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Those who followed yesterday’s inaugural opening on TV saw a counterfeit version. One of the most anticipated events was the invocation delivered the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire. HBO negotiated for and got an exclusive for the event, and then decided that America didn’t really need to hear from Bishop Robinson—his words didn’t make the broadcast (although HBO says that the “the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show”). As Dan Savage wrote, “When you’re throwing folks a bone it’s a good idea to make sure they can, you know, see the bone.” Here’s the invocation:
A representative of the Presidential Inaugural Committee is disputing HBO’s claims. “We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program. We regret the error in executing this plan.” HBO is also now reported to be planning to reedit the tape of the concert to include the invocation.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”