One day, two good speeches

This was a very good speech.

President Barack Obama, Osawatomie, Kan., Dec. 6, 2011

This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what’s at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement. Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that’s happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

I am here to say they are wrong. I’m here in Kansas to reaffirm my deep conviction that we’re greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules. …

Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked.

And this was a very good speech.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Geneva, Dec. 6, 2011

Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.

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  • Don Gisselbeck

    But they’re both communistofascistsociallistislamowealthredistributors so we better run and hide.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget that they’re anticolonialists too!!!!!  So, let’s see, they’re communistofascistsociallistislamowealthredistributoranticolonialists.  Wait, I forgot that they’re also antilife.  So… communistofascistsociallistislamowealthredistributoranticolonialistantilifers.  There, that about covers all of the key words.  Until someone invents a new one.

  • Don Gisselbeck

    Oops, forgot to get teh gay in there.

  • Rikalous

    Oops, forgot to get teh gay in there.

    You included “Islam”. That’s practically the same thing.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Loved Obama’s speech. Now, the cautious side of me asks, when will he translate it into action – serious action – to bring Democrats all on his side and use his office and the Democratic majority in the Senate to stop the resurgent Republican ideological tidal bloom?

  • Matri

    Ten bucks says the republicans focus on his totally socialist tie-clasp.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Loved Obama’s speech. Now, the cautious side of me asks, when will he translate it into action – serious action – to bring Democrats all on his side and use his office and the Democratic majority in the Senate to stop the resurgent Republican ideological tidal bloom?

    I’m guessing in 2019, at the earliest.  >:(

  • Anonymous

    You know, I’ve really come to distrust Barack Obama, because everytime I think I’m just about done with him, the silver tounged devil pulls something like that and I reach for my last $10.

    I’M DOING IT RIGHT NOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    I know, right? Also this week, the governor of New York suddenly realizes that there’s a (D) after his name and proposes a plan which will raise taxes on the rich, allowing government funded infrastructure spending. This is a major reversal on his previous position (“we can’t tax the ‘job creators’, and intact infrastructure is a luxury we can’t afford right now”). Heavens, if all the Democrats start talking and acting like Democrats, where will it all end?

  • Anonymous

    You know, I’ve really come to distrust Barack Obama, because everytime I think I’m just about done with him, the silver tounged devil pulls something like that and I reach for my last $10.

    I’M DOING IT RIGHT NOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

    No one is more liberal the Democrats when they are campaigning. They know swinging way to the left is how they get votes. Sadly, the minute they are in office, they swing back to the right.

  • Anonymous

    I donated just for the “Made in the USA” mug. :)

  • http://wp.wiccanweb.ca Makarios

    “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

  • Tom

    Rick Perry’s response: “Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money,”

    Right… the ‘special right’ not to be a victim of what amounts to genocide.  Christmas at his house must be a blast.

    Can’t believe ANYONE takes this guy seriously.  America needs to grow up.

  • Anonymous

    “Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that’s happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.”

    NO! It is *NOT* some “kind of collective amnesia”! The greedy bastards who “want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess” want to do so because it’s how they got rich last time. That’s it. Pure and Simple. Any cheat knows that the best way to make money in pretty much *any* card game is a deck stacked in his favor. Any Wall Street bank$ter/robber baron knows that the best way to make money on Wall Street is to stack the deck (and the rules) against the Middle Class whose hard-earned money is invested in investment funds, pension funds, hedge funds, financial “instruments” and whatnot so that, at the end of the day, more of that money goes into the overseas bank accounts of those bank$ters/robber barons than back into those funds, “instruments”, etc. (And *that* ignores the CEOs, CFOs and other Suits who rob from the other end of the pipeline in the form of huge bonuses, obscene salaries and Platinum Parachutes and such!)

