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Dereliction of Duty

Well, many suspected and others tried to deny it, but if the accusations in this book are true-and they sound like it-then the Clinton White House is the SMOKING GUN for today’s international crisis’. Osama, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, and more…we have them all today because of important golf games, non “sexual relations,” and the appeasement of a First Lady’s profane tantrums/rants.

This book is a true eye-opener. I had heard the anecdotes and allegations, but I dismissed a lot of it as overblown posturing and partisan bickering. After all, I lived in DC, I know how the Beltway Crowd works and thinks.

I am simply appalled at what I read in this book, however. Only the most closed-minded apologist could read this book without at least a twinge of guilt. Truly, the author has no axe to grind, and he certainly had a lot more first-hand contact than I (or anyone else here) has had. I firmly believe that in order to take the true measure of someone, you have to size them up, in person, over an extended period of close contact. The author did that and more. What he recounts is a tale of someone so mendacious, so shallow, and so amazingly self-centered that it’s almost surprising that our system of government survived those eight years.

Lt. Col. Patterson was in a unique position to observe the behavior of former President Clinton, and provides a devastating account of what could “gently” be considered extreme sloppiness with regard to our national security. Other citizens might well call the president’s cavalier attitude toward his most important duty to be negligent and irresponsible.

Lt. Col. Patterson makes it clear from the outset that he was not particularly a “political animal”, that he had not even voted in the Presidential election which brought Clinton into power, and spends very little time addressing what his own political beliefs are (if any). He also makes it clear that it was quite difficult for him to write this book — about his own commander-in-chief. Nevertheless, he felt that the truth HAD to be told — and did so at the risk of alienating many friends and acquaintences.

If only a small percentage of what Lt. Col. Patterson writes is accurate, then Bill Clinton will go down in history as the worst president, with regard to foreign policy and American domestic security, the nation has ever seen.

Recommended, with grief for what was done to our country.

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John Grisham had some story ideas that he didn’t think could sustain full-length narrative. So he did what he customarily does: whatever he wants to. Was anyone at Doubleday going to argue with that?

A great collection of short stories by Grisham, that illustrates the ways of the South. As Grisham is not a series man (save his new Theodore Boone work), there are no recurring characters to tie these tales to (at least to the best of my recollection). Each is masterful in its own way and acts as an excellent stand-alone.

Mr. Grisham took seven of his unused plot ideas and turned each of them into a sharp, lean tale free of subplots and padding. At an average length of slightly over 40 pages, these narratives are shorter than novellas but longer than conventional short stories. For a fledgling author, this format would be a tough sell; for Mr. Grisham, it’s a vacation from whatever grueling work goes into the construction of fully rigged best sellers. The change invigorates him in ways that show up on the page.

The stories are well-developed and share nothing in common, other than the county in which they are set. Ford County shows the various forks in the path that a group of people living in one small parcel of land can have and all the trouble that can erupt. Grisham weaves an excellent tale in each story and keeps the reader interested from the get-go. No story is like any of his full length work and that is a refreshing change of legal pace.

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1777 – The Year of the Hangman, was a time of turmoil and political intrigue. A war had been waged between the mighty British Empire, and the passionate underdogs, the American Colonies…

Now, anyone with a whit of sense knows how this conflict really ended, and may be familiar with what really went on in this year. However, let us consider another possibility… What If…? The Patriots were defeated; their ranks and leaders broken and scattered? On this premise, Gary L. Blackwood skillfully constructs a slender novel of great imagination.

Creighton Brown, a soft, spoiled British aristocrat is taken in the night and transported to the Americas. Eventually, he finds himself a central pawn in a plot to destroy what remains of the Continental Army. Populating this rich world are characters of all walks of life, including several with familiar names, if not familiar roles.

In order to find his place in this New World, Creighton must discover where his loyalties truly lie, and not only if he is a man of conscience, but, indeed, whether he is a man at all… Can this confused young man rise above his own selfish concerns in order to play a major role in the final act of the American Revolution…?

I would not recommend it for anyone who is not mature enough to have developed good discernment; certainly no earlier than age 13 and possibly not before age 16.

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It seems that utopian societies always have a dark side. The community in The Giver is no different; the perfect society is balanced by an absence of so many things – colors, feelings, choice. Jonas discovers this absence when he becomes the new Receiver of Memories. In this capacity he learns what really happens in his community and he finds that he can’t live with it. He has to make changes to his circumstances.

This is a really interesting book and a great book for discussions. Th…moreIt seems that utopian societies always have a dark side. The community in The Giver is no different; the perfect society is balanced by an absence of so many things – colors, feelings, choice. Jonas discovers this absence when he becomes the new Receiver of Memories. In this capacity he learns what really happens in his community and he finds that he can’t live with it. He has to make changes to his circumstances.

This is a really interesting book and a great book for discussions. There is the sameness of the community, the regimented lives of the citizens, the lack of choice in everything they do and the release of people from the community. I thought Jonas’s story was one many could relate to; he really grew up and into himself in the book. He learned to think and act for himself and as an adult.

