ANWR, Secret Prisons, and a Judge

Things seem to be a continuous cycle of interesting things.  The blessings and opportunities of rubbing shoulders with the powerful men of the world is instructive.  The office has provided a great opportunity for these things.  I am shocked though how it appears that I am always in the right place at the right time.  There are those in the office who seek out to put themselves in positions so they will have the opportunity of meeting those who they know will come through the office.  There are those who always seek the spotlight and will do about anything for it.  I don’t mean to sound diminutive, we all have our quirks.  This one just seems to annoy me at times though.  Since I have this impatience, I find myself laughing when I end up in the right places by coincidence and they do not.  I know, this is a form of pride, puffing myself up.  Something I must work at deconstructing.  I do not say anything of it though, so in a sense I keep it locked away and find that very pleasing as well.  Unlike the person of whom I speak, I don’t have to broadcast my thoughts and meetings to the world.  Saying this, aren’t we all full of irony?  Commenting about how I don’t have to share with the world, and then I place it in my blog.  I hope that I can keep the pride in check and not sound off in a way that is condescending.  Hopefully I can share the truth of my privileges without saying I am better.  There is always such a fine line in all things, what is right and wrong.  Silence benefits nobody, yet preaching seems to turn away as well.  The middle, temperance is always to be sought, but I struggle on knowing where that territory is placed, and if I am staying in it.
Jarrett had to make a run to the Capitol and I was asked to take the phones in his place.  While I was there answering phones, I was made aware of the fact that the Supreme Court Nominee, Samuel Alito would be paying a visit to Senator Smith that afternoon.  I thought it was interesting and found myself excited as the press began to accumulate outside our door.  Surely, I was on watch when he came into the office.  Genny greeted him, we shook his hand, and I invited him to have a seat as Genny went to get the Senator.  I commented in the blog about how I felt distinctly impressed I felt with Judge Roberts at his hearing and after I met him briefly in the Senator’s office.  After he sat down I went back to typing my e-mail on my computer.  I did not wish to be another soul who just looked.  Former Senator Dan Coates began speaking with him and he laughed.  I looked up to see him laugh and watched for a moment the expression of his face.  His humility and quiet way struck me as good.  With all the press and stories of Judge Alito in the press, one never knows how one should think, but I was impressed with this man.  It was an honour to have met him.
The next day I was asked to give a tour for a group of students from the Portland area.  Their tour guide was from Charlottesville and I got her information.  She agreed to give me a tour of Charlottesville the next time I visit.  Their teacher, and her mother, were both wonderful individuals.  I came to find out they were LDS and the teacher had met her husband in Logan at Utah State.  Small world isn’t it?  As we were giving our tour, I was explaining the Senate Rotunda when a group of individuals were sneaking behind my group.  I recognized Judge Alito in the group and watched him slide pass unnoticed.  It was after he was down the hallway approaching the Senate Chamber that I pointed out to my group who he was.  Again, that impressed me with his willingness to sneak quietly past.
It was a great contrast when we were waiting from the tram back to Russell that my group was waiting at the dock.  The students had come alive and finally responded to the tour.  They were excited.  After all, they had seen the Senate vote and remain waiting for another vote.  The Senate proved to busily engaged for them and they felt some of what was happening before them.  Still talking about it, Senator John Kerry came down the escalator.  I knew Senators had priority and attempted to move my group so he could get by.  However, moving 15 high school students is not an easy thing.  Very abruptly Senator Kerry just pushed right on through the group.  I was not impressed by this at all.  Despite that, I found it very amusing to see the faces and expressions of the students as they realized who was pushing them around.  One boy’s mouth literally fell open.  While some did not know what his name was, they recognized him and were giddy about that.
As a little extra note, we arrived at the elevators in the basement of Russell and waited.  As we rounded the corner I saw Senator Jeffords coming, so I hit the button for the Senator’s Only and the elevator opened.  I suppose to save face, he invited some of the students to ride up the otherwise elevator.  Arriving at the top, they were excited to have shaken hands and rode an elevator with another Senator.  It was a good day.
Later on that day, I had to run something to the floor for Senator Smith.  It was a late night.  The man at the reception desk in the Senate Reception Room was not there.  So I waited.  This man walked up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder asking if I was waiting for him.  I turned around and informed Senator Sessions I was not there for him.  He chit chatted with me for a minuted and then somebody pulled him aside.  I watched for a moment thinking what an opportunity this was to be in this room when somebody started talking to me from my right.  I had to let Senator Snowe that what I had was not for her.  For some reason, she is smaller than I thought she was.  She excused herself and finally the reception man came back and took my notes and parcel to Senator Smith.  I then walked back to the basement for the tram back to Russell.  I sat in the tram and this little disheveled lady sat beside me to ride back.  Senator Mikulski instructed me that I was not to ride with her.  I apologized and removed myself from the tram.  After the two good experiences, then to have that one.  Funny how different people are, even in the United States Senate.
Well, that is my brush with those of name.  They are all so different from each other.  Senator Smith is nice one on one, otherwise very silent normally.  The interns all had ourselves shot with him on Thursday.  I don’t really care about the photos, I knew it is something I should have for later in life.  I won’t care any more, but I know Amanda would shoot me (not with a camera) if I could have but did not.
The rest of the week has been very occupied.  I had several projects dumped on me.  I continue to do research on a variety of subjects.  However, they were all trumped by the Washington Post story about the CIA having secret prisons.  This kept us busy in doing some research into congressional records and statements by various people.  It also dealt with some very interesting phone calls.  It is odd sometimes what the response is for some people when you comment you are from a United States Senator’s office.  Some instantly shut down, others open up and always tell far too much.  Fascinating.
This week has been quite the struggle over ANWR.  Last week, the Senate voted to keep it in the Budget Resolution.  This week the House removed it from the bill and removed the whole bill in frustration.  However, it looks lik ANWR might have been protected at least for another little while.  Whos knows what next week could bring.  It is always this constant struggle.
Anyhow, this week has proved very instructive to me in goverment as a whole.  Everything always has another side to it, whether it is right or wrong is not the question, but can we see the other side.  Only when we can understand the other side can we make any determination whether what is right and wrong.  This seems very applicable to all aspects of life.  Always learn the opposing view, and from that perspective work back to your own.  You will always be much for effective in understanding and in your reasoning that way.  Well, until next time…
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2 thoughts on “ANWR, Secret Prisons, and a Judge

  1. Paul,I didn\’t have time to read this post but I just wanted to wish you a "Happy Thanksgiving" over there in DC.By the way, the pictures from the cemetary are beautiful, I will never forget what it was like to visit that place, it certainly gives us something to be truly thankful for.Brock

  2. Well Paullyanna, It sounds like you have had an interesting week.. If it were me, I would have tripped John Kerry, and since you were in a big group he would never have known who did it. Especially since he acted like a jerk to you and the kids. (or at least that was my take on the situation.) How was your Turkey Day, plentiful I hope. Gained at least 12 lbs.. Heaven knows you need a little meat on your bones…lol j/kTalk to you later.Meg

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