Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Is the Mystery of Deep Throat Really Solved?

FBI Official Was 'Deep Throat': "By David Von Drehle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 1, 2005; Page A01
Deep Throat, the secret source whose insider guidance was vital to The Washington Post's groundbreaking coverage of the Watergate scandal, was a pillar of the FBI named W. Mark Felt, The Post confirmed yesterday.
As the number two man at the bureau during a period when the FBI was battling for its independence against the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, Felt had the means and the motive to help uncover the web of internal spies, secret surveillance, dirty tricks and coverups that led to Nixon's unprecedented resignation on Aug. 9, 1974, and to prison sentences for some of Nixon's highest-ranking aides.
Felt's identity as Washington's most celebrated secret source has been an object of speculation for more than 30 years until yesterday, when his role was revealed in a Vanity Fair magazine article. Even Nixon was caught on tape speculating that Felt was 'an informer' as early as February 1973, at a time when Deep Throat was actively supplying confirmation and context..."

Today was a bit of a bummer. I was hoping that with the announcement, I might be more intrigued by the story. I have read a ton on it, and wrote papers when I was in school. I don’t remember who I suspected back then, but I can assure you that it wasn’t Felt. For insiders, it may have been a reasonable suspicion, but for regular folks, it just wasn’t sexy enough, and, quite frankly, it still isn’t. Right after the announcement, I thought that the reason Bradlee, Woodward and Bernstein weren’t commenting was because Felt was not the whole story. I had come to embrace the idea of DeepThroat being a composite of several players in the Administration. In fact, Liddy still, even after Felt came forward, believes it to be a composite. I think others, like Pat Buchanan, enjoy the ending of the legend, because he, so many times, had been suspected himself. Another stranger part of the announcement today was its timing. This man has been sick for some time, and his family and lawyer have known for a couple of years. Why would he choose today to send his grandson out on the driveway with this admission? What is the significance of May 31, 2005 as opposed to allowing the writers and Editor to keep their silence until his death? Why does he want the notoriety at this time in his life? Did he want to be alive to be able to substantiate the claim? It seemed to take the WaPo guys by surprise, because they took a couple of hours for a follow-up press release. I don’t question that this man was part of it, because they have all admitted it, but there are some very strange elements to it all. As someone light years away from the players, I can not possibly know or even have a foundation for any gut feelings. Given that, I can only say that I hope there is more to it, because this, as I see it, does not rise to the level of the thirty years of discussion it has garnered. If there were others who were involved in this, we will get more surprises in the next twenty or so years.
Hero or “snake”? Pat Buchanan made the snake comment, but I have yet to make up my mind. It sounds like, from his family’s and Woodward/Bernstein’s statements that the guy did the leaking out of spite for being passed over for a promotion to lead the FBI. If that is so, then it seems a bit petty. There was no feeling of higher purpose or of a public’s right to know. Calling the guy a snake, however, seems a bit too far too. If it in some way helped shape the public consciousness and make the investigation easier to show that the President was breaking the law, then it was not the worst thing that could occur. Also remember that Pat Buchanan lays the killing of thousands at the feet of those responsible for Nixon’s stepping down. He feels that the loss in Vietnam and other ills of the era were a direct result of his resignation.
One thing we can all be sure of is that this is not the last we will utter suspicions about the scandal. It has been fun for thirty years, and quite likely will be fun for several more.


An Interesting Irony

It occurred to me the other day that the people who were gathering to protest America's desecration of the Koran burned the American flag in protest. They did not elect leaders to request a meeting to discuss the possible holy book desecrations, no. They took to the streets and desecrated our country's symbol. Doesn't it seem even the least bit strange that we never discuss the fact that they used our flag to protest even just one unsubstantiated report of flushing their holy book? No one seems even to blink an eye at their use of our flag this way? Maybe it is because they have been doing this commonly for a long time, which begs the question...why are we to be so careful with their holy book when they so commonly show disrespect to our symbols? I am not convinced as to whether we did or did not treat the book badly. Nearly anything seems possible or even likely in the course of interrogations. It, however, is on tape over and over, in many different countries, proving that our country's symbols mean nothing to them. I know, I know, we are supposed to hold ourselves in higher esteem and not drop to their level in allowing symbols to fog the real issues, but it seems practical to at least notice their lack of respect for us as they demand respect for themselves.

