Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Deep Throat Revealed...Is This For Real?

W. Mark Felt was the third highest official in the FBI at the time of Watergate. James Mann, who had worked at the Washington Post at the time of Watergate and was close to the investigation, brought a great deal of evidence together in a 1992 article that fingered Felt and convinced many. He argued that the information Deep Throat gave Woodward could only have come from FBI files In previous unrelated articles Bob Woodward of The Washington Post had made clear he had a highly placed source at the FBI and there is some evidence he was friends with Felt. Some suspected at that time that Woodward might be asking Felt if he could reveal him to be Deep Throat, though Felt, when asked directly by others, has consistently denied being Deep Throat…that is until today.

I feel like the world has tipped off its axis. I always thought we would never know who Deep Throat really was. I thought it was one of those things Woodward, Bernstein, and Bradlee would take to their graves. This morning I got in my car and I heard that they had revealed Deep Throat, I thought no, they are just doing this for publicity or for some man to gain a little notoriety. Then when I got to school I looked to see if Henry Kissinger had died because I was convinced it was him and I knew that when whomever Deep Throat was actually died Woodward would tell us all. NO! This is the real deal. Mark Felt, now 91, and his family announced in a Vanity Fair (what an odd magazine choice) article that he is indeed Deep Throat and Bob Woodward confirmed it. I can’t believe it!

Okay…back up the train. Maybe somebody doesn’t know this, but Deep Throat was the Washington Post informant that brought to light the Watergate break-in and the illegal actions of the Nixon administration. For all of these years the men who brought to the public the truth had refused to say who their source was and only they and their editor, Ben Bradlee knew. Today we all know and it’s a bit unsettling.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Day and a Frank Capra Classic

Hey everybody, just a little note to let you all know that I'm taking a few days off from the blogging world. ISU's computer centers are closed for the holiday weekend and I have tons of homework to be doing so I've decided to take the weekend off completely. In the next few weeks I hope to create a new Amazon Listmania! list of my favorite movies since I have a new one to add to the list and at some point I would like to comment on the work of Oliver Stone.

If you need a little light-reading, my good friend Jared sent me this link regarding the nuclear option and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Check it out, whether or not we agree with it, it is worth the read. Until next week..have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. If you're on the road buckle up!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

News From the Networks

Just a little post away from the busy world of politics...

I just finished watching American Idol and was disappointed in the results. I really love Bo Bice. There is something genuine about him, I think it is the southern rocker that we haven't seen in awhile, and I was sad to see him not win. But, I also realize that with Clive Davis as a fan, Bo's chances for a CD are excellent and he will release one soon!!

Also, from the entertainment and television world, today was Mark Browning's last on our local Pocatello news channel 6. You may be wondering why I would notice or even care about such an event, so I will tell you. Mark was in my Vietnam class this spring and his knowledge of broadcasting was very helpful in my understanding of the way the news shaped public opinion during those years and I was thankful to have such a perspective. Browning is moving to Boise to be a news director there and I am sure he will be very successful. He will be missed and as a fellow student I just wanted to say how much I truly respect him.

Last, but certainly not least, yesterday I finally watched National Treasure. Now I put it off for quite sometime because if there is anything I hate more than a badly scripted movie it is a badly scripted movie that deals with history! After about twenty minutes I quit holding out and actually got into the story line. I was thrilled to know that my history-knowledge-retaining brain knew that the last clue given to the bad guys was false and was even more thrilled to see Nick Cage getting shot at in Philadelphia. Why? I've been in that very cemetery!!

Okay, that's all for now. Watch the film, my congratulations to Carrie Underwood (even though Bo Bice is much, much better, and Mark, I'll miss you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Uncommon Compromise

In a surprising turn of events in the United States Senate yesterday, the committee of centrists (or by other means Sen. Joe Leiberman, Sen. John McCain, and their cohorts) led an effort to reach a compromise in regard to the nuclear option, filibustering, and judicial nominees. The compromise essentially detailed that of the 7 nominees blocked or in attempt to block by the Democrats, 2 would withdraw their nomination and they would allow for a up-or-down vote on the remaining 5. This allows for the Democrats (and the Republicans too) to continue exercising the right to filibuster, but only under "extraordinary circumstances."

