Sunday, December 26, 2004
The Shawshank Redemption--
I LOVE Morgan Freeman! He is my all-time favorite. Yet, I'd never seen Shawshank, but had heard wonderful things about it. So I rented it from Great American last week, had to make a trip back to have the tape repaired, and successfully watched the entire film yesterday. At first I was concerned that it would be "just another prison movie," and was hoping it would not be in any way like A Clockwork Orange. It was neither. It was a good 'ole story of corruption at high levels. The kind of corruption that makes you think seriously about our prison system and criminal behavior at large. That and I'm a sucker for a happy ending! AS Cory says, I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone due to the language, but if that type of thing doesn't bother you, it is a great film. It's now on the top of my Favorite Morgan Movie List!
Ray Charles: Genius Loves Company--
Genius is truly the only word to describe Ray Charles. Simple as that. If you don't already own a Ray Charles album or have not yet heard his music, this CD would be a great start. The CD consists of duets with some of my favorite artists...B.B. King, James Taylor, Elton John. It doesn't get any better than this! Ray Charles gave his best ALWAYS and this album is no exception. A true genius. A true masterpiece. A true musician.
Howie Day: Stop All The World Now--
I don't particularly like to contribute to the success of artists who sky rocket to fame because of extended play time for one hit, but for this CD I made an exception. You've all probably heard "Collide" on the radio lately. On one trip to Burley (approx. I hour) I head "Collide" four times on one station. Though I certainly didn't purchase the CD for one song only, it was a selling point. Howie Day has this smooth and reflective tone, sort of a pop version of early Bruce Springsteen. If you like pop music and haven't already heard Day's music this CD would be a "sound" investment!
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Excuse me for over-reacting, but I certainly don't think "revolutionary" is an adjective I'd use to describe the Commander in Chief. The heading in the table of contents reads: "George W. Bush for sticking to his guns (literally and figuratively), for reshaping the rules of politics to fit his ten-gallon-hat style of leadership and for setting the global agenda whether the world likes it or not, Bush is TIME's Person of the Year."
This is the second time Bush has appeared as Person of the Year, but certainly not the second time he has appeared on the cover of TIME. He has also appeared with such titles as: "President Bush?" "How They Aced Their Midterms," "Do You Want This War?" "Untruth and Consequences," "Mission Not Accomplished," "Love Him! Hate Him!" and "The World According to George Bush." Not quite revolutionary...
I watched on CBS Mr. Bush last night at the Kennedy Center Honors and was contemplating how I really feel about him. Sitting close behind him were the Powell's, Mr. and Mrs. Colin Powell, and next to him was Laura. I was thinking about what trouble we'd all be in if he didn't have those level heads in his life. After 9/11 when he made that comment about wanting Osama bin Laden "dead or alive," I was scared. And everytime her says anything about "smokin' em out," I become quite nervous. I just can't say the words George W. and revolutionary in the same sentence.
Hell, I can't say Kennedy and revolutionary in the same sentence and you all know how biased I am! Who would I have chosen as "Person of the Year?" Well, there are so many this year to choose from...Lance Armstrong, John Kerry, Martha Stewart, Michael Moore, Mel Gibson, Tom Brokaw...the list goes on. But those I feel are the strongest candidates are those we lost over this year. Reagan. End of story. Ray Charles. Christopher Reeve. The best of the best. But if anyone deserved "Person of the Year," and I'm probably digging my own hole saying this, it was Yassar Arafat. TIME says, "Arafat deserves a second Nobel Peace Prize--for dying." I don't know if I agree with that, but his death certainly is "revolutionary."
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Attack on U.S. Base in Mosul
Today's attack on a U.S. Military base in Iraq has me wondering, HOW? How do we honestly expect for elections to go as plans in January? I thought for a while that I was being pessimistic--or as I call it, "ever skeptical" of what seems to be an unconvincing argument. But after today's attack I'm wondering how we are to hold elections with Iraqi's lives at risk, American lives at risk, and I would assume British, Australian, and oh, Polish lives at stake. (Don't say I'm not mindful of the Grand Ole Coalition!) President Bush has commented in the last two days on Sec. Rumsfeld, the attack in Mosul, and his hopes for the elections. I'd encourage you all to check out the statements released in his press conference yesterday and today's statement on the attack. Since I have a strong conservative readership, I'll let you all make your own conclusions...
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
A good friend of mine burned me a copy of U2's latest album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It's AWESOME! I am a huge fan of U2, was pleasantly surprised by All That You Can't Leave Behind, and am completely impressed by this latest release. It is the closest thing to deep unadulterated U2 since The Joshua Tree. The boys just seem to be getting better with time--the music is better, the videos are better, they are just amazing! You've probably seen the video for the hit Vertigo. It's unlike any other video right now. Check out Atomic Bomb; Amazon has the clips and I would recommend "Vertigo," if you haven't already heard it, "City of Blinding Lights," and my personal favorite, "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own."
I could review a hundred movies or albums today...having this time off from school and having otherwise absolutely nothing to do I've taken to the television and CD player. I just watched Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement, which was a poor excuse for a sequel--most are. But I have also rented The Shawshank Redemption and Miller's Crossing. Should have something better for you by the end of the week...
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Okay, I'm not a supporter of the Bush administration--with an exception to Condie Rice, that goes without saying, but let me explain a few things. Just as conservatives have had an ongoing love affair with John McCain, I had similar feelings when Bush appointed Rumsfeld. Just ask my high school buddies, I was always wondering how far down the line of succession Rumseld was. I thought he was the next best thing to Robert McNamara...I was horribly wrong.
I can't venture into Iraq criticism, but I can tell you if you want to support someone you certainly don't say they weren't what you wanted, only what you had. I thought he was done, but yesterday two top Republicans voiced their public support of the man running the show in Iraq. Both Sen. Bill Frist, majority leader, and Mitch McConnell, majority whip, came out Friday with written statements atesting to Rumsfeld's "[capability] of leading the Department of Defense and our military forces to victory in Iraq and the war on terror."
I JUST DON'T GET IT! And the only two Republicans I have to back me up are Trent Lott and Chuck Hagel...that leaves a lot to be desired! Criticism and support have escalated since Bush announced he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on board. Seems to me America is as polarized when it comes to him as they are when Hillary Clinton is in the picture. Conclusion? I don't have one! But this I know--our troops deserve far more than a man who tells them we went to war with what we had...not what we wanted.
Monday, December 13, 2004
I'll try and write something by the end of the week, but if not I'll certainly make up for lost time over Christmas break. Just a few things I'm keeping an eye on right now-- the Ukraine situation, the Secretary of Homeland Security appointment, and I'm still working with this Rosa Parks idea. ( I have to add a little history!)
Oh, and it's the official Electoral College meeting today across the country. I watched a bit of it on CSPAN this morning. Ohio is a very interesting dilemma...and tell me why do they pray before the meetings to decide something that has already been decided, but we can't have the Ten Commandments in a court of law? Go figure--
Happy Finals Week!
Sunday, December 5, 2004
This morning I was watching Conspiracy? on the History Channel. Okay, so a waste of time, but an escape from the real world for a while. I was watching a segment about the assassination of Martin Luther King. Surprisingly, I know very little about Dr. King's death. I knew the where, the when, and the how---or so I thought. The show was going along well, I was starting to be convinced that there was something underneath it all, but then BOOM! I hit a brick wall---Gerald Posner.
