Archive for November, 2004

Jennings Loses

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Unbelievable. After 74 consecutive wins, Ken Jennings, the all time winningest Jeopardy contestant, has finally been defeated by Nancy Zern. It’s going to be hard to watch Jeopardy without Ken. I guess there’s always the tournament of champions…..

Jennings Loses

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Unbelievable. After 74 consecutive wins, Ken Jennings, the all time winningest Jeopardy contestant, has finally been defeated by Nancy Zern. It’s going to be hard to watch Jeopardy without Ken. I guess there’s always the tournament of champions…..

This One Goes Out to the Ones I Love

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

The past few years have been good to me. Sure, some bad things happened, but they pale in comparison to all the good that has befallen me. As of December 10, I will be a college graduate. Yes, you read that right – I am actually going to graduate! And while I will probably be back next semester to pursue a minor (I’m a real glutton for pain, you see), this is one of those milestones in life we so often talk about. It seems like only yesterday I was graduating from Harriman High, but that was long ago. I have come far since then.

But I didn’t get here on my own. I wish to dedicate this column to all those who have helped me along the way. You know who you are. I would especially like to recognize the following people, who all helped in their own ways…

First and foremost, thanks to my parents, without whom I would not have been able to attend college. Thanks for teaching me the difference between right and wrong, humility, and for always pushing me to do my best (something I didn’t always do). I can never thank you enough.

To Bethany Stover, thanks for always saying what was on my mind, but I was too timid to say. More importantly, thanks for being a great friend to me, even when I didn’t deserve it. And for not laughing at me during karaoke.

To Nathan Fortner and the legendary Jason Piho for the all nighters and the 3 AM Waffle House runs. There’s no one I’d rather clog my arteries with!

To Samantha Henry, the first friend I made in college, and who is now overseas defending our great nation. We all owe you more than you could ever imagine.

To Paul Boyd – Give me a job when you get elected to Congress!

To Genti Tahiraj, whose story is a source of inspiration to me, and who gave me hope when all seemed bleak. You are going to be the best MD ever!

To Ryan Kirk, one of the few who can truly appreciate my offbeat sense of humor, and whose courage is undisputable. When you become the first woman president (and you will), all Americans will truly be winners.

To Lori Lary, who has taught me more about the “loyal opposition” than anyone, and whose biting wit and keen sense of humor makes me smile. Watching movies at 4 AM when you have an 8 AM class may make for long days, but it was worth every second.

To Sukhmani Singh Khalsa, for all the deep political discussions and funny jokes. You will be famous someday. I guarantee it.

To Christy Cagle, without whom I would still be trying to pass Spanish. ¡Espanol es muy dificil!

To former editor Christy Banks for first hiring me to write columns for the Daily Beacon, and to Brooks Brown and current editor Jason Johnson for feeling I was worth keeping around.

To Bryan Hilbert, who puts me in my place when I’m out of line (which is a fulltime job).

To all the UT College Republicans, whom I have come to know and love. You will change the world for the better.

To Dr. Fitzgerald, whom I consider a mentor, for never refusing to help when I dropped by his office unannounced with an emergency, and who always gave encouragement. UT is a far better institution thanks to you.

To (soon to be) Dr. Jennings, Dr. Piehler, Dr. Miller, Dr. Thomas, and Professor Pope. Academia is well served by professors such as yourselves. Your influence will never die.

Finally, I wish to thank everyone who reads my columns. If not for you, I could never have even written. Hearing from you makes writing worthwhile.

To those who want advice, I can only offer this: Stick to what you believe is right, no matter what. Never lose sight of your moral compass. Never back down when someone tells you that you are wrong. Always be open to new evidence, but remember that right and wrong do not change. If you follow this, you will have the satisfaction of a clear conscious, something too many people cannot enjoy.

In “Friday Night Lights” (the movie), Billy Bob Thorton’s character tells his team, “Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down. I want you to put each other in your hearts forever, because forever is about to happen. Can you live in that moment as best as you can, with clear eyes, with love and joy in your heart? If you can do that, then you’re perfect.” I wouldn’t say “perfect,” but “pretty darn good” would be an apt description.