I did find that when I finished the book I wanted to know more though. I wanted to know how they created the sameness — do they genetically engineer all the people to be color blind? The colors are still there obviously but the people just don’t see them. How did they get rid of the weather, the sun, the hills, the animals? I assume they have climate control, but they aren’t under a dome or anything so how does it work? How did the Receiver of Memories gather all the memories in the first place? They seem to be from many different people and places and times and at least one seemed to come from an animal (the elephant). How are they gathered and stored and tied to the community? Jonas looses them so they are obviously tied to a place. Lots of unanswered questions!

The ending is also very ambiguous and left a lot of questions. Was it real? Did he live or die? How will the community deal with the memories? Will the Giver be able to help them? Will the community change? And should the community change? Even with all the sameness and lack of choice was the community bad? Is release bad?

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This article originally appeared as a Library of America Story of the Week feature.

An Interview with Mark Twain
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

From “The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Works”

In 1889, having published six short-story collections in a one-year period, the 23-year-old Rudyard Kipling left India for a tour of America and Europe. His travels brought him to New York and Connecticut, where he hoped to locate and “shake hands with” Mark Twain, the “man I had learned to love and admire fourteen thousand miles away.” His recollection of that encounter was published in newspapers from Allahabad to New York. “An Interview with Mark Twain” is more than a transcription of his conversation with the author of Tom Sawyer; Kipling also recounts the humorous story of how he hunted down his idol, his awe at actually meeting him, and Twain’s genteel demeanor to a stranger arriving unannounced at the door.

When Rudyard Kipling traveled to England the following year and soon became a literary celebrity, Mark Twain did not immediately connect the young visitor with the rising star of English letters–but Twain’s daughter Susy, enamored with the idea that anyone could hail from such an exotic locale, had kept Kipling’s calling card with its address in India. Twain then read Plain Tales from the Hills and wrote to a friend, “whereas Kipling’s stories are plenty good enough on a first reading they very greatly improve on a second.” Mark Twain later recalled his initial encounter with Kipling: “I believed that he knew more than any person I had met before, and I knew that he knew that I knew less than any person he had met before–though he did not say it, and I was not expecting that he would. . . . He was a stranger to me and to all the world, and remained so for twelve months, then he became suddenly known, and universally known.”

(Note: The “Robert” to which Mark Twain refers during his conversation with Kipling is Robert Elsmere, an 1888 novel by Mrs. Humphrey Ward.)

You are a contemptible lot, over yonder. Some of you are Commissioners, and some Lieutenant-Governors, and some have the V. C., and a few are privileged to walk about the Mall arm in arm with the Viceroy; but I have seen Mark Twain this golden morning, have shaken his hand, and smoked a cigar–no, two cigars–with him, and talked with him for more than two hours! Understand clearly that I do not despise you; indeed, I don’t. I am only very sorry for you, from the Viceroy downward. To soothe your envy and to prove that I still regard you as my equals, I will tell you all about it.

They said in Buffalo that he was in Hartford, Conn.; and again they said “perchance he is gone upon a journey to Portland”; and a big, fat drummer vowed that he knew the great man intimately, and that Mark was spending the summer in Europe–which information so upset me that I embarked upon the wrong train, and was incontinently turned out by the conductor three-quarters of a mile from the station, amid the wilderness of railway tracks. Have you ever, encumbered with great-coat and valise, tried to dodge diversely-minded locomotives when the sun was shining in your eyes? But I forgot that you have not seen Mark Twain, you people of no account! . . . Read the full story

*GIVE IT A SECOND TO LOAD ONCE YOU GET THERE!*

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I found this awesome article/blog click the link to read it!

When Authors Attack

I have debated and debated on this and finally decided Ihad to comment on the controversy surrounding a new edition of Mark Twain‘s Huckleberry Finn that has recently been released. Edited by Alan Gribben, who is a Professor of English at AuburnUniversityat Montgomery, Alabamathe new volume has changed the way a particularly offensive term is said in the book. In the said volume, the word nigger is replaced with the word “slave”. Based on Michiko Kakutani‘s article: “Light Out, Huck, They Still Want To Sivilize You” fromJanuary 7, 2011 the word nigger appears over 200 times and it forms the name of one of the main characters in the story: Nigger Jim. For those of you who have not read the story, it is based in the Antebellum South of theUnited States during the mid-19th Century and the dialogue in the book is a reflection of the speech of the time.

I’ll be the first to say that the word “nigger” might be one of the most repulsive words (if not the worst) in the English language. I do see where Professor Gribben is coming from when he says he wants to spare “the reader from a racial slur that never seems to lose its vitriol”. To see an older black person flinch when hearing a young person repeatedly say the word in their presence further proves that point. In addtion, Professor Gribben believes that in changing the words in question the book would no longer be blacklisted from many schools reading curriculum due to language and content. But as a Pseudo Historian, I see this as being a major issue. Bad enough there are states that are changing History to reflect a particular religious and/or moral point of view. Changing language and content in older books to reflect modern sensitivities provides a disservice to today’s youth.

