"To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?" -- C.S. Lewis

Friday, February 4, 2005

Deep Secrets: When asked--yet again--about Deep Throat's identity yesterday in Austin, Bob Woodward replied:

When you know who it is, when that story's told, your reaction will be 'now I understand' (why the person wants anonymity). And so to answer that question would lead you down that trail, and that's something we're not anxious to do.

Personally, after I first read All The President's Men, I came away with the impression that, if I it had been a work of fiction, then--get this--the authors had written the character of Bob Dole in ways so as to subtly point to him as being Deep Throat. It was just a feeling. I can't really point to the reason I felt that way. And I'm probably wrong. But it's only at times like these that you can mention such weird hunches.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

This Friday In Austin: Booyah! Woodward & Bernstein. Bob Schieffer. Anthony Lewis. And others—all speaking at a free symposium on Friday. The University of Texas will house Woodstein’s Watergate notes for future researchers, hence the party of speakers.  Did I mention it’s free?

Koppel to This Week?: My immediate response is don't do it. Some at ABC would like to send George Stephanopoulos to Nightline, and let Ted Koppel give This Week a try. I don't think Stephanopoulos arrives with the objectivity that Nightline requires, and I doubt that Ted Koppel has the bedside manner to court Sunday morning viewers. But it's so hard for network TV execs to look beyond the ends of their noses for new talent (don't ya feel sorry for them?).

She doesn't have the traditional TV "look," but I'd vote for having NPR's Mara Liasson take a shot at being the female end of another Sam & Cokie-type duel anchor show. She's been quite a catch for Brit Hume's "all-star" panel on Fox News. Speaking of Brit, his ABC pedigree would make him a good choice for working opposite Mara. They have personal chemistry, and they represent both the left and right of U.S. politics. And to top everything off, I'd grab Christopher Hitchens to join George Will on the set in the second half of the show. And, if ABC really wants to give viewers a treat, then drop Will and add Andrew Sullivan to the mix. The Hitch & Sully show is becoming quite the cult favorite in certain news hound circles.

There you have it: My dream team scenario for putting This Week back on the map.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The Search At CBS: No word yet on Dan Rather’s successor, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this blurb at NewYorkMetro.com:

…CBS News executives insist that [Les] Moonves has no plans to put [ The Daily Show’s Jon] Stewart on the Evening News . If anything, Stewart is considered a more likely candidate to replace Andy Rooney as a commentator on 60 Minutes if the 85-year-old essayist ever retires.

Stewart replacing Rooney. Now that’s a career hand-off deserving of further consideration. It certainly beats Sammy Hagar for David Lee Roth… ;)

"Human Error": A foul stench was the first hint that Christopher Runyan had received the wrong bag from the funeral parlor.

Monday, January 31, 2005

False Analogy: Christopher Hitchens has devoted his latest column to debunking the nearly involuntary charge from the anti-war left that Iraq is this generation’s Vietnam. Excellent stuff.

His wrap graph is the most delicious:

I suppose it’s obvious that I was not a supporter of the Vietnam War. Indeed, the principles of the antiwar movement of that epoch still mean a good deal to me. That’s why I retch every time I hear these principles recycled, by narrow minds or in a shallow manner, in order to pass off third-rate excuses for Baathism or jihadism. But one must also be capable of being offended objectively. The Vietnam/Iraq babble is, from any point of view, a busted flush. It’s no good. It’s a stiff. It’s passed on. It has ceased to be. It’s joined the choir invisible. It’s turned up its toes. It’s gone. It’s an ex-analogy.

He means a poker flush.

Radio Gone Mental: A Buenos Aires radio show which broadcasts live from a mental hospital boasts an estimated listenership of 12 million. Says one listener:

They aren’t so crazy as people often think. They say things that are spot on. Sometimes they write poems, sing songs, and it is very interesting.

The show is popularly known as “Crazy Radio”--a term of endearment, I think. I bet it compares favorably to my local radio options. How about yours?

Big Picture: In the Vice Presidential debate last October Dick Cheney stood by the Bush Administration's insistence that Iraqi elections be held this January. He explained why:

Twenty years ago we had a similar situation in El Salvador. We had -- guerrilla insurgency controlled roughly a third of the country, 75,000 people dead, and we held free elections. I was there as an observer on behalf of the Congress.

The human drive for freedom, the determination of these people to vote, was unbelievable. And the terrorists would come in and shoot up polling places; as soon as they left, the voters would come back and get in line and would not be denied the right to vote.

And today El Salvador is a whale of a lot better because we held free elections.

The power of that concept is enormous. And it will apply in Afghanistan, and it will apply as well in Iraq.

For quite some time, opponents of the war in Iraq had contended that proceeding with such elections, if the insurgency remained active and pockets of instability persisted, would be folly. Among the anti-war left, that line of reasoning continued through last week.

But, based on yesterday's events, Cheney was clearly right. The power of free elections is indeed enormous. Now Iraq is one very meaningful step closer to becoming the sort of nation the world will welcome into its community.

Of course many mistakes have been made along the way, but, on this day, chalk one up for the Bush Administration.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Arab TV: A significant story in the NY Times this afternoon--Arab TV outlets overwhelmingly chose election coverage over insurgent violence:

Often criticized for glorifying Iraq's violence if not inciting it, Arab news channels appeared to take particular care in their election day reporting. For many channels, the elections were treated on a par with the invasion itself, on which the major channels helped build their names.

Initial reports put turnout at just over 60 percent of eligible voters. A healthy percentage, to be sure. That syncs up with the 64 percent of Iraqis who said they were "very likely" to vote, as reported in The Washington Post about a week ago. (In my Jan. 25 blog entry, I put emphasis on the 80 percent who considered themselves "likely" to vote--as opposed to "very likely.")

I read a story somewhere on the Web earlier this week claiming that, while 90 percent of Iraqis want to vote, 60 percent will risk the trip to the polls (Did anyone see this story? Zap me a link if you did.). Those numbers are roughly similar to the Post's poll's difference between likely and very likely voters. The story went on to conclude that, when one-third of willing voters fear going to polls and thus choose to stay home, that is a failure.

I guess I'm in the middle on this one.

I consider 60 percent a worthy achievement, but I duly note that a greater success will arrive on that day on which every Iraqi who wants to vote feels he or she can.

Shuttle Flights To Resume: Yes, design changes have been implemented, and the shuttle fleet is preparing to resume operations as early as May 12. NASA is understandably psyched.

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