Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Week Ahead

The World Series is over, sadly, with a sweep of the Rockies on the books. The only good thing I have to say about this is that it frees up a few hours this week that I was wondering how I'd juggle between school, work, and games.

So, the week ahead for me appears to be a circus. I have a handful of appointments beginning first thing in the morning, two quizzes, two tests, a presentation, Spring semester registration, financial aid paperwork, and a Halloween cemetery tour with the Historic Preservation Commission.

With the schedule I have, I've decided to take the week off from blogging so I can concentrate on schoolwork. I will return next Saturday with a smorgasbord of information on baseball awards, new music, and the upcoming city elections.

See you Saturday!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

Did you know that the Backstreet Boys have a new CD coming out? Yep. True story. Why should you care? Well, you don't have to. One of my guilty pleasures is the music of really bad boy bands. Always has been a weakness. The favorite being Hanson, but the Backstreet Boys'll do. Tuesday is the release date (if I am remembering correctly).

Semi-related--I read in the Guardian yesterday that the Spice Girls are getting back together for a tour. I liked them when I was in junior high. Now, well, I don't see the point. The first tour wasn't bad enough? Wonder if they'll get that awful tour bus they had in Spice World. It's really sad that I even saw Spice World, isn't it? I was in junior high, people! I don't know much about what the girls have done since the break up. One is in a spaghetti sauce commercial. I think one is having (maybe had) Eddie Murphy's baby. And, then there is Mrs. David Beckham. A tour, really? Best of luck, but I refuse to see such a disaster unfold on stage.

I missed People & Politics today. I haven't been attending regularly for awhile, but I was really looking forward to going today. I kind of miss politics in general, at least at the local level. Next time for sure.

The World Series is not going as I would have liked. The Rockies are at this moment in a good position in the game, but this is the first time since the series began that I could say that without thinking they are absolutely in over their heads.

It was a beautiful day in Pocatello so I walked over and took a final shot of the new facility next door. I continue to be amazed with Bright Tomorrow. I'm thinking I will take the photos and put them together in a slide show or something for the facility. I'd put them into a scrapbook, but scrap booking is a scary idea to me. I just can't bring myself to scrapbook.

In the mail today was the Spring 2008 catalog for the Hesperus Press. I was excited to see mail from them since I ordered Carlyle's House by Virginia Woolf with a special introduction by Nobel prize winner Doris Lessing. It wasn't the book I ordered, but now I have the catalog to order more exciting books from this superb press.

That's all I've got for this Saturday. I'm beat. Have a good weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Sloganization of Islam

As reported yesterday, the 2006 release by Yusuf Islam (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens) no longer appears on store shelves with the artist's full name prior to the title An Other Cup. When first released, the album's appearance included a simple tea cup, the name, Yusuf Islam, and the album title.

After much research, several questions remain: 1) Why would a man with the cultural capital of Cat Stevens title an album with a name unrecognizable to those unfamiliar with his more recent history? 2) Would the removal of his surname aid the sale of the album in countries reluctant to understand, much less embrace, Islam? 3) Why would a man who has in recent years adamantly denied ties to terrorists and further praised Islam have any reason to publicly shy away from a surname synonymous with a great fear of Westerners?

To answer the first question, Cat Stevens has made a name for himself internationally. In the music industry he is a legend and in the international community he is a highly respected peace activist. When Cat Stevens converted to the Islamic faith in 1977 and legally changed his name to Yusuf Islam in 1978, he symbolically abandoned his fame and musical career. Artists with hits can't completely abandon royalties and such, but Stevens shied away from the spotlight and devoted himself to philanthropy. Since his conversion, the importance of musical success is measured in much different terms to Stevens than they were as a rising star in the music industry. In his 2006 release, Stevens stayed true to himself and his religion, regardless of the cost by using his legal name.

In part, the second question is tied to the first. Yes, using his legal surname was certainly not going to win new fans or win him a popularity contest. If you didn't like Cat Stevens when he was Cat Stevens, chances are you weren't going to like him under any other name. However, though it might seem the cost to the artist would be great for leaving his full name on the cover of the album, Stevens cited other reasons for not placing his surname on the cover. In an interview with Billboard Magazine around the time of the album's release, Stevens said:

"Islam" doesn't have to be sloganized. The second name is like the official tag, but you call a friend by their first name. It's more intimate, and to me that's the message of this record...That's [the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens] the tag with which most people are familiar; for recognition purposes I'm not averse to that. For a lot of people, it reminds them of something they want to hold on to. That name is part of my history and a lot of the things I dreamt about as Cat Stevens have come true as Yusuf Islam.

