I'm reading Jeffrey Sachs' new book, "To Move the World: JFK's Quest for Peace," published by Random House. It's a reminder that JFK's 1963 American University address was one of the most important foreign policy speeches of the 20th Century. Reading Sachs is always good value for time spent.
Musing about the Briscoe Center at the University of Texas... They're about to put on a performance of Buffalo Altar: A Texas Symphony, which is based on the story of an archaeological discovery of 10,000 year-old bison bones in the Panhandle's Caprock Mountains...
Because I love movies it’s hard for me to give a negative review. It’s in that spirit that I tell you about Frances Ha. Frankly, I didn’t care for it, it didn’t move me and I didn’t connect with the characters or the story line...
Someone recently asked me my opinion on history’s "greatest orators." Well, historically there are Mark Antony, Hortensia, Joan of Arc, Lincoln, Gandhi, Moses, Jesus and a long list of Biblical orators. Of course, I never actually heard any of those; have only read their speeches (or heard them recited). In my lifetime and ones I've at least heard, live and in person...
Hydraulic fracturing -- AKA fracking -- remains a hot debate. To allow it or not? If so, how much? Under what conditions? (There are many water purity, conservation protection and public safety questions involved.) In my opinion (keep in mind that my opinions are sometimes -- oft-times? -- wrong), fracking is here to stay.
Willie Nelson's new album, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” may be among his best ever. I'll have to listen to it a few more times before rating it anywhere near his classic, "Red Headed Stranger," but make no mistake, I love this album and will be surprised if it isn't an immediate hit.
Insurance companies (and best I can make out, practically everyone associated with them) are furiously trying to eradicate or at a minimum drastically circumvent the Affordable Care Act (AKA"Obamacare")...
March Madness: I feel lower than a snake's belly about my picks so far -- Georgetown a credible choice for final four if not, indeed, winner of it all? Ha! Fla.Gulf Coast took 'em like Grant took Richmond.
Thinking of Vietnam vets, especially those who were killed or maimed in that green jungle hell. It’s a different time now and the country has re-learned an ancient lesson during the more recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
President Obama in Israel and the West Bank: The visit's goal is to get Israeli-Palestinian negotiations re-started again...to build some capital for American influence when they do. Obama did what he had to do and may have moved the goal closer.
NCAA basketball: I had thought New Mexico might make it to the Final Four, but obviously I was wrong. ('Taint the first time, nor not likely the last.) NM not nearly as good as I thought and Harvard far better than I guessed...
The U.S. and its allies are drawing down in Afghanistan toward an end of 2014 date. Troop levels are being reduced already, equipment being shipped out. This is all an immense logistical undertaking: roughly $26 billion of U.S. equipment is to be sent back to the U.S....
U.S. troops are in the process of going more “expeditionary force” mode – fewer hot meals, more tents than barracks. But morale is good. The average soldier’s attitude seems to be ‘just make sure you don’t take away our wifi, and Gatorade and we’ll be fine.’
This week is National Consumer Protection Week, a fitting backdrop for a story I’ve been working on that has become deeply personal.
For years, I’ve heard stories from friends -- mainly senior citizens -- who have received stacks of suspicious mail promising riches from lotteries that no one has ever heard of. Some would even get phone calls saying they had won prize money. Clearly, there was a story here. But I had no idea how big it was....
President Obama and the Democrats so far look to be on the losing end of the Washington madness, the battle of wills over what to spend and what to cut. Republicans, especially the Tea Party movement...
The Oscars are tomorrow, so I thought it was time for a movie review. The French film "Amour," is about love (of course), a deeply loving couple and dying. It's long, serious, sad and will strike some as hard to watch. So how and why is it nominated for a Best Picture Oscar?
Several people have asked from where did the saying "You trust your mother, but you cut the cards" come? It just popped out of my mouth during last night's "Ed Show," but it's something I've said from time to time for years...
President Obama did open with and spend some time on the problem of jobs and the economy. He talked the talk and did a good job of it. Now we'll see if he walks the talk (and if the GOP will contribute even a little.)
The President's State of the Union speech tonight: jobs -- how to create new ones and how to get the unemployed working again should be the main focus, woven in with an overall assessment of the economy and what he intends to do about it...
The new government deal with banks means more consolidation -- and less competition = no good for consumers. The federal government, whether led by Republicans or Democrats, continually favors banks. Huge bank lobbying and campaign contributions are a major factor. Read it and weep; the big bankers win again.
I agree that President Obama scored a tactical win re "cliff," but not -- not yet anyway -- a strategic victory. The toughest fights with Congressional Republicans (and some reluctant Democrats) are yet to come.
The Race: Neck and neck at the wire. There are some indications --polls included -- that there has been slight movement toward Romney in the last week. Fox News programs give the impression that they believe Romney will win.
Hurricane Sandy is beginning to hit the most populous part of the NE coast right now. Tonight and tomorrow are likely to be the worst of it -- it's the NE corner of the storm that's starting to strike now.
Key “swing-state” polls – most importantly in Ohio – tend to have Obama tied or leading. Yes, this might indicate that one candidate wins at the polls nationwide, but another candidate wins the decisive electoral vote.
I'm in Austin doing some charity work and some investigative reporting, along with writing, narration, etc for future "DRR" programs. More than 30 years ago Austin pioneered an establishment called "Safe Place" for abused women
Obama may be somewhat at a disadvantage in that the format of tonight's debate is different from the first one: that one was head-to-head, with only a moderator, whereas this one is a "town hall" format, with questions from the audience (as well as, presumably, some from the moderator.)
