Monday, June 26, 2006

And So Begins the Last Week in June...

Woke up quite early this morning—0400 to be exact—and caught an interesting interview on C-SPAN’s “Q&A.” Q&A is an hour-long interview program, wherein Brian Lamb interviews individuals, and this particular interview was with Jennifer Griffin, Fox News Channel’s Jerusalem correspondent. Ms. Griffin began with Fox as a stringer in Moscow and has been Fox’s “Woman in Jerusalem” for the past six and a half years. This is an amazing woman… graduate of an all-girls Catholic High School, Harvard-educated… she’s been an expat for almost 15 years and has worked in Soweto, South Africa during the apartheid era; Mogadishu, Somalia; Afghanistan, Pakistan; and now Jerusalem. She’s married to Greg Meyer, who is the Jerusalem correspondent for the New York Times. They have two children, both girls (five and three), who were born in Jerusalem. Ms. Griffin, when asked what that most Americans don’t know about Israel, replied

“I think you don’t see how normal it is and I think that’s what’s so surprising. People always ask me how do you raise children there. And I have a three and a five-year-old and they were born there. They were born during the Intifada. I was wearing flack jackets instead of maternity wear at the beginning of the Palestinian uprising. And I can separate my life as a correspondent who is covering at times dangers things and still be at home, sleep in my bed at night and my kids can have a very normal existence there.”

Ms. Griffin was in the U.S. to deliver a high school commencement address at her alma mater. She had the following advice for the graduates:

Well, I was trying to convince them to become whatever – whoever they were and try to give my story as an example of how to find a path that leads you to something that makes you truly happy and where you’re contributing in some way and doing what you love, and that’s the only way to really succeed.

But those – what I really tried to – my main message to them was leave your comfort zone. And I think that goes back to what I did when I took a real risk and went to South Africa after that sophomore year. And I really – that was really uncomfortable and really I didn’t know what I was getting into. And even at that time running around, you know, going into the townships when, you know, people with light skin weren’t going into townships unless they were policemen and they were not welcomed. So it was – it was a really interesting time there.

And I also said – I said to them you never know when you’re going to be a witness to history so make sure you record everything, record, take snapshots of every moment because there have been so many times that I looked back and I think I can’t believe I was there for that and I didn’t record it in some way.

And so I really tried to inspire them to take time off, leave school, get out of school as fast as possible, get out there and just go somewhere. Just go and I think – I think the best thing I ever did was get on that plane and go to Somalia and not wait. And we were only – there were only four journalists at the time – four or five of us in Mogadishu so we owned the story. And it was just AP, Reuters, maybe BBC, but – and a couple of freelance camera people. But – so that was a tremendous education on the job.

I never went to journalism school. I didn’t – I didn’t – and I certainly value education. I loved my high school and college experience. But I do think traveling the world is the best education there is.

Good advice. You can read the whole interview here.

The New York Times is apparently getting a lot of heat from its readers for publicly disclosing the existence of yet another classified program used to track down terrorists and “bring them to justice.” (I hate that term. I prefer “killing terrorists,” but that’s another story.) Executive editor Bill Keller, generally acknowledged as the man who made the ultimate decision to publish the NYT’s latest compromise of classified information, has written a letter to the NYT’s readers explaining his motivations in this decision. “Motivations” is being kind, the letter actually is a series of rationalizations, pure and simple. Mark in Mexico has published an executive summary (with links) of the Right-Side of the blogosphere’s comments and opinions on Keller’s letter, and those comments are predictably (and correctly) highly critical.

Separately, the AP reports:

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee urged the Bush administration on Sunday to seek criminal charges against newspapers that reported on a secret financial-monitoring program used to trace terrorists.

Rep. Peter King cited The New York Times in particular for publishing a story last week that the Treasury Department was working with the CIA to examine messages within a massive international database of money-transfer records.

I think it’s past time for an American counterpart to the UK’s Official Secrets Act. Enact this legislation and then prosecute the bastards. To the fullest extent possible.

I had an interesting conversation with SN1 this weekend, wherein I informed him I was considering buying a house in either Clovis or Portales now that Cannon AFB’s future is assured. Surprisingly, he was not surprised. I did get a laugh out of him when I said “But it’s such an admission of defeat!” Some explanation is in order, of course. One always hears “It’s a great place to raise kids!” when asking what a person thinks of Clovis/Portales. I’ve noticed in my travels one always hears this comment when there is little else good to be said about somewhere, anywhere. Given I have every option in the world at the moment regarding where I want to live, it’s somewhat amazing (to me, at least) I’d even think about living here permanently, ergo, “admission of defeat.” There are so many other, more desirable, locations to consider.

Still, I am considering the possibility. “Considering” is far from acting, however.


  1. When we first moved to OK, our address was actually Loco, OK. it was perfect, because that is what people thought we were when we left the mountains - loco. There was a retired engineer in Taos that occasionally did some work for Toby. He had lived all over the world and chose to retire in Taos, but he admitted to Toby one day, "Taos is a third world country."
    If you choose to live in Portales, people may think you are loco, but you are a man who has lived all over the world - you can do whatever you want. I happen to love OK. And I can understand why you would choose Portales - maybe:)

  2. I once applied for a teaching job in Clovis, but did not get it. We thought Clovis would be great. We have even made short vacation trips there (the big horse sales). I often wonder how my life would be different if we had moved there. Funny, how life happens!

  3. Buck,

    Just got your comment on blog. You mentioned having difficulty reading our blog pages...are you by chance using the Firefox browser? I ask because I do have difficulty viewing our pages on Firefox, though in IE they show up fine. Just curious.

  4. Ryan: I dropped an answer over at your place: yes, I do use Firefox. How strange different browsers would display colors differenty, eh?

    Lou: Thanks for the encouraging words! I think.

    If you'd have told me ten, or even TWO, years ago I'd be considering "setting down" in P-Town I'd have asked you to pass the pipe...



  5. Just spent 10 minutes trying to remember my blogger ID so I could comment over at Ryan Kelly's place. Chorus had me of course, but the Jack Black thing cracked me up because when my friend was teaching high school music, he was Johnny Depp.


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