Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Campus Life

For those of you who are interested, my weekly article in the Idaho State Journal has moved to the Campus Life section of the Wednesday edition.

I had mixed feelings about this transition early on because the Campus Life section has never been my favorite, but today I was pleasantly surprised by the new layout and COLOR!! And my column is not in a mix of other editorial pieces of like-topic as it was when it appeared in the Insight section on Sundays. The other editorial pieces in the Campus Life section are music and movie reviews--more traditional campus type pieces. However, my column is just about as random as this blog! Thus far I've covered numerous political topics ranging from the death of President Ford to the ongoing ASISU Student Senate dilemma.

While we are on the topic of campus life, anybody who has been on the ISU campus lately has surely noticed a shift in attitude or at least political environment. I would call it tense, but it is just too quiet to be tense. There are big things (and big changes) in store for ISU as the new president gains a better grasp of the situation at hand.

And it is that time of year again--ASISU elections are about to begin. I've only heard rumors of people who are running, but from what I can tell it will be several of the same faces. Quite a few senators are running again as far as I can tell and I've heard of a few newbies that I'm looking forward to.

As for me and my plans, I have opted not to run for ASISU President and instead have backed an executive ticket that I really believe in and believe can make a difference in student governance. They were "waiting in the wings" for me to make a decision of my own and would have supported me if I chose to run so it is only fitting that with them running I back them 100%. Besides, I quite like having Monday nights to myself and not having to worry about the drama of student government. And I made my usual pros/cons list and the cons outweighed the pros 5-1. Good enough.

Personally, I think there are bigger and better things in store for me.

I have come to the ultimate conclusion that...

...Wednesday is not my day. Last Wednesday was quite possibly the worst day ever and so far this Wednesday has not been all that promising.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Chess teaches you to control the initial excitement you feel when you see something that looks good and it trains you to think objectively when you're in trouble."
--Stanley Kubrick

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Day in Review

By default you all get to hear about the "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" I have had.

I began the morning with the offer of a bar of soap. Why, you ask? Because as I was walking out the door to start my car I tripped and offered up every expletive I had in my vocabulary's arsenal for such an event. Unfortunately, there were listening ears. My first thought was not at all concerned with the words spewing out of my mouth, but rather that I better not crack my lip open any more than it already is or knock any teeth out of my head.

Before the story continues, a word on my split lip. I had an incident with my retainer the other night which more or less can be summed up by two statements of caution: Do not grind your teeth and if you ever have to pull a retainer wire out of your lip, pull up rather than out.

After a gracious offering of waffles, I got in my now very warm car and headed off to the archives. I didn't make it more than three blocks when I realized I'd forgotten my cell phone.

For the most part, I was alone in seclusion today. Thankfully in the morning, I had some company in the archives (an area of the library that already makes you feel as if you've been banished to outer darkness) and I was able to go to class for an hour and fifteen minutes. Best hour and fifteen minutes of the day.

Lunch in the student union is always questionable. Today was no exception. I opted for a sandwich that I ended up throwing away because I couldn't choke it down and settled for a nice cold Diet Dr. Pepper. I have had a love/hate relationship with Diet Dr. Pepper this week. Let me explain... On Monday afternoon I was headed out of the library to the Liberal Arts building for a class and as I walked out the door of the library I opened a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper that exploded are over me, my coat, my shirt, and my shoes. By some strange twist of fate it did not get on my pants. Luckily, I had a pair of shoes in my car and an extra sweatshirt. On the flip side, I was already going to be late and couldn't run back into change. So, there I stood in the parking lot, throwing on a sweatshirt and changing my shoes then sprinting from the library down to class. The only good thing I have to say about Monday is I ran into Marjanna Hulet in the parking lot of the Liberal Arts building and had a nice chat. Needless to say, I was a bit uneasy with the Diet Dr. Pepper I had purchased at lunch, but marched on back to exile.

