Sunday, January 11, 2009

Noble: Plainsboro, New Jersey resident Janet Howard, who lost her life in a valiant attempt to rescue her grandson’s dog from an ice covered pond. Miss Howard, an acquisitions supervisor at Douglass College’s library, was walking her grandson’s German Shepard, Apollo, along the edge of the pond when the dog wandered onto the ice and fell through to the icy water. Miss Howard went after the dog and, while trying to save the family’s beloved pet, fell through the ice into the water herself about 25 feet from the shore.

A bicyclist, Austin Hearn, who works as a lifeguard at the Fitness and Wellness Center in Princeton and the YWCA Princeton Aquatic program in the area, passed by and witnessed Miss Howard struggling in the water. He stripped off his vest and grabbed a large tree branch to extend to her so he could save her. As he made his way onto the ice, he also fell through into the water. Mr. Hearn tried to chop the ice up with his hands to reach Miss Howard but lost his footing while trying to reach her, causing the water to go over his head. He had to climb back out of the pond, but ran home and called 911 to get help for Miss Howard.

In the meantime Apollo, the dog, had gotten out of the pond and gone home. 911 did not make it to the pond in time to save Miss Howard in time. Her body was found 4 1/2 feet beneath the ice. Miss Howard is survived by two daughters and seven grandchildren.

For bravery and the ultimate self sacrifice to try to save her grandchild’s dog from drowning-Miss Howard is our Noble of the week.

Knave: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for plans to rewrite and reverse fairness rules that put a six-year limit on the amount of time representatives can chair a committee. In Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” in the 1990’s, he promised and delivered rules that would limit the amount of time any member of the House would be the chair of a committee. The rules were designed to limit power and ensure members did not abuse power. This week Mrs. Pelosi made it known that she was planning to have the House rules rewritten so that Chairman were no longer limited in the amount of time they serve.

Furthermore, Mrs. Pelosi has failed to keep her promise to have the House Ethics committee finish their probe by Jan. 3 into Rep. Charlie Rangel’s failure to report income taxes on a Caribbean villa, his usage of four rent controlled apartments in Harlem, his involvement with an offshore firm asking for tax exemptions, Mr. Rangel’s use of official House stationary to solicit funds for a school in his name and contributions from an oil company to the school. Mr. Rangel is also committee chair for the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in the new Congress, which makes the changes in the fairness rules circumspect.

In the meantime, Mrs. Pelosi has not asked Mr. Rangel to put down his gavel while a House Ethic’s subcommitte expands the investigation into his activities.

For failing to keep her promise and changing House rules-Mrs. Pelosi is our Knave of the week.

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