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tv   Essays  CSPAN  May 31, 2014 3:30pm-4:36pm EDT

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know, metaphorical sense for those of us in whose name execution is carried out. >> thank you. thank you so much, austin, that was just brilliant. now i have a worry, and you help me with my worry. so i'm thinking about mercy killing, because we're now in a society with an aging population, and there is a rising interest in allowing mercy killing and thinking that it's all for the good, people who are superanuated, people who are ill. and i would imagine and i know is that some of these procedures would be lethal injections so
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that once that's perfected, and there would be a push to do that, then there it is. potassium bromide, the people bash toll. we've got it for the elderly. there it is, now we have it for lethal injections. >> right. so, again, this is the question about we'll have a reliable technology, and we'll be able to use it in lethal injection. but remember, the problems of lethal injection are not just problems of the drug content. they're problems of its administration and who's going to administer it. and these injections are administered under let's say difficult and trying circumstances. so i don't think it's just a matter of could we find a drug cocktail which this some way would seem to us to be reliable, i think it's a question of how that drug cocktail is going to be administered, by whom and to whom and under what
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circumstances. the truth of the matter, what's happening with lethal injection today is a form of human experimentation. that's what happened in oklahoma. they were trying a drug cocktail that really had not been previously used. and states now because of the reluctance of european, european manufacturers to supply chemicals that would be used in execution in the united states, states are desperately searching for chemicals that they can use or going to so-called compounding pharmacies. and some states now using a new three-drug cocktail, other states trying to use a massive dosage of a single barbiturate. and, by way, i'm not claiming that -- by the way, i'm not claiming that you can't produce a technology of execution that will get it right most of the time.
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the question is whether an error rate of 3% or 7% is end bl -- is acceptable. is acceptable when the state takes life and when the state promises that it will take life in a way which imposes no more pain that is necessary and amounts to the mere extinguishment of life. so this is our last question. make it good. >> oh, boy. no pressure. [laughter] so on that topic of the acceptable amount, the percentage of botched executions, can you talk a little bit about any legal precedents and how that plays into the cultural perception in the abolitionist movement? >> right. so there's no, there's no legal standard for what the acceptable error rate is. with respect to, with respect to guilt, the united states supreme
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court was con fronted with a case in which the allegation was that the person that was going to be executed was actually innocent. and the united states supreme court roughly said actual innocence doesn't matter. the perp had a fair trial. the person had a fair trial. and with respect to botched executions, what the courts have said isn't that you have to get it perfect in every case. what the courts have said is that execution can impose no more pain than is necessary. that's why i believe that issue of capital punishment is appropriately an issue of democratic decision. it's appropriately an issue for the people of the united states, through their elected representatives, to resolve. and the people of the united states are resolving it. now, again, i can't say as new jersey goes, so goes america. but what happened in new jersey
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and in connecticut and in maryland and in illinois and almost in new hampshire, i think, is going to happen in state after state. remember, the united states has a death penalty, but very few places impose it, and very few places now execute. so there is no legal standard that says it can't be more than 3% in order for the death penalty to be constitutional. that question of whether 3% is an acceptable error rate, that's a question for us as a people to decide. and may i just say i hope we get it right. so thank you very much. [applause] >> thanks for coming. [inaudible] [inaudible conversations]
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>> we'd like to hear from you. tweet us your feedback, >> christopher buckley appeared at the 2014 book festival in columbia, south carolina, to talk about his book, "a collection of essays." you can watch that now on booktv. >> we're in for a celebration of what critics call the rare contribution of big ideas and truly fun writing. a new yorker by birth, christopher graduated cum laude from yale. by 24 he was managing editor of "esquire" magazine. by 29, chief speech writer to george herbert walker bush, the
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then-vice president of the united states and later the founding editor of ""forbes" fyi." his great books have great titles, and i think that's important. and they include "the white house mess," good title, "no way to treat a first lady." not about you, patricia, i don't think. [laughter] supreme courtship, what a great name, and thank you for smoking, by the way. his literary circle is reminiscent of that great algonquin round table, that celebrated group of new yorkers that met regularly for lunch during the 1920s. the likes of robert benchly, ruth hale, george kaufman and dorothy parker. the inheritors of that tradition included christopher buckley, but also the late joseph heller, the late christopher hitchens and martin amos. one can only imagine what those