Posner is the reason I have this little theory about books titled "Case Closed." Posner is a historical/analytical author who had written a book, Killing the Dream, that shot down the theories and work of James Earl Ray's attorney, Barry Pepper. Fine. Whatever. But the hang up is this...prior to Killing the Dream, Posner wrote Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK. If the "case closed" part didn't send up an automatic red flag it was the fact that I've read this book several times and every time I come away mad that this man could be so naive into thinking something so catestophic and complicated could possibly be so simple.
Don't even get me started on why Posner bothers me so much--I'd be here for hours, but here is the problem: authors who include "case closed" in the titles of their books have an extreme personal bias. Both Posner and Cornwell went into the research for their books with an already determined outcome, setting out to prove a certain conclusion. Rather egotistically, they're certain the conclusion they've drawn is the only conclusion---hence the case is closed.
Not so fast...History, contrary to popular belief, is not cut and dry. There are numerous variables. Going into any historical research you must have an open mind. Closed mindedness leads to distortion. Whether Cornwell and Posner have personal vendettas, I don't know. Maybe Cornwell hates artists which allows her to believe Walter Sickert, an artist, was in all actuality Jack the Ripper. Maybe Posner, with good reason, is sick of conspiracy theories and wants nothing more than to put an end to it all. Fine. But you can't claim to have the only answer to a very complex question that may have many answers.
An extreme personal bias-- the kind I believe both of these authors have and the kind that allows them to include "Case Closed" in the titles of their books, is not to be trusted if you want want accurate history. In Cornwell's book she ignores the idea that art imitates life--she seems to forget that art is creativity, emotional and mental, at its extreme. Posner subscribes to the "Magic-Bullet" theory. Come on, magic?
Saturday, December 4, 2004
Going into the election in November I was quite convinced that I had to vote for whomever could prove they had a plan to get the United States back into the U.N. and regain respect amongst the U.N. community. But, in the last several months with this new Oil-For-Food/ Kofi Annan madness, I've been forced to re-examine my outlook on the United Nations. Also, the recent resignation of John Danforth (first a senator, then clergyman, currently the American ambassador to the U.N.) has sparked my interest in the history of the United Nations.
Here's a little history lesson on the U.N.:
In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. Those delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States in August-October 1944. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. (Courtesy of the U.N. Website)
The conclusion I've come to is that no nation-state is going to give up their sovereignty without a fight. Nations swear allegiance to their own governments, not vast organizations like the U.N. This is why so much of what the U.N. does is met with great opposition. No group of people are willing to subject themselves fully to the idea of the United Nations-- not Americans, not Iraqis, and not the French.
So...how has this changed my mind on the role of the U.N. in Iraq? I still think that we must have a respectable reputation as the world's superpower, but the U.N. is not the answer. An alliance is. A very strong alliance. Not the alliance we currently have with Britain, Australia, and Poland, but a strong alliance of the strongest countries, i.e. France, Germany, Russia, and certain Middle Eastern nations.
Both the United Nations and the League of Nations are/were wonderful ideas--in theory, but like I said, you can't force a nation to subject themselves to a foreign power. Americans swear allegiance to America and America only.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
(CULVER CITY,CA) November 4th, 2004 — JEOPARDY! champion Ken Jennings has officially established himself in the archives of television history as the All-Time Top TV Game Show Winner in the world. Last night, Jennings won an impressive $45,099, bringing his grand total to date to a whopping $2,197,000, and launching him past the previous record of $2,180,000 set by Kevin Olmstead from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in 2001.
Internet rumors were speculating that Jennings would end his run as champion somewhere near his 70th appearance. Though I've missed only maybe 10 of his appearances, I made sure to watch this week as we all knew it was inevitable. He walked away today with over 2.5 million--- WOW! He certainly took Alex Trebek's new challenge and ran with it. This season the gameshow ended their long standing rule that after 5 straight wins and changed it to "the sky's the limit." Jennings certainly shot for the sky!
Okay, sorry I just couldn't let this one pass. If I get overly ambitious I'll post a little something about Tom Ridge. If I don't get around to it I must say I hope that with his departure will come the departure of that stupid color coded terror alert system!
Friday, November 26, 2004
The rivalry is quite intense when you think about it. At one network you have Peter Jennings, the only voice I remember hearing on 9/11. On CBS you have Rather who most recently became known for the Rathergate scandal, but who is also known for his hot-headed antics. Then you have Tom Brokaw, who seems to be the level head in it all. The voice we remember most in presidential election years. These men have been in on everything since the Kennedy assassination. But in it all they've been very gracious. Rather said he'd wait for the big hoopla for his departure..."Next week should be Tom's week." Despite their differences, I think it's safe to say that Jennings, Brokaw, and Rather hold each other in the highest respect.
And for what it's worth, Walter Cronkite, the anchor of all anchors in my book, thinks the trio have brought in more viewers and again placed importance on the trust of the American people (...maybe we could omit Rather from that one). To receive kudos from Cronkite is like the holy grail of journalism. The nightly news will surely miss Rather and Brokaw...as will I. Jennings has to step up to the plate and the replacements will have some pretty big shoes to fill themselves.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Random acts of violence can and will change the course of history. Was this the case 41 years ago when John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas? We may never know. We may never know if there were two assassins. We will never know what Oswald knew. We will never know, had Kennedy lived, what the outcome of Vietnam would have been. There are so many questions his death left unanswered.
It is the mystery that leaves us asking. How did a man, a poor marksman, an unstable mind, armed with a $12 rifle, bring down the prestige of what is now known as Camelot? For the average American, it is unimaginable that one man under those circumstances could have brought to an end an administration of talent, youth, and hope. In 2003, ABC conducted a poll---40 years later 2/3 of Americans felt there may have been a conspiracy involved with the assassination of Kennedy.
I've been to Dealey Plaza. You can't help but marvel at the intimacy of the space. You can't help but look to the 6th floor window and wonder how one man could have done so much. $12.78, the price of one rifle, the price of one moment, the price of one nation in complete turmoil, the price of one life...$12.78, the price of tragedy.
Conspiracy or not, the death of Kennedy changed our nation. Like the events of Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we were no longer invincible. We will never know what a second term would have done for this nation. He may have sent advisors to Vietnam, but would he have gone the route of his successors? Would the deaths of RFK and Martin Luther King followed?
When I think of all the questions, finding no answers, I think of how much Kennedy changed this nation. There was an energy in the White House that we'd never seen before. There was an interest in politics that we'd never seen before. There was so much hope. With him died the traditional ideology of the Democratic Party. With him died the truth. What was killed in Dallas wasn't just Kennedy, it was the hope driving a nation.
*Assassination: The Politics of Murder
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Colin Powell Resigns; Rice Appointed:
This liberal thinks this is a great move for both sides of the isle. Judging by the outcome of this November's election we all know that it will take a great deal of reorganization for the Democratic Party if they plan on ever getting back into the White House. With Powell stepping down as Sec. of State, there is a good chance he could run in 2008-- obviously as a Republican, but he's very moderate. A good choice for both parties. AND, Condie Rice is one of the smartest, if not the smartest, women in the world. Though she tends to side with and support Cheney, this is a grand slam for the Republican party (we'll see what it does to the African-American vote) and for the Bush administration. No matter what party, having a decisive and consistent State Dept. is serious business. Not that Powell did a poor job, but if you want countries to respect your president, you can't send an ambassador/diplomat who doesn't necessarily agree with him.