It is my opinion that the U.S. Senate merely dodged a bullet yesterday. When either Chief Justice Rehnquist dies or steps down, the fight will return. I also think that the remaining justices of the Supreme Court who may or may not be considering resigning will remain on the bench until President Bush's term is complete and a new executive sits behind the desk in the oval office with the power invested in him/her to nominate and appoint judicial nominees.

In amazement, this whole fight has been quite the learning experience. Through the speech of Robert Byrd I learned a great deal about the history of the senate, through the speeches of McCain and Leiberman I now understand the art of and importance of being a centrist in a two-party system, and I am beginning to gain a perspective on what the 2008 presidential election shall present. I have come to appreciate Harry Reid who I had previously (on the departure of Tom Daschle) criticized. I have been reminded of why in our senior assembly the year I graduated from high school promoted a statement of "Leiberman 2004." I have also grown to appreciate the Clinton administration. I understand the judicial aspects of those eight years. I have a renewed appreciation for several democratic senators, namely, Joe Biden, Patrick Leahy, and Ted Kennedy.

Like I said this is not the end of the road for this debate. I hope that the Bush administration has learned the lesson of this fight and that if and when it arises again they will be wise enough to dodge it by not proposing the idea of judicial nominees from the extreme right. I hope the senators have learned from the debate what a historical task is on their hands. As I believe it was Senator Biden said in yesterday's debate, history will judge the majority party for their irrational attempts. History, afterall, is the ultimate judge.

One last comment...Robert Byrd. I have always laughed and joked about Sen. Byrd (the longest serving senator currently in the senate) for his phonebook-reading, long stories with no known plot or purpose, and of course his previous involvement in the KKK. In this debate over the nuclear option I have grown to appreciate the knowldege, sincerity, and loyalty of Senator Byrd. Byrd, who was elected in 1958 and has at times receives 78% of the West Virginian vote, was born in 1917 (the same year as JFK if anyone was curious) and his only career has been in public service. He is dedicated. Of all the senators on their feet in debate, I think Byrd was the only senator debating for the sake of the senate as an institution. That is admirable.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Flip-Flopping All Over Again

I have been closely watching the events in the U.S. Senate as they unfold in regard to the judicial nominee/filibuster debate. I think it is quite funny that the party that hammered Mr. John Kerry so badly in the fall has so many voices that have flip-flopped so verbally on the issue of filibustering judicial nominees.

The number one flip-flopper is undoubtedly Alberto Gonzales, the newest Attorney General of the United States. Having served with nominee Precilla Owen (sorry about the spelling) in Texas, he had earlier stated that she was a bad choice for the court system and had frowned upon any future confirmation. Funny, today I'm just reading along in The Washington Post and in small print on the website, underneath all of the hot issues and news for today, was a small link that stated Gonzalez is now supporting Owens. Check it out.
This debate is only going to get more heated and despite my constant support of the Democratic Party, I really think they are right on this one. If a Democrat were in the White House proposing this same idea through the mouth of a Democratic majority leader, the Republicans would be calling foul here too. It has everything to do with party loyalty for the Republicans and nothing to do with the history and tradition of the senate.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Rowe's Ranking of the U.S. Presidents

As I am beginning Dr. Adler's political science class on The Presidency, I have decided to rank the presidents and at the end of his class I shall compare my rankings after I have learned about the executive office and the individual presidents. For the moment I contend that Lincoln was the best wartime president, Nixon or Johnson the worst wartime presidents, FDR the best social reform president, Hoover the worst social reform president (maybe next to Taft), I can't really place a #1 on any one man for best overall president, but can certainly place a #1 on the overall worst president--Warren G. Harding.

