‘What we’ve been learning and learning from’

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“If you see me on the street, feel free for the rest of my life to call me Bunk.”

“When making a ‘brave’ stance as a public figure, the rule should be to only go after the oppressors.”

“He felt that he had been trifled with; that the preacher had deceived him.”

“Like it or not, we bring ourselves and our biases to every translation and every reading of the text. We can’t help it.”

The economy could soon run on mostly renewable power.

“The question I would like to ask pastors and counselors who work in ex-gay ministries is: How would you feel if your own heterosexual child was about to marry someone deemed ‘ex-gay’?

The biggest workforce in America can’t put food on the table except when they go to work.”

“If debt is bad, why is giving free money to banks so they will lend (put you in debt) better than giving free money to people to pay off debts?

We’re now deep into a post-New Deal economy, and the low-wage work, wage theft, unpaid overtime and job insecurity — in the technical parlance of economists, the shit jobs — that abounded before the New Deal have returned in full force.”

“I can only stop talking about racism, when it ceases to be a significant force in our politics.”

“Step 9: The story is by now a national controversy, without there ever having been a word of truth to it.”

Conservative activists and Fox News took a leap, changing planes to drones, to spread a bogus meme about the Obama administration targeting Nebraska cattle farmers with the same technology used to target al-Qaida in Pakistan.”

“It was never true. The EPA isn’t using drone aircraft — in the Midwest or anywhere else.”

“Republicans willing to talk about policy will admit that, yes, if Romney had won the 2008 election, nearly all the Republican politicians now condemning nationwide RomneyCare would be its biggest boosters.”

Government is not simply a necessary evil; so long as it acts within its proper boundaries and in a responsible fashion, it has a positive and constructive role to play in human affairs.”

The U.S. market for solar panels is likely to double in 2012.”

"Any reasonable definition of 'middle class' ends well before even the $250,000 threshold."

“Catholic Relief Services, the bishop’s international relief and development agency, receives 80 percent of its funding from the federal government.”

Robert George is too accustomed to living off of the gay-bashing bigotry cash cow; how do you think he got $785,000 to pay a podunk academic to carry out his election year anti-gay hit job?”

“Since 2006, clergy abuse survivors, and others, have been asking the Southern Baptist Convention to implement denominational safeguards against clergy child molesters.”

“The doctor and the mother of the pregnant 9-year-old got the boot for approving an abortion, but not the stepfather who had sexually assaulted the child, probably over a period of years.”

“Bishop Lori — you really don’t know if the document you have spent the better part of the last 18 months criticizing does or does not allow for an entire religious group to exempt itself from its reach?”

“So, Antonin Scalia waited until he was 76 years old, and had been a justice on the high court for more than a quarter of a century, and then he decided his perspective, rulings, and understanding of the Commerce Clause were all wrong — just in time to rule against a Democratic health care law that features a Republican idea that was assumed by everyone to be entirely constitutional.”

After Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy repeal the Affordable Care Act, this will be the norm.

People who deny the scientific conspiracy of “climate change” also tend to deny the grammatical conspiracy of “proper spelling.”

The Liar Tony Perkins: 0; Jeremy Hooper: 10,000

Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity: Vol. XXIII

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

    I did a little quick math with the chart in that “$250k is not the middle class” article. Since I didn’t have access to the finely-grained data that the blogger presumably had (strictly speaking the integral of that curve approximates summing over an exponential, so numerically integrating it* would let me deduce what ‘middle class’ probably actually is these days), I used the IRS income division tables (they slice up the returns as a function of about 5 or 6 income brackets) as a proxy measure.

    In 2010 somewhere around 144 million returns were filed.

    Of that, for income levels $75000 and below – these people constitute 80% of all filers. (the sum of 0- $50k and from $50-$75k)

    It is manifestly clear, graphically and mathematically, that anyone who calls themselves ‘middle class’ who earns well above $100k a year is just fooling themselves about how poorly-off they are.

    * This is a fancy term that means slicing it up into little chunks and adding the chunks on a computer.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It can be counterproductive to look at the US as one uniform whole. The numbers don’t shake out in local areas the way they do over the whole country. There are big swaths of the US where $75k is making a whole lot of money. Contrariwise, I liver in an area where the smallest, most rattrap apartments in the most crime-infested neighborhoods will still run you over a thousand dollars a month and no house fit for human habitation sells for under $300k.

