Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Bridge Into the 21st Century




(Digital photographs of the Clinton Library property of Tara A. Rowe)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

This Christmas

This Christmas I am traveling. First to Little Rock then to Dallas. In both places to see friends I rarely see. This Christmas I am thankful for amazing friends who have seen me through one of the tougher years of my life and have stood by me despite the best and worst of myself.

There's nothing we can do about
The things we have to do without
There's nothing we can do about
The things we have to live without
The only way to feel again
Is let love in

This Christmas I am thankful that I finally understand (and am trying to live by) these lyrics. I'm letting friends in that I was holding at a distance. I'm flying to see friends I've loved from a distance. I'm growing closer to life-long friends and learning that it is okay for them to see me in the darkest days as well as those of mehr licht.

"When we ignore the body, we are more easily victimized by it."

This Christmas I am thankful for the realization, a year in making, that yes, we can be victimized by our bodies, but we are also able to win that battle by taking care of ourselves. Health-wise, this year has been a long, tough battle that I can say with certainty I am finally winning. This Christmas I am thankful for good health and even more thankful for the understanding of what that means in the bigger picture.

"Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them."
"Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid."

This Christmas I am thankful for finally gaining an appreciation of the wisdom of the late Lady Bird Johnson. Children are indeed going to live up to what you believe of them--I pray to God I am living up to what some of those I admire believe I am capable of. I also know that in times of trial and tribulation, finding something you can immerse yourself in will be your safety and saving grace. I have become so wrapped up in the processing of the Stallings Collection over the past year that on days when nothing else is going right, there is that one thing I can dive into and shed away all my fears in the process. This Christmas I am thankful for the Stallings Collection, but even more thankful for the man who gave me this opportunity and the man who has served this state nobly.

Heap on more wood!--the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We'll keep our Christmas merry still.

This Christmas I wish you all well.

(Quotes: Excerpt from "Let Love In" by the Goo Goo Dolls, quote from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, quote of Lady Bird Johnson, quote from Marmion by Sir Walter Scott)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stallings' Sudden Resignation

In life and politics there are jumping off points. For Richard Stallings, that jumping off point came in 1982 when he jumped head first into the 2nd CD race against sitting Congressman George Hansen. He didn't win, but didn't throw in the towel. Stallings returned in 1984 to unseat Hansen. He was re-elected in 1986, 1988, and 1990. He lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1992 and lost in another attempt to retake his former House seat in 1998. In addition to his congressional service, Stallings served as the U.S. Nuclear Waste Negotiator, executive director of the Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Service, and Pocatello City Councilman.

Since 2005, Stallings has served as chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party. Without question, Stallings will be credited for turning the party around and now, with the announcement of his resignation, we can say he will be leaving it in much better shape than he found it.

The news of Stallings' resignation came as a huge surprise to me and I can't help but wonder what is behind this sudden decision. Earlier this month, Stallings announced his resignation from the Pocatello City Council citing his desire to travel, concentrate on his business interests, and focus on the needs of the party. In a press release from the IDP this afternoon, Stallings cites personal and professional reasons for departing.

Perhaps I cannot be objective due to my various connections with Stallings (first as his student and now as the person responsible for the preservation of his congressional papers that will opening to the public soon). However, I can say that even before I entered Stallings Idaho politics course at Idaho State University for the first time, as a young Democrat growing up in this great state I had always admired Stallings for his dedication to public service.

Obviously, I don't know what to do with this news, but I send my best wishes to Richard and Ranae and my deepest appreciation to Stallings for his leadership.

Reds and Blues

I am looking forward to a long weekend of quality time with my kid brother. Due to my travel plans and other circumstances beyond my control, our Christmas together will mostly take place over the weekend. What are our plans? Well that is the joy of the weekend--we don't have many. We can stay up all night chatting, sleep in until noon, and play rummy until our eyes cross from staring at our hands.