Monday, May 30, 2005


One More Example of Strategy Only Being Admired When it is Your Own

The McCain mutiny - The Washington Times: Commentary - May 30, 2005: " If nothing else, Mr. McCain undermined Mr. Frist's authority as Senate majority leader and made himself the media's favorite Republican. Regardless of whether that can be cashed in for a presidential nomination, Mr. McCain has raised his stock and lowered that of Mr. Frist. He is in a position to rule or ruin. "

Sowell doesn't like people who fail to tow the party line with them like a very large anchor. McCain has done what partisans hate. He has furthered his broad appeal. What we could all see in that press conference was that it would appeal to the greater American population than anything the rest of the Republican party could do. Compromise is what most of us like, because most of us Americans see that as the only way for anything of value to happen up there in Washington. Many of us also fear any one party gaining too much power, so this was a sign that no one powerful party would do any major harm while there. Harm is still possible, but this slowed those hubris-filled politicians down. This strategy, whether it was in preparation for a Presidential campaign or just an act of conscience, was wise strategy. Don't, however, expect to hear any applause from this move's opponents, because we only like strategy when it is our own.


The NYT Deflates the Dreams of Graduates at the Worst Possible Time

Class and the American Dream - New York Times: "A parallel series in The Wall Street Journal found that as the gap between rich and poor has widened in America, the odds that a child will climb from poverty to wealth, or fall from wealth to the middle class, have remained stuck, leaving Americans no more likely to rise or fall from their parents' economic class than they were 35 years ago. "

This NYT editorial writer goes on to suggest "stronger affirmative-action programs to bring low-income students into colleges". He obviously hasn't set foot onto any American college campuses lately. If he would go to check his theory, he would see that it is far closer to achieved than not. When I went to college right out of high school, we will say several years ago, my dorm floor was multi-cultural to say the least. One of the women I became closest to on my floor was a black woman who came from family of drug dealers. Other drug dealers had come into her home and held them at gun point, I think twice. She was surrounded by thugs much of her life. Her boyfriend, at the time, was a huge Shaq-like black man who all of us girls took in as our favorite Jolly Green Giant of a man. I, at first, was a bit scared of him, and thought he might be a hit-man. Turned out that this man was a brilliant thief. He had been stealing from people's bank accounts online for some years. Some government agency came in to arrest him in my dorm, and eventually offered him a government job to help catch future online thieves. There were other black girls on this floor who had come from low, middle and upper class backgrounds. We can add to that the Asian women, several Jewish women, one of which was an educational roommate of mine, a Russian, a wonderful Jordanian friend, and yes, white upper class women. We seemed to revel in the mix of cultures and backgrounds, somehow recognizing that the time we spent understanding each other would stay with us all of our lives. The black women giggled when I would try to learn ebonics while in the community bathroom. The Jewish roommate often carefully explained her traditions and why her religion was important to her. The Jordanian, who I was particularly fond of, was also kind to start our friendship with a detailed description of her home country and its religious practices. Her family lived on the same road as Jordan's prince. She was disgusted that she would have to go through a checkpoint to get to her parent's countryside home.
One thing I can be sure of is that many of those women did not finish college, but I can also be sure of the fact that most of them have become successful. That includes the ones that came from the upper classes as well as the ones that came from humble backgrounds. This editorial misses the point. First, we have many, many programs. Second, I think that the proud protected classes don't want to be seen as those that need copious programs to help them. Third, if you look around, you will see extremely mixed campuses, of women, men, a rainbow of colors and cultures preparing them for a society that is more and more seeing them as amazingly capable people, regardless of these buzz issue differences. Saying, at a time of graduation, that people have less opportunity works to diminish a dream. Let's give them the shove into the real world with the inflation of the dream they have held close over the last four years: hard work and clarity of vision will allow for success beyond your wildest dreams in this country. If that were not so, people would not fashion floats of Chevy's or risk their lives in deserts to get themselves and their children here for better lives. They do this, because a country of dreamers has more than its share of success stories.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Memorial Day Tribute to Uncle Tip