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

    Yeah, hiding behind my caveat is that it really does take access to more detailed information than my five minute check of the IRS website was able to reveal, and along the way it will take a fair bit of calculus. But the only majorly distorted real estate markets are NYC, maybe Wash DC, and San Francisco, AFAIK, at present, so if you back out the really expensive areas, you get a pretty good idea of:

    a. How valid the 99% concept actually is, and
    b. How the “middle class” really fares and who they really are.

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

    “Conservative activists and Fox News took a leap,
    changing planes to drones, to spread a bogus meme about the Obama
    administration targeting Nebraska cattle farmers with the same
    technology used to target al-Qaida in Pakistan.”

    Kind of darkly amusing how these same assholes had no problem at all when the Bush Administration was floating the possibility of using UAVs for border patrol. See the timeline quoted here.

    Never mind that border patrol UAV use implies spying on US soil for, ostensibly, illegal immigrants, but y0u can bet dollars to donuts they probably had IR scanners mounted on for a whole lot more than just that.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    The economy was horrible during the New Deal, that’s why it was called the Great Depression. post New Deal would have been post ww2.  Anyone who thinks we need to go back to “strong unions” can drive my 04 Ford Taurus, just don’t try to go backwards AND uphill.

    Commentary is a pretty awful magazine.  I know islamaphobia and Palestine/ Iran stuff aren’t big issues over here but they are among the worst on those. really vicious stuff.

    As per his point: Yes Reagan himself said that people who can’t take care of themselves should be cared for, but that able bodied people should work. No one thinks people with Down Syndrome or who are severaly crippled are leeches.

    “That understanding of the proper and humane use of the state has largely been lost”

    because of the policies people like Wehner promote.  Why doesn’t Commentary devote some of their millions to Iraq war vets, after all they and APIAC were front and center in promoting it?  I really doubt he is some kind of Burkean conservative a la Paul Gottfried or something either. That’s a big stretch.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes Reagan himself said that people who can’t take care of themselves
    should be cared for, but that able bodied people should work. No one thinks people with Down Syndrome or who are severaly crippled are leeches.

    Which is obviously why every application for Social Security Disability is turned down the first time. And why my ex’s mother, who is a wheelchair user thanks to a military-service-related injury, cannot get an office job for fear of losing her Social Security Disability. And, y’know, the people whom no one is willing to hire are, due to that lack of hireability, people who can’t take care of themselves. (Unless you’re advocating bringing back the Works Progress Administration. I am all for bringing back the Works Progress Administration.)

  • The_L1985

    I lost interest in anything you had to say when you used the word “cripple” to describe people with physical disabilities. Anyone who uses that word as anything other than a metaphor (e.g., “crippling self-doubt”) sets off huge alarm bells in my mind.

    I have relatives who are deaf. I have relatives with mental retardation. I have a second cousin who was a “thalidomide baby.” To call these people “cripples” is to deny them their dignity as human beings. They are people with disabilities.

  • aunursa

    Many people are simply not aware that “crippled” and ‘retarded” are terms that are no longer appropriate or acceptable. Don’t assume ill intent.  

    My daughter has cerebral palsy.  If someone called her “crippled” or “handicapped,” I would correct him — without getting snotty about it. 

  • christopher_young

    I have cerebral palsy.

    Many people are Nobody nowadays is simply not aware that “crippled” and ‘retarded” are terms that are no longer appropriate or acceptable.

    It hasn’t been acceptable usage for a generation, except among the sort of people who pride themselves that using offensive terms demonstrates what brave advocates of free speech they are.

    Don’t I shall assume ill intent.

  • aunursa

    Nobody nowadays is simply not aware that “crippled” and ‘retarded” are terms that are no longer appropriate or acceptable.

    Yeah, actually there are a lot of people who simply are not aware. Most people that I talk with who used those terms did not wish to offend.

    Recently a friend of mine who has a son with Down syndrome posted on Facebook about a campaign like this one.  If it were unacceptable usage for the past generation, there wouldn’t be a need for such campaigns in 2012.  That “cripple” is inappropriate is even less well-known.

  • The_L1985

     I could understand “handicapped” or “retarded.”  But…I find it hard to believe that people still don’t know “crippled” isn’t appropriate.  That word hasn’t been socially acceptable in my entire lifetime at least.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Anyone who thinks we need to go back to “strong unions” can drive my 04 Ford Taurus, just don’t try to go backwards AND uphill.