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lunches were like. so, ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce the author of "but enough about you," a storyteller, a cultural critic and, if i may say, irreverent historian, mr. christopher buckley. let's welcome him. [applause] >> hello. would you please turn your cell phones back on? [laughter] what an honor to be introduced by dr. pastides. i've had the pleasure for some years now of getting to know him and his delightful and very beautiful wife, patricia, your
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first lady, who is a connecticut girl i point out with no small pride being a connecticut yankee myself. and she is also an author as, and you will be hearing from her at, later on at this festival. i, having identified myself as a connecticut yankee, i hasten to point out that i have -- can you hear me in the cheap seats back there? how much did you pay for those? [laughter] i hasten to point out that i have south carolina connections. my grandparents moved to camden in 1938, so i spent a lot of time growing up there. growing up is, in my case, an ongoing process. [laughter] my uncle reid lived in camden. he passed away just a month ago. and i miss him greatly.
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he ran the public -- the buckley school of public speaking. and lastly and perhaps, yes, certainly most importantly -- though i have the very good sense to marry a south carolina girl who is with us, sitting demurely by the exit. [laughter] whether katie showed good sense in marrying me is, well, let's not go there. katie went to medical school here in columbia, and her grandfather was a very distinguished south carolinian. his name was elliott springs, and he was from fort mill. he was a classmate of the aforementioned f. scott fitzgerald at princeton. a yankee institution of allegedly higher education. [laughter] and when the great war broke out, he volunteered as a fighter
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pilot and shot down a considerable number of huns. fockers. that's a technical airplane term. [laughter] eleven kills, actually, to be precise. and then he came home and wrote a novel about it called "warbirds," and it became a huge bestseller. but he was cleverer than most writers which is to say he did not continue to be a writer. [laughter] he, wanting to afford the finer things in life, he went into the family business, textiles. and made a far better living, i suspect, than he would have had he remained a writer. so how's that for south carolina connections? does that suffice? [applause] but, you know, even so, even so my in-laws still refer to me as that yankee katie went and done
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married. [laughter] but enough about them. as a matter of fact, the title of my new book is, indeed, "but enough about you." i'm not going to bore you by telling you how truly wonderful it is other than to say that it's attractively packaged. [laughter] and reasonably priced. [laughter] the, it's, you know, author introductions make me think of the "about the author" paragraph on the back flap of books. you're familiar with them. i know patricia is. these are the paragraphs that authors pretend they didn't write. [laughter] you know? considered the leading voice of his generation. considered the greatest writer since f. scott fitzgerald. no, i didn't write that.
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well, after a number of books, ty or six -- five or six, i sort of got bored with the "about the author" paragraph. there wasn't really anything more to say, hadn't been much to say to begin with. so i just started making them up. [laughter] and the "about the author" paragraph in this book said that he has been an adviser to every american president since william howard taft. [laughter] why not, right? so i was on about day ten of a book tour. book tours are, you know, instead of waterboarding and sending seal team six -- [laughter] they ought really just to send terrorists on book tours. you know, we'd have found out where bin laden was hiding much faster. [laughter] so you get a little punchy. and i was walking into, i was in
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boston on about day ten, and i was walking into an am drive time radio interview. and these are not generally occasions of socratic dialogue. [laughter] that's a greek term. [laughter] you know, there's sort of a hierarchy out there in radio land. out here you have npr and terry gross, fresh air, and down here you have the am drive time radio interview which consists of some ignoramus barking ignoramus questions at you between the traffic reports. so i walked into the studio, and the host -- to use a sort of a generous construction -- was, i saw him hunched oaf the "about -- over the "about the
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author" paragraph with beetling brow. and i knew, by way, this was all he would know about me. [laughter] and he looked up at me. his brow is now sort of beetling into kind of a cro-magnon aspect. and he said, you were an adviser to william howard taft? [laughter] and i said, yeah. [laughter] and now the brow is, you know, something was not right, but he was going to go with it. he said, so we could talk about that? i said, yeah, we can talk about that. [laughter] and we did. [laughter] i haven't been invited back, but -- [laughter] it was kind of worth it. [laughter] dr. pastides mentioned book titles. i thought i'd talk a little bit about those.
