Reading list

Friday, October 5, 2007

I've been doing more reading than I normally do, though I generally read for a minimum of three to four hours daily. Just trying to read all of the industry, government and political news takes up a great piece of my day, as I have to edit my time.

One of my most enjoyable reads recently was the memoir of Warren Eastman Hearnes from the personal notes and recollections of his wife Betty Hearnes. Writer Rob Crouse, director of college relations at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., has portrayed the determination, passion, patriotism, political savvy and humor of this Southeast Missouri native from Charleston, Mo.

A former Missouri governor, Hearnes has always called it straight to me. I never had to guess where he stood on an issue, whether he disagreed or agreed with the popular view. There are too few politicians in either party who could or would match his candor.

Thanks, Betty, for sharing the life of this historic Bootheel native, now 83 years old.

I just started the CD of Alan Greenspan's book, "The Age of Turbulence." I never knew (or would have guessed) he was an excellent baseball player and for a while played professionally in a major swing band (clarinet and saxophone). What we don't know about so many public figures.

I am delighted that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has published his autobiography in which he takes on some of the myths, criticisms and personal attacks he has endured to date.

The book on Vice President Dick Cheney is a must-read to help to understand his history and demeanor, and it gives an inside look at the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives. Cheney's ambition in life was to be the speaker of the House and to enjoy fishing.

By the time this column is printed, Wendy and I will have completed the viewing of Ken Burns' television documentary, "The War." More than 16 million Americans served, 291,557 died and 670,866 were wounded in World War II. Germany had 20 million men in action, 3,256,000 soldiers died and 7,250,000 were wounded. Hitler's regime also killed 6 million Jews. These statistics put an interesting perspective on the war in Iraq.

Burns didn't spare viewers from the horror of war: death, wounds, brutality.

The DVD set can be ordered from PBS or purchased at a local book store.

I'm currently also reading the book "The Immortalists" about aviator Charles Lindbergh and French medical researcher Dr. Alexis Carrel and their lives and efforts to discover a mechanical heart.

Lindbergh, like Howard Hughes (I've just started a new biography on him) was more than just a pilot.

The book "Letters From Thomas Sowell," economist, teacher, columnist (who is black but doesn't like to be identified that way) includes more than 40 years of correspondence with various people. He maintained his rationally achieved conservative views, and his reflections have held up well over the years.

One of the weakest, sorriest attacks ever (on an individual) was publicly displayed this week by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid taking on Cape Girardeau native and popular radio host Rush Limbaugh.

The good news about blogs and multiple media outlets is that we are exposed to more news and opinions than before. That's also the bad news, as truth often falls by the wayside to those who don't read, view or listen to multiple sources in efforts to handle and seek the truth.

I don't look forward to the 2008 election-year cycle (which has already begun), but things have been worse and we are blessed by living in the United States in the Midwest.

I attended the joint planning and zoning meeting between Cape Girardeau and Jackson recently. It was informative and civil, and good questions were asked and answered.

Yes, government can work, if we don't ask it to do too much.

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.

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