Public Square: 04/07/09

Come in out of the heat and tell us your traveling story…


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37 responses to “Public Square: 04/07/09

  1. iggydonnelly

    Click on the above photograph to learn more about vacationing in Spain. There probably are worse things a person could do with their spare time…

  2. The ‘sidebar’ is doing some funky stuff.
    It’s all the way at the bottom until you go to comment, then it comes back to the top.

  3. fnord

    “The ’sidebar’ is doing some funky stuff.”

    I think that’s the way Iggy wants it. I messed with it twice yesterday but in doing so I interfered with what he was doing. So, he waited until I was in bed and couldn’t interfere. I appreciate that he is such a gentleman — never said a negative word to me, just was patient. 😉

    • iggydonnelly

      I would like for the side bar to be where you put it yesterday. I was trying to fix the “cut page, read more” option on one of my posts and I kept messing your fixes up. You said you knew how to fix that problem of sending the side bar to the bottom of the page. Please share that wisdom. Thanks for your help.

  4. fnord

    Soon after last fall’s election I found writings by Meghan McCain — that would the daughter of John McCain — and I like her and her mind. We disagree often, but I find areas of agreement too.

    Her current piece is one I would prefer not to agree with, but I find she has a good grasp on what I would rather ignore. It’s a conundrum to both be happy that those of “the left” are free thinkers and don’t follow easily while knowing that our lack of ability to be cohesive hurts our agenda.

    What do you think of this young Republicans words?


    What I Learned From the Democrats
    by Meghan McCain

    — snip —

    “It is no secret that the Republican Party, for all its faults, consistently displays party unity. For all the criticism that the Bush administration came in for, risks were taken (like supporting the Iraq troop surge) that wound up benefiting the GOP in the long run. But Democratic leaders such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid seem more concerned with their own personal agendas than supporting President Obama and the future of their party. In fact, shortly after Barack Obama was elected president, Senator Reid went so far as to say, “I don’t work for him.” Even after the Democrats’ huge victories in 2006 and 2008, party unity still seems to be in disarray.”

  5. Meghan McCain is correct in her observations, both as to the Democratic party and the Republican party. Of most import is the closing paragraph of the linked piece, which notes the need for both parties to govern from the center (perhaps a bit implicitly), and that the far left presents as great a danger to the Democrats as the far right presents to the GOP.

    I do not expect the Democrats to heed her words; after all, she is a Republican. Whether the GOP does is, IMHO, extremely important to its future as a viable political party.

    There appears to be an overriding desire among the current Democratic leaders in the Congress for payback. That will cripple the current Administration’s ability to operate effectively, and may well leave the agenda the President is promoting gathering dust by the side of the road.

  6. fnord

    Well said, 6176. I think young Meghan has some things figured out and the first party who really listens to her wisdom has the best chance of running the show.

    Here’s another very interesting piece —

    I’m unable to quote a snippet as I can’t isolate a few words that I feel are more interesting than all the others. It’s a good piece from start to end.

  7. Yes; it is a good piece, and demonstrates the confusion created by Mr. Obama’s approach to a number of varied and diverse issues. While I like “pragmatism” as a label for the same, I recognize that to many, this pragmatism appears as a sell-out; and to many others, shows inexperience and an inability to get the job done.

    This is what happens when a leader does not rigidly apply an existing ideology “straight across the board”; and this is what gives me some hope. I care not what ideology one embraces, none of them, strictly construed and consistently applied, have worked for the benefit of the country over the past 40 years (or perhaps longer; I’m limiting my observations to things that have occurred since I graduated from high school).

    Thus, the attempt to meld pieces from all sides within an overall scheme of governance, to be able to get things done confuses and bewilders many observers, angering about all of them for different reasons. This is somewhat like reaching a settlement in a hotly disputed legal matter; the best one for all is not liked by anyone in total.

  8. lilacluvr

    Any leader will tell you that you cannot please all the people, all the time. There will always be those that will fight you no matter what position you take. Then there are those who love you when it benefits them and hates you when it does not.

    At this point, I am trusting Obama to do what is best for the country. At least I feel he is trying to do what is right and he is trying to change the atmosphere in Washington. It’s going to be difficult because people don’t like losing power and it is going to get uglier before it gets better.

    • fnord

      If his own party members in Congress allow him to make improvements, we all will benefit — no matter our party allegiance. I just doubt they’ll be wise enough to see the benefits. And his secondary enemy is those from the other party who just want him to fail because they see that as their path back (since they have no ideas of their own).

  9. annie_moose

    Liberals do not organize well. We tend to be mavericks.

    Conservatives organize well. They are content following the herd.

  10. lilacluvr

    Well said annie. I think that is why Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the Conservative talk shows do so well in the ratings. They have that herd mentality.

