tv American Politics CSPAN May 29, 2011 6:30pm-8:00pm EDT
way. we cannot do that." once you go through every program, like farm subsidies, which are so important, but then you have got a smaller amount on the table, and that is not enough to do it. >> thank you for your questions for the senator. >> thanks for having us. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> memorial day on "washington journal," an update on iraq since the withdrawal of u.s. troops and the progress being made by the iraqi security forces. then, a discussion on training the afghan army and police forces. after that, a senior fellow from the center for american progress on current counterterror is a strategy in afghanistan. and finally, the national journal talks about the national highway trust fund, and the world federal and state gas tax and funding. plus, your emails, phone calls,
and tweets. "washington journal" on c-span. >> please note -- people often say to me, a good question, "how much of your time do you spend doing research?" no one asks you how much of your time you spend thinking, and that is probably the most important part. >> part two in the interview, the greater journey. americans in paris. you can also download this and other "q&a" podcasts online. earlier today, president obama visited joplin, missouri, after a tornado killed residents. he met with local emergency
workers. you also hear from the missouri governor. >> how are you guys doing? are you from the area? thank you so much for your help. god bless you. >> this is -- >> how old are you? >> 8. >> thank you for helping out. >> my name is -- >> thank you for helping. >> the green roof right here. >> everybody ok?
[no audio] >> you have got it? obviously, the scene speaks for itself. when we were in tuscaloosa few weeks ago, i talked about i had not seen devastation like that in my lifetime. you come here to joplin, and it is just as heartbreaking, and in some ways, even more heartbreaking. i want to thank the outstanding work that the governor and the mayor and the congressional delegation as well as the first lady have done, and the red cross, in helping people, but, obviously, it is going to take wears to build a back, and
mourn the loss of lives. we will go to a memorial service and let them know that we are thinking about them. we had a chance to meet some of the folks who lived in this community, and just harrowing stories, but also miraculous stories. i met an 85-year-old gentleman who explains how we just got his chicken potpie out, and the storm came, in he went in the closet and came out without a scratch, so there are happy stories to tell, but obviously, there has been a lot of hardship, as well. the main thing i want to do for the people of joplin, this is not just your tragedy. this is a national tragedy, and that means there will be a national response.
probably the busiest man in the federal government of the past few months has been on the ground since just one day after this happened, and he is helping to coordinate with an outstanding team of state and local officials. we are going to do everything we can to continue whatever search and rescue remains. we are doing everything we can to make sure folks in the shelter that they need, the support that they need. we are working with the governor to make sure we cut through any red tape that is necessary with respect to rebuilding here, and then we're just going to have a long way. we're going to be your long after the carelessly. we are not going to stop and to a joplin is fully back on its feet. volunteers are helping out. one of the things that is incredible is to see how many people from out of state, as far
away as texas, people just coming here to volunteer, firefighters, ordinary citizens. an example of what the american spirit is all about, and that gives us a lot of encouragement at a time when obviously people are going through a lot of hardship, so thank you again. would you like to say a few words? >> just that we have been here every day, trying to back up local officials, to coordinate the federal response, to make sure that we dream like the necessity to move forward. today is a day of remembrance. as we move to the memorial service, the loss, not only of life, injuries, property, it is significant. it will take a higher power to keep the strength of the community to get this done, and we're confident this will happen. we're especially appreciative of
the president here to help us in ways that will make a lasting difference to this community. god bless you. >> thank you. and one less -- last point i want to make. obviously, a rebuilding process for a lot of families you are thankful they are ok, but many are displaced and have lost means of transportation. the schools have been destroyed. and so, for all americans to take a little time out and make a contribution to the american red cross or other charitable organization in joplin, that can make an enormous affect. what you have to spare. i felt the same way when i was down in alabama. the difference between you being in the path of this twister and a few blocks away you being ok
is a very slim margin, and so we have all got to put together. all right? thank you very much, everybody. >> after touring the damage, the president took part in a memorial service of the victims. he talked about the heroics during the tragedy and pledged continuing support to the community. this is 45 minutes.
