I can’t help but be intrigued by what our leaders are reading. And let’s just say, I do believe our current President actually cracks open these books.

Being heavily involved in our local Big Read I was a tad disappointed the President isn’t reading our city book THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers (DC’s city book) which takes place in a Georgia mill town during the Great Depression. (Maybe he’s read it before…yes?) The Guardian U.K. reports President Obama is escaping the briefing books into the pages of Joseph O’Neill’s Netherlands.

Most readers I talk to read for escape. I fall in that category. Many read to go someplace their physical bodies cannot touch at the present moment. I read fiction for insight more so than non-fiction.

The Guardian points to the President’s Facebook page which lists his favorite books, music, the usual profile stuff minus the TMI (too much information). The short and “safe” list includes: Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison), Moby Dick, Shakespeare’s Tragedies, Parting the Waters, Gilead (Robinson), Self-Reliance (Emerson), The Bible, Lincoln’s Collected Writings.

It’ll be interesting to watch the impact of what this O reads on book sales vs. the other “O”‘s (Oprah) book club. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER was an Oprah Book Club pick, so it’s had its moment in the sun.

But for me, I’m just psyched knowing the President actually opens a book and reads, even writes them. I’m curious to know what and even if my local leadership is reading.

The Switcheroo – Arlen Spector
If only there was time to be current, but I’ll say this anyway. The Spector-lation is now over. Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector jumped from the elephants back and landed on the donkey. This switch to the Democratic Party was obviously a survivor move. In 2010, Spector can rake in more campaign cash and political perks as a Senior member of the Senate in the majority party, than in the party that had stricken him.

Challenges for both. For the Democratic Party, it’s becoming the party of the Big Tent on all levels including ideology. How will it manage? How will it debate the issues and agree to disagree, or will there be cracks in the foundation? What are the core values and principles of the “big tent” party?

For the Republican Party. These moves make some people anxious, and that’s not just Republicans. Will this be a fringe, party with Jindal and Steele as mascots as needed? What is its 21st century identity or better yet ideas? Will the party move its national offices to Mississippi or decide to follow Texas off the field to the secession stand? How many more will be cast out: first the Lincoln Republicans, then the Rockefeller Republicans, and now it looks like even the Reagan Republicans are being shown the door. What happens at the end of the day now?

Do you know this woman?

She is Rear Admiral Michelle Howard, and she commanded the ship that rescued the Maersk-Alabama’s captain Richard Phillips. Rear Admiral Howard is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. According to the USNA’s alumni site, she recently took command of several US 5th Fleet task forces, including CTF 151, the multi-national task force that conducts counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

She’s the first African American woman to command a ship (1999) in the U.S. Navy.

Okay, where’s her book/movie deal?