Monday salmagundi

Monday salmagundi April 29, 2013

• Wikipedia says that with 424 members, the New Hampshire General Court is “the largest state legislature in the United States and the fourth-largest English-speaking legislative body in the world.” I think it’s too big — and the evidence continues to pile up that it’s just way too large to maintain a quorum of the competent.

• A delirious fever-dream of a frightening alternate reality. Otherwise known as the past 16 months of National Rifle Association magazine covers.

The remarkable thing is the perpetual warning of imminent catastrophe: “If X happens, then all is lost,” the headlines warn. Then X happens, after which the next month’s issue says, “If Y happens, then all is lost.”

These stories can only appeal to people who are: A) very, very easily frightened; and B) unable to recall last month.

• Poor people must prove that they are innocent of the vices of the powerful:

Georgia state House Rep. Chuck Sims (R-Amrbose) was arrested last week and charged with Driving Under the Influence, his second such arrest in the last three years.

… Sims was arrested for DUI in 2010 by Atlanta police. He is among the state lawmakers who voted in favor of House Bill 861, which mandated drug testing for all Georgians seeking public assistance funding.

Rush Limbaugh does not like the Christian principle of subsidiarity: “This is Marx, Mengele, communist manifesto, the nuclear family has always been under attack by communists, leftists.”

• Seriously, if the New Hampshire General Court were smaller, maybe it wouldn’t include quite so many embarrassing legislators.

Christianity Today: “Margaret Thatcher Obits Overlook Her ‘Devout Christian Faith’

Maybe that’s because her politics and her contemptuous disdain for the poor and the working class also overlooked her devout “Christian faith.”

Or were Isaiah, Jesus, James and John all just kidding?

• For 10 years I worked at a daily newspaper using the AP Stylebook, and for most of that time I had a long-running argument with my boss’s boss about the use of the term “illegal immigrant.”

Now, almost two years after I got laid off, the Associated Press has announced that it will no longer use the term. I’d call the newsroom to gloat, but my boss’s boss got laid off too and I don’t think either of the people left in that newsroom has the time to answer a phone.

• Opt out. Always opt out: “Last year consumers paid a whopping $32 billion in overdraft fees, a $400 million jump from 2011.”

Never give your bank permission to reach into your account and take your money. If you do, they will help themselves every chance they get. They took $32 billion from their depositors last year, and then had the chutzpah to call it a “service” and a form of “protection.”

Explain to me how a decent person can steal $32 billion a year and then maybe I’ll be persuaded that they might be decent people.

• I really, really, really hate the phrase “living in sin.”

It’s evangelical-speak for POSSLQ and few phrases reveal more about the stunted, unbiblical, sex-obsessed understanding of “sin” in American Christianity. Jamie Dimon is never described as “living in sin.” Wayne LaPierre is never described as “living in sin.” Unless and until that phrase comes to be employed to refer to people like that, it will always ring hollow — a meaningless phrase that signifies only the meaninglessness and hypocrisy of the subculture that produced it.

Nothing says “pro-life” quite like sending death threats.

• Al Mohler laments “The Marginalization of Moral Argument in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate,” because Al Mohler does not listen.

If he listened, he would understand that a demand for equality is a moral demand. If he listened, he would understand that moral argument hasn’t been marginalized, it has been marshaled against him. There is a moral argument being made, forcefully and repeatedly, and it is an argument that demonstrates the immorality of Al Mohler and other defenders of inequality.

• “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

• They are coming for your birth control.

• I’m really quite serious about the New Hampshire General Court. It ought to be somewhere around half its current size. That would save the state money, and it might help to weed out some of the most delusional whackjobs.



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  • Carstonio

    Great quote from Gene Weingarten, talking about the non-arguments against same-sex marriage:

    There is no end, with these people. They have a bankrupt, bigotry-based position, and will go any length, prop up any straw man, to create an argument that doesn’t admit the bigotry behind their stance. Male sushi chefs have told me that women can’t be sushi chefs because their body temperatures are higher and would partially cook the meat.

    When you hear some insane argument like that, stop and ask yourself: Okay, what is the actual truth that this person is trying not to say, because it will make him look bad?

  • Lunch Meat

    Oh, so you weren’t defending it, you were just pointing out that it could be defended, if some other person were inclined to do so. And you wanted to make sure defending it was easy for that hypothetical person, so you gave them arguments they could copy/paste. Makes perfect sense now. I do that all the time for reprehensible positions.

  • Lunch Meat

    You don’t “like” people being in need, but you would prefer people being in need to those needs being met by a method you disapprove of. That’s totally better.

  • I have edited my comment (I did not consider coercive exchanges, and I apologize for this).

