Monthly Archives: April 2009

U.S. Supreme Court

supreme-court12From an article dated 10/20/2008:  Stevens has served the longest of the nine, and by next July he will have completed 34 years, only five justices ever recorded serving longer. (He is threatening the record in this obscure competition, which was set by the justice whose seat he took in 1975, William O. Douglas, who served more than 36 years.) Because of his age and length of service, Stevens is widely considered the most likely to step down, followed by Ginsburg. Both happen to be judicial liberals on a Court that has four liberals (Breyer and Souter being the other two) and four judicial conservatives (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts). The fickle Kennedy tends to provide the fifth vote in close cases, particularly those involving abortion, race, and religion.

  • John Paul Stevens, 88
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75
  • Antonin Scalia, 72
  • Anthony Kennedy, 72
  • Stephen Breyer, 70
  • David Souter, 69
  • Clarence Thomas, 60
  • Samuel Alito, 58
  • John Roberts (the chief justice), 53

Souter has announced his upcoming retirement.  What does this mean?  Will President Obama have the opportunity to nominate three justices during his term in office?



Filed under U. S. Supreme Court

Thursday, 04/30/09 Public Square


Here’s a pleasant place for a visit.  Pull up a chair and let us know what you’re thinking of, what you’d like to discuss.



Filed under The Public Square

The Matthew Shepard Act

hate-free-zoneThe bill also called, Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed the house today 249-175, over conservatives’ objections.

Hate crimes — as defined by the bill — are those motivated by prejudice and based on someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

A weaker bill died two years ago under a veto threat from President George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama, in contrast, urged support, saying it would “enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association.” Obama called for passage in the Senate, where Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., is the chief sponsor.

The Illinois Family Institute, a conservative Christian group, said, “The bill is not about stopping crime, but about giving sexual preference the same legal status as race. This legislation is just a stepping stone to regulate the speech of people who support family values.”



Filed under GLBT Rights, hate groups

Pro-Guns, Anti-Obama and Democrats…

0405davies__1239038999_1562Max Blumenthal took his cameras and attended gun shows in Antioch, California, and Reno, Nevada, on April 18 – 19.  He found gun enthusiasts who are convinced President Obama and the Democratic majority will take away American’s guns.  In fact, their conspiracy theories only begin there and get worse.  They profess we will all be herded into concentration camps and everything will be taken away — taking our guns is only the beginning!

They are preparing for an armed revolt.  Blumenthal reports they won’t be limited in the kinds of weapons they can choose to be prepared with.  He saw rocket-propelled-grenade launchers and bazooka guns, a brand of.50-caliber assault rifle that was banned in California because it could supposedly down an airplane.  Although big guns were the main attractions, also offered for sale were Swastika-emblazoned flags, photographs of Hitler and his henchmen, and anything related to the Third Reich.

Read his report on this gun culture mentality and see the video he made here.  Judge for yourselves how serious these people are, and how serious a threat they may be to America.



Filed under hate groups, Obama, Radical Rightwing groups, Republicans, Wingnuts!

Why the Death of the GOP May Not be a Good Thing

Blogger, Teddy Williams, in his effort Left of College Station explains the simple reasons for the GOP’s problems.  He further asserts a very weak GOP may not be in this country’s political best interests.

Iggy Donnelly


Filed under Elections, Political Reform, Republicans, Wingnuts!

GOP’s Swing Rightward Responsible For Specter Decision

In the Mother Jones article, How the Far Right Handed Dems a 60 Vote Majority, Jonathan Stein and Nick Baumann explain Spector’s political calculus that led to his party switch.  Nationally, and especially locally in Pennsylvania, the GOP is getting smaller and more virulently conservative.  Spector would have had to face far right opponent Pat Toomey.  Specter beat Toomey in 2004, but as the GOP has shifted further right, the chances of Specter repeating that win (especially given Specter’s support of Obama’s stimulus package) would have been quite slim.  Recognizing his thin chances in winning among the wingnuts was what prompted Specter’s statement: “I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.”

The ‘Pubs could win, if they’d just get more conservative.  It’s always won for them hasn’t it?

Iggy Donnelly


Filed under Elections, Life Lessons, Republicans, Wingnuts!

Wednesday, 04/29/09 Public Square

serendipitypic-3copy1Serendipity is the gift of making happy, accidental discoveries of valuable things you weren’t looking for.  It comes to the person who is curious and adventurous.

Let’s talk and maybe we’ll happen upon something valuable accidentally.  Maybe we’ll just decide our conversations are valuable.



Filed under The Public Square

Tuesday, 04/28/09 Public Square

Talk about it!



Filed under The Public Square

Obama’s First 100 Days

Wednesday marks the end of the first 100 days of the Obama presidency.

Maybe I was hearing conservative leaning sources, but I distinctly recall over the last few days getting the message that the favorability ratings of a president’s first 100 days don’t really mean too much.  The comments I recall were like:  “why, George W. Bush had high favorability ratings his first 100 days” – which if this had been true, would have, indeed, countered the meaning of these statistics.

This New York Times poll indicates that Bush’s approval ratings of 56% after his first 100 days were quite a bit lower than Obama’s 68% for the same time period.  While true, Bush enjoyed extremely high favorability ratings immediately after the 9/11 attacks, his presidency will be remembered for its overall consistent low marks.

Obama’s message that he is a “change president” has taken hold, but this notion has been tempered by the recognition that there is so much to be done, the agenda may take more than four years.  Especially heartening, is the public’s perception of improved race relations as result of the Obama presidency.

Read the full report here.

Iggy Donnelly


Filed under Elections, Obama, Political Reform, Polls, Republicans, World Politics

Things We Did Know, And Did Nothing About . . .

Mark Danner wrote an Op Ed piece for the Washington Post entitled, If Everyone Knew, Who’s to Blame? which appeared in yesterday’s WaPo.  In this opinion piece he recollects the political calculations that entered into our government’s decisions to pursue torture and fears that led the party out of power to avert its eyes from the lawlessness.

Cheney, et al. justified torture because it “protected us from further attacks.”  The most poignant line from Danner’s writing is this rebuttal of that justification:  “This argument, still strongly supported by a great many Americans, is deeply pernicious, for it holds that it is impossible to protect the country without breaking the law. It says that the professed principles of the United States, if genuinely adhered to, doom the country to defeat. It reduces our ideals and laws to a national decoration, to be discarded at the first sign of danger.”

The Democrats in Congress backed away from opposing “enhanced interrogations” for fear of being accused of “coddling terrorists.”  Interestingly, the Democrats lack of character on this issue was rewarded by the 2006 election results.

Danner convinces me that if we are ever to have any variety of moral standing in the world again, we will need to have a reckoning on our transgressions and fears that led to our adoption of torture.

Iggy Donnelly


Filed under Elections, Republicans, WAR, World Politics

The Advantages of Sharing Meat: No Pun Intended

Now I’m understanding why I take the sweety to the Red Rock Canyon Grill for those anniversary dinners.  Read about the evolutionary roots of this strategy.

Iggy Donnelly


Filed under Bartering, Evolution, Humor, Life Lessons

Increased Mortality Associated with Frequent Night Time Urination

I got interested in this subject based on a recent discussion on one of the Public Square Threads.  This study shows in people older than 70 that urination two or more times per night is associated with death.  This relationship held even after the following covariates were controlled:  “age, sex, BMI, diabetes, hypertension, history of coronary heart disease, nephropathy, alcohol consumption, and use of tranquilizers, hypnotics or diuretics.”

Read the article here.

As the article concludes, it is advisable to talk to your doctor if you are having this problem.

Iggy Donnelly

1 Comment

Filed under Healthcare, Research, Universal Healthcre

100 Most Influential

time100I was reading the nominations for what TIME magazine calls, “Your TIME 100.”  It’s a list of 203 nominations for the world’s most influential in government, science, technology and the arts —  according to those who took time to nominate, vote, rank…

The entire list is available here.

We’re completing the fourth month of 2009, so it seems with so much of the year left a bit premature to be determining who and what was influential for the year.  Reading through the list I find names I don’t recognize.  How can they be on the short list of most influential in 2009, and I not recognize them?  Others that I readily recognize make me wonder what kind of society would think they should be influential?  Should we denote whether they make a positive or negative influence?  Probably other than selling a special edition of TIME, this list has little value.  Or maybe we need to look at the list very closely, reflect on our society, and who and what influences us most.



Filed under Elections, Media, Populists, Tributes

Monday, 4/27/09 Public Square

thoughts-become-thingsShare your thoughts here, bounce them around and see what takes flight — you choose the subject.



Filed under The Public Square


funny-smiles-iconsFlash fiction, or really short stories of less than 1000 words . . . some love it; some hate it. Either way, it’s an interesting way of getting the most info in the least amount of words. For instance, Ernest Hemingway wrote, “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” Another is one I wrote just for something to do.

Family Matters

I had just parked my car in the only slot I could find at the local Wally-World, when a voice from the past said, “Hi, Junior.”

I knew that voice. In the first place, my name wasn’t “Junior”, and second, this was one person I did not want to see.

I turned around to face him and said, “Long time no see, Chuck.

“I just wanted to let you know you’re off the hook, Junior. Mom found the ring she thought you stole, and told me to tell you all is forgiven. She wants you to come over for dinner sometime…said to bring the wife and kids.”

“Okay, Chuck, tell Mom I’ll think about it. Better yet, tell her to call and apologize to me, my wife, and my kids. Then we might be a whole family again. She’s the one that needs to get the ball rolling, not you. And you know Mom.”

“Yeah…that I do, Junior…that I do.” My brother gave me a quick smile, turned and walked away.

I walked towards Wally-World, shoulders slumped, wondering if she would call.

Anyone interested in in joining the fun?



Filed under Art, Creativity, Original writings