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Speaking of speaking

Register • May 8, 2014 at 9:13 AM

This upcoming graduation season, before the first note of Pomp and Circumstances is played, some of the players on the “Commencement Speech Circuit” are being questioned about their presence at present giving ceremonies this spring.

First up is first lady Michelle Obama, whose White House plans for her are to mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, which legally ended racial segregation in public schools on May 17, 1954, by giving the commencement speech to Topeka’s High School “Class of 14” was kiboshed.

By combining the graduating seniors of five high schools in Topeka on May 17 it became clear to families that they would have to un-invite siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles who had originally planned to celebrate with about 1,000 Topeka graduating seniors on their special day.

That’s when an online petition successfully gave graduation day back to Topeka seniors and their families by stating:

“This is their day, not Michelle Obama’s”

No word yet out of Washington if this event was planned by Kathleen Sebelius.

So now the Topeka High School seniors can celebrate with their families as the Lame Duck First Lady has clicked her “Red Ruby Slippers” and changed her Kansas appearance to May 16.

Next up is former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who backed out of her role as commencement speaker at Rutgers University in New Jersey last Saturday after protests by some students over her role in the Bush administration during the Iraq War.

What!? That’s all it took for Rice to change her mind. A protest. Too bad these students didn’t protest back when they were in the third grade.

Another protest in New Jersey took place at Rowan University last month when several Rowan students were ejected from a town hall meeting held by Gov. Chris Christie for heckling him and shouting criticisms about his handling of Hurricane Sandy relief funding and the George Washington Bridge scandal.

Guess who is going to be Rowan University Commencement speaker this spring?

If you guessed Gov. Christie you’re either clairvoyant, read ahead or are on to my sarcasm.

There will be no protests at New York University’s satellite campus located in Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates when NYU’s east, make that middle east branch, commencement address is delivered by former President Clinton.

If there is, it might be, “Off with your head”

According to the Human Rights Watch, the United Arab Emirates has a long list of abuses including jailing political dissidents, criminalizing political speech, torturing prisoners, and denying women their basic legal rights.

So why is the former U.S. President flying halfway around the world to address 140 graduates?

$eem$ the la$t time Pre$ident Clinton wa$ there in 2011 he earned $500,000 for $peaking.

Speaking of speaking, Part I — For most of the political figures giving graduation speeches in the USA, this practice is yet another form of double dipping. They’re getting paid by taxpayers whether they’re still serving their political position or retired and combined with their speaking fee, except for private schools, which is paid by schools funded by taxpayers.

Speaking of speaking, Part II — If this was your senior year at Funcoast University, what living personality would you want to be your commencement speaker? Keep in mind it does not have to a politician. One possiblity is having a successful business person. Maybe someone who is effective enough to figure out in the business world how to get paid twice by the same group of people. Oops! That brings us back to the business of politics. So, should it concern us where President Obama is speaking this year? Nope. Nada. Nein.

It’s where he’s not speaking that should concern us.

The Naval Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy and the Air Force Academy.

That’s right. Our commander in chief is not visiting and personally congratulating the graduates at four of our country’s service academies with his words of wisdom this spring.

The president is going to West Point this spring to commence the cadets but this is the time of the year when, no matter who our commander in chief is, all the military institutions of higher learning should have their commencement address given by their leader.

Because it’s a no brainer this would be the perfect opportunity for our no brain Congress to pass a public law mandating that every year our Commander-in-Chief give the “Our future depends on your future” speech to all the graduates of our service academies in the USA.

How hard could it be? What else is the president doing on Saturdays in the spring?


If it is too inconvenient for the president to make the multiple trips perhaps the service academy graduates could convene in one place.

I hear Topeka is available.

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