Recently, the kid brother revealed to me that he can play chess. Not just play, beat my socks off. This is one of the revelations that all big sisters look forward to. Okay, not necessarily the chess skills, just the pleasure of knowing you can share a game with someone you love. Someone who thinks wrestling is amazing, hasn't read an entire book since first grade, and would rather watch himself in the mirror than sit down and watch an episode of The West Wing.

He and I are opposite on so many levels. We were discussing the Clinton library recently--he doesn't know who Clinton is (though they share a birthday). His favorite color is blue, mine is red, despite our political leanings. He's more of the conservative sportsman and I, well, here I am posting this on a liberal Idaho blog. His idea of homework is sitting down to Wikipedia and searching for details or calling his big sister for an explanation. If he has cracked a textbook I'd be surprised.

He snores, talks in his sleep, pretends he is Adam Sandler, claims to be from the planet NARF, and can talk for hours about some wrestling move called the cowboy and why Brett Favre is the greatest athlete in the history of sports.

For all our differences, we are both bad sleepers (naturally nocturnal), we love The X-Files, can tell you every last word of the wonderful film The Princess Bride, we can't stand black licorice, and at two in the morning we both know the only call we can make is to one another.

Red or blue, I'm still the luckiest big sister in the world.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

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!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Steroids in Baseball, Blunt, and Endorsements

Any baseball fan has to be disappointed by today's release of the Mitchell Report. I am still reeling over a few of the names reported to have used performance enhancing drugs at some point during their career--Paul Lo Duca, Gary Matthews, Jr., Paul Byrd, Matt Herges, and a few others really struck me.

I suppose I am not surprised by the existence of steroids in baseball. I'm not surprised to see Clemens, Bonds, Giambi, or others on the list. I am surprised to see a few guys that I've watched and admired for their talent without knowing that they had an edge over their competitors.

Maybe only a true baseball fan can understand what the release of the Mitchell Report has felt like. It's a sucker punch to baseball fans and a sad day for America's past time.

_______________________

As I mentioned Monday, last week was particularly difficult for me academically. When I signed on to process the Stallings Collection I had no idea what time it would take or how committed I would become. Most of all I didn't realize that it would consume my life and my studies would suffer. I'm feeling a little better about the entire situation today. The whole situation has made me appreciation James Blunt's single "Same Mistake" from his latest album. Go listen to it, if you haven't already.

_______________________

I receive numerous campaign emails from the major Democratic presidential candidates daily. A day or so ago I received an email that mentioned the position former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has in the Obama campaign--National Co-Chair. With Ray Mabus. Go figure! I'm not an Obama supporter, if I had to choose I'd go with Biden at this point, but I am a huge fan of Daschle. I have been since I was in junior high school. The email has really made me think about what endorsements mean. Does it change your opinion of a candidate based on the endorsements they receive? Can you like Obama more with Oprah behind him? Hillary with...hmm...Bill? Huckabee or Romney with the Big Man behind them? I mean, really, what does an endorsement mean? If it really mattered, I suppose I'd back Obama because of Daschle. I could potentially back Hillary with Dolores Huerta backing her. I'm sure there are plenty of other reasonable endorsements of each of the candidates. I just don't see how much it matters. Too bad Daschle isn't running...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ah, Invincibility

You know those kinds of decisions that are followed by relief or regret? I made one of those decisions Friday. Surprisingly, the decision was immediately followed by neither relief nor regret.

Neither relief nor regret. And yet I feel absolutely horrible about the entire situation. Go figure. Not a life or death situation. Far from it. However, it was a decision a didn't want to make.

Vague, isn't it? It is a hard position to find yourself in when you realize you are not capable of accomplishing absolutely everything. There are simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything an ambitious, curious person would like to accomplish. There are limits. Humans are not invincible. We are, at times, inadequate.

Having said all this for the sake of getting it off my chest, I sure wish I could feel some sort of relief. No relief to be had.

