oldsters drone on about Receiving The Torch Of Civilization From These Palsied, Age-Freckled Hands and all that.

This may come as a shock, but George W. Bush is not very popular on college campuses. A lame-duck U.S. President, this may be the last time he is asked give a commencement speech, except perhaps at the commencement of war crimes trials at the Hague. He is scheduled to speak on May 28th at the U.S. Air Force Academy, but it looks bad to do the whole round of armed forces colleges, and even religious institutions are not fond of him. That is why Mr. Bush is speaking on May 31st at formerly-Baptist (but now more select) Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. An appearance by President Bush shouldn’t raise controversy there, right?

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EU Antichrist?

May 15, 2008

EU Antichrist?

Armageddon is imminent; the “head of the European Union” is the Antichrist. That’s what the authoritative Rev. John C. Hagee proclaimed. If Rev. Hagee meant the President of the European Commission, then send the children out of the room and gaze upon the face of the Antichrist:

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