By way of cabinet changes, this one didn't really surprise me. We all saw it coming at some point. The other new resignations-- Veneman, Abrams, Paige...nothing too surprising. I'm sad to say it would be a step up for the Dept. of Education to have a new leader even though we need a lot of consistency if we ever want to see No Child Left Behind succeed. But you just can't expect that from a guy who referred to the NEA as a terrorist organization. In the coming weeks we'll most likely see Ridge and Thompson depart. Oh how I wish for Rumsfeld to surprise me, but for now he'll be around a while.
Don't Make Rules You'll Have to Break:
This is certainly not Fox News...at least it isn't "fair & balanced." It goes without saying that I don't like Tom DeLay. Never have, probably never will. But I do find it very ironic that the Grand Ole Party made the rule that those indicted for criminal acts could not hold House leadership positions...in effort to defeat the attempts of the Dems to regain control of the House...and now they're changing the rule because their own beloved Tom DeLay has broken the rule. Political corruption is political corruption. Then again if political corruption were a "burned-at-the-stake" offense, we wouldn't have any politicians.
If you really want to know my opinion...I'm going to tell you even if you don't-- I think DeLay needs to go the way of Trent Lott, bye-bye. If only we could get DeLay to say something as tactful as Lott did at Strom Thurmond's birthday party, we'd really be in business. Stating your opinion about segregation gets you axed, but committing a criminal offense gets you party support and new rules-- What a Grand Ole Party it is!
Monday, November 15, 2004
I don't have a lot of time to post right now, but I wanted to share his review with everyone...
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Arafat dies in Paris hospital, Buried in Ramallah--
In the last several weeks we had heard that Yasser Arafat, the controversial Palestinian leader was dying of some mysterious disease. He was admitted to a Paris hospital and it was announced that he was in the final hours of life.
There were stories of a Palestinian uprising if Arafat were to die, there were bizarre statements by Arafat's wife that they were killing him and that they were going to bury him alive as he wasn't really dying, and then of course the burial that had to be done within 24 hours of his death...
Arafat died Thursday (3:30 am Paris time) at the hospital in Paris. He was buried today in Ramallah after a funeral in Cairo. He wasn't buried where he wanted to be, he wasn't buried alive, and he was not buried quietly. No, quiet is definitely not what happened. I was watching the funeral at 4 this morning and I was amazed at the unbelievable amount of tension and the huge amount of people.
It was definitely an experience of a lifetime. The last big funeral I watched was Reagan's---what a vast contrast!
Cat Stevens Receives Peace Award--
Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev awarded Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) with the "Man for Peace" prize at a global meeting for Nobel Peace Prize laureates on Wednesday. How ironic...
If you remember in September, the flight from London Stevens was on to America was grounded and he was deported back to London for being on the Homeland Security Department's no-fly list. (Also remember I was a bit irritated.) I just don't understand how you can tie Cat Stevens to terrorism. He's a peace activist for crying out loud! But as Gorbachev stated,"Cat Stevens' life has not been simple. Every person who takes a critical stance to make the world a better place...has a difficult life." Let him in America.
His recent award only strengthens my belief that Yusuf Islam is not a terrorist-- and never was. I bought a Cat Stevens CD today...
Scott Peterson Found Guilty--
Now there's some good news. The biggest trial of my life next to the trial of O.J. Simpson (and with a much better outcome than that of O.J.) neared an end today as Scott Peterson was convicted of 1st degree murder for the killing of his wife Lacey and 2nd degree murder for the killing of their unborn child.
Peterson faces the death penalty in the state of California...something I am quite against, but I'm pleased that he was not only found guilty, but found guilty for both murders. That is a huge accomplishment for the judicial system.
Better late than never. It has been two years since Lacey Peterson disappeared. Justice was served today.
Okay, so that's the rundown for the week. There are some promising stories coming up about the Bush administration cabinet changes, but for the moment I don't know anything solid. (I'm expecting the departure of Rod Paige, Tommy Thompson, and would expect some sort of plan regarding Colin Powell soon.) I'll keep you posted.
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
His resignation letter, dated November 2nd, said that "nothing in [his] life compares to the high honor of serving America as Attorney General..." Yet due to health problems, a removed gall bladder earlier this year and an unimaginable amount of stress, Ashcroft decided it was time to part ways with the Bush administration.
Ashcroft also stated: "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved. " Are you kidding me? If this were truly the case why does the terror alert level keep going up and down?
The PATRIOT Act will be up for review soon, it will have to run through Congress, so I expect we haven't seen the last of Ashcroft. Obviously, I'm a bit excited about this departure. It will be interesting to see if Powell, Rumsfeld, Ridge, and Snow stay on board for the next four years. Says quite a lot about an administration if half the cabinet is leaving...
But then again it says a lot about a man if he loses a congressional seat to a dead man.
Sunday, November 7, 2004
Following his refusal to play, he was banned from the state of Georgia and was labeled "radical." The state of his birth, both physical birth and the birth of his musical talent, rejected him.
Friday night I went to the Pocatello opening of Ray. Alone with seven other individuals in the theater, I laughed, I cried, I cheered. I imagine those seven other people must have gone too because they loved Ray Charles. We were certainly not disappointed.
In the greatest role I've seen him play, Jamie Foxx did an unbelievable job of playing the greatest musician of all time. His quirks, his mannerisms...they were perfect. If Foxx doesn't earn an award and a great deal of prestige for this role I will be surprised. He was amazing!
As I sat there I began to realize that unless you walked in loving Ray Charles, you may not have walked out with a change of heart. The movie addressed his drug addiction. The movie addressed the immorality so present in the lives of musicians. But despite the reality of Ray's mistakes the movie also presented the poverty, oppression, and disability that plagued Ray Charles at a young age. His story is truly motivational.
Sitting there I thought a great deal about talent. My Ray Charles Philosophy kicked into high gear and I was hit with the reality of what great opportunity comes with talent. And behind that opportunity follows a great responsibility. Despite the adversity of his past, Ray Charles made his future surprisingly prestigious and successful. He made the choice to use his talent in a positive way, directly and indirectly affecting many people.
In 1979, Ray Charles was issued a formal apology from the congress of the state of Georgia and Ray's greatest hit "Georgia On My Mind" was proclaimed the state song. He was finally applauded for his impact on civil rights legislation and will forever be remembered for waling away instead of feeding in to and wrongly supporting segregation.
In the course of history, we as a nation have rarely agreed on a single issue. From the morality of Roe v. Wade to the constitutionality of Brown v. the Board of Education, we all have conflicting views. This occurence once again and to this day presented itself in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. It is an argument worth fighting every step of the way. As Chief Justice Earl Warren stated following the ruling of Brown: "We conclude that the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Segretation is, in every sense of the word, discrimination.
We cannot look at a man, regardless of the color of his skin, equally if he must be bussed to another facility designated to those of his skin color. We cannot ethically declare equality if two men of opposite skin color cannot drink from the same water fountain. Within the fourteenth amendment is room for speculation. "No state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Constitutionally this means no person, government, business or any other organization has the right or power to segregate any group of people for reasons of race, color, religious preference, or gender. Maybe mypersonal interpretation of the constitution is a bit altered, but honestly, I do not see two sides to this argument. Segregation is discrimination.
Due to the formal and informal amendment process, Plessy v. Ferguson has been overturned. Through the Supreme Court's decision on Brown v. the Board of Education, we have realized and included in our governing that segregation is not equality and anything other than equality is discrimination. Chief Justice Warren was correct in concluding that the doctrine of 'separate but equal' no longer has a place in our society, but how do we make that up to the men and women of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Jackson who were sent to separate schools, delegated harder labor, and expected to drink from other drinking fountains?
