As the Congress returns this week, it appears that there are two Senate confirmation hearings that will receive a great deal of media attention.
First up is Robert Gates’ confirmation as the new Defense Secretary. Most analysts suggest that Gates will be confirmed easily, if not after a few hard questions from the (current) minority on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I was listening to the Diane Rehm show this morning on my way to work, and the consensus appeared to be that Rumsfeld has to go, and Gates is the person that will make that happen. The more I read about Gates, the more I’m confident that a new direction will in fact occur under his leadership.
The second confirmation hearing will be John Bolton’s position as Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton was appointed by President Bush as a recess appointment, which means he has to be confirmed now, or never. Recess appointments expire at the beginning of new congressional sessions. Given it is unlikely that the Senate will confirm his appointment, it appears that Bolton will be out of that job in January 2007. Of course, one may speculate that he will be reappointed during the next recess of the Senate (which would keep him in the job until January 2009.)
Either way, both of these hearings will be interesting to watch given the recent election results.
Tuesday on NPR, I was driving to work, I was listening to the Diane Rehm show (with guest host Susan Page) and an interview with Lisa Takeuchi Cullen who has written a book on new and wacky death rites called, “Remember Me.” The interview covered some of the stories that Cullen has written about ways people want to be remembered after they have died. They ranged from caskets in the shape of Formula One racing cars to mummification. What really sparked my interest was the story of a father who turned his daughter’s ashes into diamonds. Yes, there is a company – Life Gem – that extracts the carbon from the ashes of someone who has been cremated and processes them into a certified diamond (normally blue or yellow). How cool is that!
Continue reading “Diamonds are Forever”
Monday while driving from Denton, I heard this commentary from this girl who, according to the NPR site:
is a high school student with an online journal. Her mother reads the journal — but Bly thinks she shouldn’t.
The piece covers a little about the phenomena of MySpace, and how parents are connecting online to this network to keep an eye on their kids (in particular, this girl’s mother).
As I was listening to this, I decided to jot myself a note (which I’ve just found) and blog about this. One, I applaud parents for getting involved with their child’s online activities; it’s what parents should do. Secondly, as you listen to this piece you realize the potential for parent’s to understand their children more by reading their online journals. And, C. (This is directed at the “youngings”) If you don’t want your parents to read your journal, don’t post them online for the world to see.
As my very wise friend Ian commented, it’s the equivalent of writing a journal, and then pasting the pages on your front door (his words were more descriptive, but it was the best a mind could do after consuming a number of glasses of wine).
Side note: I hadn’t heard that MySpace had overtaken Google and Yahoo as the most visited site (which apparently happened a week or so ago).
I was listening to NPR the other day, and they were discussing the insanity defense being used by Andrea Yates attornies (a defense that appears to have worked). After listening to this, I was left wondering – what is the apparent connection of “doing God’s work” and insanity. Yates, by her own admission, said that she needed to protect her children “from damnation” as she apparently had a vision that indicated that at least two of her children were on a pathway towards sin. In November 2004, a mother who cut off her baby’s arms in God’s name, as she wanted to give her children to God (she was later found not guilty by reason of insanity), and earlier that year, another woman from East Texas was found not guilty (by insanity) by bashing in the heads of two of her children with rocks (again, by carrying out God’s will). The women’s attempted to murder her third child, but according to the mother, he just “wouldn’t die.”
On NPR today, I heard a brief update on an interesting article in The Boston Globe, by Charles Savage, about President Bush’s claim to have the authority to disregard over 750 laws that have been enacted since he took office. In the article, Bush is reported to assert that “he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.”
Further in the article, “Many legal scholars say they believe that Bush’s theory about his own powers goes too far and that he is seizing for himself some of the law-making role of Congress and the Constitution-interpreting role of the courts.”
Interesting read. Helps explain some of the reasons about issues that have been in the press recently.