Hitting the Books

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If you watched FOX News Channel this weekend you know that "On the Record" did two special live shows — Saturday and Sunday. To those who e-mailed and said we were working too hard, let me assure you, we have it easy. This is our job. I do worry about our correspondents in the field, but they assure me they are OK. I am in constant e-mail contact with each of them and, from time to time, we talk on the phone. Some of you have e-mailed me about the correspondents and I forward many of those e-mails to them.

You might wonder how we educate ourselves to cover stories. We do it the old-fashioned way: relying on years of experience and by studying. For instance, when discussion began about the possibility of having NATO forces, I went to the official NATO Web site (www.nato.int). While I have studied NATO before, I am always anxious to learn more and frankly, I don't know about you, but I always need to refresh my memory.

Yesterday, I e-mailed back and forth with FNC's Jennifer Griffin in Israel. She raised the point that viewers might have specific questions that we are not asking and answering. That's a good point. So, if you have a question about the war that you want our correspondents in Israel, Lebanon, etc., to answer, please e-mail it to me. I may ask your e-mailed question on air tonight to our people on the ground there.

By the way, if you read the blog often, you know I like certain factoids — things that I learn about my guests that I did not know before. Yesterday in preparing for the show, I learned that last night's guest, Gen. Alexander Haig, during his military career, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (extreme gallantry), Distinguished Flying Cross (distinguishing himself in combat) and two Silver Stars (heroism). That is extraordinary! (Note: He earned other medals, too.)

Of course I knew Gen. Haig's background in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, but I had not done any specific research into his military history until yesterday. I did the research since I was trying to decide whether to question him based on his experience as a former secretary of state or as a retired general.

I have interviewed him many times and talked to him in the green room at FOX many times, but I did not know about the specific medals. I was disappointed that last night's interview with him was remote — he was in a Florida studio — because I became curious about his medals and wanted to talk to him — off camera — about his military career.

And while I am on the topic of the FOX green room — and since I promised behind the scenes information about our show, etc. — let me give you an idea of what the discussion in the green room was last night before our show. Besides the war (of course we talked about the war since we were all there to talk about the war on TV), Sen. George Allen and Gen. Wesley Clark and I had a long talk about BlackBerries, cell phones, wireless phone service and a new computer I want to buy. (When I told my senior producer about this discussion, she slyly asked me, "Were you all trying to 'out-geek' each other?" Upon reflection... maybe she was right. But I think my senior producer still uses a chalk board for writing and smoke signals to communicate. Take that!)

I am not sure what tonight's show brings — dawn breaks in Israel and Lebanon during our show, so we tend to see much. So, unless a miracle happens, I suspect we will continue to put you right on the scene of this war.

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1 — Here is an e-mail from my colleague Catherine Herridge:

Just dropping you a line, hoping you are good. We know you are busy. We've been watching you at night. I worked overseas for a long time and a part of me is desperate to be there covering all the action, but that is not in the cards, at least not for a few more weeks until I get the green light from the doctors.
Peter's clinic appointment went well on Thursday. His liver is not showing any signs of rejection. The goal now is to fine tune the level of the anti-rejection drug in his system. It is tricky — or at least more difficult than we thought. You have to give the pills (in a baby's case you have to open them up and sprinkle the powder in his mouth twice a day) at exactly the same time. We do it everyday at 9a and 9p. It can't be 10 minutes early or 20 minutes late because it is really important to keep a constant level in their blood stream. The doctors say they have more trouble with people getting complacent about the drugs and then their kid goes into rejection and needs to be back in the hospital.
It was amazing to be at the transplant clinic. There were dozens of kids in the waiting room running around and climbing all over everything. It was just like any other doctor's office except they'd all had a transplanted organ — a liver, small bowel, heart or lung. Without that, most of them probably wouldn't be here or would be gravely ill.
One of the transplant nurses told me that it is not unusual for the recipient's family to write to the donor's family to thank them for the organ. A lot of these families get to know each other really well and the donor's family can feel that their kid is, in some way, living on.
We're thinking of you,
Catherine and the gang

E-mail No. 2

Surely there is some "back door diplomacy" going on with the Lebanese government. The U.S. and Israel should let the Lebanese know that we will help rebuild their country and help save their struggling democracy once Hezbollah has been neutralized and the two countries common boarder is secured with like minded entities. Tell Hezbollah that they can remain as a governmental influence but without their own separate militia or terrorist faction.
Dirk Wagner
Mount Airy, NC

E-mail No. 3

Hiya Greta,
Do you believe Ken Lay is really dead, or, have you heard from or encountered any skeptics?
I mean, how convenient it seems to be that Ken Lay dies at his vacation home after the evening of the 4th of July, and a rather quickly performed autopsy performed. The man was facing many years in prison, and, he would have probably died while incarcerated.
I don't see him as one willing to face the music and since there was plenty of outrage that Ken Lay was left out on bail/bond until sentencing along with Skilling, he had the means, money, and time to pay others off and fake his own death. I truly believe that he's down in Belize or some other rather isolated destination for the rich and affluent, and faked his own death.
It was quite quiet through the media, and it seemed a rather hush-hush media, with little follow-up on a man that deserved as much press, although not as Martha Stewert; but, still had committed the largest rip-off in history.
I want to find a "victims of ENRON" Web site and see what they are saying.
Either way, I'm curious if you or any of your panel might be curious.
James McCann
Fife Lake, MI

E-mail No. 4

Regarding all the people wringing their hands over the deaths of more than 350 Lebanese civilians (admittedly a tragedy)… I was stunned to read in The New York Times that 3,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by insurgents LAST WEEK ALONE! They were murdered, of course, by their Moslem brethren. Why aren't European and Arab counties up in arms about that?!
Lenny Giteck
Los Angeles, CA

E-mail No. 5

When do the reporters, like Shepherd Smith, who are reporting from the Middle East sleep? They seem to be up in the middle of the night, their time and there has to be shelling during the day. I just can't imagine how they keep going.

ANSWER: I am afraid to ask them. I suspect the answer is "never."

Finally, some articles that caught my attention over the weekend:

Rare WWII bomber to be at EAA AirVenture

New estate rep won't change family's resolve

Thief impersonates account holders using a wig

Students prepare to buy pricey textbooks

Navy to test more sailors for TB after early tests show infection

Send your thoughts and comments to: ontherecord@foxnews.com

Watch "On the Record" weeknights at 10 p.m. ET