Stevens' certainly has not forgotten the name that brought him fame and fortune, but he also recognizes that his legal name is indeed a slogan. Regardless of his background, seeing Islam on the title of an international product would in fact sloganize Islam or at least attach it to the music business. If Cat Stevens were still making music for the money, wouldn't he sell the rights to a few of his songs or at least make a few more albums a decade?

The answer to question two partly answers the third question: Cat Stevens, Yusuf Islam, Yusuf, or whatever he prefers to be called, is not shying away from Islam for the sake of selling a few more CDs. The name on the album (at least in the mind of Stevens) has absolutely nothing to do with who might pick that album up. Westerners may fear Islam, but Stevens himself doesn't believe Westerners fear him.

After the controversy in 2004 that resulted in the grounding of a flight Stevens was on and his eventual deportation to the United Kingdom, Stevens filed suit against the British press for their report of the incident and their siding with the United States for taking that particular action. Stevens' name had found its way on to the no-fly list. Said to be a mix up, Stevens has since entered the United States, but the perception of Stevens on the part of Americans is mixed. It was absurd then and it is just as absurd now to think that anyone might take Cat Stevens for a terrorist. In fact, following the attacks on 9/11, Stevens spoke out saying that "no right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action."

Since 9/11, Stevens has worked tirelessly to prove his allegiance to peace. More importantly, since the beginning of his musical career, his lyrics have proved his complete desire for peace.

I have dreamt of an open world
Borderless and wide
Where the people move from place to place
And nobody's taking sides*

(*from "Maybe There's a World" on An Other Cup)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yusuf, Dictabelts, and the ERA

A few nights ago I was browsing through a CD catalog and noticed something rather interesting, an artist named Yusuf. Now, I automatically recognized the artist because I am more than familiar with the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, however, what caught my eye is that the artist is not Yusuf Islam (the name Stevens chose some time ago), it is merely Yusuf. Yeah, yeah, what's the point? Well my point is, when I purchased this wonderful CD by Cat Stevens his full name appeared on the cover--Yusuf Islam: An Other Cup. Not simply Yusuf. A few days have passed and I've given this a great deal of thought. I believe he dropped his last name due to the associations Americans (and even those across the pond) have with Islam, however it seems incredibly strange to me that a man who would compromise his status in the United States (or any hope of returning to the States) by his refusal to denounce Islam would drop a name strictly for the benefit of CD sales. There has got to be more to this story than I see at the surface. Very interesting...

We receive National Geographic in the mail every month at my house. I don't usually get to see the magazines we receive before they disappear, but this month I snagged the National Geographic for some extra night time reading material and was pleasantly surprised by a small blurb about dictabelts. Dictabelts? Yes, dictabelts. For those of you not as familiar with the Kennedy Assassination, some time after the assassination in Dallas it was discovered that a microphone on a police motorcycle had been flipped on and the transmission was recorded on a dictabelt at the Dallas Police Headquarters. This particular dictabelt has received a great deal of attention (and a few too many listens) over the years because it is said to contain evidence of how many shots were fired at Kennedy's motorcade. Long story short, the dictabelt is no longer playable by most technicians and if not preserved it will go away, the history contained therein also. The short article in National Geographic says that scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are attempting to optically scan the analog grooves on dictabelts, restoring the information and preserving it for generations of historians. The article points out that there are numerous dictabelt recordings of interrogations of war criminals following WWII. Interesting stuff.

Another article that caught my eye is a piece in the 10/22 issue of Newsweek. The article, "From Barricades to Blogs," caught my eye because of the 'blog' related title, however after reading the article, I was more interested in the history the article reveals--the history of the Equal Rights Amendment. Regardless of how you or I feel about the ERA, it really made me think. If I were to take a sample of women in my age group (let's say 18-25 years old), I honestly don't think more than a handful could explain what the ERA was, when it was an issue, or what happened to it. The legislation has been reintroduced in Congress every year since 1982, but those of us born from 1982 on have very little knowledge of it. Go find the article. It is worth a moment of your time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I don't really get to vote...