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they're -- anyone hazard a guess how many books are published in the united states every year? it's about a million. i'm not sure they all get read. most of them, anyway, are by joyce carol oates. [laughter] and the others are all titled "50 shades of grey." [laughter] i think, you know, titles are very important. a title is a brand name, and, you know, you go into a bookstore -- you remember bookstores? you know, there are one or two left. and, you know, you see this vast array in front of you. so i think it's important to, you know, catch the, try to catch the attention. of the reader before he goes and buys another volume of "50 shades of grey." but, you know, literature is
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full of some titles that almost came into being. f. scott fitzgerald, whose papers reside here, famously wanted to call ""the great gatsby" trimalchial in east egg. pretty catchy. [laughter] i don't need to tell this audience that, of course, that's the rich patron in -- [inaudible] because you already knew that, right? [laughter] or you could take another influential writer of the 20th century, adolf hitler. hitler's original title for "mein kampf," that "lighthearted romp, was my four and a half year struggle against lies, stupidity and cowardice. you know, would you have wanted
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to be the fiewr record's editor? tell him the title sucks. [laughter] no, you tell him. [laughter] sometimes titles get into trouble when they're translated into other languages. this them promy happened to john -- them promy happened to john steinbeck when his novel, "the grapes of wrath" appeared in japan under the title "angry raisins." [laughter] you wonder how moby dick would have made out. [laughter] really angry whale. [laughter] speaking of fish, peter benchly, the grandson of robert benchly -- he of the algonquin round table -- had a hard time
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coming up for the title of his famous book. come on, we need a title. and they had gotten it down to three choices, "the jaws of death," "leviathan rising" and "the shark." so you probably be figured out what book we're talking about here. and his father, nathaniel benchly, mischievously proposed why don't you call it "who's that noshing on my leg?" [laughter] you can imagine the opening bars in the movie finish. ♪ ♪ who's that noshing on many i leg? -- on my leg? slightly undercut it. so anyway, you know, titles are problematic. joe heller's "catch 22" was originally titled "catch 18" for the eight years that he was working on it. it was "catch 18." and then just before "catch 22"
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was to be published in august of 1961, his publisher called him and said, well, there's this guy leon who's bringing out a novel called mila 18. okay, so we can't have two books with the number 18 in them. and joe was, you know, he was beside himself. so that's why you didn't have a catch 18 experience today at the department of motor vehicles. [laughter] some -- this book is, this very reasonably priced book is called with "but enough about you." my first collection some years ago, it's always a big moment in any writer's life when you have enough to recycle old stuff. publishers hate collections because they don't sell, but i'm sure today you're going to prove them wrong. [laughter] anyway, being a, you know,
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having enough for a collection is a big deal for every writer, so i was very puffed up and full of self-importance. as opposed to, say, now. [laughter] i i was much younger then. and so i said, well, let's call it oovre to you. [laughter] get it? that being the classic french word for oov. [laughter] the only, the trouble is when an american pronounces this world, it sounds like a prelude to vomit. [laughter] and this was not the random house idea of a selling point, you know, the vomitory aspect. so they said, no, let's not call it that. so there was a piece in the book about an experience i had. i said let's call it "want to buy a dead dictator."