After several hours of "sorting" casefiles in the Stallings Collection, I couldn't take another moment of silence (not the kind of silence when there is a lack of noise, but the kind of silence when there is a lack of people). If there were ever a day when I absolutely needed to be around people, today was it. I ventured back across campus to hang out in the History Department for awhile only to return to the archives to do some more work before my night class.

I was in no way, shape, or form looking forward to my night class only because I was anxiously looking forward to going to bed! Class was fine and I was glad to leave. Perhaps I was too anxious to leave--I drove three blocks before realizing I still had the emergency break on and the sound that I thought was me not being in the right gear was really just the car trying to tell me I'm an idiot and should have taken the break off.

By the time I made it to the corner of Jefferson and Oak I decided tonight called for a serious soda and what better place than Common Cents (makers of the best ice in town). Habitually, I filled a cup up with ice and grabbed a Diet Dr. Pepper from the cooler. Like always when I got to the car I dumped the soda in the cup of ice and was on my way. And I made it home with no other notable moments.

But of course when I got home I couldn't just walk in, have a relaxing hour or two, chat with a friend on the phone, and then crawl into bed for a good night's sleep. I walked in, sat my Diet Dr. Pepper on the table, and set up my laptop. As I was setting up my laptop, I reached over to pick up a paper on my table, knocking the Diet Dr. Pepper off the table. As it was spilling onto the floor, I was in need of that bar of soap I was offered this morning because once again every word I could think of (and some I plain made up) came out of my mouth. Luckily the friend on the phone found this funny and didn't offer another bar of soap. And I guess the plus here is that what mark the Diet Dr. Pepper may leave on the carpet will match the black spot remaining from an encounter with the shoe polish on Saturday.

You know what was awesome about today? It was way better than yesterday. At this rate I should be winning the lottery in 987 years.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Another Round of Lyrics

Sky Blue & Black
by Jackson Browne

In the calling out to one another
Of the lovers up and down the strand
In the sound of the waves and the cries
Of the seagulls circling the sand
In the fragments of the songs
Carried down the wind from some radio
In the murmuring of the city in the distance
Ominous and low

I hear the sound of the world where we played
And the far too simple beauty
Of the promises we made

If you ever need holding
Call my name, I'll be there
If you ever need holding
And no holding back, I'll see you through
Sky blue and black

Where the touch of the lover ends
And the soul of the friend begins
There's a need to be separate and a need to be one
And a struggle neither wins
Where you gave me the world I was in
And a place I could make a stand
I could never see how you doubted me
When I'd let go of your hand

Yeah, and I was much younger then
And I must have thought that I would know
If things were going to end

And the heavens were rolling
Like a wheel on a track
And our sky was unfolding
And it'll never fold back
Sky blue and black

And I'd have fought the world for you
If I thought that you wanted me to
Or put aside what was true or untrue
If I'd known thats what you needed
What you needed me to do

But the moment has passed by me now
To have put away my pride
And just come through for you somehow

If you ever need holding
Call my name, I'll be there
If you ever need holding
And no holding back, I'll see you through

You're the color of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane
You're the whispering and the sighing
Of my tires in the rain
You're the hidden cost and the thing that's lost
In everything I do
Yeah and I'll never stop looking for you
In the sunlight and the shadows
And the faces on the avenue
That's the way love is
That's the way love is
That's the way love is
Sky blue and black

When You Love Someone
by Bryan Adams

When you love someone
You'll do anything
You'll do all the crazy things
That you can't explain
You'll shoot the moon
Put out the sun
When you love someone

You'll deny the truth
Believe a lie
There'll be times that you believe
You could really fly
Your lonely nights
Have just begun
When you love someone

When you love someone
Feel it deep inside
Nothing else could ever change your mind
When you want someone
When you need someone
When you love someone

When you love someone
You'll sacrifice
Give it everything you've got
And you won't think twice
You risk it all
No matter what may come
When you love someone

