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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for January 2010

What’s in a name?

Funny how we embrace the First Amendment right to petition our government but we scorn those who practice it. They’re called lobbyists.

People’s historian passed, too

Author J.D. Salinger’s death on Wednesday got lots of appropriate attention but it seems to have eclipsed that of political scientist Howard Zinn on the same day. Sallinger was known primarily for his novel “Catcher in the Rye.”  Zinn was known most widely for one book as well: “The People’s History of the United States,” which I saw described in one reference as a “landmark leftist manifesto.”  It was mainly a look back on the development of the United States told through the eyes of those who, in Zinn’s eyes, have been kicked around.  I read it a few years ago after it was passed along to me by a very conservative friend who got half way through and couldn’t bear to read further.  Zinn’s book was where I first read of the Wobbly free speech campaign in Spokane a century ago.  “Landmark leftist manifesto” sounds a little inflammatory to me, but those words seemed to have been written by an admirer, so who am I to quarrel?

Roeder verdict

A Kansas jury deliberated for all of 37 minutes before finding Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. Roeder, who shot Tiller in the head during services at his church, was relying on a so-called necessity defense, that is, he was innocent because Tiller posed an immediate threat to the fetuses he would abort.  Even Fox News analysts were saying Thursday that defense didn’t wash.  The jury obviously agreed. Thirty-seven minutes is about enough time to pass out pencils and paper. Roeder will be sentenced in March. 

Thursday’s Loose Thread

There’s the State of the Union. And the State of the Onion. Both have many layers.

Or discuss whatever you’d like.


Tuesday’s Loose Thread

ACORN “pimp” busted, along with other folks.

Your views on law and order and other topics here.

Monday’s Loose Thread

This video is from “Ukraine’s Got Talent.” Using sand and a light box, an artist depicts the World War II invasion and the toll from the three-year occupation. Her performance is so powerful that the audience is reduced to tears. Do you ever wonder what America’s psyche would be like if we had ever endured such a thing? Look at the changes triggered by the 9/11 terrorists attacks. Multiply that that by a Hitler invasion and/or a Stalin purge (the Ukraine endured both) and you have to think we’d be a very different people. Certainly less cocky. Certainly more humble.

Comment on this or anything else here.

To John Edwards, LOL stands for Lying Out Loud

After finally acknowledging he’s the father of Frances Quinn Hunter, former presidential candidate John Edwards gets all misty on us about his earlier denials: “…hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me.”

Understands what? That her dad put his libido and his political aspirations ahead of his family — to include Frances Quinn Hunter? And that he fessed up only when a former aide’s book was about to out him?

Who couldn’t forgive that — once she understands?

Thursday’s Loose Thread

There are threads on campaign speech and health care below. This one is for whatever else tickles your fancy. Like, say, cliches.

Large scale HC reform is dead

That’s what it looks like anyway. Pelosi won’t be able to get the votes needed to pass the Senate bill. Meanwhile, the Senate bill needs 60 votes and now has 59 (at best).

Scott Brown says he’s open to working with Democrats on a bill. He supports universal coverage in Massachusetts. And Americans say they want GOP buy-in. 


1. Does the GOP want to buy in? Or would they rather ride the current wave of discontent?

2. Is there a GOP senator other than Brown who likes the Massachusetts model? Northeast Republicans are more liberal than your typical Republican and are often called RINOs (Repubicans in Name Only). How much buy-in is needed?

3. If Brown buys in, does he lose his iconic status with Republicans who are currently thrilled with his victory?

Discuss here.

Corporate speech protected

Supreme Court overturns the McCain-Feingold limits on campaign spending.

What will this mean? Is it the right call?

Awareness test

Try this test. It relates to this issue.

So any legislation that singles out hand-held cell phone use misses the point. It’s the head, not the hands.


Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Well, that was a balmy weekend. Nice.

What’s on your mind today? Will the death of Kennedy mean the death of health-care reform?


Guns, open records and personal responsibility (or a weekend loose thread)

Not surprisingly, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the question of whether people who sign initiative and referendum petitions are entitled to a cloak of secrecy.  Until the robed ones rule, though, we underlings still have time to discuss the matter. So I ask the following:

 Do those who favor secrecy, because it would protect signers from the potential of harrassment and intimidation, also favor reasonable gun control, because it would protect citizens from the potential of being shot by armed hoodlums?

Conversely, do those who believe that guns don’t kill people, people kill people, also believe that open records don’t harrass and intimidate people, people do.

In short, isn’t it consistent with pro-2nd Amendment reasoning to believe that if access to signatures on petitions results in retribution against signers, the solution is not to withhold public documents but to prosecute those individuals who do the harm?

(No wonder my home to-do list never gets any shorter. Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend.)

Wednesday’s Loose Thread

Thought this was interestnig. Will passing health reform make Obama more popular? Not if you wanted it to do more. Not if you wanted it to do less. Not if didn’t want it in the first place. Those are today’s views. Will they change? In what direction?

Comment on that or anything else right here.


Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Here it is. So there you go.

Best presidents, according to Libertarians

A Libertarian’s ranking of presidents. Would be interested in gmorton’s thoughts.

This ranking puts some of the more obscure presidents at the top. Van Buren, Cleveland, Tyler, Coolidge, Taylor. It doesn’t think very highly of the guys on Mount Rushmore.

Would Bob Barr, the most recent Libertarian candidate, top them all if he were elected? What would a Libertarian do in office if Congress were still controlled by the other parties?

Besides, blasting Mount Rushmore.


Monday’s Loose Thread

A round-up of commentary on Harry Reid’s comment about Obama here.

Is it just like Trent Lott? Should he resign?

Photo red

There are red-light cameras all over the Phoenix Metro area. Was fearful that I had run a light recently while on vacation, but that depends on when the camera clicks. The light was yellow when I entered. Guess I’ll find out soon.

What do you think of them in light of today’s article?


Ask the senator

Sen. Patty Murray is in today. What questions would you ask her?


Tuesday’s Loose Thread

Never spent a winter on the West Side. Is this what it’s like?

Put your random musings here.

Monday’s Loose Thread

Finally, the holiday top ten lists are gone. Time to look forward.

So what’s on your mind today?



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