    And non-Union products are always perfect and never have any problems. The EEEEEEVIL unions designed a bad car just to get back at wonderful capitalists like you and management had no power to tell them to improve it.  Also, Germany doesn’t exist. BMWs just *BAMF* into existence like Nightcrawler, untouched by filthy union hands.

    I urge you to look for a way to return to your home universe, as it’s clearly very different from this one.

  • Lori

     

    The economy was horrible during the New Deal, that’s why it was called
    the Great Depression. post New Deal would have been post ww2.  

    This is one of those statements that’s more or less true in a vary strict sense, but expresses a belief that’s false. The fact that you keep repeating it doesn’t make it any more true.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Yes Reagan himself said that people who can’t take care of themselves should be cared for, but that able bodied people should work. No one thinks people with Down Syndrome or who are severaly crippled are leeches.

    Lots of people with Down Syndrome have perfectly able bodies.

    My point being, who defines what constitutes inability to work and how is the line drawn?

  • PJ Evans

    No one thinks people with Down Syndrome or who are severaly crippled are leeches.

    That’s why they’re so eager to keep SS and Medicare and food stamps fully funded and available to everyone who needs help. [/sarcasm]
    The 1% and the people who buy into their lies don’t care about anyone else, especially the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. Which you’ve been told here, many times.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I really don’t see the issue about using drones vs. manned aerial surveillance. If the aerial surveillance is legal, I don’t see how it matters where the pilot is. Illegal surveillance, manned or unmanned, is equally as bad too. 

    It smacks of luddism to complain about new technology that just does exactly what the old technology does. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I lost interest in anything you had to say when you used the word “cripple” to describe people with physical disabilities.

    You lasted a long time then. I lost interest in that guy’s words about two months ago.

    It smacks of luddism to complain about new technology that just does exactly what the old technology does.

    Yeah, I don’t get that either. It seems kind of weird that so much mainstream criticism is focused on the unmanned aspect of drones, as if blowing up civilians or spying on someone illegally with a manned aircraft is such a dramatic improvement…

  • Lori

     

    It seems kind of weird that so much mainstream criticism is focused on
    the unmanned aspect of drones, as if blowing up civilians or spying on
    someone illegally with a manned aircraft is such a dramatic improvement… 

    This is especially true given the fact that most of the drones we use are “unmanned’ only in the sense that there is no human being in the aircraft. There’s still a human piloting it, s/he is just siting on the ground in Nevada (or wherever) and not in the drone itself.

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

    I think it’s that there’s something inherently more creepy about the idea of some machine following you around.

  • Lori

     

    I think it’s that there’s something inherently more creepy about the idea of some machine following you around.  

    I get that, sort of. Except that the machine isn’t following you around, a person is. I don’t see how it’s logically any more creepy than CCTV cameras recording you everywhere you go. I find that creepy as hell, but I don’t think drones are any more creepy.

  • Tricksterson

    Blame Hollywood.  Thanks to movies like the Terminator series and 2001  anything without a human at the wheel (and yeah I know, drones do have humans at the wheel but perception will always trump fact)  is automaticcally suspect.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s someone out there who believes in The Great Roomba Conspiracy.

  • hidden_urchin

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s someone out there who believes in The Great Roomba Conspiracy.

    That would be my cat.

  • Lori

     

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s someone out there who believes in The Great Roomba Conspiracy.  

    Roomba? That’s what they want you to think. Those are really DRDs in disguise and those things can turn on you.

    http://farscape.wikia.com/wiki/Diagnostic_Repair_Drone

  • Münchner Kindl

    I really don’t see the issue about using drones vs. manned aerial surveillance. If the aerial surveillance is legal, I don’t see how it matters where the pilot is. Illegal surveillance, manned or unmanned, is equally as bad too.

    Did you really manage to miss the use to which drones have been put in foreign countries? They are not simply “planes where the pilot is in a remote location”: they are used in countries either with active warfare, because the US wants to go to war but not loose any US soldiers; but are also used in countries where there is no official war, but not permit for US planes to conduct spy missions, either.

    In both cases, the drones are smaller than planes (so harder to detect for the people running the country) and if they are shot down (because being in the country illegally, you know), no pilot’s life is lost.