Friday, November 5, 2004
Hopefully you all won't mind too much. Maybe it will widen readership and attract more comments. (Not that this back and forth conversation with Mr. Speth isn't great...) I'm not sure I will be writing reviews, look to Coryspot for that, and for the most important political news keep tabs on Nick's Daily News...but if you want to know how I feel about Rosa Parks, the new Senate Minority leader, and of course Ray Charles, keep reading!
I will stick to my guns regarding the topics I swore off. The Kennedy assassination, abortion, etc. Expect more of the same-- a little politics, a lot of history, and a few of my bizarre philosophies!
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Of course Kerry didn't take Idaho, nor Bannock County, had he, hell would have frozen over...Lin Whitworth didn't take Congressional District #2, what a brave and noble man he is for running a campaign he knew he stood no chance of winning...and the most amazing happening of the night--The "Bannock Six" is no longer. There are now five Democratic legislators from Bannock County. (Rep. Allen Anderson was defeated by Ken Andrus--go figure) For quite some time there was talk of only 4, but Bert Marley by some miracle pulled through. For a moment there, Bert was only ahead by 13 votes. 13 VOTES!! Unbelievable. But, as it stands Sen. Malepeai, Sen. Marley, Rep. Boe (who won by the greatest margin), Rep. Smith, and Rep. Martinez will be returning to the statehouse.
A couple of other interesting national races. Shout outs and congrats to Sen. Barabra Boxer (D-California), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Barack Obama...the underdog in the Illinois senate race, Sen Evan Bayh, and Sen. Byron Dorgan. But maybe the most interesting is the senate race in South Dakota. As of this moment, with 92% of the precincts reporting, the Minority Leader of the Senate, Tom Daschle is losing his seat by nearly 5,000 votes. There are going to be some very interesting changes coming soon to the Senate. (Overall the power didn't shift, but the leadership certainly will.) I'll keep you posted on that.
This has been one crazy night! It started at 8am when I went to the polls and it is certainly not over yet for any of us. We may not know the outcome of the presidential election for some time as again we find ourselves facing a contested election. We can only cross our fingers at this point...
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
First and foremost I must make my final push for Sen. Bert Marley. All over Idaho the Marley/Frasure race is being closely watched. "The Marley, Frasure race is highlighted all over the state. You've got two proven war horses with proven track records. Both of them have won repeatedly, and they're tough" (Kent Kunz-Bannock County Republican Party Chair). Both are strong politicians-- but Marley is clearly the better choice. Serving on JFAC, Marley has continued to battle for ISU funding. He has strong values and understands the ethics that should not be lost in the political process. It's frustrating that the area most influenced by Marley doesn't have the chance to vote for him. ISU lies in District 30, Marley is running in District 29...Nonetheless he is the strong choice for state senate.
For my lovely English 102 class, Dr. Walter assigned "The Declaration of
Independence" for reading homework. Honestly, I rolled my eyes, but her timing couldn't have been more perfect. As I sat reading it last night and the night before (both the original draft and the final copy) I came across some interesting statements:
"He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with
manly firmness his invasions on the rights of people."
"He has erected a multitude of New Offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."
"He has combined with others to subject us to jurisdiction foreign to our
constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws."
Funny how the words once used to establish reason for revolution and independence resemble the actions of our current president and his policies. (The second statement made me think of the Dept. of Homeland Security) "A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."
Enough said. It wasn't Fahrenheit 9/11, Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, or The 9/11 Commission Report that changed my mind...it was The Declaration of Independence. Go figure. That's the power of English 102!
Get out and vote.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
So Angela says I can't start a post on "Mosh," the new Eminem video that I quite like. Ray the new movie with Jamie Foxx about Ray Charles didn't make it to the Pocatello theaters, so I can't comment on that quite yet. The World Series is over, so I'm out of baseball analogies and pro-Red Sox information. Congrats to the Curt Schilling and the boys! So what am I going to do?
Well...the election is now three days away. I'm sure I'll have a few last minute comments about that. There is the Bin Laden tape and the failing health of Arafat...I was riding the PRT (public transportation here on campus) the other day and found myself thinking about Rosa Parks. Don't ask me why, but I've sat down the last several nights and have written some random thoughts about it. That will make it to a post eventually. I recently purchased the new James Patterson novel The Big Bad Wolf. Once I start that baby I'll be completely useless to the rest of the world. I'm hooked!
Hopefully I'll have a good post ready by Sunday night or Monday morning. Keep checking back! Have a safe and happy Halloween!
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
I once got in an argument with Nick Speth about Michael Moore, the week I became a blogger, and I'm not sure who won. I was quick to express my complete support of Bowling For Columbine, but hadn't seen Fahrenheit then to have an opinion. Now I have an opinion...random and pointless but the points that stood out for me the most:
- 1.4 billion dollars went to Bush and friends in three decades from who? The Saudi Royal family. There's an interesting connection. Something seems wrong to me about accepting this kind of cash. (Especially with the Saudi connection to Bin Laden.)
- How can you support the outcome and suggestions of the 9/11 Commission (I almost typed Warren Commission...I'm a nerd) if you never in the first place supported the creation of the commission. Bush opposed the creation of the now infamous 9/11 Commission.
- When every plane in the United States was grounded (I got a good laugh out of the fact that stupid Ricky Martin was grounded) why can the president of the United States pull the strings necessary to get the Bin Laden family out of the U.S.? That's simply ridiculous.
- The connections with the Carlyle group, Bush's former company affiliate, Halliburton, and the Saudi Royal family (as well as the Taliban) were incredible. I'll have to look some more into this, but I'm certainly not going to disregard Michael Moore, he tends to dig deep.
- I'm not questioning Michael Moore's patriotism. He was just as confused by the 2000 election and Florida as every American. Sure he is anti-Bush but I'd nearly bet close to half the country is, what makes him any different?
- Off the subject...I didn't realize that it was Ashcroft lost to a dead man. The late incumbent, Carnahan, beat Ashcroft in the congressional race. So what did W do? He made him the Attorney General. Smooth.
Okay so enough about the Bush-bashing, I was impressed that Kerry's name was never mentioned, nor was 9/11 overly publicized. It didn't need to be. I honestly thought the facts spoke for themselves. Moore's Orwellian reflection at the end was not needed, I almost thought he was pulling a "Kerry, shoot yourself in the foot" moment off. Overall I was quite impressed, felt that the hype over Fahrenhiet was stupid and the film was overrated, but it certainly beat the last movie I watched. Oh and the addition of R.E.M.'s "Shiny Happy People" was great!
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
This year is particularly special. Never would I have imagines this World Series match-up. The Cardinals maybe, they were hot right out of spring training, but who would have expected the Red Sox? No one in their right mind expected the Red Sox to make the kind of comeback they did against the Yankees. My roommate said she wouldn't have faith in the Red Sox until they won games 4, 5, and 6 of the ALCS--maybe her disbelief urged my belief.
I don't know about The Curse, but I know that the dedication of the Boston fans is unbelievable. And even more unbelievable than the fans dedication is the dedication of Curt Schilling. Battling bravely with a dislocated ankle tendon, he's more than admirable. Obviously my hope lies with the Red Sox, but the Cardinals are a worthy opponent.
Okay so maybe my American dream was to just hear James Taylor sing the National Anthem at the World Series---
The Political Game should be back to the normal political business soon. I've taken a few too many stands outside of the political arena lately, but tonight should throw me right back in... I'm on my way to see "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Sunday, October 24, 2004
First of all, if Green Day intended to mean that same sex-marriage was not a part of the Bush administration's agenda, I'm quite certain saying "faggot America" and "redneck agenda" is not the best way to go about it!