  • Profits indicate scarcity. Profit also attracts investors. Thus, the situation might sort itself out within a couple years or less without any government intervention at all. How dangerous is this Poor Flu?

  • Madhabmatics

    It froze once! For like a few days. :P

  • By “worked great”, do you mean “did not hurt the economy too much”?

  • You think disabled people are morally worse than able-bodied people. You think I am a bad person because I am physically unable to work and for no other reason. You think the people who are the most in need somehow magically deserve to be the most in need, and probably deserve to die. You think poverty should be a death sentence. You also think starving to death is a good “solution” to being fat, because somehow people over the silly made-up BMI limit can go without eating…?

    I wonder how you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning. I’d be furious if I didn’t pity you so much. You are a sad, sad excuse for a human being. I’d say your beliefs are going to bite you in the ass someday, but they already bite you in the ass every day, because you are stuck being you.

  • Profits _usually_ indicate scarcity. For an opposing example, take cell phone plans. There is no scarcity of bandwidth (there’s enough for almost every person in the US to have a cell phone), yet prices have not come down. Cable television is another example; not scarce at all (more areas are being connected all the time), yet prices have never dropped, only risen.

    Thus, the situation might sort itself out within a couple years or less without any government intervention at all.

    Did that work with Wall Street or the housing crisis? A lack of government intervention (via regulation) caused both of those crisis, and the economy is still reeling from it.

    Let me hazard a guess…you’re an objectivist (ala Rand)?

  • -This is due to the fact that demand has either risen or become more concentrated.
    “Let me hazard a guess…you’re an objectivist (ala Rand)?”
    -Nay! But I was an Objectivist back in early-mid 2008. You won’t often see me quoting Rand. I have read Atlas Shrugged twice. Regulation would only have made the bubble appear in a different area.

  • Then why do Scandinavian welfare states make the USA look like a third world dump?

    You know how Ikea’s corporate overlords save a buck? By sending manufacturing jobs overseas, to a country that doesn’t mandate a living wage and has lax labor laws.

    Y’know, the United States.

  • Most of the systems of moral philosophy which make the “Natural = good, unnatural=bad” distinction do not consider man-made to necessarily imply unnatural. The word “natural”, as used in philosophy, does not generally mean “found in nature”, but more often “in accordance with nature”, a helpfully vague statement.

    Aristotelian-derived ethics, like most traditional christian moral teachings, consider natural anything which is in accordance with a natural function. Eyeglasses, when used to improve eyesight, are serving a natural function. Now, if you were to use a pair of eyeglasses sexually, that would be unnatural, because the purpose of eyeglasses is to improve eyesight, and using them for sexual gratification would be going against that purpose.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If I’m correctly divining your point: The purposes of sex include pleasure and pairbonding as well as procreation. How is it against the natural purpose of sex to have it for pleasure and/or pairbonding without intent to procreate?

  • The_L1985

    Which means that people who follow this ethic should never speak. After all, mouths are for eating. Speaking is not the natural function of a mouth.

  • The_L1985

    So I’m better than my grandmother, who worked her ass off as a teacher while simultaneously raising 3 children, simply because she no longer pays income taxes and collects Social Security from the government?

    I’ll be sure to let her know.

  • Regulation would only have made the bubble appear in a different area.

    Got any proof of that?

  • Did she pay more taxes (in real dollars) over her lifetime than she has gotten Social Security money over her lifetime?

  • The_L1985

    Like my retired grandmother, who by definition, gets all of her current income via Social Security?

    Or maybe you’re talking about my grandmother 35 years ago, when she was receiving an Army widow’s pension from the government?

    Or my father, who is a government employee, and therefore gets every penny of his paycheck from the government?

    Flawed argument is flawed.

  • The_L1985

    You didn’t say “over their lifetimes,” thus implying people who are or are not currently paying taxes.

    OK, here’s another example. I have relatives with mental retardation severe enough to prevent them from being employable. Are you seriously going to imply that they are less human simply because they cannot earn a paycheck?

  • It’s not as though I have an alternate-universe-creating machine in front of me.

  • Yup.

  • Thus, the situation might sort itself out within a couple years or less without any government intervention at all.

    Sure. Within a few years, the market will “correct” poor people into dead people.

  • How do you know that?

  • Why either/or? Why not both?

  • ANNOUNCEMENT: I upvoted that.

  • Very cool. Liked the ethics questions, too.

  • Kirala

    These days, I don’t hear so many arguments against homosexuality calling the orientation a choice – it’s the behavior that’s frowned upon, while the orientation is seen as an unfortunate (curable?) condition. Now, I attend church at a moderately-conservative rather than rabidly conservative evangelical institution, broadly seasoned with liberals, so my experience may be the most unreliable sort of anecdata – but I’d be curious to see what the actual data on this point suggests. Do people believe that the orientation of homosexuality is a choice or not?

