- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 21, 2009

Speech Department

The State Department’s Bureau of International Information and Programs has compiled a book of President Obama’s speeches to share with the world.

Promotional information featured for “President Barack Obama In His Own Words” on BIIP’s Web site says, “These pages share President Obama’s words with our global readership. … It is our hope that while the book itself is small, readers will discover that the vision captured in its pages is large.”

The publication contains the complete text of Mr. Obama’s inaugural address, excerpts from the 2002 speech against the Iraq war that he made as an Illinois state legislator, and speeches made on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.

Other recently added books from the State Department include the titles “Being Muslim in America,” “The Dreams of Edgar Allen Poe,” and “American Popular Music.”

George Clack, director of publications at the State Departments international information programs office, said their books are not advertised domestically and “are geared to foreign audiences as the mission of the bureau is to explain U.S. policies and fundamental values to people around the world who may not support them.”

The State Department typically issues a short biographical sketch for each incoming president, but Mr. Clack said, “Obama is the first president who has had a level of sales that made us feel we could put together some speeches that would sell well.”

“Anything Obama says is what people want to receive, and we are going to take advantage of that,” he said.

Union prayers

Nearly 60 religious leaders from 14 states gathered at the Capitol this week to urge Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

“They came together to fight for the Employee Free Choice Act because there is a moral imperative behind it,” said Service Employee International Union spokeswoman Christy Setzer. The SEIU is a major coalition member of the working group called Faith Leaders for Workplace Fairness that believes union representation is one of the most effective means of reducing poverty and providing health benefits for workers.

“The legislation addresses fundamental issues of fairness and justice” of interest to the religious community, Ms. Setzer said.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, chief executive officer of Sojourners; Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice; and Episcopal Bishop Greg Rickel of Olympia, Wash., are among major leaders involved in the effort.

The day’s events began with a prayer breakfast in the newly opened Capitol Visitor Center, complete with a choir. Then the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) supporters lobbied their individual members of Congress and appeared at a press conference with EFCA sponsor Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, that afternoon.

“As these leaders will testify, there is also another dimension to passing the Employee Free Choice Act,” Mr. Harkin said. “There is a moral dimension, deeply grounded in all of our major faith traditions. This bill is about social justice. And - as Jewish friends put it - it is about healing the world.”

Bias, cont’d.

The conservative Young America’s Foundation has released its annual survey of commencement speakers and found, once again, liberals dominate the lineup.

YAF examined speakers booked for more than 100 commencement ceremonies and found only five of them were openly conservative. Many major universities featured speakers from the Obama administration as well as media figures and donors who openly supported Barack Obama for president

“College administrators are once again demonstrating that they are socially engineering students to imbibe liberal dogmas,” said YAF spokesman Jason Mattera. “Academia has become one big think tank for the left. Sadly, commencement ceremonies look like another dose of leftist indoctrination, rather than a fresh start for the class of 2009.”

YAF’s report also complained that nearly 150 colleges, including George Washington, Notre Dame and Michigan, asked their graduates to consider signing a “green pledge” promising to “take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider.”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpen [email protected] times.com.

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