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and they said -- it requires some explanation. in 1991 i found myself, i was the editor of a magazine at "forbes," and i had a readership of 900,000 "forbes" readers. and communism had just fallen, the soviet union had fallen. those days boris yeltsin -- remember -- don't you miss boris yeltsin? [laughter] god, he was such an improvement on what we have now. but he was always having to get up and stand on tanks and prevent, you know, a coup. and i became sort of obsessed with the fact that the russians had gotten rid of communism. they still had lenin's embalmed corpse on red scare, the sleeping beauty from hell. although the lines to view it are much shorter now. [laughter] there are actually alternatives
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now on saturday night, you know? what do you want to do tonight? let's go see lenin's body again. [laughter] perfect date, you know? so i thought, well, let's see if we can give mr. lenin a push. so i wrote with up a hoax -- i wrote up a hoax article saying that we had just received some very hot information that the russians were so strapped for hard currency that they were going to auction off lenin's corpse. [laughter] they were very concerned that this be done in a dignified hander. [laughter] manner. and the corpse could not be used for crass commercial purposes. you know, underarm deodorant ads or floor wax. [laughter] and that it would be, the auction would be conducted by sealed bids. so then i had to figure out what
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the opening bid would be for a dictator. and this was pre-ebay. now we'd know in ten seconds, you know? [laughter] it would be -- so i thought 15 million sort of felt right. so i said 15 million. and so we, one night about 4:30 in the afternoon when, you know, news organizations -- this is, you know, before the 24/7 news cycle. those good, old, blessed days. [laughter] so we faxed it out to about 40 or 50 news outlets thinking maybe we'll get an ap wire story. and the switchboard lit up like a christmas tree, so we went home. [laughter] so we wouldn't have to lie. [laughter] we're journalists. we have ethics, you know? [laughter] so a couple of hours later i'm
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at home on the nordic track ski, you know, ski machine, my ever-continuing battle of the bulge, and i was watching peter jennings' "world news tonight," and up came lenin's embalmed face. [laughter] i thought, oh chit. [laughter] it was funny, kind of like being remember when you were a kid and you put a rock on the railroad track, you know, and the next day the grown-ups are talking about the derailment? [laughter] ah. so the next morning at about six my phone rang, and it was steve forbes, the -- [laughter] and this was a little earlier than steve typically called me. [laughter] in fact, steve had never called me. [laughter] in fact, steve never called me ever again. [laughter] and he said the russians have
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gone ballistic. and it was like that scene in the movie "dr. strangelove," you remember they come in to say, mr. president, it's premier kissoff on the hotline, and he's hopping mad. [laughter] and the minister of the interior had had to, had broken into russian tv programming, into the russian oprah. the mind boggles. oprah with a wart in the middle of her forehead. [laughter] i always wondered about the soviet union. here's a country with 30,000 nuclear warheads and no dermatologists. [laughter] everyone had a wart. [laughter] and then we got gorbachev, and he had, you know, that whole thing. [laughter] anyway, he had broken into russian programming to reassure an anxious nation that he was
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not planning secretly to auction off the corpse of lenin, and he took pains to denounce me personally -- [laughter] as a brazen liar and an international provocateur. [laughter] i thought, cool. [laughter] so eventually everyone got their sense of humor back. maybe except the interior minister. six months later i was on the train going up to new york from washington. i openedañ my washington post, d there was a huge, huge headline, "kremlin deluged request offers -- with offers for lenin." [laughter] and the weird thing about it was if this was a hoax, it would have been a front page story. it was a big, big story. but it had apparently eluded the 900,000 readers before it, they
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were apparently too busy to read newspapers. how reassuring. [laughter] and they, they were, you know, just avid to have this bit of -- [inaudible] and the top bid had come in from dallas, texas. [laughter] not, alas, from ross perot which would have made it perfect, but it was a company with a letter that only an american could win. we just completed our corporate headquarters down here in dallas, and is aye discussed this -- i've discussed this with our interior designer, and he says, he thinks mr. lenin would make a fine adecision to our lobby. [laughter] addition to our lobby. [laughter] so anyway, there was that story in the book. so i could tell that story on charlie rose if i could get a word in edge wise. [laughter] and they said, no, you know, the word "dead" and "dictator," it's
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not really selling. and this, i don't know, maybe this goes to the sort of whole pointlessness of attempting satire in america. [laughter] because, you know, you're really in, basically, a losing contest with tomorrow's front page. i was introduced once, i spoke somewhere in ohio. it was one of those civic occasions at 11:00 in the morning where you're looking out over a sea of a thousand, sort of 50 shades of blue hair. [laughter] and all women. and, you know, four grumpy husbands who had been dragged along said, come on, elmer, you're going to get some culture today. they're sitting there, god. and the very sweet lady introducing me, the hostess, chairman of the lecture committee, introduced me as a satirist. [laughter]
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and she kept repeating it. she kept going back to it and saying, well, you know, he first really became a satirist -- [laughter] anyway, there was -- so i said we still needed a title, i said to random house, okay, well, less call it bassholes. laugh and the story behind that is as follows. i used to write short humor pieces for the back page of the new yorker, and i'd become sort of fascinated and on accessed by the proliferation of books on fly fishing. ..
