Thursday, November 30, 2006

ISU Referendum

Referendum results are in at Idaho State University--the Reed Gym measure proposing a $22 million recreational facility expansion failed miserably and the proposed ASISU Constitution was passed. Official results tomorrow, but for now, the vote against Reed Gym was about 2-1 and the vote in favor of the constitution was 2-1.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quote of the Day: Are You Kidding Me?

"I'm not in favor of providing an education for everybody who wants one." --Idaho Legislator Ken Andrus (R-Bannock County)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Quote of the Day

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation." --Herbert Spencer

Silence & Shoes

It is quiet in my office (or cubby-hole) and I have on my favorite shoes. Everything positive I have to say about ISU, ASISU, or life in general is pretty well wrapped up in that statement.

If you're on the campus of Idaho State University today you surely know we are currently involved in a referendum. Students will be voting on two proposed measures for the next two days--a $22 million expansion to Reed Gym and a new constitution for the Associated Students.

In my cubby hole the phone is not ringing because there isn't a phone. If I were anywhere else right now the phone would be ringing off the hook. I have been the lone voice against throwing out our standing governing document to replace it with a new constitution written by the Executive Branch. I've also been adamantly opposed to the Reed Gym project because it raises student fees a minimum of $75 a semester for the next several years. $75 is not just being generous, it is a blatant lie. It's more like $100+ maintenance and operation costs.

I just got done writing an article for the Idaho State Journal regarding the new constitution. The vote in the Student Senate, in case you were wondering, was 19-1. Betcha can't guess who the dissenter was...

Favorite shoes are a necessity. My little brother recently informed me that even in the most difficult circumstances, if you have on your favorite shoes you can at least manage. Smart boy. I have on my favorite shoes and I'm still here. Still kicking. Still speaking out. Okay, not really kicking or speaking out, but I'm awake.

Friday, November 24, 2006

On the Road

This has officially been the longest day of my life. I got home from Rupert around 10pm last night. Around 3 this morning I was sweeping my kitchen. At approximately 7:30 am I rolled out of bed. At some point I got on the road to Salt Lake to pick someone up from the airport. I was quite early to Salt Lake so I spent some time in this little coffee shop (mostly to use the wi-fi) and then all of the sudden decided I had enough time to go to a movie before having to be at the airport. I saw Bobby and it is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. More on this later. After the airport I was back on the road and headed toward Pocatello. My phone rang a grand total of 18 times on the wya home. I just got back to Pocatello, by way of Blackfoot (it is better not to ask), knowing that at 7 am tomorrow I'll be headed out again. This time to Burley. Next week I'm not leaving town--not even to Chubbuck. I absolutely refuse.

Instead of birthday presents...

...I get presents from my grandparents marking the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Here is this year's addition that I received tonight.

Mr. Melville

There is absolutely no reasonable explanation for why I was sweeping my kitchen floor just now or why I was thinking of Herman Melville, but this quote caught my eye:
"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results."
I'm not sure I completely understand Melville's meaning here (or anywhere else for that matter, Melville confuses me), but I'm beginning to grasp the idea of those invisible threads.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I am thankful for the Idaho blogging community; Especially thankful for Jill and Julie, who I look up to in many respects and truly look to as wonderful writers and more importantly wonderful moms.

I am thankful for my own good health, but more importantly for the good health of those I care about and modern medicine that keeps them in my life.

I am thankful for Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Howard Dean who have reminded me that the Democratic Party is still very much alive.

I am thankful for the 14 residents, my friends, at the assisted living center where I am the houseparent, who love me no matter what. When I walk in the door they're happy to see me whether or not I have only a few seconds to say hi or if I have time to lounge on the couch and watch Jeopardy! with them.

I am thankful I have the ability to recognize that even in the most difficult of circumstances, there are great opportunities, doors being opened along the way.

I am thankful the Democrats now control both houses of Congress.

I am thankful for my younger brother who reminds me every single day of what children are capable of and what we as adults are capable of overcoming. His friendship is something I wouldn't trade the world for and has made me understand that line in Train's "Drops of Jupiter" about your best friend sticking up for you even when he knows you were wrong.

I am thankful for the Stallings Collection, my saving grace. The heartbreaking stories I've been reading in the casework files lately have reminded me of how much I truly have to be thankful for.

I am thankful we only have 2 years left of the Bush administration.

I am thankful for my grandparents. For my grandmother who made me a Democrat and taught me to love reading, even intense reading about the Kennedy assassination. For my grandfather who makes me laugh until my sides ache and who has taught me about true love because after fifty years of marriage he continues to love my grandmother deeper than any love I've ever known.

