Thursday, July 26, 2007

So who is the greatest Prime Minister of Great Britain?

Barney Gumble says is Lord Palmerston. Wade Bogss thinks it is Pitt the Elder. So what do you all think? I know who my choice is: Francis Urquhart!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How Did I Miss This One?

Hat Tip has to go to Virtucon for this one. It would seem that the Fairfax County Library system has decided it is time to overhaul the stacks and shelves in each library to help make room for new books. As a person who worked in a library for four years, I know for a fact that trying to get more room for new books is a tricky thing to do, especially when the walls for a room are set and only a certain number of shelves can exist is a degree of space.

As a result, some books have to be pulled in order to help make room. It would seem though that libraries have decided that the opinion of Oprah Winfrey and her book club is more important than having such titles as The Aeneid, Jane Eyre, The Sound and the Fury, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

While not every book is going to necessarily be read, there are occassions where one may need an old title from a library. According to some folks, patrons of a library can do an ILL (Inter Library Loan) and the title they want can be found within a week. Problem with a county ILL is that if the entire county gets rid of a book, then you got to go elsewhere in the state, then surrounding states, and then the country.

There is always the option of buying a book, but students are not going to go out of their way to buy a book they are suppossed to read. They would sooner spend their money on Cliffnotes and "read" their books that way.

I think the real problem we are facing now with a situation like this is that a generation of lazy students, who in turn into a generation of lazy adults, is beyond the beginning stages and moving into full fledge motion. Sources like the internet, and especially Wikipedia, have made some people believe that if you cannot find the information online, then it must not exist.

There is something to be said about the old, look it up, mentality. If you research a project by doing the investigation and reading a book, you discover there is more than meets the eye. A research paper can take on a new direction simply by reading an extra paragraph or two in a book.

So how do we save classic books fro disappearing and other books which have social relavance from going to the wind? I for one think it is high time libraries be used for the purpose of education once agian and rid themselves of books which can otherwise be found at a local bookstore.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ghost and Graveyard Tours

Recently I got involved with the Alexandria Colonial Tour company based, obviously, in Alexandria. Wednesday through Sunday, the company will take you out and walk the streets of Alexandria telling a variety of stories about those who died and decided not to leave the area.

There is lots of fun to be had and you get to meet some great personalities while out on the tours. I highly suggest coming out to taking a a tour and when October rolles around it is even better because Halloween is just around the corner!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pelosi vs. Sheehan: It Could Happen

Cindy Sheehan has announced that if Nancy Pelosi does not file Articles of Impeachment against President Bush, then she (Sheehan) will run against the Speaker in November 2008 as an Independent. Sheehan's belief is that Pelosi has let down those who worked to get the Democrats back in control of Congress after twelve years of sitting as the back benchers.

As I look at this situation, I have to admit being a government teacher does give me a little bit of insight as to what the problems of this situation is. First, lets look at this from Pelosi's point of view. For the Speaker, she has to not only act as the head of her party in Congress, but needs to keep things moving forward in the country. She claims that July will be a month of action when it comes to Iraq, but considering the track record of a Democratically controlled Congress thus far, one has to wonder. As near as I can tell, Congress has YET to have a five day work week. In addition to that, the amount of pork barrel legislation that has gone through Congress does not appear to have slowed down at all. Finally, we have the debacle of the Immigration Reform bill. In addition to this, we have a new problem for Democrats: grassroot supporters with their own agendas.

Let's be honest here, there were a lot of people here in Virginia who tried to rally to break a number of Republican strongholds. Once the Democrats who got elected into office were seen, it was very notable to discover that CONSERVATIVE Democrats got elected overwhelmingly compared to LIBERAL Democrats. Reason? Because this country is a lot more conservative than I think some folks out there are willing to admit to. While it is clear that there are those who fall on one side of the track or the other, the fact still remains that the middle of the country has some areas of conservatism that runs deeper than other areas. Once the Democrats showed that they were going to have to work with Republicans, or that not every Democrats was going to march in line behind the others, the grassroots movement folks decided to complain and take issue with their former figureheads.

Now we get to Sheehan. For the mother of a fallen soldier, her story is one that a number of families have suffered through over the years. However, I think the problem here is that she doesn't quite understand the ways in which politics work. She is flat out saying that unless something is done, she is going to take action against those who did not do as she said. Sound familiar? Terrorists like to make demands of us and then threaten to attack.

Now, I am not comparing Sheehan to terrorists, so please do not accuse me of that. I am trying to draw a parallel. The problem Sheehan has is that she is literally a one trick pony. If placed in a debate against Pelosi and Republican challenger, she will get destroyed in the debate. In addition to that, President Bush will not be much of a whipping horse to deal with. Democrats will likely have either Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama as their standard bearer in 2008. Depending on the support that Democrats can get from their potential presidential leader, I think Pelosi will not have any problems getting re-elected.

Sheehan's primary issue, Iraq, will need to remain an area of contention and something she can exploit for over a year. While San Fransisco is exceptionally liberal, I think voters are not going to vote for Sheehan because her lack of experience and knowledge as to what to do in a political realm will be exposed very quickly. In addition to this, an Independent candidate has the biggest mountain to climb. Unless Sheehan can get enough monetary and popular support early and sustain it, the odds are against her in making even the biggest of ripples in a political pool.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

North and South

One of the greatest miniseries of all time. I have got to find some time to watch the whole thing again. And VH1 got it right: I slavery is wrong and everything, but how can you possibly root against the South? They got Patrick freakin Swayzee!!!!!!!!