I firmly believe that the covering up of History will only lead to continual distortion and a lack of knowledge of said history. I believe that children today have the potential to be the most intelligent of children since so much information is at their disposal at the click of a few keys where kids in my generation had to do more “leg work” to access said information. Keeping that potential intelligence in mind, I feel that censoring literature takes their intelligence out of the equation.

As a teacher or a parent, you can be against the use of the offensive language and let it be known, but to just erase it from the reading material just takes away the potential for positive discourse between you and your students and children. I believe in order to be a successful teacher and/or parent is being able to explain the uncomfortable along with the comfortable. In terms of Huck Finn, explain why the word is offensive in a way that the kids will understand and maybe you’ll find that with the proper explanation, kids know what the word means and choose whether to use the word or not. I found a series of documentaries made by Michael Schuman called The N Word Documentary and it is available on YouTube at the Moshen Picture Production film channel. I’d recommend for you to check them out.

My final thought:

Removing the N-word from Huck Finn should get it removed it from many banned book lists, which is the strongest argument for editing. My alternate suggestion – Complain like hell & if necessary change schools if your kid attends one that refuses to respect Twain’s masterpiece. I’d rather a book be banned and retain its power (curious enough minds will read it whether assigned in school or not) than rewritten to make it impotent.

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Hello my fellow friends and bloggers,

I know I have been away for quite a while and have not produced anything in over a month. Please forgive me and let me explain. After writing my last review on the 15th of Feb my beloved and best friend of twelve years, my dog became very ill. For the next six days he fought like a champ and we thought he turned the corner and was going to make it.

I celebrated my birthday on the 21st of Feb knowing little my dog put on a wonderful show the day before it and the day of my birthday. It was he gift to me, so his “Daddy” could have a wonderful day. He acted his normal shelf and gave everything he had that day so I would be happy. The next day Zaki (my dog) was worse than he had been that whole week.

He had given his all the day before, he had nothing left. I picked him up so he could eat, drink, and go outside, all day he got worse. The next day on the Feb 23 he could no longer stand on his own, he looked up at me and it was the look I knew one day he would give me and that day he did. I knew what he was asking me to do, I laid beside him on the ground outside. I petted and caressed him. I spoke softly to him and talked to him for over and hour. I nuzzled him, I hugged him, and I bawled in his fur.

Then I picked him up and carried him to my jeep talking to him the whole time. We were going for one last ride. I was in hell and as I laid him in the Jeep he kissed me looking me deep in my eyes telling me it was ok. I couldn’t believe when death was right there he still even then didn’t think about himself but thought only of me, like he did his whole entire life.

We got to the vet…

Anyway I left alone, save only a leash and empty collar in my hand. I was crushed. Thus it has taken me this long to be able to grieve and even think of writing any reviews. I do hope you all will forgive me for that. However I have still been reading and have at least 24 books to review so there will be quite a bit of content.

Thank you for your patience in my absence.

 

The Fight Of Our Lives

“The Fight of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth & Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam” is a book that speaks volumes, but is a very quick read.

Do you remember where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing on9/11/2001? I can remember it like it was yesterday. The terrorist attacks ofSeptember 11, 2001 will be forever etched into the memory of all Americans. It was a day of tragedy, hate, loss, and outrage. It was also a day that propelled theUnited States into a war with an unconventional enemy. The outrage and anger that Americans felt that day fueled a desire to win the war so that events such as 9-11 never again happened on American soil.

I also remember the aftermath of flags, patriotic songs, crying families, and praying like had never happened before. But, where have we gone wrong since then that less than 8 years later an attack could happen, yet again, (Fort Hood, Texas) on U.S. soil, from the same point of concept, radical Islam?

In 1776 Thomas Paine published a small pamphlet called “Common Sense.” The author opened his introduction with this sentence: “Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

In “The Fight of our Lives” William Bennett and Seth Leibsohn approach the subject of Islam in a manner that will likely be “not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor.”

Bennett and Liebsohn have written this book to wake Americans up to the fact that we are still at war and that radical Islam is the enemy. Through detailed research, interviews, quotes from politicians, military leaders, and Islamic leaders on both sides, the authors chronicle more than ten years of terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies; including the shooting at Ft Hood, embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and many other that we see daily in the news. Bennett and Liebsohn cite, time and time again, the connection between the Islam and those perpetrating the attacks. “The Fight of our Lives” also demonstrates howUSpolicy has shifted since 9-11. Beginning there, the leadership of our nation used the words “terrorism”, “terrorist”, and “war” openly and took a firm stance against those harbored terrorists. The authors suggest that through years of tolerance, appeasement, and political correctness, we hardly hear these words anymore. The authors write to remind Americans that terrorism has not went away.

This book is hard-hitting and to the point. It is very “in your face” about the issues of terrorism and Islam. You may not agree with every point the authors make. You will however be challenged to evaluate the facts and decide for yourself whether or not Islam is the real enemy of theUnited States.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and mine alone and no other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list ranks the 150 top-selling titles each week based on an analysis of sales from U.S. booksellers. Contributors represent a variety of outlets: bookstore chains, independent bookstores, mass merchandisers and online retailers.