Entry for February 02, 2006

I’ve been to Punxsutawney, but only in September.  At 3:00 a.m. this morning,  while you and I slept soundly in our beds, the gates opened for the 120th Trek to Gobbler’s Knob with  Punxsutawney Phil (pictured above with Bill Deeley, his handler and the local funeral director–are the two related?)  ‘s Official Prognostication.  The festivities included music, fireworks  (sponsored by Jefferson Machine and the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club)  and other entertainment with the  Club’s Inner Circle “. Phil’s “official prognostication” at daybreak (approximately 7:25 a.m.):

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Around the country there are many imitators of me.

In Harrisburg there is Gus who appears on TV
working for the lottery.

Then all around town,
Cute groundhog statues abound.
They all look like me, I found.

Today on the Knob as I’m doing my job,
I don’t like this likeness of me.

It’s my shadow I see. Six more weeks of mild winter there will be.

In other news, the Capitol Police apologized to Cindy Sheehan.  It seems they know realize she wasn’t doing anything wrong.  They had claimed to be carrying out the ban on demonstrations inside the Capitol since 1946. 40 U.S.C. § 193f(b)(7). states “It  shall be unlawful for any person or group of persons willfully and knowingly —  to parade, demonstrate, or picket within any of the Capitol Buildings.” The United States Capitol Police Board issued a regulation that interprets “demonstration activity” does not “merely wearing Tee shirts, buttons or other similar articles of apparel that convey a message.”  At least this was case when the District Court decided http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/97-1337c.pdf the case of , Reverend Pierre Bynum in 1997.  In that case Bynum complained that the police prohibited him from praying in the United States Capitol.  The Court decided, “While there certainly are types of expressive acts that rise to the level of a demonstration, any regulation that allows a police officer the unfettered discretion to restrict behavior merely because it “conveys a message” or because it has a “propensity to attract a crowd of onlookers” cannot survive a due process challenge.”

Interestingly, while Sheehan was lifted from her chair,  handcuffed and arrested, even though they hadn’t asked her to merely cover her message, the wife of a republican legislature was merely ushered out for wearing a “support the troops” shirt, even though she called them “Ididots.”  Of course, she WAS right.




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