The threatening cloud.

The last few days have been interesting on the parental-duties front. Kate got in the car after school a few days ago and announced the world was supposed to end tomorrow. (To my relief, she didn’t use this as an excuse to not do homework that night.) This was the first I’d heard of the Large Hadron Collider, actually, but I covered my ignorance with a “Don’t be silly” and opted to flip it into a discussion on the importance of skepticism. I remember junior high pretty well, how rumors swept through the student body like crabs in a bathhouse, and thought the best thing she could learn from this was, as stated so eloquently by Detroit philosopher Marvin Gaye, to believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

That night, reading the British dailies, I learned about the supercollider and the fears of British schoolchildren that baby black holes would band together and suck us all into the abyss. I flagged the stories for her to read the next day, and she made it her weekly current affairs assignment, and that was that.

We haven’t been talking about Wall Street this week. She’s a worrier by nature, and the last thing I need is Mini-Me. I’ve mentioned before that I still carry the scars of the 1970s on my psyche, the cold and dark years when it seemed things were only going to get colder and darker. (And look, it’s like that “Twilight Zone” where the girl wakes up and discovers it’s not that at all, it’s the opposite — global warming, not a new ice age. Life imitates Rod Serling.) We are going to whistle through this one, we are. More cake for the table! More champagne! But make it the cheap Spanish stuff, please.

Oh, and read the Freakonomics guy (his colleagues, actually), and their readable explanation, here.

Friends, I have to skedaddle today. I’m catching a flight for St. Louis in 3.5 hours, and have yet to shower, so I’d best get that out of the way. I’m speaking at another conference — thanks, Tim Goeglein! — and will post from the road. Have a good weekend, all, and if the plane crashes, remember these final instructions: Someone stand up at my memorial service and say, “She always loved ’70s funk.”

Posted at 8:43 am in Current events |

98 responses to “The threatening cloud.”

  1. John said on September 19, 2008 at 8:49 am

    “She was turning her life around 360 degrees.”

    How many times have you heard that gem in a 10 o’clock news interview of a neighbor?

    Have fun in Saint Louie!

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  2. brian stouder said on September 19, 2008 at 9:03 am

    “She always wore sensible shoes”

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  3. Connie said on September 19, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Library Journal just published an interesting editorial about Palin and libraries.

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  4. jcburns said on September 19, 2008 at 9:25 am

    “She omitted needless words, but failed to omit needless Jack Russell Terriers”

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  5. derwood said on September 19, 2008 at 9:57 am

    “She was good at Telling Tales”

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  6. coozledad said on September 19, 2008 at 10:07 am

    You cant die now. You haven’t even seen your fabulous bric-a-brac.
    I suspect all that collider will do is give a few physicists some polyps.

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  7. moe99 said on September 19, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Well now, just got a breaking news email from CNN that says that Treasury Secretary Paulson (that would be Bush appointee, Paulson) says that Hundreds of Billions of Dollars needed to stem financial crisis!!!

    Now is the time for all good folks to ask: why are we in this basket? and where are we going?

    And it is time to hold those accountable (cough–Chair of the Senate Commerce Committe for how long?–cough) by turning them out of office in November.

    Oh, and Nance, here is some good stuff on the Michigan voter suppression lawsuit filed by the Obama campaign against the Republicans:

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 19, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Can i say “Her favorite Clinton was always George”?

    Connie, i love libraries and librarians, but the Library Journal piece wants to tell me “she wouldn’t read a book many of her constitutents weren’t happy about on the shelves, that stayed there, and she didn’t build a bigger library but built a hockey rink.” So we should “be afraid, be very afraid.” This is what has me shutting down on the criticism front.

    And McCain repeatedly tried to put brakes and oversight on Fannie and Freddie, waaay earlier (2000, 2002, 2005) and got blocked bipartisanlyish. I trust him to kick all butts as necessary, Obama not so much. Many here disagree, OK, we’ll vote and see.

    How could any of you trust me? I actually liked the Eagles in the ’70s. “Goes to character, your honor . . .”

