Praising the Good (An Occasional Series).
1. Aaron Eckhart. One who takes chances with independent movies and challenging parts, his acting trilogy in Meet Bill (2007), Thank You For Smoking (2005) and In the Company of Men (1997) compares favorably to any other actor's work in the same time-frame. Only two other names come to mind, Russell Crowe and Edward Norton. Eckhart's high bar-setting provides room to forgive for such missteps as No Reservations and even The Dark Knight.
2. The Saddleback Presidential Forum. How is it that a nonjournalist like Rick Warren can ask insightful questions and obtain insight-producing answers better than the so-called professional journalists did in the various debates in the primaries?
3. NPR. I'm continually amazed at how NPR's quality far surpasses just about anything on commercial radio. Its (almost) commercial-free nature allows stories to delve beyond the surface. But that is not its only advantage. The variety of stories presented--even on a daily basis--often staggers. For example, morning host Steve Inskeep's recent trip to and interviews in Pakistan stands out and should garner him whatever is the equivalent to a Pulitzer for radio (a Polk or Peabody?).