In my family, making a career out of the military is a thing of the past. My father was a teacher and a student when he was lucky enough not to get drafted. My brothers also went to college with little desire, it seemed, to wear camouflage for any more than a fashion statement. Me? No thanks. In other generations, it was a more common sacrifice. My adopted grandfather was in the Philippines and other locales in WWII. He said he never saw any combat, but he was also very quiet about those years, so I was never sure what he participated in and what he didn’t. My other grandfather too joined the service. He is also rather hush hush on the experience. I have a great uncle who, as he felt he may be entering the sunset of his life, wrote an account of his life experience, spending a great deal of time discussing his Naval career. What struck me about his accounting of those years was his very obvious listing of the many times he escaped death.
As a recent (1941) graduate of the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering, he entered the Navy at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory to study radar with the British Navy. Admiral Chester Nimitz, then Chief of Personnel, was the one who signed his orders for that assignment. (Though he notes Nimitz as Chief of Personnel, Nimitz’s biography lists that year’s title as Admiral.) It seems terribly interesting that my uncle was in the company of people who have aircraft carriers named after them. Once he arrived and could no longer, given the time frame, attend radar school, a Captain he knew assigned him to the Naval Attache as a Naval Observer in underwater ordinance. Following that, he was sent to Washington to monitor manufacturing of mines, depth charges, and torpedoes. His interests soon turned to sea duty. He mentions the USS Harder being a sub he requested orders for, but was turned down. He was really upset that a desk mate was assigned to it. He simply states that she was lost somewhere in the China Sea.
He was then assigned to the USS Mingo, a sub he had visited before. He did two successful patrols. In the next patrol, the officer who replaced him and another Kentuckian were washed overboard. Among a variety of other assignments and exciting times in the service, he was released from active duty in ’46 with the rank of Lt. Cmdr., USNR.
Another passage in his “Life and Times” is a telling one. Upon his return to civilian life, he took a couple of jobs, trying to find a fitting place. The second of these occupations was again at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory. The Civil Service Commission, upon his submission of his experience, granted a P-1 rating. His supervisor resubmitted his experience as only a supervisor could, raising his rating to a P-3 Electrical Engineer. Uncle Tip says, “I could not see a lifetime in government where advancement was dependent on one’s ability to blow one’s horn”. He then resigned.
In the summer of 1952, he started his own engineering firm in Lexington, Ky. with a man from the very small town that part of my family is from. Alongside a very busy engineering career, he was also active in the Naval Reserve until 1967 with a ranking of Commander.
He sold his stake in that business that he grew by hand in 1982, about the time I met him for the first time. Uncle Tip is a pretty normal guy, a golf lover, a hunter, a fisherman, and an avid hiker as a youngster. There is, however, more to him than his time in the Navy or his brilliant civilian career. He served gratis as agent for a $20 million design and construction of the Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children in Lexington, Ky. He also served on the Board of Governors there. What those things don’t tell you is that he spent every Christmas morning there for years, and possibly still does. Giving up such special days to hand out gifts or just to be a part of an experience that would mean a lot more to someone else than yourself is quite amazing. I know I don’t do it, but I just simply revere people who do. What these things also don’t tell you is where Uncle Tip is today, like he has been for years and years on Memorial Day. He is on a hilltop cemetery, or will be in the next couple of hours, planting small flowers on the graves of lost loved ones. His brittle body on all fours, digging a small hole to plant the geraniums or pansies he picked up at the local nursery and carted to this very small Kentucky town that he used to know so well. Last year, in fact, he stood and listened to a long eulogy on this day for his sister we lost last year. After the long-winded preacher spoke his piece, her ashes were spread, and back to digging Uncle Tip went. Now, in his eighties, the five siblings are to two, him and my grandmother. This is the one day of the year they see each other, and it has been that way, with few exceptions for most of my life. He is private, quiet and knows that if she needs him she will call.
When I heard he wrote about his life, I wrote a letter to him asking for a copy. He obliged, and I have cherished his generosity. His life, especially the early years were not easy. He was a Depression era kid whose mother died early in his life. His father had a job, which was better than most, but they still did without. His sister was shot in the head by a boy just released from a mental facility in 1935. My grandmother was witness to it. He had to earn and borrow to get into and through college. He has been very blessed as he grew older, but early life for the children of that family was difficult.
On Memorial Day, especially with so many of our men and women on duty for us, I think of service people past and present. I also think, though, of those close to me who represent that kind of service we should all strive for, the kind that puts you in the company of hospitalized children on cold Christmas mornings and puts you in the company of disadvantaged youth through Big Brothers-Big Sisters on random afternoons. It’s amazing that a seven page, double-spaced “Life and Times” could be so interesting. Maybe Uncle Tip’s interesting life can be a lesson to us all.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Tom Cruise is Not a Doctor