First I will rank the presidents, not by number, but by greatness and then I will copy and paste a poll by Murray/Blessing (1994) and you can compare my rankings versus the rankings of the presidential experts.
______________
Tara Rowe's
Rankings of the Presidents

Great-- Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR
Near Great-- Monroe, Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Truman
Above Average-- Reagan, Adams (John Quincy and John Adams), Polk, Madison, Kennedy, Clinton, McKinley
Average-- Lyndon Johnson, Hayes, Carter, Ford, Benjamin Harrison, Arthur, Garfield, Cleveland, George H.W. Bush
Below Average-- Coolidge, Eisenhower, **William Henry Harrison, Fillmore, Tyler, Hoover, *Bush
Failures-- Nixon, Grant, Buchannan, Pierce, Taylor, Harding, A. Johnson, Taft

*I would rather not rank George W. Bush until his term is over, but for the moment this is where, based on his policies, I would rank him.

**William Henry Harrison did not serve long enough in office to officially rank his administration (he caught pneumonia at his inaugural address and died shortly after). Because of his party and the time in which he served, I would prematurely rank him with no evidence with his contemporaries.

______________
Murray/Blessing Poll
Presidential Experts Rank the Presidents

Great-- Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Jefferson
Near Great-- Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Jackson, Truman
Above Average-- Adams (both John Quincy and John Adams), L. Johnson, Eisenhower, Polk, Kennedy, Monroe, Madison, Cleveland
Average-- McKinley, Taft, Van Buren, Hoover, Hayes, Arthur, Ford, Carter, Benjamin Harrison
Below Average-- Taylor, Tyler, Reagan, Fillmore, Coolidge, Pierce
Failures-- Harding, Grant, Nixon, A. Johnson, Buchannan

*This poll does not include George H.W. Bush, Clinton, or George W. Bush.
_____________

Of the Murray/Blessing Poll I was most surprised by where they placed Reagan and Eisenhower. I was kind to Eisenhower (he was an amazing general, I'll give him that, but his executive administrative powers were lacking) and I really do feel that Reagen is one of greater conservative presidents this country has seen. I am also always surprised by the ranking of Lyndon B. Johnson. He had the potential...his Great Society mirrored the ideals and ambitions of FDR's New Deal, but his social/domestic reforms were severely defeated by the ongoing war in Vietnam. His ranking is negatively impacted by Vietnam just as Nixon's ranking is negatively reflected in Watergate.

Of my own rankings I think I prematurely ranked a few of the presidents, I can't know everything about every president! Those whom I know less about and admire the least have a lower ranking. Taylor, Tyler, and Pierce fall into that category...those whom I know the least about. Nixon, Harding, Hoover, and Taft...those I like the least.

After this class I hope to have learned the significance of the formation of the executive office and the development of the office over time and through the world wars. Maybe with a greater understanding of the office I will gain an appreciation for the men (and hopefully eventually the women) who have held and will hold that office. We'll see what my rankings reflect after the 23rd of June.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Post on Television

I just finished watching American Idol and thought that in the last few weeks I have had much to say about the television world and finales without ever saying much about it to anyone, save a few lucky suckers!

For the record, my favorite on American Idol is Bo Bice. He's been my favorite from the beginning, though I haven't been a faithful watcher of the show, mostly in between studying, eating dinner, or just running in or out. Tonight I was so surprised and impressed with the range of his talent. It takes a lot of talent to sing an Elton John song. It takes a lot of talent to sing an Elton John song and sound anything like Elton. Bo was great, but his next two performances were even greater. He sang Badlands and "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, two songs that are unbelieveably difficult and yet he didn't even hesitate. I'm with Clive, Bo is going all the way and for the first time in this Idol frenzy the country has been enveloped in, I think I would buy a CD by him.

Next, this week was the season finale of Crossing Jordan, one of my all-time favorites. I was so shocked by the events of the hour-drama and in the end was very disappointed. Garrett Macey, the cheif medical examiner in the Boston show's setting was suspended for a case that he took on his first year at the office and fudged. In a nut shell, Henry Winkler aka "The Fonz" wants his job and was on a witchhunt. I like Garrett, almost as much as I like Law and Order alumness Jill Hennesey who plays Jordan, the insecure, family-sensitive, brilliant m.e. In the end of the show Garrett got on the elevator and left as if he was never coming back. I'm putting this out there because maybe one of my readers can tell me if they had heard anything about him leaving the show. I hate endings with no resolution!!

