Saturday, January 30, 2010

Smorgasbord Saturday

Another Saturday nearly gone and I haven't accomplished all that I set out to. It's been an unusually long week around here, one that included two days off work for various appointments and rest, yet long enough that I was in bed before nine last night out of complete exhaustion. Oh well...

I've mentioned over the last few months these posts that are in the work. They are, I promise. However, as I've said, a lot of my life right now is dependent on how I feel and how much energy I have. In addition to those restrictions, I have been fairly engulfed in a research project that will hopefully soon see the light of day. None of this is an excuse for not writing about all the things that surely matter and need discussing. One thing at a time.

Before I dive into a bit of commentary on various topics (thus the smorgasbord), I want to direct your attention to post over at The MountainGoat Report. MG has a great post on an interesting expenditure from Walt Minnick's congressional office. Why the italicizing of congressional? Because everything points to the expense being campaign related. It's unfortunate that the mainstream media, progressive bloggers and genuine Democrats in this state aren't outraged by what is taking place in Minnick's office. Unfortunate isn't a strong enough word--irritating as hell is how I really feel about this. Go read the post.

If you haven't bookmarked Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour's blog "Notes From the Floor," please do so. I had forgotten since the last legislative session how wonderful a writer Senator LeFavour is and how much I appreciated her take on the daily happenings in the statehouse.

I used to subscribe to three publications--Newsweek, The Historian, and Smithsonian. My subscription to Newsweek expired recently and I haven't renewed because of a couple of things. The most prominent reason being that almost everything that turns up in Newsweek I hear about either on MSNBC or from what I read in the Washington Post. I know this is because of the parent company and all the connections, but it bothered me that there were few sections in the magazine that I looked forward to. They got rid of the section I really liked (Life In Books) and now have several one-page essays from commentators I hear from elsewhere (like Eugene Robinson and Howard Fineman) or don't want to hear from at all (George Will). Next, my subscription to Smithsonian will be expiring fairly soon and my hangup with this publication is that so much of it is online. This has to be happening to a great deal of publications--either they go completely online with their own websites or their articles are available somehow on other sites. But why? I'm perfectly happy writing a check to the Smithsonian network, but I'm a poor college student and if I can something for free online, why shouldn't I? Does anybody else wonder about this? I took a look at a full essay from the New Yorker today online at no cost also. At least I know with The Historian that my dues are going toward scholarships for other students like myself who are part of the Phi Alpha Theta honors society.

Want to look at some infrastructure pictures? You're thinking boring, I'm sure, but I ran across this piece called "The 19 most complex and dangerous roads in the world" today and I was fascinated. I was a fairly paranoid child and anytime we went camping I was sure our car was going to go rolling down the mountain. My paranoia has decreased as I've stayed on paved roads and whatnot, but from time to time I awake in a cold sweat after dreaming I had to drive myself out of the DFW airport and was eternally lost. After reading this piece I feel much better about roads!

I feel an obligation as an historian, a United States historian especially, to note the passing of Howard Zinn. Rory O'Connor, the author of Shock Jocks, had a great piece about the passing of Zinn that I wanted to link to. As a history junkie kid, I coveted Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Come to think of it, I still don't own a copy, but that book really is the most read history of this country and one that holds firm as a reliable historical source.

Oddly, J.D. Salinger died this week, too. I could say quite a bit about Holden Caulfield, but I won't.

Is there something in the water in Canyon County? I've been reading about the new illegal immigration laws that are being discussed in the statehouse and I just don't get it. Just because Robert Vasquez isn't in the news doesn't mean hatred for immigration is gone. We are slashing school funding, leaving thousands of Idahoans jobless, and turning our backs on poverty in this state, but dammit, we need to do something about illegal immigration NOW! I just don't get it.

Another Saturday nearly gone...

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