Helen Thomas Dead At 92

Legendary journalist and reporter Helen Thomas died yesterday at the age of 92

Honestly, I can’t say I know all that much about her. I knew her as the old lady in the front row of the White House press briefing room facing down Press Secretaries and Presidents alike, from John F Kennedy to Barack Obama, not accepting sanitized and rehearsed talking points as substitutes for real answers.

I know she was admired for breaking all sorts of glass ceilings in the male-dominated news industry, not content with being just another airhead news-bimbo (like she ever could, and of which we still have in plentiful supply).

I also know that she was expelled from the fold after making remarks that some found offensive, criticizing Israel at a function at the White House. These were perfectly legitimate criticisms of the State of Israel, views that many hold, myself included; not anti-Semitic in nature. Anti-Zionist perhaps, but not anti-Semitic, and there’s a world of difference.

It is sad that she was forced to end a stellar career on such a down-note. It is my personal judgment that the world is a better place for Helen Thomas having lived. A much better place.

My Hero Is Gone – Christopher Hitchens Dead

I just heard the sad news. Christopher Hitchens has succumbed to esophageal cancer. Creationists all over the  world rejoice, thanking Jesus, while reasonable people are mourning. I would say R.I.P., but that would be an insult.

If the music died 02-03-1959­, then reason and acerbic wit took a hit 12-15-2011­.

I’m not old enough to remember where I was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but I do have John Lennon (sitting in a van listening to the radio, waiting for the post office at St. Olav’s Square in Oslo, Norway to open) and Christoper Hitchens (right here in front of my computer in Newtown, Connecticut). Oddly enough I don’t think they would have gotten along very well.

I regard Mr Hitchens a beacon of reason and logic and unsurpassed intellectual wit and honesty in a world that suffers from ignorance and superstition, not only abroad, but increasingly so right here at home. He was the standard bearer promoting atheism (he referred to himself as an “anti-theist”) and casting off the shackles of religion.

I didn’t agree with him on everything (America’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq in 2003 being the biggie), but the world needed his passion for truth now more than ever. The world is a much, much , MUCH better place for having been lucky enough to have him around.

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