Having befriended Natalee's family shortly after they arrived on the Dutch-owned Caribbean island of Aruba to begin the desperate, agonizing, ultimately fruitless search for their missing teenager, I share their belief that the arrogant Van der Sloot murdered her. In the years since, I chronicled the ebb and flow of their frustration and disappointment as Joran slipped out of one legal jam after another.
Mitt Romney's father, former Michigan governor George Romney was born in Mexico. That's shocking right? Even though the story has apparently been out there for months, I never heard it. What is even more shocking is that the admission came from the virulently anti-illegal immigration presidential candidate himself. Perhaps in an effort to beat to the punch an investigative report by the excellent Mike Taibbi on Brian Williams' "30 Rock" program Monday night, on Sunday afternoon Mitt Romney suddenly mentioned Latino immigrants in a context other than 'Round them up. Sort them out. And send the illegal ones back where they came from. He admitted in passing that his dad was born there.
Sitting at the bar in Paolo's Restaurant at 92nd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan Saturday afternoon, December 10th, I was shocked by the tone the conversation with my old ABC News colleague Lowell Bergman had taken. He was heading to London and had urgently requested that we get together before his afternoon flight from JFK.
Lowell as a brave, competent, but hugely self-righteous old school
investigative reporter, who famously produced the Mike Wallace expose of
the major tobacco companies for '60 Minutes.' Al Pacino played him in
the movie version of the saga, 'The Insider.'
Although I hadn't seen the now 60-year old veteran reporter since he parted ways with ABC back in 1982, I recognized him immediately. Like most out-of-town, old-timers, who persistently request an unscheduled meeting to "talk about some projects I'm working on," I assumed Lowell had fallen on hard times and wanted a job.
I was stunned, therefore, when after some small talk about our children (five each) and now dead fellow colleagues, his eyes narrowed, his smile turned into a grimace, and he began interrogating me about News Corporation's hacking scandal.
A perfect example of Republican tone-deafness is the cancellation of the Univision debate that was originally scheduled for January 29th.
For someone who considers himself a patriot, as I do, it is extremely difficult not to rally behind a president when he beats the drums of war. So it has always been. We can disagree about domestic policy, but when the nation’s leader says we are threatened from abroad, the majority of Americans suspends misgivings or even gnawing disbelief and gives the man in the Oval Office the benefit of the doubt.
Our war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was the classic example. It was funky from the get-go, and I should have known better. Instead, I concentrated on chronicling the heroic efforts of our stressed Armed Forces as they followed goals that vacillated from attempted conquest to force protection to nation-building and finding a respectable way out.
We didn’t go for the oil, (which, in retrospect would have been a fine objective). We didn’t go to establish a strong base in a dangerous, strategically important part of the world. We went as an act of national self defense.