channelcincinnati.com - Irresistible Headlines - Tom Cruise On Mission To Get Kids Off Meds: "Cruise said because of his dyslexia, doctors in the 1970s wanted to put him on medication but his mother refused.
Instead, Cruise sought alternative methods of helping him with his disorder, including Study Tech learning at the Church of Scientology."

He is blessed in so many ways, but an insight on health is unlikely at best. He was lucky enough to overcome his issues with religion and an attentive family, but sometimes, from my experience, it takes more to overcome chemical imbalances. His crusade may not be in vain. There well may be a problem of prescribing these medicines too much. To suggest, however, that we should fight against medicating our kids misses the fact that these medicines serve a very important purpose for people. Recently Larry King had on stars who have suffered from depression. They talked of how these medicines were essentially life savers. They were wise to remind that these medicines are not as they are sarcastically described, happy pills. These familiar faces reinforced that the medicines kept them from feeling suicidal, crying without a trigger, and from behaving badly with the people they loved. These drugs merely gave them the ability to cope. The rest, it seemed, was up to them. That has been consistent with the experience of others that have been open about their troubles. For people that don't have such extreme experiences, they should thank their lucky stars, not encourage others that it is dangerous or bad. That, itself, might be dangerous. Of the many things that I would encourage people to ignore from the very dramatic Cruise, this might just be the most important. Enjoy his movies, listen to your doctor.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


A Smart Rock Star? No, Genius!

WSJ.com - Rocker Jeff Baxter Moves and Shakes In National Security: "Jeff Baxter played psychedelic music with Ultimate Spinach, jazz-rock with Steely Dan and funky pop with the Doobie Brothers. But in the last few years he has made an even bigger transition: Mr. Baxter, who goes by the nickname 'Skunk,' has become one of the national-security world's well-known counterterrorism experts.
A wiry man who wears a beret to many of his meetings, Mr. Baxter, who is now 56 years old, has gone from a rock career that brought him eight platinum records to a spot in the small constellation of consultants paid to help both policy makers and defense contractors better understand the way terrorists think and plan attacks."

We often forget with all of the antics, etc. that it takes intellect to be really, truly good at anything. Admittedly, many rock stars are just idiots, but this is a wonderful example of self-refined raw intellect. I love stories like this! As someone who has musicians in the family, and one of them of genius-level intellect, I can truly appreciate that it is not only possible, but may be more common than often thought. To have the innate curiosity to become a master at anything intimates a deeper, more profound mind than just the kid who learns the opening to Stairway to Heaven. We often see slight to severe obsessive-compulsive tendencies, which seems reasonable to spur and maintain the level of curiosity it takes to master anything. Keeping that up, and dealing with how different that behavior is to the norm leads to the alcohol and drug use that is so common amongst these kinds of minds. It is obvioulsy more complex, but that simple start is usually a part of the draw to intoxicants. Any escape from a mind that runs constantly seems reasonable. Dulling the obsessive-compulsive side of their behavior is a relief. This is not an excuse for all of music's drug woes. In fact, this explanation only applies to a small number of these people, in my opinion. Drug and alcohol use and abuse has thousands of other explanations, not the least of which is genetics. But for the rare genius, of any specialty, it seems common for them to seek reprieve. I don't know Baxter, and am not suggesting any issues like this. I suppose I went off on a rant. In fact, use and abuse is well under control in those I know, but it is a pattern that I have seen in the greatest intellects that I have been blessed to know. In fact, the exception to my rule was good proof of it. As I got to know him, I asked why this wasn't his issue. He explained that, while he just didn't like to lose control, he also had a sense that it would be an immediate problem. I like to ponder these topics quite a bit, genius, alcohol and drug abuse, illness, and the like. This article may give you something to ponder as well.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Just as Inappropriate


