Sunday Reading

For those snobs who got PARADE magazine with their Sunday papers—and discarded it—go to your Recycle Bin and dig it out! The cover story is titled, "Why We Believe He Is The Most Important Coach In America." Joe Ehrmann is The Man. He coaches at Gilman School in Baltimore. (He played pro ball—13 years as a defensive lineman—mostly for the Baltimore Colts.) Some of his rules ("To Be A Better Man"): "Recognize the 'three lies of false masculinity': Athletic ability, sexual conquest and economic success are not the best measurements of manhood." "Allow yourself to love and be loved: Build and value relationships." "Accept responsibility, lead courageously and enact justice on behalf of others: Practice the concepts of empathy, inclusion and integrity." And so on. And on. Incidentally, his team finished three of the last six seasons undefeated, and in 2002 was Maryland's No. 1 (and No. 14 in the nation). (Full disclosure: 45 years ago I played lacrosse against Gilman; and the BALTIMORE Colts were my favorite football team.)

Offering No. 2 comes courtesy the New York Times Book Review. Conservative Judge Richard Posner writes "The 9/11 Report: A Dissent." Read it! I have put off blogging the 9/11 report, because I had so much to say. Now Judge Posner has said it—better than I could have. Much of the debate over Recommendations swirls, as it should, over issues of centralization (of intelligence activities) versus decentralization. Posner points out the problem with centralized solutions aimed, essentially, at fixing yesterday's problem: "It is almost impossible to take effective action to prevent something that hasn't occurred previously." It's true in business when Dell or Wal*Mart offers an entirely new business model—and true in this chaotic (key word!) struggle against decentralized terrorist networks. As to the Commission, Posner is clear: "[The Commission] believes in centralizing intelligence, and people who prefer centralized, pyramidal governance structures to diversity and competition deprecate dissent." Read on! Please! Incidentally, you can fetch this, free for one week (you must register) at nytimes.com. (Also, see my blog immediately below, titled "Only One Big Issue.")