    The next step is then to use either the data gathered by the drone or the drone itself to “eliminate a target” which means dropping bomb somewhere near the place a terrorist has been identified. Except if that identification was wrong, or the terrorist moved, or there are innocent bystanders about, in which case, civilians are “eliminated”.

    All of which has happened, and will continue to happen, with drones.

    Playing war like a remote-control video game so only other people’s lives are lost is even more wrong on several levels than invading a country the old-fashioned way.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    1. How is any of that relevant to a discussion of the use of drones for non-military purposes?

    2. Collateral damage was hardly invented by drone attacks. Not to defend any civilian deaths AT ALL but drones are not the problem here – it’s a willingness to attack civilian areas. Manned planes can and have done that – and more than likely will do in the future.

  • Lori

     

    Did you really manage to miss the use to which drones have been put in foreign countries?   

    I doubt very much that he has. I know I certainly haven’t. That’s not what we’ve been discussing though. In fact the whole point of what we have been discussing is that not all uses of drones are the same and using the specter of drone warfare to gin up a fake controversy over the EPA is manipulative and wrong.

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

    Japanese cars used to be built by unionzed Japanese workers; not so sure about today’s, but those Japanese cars everybody raved about in the 1980s and 1990s because they were a damn sight more reliable than domestics? Union labor, folks.

  • pharoute

    David Frum should know it wasn’t a mistake that aerial got switched to drone. The steps he laid out is fox/gop PR standard procedure, just need to wait for a suitable event or act to plug into the machine

  • Lori

     

    Although the bishops are raising public concern about instances when
    federal, state or local governments have limited their ability to be a
    partner in social service work because of their stands on gay marriage
    or other issues, it was clear from the Catholic Relief Services report
    that there is still a strong financial relationship with the federal
    government.

    CRS, the bishop’s international relief and development agency,
    receives 80 percent of its funding from the federal government, and is
    among the largest recipients among private aid groups. It wins about
    half the government grants it competes for, said Carolyn Woo, the
    executive director, in her report to the bishops.

    Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz asked about reports that the government was
    requiring CRS to distribute contraceptives. Dr. Woo confirmed that there
    had been such a proposal last summer, but after strong protests and
    high level negotiations, the government backed down.

    “We are back at the table again. We are monitoring the issue very closely,” she said  

    This is exactly why I want to spit every time I see a complaint from the Catholic Bishops about the government attacking their religious freedom. The Catholic church in its various forms wants to have its cake and eat it too. They want to get their hands on as much tax payer money as possible while being exempt from following the law. The fact that they mostly get their way is disgusting. It’s even more disgusting that on the occasions when they’re not able to get their way they have the unmitigated gall to play the victim.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I said people who are severly crippled. That’s not calling someone “a cripple” . There is a thing called being crippled. if there wasn’t “cripply self doubt” wouldn’t mean anything. Should I have said people who have been crippled, rather than are crippled?

    and our 4 trillion dollar a year budget isn’t spent on helping the less fortunate or people who are unable to help themselves, it’s spent on wars and contractors and subsidies for the well connected. That’s the shell game you guys are constantly playing.  That if you’re critical of the government you”re critical of attempts to help the poor.  as if anyone in Washington was concerned with that.

    I agree w/ Neutrino regarding drones.  Yes, technically they are being manned by someone but they are futuristic and creepy, plus they have this illusion of no one on our side is getting hurt so it’s okay.   that’s how they’re sold to the public.  At least they actually seem to work unlike missile defense.

    lori- how can something be true but express a false belief? The New Deal was a pretty silly hodgepodge of make work programs. He helped end prohibition though so I guess his heart was in the right place.

  • aunursa

    Should I have said people who have been crippled, rather than are crippled?

    People with severe disabilities.

  • PJ Evans

    The New Deal was a pretty silly hodgepodge of make work programs.

    At a time when jobs were scarce and businesses weren’t hiring. in other words: just like now.

     He
    helped end prohibition though so I guess his heart was in the right
    place.>

    The repeal movement was started by a Republican woman, but the GOP wouldn’t support her. So she went to the Democrats. Part of the idea was the increased tax revenues it would produce, and part of it was weakening organized crime. [Sounds like the same arguments put forward for legalizing pot.]