Also in the finale category, Judging Amy was quite impressive this season. And Bruce returned in the finale, that made it GREAT! I enjoy that show because of the family dynamic and because Judge Gray is what I think every kid needs, a mentor, a senisitive decision maker, and an advocate for the progress of children, even those who are somewhat off the path. In the season finale, after having quitting the bench, Amy went to Washington to testify in front of the U.S. Senate on an issue of juvenile court rulings. I think that Amy has a good shot at being elected and I would hope that she would run. If she does, that's something political, and I could post about it. Couldn't I??

Let's see... did I comment on The West Wing? I am very excited to see Leo McGerry running with Matt Santos on the democratic ticket. They have the nomination and of course we have to wait until the fall to see the actual race and whether or not the guys can pull it off or if Alan Alda will beat them, but nonetheless, I thought the finale was awesome and gave an interesting insight into the primaries as well as the evolution of the party convention. I recently discovered The West Wing and love every minute of it!

Can you tell the everyday world of Washington politics is annoying me? This nuclear option regarding the nomination of judicial nominees is bothering me. If the Democrats were proposing such an absurd rule change the Republicans would be just as irrate. How can such educated individuals not realize that this has nothing to do with the man in the White House and everything to do with a shift to one-party politics? I strongly support the nomination of centrist judges and would remind those in Washington that historically those appointed to the bench are nearly always prone to shifting to the left once there and never to the right. Isn't television just so much more interesting?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Vietnam: The Lessons

In the opening of Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: A History, before the table of contents, before the preface, and before the story of Vietnam begins, the quote "they made a wasteland and called it peace" by Tacitus appears on a blank page all alone. In the entirety of the book I found nothing more profound and nothing more convincing.

This semester I had the opportunity to take a class at ISU entitled The Vietnam War. With my primary interest being Kennedy and his connection to the Cold War, I jumped at the opportunity to enroll in the class. My high school history teacher had made an adequate attempt to teach us about the war, though, at that point in the year we were pressed for time and rushing to the end of our junior year. So, my background of the war itself was mostly what I had read in Kennedy biographies and come across haphazardly in history texts. I had no idea the depth in which I would become engulfed and I did not expect to so clearly understand the results and downfalls of the war we now call a quagmire.

The most important lessons we should have learned from Vietnam regard the idea of limited war, the importance of articulating foreign policy goals, and the understanding that as a nation it is not enough to be against something, we must know what we are for. These lessons that we should have learned, I am not convinced we have even learned today. I am not convinced that we as the American people, including both our congress and our president, have come to an understanding that even though we have all of the resources in the world, the technology, and the man power, there are wars we cannot win-- including wars that we should not be fighting.

The biggest American misperception regarding the war drove us deeper into a mess we could not escape. We collectively believed it was a military conflict and by assigning it the title of a military conflict, it could be fought, contained, and won through military methods. It was not. Vietnam was a political conflict. It was a fight of the nationalists, both North and South Vietnam wanting independence and recognition as an independent state. Not a state controlled by China as it once was and not a country controlled by France as it was until the fall of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. A political conflict cannot be ended or solved by military force, it must be solved by diplomatic means of negotiation. We did not understand that then and I am not sure we understand that completely now.

I say the biggest misperception was the military versus political conflict, but I acknowledge that there were several misperceptions. The United States continued to support the South Vietnamese military, a military that could not function individually nor would ever be capable of defeating the North. The United States allowed for the assassination of a South Vietnamese leader in 1963 (at the same time that our own president was also assassinated) because we honestly thought there was someone better that we could support and put in power. This was not the case, we never found our key to success in a military or political leader in South Vietnam. We believed that if Vietnam fell to communism as China had in 1949, it would take with it the surrounding countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and essentially all of Indochina and South East Asia. This was also not the case. Vietnam fell to communism in 1975 and no dominoes were to follow.