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  9. alex said on September 19, 2008 at 10:54 am

    moe, think RICO could be applied here? The GOP is plainly a racketeer-influenced and corrupt organization. Wonder if it meets the statutory criteria.

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  10. deb said on September 19, 2008 at 10:55 am

    my favorite epitaph material, from our college years: “emasculating bitch, terror of the newsroom.” high praise indeed.

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  11. moe99 said on September 19, 2008 at 11:12 am

    So why has our most celebrated POW put the brakes on information coming out about other POWs?

    The first paragraph in a 9000 word article at The Nation, by the author of the book that became the movie The Killing Fields:

    “John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero people would logically imagine to be a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books….”

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  12. Mindy said on September 19, 2008 at 11:35 am

    “She continued to rock with the wolf.”

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  13. Jenflex said on September 19, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Stay dry in STL…the Mississippi is cresting tomorrow.

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  14. beb said on September 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    A friend of a friend died and at her funeral had the Stone’s “Satisfaction” played. The family was scandalized. But she had been fighting cancer for 3-4 years and was still fairly young. What other song better sums up her life?

    There were people convinced that exploding the first atomic bomb would set up a fission chain-reaction that would consume the world. It didn’t happen then. I didn’t think it would happen now, either.

    Alex wonder if the RICO laws can be applied to the GOP. First you would have to find a non-Republican judge who would go along with such a thing.

    I wonder how much longer it would have taken to go to St. Louis via Amtrak?

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  15. Danny said on September 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Very good assessment, Jeff. Everyone is picking up the hand-wringing meme du jour and it’s just silly. Especially given the fact that there is absolutely no hand-wring or even mild intellectual curiousity of the actions (or inactions) and associations of Obama and Biden. Crocodile tears, I tell you.

    Another encouraging sign about McCain is that he said he would fire Chris Cox. He back-pedaled a little today by saying, “Look, he’s a good man, but there needs to be accountability.” So, it really wasn’t much of a back-pedal.

    I too am starting to trust that he will kick all of the butts necessary.

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  16. Danny said on September 19, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    I wonder how much longer it would taken to go to St; Louis via Amtrack?

    Depends on if the engineer is texting…

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  17. moe99 said on September 19, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Uh, Danny, McCain, even if he was president could NOT fire the head of the SEC. He could ask him to resign, but he doesn’t have the power to fire the head of an independent agency.

    And Danny, there’s nothin’ on Obama wrt to the current financial crisis. The feeble attempts to say former Fannie Mae head Franklin Raines (a Seattle native) is advising the campaign are lies.

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  18. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I’m a little doubtful about the idea that, given the number, difficulty, and interrelatedness of the problems we face, butt-kicking will do much to solve them.

    I am listening to Obama answer questions about our current crisis on CNN, and, if there is anything I am sure about, it’s that McCain would not be able to conduct this conversation.

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  19. Danny said on September 19, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Sandra Bernhard is not funny…

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  20. ellen said on September 19, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    It’s not funny. But at least she still has the right to say it. Perhaps Palin can get her agent fired.

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  21. brian stouder said on September 19, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    On the other hand, the comedian Rush Limbaugh (as Olbermann refers to him) just called Obama a segregationist and a racist!….so, pick your poison

    But keep in mind, the toxic waste generator known as Rush Limbaugh spews intellectual contamination (not least of which on car radios of sales people all across this broad land, who flit around like busy bumble bees, repeating what they heard), whereas Sandra Bernhard is heard by no one

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  22. Danny said on September 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Jolene, as you say, the butt-kickin’ may be a little difficult because there is so much blame to go around.

    I was reading this article regarding how both campaigns are scrambling to make political hay out of the financial situation. From the article:

    But that [the statements from both campaigns] mostly sounds like campaign hokum. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations with the same furor with which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks deadly viruses, bankrupt Lehman Brothers, to cite just one example, has given $9.2 million to members of Congress since 1989, with 54 percent going to Democrats. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. “Barack Obama top the list of all-time recipients for the company, collecting $410,000 and $395,000 respectively,” while Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., took in $181,450.