However, I have joined a book club. I may in my lifetime actually read in its entirety Tolstoy's War & Peace. There is a feat and hopefully an accomplishment I can tout at some point in my future.

I have learned the difference between a grasshopper and a cricket. Never in a million years did I think when I signed on to process the Stallings papers that I would spend an actual thought trying to understand the difference. And, I never knew people could be upset about such creatures.

Also of importance in a list of accomplishments--I stayed out of the great blog war today.

Ah, invincibility.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday Snapshot


Smorgasbord Saturday

Interesting piece by Tom Paine caught my eye--probably since Jayson Ronk's sister is a good friend of mine and his parents live here in town and are, dare I say, not so conservative.

Went to the Big & Rich concert tonight (last night) at the Holt Arena. I still call it the Minidome like most people that knew it before the naming rights happened. Bad place for a concert, but if there is any performer that truly is better live it has to be Big & Rich. Amazing energy. As I sat there I couldn't help but notice those around me. Let's just say that I am not the target audience/demographic for Big & Rich. First of all, I have a college education. Second, I don't have a conservative bone in my body. Third, I hate horses and am not too fond of cowboys. Fourth, well, you see where I am going with this. However, I started liking Big & Rich when I realized they are all about breaking down walls in musical genres. They're out-of-control country artists who dance around on stage with glitter and top hats. I love top hats. And, something I knew from early on about them is that they have a real appreciation for those who have sacrificed for our country. Their "8th of November" was a highlight of the concert. It was followed by an impromptu singing of "God Bless America" both in honor of the veterans in the audience and Pearl Harbor Day. I'm not on the same page with them politically, but we're all Americans. My two favorite songs of theirs ("Holy Water" and "Faster Than Angels Fly") were not part of the concert, but all in all I have no complaints. I wish ISU could attract concerts, but given the poor musical environment Holt Arena provides and the lack of real interest, we don't get very many. In the last four years I have seen Blessid Union of Souls, Blues Traveler, Switchfoot, Better Than Ezra, Lovedrug, Ryanhood, The Format, Quietdrive, Royal Bliss, and a few others. Again, can't really complain.

This post probably seems light on politics given the highly charged political atmosphere both here and nationwide. The Idaho State Board of Education met at ISU this week to discuss the possibility of a medical school, among other things. Former Arkansas Governor Huckabee has picked up steam in the Iowa polls. Mitt Romney gave one of the worst speeches I have heard in my life this week in a failed attempt to explain his religion to a curious nation. Obviously, we are living in very political times. I'm just not feeling particularly political today.

Two and a half hours of sleep in the past seventy-two isn't doing much for my mental power. It has been a rough week on campus as I've come face to face with the realization of my inadequacies and the simple fact that there simply are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that must be accomplished. I might say more about this later on, once the whole situation sets in, but I may not. It's not every day I find myself completely lacking words, but right now I just am with this. Give it time. I keep telling myself that. Maybe a few more times and I'll believe it.

For those of you interested, there is a History Channel special airing this weekend with Tom Brokaw.

Interesting bits of news out of Major League Baseball. I mentioned earlier in the week the fantastic trade the Tigers made. Bonds plead not guilty to perjury. Andruw Jones looks to be on his way to the Dodgers. I can handle this only if Kent is staying put and Furcal is in the lineup and at least it is still the National League. Kaz Matsui is headed to Houston. The Florida Marlins may be falling apart at the seams. Lo Duca might be headed to the Blue Jays (aka the final resting place of some of the games greatest athletes). Jason Kendall, one of the games best active catchers, is headed to the Brew Crew. Still the question of whether Cameron, Piazza, Bonds, or Sandy Alomar, Jr., will be in any lineup. Aaron Boone has continued his long fall from the spotlight as he signed with the Nationals this week. Since Andruw has to leave Atlanta, I can't request he stay, but my one request for the upcoming season is this: Let Julio Franco play! If the man wants to play until he is fifty, put him in a lineup until August 23rd. That's all I ask. Let the man play. And, don't forget he is still a better pinch runner than most guys half his age!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Politics of Paper