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Prohibition is really counter-intuitive to modern sensibilities. From a reading of “Last Call”, it appears that the liberals and progressives, including an incredibly influential Christian Left, supported prohibition and the people for repealing it were right-wing, wealthy, fat-cats in the pay of the liquor industry. 

  • PJ Evans

     Well, alcohol consumption was a problem in a lot of places. I still don’t understand why banning it was suppose to improve things.

    I lived in a ‘dry’ county in West Texas (it now allows alcohol sales in some areas). The place had a lot of private clubs where you could join for a nominal sum and buy all the drinks you could hold. (Organizations held dinners at a couple of the larger ones.) I got the impression that keeping it ‘dry’ was mostly so the church members could feel righteous without having to actually practice their official beliefs.

  • Lori

     

    Prohibition is really counter-intuitive to modern sensibilities. From a
    reading of “Last Call”, it appears that the liberals and progressives,
    including an incredibly influential Christian Left, supported
    prohibition and the people for repealing it were right-wing, wealthy,
    fat-cats in the pay of the liquor industry.   

    Many of those on the Left who supported Prohibition did so out of concern for the (then largely powerless) women & children who were suffering because the man of the house drank up his paycheck every week and in many cases became violent when drunk. People really did drink a lot back then and they had some real social problems as a result and there weren’t many mechanisms to help the victims of those problems.

    Prohibition was a weird attempt at social welfare that was doomed from the get go, but people convinced themselves that it would help. I’ve long thought that it was a case of “Something has to be done. This is something so let’s do this” totally run amok.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Many of those on the Left who supported Prohibition did so out of concern for the (then largely powerless) women & children who were suffering because the man of the house drank up his paycheck every week and in many cases became violent when drunk.

    Still used as an argument when discussing Aboriginal Australians…

    There’s a huge alcoholism problem in the Northern Territory, and people tend to throw everything they can think of at it, in the hopes that something will stick. Prohibition’s one part of it.

  • PJ Evans

     I would think the best solutions would be either providing jobs that aren’t just make-work or not treating them like children.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     That’d certainly help.

    But it’s a fairly complex problem – the solutions aren’t nearly as simple as that.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Should be pointed out that there are some dry Indigenous communities where the alcohol ban was instigated by the community leaders themselves–it’s not always a case of “white outsiders” treating “them” differently.

  • Lori

    We have that too. There are reservations and Alaskan villages that have enacted major alcohol restrictions because they have a truly tragic level of alcoholism and a very high rate of violence to go with it.

    In fairness, in some cases it (sort of) works. I remember reading about one small, isolated village in Alaska that cut it’s murder rate by more than half when it went dry and enforced it.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    did you see any of that special? There were plenty of people from both sides all into prohibition. William jennings bryant was.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/06/24/al-jazeera-video-breaks-down-military-spending-by-the-dollar/

    53 cents of every dollar goes to the military.  We’ve been totally hoodwinked with this right left debate.

  • Green Eggs and Ham

     That’s because the debate in the United States is a Right-Very Right debate that is falsely called a Left-Right debate.

    In Europe, Canada and Australia most of your Democrats would fall comfortably on the right side of the spectrum.  Even your very own Socialist, Bernie Sanders, would be a solid Social Democrat anywhere else.

    That Alan West could claim that there are 80 Communists in Congress is laughable.  That anyone took him seriously is stupifying.

  • Tonio

     What specific positions would those Democrats have to take to qualify as a leftist in those countries? National health care? More progressive taxation? Stronger product safety protections for customers?

  • alfgifu

     What specific positions would those Democrats have to take to qualify as a leftist in those countries? National health care? More progressive taxation? Stronger product safety protections for customers?

    I can’t speak for any other country, but in the UK national health care wouldn’t qualify as leftist (suggesting that it should be provided efficiently by direct government employees rather than outsourced at huge expense to contractors would, sadly).  

    More progressive taxation would be edging towards the left, but you can be right wing and be outraged at how little tax rich people are paying (I’m not sure you can be right wing and keep a straight face as you say it, mind).

    Not believing in strong product safety protections for customers would qualify you as dangerously out of touch with reality and utterly unelectable.