The misperceptions in Vietnam were aided by deceitful and calculating leaders in the United States. One of two main problems I continue to have with the Johnson administration is that he did not choose to cut our losses in Vietnam and focus on the domestic goals. Had Johnson ended Vietnam and focused on The Great Society, he may have been the next FDR and may have looked as ambitious as Kennedy did when he announced his plans for The New Frontier. Johnson was followed by Nixon who in an effort to "plug" leaks in his administration pertaining to Vietnam began deliberate actions such as wiretapping and breakins. Had Vietnam ended before Nixon there never would have been Watergate. Also, had Vietnam not been going on in 1968 I am convinced the United States never would have seen Richard Nixon in the White House.

Because of the Vietnam War we will never again go to war without asking the tough questions. We will never again allow our president to take "whatever steps necessary" without first remembering that Congress is the only political body to hold the war powers. We will never again have the draft and we will never again look at protests without feeling a bit threatened. Because of the Vietnam War men like Bill Clinton will forever take heat for dodging the draft and women like Jane Fonda will always be controversial. The war polarized this country as the war in Iraq is currently. Because of Vietnam both the South Vietnamese, the North Vietnamese, and Americans understand what a wasteland is. But more than all of the lessons, Vietnam cost us 58,000 American lives who fought for something they nor we may never be capable of understanding.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Lessons of Spring & Richard Stallings

Every April and December I sit down and look through the class schedule for the upcoming semster, carefully considering my options, and debating with myself over which will be the better option for my unique educational approach. Last December I knew immediately what was right for me. I knew that one general Sociology class was not enough to satisfy my growing interest in the institutions of socialization (i.e. the family, government, religion, etc.) and that I had to take a class on social problems. I knew that I was severly lacking in my knowledge of European Culture and had to take two classes to satisfy both the historical and contemporary aspects of a culture so foreign to me. I knew this amazing English professor, whose classroom I would sit in for the rest of my life, was teaching a literature course that would certainly be interesting. I knew that if ISU was offering a class on the Vietnam War I would be there and most of all I knew that anytime I have the opportunity in Idaho to take a class from a Democrat and former congressman I will jump at the chance. That was that and my schedule was set in stone.

My European History knowledge has definitely broadened. Both in my Contemporary European Culture class and my Foundations of Western Civilization classes I found that I knew more that I thought and I learned more than I thought was possible in sixteen weeks. In European Culture I learned the value of a B and recognized true genius in a professor who was educated at Trinity College--Dublin. In Western Civilization I was entertained, educated, and excited to have met a history professor who could not care less about whether or not we memorize dates. The last class day I FINALLY learned the only date she knew off the top of her head and the date I'd been wondering about for sixteen weeks...1453. In 1453 Contantinople became Istanbul.

Only twice in my life have I been in a classroom environment that I can honestly say has redirected my life, inspired me, and taught me lessons that I can't even comprehend yet. I have been in school for the last fourteen years of my life and only twice can I say this. Once it was a U.S. History class, a natural place for me, and now, a course centered on British literature. I love Oscar Wilde, my favorite novel is of course The Picture of Dorian Gray. I've read countless novels by British authors. I enjoy Virginia Woolf, though I think she was more influential on America than the U.K., and Howard's End is amazing. Percy Shelley gives me chills. But it is all British lit and it is safe to say that my interest is in 20th century American literature. That doesn't matter. I truly believe that you can put an impressionable mind in any classroom, whether that be math, science, or language, and despite their natural abilities and interests, they can succeed if the instructor loves the subject and genuinely cares about his or her students. This one is beyond personal and I don't know how to explain it, but there are lessons you will learn, in and out of the classroom, and they will become a part of you and follow you for the rest of your life. It takes a uniquely brilliant instructor to allow such a thing.

The Cold War is my era. Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. If, as my Ray Charles philosophy suggests, I have one talent, it is my interest, passion, and understanding of those three administrations. Nixon disagreeably, Johnson aggrivating as he is, and Kennedy especially. My Vietnam class has enlightened me. I have grown to appreciate the hesitation of the Kennedy administration, the unyielding passion Johnson had for domestic policies and The Great Society, and I've grown even more so critical of Richard Nixon. The topic of Vietnam deserves its own post and in due time will receive one.

