Arbor Update

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Local Totter Accommodates Former President

2. May 2007 • Dale Winling
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Frequent commenter Homeless Dave enticed former President and U-M’s 2007 commencement speaker Bill Clinton onto some backyard playground equipment this past weekend while Clinton was in town for graduation.

Highlights include:

BC: Yeah, paws! Raaaahr, I’m a polar bear!!



  1. Dave, if you want to take us through the whole excruciating process of getting Clinton on the totter, I, for one, would love to hear it. I bet Governor Granholm is now regretting she didn’t totter this fall.


       —Dale    May. 2 '07 - 04:26PM    #
  2. The blog also references a bit of geek trivia (which I was previously unaware of, anyway), not mentioned in the interview itself.


       —Bruce Fields    May. 2 '07 - 04:34PM    #
  3. OMG, sweet!


       —js    May. 2 '07 - 11:34PM    #
  4. I just finished A Peoples’ History of the United States (fourth edition, 1999.) Clinton highlights:

    - The “Crime Bill” (a better nickname for him than Slick Willy?) of 1996 in which he expanded the death penalty and put $8 billion into new prisons.

    - Signed legislation to remove welfare benefits from both illegal and legal immigrants.

    - Budget balancing at the expense of the poor, unemployed, and uninsured while continuing exhorbitant military spending and other economic benefits to corporations.

    - Approved the sale of F-16s and other offensive weaponry to the Suharto regime of Indonesia for use in their genocidal acts in East Timor.

    - Waco.

    - NAFTA.

    - The forced resignation of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders for talking about masturbation. (Hmm. I wonder if he regrets not listening to her.)

    - Extensive bombing of Baghdad plus sanctions of Iraq that resulted in the deaths of tens to hundreds of thousands of children.

    Congrats, HD. You had a real live terrorist in your back yard.


       —Steve Bean    May. 3 '07 - 10:37PM    #
  5. I am skeptical.

    Pictures of Clinton at graduation show him wearing a different shirt and tie. also according to the Michigan Daily the reason commencement ceremonies were delayed was because Clinton’s flight was delaed getting out of New York. Although maybe that’s just an excuse so as not have to admit the delay was teeter-totter related.

    also, the board clinton is sitting on looks different than all the other boards of previous guests…

    Jess Piskor


       —Jess Piskor    May. 4 '07 - 11:42AM    #
  6. “You had a real live terrorist in your back yard.”

    “Pictures of Clinton at graduation show him wearing a different shirt and tie.”

    Why won’t either of you admit the possibility that a guy could change?

    “Although maybe that’s just an excuse so as not have to admit the delay was teeter-totter related.”

    Well, a careful reading of the interview will show that the root cause of the delay was actually not teeter-totter related, but parking related. Which is beautiful. And beauty is truth.


       —Bruce Fields    May. 4 '07 - 05:03PM    #
  7. At fist I thought totally cool, but it seems with the last minute thing that HD just wasn’t ready for what will be one of his biggest interviews of his life (sorry hd, just my opinion)

    Steve- your so fucking left it hurts. I mean physically hurts. What you read was not a history book, as the author has very political bias that he is trying to push.

    From; http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=8145

    In an effort to bolster his arguments against putting criminals in jail, aggressive law enforcement tactics, and President Clinton’s crime bill, Zinn contends that in spite of all this “violent crime continues to increase.” It doesn’t. Like much of Zinn’s rhetoric, if you believe the opposite of what he says in this instance you would be correct. According to a Department of Justice report released in September of 2002, the violent crime rate has been cut in half since 1993.

    For instance, Zinn claims that “George Washington was the richest man in America.” He wasn’t, but it makes for a good story. Perhaps the wealthiest man being rewarded with the run of the government is too compelling a concept for a Marxist to discard—even when it isn’t true. Whatever the reason for the inclusion of this falsehood, it’s one that can be easily disproved. Despite having substantial debts owed to British moneylenders in the late 1760s and early 1770s, as well as having to borrow money to travel to New York upon his election to the presidency, George Washington certainly rose to accumulate great wealth in his lifetime—even if he was chronically cash-poor. His last will and testament estimates his accumulated wealth at $530,000. That certainly qualified him as rich, but clearly there were men of greater means roaming America during his lifetime. Robert Morris, who eventually lost his wealth, was the Founding era’s wealthiest merchant. Moses Brown, whose family’s name graces an Ivy League university, was another contemporary of Washington’s whose wealth in that era exceeded that of the nation’s first president. Zinn is wrong.

    oh, but I forget, your so left that you’ll just say that is right wing bashing, so, here is criticism from the left;

    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=385

    money phrase “POINTING OUT what’s wrong with Zinn’s passionate tome is not difficult for anyone with a smattering of knowledge about the American past. By why has this polemic disguised as history attracted so many enthusiastic readers?”

    Now, Steve, this would be OK is you where in high school, but you really need to learn to research topics you speak on and developing your own opinion, rather then regurgitating some stupid idiots shit


       —just a voice    May. 5 '07 - 01:03PM    #
  8. jav, so you scold the previous poster for not developing his own opinion and for “regurgitating” Howard Zinn. But in your post, instead of giving your personal opinion of Zinn’s books, you copy passages you have found from two other opinions. You have apparently adopted these opinions, which include perceived inaccuracies in Zinn’s work, as “your” opinion, which of course would save you the time of having to actually read any of Zinn’s books. Interesting irony.


       —just a comment    May. 7 '07 - 11:28AM    #
  9. Dale Winling wrote: “Dave, if you want to take us through the whole excruciating process of getting Clinton on the totter, I, for one, would love to hear it.”

