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January 27, 2008

Urgently Entertaining

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Even though I was in Hawaii recently, I still ain't no surfer.

Unfortunately, that includes web-surfing. Despite that handicap, the sites that I do regularly visit are kind enough to offer tempting links. Fortunately, Power Line -- the blog that brought down Dan Rather -- introduced me to a brand new blog by one of their part-time contributors, William Katz. It's called Urgent Agenda.

Who is Bill Katz? Since he's a far better writer than I am, I'll just pass along his self-description:

William Katz has, during an extensive career, been an intern for a U.S. senator; an officer in the Central Intelligence Agency; an assistant to Herman Kahn, the nuclear-war theorist; an editor at The New York Times Magazine; a comedy writer for Bob Newhart; an interviewer for The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson; and the author of ten novels published in many languages. A number of his books have been sold to Hollywood, about which nothing more need be said.

What do politics, the CIA, journalism, comedy writing, fiction, and Hollywood have to do with each other? Think about it.

In addition to running Urgent Agenda, William Katz actively blogs at Power Line.
He's a graduate of the University of Chicago and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

He is married, with two daughters, neither of whom agree with him.

To give you some of Urgent Agenda's flavor, here's a segment from a recent posting.

Students at Choate Rosemary Hall, attended by JFK, among others, are deeply upset at the choice of Karl Rove to be their commencement speaker. Oh, the dears. We go through this ritual every year. Get a commencement speaker anywhere to the right of Trotsky and some students rush to the mental health clinic. Question: Does anyone ever remember a commencement speech? Sometimes, we have trouble remembering the name of the speaker.

But, if the students are serious, maybe they can have an alternative graduation and invite, say, Hugo Chavez. The school, however, should impose a condition: If Chavez comes, he should be permitted to confiscate all the students' stock portfolios.

There are ways to shut students up.

Commencement speakers: hmm. Of my four commencements (counting high school), the only speaker whose name I recall is Milton Schapp, who was governor of Pennsylvania at the time. He spoke to us at Dear Old Penn. All I remember of his oration was that it was stupefyingly long and dull.

In 2007 their speaker was former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III. Better than Schapp, probably, and a better choice than many colleges and universities manage. But with the usual Dear Old Penn envy of the most famous Ivy schools, I see that we were trumped yet again by Harvard, which had Bill Gates on the podium.



posted by Donald at January 27, 2008


At my brother's commencement in 1996, the speaker was Kermit The Frog. I kid you not. Long Island University, and Jim Henson Inc., you have a lot to answer for.

Ps. Did I mention I'm not kidding, and a green felt puppet really was the commencement speaker? Good. The memory is like a bad acid flashback.

Posted by: Deschanel on January 27, 2008 1:30 PM

I don't think 2007' graduates missed much of not having clueless Bill Gates in the role of an authority figure at Commencement pulpit.

And I like Katz' proposal of assigning Chavez to this role (and having him to run campus as he runs his socialist slaves). This will teach them; hopefully better than 4 (or more) years with Social Studies department.

Thanks for a good blog find.

Posted by: Tatyana on January 27, 2008 1:37 PM

Yes, it's either Rove or Chavez, nothing in between.

Posted by: JV on January 27, 2008 8:42 PM

Fairfield University, 1991. My commencement speaker? Billy Joel. Finished his speech with an audience-participation a capella song about being the commencement speaker.

Paul Volker (former chairman of the Fed) also received an honorary, but sat well behind the esteemed Mr. Joel...

Sort of reminded me of the movie Orange County, when they are discussing possible speakers. The protagonist mentions Toni Morrison, who the teacher politely nods about, then inquires with another student as to the availablity of Britney Spears (or some such pop star).

Does one laugh or cry? Of course, Fairfield did it for the pub, but still...

BTW, first time to the site, very nice!

Posted by: Jeremiah on January 28, 2008 11:48 PM

All right! This is just what I was looking for, more neo-conservative horse s**t.

Posted by: brian armacost on January 29, 2008 2:19 PM

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