As I watch Game 1 of the 2007 World Series, I would like to throw my votes out for a few of the top baseball awards. Trying to keep my obvious biases from surfacing, here's what I've got:

Manager of the Year
American League Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge (Cleveland Indians)
National League Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle (Colorado Rockies)

Cy Young
AL: Josh Beckett (Boston Red Sox)
NL: Jake Peavy (San Diego Padres)

AL: Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees)
NL: Jimmy Rollins (Philadephia Phillies)

Rookie of the Year
AL: Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox)
NL: Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado Rockies)

Gold Gloves
American League:
1st: Kevin Millar (Baltimore Orioles)
2nd: Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox)
3rd: Eric Chavez (Oakland A's)
SS: Jhonny Peralta (Cleveland Indians)
LF: Carl Crawford (Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
CF: Torii Hunter (Minnesota Twins)
RF: Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners)
C: Ivan Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers)
P: Johan Santana (Minnesota Twins)
National League
1st: Mark Teixeira (Texas Rangers/Atlanta Braves)
2nd: Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies)
3rd: David Wright (New York Mets)
SS: TIE Edgar Renteria/Jose Reyes (Braves/Mets)
LF: Mike Cameron (San Diego Padres)
CF: Andruw Jones (Atlanta Braves)
RF: Jeff Franceour (Atlanta Braves)
C: Johnny Estrada (Milwaukee Brewers)
P: Greg Maddux (San Diego Padres)

There are definitely arguments to be made against A-Rod getting the MVP and why Jeter should get a Gold Glove. Other arguments I thought up surrounded the NL MVP--the names Holliday, Utley, and Fielder figure into that equation. And, yes, I'm a little heavy on Braves. Can't help that much...I tried!

Chubbuck/Pocatello City Council Candidates Forum

Just a reminder for those of you in Pocatello and Chubbuck--tonight at the Chubbuck City Council Chambers from 7:30 - 9:30 candidates for both the Chubbuck and Pocatello city councils will square off. Chubbuck candidates will begin at 7:30 pm, followed by Pocatello candidates for seats 1 & 3 (currently held by Ron Frasure and Eva Johnson Nye). Pocatello Seat 3 candidates are expected to begin debate at 8:15 pm. Chubbuck City offices are located at 5180 Yellowstone Ave. I have yet to hear if the forum will be recorded/aired on community access (Channel 12 will not be there, but perhaps the Idaho Examiner will). Either way, I encourage you all to be there tonight to hear each of the candidates. See you there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

DFA asks: Is Gore in or out?

Something interesting is happening over at Democracy for America--a poll they've been running for some time now has former Vice President Al Gore in the lead with 20,000+ votes.

In an email I received from DFA, the question is being posed as to whether or not Gore is in or out. Well is he? Has Gore absolutely said in no uncertain terms that he will NOT run for the presidency again? Maybe I missed those words. I would have loved to hear them...

The email stated that in the end only an announced candidate can win the poll. And, at this moment Obama is about 5,000 votes behind Gore (followed by Edwards, Kucinich, Clinton, Richardson, "Other," Biden, Gravel, and Dodd in that order). The poll doesn't close until November 5th, so anything could happen, but it should be interesting to see if DFA has to pick the #1 candidate based on their rule about announced candidates.

If you have responded to the poll, you know that you can place your top three candidates in order of preference in the three boxes. This was difficult for me, as I've said before I am not particularly thrilled with any of the candidates and haven't thrown my support behind any of them, but, ironically, I settled on Mr. Gore in the top spot, following by Senators Dodd and Biden. Of the announced candidates I have to say that Dodd is the closest to what I would like to see in the Democratic nominee, but at this point that isn't saying much considering that Kucinich and Gravel are closest to me in political philosophy...

Should be fun to watch this poll play out.

*UPDATE (1:57 pm MST): An interesting note--DFA now lists both the actual poll results (with Gore) and below that the poll results minus those who have not formally announced. With Gore gone, Obama holds steady in spot one, but the candidates who received the most noticeable jumps from the elimination of Gore? Dodd, Biden, and Gravel. In fact the votes for Biden and Dodd more than doubled in the second reporting of results minus Al Gore. What does this say about Democrats in the Gore camp? I can't pinpoint it exactly, but it is certainly worth noting that those who support Gore are quite closely linked to the popularity of Dodd and Biden.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

A reminder to you baseball fans, game six of the ALCS is tonight on Fox. BoSox host the Indians beginning at 6pm (MST).