    The *ONLY* way that the bank$ters, robber barons, CEOs, CFOs and all of the other paper-pushing leeches who see the Middle Class as a teat to suck on until there’s nothing left (and then, I flat-out *guarantee* to you that they’ll find some more) will stop is if someone starts making them accountable for their actions (or, in some cases, inactions), be it Congress (doubtful, since most of that body is bought-and-paid-for by those very bank$ters, robber barons, CEOs, etc.), the Executive Branch (also doubtful since those bank$ters, robber barons, CEOs, etc. tend to fund the election of the Chief Executive a.k.a. The President), the Fed (again, doubtful because the Fed Chairman and his minions tend to come from the very ranks of said bank$ters, robber barons, CEOs, etc.) or possibly the various States in which the bank$ters, robber barons, CEOs, etc. are doing business. (Once again, doubtful because a) most Governors aspire to Federal office and can’t really afford to antagonize the bank$ters, robber barons, CEOs, etc. who might fund those aspirations; and b) any state that tries to prosecute them risks getting a reputation as unfriendly to Business and losing it’s industrial base — or at least whatever’s left of it — to more Business-friendly states or other Nations entirely.)

    So…um…I don’t see much actual change coming, do you? Guess we’d all better get used to this being The New Normal.

    BOHICA! (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again!)

  • Anonymous

    Next time you use a rape metaphor, trigger warning it, please. I’m referring to “Bend Over, Here It Comes Again!”

  • Anonymous

    Re: Trigger warning.

    Okay, sorry. I was in a hurry to finish it up and get to bed. I’ll try to remember next time.

  • Dan Audy

    Next time you use a rape metaphor, trigger warning it, please. I’m referring to “Bend Over, Here It Comes Again!”

    ((This is a genuine good faith question.  Please give me the benefit of the doubt and don’t stomp all over my head, please.))

    What value does a trigger warning on that sort of comment provide?  The warning itself contains (in my opinion) just as much rape reference as the comment itself so anyone who is going to be triggered by such a non-descriptive, brief comment is just as likely to be triggered by the trigger warning itself.

    I understand the value of trigger warnings when discussing these issues in depth and providing involved and occasionally graphic commentary on difficult subjects but for an off-hand comment it seems to be used as a cudgel for ignoring or demeaning out-tribe members who don’t understand the nuances of how discussions are supposed to be done in tribe.

    If you were offended by the rape metaphor, why not just say ‘Dude, rape isn’t funny.  I’d rather your comments were more considerate of others.” rather than framing it as being an issue with how the comment was presented?

  • Anonymous

    Trigger warning, rape.

    What value does a trigger warning on that sort of comment provide?  The warning itself contains (in my opinion) just as much rape reference as the comment itself so anyone who is going to be triggered by such a non-descriptive, brief comment is just as likely to be triggered by the trigger warning itself.

    The value provided is that people triggered by rape will, one, know there is a rape reference coming, and two, know that people around here are polite enough to warn when there’s a rape reference coming.

    for an off-hand comment it seems to be used as a cudgel for ignoring or demeaning out-tribe members who don’t understand the nuances of how discussions are supposed to be done in tribe.

    My intent had nothing to do with in- vs out-group. My intent, pardon my Saxon, is to make sure that fucking rape jokes are fucking warned for.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    [Continuing on the discussion of rape and trigger warnings.]

    The way people react to things isn’t always the way you’d expect them to react to things.  This goes well beyond trigger warnings, for what it’s worth.

    I personally have no problem being involved in a discussion of emotional abuse, even if it goes into great detail, but the moment someone casually says that I don’t know what it’s like to be abused (which happens to be quite false) I cannot remain in the discussion.  Even thinking about coming back to the thread will make me feel like I’m about to throw up.  (I’ll never actually throw up, but the feeling will persist until I manage to get the thread completely out of my head, and it is not a nice feeling.)  That’s probably not what someone would expect, but that’s the way things work for me.

    That’s something that a trigger warning could never solve (because anyone who knew enough to leave a trigger warning would know that saying that isn’t true in the first place) but it’s the only example I can give without trotting out someone else’s trauma as my example.

    Sometimes it isn’t the amount of what is said, or the detail of what is said, but how it is said.  There’s a world of difference between saying, “There’s a rape joke coming up,” and telling a rape joke.  If making use of that difference could save someone distress, why not do that?