    According to the center, “Lehman employees (this election cycle) have made their firm one of the top contributors to both Obama ($370,000) and John McCain ($117,500).” AIG, the insurance giant on life support, gave $116,400 to Schumer; McCain received $103,000 and Obama, $82,600. Meanwhile, people associated with Merrill Lynch, newly bailed out by Bank of America, gave $394,300 to McCain; the company was his largest contributor; Obama received $229,100. At those prices, taxpayers got about as much congressional oversight as they could possibly stand. The results are playing out on the evening news. Members of Congress weren’t minding the store, they were the store. In the end, the calamity will cost us much more than Cristal.

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  23. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Alex, this is for you: Gay marriage right should not be repealed

    From the San Diego Tribune, via Andrew Sullivan’s blog

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  24. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Yes, I’ve seen these figures, Danny. They’re disturbing, no doubt. I need to do more reading to find out why it was that the GSEs seem to have been closer to the Dems than to the Repubs. The other figures you cite suggest that there’s not much difference between the candidates in terms of who contributed to their warchests. Of course, it makes sense that McCain and Obama would be high on lots of lists because they’ve both been working at fundraising on a national scale for almost two years. But the whole question of how we finance campaigns has obviously not been solved. Obama’s small-dollar fundraising is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough.

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  25. Danny said on September 19, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    regarding the upcoming prop vote in CA:

    Well it wouldn’t have to be repealed if the California Supreme Court had done the right thing to begin with by either delaying their decision or issuing an injunction. Disregarding that their decison was a clear circumvention of the will of the overwhelming majority of the people ala Prop 22 in 2000, the Court knew that Prop 8 already had enough signatures to make the California ballot before they issued their activist decision and that the prop was less than a week away from being declared valid. Yet, they choose to act inapproprately, anyway.

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  26. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Jeff, here is more on the “McCain has changed” theme, including the fact that Elizabeth Drew wrote a favorable book about him, which I think gives her comments in Politico some special credibility.

    Howard Kurtz, who wrote this piece, is the Post’s media critic and is pretty middle-of-the road. His own observation: I went out with McCain a few weeks ago, and the first thing I noticed was that he didn’t seem to be having much fun.

    To others, this continues a conversation that began at the bottom of the previous thread.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 19, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    “Obama’s small-dollar fundraising…”

    That’d be the $11 million in small bills at Greystone Mansion, for $29,000 dinner invites? No, i don’t begrudge him a bit of it (you go, Babs!), but there’s no moral highground on this one.

    Again, McCain took major steps in the teeth of all kinds of party opposition (including his own) to reach for greater reform of campaign finance, and Obama has gotten a total pass on saying “absolutely i will use public financing” and then ditching that promise when it looked like it would benefit him. That was a piece of unambiguous opportunism, and “small dollar” doesn’t paper over that crack in the facade. I’m not voting McCain because he was a POW or because he’s a better culture warrior or any of that schmear, but because he’s got a track record better than Biden-Obama or anyone else out there (sorry, Ralph) of taking concrete steps to more transparency and keeping big money from having undue influence — and we need more done. McCain-Palin is more likely to do it, in my estimation.

    Let me save my friend Brian some typing on the next entry . . . . .


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  28. alex said on September 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks, Jolene. And thanks, Danny, for reminding us how woefully inadequate the American education system is when it comes to teaching a basic understanding of American jurisprudence.

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  29. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Indeed, Obama has gotten money from lots of high rollers, but he has received contributions from 2.5 million people. Most of them wouldn’t have been able to afford an evening w/ Babs. Re the public funding switch, I can’t defend him, but I don’t think what he’s done is, in itself, morally inferior to what McCain is doing.