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so if i wanted to have some fun with that, i wrote a piece that was sort of they -- it was just a review in brief of the new batch of books on fly-fishing, you know, like one paragraph each like that of publishers weekly. one of the books was peter benchley novel called deals about a vengeful. [laughter] and then there was a book called bass holds. and this was an attack on bass fisherman by a very proceed, you know, barbers dry fly why fishing purists it thought that all bass fisherman care about is
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women with big breasts and cold beer which sounded pretty good to me. so this being america, a piece came out. people started going to bookstores asking for these books. [laughter] and they were furious that they could not find them. it would go to the guy at barnes and noble and the counter. and the book they wanted was basil. so he would go, you know go we don't carry basshole. i read about this in the new yorker. you have to have it. we still don't have it. i said to random house to look, i have done the market research. [laughter] they're is a hunger in the land. they said, no. kristine new yorkers. i still needed the title.
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so i said, okay. i've got it. let's call it, look out president park. their reaction was pretty much yours. [laughter] what the hell is he talking about. the story behind that was that i went to work for the white house in 1981. this was shortly after john hinckley shot president reagan and members of his staff. john wilkes booth shot lincoln to avenge the south. john hinckley shot president reagan to impress jodie foster, and there, and a way, you have the trajectory of idealism and the american political assassin. but it was an ascension, and if you remember what they called for a caroling staff of mr. mr. bush's traveling staff, the french would call it entourage.
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the french usually have the more elegant term, you were given a briefing by the secret service on sort of what to look for in a suspicious-looking audience like this, you know, to be an extra pair of eyes and the years. and this place in a darkened basement room in the old executive office building, that marvelous building rednecks of the white house what looks like a victorian wedding cake. it is quite my favorite building and all washington. and it -- sitting in a darkened basement watching home assassination of peace, america's least funny home videos with expert commentary by secret service agents, some of whom have been there in dallas. you know, we have those approver firm backward and forward, you know, the ultimate debbie down a movie.
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we have our brimmer shooting george wallace. and then we had this arresting bit of footage of an attempt on president park of south korea. you surely remember president park of south korea. i know patricia does. and he is in -- he is at a podium, much like this, a slightly larger crowd of 5,000, 6,000 people. my typical audience size as much, much smaller. and the stage is full of his secret service guys, guys would dark glasses and earpieces. they have machine guns at the ready. and mrs. park is sitting over here. she is over here sitting, looking. do you have to do this?
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she is looking up at him, you know, with an expression. no, my god, i just love the speech. this is my absolute favorite part. he is getting to the part where we are going to dump on the american market. and so in the middle of the assegai appears. it starts to walk down the aisle right in front of the podium. you know, taking his time, practically positive smoke a cigarette. he gets to about hair and reaches in and pulled out a 357 magnum. and he takes his time getting comfortable. he wants to get a good platform. then he starts firing. blank, blank, blank, blank at the podium. president park just does this.