    If you didn’t know that there are people who get triggered by people making jokes about rape but not by people saying that jokes about rape exist, congratulations: Now you know.

    A trigger warning before a rape joke, even a joke that only contains as much reference to rape as the trigger warning itself, would prevent some people from being triggered.  Which is the entire point of trigger warnings.

    I, personally, would like an end to rape jokes.  So I’d be perfectly happy if people decided that the simplest solution was to stop using rape jokes.  If someone is going to continue making rape jokes it seems like basic decency to warn people who would be triggered by the use of rape in a joke that rape is going to be used in a joke.

    Or for the really short version:
    Jokes about rape can trigger people.  A trigger warning saying there is a joke about rape coming up is not a joke about rape, and so would not trigger the aforementioned people.  Thus it is not the case that the trigger warning would itself trigger all of the people the joke would trigger.

  • FangsFirst

    @DanAudy:disqus

    [more on trigger warnings related to rape]

    for my own perspective, trigger warnings are nice because the worst part of most triggers is that they are unexpected. To people who are not/cannot be triggered, a rape joke is another form of joke. It’s risqué or shocking or rude, or a bunch of other mildly negative things, but it doesn’t cause an avalanche of emotional response that can take anywhere from minutes to days to recover from. Additionally, there’s a certain feeling of safety or comfort that comes from contexts where it isn’t the subject at hand. So that can really lull those who can be triggered into a false sense of security.

    Saying “Trigger warning,” on the other hand, is outside of the moment and not part of the natural flow of a post or sentence or comment. So the reader is taken out of it, taken aside, and warned.

    The last, worst one I saw, for me at least, was in a random chunk of outtakes from Community. Ridiculous jokes, absurdity, then hey a rape joke. Actually, it was more like a rape scene that was somehow supposed to be funny. It was pretty fucking disgusting, actually, and kind of soured me on the whole show to think the people making it found that funny. What made it the *most* affecting was that I was still in this mode of “Happy, funny show!” and then it was a complete sucker punch. In general I’d prefer there BE no rape jokes, and especially just in outtakes of friggin network sitcoms, but I’m not crazy enough to think they’d bother with a trigger warning there. Still, it probably would have helped, as the context matters. And “Trigger Warning” removes context, says, “Look, this is going to happen, now let’s continue” instead.

    …Of course, the closest I usually get with friends is “Oh, shit, sorry!” but they mean well…

  • Tonio

    It’s sad that Hillary Clinton should even have to give a speech like that, because there’s no basis for deeming homosexuality to be wrong. An individual’s sexual orientation is no one else’s business. If someone doesn’t want to be gay or feels that it’s personally wrong, fine. No one else is trying to make that person be gay. But the person should also return the favor and not begrudge others who are gay. This reminds me very much of meat-eaters who treat vegetarianism as though it’s not just wrong but also weird, almost as if they see that diet as a personal comment.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     This reminds me very much of meat-eaters who treat vegetarianism as though it’s not just wrong but also weird, almost as if they see that diet as a personal comment.

    It is.

    In our society, your identity is defined to a large extent by what you CONSUME.  Someone who defies expected consumption patters is THREATENING YOUR VERY SOUL.  :-P

    (Ha Ha, Only Serious.)

  • WingedBeast

    Part of the issue is that it’s easier to make the case to the American public that collective measures are necessary for us to have the freedom to be the rugged individuals that we want to be than it is to legislate that way.

    Fox News pounces on everything.  Republican representatives pounce on everything.  Republican base eats it all up.  Undecided voters are usually the ones who aren’t paying any attention.

    That last part is one of the worst parts of legislating anything.  The undecided usually aren’t paying attention.  Of course they aren’t.  They have jobs.  But, at the same time, they justify preferring to get their information on how to accurately vote for the American Idol by saying “they’re all the same”.  You know “Oh, they’re all criminals”.  When applied to politicians, it’s arguably less malicious than when applied to an ethnic group, but it’s still a cheap way of tarring all with the same brush and not having to pay attention.

    So, when they do pay attention, who has the time to listen to complex speeches?  We only have time for soundbites!  Common!  The Bachelor is coming on!