>> thank you, pastor. to the people who have endured this terrible tragedy, to the thousands in missouri and across the nation who have opened their hearts to help us deal, to the hundreds of firefighters and emergency responders who came without hesitation to climb over piles of rubble in search of survivors, to the pastors, the lieutenant colonel, and the wonderful choir from first united methodist of joplin, to president obama, who is with us today, thank you all for coming. it is an honor to be here. joining the thousands in missouri and observing this special day of prayer, we stand on hallowed ground.
to bear witness to the destructive witness and the invincible power of faith. we have come to mourn what the storm has taken from us, to seek comfort in a community, and to draw strength from god to build anew. it seems inconceivable that just one week ago the people of joplin were going about their daily lives, doing ordinary things that people do on a sunday evening, cooking supper, watching t d -- tv, walking the dog, attending their sons' and
and then' graduations, came the whirlwind, with its to wonder mile per hour winds, turning and warring, toppling trees and cars, homes, churches. that storm, the likes of which we have never seen, has brought forward a spirit of resilience, the likes of which we have also never seen. [applause] what our nation and our world have witnessed this week is the spirit of joplin, missouri. [cheers and applause] we are humbled by it.
you have given love thy neighbor new meeting. the parable of the good samaritan in luke begins with a conversation between jesus and a student of religious law. it starts with a legal question and ends with a moral imperative. the student asked jesus, "what shall i do to inherit eternal and a student replies, "thou shalt love the lord they god t all thy heart, and you shall love thy neighbor as thyself, in jesus replied, "thou hast answered right.
this do, and thou shalt live," but the student, wanting more clarity, asked jesus, "and who is my neighbor?" and jesus tells him the story of the good samaritan. from that terrible, it is crystal clear. good samaritans do not pass by those who are suffering in in need. they show their compassion with action. in joplin, you see good samaritans everywhere you turn. you see them over at the gymnasium at this university, where hundreds of volunteers makes images each and every day. you see them passing out blankets and pillows, sunscreen and flashlights. to our neighbors made homeless by a world wind. you need a flashlight, because
it gets pretty dark here at night, especially when you're standing in the street, staring at the lonely pile of matchsticks that was one sure family home. if you had been at the er, lmere -- mere moments after the tornado struck, you would have seen good samaritans going towards the wounded and dying. shattered glass everywhere. water and gas spewing from burst pipes. when dr. stumbled through the darkness with a flashlight in his teeth, following the wail of a wounded child. you see good samaritans at every checkpoint in the destruction zone, where police officers and members of the national guard keep guard over teddy bears, cherished wedding photographs, and crumpled wheelchair's. all that is left of our
neighbors' warbling goods. you see them in the churchyard, man sleeping under the start -- stars on cots, after driving all night to get your from tuscaloosa. [applause] these men were so touched, so moved by these strangers in their hour of need that they just had to come to joplin, good samaritans on a mission from god. god has chosen us for a mission, too, to grieve together, to comfort one another, to be patient with one another, to
strengthen one another, and to build joplin anew. [applause] [whistles] not just to build the back the way it was but to make it an even better plays. we know that all of those who perished here are already in an even better plays. [applause] but for us, the living, there is work to do. bob says -- god says "show me, show me." [cheers and applause]
the people of missouri were born for this mission. we are famously stubborn and self-reliant. practical, impatient, but whatever may divide us, we always come together in crisis, and once we set our resolve, snowstorm, no fire, no flood can turn us from our task. [cheers and applause] in the pale, hushed stillness before the dawn, when the chain saws have fallen silent, if you listen very closely, you can hear the sound of that resolve,
like a tiny silver hammel -- hammer, tapping inside each of our heads. in the days to come, the satellite trucks will pick up and move on. the joplin stora will disappear from the front pages, but the tragedy will not disappear from our lives. we will still be here in joplin together, preparing for the long journey out of darkness into light, and we will need more tools, morgenson terrapins every step of the way. [applause] this tragedy has affected us
forever. this community will never be the same. we will never be the same. the grief we share at this moment is overwhelming. that sorrow will always be a part of us, a stone on our hearts, but those we love, those we lost our safe with god and safe in our hearts, and in our hearts, the joy they gave us lives on and on. nothing can take that from us. we can and we will deal. we have already begun. together, we can in we will rebuild on a granite foundation of safe this will be a living monument to those we have lost,
mothers, fathers, our precious children. yes, even children help to the neighbors and dig out of the ruins, a monument to the search and rescue crews who came swiftly to help the quick and the dead. we willod's grace, restore this community, and by god's grace, we will renew our souls. one year from today, joplin will look different. and more different still in two years, in three, and five come and as the years pass, the moral of our story will be the same.
the communities from joplin and all across our country, in the communities across our nation who are struggling to recover in the aftermath of deadly storms. the weight on your shoulders is heavy. we will continue to need that help in the months and years to come. on behalf of all of the people in my great state, mr. president, we thank you for your service to the country. [cheers and applause] and now, i am honored to present the 44th president of united states, barack obama.