Now with a little time to reflect: Biden may have done a bit better than Ryan in appealing to uncommitted voters, "swing votes" and independents. (A few early, quick polls tend to reflect that small samples of these voters like Biden better…for whatever, if anything, such polls may be worth).
Biden's number one job tonight is not to make any big mistakes; not say or do anything that winds up negatively "viral" on the Internet or TV News programs - no gaffes, no blunders. Ryan's number one job: ditto.
Obama had an opportunity to just about close Romney out in the first debate. He didn't. Romney was fighting to stay alive and give undecided voters, including some leaning away from him but not convinced, reasons for a second look - especially in key swing states.
From Dan: Tonight’s debate is a time of opportunity for Romney. It’s an opportunity for President Obama, too, but less so than for his opponent. Romney needs a breakout and a breakthrough...a reboot, if you will, of how the public perceives him.
Mark it: Should either Presidential candidate carry both Virginia and Ohio, he is highly likely to win the election -- which is one of the reasons we're working on a story about what some Democrats in Ohio are calling voter suppression.
I’m in LA for some political reporting… and on from here to Washington state (and then Seattle). I’m doing some appearances on behalf of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.
The dynamic of the race for the presidency has shifted; the contours have changed. For a long while this year, the following was the more or less consensus assessment: Republicans had an excellent chance of winning because of the economy, especially the jobs picture.
Romney is counterattacking in the wake of the secret video in which he opened himself up to the charge that he was dissing the poor and middle class -- a performance even many top Republicans are criticizing.
New clouds have moved over Romney's moon. The latest polling from Florida, Ohio and Virginia indicate that President Obama has lately opened a bit of a lead among likely voters. Note the "among likely voters."
The main theme in the speeches at the Democratic convention so far is that President Obama and the Democrats are the party of "inclusion, understanding" and bringing the US all the way back from the disastrous policies of the Bush years.
Romney figures to get a "bump" in the polls from the convention (parties and candidates usually do.) The question is how big and how long it lasts. Expect him to get a 3-5 point bump (pretty much in the normal range based on past convention history).
I'm a big Clint Eastwood fan -- love his work and his films -- he's an acting and film-making genius. But his prime, super primetime slot last night did not, in my opinion, serve him or the GOP party well.
Republican Convention: Biggest winner among convention speech makers so far is Condoleezza Rice. Her performance last night already has talk of, "Why don't we (Republicans) put her up for Governor of California next time."
Reporting from the floor of the GOP convention. Mostly sunny skies, occasional rain as the second day begins. The hurricane is hardly talked about on the floor, in the crowd or from the rostrum. This may change as GOP leadership is eager to address it -- especially in font of the TV cameras.
I’m filing from the floor of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. This is my 28th convention. I started at the Democratic convention in Chicago, 1956. I’ve been on the floor (and sometimes in the anchor booth) of both parties’ conventions every 4 years since.
I'm in Tampa -- the weather is not bad at all. A little wind, occasional rain. The Republicans are in good spirits, although they are worried about the loss of television time because of the delayed start of the convention.
Mitt Romney clinched the Republican nomination last night with a win in the Texas primary. But who will he choose as his VP? Condoleezza Rice deserves some consideration. Doubt she'll get much. But she'd be an interesting choice. Solid, and she might help Romney re his problems with women voters. I know, I know: off-the charts idea but, hey, you never know. President Obama picking Hillary Clinton to run with him probably has a better chance -- but that may not be saying much. Most politicos scoff at the idea, convinced Obama will stick with Biden. I agree that's the way to bet it. But, again, who knows what the situation will be come late summer. What do you think of Condoleezza Rice as Romney's VP choice?
If you want to know the key to how television news is supposed to work, I offer you the example of Michael Rosenbaum, for decades a dear friend and colleague who lost his battle with brain cancer this past Thursday. He had just turned 64, still so young with so much to offer.
Eureka! I have found the world’s best dessert. The “Grasshopper Pie” at the "L.A. Market” restaurant in Los Angeles. It’s a frozen, chocolate encrusted ice cream pie…mint chocolate chip, homemade from scratch on the premises ice cream on the inside.
When readers ask, "What's your favorite chapter in Rather Outspoken?" it is naturally not easy to answer. Picking a favorite chapter from one's book is a bit akin to choosing favorites among, say nephews or nieces. Or maybe even your children.
Speaking from center stage in a big sports arena before 13,000 people, as I did yesterday in Iowa, is a challenge. If you don't get at least a bit nervous beforehand, there's either something super-human about you or you're not likely to make a very good speech.
First of all, I think that – with humility and no intention to be self-serving – on my better days I'm a good storyteller (I ought to be after all these years as a reporter). And I have a lot of good stories to tell. Stories about Presidents I have known, the JFK assassination, what it's like to work for Mark Cuban, and on and on. The list is long, but the book is not. I wanted it to be of manageable length and highly readable.
Thanks for visiting the site. What you'll find here on this blog is a daily anthology of thoughts, ideas and some reporting—all straight from yours truly. Over the next few weeks, I'll be traveling across the country for Dan Rather Reports and will be making stops along the way to meet some of you in person and talk about my new book, RATHER OUTSPOKEN. Please send me your comments, photos and videos at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll post them on my blog. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.