I am thankful for Jim Hansen, Jerry Brady, and Larry Grant for putting their lives on hold to run the toughest races of their lives and for showing Idahoans that politics in this state won't always be so one-sided.

I am thankful for Idaho State University, mostly the History Department.

I am thankful for a handful of friends who have had to answer their phones more times in the last two weeks than they ever cared to.
I am thankful President Ford is still with us.

I am thankful for a box from Arkansas that arrived when I needed it most. Even more thankful for the sender.

I am thankful for Joyce Carol Oates.

I am thankful for the two greatest pieces of advice I've received this year and perhaps in my entire life, one of which came from a 14 year old boy who is wise beyond his years and believes wholeheartedly that some people can change and the other from a very strong woman who I admire greatly. Their advice could not be nearly as useful to anyone else, but will forever live in my memory.

I am particularly thankful on this Thanksgiving to have somewhere to be.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

TDIH: You Knew This Was Coming...

I have a great deal to say about the Kennedy family today--mostly because Bobby opens in select cities today and tomorrow and today marks the 43rd anniversary of the JFK assassination in Dallas, but I can't give this the attention it needs right now, so instead I will share with you some JFK quotes that I've often thought about over the last few weeks:

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

If you were at Idaho State University right now, viewing the Meldrum saga from a distance, you would understand why this quote has been on my mind. (This quote I believe comes from an address at Yale the summer before the Cuban Missile Crisis, but I could be wrong.)

"A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality."

Perhaps my favorite Kennedy quote from one of the greatest books ever written--Profiles in Courage.

"The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough — more than enough — of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success."

The summer before his assassination, gave the infamous speech at American University and said this. Congressman Murtha reminded me of this statement when he lost his bid to be second-string to Ms. Pelosi.

And last, but certainly not least, a quote on the life and work of Robert Frost. Framed on my wall at home is a portion of this quote and when I think of the legacy of Kennedy I often think of how overlooked his deep love for the arts/humanities truly was.

"When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover's quarrel with the world. In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role. If Robert Frost was much honored in his lifetime, it was because a good many preferred to ignore his darker truths."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Spellings for $400, Alex

Perhaps the most bizarre thing I have seen on Jeopardy! happened today--Ms. Spellings, U.S. Secretary of Education, participated in the celebrity edition of the long-running game show.

Now, by just saying it was the most bizarre show I've seen is not enough, because who I am I? Well, I am a longtime dedicated viewer of Jeopardy! and have been since I was about four. My only memories of daycare have to do with television: The Munsters, General Hospital, and Jeopardy!

Secretary Spellings didn't do so hot, but that has less to do with her and more to do with her opponent Michael McKean. And maybe she was distracted by the good-looking Hill Harper from CSI:NY...who knows.

To her credit, Ms. Spellings, like any person so worthy of a Bush appointment can tout, was able to answer a question about the oil business. She knew for certain the stock abbreviation for Exxon-Mobil. She also knew a little something about vodka, but hey, that's another story altogether, not isn't it?

Her participation on today's show gave a literacy charity $25,000--more than other secretaries have given (in time, support, progress, or monetarily) to literacy and the furthering of education--I'm trying really hard not to name names here.

Though bizarre, it was highly entertaining and I commend Ms. Spellings for her brave effort.

Gephardt Fellowship

*Editor's Note: Thanks to Julie for bringing this to my attention. Every which way I try to swing it, it is just not a possibility for me to leave the Stallings Papers for the summer to to do this, but really how awesome would it be?!?!

Richard A. Gephardt Fellowship

The Missouri Historical Society is now accepting applications for the 2007 Richard A. Gephardt Fellowship. This fellowship is intended to advance research and disseminate knowledge about the Congressional career of Richard A. Gephardt and The Gephardt Congressional Papers collection. Research proposals from graduate students in the fields of History and Political Science, as well as other disciplines, will be given consideration.

Richard A. Gephardt served as the Representative to Missouri’s 4th Congressional District from 1977-2004. He served as the House Majority Leader from 1989-1995 and House Minority Leader from 1995-2003. Gephardt was particularly active in issues concerning labor and trade. He was a Democratic runner for the presidential nomination in 1988 and 2004.

The Gephardt papers were given to the Missouri Historical Society in 2005. The collection is composed of the papers from Gephardt’s St. Louis office, his Washington D.C. office and his campaign office. Of particular interest to researchers will be the files kept by Gephardt’s legislative assistants, his speeches and press releases, a large newspaper clipping file and congressional correspondence. The collection also includes thousands of pieces of audio/visual materials.

