Randy Pausch, Barbara Kingsolver, Barack Obama, and J.K. Rowling inspired the hell out of Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Wesleyan, and Harvard graduates this year. If you're a big fan of pomp and circumstance, you'll also want to check out these: Chuck Norris at Liberty University, Samantha Power at Pitzer College, and Michelle Nijhuis at Reed College. [more inside]
The State of the Union Parsing Tool is an interactive transcript and visualization of the last five State of the Union addresses, and a special address given to Congress on Sept. 20, 2001. Noteworthy features are a great interface and the ability to highlight the use of arbitrary and specific phrases. For instance: Iraq vs. Afghanistan, liberty vs. freedom, health care vs. social security, and the lone appearance of 'axis of evil.'
"We sometimes employ religious language to talk about the historic influence of faith on our country."
Creating Bush's God Talk by Michael Gerson, Bush's chief speechwriter. According to University of Washington professor David Domke, author of "God Willing? Political Fundamentalism in the White House, the War on Terror", here's how Bush's God-Talk Is Different ("When Bush speaks of God, he positions himself as a prophetic spokesperson rather than a petitioning supplicant".) Bonus: "On What Did They Solemnly Swear? Which president opened his inaugural Bible at random in haste? Which didn't swear at all?". Test your knowledge of presidential inaugural Bible use with this quiz. And: Prayers of the Presidents -- From George Washington to George W. Bush, a sampling of personal and public prayers of America's presidents.
Typical jokes aside, the Make Your Own Bush Speech application is a great use of flash. Some fun hints: layer phrases over one another for added effect, and always end with the "afghanistan and beyond" blurb. Now if I could only save the speeches out as mp3 files, and layer some beats underneath...
Stealing from the "real" President? In a bit of a follow up to a thread last week whereupon Bush joked that he'd only go into deficit spending if he hit the "budget trifecta" of war, recession and national emergency. Well, nobody could ever find proof that he'd said any such thing during the campaign. As it turns out, it's because it was Gore who said it. In related news, it turns out that Bush "borrowed" his June 24th Tough on Palestine speech from Natan Sharansky, Israel's deputy prime minister, who published almost a word for word version of the speech back on May 3rd.