[cheers and applause] >> thank you, thank you. thank you so much. i love joplin. [cheers and applause] i love joplin. we love joplin. [cheers and applause] think you, governor, for that powerful message, but more importantly for being here with and for your people every step of the way. we are grateful to you,
reverend, father monahan. i am so glad. reverend brown for that incredibly powerful message. [cheers and applause] to the senator, who has been here, and the congressmen, the mayor, craig, who does not get a lot of attention, but he heads up fema. he does not get a lot of credit, but he has been going around tirelessly. we are grateful for him.
the president of the red cross, which has contributed mightily. most of all to the family, friends of all of those whobed e the lives of those we lost. storms across the midwest. keeping our prayers, to mourn with the families, to stand together during this time of pain and trial, as the reverend brown alluded to. the question in a time like this is "why?" why my town my home, husband or
wife or sister or friend, why? we do not have the capacity to answer. we cannot know what a terrible storm will strike or where or the severity of the devastation a cause. we cannot know why we are testing with a loss of a loved one. a loved one with whom we have lived a lifetime. these things are beyond our power to control, but that does not mean that we are powerless in the face of adversity it. how we respond when the storm strikes is on us.
how we live in the aftermath of tragedy and heartache, that is within our control, it is in these moments through our actions that we see a glimpse of what makes life worth living in the first place. in the last week, that is what joplin not just taught misery or american but taught the world. i was overseas in the aftermath of the storm, and we had world leaders coming up to me, saying, "let the people of joplin know we are with them. we are thinking about them. we love them." [cheers and applause]
because the world saw how joplin responded. a university turns itself into a makeshift hospital. [applause] some of you used your pickup trucks as ambulances, carrying the wounded. using your doors as directors. restauranteur giving food to people in need. businesses filling trucks with donations. you waited in line for hours to donate blood. four people and you never met. and in all of this, you have with the description "we are truck -- troubled on every side.
we are perplexed but not in despair. persecuted but not forsaken. cast down but not destroyed." as the governor said, we have shown the world what it means to love thy neighbor. you have banded together. you have come to each other's aid and demonstrated a simple truth. amid heartbreaking tragedy, no one is a stranger. everybody is a brother. everybody is a sister. we can all love one another. as you move forward in the days ahead, i know rebuilding what you lost won't be easy. i just walked through some of the neighborhoods that have been affected and you look out
at the landscape, and there has to be moments where you just say, where to begin? how to start? there are going to be moments where after the shock has worn off, you feel alone. but there's no doubt in my mind what the people of this community can do. there's no doubt in my mind that joplin will rebuild. and as president, i can promise you your country will be there with you every single step of the way. we will be with you every step of the way. we're not going anywhere. the cameras may leave, the
spotlight may shift, but we will be with you every step of the way until joplin is restored and this community is back on its feet. we're not going anywhere. that is not just my promise but america's promise. it's a promise i make here in joplin. it's a promise i made down in tuscaloosa or in any of the communities that have been hit by these devastating storms over the last few weeks. now, there have been countless acts of kindness and selflessness in recent days. we've already heard the record of some of that.
