Talking With Frank Shakespeare, Former Head Of CBS

I had another wonderful talk today with Frank Shakespeare, the former head of CBS and former Vatican Ambassador under President Reagan.  (With all humility I swear to God our front lawn has the best conversations in this neighborhood.)  Anyone who once knew Edward Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Richard Nixon is always welcome at our home! My James and Fredricka, Frank’s daughter, created lots of smiles and laugher to add to the wonderful afternoon.

Frank’s deep and abiding love for our nation, his wonderment over how the television era–in which he played a large part–changed and shaped politics and the flow of information is ever present in his conversations. His sincerely held religious foundation along with the joy of living each day makes him the perfect person to enjoy a summer afternoon with in Madison.

Frank enjoys coffee and it was a hoot when I brought out a mug (today it was Blueberry Crumble) with some milk and sugar in it per the request, and he raised his cup and clinked with my mug.   His mild manner contrasts sharply to the larger-than-life personalities he interacted with.  “They did not awe me, they put their pants on like any other man.”

May there be many more such encounters with Frank as we sit in the Blue Adirondack chairs overlooking Lake Monona.


Chinese Government Offers Another Loathsome Moment

This is a post that makes me wonder–again–why the Chinese government must be so loathsome?  This comes from Politico and is a round-up report.

The Chinese government got into a mini-brawl with White House senior staff and the press corps on the tarmac in Hangzhou, China!

Per the WSJ’s Carol Lee , the press pooler in Hangzhou: “A bit of chaos on the tarmac. Pool was brought under the wing of AF1 per usual but the scene was not per usual. There were no stairs to the top door to AF1, instead President Obama exited via the lower level stairs so pool could hardly see him, and only for a split second as he exited at 2:30pm. A member of the Chinese delegation was screaming at White House staff from the moment pool got onto the tarmac. He wanted [the] US press to leave. The Chinese had put up a blue rope under the wing so pool had to stand behind it.

“This man was demanding the pool , which was behind the blue rope, get away from the arrival scene altogether. At one point a White House official told him this was our president and our plane and the press wasn’t moving. The man yelled, ‘this is our country.’ He yelled at another White House official and got testy with Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes, seeming to try to block them from walking closer to the arrival scene after they lifted the blue rope and walked to the other side of it, nearer to POTUS. The red carpet was lined on both sides with greeters so there was no ability for cameras to get a photo or video footage of POTUS greeting people as he walked to the presidential limo, which was at the end of the red carpet. Motorcade was rolling within minutes after that warm welcome. Thanks to Mark Landler for the assist.”

WaPo’s WILLIAM WAN: “A group of white house staff arriving in advance of president at the Westlake statehouse (along with pool press) were stopped at security checkpoint at gate. White house staff, protocol officers and secret service, trying to enter separately from press, spent 15 mins in heated arguments with chinese officials. US officials could be heard arguing in chinese with chinese security officials over how many americans could be allowed to go through security at a time. How many people the white house were allowed to be in building before the president’s arrival. Which US officials were on which list in a folder with a thick pile of name lists. ‘The president is arriving here in an hour’ one white house staffer was overheard saying in exasperation.

“As the disagreement escalated , a chinese official assisting the Americans grew angered by how guards were treating the white house staff and began yelling, nearly coming to blows with one of the chinese security officials. ‘You don’t push people. No one gave you the right to touch or push anyone around,’ he yelled in chinese at one of the chinese security officials. Another chinese official trying to help US officials stepped between the two who were arguing once the security official began approaching, looking like he was going to throw a punch. ‘Calm down please. Calm down,’ pleaded a White House official. ‘Stop, please,’ said a foreign ministry official in chinese. ‘There are reporters here.’

“Once inside , white house press officers engaged in another fight over how many american journalists would be allowed. ‘You are only allowed 10,’ said a chinese official. ‘That’s not right,’ said a white house [press] official. 20 minutes before obama’s arrival, us press officers were still arguing in the room where the two presidents would soon be meeting along with ban ki moon to talk of their cooperation. As US [officials] pleaded for two Us journalist left outside to be allowed to stand in the back of the room. ‘There’s space. They are print reporters. They would just be just standing,’ said one white house press officer.