Lots of talk about Torre and A-Rod. It's ridiculous to me that A-Rod's next contract is estimated at $300 million (I have heard as high as $400 million). Sure, the guy is talented, but there has to be a salary cap in baseball. Has to be. Where will the shortstop turned third baseman go? I suspect George will offer him a raise. Will he stay? I wouldn't for the House That Ruth Built. I wouldn't for all the money in the world. And, the only reason I keep track of A-Rod at all is because he will pass Barry Bonds as homerun king. He has to. Not because he's the highest paid professional athlete, but because true baseball fans can't live with the thought that Bonds holds the record for too long.

Who will pick up Bonds? An American League team desperate for a DH. I'd say Yankees, but they're already stacked due to too many outfielders.

Another player I am watching closely is Andruw Jones, the nine-time Gold Glove winner, who has spent his entire big league career with the Atlanta Braves. Jones becomes a free agent after the World Series and as much as I would love to see him stay in Atlanta, it is obvious that they can't afford his contract. Where will he go? I hope he stays in the National League. He's an amazing athlete and despite this year's batting slump, he brings power to the lineup. I should say that more than anything I pray he doesn't go to the Yankees. I still haven't forgiven Mr. Justice...

Now, on to other important business--television. Can you tell I have spent much of the week at home?

There are some people that absolutely should be on tv. Actors that are so much better on television. The new (er...several weeks old) fall lineup is peppered with them. Pleasantly peppered. Peter Krause has returned! Thank God. Josh Malina is back. Dylan McDermott, too. Jimmy Smits who is always amazing. And, a handful of others. However, it is the women on television that I wanted to comment on. Two in particular--Angie Harmon and Amy Brenneman.

Angie Harmon did her time in those Lifetime movies, but since she departed Law & Order we haven't seen much of her. Not so anymore. She is now on the brilliant adaptation of the James Patterson series, identically titled The Women's Murder Club. She is NOT who I envisioned to play Lindsey Boxer. This happens all the time with well-developed book characters that are moved to film or television. I am always disappointed. However, once I got over the initial shock of Angie Harmon playing Lt. Boxer, I realized exactly why they cast her--she controls the screen. She's the hard line, no nonsense, lacking in frilliness woman that had to be cast as Lindsey Boxer. Strong, with subtle shortcomings, and brilliant. So I may have thought the actress that should play Boxer would be shorter, a little sassier, and perhaps wearing a baseball cap from time to time, but now I can't imagine anybody but Harmon playing this character. Her sidekicks aren't who I expected either, but that is another post in itself...

Amy Brenneman began her career in television making an appearance on Murder, She Wrote and then coming into her own on NYPD Blue. After she left Blue she did a run of movies, none of which I can really recommend on her performance alone, but then she returned to television after a few spots on Frasier to the phenomenal role of Judge Amy Gray on Judging Amy. Amy Gray was a professional success and a personal disaster. After divorcing her husband, she and her daughter move back in with her mother (played by the amazing Tyne Daly). I could go on and on about the wonder that was this show (Brenneman had a hand in the show's creation) and how disappointed I was when CBS cancelled it and left fans of the show wondering what the hell really happened after Judge Gray testified on Capitol Hill. The point is--Amy Brenneman was one of the strong, independent women on television that other women could really connect with. Now she's back and just as pulled between professional success and personal failure as she was in the robe of Amy Gray. This time, the Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice has snagged Amy Brenneman to play Dr. Violet Turner, a psychiatrist with personal issues galore. She is bright, strong and vulnerable. Everything Amy Gray was, except this time she is among a great cast that includes another Daly--Tyne's brother Tim. If you haven't seen Amy Brenneman on television. Do it. You'll see what I mean about an actress made for television.

Other returns to television that are notable include Catherine Bell, Kim Delaney, Dana Delany, Michael Vartan, David Sutcliffe, and Jerry O'Connell. The only two of which I was pretty excited about were in a series over the summer on Lifetime based on a book--Bell and Delaney on Army Wives which I hope comes back for another season.

And that my friends, is an entire smorgasbord of information not at all useful in any way, shape or form. That's why they call it a smorgasbord, I suppose.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Job Every Congressman Should Take

Larry LaRocco, declared Democratic candidate for the 1st CD Senate seat (also known as Larry Craig's embattled throne) is going to work for the Senate. Again. Yes, LaRocco will be working in Twin Falls, Idaho today at the College of Southern Idaho. Not only is he working at CSI, he is working in a department that college students fear, loathe, despise, et al: the office of the Student Financial Aid administrator.

