Friday, December 19, 2008

three disparate deaths

Linked by nothing but their status as Americans and dieing within a few days of each other - Sammy Baugh, Paul Weyrich, and Mark Felt.

Weyrich is described as one of the founders of the modern American conservative movement. He helped establish the Heritage Foundation and was instrumental in beginning the transition of the 1970s business and Main Street Republican Party into its current Bible-thumping incarnation.

My mother always said I shouldn't say bad things about the departed, so I have nothing more to say.

No such problems about former Washington Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh, who died aged 94. Baugh was like Babe Ruth in a way; Baugh didn't invent the forward pass any more than Ruth invented the home run, but they both revolutionized their sport by demonstrating the potential of their special abilities. Pro football after Slingin' Sammy was never quite the same - he helped end the grind-it-out, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust era of football. Oh and he also punted AND played defense, in one year intercepting 11 passes in 10 games.

More on Baugh from Michael Wilbon and Tom Boswell. So long, Sammy.

And finally, former FBI deputy Mark Felt died aged 95. Felt is of course most famous for having been Deep Throat, Woodward and Bernstein's inside source on the illegal activities of the Nixon Administration we all remember as Watergate. Felt, Woodward, and Bernstein managed to keep the secret for over 30 years before Felt came out in 2005. Whistleblowers like Felt always deserve a measure of honor.

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