    There’s actually a little discussion of this in the latest Talk with Derek Mehraban in the context of the local effort to bring Seth Godin—someone not quite as hard a ‘get’ as Clinton, but still not easy by any stretch—to speak at the Michigan Theater (check the events listed in the right sidebar of Arbor Update under 22 May for details).

    However, I can’t imagine anything more excruciating for AU readers than slogging through a description of the layers upon layers of preparation that went into getting Clinton to appear on the totter. Because in the end, what just-a-voice alludes to is an appropriate question to ask in general: was the advance preparation adequate to produce top-quality talk on the totter? For this one, I have to concede that a fair number of people have conveyed to me their disappointment in one or more aspects of the Talk.

    Will that make me change the way I prepare? By nature, I’m not inclined to. But Bruce Fields’ optimism above about “the possibility that a guy could change” makes me think I should at least reflect on it.


       —HD    May. 7 '07 - 02:44PM    #
  10. just a voice,

    “What you read was not a history book, as the author has very political bias that he is trying to push.”

    Actually, it’s both. It’s a history from other perspectives than I learned in high school, which is why I read it. Zinn openly admits his bias in the Afterword. I appreciate his bias—it’s informative.

    “Now, Steve, this would be OK is you where in high school, but you really need to learn to research topics you speak on and developing your own opinion, rather then regurgitating some stupid idiots shit”

    just a comment covered this, but I’ll add that I lived through the Clinton years and have personal knowledge of numerous reports of each of the items I referenced. (Sad that jac chose to post anonymously [ahem], but it’s understandable, isn’t it, given how you responded? I’m referring to the colorful name-calling, not the preemptive pigeonholing or the patronizing tone you used later.)

    I read the two pieces you cited. They each contain ironies throughout and apparent misinterpretations of Zinn’s meaning or intention (from my reading of it.) They’re not worthless, though—they offer additional historical accounts and some (limited, but I won’t get into the details) corrections, and the latter includes names of other historians. Both poke fun(?) at Matt Damon. Neither includes book titles except for those of the authors in the author’s blurb at the end (“Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Why the Left Hates America: Exposing the Lies That Have Obscured Our Nation’s Greatness” and “Michael Kazin’s latest book, co-authored with Maurice Isserman, is America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s.”)

    Thanks for the links. Any book recommendations? I’m reading The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe, and will move on to David Korten’s The Great Turning after that.


       —Steve Bean    May. 7 '07 - 06:45PM    #
  11. I’ll add that my statement that Clinton is (okay, Bruce, was) a terrorist (or yet more precisely, committed acts of terrorism) is my own opinion. Zinn didn’t use that word.

    Also, with regard to the following passage from the article you cited, just a voice:

    “In an effort to bolster his arguments against putting criminals in jail, aggressive law enforcement tactics, and President Clinton’s crime bill, Zinn contends that in spite of all this “violent crime continues to increase.” It doesn’t. Like much of Zinn’s rhetoric, if you believe the opposite of what he says in this instance you would be correct. According to a Department of Justice report released in September of 2002, the violent crime rate has been cut in half since 1993.”

    Zinn was quoting from a New York Times article from 1996 which commented on “harsher sentencing since 1973” and pointed out that “yet violent crime continued to increase.”

    Your source seems to be the one dishing the misleading rhetoric in this case.

    I’ll be returning the book to the downtown library sometime this week. You can put it on hold (at any branch) at aadl.org.


       —Steve Bean    May. 7 '07 - 11:06PM    #
  12. Speaking of “Clinton”, Hillary has fallen to second place among likely Democratic primary voters nationally, according to Rasmussen Reports. This group has been polling weekly since January 17. In its April 30 poll, the results were:

    Obama 32%
    Clinton 30%
    Edwards 17%

    Check out the full story at http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/2008_democratic_presidential_primary.


       —David Cahill    May. 8 '07 - 01:56PM    #
  13. JAC,

    yes, I was aware of the irony of my response when I made it. I didn’t have the book in front of me, so my ability to critique it would be very limited. Instead I tried to show both right and left criticism in order to make the point that the book is considered hogwash by many.

    Also, when using a anonymous handle, pick something different, simply for the sake of people not confusing JaC and JaV

    Steve,

    “Actually, it’s both. It’s a history from other perspectives than I learned in high school”

    now, first off, your argument means that holocaust deniers books aren’t anything but ‘history from other perspectives’.

    Now, if a book has flat out historical inaccuracies, and they don’t change them with new printings of the book, then what you have is something that CAN NOT be called a history book, since there is no concern for getting the facts straight or correcting mistakes.


       —just a voice    May. 9 '07 - 12:34PM    #
  14. jav, I only concealed my identity because you were concealing yours (and I was somewhat ashamed of joining you in hijacking the thread). But screw it, anonymous handles are for pussies (and nobody is posting about teetering Bill, anyway), and I certainly don’t want people to confuse us with each other. :-)
    (Mild insults and name-calling are considered civil discourse when one adds the little smiley.)

    You attribute the irony of your post to the fact that you didn’t have “People’s History…” right in front of you to critique. Should this be taken to mean that you *previously had the book in front of you, that is, that you have actually read it?

    Because if you haven’t ever actually read the book you were critiquing….... well….. that would be even more irony. (Which again, you may have already been aware of.)


       —Michael Schils (formerly 'just a comment')    May. 9 '07 - 04:16PM    #
  15. Today’s New York Times reports that Clinton is behind John Edwards and Barack Obama in Iowa polling. The times features a memo from a Clinton aide suggesting that she should abandon Iowa. Clinton has disavowed the memo.


       —David Cahill    May. 24 '07 - 01:21PM    #