And second...the video is disgusting. It's like watching "Slime-Time Live." You can't turn the American flag into green slime, the stripes dripping off, and expect to not encounter some angry Americans.
Green Day not only does a poor job of expressing their point...I obviously missed it, they completely mock the intelligence of Americans. People are smarter (or I will say "most" people) than Green Day is giving them credit. People are smart enough to know a little something about patriotism and what it means to disrespect the American flag. Who really is the American idiot?
Friday, October 22, 2004
A fact of life is that there will be adversity. We will encounter obstacles and we will struggle. Some obstacles we will encounter often. "You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.*" But in those obstacles the talent, opportunity, and potential within us remains. We are when we come out of it, the person we were when we went in. More experienced, more self-aware, perhaps stronger, but nonetheless, the same. Do not lose sight of the person you are or the talents you have simply because one person failed to respect their human obligation. There are both positive and negative ends of the spectrum-- you will also encounter individuals who unbelievably step in when the rest of the world seems to step out. For the one person this week who did everything in her power to tear me down, there was one who lifted me right back up and helped me to remember that it is possible for others to have faith in my potential.
When I listen to Ray Charles' music I get goosebumps. I've heard others say they do as well. If people we know indirectly can have that kind of an affect on us, imagine what kind of an affect we have on those we interact with directly. Our human obligation is to treat one another with humanity. If each person felt obligated to practice humanity, imagine what realized potential would be out there.
"Some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles.**"
No one has the right to stifle another's potential or greatness. How's that for a non-political post?
(Quotes:*Lady Margaret Thatcher,** Washington Irving)
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
This morning as I was watching the news I couldn't help but think of the election that is now two weeks away. I got a letter yesterday from my good friend Jared who is serving an LDS mission in Spain and he said that we was much more positive about the election when he was in the states, when he could hear the everyday mudslinging between the candidates. Everyday I'm less positive about the election because of that mudslinging.
After hearing some of the comments Bush and Kerry made about each other yesterday at their various campaign stops, I was frustrated, disgusted, and again, for the second time in so many weeks, I was ready to vote for Nader. (But, then of course the vote would most likely benefit Bush and why wouldn't I just cast my vote for him to begin with?)
I've come to only one conclusion...the devil we know. And I'm not intending to refer to President Bush as Satan himself, so don't anyone get all flustered over this one, I just mean with Bush we know what the next four years will be, more of the same. Good or bad. But, with Kerry we don't really have an idea what the next four years will be. Not that change isn't good--change is just unpredictable. I had a teacher once who always told us that "without change there would be no butterflies." Okay, that's an optimistic way of looking at it, but for some reason I don't see John Kerry every resembling the grace and beauty of a butterfly.
Get out and vote. I can't stress this enough. It's not only a big deal nationally, but I'm certain all of you have county and state races that are very important. Take it seriously.
Monday, October 18, 2004
The unwritten rule is that celebrities die in threes. Janet Leigh, Rodney Dangerfield, and Christopher Reeve. It may be stretching to add Salinger, but if anyone truly deserves celebrity status it should be Salinger. I'd bravely state that Pierre Salinger single-handedly changed the relationship between the executive branch and the press.
NewYork (AP)-- Pierre Salinger, who served as John F. Kennedy's press
secretary and later had a long career with ABC News, has died.
"Mr. Salinger's appointment came as the pervasive influence of television was becoming clear in politics and world affairs, and he assumed an unusually powerful role for a press secretary. He accompanied Kennedy to conferences with other world leaders, including the 1961 meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna, and was dispatched by the president to Moscow the following year to confer directly with Soviet leaders" (New York Times).
Pierre Salinger was a former White House Press Secretary to Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and was an ABC journalist. In November of 1996 he stated publicly that friendly fire from the Navy caused the TWA 800 crash, based on an internet hoax (Lending his name to the Pierre Salinger Syndrome--assuming everything on the internet is true).
All faults aside, Pierre Salinger was in the heart of something that made him an honorable man. Pierre announced the death of JFK, witnessed the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, and never once disregarded his loyalty to the Kennedy family. He will be missed as one of the closest and most honest connections to the Kennedy administration.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Friday, October 15, 2004
As Bannock County Democratic Party Chairman James Ruchti put is, "There is a new era of Democratic politics in this state, and a lot of the thanks for that goes to these individuals." Two years ago when the six legislators became known as the "Bannock Six," there were only three democratic senators in the Idaho State Senate. Now there are seven democratic senators and sixteen democrats representing their respective seats in the House.
Here is a little run-down:
- Sen. Bert C. Marley-- state senator from McCammon, ID who took the seat of Sen. Lin Whitworth (who is running this election year against U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson) upon his retirement. Marley serves on the Finance/JFAC committee, the Judiciary Rules committee, and the Transportation committee. Marley also serves on the IEA Board of Directors (region 5). Bert is a high school teacher at Marsh Valley High School where he teaches World History, German, and I think Government. He happens to be one of my dear friends, was my bishop for a time, and taught me Mythology, German, and World History.
- Sen. Edgar Malepeai--state senator from Pocatello, ID who holds District Seat 30. (Marley is in district 29) Edgar is also an educator and so is his wife. He has served on the Commerce/Human Relations committee, the Education committee, and the Local Government/Taxation committee. Education is Malepeai's main focus.
- Rep. Donna Boe--state representative from Pocatello, ID of District 30. Boe has served on the Education committee, the Judiciary/Rules committee, and the Ways & Means committee. She is not an educator, but has seen the constant rise in tuition and hopes to focus the next two years on bringing that cost down.
- Rep. Elaine Smith--state representative from Pocatello, ID, District 30. Elaine serves on the Business committee, the environmental Affairs committee, and the State Affairs committee. She is currently working on increasing the hazardous waste transportation fee.
- Rep. Allen Andersen--state senator from Arimo, ID, District 29. Allen is also an old friend of mine. Allen ran for office two years ago seeing frustration with the education system and the schools that his kids and I grew up in. He is serving on the Agricultural Affairs committee, the Education committee, and the Judiciary Rules committee.
- Rep. Elmer Martinez--state senator from Pocatello, ID, District 29. Elmer, also a high school teacher, has quite an invested interested in the success of public schools. He is also concerned with health care. Elmer has served on the Commerce/Human Resources Committee, the Health & Welfare committee, and the Revenue/Taxation committee. (side-note: Elmer and I once got in a heated debate about the failures of the adoption and foster care systems, I didn't win!)
Anyway, to make a long post even longer I could comment on Lin Whitworth who is running against Mike Simpson for the U.S Representative Seat. I won't, but I would encourage you to check out his website. Lin's an awesome guy, down-to-earth, and tells you straight up how it is. He has an impressive record in the state legislature and would be a great asset in Washington. (That and I really don't like Mr. Mike Simpson for very personal reasons.) C.L."Butch" Otter and Mike Crapo are also up for re-election this year, but they don't seem to have very strong opponents. Such is the case in these conservative states. I'll hold out my campaigning until Craig is up for re-election.
Since maybe only one or two of you are even in my voting district this may not be helpful to you, but I wanted to express my appreciation to the Bannock Six who have continued to support my education and are just great individuals. Good luck to them---
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Ten days ago if someone would have asked me what this quote meant I would have said it was a formula for speech giving or writing an essay. Today I realized it is so much more than a formula. As I just now watched the third presidential debate, I thought long and hard about conviction. The conviction of two very different men. Two men dividing a nation. Two men seeking only the greatest good for the American people. How far we've come from that ideal.