    (edited to fix the Disqus paragraph break jinx)

  • Tonio

    So what’s the key philosophical difference? The Social Democrat philosophy seems not that much different from the New Deal. I wouldn’t label anyone a socialist who didn’t advocate government ownership of all business, or at least any business larger than a mom-and-pop operation. Even a government-run health care system where doctors and nurses are civil servants might not qualify as socialistic, since “market-based” health care doesn’t operate like a real market.

  • alfgifu

    Well, since New Labour (1997), our mainstream left wing party has jumped to the centre ground.  But the Conservatives have been trying to look centrist as well, particularly by talking up socially liberal points (e.g. marriage equality – I’m not saying they’re doing it particularly well, mind you).  No one really knows quite what the Lib Dems stand for at the moment, but their general schtick is to champion ideas that are slightly outside the mainstream – e.g. changing voting methods.

    Left wing used to mean unions and supporting the worker against the corporation, where right wing meant supporting the investor/corporation against the worker.  Conservatism is also associated with ‘traditional values’, though of course the meaning and emphasis is slightly different in the UK (witness Cameron citing traditional values as a reason for marriage equality).

    Conservatives tend to be economically conservative – hence austerity, desire to drive investment by lifting regulations on small businesses, irresistible urges to privatise or outsource anything they see, that sort of thing.  Labour have moved towards a similar position, unfortunately, particularly in the whole privatising-the-public-sector endeavour.  Back in the good old days Labour used to be extremely keen to nationalise industries, but that’s not a differentiator any more.

    As the parties have moved philosophically closer to one another, differences over smaller issues like fox hunting have taken on more symbolic weight.  There was far more public engagement in the fox hunting debate than in the complete restructuring of the House of Lords that is significantly changing the way the UK government works, which started at about the same time.

    Er, long story short, it’s all a bit of a mess.  As usual.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    What specific positions would those Democrats have to take to qualify as a leftist in those countries? National health care? More progressive taxation? Stronger product safety protections for customers?

    In Australia, universal access to healthcare funded through general revenue is a sine qua non of the left. It’s been well entrenched for over a generation so hinting that you oppose it is political suicide for the centre and anything-less-than-extreme-right, even if the regular right don’t like it in principle.

    Other standard lefty stuff includes support for worker’s rights (decent minimum wage, the right to unionise and be represented collectively, a minimum set of core working conditions like leave* and overtime), provision of needs-based social services and welfare payments such as age and disability pensions, unemployment and student allowances, aged care, disability services, some minimum level of child care. On education, every person must have access to high quality preschool, primary and high school and, if they choose, tertiary education or post-school vocational training which will be supported by the state so that no one is prohibited by cost.

    On taxation–more progressive than what? Than America? God yes. Progressive income tax goes without saying, and among other taxes the more progressive (e.g. property) taxes are to be prefered over the more regressive (e.g. consumption-based).

    Social issues don’t really fit on the economic left/right divide, but generally speaking progressive positions are dominant among Australian lefties**. In particular, abolitionism on capital punishment is pretty much universal, and advocacy for gay rights are official policy in all left wing parties (and the left faction of the Labor Party).

    *including maternity leave, which we finally universalised last year. The left is still scoring wins, even in this post-Thatcher/Reagan reality we find ourselves.

    **Seems to be more acceptance of social progressives among right wingers than social conservatives among left wingers, which is interesting.

    tl;dr–I think the Democrats would all pretty much have to share Bernie Sanders’ positions to be qualify as a lefty. That wouldn’t make them far left, just regular left.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    That Alan West could claim that there are 80 Communists in Congress is laughable. That anyone took him seriously is stupifying.

    I’d be impressed if there were 80 garden variety social democrats in Congress. (Social democrats FTW!)

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    my town is dry too. it just means we all go to the next town over and give our money to their stores.

  • Lori

    The “dry” county is stupid on several levels. The revenue issue is one, but the far worse problem is that it basically guarantees a higher level of drunk driving. People don’t drink any less, they just drive farther afterward. My stint in a dry county was the only time I’ve ever known exactly where the county line was without needing to look for the sign—-because just across it there was a liqueur store on one side of the road and 2 bars on the other side.

  • Tonio

    Is it nit-picking to object to Scott Rose using “podunk” to slam Mark Regnerus? Reading the latter’s dialogue with William Saletan at Slate, he struck me at naive, and I wondered at first if he was starting to thing of the NOM money as a Faustian bargain. That was before I read Rose’s research.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    NOM’s Robert George is first and foremost a Republican operative. Brian Brown has a theology degree from Oxford; NOM’s Maggie Gallagher has a theology degree from Yale University.  You tell me if they went for Podunk when they commissioned this from Regnerus.

