I've been living back on Guam for more than a year and a half now, and while I've become immersed in Guam politics and issues, my knowledge of national or regional politics in the states has taken a hit. While I was living in San Diego for five years while in grad school, I eagerly followed the ideological battles between Democrats and Republicans. This following culuminated in the presidential election in 2008 which ended up consuming my blog for a year.
I used to be able to name 90 of the 100 US Senators and close to a 100 of the members of the House of Representatives. Nowadays however, when I try to recall who is the junior Senator from whichever state, I'm pretty sure I'm just making up whatever name I recall (unless its someone who has been there for ages). For instance, I have no idea how it came up in a conversation, but last fall, a student who had gone to school for a year in Pennslyvania asked him if I knew who the Senators for that state were now. I mistakenly said Arlen Spector and Rick Santorum (who was voted out in 2006). I should have remembered that it was Bob Casey who ousted Santorum, (by a pretty wide margin if I remember correctly), I took a picture of him at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008.
In the past few months as I've been frustrated by the fact that I haven't yet been able to get a full-time, tenure track position at UOG, I've found myself (for the first time in a while) thinking about other options, in other places. If I can't find anything permanent at UOG by the fall, then I will start looking at applying for postdocs or other positions stateside. Its not something I'm excited about, but as much as I love UOG and love Guam, I'm not interested in being taken advantage of in terms of jobs, because I can always be expected to be around.
As I've been thinking about positions in the states, such as which departments might be interested in me as a scholar, I've also started to follow more closely again, politics in the states. Everyday I find myself heading over to Crooks and Liars and Common Dreams each morning, just as I used to when I was back in the states. I've also found myself more and more turning to The Huffington Post for progressive news.
In the past I was sometimes put off by the way the Huffington Post was not just progressive/liberal news, but also incorporated entertainment elements as well. So you would have a great piece written by Robert Reich on one side of the page, and then never before seen photos taken from Facebook about a new alleged Tiger Woods' mistress. Since Obama was elected, the Huffington Post has been given a spot in the White House Press room, and I've seen it (at least in my eyes) become much more engaged on issues, and devising great ways of communicating the news in sometimes funny and sometimes serious ways. I say, despite the fact that it still retains all the sensational aspects.
One of the things that I've seen them master over the past year is the art of the informative slideshow. For instance, on the day the House passed the Health Care Reform bill a few weeks ago, the Huffington Post had a regularly updated slideshow, which broke down the drama and the action of the day into images and text updates. Every hour or half an hour, a new image would appear with a new caption, telling in short, but sweet ways, what was going on. Sometimes however these slideshows are meant to be funny, such as one I came across the other day which featured the top ten "hipster schools" in the US.
The other day, Supreme Court Justice John Stevens announced that he will be retiring very soon. The Huffington Post in order to both honor his legacy and also inform people about it, created a 10 slide slide show of the major court cases which he participated in. I'm pasting the images below.