    McCain’s role as a reformer has been important, but, if he is elected, he will almost certainly be working w/ a Congress in which the Dems are the majority in both houses. If he wants to accomplish anything, he will have to find a way to do it that doesn’t involve insulting people. His efforts to eliminate earmarks, for instance, are likely to meet considerable opposition, not all of it based on greed and self-interest. (Not to mention that eliminating all earmarks would not do much to address our most pressing problems.)

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  30. moe99 said on September 19, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Using the figures cited by Danny, he’s added some basis to my earlier suspicion that Lehman Bros didn’t get a bailout because they didn’t support Repubs sufficiently.

    The candidates cannot accept donations from companies, and Obama has gone one further and is not accepting money from lobbyists. But both candidates can accept donations from individuals. And I don’t think you can really limit that unless you want to go to fully government subsidized elections.

    And Danny, I do not see you as a supporter of government subsidized elections. Bail out of the financial markets, sure, but not elections. Why that would be just too, too socialist…..

    Oh, and here’s why McCain’s call to ban naked shorts (love that term) is wrong:

    Course, the SEC in all its gutless wonder has done just that for the next two weeks, to try to ‘calm the market.’ Do any of you hear the subtext being offered to us: “Pay no attention to that man in the corner!!”

    and the true cost of the bailout:

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  31. Danny said on September 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Alex, unintentionally, you do bring up a good point about jurisprudence. Natural Law is one of the main pillars of jurisprudence. And as you might guess, Natural Law would come down decidedly on the side that gender is of primary relevance to the definition of marriage. Especially since it is relevant to conception of and raising of children. And speaking to the greater good, studies show that having a mother and a father in the home with a child is what’s best for children.

    So, in this case, there is an undeniable alignment with Natural Law of the historical definition of marraige (established law=settled matter), the greater common good, and the unambiguously expressed will of the people.

    And this is why the California Supreme Court is in such egregious error.

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  32. Gasman said on September 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    McCain’s stand on various issues over time:

    Pandering to the religious right:
    “Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance.”

    “Thank you Dr. Falwell” – (Shortly after he extracted his nose from Falwell’s backside during McCain’s commencement speech at Liberty University.)

    “If we appealed Roe v. Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women would be performing illegal and dangerous operations.”

    “I do not support Roe v. Wade, it should be overturned.”

    The Bush Tax Cuts for Billionaires:
    “I would clearly not support extending those tax cuts.”

    “I’ll make the tax cuts permanent.”

    War in Iraq:
    “I am very certain that this military engagement will not be very difficult.”

    “Many of us fully understood from the beginning (it) would be a very, very difficult undertaking.”

    Precisely what “values” does McCain stand for? I guess it depends on what the calendar says. He seems to be devoid of any core beliefs. No idea seems to guide him other than his lust to be president. He is more than willing to adopt whatever stance he feels is likely to appease the right wing of the Republican Party. Some maverick.

    If you doubt the veracity of my quotes, hear them directly from the horse’s mouth; check out the Jon Stewart “official” bio of McCain:

    If that isn’t enough, we are led to believe that a McCain/Palin administration would fight earmarks. Why? To his credit, Mccain does not go after earmarks; Arizona is at the bottom of the list for earmark requests. Alaska, however, is at the very top of that same list, numero uno, the big cheese, fattest hog at the trough. Palin couldn’t get enough of earmarks while she was mayor and as governor, she gorged herself on them. As mayor of Wasilla, she even hired a lobbyist whose full time duties was to go after earmarks. And we are led to believe that this is the woman who will reform the earmark process? That is kind of like putting a Columbian drug lord in charge of narcotic interdiction efforts. To the extent that the earmark system is corrupt, so is Sarah Palin. If you believe that she has any credibility as a reformer on this issue, then I have a bridge in Alaska to sell you.

