Your first year goes pretty smoothly. Your leadership is not tested. Then you come to Year 2. As you look at your business plan you realize that you and your co-workers have taken on projects that necessarily will bring out the conflicts between and among you. Never mind herding the cats. Now you are just hoping the cats don't come screeching after you.
Welcome to the world of United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who today begins his second term as the head of High Court. If last term prompted talk of Roberts' ability to bring consensus to the Court, this term is likely to prompt talk of the vast divides between the Justices. Abortion rights. Affirmative Action. Global Warming. Criminal Sentencing. Most of the most contentious issues around these days will come before the Justices this term and in most cases will be decided by a single vote or two. No one will say next June that the Chief Justice's leadership wasn't tested this time out.
For another relative newcomer, Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., the new term gives him a second chance to make a first impression. How different will he be from his beloved predecessor, Sandra Day O'Connor? And how much will those differences matter from case to case? Just a few of the many questions that will be answered when the dust settles, the decisions begin to come, and the law is crafted by the one court in the land from which there is no appeal.
But we're still looking for great questions for Katie. We're gonna tie up the mailbag and carry it home this weekend to pore over the contents. We hope to post the first questions and answers Monday.
To drop a line to our Couric & Co. e-mail, just click on the menu item at the upper left corner of the page. The mailman will do the rest.
incontrovertible(in-kon-truh-VUR-tuh-buhl) adj."There is incontrovertible evidence that breast milk is the best food for babies."
not controvertible; not open to question or dispute; indisputable. Synonyms: incontestable, undeniable, unquestionable.
-- Lori Leibovich, writer and mother and tonight's contributor to "freeSpeech."
First Look: Iraq War
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again."
-- Back in the Saddle Again by legendary singing cowboy Gene Autry, born on this date in 1907.
The song gained a new audience – and a new meaning -- in the movie "Sleepless in Seattle."
CBS Paramount is unloading thousands of costumes and props, stuff that was stuffed away for decades in handful of warehouses around LA. To give us a preview (before the exhibition opens to the public Saturday) they had spent the night uncrating and setting up some of the more iconic items. The only problem: the "vulcan ears" hadn't shown up yet. Traffic had delayed their arrival from the warehouse. I still remember seeing Leonard Nimoy on a talk show 40 years ago showing off his fake pointy ears. I had really hoped to try on a pair, but they didn't make it in time for us.
Christie's is also preparing now for what will be a much more important sale for them: a major auction of Impressionist art that will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. But the staff was clustering around the Star Trek stuff like the props were the real masterpieces. This morning a group of Christie's IT guys came down to check everything out. They gathered around a Star Trek "communicator" and excitedly were comparing it to their cell phones. Forty years ago it was just science fiction, but amazingly Gene Roddenberry got so much right.
The "bridge" from the Enterprise drew the most attention. You could see the jaws drop as the staff walked in the room. It was so big, Christie's almost couldn't fit it in the building. Basically, its a few long pieces of plywood with plastic nobs on it that look like gumdrops, but when you stand in front of it you are literally "transported." Christie's has put a $20-30,000 estimate on it, but they really don't know how high the bidding will go. It's an awesome set piece. It would look great in the rec room, but I couldn't even afford the shipping to get it home.
truculent(TRUCK-yuh-luhnt), adj. 1. Fierce; savage; ferocious; barbarous. 2. Cruel; destructive; ruthless.
Some of the e-mails we get are a tad truculent, too.
But no. The southern drawl gives him away. And something else, too: a clarity of thought and sharpness of attention that gives you the sense that when he listens in an interview, he not only listens, he absorbs. Jim Stewart is that rare bird in the television tree: content to just sit and watch and write and report. Let others preen and show their feathers. He is just a plain old reporter, and that's just fine.
Word came today that Jim is retiring in November, and moving to Florida. Florida's gain is our loss. He is a genuine gentlemen (southern variety) -- decent and courteous and blessed with a loping sort of way about him that makes you think he might be related to Barney Fife. He may also be, in his bones, a newspaper man, which explains a lot. I've known my share of southern-born newspaper-trained folks at CBS -- Bob Schieffer and Fred Graham leap to mind -- and Jim is very much part of that tradition. Thoughtful, sincere, wry. And able to put words together in a way that makes it seem easier than it is.
He's not the Prince of Wales. But he is a kind of royalty. And we'll miss him.