Gwen's Take

Of Symbols and Meaning: Part Two

Posted: January 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Last week in this space, I mused about how quick we can be to over interpret events and ascribe tenuous meaning to actions that so often defy explanation.

Less than forty-eight hours after I posted that column, 19 people were gunned down in a Tucson parking lot---six died---and suddenly we were sucked into a situation in which symbolism seems all too real.

Guns. Mental illness. Overheated political speech. Personal security. Everyone flocked to their favorite theory.

OF SYMBOLS AND MEANING: Or, how to read too much into anything

Posted: January 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Just a few weeks before Christmas in 1996, I was seated in the front row in an auditorium at the Old Executive Office Building across from the White House. My job, then for NBC News, was to cover the announcement of a clutch of new administration officials for Bill Clinton’s second term.

Predictions, Prophecies and the Perils of Prognostication

Posted: December 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm

One of the things that I promise reporters who appear on “Washington Week” is that they will never have to make predictions. Even on the PBS NewsHour, where many of our guests actually make their livings by peering into crystal balls, we shy away from the practice.

GIFTS OF THE SEASON:

Posted: December 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Why Santa likes political junkies

Let’s face it. If you still have to go to work while everyone else is out shopping and partying and hanging mistletoe, you might as well have fun doing it.

Gridlock is not fun. Poisonous debate is not fun. Being attacked by people who go online just to attack is not fun. But this week was fun.

No matter your political persuasion, if you believe that politics well practiced is an exercise in democracy, the final week of the just-concluded lame duck Congress was an eye opener.

The Sincerity Test

Posted: December 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Polls can be confusing. Americans generally hate Congress but don’t mind their own Congressman. And many of them say they hate President Obama but consider him a good father and a generally likeable fellow.

What gives?

I did a deep dive into two new polls out this week to see if I could figure it out. As I was scouring the graphs and tables, I came across a question I’d never noticed before.

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