Monday, October 31, 2005

The Al Smith Dinner (TWW)

There are two things about The West Wing that I have always loved and have kept me an entertained viewer, one is political references like this title and the second is when the writer's refer back to earlier happenings with any of the characters. Call me a nerd, but it makes me feel smart that I know who Al Smith was. Call me a fanatic, it also makes me happy to have something come up in an episode that makes me remember an earlier episode with familiarity. It's like the final scene of the final episode of Seinfeld, only true fans knew what Jerry and George were talking about. The mention I guess of the Al Smith dinner made me feel as if I needed to state what I really love about the show. Now onto the episode...

Will Bailey stepped it up to take the place of fired Communications Director Toby Zeigler. Will is very good at stepping in at unlikely times. He was appointed as Deputy Communications Director after President Bartlett's second inaugural address (an address that Will played a huge role in writing) and as Sam Seaborne went to run for the California 47th when the Democratic candidate died of a heart attack. Why would these circumstances be any different for Will? Granted, the press conferences are heated. The press only want to hear about the leak case and the fate of Toby, they don't care what Will is there to discuss. And yet he stays standing, takes the punches, and calls it a hard day's work. I guess all I wanted to say about Will's entrance (he had previously been the vp's chief-of-staff and key player in the primary election) was how nice it was to see him open the drawer to his new desk in his new office (Toby's old office) and see that stress ball that Toby used to throw at Will's window whenever he wanted him. It was equally nice to see him return later to the ball on his desk, bow and all. I'm sure CJ had something to do with that.

Having watched the entire 4th season of TWW over the weekend, I really want to comment on Toby's actions as far as the leak is concerned and his overall loyalty to the president, but I won't now, it is my only hope from ending with this as a full length novel. Maybe another day.

Donna and Josh have always confused me. At some point Josh is going to have to realize Donna will do anything for him and his causes. Louise hiring Donna as the campaign's spokeswoman to denounce the attack add from the Committee for the Integrity of Human Life (or whatever they're called) was a shock to Josh's system, but Donna once again proved she's more than the blonde, stereotyped, no-luck-in-love, secretary Josh hired. She has grown immensely since she joined the Bartlett campaign 8 years prior and has proven through her work on the vp's campaign that she knows her stuff. Here is my prediction...if Santos wins, they will have Donna has press secretary. Never thought I'd be saying that, but after last night's episode, I think that's what they're staging.

The predicament of the episode is really the key problem with these two candidates, they are both pro-choice. Vinnick, a pro-choice Republican is against partial birth abortions and Santos, a pro-choice Democrat is really for unlimited abortions. Or so it appears on the surface. In all reality and as Santos told Leo, he is pro-life. He believes that life begins at conception. I didn't see that coming, but as Leo said to Santos and as Richard Stallings reminds us often in his Idaho Politics class, you gotta dance with the one who brung you. In other words, you represent your constituency regardless. Abortion is a wedge issue. It always will be. It's a way of driving apart factions of a single party and continuing the separation between conservativism and liberalism. But in all reality a good chunk of the Republican Party is pro-choice and I'm sure a good chunk of the Democratic party is pro-life. I, a pro-choice woman, was once pro-life. In Idaho it's very hard to find a Democrat who is pro-choice. The party's platform has often been changed to reflect the candidates' views on this very issue. It is merely a wedge issue.

Vinnick has a 9 point lead in the polls over Santos. Next week's live debate will be what matters. NBC is carrying this live debate with limited commercial interruption. It will, if nothing else, be an interesting new spin on television dramas. I'll watch just because I do every week, but I would encourage everyone to watch just because it will be pretty sweet. Sundays at 7pm (at least in my time zone).

Oh and one last comment... Al Smith was the first Catholic to run for president. He was a Democrat from New York who won I believe 87 electoral votes (I also believe, don't quote on me on any of this, mostly from the southern states) in the 1928 election against Herbert Hoover.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Women On My Mind

Yesterday I couldn't think of a single thing to post on. Not because there weren't any big news stories, just a lack of decisiveness on my part (something not entirely surprising since I've had a shower curtain to put up for over a week now and can't decide if I want it up due to not knowing how long I will be residing in this apartment). Yesterday I watched the entire 4th season of The West Wing and I still couldn't think of a single thing to post on.

