By Chuck Thompson
Four score and 70 years ago, America’s Great Emancipator delivered the most famous speech ever made by a U.S. president. Universally regarded as a triumph of genius and brevity, Abraham Lincoln’s stirring Gettysburg call for national reconciliation in the midst of the Civil War was a 272-word masterstroke of empathy, statesmanship and diplomacy.
It was also a missed opportunity.
The speech remains eternally inspiring for the way Lincoln refrained from laying explicit blame at the feet of an enemy so embittered to the cause upon which he’d staked his life (literally, as it would turn out) that it had eagerly thrown itself into its own fight to the death.
THE LAST WORD
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[ BOOK ONE: Psalms 1—41 ] [ The Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly ] Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
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I am sitting in bed with my feet curled under me on a dark fall evening before the first snow. My hair is tucked beneath noise-canceling headphones that are playing the sound of a woman gently blowing into my ears. She is whispering, intimately exhaling breath on one side before moving to the other, back and forth. A shiver starts at the crown of my head and tiptoes like an electric shock down the knobs of my spine. I have to take the headphones off. The feeling, while pleasant, is simply too much.
I am having an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), a strange, tingly sensation, known in some corners of the Internet as a brain orgasm. Whispering is a primary trigger, but anything from the sound a pen makes when drawing on a piece of paper to rhythmic, monotonous speech can spark an episode. And it’s not just…
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The United States promised $10 million in additional aid to the storm-stricken Philippines Monday, bringing the total U.S. contributions since Typhoon Haiyan to $37 million.
About 50 U.S. ships and aircraft carriers have been mobilized in the disaster zone, and 14 helicopters are air-dropping food and supplies to survivors, Reuters reports. The nuclear-powered USS George Washington led the American relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan slammed the Philippines on Nov. 8.
The Philippines has strategic importance to the U.S. as part of the Obama administration’s plans to counterbalance China’s rising military influence with strong American allies in the region. The U.S. and the Philippines are in the middle of negotiating an increased American military presence in the country.
On Dec. 4th for one day only, Emerson College in Boston will name its School of Communication after Ron Burgundy, San Diego’s most memorable fake reporter, in honor of Anchorman star Will Ferrell, who is expected to introduce a special screening of Anchorman 2 at the school, before it premieres in theaters on Dec. 20.
A tongue-in-cheek press release from the college quotes “Ron Burgundy” as saying, “I can’t wait to inspire students with my story of how I got to the top…the very top. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s a lot of work, especially if you don’t have good hair.” Interim Dean of the School of Communication Phillip Glenn said the haphazard broadcaster inspires everyone to live out life “in full color and matching polyester.”
We can only hope the “Ron Burgundy School of Communication” will stock its vending machines with scotch, the character’s favorite drink, for this momentous occasion.
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China boasts a Web-censorship system that would be the envy of any autocrat. The state blocks Facebook, Twitter and a growing list of foreign news sites. It polices blogs and pulls political content. After riots hit the restive far-western region of Xinjiang in 2009, Beijing managed to shut down the Internet there for months.
All this, it seems, is not enough. The ruling Chinese Communist Party on Friday released more details from last week’s meeting of top leaders in Beijing. Organized around the theme of “comprehensively deepening reform,” the 20,000-odd-character communiqué outlines what could be a major economic overhaul, as well as some positive, if limited, promises on rights and rule of law. But on matters of free expression, China’s top leaders doubled down, harping on the need to maintain social stability and control.
Judging by the statement, Beijing is pretty worried its censors can’t keep up. “As…
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