The Fellow will be given the opportunity to conduct research in the collection before it is open to the public in 2008. Special consideration will be given to those who demonstrate through their proposals the potential to attract further attention to the Richard A. Gephardt Papers.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Yusuf Islam: An Other Cup

It's here:
Yusuf Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, has finished his first pop album since 1978's "Back to Earth," sources tell The artist has narrowed his choice for a record label to three companies; the as-yet-untitled set is expected to be out by the fall. Islam wrote all the songs for the project, which was produced by Rick Nowels (Dido, Rod Stewart). Sources say some selections are highly reminiscent of Stevens' 1971 album "Teaser & the Firecat," which sports such enduring tracks as "Moonshadow," "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken."

And I must say, after downloading the album off iTunes, it is WONDERFUL!


I've often caught myself saying "when I grow up I want to be..." and each time wonder what constitutes actually "growing up." One could assume that growing up came with it some sort of age stipulation or knowledge base, but I know plenty of adults who with age have not grown up at all; These are the types of people who, in their immaturity, have no respect for the feelings of others.

Over the weekend I spent a great deal of time with my brothers (notice the plural here) and have a new found understanding for what it means to say "when I grow up." My older brother, the one I don't speak of all that often, but honestly should, said while we were in the car that when he grows up he's going to play the guitar. This is the brother who can't tie his own shoes, can't brush his own teeth, and certainly wouldn't know what to do with a guitar if it were sitting right in front of him--never mind the fact that due to an aneurysm at the age of two lost 90% usage of his left hand. This spawned a new game among the Rowe siblings (thankfully we've moved on from 20 questions) and we spent quite some time discussing what he would like to do when he grows up.

After his junior high band concert this week, my little brother stated that when he grows up he wants to have a garage band. He wants to play bass. Like most things that come out of his mouth I realized this garage band wasn't going anywhere because he'd have to actually clean out the garage. In addition to the garage issue, when he was five he said he wanted a rabbit, got a rabbit, and within a week forgot he ever wanted that rabbit. To this day I'm not entirely sure where the poor rabbit went, but I'm willing to wager a guess that it met an untimely fate. The Rowe children are notorious for their inability to keep pets alive...

Both of my brothers brought to my attention the concept of what growing up means to kids (and I include my older brother in this category despite him being nine years older than I am because he is at heart a very content two year old)--as children we have this idea that being a grown up means you can do what you want and have little else to worry about other than your garage band practicing schedule and what song you'll learn next on your guitar.

More than anything I hope for the happiness of my brothers and in their own skewed view of growing up, I think they'll reach that happiness (my older brother, I think, already has). While discussing my little brother's report card, he said something that I think I'll treasure for the rest of my life, though I know without a doubt it reflects my complete nerdiness--he said he hopes when he grows up he can be a little more like me. I am the uncool sister who would rather read a book than watch a football game, the one who obsessively cleans her apartment when he comes to stay, and yet, when he grows up he wouldn't mind being a little more like me. Awesome.

As I was driving home yesterday I was thinking about who I want to be when I grow up (yes, I still consider myself a kid and wonder at what point a person stops thinking about what they want to be when they grow up) and my first conclusion was a particular person. Then I thought about where I want to be when I grow up and the only thing that matters to me is if my brothers are close by. Who I want to be when I grow up in all reality has less to do with me and more to do with the people who remain in my life when I've grown up.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Detours on Dirt Roads

When I was a kid I would ride around with my grandpa in this little Mazda pickup and we'd pass the time listening to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings in the tape deck. Now that I'm older I find myself passing the time while driving in a similar fashion, though modern technology has blessed us with the CD player.

I've made many trips through southern Idaho recently and subsequently have a few comments on music.

First, I have a renewed appreciation for angry female music. What is angry female music? Alanis, Etheridge, Meredith (Brooks, that is), Avril, Tori Amos, and the list could continue. I've never put Sheryl Crow in this category, though "If It Makes You Happy" is easily five minutes and twenty-seven seconds of pure anger... And every now and again Sarah McLachlan counts in this category. But true female anger is best represented in the first five listed. I've been thinking about what makes these women so angry and though I can only pinpoint a few reasons, I would like to thank their Disneyland Dads, crazy ex-lovers, and/or screwed up mothers for instilling in them the anger that makes my driving experience memorable.