    Air America and Liberal talk shows are not as popular. Not because of their views but I think it is because liberals and progressives are not inclined to sit and be spoon-fed our talking points.

    It was always amusing to watch the other blog go quiet during the Rush show and then a barrage of the same talking points would show up in a few hours. The exact same wording was always used.

    Dittoheads are not called that without a reason.

  11. fnord

    Our very own sekanblogger once said, “You damn liberals couldn’t agree where to have lunch if I said I was buying!” He was, of course, right. 😉

  12. annie_moose

    True, can you see us signing a loyalty oath?

  13. fnord

    How many copies you got there of that loyalty oath, buddy? You think they’ll all fit where I think they should go?

    I reserve the right to think as I choose and decide to choose something different in an hour or so. It’s what those who don’t understand call wishy washy or unprincipled, and those who do understand call the ability to think.

  14. fnord

    “Vermont passes gay-marriage bill

    BOSTON (Reuters) – Vermont lawmakers on Tuesday overrode a veto from the governor in passing a bill that would allow same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the state to become the fourth in the nation where gay marriage is legal…”

  15. fnord

    “Obama in Iraq to push for political progress

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – President Barack Obama flew to Baghdad on Tuesday to meet U.S. military commanders and Iraqi leaders, making his first trip as president after announcing his new strategy to wind down the unpopular six-year-old war.

    Obama’s visit to Baghdad was shrouded in the secrecy typical of similar trips made by his predecessor George W. Bush. For security reasons the visit was not publicized beforehand and was made known only after Air Force One had touched down at Baghdad International Airport…”

  16. annie_moose

    I reserve the right to think as I choose and decide to choose something different in an hour or so. It’s what those who don’t understand call wishy washy or unprincipled, and those who do understand call the ability to think.

    Interesting comment Fnord. spend a little time @ a few wingnut sites and you will find many comments beginning with ” Thinking people know that blah blah liberal dims”

    This is what Rush does really well, he dissects the left pulls up our perceived weakness and attacks at an emotional level and makes it sound logical.

    • fnord

      But we don’t really expect those who are able to follow to understand mavericks, do we? Maybe Rush understands and uses that understanding to his advantage. I would prefer not giving him any credit for being able to think…

  17. fnord

    6176, Remember when you once predicted that the misdeeds of appointed prosecutors may be what brings the bush administration to accountability, even to the extent of proof they were acting in an unconstitutional way?

    “Judge orders investigation of Stevens prosecutors

    WASHINGTON – A judge has dismissed charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens because of prosecutorial misconduct and has ordered a criminal contempt investigation of the prosecutors.

    “In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said in the opening moments of a hearing…”

  18. Vaguely, fnord. I call it the “Al Capone theory”, where the wrong doer cannot be convicted of the crimes the government is really after, but a conviction is had for violation of some other law which may be proved.

    As you will recall, Mr. Capone led an organized crime group in Chicago, responsible for many murders, etc., and notwithstanding the efforts of the government, never convicted of any crimes relating thereto. However, he was convicted criminally of violation of the Internal Revenue Code, and spent the remainder of his life in federal prison, where he died of syphilis, IIRC.

    Similarly, the former administration committed many misdeeds, most of which were “political” crimes (in the manner of impeachment as being the correct remedy). In so doing, though, there were actions taken in a variety of cases that exposed their appointees to scrutiny in unexpected areas, such as the current investigation in Alaska surrounding the actions of the prosecutors in the Stevens case.

  19. lilacluvr

    Of course, we will no doubt see all the Republicans on television predicting the end of the US as we know it today. Obama is, after all, the anti-Christ and he taking us into the bowels of Hell.

    But as I recall, the Bush Administration kept saying the same thing that Obama told the troops in Iraq. At some point we have to transition power back to the Iraqis – it is their country.

    I suspect when the Bush people said that, it was to placate the Iraqis when it was never really meant to be a part of the Bush overall ‘oil’ plan.

    Or am I trying to reason things out like a liberal?

    Sometimes I think my life would be simpler if I was content to be one of the herd. Naahhh, I could not stand the incessant whining required to do that. I think my head would explode.

  20. fnord

    “Vaguely, fnord.”

    I said it all wrong! I think you pointed out the administration was vulnerable to being found guilty of unconstitutional actions in the appointments made to judicial positions. Is that closer to what you said?

    Regardless, I do understand their actions left them vulnerable to impeachment, and probably not to criminal prosecution. And it’s highly unlikely criminal charges would be pursued as that would leave all future presidents and their administrations open to same. Not likely to happen!

