Beau Biden laid to rest

UPDATE: 8PM JUNE 6

“A man,” wrote an Irish poet, “is original when he speaks the truth that has always been known to all good men.” Beau Biden was an original. He was a good man. A man of character. A man who loved deeply, and was loved in return.

President Obama delivered a moving, heartfelt eulogy for Beau Biden at the funeral of the son of his Vice-President, a man the President called a brother.

(White House)

The younger Biden, former Delaware Attorney General and Iraq war veteran, was remembered for a lifetime of service, kindness and family. The President said:

We do not know how long we’ve got here. We don’t know when fate will intervene. We cannot discern God’s plan. What we do know is that with every minute that we’ve got, we can live our lives in a way that takes nothing for granted. We can love deeply. We can help people who need help. We can teach our children what matters, and pass on empathy and compassion and selflessness. We can teach them to have broad shoulders.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin sang ‘Til Kingdom Come’. He had asked to be part of the services after learning his band was Biden’s favorite.

(CBS News)

 

MIDNIGHT, JUNE 5

President Obama will deliver the eulogy on Saturday at the funeral of Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Margaret Talev at Bloomberg writes that the Vice-President personally asked his friend to carry out the sad assignment. The President has apparently spent the week writing it himself.

..an aide close to both men, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biden wanted Obama to deliver the eulogy because he felt that Obama would know instinctively what the family would want others to know about Beau. The aide said the men “understand each other on a deep level based on their shared experience with loss and the deep void that creates.”

Gen Ray Ordierno, who was commanding officer during the younger’s Biden’s deployment in Iraq, will also speak and present the Legion of Merit to the former member of the Army National Guard, who passed away last week at 46 from brain cancer.

In a 2012 interview with Politico, Beau Biden said that while he had tried to set his own path, he’d been “through enough to see things a little differently.”  Edward-Isaac Dovere writes:

“I can point you to examples at every point when life intervened,” Biden said at the Riverfront Market in Wilmington, a collection of open tables and food stands that he’d chosen for the conversation. “So at 43, I’ve come to the conclusion: Focus on what’s immediately in front of you. Anytime I’ve looked past that, life has a different plan for me.”

Thousands of people gathered on Friday to pay their respects as a memorial service was held for the former Delaware Attorney General, who had been considering a run for Governor next year and was widely popular across his state.

There is an online condolence book for Beau Biden here.

***

* POLITICS * GOP Presidential hopefuls are in Iowa on Saturday for a gathering organized by recently-elected Senator and noted hog-castrator Joni Ernst. The event takes place amid ongoing uncertainty among local Republicans about the continued relevance of the Iowa Straw Poll, and the state’s reputation as a Presidential “kingmaker”.

This year’s Straw Poll – now primarily a fundraising rather than an electoral indicator – is set for August, but with a stream of high-profile candidates and potential candidates indicating they will skip it, what difference will that make?

Dave Price at Politico ponders “Is Iowa Over?” He writes:

There’s a palpable anxiety in political circles—and even rumblings that Iowa’s king-making days might be over, or at least that the national media, and the rest of the country, will pay less heed this cycle.

Iowa’s political obituary has been written before, but usually by outsiders looking in.

Now, Iowans are fretting: Will campaigns still want to invest as much time campaigning, traveling and running ads on television and radio, when their time might be better served elsewhere with the hope they can raise their national standing in the polls?

But Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg doesn’t want to kill it off just yet, saying

The Iowa straw poll is neither a test of public opinion (as a primary election can be) nor a real indication of what party actors think. But doing well in the straw poll has traditionally required well-developed campaign organizations to succeed. So long as no one over-interprets the results, it’s a harmless part of the winnowing process.

 

Twitter has come in for criticism for taking down Politwoops, the site that had archived deleted tweets by public servants. As Lena Masri at Reuters reports, Twitter says “preserving killed tweets violates Twitter users’ “expectation of privacy.”

***

* WORLD * Reuters reports that US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is preparing a measure for Congress that would move to close the terror prison camp at Guantanamo in Cuba.

In a defiant speech to the Greek parliament, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the country’s creditors’ debt bailout plan he had rejected was “absurd” yet he also said he remained convinced an agreement was “closer than ever.”

As a group of Fifa executives continue to fight extradition to the US to face corruption charges, Friday was another dark day for world’s football’s governing body, as claims surfaced concerning alleged arms deals and bribery in World Cup tournament awards. The Guardian writes that

The claims mean that the votes for the 1998, 2006, 2010, 2018 and 2022 tournaments are now under scrutiny in some way. Brazilian authorities and the FBI are also looking into the contracts signed in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup.

Saturday is the start of the Womens’ World Cup tournament in Canada.

***

* SPORTS * Saturday sees the Uefa Champions League final in Berlin between Barcelona and Juventus. Mike Goodman at Grantland analyzes the match-up and writes:

“Hoping for a mistake” isn’t the most inspiring game plan [for Juventus], but that’s part of Barcelona’s brilliance: They simply don’t leave opponents with very many options. A comfortable Barcelona win is by far the most likely outcome — though it’s a result that says more about the unbelievable strength of the favorite than the weaknesses of the challenger.

UPDATE: Barca prevailed, 3-1.

In the French Open tennis, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will resume their weather-shortened semi-final on Saturday at noon.

UPDATE: Djokovic proved too strong for Murray’s challenge.

murraytele

Saturday is also the running of the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown. American Pharoah has the chance to be the first horse in almost 40 years to sweep the three races. But the Wall Street Journal thinks he’s a longshot.

UPDATE: History was, indeed, made as American Pharoah took the Triple Crown.

***

Finally, Robert Kennedy died on June 6, 1968, after being shot the previous day at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where he had just given his victory speech in the wake of winning the California Democratic primary. Here’s the ABC News report.

(ABC News)

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