Pomp and circumstance, esteemed guests, historical moments — none of that much matters to the many noisy protesters on hand for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on Thursday. It’s a party circuit for determined activist groups like Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Occupy Wall Street and the People’s Response. They’ve been donning costumes, waving signs, hollering through bullhorns and planting symbolic crosses on grassy knolls all week in and around Dallas, as close to the new facility as local law enforcement allows. The Dallas Police Department already has warned them to remain on approved rally areas and stay off sidewalks, roadways and private property.
It’s complicated. After filing a lawsuit last week to demand their right for protest and street theater near the library site, a coalition of activists won their fight after U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis ruled they could assemble on property owned by Southern Methodist University, where the library itself is located.
“There is a strong public interest in the freedom of expression, especially as it relates to protest speech. Bearing this in mind, the court finds that the public interest will be served by allowing plaintiffs to fully exercise their right to engage in speech, including the bearing of signs, along the sidewalk at the proposed protest venue,” the judge said in a 12-page ruling. He also issued a temporary restraining order against a local ordinance that bans protest signs within 75 feet of a freeway, deeming the restriction “unconstitutionally vague,” among other things.
“We’ve been in the Dallas streets since Monday. We’ve lit up the library grounds with a light show and issued our demands for accountability,” outspoken Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans tells Inside the Beltway. “And for our big rally Thursday, we want America to know that not everyone celebrates George W. Bush. He should be in jail for lying us right into the illegal and immoral war in Iraq.”
THE PERSISTENCE OF ISMS
In case anyone wonders, “misunderestimate” is the iconic “Bushism” that has seen the most use in the press since former President George W. Bush first uttered the word on Nov. 6, 2000 — this according to the Global Language Monitor, a research group that tracks public word usage through 250,000 news sources with computer software.
“Other presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which caused confusion among the literati and schoolmarms of the time,” points out research director Paul JJ Payack. Some of the better known, he says, are “administration,” coined by George Washington himself, “caucus” (John Adams), “sanction” (Thomas Jefferson), “OK” (Martin Van Buren) and “normalcy” (Warren G. Harding).
No time to monitor the dedication of the Bush Library on Thursday? There’s a spiffy new two-minute video chronicling the entire two-year construction project, distilled from 20,000 hours of images snapped by a dozen high-definition cameras at the site. It’s a collaboration between former first lady Laura Bush and EarthCam, which hand-edited the footage from images that began arriving in November 2010.
See it here: youtube.com/earthcam.
Pro-lifers are intensely interested in President Obama’s sudden decision not to deliver a keynote address at Planned Parenthood’s much ballyhooed fundraising dinner. And they suggest he go a little further.
“Planned Parenthood last week admitted to knowing about the horrors going on inside Kermit Gosnell’s squalid Philadelphia clinic, but chose not to exercise its position as the leader in the abortion industry to put an end to the butchering of women and children No matter the reason for his backing out, it is certainly a good time to distance oneself from Planned Parenthood,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that backs pro-life political candidates.
“Now is also a good time for President Obama to reconsider his position of forcing taxpayers to fork over more than $542 million each year to this abortion-centered, profit-driven business.”
NIXON ON SUPER-8
Behold, it’s “Our Nixon.” Someone has made a feature length film from some 500 reels of personal Super 8 home movies of the life and times of one Richard M. Nixon, from 1969 to ‘73. Most notable are those who actually shot the footage: Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, domestic affairs adviser John Ehrlichman, and special assistant Dwight Chapin. The film had long been retained by the National Archives.
“The personal footage reveals a multidimensional president and staff who were heartbreakingly earnest, idealistic, and nave — as well as self-protective, suspicious and cynical,” director Penny Lane says.”Our goal was to invite viewers to re-examine their prior assumptions about Nixon and come to their own conclusions about what that era means.”
The film will premiere on CNN in August; the network notes that Nixon would have been 100 this year. The documentary will then be released to the nation’s theaters by Cinedigm, which also distributed such Oscar-nominated documentaries as “Hell and Back Again” and “Waste Land.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 48 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; 83 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents agree.
• 41 percent overall have an unfavorable opinion of House Speaker John A. Boehner; 26 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of independents agree.
• 38 percent overall have an unfavorable opinion of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; 62 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of independents agree.
• 34 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; 18 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of independents agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,012 U.S. adults conducted April 11 to 14 and released Wednesday.
• Noisy protests, timid whispers to firstname.lastname@example.org.