    You want liberals to legislate liberally, get more people to pay basic attention to the fact that it really does matter who gets into office.

  • Lori

    Related to Clinton’s speech, further proof that views on QUILTBAG rights are changing and that opposing them is a long-term loser: The latest New York Times poll reports that 58% of Iowa’s “likely GOP caucus goers” support either full marriage equality or civil unions. 

    While the righteous pushers of holy bigotry are busy waging the culture war on the godless coasts (including putting 5 anti-QUILTBAG measures on the 2012 California ballot*. WTH California?) they’re losing “real America”. 

    *Why so many? Apparently because it will be too expensive for pro-equality groups to effectively oppose so many ballot measures at once, allowing at least some to pass basically unopposed. 

  • Anonymous

    New Hampshire’s heavily Republican controlled legislature is attempting to remove marriage rights, but has run afoul of the fact that the vast majority of New Hampshirians are in favor of marriage equality. In fact, they dropped the proposed constitutional amendment entirely, and started inserting things into the legislative repeal specifically designed to kill the bill.

    The Republican Party should have seen the writing on the wall on this one a long time ago (at least by 2000). But then again the Republican Party is getting older, more religious, less educated, and whiter all disastrous long term trends for its health. They’ve pretty much permanently lost the millennial generation first thanks to Bush, and then secondly thanks to their reaction to this current recession/jobs crisis. Once the Baby Boomer generation replaces the Silent Generation as the oldest group of Americans, the Republican Party’s base is going to be non-existent. I find it doubtful they have much hope of winning the presidency in 2016 or beyond that for possibly a generation unless they make major policy shifts.

  • runsinbackground

    If the Grand Old Party did not exist, would it be necessary to invent it?

  • Anonymous

    “If the Grand Old Party did not exist, would it be necessary to invent it?”

    It seems to me that (re)”inventing” the GOP-as-it-currently-stands was a case of creating a [scarequotes]cure[/scarequotes] for which there was no disease.

    The GOP may have been necessary as a counter-weight to the pro-slavery Southern Democrats during the pre-Civil War, Civil War and Reconstruction years, but they pretty much seem to have lost both their way and their purpose when the “Know Nothing” nativists (the loose spiritual predecessors to the Tea Party) came to fore.

  • wendy

    The problems are far more recent than that… (or maybe it’s cyclical). Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower were awesome in many ways, decades after the know-nothings had been and gone. 

  • Anonymous

    “The problems are far more recent than that… (or maybe it’s cyclical). Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower were awesome in many ways, decades after the know-nothings had been and gone.”

    Just remember that T.R. pretty much formed his own Party (although still nominally identifying as Republican) because the so-called “Taft wing” was becoming too conservative even for him. And even loyal Republican Ike warned about the consequences of mixing too much money with unchecked military might. (The “Military/Industrial complex” line in his famous farewell address.) Even *they* had reservations about the direction that their own Party could go.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    While the righteous pushers of holy bigotry are busy waging the culture war on the godless coasts (including putting 5 anti-QUILTBAG measures on the 2012 California ballot*. WTH California?) they’re losing “real America”. 

    To be fair, all it takes to put a measure on the California ballot is a fixed number of voters willing to sign a petition.  In a state as large as California, it is not hard to find enough people to get pretty much anything on the ballot, no matter how absurd.  

  • Lori

    Unless the signature gatherers were committing fraud, people knew what they were signing. I’m over giving Californians a pass on this initiative nonsense. (Having lived there for 15+ years I know the process well enough to loath it, regardless of the politics of any given initiative.)

  • Anonymous

    As a current resident of California, all I can really do is apologize and blame OC and the Central Valley.

    If I can ask for some more info, however; I looked up 2012 initiatives and though I see ones for parental notification and personhood, I’m not seeing the other three. On the brighter side, parental notifications have a long history of being able to gather up enough signatures for the ballot (500,000 signatures is well under California’s crazification factor) but not having enough. It really does not take a lot to qualify an initiative for the ballot, which is a huge problem in and of itself. The process is pretty broken.

    I’m sad to see the amendment outlawing divorce didn’t qualify, though.

