Wednesday, 2/2/11, Public Square

In the hit 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, weatherman Bill Murray’s worst nightmare is to keep waking up in the snowy Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney — home of an overweight, prognosticating rodent named Phil.  Murray’s disdain notwithstanding, Phil’s Feb. 2 forecasts have been drawing revelers to Punxsutawney for 125 years.

Today will be no exception, despite a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service.

But not to worry: “Groundhog Day is a lot like a rock concert, but the people are better behaved and there’s a groundhog involved,” Tom Chapin, the paper’s editor told National Geographic News last Groundhog Day eve. “There’s music and entertainment, spoofs of game shows, and people shooting t-shirts and Beanie Babies” into the crowd.

If Phil emerges from his temporary burrow — a simulated tree stump at the rural site of Gobbler’s Knob —  and sees his shadow, tradition has it that winter weather will continue for six more weeks.  But if Phil doesn’t see his shadow — highly likely, given the grim forecast — then spring temperatures are supposedly just around the corner.


Filed under The Public Square

33 responses to “Wednesday, 2/2/11, Public Square

  1. Kansas had been a state only 25 years when Punxsutawney Phil began making Feb. 2nd forecasts of when winter would end! 😉

  2. Koch Brothers Fight Back

    The billionaire Koch brothers, who have been two of the Tea Party’s biggest sponsors, are fighting back against their critics. They’ve hired a P.R. team with experience working for Sarah Palin and Arnold Schwarzenegger to reshape their media coverage; hired pollsters to figure out if their business, Koch Industries, has been damaged; are suing young environmental activists who pranked them for $100,000; and conducted an internal investigation to figure out who leaked an internal document from them.

  3. So goes the good thoughts that defense spending could be reigned in, or that wars could be limited and diplomacy a new and better way forward. The killing goes on…


    Goodbye, M4 carbine; hello, enormous Defense Department contracts. The Army is seeking a new standard rifle for the first time in 50 years. The Army advertised this week for a new rifle that would feature futuristic sights and be able to handle new ammunitions. The war in Afghanistan has raised concerns about the M4, which may not be reliable in dusty conditions: Soldiers at the 2008 Battle of Wanat, where nine servicemen died, complained about weapons jamming. A hint of what lies ahead: Last year, the service began field testing the XM25 grenade launcher, which has a laser-range finder and onboard computer. It programs its rounds to go off just in front of or behind its targets.

    • itolduso

      Like it or not, there are truly bad people out there. And I would guess no administration would care to explain to the press “We go to war with what we have, not what we would like to have.”

      Constant update is required

    • indypendent

      If this standard rifle has been used for the past 50 years, then why are the recent ones jamming?

      That should be the question – not whether any administration defending we go to war with what we’ve got.

      maybe – just maybe – this manufacturing of the rifle has been outsourced?

      And if not outsourced – then did the manufacturer take the cheap way to make a bigger profit?

    • indypendent

      BTW – when manufacturing rifles to be used in dusty conditions – wouldn’t that be one of the many tests performed on the rifles BEFORE they are shipped to our soldiers?

      Geeshh……..brains outsmart brawn every time.

    • wicked

      One would think there’s a possibility for dusty conditions anywhere.

      The question I would ask is if these new weapons will help fight the type of wars were involved in, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Are they going to help combat IEDs and the way wars in these countries are fought?

  4. One of my cousins described driving in this windy snow like being inside a snow globe and the wind kept it constantly shaken.

  5. prairie pond

    I hope you guys are all safe and warm there. Not so much snow here, but wind chills of more than 30 below zero. Lows way below zero, and the high yesterday was 3 or 4 above. On days like yesterday, my boss smokes inside the building, and even though he goes way in the back, it gets sucked into the vents. I feel like I have a bar hangover today and can hardly breathe.

    Laws are so, ya know, for the little people…

  6. fragotwofortwo

    I copied this from commenter “Hugh” over at Naked Capitalism.

    A society has an expanding or contracting but always finite pool of resources. Government oversees how these resources are moved and distributed throughout society. It does so based on the rather nebulous notion of a social contract. I say nebulous because the laws do not define this contract rather it provides the guides to the laws. Markets are just a mechanism for resource distribution based on laws, enforced by government, and founded on the principles of the original contract.