This afternoon a librarian friend of mine called, hearing the news that the U.S. Congress had chosen to allow Rosa Parks' body to lie in honor in the United States Capitol Rotunda, and needing a favor. She asked me for the papers I've written on Rosa Parks and for my opinion on the honor of lying in the capitol rotunda. I drove across town, gave her the papers, and the numbers...30 Americans have been given the honor of lying in the capitol rotunda for the public to view, 2 African-Americans, and 1 woman. The numbers alone exemplify how amazing Rosa Parks was and remains as a legend of American History and the Civil Rights Movement. The fact that Wednesday flags at federal buildings across the nation will be lowered for her, also says a lot. When I handed my friend the papers that I've written over the years, close to a dozen, I told her that no speech she can give will do justice to a life that in one moment, no speech was worthy of. In that one moment on December 1, 1955, only one action spoke and today it still speaks louder than words. I wish I was in D.C. today to pay my respects, but I know that I have and will for the rest of my life show through my writings, my actions, and my own speech that I respect Ms. Parks on immeasurable levels.

I never watch Gilmore Girls, usually in the afternoons when I come home from school it's on in the main room, but I try to avoid it if I can. Since I never watch it , I was surprised today to see that Madeleine Albright has/had a guest appearance on The WB drama. I guess the only reason this is even worth a comment is, don't get me wrong I feel Madeleine Albright is a trailblazer for women just as Sandra Day O'Connor is, because I have this little daily calendar of quotes and one recently said: "I don't want to be remembered. I'm still here." (--Madeleine Albright) Yes you are.

The indictments kind of took the spotlight away from the withdraw of the Miers nomination. So it goes with he news cycle. During Political Awareness Week at ISU I chaired a panel on the Miers Nomination and the future of the Supreme Court. I studied up on her background and invited a judicial philosopher, a county clerk, and a lawyer. We had a very enlightening discussion on the nomination process and the confirmation process. Afterward I think we all had concluded that she was going to be a hard individual to confirm. When I first heard she had withdrawn her nomination, I was thrilled. Why? Well, my Democrat friends think I'm a fool and remind me that she is for Democrats as close to center as we may get with a Bush appointee. The devil we know was their take on the issue. But in my stubbornness and disbelief explained carefully my number one objection: the doctrine of "self-determination." In a 1993 speech, Miers explained that the moral and social issues should not be for the government to decide, but for individuals. Each individual should determine for themselves whether abortion should be legal and function under those decisions. Can we say libertarianism? My problem with Ms. Miers was not that she sadly called President Bush the smartest man she had ever met or that she was a used-to-be Democrat and Catholic. My problem with Ms. Miers was her doctrine on self-determination. In goes without saying that I support Roe v. Wade and in my support of it know she never would have upheld it if she believed in self-determination.

And so it is, the women on my mind today drowned out a sea of frustration and thus deserved a post. The West Wing tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Cigars and Indictments

When I listened to Joe Wilson Tuesday night he had a cigar in his pocket. He didn't know when or if (though he foresaw the indictments) he would need to celebrate, but I hope today Mr. Wilson has thoroughly enjoyed that cigar.

Today, if anyone hasn't already noticed, Scooter Libby, chief-of-staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was indicted by a federal grand jury. Libby was indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. And for those of you who need some background information, Ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger on assignment by the White House to investigate allegations that Iraq was buying uranium from the African nation of Niger. Wilson has been adamantly opposed to the war in Iraq and frankly the current Bush administration. In what some view as a response to his opposition (or as Wilson himself calls "tawdry political payback"), someone in the office of the Vice President and possibly including Mr. Karl Rove leaked the identity of Wilson's CIA agent wife, Valerie Plame, to the press. Long story short and slightly the name of loyalty to the administration Libby and Rove compromised the identity of one of their own.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has officially resigned. The Washington Post reported on the President's comments earlier today: "While we are all saddened by today's news, we remain wholly focused on the many issues and opportunities facing this country," Bush said. "I got a job to do, and so do the people who work in the White House." He did not take any questions from reporters.