Earlier today I noticed a comment following a post at Red State Rebels that merely fed an ongoing annoyance of mine. Opponents of Hillary Clinton don't seem to understand the circumstances surrounding her papers and still are jumping to the conclusion that the delayed release of these materials is a dishonest attempt on the part of the Clintons to preserve their legacy or protect their reputations (or even her bid for the White House). Please do not misunderstand this as any sort of defense of Mrs. Clinton, I assure you it is not.

First, I cannot claim to know what materials are in fact housed in the Clinton Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas, nor can I claim that there is nothing contained within that library that would in any way embarrass the Clintons. However, I can speak to the condition of presidential, congressional, or otherwise political papers. They are not in any working order that would allow a researcher to locate and use any particular material in a timely fashion until much time has past since the donor has left office.

What does that mean? Well, let's take for example Senator Strom Thurmond's papers housed at Clemson, all 3,500 cubic feet of them. Clemson lists the collection under their Special Collections department and of the 3,500 cubic feet donated in portions beginning in 1981 and ending around Thurmond's death, the only portion of the collection available to the public via their website is the collection of speeches from Thurmond's political career ranging from 1935-1983. Of the thirty-two series (portions of the collection), only twenty-three are available to the public at the Clemson library. I am assuming that the rest is still being processed. For those of you that, like me, were unable to comprehend what 3,500 cubic feet means the Clemson site lists the collection as follows:

3,500 cu. feet (on 950 shelves) of manuscript material; 10,000 photographs; audio-visual material, computer tapes, cartoons and certificates; 25 bound volumes; 211 rolls of microfilm; and over 3,000 artifacts.

Taking into the account that the majority of Thurmond's career spanned a period when technology was not the "keeper of records" that it is today, I cannot fathom the amount of paper contained in that collection.

Now, realizing that Thurmond offered the first donation to Clemson in 1981, twenty-six years ago, and its processing has had at the minimum a full-time political manuscript archivist, a full-time staff, and numerous student interns as well as volunteers, it is still not all that surprising that the entire Thurmond Collection is not available to the public and still requires processing.

Thurmond's papers were not bogged down in issues of security clearances, classified material, and sensitive legal materials. Also, Clemson's library more than likely saw this as their number one priority and most valuable collection (with John Calhoun's a close second). In contrast, the National Archives and Records Administration, responsible for the processing, preservation, and stewardship of the Clinton papers, is responsible for approximately fifteen presidential libraries across the nation, including that of four-term occupant of the White House Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Simple math and common sense concludes that given the approximate time of donation (January 2000 when leaving the White House), size of the collections contained therein, and security/privacy considerations (declassification, restrictions, and closures), the Clinton papers will take a substantially longer period of time to process than Thurmond's papers or any other set of political papers.

Yes, one can make the argument that Thurmond was in office for much longer than President Clinton. Yes, one can say that the papers in question are only those of former First Lady Hillary R. Clinton. Yes, one can argue that things have changed since Thurmond's donation (I'm talking positively about the Presidential Records Act of 2007 and Freedom of Information Act, negatively about President Bush's Executive Order 13233).

No, none of these things support the constant criticism Hillary Clinton's campaign is receiving due to the lack of accessibility and release of some of her papers as first lady.

It takes years to process political papers. Define process? Sure. Cleaning them up, removing staples, detaching sticky notes, removing all materials incompatible with the acid-free environment required to preserve these historic documents. Then there is the organizing, the chronological ordering, alphabetizing, topical arrangement. Processing takes years. None of these things are deterred by the process of declassification that must come next. The red tape of bureaucratic Washington takes years. Declassification of one item on a military exercise that took place in 1993 could take years. It's a time consuming ordeal.

