"On this sad day, I am thankful that, at a time when our country was down, and the cause of freedom was in danger, and so many had lost faith in the future, Providence gave to us and to mankind - Ronald Wilson Reagan.
"He was a guy from the Midwest, a lifeguard, an actor, an average fellow in so many ways, who somehow had the guts and the greatness to take command of his times and lead us into a new era of peace and prosperity. And he did it all with a smile, a grace, and a decency that none of us will ever forget.
"So many believed in him because he believed in them. He trusted their common sense, and wanted them, not government, to make decisions for their families and their communities. He respected the work of their hands, and thought they were entitled to keep the fruits of their labor.
"He did not create the modern miracle of our nation's unprecedented prosperity. Far more important, he made it possible for the American people to do the job. Most of all, he liked those people. He liked to see the good in them. And if he hated anything at all, it was the evils that
could crush good people. That was why he scorned Communism - for what it godlessly did to human beings created in the image of God. And so, he ended it. And generations yet unborn will marvel at the way this man's homespun truths overturned a century of lies.
"President Reagan inspired a generation of Americans and their political leaders, including myself. And the highest honor of my life was to serve as the Republican Whip in the House of Representatives in the company of his greatness."
I just read on Salon that CNN ran 180 segments on Reagan in a one week period. I don't know what the full tally is for all media - but it's got to be one of the most overreported events in history.
Kate, in grad school, we talked a bit about "media events" such as this and how they tend not to be the finest examples of journalism, to put it kindly. Everyone gets caught in the hype of the moment--and in the need to "win" the ratings game--and then journalists navel-gaze afterward and realize that they went overboard. I managed to avoid much of the hype -- I don't watch television hardly at all, so it wasn't that hard. We were on the Coast when he died and watched some of the Sunday a.m. news programs, which were good and touching. I liked the ones where people told amusing stories about Reagan's jokes and such; that are wonderful tributes, I believe. I remember being at my stepfather's wake and telling so many of his funny stories in the snack room, and making my relatives laugh until they cried. To me, those are very human tributes.
I also heard some NPR reports and saw some reports in the national media (and some about the Neshoba County Fair visit in state press; more on that coming). I didn't watch the funeral (I'm not good with funerals after losing so many close familly members), but Todd did and found it very moving, especially Mrs. Reagan. But I can't imagine what the hype on cable TV, especially, must have been like. Corporate media is really obscene.
I think after the funeral is the most appropriate time to go back and analyze Reagan's policies, which had a profound effect on the U.S. as we know it, and see what we can learn from them. I'm all for understanding history. But turning it into a media circus the week of his funeral didn't strike me as a respectful tribute. But the decision was made to draw it out, so perhaps it was by design.
Of course, what bothered me most about the media I did hear was the sugarcoating of Reagan's policies by so many. But the post-analysis will probably clear up a lot of myths that may have been spread in the throes of the media event. And I suspect that Nancy Reagan is going to push the issue of stem-cell research, and the glorification and glossing of Reagan's southern strategy certainly opened the door for some serious analysis. So perhaps all of the media hype will pay off in the long run once the hangover subsides.
And media events do serve a worthy purpose: to assist with public mourning that Americans, especially, seem to find very cathartic. (I usually don't; I like to mourn in private). I guess, as they say, you can always switch off your TV or radio or not read the stories, which is what I'm sure many people chose to do last week.
This is undoubtedly a bit off topic, but I understand stem cells can be harvested from placentas. In fact, as of the publication date of the following excerpt , Louisiana researchers contracted with a New Jersey charity hospital to obtain these placentas from mothers who just gave birth.
"Already the nation's leader in NIH grants, California last month became the first state to authorize embryonic stem-cell research.
The move puts California on a collision course with the federal government, which has tightly restricted stem-cell use in government-funded studies.
Proponents of the new California law, which takes effect in January, are hoping that it will attract leading U.S. stem-cell researchers to California.
After signing the bill into law last month, California Gov. Gray Davis announced plans to send letters to more than 10,000 scientists, inviting them to get involved in the state's research efforts."
But, Louisiana may be positioning itself to be a player in that arena.
LSU's Health Services Division recently signed a contract with a New Jersey-based company to use placentas from mothers giving birth in state charity hospitals for stem-cell research that will pass federal muster.
Anthrogenesis Corp. plans to develop a Louisiana Stem Cell Repository to recover stem cells from placentas and use the stem cells in biotech research. " 
This should be a relief for us all, regardless of where we stand on the abortion/stem cell issue: scientists can get stem cells in ways which (to my mind) cannot possibly involve any controversial extraction methods. Alzheimer's sufferers (those who still have sufficient awareness) and their families especially should be greatly relieved.
 "State Trying to Make Moves in Research", "Leaving Louisiana" series; The Baton Rouge Advocate; October 27, 2002.
Sorry if I didn't cite it properly, but at least I did make an honest effort to do so. Oh well, this isn't a scholary paper, so I guess I'm safe