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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Last I checked you could still walk up to the U.S. Capitol and touch it. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. My wife and I just requested tickets to the inauguration, though, so maybe we'll try to test that hypothesis in January. Incidentally, I should think that allowing rank and file citizens to attend the inauguration implies maybe we are not so paranoid as you think. Remember back in June when average Americans from all over attended Reagan's funeral. People could walk right on in and pass by the cof

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    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • I was thinking more of the White House with its high fence and street closed in front and how the temporary security measures have become permanent. How press conferences are orchistrated affairs in a special room. How Bush has broken the tradition of walking to the inauguration and is likely to do it again. The president is supposed to be first among equals but we're starting to revere him as something like royalty. And the gap is growing in the name of security measures. This is a problem for democra

      • by jdavidb (1361) on 2004.11.10 16:18 (#35923) Homepage Journal

        I think you are looking at a result that is not solely from recent trends, but the end result of over 200 years of development. Going back to the time of Andrew Jackson, you actually had a mob celebrating his inauguration at the White House, such that President Jackson had to leave and stay at a hotel, while the aides lured the crowd outside with booze. :) Security has obviously tightened since then, and while the September 11 attacks certainly hastened it, the trends were well underway. (As I observed earlier, Pennsyvania Avenue initially closed in front of the White House after the Oklahoma City bombing, ten years ago and during Clinton's administration.)

        Let me mention that yesterday Pennsylvania Avenue reopened to pedestrian traffic [whitehouse.gov]. No, it will probably never carry vehicles again (although I think that applies only to the stretch in front of the White House ... we'll see).

        The tradition of walking to the inauguration is a little overstated. Thomas Jefferson did so. Many, many others did not. [senate.gov] Just so happens I've done a lot of reading the past few days on inaugural history. :) Unfortunately I can't find references to everything I've read, so bear with me. I do understand that the President traditionally walks part of the parade route before taking the stand to view the parade, or something like that, so perhaps that has changed.

        The president is supposed to be first among equals but we're starting to revere him as something like royalty. And the gap is growing in the name of security measures. This is a problem for democracy. I'd rather see the president assassinated than set up as superhuman.

        Surely you don't think that those who disagree are being unreasonable? Assassination of the President could cause all kinds of danger and chaos. Protection of the President and extreme concern for clear protected succession goes back at least to the beginning of the Cold War; it's nothing new in our generation. Those who would prefer protection against assassination generally do so not because the President is not a first among equals, but because his function is vitally important as commander in chief.

        [Regarding Reagan's funeral]: Well, any would-be assassin is a little late by then. :)

        Well, yeah, but there were a lot of other people there who were pretty approachable. I presume they were protected, but it was also possible to get close to them.

        I just can't help but ask, somewhat tongue in cheek, what exactly is it you want to do (other than assassination) that you can't do now? I understand the symbolism and how that feels to you, but is there any practical way in which you feel your access to the government has been restricted through high security? We haven't been able to have a White House where just anybody can drop in in well over a hundred years. That would be the case just by sheer numbers of our population if not for security. You can still call or write your congresspersons, write the President, and run for office, right? Maybe doing one of these would make you feel that the system is a little more accessible. (My wife's mother has a letter from Barbara Bush written in response to a letter of protest she sent her after Mrs. Bush misrepresented an issue in a speech.)

        I don't know what access to the US Capitol building is like. Looks like its under construction at the moment. I'll be interested to hear how close you can get and how comfortable you feel doing it. I'll also be interested to hear what attending the inauguration entails.

        Keep an eye on the journal. :) Plane tickets are purchased and we're making hotel and transportation arrangements. We'll have a couple of extra days after the inauguration, too, to wander around. At the moment our tickets to the inauguration itself have only been requested; I have no idea what our chances of receiving them are. We'll be in the city, at least, and apparently some Americans will be getting these tickets. :)

        --
        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers