|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Kennedy's death: "a lot of this was the politicizing of -- remember Paul Wellstone's
death?" Discussing Kennedy's death during his radio program, Sean Hannity asserted, "We've got The Wall Street Journal reporting -- and by the way, a
lot of this was the politicizing of -- remember Paul Wellstone's death? You know,
'Let's do everything for Paul.' And we're now being implored to get behind Obamacare because it's what Ted Kennedy would have wanted." [The Sean Hannity Show,
Savage fill-in Markowski on possible naming of health care bill after Kennedy: "It's political theater" like the "Wellstone memorial." Chris Markowski, filling in for Michael Savage on his radio program, took a caller who said that "if Ted Kennedy had wanted his name on this health care bill, I think that he would -- I would want to see where he said that in writing before he died. He had plenty of time." Markowski responded, in part, by asserting: "I don't think he's requested -- you got to understand, it's a show. OK? It's political theater. Like the Democrats thought that whole Wellstone memorial was going to -- it was going to force them to -- it was going to allow them to win the Senate race in Minnesota. This is political theater. It's a show." [The Savage Nation, 8/26/09]
Lopez on Kennedy's death: Wellstone service "turned into a political rally." The National Review Online's Kathyrn Jean Lopez wrote in an August 26 post to the blog The Corner titled "Re: The Politics of Ted Kennedy's Passing": "All politicos need to remember the Wellstone funeral when a well-known politician dies. Instead of memorializing his life, his service turned into a political rally. Some of the MSNBC coverage today I'm catching looks like a [sic] Obamacare convocation. Human life is about more than poltics. And politics isn't American Idol. Or, even, The Lion of the Senate."
Allahpundit "sure" Kennedy "eulogies won't be politicized at all." Hot Air blogger Allahpundit wrote in an August 26 tweet: "Looking forward to the Democratic line-up at TK's memorial service. I'm sure the eulogies won't be politicized at all."
Instapundit: "A Wellstone Memorial on steroids?" An August 26 post on Instapundit.com linked to a post by JammieWearingFool with the headline "A Wellstone Memorial on steroids? And how did that work out?" JammieWearingFool asserted in the post, written the same day, "While we have no doubt the Democrats will do all they can to exploit his death and will probably have a Wellstone memorial on steroids, we'll stay above that." The link on the words "Wellstone memorial" were to an October 30,
2002, Slate.com article describing Wellstone's memorial services as a "pep
Noting "conservative talking point," Politico's Smith says "[i]t would seem odd to bar politics" from Kennedy's funeral. In an August 26 post, Politico's Ben Smith referred to the comments by Allahpundit and Instapundit as "a conservative talking point [that] is emerging to counter the the hope on the left that Kennedy's death will advance his cause of health care reform," and commented:
To this day, there are still a lot of people, including Democrats, who've bought the right wing line on the Wellstone Memorial. Specifically, that it was a cynical, premeditated political event that included endless booing of Republican politicians who came to pay their respects to their fallen colleague. I wrote a pretty detailed account of the Wellstone Memorial in my book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and nothing could be further from the truth. I did write that "reasonable people of good will were genuinely offended." The memorial was raucous and a couple of speakers said some things that were inappropriate - basically, let's win this (upcoming Senate) election for Paul.
There were also honest Republicans of good will, including Jim Ramstad - the Congressman from the Minneapolis suburban district I grew up in - who acted like human beings and cut the speakers who offended (Rick Kahn and, to a lesser degree, Mark Wellstone) a little slack because they understood that Rick had lost six very close friends and Mark had lost his father, mother, and sister.
The chapter was mainly about how cynically Republicans used the memorial politically as they complained that the Democrats had used it politically. And how the mainstream media, many of whom had neither attended the memorial nor seen it on TV, bought into the Republican spin.
Mainly, there was a lot of lying. Rush Limbaugh claimed that the audience was "planted," when, in fact, Twin Cities' radio and TV had to tell people to stay away because Williams Arena was jammed to capacity three hours before the Memorial was scheduled to begin. Thousands were crowded into an overflow gym to watch on a screen and thousands watched outside on a cold, late October night.
A pained Limbaugh asked his audience the day after the memorial: "Where was the grief? Where were the tears? Where was the memorial service? There wasn't any of this!"
This was a lie. I was there. Along with everyone else, I cried, I laughed, I cheered. It was, to my mind, a beautiful four-hour memorial.
I didn't boo. Neither did 22,800 of the some 23,000 people there. This has been a much discussed, much lied about aspect of the memorial. A number of Republicans, like Peggy Noonan and Weekly Standard writer Chris Caldwell claimed that 20,000 people had booed Trent Lott. (Caldwell claimed that 20,000 people booed a whole litany of people who weren't booed at all.) We'll never get an actual count - but I'd say about two hundred people booed Trent Lott when his face came on the Jumbotron. This was about a minute after 23,000 people cheered for Bill Clinton when his face appeared on the Jumbotron.
The Jumbotron was carrying the C-SPAN feed, and unless you were watching live, you almost certainly have never seen the moment that Trent Lott was booed. That's because none of the cable news shows repeated it. That's because you can't hear him being booed. And that's because so few people booed him. Also, I swear, it was a good-natured "kill the umpire" boo, (and Lott actually grinned) but I could never prove that. What I have proven is that you couldn't hear the boos on TV because on my book-on-tape I played the audio of the C-SPAN video to compare the 23,000 cheering for Clinton with the smattering of boos for Lott, and you CANNOT hear the boos.
Caldwell, who never saw the memorial, also wrote that there was almost no mention of the others who died on the plane. That was complete bull. There were beautiful eulogies for Will, Tom, and Mary.
Kellyanne (Fitzpatrick) Conway went on TV the day after the memorial and told a nationwide audience that the Jumbotron instructed the crowd "when to cheer and when to jeer." (The speeches were close-captioned and would indicate when there was LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE.)
Even though the words on the closed captioning followed the speaker's words by five or so seconds and were often misspelled, Sara Janecek, a Minnesota Republican lobbyist, said the speeches on the Jumbotron were proof that the speeches had been written and vetted by the cynically politically motivated Democrat who ran the event. Actually, the people who spoke at the Wellstone memorial were all chosen by the families of those who died. No one's speech was vetted. The Wellstone people had all spent the previous five days going to funerals. It never occurred to them to vet the speeches. The irony is that because they weren't thinking politically, they opened themselves to being accused of staging a political event..
It was the Republicans that tried to cheapen Paul Wellstone's life by dishonoring his death. It was the right-wing media, not the friends and family who spoke at the memorial or the people who came to it, that seized an opportunity to use a tragedy for political gain.
American children aren't necessarily getting smarter or dumber, but that might not be good enough to compete globally, according to numbers cited Tuesday by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
He noted a special analysis put out last week by the National Center for Education Statistics that compares 15-year-old U.S. students with students from other countries in the Organization for Economic Development.
It found the U.S. students placed below average in math and science. In math, U.S. high schoolers were in the bottom quarter of the countries that participated, trailing countries including Finland, China and Estonia.
According to the report, the U.S. math scores were not measurably different in 2006 from the previous scores in 2003. But while other countries have improved, the United States has remained stagnant.
In science, the United States falls behind countries such as Canada, Japan and the Czech Republic.
Duncan told a room full of science and math experts of the National Science Board on Tuesday morning that this will hurt the United States as it competes internationally. "We are lagging the rest of the world, and we are lagging it in pretty substantial ways," he said.