If the election was tomorrow, I'd honestly vote for Nader. I'm so tired of the same battles. The same debate. The same egotistical jargon. I don't want to hear about "family values" without any reference to how we plan to support the family. I don't want to hear about the war in Iraq without any estimate of when we'll stop turning on our televisions to find more American casualties. I don't want to hear another ficticious promise.
John Kennedy didn't live to give that speech. He never uttered the words I mention that now echo in my mind. The speech was written for November 22, 1963--he didn't live to speak such truth. If only we all understood the power of that statement. If only politicians today were held to the high standards of which he spoke. The standards are so low, the mudslinging so common, and the truth so rare. Politicians are brutal.
After tonight the only conclusion I've come to is that John Adams was certainly right, the "abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society." We are a divided nation in so many ways...why must our leaders contribute to this?
Monday, October 11, 2004
Christopher Reeve was most known for his role as "Superman." I'm not one to subscribe to the idea that an actor should be and is remembered for his/her greatest role, but in this case I can think of no better fitting way to remember Reeve. He will forever be known as Superman, not just Superman, the comic book hero, but Superman, the husband, the father, and the advocate.
The death of a celebrity is always broadcast across the country, some more than others, and some affect us more than others. But, there are stories that touch us and remind us of what it is to be human; what our responsibilities are as the human race. When Mother Teresa died I considered this, when Ray Charles died I considered it, when Ronald Reagen died I considered it, and today Superman himself has me considering what it means to be human and what my job is as a member of the human race.
Reeve suffered a major spinal cord injury in 1995 while horseback rising. Since then he has become an advocate for others with spinal cord injuries as well as an advocate for the much debated stem-cell research that could benefit and cure such injuries. No matter his pain, he has continued to lift others, rising to the occasion and reminding us that no matter the circumstances there is always so much more for us to do. No matter the difficulty there is a blessing in disguise.
Certain individuals inspire us to be greater than we could have ever hoped for. Reeve was one of those individuals to me. He will forever be an inspiration for this country and his contribution to stem-cell research may one day make it possible to cure spinal cord injuries as well as diseases. My all-time favorite Super Bowl commercial is and I think always will be the commercial, possibly for a drug manufacture company, when Christopher Reeve (post-paralysis) walks across the stage, and speaks of the hope he always held to walk again.
Today, he walks again.
9/25/52 - 10/10/04
The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
Sunday, October 10, 2004
I thought I would post on the 2nd presidential debate, but the uncivilized nature of it all and the fact that it was so much reminiscent of the first debate, in regard to foreign policy. If Kerry would give up that Global Test business he might have a better chance of winning this thing and if Bush could quit saying "You can run, but you can't hide," I might feel as if we had mature leadership in the White House. Hopefully Wednesday's debate will be much more informative on domestic policy. I want to know more about what the plans are for No Child Left Behind as well as how these two think they can cut the defecit in half.
Last night I was watching the Kennedy-Nixon debates on CSPAN and was amzed at how much more civil they were to each other (and the moderator) compared to Kerry and Bush. Nixon and Kennedy hated each other...Nixon was quoted as once saying that he never "considered attempting suicide" until the thought crossed his mind that he could "wake up one day, look in the mirror, and see Jack Kennedy staring back" at him. Yet he held a civilized demeanor in debate.
That was one thing I was happy about while watching the debate Friday night---Kerry only mentioned Kennedy's name once and in that case Kennedy was in a categorized group. John Kerry is no John Kennedy. End of story. But...Mr. Bush seemed to have a little trouble with keeping the names Kennedy and Kerry straight when he started tossing around the "L" word!
As non-political as baseball may be, I don't think I will make it much longer without writing a little post about the playoffs. I've refrained from spouting off about the Yankees who I absolutley despise. I was telling Nick that if it is unAmerican to hate the Yankees then I am as unAmerican as they get. Go Boston! (The Braves play tomorrow and if they lose they are out of the playoffs so I've got my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed at this point.)
There is so much going on in the world with the elections in Afghanistan, the funeral for Lori Hacking, the suicide bombings that you see on the news every night, and the ordeal Tony Blair is now facing, that is nearly impossible for me to keep up with it all...and this week is midterms. I'll do my best, but if you don't hear from me in a few days please understand. Have a great week!
Thursday, October 7, 2004
As far as posts go, I plan on writing a little something about the "Bannock Six" before November 2nd and of course there will be two more presidential debates that I will most likely comment on. English 102 resumes next week, which will give me something to post about I'm sure. And I keep looking at Coryspot to see if my good friend Cory has posted that little tidbit he's been writing about my love Morgan Freeman...
Anyway, happy blogging!
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
So here it goes and it will be somewhat scatter-brained as I haven't yet worked it all out in my head as of yet and I'll organize it by order of topic, bear with me. (and if you missed it here is the transcript or if you are really desperate I have four pages of notes on the debate itself, just ask...)
Paul Bremmer released a statement two days ago stating that the U.S. has not supplied enough troops for the effort. If the former Ambassador to Iraq is going to state such a thing, I am going to side with him. Edwards gave no data stating that he and John Kerry were prepared to either increase or decrease the number of troops in Iraq. Dick Cheney stated that: "what we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action." That somehow did not comfort me either because 1) they know now that Saddam had no WMDs and 2) our soldiers are still being killed daily and the numbers are rising monthly. No one "won" this argument as far as I'm concerned, but neither candidate said anything horribly wrong that lost them the argument either.
I'm confident that we did the right thing going in to Afghanistan following the events of 9/11. I'm pleased to hear that women are voting, children are going to school, and minorities are being recognized, BUT (and forgive me for sounding Kerry-esque)... We have let up on Osama Bin Laden if we have not yet captured him. Dick Cheney says we have not let up on the terrorist, but as Edwards and Kerry have both mentioned, we left Bin Laden at Tora Bora. That is letting up as far as I'm concerned. The real winners when it comes the issue of Afghanistan are the troops over there that are doing everything in their power to maintain control and peace. This success is not either a win for Edwards or Kerry, but reflects highly on the Bush administration. If only we had Bin Laden...
3. THE GLOBAL TEST
I'm going to have to side with Cheney on this one, Kerry made a big flub when he brought up the Global test in last week's debates, but Edwards was correct in that I think it is very important that the U.S. have decent credibility and the world needs to know that when the U.S. takes action it is for a reason. This one is a touchy subject for everyone involved, I am trying to avoid it all together!
4. INTERNATIONALIZING THE EFFORT
This is the part when no matter what is said I'm gung-ho about the Kerry/Edwards ticket. The Bush administration abandoned allies going in to Iraq and when it came down to reconstruction it continued to abandon the coalition. It is absolutely essential to the effort in Iraq and future foreign relations of the United States to have strong ties to the United Nations. We must form a coalition... a strong coalition, not the skaky coalition of Great Britain, Australia (oh, and Poland!).
Cheney felt that Edwards was presenting an echo of a plan, Cheney didn't present a plan at all, maybe an echo is better than nothing. All I know is that we must respect and appreciate the efforts of Prime Minister Allawi, but we also must realize the coalition is much broader, or at least needs to be.
The fundamental issue here is that during the Bush administration 1.6 million private sector jobs have been lost. 4 million Americans have fallen into poverty. The Bush administration is for the outsourcing of jobs, sending jobs overseas. Flat out--the Bush administration is the first administration in 70 years to not have created jobs. That is ridiculous. In the last 70 years there has been a World War, not to mention several recessions. If the Bush administration cannot create jobs they aren't going to win the issue period.
