DUing Something

On May 13, the University of Denver hosted TEDxDU, an independently organized TED event.  For the program, I was interviewed as a spotlight video to be shown between speakers.  They just posted it on YouTube.

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As Our Lives Change, Come Whatever, We Will Still Be Friends Forever

Graduation is coming up.  For DU, it is Saturday, June 5, 2010.  Because of the Dual Degree program I am in, I am not technically graduating (I’ll stay an undergraduate for the fifth year).  I am walking with my class though.  As the University of Denver Class of 2010 graduates, I will be forced to say goodbye to some of my closest friends and some of the best people I have met in my life.  I certainly hope that some of these people will still be in Denver with me for at least the next year, but whatever happens, things will change.  I can only hope that we will be friends forever.

I have been trying not to think about any of this because it makes me sad.  I watched How I Met Your Mother tonight though, and the whole “Robots versus Wrestlers” episode was basically about friendship, friend groups, and how things change and people move apart.  It made me start thinking again.

Ted shared a poem titled “Friendship” by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

A ruddy drop of manly blood
The surging sea outweighs,
The world uncertain comes and goes,
The lover rooted stays.
I fancied he was fled,
And, after many a year,
Glowed unexhausted kindliness
Like daily sunrise there.
My careful heart was free again, —
O friend, my bosom said,
Through thee alone the sky is arched,
Through thee the rose is red,
All things through thee take nobler form,
And look beyond the earth,
And is the mill-round of our fate
A sun-path in thy worth.
Me too thy nobleness has taught
To master my despair;
The fountains of my hidden life
Are through thy friendship fair.

He concluded by narrating to his future kids as follows:

Kids, I’d love to tell you that over the years we didn’t all drift apart a little at one time or another.  We don’t mean for it to happen.  But it does.  But no matter what, to this day, come hell or high water, we still all get together every year for Robots Versus Wrestlers.”

While he ends on a light note, the purpose of his quote is not missed.  Even if we do move apart, we can still come back together, be with each other, be there for each other, and celebrate each other just as we always have. 🙂

One graduation song always touches my heart – Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C.  While the song is really about high school, it could also be true to college.  This song always makes me want to cry.

To my good friends: I truly hope that we really will be friends forever!  You mean so much to me!

Three Jews and Six Catholics Walked Into The Supreme Court

Obama is said to have selected Elena Kagan, the current Solicitor General, as his choice to replace Justice John Paul Stevens upon his retirement.

Kagan in 2009; Source: The New York Times

Interestingly, religion plays into Supreme Court nominations.  Obama was considering two Jewish people for the Supreme Court nomination.  Stevens is Protestant – and apparently the only current Protestant Supreme Court Justice.  With Obama’s choice of Kagan, assuming she is confirmed, there will be no Protestant Justice.  This is interesting in the United States, with the country’s White Anglo-Saxon Protestant background.  Perhaps this is a step towards a more diverse country?  I’m sure Obama will be attacked for that one by someone.  Clearly diversity is bad.  Oh wait…

Interestingly, one Rabbi stated “that possibly having no Protestant justice member on the court could be seen as a lack of diversity, but he also stressed that this has more to do with the court having six Catholic justices.”  How ironic.

Kagan is said to have views that are in line with the Jewish community.  That could prove to be good for the Jewish community.  She is also said to be liberal, but fairly moderate.  That should get her Republican support.  I hope that she rules without political bias though, the same way I believe all Supreme Court Justices should.  That may be a little utopian though.

The religious makeup of the Supreme Court has changed dramatically over time.  In 1800, it looked like this:

Source: adherents.com on NPR

And in 2000, before Stevens’ retirement, it looks like:

Source: adherents.com on NPR

According to an author quoted by NPR, “religion is the third rail of Supreme Court politics. It’s not something that’s talked about in polite company”.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the Senate over the next few weeks and what the commentators have to say.