Ugh! Tactless, classless, ignorant, and in bad taste. Dean was wrong to make comments about Limbaugh, and Limbaugh is just as wrong to make these kinds of comments. If Dean was able to conquer an addiction to the point of being a possible candidate for President of the United States and now of actually being the formal head of the Democratic Party, we should be impressed by that accomplishment, not making snide comments. Very few of our glass houses are that strong, and these gentlemen should show a bit more maturity and value their audiences more than this. Both of them have lost any credibility they may have had.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


The Stars and Stripes in Berkeley

California Alumni Association at UC Berkeley: "In his office, he displays a small American flag on his bookshelf. 'The flag is there,' he explained in December, 'because it troubles me that most of the time when professors on this campus speak out about what we're doing in Afghanistan, it's to oppose it. I have the same post-late-'60s skepticism about imperial power that any sensible person has. But the reflexive sense among the most vocal faculty at this school that what we're doing in Afghanistan is wrong because the United States has never been a perfect country strikes me as almost anti-intellectual. I don't agree. So I put up that flag because I think that, while it is not a perfect place, there's no better country than the United States, and I'm in favor of this war.'"

I am a big McWhorter fan. He is smart, charming, beyond what his starched facade would imtimate, and curious. I saw him speak in Fresno last year, and I was quite charmed. Though he stayed on linguistics and did not speak at all on his cultural/political leanings, I still felt smarter for the experience.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Should You Have to be Willing to Get Violently Ill to be a Real Catholic?

FOXNews.com - Weekend Live - Weekend Topics: May 21 & 22: "Should a young girl's first communion be declared invalid because she cannot consume communion wafers made of wheat? Eight-year-old Haley Waldman has celiac disease, a condition that makes her gluten intolerant, which means ingesting wheat will make her sick. The Catholic Church won't budge on allowing the host to be made of anything other than wheat."

Further proof that the religious do not always have its parishioners well-being in mind. Here is a little girl that wants nothing more than to do her First Communion, a rite-of-passage for many children. The problem is that a protein found in the communion wafer causes her to have sharp stomach pains, troubled evacuations, weakness, and even malnutrition. The Church says it will not recognize her rice-based wafer communion, because wheat was divinely chosen as the eucharist. (I hope I conveyed that correctly.) So, here is this young girl that wants nothing more than to be a part of a Church, that has essentially told her that she has to be willing to get violently ill to really be a member. Remember that this is a Church who protected pedophile priests, and allowed them to continue to work with children. Now, however, they won't let this little girl take communion, because God won't recognize rice wafers. Isn't that a sin?

Thursday, May 19, 2005


What Freaking Year is it?

Women in combat: Lawmakers draw new line - Politics - MSNBC.com: "House Republicans retreated from a sweeping ban on women in combat support and service units, and instead approved legislation backing the Pentagon's policy barring women from direct ground combat in a bill passed overnight.
The House Armed Services Committee approved the narrower provision after the Army and Democrats said the amendment, rammed through a subcommittee last week, would close nearly 22,000 jobs to women, undermine morale, and hamper operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We want women to serve everywhere, except in ground combat", said Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y. McHugh, chairman of the personnel subcommittee, said the amendment would require Congress to vote before women would be allowed in direct combat units."

This is proof that you need two sides. I can't believe we are even having this conversation. There are amazon women out there that are stronger and hardier than many men. If they want to lay their life out there, let them. Put height, weight, or other requirements on that ability, but not a gender requirement. I thought we already knew how ridiculous that was.