You'll shoot the moon
Put out the sun
When you love someone

The Difference
by Matchbox Twenty

Slow dancing on the boulevard
In the quiet moments when the city's still dark
Sleepwalking through the summer rain and the tired spaces
You could hear her name when she was warm and tender
And you held her arms around you
There was nothing but her love and affection
She was crazy for you
Now she's part of something that you lost

And for all you know
This could be
The difference between what you need
And what you wanna be
Yeah, what you wanna be

Night swimming in her diamond dress
Making small circles move across the surface
Stand watching from the steady shore
Feeling wide open and ready for
Something warm and tender
Now she's moving further from you
There was nothing that could make it easy on you
Every step you take reminds you that she's walking wrong

Yeah, for all you know
This could be
The difference between what you need
And what you want

Every word you never said
Echoes down your empty hallway
And everything that was your world
Just came down

Day breaking on the boulevard
Feel the sun warming up your second hand heart
Light swimming right across your face
And you think maybe someday, yeah
Maybe someday

For all you know
Yeah, this could be
The difference between what you need
And what you want

Yeah, for all you know
For all you know
Yeah, for all that you know
This is what you wanna be
Girl, what you wanna be

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SOTU: The Democratic Response

Clearly the 100,000 lb. gorilla (as Tom Brokaw put it) is Iraq and I would expect the Democratic response delivered by Senator Webb to address this.

Similar (and somewhat unfortunately for those of you trying to decipher my comments) to my rambling post of the President's speech, I will do the same for the response.

Did Jim Webb play football? He has that look.

Webb mentions New Orleans. Did President Bush mention New Orleans and I missed it?

The two areas that the parties disagree on most: How we see health of the economy and foreign policy--meaning how we might bring the war in Iraq to a proper end and how we deal with terrorism.

When did the response to the SOTU begin? Has this always been the case?

Webb is a decent speaker and seems to be using the right words (tone, trust, right, and reason).

I guess I didn't know that Webb's father was involved in the Berlin airlift. Nor did I know Webb had a son in Iraq and he served in Vietnam. Do other members of Congress have children serving in Iraq?

The leaders owe us sound judgement, clear thinking, etc. in regard to war and peace. And the nation is "held hostage by the predictable (and predicted) disarray" that has come with Iraq. We need a new direction--immediate shift toward regionally based diplomacy. I'm not sure exactly what this means but on the surface it certainly sounds manageable.

Is Webb an historian? Any historical training? He sure knows a lot (or his speechwriter does). Has anyone else noticed that over time (and debacle) we are nicer and nicer to President Eisenhower?

The Democrats are calling on the President to take control of these two issues that really divide Congress.

"If he does, we'll join him. If he does not, we'll be showing him the way."

Senator Webb has a done a very nice job for a first timer and someone that we aren't really sure where to "peg" in the party in terms of ideologically. When that centrist committee gets together--the one that will no doubt include Joe Leiberman and possibly still McCain, here is a man that should join them. I think that Jim Webb was the right guy for this response. He wasn't emotional as some senators may have been, he doesn't have a history with this president, as many leaders of the Democratic party do. And he's an up and coming force to be dealt with. What he said tonight is going to matter not just in terms of his career, but the party's future. Jim Webb, job well done.

SOTU: Madam Speaker

**Editor's Note: This will be a rambling post as I watch President Bush's State of the Union Address.

I purposefully turned on CBS News to watch the first female anchor of a major nightly news introduce the first female Speaker of the House to preside over a State of the Union Address.

I really love when the justices of the Supreme Court file in.

There seems to be a theme emerging--special emphasis on the First Lady as well as Condie Rice leading in the President's cabinet. Though I found it particularly frustrating that a talking head felt the need to mention the array of colors the congresswomen chose...

I love that Brokaw is around to give his two cents. It is wonderful to have Katie Couric leading CBS, but I miss "The Brotherhood."

Maybe it's just me, but I got chills when the Sergeant at Arms announced "Madam Speaker, the President of the United States!"

A fairly quick trip to the podium.