The press release:
LaRocco working his 12th job at College of Southern Idaho

Larry LaRocco continues his run for U.S. Senate by working his 12th job at the College of Southern Idaho. At 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., LaRocco will begin working with the student financial aid administrator, Colin Randolph, and his staff to learn more about the process students and their families use to finance the students’ college education.

“My wife Chris and I are products of first-generation Americans who wanted a better life for their children and believed it could be attained through education,” LaRocco said. “We saw our parents struggle to educate us, and we did the same when it came time to pass it forward.”

“I am “working for the Senate” side-by-side with Idahoans throughout our great state, so I can listen as Idahoans tell me their stories about the challenges facing them as they raise their families, plan for retirement, struggle to make ends meet, educate their kids, pay their taxes, and deal with the exploding costs of health insurance.”

LaRocco’s 12th work day is a result of LaRocco’s presentation at the recent conference of the Idaho Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (IAFSAA).

I cannot emphasize how refreshing it is to see a former congressman and soon-to-be senator working this particular job. Students don't set their student loan rates, their schools don't set those rates, and yet both grapple with the consequences of the cost of enrollment on a yearly basis. The rates on student loans and Pell grants are being set by the United States Congress and it is imperative that our elected officials understand the consequences of their votes on students.

This is a job every congressman, currently serving or hoping to serve, absolutely should take!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hero of the Day: Pete Stark

The audio isn't great and this video is from two weeks ago, but I just wanted to post something with Pete Stark. As soon as I get my hands on a video of his antics on the floor of the House today, it's coming your way!

A Note on SCHIP from the IDP

From Idaho Democratic Party headquarters in Boise:

BOISE, Idaho – State Democratic Party Chairman Richard Stallings today criticized Republicans Rep. Bill Sali for voting to uphold President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, denying health care to ten million children nationwide and preventing more than 18,000 uninsured children in Idaho from gaining health care.

Republicans voted against the program, despite the overwhelming support of the American people for expanding it. Just yesterday, a new CBS News poll showed eight in 10 Americans support expanding the program. [CBS News, 10/17/07 ]

Not only have a bipartisan group of 43 governors called on President Bush to extend and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but seven states filed lawsuits against the Bush Administration challenging proposed federal rules that would "force poor children to lose health coverage." [Associated Press, 10/01/07] Despite this broad bipartisan support for the program, all of the Republican presidential candidates support President Bush’s veto.

Stallings expressed his disappointment in Sali and the Republican Presidential candidates for supporting President Bush’s veto instead of Idaho’s children.

“Today, Republicans like Bill Sali chose President Bush over Idaho’s children and the financial security of Idaho families. Supporting this reckless and irresponsible veto means denying thousands of Idaho children the opportunity to see a doctor, receive preventative care and live healthier and happier lives.

“At the same time, Bush Republicans are willing to spend billions of dollars on the failed war in Iraq. This is shameful and shows just how out of touch Republicans like Bill Sali are with the priorities of America’s families. This is not what American people want. Democrats remain committed to children in Idaho and will continue to fight Republicans until every child has the health care they need and deserve.”

SCHIP Veto Sustained

289 seemed to be the magic number today in the House. 289 votes to override President Bush's veto of the Children's Health Insurance bill (SCHIP). 289 men and women coming together as what Speaker Pelosi has called the "Children's Congress."

With 433 members present, 289 votes were needed to override the Bush veto.

They were 9 votes shy. 9 votes.

I'd forgotten how the House handles a veto override--I had forgotten that powerful phrase "passage, pbjections of the President not withstanding." The last two vetoes that Congress was successful in overriding came in the Clinton administration--one to override the Private Securities Litigations Act of 1995 and another came in 1997 to override a certain line-item veto, if I remember correctly.

The 273-156 vote tally was met with cheers from 273 members of Congress. Cheers for what I'm not quite certain. Cheers for the negligence they are portraying on a world stage? As the Speaker noted, we are one of the only industrialized nations not carrying for the health of our children. Or we became that nation on September 30, 2007 when we let the CHIP legislation expire.

