Eulogy Of The Dog

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog,” said former US President Harry Truman.

The sentiment says much about loyalty and friendship in politics. It has been borrowed and reworked in political circles the world over.

But George Vest probably said it first, exactly 144 years ago today.

Vest is remembered for his closing arguments in an 1870 trial over the shooting of a hunting dog called Old Drum. Vest’s statement was inserted in the Congressional Record as part of a speech delivered by Senator Robert Byrd on April 23, 1990.

George Graham Vest (1830-1904) was a lawyer and a politician who served as a Missouri Congressman, a Confederate Congressman during the Civil War, and finally a US Senator.

Partial transcript of the Address to the Jury by George Vest, in the Johnson County Circuit Court in Wattensburg, Missouri.

VestGentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. [Read more…]


Lem Johns, LBJ Bodyguard, Dies; Witness To JFK Assassination, Spattered With Paint In Australia

Lem Johns, the United States Secret Service agent who was spattered with paint during President Lyndon Johnson’s visit to Australia in 1966, has died, at the age of 88.

Johns, with his right hand raised, can be seen in the picture below on the right hand side of Johnson’s limousine. The incident occurred during a demonstration in Melbourne.

LBJ

Johnson’s visit in October 1966 came just one month before the federal election of November 26. The election was conducted amidst vigorous public debate about Australia’s commitment of conscripted troops to the war in Vietnam. [Read more…]


This Day, 50 Years Ago: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated on this day 50 years ago.

Like today, November 22 in 1963 was also a Friday. The murder of the 35th US President took place at 3.30am Saturday, AEST. Most Australians heard the news when they awoke on Saturday morning.

JFK

I was a young boy in Grade 2, living in rural Australia. Television had not yet arrived in country areas and I’m sure this is the main reason I have next to no memory of the assassination. I do recall seeing newspaper reports of Kennedy’s death and a sense of confusion when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby. My child’s mind could barely make sense of the names and the events. I have an indistinct recollection of talking about it with my mother. I have no memory of the event being discussed at school. [Read more…]


Obama Remembers Kennedy on 50th Anniversary

President Barack Obama delivered a speech today in commemmoration of the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.

The speech was given at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C.

Watch John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address on January 20, 1961:

Full text of President Obama’s speech.

Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. To Caroline and the Kennedy family, to all the members of Congress and distinguished guests here tonight, it is an extraordinary pleasure to join you to mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. (Applause.) And I can’t think of a better place to do it than here, in a living memorial that reflects not only his love of the arts, but also his recognition of how the arts can help sustain our national strength. (Applause.)

Now, we mark this anniversary with a measure of sadness, as we remember the extraordinary life of Sargent Shriver –(applause) — a man who embodied the spirit of the New Frontier as well as anybody. When a person passes away, there’s often an urge to define their legacy, and find a way in which it will endure. In the case of Sarge, that is not hard to do. His legacy is written in the villages around the world that have clean water or a new school through the Peace Corps. It’s written into the lives of all the children in our own country whose fortunes have been lifted through Head Start. And it will endure in the work of his children who are living out his legacy of service, and our thoughts and prayers are with them tonight. [Read more…]


Super Tuesday Election Speeches: Obama, Clinton, McCain, Huckabee, Romney

These are the main election night speeches from the 2008 Super Tuesday round of primaries.

The Democratic candidates are Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.

The Republican candidates are Senator John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. [Read more…]


Arianna Huffington: Bush Leaves No Bride Behind

Arianna Huffington has attacks President George W. Bush, following his State of the Union Address.

THE STATE OF THE UNION: BUSH LEAVES NO BRIDE BEHIND

by Arianna Huffington

Signaling that the Pander Countdown to Election Day 2004 has begun in earnest, President Bush spiced up Tuesday’s State of the Union speech by tossing a bone, if not a garter belt and a bible, to his conservative base, which is up in arms over the thought that gay people may soon have the right to legally tie and untie the knot — and thus make a mockery of the sacred institution that Britney and Jason are such big fans of. He did this by tiptoeing up to the edge of saying “I do” to supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the exclusive province of heterosexual couples. [Read more…]


Former President Clinton’s Farewell Remarks

This is the text of a speech delivered by former President Bill Clinton, shortly after the inauguration of President George W. Bush.

It was given at Andrews Air Force Base as the Clintons prepared to fly to New York.

  • Watch extracts of Clinton’s speech (3m)

Speech by former President Bill Clinton, following the inauguration of President George W. Bush.

Well, first let me say, on behalf of Hillary and Chelsea and myself, we thank you for coming, we’re glad to see you.

You know how it is. When you leave the White House, you wonder if you’ll ever draw a crowd again.

So it was nice to come in here and see so many old friends. [Read more…]