Voters re-elect President Barack Obama.

Marriage equality sweeps in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

And we seem to have more women in the U.S. Senate than ever before. Sen. Warren. Sen. Baldwin.


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LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’
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LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’
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LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’

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  • Tricksterson

    Not all.  North Carolina went for Romney and last I heard Florida was still up in the air.  But I wouldn’t waste your time worrying abnout it the right wing is sure to be proclaimubng the election stolen any minute now.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which would be damned hypocritical considering who actually tried using voter suppression strategies to steal the election. And if that one former NSA analyst is correct, various other strategies too, dating back several years at least.

    …wait, this is the right wing we’re talking about, being labeled a hypocrite is a badge of honor. Never mind.

  • the Confederacy’s limp and filthy banner

    That is *some* jujitsu reframing of the conservative South’s imagery. Wow.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How so? I used to live in Mississippi. Unless something has dramatically changed in the last ten years (which I doubt), folks in Mississippi still speak of the War of Northern Aggression. And I just checked: Biloxi MS school district might no longer contain a school named after the house of the Confederate president, but it does still contain a school named after the Confederate president himself.

  • . Unfortunately, I suspect that they’ll probably double down. They will
    attribute Romney’s defeat to the fact that he wasn’t radical enough, that he didn’t kowtow to the far-right in his party enough, and resolve to double down for midterms.

    I hope they do.

    Because I believe they’re wrong and America will see that and give them the thrashing they need to finally collapse and reform as something resembling a sensible conservative party.

    And if they’re right, and America really wants them to double down and be twice as hateful and monsterous, well, I’d prefer to know.

  • Tricksterson

    Give him/her time.

  • Tricksterson

    Considering that the Rennie crowd (Of which I’ve been one as faire goer, actor and merchant)  has a strong and ironic overlap with the neopagan movement that would be a resounding no.

  • I am less glad that Romney was defeated than I am glad that the Romney strategy was defeated.

    He tried to make it free to lie. All through history, candidates have misrepresented, exaggerated, misled. But Romney did not care whether the things coming out of his mouth were true or false. And if he’d won, that would be it for honesty in politics, because if there’s *no* cost to lying, there’s no reason not to lie — in fact, if you tell the truth, the other guy just has to say “My opponent is wrong and also he eats babies” and then you lose.

    But Lying Lost. So there’s still hope.

    (Also: Why the frack have I heard word zero on the news about Puerto Rico voting for statehood? There were few enough reports about it being on the ballot at all, and it took me until noon to find anyone reporting the results)

    My thoughts on the election, fwiw, are here:

  • Carstonio

    Good description of the Confederate banner, really the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. I think of it as forever stained with the blood of Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers and all the other civil rights martyrs.

  • Trixie_Belden

    I’d just like to let you know that this comment won 100% of my electoral votes (and popular vote  as well)

  • Tricksterson

    When you consider that O
    Reilly is considered a comparative moderate among conservative pundits nowadays (No, really, he is) one can only imagine what folks like Limbaugh and Beck are going to be saying.

  • Pqw

    I lost track of how many of us checked in, but I’m another Marylander. (Originally from elsewhere, but happily living in Baltimore county since 2008.)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    *fascinated* Why would one wish to raffle a chook in a pub?

    Well, why wouldn’t you? Chook raffles are incredibly popular in small rural towns–the Friday night chook raffle was just about ubiquitous when I was growing up in said towns.

    In the country towns I grew up in they’d raffle a chook every few hours on the hour on Friday nights, make a few dollars for some local cause, a handful of people had a nice little win, no one lost anything significant, and you get the enjoyment of low-stakes gambling in a community environment.

    To clarify, it’s a roasting chicken, not a live fowl (usually). Meat trays are also very popular–an assortment of cuts, usually beef and lamb, a few sausages. Tickets are really cheap–they were 10 or 20c each in the 80s (maybe 50c now cos of inflation). It’s incredibly easy to organise–you just announce the raffle, everyone in the pub buys a few tickets, and someone goes home with the meat for a Sunday roast.

