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Former Reagan spokesman Larry Speakes dies at 74
Larry Speakes, who spent six years as acting press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, died Friday in his native Mississippi. He was 74.  Bolivar County Coroner Nate Brown said Speakes had Alzheimer's disease.
    * * *
In 1974, Speakes worked as press secretary for the special counsel to President Richard Nixon during the Watergate hearings
    * * *
After resigning his White House job in 1987, Speakes worked for Merrill Lynch in New York. Speakes left the Merrill Lynch job after he wrote in his memoir, "Speaking Out," that he had fabricated quotes for President Reagan while working for him.

http://america.aljazeera.com/...

This is my most prominent recollection of Speakes: AIDS Was Hilarious to the Reagan White House, Press Corps http://nymag.com/...

I find it uplifting that his distasteful memory is counterbalanced by a sweet harbinger:

Holder: Utah same-sex marriages recognized under federal law

Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday extended federal recognition to the marriages of more than 1,000 same-sex couples in Utah that took place before the Supreme Court put those unions in the state on hold.

The attorney general's action will enable the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to these couples.

Holder said the couples "should not be asked to endure uncertainty" regarding their benefits while courts decide the issue of same-sex marriage in Utah.

http://america.aljazeera.com/...

Maybe the future will be better than the past.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 03:50:55 AM PST

  •  It's sort of ironic, considering that human rights (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, jarbyus

    (such as the right to associate) have always been trumped by property rights (slaves, being property, were denied the right to have marriages recognized), once human rights are officially recognized, they effectively turn into property rights and there's a large body of legal precedent that comes into play.
    There is a significant difference between denial and deprivation, between not giving something and taking something away. That's what the recent history of same sex marriages reveals.
    And then, of course, there's the principle of citizen initiative to get government agents to do anything. Law enforcement rests on the filing of complaints and rights recognition rests on demands. The culture of obedience or coerced compliance seeks to pre-empt that process. The cops aim for compliance so citizens won't complain about being poorly served. Residential segregation served to shut people out so they wouldn't know what services they had a right to demand. When people "fled" to the suburbs, it wasn't to escape their neighbors, it was to take advantage of improvements that they didn't want to share, like sewer and water and gas lines and modern school facilities.

    Why is it important to shift one's focus from the victim to the agent? Because, if one imputes motivation for the action from the effect on the victim and that motivation does/did not actually exist, then the agent is falsely accused, albeit not blameless, and secure in his own victimhood. So, we end up with more victims and no strategy for change.

    Would people have fled the urban centers in the seventies and eighties if the urban centers had been properly upgraded and maintained instead of letting them fall into the hands of bullies and domestic terrorists? Probably not. After all, now that the infrastructure and educational and law enforcement needs are being addressed, people are flocking back to the cities and all those bussed kids are enjoying running and walking on their own two feet (which is driving the culture of obedience cops up the wall).

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 04:48:49 AM PST

  •  So when is Holder going to resolve (0+ / 0-)

    the confusion over Social Security and same sex couples?

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 04:50:51 AM PST

  •  While I have nothing (5+ / 0-)

    positive to say about Mr. Speaks or the President he served, I am sorry to learn that he suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

  •  I Hope Mr. Speaks and His Family (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    cville townie
    Hidden by:
    leftykook

    Suffered at the end.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 06:05:00 AM PST

    •  Unacceptable. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaNang65, BenderRodriguez, leftykook

      A dying man and his family should suffer? We're supposed to be the good guys, remember?

      •  Yeah, we think we're the "good guys"... (0+ / 0-)

        yet every time something like this arises, it never fails that someone says something nasty.

        And how many times has someone been chided here for questioning Ann Coulter's gender or making a joke about Chris Christie's weight, to cite two examples?

        The right does not possess a monopoly on brutishness.

        How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

        by BenderRodriguez on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 07:43:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I Can Get Much Nastier (4+ / 0-)

          About Larry Speaks. You should see what my friends, family and I are saying about him on Facebook. I toned it down for this forum.

          "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

          by bink on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 08:31:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Speaks forfeited his right to respect. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Bob Love

          When you laugh and joke about the deaths of thousands of your fellow Americans, you've earned some nasty comments. When you are so utterly, callously indifferent -- indeed joyful -- about the horrific suffering of thousands of people, a few nasty comments are really nothing more than a wrist slap.

          If Speaks had been an outspoken racist or antisemite, no one would be objecting to a comment like bink's.  But we're supposed to be all decent and respectful and polite because all he did was make jokes about the deaths of gay men, as the administration he worked for refused to lift a finger to combat the AIDS epidemic.

          I'm afraid you'll have to forgive those of us who are gay men and who lived through that horrendous decade if we can't muster the will to be polite to Speaks's memory.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 01:02:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oops. Should be "Speakes." nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 01:07:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  We're always supposed to be nice to Republicans. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FogCityJohn

            It's the greenies and the privacy rights advocates who merit our most hysterical contempt.