Without question, my little brother finds angry female music disturbing and the only song he'll even listen to is Sk8ter Boi by Avril Lavigne (for typical 14 year old boy reasons). We should take his opinion with a grain of salt. After all, he is the child that climbs into my car and insists we listen to 2 tracks on the Little Mermaid soundtrack--"Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl." I'm sure he'll kill me when he realizes I've divulged this secret to the world, but he has to remember, I'm equally guilty because I own the soundtrack.

While driving my older brother to dinner the other night, I was intrigued by his choice of music. Though I don't talk about this brother too often, I should because the kid cracks me up! He chose The Beach Boys and despite his inability to finish a sentence, knew every last word to "Surfin' Safari."

Back on the topic of angry females--the latest Dixie Chicks CD is one of those that you think could be somewhere down the road labeled "groundbreaking." I purchased the CD when it came out last summer and hadn't really listened to it in several months. Today I found it to be incredibly subtle and meaningful. Speaking of meaningful, I was listening to Sarah McLachlan and for the first time ever actually paid attention to "Angel." Wow. Powerful lyrics. How had I never paid attention to that unbelievably moving song?

There's a new Bowling for Soup CD. I can't even blame my younger brother for my love of this completely bizarre group. I think I am drawn to them for the same reason I love country's Big & Rich--completely random, bizarre lyrics. I'm sure you've heard their latest single, "High School Never Ends," which has some very memorable lyrics (i.e. "Katie had a baby so I guess Tom's straight" and something about Bill Gates being captain of the chess team). Anyway, though not as hilarious as Drunk Enough to Dance, the newest CD is pretty awesome.

As you can see, I have had more than my fair share of time in the car, but have been quite entertained by music. If you're trying to keep clear of the tear-jerker type music (if you're plagued by the waterworks as I am) I would definitely recommend Bowling for Soup or even the Little Mermaid soundtrack. If you're looking for a really good laugh, I have in my possession a great duet...Big Bird and Waylon Jennings.

The Legacy of Harding

In the middle of mid-term election hubbub, while Idaho residents weighed their options, many overlooked the loss of a champion—a champion of Idaho interests—former Congressman Ralph Harding.

I had often heard the story of Congressman Harding admonishing prominent LDS official and then Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson on the floor of Congress for his affiliation with the John Birch Society, accusing him of touting the agenda of the “radical right,” but my first encounter with Congressman Harding came last May while attending the Truman Banquet hosted by the Bonneville County Democrats. As the night wore on and as each candidate took a moment to speak to the audience, the husband of Jackie Groves-Twileger stood at the podium for an unbearable amount of time—after a quite lengthy period, Congressman Harding hollered from his seat for Mr. Twileger to sit down because there were candidates to hear. The audience quickly responded in laughter and I quickly realized that Congressman Harding, like many Idaho politicians, was a straight-shooter.

Congressman Harding served Idaho during a time when Democrats in Idaho were incredibly strong and well-represented. He served along side brilliant leaders like Congressman Compton White and the legendary Senator Frank Church. He, as the youngest elected member of Congress in 1961, served during the tumultuous and dark days of the Kennedy assassination, the uncertain thirteen days in October of 1962 when the United States was closest to nuclear war, when the steps were just being taken toward Vietnam, and long before our “long national nightmare” began and ended. His congressional service spanned an era that many young Democrats can hardly imagine.

In a campaign speech at the Boise airport on October 12, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson quoted Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn: “We have a little formula down home that we follow for our Congressmen. We pick them young, we pick them honest.” Ralph Harding embodied Rayburn’s formula. President Johnson went on to acknowledge the youth, experience, and strength of Harding.

Idaho has changed quite drastically since Harding served. Only one other Democrat has held that 2nd Congressional District seat since Harding and the very thought of a Democratic president swinging through Idaho to campaign for a congressional delegation made up of three Democrats is almost unfathomable.

What has not changed in Idaho is our appreciation for politicians like Ralph Harding, who through their straight-shooting tactics have been wise and successful champions of Idaho interests.

Harding, though most often remembered for that infamous encounter with Secretary Benson, will forever be remembered for his support of Idaho agriculture, serving on the Agriculture Committee in Congress, his unwavering support for civil rights legislation, and his role in passing legislation that in conjunction with an executive order established the Peace Corps. The New Frontier may not have been as successful without the support and ambition of Congressman Harding and Idaho history would be incomplete without the bold leadership and unfaltering dedication Harding provided.