9 votes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why SCHIP Matters

For two weeks now I have been pondering the looming veto override showdown that will begin tomorrow. For two weeks now I have been wondering how five-hundred and thirty-five men and women couldn't create a piece of legislation that would protect children from the inevitable discontinuation of their only health insurance.

This is what irritates me about partisan politics. Shouldn't some issues be out of the realm of partisanship? Shouldn't they be out of the reach of politicians who will use them as campaign issues? Shouldn't they be more important than the battleground they become?

As I have thought about the debate surrounding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), I haven't been able to get a Dickens adage out of my head: "No man can expect his children to respect what he degrades." If the children of Senator Thune of South Dakota had been sitting in front of CSPAN two weeks ago as I was, they certainly would have walked away with no respect for the government trying to assist them in being healthy, well taken care of young people. At the very least, they would have walked away with contempt for SCHIP. In all reality if any of Senator Thune's children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews had suffered from a childhood or lifelong illness, his respect for a program watching out for children in those positions would much greater.

Senator Thune clearly doesn't understand the meaning of preventative care. He also doesn't seem to grasp the consequences of not standing up to a reckless administration.

From an earlier Idaho Democratic Party press release, Chairman Stallings said:
“Allowing President Bush’s reckless and irresponsible veto to stand means denying thousands of Idaho children the opportunity to see a doctor, receive preventative care and live healthier and happier lives. Republicans like Craig and Crapo should have the courage to do the right thing and stand up to President Bush by joining Democrats in fighting for the families and children of Idaho.”

Do we really understand the definition of preventative care? Have you seen why this is so important? A twelve year old could walk into a clinic or doctor's office with lightheadedness, weight gain, even weight loss, and by all other appearances, the common signs of puberty. The clinic could turn the twelve year old away from lack of insurance and the parents' ability to pay. Four years later that same kid, now sixteen, could present with similar symptoms, this time more severe and accompanied by blurred vision, feet and abdominal swelling, and fatigue. The second time around the kid is on some insurance plan that covers necessary blood work and a physical examination. The second time around the kid walks away with a diagnosis of early onset type 2 Diabetes. Maybe the kid's family can afford the necessary medication, maybe not. Two years later the kid, now capable of having their own insurance and much more aware of the physical symptoms is made aware of the unpleasant complications of Diabetes--Diabetes left unchecked for too many years. Complications in older patients who have not taken care of their blood sugar can include foot ulcers, decreased kidney function, even a higher risk of kidney disease, glaucoma, blindness, heart and blood vessel diseases, and many other serious life threatening problems.

Did it matter if that twelve year old had health insurance? Maybe not at that very moment that the kid presented with symptoms, but it surely mattered for the next seventy to eighty years of that person's life.

Of course, there are many other diseases that afflict young people that if not properly addressed when discovered can cause a slue of problems later in life. Children can't be responsible for their own insurance and maybe their parents aren't capable of providing for them as they should. A good, responsible, morally sound government has a responsibility to take care of its number one asset--its children.

I am a firm believer in the theory of Maslow. For those of you not familiar, Maslow, a sociologist came up with a pyramid, a hierarchy of needs. If the bottom need on the pyramid is addressed, a person can look toward the addressing of the next need, and so on until a person reaches their maximum potential and the top of the pyramid. The bottom level and most critical need that must be met is the physiological need. Physiological needs include food, water, shelter, and clothing. Nowhere does Maslow address the issue of health or for that matter health insurance, but one can assume based on the criteria of the second step of the pyramid (an environment that protects against hunger and violence) that the health of the individual is one of the most basic needs. If a kid is suffering from a serious illness, how can they progress to the highest level of self-actualization?

If you haven't called your congressman or your senators, do it first thing in the morning. Remind them how important health insurance is for our nation's children. Remind them that for the last two weeks while they've been doing their politicking, thousands of American children have been in the balance. Call your elected officials and remind them why SCHIP matters.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Housekeeping Note

As you have all surely noticed, my SCHIP post is still not up. The idea is there, the research material is there, the words just aren't. By the beginning of next week, I hope (didn't I say that last week?).

The Larry Craig/SNL clip was posted mostly out of frustration with not having the time to post anything of substance and not feeling well.

On the sidebar you might notice a few things worth checking out. And, there are surely important things going on out there in the liberal Idaho blogosphere. As for now, nothing much here, but check back soon!