Does resigning admit guilt? No. I have actually been thinking a lot lately about the act of resignation and I think it's quite similar to that wonderful quote from the '76 film Network: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Resignation does not reflect guilt, but reflects an unbelievable amount of frustration and irritation. One resigns because there are bigger and better things to move on to. One resigns because they foresee a storm ahead. One resigns just because they're as mad as hell. Scooter Libby is a brilliant mind, possibly a criminal for the moment, but I don't blame him. I'm sure the administration asked for his resignation, as I've learned recently from The West Wing, they had to and I'm sure he did this out of loyalty. Loyalty is the answer to every question about this case.

I realize that I'm a Democrat and have little faith in the honesty and ability of this administration, but I believe that wrong was done here by Scooter Libby and Karl Rove. There isn't a doubt in my mind about it. I also realize that Wilson has taken his 15 minutes of fame and stretched it. Why the hell else would a man like that be in Pocatello, Idaho at Idaho State University on a Tuesday night before a Friday when the vice president's chief-of-staff was indicted for obstruction of justice?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

World Coming to an End? Maybe in 2008...

I attended a speech by Ambassador Joseph Wilson Tuesday night, but I am saving my comments until the indictments come, which I am sure they will. And I really having nothing to post on in my awe over the White Sox sweeping the World Series and Miers withdrawing her nomination to the Supreme Court. Are we sure the world isn't coming to an end? I did get an email today called "Brain Cramps" that had just off the wall comments by several people and one of them scared me slightly: "I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president." --Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents. Do we want them running the country again?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks: My Hero of All Heroes

"Take advantage of the opportunities, no matter how few there are." --Rosa Parks

When I was a kid when asked who I wanted to be when I grew up more often than not my answer was Rosa Parks. As a kid I didn't understand that Rosa Parks was larger than life, a character I could never become. When all my other friends wanted to be women like Sally Ride and Shannon Miller, women who were currently at the top of their fields, I wanted to be a civil rights icon from a year foreign to me. All I wanted was to hold inside me that type of courage, that type of strength, and that solid recognition of what was right and wrong for the sake of history and an entire race. Not a lot has changed since I was a kid.

This morning when I read that Rosa Parks passed away, I'll be honest with you, I cried. There is this unbelievable respect, admiration, and honor I hold for Rosa Parks and will for the rest of my life.

In my view of history the Civil Rights Movement began December 1, 1955 when an unknown black seamstress refused to move to the back of the bus. In my view of history it was one of the most important events of that era. In my view of history I hold her higher than the likes of Jack and Bobby Kennedy. She never has competition in my mind because she exemplified grace under fire. Even today, fifty years later, people know who Rosa Parks was and they know what she did. Actions do in fact speak louder than words.

Rosa Parks

Monday, October 24, 2005

Message of the Week, Mr. Frost, and Here Today (TWW)

So I'm behind in my analysis of The West Wing. What do you expect when I take an unexpected hiatus from my blog? I thought, well, I can start anew with last night's episode or I can pick up where I left off and just briefly mention the events of the other two episodes I haven't posted on.

The show has been pretty crazy lately, especially with the emergence of this NSA operative with knowledge of a Pakistani assassination. The campaigns of Santos and Vinick are also still going strong with no hope of the actual election in sight. But...the more important matter (at least most important to me) is the White House leak investigation.

For those of you who don't follow the show, recently an event in space may have cost American astronauts and I believe one Russian cosmonaut their lives because no shuttle was prepared to make the trip to save them. An article out of the NY Times by Greg Brock surfaced about a military shuttle that was equipped to make the rescue that the government was not using due to the fact that the shuttle had been designed basically to weaponize space. The reporter refused to reveal his source which had to be a senior staffer of the Bartlett administration and he went to jail. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Like in the situation of the Miller woman currently in this country who went to jail for refusing to reveal her source, the White House began an internal investigation and then teamed up with the intelligence agency running a separate investigation. Long story short, it was indicated and seems inevitable that CJ Cregg, Bartlett's chief-of-staff and former press secretary would be the target of the investigation and the likely staffer who leaked the information.