"Growing the Hell Up"

While reading a blog this millennium (and I say millennium because it is the term I have chosen to encompass this unbelievably long, defeating week) I ran across a woman who spoke of blogging and how the things she has removed from her archives have a lot to do with "growing the hell up." I've not deleted anything from my blog archive, but I can certainly identify with her.

It wasn't long ago that I posted daily lyrics--lyrics that were in my head and in my CD player on repeat for the day. I wouldn't say that it was entirely immature to do such a thing, but more than anything too personal for a blog of this nature. Quite a bit of what I have to say is too personal for a blog like this, but let's face it, this is my blog. I can write about whatever the hell I want to and if on some random day all I have to say is reflected in lyrics, so be it.

Despite the occasional lyrics, I think I'm coming to terms with the fact that I've done a great deal of growing up lately. Tonight I had tickets for the Taste of France at ISU and I didn't make it. Why didn't I make it? Because I didn't make it back to town from Declo in time to go. Bad time management on my part. And I'm the only one to blame. Growing up, isn't it great?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth." --Dan Rather

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Special Smorgasbord Saturday

© Tara Rowe, Gettysburg 2003
"However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind." --General MacArthur

© Tara Rowe, 2005
"All of us who served in one war or another know very well that all wars are the glory and the agony of the young." -- Gerald Ford

© Tara Rowe, Arlington National Cemetery 2003
"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake." -- Jeannette Rankin

© Tara Rowe, 2005
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." --John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 9, 2006

We Were the Mulvaneys

Editor's Note: As happy as I am for Democrats on a national level, I'm not sure I've recovered from the initial sting of a certain loss in District 29 and complete lack of sanity Idaho voters have exhibited--no more election talk today.

While in Boise I had the time and wisdom to sit down and read. Not a book for school, not a book about Idaho anything. I read We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates.

Every now and again we must read books that remind us that everyone has to face extraordinary adversity and conflict. Every now and again we need to read about a family even more screwed up than our own. That is exactly what I found with this book. A Catholic family, successful and by all outside appearances completely perfect, falls apart at the seams. The book, written from the perspective of Judd, the youngest son, follows the breakdown of a family that once was the Mulvaneys.

I often find that movies made of beautifully written books fail in every respect, but when I watched the Hallmark made for tv version of this book, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie at times followed the book, even word for word, and at times in which it ventured from the path the book provided, it was done so with creative genius and respect for the overall story.

When I finished the book I couldn't help but wonder if all of Oates' work reflected that level of deep storytelling or if this book was unique. When I finished the movie I couldn't help but wonder if any other movie had been so accurate in its portrayal of the book. Both were powerful in ways the academic books I've been reading lately have not been and it was a much needed and welcome reading experience.

If you are highly sensitive to family conflict and moral issues I would not recommend this book, but if you want to see a true representation of family and the conflict they are willing to endure for one another, often ripping them apart indefinitely, this is the book.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The Day After II

Having an unusual sense of Idaho political history without having lived through much of it, I can't help but think of George Hansen today. The man had four felony convictions when he narrowly lost to Richard Stallings in 1984. Nearly half of Idaho voters still cast their vote for a felon.

Evidently not much has changed in Idaho. In the 1st Congressional District, voters turned out for a man who was called an idiot by the Idaho Speaker of the House. When a highly conservative politician from Cassia County recognizes the complete insanity of Bill Sali, that is saying something! For governor the people of Idaho elected a man with a history of driving under the influence--not to mention serious family baggage. For controller Idaho chose an undereducated woman who I wouldn't trust with my own checkbook. All because they had one particular letter behind their name.

It seems a majority of Idahoans are bigots, idiots, and not at all concerned with funding public education.

And in Bannock County, what the hell are they thinking voting for Ken Andrus? He was the lone dissenting voice on raising the home owner's exemption and has not represented the needs of Bannock County citizens. Though once a member of a local school board, he shows no concern for funding education, much less protecting students, teachers, and school districts.

The only thing keeping me from complete discouragment with today's results is the constant reminder that Ms. Nancy Pelosi will soon be the leader in the U.S. House, Robert Byrd is returning for an 8th term, Bernie Sanders can now entertain the Senate, and thank all that is holy, Donald Rumsfeld has resigned.

My Vote for 2008...


The Day After

I've decided worse than knowing your team lost is not knowing your team lost. Here in Bannock County we have no results--at least none that are reliable due to a machine-counting error. Regardless, I'd like to post some post-election day cheers and jeers.

Cheers to Bannock County Clerk Dale Hatch for handling a tough situation in the best way possible--slowly and with great patience.