but perhaps none are as inspiring as what took place when the storm was bearing down on joplin, threatening an entire community with utter destruction, and in the face of wind that showed no mercy, no regard for human life, that did not discriminate by race or faith or background, it was ordinary people swiftly tested who said, i'm willing to die right now so that someone else might live. it was the husband who threw himself over his wife as their house came apart around them. it was the mother who shielded her young son. it was dean wells, the husband and father who loved to sing and whistle in his church choir. dean was working a shift at the home depot, managing the electrical department when the
storm rang out. he sprang into action, moving people to safety. over and over again he went back for others until a wall came down on top of him. in the end, most of the building was destroyed. but not where dean had directed his co-workers and his customers. there was a young man named christopher lucas who was 26 years old, father of two daughters, third daughter on the way, just like any other night, christopher was doing his job as manager on duty at pizza hut, and then he heard the storm coming. and it was then when this former sailor quickly ushered everybody into the walk-in freezer. the only problem was the freezer door wouldn't stay closed from the inside. so as the tornado bore down on
the small storefront on range line road, christopher left the freezer to find a rope or cord or anything to hold the door shut. he made it back just in time, tying a piece of bunky -- bungee cord to the handle outside, wrapping the other end to his arm, holding the door closed with all his might. and christopher held it as long as he could until he was pulled away by the incredible force of the storm. he died saving more than a dozen people in that freezer. [applause] >> you see, there are heroes
all around house. all the time. they walk by us on the sidewalk, they sit next to us in class, they pass us in the aisle wearing an orange apron. they come to our table at a restaurant and ask us what we'd like to order. just as we can't know why tragedy strikes in the first place, we may never fully understand where these men and women find the courage and strength to do what they did. what we do know is that in a split second moment where there's little time for internal reflection or debate, the actions of these individuals were driven by love. love for a family member, love for a friend, or just love for
a fellow human being. that's good to know. in a world that can be cruel and selfish, it's this knowledge, the knowledge that we are inclined to love one another. that we're inclined to do good. to be good. that causes us to take heart. we see with fresh eyes what's precious, and so fragile and so important to us. we put aside our petty grievances and our minor disagreements. we see ourselves in the hopes and hardships of others. and in the stories of people like dean and people like christopher.
we remember that each of us contains reserves of resolve and compassion. there are heroes all around us all the time. and so in the wake of this tragedy, let us live up to their example. to make each day count. to live with a sense of mutual regard. to live with that same compassion that they demonstrated in their final hours. we are called by them to do everything we can to be worthy of the chance that we've been given to carry on. i understand that at a memorial yesterday for dean, his wife decided to play a recording of dean whistling a song he loved.
amazing grace. the lyrics are a fitting tribute to what joplin has been through. through many dangers, toils and snares, i have already come. tis grace that brought me safe this far and grace will lead me home. [applause] yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail and mortal life shall cease, i shall possess within the veil a life of joy and peace. may those we lost know peace, and may grace guide the people
>> thank you, mr. president r president. i had been told you were walking our streets. i had been told by your genuine interest and compassion. on behalf of just one of the citizens, and yet on behalf of a very large crowd, thank you, sir. >> all of us have had friends who wanted to stand beside us this week. some could do so in person. others mailed us their hearts and asked to borrow whatever we needed from those, letters and notes. one such friend wrote me the
following. randy, the storm did much damage. i can't imagine but randy there are limits to its power. a tornado cannot and will not destroy the sovereignty of god. it cannot destroy the word of god, the church of god, the plan of god, the promises of god, the justice of god, the love of god. it shall not destroy the grace of god. and it certainly shall not destroy the son of god. >> amen. >> and he is right. [applause] >> as i wrap up the remarks i made so far today, i want to go back to what was mentioned earlier. this time it's from paul. in the book of phillipians, paul does not define peace as the absence of conflict or struggle.
