Summer reading- Hillary Clinton, Ann Coulter and Morley Swingle

Sunday, July 13, 2003

It's been a tough summer so far. I listened to Hillary Clinton's new best-selling book, "Living History," as read by her on a CD.

The book is painfully uninformative and will challenge any hope one might have to empathize with her and the tough job of raising a daughter while living in the spotlight with an ever-adventurous husband who happened to be president of the United States.

Being somewhat informed of the historic events of the Clinton era in Arkansas and Washington will damp your enthusiasm for the few specifics in the book and their inaccuracies.

However, I recommend you read or listen to the book. Hillary Clinton is obviously positioning herself to run for president in 2008.

I warn you that you will have to endure such inanities as in chapter one where you will read: "I wasn't born a first lady or a senator. I wasn't born a Democrat. I wasn't born a lawyer or an advocate for women's rights. I wasn't born a wife or mother ... ."

A new Gallup poll finds only 35 percent of Americans believe Clinton tells the truth in her book. But author and speechwriter Peggy Noonan thinks it "establishes her as a independent political star." Clinton "has decoupled herself from her husband," Noonan tells World magazine in a recent interview, adding that the book demonstrates "the impressive strategic brilliance of Hillary Clinton, along with her unchanging cynicism an toughness."

Another book I that I felt was very informative but somewhat tough to read was Ann Coulter's new best-seller (No. 2 behind Clinton's), "Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism."

It's tough because of the fully footnoted information which showed how little I knew of some events through which I had lived.

I highly recommend this book to those who seek information about the 60-year history of the Cold War and beyond. Especially fascinating is Coulter's account of the career of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the Hiss-Chambers affair, Ronald Reagan's face-off with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Gulf War, the Clinton impeachment and Iraq's freedom.

Coulter's premise is that the left -- both politicians and the media -- were blind to and, in many instances, "unwittingly supportive of the forces of totalitarianism and terror" and continue to be.

Incidentally, local author and Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle will have a book signing at Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, at 7 p.m. Monday.

His "Gold of Cape Girardeau" has sold over 5,000 copies to date. The book signing is at the same bookstore that recently hosted former president Jimmy Carter and is scheduled to host Hillary Clinton on her book tour -- much to the chagrin of Dick Gephardt and other Democratic presidential candidates who are trying to get the limelight being focused on Clinton.

It is often said that the Indian who sold Manhattan Island in 1626 for $24 was rooked by the white man. In fact, he may have been an extremely sharp salesman. Had he put his $24 away at 6 percent interest compounded semiannually, it would now be worth more than $50 billion. His descendants could buy back much of the now-improved land. -- Burton Malkiel

Hey, big spenders! No ideal in politics has hurt children more than the false and misleading idea that the quality of education is determined by how much we spend. More than 35 years after Congress passed the first Elementary and Secondary Education Act, public school spending per pupil has more than doubled -- even when adjusted for inflation -- from $3,331 in 1965-66 to $8,194 in 2000-01. In fact, the federal government has spent more than $321 billion on education programs since 1965. Every year, spending on K-12 education by all levels of government exceeds $400 billion. Yet, citizens must ask, what have we gotten for all this? Fewer than a third of fourth graders can read proficiently.

No, the problem isn't -- and never has been -- money alone. This is just the most tired of all excuses. If there is no accountability or schools used unproved fads for instruction, it doesn't matter how much money is thrown at the problem. It will be wasted. -- Secretary of Education Rod Paige in USA Today.

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.

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