    To say someone couldn’t raffle a chook is a pub is to call them utterly incompetant. Equivalent phrases are “couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery” and one about brothels that I don’t think is used any more.

  • Kirala

     Makes sense, just utterly unfamiliar. Then again, I don’t frequent bars enough to know about parallel American customs.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So half fifty-fifty drawing, half turkey bingo?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m going to have to look both of those things up :)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that bar culture and pub culture are quite different. Is it commonplace to bring your family to a bar for dinner?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fifty-fifty drawing: sell a bunch of tickets (usually one for a dollar and six for five), divide the takings in two, and half goes to the hosting organization or the host’s charity of choice and the other half to the holder of the winning ticket. Fairly common, I understand; certainly every square dance I’ve ever been to, in several areas of the US, has done one.
    Turkey bingo: like ordinary bingo except the prizes are a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, and sometimes other things but the turkeys are the big draw. No idea how common it is.

  • P J Evans

     Reid is going to try to change the Senate rules so that bills can’t be completely blocked by a minority.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m not sure that’s wise. Some bills need to be blocked, and if that doesn’t happen before it gets to debate on the Senate floor… Figuring a way to make sure the minority can’t abuse the filibuster the way Republicans have been, that’s absolutely essential, but I don’t think getting rid of it, or changing it enough that a sufficiently determined senator or ten cannot block things with it, would be a good idea. Best thing to do would probably be to insist that every threatened filibuster must be a real filibuster–orate like Bernie Sanders did or read from the DC phone book, I do not fucking care, but if there’s going to be a filibuster there needs to be a senator giving a speech every moment of the filibuster.

  • P J Evans

    I have no idea who *would* take them, really:

    P0ssibly one of those ‘anything goes’ countries in Africa or Asia. The GOP might have problems with religion, though – not that the principles seem to differ.

  • P J Evans

     It’s something about the consent procedure, the one that allows them to filibuster without doing anything else. (I’m not up on the ins and outs of the Senate rules; I gather they can get somewhat arcane.)

  • P J Evans

    In California, the Democrats now have a supermajority in both houses. We’re hoping that the budget will be passed more or less on time, instead of weeks-to-months late. (And that taxes will be raised enough so that we can afford to have schools and parks and highways that aren’t suffering from neglect. )

  • Lori


    Why the frack have I heard word zero on the news about Puerto Rico voting for statehood?   

    1. They didn’t exactly. They has a 2 part vote. First part was maintain the status quo or change it. The second part was, if the status quo changes how should it change, independence or statehood. The majority voted to change the status quo. The majority of people said that if it does change it should change in favor of statehood. Some of the people who picked statehood on the 2nd question said that they’d rather leave things as they are on the first question. If statehood went to a straight up or down vote I’m not sure it would pass.

    2. Even if Puerto Ricans did vote for statehood it’s not going to happen any time in the near future, because the GOP won’t allow it to. They just lost the Latino vote by a huge margin and Marco Rubio isn’t going to be able to solve that problem for them. They’re not about to allow another contingent of brown people to have full statehood and the political weight that goes with it.

    I think it’ll happen eventually, but it’s still going to be a good long while.

  • Lori

    Yeah California! Good luck with future budgets because when I lived there that ish was OOC.

  • Lori
  • Hmm. IDK, he didn’t SEEM to be yelling, but that was probably because Sean Hannity will have his own little rant sooner or later.

  • Lliira

    Seeing things as they really are isn’t “jujitsu reframing”. If you’re one of those poor deluded souls who thinks the Confederacy was about anything other than keeping black people as slaves in order to rape them and force hard labor from them and rip their families apart to sell them as chattel, you severely need to go read Battle Cry of Freedom — just as Step One. You’ve got a whole lot of lies to unlearn.

  • Lliira

    The Confederate flag was stained with the blood of hundreds of thousands of slaves as soon as it was created. It was about nothing but defending the so-called “right” of rich white men to do what they pleased to black people. It was stained by the rape of every black slave girl, the forced servitude of every black person, the cries of every black wife whose husband was “sold South”, of every black parent whose child was torn from them. That flag is one of the most heinous symbols humanity has ever conceived.