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like this happens all the time. beacon almost here and going, but kept, and it is part. undying appeared. and now his secret service detail since this -- [laughter] -- that something is a mess panther-like reflexes. one of and does something that about was interesting for my career at point of view. he goes over and take cover behind mrs. park. and let's hope it never comes to this. he is trading shouts of the sky using the first lady as a shield and i am -- it is now very quiet in this room where we are watching this. i was just a pot smoking in was
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manager who had gone down to washington to do a speech writing gate. our starting the have and i don't think alan kansas anymore tow moment the agent says, we don't do it this way. and i said, i bet. could. i like that. like that part. he said, if something goes down, which is the phrase. i have managed to live my life up to this point without the phrase it's going down. he said, if something goes down you basically have two choices. you know, you can talk or you can take the ground. [laughter] i said, i got the back part. we will was the second part? as long as i was of george
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herbert walker bush are was reasonably confident that if it came to that i were probably go for the dark, option. anyway, random house said, no, you know, south korean presidents are not really big selling points. so we needed -- i still needed the title. i said, okay, this -- i got it. college food. and this sort of -- well, there was a story in the book. i was 29 years old when i went down to washington d.c. to be a speechwriter, chief speech writer to vice-president of the united states we do have to imagine austin powers sign that. and i was -- you know, about this is bake. this is really big. this is going to change history. my speeches are going to be reprinted in full, front page
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new york times, analyzed and the kremlin. not him again. and then give you know, i got there, and it took about 72 hours to figure out that no one particularly cares what a vice president says. we could never even get press coverage for any of his in-town speeches. the only guy we got was this guy from c-span who would come and set out his camera. this is in case someone shot him so they would have b-roll. and so it was frustrating. one day in december 1981, the cold war heated up. the cold war. so much more ominous one. the polls declared martial law.
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there were or russian tank divisions moving in. we are going from defcon for the defcon three. gile is one of the data be began the picks of the phone and says, go the defcon three. i sometimes do that. we remained adrift on for. no one took me very seriously. so and the west wing to mr. bush in recognition of his having been a fine vice-president, a good team player, george, we will give the official u.s. response to this provocation. now every media outlet in the world care what george bush was going. so he was giving a speech.
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so i wrote the speech with a little input from the grown-ups. live network feeds. and being a highly intellectual, highly educated-type person i went to bartlett's familiar quotations and found a quotation from the city's. [laughter] it is nice to have a little bit of classical parsley on the plight. and it was pretty apt. whatever it was. so mr. bush is up their giving a speech what a magnificent man he is. i think we are just beginning to realize how fortunate we were as a country have been. he is doing great, doing fine. i am just a billing. i am sitting at the staff table
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with al murphy, the 4-star navy admiral who is mr. bush's chief of staff. and i had been with benedict and months for four years in boarding school and thought i knew something about authority figures. then i went to work for of four-star navy admiral. boy, are they strict. [laughter] and so until he gets to of thucydides and something happens. as the greek historian. [laughter] he walks of looking for a continent. and admiral murphy giving me the call on pawlenty of i didn't make up this word. it was like being in the malls of half.
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push. c'mon. finally. at mom murphy came up and jabbed me in the chest with his finger. next time say plato. so that was the dawn of the platonic year. bush rhetoric. the random house said : no. so there was a piece. when school it wish i said that. this is a piece that had done for all things considered. i have been called for jury duty in d.c.
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this is a civic duty of every american, but not an experience that particularly recommend in d.c. there is surely no more prophetic site and 72 adults trying to squirm out of doing their civic duty. and so this was during the process called partier, which is french for intermodal process that makes regret ever having registered to vote. in the, you know, porridge is going to the questions. we're all trying to get out on some technicality pieces, does anyone have any connection to anyone in law enforcement. the time i was married to a cia
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officer. i thought,. remembering what course cooter living with through, it is not a good idea to share of the name of your life with is a deep cover cna an officer. i was not about to let this go. i held my hand. his on-air look to me. it said, your honor, may i approach? i had seen this on law-and-order and he said, approach. i thought, cool. so i approached and spent the next three weeks on the jury. a friend of mine about my big moment in court. he had served with the special forces, green berets in vietnam.
