• Judith Miller doing time. As a professional journalist, there was a time when I believed in reporter "shield laws" — laws to protect reporters who chose not to reveal confidential sources — the way television evangelists with big hair believe in Jesus and Brylcream ("A little dab'll do ya!"). I've come 180 degress on this one. Journalists are civilians, no different from people who are not reporters. Yes, a free press is incredibly important, but you can have a free press without offering legal protection to people who are mouthpieces for various and sundry parties with axes to grind. Confession time: I have used unnamed sources numerous times in stories. I can't think of a single time when the unnamed source was "make or break" for the story.
• Cherubs and seraphim...ah, you say, Bane you miserable hypocrite! You use unnamed sources routinely in this blog! What I do is pass along, for lack of a better word, gossip. Scurrilous, sleazy, opinionated gossip. That the vast majority of it is true is just a happy coincidence. I am not a newsgathering organization...which brings me to the second thing that's boring me to tears, "citizen journalists," the blogoshoere's increasing lust for legitimacy. You could, as one empassioned email to me read, be a journalist, a reporter, out there reporting on important things just like CNN or the NYT! Yeah well, I've been a reporter for my entire adult life; the first check I received for covering an event was in 1968. We don't need more reporters; we need more independent voices! Say what you will, but "objective journalism" has fundamental limitations; it on its own will not yield accurate coverage of events, trends, etc. Don't believe me? Then explain how the American press, easily the most objective, most responsible press corp in the world, could have screwed up so badly on guns.
• Teachers who sleep with their students. Okay, already! I saw the David Lee Roth video back in the 1980s. There is a measurable difference between a kid of eight years old and a kid of, say, 14 or 15 — especially a male kid. I know, because I used to be one. I recall a teacher I had when I was, like, 15, who'd come into class, hike up her skirt and say, "Look, class, I got a run in my stockings!" All of us poor fragile young males spent the rest of the day having hot flashes...somehow, miraculously, we survived this blistering sexual innuendo unscathed! Yeah, fire 'em and, if sufficiently eggregious, put 'em in jail...but SHUT UP about it! Snore nod on the whole thing! And teachers, go find a different way to get your 15 minutes!
Well, I gotta go finish a book proposal!