Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ain't no sunshine

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May.

To read the good news, Spring is near!  Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow.  This tradition apparently goes back to the late 19th century, although it has its roots in Candlemas, which goes back much much further.  The Roman legions apparently brought the festival of light to Germany, which farmers adapted to "Hedgehog Day," seeming to need an animal to symbolize the event.  Later, Germans brought the tradition to Pennsylvania, with the groundhog making its first appearance in 1886.  Since then the town of Punxsutawney has cultivated this celebration into an international event, probably best portrayed in Bill Murray's thoroughly engaging Groundhog Day.


  1. I was searching for a film/tv thread and thought this one ... groundhog day ... was a perfect match.

    I just watched Too Big To Fail again. What an amazing film. This time I almost felt sorry for Hank Paulson getting in way over his head. What an amazing time we went through as a nation -- and they just gave the banks trillions of dollars with no strings attached. I think it worked to stop the worst, but groundhog like, we're still repeating the same ol' same ol'. "Regulation? No one wanted it. We were all making too much money."

    GW is shown with his usual deer in the headlights look of his, saying the nation must act. I'm amazed that a republican was ever allowed near Washington after that.

  2. That's it in a nutshell -- too much money to be made. To hell with the rest. Persons were enjoyed 10-20% returns on their investments, thinking they had found a way to retire as millionaires, and everyone was all the sudden a real estate speculator, only for the bottom to fall out in 2008.

  3. Yeah, and the traders et al. were making millions.

    Coupled with watching Hubris the other night, I'm still in a bit of shock over what GW put the country through. Imagine ... eight long years of that.

  4. It's no wonder he paints himself in the shower and bathtub trying to get himself clean.

  5. He didn't do it alone. What bothered me the most was the Democratic complicity in this. Daschle put up very little opposition to Bush's warmongering or the notorious Patriot Act or the Homeland Security Bill. 911 created such a climate of fear that mainstream Democrats seemed to be left speechless. You remember how Howard Dean was chastised by fellow Dems for criticizing the Iraq war when he ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004.

  6. I heard Michael Moore last night -- it's also the 10th anniversary of his Oscar for Bowling for Columbine (ironic, that, too). I had forgotten that he asked all the nominees to come up onto the stage in support of fact over fiction, just four days after the invasion of Iraq. The audience booed and the orchestra tried to drown him out. I remember some horrible joke later about him being last seen being stuffed into the trunk of a car and the audience having a good laugh. The country was nuts in those days.

    The one I never forgave was Hilary Clinton who voted yes -- Hubris replayed part of her speech in favor of the war. And John Kerry's. It was clear these were political votes, not informed (or moral) ones. They never even bothered to read the intelligence.

    And for that I do blame the GW war machine. They really knew how to whip up the people to go off and invade another country for no reason. These politicians clearly felt at the time they had no choice but to get on the train or be left behind.

  7. As I recall the country was just as deeply divided over the Iraq War as it had been the Persian Gulf War. The only war that garnered widespread support was the Afghan War and I remember being knocked around in the old NYTimes forums over that one. I was very much against it, as the hunt for bin Laden should have been a police action not a war action, but here was GW turning it into a "moral war."

    I suppose we can discuss his overarching "war on terror" more openly today, as like the conservative "war on drugs" it was a total failure, only dragging the country far deeper into a financial and emotional hole. I've long felt that the only reason for this "war on terror" was to make him a wartime president so that his cynical conservative buddies could ramrod so-called security legislation through Congress that would essentially make us into a surveillance state. In this they succeeded beyond their wildest imagination, thanks to a completely duped Democratic leadership that seemed to become afraid of its own shadow, with only a handful of persons like Robert Byrd and Carol Mosely Braun speaking out.

  8. I remember when Braun ran for president. One of her slogans was if we can rebuild Iraq, we can rebuild Baltimore. It had started even then.

    I think it was the Patriot Act that enabled Tester to boot that horrible Conrad Burns -- we may like our guns in Montana but there is some real resistance as well to so-called "legal" oppression.

  9. Unfortunately, we still have the Patriot Act and Homeland Security, and they will probably stay around for a long time to come.