The U.S. Senate passed a $286 billion farm bill this week. $286 billion. For over a year I have been dealing with 1985 and 1990 farm bills. Now, I'm not good with numbers, but I'd wager a guess that the 1985 Food Security Act (in four parts and collectively the 1985 Farm Bill) plus the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (in ten or more parts collectively known as the 1990 Farm Bill) probably didn't equal what the 2007 Farm Bill does. $286 billion. Surely there is something to be said for the economy, subsidies, etc., but I can't help but wonder how this particular appropriation has increased so much in an era not known as a farm crisis the way the 80s were.
News from the world of baseball: Andy Pettitte says he used human growth hormone as treatment/therapy in recovering from an injury. This is confusing to me since HGH isn't testable via the standard urine sample. Maybe if I had read the Mitchell report I would understand how Pettitte is implicated in the steroids scandal and why he is feeling the need to defend himself against one particular banned substance. However, I'm wondering if there was a blood test at some point.
More news from the world of baseball: Seems like the San Diego Padres are the final resting place for some of baseball's great. Next in line to potentially retire in San Diego is former Cardinal Jim Edmonds. I say "potentially" because I thought both Mike Piazza and Mike Cameron would retire in San Diego. Piazza went on to be DH for Oakland and Cameron's fate is unknown. Guess it doesn't matter yet since Cameron will be sitting out the first twenty-five games of the season for testing positive...
Too many positive test in baseball. It's sad, really.
Representative Julia Carson (of Indiana) passed away this weekend adding one more state to the list of those holding special congressional elections. More importantly, the nation has lost a true advocate of truth and freedom. Remember Carson was one of the first House members to speak about the interests of the United States in invading Iraq and opposed the invasion from the get-go. Carson's voice of reason will be missed in Congress.
Unfortunate news out of Pocatello--State Senator Edgar Malapeai will be sitting out this session of the legislature due to a family illness. He has picked a pro-education replacement (also a former dean of the College of Education at Idaho State University), but his presence will surely be noted. I know that his wife has been ill, I just can't for the life of me remember what is wrong. My heart goes out to Edgar and his family.
In the Dec. 10th edition of NEWSWEEK magazine, there was mention of a blog called Ex Libris. I'm sad I hadn't known about this site before, but have been devouring everything on it in the last few days. The portion of the site mentioned in NEWSWEEK was the Russian Reading Challenge 2008. This is what originally pulled me in (other than the fact that this is a site about books...need I say more) because I have again set out to completely read Tolstoy's masterpiece War and Peace with a colleague of mine and an ISU librarian. I wish I had more reading experience in the world of Russian literature. I read The Brothers Karamazov in high school and read half of Lolita, but have never found my niche in the Russian literature genre. Since another of my ongoing side projects is a review of short stories, perhaps I can pick up some Russian short stories to add to Tolstoy.
Another fabulous addition to Ex Libris is a list of links to reading challenge blogs. Whatever type of book you like, there is a challenge for you. If I were creating a reading challenge with a book a month for a year, I think I would offer a list for the type of person who needs to be introduced to the classics. Perhaps I will do just that...
In other literature news, I noticed while I was at Video Stop renting an awful film (Mr. Brooks) that Maeve Binchy's Tara Road was made into a film. It must have gone straight to DVD or might have been released only in Ireland. I think I'll go back in the next week or so before I leave for Arkansas & Texas and rent it. I was fascinated with that book when I was in junior high.
That's it. Now, go read!