More Larry Craig Humor

Evidently Fort Boise caught this long before me--sorry for the redundancy!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

WinCo Shooting Revisited

In June I posted on a shooting that took place in the Twin Falls WinCo. Today, the Times News is reporting that the two Twin Falls officers involved in the shooting of a Declo 19-year-old have been cleared of any wrong doing. Logan Brizzee died June 30th after pulling a handgun on the two officers and consequently being shot three times.

Perhaps the saddest part of the whole situation is that Logan Brizzee was being held for attempted theft--theft of $50 worth of merchandise. WinCo merchandise. What does that mean? A few pints of ice cream and a case of beer? His overreaction to the officers, undoubtedly founded in his knowledge that he was wanted in both Minidoka and Cassia counties on felony warrants, cost him his life. Had he not made the choice to steal $50 worth of WinCo merchandise he would still have his life. In jail, but still a future.

Nineteen years old and the only choice he had was to overreact to two arresting officers who had picked him up for stealing $50 worth of merchandise. Nineteen years old. Still boggles my mind.

That and the fact that the Times-News spelled it D-e-l-c-o. It's Declo, idiots.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

It's snowing again today in Pocatello. That makes two Saturdays in a row. I'm not a happy camper. Yes, I've lived in Idaho my entire life, but still, snow is pointless. A whole lot of cold and wet and we're still in a drought.

The snow didn't stop me from venturing out this morning. After three days more or less at home on a break from life, I decided I needed to get out of the house. I went to the Marshall Public Library (something I haven't done with any sort of regularity since I started working at the ISU library), stopped by Budget Tapes and Records, and while I was on that end of town stopped in to visit Uptown Books (to snag a book I spotted last week). All in all it was an okay morning for being so damn cold and wet.

Usually on a Saturday I have some reading recommendations, but this week I haven't paid much attention to the news. After learning that President Bush vetoed (as promised) the SCHIP legislation, I decided to take a break from the insanity that is the news cycle right now. Other than what I've read on blogs, I haven't been keeping up with the Larry Craig saga either. He's an idiot for staying. Idaho Republicans are idiots for not forcing him out. Democrats, by and large, didn't have to do anything with this one. We got to sit around and watch the drama unfold.

Despite my ignorance toward national news, I have been glued to baseball this week. Is it just me or does Kenny Lofton not look like he is still twelve? For being forty or so, he sure looks young. And, I am glad he's back with the Indians. He's a refreshing face in the less scrupulous world that is professional sports.

A few people have asked who I'm betting on in the league championships. I don't really know. As far as the American League, my standard rule applies: Anyone but the Yankees. If Vlad were playing I wouldn't have trouble getting behind the Angels, but without Vlad I'm not too interested. The Indians would be a welcome new face in the World Series. As for the National League, being a fan of the NL East I'd love to see the Phillies reign, but like the Cubs, I can't feel too good about teams that won their division just because their competitors choked. Damn Brewers. Damn Mets. I can't get too excited about the Rockies because I've bad mouthed them so often in the last several years, but if any team deserves to win it is the Rockies. All in all I can't decide.

In terms of awards--I'd love to see Troy Tulowitzki win National League Rookie of the Year. I also wouldn't mind seeing his team mate Matt Holliday take the MVP title, however in terms of leadership I think Jimmy Rollins deserves the MVP. He really was the heart of the Phillies this year, with and without Chase Utley. Is there any question of whether A-Rod will get AL MVP? I'd love to see Jake Peavy get the Cy Young, but I wouldn't complain if it went to Tim Hudson. Beckett would be a great choice for the AL. Of course, they give a Cy Young, MVP, and Rookie of the Year to one person in each league, so there are all sorts of possibilities. And then we get into the question of the Gold Glove...

Funny, the first time I remember knowing anything about the Rookie of the Year race was the year Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Dave Justice won. What year was that?

I have a few tests coming up this week, but I am hoping I will find the time to sit down and pound out a response to the SCHIP veto as well as the time to at least write up a draft for later publishing on three issues that have remained on the top of the "blog stack" that is always sitting on my desk.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"The Smear This Time"

Having been completely baffled by the interview Clarence Thomas gave to 60 Minutes Sunday evening, I found this great op-ed in the New York Times this morning quite welcome. Sunday I saw a side of Clarence Thomas I didn't understand--the average guy side. Scalia says Thomas is crazy. Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? Well, now let's hear from the infamous Anita Hill. Sounds like Clarence Thomas is still crazy after all these years. Surprising? No.