This is history. Nancy Pelosi is going to be one of those people that we look back at with the same esteem if not more as Jeanette Rankin (or in our own state of Idaho, Gracie Pfost.)

Sure a lot of talk of bipartisanship. Not much of that when the Republicans held both houses tightly.

Nothing on Iraq.

Balance the federal budget without raising taxes. And let me just say Kempthorne up front is very strange. And not having to see Denny Hastert's ugly mug behind the President is refreshing.

Aww, the presidential hopefuls. Sure lotta shots of them.

You know who is the #1 proponent of earmarks? Other than Ted Stevens of course...Mr. Robert Byrd. You'd be surprised what that man has received in earmarks for the people of West Virginia. I wonder what the grand total is. In his 900 bazillion years in Congress probably billions.

John Warner scares the hell out of me.

Two things we should ditch in this country faster than we ditched the Edsel--No Child Left Behind and Bush's plan to reform Social Security.

Standard tax deduction for health insurance similar to deduction for dependents.

Mrs. Clinton looks a bit unhappy. Can't imagine why...

It has been 13 years since there was a division between the Speaker's party and the President's party. And I am going to go out on a limb and say I wasn't watching the SOTU then so I've never seen a Speaker not applaud each and every comment.

I LOVE Pat Leahy.

There it is--immigration. If President Bush wants bipartisanship he is going to have to convince a few members of his own party that they need to get on board. Temporary worker program is do-able. Comprehensive immigration reform. Comprehensive is a word that I find overused in politics.

Still nothing on Iraq.

And no mention of Leiberman.

Reduce gasoline usage by 20% in next 10 years.

Vilsack could stand a chance. How do people in Iowa feel about ethanol?

Hurry, look up smug in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of Dick Cheney.

I'm not sure when I said this, I really understood how great it would be.

I thought maybe we'd be without a mention of 9/11, but of course I didn't bet any money on it. "To win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy." I'm not sure reminding the American people of all of the victories we've made, findings of terrorist plots, etc. really makes up for the bungling of Iraq. And certainly not in the minds of Americans who believe we went to Iraq because of 9/11.

Still not really a definitive mentioning of Iraq.

Iran before Iraq. And it's five years since 9/11, not six.

It seems the camera man has either picked Hillary Clinton as the front runner or he likes her pearls. I suppose the camera person could be a woman and in which case she isn't at all interested in what Hillary is wearing because only the men are worried about the most powerful women in the United States are wearing tonight.

"Every one of us wishes this war were over and won."

Do you think they have a person working for each news agency that gets to identify each of the people the camera picks out of the crowd? I'd like that to be my job...

Similar to my no Iraq comment--no Ted Kennedy.

Special Advisory Council on the War or Terror. I think LBJ had something like this in regard to the War on Poverty. It evidently wasn't effective or well-known if I can't seem to remember the name of this "council."

How does Congress increase the size of the active military?

President Bush seems to have the same problem with peninsula as he does the word nuclear.

We're speaking out for peace in Cuba? Wow. That's a new one. We haven't touched that one in awhile.

And it's about damn time we care about Darfur.

Wesley Autrey is a nice addition to the distinguished guests and honorees at the SOTU. Baby Einstein seemed to be an odd addition to the group, though. Maybe Baby Einstein has saved lives. I don't know.

Both President Bush and Senator McCain do a lot of winking. Not at each other. But winking nonetheless.

The cause does go on.

Senator Kerry darted out quick.

There seem to be several domestic reforms President Bush would like to take on. Maybe foreign failures have shifted his focus. And it certainly wouldn't hurt anything if he picked up a few issues that the Democrats have been touting for awhile. This is by no means the same George W. Bush that presented the State of the Union in January of 2002.

It will certainly be interesting to see Senator Webb give the Democratic response.

Blog for Choice Day 2007

I failed to recognize this until today (a day late), but because I have not the time to formulate my own statement at this moment, please read this very well-written piece that I was looking forward to and found particularly moving.