Last, but certainly not least is my Idaho Politics class taught by former congressman Richard Stallings. Learning about Idaho politics and politicians is always interesting. From Shoup, Borah, and Dubois to Glen Taylor the "singing senator" and George Hansen the "dragonslayer," never is there a boring moment. Not only do we get the unique insight of a former congressman who knows how politicians work, we get the insight of one of Idaho's few die-hard Democrats. I say die-hard, because I am one and in this state if you're not "die-hard" you are Republican.

Twice a week we started with current events on the national scale, narrowed down to local politics, and then dove head first into stimulating lectures about the most famous and infamous Idaho politicians. It surprises me that at Idaho State University, in one of the most liberal counties in the state, there are so few liberal minded individuals. In the political science department, of the political science majors, I know only a handful of Democrats-- a few libertarians, greenies, and independents, but mostly Republicans. (Much different than the History dept.)

Richard occasionally said things that only a small percentage of us agreed with, but for the most part he provided a very interesting perspective of the paradox that is Idaho. Idaho began fighting Mormonism in the beginning, something that still occurs to an extent. Idaho fought long and hard the gambling, prohibition, and silver issues. And just as Jeffords, the state makeup changed dramatically. Now a dominantly one party system with a strong conservative base, Idaho once, like many other states, road the wave of New Deal politicians and FDR Democrats. Talk about a paradox!

Beside the knowledge I've gained on the subject, I have grown to admire, appreciate, and understand Richard Stallings. It has been an honor to sit in his classroom. My party affiliation is stronger for it and I would take advantage of the opportunity a million times over. I guess the lesson that I've learned from this that is the most important is, as Adlai E. Stevenson once said, "all progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions." Stallings did it once with Ronald Reagan in a state that Reagen swept. He stood up to Reagen on the Contra issue in Nicaragua, something that could have killed him politically in his home state, and his popularity grew. It takes great courage to stand up for what you really belive in. Richard Stallings does this often. He is, in my book, on the same page as Adlai Stevenson.

Friday, May 6, 2005

Blair Wins

Yes, yes...I know that I promised a post on what I've learned from the semester. I still shall write such a post, but not today. I only have a few minutes before I have to attend to Vietnam class matters and then I'm driving to Declo for the day.

Just a quick little update--Tony Blair won a historic third term yesterday in England's elections. This is both good and bad. I like Tony Blair for the most part. I think that he is a skilled orator and has been one of the stronger prime ministers in the history of the U.K., but he is VERY conservative. If we ever hope to get out of Iraq we will need world leaders who will put positive pressure (I say this because I don't believe the pressures of Germany, Russia, and so on are really that helpful) on President Bush. Blair has been Bush's constant ally in this and if anyone has the power to put their foot down and make a difference it just may be Tony Blair. (A sidenote-- I thought that Laura Bush had this power, but her recent comedy routine at the annual press dinner makes me think otherwise.)

I congratulate Blair, despite my hesitation, because I know that any race won is a great victory for either candidate. Campaigning is by far the hardest part of politics and I admire anyone who can do it successfully. The Labor Party was not nearly as successful in the elections yesterday, but Blair continues to be a popular icon for the British people.

Okay, I am off to learn a few last tidbits about the quagmire we refer to as Vietnam and then I'll be on the road to Declo. Either tonight or over the weekend you can expect a post on the lessons of the semester...Vietnam, Idaho Politics, and otherwise.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

England, Politicking, and Television

As classes are wrapping up here at Idaho State, I have been thinking a lot about what I have learned. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a post on the essential elements of the semester and maybe an altogether separate post about what I've learned about Vietnam.

Today I just wanted to mention a few things, in England right now there is the race for prime minister. Tony Blair, who is an icon for many Americans, has taken some heat recently from the British for his early decision to support President Bush in the war in Iraq. Blair, previous to the war in Iraq, was someone I watched closely as a rising star in international politics. Of course, my esteem of him is waning as the events in Iraq unfold, but of the British politicians, I think he is one of the most level heads. (Let us all remember the 1963 British scandal) Yesterday there was an article in The Washington Post about leaks that could cost Blair the election. I would recommend it-- it is a quick read.