I guess my annoyance with this constant commentary on the dishonesty of the Clintons because Hillary's campaign isn't pushing harder for all of her papers to be available to the public is justified in my knowledge of what it takes to complete a political manuscript collection. I guess my annoyance is that Americans that hear this banter on television about her papers won't know what the real story is behind it, but rather will take at face value the statements of her opponents when they claim that this matter of her papers is directly linked to her trying to deceive the American voters.

There is nothing glamorous about archives and there is certainly nothing speedy about archivists.

When Barack Obama goes on the Sunday news shows and says he has a problem with her not making her papers public and then responds to the question about his papers while serving in the state legislature with the comment that they just didn't keep that stuff and he kept his own schedule, I want to shout at the top of lungs of the injustice of not preserving history.

Give her a break, guys. She can't rush the archival process any more than a pig could decide to fly.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hello, Detroit!

Holy moses! I can't quite believe what is being reported at MLB.com this evening. Willis and Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers? This adds a superb pitcher (I've had Dontrelle Willis on my fantasy teams for several years running) to a mix that included the best catcher in baseball, Pudge Rodriguez. Willis and Rodriguez!! I just can't quite think of anything I would like to see more than that set up. And Cabrera? How can you lose with that bat in the lineup? Not to mention his fielding skills. Sweet!

Add these two to a roster that already includes Palanco, Justin Verlander, Maglio Ordonez, Jeremy Bonderman, and Pudge. Hell yeah! Plus, two former Braves (Mackay McBride and Edgar Renteria) joined up recently. Contenders? I think so.

Sure makes me wish I were a bigger fan of Detroit and even the American League!

Sen. Fred Thompson v. D.A. Arthur Branch

When Fred Thompson announced he was leaving Law & Order to pursue the presidency of the United States, I laughed. Then when TNT announced they would be pulling episodes from their schedule that featured Thompson prominently as New York district attorney Arthur Branch, I thought they were overreacting to the fact that Thompson was in fact running for the presidency.

Really, as an actor Fred Thompson has played Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew Jackson. If Arthur Branch were a real person and not the fictional character he is, he would be the first Republican district attorney of New York since Thomas Dewey. The conservative nature of Thompson is entirely obvious, so what is the point in pulling Law & Order episodes with him in them at this stage of the game?

The point is, Arthur Branch is likable. Unlike the man who plays him, people from both sides of the political spectrum can get behind Branch. Fictionally he is conservative, with little want or respect for any constitutional rights to privacy and usually supports capital punishment. However, unlike most conservatives, he is thoughtful when it comes to abortion rights even though he philosophically does not support women's rights to seek out and have abortions. He doesn't appear to be anti-gay, or at least this is what the episode with him firing ADA Southerlyn would have us believe (the one where Serena asks if she is being fired because she is a lesbian). While serving over Jack McCoy, Branch did little to actually reign McCoy in, despite the liberal tendencies of McCoy. Unlike his alter ego Fred Thompson, Arthur Branch seems to not only understand the political nature of the law, but plays well with others in that political realm. This is no more evident than when ADA Novak subpoenaed Donald Rumsfeld on SVU and Branch flipped his lid. Even then, Branch was likable.

Why is it essential for TNT and NBC to pull re-runs of episodes featuring Fred Thompson? It is simple--Americans watch scripted television far more often than they do the news. The chances of an American catching an episode with Arthur Branch far outnumber the chances of that same American watching the Republican debates with Fred Thompson. Therefore, the chances of an American being tricked into voting for Thompson because they think they're voting for a guy with the political and intellectual integrity of Branch exponentially increase.

If I were voting in the Republican primary and a guy like Arthur Branch were running, I'd vote for him. He would seem the most sensible of the candidates, even without knowing his position on immigration, taxes, or any of the other issues the candidates are ranting about. How could you not vote for a straight-shooting, thoughtful, loyal, intellectual, law (and Constitution) abiding man with a southern drawl and superb one-liners?

