The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates.

What's happening in our readers' forum.
Feb. 1 2003 11:19 AM

Signifying Everything

First Fray reactions to the Space Shuttle disaster.

(Continued from Page 2)

Rover boys: Under the influence of the palpable excitement preceding the State of the Union, I, as Fray Editor, offered a prize to the winner of the State of the Union Bingo contest—the chance to rewrite a single paragraph of the speech and have it run here. I was hoping the winner would pick a graf like this "The best way to address the deficit and move toward a balanced budget is to encourage economic growth, and to show some spending discipline in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)" and make a simple change—for "Applause" substitute "Hoots of derisive laughter from both sides of the aisle; the chamber drowns in echoes as the camera pans through faces of legislators, each one fixed in a rictus of hyperpower." Something like that.

It turns out there was a tie. And both winners were rather long winded. So I have adopted a Solomonic solution and lopped their entries in half. You can find the second halves here.

First, J_Mann, who kicked off today's Fraywatch:

My fellow Americans, together with my discussions of education, drug-addiction, and mentoring, I would like to talk about the ongoing problem of race in America. We know that government can only do so much to address this problem, and that most of the work that must be done is in the hearts and minds of all of us Americans of every race. Nevertheless, I pledge to you that what government can do, it will. I know that many Americans are concerned about the current debate in our courts about affirmative action. The majority of Americans, including the majority of African-Americans, believe that addressing our racial history by granting preferences solely on the basis of race should be a last resort, if any, and so do I.

The other winner was chango, who has so abused the privilege that I will, in all likelihood, never offer another prize to a contest prize to anyone.

Enter President George W. Bush and Karl Rove
Karl Rove: Mr. President, it's about your speech....
Dubya: What, still not enough folksy Texan drawl?
Rove: No, your accent is fine Mr. President.
Dubya: Oh, well, then is it my synapse that's goin' all heather and yawn again..
Rove: Um, that's SYNTAX Mr. President, and no...your diction is about as good as it's going to get.
Dubya: Well, now are we talking about a sin tax? Or my private parts. You're getting me all confused again, Karl.
R: MR. PRESIDENT. SIR...I'm talking about your State of the Union Speech.
D: The States in the Union speech? You mean I have to remember the names of all 53 of them?
R: How many times do we have to tell you sir: Puerto Rico, Canada and Afghanistan aren't states.
D: Well, they should be.
R: Sir, let's focus on the speech.
D:speaking slowly and loudly
WELL
THEY
SHOULD
BE.
R: No you talk fine, George. I mean your address tomorrow...
D: Tomorrow? You mean I'm gonna have to move again? Are my four years up already?
R: Mr. President. Look at me. No, not at Secretary of State Powell's shiny metals...look over here. That's right. Now, George...Dubya...you have a speech tomorrow night. The speech is called the State of the Union address. You are gonna tell the American people how far we've come in the last year...
D: I don't know how far is it from Texas to Washington, Karl! And has it already been a year?
R:shouting MR. PRESIDENT!!!
D:looking over shoulder, in a panic Daddy? Where?
R:tossing papers toward Dubya Never mind. Forget I said anything ... 2:00 a.m. 

82_horizontal_rule

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2002

Locke's stock: I have been trolling for a good Gary Locke post, and I got one. Naturally, it comes from Zathras. He zeroes in on Locke's big mistake here:

[H]e stuck to a Democratic script that seems to assume that everyone will realize how terrible Bush's domestic policies are and how superior are the Democrats' positions, and that all a Democrat need do is make gentle allusions to these ineluctable realities. If I were a Democrat—and especially if I were a Democrat who wanted a chance of saying anything that would be remembered more than 15 minutes after I said it—I would have tossed out that script.

What Locke should have done is make one, focused criticism of Bush's domestic policy proposals. My choice would have been that each one of them benefits and was inspired by specific contributors of large amounts of money to Bush's campaign … 11:15 a.m.

Credit where it's due (date): Geoff's long post makes two excellent points.

1. Bush is "passing along" a problem to future generations: deficits.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.