That huge exhaling sigh of relief coming from this part of the world was made by me last night. Hubby and son called to say they were at the hotel and settling in for the night. During the conversation hubby says it's a good thing the anti-lock brakes work well on the car. A driver in front of them in Memphis, for no visible reason, spun out as they were going 70 mph. Missed son's passenger seat by inches. They are fine, no actual accident. Frayed nerves, though! Needless to say, I said a little thank you prayer after I put down the phone.
Laura Bush received another honorary title Monday from a group of HIV positive mothers from South Africa. They said they consider her their "grandmother". They were at the White House on the invitation from Mrs. Bush after meeting them during a trip to South Africa last year. She was inspired by the work the women are doing to help each other cope with HIV, many discovering they are HIV positive during prenatal care. The women are part of a group called The Mothers' Programmes, a private organization receiving assistance from President Bush's five year $15 billion anti-AIDS effort. Mrs. Bush also announced a new partnership between the U.S. government, drug companies and international organizations to develop more effective treatments for children with HIV and AIDS.
I learned of a group yesterday that gets little to no publicity called the Patriot Guard Riders, founded in August 2005. This group attends funerals of fallen soldiers, on motorcycles, and provide barricades between the family and anti-war protesters as a show of respect and support to the family. They provide a visual shield with 3' x 5' flags and motorcycles. How sad that there is a need for their service for military families.
In Aurora, Colorado Monday, Jay Bennish went back to teaching geography at Overland High School. He was put on administrative leave, paid, on March 1 after a 10th grader's 21 minute tape recording from Bennish's class was made public. He was reinstated after 2 days of meetings with Cherry Creek School officials, himself and his attorney. In support of Bennish, the principal of the school, Jana Frieler, said "It's not about maps anymore, it's about politics, it's about religion, it's about culture." Contrary to Bennish's assertions, the First Amendment rights to free speech was never meant as speech free of consequences. "Nowhere else do people think that it is ok to engage in politics instead of doing the job for which they are being paid. When you hire a plumber to fix a leak, you don't want to find our home being flooded while he whiles away the hours talking about Congressional elections or foreign policy" wrote Thomas Sowell in a recent column. "Inbred ideological narrowness shows up, not only in hiring and teaching, but also in restrictive campus speech codes for students, created by the very academics who complain loudly when their own "free speech" is challenged."
Which brings us to Dan Rather. Jim Walsh of the Courier Post (NJ) relates a lesson he learned from former CBS anchorman Dan Rather. Rather spoke to a Cherry Hill, NJ audience about the need for imporvement in reporting. He told the audience of 600 "What's gone out of fashion is the tough question and the follow-up." So, Walsh went to the floor mike to ask a question after the lecture. He asked, " You left the anchor desk last year after your report questioning President Bush's military service was discredited. Key memos could not be authenticated. Do you think the failure to ask questions then affects your credibility now?" Rather responded with civility that the independent review "couldn't determine whether the documents were authentic or not." Walsh asked a follow-up "The Courier-Post won't run something if we're not sure it's authentic. Are you saying it's OK..." and his microphone goes dead. Do as I say, not as I do should be the mantra for Rather, it seems. After making a whole speech about the absence of tough questions and follow-ups in journalism today, this is how a reporter was treated with his follow-up: a dead microphone. Posturing rather than supporting aggressive reporting again.
"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." - General Douglas MacArthur