Charles Krauthammer Alan Dershowitz Erik Prince
If you are in the mood for winter reading
I reviewed more than a few books during my time as an active journalist, but right now I wish only to recommend three without actually reviewing them. Do a bit of further research if, after reading these brief introductions, you think you might benefit from and/or enjoy one or all of these books:
Charles Krauthammer: "Things that Matter"
Krauthammer was a medical student when he dove into a swimming pool and emerged to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Despite the crippling injury, he finished his studies at Harvard Medical School and became a practicing psychiatrist. As a political liberal, he changed fields and became a speech writer for Democrat then-Vice President Walther Mondale, eventually moving on into journalism. Over the course of a few decades, he transitioned to become a conservative. He writes that as a doctor, he was trained to be a pragmatist; hence, he saw that conservatism worked while liberalism did not. The book is a compilation of columns Krauthammer wrote as a journalist, and offers the reasoning and progression why he and others evolve from a liberal to a conservative political philosophy as they gain in knowledge about rights, responsibilities and freedoms. Incidentally, Krauthammer is a Pulitzer Prize winner for his newspaper columns.
Alan Dershowitz: "Taking a Stand"
I might label this book under the category of "know thy enemy" because many of the beliefs Dershowitz professes and many of the actions he has undertaken during his adult life I find somewhere between objectionable to downright offensive. He has spent his entire career teaching at Harvard Law School and defending in courtrooms those who often are indefensible (in my opinion). For instance, he was an advisor in the defense of O.J. Simpson at his trial for the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Never-the-less, the book is fascinating in the sense of understanding the world as seen through the eyes of those who believe in an extremely liberal social and political philosophy. There are times the best friends might be political opposites, and Dershowitz could easily be one in a strictly social sense. However, to me he seems unable to draw a line between legal concepts and justice, and is willing to act as a legal mercenary if he is paid well enough.
Erik Prince: "Civilian Warriors"
This is one fascinating story. Prince, originally from Michigan, dropped out of the U.S. Naval Academy, but after graduating from Hillsdale College became an officer and a SEAL in the U.S. Navy. For a time, he belonged to a SEAL/CIA "nasty" team. (Nasty is my term, since assassination teams do not exist under the official auspices of the U.S government, right?) After the Navy, he returned to run his family's billion-dollar business and later created Blackwater, which, in polite terms, would be called a private security firm and the world's largest private military company. A generation ago, it would have been called an outfit for training and supplying mercenaries to the highest bidder, which included (whoops, you probably guessed it) Uncle Sam. Is it not fascinating how rhetoric and semantics have changed the face of America? Prince explains how Blackwater often took the bullets and the blame when things went wrong for U.S. government operations and assignments in places like Iraq. Prince has vowed he never again would work for the federal government because of its corruption and dishonesty. I, for one, agree wih him.
FramWinter: November through March
Those who have passed this way at this time of year before know that I do not measure seasons by the calendar, but, rather, by their general arrival and departure in my niche of the world. So, then:
FramWinter began November 1. It will end March 31. Which is not to say winter storms cannot occur before or after those dates, but is to say this is a pretty accurate, general measurement of typical weather in this neck of the woods.
I really would like to hibernate this year, more so than most years. I often say I have bear blood in my veins because, just about the time October is in full stride, I want to sleep and to forget the world until the sun awakens me around the end of March. Well, we shall see what develops between now and Yuletide. Perhaps, the end of 2013 is not too late to leap off some proverbial cliff and to discover what awaits below.
As for the music, this time around includes a pair of songs I have used in past posts. The first is representative of the "never a winter alone again" promise I made to myself during the winter of 2009 and failed to keep .... here I go again .... alone again, without you. The second is symbolic of my mood and my thoughts and my notion of going on the road for a while and following the music until I arrive at a place in the sun.
Happy Thanksgiving ....