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Time to come clean

Being a United States senator does not require one to be ethically and morally upright, as we all know.

But, gosh, you expect your Army colonel to be so.

Maybe not more run-of-the-mill officers (like those below-field-grade folks in the Air Force nuclear missile service who cheated on exams), but a COLONEL.

Here, though, we have one John Walsh, a colonel and a U.S. senator, who stands accused of plagiarizing a key paper leading up to his getting a master's degree from the Army War College in 2007.

The good senator from Montana has been found to have stolen a significant amount of this paper, including ALL the recommendations, which were swiped wholesale from four scholars' earlier published work.

The War College is "investigating" and the senator is dissimilating. Holy mackeral, he says, it was probably the result of PTSD he suffered by serving in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, where one assumes, he was NOT a lowly infantry grunt but a guy with a cushy, no doubt traumatizing, desk job.

It should not take the Army more than a couple of hours to figure this out. Everyone else has.

The senator is standing for election. Time to give him the dusty old boot.

Plagiarism is fraud, pure and simple.

Wish I had said that ...

In a blistering essay in the book section of The New York Times on Sunday, David Lehman skins, guts and chops into itty bitty pieces the academic elites in this country.

His report is aimed at broadening a discussion about poetry, which is regularly declared dead and unlikely to be revived.

But, in the course of that purpose, he has some scathing words about intellectual life in these United States. In the midst of his extended and finely argued rant, though, comes a stunning reference to an article in The Wall Street Journal written by Heather Mac Donald that says that UCLA has eliminated its core English requirements that students read Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton, requiring them instead to read "alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race and class."

In Lehman's mind, this coup "is but one event in a pattern that would replace a theory of education based on a 'constant, sophisticated dialogue between past and present' with a consumer mind-set based on narcissism and political self-interest."

The situation he describes throughout his essay is not just deplorable, but also scandalous.

Right-wing nuts don't have a corner on moral outrage. Just ask me.

Our own "best sellers"

The last blog was about the Top 20 best-sellers according to Nielsen.

Today, I'm bringing you the local story.

"Missing You" by Harlan Coben is the book that was most checked out by patrons in the first six months of this year.

We have four copies of that book, and they have been checked out a total of 34 times. Demand seems to be cooling off, because we now have one book available on the shelf.

"Gods of Guilt" by Michael Connelly is No. 2 with 30 total checkouts.

At the No. 3 slot, we had a tie between "Take Down 21" and "Killer" with 19 each.

In Friday's blog I'll write about the top nonfiction books checked out in the first six months.

Top checkouts in non-fiction

On Wednesday, I blogged about the most-checked-out fictional works during the first half of 2014.

Today, the top non-fiction checkouts: No. 1 is "Trapped Under the Sea" by Neil Swidey. No. 2 is "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War" by Robert Gates. No other books came close.

I don't know how those compare to the top sellers for the first six months, nationwide.

The 'young adult' phenomenon

The Nielsen list of the top 20 best-selling books in the first half of this year is out.

And the news is that young adult books dominate the list, starting with "Divergent" by Veronica Roth and "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. "Fault" is No. 2 in paperback, No. 5 in hard-cover and No. 6 in its movie tie-in version.

Roth's other two books, "Insurgent" and "Allegient" are at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively.

Five of the Top 20 are some version of "Frozen."

The highest ranking work of nonfiction was Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling." And the highest rank for a work of "serious" literature was No. 20 for the Pulitzer-Prize winning "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt.

So, it's tempting to jump to the conclusion that -- wow! -- those teens are just reading up a storm, aren't they?

Well, nobody really knows. But, we librarians do know that a whole lot of the people who have checked out "The Fault in Our Stars" were not young adults at all. They were folks who don't have to be carded when they buy cigarettes or booze.

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