Now digest that last sentence again taking into account that Arthur Branch is only a character, carefully scripted and created to be all of those things. Would you vote for a guy playing Branch who is few, if any, of those things? I wouldn't.

When I hear about TNT and NBC pulling episodes from the schedule featuring Fred Thompson as D.A. Arthur Branch on any of the Law & Order franchise shows, I don't laugh any more. It is a serious business, the business of preventing Americans from being hoodwinked into voting for a guy who is nothing like the persona they are acquainted with. At 3 a.m. when I can't sleep and am watching Law & Order re-runs on three different channels, I wouldn't hesitate to vote for Branch. However, I'd be voting for the persona, not the actor who cleverly is hiding behind that persona. TNT and NBC better get cracking.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

More often than not, I find myself irritated with Orson Scott Card these days. I should say my appreciation of his site Uncle Orson Reviews Everything has been on a downhill slide since he criticized one of my favorite authors, James Patterson, and his recent statement about being the exact audience to buy Clarence Thomas' memoir didn't help his cause. However, in this recent posting of his he comments on something that I have found myself wondering about more and more lately--copyright infringement on the internet and in email. A couple of days ago I received an email from a friend who does not generally send forwards which was followed my another email apologizing for the hoax. Hmm. Seems there is an entire site devoted to this sort of thing.

Somewhat overlooked this past week was Senator Leahy's rejection of President Bush's claim to executive privilege on the U.S. attorney firings. Bush, apparently trying to protect Josh Bolton and Karl Rove, has claimed executive privilege when subpoenas for information related to the firings were handed down to the White House. Surprisingly, Specter sided with Leahy on this matter. So far I haven't seen that this particular position on the part of Leahy and Specter is going anywhere, but it will be interesting to see what may come of it.

A few days ago at Left Side of the Moon, I noticed a post on the Special Olympics funding that fell through with no attempt to salvage it on the part of Congressman Bill Sali. Within that post is a lengthy quote from our other congressman, Mike Simpson, discussing why he voted to override President Bush's veto of the legislation that contained the necessary funding for the World Winter Games to be held in Idaho. What struck me was the other Idaho funding that was lost--Simpson points out a community detox center for Boise, NNU's nursing facility equipment, and a program to provide dental care for low-income, uninsured children in Idaho. Well, well. Mike Simpson, D.D.S. voted against his president and his party on a bill that would have brought funding to a program supported by his family's business and his former occupation. Interesting. And yet again I find myself in a position to point out that Idaho's congressional delegation hasn't spent a whole lot of time worrying about the financial status of Special Olympics of Idaho until recently when the possibility of bringing the world games to Idaho lit up dollar signs in their dreams. So, I wasn't too surprised to find out that Simpson voted to override the veto on a piece of legislation far more important to his business interests than to his sense of compassion and support for one of Idaho's greatest organizations. Frankly, I'm tired of not being surprised.

In baseball news, Torii Hunter, the phenom from the Twins who plays outfield almost as well as Willie Mays did, is headed to the City of Angels to wear red. No news on the fate of Andruw Jones yet.

This past week I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Tom McDevitt. Bonus points to you Idaho history nerds who might know why I was pleased to meet Tom. He just happened to find his way into ISU's Special Collections and there I was working away on the Stallings Collection. Fate, I tell you. Alright, so not everyone could be so pleased to have this chance encounter, but boy oh boy I was happy!

Other news on the home front--I will be traveling the week between Christmas and New Years and am quite happy about that. Arkansas and Texas. Sweet! I figure at the rate the Stallings Collection is progressing right now I am going to need a serious vacation. I need one now, I just can't swing it. And there's this voice over my shoulder that keeps saying I need to pass my classes this semester. Oh, wait, that's no voice over my shoulder that's my academic advisor and my boss speaking. I suppose I ought to listen.