    If the Republicans hadn’t just put our country through the expense and waste of time of impeachment without hope of conviction, we may have seen bush brought up on charges. Although cheney in the wings was another pretty good way to deflect serious thoughts of impeachment!

  21. Seems to me the public statements are similar, lilac. A major difference is the timing of the transition; Mr. Obama has a specific time, while the Bush administration never gave any specifics, and eventually were forced into an agreement (that may never have been formally adopted) pushed by the Iraqi government that specified a time.

    Irrespective of the above, there must be a transition to the Iraqis; and, regardless of a firm time, there will unfortunately be violence surrounding it.

  22. annie_moose

    As I venture off to resurrect my yard equipment from it’s winter slumber let me leave you with a conservation I had back in the 70’s with two gentlemen. Their names were Peter Peyote and Marvin Mescaline.

    We surmised that the original societies were insect in origin. Through the miracle of evilution human societies inherited divisons of labor from the insects, queens workers and soldiers as simple examples. Fast forward a few million years, our technological success has blurred the division of the classes at a genetic level. To make a long story short mother nature will sort things.

    Signing off from the alternate moose universe. Have a nice day.

  23. OK, fnord, now I’ve got it. It was the way the U.S. attorneys were “fired” and their replacements appointed. As I recall, I pointed out at the time that the U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President, and no reason was needed to call for their resignation. I also pointed out that the Bush administration had given a reason in the matter, a reason that appeared to not be true; and the way the successors were appointed violated statutes concerning the way such appointments are to be handled.

    I also commented, as I recall, about the use of “recess appointments” to circumvent the need for Congressional advise and consent hearings, and that’s what I think you remember.

  24. fnord

    Yes! You silver tongued devil. 😉

    My head hurts. I’m not capable of this much thinking and ‘membering.

    Must go to the park! I’ll bet the wind brought work for Trash Grandma, and those squirrels always need to be put back in the trees.

  25. fnord

    “Analysis of 2008 Voting Turnout Available

    Nine million more people voted in 2008 than in 2004, but since the voting-age population increased by 10 million, the turnout was about the same according to a new study from George Mason University. However turnout among various groups was not flat. Blacks, Latinos, and young people voted in greater numbers and whites voted in fewer numbers than in 2004 according to the report.”

    The study:

  26. My original recollection of needing quarters still to do the laundry at a laundromat (until I recalled our expedition to Maine for the younger’s commencement last May) involved a laundromat in the great state of Vermont, in the town (village?) of Bennington, to be precise. Noting fnord’s post about the override of the gubernatorial veto of the gay marriage bill by the Vermont House of Representatives caused me to post about it here.

    At that particular establishment, quarters are indeed still needed. Interestingly, there were no “standard” washers; there were, instead, large capacity front loading washers (and even larger ones if one chose them) and they, too, needed quarters (as did the dryers). The difference there was that the establishment was only open 8 to 5 during the week; an attendant was always present, and there was no change machine.

    BTW, I highly recommend going to the Battle of Bennington Monument if you are ever in a position to do so; it is an interesting place, architecturally similar to the Washington Monument, and memorializes an important battle that occurred during the American Revolution.

    And, if you are in Western Vermont anyway, you really owe it to yourself to head North a bit to take a tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear factory. It’s worth the price of admission, and the merchandise is quite remarkable, too. We stopped by there on our way home from the younger’s “college tour”, and spent a delightful two hours there; the tour took about an hour, as I recall, and the other hour was spent oohing and ahing over the various bears, etc. that place produces. Yes, we came home with two; one for my wife, one for the kid. What can I say?

  27. fnord

    Just thought I’d mention a couple of statistics.

    We’ve gone over 5,000 hits.

    I increased the number of ‘Recent Posts’ showing on the front page so we could see at least all that were new today! Maybe I needed to go to 10, rather than eight.

    It was Saturday, March 21st when I sent the ‘invite’ to come see what Iggy had put together. That was two weeks and three days ago…


  28. lilacluvr

    5,000 hits?? That is great! Can you tell who or where the hits are coming from?

  29. fnord

    Good morning! Feels like this will be a beautiful day. Dare we hope the wind won’t blow with gale force?

    Wish I could, Lilac. And, I wish we could entice visitors into stopping to say hi, and maybe sharing what they’re thinking!

    Maybe the guys who understand the inner workings can lend some insight into the who or where.

  30. David B

    The hits are probably from bots trolling the web…

  31. I’m sure you are correct, David, as to many of the “hits”.

  32. fnord

    Well aren’t you two just rays of sunshine!? Do bots converse? Guess I can stop trying to entice them to say “hi.”

  33. Yep, fnord, you can cease your efforts; now, I’m not saying that either David or I am correct, but given the proliferation of bots, and their constant presence, it is a reasonable hypothesis.