Honestly, I was preparing myself for CJ's resignation and thought for sure I could no longer be a watcher of the series because I like her so much...but then out of nowhere in the episode titled "Mr. Frost," at the end in walks Toby, director of communications, and confesses to CJ that it was he who leaked the information to Greg Brock.

As I picked my jaw up off the floor I felt a bit foolish for not using my analytical skills a little more wisely and recognizing that Toby was recently visibly distraught over his brother's death. His brother who had once been an astronaut and following a cancer diagnosis killed himself. Toby had in an earlier episode asked CJ about the military shuttle and I didn't put the pieces together. I should have, but I didn't.

Following his confession CJ immediately called White House counsel and refused to speak to Toby further about the leak. It was quickly apparent that Toby had "acted alone" and the president requested to speak to Toby personally. The president then fired Toby, not once thanking him for his 8 years of service, but expressing to Toby that though some may think of Toby as a hero of sorts, he does not feel that way. It was horrible. Now I realize that the president did what he had to for the sake of his administration, but Toby deserved at least a thank you. He saved lives and until this episode served his president well. As Toby was escorted from the building I couldn't help but think maybe Toby had done this to protect CJ or that they had somehow conspired here, but I don't think that is the case at all. I think Toby acted like the rogue Toby we viewers have grown to know and appreciate. I think Toby finally did what he knew was best for the lives involved, discounting his.

Ramifications? Sure. This is going to hit the Santos campaign hard, or one would assume. Following Toby's confession, CJ called Leo. Leo, the vice-presidential candidate, not Leo, the former chief-of-staff and Bartlett loyalist. CJ called a friend. If I were ever in her shoes, a very well written predicament, I probably wouldn't think about who I am calling, I would just dial the number of whomever I trusted and felt would get me through the situation. In moments like those I doubt one really stops to consider the consequences. Leo had before last night's episode been scheduled to testify in the investigation which would have hurt the legitimacy of the Santos campaign. Here is my recommendation for the Santos campaign, not like the writers are listening to me or anything, bag the McGarry portion of the ticket. Get rid of Leo. Replace him with a younger, viable candidate, one with experience, and charisma. I say put Josh Lyman (former deputy chief-of-staff) on the ticket. Don't get me wrong here, I love Leo. Always have. But I also recognize that age, health, and past transgressions are weak and distracting factors of a campaign. Santos/Lyman?? Maybe.

Last night the pieces finally fell together for me. I realized why when in the first episode of the season as they jumped ahead to the Bartlett Library dedication Toby was so quiet and his relationship with the president so strained. But the more I thought about it I realized that it was Josh coming to announce the entrance of the president...his president.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Slow Comeback, Songs on Repeat, and Being a Democrat in Idaho

I quit blogging at a moment when I felt all my efforts to explain myself and my views were in vain. I still feel that way, but I know that I need this medium more than anyone needs my explanations. I'd be content writing these posts knowing that no one even reads them, simply because it makes me happy. Since I stopped blogging, Tom DeLay has been booked, Larry Craig has become a racist, and the Chicago White Sox made it to the World Series. Is the world coming to an end? Doubtful, but it does certainly appear to be upside down. And when the world spins upside down I miss knowing that I have this medium in which to vent my frustrations, address my concerns, and be myself. As I've considered what paths to take, what alliances to make, and which causes to abandon in the last several weeks, I've finally reached the conclusion that a slow comeback here in the blogging world is needed, warranted, and the right move on my part. It may just be a few posts on The West Wing for awhile, but something is better than nothing.