that's not peace. but peace is the discovery of the presence of a personal god, the same christ who wept at the tomb of his friend weeps over the painful experiences we have in this fallen world. he is the god who made us in his image, who made us to be his shadow, who tore off a part of himself to make us, and yet losing nothing in the hole whole, he is the greater lies and we're the lesser, lest that never be confused. and yet he's the god who shockingly says that he is inscribed our names on the palm of his hands. he is that one who has promised his presence and faithfulness. my prayer on behalf of my friends, my prayer is this, may you know him and may you know his peace as we rebuild not
our strength. as we move forward, we pledge our love and support to one another in response to the words of your son, love one another as i have loved you. we say yes and ask you to continue to bless us and to dream new dreams as we move forward at this time. amen. as we leave, let us go in peace and love. ♪ ♪
>> memorial day on c-span, president obama names army chief of staff general martin dempsey as the new chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. if confirmed he'll replace admiral mike mullen whose final term ends this fall. we'll go live to the white house tomorrow morning at 10:00 eastern for that announcement. after his remarks he'll head to arlington national cemetery at the tomb of the unknowns to lay a wreath. he'll then proceed to the amphitheater where he'll deliver his annual memorial day address. you can see the president's comments live monday morning at 10:50. also tomorrow, more commitment addresses and we begin with actor denzel washington at 3:00 p.m. eastern, after that actor an diabetes research advocate john ratzenberger and following
that a speech from supreme court court justice soda highor . -- justice sota-mayor. >> people often say to me a perfectly good question, how much of your time is spent writing and how much of your time is spent doing research. great question. no one asks how much of your time do you spend thinking? that's pretty much the most important part of it. in the q&a interview, his writing process, the latest and greatest, journey, america in paris. you can download this online at cspan dot oregon/podcast. earlier today, sarah palin kicked off her one nation bus
tour beginning at the rolling thunder rally on the national mall. her website says the tour is part of the campaign to educate and energize americans about will sneek -- about the nation's founding principles. >> this is a story looking at sarah palin and the launch of her bus tour today. this is off a political ball writing the bus tour, which says starting sunday sarah palin enters enemy territory, the bus tour that sends her to the 2011 spotlight is taking her to a part of the country she's mostly avoided since 2008, conspicuously not setting foot in new hampshire not at all during her two book tours and 2010 tea party campaign swings and now with her luster dimmed and national relevance in question she has chosen to venture into the belly of the beast. as part of her bus tour is concerned, if you go to her website and there's information
there, the sarah's website has professional video of the bus tour and to give you a flavor of what to expect, here it is. t is. ♪ [roar] >> freedom is a god-given right. it is worth fighting for. the constitution provides that road map. these are in during troops. they have been passed down from washington, to lincoln, now to you. we know that our best days are yet to come. ♪
host: let's talk a little bit in ngth about this tour. james from "politico" joins us. has there been any sense of the why behind this tour? why behind this tour? caller: what we do not know are a lot of the details about this tour. sarah palin has seen her attention that she gets decline dramatically. the conversation has really shifted away from her. she has kept a low profile for some time now. increasingly it has been taken among conventional wisdom in washington that sarah palin will not run for president. that she does not want to jeopardize for lucrative television and book business. this is very clearly a calculated move to put herself
back in the cversation. to take the limelight as other potential 2012 candidates have gotten attention. we still do notnow quite a lot about what she is doing in the northeast. we know general destinations, but not detailed times. she is going to visit the rolling thunder motorcycle rally. the group did not officially invite her. she will be within the alaskan veterans group. we do not know what time she will show up or what she will do there, exactly. she is supposed to go to gettysburg, the battlefield in pennsylvania. otherwise many of the details are up in the air. it shows just how she does not play by the same political rules as every other political figure in america.
host: as far as you mentioned her wanting voice in the conversation, is she trying to making -- is she trying to make herself a kingmaker? caller: we do not know. it is still possible that she will run, but the odds seemed very low. she seems to be considering -- when mike huckabee decided not to run, making it clear that there was a big opening for a social conservative in the race, that is a space that she could fill. it is not clear whether she is thinking about running in her head or if she just wants the spotlight on her for a little while again, to keep herself in the conversation because she just craves that attention. host: what attributes to the diminishing that you were talking about initially? talking about initially? caller: a variety of episodes
over the last year and was where people wrote her of as less than serious. last year the same day that the president gave a significant speech in tucson, ariz., about the victims, she recorded a video in which she lashed out at critics in talked about blood libel. the biggest reason that people have taken her less seriously is that she has not taken any of the steps that one need to take if you are running for president. she has a very small inner circle. she has not hired it big team. she has not visited iowa in some time. she has not visited new hampshire since 2008. people take for less seriously because she is not doing
anything tangible to suggest that she is actually a serious candidate for president. host: as far as the visuals, talk a bit about how she has decorated her bus. a copy of the constitution, those kind of things. talk to those elements and, what gives us the message she is trying to bring? caller: this fits with the hyper-patriosm that is so emblematic of who she is and her political persona. the idea is that it is officially promoted. that is one nation campaign is part of energizing americans about our nation's founding principles and in order to promote the fundamental restoration of america, you know
that from my colleague, it is about visiting historic sites and holding herself in the liberty bell, one of the places she is supposed to be in philadelphia, talking about how the country has moved away from the constitution. >> maryland on "washington journal" jeremy buchanan gives an update on iraq by the troops and progress being made on the security forces. then general james mallory talks about efforts to train the afghan army and police forces. after that brian katuliso u.s.
