Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Star power

It was a bit of a shock to learn on the Internet that a wobbly Earth has put the old Zodiac out of whack, and even added a 13th astrological sign – Ophiuchus (I’m changing my birthday if I end up landing in that one).

USA-SHOOTING/Speaking of star power… President Barack Obama showed his last night at the memorial service for the Arizona shooting victims. He connected. The more somber and emotional his speech, the more the audience reacted with approval.

“It’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds,” Obama said.

Can Washington actually change the polarized discourse that Obama talked about? Well, next week will be a good test. The House of Representatives will resume debate on legislation to repeal Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul.

The House had intended to act this week on the repeal bill, but the vote was postponed following the Arizona shooting spree. The tragedy led to a national debate on whether political rhetoric has gone too far.

Palin’s choice of words raises new questions

RTR2DVXI_Comp-150x150It didn’t take long for Sarah Palin to go from an uncompromising response to critics of her campaign rhetoric to new questions about her choice of words.

Not the gun-toting choice of words that had already landed the former Alaska governor in hot water with political opponents who tried to blame her rhetoric for last weekend’s melee in Tucson, where a gunman tried to assassinate congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords while killing six and wounding 13 others.

This time the questions surround two words that are charged with meaning:  blood libel.

U.S. public says Giffords shooting, rhetoric unrelated

RTXWDK6_Comp-150x150Most Americans see no relation between the attempted assassination of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the political tactic of lacing vitriolic rhetoric with firearms analogies.

That’s the conclusion of a CBS News poll that found most Republicans (69 pct), most independents (56 pct) and even a plurality of Democrats (49 pct) believe the two phenomena unrelated.

Those numbers add up to 57 percent of Americans overall — a true majority though not quite big enough to break a Senate filibuster.