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he listened patiently answered, is the first time i get to see cover me which of my big moment in some perspective and got me thinking about that most of us don't get to say the really cool lines that you hear in real life and others erin least like george wars bunch, clamp, sutures, three, two, one, ignition, up to periscope. in my case it will it would have been down periscope after ramming some innocent japanese research vessel. and let's get the hell of him. but what about the survivors? screw the survivors. this is my career. the -- i will close this with a story that was told to me by my
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dear friend christopher hichens to him this book is dedicated. it is purportedly a true story. a magistrate in scotland and it town drunk had been brought before him for the umpteenth time. he was just sick and tired of seeing this guy. he looked about his nose and said, you have been found guilty of the crime of public drunkenness, and it is the sentence of this court the be taken from here to a place of execution and their and buy your neck until dead. may god almighty of mercy upon initial. the two fainted. and the bailiff sort of looks up at the magistrate. the ministers said, i just always wanted.
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i had been asked by my kind host to answer any questions you might have, questions about the bulk sales of books. i believe the limit is ten to a customer, but you can also place orders for additional ones. anyway, would be happy to -- happy to fill up the balance. yields to use the balance of my time. any questions? yes, in the back. [inaudible question]
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>> you just heard it. [laughter] mr. bush was a delightful guy to work for. he was always the paradox of writing for mr. bush was that he was really always better without the tax. he was not a guy. and he had this -- you know, he was -- mr. bush had these wonderful contrarieties, to use a word my dad probably would have used. he was, you know, one of the most athletic of people, one of the most graceful, captain of the yale baseball team. and he had this sort of funny,. after he left the white house in
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'93, i guess it would have been, he was an avid golfer. he went out to pebble beach to play in a program charity golf tournament where they have a lot of the other celebrities. bill clinton, i think was there. clint eastwood. you know, the usual suspects. and, you know, it was being televised. so he is teeing off the first tee. and he sliced wickedly. a very hard loss in to this call of a female spectator. it made this sort of horrible liquid sound. and she is lying there. the medics are applying pressure bandages. mr. bush, the most polite and considered human being. just the nicest episcopalian ever in history from greenwich, conn.
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he is apologizing. out, my god. but because it was televised president clinton said, i really have to keep going. so a couple of hours later he is lining up his butt on the 17th hole, i guess i would call it. he looks over, there's a woman in a wheelchair with her head swathed in bandages. oh, my god. he runs over and starts apologizing to her all over again. unto sorry. mr. president, that is someone else. she was sent by clint eastwood. [laughter] when i first went to work for him we were always going on
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trips. his model bless you die, i fly. on one of these troops, so whenever we are in a foreign country we would go to the american embassy and do a little more of posting. he was very good at that. and it left him. and this was to five excuse me, again, 1981 after the hinckley shooting. anti told the story about reagan , which i think it is wonderfully eloquent. he said that one day he went to see president reagan in the hospital, george torsion an awful. and so he is ushered into the room and goes and and finds himself alone in a hospital room there's no president reagan and the bathroom doors open. he hears president reagan say,
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oh, george, i am in here. so he, you know, he goes over. president reagan, the leader of the free world, is down on his hands and knees mopping. mr. bush says, wrong, what are you doing? well, spills and water. i did not want them are stacked in and out. and, you know, it -- in retrospect it is a story that, you know, could be told about george bush. you would have been down there mopping up water or water river of it was. he used to it, you know, he is a houstonian. he used to stay in washington on christmas so his secret service detail could have christmas with their families.