counterterrorism strategy. and finally, fawn johnson talks about the national highway trust fund and the role federal and state gas taxes play in its funding. plus your emails, phone calls and tweets. washington journal, live monday at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> follow c-span's washington journal on twitter and join those who get advanced notice on the guests, questions of the day and links of clips to video highlights. you can tweet your questions to our guests and add comments to the conversation. don't miss any updates from washington journal. start your twitter account today at twitter.com/cspanwj. >> next, pulitzer prize winning political cartoonist gives the commencement address to the graduates at colorado college. his cartoon spare on the
website of "san francisco chronicle," from colorado springs, this is 25 minutes. ♪ >> thank you very much. thank you for that very kind introduction. thank you, president celeste, thank you, faculty, thank to you that shadowy group of trustees, wherever they are. i won't make them stand. thank you, parents, an most of all, thank you, students, right there, because i'm talking to you guys mostly. thank you guys for asking me to come here to be with you here on this amazing day, this special day you'll remember, as everyone keeps telling you. thank you for having me. the reason it's such an amazing thing for me and such a huge
honor for me to be here, and as you just heard, 12 years ago i was with you guys, graduating colorado college, but i right there in the f's. the f's right there. so i was right over there. and the main difference, between when i graduated then and when you're graduating now, is that instead of a left of center political cartoonist who specializes in animation speaking to you, you would have dick cheney speaking to you which is a little ironic as a political cartoonist to have him as your commencement speaker, and he's a blessing. but that's right, it was dick cheney speaking to me at graduation, and i don't remember exactly what he said.
but it was probably something along the lines of grr, what do you want me to say? go forth and rule the world? or something like that. i don't exactly remember, and i don't know if bra i'm speaking here now today if i'll go on to become secretary of defense or if i will be a comically evil vice president who is god's gift to cartoonists everywhere. but i do know one thing, i know that if dick cheney had spent more time on this campus playing frisbee on this very quad like i did, there definitely wouldn't have been a bogus run up to war based on w.m.d.'s that didn't exist. but i digress. [applause] i'm not here to talk about
politicians and bash political figures as much fun as that is, that's what i get to do every week, fortunately. and what i'm really here to talk about is the path of my life and how it relates to the path of your life. and the incredible influence that colorado college had on me. it was the most formative years of my life to date. and this -- if this podium right standing here, i can see over to palmer hall where i took political science classes and learned about things like just and unjust wars, or where i took sociology classes and geology and learned about these mountains right behind us. i can look over there and see where i met -- slocumb, first year.
now i'm going for the cheap applause line. one west in the house. i knew there's something out there. but i knew right there is where i met some of my best friends that are friends for life within the first week of school. i can look beyond and see a corner of jackson house over there which is where i first met with my initial academic advisor jim tristle. and he sat down on the grass with myself and the other advisees, and he gave us what i think is probably the most liberal arts advice you can give. it's really liberal arts in a nutshell. he just -- he said just have fun. and that was his advice. and he doesn't mean it -- or i didn't take it, and people didn't take it that way, that
doesn't mean no work. that means have fun in whatever you do. you have fun socially and with friends but you also have funs intellectually and academically. and that is really what helped shape me and lead me on this strange and weird path of a career and life that i have now. but i'm not here to talk about my life and take you down memory lane and that kind of thing or even talk about the time when cutler quad was filled with students because we were out there all afternoon and into the evening watching this new band nobody had really heard of called fish play into the night as the sun set over pikes peak. it's about you, not my memories, even though i have amazing memories from this place. when i was here sitting over there in the f's, like i said, i had that feeling that many of you are probably feeling right
now, that feeling of i'm graduating, this is great, it's huge. you're all excited, it's amazing. but i also had this feeling of, i'm graduating? that fear of the real world and since i'm a cartoonist, i have to describe it this way, your eyes are like deer in the headlights and you have the little sweat things going off your head. it was very much like that for me. and before we talk about the real world and what might be coming next, let's talk about your accomplishments and what you've done right here. let's soak that up for a minute. look around you left and right behind and in front. look at the friends that you have and the friends you've made in these four years. friends that will stick with you the rest of your life in a lot of cases. and look in these buildings, even though they're ugly, that one anyway. behind those windows and behind