Now of course this one hits home with me and it could be a post of its own, but for the sake of time I will just remind my readers that yes, the Bush administration has created No Child Left Behind, establishing a system of high standards for American schools, a program that was great in logic, but lacking in reality, but the administration has failed to pass the mandates to fund it. 1/2 of Hispanics and African Americans are dropping out of high school. Tuition is rising in colleges and universities all over the country. The Bush administration has failed to strengthen education. Enough said.
Ok---so those are the six key points that I see making or breaking the election for either side. I am choosing not to comment on the Israeli/Palestinian dilemma that was mentioned in the debates or the issue of Iran and North Korean, I'm sure I have commented on these before or will eventually. I am also choosing not to spend a paragraph on health care-- it frustrates me more than education ever could! I don't want to comment on Haleburton or the AIDS epidemic, because I don't think either were addressed appropriately.
I will say that in regard to same-sex marriage it should be left up to the states. There should not be a constitutional amendment stating that marriage should be strictly between a man and a woman (this amendment is supported by Bush), I don't really think that government can place that kind of a restriction on its citizens. Traditional marriages do not have to be accepted from state to state so I see no problem with same sex marriages facing that same rule. It was very noble for Edwards to not pick apart Cheney for his stand against same sex marriage, given the circumstances with his daughter, and I think it was even nobler for Cheney to thank him and drop the subject completely. I'm interested in what Bush will say on this topic, but the most "human" (if that's the word for it) moment of the debate was while on the topic of same-sex marriage.
And last, but certainly not least... when mentioning the hope to garner votes from both sides of the isle, Zell Miller isn't the best example, Mr. Cheney.
Monday, October 4, 2004
There has to be something in the water in Vermont, their politicians are nutty! When Dave asked him who was better fit for the presidency, a governor or a senator, he stumbled and then lead you to believe that he wasn't an egotist. Historically speaking there have been some awesome governors who reached the Oval Office, but there have only been maybe two who have come from Congress. Could Kerry change this? Maybe, but the chances of Dean flipping the whole scenario around would have been more likely.
And when it comes down to it, I find it frightening to think of Howard "The Scream" Dean addressing anyone with "My Fellow Americans..." Now that's something to scream about!
Saturday, October 2, 2004
An important point that stuck out-- there are 10 times more troops in Iraq than in Afghanistan. The direct reason/threat to the United States following 9/11 was Bin Laden. Have we forgotten the facts of 9/11 completely?
Both candidates caused me equal frustration. It is pure stupidity (forgive me Nick Speth for using the stupid word) for John Kerry to say that he was against the war from the get-go. Did he have an out-of-body experience when he voted to use force in Iraq? And it is just as ridiculous for him to explain that he voted for it AND against it. You're digging yourself a hole Mr. Kerry. To give equal attention to my frustrations-- Bush needs to rethink his belief that the PATRIOT Act is "vital" to the war on terror. The PATRIOT Act is being challenged in courts all over this country. How can something so "vital" to the safety of America be so hated by Americans?
I was quite irritated with Kerry bringing up John Kennedy every other comment. What we're in now does not in any way compare to the Cold War. Kerry is no Kennedy and never will be. Also, you don't mention the Cuban Missile Crisis if you are trying to prove you won't go into war alone. Kennedy went against his military advisors, not just the world alliance. How is that any different than what Bush is doing now? The hole is getting deeper Mr. Kerry.
My last serious comment regards the alliance. Kerry is right about one thing-- Great Britian, Australia... oh and Polland, thanks W, are not the ideal alliance. They aren't going to make me sleep any better at night. We need a stronger alliance and one that remains strong, not pulling out when times get tough.
On a much lighter note-- I laughed at their ties! I've obviously got too much time on my hands if I noticed Bush in blue and Kerry in red. Brings up the question again "red or blue which state are you?" Overall I was displeased with the debate. Bush was stumbling for words and Kerry was spouting words that had no foundation in factual information. The highlight for me was Kerry's statement: (reiterating what the terrorism czar had said) "Invading Iraq in response to 9/11 would be like Franklin Roosevelt invading Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor."
I'm looking forward to the vp debate next week. I sure hope Mr. Cheney can keep is obscenities in check as well as his heart. And the presidential debate on domestic policy should be interesting...
Thursday, September 30, 2004
If we look back at Vietnam, I'm doing this just for an example, I too am tired of the constant comparison of Iraq and Vietnam, two completely different wars. It all began with Kennedy who sent the first advisors to Vietnam, he's just as much to blame as the next guy, but when he was shot, the change of power wasn't nearly as drastic. Johnson couldn't think for himself let alone change an entire foreign policy. The trouble came in the change of power between Nixon and Johnson. (Neither were entirely right in their foreign policy.)
Two presidents, two completely different perspectives, one foreign policy that has the power to change the world. Never is it a good idea to swap leaders in a time of war. When Johnson handed off the responsibilities to his successor, his policy died and was rarely evident in that of the Nixon administration. Will this happen if Kerry were to take power in January?
My theory itself is based on the welfare and safety of our troops abroad, not just in Iraq. They have been training since 9/11 for this moment, how will a change in the executive branch directly hit them? No matter who is running against an incumbent president, this theory stands...1968 or 2004. Think about it before you cast your vote.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Back to the Basics...
If anyone has picked up the Newsweek for last week, you'd find an interesting article by Anna Quidlen about "The War We Haven't Won." Iraq may have the limelight, for the moment, but what has happened to the so-called 'War on Poverty'? It seems to have been overpowered by more pressing matters, WMD, and party politics. Not surprisingly. What do you do with a war that will never end?
"The problem with declaring war, of course, is that sooner or later people believe the conflict will end and peace will break out."
When will the War on Poverty ever end? Or will it. The article is based on the policies of Johnson's administration and the lack of support following these programs over the years. I'm not saying that Johnson was on top of it when he was in office, nor were they the best instituted programs, but shouldn't we nationally support programs like Head Start, Habitat for Humanity, and the like?
This is the third year that the number of people living below the poverty line in the United States has decreased, shouldn't we be looking into this? I realize that it was an overreaching effort on Johnson's part to declare "unconditional war on poverty in America," but I'm certain the issue still stands...what do we do about poverty in America?
We could have skipped over the Johnson administration totally, historically speaking, and continued on triumphantly, but we can't skip over his message...What has happened to the war on poverty?
Monday, September 27, 2004
So as far as this blog goes...You knew I'd get around to my point eventually, I have a few ideas for upcoming posts and will hopefully someday get around to the Kennedy assassination. Of course from now until November 2nd I'll be forced to play party lines and tell you my liberal view point on the election, but I promise to write other worthwhile posts. Occasionally there have to be a few of those charged Cat Stevans-type posts!
When I get out of my system this English bug that has me captivated, it will all come back to politics... eventually!
Friday, September 24, 2004
Not today. This week I have been having quite the battle with myself. At ISU to enter the teacher's education program or the special education program you have to take an entrance exam. I would have been ready in January to take that exam. You have to apply to take the exam and this would have been the week for me to do so, but I've been debating whether or not that is what I really want to do. I've always said I would do special ed, that I'd change the world somehow with my dedication to those kids, this week I changed my mind. I've been somehow connected to the special ed population my entire life, from my earliest memories to my current place of employment. I'm ready for a change.
The battle itself hasn't been in deciding not to go the special ed route, because I've been making that decision for the last several months, from the time I went to Texas until now, but the battle has been in coming to the realization that this is my future and maybe that I'm losing my connection with home. I'm expected by certain people to do certain things. Everyone seems to have some sort of plan or dream for me. That is the battle. What is my dream for me?
