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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

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • There's a huge fence around the Capitol to keep everyone at least five hundred meters back (Or at least there was when I was there a week before the election)
    • 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

      • 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 e

        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • Curiously, when George Bush visited Ottawa recently, security within the parliament building became so tight that some of the MPs were prevented from getting into theor seats in parliament to vote on ongoing legislation.

        There was quite an uproar. It was actually illegal for the security forces to prevent MPs from reaching their post, but the main issue was that the high security was obviously set up in a hurry and the relevant process was poorly communicated to all the affected parties.

  • Ever since a group of idiots "stormed the Commons" [] back in September (which was quickly followed by our idiotic tabloid press sneaking a "fake bomb" [] into the commons, Blunket has been pressing to introduce U.S. style "keep the people back" measures (but he would, wouldn't he? He's not exactly a believer in extending personal liberties.)

    The debate is simmering quite a bit, since we've traditionally had public access to the commons - people accessing government and all that. Now we have a "ring of steel" [].

  • The UK used to be like Canada, but it's slowly becoming harder and harder to get close to government.

    I wrote about this [] last year.
  • I wondered when it was that the US started valuing safety over being close to those they govern. You still believe all that "by the people, for the people" stuff?? You must be confused. :-|
  • During the election, there was some factoid about the cultural divide in the US. The right and left wings read mutually exclusive news outlets, and believe mutually exclusive worldviews to be fully true (and therefore, the "facts" the other guys use are total bullshit).

    Is the Capitol under siege? Is Washington, DC under siege? Depends. You can believe either, and make an argument that will convince about half of the country, and aggravate the other half as just spreading lies.

    Me? I live in the area