those windows and those in the building, you studied here and succeeded. sometimes you failed, but overall you succeeded and in true c.c. tradition you took classes up there and learned what it's like to be in the mountains. and look behind you and on the sides, look at the friends and family here for you and that are still here for you. they cared enough, they loved you, they supported you, they sacrificed, and even though there may have been bumps along the way, they're still here for you. that's a huge accomplishment. so it's all over, all around you. it paid off. you're graduating. you did it. and when you look around, take a second to soak this all in,
because you know what you're looking at right now. you're looking at the real world. that's the good thing. and since i basically was where you are, and i am one of you, i know that's true. there's no phony disconnect between the supposed c.c. bubble and the real world. the best part is that doesn't have to exist. and the reason that is is because the things you've learned here, the intellectual life, the friendships, the feeling of community, you still have that. you have all those wonderful things about colorado college, and you take those with you. take c.c. with you. and it took me a certain amount of research and some years to figure that out. but i'm not talking about chipping off a chunk of palmer, even though it's really nice stone, lime sandstone, if i
remember that right. i'm not talking about that. i'm taking the things from your liberal arts education and the creativity and the intellectual side of your life here, take that with you wherever you go. and people scoff, i mean, i've heard it and i'm sure you guys have heard it, people talk about liberal arts education and they say, yeah, what are you going to do with that? or they talk about even better, english major. yeah, good luck. >> but what i realized, the most important thing you take as a graduate or excruciatingly close to being a graduate, one of the things you take with you is adaptability. and what better way to teach adaptability than in a school that lets you digest an entire year's worth of material in 3 1/2 weeks again and again and
again. it's such a perfect preparation for life. and as you already know, and i'm sure people have been telling you with sick satisfaction, the days of job stability and gold watchers at retirement are long gone. that's not my dick cheney voice, that's my self-important pundit voice, we're in the worst economy since the dinosaurs or the big bang or the great depression or something like that, which means it's a perfect time for creatures like us. we're the little, small furry creatures, not the dinosaurs, we're the ones that are adaptible and can run around and figure things out on the fly. so one of the most important things is that this adaptability and take that with you. now, unfortunately, one thing that's a little harder to take with you is the block break.
but don't despair, because in my strange and wonderful job, i somehow have developed a block break within my weekly schedule. for over 20 years -- well, under 20 years, my cartoon deadline has fallen on a wednesday because block breaks are so ingrained in my head, it took me -- i didn't realize it until like 10 or 15 years into my career until i said wait a minute, how did this wednesday come about? and it was from here. so it can be possible. and, you know, as you guys know, nothing beats the feeling of a block break. except maybe the feeling you're having right now. and i'm not talking about the hangovers. so as far as adaptibility, in my strange and fun job, i've had to adapt all along.
i left colorado college with the intent and the laser beam focus of getting a job at a newspaper as their staff political cartoonist. which is a crazy weird thing to try and go for. and it's a long shot and even the best of times. and that didn't happen. and so instead what i did was i started self-syndicating my own cartoons and selling them myself to newspapers all over the country. and along the way what i decided to do was experiment with animation and i thought oh, hey, maybe i can animate these things and try that. then lo and behold, i get a job as a staff cartoonist at a newspaper, my dream job, and did it for a while but it was really an awful time for the industry, for the business, for that particular paper, so i left that and went back 300%
doing political animation. and i've been doing that ever since. and now i don't want to give you the phony impression that it was all this beautiful, upward trajectory to creating my wonderful uple -- purple mountain magesty liberal arts cartoons. i had to figure out a way to support my cartooning habit, my cartooning addiction, really, and in order to do that, i had to get some regular old job. and there was nothing wrong with that, but it helped me build up my cartoon career. and the first one was at a hardware store. the next one was actually my first job in the world of the media. and in this media job, my job was to move pallets of magazines around a warehouse all day long. but they were magazines you may
have heard of, they're famous magazines, anything from better homes and garden to penthouse to hustler, to ones i probably shouldn't mention. but that job didn't last long. i didn't stay there very long because, you know, not all that rewarding. and i went on to the next job, which was making color copies at a copy store in boulder. and now that might sound like it's a dull job and boring as hell and you get tired of that really quickly, but the place where i worked, it was almost like a little shop of liberal arts in large part because the owners encouraged people who worked there to pursue their outside interests and to explore and experiment with other things. so that was the first place where i ended up scanning in my cartoons and that was also the first place where i heard of this thing that was new called