Open Thread...

...on Gore Visit at NewWest.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Twenty Songs for the Road

  • She Said by Collective Soul
  • The Heart of the Matter by Don Henley
  • Brown-Eyed Girl (the Everclear version)
  • The Fear You Won't Fall by Joshua Radin
  • The Difference by Matchbox Twenty
  • History Will Teach Us Nothing by Sting
  • You Don't Know Me by Ray Charles
  • If I Could Be Like That by 3 Doors Down
  • Romeo & Juliet by Dire Straits
  • Broken Road by Rascal Flatts
  • Everything by Alanis Morissette
  • Try to Remember by Perry Como
  • Runaway Train by Soul Asylum
  • Within a Mile of Home by Flogging Molly
  • You Can't Help Who You Love by Garth Brooks
  • The Middle by Jimmy Eat World
  • Your Winter by Sister Hazel
  • Easy Silence by the Dixie Chicks
  • I Dare You by Shindedown
  • Over and Over Again (Nellie w/Tim McGraw)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Dose of Collective Soul

She Said
written and performed by Collective Soul

she said that time is unfair
to a woman her age
now that wisdom has come
everything else fades
she says she realizes
she's seen her better days

she says you can't look back
to her days of youth
what she thought were lies
she later found was truth
she says her daddy has dreams
but he drank them away
and her mother's to blame
for the way she is today

life's river shall rise
she said
and only the strong shall survive
she said
but i'm feeling quite weak
she said
will you comfort and forgive me
she said

she said she's still searching
for salvation's light
she wishes all day
then she prays all night
she says she won't speak of love
'cuz love she's never known
but it's moments like these
she hates to be alone

life's river shall rise
she said
only the strong shall survive
she said
but i'm feeling quite weak
she said
will you comfort and forgive me
she said

life's river shall rise
she said
only the strong shall survive
she said
but i'm feeling quite weak
she said
will you comfort and forgive me
she said

forgive me
she said
forgive me
she said

Friday, January 19, 2007

Quote of the Day

"I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at." ~Maya Angelou

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Quote of the Week

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

TDIH Events

On this day in 1973, the trial for the Watergate burglars began. The very idea that they continue to be called burglars cracks me up--maybe they'll change the entry in the dictionary for burglar to include this:

Okay, so maybe a more appropriate picture would be one with his infamous five o'clock shadow...

Also, on this day in history, the American League adopted the designated hitter (dh) rule. Just the American League. Can you imagine what the National League would look like if the dh rule existed? The Braves certainly would never trade Andruw Jones.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

President Bush just ruined...

...the White House library for me.

Middle of the Week Mélange

News of the day: Dr. Charles Petty, the chief forensic pathologist that served as an advisor to the review of President Kennedy's assassination has passed away. Petty, who as recently as 2003 remained supportive of the Warren Commission's conclusions including the fact that President Kennedy was killed by two bullets, was a main instigator of the "Magic Bullet" theory. It's interesting to me the timing. In the last month there has been a great deal of talk about the Warren Commission as the late President Ford was the last living member of the Commission. Also, when discussing running mates the name John Connally, former governor of Texas, was mentioned. As one might remember Connally was riding in the same car as Kennedy and was also shot in November of 1963. Petty's passing has been a reminder to Kennedy assassination historians that there are few people still living who were directly involved in the assassination review; the only name that comes readily to mind is a man who as a young lawyer also had much influence on the Magic Bullet Theory--Arlen Specter.

Please remember that tonight President Bush will address the nation revealing his plan on how to proceed in Iraq. Everyone is expecting this to be a request to deploy more troops to Iraq. My guess is the Democrats will have a response to this immediately as there is already talk by some, including Ted Kennedy, of blocking any sort of funding for this action.