    Speaking of which: Palin continues to lie through her lipstick stained teeth about the Bridge to Nowhere. She was not only for it before she was against it, she kept ALL OF THE MONEY! The problem with the Bridge wasn’t that it was a bridge, the problem was that it cost $230 million of our money. It represented the hubris, folly, and stinkingly indifferent corruption that the earmark process could devolve to. By claiming she singlehandedly killed the project – she didn’t – she tries mightily to create the impression that she is fighting corruption and is fiscally conservative. On both counts she is lying. Because of her previous earmark grubbing, she has shown that she is just as corrupt and fiscally irresponsible as her mentor Ted Stevens. Her keeping the $230 million for the Bridge just adds a Machiavellian twist to her graft.

    The rather feeble attempts from previous posts to try and portray Obama/Biden as being just as bad is transparent, pathetic, and laughable. That canard has been regularly trotted out by Republicans for decades. As the party that virtually perfected partisanship, they would loudly decry gridlock. While they exercised nearly dictatorial control of two or all three branches of government, they rigged the voting process in the Senate, kept Democrats out of hearings and discussions, cajoled and bullied those within their party to toe the Republican line. They would then wring their hands and gnash their teeth: “Oh, the horror of partisan gridlock! If only the Democrats would give us a chance!” Gingrich and Delay were the masters of gridlock and bullying. Pelossi and Reid are at best timid whiners. Republican corruption has a storied and checkered past whose lineage goes back to Nixon and Agnew.

    Aside from not being able to find his houses, McCain can’t seem to find his stance on nearly any issue. As for Palin, she struts about with the breezy air of superiority that is all too common among the far right wing Christian conservatives. She believes herself to be right with God and therefore, she is infallible and she is invincible. She is a petty, vindictive, uninformed twit that seems to be ignorant about every single issue in this campaign. At least Dan Quayle’s ignorance was tempered by his time in the House and the Senate. Palin’s stage has been tiny by comparison. Her star power in Alaska and Wasilla seems to have made her believe her own hype.

    Show me anything about the Obama/Biden camp that even remotely comes close to the the above lies, corruption, and stunning position reversals.

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  33. moe99 said on September 19, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Can you please define what you mean by natural law, Danny? There are quite a number of philosophies that fit under this very large umbrella of a term.

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  34. LAMary said on September 19, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    An article worth reading in the New Yorker.

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  35. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    For more on the financial crisis, you may want to check out the two webchats hosted by WaPo today. The one at the first link below also contains a couple of pointers to other potentially interesting reading, including an NPR blog called Planet Money.

    Adam Davidison, from NPR:

    Barbara Warner, a Certified Financial Planner

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  36. alex said on September 19, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    As for Palin, she struts about with the breezy air of superiority that is all too common among the far right wing Christian conservatives. She believes herself to be right with God and therefore, she is infallible and she is invincible. She is a petty, vindictive, uninformed twit that seems to be ignorant about every single issue in this campaign.

    Holy homophobes, Gasman! And here I thought I was sparring with people who might be educable.

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  37. Scout said on September 19, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I think I love you, Gasman.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 19, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I’m fascinated by how Quayle’s tempered ignorance has become a sterling quality, and the plagiarism of Biden entirely excusable, while any variation from literalism in consistency is seen as rank hypocrisy.

    I’m used to dealing with inerrant literalists, but it’s usually when i’m doing outreach to Southern Baptist congregations on community activities. C’mon, just say McCain is an elderly querulous gasbag you don’t think can muster a majority to get anything done, and offer the Obama platform.

    What is that platform, again? I’m still waiting (and yes, Jolene, bless you, i’ve read what he has at the website, but keep telling people to start with reading that for both sides — ‘s only fair, and not enough of us are saying that reasonable first step), but i can’t figure out what the fellow wants to actually do, other than be seen as withdrawing our troops from Iraq and sending more bombers to the Afghan frontier, and a bunch of posturing about globalism. If he just says he’s putting Kuttner in charge of economic policy, i’ll sleep better.

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  39. Dexter said on September 19, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    moe99 sez: “The feeble attempts to say former Fannie Mae head Franklin Raines (a Seattle native) is advising the campaign are lies.”
    Not only lies, but so far from the truth it’s amazing.
    Raines was never asked to advise, never offered advisement, and never will be considered to advise Obama.
    So , ask yourself, where does this crap come from? Is there a Central Lies Committee somewhere ?
    Now Palin calls her campaign ” our Palin-McCain team”. I swear I heard her say that. I guess Frank Rich was right last Sunday in his Times column.

