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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for April 2010

The April 30 Loose Thread

What’s on your mind besides that personal best at Bloomsday and Apocalypse Pretty Soon?

Petitions and privacy

Those wanting petition signatures to remain private can’t be encouraged by the questioning that arose from the Supreme Court hearing. Alito is on board. Roberts is a maybe. Thomas? Who knows since he doesn’t ask questions. Hopes for Scalia might’ve been dashed:

Declaring that the rough-and-tumble of democracy is not for the faint-hearted, what Scalia referred to as the “touchy, feely” sensitivity of some political activists, the Justice said “you can’t run a democracy” with political activity behind a First Amendment shroud.  “You are asking us to enter into a whole new field,” Scalia told James Bopp Jr., the lawyer for Washington State signers of an anti-gay rights petition.  Politics, the Justice went on, “takes a certain amount of civic courage.  The First Amendment does not protect you from civic discourse — or even from nasty phone calls.”

Do you agree with the sentiment expressed by Scalia? Do you think it pertains to this case?

Do we need a posse to go after Craig’s gang?

A North Idaho teenager with too much time on his hands and not enough substance in his head turns out to have been the author of a Craig’s List offer to sell  a 4-year-old boy.  Now authorities are trying to figure out what, if anything, to do with the youngster.  Looks to me like technology is creating opportunities for misbehavior faster than public officials can come up with rules to restrain it.

What are your thoughts…about this or anything else that stirs your mind today?

April 26 thread

Can’t find my thread opener. So it’s up to you guys.

Financial reform

Does Wall Street need to change its ways? Should government force that? Along those lines, the headline of the day goes to The Atlantic for “Did porn cause the financial crisis?”

Here’s a primer/analysis on the issue —  financial reform, that is.

Unlike those SEC guys, keep it clean.

 

State income tax

Tax cut, anyone? Well, not anyone, but most people would apparently get one under this plan backed by William Gates Sr.

Tim Eyman is for lower taxes. Wonder if he’ll sign the petition?

“It is the Holy Grail of the progressive movement,” Eyman said of the income tax. “I really think they probably should have had it [the news conference] in church because it requires so much faith in something. But I believe it’s fundamentally a Pandora’s box.”

Hmm .. sounds ilke a “no.”

The April 21 thread

Heard this song on the way to work. It’s “Amerika 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)” by Steve Earle. Starts like this:

Look at ya
Yeah, take a look in the mirror now tell me what you see
Another satisfied customer in the front of the line for the American dream
I remember when we was both out on the boulevard
Talkin’ revolution and singin’ the blues
Nowadays it’s letters to the editor and cheatin’ on our taxes
Is the best that we can do

So, has your idealism been undermined by the inertia of everyday life?

Consider this an open thread.

Lawmakers at work

For those who care about these things, the Website WashingtonVotes.org has posted its account of missed votes from this year’s regular and special sessions of the Legislature. It’s a valuable site if you like to keep track of legislative activity. The lawmaker who missed the most votes was Spokane Valley Sen. Bob McCaslin, who was hospitalized and underwent heart surgery during the session. His 491 missed votes were easily at the top of the pack.  No. 2, at 163,  was Rep. Chris Hurst, and Enumclaw Democrat, whose wife underwent brain surgery followed by a difficult recovery.  The five senators and six House members with the most missed votes were given a chance to explain, and most of them said it was personal or family health issues that  took them from Olympia when there was work to do. But Sen. Dale Brandland, R-Bellingham, cited merely “personal reasons” (well, yeah) and Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, said he needed a family weekend.  My nomination for least justifiable, though, is Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, who missed 78 votes mainly because she is going to law school at night.

Police, Zehm, Kirkpatrick

I’m surprised at the lack of comments here about these two stories.

1. Police changed testimony in Otto Zehm case?

2. Police union “shows” no-confidence in Chief Kirkpatrick. S-R editorial about that here.

The April 19 thread

Pick a topic and run with it, but put the scissors down first.

Government trust and the people

Pew is out with a poll about a record level of distrust in government. This item notes that distrust has been typical since the 1970s, with only 9/11 and its immediate aftermath breaking the cycle. Recessions fuel spikes, even though the country relies more on government during them. The last line is telling, I think, about public opinion. It would be impossible to abide the wishes of the majority and produce a coherent outcome.

If this sounds schizophrenic, it’s hardly different from the schizophrenia Americans already suffer when we blast the government for deficit spending even as we largely defend entitlements (40% of the budget), defense spending (20%), relief for the unemployed, and the historically low tax rates that make the deficit the deficit. What does it mean that we’ve become a country that expects a government we don’t trust to provide growing benefits from taxes we don’t want to pay?

How much should leaders follow public opinion?



 

Spokane County GOP and Tea Party

In reading the platform, I got to wondering what the big differences are between local GOP and TP. Why don’t they join forces?

Meanwhile, Libertarian Party questions GOP attendance at TP rallies.



The April 12 Thread

Three more days until … well, I guess that deadline isn’t as momentous with so many people not owing anything.

Consider this an open thread.

 

The April 7 Thread

Think I’ll go with the bowling alley method of blogging for awhile. I set ‘em up. You knock ‘em down. This is an official loose thread. Note the themed threads below. And, as always, be careful in here.

Civility and politics

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “a nice person.” Then went on to say more.

I’m 180 degrees in opposition to the speaker — she’s a nice lady,” he said. The crowd could be heard responding unfavorably to his characterization.

“Come on now, she is a nice — how many of you all have met her?” continued Coburn. “She’s a nice person. She’s a nice person.”

“Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re not a good person,” he added. He then discussed his own experience of being vilified before asking the crowd not to  “catch yourself being biased by Fox News that somebody’s no good.”

Do you think the demonization has gone a bit too far in politics?

The Dorn Identity …

 … The Dorn Supremacy, The Dorn Ultimatum. Which one fits? Oh well, as long as there isn’t a sequel to this.


Internet anonymity

Leonard Pitts weighs in here on nasty commenters and their media enablers. The Washington Post ombudsman discusses the issue here.

Does the anonymity of commenters bring more or less value to the table? Or is the issue something else?



Myth busters

Nice article on the husband-wife team that debunks Internet fiction at snopes.com

Ever used that site or others like them? What is behind the gullibility of so many people? A distrust of media is, of course, one reason. But what I find interesting is that no matter how many times these myths are busted, some people will continue to forward the emails or repeat the claims. These “sources” never seem to lose their credibility.

I think a major factor is fear. A lot of people are just generally fearful of what can happen or what institutions will do, which makes them susceptible to claims.

“They” are spreading disease, grabbing guns, indoctrinating kids and on and on. In general, there is this mystery master plan that is being carried out. So be afraid. Be on guard. Believe the stories that fit the fear.


The April 5 thread

What’s on your soggy minds this morning? I mean, what’s on your minds this soggy morning.

Note themed threads below on health care, education and global warming/cap-trade.

What day is it today?

This is pretty funny. What other April Fools jokes have you seen?


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