  • Lori

    IIRC there are 2 or 3 separate initiatives designed to repeal the LGBT history bill. (And that in and of itself tells you something about what’s wrong with the initiative process.)

  • rizzo

    Yeah if only there was any possible way I could believe Obama really means what he says.  He’s good at the speechifying, but on the ‘doing good things for people and not corporations’ front his record is amazingly poor.

  • Daughter

    Extending unemployment and the payroll tax holiday wasn’t good for people? Sidestepping a dysfunctional Congress to create jobs isn’t good for people? Helping young people under 26 and people with pre-existing conditions isn’t good for people?

  • Alicia

    Adding to that, What about mandating coverage for contraception
    for women and other preventative care? What about extending benefits to the
    partners of same-sex employee? What about booting the student loan corporations
    of that industry and using the savings to expand the Pell program for poor
    college students? Or cutting the ridiculous and (let’s be honest, probably
    racist) disparity between crack and cocaine sentences?

    He deserves a lot of criticism but it’s hardly fair to say that he hasn’t done anything to help anyone.

  • Daughter

    Sorry, that should read, “Helping young people under 26 and people with pre-existing conditions obtain health insurance isn’t good for people?”
     

  • rizzo

    Illegally detaining foreigners(and Americans) on foreign soil, torturing and killing them=not good for people.  Settling for a sop to health insurance companies instead of nationalizing healthcare insurance=not good for people.  Not cancelling the Bush tax cuts=not good for people.  Too small of a stimulus by at least half=not good for people. 
    I could go on.

  • Daughter

    The first one, definitely true.  The others? Necessary compromises that achieved some good along the way.  FDR had to do those, too–in order to get Social Security passed, he had to exclude domestic workers and farmers as contributors/recipients, since most African-Americans at the time were employed in those professions.  AFDC (welfare) was limited to white widows with children–another compromise to get Southern congress people to vote for it.  So because in their original form they were half-measures, does that mean they were “not good for people”? And if you say no, because hey, some people benefitted, what about the folks with pre-existing conditions, people who were able to still have some resources while job-hunting, etc. who are benefitting now?

    You know what’s really not good for people? No health care reform at all.  No extension of unemployment and the continuation of DADT.  No stimulus at all.  Between obstructionist Republicans and Blue Dog Dems, that very likely could have been the result if Obama hadn’t compromised.

  • Daughter

    One additional thought:  since when does “not as good as it could have been” equal “bad for people” (in regard to health reform and the stimulus)?

  • hf

    As I keep pointing out, Obama does not need “compromise” just to put money into the economy. Money is an illusion. The Federal Reserve, entirely on its own authority, printed at least US $1.5 trillion with a T for their hidden bailout of the banks. You may recall that the Fed belongs to the executive branch. I want them to print the amount of decrease in yearly demand that we’re seeing as a result of the crash (1.2 trillion) and use it to hire people. (This comes to well over $37,000 per unemployed US citizen — according to the u5 measure, not the smaller official number of unemployed.)

  • patter

    And for a completely crappy speech:

    Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich told a federal court Wednesday that he made “terrible mistakes”
    and is “unbelievably sorry” for his crimes.

    “Unbelievably sorry”??

  • Hawker40

    “Unbelievably sorry”??

    I find in unbelievable that he’s sorry for his actions.
    Sorry for being caught at it, maybe.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich told a federal court Wednesday that he made “terrible mistakes” and is “unbelievably sorry” for his crimes.

    “Unbelievably sorry”??

    Well, I don’t believe he’s sorry….

  • P J Evans

    He is</em unbelievably sorry – that he got caught. And convicted.

  • P J Evans

    tag fail?
    he is unbelievably sorry – that he got caught. And convicted.

  • Anonymous

    Having lived in Illinois while he was governor, I certainly do find it unbelievable.

  • MaryKaye

    The last California election I voted in (I moved to Washington after that) had five insurance-reform initiatives on the ballot:  one that would actually reform insurance, and four smokescreens sponsored by the insurance industry to try to dilute out the reform vote and prevent the useful one from passing.  As I recall, the insurance-reform advocates did a really good job of public education, and the right initiative (and not the others) passed.  Hopefully the same thing can be done here.  It shouldn’t cost 5x as much to fight 5 initiatives; you can group them and point out that they are evil as a group.

    I like the concept of initiatives but I’ve now voted in two states that rely on them heavily, and it doesn’t work out well in practice.  You get too many badly designed initiatives, too much attempted micromanagement–we had a ridiculously overspecific one on the last Washington ballot trying to twiddle the exact timing of some licensing changes.  And historically, when a highly detailed initiative has been rammed through over the wishes of the state legislature, the legislature has tended to ignore it anyway.  (Not just true in Washington.  When I was a teenager in Alaska we passed an initiative to move the capitol to Palmer.  It’s still in Juneau.  The leg simply refused to fund the move, so it never happened.)

  • Lori

     I like the concept of initiatives but I’ve now voted in two states that rely on them heavily, and it doesn’t work out well in practice.  

    This is basically how I feel. I totally understand why people thought it was a good idea and I never snark about the people who put it in place being dumb or anything. It was well-intentioned and I give them credit for that. Unfortunately in practice it’s not a good thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Teri-Pettit/500051343 Teri Pettit

    I think ballot initiatives should have to go through a two stage process.

    Currently there is NO public review and revision time, and no distinction between a rough draft and a final wording. All petitions have to be submitted to the Attorney General in their FINAL form 13 months before the election, with no prior public input or visibility. (The 13 months breaks down into 6/2/5 months for gathering/verification/campaigning.)

    I propose instead that first a ROUGH DRAFT would be posted on a public web site, with an open unmoderated comment blog, 16 months before the election. The group that is proposing the initiative gets to continually revise the wording in response to comments, remove poorly designed clauses, clarify ambiguities, etc. The groups that are in opposition also have a chance to point out subterfuge, smokescreens or misleading arguments.

    Complementary measures with similar goals might decide to combine their efforts and back a single version.

    Eight months before the election, the wording gets frozen, and they start collecting petition signatures.

    So there would be eight months of public review and revision time, and eight months for the rest of the process. The signature gathering phase and the post verification campaign phases would both be shorter than they are now (say, 3/2/3 – I’m assuming the 2 months for verification is already minimized), but that should be OK since there would be much higher recognition by then.

  • P J Evans

     In California, part of that time is used for the legislative analyst to go over it and figure out what it would actually do.
    For example,t here’s one that’s going to be on the ballot that’s supposed to be about nuclear-waste repositories. The analyst’s report says that it would shut down both of the state’s nuclear power plants – they produce a sixth of the power used – and that’s a disaster in itself.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ballot initiatives. I think the fact that Tim Eyman is a Horse’s Ass pretty much says it all for how abuse of ballot initiatives can be a real problem. Tim Eyman pretty much seems to live for trying to push tax limitation measures through ballot initiatives and a lot of pseudopopulist posturing to go with ’em.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Ballot initiatives. I think the fact that Tim Eyman is a Horse’s Ass pretty much says it all for how abuse of ballot initiatives can be a real problem. Tim Eyman pretty much seems to live for trying to push tax limitation measures through ballot initiatives and a lot of pseudopopulist posturing to go with ’em.

    Tim Eyman is a Horse’s Ass is the most constructive initiative with Eyman’s name on it (which is unsurprising because he is obviously not the one who is pushing it.)  As a Washington state citizen, I will gladly vote for it when I see it on the ballot.  Eyman found a way to make a living off of making populist right-wing ballots that are just plausible enough to get a fair share of the vote, but not robust enough that they could survive judicial review before being implemented even if they were passed.  

    It is a practice that he should be denounced for.  

  • Dan Audy

    I appreciate the responses, it helped me understand the usage of trigger warnings and why what I feel is a relatively off-hand comment could be triggering.  I think part of my problem is that for me a trigger warning on something I find triggering almost compulsively makes me need to read it because my brain will come up with stuff just as bad but in a wide variety of imagined possibilities rather than just the one awful one – so for me a trigger warning is like a bottle of booze for an alcoholic, it has a hold on me that just knowing that it is there is profoundly emotionally disturbing.  Understanding that for (some) other people it provides an oppurtunity to emotionally prepare or avoid being blindsided helps me see value in warnings on things that are not intense descriptions of awfulness.

    Also having reread my post I realise I came out more accusatory than I had intended.  Sorry Eliie.

  • FangsFirst

    I think part of my problem is that for me a trigger warning on something I find triggering almost compulsively makes me need to read it because my brain will come up with stuff just as bad but in a wide variety of imagined possibilities rather than just the one awful one – so for me a trigger warning is like a bottle of booze for an alcoholic, it has a hold on me that just knowing that it is there is profoundly emotionally disturbing.

    Except that–for some at least, often myself included–it’s like being able to supercharge your liver before drinking that bottle–if you’ll forgive the terrible extension of your metaphor. That’s the really helpful part for those who do feel compelled. I sometimes try to sort of reintegrate or normalize those things, and advanced preparation helps with that. And then, of course, those who feel the need to not read such things *at all* can use it for that, too.

  • Anonymous

    @ Dan Andy, EllieMurasaki and chris the cynic:

    Trigger warning: rape

    If my “joke” has any humor in it, it is gallows humor at the fact that, for the foreseeable future, the Middle Class is going to be raped Economically and financially by the 1%ers until it is bled dry — and probably beyond — and that there is little-to-nothing that they will be able to do about it under our current political system. *THAT* was the point of my post.

  • Anonymous

    Trigger: rape

    for the foreseeable future, the Middle Class is going to be raped Economically and financially by the 1%ers until it is bled dry — and probably beyond — and that there is little-to-nothing that they will be able to do about it under our current political system. *THAT* was the point of my post.

    Yeah, I got that. The point of this post is, if you have time to explain a rape joke, you have time to think of a way to phrase it that is, pardon my Saxon, not a fucking rape joke.

  • FangsFirst

    Trigger: rape

    The point of this post is, if you have time to explain a rape joke, you have time to think of a way to phrase it that is, pardon my Saxon, not a fucking rape joke.

    I’d be all right with no rape-metaphors in financial (and various other) situations, “joking” or otherwise, myself. (not that I think you feel otherwise, Ellie)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It is equally legitimate to say that the 1% will keep reaching into the wallets of the 99% until they have everything.

    That would have gotten your point across without problematic statements.

  • Anonymous

    The Washington Post fact-checked Obama’s “very good speech,” found him less than truthful, and awarded him three Pinocchios.

  • Daughter

    I think their conclusion is wrong.  On the first point, that Obama said Congress passed the two of the largest tax cuts for the wealthy in US history in 2001 and 2003, the WP doesn’t say that anything is factually wrong with that statement.  Their objection is that he didn’t add that the 2001 tax cuts included tax cuts for all income brackets, and therefore he was being deceptive. 

    No, he wasn’t. If he had said, “tax cuts for the wealthy but not the middle class” – they’d have a point.  Obama was making a specific point about tax cuts for the wealthy not leading to job creation.  There was no reason, in that specific point, to mention tax cuts for other income levels.

    Their second objection is to Obama’s statement, “Some billionaires have a tax rate as low as 1 percent — 1 percent. That is the height of unfairness.” The WP cites this info: “The most recent data that we can find on the top 400 taxpayers — all billionaires — show that in 2008, 30 billionaires paid an average tax rate of between zero and 10 percent.”

    OK, so that’s 7.5% of billionaires who pay between 0 and 10 percent.  That’s some.  Obama didn’t say most, or even a majority. 

    Yes, the WP has a point that saying 1% is misleading.  It would have been more accurate to say, “Some billionaires have a tax rate of less than 10 percent.” But it’s not an outright falsehood.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It seems a little hand-wavy to me. I’ll take direct issue with the obscurantism over the “increased spending” part of the article.

    What, pray tell, did the GWB administration blow a lot of that borrowed money on, I wonder?

    Gosh, did my ears hear the words “two wars” out there?

    Depending on who you ask, those wars cost about $3 trillion, of which 95% of that is in excessive, totally unnecessary, extra military and security spending.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    [trigger: rape]

    Yeah, I too could do without using “rape” as a metaphor for things that aren’t rape. That use both belittles the actual trauma that actual victims suffer (thus adding to a culture in which actual rape is treated as no more of a big deal than, say, paying taxes or being overcharged for a roof repair) and uselessly escalates the rhetoric surrounding the non-rape experience that apparently some people think their audience won’t appreciate the badness of unless they compare it to rape. Yes, it’s kind of funny how both of those effects can happen at the same time.

    [in other news]

    Those were two good speeches. Thanks for posting the excerpts, Fred. Made my day, despite the complaints I’ve had about both political figures.

  • FangsFirst

    [trigger: rape]

    Yes, it’s kind of funny how both of those effects can happen at the same time.

    And the dumb part is that, because it “downgrades” rape, it doesn’t actually even achieve the latter effect properly. It upgrades it to the “perception” of rape–which is far down the scale from where it actually is, but is higher than wherever the item in question was before. What the hell IS that all about? I guess the word has gravitas that has no association with the crime…

  • Andrew C.

    I’m sorry to sound so pessimistic. But I have no hope whatsoever that any of these words will be translated into actions, save the occasional token to placate the most lethargic segment of the ‘liberal’ base.

  • Anonymous

    [trigger: rape]

    It’s also quite the language fail. Yes I ‘know’ most modern dictionaries include the broader definition as related to plundering and such – but that inclusion is an archaic one that really should be done away with.

    Take the Vikings of old whom were said to rape, pillage and plunder. Now if rape was useful in the broader context, why even mention pillage or plunder?

    Language changes as social awareness does. Often there is a lag, but hey, novel idea – nobody has to wait to the ‘official lore’ to update.

    We are, in this age, aware of rape and all it’s very real impacts. So hey, use another word. Everytime I hear some environmentalist talk about “raping the forests” or “raping the planet” or “raping the ecosystem” I don’t sit back. I call them on it. Use plunder! – it’s a better word! … or use pillage – better still.

    When I read any, even good, post/argument about something that ends with that concussive ‘rape’ metaphor … the rest is gone. Even the best argument is ruined by such use. These metaphorical uses do add weight to an argument. To me, they’re used by people who aren’t quite sure they managed to lay out their thoughts well enough.

    Attention grabbing that’s all. It diminishes the word itself and pushes the argument prior into a rhetorical limbo of fail.

    Finally – if people say ‘could you not do this because it triggers me’ – you DO NOT get to respond with any generic “I-must-express-my-privilege-now”  drivel, such as “Oh but you should not be triggered … I’m not …” or “I don’t see how that would help” and so on. Even if you yourself have been raped … you have no special right to tell someone else how they should live their own experience.

    Doing so is little more than hubris and self-promotion of the most odious kind. If you think your view carries more weight than someone else … well aren’t you just so important.

    Common courtesy 101. Not so difficult.

  • FangsFirst

    [Trigger: rape]

    Even if you yourself have been raped … you have no special right to
    tell someone else how they should live their own experience.

    Oh, thank you so much for that. Um, not sarcastic. I’ve had so many people going, “Lighten up, and I can say that because I was raped and I think it’s funny!” and I tell them it still isn’t okay because I know plenty of people who will be legitimately triggered by their stupid, thoughtless jokes. And it seems like whatever the difference in experience in surviving, they probably know it’s not an easy thing to deal with, even if they don’t understand the differing methods of dealing with it.

    I told someone I didn’t want to hear rape jokes once, and she said, “I can’t believe you think I would find rape funny. I was raped,” right after admitting that it was indeed a rape joke–but it was okay, because it was tastelessly shocking and untrue and therefore didn’t relate to the reality of it!

  • Anonymous

    The first one, definitely true.

    The first one is arguably a neccessary compromise.  Remember the hubbub over closing Guantanamo?

    you have no special right to tell someone else how they should live their own experience.

    Quoted for truth…
    I probably wouldn’t put trigger warnings before talking about most things on my own website.  But this isn’t my website.  Here, either don’t talk about those things, or include a warning.


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