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  40. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Jeff, you are too much. If you had really read Obama’s web site, you’d know that there are proposals re healthcare finance, education, energy, strengthening the military–all kinds of things. Can he accomplish all those things? Probably not, especially since all the money seems to be going away, but it’s just not true that he doesn’t have a policy position on pretty much anything any rasonable person could think of. They may be wrong or lack details, but they are there. (In a not-too-long ago interview, he said that his priorities were ending the Iraq war, creating a national health care plan, and launching a program to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels imported from foreign lands. Given recent events, those priorities may have changed.)

    And who has said that Biden’s plagiarism is excusable? He was forced out of the presidential election in 1988 because of it. Does he have to pay for it forever?

    You have a lot of charm and, as i said, I like a good argument, but you’re not playing fair.

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  41. Gasman said on September 19, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    You really should quit while you’re behind. The bit about Biden’s “plagiarism” is overblown and you know it. At best, he did not attribute the quote. He had given the very same Kinnock reference in speeches and cited it multiple times before. Even if we take your inaccurate characterization of Biden at face value, the pile of Palin and McCain lies still dwarfs this one single instance you cite.

    Yes, Jeff, what is that platform? Is it the one where McCain is for abortion rights before he is against them, the one where he is for billionaire tax relief before he is against it, or is it the one where Palin is for earmark pork before she is against it, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.

    Name a single issue on which either McCain or Palin has been truthful! They are liars and they are hypocritical opportunists. In your support of of McCain and Palin, you have no moral high ground on the topic of veracity and commitment to values.

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  42. Gasman said on September 19, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I used to run in a Pentecostal crowd. I know of whom I speak. In an earlier thread I chronicled how the Habitat for Humanity chapters with which I have volunteered have bent over backwards trying to include the evangelicals in their work. In each and every instance those HFH affiliates were snubbed. I’m not saying it is a universal trend, but it did happen in those two affiliates. Furthermore, from discussing this with others familiar with other affiliates, this is not uncommon.

    Likewise, our Presbyterian church in Santa Fe has had little or no success in getting evangelicals involved in ecumenical work locally. And as to homophobes, this is how the fine evangelicals feel about Santa Fe:–5

    A homophobic moron named Kyle Martin thinks that the reason that the Santa Fe River has run dry is because the town is awash in sin.
    “Too (sic) me, this was a huge spiritual sign of the Holy Spirit not being present in the city. And as we discovered, the river began to show signs of drying up because of mankind’s sins.”

    I find it interesting that all of the scientists who have studied the problem of our dried up river never arrived at “mankind’s sins” as the root cause. It took Martin’s nimble brain to come up with that one, and after only spending a few hours in our fair city.

    When Martin says “mankind’s sins” he means tolerance of gays. This seems to be the thrust of evangelism in the City of Holy Faith.

    Alex, spare me your phony outrage. Kyle Martin is but one of many in the Falwell, Dobson, Hagee line of self appointed guardians of the Kingdom of Heaven whom employ evangelical tactics definitely not endorsed by Jesus Christ. I stand by my characterization of right wing Christian fundamentalists.

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  43. Gasman said on September 19, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    A further link to the “Revive Santa Fe” nonsense which the moderator, in his infinite wisdom, would not let me link to my previous post.–17

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  44. LAMary said on September 19, 2008 at 6:05 pm

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  45. jcburns said on September 19, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Jeff, read Obama’s Denver acceptance speech…LOADED with specifics. Look the stream of sentences that all start “I will cut…” and “I will introduce” and “I will” generally.

    LOADED with specifics.

    Then, watch his two-minute spot on economics (again, specific-packed), and then read more about it here:

    More details? How about a 60 page PDF (PDF link)?

