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When I was a little kid, I used to play with my neighborhood friends out in the front yard. It was the classic suburban neighborhood and we had free roam of the streets. I remember one time we dragged a log out of the woods and put it in the middle of the road so that when cars would try to drive by, they would have to stop and move the log. It was stupid. But we were kids and we loved making adults crazy. After putting the log in the street, we would scamper off to our hiding spot in the woods with uncontainable excitement. What would the driver do! Would they get mad? Would they run over the log? Would they try to come after us? What would be the look on their faces? Oh, the thrills of being a 10-year-old!
Flash back to December 2003. The Senate is celebrating the birthday of Strom Thurmond. Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is at the podium heaping praise on the 100-year-old Thurmond. Lott commends Thurmond's long and distinguished career, noting his dedication to his state and his country. He even goes as far to say that Thurmond would have made a great president of the United States. The drinks were flowing, the audience was laughing, the prehistoric senator looked happy. What Lott didn't realize was that he just kicked off a media firestorm. Lott came to the party as a senator thankful for Thurmond's service. He left as a marked man, labeled by the media as a racist. After all, Thurmond was a segregationist back in the 1940s. A few weeks and many interviews later, Lott resigned from his position as Senate majority leader, disgraced by his irresponsible statement.
In Spain, al Qaeda terrorists bomb a train, killing 200 innocent people. In Israel, two 17-year-old homicide bombers kill themselves and 10 others. In America, a negative commercial is run against John Kerry. Which event had political pundits at each other's throats? It was a 30-second TV commercial - making the furor over the ad wars the most blatant example of a growing callousness toward terrorism.
to turn in this column is rapidly approaching, and like the 'Talking Heads' of 1980s rock fame, I'm on a road to nowhere. You know how it is. The Student Confederation elections are coming up and the candidates, campaigns and editors want something juicy to shake up the race. Well, for a rather clean election (by AU standards) with a number of legitimate candidates, this one just isn't the barnburner of years past.
Social Security. It is a joke, huh? You pay into it your whole life, and then you see just some of it when you retire. It reminds me of a commercial for used cars I used to see back home. "Wow, what a deal!" the woman would exclaim. Thanks, but I'll pass.Ã¿Even if you believe in the original idea of the system, you cannot deny it is now horribly broken. Do the math. Workers pay Social Security, not directly for themselves, but for the seniors retiring today. Prior to World War II, there were approximately 40 payees for every retiree. Today there are three.Ã¿
About a year ago, John Kerry struck me as the strongest potential challenger to President Bush. He was a Vietnam veteran, distinguished senator and levelheaded. He shared initials with another JFK and looked like a president. With Kerry, there were no surprises. He was the Democrat's Democrat, and a safe choice to be the nominee. Ã¿
Wait a minute. You've only read the headline and you're already rolling your eyes! Wipe off the smirk and look back here. This isn't the same old conservative column. You're not going to be offended; you're not going to be disgusted. You're not going to rip the paper to shreds.
It was bound to happen eventually. Soft money's back. And it's bursting onto the political scene through massive loopholes in the broken campaign finance system.