Difficult and trying days at ISU continue for me. Trying to extend my stay at ISU in order to continue and complete the processing of the Stallings Collection without overwhelming myself with a full class load has been a contentious and difficult issue. This in combination with my uncertainty on my plans for graduate school has been frustrating and I've lost a great deal of sleep and a few tears over the matter. It is amazing how connected a person can become with a project and my attachment to the congressional papers of Richard Stallings is no different. Without a miracle worker in the History department I'd be up a creek without a paddle right now. Evidently seniors are expected to graduate and be anxious to do so...

A side note on music: I listened to "Drops of Jupiter" at a quite high volume this morning on my way to school. It's my way of coping with stress, I think. But this particular morning, the "sassy girl song" as my younger brother once called it (I refer to it as the "independent woman" song, tells you how different our perspectives are) was greatly motivating. You can only go to school in the dark and go home in the dark so many times before it wears on you. When I arrived at school a dear friend of mine in Red Square sent me Taylor Swift's "A Place In This World" song and I absolutely love it. The first few lines say it all: "I don't know what I want, so don't ask me/Cause I'm still trying to figure it out/Don't know what's down this road, I'm just walking/Trying to see through the rain coming down."

And last but not least, there should be a few newspaper articles to look forward to in the coming days. I'm in the middle of writing a story for the ISJ about my hilarious trip to the ISU bookstore yesterday and there is a reporter with The Bengal who is doing a story on the fallout over the ISU referendum and my resignation. Should be worthwhile.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

A Rut

From time to time I feel as if I need to apologize for my lack of political commentary. This time around an apology is certainly warranted as I have yet to express my feelings on the passing of Ford.

My excuses are not any different than they have been in the past. I tend to get wrapped up in deeply personal matters that I can't express here and seem to forget that there are those who are checking daily for updates and hoping, at least some of them, for political commentary. This isn't something unique to my blog. I seem to have neglected or just flat out forgotten to do a lot lately. Just tonight I was sitting here and realized I was on the phone earlier in the week with a friend from high school, said I would call back, and forgot completely until now.

Do you ever find yourself in a place where you just aren't entirely sure what direction you're supposed to be headed in? I am generally a motivated, well-directed, and goal oriented individual, but lately I seem to have lost direction. In a way I feel as if I am going in circles.

Last week I called a friend of mine who has in every sense been the person that no one else can be for me--she keeps me grounded and reminds me of where I have been in comparison to where I am now. Afterward, for about two days, I was incredibly motivated and anxious to accomplish many things and it seems I've fallen back into my earlier pattern of disinterest. I'm not even sure what I am disinterested in. I know much of it has to do with school. Last week I was really frustrated with ISU and with my academic plans in general. My topic choice for my weekly column in the Idaho State Journal was centered on the new semester at ISU and how much I love ISU. More than anything I think it was an attempt to convince myself. And for what it's worth, I don't think it was all that effective.

For a couple of days now I have been absolutely dreading the start of the new semester at ISU. Every morning, for several now, I wake up and it dawns on me that I am just another day closer to the beginning of something I want nothing to do with. Maybe this is burn out. It can't be senioritis (it could be if there were any end in sight, but there isn't). Whatever it is, I would trade it for any list of intolerable things. Tonight as I was ironing, something I detest and am horrible at, it crossed my mind that I would rather iron for eight hours a day for the next sixteen weeks than face this semester. If truly understood how I feel about ironing, you would understand just how much I am not looking forward to this semester.

Last semester was particularly trying. I think that was because it was my first attempt at juggling the processing of the Stallings Collection with my school, senate, and personal responsibilities. Perhaps I'm afraid of another sixteen weeks of what I early on termed as the "worst semester ever." Or perhaps I'm afraid of where I go from here. At some point I will graduate and then what? I'm lacking direction in career choices as well. I think everyone assumes I will teach and at this point I'm not the least bit interested in teaching. Maybe my future career goals are skewed by my current goal of completing the Stallings Collection.