  • Lori

    This may be a personal definition thing. I don’t think yelling is a necessary part of losing one’s shit. O’Reilly said the quite thing loud. He put it right out there—-traditional America = white men, things were better when the white men didn’t have to tolerate all this backtalk from the N*****s and the women.

    You’re supposed to use a dog whistle for that stuff, not a air horn. When BillO has a grip he knows that. He’s built his career on it. IMO forgetting it so thoroughly = losing his shit.

  • Point taken.

    And the fact that there are so many white people even today who seem to want those ‘glory days’ back for when white people were social superiors…

    I have to wonder just how so many of them can look at themselves in the mirror every morning and not ask themselves why they can’t just accept that Barack Obama symbolizes a United States where all people can live in peace and harmony (and now I sound like Katara or Aang, heh).

  • Münchner Kindl


    This is what I want. I think there’s value in having the filibuster
    available, but it should go back to being a rarely used tool and IMO the
    way to do that is to go back to making it cost you. Neither party
    should be able to simply invoke at will to ensure that a super majority
    is de facto necessary to pass legislation.

    What value is there in any filibuster? If you can’t produce your arguments and convince the other side in the allotted time of 15 or 20 minutes – and the other people from your party who agree with the bill can’t, either – why would ranting or reading the phone book for several hours, or proving that you can stand for hours without needing to go to the toilet convince anything?

    Isn’t it basically still a toddlers’s tactic “I can’t convince, so now I’m holding my breath till I turn blue instead”?

  • EllieMurasaki

    The point of a filibuster isn’t to convince the other guys. It’s to make noisily and publicly clear that this bill is unacceptable and that all other business of the Senate is not allowed to go on until either the bill is withdrawn or the people filibustering all keel over from exhaustion. This works better when the threat of a filibuster is not enough to kill a bill and also when there is not a threatened filibuster every time something with Democratic support gets to the Senate floor.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I thought swing states are called such because the polls show they are not solidly Republican or Democrat, meaning it changes with each election?

    Are swing states determined differently?

    Also, two other questions I’d like factual answers from: Cracked had an article on low voter turnout where they claimed that voter turnout is calculated in the US by taking the number of people who voted and dividing them against the number of over-18-year-olds, not against the number of people eligible to vote (citizen, not criminal, not stricken from the rolls etc.)

    Is this true? If yes, why? You do have voter rolls of who’s eligible, so you can find out the total number and do statistics correctly, right?

    The other item was a Snopes article about how people posting pictures of their ballots might – depending on state law – be punished for that by discarding their vote.

    In some states it’s illegal to display a voted ballot, and in some circumstances voters who do so might potentially violate laws that would theoretically allow their votes to be thrown out.  Much of the law in this area is uncertain, however, and we’re unaware of any cases in which voters have had their ballots invalidated due to sharing pictures of them on the Internet.

    Now, the whole thing is weird for me (why would people want to take pictures of their ballot and post it? Why would the state care about it?), but the really scary thing is: Do you guys not have secret and anonymous elections? If a state can discard the ballot of Joe Smith for taking a picture of it, that means that the state can identify which ballot belongs to Joe Smith. (And no, it’s not “the ballot that matches the picture according to the votes cast” because dozens of people can have cast the same ballot combination). This idea is very scary to me, where each election they explain to the volunteers why the “secret and anonymous” part of voting is so damn important (and there are people around from at least one dictatorship who can remember the difference).

  • EllieMurasaki

    Swing states are the ones where neither candidate has so large a margin of victory according to pre-election polls that it’s possible with any degree of certainty to call the state without counting the votes. My state went nearly sixty-forty for Obama and everyone knew it would; the official call came about two minutes after polls closed here. Any state polling a mere 52-48? Swing, because it might have a history of going a particular direction, but if the 48 side got sufficiently fired up and the 52 side sufficiently complacent, the 48 side might win.