  • So…a crisis caused by a lack of regulation could have been prevented (or averted to another market) by a lack of regulation?

    You’re not making much sense.

  • Kirala

    Am I the only one whose overdraft protection doesn’t involve exorbitant fees? I get charged something like $0.50 per overdraft – and I can’t remember whether that’s only after six overdrafts in a month, or if that’s the light fee that gets upped after six overdrafts (I think it’s the latter, but hey.). And I get a written notification every time I go over, so if I’m likely to be overdrafting twice a week, I get fair notice that I’m approaching my limit.

    Of course, I have deliberately opted to stick to my reliable credit union rather than bank with a large organization… but seriously? *hugs bank and vows never to leave*

  • The same way that eating junk food is against the natural purpose of food (Food is for pleasure and sustainance). If you deliberately have non-procreative sex, you’re deliberately setting out to have 3-out-of-4 sex, which means you’re setting out to have *bad* sex, and it’s wrong the same way as deliberately throwing a game when you’re an athlete. It’s no sin to fail, unless you did it on purpose. (This is one of those things I consider ‘and then when they were like 90% of the way to being right, they take this massive wrong turn’)

  • I believe the answer to that is in Aristotle’s ethics, book four: “Don’t be stupid. Mouths are for eating AND talking, and this is totally different from, say, anuses, because SHUT UP.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    …but bad sex means nonpleasurable sex. Nothing to do with pairbonding or procreation.

  • AnonymousSam

    Not logging in since I’m about to leave for the airport. I just wanted to highlight the fact that EH apparently thinks a cost/benefits analysis is an appropriate way to determine when it’s all right to murder children by throwing rocks at them until they die.

  • I’m amazed at the number of people willing to put forth the effort to deal with with EH’s BS. You have the patience of golems.

  • The_L1985

    Not sure, but a growing number of people don’t consider homosexuality, however they personally define the word, to be sinful.

  • The_L1985

    Wow. This is the first time someone has actually said something to me that amounts to, “I am a monster.”

  • The_L1985

    A part of me loves the bitter irony that while we have sweatshops in other countries, Europe has its sweatshops HERE.

  • The_L1985

    It’s like having a conversation with the ghost of Ayn Rand. Every time I read his nonsense, I wish I could reach through the Internet with a ruler and rap EH’s knuckles. “No! Wrong!”

  • The_L1985

    I personally just love having such an obliging chewtoy. It isn’t often that you have a troll this persistent, or this fun to debate with. And to make it even easier, EH loves to provide the rope with which to rhetorically hang himself.

  • The_L1985

    That’s why. CUs tend not to be as large or corrupt.

  • Carstonio

    ESPN is supporting Chris Broussard after the reporter used his religion as a club against Jason Collins. I don’t know how the channel should have handled the personnel matter, but I do know that Broussard’s comments went way beyond offering personal opinion. He didn’t just offer his religious beliefs, he essentially said that everyone should subscribe to his religion. Broussard would have been fine if he had said something like, “While my religion opposes homosexuality, that shouldn’t have anything to do with Collins, as long as both of us are free to follow the dictates of our own consciences.” Instead, he’s saying that only Christians should be able to follow their consciences

  • The_L1985

    Didn’t you know? We filthy heathens don’t have consciences.

    …Which fails to explain all of the murder, arson, kidnapping, etc. that I have never committed.

  • I just need to vent here. And I do mean “here,” as opposed to “somewhere else.” My Facebook list today has several people posting that stupid “the media told Tim Tebow to keep his religion to himself, but are congratulating this gay on bravery” thing.

    I finally snapped and told one of them that the closest thing I have ever heard to “keep it to yourself” were Christians who said that “Tebow-ing” (just that term makes me nauseated) violated Matthew 6:5, and that I happen to agree with them.

    My blood pressure still hasn’t recovered.

  • Or slavery.

  • Lori

    I hear ya. The whole Tebow the Christian martyr thing is really tiresome. The guy didn’t just “tebow”, he copyrighted tebowing. It’s not the media’s fault people got sick of his crap. And that’s setting aside the fact that he wasn’t a good quarterback. I’m with Scott Lemieux over at LG&M on this one:

    It could be that every NFL organization is completely incompetent to not recognize the substantial value of a player who was terrible in his one year as a regular, lacks the skills of an NFL QB, and creates a massive media circus if you put him on your roster. I know how I’m betting.

  • Lori

    Good point.


    Be bold, be strong, for the Lord thy God is with thee! Go Bubba! :)


  • Lori

    How was church last Sunday, Ginny? What was the sermons about?