Before I decided I needed to quit blogging, I had begun a rather odd blog called Songs On Repeat. I loved it. I miss it. Everyday regardless of what is going on in my life I have a song on repeat. This will never change. It may be completely off the wall and unrelated to anything in my life (like "Come Back to Texas" by Bowling 4 Soup) or it may be something so much a part of me that I can't even believe I'm sharing it with another soul, let alone the internet community as a whole (like "Daughter" by Pearl Jam). I agree with Van Morrison "music is spiritual." Music is a part of all of us and hits us each on different levels. Sometimes music is just an escape, a way to redirect our attention, a reason to forget a battle we've been waging. I deleted the Songs on Repeat blog at the suggestion of one of my friends at the University of Idaho because she and I believed and still believe the way I listen to music is intensely personal and no one else's business. So today I'll end that public chapter of my life with the words to a song on repeat right now, (a song that has absolutely nothing to do with anything I'm feeling, other than one line about treating others as they'd like to be treated, I really just like the premise of the song):

Sleeping In

Last week I had the strangest dream
Where everything was exactly how it seemed
Where there was never any mystery of who shot John F. Kennedy
It was just a man with something to prove slightly bored
and severely confused he steadied his rifle with his target in the center
and became famous on that day in November

Don't wake me I plan on sleeping
Don't wake me I plan on sleeping in
Don't wake me I plan on sleeping
Don't wake me I plan on sleeping in

Again last night I had that strange dream
Where everything was exactly how it seemed
Concerns about the world getting warmer people
Thought that they were just being rewarded
For treating others as they'd like to be treated
For obeying stop signs and curing diseases
For mailing letters with the address of the sender
Now we can swim any day in November

Don't wake me I plan on sleeping
Now we can swim any day in November
Don't wake me I plan on sleeping in
Don't wake me I plan on sleeping
Don't wake me I plan on sleeping in

(Words & Music by The Postal Service)

An Idaho Democrat transplanted in Massachusetts is a moderate Republican. It's just the nature of the ideology. The Democratic Party in Idaho, unlike the party in blue states, is a very inclusive group. Tonight I went to Burley to the Cassia County Democrats Fundraiser, now known as the Annual Gov. John Evans Banquet. As I was sitting there, for the first time I think in my life I realized just how much I like being a Democrat in Idaho. The people are amazing. Granted, there are so few of use that each of us have a great deal of work to do, but it's worth it. John Evans, Richard Stallings, James Ruchti, Jerry Brady...all of these men were there and I finally realized just how much it means to me to be a part of this group. (And I say this despite the fact that I had been doing door-to-door campaigning all day for Councilman Stallings and Mayor Chase.) It reminds me of that saying... All a majority means is all the fools are on the same side.

Friday, October 7, 2005

200 Posts...200 Reasons To Quit

As I had contemplated the 200th post mark for The Political Game, I had many ideas in mind as to how I might celebrate the occasion. Little did I know the last two weeks of my life would be so chaotic and the outcome would wear so heavily on me, dampening that celebratory spirit I had anticipated.

Lately in my life I've been confronted by significant accusations, setbacks, and honestly, brick walls. As I began the semester I quickly learned how trying my fall schedule would be and I also began to realize what a dead end the History program at Idaho State is for me. Over time I've come to miss a dear friendship and miss an amazing teacher. And most of all I've really began to question if anyone really knows me at all.

After an article I wrote in the Idaho State Bengal for the College Democrats, a group of which I am a part, on the topic of education in the state of Idaho, I took some pretty harsh criticism on campus and off for being both too outspoken on the issue and by some, including my own mother, too passive. Passive I am not. If anyone questions how I feel about education or wonders where I stand I would remind them that I have in several instances voiced my support for higher education, funding of education in general, and have praised teachers as I've seen fit that have made an impact on my life as well as countless student's lives. The Campus Debate: Education, Mehr Licht, Senate Passes Bill on Tuition, Lessons of Spring & Richard Stallings, Methods of Higher Education, and Methods of Higher Education II, to name only a few, have clearly represented my feelings, support, and advocacy of education at large.

Since February I have had my mind set on attaining a position on the ASISU Supreme Court (the judicial branch in student government at ISU). Since February it has been quite the battle. Last Friday I finally interviewed for the position and still have heard nothing on a decision. I have taken heat from every direction on this issue, have been told that I don't know anything about the judicial branch of government, nor do I respect it, and that I have been "plotting" against the ASISU president. I not only endorsed the current ASISU student body president on this blog, I called him a great guy. I have also in posts such as One Nation Under God, Inherently Unequal, Roberts Confirmed..., and in the Rehnquist series of the first part of September demonstrated my admiration, understanding, and respect for the United States Supreme Court.