            God I wish I were making this up.

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 01:14:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, we can't speak ill of the dead. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo, Bob Love

              Apparently, death is some kind of absolution for all the cruel, inhumane stuff they did in life.  So even if they happily watched thousands of gay men suffer the agony of AIDS and then were evil enough to laugh and joke about it, we are not permitted to hope that people like Speakes suffered. We have no right to hope for anything like poetic justice.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 01:27:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread... (0+ / 0-)

            I had no idea of what he had done. I googled the transcripts of the press conferences and almost couldn't believe what I was reading.

            I understand your anger, but I still have difficulty in cheering on another human's suffering, even if the person in question uttered truly revolting things.

            How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

            by BenderRodriguez on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 01:36:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You might feel differently . . . (0+ / 0-)

              if you were in my shoes.  Spending over a decade watching those around you die long, agonizing, and possibly needless deaths does make one angry, and justifiably so.

              But what makes me angrier is that there were many people like Speakes who not only laughed but actually cheered the deaths of gay men like me. People who regarded the appalling death toll with a sense of smug satisfaction, since after all, it was only us fags being "punished" for our sinfulness.  Those same people fought tooth and nail against doing anything that might contain the epidemic or offer relief to those affected.

              So no, it's not difficult for me to hope that Speakes's revolting inhumanity was in some way repaid.  I don't believe in things like the afterlife, thus if he was to receive any punishment at all, it had to come on earth.  I'm not sure I'm "cheering on" his suffering, but if he did suffer, I'd certainly regard it as richly deserved justice.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 06:27:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Most of us have endured the hell... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfangus, librarisingnsf

      of seeing a loved one suffer in the final months or years.

      I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

      How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

      by BenderRodriguez on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 07:39:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Naah.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bink

      HR for DBAD violation....

      "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

      by leftykook on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 08:26:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He laughed while Americans died of AIDs (4+ / 0-)

      so while I don't wish suffering on anyone I can't mourn him a bit.

      I hope he is forever remembered for being a callous shit.

      Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

      by Bob Love on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:07:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He Stood on a Podium (8+ / 0-)

        In front of the Presidential seal and lead the White House Press Corps in gales of laughter about dead gays and the AIDS crisis for years.

        FOR YEARS.

        He told jokes. Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts sat in the audience and laughed -- they laughed about the dead gays, laughed about their suffering families and asked catty questions about whether Reagan would bring out the military to stop gay cruising.

        He set the tone for how government, the media, science and the healthcare profession dealt with the AIDS crisis while the hundred of infected grew from the hundreds to the thousands to the hundreds of thousands.

        "And the band played on ..."

        It was all hilarious fun and games for Larry Speaks and his media friends.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:22:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not surprised at all to hear that about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FogCityJohn

          the loathsome Sam and Cokie.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:25:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I had no idea. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Love, librarisingnsf, greengemini

          I googled the transcripts -- what a depressing and disturbing read. Everyone involved -- media and Speakes alike -- comes across as a babbling, heartless idiot.

          So, while I still disagree with your original comment concerning Speakes and his family, I now understand the source of your rage.

          How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

          by BenderRodriguez on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:38:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  re: the media, at least: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FogCityJohn
            Everyone involved -- media and Speakes alike -- comes across as a babbling, heartless idiot
            Well, that's hardly new(s).

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:46:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  do not confuse outrage with rage n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BenderRodriguez, FogCityJohn

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 01:14:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Got a link for this? (0+ / 0-)
          Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts sat in the audience and laughed -- they laughed about the dead gays, laughed about their suffering families and asked catty questions about whether Reagan would bring out the military to stop gay cruising.
          There are few "journalists" I loathe more than Cokie Roberts, but the transcripts I've seen don't identify either the questioners or the people laughing.  I'm not saying you're wrong, but how do you know Donaldson and Roberts laughed?  I'm honestly really curious.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 06:35:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  wish you hadn't said that (4+ / 0-)

      but no way in hell am I going to HR it.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:48:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reading that Speakes transcript is painful... (6+ / 0-)

    ...like a very real punch in the gut that wells up into my chest and throat. It's revulsion, I guess.

    How remarkable it is that two plainly ignorant men hurt and harmed so many of us. Reagan and Speakes - about to literally lose their minds to the same disease - so mindless already while at the helm of gov't blocking the one and only vehicle to attack this epidemic. They were ignorant and malicious, arrogantly self satisfied in their old-boy's-club position. It was all evident then, virtually criminal, this is not something learned in hind sight or history. SPeakes was so indifferent  he didn't bother to suppress his ignorant bluster in this simple daily part if his official job, discourse, he helplessly makes jokes about over half a million of us dead or dying...many hundreds of thousands more than necessary because of those very jokes. What a pathetic, tragic legacy!

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