Chalk up one for historical thinking. David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies earned the title of “least credible history book in print” from the History News Network. Admittedly, HNN’s poll lacked stringent measures, but the publisher of the book is pulling the title saying, “basic truths just were not there.” NPR also produced this set of clips exposing Barton. Regardless of what Barton felt in his heart and soul, H. L. Mencken had it right when he said, “I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.”
Pat Gray, interim director of the FBI, met with President Nixon on February 16, 1973 to discuss his confirmation hearings. After discussion of how to circumvent the SCOTUS ruling that prevented wiretapping without probably cause or a court order, the conversation turned to plugging the leaks coming out of the FBI related to the Watergate break ins (yes, plural since it was attempted three times). Nixon had not ordered the break in, but was working to stop the investigation. The following is from Tim Weiner’s Enemies: A History of the FBI.
Nixon said, “This stuff didn’t leak when Hoover was there. I’ve never known of a leak when Hoover was there. I could talk to him in this office about everything. And the reason is that—it wasn’t because they loved him, but they feared him. And they’ve got to fear the man at the top … You’ve got to play it exactly that way. You’ve got to be brutal, tough and respected … I understand leaking out of the CIA, those goddamned cookie-pushers. But if it leaks out of the Bureau, then the whole damn place ought to be fired.”
Nixon was now sputtering and fuming. “You’ve got to do it like they did in the war,” the president said. “In World War II, the Germans, if they went through these towns and then one of their soldiers, a sniper hit one of them, they’d line up the whole goddamned town and say until you talk you’re all getting shot. I really think that’s what has to be done. I mean, I don’t think you can be Mr. Nice Guy over there.”
“I haven’t been,” Gray protested. “These guys know they can’t lie to me like they used to lie to Hoover.”
Nixon became imperious. “Frankly, I am referring to discipline of the highest sensitivity involving what may be political matters. Partisan political matters,” he said. “Let us suppose there’s a leak to a certain member of the press. I’ve got to have a relationship here where you go out and do something and deny on a stack of Bibles.”
“Right,” said Gray. “I understand.”
“I don’t have anybody else,” Nixon said. “I can’t hire some asshole from the outside.”
“There were times,” he said, his anger boiling over, “and, and, and, Lyndon Johnson told me this same thing—when I felt that the only person in this goddamned government who was standing with me was Edgar Hoover … He would break his ass if he saw something that was wrong being done, if somebody was pissing on us … What you’ve got to do is to do like Hoover.”
By Gray’s account, the president turned to Erhlichman, who nodded slightly, as if to say: go ahead. Nixon seemed to unwind, and he came back to his script. “I think it’s going to be a bloody confirmation,” he said. “You’ve got to be prepared to take the heat and get bloodied up. But if you do go through a bloody one, let’s remember that you’re probably going to be in for just four years. And then they’re gonna throw you out. So let’s get in there and do some good for the country.”
“As you know, I would never ask the Director of the Bureau to do anything that was wrong,” the president said. “But I am certainly going to have to ask the Director of the Bureau at times to do things that are going to protect the security of this country.”
“No problem,” Gray said.
“This country,” Nixon said, “this bureaucracy—Pat, you know this—it’s crawling with, Pat, at best, at best, unloyal people and at worst treasonable people.”
“Treasonable people,” Gray repeated, dutiful and dull.
“We have got to get them, break them,” Nixon said.
“Right,” Gray said. “I know that.”
“The way to get them is through you. See?”
“I agree. I have no problems with that.”
Nixon was satisfied. He had chosen a successor. Everyone was smiling now. “The moment you’re confirmed,” the president said, “we’ve got to have the kind of relationship we had with Hoover.”
Weiner, Tim (2012-02-14). Enemies: A History of the FBI (Kindle Locations 6146-6181). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Goldline paid Glenn Beck handsomely to promote their product. Viewers who trusted Glenn Beck got fleeced. Here is a neat infographic explaining why investing in gold coins can result in an immediate loss of 30-35% of your investment. (This is not my number: Read Goldline’s own response to charges of fraud.) You can recover this over time, but why suffer massive losses to start an investment. Here is a better guide in an infographic.
Original source: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/07/glenn-beck-goldline/
It is easy to get cynical about politics. Sometimes our suspicion and fear blend to guide the vote we cast. We end up voting less for the person we want and more for the person who will not burn our national house down. For the record, I think presidential elections are limited in what they can solve (now is not the time for this debate, but I would be happy to address it later). The partisanship, excitement, and sideshow tend to mask the intent of candidates as they move toward the magical, mainstream norm. In general, presidential elections tend to confirm major trends that developed a few years ago and have been discussed by Americans in their homes, churches, schools, and bars.
Perhaps a few examples are in order. Jefferson’s election failed to roll back the central government of the Federalists. Instead it modified government action to favor agrarians. Jackson’s hatred of the Bank failed to move congress until sufficient support from multiple sources helped make it an issue for his re-election campaign. More recently, Reagan’s conservatism failed to shrink the size of government until a Democratic President won an election using the argument of smarter government.
Ross Douthat of the New York Times does a good job of looking at undercover policies that each of the Republican nominees might enact to address an issue. For example, Gingrich discusses funding basic scientific research to understand the human brain that help Alzheimer’s patients and save Medicare dollars.
Just like the election of 1860 forced candidates to address issues like the nature of the union and slavery, transcontinental railroads were widely discussed and supported by each candidate. (Thanks to my cousin Caleb for the image). Issues and policy under the radar might not draw headlines and fit Frank Lutz’s lexicon, but they will have deep implications for the coming decades and are worth noting.
Senator Grisanti Supports NY Marriage Equality (06-24-11) (by ihearthdvids)
New York State Senator Grisanti and I have shared a road to recognizing same-sex marriage as a right. Grisanti voted as a man of faith, a lawyer, and a community member. In his words, he could find no legal justification for the denial of rights to homosexuals.
The doodle is definitely a whole lot of fun, but can also be incredibly addicting. For anyone who hasn’t spent the better part of their working day trying to work out how to play Mary Had A Little Lamb on Google’s incredibly awesome doodle, here’s a crash course to help you rock out on your desktop.
Lesson 1: Notes
The Google guitar can play 10 notes, starting with a low G and climbing up to a high B. To play, either strum over the doodle with your mouse or use the keyboard icon to play using, you guessed it, the keyboard.
Here’s a look at each note and its corresponding numerical key, starting at the low G string:
And here is how those notes correspond to the doodle itself.
Remember, the Google guitar includes one F#, so you can play a G major scale.
Note: Google guitar’s keyboard function also works using corresponding letter keys down the rows of the keyboard, meaning that low G can be played using the 1, Q, A and Z keys, the low A can be played using the 2, W, S and X keys, and so on.
Lesson 2: Chords
Now that you know your way around the notes, it’s time to mix things up with a few chords.
C Major = 1, 3 5, 8
F Major = 4, 6, 8
G Major = 5, 7, 9
With these chords, you can go ahead and practice your 12-bar blues (compliments of this Reddit user):
C C C C
F F C C
G G C C
Lesson 3: Songs
Let’s get this show on the road! Amateur musicians are already posting their greatest Google hits to YouTube, and with a little practice you too will be ready for the big time. This is where you can really make use of the doodle’s 30-second record feature, and share your masterpiece with the Web.
Thank You to the Huffington Post article at