  • Münchner Kindl


    Because I believe they’re wrong and America will see that and give them
    the thrashing they need to finally collapse and reform as something
    resembling a sensible conservative party.

    Look at the lack of landslide, as pointed out earlier. Too many white guys whoted for rich old guys after believing Fox. Too many women still voted for the “legitimate rape” guys. Too many religious people voted against the “secrect muslim”. If it were 10% or even 30% (crazification factor), we could watch them implode. But in many cases it’s close to 50%, not only the bad Electoral college system, but also in popular votes.

    You’re playing with fire wishing for that. Although I sadly believe they will do that regardless, because they’ve been doubling down after lost elections for decades now.

  • Münchner Kindl


    Some bills need to be blocked, and if that doesn’t happen before it gets to debate on the Senate floor.

    Um, what? Why? A bill is introduced if the majority of parliament members votes for it, and it passes both houses, right? (Some need to pass only one house, some are read several times, but that’s the principle. If the second house votes against it, it can be put into comitee, or read again in the 1st house, and altered, and either passes anyway or dies, depending on details).
    So if a bill isn’t popular enough to have majority support, why should it be blocked? If it can go through, why should it be blocked?

  • Münchner Kindl

     Huh? I thought the blacks were all dying out because Planned Parenthood is a racist ploy to kill black babies through abortion? Isn’t that what the Repubs. claimed? (While hating on welfare mothers who have children instead of aborting them, but are too lazy to work, instead staying home with their kids and getting “stuff” from the state.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    That isn’t quite how it works over here– there educate yourself, Schoolhouse Rock is fairly painless. And quite often a popular bill is an abhorrent bill. The Defense of Marriage Act used to be an abhorrent bill, and it’s only in the past couple of years that it’s stopped being a popular law, and I wish to fuck it had been successfully filibustered.

  • Münchner Kindl

     So what place does it have in a working system for responsible adults? Bills that are unacceptable because they deny rights should not be introduced at all because infringing the basic rights violate the constitution – but you have the problem there that a lot of rights like healthcare, marriage equality, a roof over your head or food, are not listed there. You’d need to amend the constitution and bring it up to date, but since too many USians revere the constitution without caring about it, it’s unlikely, I guess.

  • Basically, the filibuster means that if a majority party wants to ram through a bill that’s really awful to a >40% minority party, and they (minority) think it’s worth it because it’s that bad, they can keep it from passing.  It’s done some good in the past, I’m pretty sure, helping to prevent some tyranny-of-the-majority stuff.  But without having to actually filibuster, it’s become much abused.

  • Münchner Kindl

    Well in theory the party with the majority represents the majority of the voters, so their bills should go through – with the understanding that infringing on minority rights in general is not allowed and not nice; and with the thought at the back of your head that next term, your party could be in the minority, so you play nice so the others don’t start payback.

    But that requires halfway sane politicans and halfway sane people electing them and  giving their opinion. Since your population elects tea partiers and beyond right-wing republicans…

  • Bills that are unacceptable because they deny rights should not be
    introduced at all because infringing the basic rights violate the

    That’s not quite how that works.  Any bill can be introduced & voted on, regardless of constitutionality.  After it passes, if it does, then it’s up to the courts to decide whether it’s constitutional or not, and if it isn’t, then it might even stay on the books, but never be enforced, because any lawyer would just cite that precedent.  In practice (again), they tend not to introduce unconstitutional bills because they won’t have any effect anyway, but sometimes, they just have to push that envelope or hope for a friendly Supreme Court anyway.

  • Carstonio

    No disagreement about the brutal horrors of slavery. My purely technical point is that the X flag was never the official flag of the Confederacy – that was the Stars and Bars instead. Part of a larger pattern of Southern historical revisionism. One of the great lost opportunities in US history is that the South won the peace after losing the war – the convinced later generations that the root case of the conflict was anything but slavery, labeling it as “Northern aggression” even though the South started the war.