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he was a wasp mensch, you know. and he was also, i'll tell you something else, the most sentimental man i think there have never known. this blue blooded 29 under. this -- george bush has is tear ducts of a sicilian grant, and. if they play the national anthem he started delivering. a marvelous man, one of the great blessings of my life was to have had the a venture of working for him. one more story? another question? the question. [inaudible question]
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>> not my headline. [inaudible question] >> to you know the context? in october of 2008i had a blog for my old friend's new website called the daily beast. and i simultaneously had a column in the national review. you know of national review. and in mid october of the
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election cycle i, in the company of a number of other conservative writers, david brooks, a number roadblock in written answers to my serious -- i give my reasons about why was want to vote for barack obama and not mccain palin. remember who else was on that ticket. well, well, well. and then the beast, teaneck, but that's somewhat mischievous headline. sorry, dad. i am voting for obama. my dad had died in february. well past giving it was voting for. sorry to put it that way, but
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that would be an innovation to say all hell broke loose, but it was a bit of a tempest in a teapot. the teapot was misled in larger when national review fired me as a columnist, which was even funnier since i was on the board of directors. [laughter] i technically owned 1/7. and anyway, the story's sort of took on a life of its own. now, are you asking me, did i -- qi regret? , it -- no, i don't regret that. i do not regret to not voting for john mccain and sarah palin.
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yes. i don't know that my current views on president obama or any interest. i am probably, if mitt romney talked about the of 47%, were poorly rank myself among the 41% in mr. obama's current approval rating for nonoperating. i am a little disappointed, frankly. and i think at that time i said, i -- one of the reasons i am going to vote for him is because i think he, as was said of fdr, had a first-class temperament. diane -- ibm -- i am -- i am not -- i
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am not so sure . in no, whenever i see him giving a speech, i think, you know, this is a dignified, attractive, smart guy, but i think he is a little aloof. here is guy who's spent four hours golfing with mayor bloomberg recently. did not ask one question. now, if you were a politician, president of the united states and you had four hours with a very smart mayor of new york, might you ask a question? in node, howdy you handle this, how you handle that? friends among world leaders. i think this is one of the remarkable things that has emerged. in my prattling on?
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i think this is one of the remarkable things about george it to we bush. i was on the tv show week ago. walter isaacson, very smart guy and a democrat and a liberal. we were talking about george bush. he said, i think he may have been our best foreign policy president. and i think, you know, we are starting to realize just how all extraordinary a guy we have in george bush, a guy who was willing to go back on read my lips. enormous, enormous political cost to himself. how many people are there on the national stage like that willing to do that? what were we talking about? [inaudible question]
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[laughter] >> he was a mensch. and he had a sense of humor, too . after he stopped being president, the yale law school offered him chair of law at yale. he replied that he could not except that chair, but he could accept a sofa. [inaudible question] ..
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>> you'd have to -- to use a coinage that you've probably heard down here, you'd have tok pry this from my cold, dead fingers. [laughter] but i think, you know, i think we've made, i think we've -- i think there's been a terrible trade-off. who, you know, we live in the age of gotcha, you know? what politician would sort of dare to be original or say
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something, ah, you know? i think it's made, i think it's made politics harsher and more discordant. it is, of course, a fallacy of the highest order that you suppose that politics is nastier now than it used to be. my god! you know, it used to be probably far nastier. but it's, but i think it's, i think it's the 24/7, the internet, the blogging have become, are enemies of reasoned discourse. yeah, you can start a revolution in egypt with twitter. is that a good thing? i think maybe i'm not sure.
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i'm not sure. >> tell us about london the. >> london. well, still there. [laughter] the queen. >> [inaudible] >> i was. we were actually in wore chest shire -- wore worcestershire. i'm the only person you'll ever hear uttering the words i'm wintering in worcestershire this year. [laughter] we did. >> [inaudible] >> well, that was before. i'm going to brag on my wife. we went, she took me along a couple of years ago, she was getting -- she has more advanced degrees than a person with a lot of advanced degrees. [laughter]


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