Friday, June 24, 2005

Feeding My Inner Bookworm

If you can't tell from how much fact-checking I do and how many blogs I read, I've always been an avid reader. Unfortunately, I have a little problem: I've finished nearly all of the books on my "list". I'm starved for fresh books of the political, journalistic, and fictional varieties, which is why I'm about to do something a bit unusual for me. I'm going to ask you, my readers, to recommend a book for me to read. It doesn't have to be anything on the current bestseller lists; as long as you enjoyed it, I'll check it out. (In the case of fiction, I've read many of the classics, so please don't pick those.) Post a comment or send me an e-mail if you know of a worthy book.

Also, I've been trying to figure out whether Ed Klein's highly controversial The Truth About Hillary will be an overblown hit piece on Clinton or a well-written book worthy of my time. Klein is not a conservative by any definition of the word and has excellent journalistic credentials, but some of his research looks questionable, and he also told the National Review Online that he didn't vote for Bill back in the day. Is he capable of being objective towards this? For that matter, was he objective towards this? I'm interested in reading out of curiosity, but I'd rather not spend $25 of my hard-earned cash on garbage. If any of you have read the book, I'd love to hear what you thought of it. For that matter, if you can find hard evidence that the contents are based in truth or in fiction, tell me about that too. I've been following Hillary's actions pretty closely lately, and I'd like to know whether or not The Truth is a piece in the larger puzzle.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

One More Sign Of The Apocalypse

You guys are not going to believe this. I just checked the hit counter and learned something distressing. Apparently, someone found my post about Deep Throat's true identity by typing a certain query into a search engine. What were his/her search terms, you ask? Prepare yourself. This person typed the following words without quotes: "extreme rough deep throat movies". Wow. That's all I can say about that. Wow.

In other news, I have just lost some of my faith in humanity.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Open Season On Capitol Hill

I've been on the verge of going nuts lately. Just as I find a nutty quote from some high-level politico to blog about, another one pops up and smacks me in the face. I was going to take apart some of the really ridiculous ones, but this article from the Washington Post proves any efforts on my part to do so pointless by summarizing the craziest quotes from recent weeks.

So what do I think? Personally, I can't help agreeing somewhat with Tom DeLay and, to a less extreme extent, Rep. John Hostettler, when they say that Democrats keep attacking Christians. While the Democratic Party doesn't seem to outright hate the faithful, some members seem to like whipping them as if knocking a Christian down will somehow elevate acceptance of other religions. I'm not cutting on people of any spirituality when I say that; the point is, it feels as though some Democrats, the ACLU, and their allies think suppressing some Christian privileges will grant more liberties to non-Christians. That's obviously counter-productive. How can you build tolerance without being tolerant yourself? But don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those Republicans who's against separation of church and state; it's part of the Constitution, and I know how I would feel if I were an atheist in the middle of a school prayer. However, too many activists confuse "separation of church and state" with "separation of church". There's something about that thought process that just isn't right.

The rest of the rhetoric in the article gets more and more absurd. This is open season on Capitol Hill, and the ideologues are in their tree stands waiting for a prime buck to target. Take a look at it for yourself to see the token Hitler comparisons and other such drivel. I would blog about this stuff every time it went public, but keeping pace with a Washington summer is nearly impossible. Unless, of course, you're Glenn Reynolds.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Source Is Revealed

After waiting with a nagging question in the back of our minds for the last 30-odd years (alright, maybe less time in my case), we finally know the identity of the famed Watergate source "Deep Throat". His name is W. Mark Felt, and he was second in command at the FBI when Watergate broke. That's right, Deep Throat was NOT Pat Buchanan or Diane Sawyer. Personally, I think it would have been much funnier if it had been one of them, but Felt's secret makes a lot of sense considering the politics between government agencies.

You may wonder why I haven't done more coverage and commentary on Deep Throat's outing. To put it bluntly, half the world beat me to it. That's alright with me in this case; you couldn't spit last week without hitting an article about Felt, and the people talking about it were doing much more adept commentary than I could have provided. If you're still hurting for info about and reactions to the unmasking of the man who Richard Nixon referred to as "The Source", then I offer one of the more comprehensive overviews I've seen as blogged by - who else? - Dr. H. (The Deep Throat stuff is mostly in his June 1 & 2 posts. I don't think his posts have individual permalinks, so you'll have to do some scrolling.)

But then again, it wouldn't be a post signed by me without some fresh perspectives. Make sure you take a look at this Power Line post about older commentary on Deep Throat. Pay especially close attention to the context of this devastating quote from David Maizenberg:
The best journalists understand most acutely that they are being played; most journalists, however, think that they are players.

Indeed. Also, not to overly reference one blog, but it happens that Power Line had some excellent commentary of their own.

One of the more provocative questions to come from all of this has been, is Deep Throat a hero? There are apparently some people who don't think so; I was scrounging the Internet looking for info about Felt when I found a non-scientific poll at FOXNews.com. It was for Greta Van Susteren's show "On the Record", and the question was roughly, "What is your opinion of Deep Throat?" When I looked at it, a clear majority (over 50%) answered choice B: "He is a disgrace to the FBI." Felt didn't have such a high opinion of his own actions either; he reportedly was guilt-ridden for years and told his son that leaking information was the worst thing you could ever do. I personally think there's no clear answer here. Mark Felt does not fit my mental description of a hero; after all, his information wasn't the only thing that discredited Nixon, even though it did have a large part. Some might say he betrayed his agency, but if you knew that this kind of corruption was going on, wouldn't you be compelled to let somebody know? He had previously met Bob Woodward and was somewhat friendly with him, so The Washington Post was the perfect publication to talk to. Would you rather be a disgrace to your employer or allow the disgraceful to be covered up? I really believe that Felt did the right thing, even if the hero shoe doesn't quite fit.

By the way, I can't believe anyone wondered if Felt would be charged with a crime. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was asked if he would be brought to trial; as you might imagine, he responded that the Bush Administration had more pressing matters to attend to than Deep Throat. Who would be crazy enough to prosecute him at this point, even if he wasn't an ailing 91-year-old man?

Also, Felt's family said just recently that money was part of the reason they came forward before his death. That much is obvious, but I'm sure he wanted to finally be rid of his secret burden after all these years. Something also tells me that a tiny part of him wanted to see how people would react. I think he desperately wanted the validation of others and to believe that he was right to leak the information. Some may not agree that he did the right thing, but if anyone close to Felt is reading this:

I think he did.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

June's Dumb Quote

Taken from a Moviehole.net interview:
I think that there's a lot of wonderful possibilities [for stem cell research] erupting. I mean, if they could eliminate diseases like Alzheimer's and polio that would be incredible. ~Scarlett Johansson


While I agree that stem cell research has the potential for enormous good, I don't think you can cure polio twice.