If you want to keep up with me, drop me an e-mail or check my blog (http://johnnbrown.blogspot.com). Otherwise, I will (hopefully) see you in the spring!

Welcome

Monday, November 29th, 2004

Ryan Kirk has joined the blogosphere!

Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope we all remember how blessed we truly are.

The Streak Continues

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

I caught Jeopardy tonight for the first time in a while, and, lo and behold, guess who was still on there? Yes, Ken Jennings, the guy who has been winning the gameshow since June. I first blogged about him back in early July because I was impressed with his 26 game win streak. The streak now stands at 71.

An internet rumor has it that Jennings loses on the 75th day, which would be next Tuesday. We will find out soon enough if this is true. Here’s hoping it isn’t.

Hilarity

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

The funniest movie ever.

Random Thoughts

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

A few random thoughts on life and the political scene as the semester winds down:

First, a correction from last week’s column. The senior Pennsylvanian Senator’s name is spelled “Specter,” not “Spectre,” as I spelled it. Thanks to the readers who pointed this out to me.

While on the topic of Specter, it appears that he has been put in his place. He now promises to “be good,” and not be an obstructionist when it comes to judicial nominees. Specter has never been much of a Republican (many refer to him as a RINO – Republican In Name Only), but he now promises he will be. We shall see. It’s unfortunate that he can’t be more like the other Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum.

The Oil-for-Food scandal at the UN remains on of the most under reported stories in recent memory. As more evidence amasses that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime had leaders around the world bought off, and as more evidence seems to indicate that top UN leadership were aware of the situation, one would think the story would be hard to ignore. Yet it continues to be swept under the rug.

Why is this? It is easy to blame media bias, and certainly that does play a role. But the Bush Administration has also been silent on the issue. This is unfortunate, because this is a story that needs to be told. Yet, it also shows Bush’s (in this case misguided) effort to preserve warm relations with countries involved. Remember this the next time someone suggests that the Bush Administration scoffs at the world.

Congratulations to Condeleezza Rice, who will become the new Secretary of State. While it is sad to see Colin Powell leave the administration, Condi Rice will be an able and worthy replacement. She has done an outstanding job as National Security Advisor, and America will benefit greatly from her poise and leadership.

The death of Yasser Arafat was an historic, if not unexpected event. He had been rumored to be near death for several days. While many of us have moral qualms about taking pleasure in the death of another human being (and I use the term very loosely here), watching the celebration of his life is sickening. Here is a man who has the blood of thousands on his hands. Here is a man who has lived like a king, while his own people suffer and live in total poverty and despair.

Yet this man was seen as a great leader all over the world. French President Jacques Chirac paid him personal visits in his Paris hospital. President Bush responded to the (at the time, erroneous) news that Yasser Arafat had died by saying “God bless his soul.” It’s hard to imagine him saying something similar about the death of Osama bin Laden. The Palestinian people, who have suffered more than anyone because of Arafat, have been in severe mourning. What is wrong with this picture?

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is one of the few world leaders to tell the truth following Arafat’s death: “I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barack, which involved the Israelis agreeing to 90 per cent of what the Palestinians had wanted.”

One of the sweetest moments of election night was the defeat of Senate Minority Leader Tom Dashle (D-SD). Dashle was seen, justifiably, as an obstructionist. What message does this send to the Senators involved in the filibusters, especially ones from red states? Perhaps now we can see some real cooperation, instead of the minority continuing to bully the majority. And perhaps the majority will finally start to act like the majority.

Governor Phil Bredesen seems to be backing away from his previous pledges to scrap TennCare. He now wants to fix it, something that has been promised for years but as yet to happen. As someone who generally approves of the job Bredesen has done, I am disappointed to hear this. People in all the other states someone get by without this program; why can’t Tennesseans?

Finally, Thursday is Thanksgiving. We as Americans have much to be thankful for, but first and foremost are our servicemen and women, because without them we would have nothing else. We should all remember them in our thoughts and prayers.

Lundy Dies

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

I am saddened by the death of News Sentinel sports writer Gary Lundy. I have been a frequent reader of his columns for a number of years, and always found them to be top notch. He will certainly be missed. R.I.P.

Harberpalooza

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Tyler Harber is at it again.

Via Bethany Stover.