    The X flag was revived by 20th-century segregationists in defiance of civil rights, first highly visible with Strom Thurmond’s racist Dixiecrat campaign in 1948. It may have been a local banner in the 1860s, but by the 1960s there was no question that it stood for racism. And as someone who grew up in the 1970s, I’m still infuriated about the deceptive rebranding of the X flag as a allegedly regional banner. When I see the flag, I think of George Wallace’s pinched look of fury, firehosing of civil rights demonstrators, burning crosses, lynchings, and John Lewis suffering beatings for wanting to exercise his right to vote.

  • When the yearbook group at my high school, Placename South, looked at that banner, they saw something that meant ”south”, so hey, let’s put it on the yearbook cover!  And this was in Wisconsin, so, really, WTF??  Sometime around ’86-’88.

  • Wednesday

     @ Muchner Kindl,

    We do have secret and anonymous ballot elections in the US, so I’m not sure how the heck you could throw out a specific someone’s ballot after the fact. Maybe if an election judge/observer caught them in the process, or they’d voted by mail or provisionally and their envelope hadn’t been opened yet, but that’s it.

    There are reasons for laws against photographing your own ballot — if someone wants to buy your vote they’ll want evidence that you voted the way they are paying you to. And directly buying/selling votes is illegal. (Politicians promising not to raise taxes on X or Y group doesn’t count as buying votes.)

  • Münchner Kindl


    There are reasons for laws against photographing your own
    ballot — if someone wants to buy your vote they’ll want evidence that
    you voted the way they are paying you to.

    Which still doesn’t prove anything. You can take a picture, destroy the ballot and get a new one at the desk, after all. Or you can take one picture and copy it to 20 friends to get payment.

    Because it’s impossible to identify one specific ballot with one specific voter, votes can’t be bought. Bringing a camera into the picture doesn’t change that.

    But Mikkaelsen from snopes suggesting that there are laws on how to throw out a vote, that worries me. (Though snopes is generally more obsessed with patriotism first than with facts – I once emailed her about that “soldiers carry desks into classroom to teach a lesson” and asked her how exactly soldiers are enabling education and not normal taxpayers, but I didn’t get any response.)

    The status is undetermined, so maybe Snopes needs time to research the law. (Why a federal election doesn’t have federal laws that apply instead of local laws is of course another one of those “that’s how we do it because … sovereignity!!” cases.)

  • Münchner Kindl

     I said “should” not “can”.

    Our parties do also introduce bills which the minority party then calls unconstitutional and, if they can’t stop it in parliament, takes to court. The difference is that our Constitutional Court judges take immense pride in being as neutral as possible, instead of leaning ostenatiously towards consies or liberals. They are also limited for terms, not by lifetime, and consider it an honor to be chosen, and would not want the chancellor to use them to influence the court in one direction.

    They also return laws not currently under debate – the decades-old method of counting the seats after election has now been declared unfair, so the parliament has to think up a different method to convert votes into seats until the next election rolls around.
    Too bad you can’t take all that gerrymandering and vote ID laws to the Supreme Court.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I don’t see how that’s different from the principle – it goes through the Senate, then the House. Only that it must pass through a comittee first, because … elitism? Power plays? Here, many laws do come from comitees because they meet to discuss a topic or problem in the first place, and it’s good to have experts when formulating a proposed law.
    But politicans can also bring them directly.

  • Carstonio

    snopes is generally more obsessed with patriotism first than with facts

    I’m a longtime reader of the site and I’ve never detected that kind of bias. Most of the Glurge section at Snopes questions the mythology behind those allegedly heartwarming takes. I know many people who accuse the site of being liberal and being “hostile” to the Second Amendment.

    And your question about “how exactly soldiers are enabling education and not normal taxpayers” suggests a misinterpretation – it was probably intended to mean that soldiers put their lives at risk to protect the freedoms and rights of their fellow citizens, such as a right to a public education. That hagiography is deceptive when one looks at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Mikkelson’s response below the letter seems free of that misplaced worship. But that doesn’t change the fact that the incident happened.