I've come a long way in my life to be where I am right now. There was a time not so long ago that education maybe didn't matter to me the way it does now. I wasn't mature enough to realize that I've been given great opportunities and that the logical answer to that is to make the best of them. I now understand what an opportunity education is.
Not intending to go into this, I just want to say a couple things that might help other students that are in my position. 1.) Education isn't the piece of paper you receive when you leave an institution, education is the understanding you find within yourself of how you fit into the bigger picture and what you have that will benefit the people you will meet down the road. 2.) What we love is who we are, not necessarily what we should do for the rest of our lives.
Sometimes we aren't intended to do what everyone else sees fit for us, maybe we aren't intended to do what are parents have done, sometimes what they've done teaches us what we don't want to do...All that matters is that we choose the path that will make us the happiest.
That's what I've learned this week. I hope maybe it helps someone else who struggles daily with the expectations of the world around them. If I've learned anything in my life it is that we each have a talent, it's my Ray Charles philosophy, and that talent is unique to only us and can potentially change and influence an entire society. Our job is to find it, work hard at it, and love every minute of it.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
So it was reported in the USAToday that Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens, one of the greatest songwriters of the late 60s, early 70s) was aboard United Airlines Flight 919 yesterday when the plane was grounded and Yusuf Islam was taken into custody for interviewing. The USAToday even says that "officials had no details about why the peace activist might be considered a risk to the United States." It seems to me a peace activist, note the word PEACE, wouldn't be interested in any terrorist activity while aboard that airplane.
Yusuf Islam was denied admission to the United States and sent back to London. A man who is known for his devotion to the ideal of peace is being compared to Osama Bin Laden today because?!!?!??!?! He belongs to the Nation of Islam!! That's the most far reaching accusation I've heard all week...and I've been reading conspiracy theories for two days!
I'd like to know what exactly the Homeland Security Department has against this man. I don't know how a man who once wrote, "Trouble, Oh trouble can't you see. You're eating my heart away And there's nothing much left of me," and "you know I've seen a lot of what the world can do and it's breakin' my heart in two," could be a terrorist, I'm going to need some hard facts to change my mind on this one!
(*Lyrics taken from Stevens' albums "Tea For the Tillerman" and "Mona Bone Jakon")
Monday, September 20, 2004
First of all, I apologize for any implication I may have presented regarding Miller and racism. I now understand the roots of Miller's southern zeal and realize they are not fueled by any form of racism. He is a concerned man.
Secondly...the hang up. I do not appreciate anyone saying "...Everything, that is, except the national Democrats' shameful, manic obsession with bringing down a commander in chief," especially not someone of my own party! I for one am doing nothing to accuse President Bush of any action that would result in "bringing down a commande in chief." I realize I am not the typical voice of my party and that things have been stirred up, much in part to the 60 Minutes piece that CBS allowed to run, but I have a hard time swallowing the accusation that the Democratic party as a whole is doing such a thing.
You can't accuse a categorized group of people of a joint action and not expect a few to be a little upset. Let the backlash begin...again! Zell Miller could pretty much say anything at this point and I will be wound up... (For those of you who know me well, it is a Zeb Bell kind of issue!)
Sunday, September 19, 2004
The host, Gary Shandling, ended the show by saying "pray for peace," but never was there Bush-bashing and never was Iraq mentioned. Again, I was impressed. Overall the Emmys went well. There were a few surprises, but mostly the anticipated. Kelsey Grammer won for Dr. Frasier Crane, up against the likes of Matt LeBlanc, and the late John Ritter. Despite the untimely death of Ritter I felt the academy was correct in their pick of the "best actor in a comedy series."
The Emmys for me were somewhat inspiring...not inspiring in the way that I want to run right out and become an actor, but inspiring in that I wanted to be something so much greater than what I am. The memorial presented by Selleck of the greats we lost over the last year included Art Carney, Peter Ustinov, Ray Charles, Marlon Brando, Ronald Reagan, John Ritter, and Julia Child...who could dispute what inspiring individuals those are?
Also, I was impressed with Meryl Streep's speech. She wins so many awards that you tend not to listen to her, but this was one of her greatest acceptance speeches I've heard. That woman can either see an awesome script when it is presented to her, or given the number of times she has been nominated for various awards, she must be unbelievable! I was pleased to see James Spader win, his role on "The Practice" makes me want to go out and get a law degree!
Maybe next time for "Joan of Arcadia," way to go Alyson Janney, and overall it seems I'll be renting "Angels in America" soon. Anyway, sorry for such a long post on something so irrelevant to the topic at hand...BUT I just couldn't resist! It was a fine night for television.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
I've watched Barbara interview Fidel Castro, both George W. and George H.W. Bush, Katherine Hepburn, Hillary Clinton, O.J. Simpson, the parents of Jon Benet Ramsey, the parents of Elizabeth Smart, my favorite Christopher Reeve...and the list goes on.
When Hugh Downs left I realized that the news show I'd grown up with would not be around forever, nor would the two anchors I've watched since I was old enough to remember. Last night was a surreal moment for me and I hope many others across the country. Of course 20/20 will stay on the air for years to come, but it will never be the same. Perhaps it is the end of an era.
Okay, so this isn't one of my typical posts, but in Barbara Walters we've seen the good and the bad of politics. From Monica to Hillary, Reagen to John Hinkley, Fidel Castro to the great Lady Thatcher... Barbara has introduced my generation to leaders of nations, celebrities, and men who have by a few gunshots changed the world.
I look forward to Walter's specials and occasionally catching "The View," but never will she have the same impact on the audience as she did with 20/20. Thank you Barbara Walters for the memories!
Friday, September 17, 2004
Now, people have been talking, they think that the Ambassador should remain intact and it should in some way be considered a historical landmark. What greater landmark or memorial could there be to Bobby Kennedy than a school for the disadvantaged? Personally I don't consider places of death to be historically significant--we don't need a memorial for every place when someone is assassinated, but if people feel we need to have that memorial to RFK, let them build a school.
Bobby Kennedy was an advocate of education. Having 11 children of his own he saw the importance of public schools and actively played a part in the funding of lower-income schools as attorney general. Of all memorials, the greatest would be a school--but even more importantly the history of the Ambassador Hotel would no longer be negatively remembered as the place where Robert Kennedy was assassinated, but would positively be remembered as a place where his greatest work resides.
Rarely do I go into my Kennedy sentiment. Occasionally I voice my frustration with Ted Kennedy and comment on the outrageous amount of time I spend on Kennedy research, but hardly ever do I mention my personal feelings about the Kennedy family. I'm quite convinced that had John Kennedy lived, Vietnam would have been much different and had Bobby lived he would have become one of the greatest president's of the United States, right up there with Truman. Of the four Kennedy brothers, Joe was the potential, Jack was the class and grace, Teddy is the corrupt politician, but it was Bobby who was the brains, the ambition, the hope for an entire generation.
The plan for the Ambassador will be approved in the coming months by the school district and we will soon know its fate, but let me say just this---- If the Ambassador Hotel will forever be known for Bobby Kennedy, let it represent his life's work rather than his death.
Obviously today was an English day. I find myself most inspired following my Monday, Wednesday, Friday English 102 class. My curiousity grows and I some how end up writing a non-political post. Maybe I need my own blog my English-class inspirations and ideals...no, but it was a nice thought.
Anyway, I think I said enough in the original Methods of Higher Education post, but I wanted to add Bird's essay to my frustrations. (The Bird link in a critique of the essay, followed by the essay itself.)