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An email, slightly edited, from Martha Regula of the National First Ladies’ Library complaining about a piece I wrote discussing earmarks funneled to her institution:
Let me point out just a few of the factual errors in your article, not to mention that your entire premise is completely incorrect. It is the National First Ladies’ Library and Historical Site, NOT the First Ladies’ Museum, get the name correct at the very least. Perhaps you should have at least looked at our website…but then you don’t seem to know the name of the place so that would make it difficult.
I DO NOT run the place, I’m the librarian, with 30 years experience and a Masters in Library Science. The executive director is Pat Krider. She is not related to anyone in my family and was here long before I joined the staff 3 years ago.
Joyce Murtha is on our Board of Directors and this year is serving as Vice President, a position that rotates amongst board members. She’s on the board because she is a long time friend of my mother. It has nothing to do with Jack Murtha. I don’t think he’s ever even been here.
The National Park Service DID NOT pay $1.1 million for our “headquarters”. We don’t even have a headquarters. The majority of the money for the renovation of the Ida Saxton McKinley historical site came from private donations. Some money came from the Restore America’s Treasures Act as a result of the support of our institution by Hillary Clinton.
First off, my story referred on first reference to the National First Ladies’ Library. That’s how it is identified on its own website, which I linked to, and on its own brochure. Furthermore, Regula’s title in the email she sent me identifies her as an employee of the National First Ladies’ Library, just as I had it. I suggest the Library add the words “and Historical Site” on its website and promotional material so no one is confused about its name in the future. And sorry for calling it a museum on second reference.
The premise of the piece was that the former GOP Congressman Ralph Regula won pork for the Library and that his wife and daughter had positions there. The piece also noted that Congressman Murtha’s wife is on the board and that a lobbyist close to Murtha viewed donating to the Library as a way of currying favor. That’s all accurate, whether Murtha has ever been there or not. For more on the Library, see Citizens Against Government Waste’s Congressional Pig Book or comments by Republican senators John McCain and Tom Coburn, who have pointed to funding of the Library as an example of “egregious” porkbarreling.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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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.”