    It’s even nicely-designed, with very readable typography. I also vote for change in that department. McCain’s use of Optima makes me only slightly less queasy than if he had chosen the font “Hobo.”

    Read, young man, read!

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  46. alex said on September 19, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    The Palin-McCain, er excuse me, GOP bumper sticker/lawn sign logo was giving me a sense of deja vu. I’m pretty sure they ripped it off from Chrysler. Not a bad thing to hitch your star to when you’ve got nothing else to offer that’s original.

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 19, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    This noted economist at the Atlantic Monthly sums it up better than i could —

    That’s exactly how i’m thinking in Landsberg’s essay. It isn’t that McCain would be perfect, but stand by stand he’s got a clear consistent set of positions that i can support, and i can’t even begin to figure out what Obama plans to do other than posture against globalism and make gestures towards helping the health insurance situation while making it worse (see and read for yourself, vs.

    The debate next Friday night should be a doozy — i plan on having my popcorn and scorecard ready! But i’ll grant you this: Optima was a mistake. True that.

    Gas, you gotta stop conflating fundamentalist and evangelical. Would you confuse Orthodox and Catholic? But preachers who commit the pathetic fallacy theologically give me the pip, too, and they aren’t even worth the effort for a Habitat program. Walk away from them, and i’m walking with you.

    Pentecostals can be hard to read — some are fundamentalistic, others nowhere near. Meet ’em where they’re at, and let ’em tell you who they are and let ’em help if that’s what they want to do . . . if they just want to convert, and that’s their only motive force, stop sending them minutes and meeting notices, and they disappear pretty quick.

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  48. moe99 said on September 19, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    JC, I fear that Jeff’s position is not to bother him with the facts, as his mind is made up.

    I mean, just take a look at this breathtaking mendacity:

    It simply beggars the mind to believe that rational people could support this guy for President.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 19, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Moe, i think you work too hard to attribute mendacity, but it will gratify all your assumptions for me to tell you what i shouldn’t . . . Earl Landgrebe was, in fact, my childhood Congresscritter. He was always happy to work the grill for roasted corn on the cob at the Porter County Fair, and i shook his hand after getting an ear from him once.

    Watergate was not his finest hour, though.

    Anyhow, try reading the Atlantic essay, OK? You’ll still disagree with me, but that’s where i’m coming from.

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  50. brian stouder said on September 19, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    It isn’t that [my candidate] would be perfect, but stand by stand he’s got a clear consistent set of positions that i can support, and i can’t even begin to figure out what [your candidate] plans to do other than posture against globalism and make gestures towards helping the health insurance situation while making it worse

    Suffice it to say, I honestly, genuinely, and respectfully (with some effort!) disagree, 110%! I see the issues and the candidates precisely the other way around.

    This is, one supposes, why free elections are so much better than, say, rule by a queen or king, where seeking change = treason.

    When the election ends, millions of people will be upset that their candidate lost, but it will be icumbent upon all of us, as adults and responsible citizens in a free republic, to set rancor aside and wish the new administration well, and honor the sincerity of the defeated ticket in their stated (if ultimately unsuccessful) aim to pursue what was best for the nation.

    But, maybe we can agree to block out a few days immediately after 11/4 for all the bitching and moaning and chest thumping and triumphalism, before we have to straighten up and be adults again!

    (PS – regarding the debates, I say – to hell with ‘spin’ and ‘setting the bar’ too high or too low; as an interested private citizen, I believe Obama will mop the floor with McCain, and Biden will scour Palin’s thin patina of plausibility right off)

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  51. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    For some pre-debate analysis of debating styles, see this article by the always incisive and eloquent James Fallows.

    I’m not quite as confident about how our guys will do as you are, Brian. Although I’m convinced of the intellectual, moral, and political superiority, they’re both prone to discursiveness, which can be a liability. The first debate is about foreign affairs, so that will serve him better than domestic policy, but, still, I think Obama’s intellectual agility will allow him to shine.