And far more importantly, there are those who don't know at all what I believe, what I have faith in, who I am, and who I am not. Adultery in America, ...On a Personal Note, Ray Charles and the Week That Changed My Life, and A Non-Political Philosophy are straight-up what I feel, what I believe, who I am.

I guess after the long two weeks I've had fighting all these battles that aren't necessary I'm not at all surprised at the fact that I am questioning whether or not blogging has been productive or just a monumental waste of my time. And after 200 posts of putting my opinion out there, opening up to my readers, and admitting my more than obsession with the life and death of our 35th president, I have realized today that I feel it has been a monumental waste of my time. Hopefully, this too shall pass.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Uncle Orson You Aren't My Favorite Today

**Editor's Note: No, it has not escaped my mind that there is a new Supreme Court nominee to discuss, actually I've been chosen to chair a panel discussion during ISU's Political Awareness Week on the topic of Harriet Meirs, I just choose to vent my frustrations instead.

So I have been in the past the biggest fan of Orson Scott Card's Uncle Orson Reviews Everything website. I have commented many times on his fine reviews and have even followed his lead on certain opinions, but Uncle Orson has stepped over the line with me today.

Never mind that I know all kinds of history and geography and literature
answers. Because when they ask about literature, it's likely to be some lame-o
question about Bridges of Madison County or The Da Vinci Code or some disgusting
James Patterson gorefest, and when they ask about geography, it's likely to be
about the seating capacity of some famous sports arena in Barcelona or Mexico
City or Ann Arbor.

First and foremost--"lame-o question"!?!? Bridges of Madison County happens to be a favorite of mine as is its author Robert James Waller and "disgusting James Patterson gorefest"... Now that's getting personal Uncle Orson. On that literary throne you claim to sit upon, do you not appreciate the brilliance of Alex Cross and a true psychological thriller? Evidently not. No, I know exactly what it is, it's the sex and language. You couldn't possibly like an author as creative as James Patterson the minute he drops the f-bomb. He loses all respect and credibility then, doesn't he? Come to think of it, the reason Orson Scott Card couldn't possibly like Bridges is the morality issue. He couldn't possibly still be sore that they cast Meryl to play a very Italian character. Sure, Waller's approach to writing isn't as stylistic and smooth as yours Orson, but he writes about real life. You ever tried that??

Granted, Orson did comment on the writing and believeability of the premise in The X-Files, he even said it had charm, but you can't take stabs at Waller and Patterson without pushing a button or two with me. I was so irritated and surprised by the dig I was sure at any moment he was going to say, "oh yeah, and Tara, how about those Braves today?"

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

And the Results are...

I should be posting on the current situation at Idaho State or even Bush's nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, but instead I got off on this little adventure thanks to Cory and Angie and have been messing with this Political Test. And the results are in:

You are a

Social Liberal
(71% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(6% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

And I was afraid I'd end up near the Unabomber. Socialist? Really? Now everytime I would do that little political quiz that I have on the sidebar I would always be irritated with my placement between Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton...mostly because I didn't know which was worse...but now there's a whole group of new faces to be irritated with. Okay I can handle Ghandi, but Gorbachev freaks me out a little and I really was just aiming for a spot up there by Dr. King. See, tells you how much we really know about our political beliefs!

Thanks for the distraction from homework and life Cory and Ang!

Monday, October 3, 2005

Another Disappointing Kennedy Biography

I read Kennedy biographies like I read the newspaper, often. As I analyze each biography I weigh them against each other based on two thing: 1) accuracy and 2) the twist. I say "the twist" for lack of a better term/phrase. What I mean is something new, something that every other biography doesn't have, something I want to read about. I love Kennedy, but come on, how many PT-109 or Marilyn Monroe stories can a person actually read?

When the library called to inform me they had the new JFK biography by Michael O'Brien, I was a bit hesitant. I've been trying for years now to read Dallek's An Unfinished Life without getting lost in research and clarifying sources, so why would a new biography be any different? And it's not like I don't have school, home, and personal matters to attend to. I simply didn't have the time to be reading another biography about Kennedy... but of course, I compromised. I'm getting really good at the compromise lately.