Whatever the case may be, I'm in a rut. And so, when I'm lacking in political commentary in the next few weeks, please be understanding. When things slow down or at least become manageable, I will have something to say about the Ford funeral, something that is still on my mind as evidenced by yesterday's post. Until then, I look forward to reading the other Idaho blogs and look forward to news from the Idaho legislature as the session begins tomorrow.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Special Smorgasbord Saturday Snapshots in Honor of the Late President Ford

"It's the quality of the ordinary, the straight, the square, that accounts for the great stability and success of our nation. It's a quality to be proud of. But it's a quality that many people seem to have neglected. "

"I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our government but civilization itself."

"I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, so I ask you to confirm me with your prayers."

“I am not a saint, and I am sure I have done things I might have done better or differently, or not at all. I have also left undone things that I should have done. But I believe and hope that I have been honest with myself and with others, that I have been faithful to my friends and fair to my opponents, and that I have tried my very best to make this great Government work for the good of all Americans.”

"I have had a lot of adversaries in my political life, but no enemies that I can remember."

“We are bound together by the most powerful of all ties, our fervent love for freedom and independence, which knows no homeland but the human heart.”

"In all my public and private acts as your president, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end."

“As we continue our American adventure…all our heroes and heroines of war and peace send us this single, urgent message: though prosperity is a good thing, though compassionate charity is a good thing, though institutional reform is a good thing, a nation survives only so long as the spirit of sacrifice and self-discipline is strong within its people. Independence has to be defended as well as declared; freedom is always worth fighting for; and liberty ultimately belongs only to those willing to suffer for it.”

"It can go on and on, or someone must write "The End" to it. I have concluded that only I can do that. And if I can, I must."

“. . . The ultimate test of leadership is not the polls you take, but the risks you take. In the short run, some risks prove overwhelming. Political courage can be self-defeating. But the greatest defeat of all would be to live without courage, for that would hardly be living at all.”

"Our constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws, not of men."

“The world is ever conscious of what Americans are doing, for better or for worse, because the United States today remains that most successful realization of humanity’s universal hope. The world may or may not follow, but we lead because our whole history says we must. Liberty is for all men and women as a matter of equal and unalienable right. The establishment of justice and peace abroad will in large measure depend upon the peace and justice we create here in our own country, for we still show the way.”

“I have always believed that most people are mostly good, most of the time. I have never mistaken moderation for weakness, nor civility for surrender. As far as I'm concerned, there are no enemies in politics--just temporary opponents who might vote with you on the next Roll Call.”
Photographs © Tara A. Rowe

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Making History

I just witnessed with my own eyes and ears Katie Couric reporting on the election of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives, mentioning the large number of women (a total of 90) in the 110th Congress, and reflecting on the life and work of Susan B. Anthony. What a truly awesome day in America.

86th to 110th: Byrd in Congress

Here's an interesting blurb I took from (though no one can replace Gerald Ford, maybe Bob Byrd can be the person I look for on the news each morning--afterall the man is 89!):

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Lawmakers take swearing-in oath twice


WASHINGTON -- There's nothing like a good photo op to revive a slumping politician.
On a day of ceremony and substance opening the Democratic-controlled Congress, lawmakers flocked from their real swearing-in, which was held in groups in the House and Senate chambers, to a pretend one in front of the cameras.

Families in tow, they raised their right hands and rested the other one on the Bible or other religious text, as if making a pledge, and had their pictures taken one-on-one in a mock swearing-in for the folks back home.

The photo-op oath seemed to have the restorative power of smelling salts for Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. The 89-year-old veteran nearly fainted Thursday after taking the real oath for a ninth time.

Less than an hour later, he was first in line for the re-enactment.

"Nobody will get in before us," Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who broke Byrd's fall, said as the Democratic duo from West Virginia waited for Vice President Dick Cheney to arrive in the high-ceilinged Old Senate Chamber on the Capitol's second floor ....

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy 2007!

"Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time. ... Call up a forgotten friend. drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. ... Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep. ... Walk tall, and smile more. You'll look 10 years younger. Don't be afraid to say, "I love you". Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world." - Ann Landers