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First Reads
Take Cover: The Bushes Are Coming

English is a terrible thing to waste

Former President George W. Bush makes $150,000 per speech, making him—along with Sarah Palin—the land’s highest-paid assassin of the American language. His brother Jeb, who merely assassinated Florida’s environment during his eight-year tenure as governor here, reportedly makes $60,000 a speech (yet another reason for Jeb to resent his older brother’s successes).

The figures are no concern to the Naples Town Hall speakers’ series, where George and Jeb will be the guests in “a special moderated event” on Feb. 16. It’s not clear why the two Bushes need a moderator, but Fox News’ Jim Angle will arbitrate anyway. The Town Hall events shouldn’t be confused with their more baboonish summer namesake over health care. The Naples series dates back to 1983 and has featured international stars (and eyebrow-raisers) since.

First Reads: Oct. 7

This year’s other speakers include Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister who faces more criminal charges of corruption than all the Broward County Commission members combined, Philippe de Montebello, who was director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for 32 years, and, on March 26, Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Gopnik. Gladwell, who;’s developing the non-fiction literary genre of counter-intuitive studies all his own, is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink and The Tipping Point. Gopnik has been writing on European culture for The New Yorker for the past several years. It would have been interesting if the town hall series had paired off its celebrities differently—say, W with Gladwell and Jeb with Montebello, and Olmert with a state attorney.

Ticket prices? “Seating to all four lectures, cocktail reception, dinner, 45-min. Q&A - $1,275.00, including Florida’s 6 percent sales tax (Jeb never got that one exempted in his eight years).

 
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