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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for January 2011

Turmoil in Egypt

This is a good place to keep updated on rapidly changing events.

Any thoughts?

UPDATE: Many attacks on media. Mubarak says he can't leave now. That would be chaos. So, instead, he'll literally bash the coverage. Thugs. Plain and simple.

UPDATE: Egypt photos from former S-R photograher Holly Pickett and others.  Stunning stuff.

Jan. 31 open thread

Raise a topic. Discuss it here.

State of the Union

The president presented his case. So did the Republicans, via Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann. The Libertarians said a pox on all their houses.

And you?

No saving seats

There's been a lot of talk on the political TV channels today about the change in seating arrangements for tonight's State of the Union Address.  Rs and Ds will mingle rather than divide into partisan blocs in the House chamber.  Or, as Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of the proponents of the scheme, put it, they'll “get out of our conventional skins. ”

Everyone agrees it's a symbolic gesture, but coming after last fall's election (not to mention last year's “You lie!”), I'm betting most Americans welcome it.  It will be interesting to see how it affects the applause patterns or (Murkowski's words again) the “theatrics.”

The Creach case

Spokane County Prosecutor decides not to seek charges in the shooting death of Wayne Scott Creach. It's is a tough situation. Two people involved in the encounter. Only one lives to tell about it.

Would it help to have coroner inquests in cases like these?. Attorney Breann Beggs makes the case for that here. Even with inquests, jurors become split, as this recent Seattle case shows.

What are your thoughts on all of this?

The Jan. 24 Thread

Open thread. Discuss issues of the day here.

Myth of Hero Gunslinger

Interesting column by Timothy Egan (formerly of Spokane) about the notion of increasing safety by carrying a gun.  It is related to the Tucson shootings.

It defies logic, as this case shows once again, that an average citizen with a gun is going to disarm a crazed killer. For one thing, these kinds of shootings happen far too suddenly for even the quickest marksman to get a draw. For another, your typical gun hobbyist lacks training in how to react in a violent scrum. I don’t think these are reasons to disarm the citizenry. That’s never going to happen, nor should it. But the Tucson shootings should discredit the canard that we need more guns at school, in the workplace, even in Congress.

Backpack bomb

The backpack found downtown during the MLK march had a bomb in it, and the FBI is treating this as an instance of domestic terrorism. Rachel Maddow interviewed the S-R's Tom Clouse. You can watch that here

Otherwise, this has not become a national story. Should it be?

How do you live your politics?

Or do you?

Be interested in thoughts and anecdotes about this subject,

The Jan. 17 thread

Put your thoughts here. Heard this lyric driving in today:

“Ain't it like most people — I'm no different — we like to talk on things we don't know about.”

Tragedy in Arizona

We live in a free and open society, and I doubt many of us would give that up in return for the efficiency of a dictatorship. 

Our freedom lets us say, write and do pretty much anything in reason and go where we want. It also generally allows us to abuse our freedom before it's taken away. It leaves us generally unable to prevent events like Saturday's act of violence outside Tucson. Those who say this is a consequence of free speech are confusing correlation with cause and effect.  In fact, free speech and Saturday's shooting are both consequences of our free and open society.

We need to keep that in mind when we decide how to react to a horrible incident.


Remedial history

The new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives drew some snarky comments for its decision to open business Thursday by reading the Constitution.  I don't see the problem.  Everyone ought to read our main historical documents every so often.

About an hour after the event (in which liberal Seattle Democrat Jim McDermott participated), Congressman Bob Goodlatte — who ought to be from Seattle with a name like that but actually is a Virginia Republican — rose to speak on the House floor. Having managed the rotation of readers, he explained that there had been a minor glitch. Somebody accidentally turned an extra page, resulting in two pages not being read.

Nobody had noticed the oversight when it happened, so Goodlatte was allowed to read the neglected passages into the record.  In a ritual that was planned and conducted by people who are dismayed at how little their colleagues know about the Constitution, you'd think at least one of them would have recognized the error and corrected it on the spot.


Hello to 2011

Open thread here.

Members of Congress are reading the Constitution. Wonder who gets this part?

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Has the budget deficit grabbed our attention?

Alice Rivlin, former budget director for President Clinton, has been probably the most outspoken Democrat in recent years about the need to deal with the federal budget deficit.  In a commentary from the Brookings Institute's website, she sounds hopeful that bipartisan progress could be made in the coming year.

Do you share her optimism?

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