  • Tonio

     Using “Podunk” in this context wrongly implies that Regnerus’ homophobia stems from his rural education. Brown and Gallagher prove that one can graduate from schools that have excellent reputations still be massively ignorant.

  • Tonio

    Do the ex-gay ministries typically reject the myth about orientation being a choice? Not that the purported causes listed in the ex-girlfriend’s letter (disordered upbringing or seduction) are any better or more true. This sound like attempts to not just deny but to ultimately disown one’s sexuality, since men like the ex-boyfriend have been taught that their desires are evil. The movement strikes me as all about rationalization – the members can pursue gay sex with an allegedly clear conscience by telling themselves that it’s simply falling off the wagon. 

  • Tricksterson

    The whole basis of the “ex-gay’ ministries is that homosexuality is a choice.

  • Tonio

    The ex-girlfriend’s description in that letter seems to suggest otherwise. At least it rejects the common claim that the alleged choice is driven purely by lust. You would have a point if the movement claimed that psychological disorders cause people to make the choice. But that would put it at odds with the vast number of homophobes who harp upon the “lifestyle,” as if homosexuality was no different from punk or Goth.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    we don’t have liquor stores but we do have bars. I don’t understand it either.  Boston also has an insane liquor license thing where a license costs like 100,000 dollars or something. People think it’s weird I’m a libertarian in Massachusetts but it’s because I see how all these random laws benefit certain groups. Behind every puritan or socialist theres someone who is making money off restricting the competition, like when Ralph Reed got them to shut down an Indian Casino so Jack Abramoff’s clients could be the only casino around. 

    re: alcoholism in aboriginal areas. isn’t there a kind of racial/ genetic disposition towards alcoholism in some cases?  Native Americans weren’t accustomed to drinking so they got out of control very quickly whereas the white man had been doing it since the damn of time so they could handle it better.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    whereas the white man had been doing it since the damn of time so they could handle it better.

    Any chance you could stop using “the white man” as the name of a group, rather than only using it in situations when you are referring to a single male human with pale skintone? Apart from anything else, it’s excluding the 50% of us who are female.

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

    Tangential: Have there been any studies among the Australian Aboriginal population regarding alcohol susceptibility and correlation to unemployment? One thing I remember hearing about the Canadian First Nations is that there are, on some reserves, very high unemployment rates (~90% in some cases) and added into that mix is an existing genetic profile that IIRC includes a lack of ability to as effectively metabolize alcohol compared to other populations.

    It is unfortunate that when the First Nations offered help and support to white people coming to Canada, they were repaid with the equivalent of a poison. “Rotgut” whiskey was commonly traded for pelts back then, for example. :|

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     Tangential: Have there been any studies among the Australian Aboriginal
    population regarding alcohol susceptibility and correlation to
    unemployment?

    I’m not actually sure. My knowledge of Aboriginal stuff is ground-level rather than researchy.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Tangential: Have there been any studies among the Australian Aboriginal population regarding alcohol susceptibility and correlation to unemployment?

    An increased genetic susceptibility to alcohol dependence in people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background has been demonstrated on the population level. The relationship to unemployment is far more complex, though.

    For instance, the most appalling employment differentials are observed in remote communities were there are fewer job opportunites to start with. And there’s higher incidence of other chronic diseases and disabilities that correlate with worse employment outcomes; lower participation in education and training; and a myriad of other social problems including legacy issues. Dry families and dry communities still experience significant disadvantage, but alcohol certainly doesn’t help.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    we don’t have liquor stores but we do have bars. I don’t understand it either.

    That part makes a degree of sense – a bartender can cut off you when you get too drunk, a store clerk can’t come into your home and take the bottle of vodka out of your hand before you drink it all in one go.  

  • Amaryllis

    Oh my God, it’s Bishop Lori again. The guy’s only been in Baltimore for a couple of months, and already I’m so, so tired of him. His Holiness the Pope did us no favors at all with that appointment.

