Just Above Sunset
July 3, 2005 - Now We Know

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In the May 15 issue of Just Above Sunset you will find this - a discussion of the Discovery Channel and AOL teaming up for seven hours of primetime telecasts to let America choose "the person who has most embodied the American dream, having the biggest impact on the way we think, work and live."  That would be, of course, The Greatest American of All Time.

That May item has a great deal of background on how the BBC started this idea - a country should poll the public, in an unscientific and popular way (who feels like voting can vote, and often) – and for giggles let's see who comes out on top.  The Brits came up with this order of relative greatness: Winston Churchill - 456,498 votes (28.1%), Isambard Kingdom Brunel - 398,526 votes (24.6%), followed by Diana, Princess of Wales - 225,584 votes (13.9%).

The French?  The May item links to columns from Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis and "Our Man in Paris."  There?  Charles De Gaulle was first, of course, followed by Louis Pasteur, then Abbé Pierre, then Marie Curie, then the dead comedian Coluche, followed by Victor Hugo.  Molière, the playwright, was ninth.

And last November those odd folks up north in Canada chose Tommy Douglas, the former Saskatchewan premier, the man credited with being the founding father of Canada's health-care system, as The Greatest Canadian of All Time.  Go figure.  The CBC results are here if you're curious.

The voting down here, south of the igloos and Tim Horton doughnut shops, closed last Sunday night.  Full results came later in the week.

But the big news?

America Names Ronald Reagan Their Greatest American
Press Release from the Discovery Channel
Sunday June 26, 10:59 pm ET


NEW YORK, June 26 PRNewswire - America has chosen Ronald Reagan as its greatest American. Throughout Discovery Channel's GREATEST AMERICAN campaign, more than three million votes were cast via aol.com/greatestamerican, text and toll-free numbers to name the person who America thinks most influenced the way we think, work and live.

When voting closed at 9:10 (ET) during the series' live finale, Ronald Reagan was named the winner with Abraham Lincoln running a close second.


Close was Lincoln behind by 0.05% it seems.

Christopher Hitchens had this to say on the occasion of Reagan's funeral –


Reagan announced that apartheid South Africa had "stood beside us in every war we've ever fought," when the South African leadership had been on the other side in the most recent world war. Reagan allowed Alexander Haig to greenlight the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, fired him when that went too far and led to mayhem in Beirut, then ran away from Lebanon altogether when the Marine barracks were bombed, and then unbelievably accused Tip O'Neill and the Democrats of "scuttling." Reagan sold heavy weapons to the Iranian mullahs and lied about it, saying that all the weapons he hadn't sold them (and hadn't traded for hostages in any case) would, all the same, have fit on a small truck. Reagan then diverted the profits of this criminal trade to an illegal war in Nicaragua and lied unceasingly about that, too.

Reagan then modestly let his underlings maintain that he was too dense to understand the connection between the two impeachable crimes. He then switched without any apparent strain to a policy of backing Saddam Hussein against Iran. …


And that's not to mention his record in California - and his comment that trees cause far more air pollution than cars and factories and such.

But he was an optimist, unlike the gloomy Lincoln.  This might be the time to discuss the "values-based" mandate that swept Bush into a second term.

No.  What's the point?


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....