1) THE SPEECHES THAT SOOTHED THE SOUL
This speech, to my ears, remains the greatest speech ever given, at least at a memorial service. It still resonates today.
President Reagan used the memorial service of the Challenger astronauts in 1986 to rally a nation in a time of tragedy. President Obama tried to do the same thing last night at the memorial service for victims of the Gabrille Giffords assasination attempt in Tucson. Last night, however, the TV networks stuck with their sitcom programming when the service started.
What was more important than a shared national moment for broadcast stations whose licenses say “to serve in the public interest”? On NBC: Minute to win it. On CBS: Live to Dance. On ABC: In the Middle. And on Fox, Human Target was scheduled, but was pre-empted, for a sitcom.
Networks joined later, in time to hear the president, but they missed the essence of a unifying service — the blessing from a Native American, the story of some of the victims etc. The minute the president was done, the networks returned to their nightly pablum, denying viewers the rest of a service intended to unite the nation.
Still, when all the networks were giving us one choice of programming, we got the rare shared moment that are few and far between now.Since they usually come in times of nationally tragedy, perhaps that’s just as well. But when it came, President Obama, like President Reagan before him, did exactly what he needed to do. Set aside the next 33 minutes.
Leadership is quite often merely a matter of rising to an occasion (Recommended reading: BBC on how the tragedy is being handled on both sides of the aisle) . So it was unfortunate in the extreme that new Speaker of the House John Boehner did not understand the power that his presence at the event could have had. He went to a fundraiser in Washington instead. Also missing was Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
Let’s analyze the speech. Wait, let’s not:
I rate Reagan’s speech (above) as the second best speech after a national tragedy. Number one is Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor. Number three is Teddy Kennedy’s eulogy for his brother, Robert. What’s yours? The comments section is open. Speak to me.
Post-script: Two very fascinating profiles of survivors of last Saturday’s shooting, including one who dealt with the trauma by writing down the Declaration of Independence:
2) THE DEBATE BEGINS ANEW
We had to get to this point eventually. Was Tucson “terrorism?” “Yes,” says an MPR commentator.
An American outcast who hated every American around him and goes on a killing spree is just a disturbed person. He is mental, deprived of love and care. Experts on TV go deep into his mind to find out the real motive. When it comes to violence committed by foreigners, nobody is willing to go as deep. Violence committed by Muslim Arabs is automatically seen as politically motivated and quickly labeled an act of terrorism, case closed.
3) PAWLENTY ON DAILY SHOW
We didn’t know where the smart money was last night on which Jon Stewart would show up on The Daily Show to interview former governor Tim Pawlenty. Would it be the one who fell in love with John McCain two years before the presidential election of 2008? Or would it be the one who studies up — and reads a book (although it’s clear he didn’t read Pawlenty’s) — to pull out the absurd claims that don’t add up?
Neither. It was the Jon Stewart who fumbles his way through the point of the question, takes too long to ask it, and ends up being the focus of the interview. It was a yawner.
Here’s the extended interview:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Exclusive – Tim Pawlenty Extended Interview|
4) PAIN AT THE PAGEANT
This just handed me: Vadnais Heights is not on the shore of Lake Superior. A beauty contest winner for Miss North Shore has had to give up her crown because she’s not from the North Shore, the Duluth News Tribune reports.
It may be a glimpse into the dog-eat-dog world of beauty pageants. Someone had to have blown the whistle on the fine print.
5) THE ANONYMOUS GOODNESS (continued)
When floodwaters struck a town near Brisbane, the Rice family car was swamped. A rescue worker, tied to a rope, grabbed a 13-year-old boy first. But the lad said, “save my (10-year-old) brother first.” The rescuer did, and seconds later the older brother (and his mother) were swept away. “He won’t go down with any fanfare or anything like that – I don’t think anyone will even wear a black armband for him – but he’s just the champion of all champions, a family hero,” his father said.
Meanwhile, Col. Bill Bower has died. He was the last surviving member of Doolittle’s Raiders.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been making the rounds of the national talk shows, promoting his book and preparing for a possible White House run. If Tim Pawlenty runs for president, can he win?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Several of Jared Loughner’s classmates and instructors at Pima Community College noticed his erratic behavior, had him removed from school, and notified his parents. Why was no one able to get him into treatment? A leading psychologist says our fear and misunderstanding of mental illness prevents us from stepping in before tragedies occur
Second hour: In 2010, South Africa alone had over 300 confirmed poaching cases, a huge increase from 2009. Why the increase and what can be done to preserve rhinos and other endangered species from poaching?
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: St. John’s history professor Nick Hayes joins Midday from St. Petersburg, Russia to talk about Russia’s economy, society and politics.
Second hour: Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty at the National Press Club.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Author Peter Bergen, who argues al Qaida’s biggest threat isn’t Western force, it’s mainstream Islam.
Second hour: Navigating the unemployment bureaucracy.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – –Retailers have long complained banks set unfair rules and exorbitant fees for merchants taking debit and credit cards. But recent and pending rule changes shift power from the banks to retailers. That may mean big changes in the shopping experience, and the value of reward cards, MPR’s Martin Moylan says.