John F. Kennedy: A Biography by O'Brien is mediocre at best. We get the whole story of the Kennedy's and the Fitzgerald's, which other than helping me with the final jeopardy question today, is absolutely useless. The lengthy 900 page biography also hit on PT-109, the marriage, the infidelity, the nomination, the Nixon/Kennedy debates, and disappointingly, in a mere six pages it covered the assassination. Accuracy? I would say pretty dead on. There are always disputes about the infidelity issues and health issues, but all in all, I'd say 95% accurate. The twist? The Catholic aspect.

Chapter 21, The Catholic Dilemma. The only reason I gave this section half a thought was because the author, a professor in a non-important history department in the Midwest, is actually known for his work with the National Catholic Press Association. Credible or not, here's my issue: in an article I found online, not quoted in the book, the author is credited as saying "he would have been a 'used-to-be Catholic' if he wasn't a Kennedy." Used-to-be Catholic?? That's like saying I'm a used-to-be Mormon. Maybe it's just me, but I believe a religion, whether or not you believe in it or participate in it anymore, is a part of you forever. Those principles are in your mind and drawn upon in moral and ethical situations no matter your current faith. Kennedy wasn't near "used-to-be" status, a status I would contend does not exist, as he attended mass on a regular basis and was known to have close ties to the Catholic community. Had Mr. O'Brien not made this statement, I would have supported his analysis of the Catholic aspect of Kennedy, the man, the myth, and the president, but that comment sunk his argument for me.

Used-to-be? What is he thinking? Recovering, maybe, but not used-to-be. Even if you're like me and need subtle distractions from every-day life, discontent, and the mundanity of school, found only through insignificant and nonproductive uses of your time, don't read this book. It certainly will be a huge waste of your time and if you're like me will only leave you with more questions.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

The Mommy Problem (TWW)

If CJ Cregg leaves The West Wing, I can't remain a loyal watcher. There is something about her that brings in the 18-24 year old female audience. She's brilliant, talented, and the strong successful independent type. That's what it is that brings in the college-aged female. Her character graduated from UCLA or maybe it was Berkeley, she was in a dead-end no interest job in Hollywood, and finally found her place in the White House. She struggled along in a man's world as press secretary and then following the heart attack of Leo McGarry she became the president's chief-of-staff. For me she is The West Wing.

I may have missed something along the way. I don't understand the relationship between her and Post writer Greg Brock. Brock is going to a minimum security prison for refusing to divulge his source on the NASA situation. Whether that be CJ Cregg or not (which honestly, I can't remember if it is...but I have a hunch) the Senate held him in contempt and off he goes. You have to wonder if CJ will step in and say something or if she'll sit on it-- I don't think CJ is the type of character to let him take the fall...and the reference to President Bartlett having to fire's not going to be Tobey. I'm all about Kate Harper getting fired. Except she was really good to Leo...

Leo? Who's that? If the ticket wants to be strong wouldn't it appear obvious that the two men, both Leo and Santos, should be visible? All we got in this episode were a few references to his cholesterol. Unless the writers want to replace Leo on the ticket they better start stepping up his appearances.

The Santos campaign is, well, disgusting. Congressman Casanova? Could they not come up with something else for the storyline? And sadly that isn't as disgusting as them bringing on Louise (Janeane Garofalo) as communications director. I'm not a fan of her as an actress and I'm even less of a fan of hers as a political activist. I wonder if she took the gig with TWW to attempt to mainstream some of her more radical ideas. Yes, I am still a Democrat, as is she, and have not become more conservative in the last week, but she's even too radical for me. This coming from someone who on that political spectrum quiz I have on my sidebar frequently get scores between four and six on a scale between 1 (most liberal) and 40 (most conservative). If I think she's radical I wonder what people think of me.

Alright, that's all I've got. I did think it was a nice touch that Margaret volunteered to lie in front of a grand jury for CJ if need be. And CJ being CJ said no.