    Now if a small group manipulates the laws to concentrate society’s resources in their hands, the many have a right to effect their own re-distribution of resources to bring that distribution back in line with the principles of the social contract.

    What we see nowadays is a distortion of this model. It does contain absolute rights but these rights are held at the level of the social contract not the laws. That is you don’t have an absolute right to property or the money you have accumulated. You do have a right to your life, a roof over your head, and a fair share of society’s resources.

    In class warfare, the wealthy few maintain that upward transfers of society’s resources are sacrosanct, the playing out of natural law, but that any downward transfers are unnatural theft and communism: socialist government is taking your money out of your pockets!

    Where we are now is a place where the vast majority of our society’s resources have been usurped by a tiny minority. The social contract has been broken. It was government of the few that did this. Ultimately, it must be government of the many that restores the contract. There are many dangers to this but the only threat in this process is to those who would keep, not their, but our wealth and resources.

    • wicked

      There’s one problem I find with comments like these, and that’s the fact that no one has put forth an idea to correct the unbalance. For instance:

      Ultimately, it must be government of the many that restores the contract.

      Where will we find this government of many, and how long will it take? Because if it takes too long, that other government–the current one–will have taken complete control, with no way out.

      Someone needs to step forward with concrete answers and a way to find the type of people we need for government. I have this sinking feeling that we’ve managed to get ourselves into a downward spiral that may not be broken until we’ve reached total destruction.

      Sorry to be such a Sad Sadie this a.m.. 😦

  7. I’m venturing out for the first time since the snow. I know you have all been out when it was much worse. Mother has an appointment for physical therapy and so we’re off. Don’t say you weren’t warned! 😉

    • wicked

      I have an appointment downtown this afternoon. Just looking at the .5 degree temperature has me wishing I could curl up and do nothing today. So far, no g-kids have arrived, so all is quiet on the western front…for now.

  8. fragotwofortwo

    This appears to be morphing into a real movement. The group helped with communications in Egypt, Tunisia and Iran


    • wicked

      Maybe I’ve become jaded, but people drawing mustaches on pictures and wearing “V” masks just don’t inspire me, nor do they give me any hope. I will try to keep an open mind, though.

      I do understand that the way things must be done has changed. Instead of taking it to the streets, the battles may be fought via the Internet. There’s a problem with that. Technology can be revoked by TPTB. Net Neutrality, anyone?

  9. fragotwofortwo

    ahh to be young again. Just think the first generation that has had unlimited access to information.

  10. indypendent

    I wonder if this is the top news story on Fox News or any other talk radio entertainers’ agenda today?

  11. indypendent

    Truly a fascinating story about a brave little girl and her parents. There but by the grace of God go I. This story should help us all count the blessings we receive each and every day.

  12. indypendent

    Oh my – Sen Scott Brown (MA) – how soon is that tea pot being crushed. Pretty soon, the Tea Party may be asking for your 3-corner hat and all those tea bags stapled to it will be thrown into the Boston Harbor – and probably you along with them. LOL

    What is laughable is when the Tea Party leader stated that he even might ask for their money back.

    WTF – no can do, you gave money willingly to a political campaign and there are no do-overs.

    Wow – Scrott Brown’s name was even being put forth as a possible presidential 2012 candidate by the same people who are now wanting their money back.

  13. Mrs. tstb says tstb is out of state at a neuro recovery hospital and they’re not sure how long he will be there.

    • indypendent

      Thanks for the update. Still sending those prayer and positive thoughts for tstb and his entire family. Positive energy can do many wondrous things.

  14. indypendent

    While they are checking out that standard rifle jamming problem, they might want to check out why the Pentagon seems to be able to pay out billions of taxpayer money to some rather questionable contractors?

    Maybe we need to take the military budget and the entire federal government budget out of the politicians’ hands.

  15. indypendent

    Tony Blair – again – spewing forth his wisdom. I wonder, will Tony Blair be on the right side of history this time or will he forever be known as George W. Bush’s playmate in the run up to the Iraq War?

    But I do have to wonder if this Mubarak is so great, then why are his people protesting – and why are there now pro-Mubarak protesters turning what was a peaceful protest into violence?

    And if Murbarak is so courageous – then maybe he needs to step down immediately and let the transition government take care of the upcoming elections. If this Egyptian is so courageous and a force for good – simply do as the people ask of him since he is not running for re-election anyway.