    This is the same prelate who’s at the head of this ridiculous “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign– because what American Catholics really need is better PR about how persecuted they are, right? *gag*

    Anyway, as part of that, the Archdiocese created something called the Patriotic Rosary, the traditional prayers interspersed with readings from American historical sources and prayers for each state. Well, I’m all for love of country, and I love the rosary, but that strikes me as a totally inappropriate combination. It gets worse when it’s revealed that one of the prayers includes a quote from Robert E. Lee, asking God’s blessing on “our cause.” Uh… what?

    After this was reported in the local used-to-be-a-newspaper, I meant to link the site with the quotes here, but didn’t have time, at the time. So I went looking for it again tonight… oddly, I couldn’t find it.

    Nope, it’s not there any more.

    Which is, of course, a good thing. But I can’t find any mention of an apology for it, or a response to the original letter, or anything like that.  So… when that Rosary was recited at yesterday’s Freedom Mass, did it include that quote, or not? I mean, if they just revised the thing to delete the Lee quote, why not leave the rest of the text available? Or if sober second thought decided that the whole thing was inappropriate, why not remove all mention of it from the planned activities?

    Typical bishop.

    Tangentially, I heard an interview today with Christine Quinn, who is a married lesbian Catholic politician, and apparently a serious prospect for the next mayor of New York City. She was asked, of course, why she hasn’t left the Catholic Church despite the hierarchy’s opinion of her personal life. And she answered (paraphrased from memory) “Why should I leave ?It’s part of my identity, it’s important to me.  If I leave, they’ve won. It’s my church too.” (Emphasis hers.)

  • PJ Evans

     I found a version of it here. And it’s just as bad as you say, if it isn’t actually identical.

    (I also object to praying for the ‘conversion of our nation” with the intent they seem to have. But that’s the current bishops and their higher-ups for you.)

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     They already have won. They hold all the power. People like her don’t.

    She does have the power to give them more money to deny gay people rights and protect child rapists though. So there is that.

  • Amaryllis

    @2b8e9565b320bc8df44b6b6a5c477dc9:disqus : Yes, that’s the one. Still includes a prayer attributed to Lee, asking for “the aid of the God of our forefathers in defense of our homes and our liberties.” No wonder these bigots like it: home and liberty for me but not for thee. Even if thy home and thy liberty are no threat to mine.

    Although I stand corrected about one minor point: the devotion was written not in Baltimore but in Alabama. For what that’s worth. It might explain why Lee, though, who’s not really the go-to guy around around here. What, they couldn’t find a nice quote from Charles Carroll?

    @Nathaniel: we’ve had that argument before around here, and I tell you upfront that I don’t have time to have it again today.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     If you don’t want to have an argument, fine. Don’t make the argument then. Cause then people like me will respond. And will continue to do so even if it annoys you.

  • Amaryllis

     Oh, it doesn’t annoy me. I started to type a response, looked at the clock, clicked cancel, went to do other things, and now glanced back here when I shouldn’t have because I really need to get to work. Where I don’t have access to Disqus.

    But briefly: no, they haven’t won, no matter what it looks like from the outside. From the inside, the war is still being fought.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     Alright then. Understood.

    If you care to later when you have some time, how exactly is the war still being fought? What are non-asshole doing that would constitute effective fighting back? And how would victory be defined in this context?

    I’m asking these questions because as you’ve said, the argument about won vs. lost has been had before. So I’m interested in hearing a different part of this.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Er, long story short, it’s all a bit of a mess.  As usual.

    Especially today, when Ed Miliband won’t even stand up to Cameron trying to completely destroy the welfare system as he’s petrified of upsetting Britain’s own IndigNation.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Deird- No, I have to call it the White man.

    bringthenoise=-I doubt that much thought went into it.  Anyone can get booze from anywhere outside the town.

    green eggs- the point is 50% + of our money goes to the military. All the democrats know that, all the republicans know it and that, ostensibly, reflects our values. think about that.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    SGT- it was more of a moral statement on his part. In you were on a desert island it would be expected that you would fend for yourself, otherwise you’d die. Obviously if someone couldn’t do so they would need to be protected. 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    None of us are actually on a desert island–well, I’m on an island that’s mostly desert, but none of us are on a deserted island. It’s a pretty useless metaphor and attempting to draw conclusions about how one should treat people in the actual world based on a bad metaphor is something I can make moral statements about.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    it’s an excellent metaphor because it’s not artificial.  Theres no one magically bringing yu food or something.  It’s real.  survival is the same no matter where you are. 


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