Political signals here, there and everywhere

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Friday, February 25, 2011; 7:12 PM

Please explain: What is all this signaling going on all over the country, but especially in Washington, D.C.?

I read that Republicans "signaled" Democrats that they might discuss the budget with them [front page, Feb. 16]. Even in Egypt, military rulers were apparently sending "the right signals," according to President Obama [news story, Feb. 16]. A Feb. 15 news story reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell "has signaled a willingness to examine Social Security and other entitlements."

The signal from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was apparently brighter than was suspected. Less than a week after you wrote in the Feb. 18 Style section, "But Thune also has publicly signaled some hesitation about running" for president, the senator announced he won't be a candidate in 2012.

This week, it was an outbreak of protests in Libya (Monday's Post) and a drop in new enrollments at The Washington Post's Kaplan division (Thursday) that were doing the signaling. In the Sports section on Sunday, a meeting "signaled" progress on a collective-bargaining agreement.

How is this done? Are people giving each other the thumbs up? Waggling their eyebrows, tipping hats toward each other, winking? Using flashlights or Morse code?

I am interested in signaling people in my own life as to my intentions. I'm sure my children will appreciate it instead of my constant nagging!

Catherine Welker, Crofton


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