    But I have to wonder – does Tony Blair even know what is going on? He always seems to be in someone else’s shadow hiding….

  16. Moving, full of love and truth…

  17. Senate rejects bid to repeal healthcare law

    On a party-line vote of 51-47, the Senate rejected a Republican measure to rescind the law that aims to provide more than 30 million uninsured Americans with medical coverage while requiring nearly all to be insured or pay a fine. Sixty votes were needed to clear a procedural hurdle against repeal.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scoffed at Republican efforts, saying: “They want to replace patients’ rights with insurance companies’ power. They want to replace health with sickness. They want to replace the promise of tomorrow with the pain of yesterday.”

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell countered: “The case against this bill is more compelling every day. Everything we learn tells us it was a bad idea. That it should be repealed and replaced. The courts say so. The American people say so.”

    “For those keeping score, 12 federal district court judges have dismissed challenges to the law, two have found the law to be constitutional and two have found the opposite.”

    • indypendent

      If the health care reform bill is so bad, then why were so many Republicans advocating for something very similar to this years ago.

      Republicans have promised health care reform for years but never got around to it after the votes were counted…….

      Hmmmm…..I wonder why?

    • This issue will be their Waterloo. The numbers of people who can’t afford insurance, who have no affordable access to health care is increasing. The GOP only want to scream NO! and have nothing to offer those increasing numbers of people.

    • This (McConnell) just makes me sick. “…Everything we learn tells us it was a bad idea. That it should be repealed and replaced. The courts say so. The American people say so.” If you say it often enough you make it the truth. We need a voice of reason to counter this twice to every time it’s spoken. Everything *I’ve* heard says it’s a GREAT idea. It will get more people coverage and save money. Only those that I know that listen to the talking heads want it repealed and replaced. Everyone is seeing benefits from it already. Most polls that I’ve seen show that at least half of the people of America do NOT want it repealed!

    • I’m reminded daily, and I’m positive the GOP congress critters are too, of how they sat and yelled NO and Hell NO for over a year. Remember the summit President Obama held? Yes, now they’ll tell you they had no opportunity to be part of the health-care reform bill, but we all know they did. In fact, we all know parts of the bill were their ideas! Much of the bill was modeled after Mitt Romney’s efforts in Massachusetts.

      Their next step was to spread lies and exaggerations about the bill — they’re still doing that today. (check out the rumor itolduso tried spreading about waivers) They tried screaming about how the democrats were ignoring important issues and concentrating only on health care, they tried to obstruct progress at every turn.

      Today, Moonshadow is correct! Too many people are already seeing benefits to ever go backwards. It will be forward with improvements from here on out and it will always be a mark in the Democratic Party victory list.

      Who is concentrating on health care today? Who is ignoring jobs today? Yep, the GOP is on the wrong side again. Poor babies.

  18. I wouldn’t vote for him, but before hearing him say this I thought he had a brain.


    Romney: Palin Would Be ‘Great’ President

    Is this the first of many GOP endorsements for Sarah Palin, or a case of “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”? Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said he knows one “great” choice: Sarah Palin. Romney, in an interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight on Tuesday, called Palin “an extraordinarily powerful and effective voice in our party” and said the former Alaska governor would “be great in a primary process.” Romney, on a media blitz for his new book No Apologies: The Case for American Greatness, told David Letterman that he is “keeping the door open” about running himself. There’s one person in Romney’s camp already: He said his wife is “convinced” he’s “got to run.” According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Romney leads nationally among the potential GOP nominees that include Palin, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

    • indypendent

      I wonder how someone with a very high unfavorable rating among the general population has a chance at winning the presidency?

      Put aside Palin’s politics for a moment and just the fact that she has over-exposed her self in the media, she blames the media for everything, she plays the victim card at every turn, she only uses Facebook or Twitter or her favorite hunkys on Fox News to spread her wisdom.

      Palin is nothing more than a media-made creature – IMHO>

      And that just will not do when it comes to the majority of Americans on voting day.

      Tea Party is not that big on their own to win the White House. The GOP has to have the independents and moderates to win the White House. And I just think the majority of Americans are not ready to go to crazy town to see the clown.

  19. indypendent

    I wouldn’t vote for him, but before hearing him say this I thought he had a brain

    fnord – maybe it comes down to this – Republican males might just think with their other brain when it comes to a former beauty pagent contestant?