the internet. which really kind of dates me. so you never know where these side paths will lead you. so don't be too quick to jump in to a career box or think you should be in a career box. go a little easier on yourself. and i know you've heard all the brilliant quotes by insanely intelligent authors about journeys and roads and paths, so i'll spare you those now, but it really is the journey that makes you who you are. now, to give you an example from my world of cartooning, let's talk about the creative process. people always ask cartoonists, how do you get your ideas, or how do you come up with that stuff? people ask the same thing of poets and writers and other creative types as well. and the best way for me to describe how i come up with that stuff is to describe how i definitely don't come up with the stuff. the way that is a sure-fire
path to killing a cartoon idea or letting your creativity collapse into dust, the way to kill that is to spend the entire time chained to a desk focusing on reading and research. and great, they're thinking first the dick cheney bit and now he's bashing reading an research. but that's not the case. the majority of my job and my life is still spent on the journalistic side of the endeavor, it's still spent doing research and figures out what's true and what's false and rolling it into this hopefully humorous, yet enough to piss people off clump of opinion. so that's still part of it. but the crucial part of it is what you do to provide that spark, that truly builds those ideas. and now, it can be anything, it can be as simple as a walk down the street to a park. it can be a trip to bornio to see flying squirrels.
it can be a hike in the mountains, it can be seeing a homeless person on the street, it can be going fishing or tripping over a curb, any number of things that make up living life can help you build that spark and build ideas. and it's not just for me and cartoons, it works for my cartoons and for my life, but it's the same thing for novelists, c.e.o.'s, physicists, it's the same thing. you need that outside creative spark. and everything along the way, even though it may not seem like it is essential to finding your way. and what is the way? that's the fun part, figuring out that way, what's your path, what's the way? and right now it might seem a little nerve-racking, but if you just go out and live life, it will happen. and living life might entail going to med school, living life might entail spending some time at a ski town working as a
lift op. but whatever you do it will help you find your way. so now that we've talked about the way and living life and all that, let's talk about death threats. one of the most fun parts of my job is hearing from readers and viewers who sometimes like, sometimes not so much like my work. and to give you an example, here's a person who sent me a comment to quote for this stupid childish cartoon demonizing the tea party protesters, mark fiore needs to be killed along with his family. [laughter] >> and for good measure the guy says the only good socialist is a dead socialist. so fortunately not everybody who writes me and communicates with me has woken up on the wrong side of the bed. and i think that person had
issues, but they probably think i have issues. but what really combrabs -- grabs me are people who communicate with me and make me truly grateful for the people that are out there. so here's another example that someone sent me. back in 2003, i was studying abroad in denmark and was so inspired entryion of your car soons criticizing our involvement in iraq versus the lack of involvement in sudan and i was so inspired i structured my these us on humanitarian interventions and 10 years later i have been inspired by this cause and spent years working with refugees. i'm currently serving in west africa in the peace corps and still love your cartoons. thanks for the inspiration. the reason i read that is not to build myself up or the cartoons or whatever, the reason i read that is because these are the people that inspire me. they're the ones who make me ask and should make you want to ask, who am i? and what mark am i going to
leave on this world? how will people know you were here? and not to be morbid on such a beautiful, happy day, but i like to think of it in terms of after we're all dead and gone, how will they know we were here and what will they think of us? did you leave the world a brilliant invention? a loving family? or a wilderness preserved? a great body of work or an outdoor education camp for kids? or a lifesaving medical breakthrough? or did you leave behind oil spills, mcmansions and mountaintop removing mining? but the choices aren't always that obvious between good and evil, or what i feel is good and evil, but now is the time to start making those choices and paying more attention to the direction you steer your life. you're in charge.
it's not about accumulating the most stuff, obviously, it's about leaving your mark and deciding what that mark is going to be. it's about growing and learning because that never stops. it's not just something that happens here, that happens all the time. and it's -- you're in trouble when it does stop. so you keep doing that. so leaving your mark, making a difference, making life matter, however you say it, it's never too early to think about what you want to leave behind. you've got it all here in this place. but fortunately, now you also have it in your head, and you have it in your heart. thank you. [applause]