I've been following closely the farm/ag bill in the United States Senate that is being sponsored by Ted Kennedy and Larry Craig. Larry Craig, for those of you who don't know, is a very conservative senator from Idaho. It boggles my mind his teaming up with Teddy Kennedy, one of the most liberal senators the U.S. Senate has ever seen. Other hot topics in Washington catching my eye from time to time include the ethic questions regarding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and the changes to immigration and driver's license laws. All of these issues can be seen on the CSPAN website if anyone is interested.

Believe it or not, I'm sometimes a tv junkie. So maybe in the next weeks if I am bored or have extra time on my hands I'll give you a quick wrap up of television programming for the season. Mostly The West Wing, JAG (which ended it's run this season), and Judging Amy. Also television related...on Thursday night Senator Mike Crapo will be on the local access chennel (sponsored by ISU) discussing the difficulties he is facing this congressional session. That would definitely be worth everyone's time and hopefully will settle a few rumors about the senator's health.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Baseball, DeLay, and North Korea

It is now dead week at Idaho State, followed by finals week and then the spring semester will officially be over. Of course, the semester ends on the 13th of May and then I begin the summer session on the 16th, but hopefully the summer will allow me more posting opportunities-- not that I haven't had plenty of chances, just not plenty of time. I feel somewhat better about my lack of posting, as I've noticed both Nick and Cory are struggling along with the posts as well. (I think it may because those boys took on two posts at once...but who am I to say? I applaud their efforts.)

So in the style of Orson Scott Card, I shall comment briefly on what I've been following and what's on my mind:

1.) North Korea
I wasn't alive during the Cold War (okay, I was too young to remember the fall of the Soviet Union), but I can't imagine the fear that must have ensued as each superpower tested nuclear weapons. The United States is scrambling at the moment to determine what the North Koreans are up to as they set off a nuclear missile this week. I doubt it is anything, much less a major threat to our national security, but it will be interesting to see if this will start the argument again about bilateral negotiations with North Korea.

2.) Peter Jennings & The Person of the Week
Since Jennings' announcement that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer, we haven't seen much of him. They seem to shuffle through anchors at ABS News. I'm tired of Geroge Stephanopolus (I'm not really sure how to spell that one). I continue to hope for the best for Peter Jennings. Where I was going with this is on the Friday show they always do the person of the week...I always guess who I think it will be. Now, there are 52 weeks in the year and out of 52 guesses, last year I was 4 for 52. This year so far I've guessed 6 right, now I don't want to get anyone to excited, but this might be a lucky streak. I'll keep you posted.

3.) Oh dear Tom DeLay
The Republicans really need to make up their minds. Last year they changed the ethics rules to protect their precious house majority leader and now under a bit of criticism, imagine that, from the Democrats, they have reinstated the earlier rules so that DeLay can "clear his name." Denny Hastert was on the news (and I watched this on FoxNews, sadly to say) stating that one in their party needs desperately to clear his name. The thing is, I'm not sure DeLay going before the ethics committee will do that. I'm just predicting here, but this won't be the end of DeLay...not the end of the story anyway. I'm thinking this may ruin him. But it sure is making the Democrats look good. Maybe the Republicans should keep him around afterall. Also, about DeLay, I was reading up on the new president of the NRA and found an interesting article. It might be worth a read.

4.) Fantasy Baseball
So for the first time ever, I joined a fantasy baseball league. I thought for sure that it would be easy, well it's not. I have to keep track of things on a regular basis. The first two weeks I didn't do too well. Mostly because I wasn't keeping track of it and partly becasue I had a pretty bad team. I started out with a rough pitching staff and then Nomar Garciaparra got put on the disabled list--but now that I've added a few including Marcus Giles from my beloved Atlanta Braves and have finally figured out the power of the utility slot, I may just get my standings up after all! To make a long story short, if anyone has extra time on their hands I would recommend the Yahoo! Fantasy Sports deal. Check it out.

Well, that's it I guess. After the next two weeks I'll try and be a little more frequent and regular. Until then, please be patient.