Scary Stat

FOXNews.com - Politics - Activist Extremists Top U.S. Domestic Threat: "Environmental and animal rights activists who have turned to arson and explosives are the nation's top domestic terrorism threat, an FBI official told a Senate committee on Wednesday.
Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front (search), the Earth Liberation Front and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty are 'way out in front' in terms of damage and number of crimes, said John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism."

Isn't it ironic that these groups are also anti-war? I am not aligning all lefties with these crazies, but it certainly is interesting that they would probably burn down a new condo complex in Denver, and then go to an anti-war march.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Kissinger Makes Three Good Points

Implementing Bush's Vision:
"-The process of democratization does not depend on a single decision and will not be completed in a single stroke. Elections, however desirable, are only the beginning of a long enterprise. The willingness to accept their outcomes is a more serious hurdle. The establishment of a system that enables the minority to become a majority is even more complex.
-Americans need to understand that successes do not end their engagement but most probably deepen it. For as we involve ourselves, we bear the responsibility even for results we did not anticipate. We must deal with those consequences regardless of our original intentions and not act as if our commitments are as changeable as opinion polls.
-Elections are not an inevitable guarantee of a democratic outcome. Radicals such as Hezbollah and Hamas seem to have learned the mechanics of democracy in order to undermine it and establish total control."

These three points cannot be uttered enough, as they seem to be key to our success.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Newt and Hil

Oddly, Hillary and, Yes, Newt Agree to Agree - New York Times: "Exactly why Mr. Gingrich has been so effusive about Mrs. Clinton is an open question. He says he has been impressed by the job she has done since becoming a senator.
But others say that he gains as much politically as she does by sharing a stage with her, at a time when he is said to be mulling over the possibility of running for the presidency in 2008
'It's mutually beneficial,' said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist. 'He gets to appear to be a mainstream figure and she gets to appear as someone who is willing to work with everyone, no matter their ideology.'
But Mr. Gingrich may end up paying a price politically for engaging in what many conservatives regard as heresy. 'He is trying to change his image into a softer and more gentle Newt,' said Michael Long, the chairman of the New York State Conservative Party. 'That is a major mistake on his part.'"

I tend to think it is going to take a lot to get either of them elected. Either one could possibly get the nom, but it would be quite a feat to get either of them the White House. This may be a calculation, a deal. When I was younger, I told someone of the opposite sex that we should marry and have children if we were not otherwise taken by the age of thirty five. I think Hil and Newt are saying, 'if you get your party's nom and I don't, give me VP'. It would be such an interesting strategy. They could market themselves as the compromise Presidency, that all issues will have to run through both Newt's and Hil's idealogical strainers. I have no idea if it would work, but it is really fun to ponder.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


No Se

Border Patrol told to stand down in Arizona - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - May 13, 2005: "U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protesters patrolled last month because an increase in apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of Minuteman volunteers, The Washington Times has learned."

If this is true, doesn't just make your stomach hurt? When someone comes to me and shows me a better way to do things, I might fight a bit at first, like a child told to stand in the corner, but then I usually buck up and try to appropriately learn the lesson. Here we are, post 9/11, and these border patrol people are concerned they might look bad. They already do, and this just goes to proving their incompetence. It was bad enough that citizens felt so strongly about it as to go down there, but then to try to skew the results to attempt to make them seem ineffective?
I have really not known how to feel on this, as I am just no expert on illegals and their positive and negative impacts. I tend to think of them as illegals, thus not legally here. I also have immense compassion for the squalid conditions many of them are escaping. While I am thrilled I do not have to make the decisions as to whether they stay or go, I also understand people's ire about the vast number of illegals here who cost us money, commit crime, and do not become viable, law-abiding members of our communities.
Is it a real option to protect the borders really? Do we have enough people to protect the thousands of miles of earthen borders? Do we have enough money to pay the tens of thousands it would take to guard it day and night for the next ten or twenty years? Are there more effective uses of our money? Are there more effective anti-terrorism efforts? I don't know, but I would need to know the answers to those and hundreds of others to feel passionate about one side or the other. I wish others were as careful about where they exercise their passion.

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