A special Cheers to Senator Robert Byrd for continuing his tenure in the Senate and for just the commentary by political pundits about the possibility of him potentially becoming President Pro-Tempore again. It atleast entertained me!

Jeers to the citizens of Cassia County (and parts of Minidoka) that can't seem to find anyone to replace the likes of Denton Darrington, Dean Cameron, and Scott Bedke.

Cheers to soon-to-be Speaker of the House Pelosi!!!

Cheers to Ned Lamont in Connecticut for running a decent, clean campaign and for challenging the thinking of Democrats across the country as well as one Joe Leiberman.

Jeers to Joe Leiberman. Do I even need to state a reason?

Cheers to Chris Matthews for not having a clue who Butch Otter was when his face flashed on the screen at MSNBC. Maybe that will take Otter's ego down a notch...

That's all I've got for now...stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

How awesome would it be if...

...Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House?

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Smorgasbord Saturday

For the last four days I have been in Boise. On the eve of my return home to Pocatello, here is a wrap-up of my trip.

Every trip I have taken to Boise by myself has begun with an audio book. Over the summer when I visited Boise for the IHC Conference at Albertson College of Idaho, I listened to My Life by former President Clinton. On my trip here for the Frank Church Banquet I listened to A Reporter's Life by Mr. Cronkite. Another book that comes to mind is In the Beauty of the Lilies by John Updike, a book I have read, listened to, and absorbed on many occasions. This trip I listened to Maya Angelou read A Song Flung Up to Heaven. There are many reasons for which I picked this book--being so close to election day, I didn't want something too political, but being a purely academic-type trip I couldn't escape the idea of a book with some history involved. And Maya reminds me of someone in Arkansas that I miss horribly. I was not at all surprised by how much I enjoyed the book and given the chance wouldn't mind reading it again.

As I am sure I have mentioned, I have no sense of direction. The compass that most people have embedded in them is missing in me. Always has been. Needless to say I get lost easily. And it probably doesn't help matters that I at times don't know my left from my right. While in Boise this caused me more in-the-car time than was needed, but I had the opportunity to listen to some great music. First of all, while in a parking garage of all places, I happened to stumble across a country station that was playing a new song by Kenny Rogers--The Last Ten Years. The song itself isn't incredibly clever (in comparison to songs like "The Gambler"), but I enjoyed the reference to losing Superman, Ray Charles, and George Harrison. No surprise there. Before I speak to the issue of a particular song--Allysa Lies by Jason Michael Carroll--I will just say that songs you've heard a million times before have an interesting impact on you at moments in your life when you were meant to hear them again--Journey to the Past by Aaliyah and The Difference by Matchbox made their way into the CD player numerous times and are engraved in my mind right now for the message one sends and the images the other invokes.

The song "Alyssa Lies" receives its own paragraph for highly personal reasons. When I was a senior in high school, Martina McBride released "Concrete Angel." When the music video came out the end of it had a child abuse hotline to call and the video was somewhat controversial in its startling, yet honest depiction of a little girl's battle with an abusive parent. Even now I get choked up when I hear that song and there are days I can't even listen to it, but I had never seen the music video (by my own choice) until Tuesday. Surely avoiding something else, I turned on CMT and was watching music videos when "Concrete Angel" came on. My first reaction was to shut it off, but I didn't. I watched that music video for the first time Tuesday and find it ironic that within the week I also heard the Alyssa song. There aren't too many things on television these days I can't handle--I've watched people eat quite disturbing things on reality shows, have seen more blood and guts on the crime scene shows lately than ever before in my life, and though I hate them can even watch scary movies--but that video for "Concrete Angel" about did me in and hearing "Alyssa Lies" for the first time was equally dramatic.

It's funny to me that I can talk about all of these non-political, mostly personal matters without flinching, but when it comes to talking about what I've done here in Boise--as far as what I've learned from the numerous political manuscript collections I've looked at--I can't find words. I don't know if its my whacky sense of history that prevents me from really expressing my thoughts on these collections for fear of revealing how truly nerdy I am or if I just don't think anyone but an historian could understand the magnitude of what I have just experienced. In my mind I thought I would deduct certain things from looking at these collections, but I can assure you that nothing I thought would happen actually happened and what I have learned in four days is truly remarkable.

Though this trip has opened my eyes to many things and has left me annoyed with campaign advertisements, I am ready to go home to my fourteen roommates. Now more than ever I am ready to plug right along on processing the Stallings papers. Now more than ever I can see where this is going and it is a wonderful sight.