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  52. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Too funny! I just read the story at the link moe gives us above and was so outraged that I posted a comment giving you all the link! Am not sure how I remembered where it came from in time to delete my comment (before the 30-minute editing closed), but perhaps my aging brain still has a few good licks in it.

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  53. Gasman said on September 19, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Jeff (tmmo),
    I’ll raise you one – maybe even two when it comes to incompetent elected officials. Quayle was my rep. in Congress. Next, he was my Senator. I then moved to Texas where Dick Armey was my Congressman. We could say with a straight face that “he’s our Dick in Congress” and mean it. Phil Graham was a Senator of mine and then to top it all off, W became our governor. I feel myself somewhat of an expert on incompetents in high elected office.

    Notice that all of the above are Republicans. I am so sick and tired of their lying, their hypocrisy, their double standards, their incompetency, and if that weren’t enough, their stinking arrogance. There is no way in hell that you can make a case for giving the Republicans even more opportunities for screwing things up. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; you pile up all of your beefs with the Democrats, I’ll do the same with the Republicans. I’m willing to bet that my pile will be some 5 to 10 times bigger than yours.

    What is the worst that would happen with an Obama administration? We might regain civil liberties, we might pay down the debt – even have a balanced budget, that we might regain our standing among other nations, that we might feel good about ourselves for a change?

    The worst case scenario in a Palin/McCain administration is even grimmer than that of the last 8 years. Perish the thought.

    You also speak of McCain’s “clear consistent set of positions.” Where do I find these elusive mythical creatures? I am aware of McCain’s positions du jour, but none that are consistent. McCain would do, say, kiss, or eat anything that he thought would garner him popularity and further his sickening hunger for the presidency. Even if he took opinions contrary to mine, I could respect him if he indeed were consistent in his positions. However, he appears to be a man totally devoid of any guiding principle or sense of honor. He has placed personal ambition ahead of integrity, veracity, and patriotism. His stunning reversals makes my head spin. He is a parody of his maverick personae.

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  54. moe99 said on September 19, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Too funny.

    Other news of note: the Seattle Times, a conservative bastion owned by the Blethen family, endorses Obama as the most qualified.

    Love it esp. because they endorsed the Republican who is running against my ex husband in the state Treasurer’s race. Obviously they have perspicacity and taste.

    and this.

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  55. brian stouder said on September 19, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    well moe, if I deduced it correctly, he looks a bit like Clint Eastwood!

    Mother Jones is right; the spectacle of McCain blaming the financial meltdown on Obama is simply incoherent.

    I almost think he WANTS Obama to refer to the Keating 5 deal, and then he can burn another week down showing how he was “exonerated” (he was only the piano player at the whore house, doncha’ know? He had no idea what was goin’ on upstairs…no idea at all!!)

    In my journey into the Seattle newspapers, I noted that Sarah Palin, the source of the undead McCain’s political lifeblood, canceled a stop in Seattle so as to campaign in Michigan. One supposes that the undead McCain will be there, too, hovering beside her with his beady eyes gleaming.

    and btw, speaking of the black arts, didja’ hear the story about Gov Palin’s preacher’s witchhunt? (and this is not metaphorical; the guy proudly spoke of his successful witch-hunting, in Palin’s church!)

    Governor Palin effusively praised her witch-hunting preacher from the pulpit of her church just this past June.

    Jeremiah Wright caused no end of difficulties for Senator Obama, at least in the eyes of Obama’s implacable detractors around here….I wonder if the Palin’s witch-hunting pastor – who she is hugely impressed by, and very proud of (judging by her statements on the video tape from this pasT June) will raise the same “serious doubts” amongst those same observers

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  56. Jolene said on September 19, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Isn’t it odd that the Times endorsed so early? I thought newspapers generally wait until a week or two before the election, but perhaps I’m wrong. I don’t think there’s much evidence that newspaper endorsements make much difference in national elections, but, still, good for them and good for Barack!

    Re Sarah Palin’s preacher, Brian, I doubt his particular brand of weirdness will have much effect. If an African-born preacher wants to hunt witches in Africa, well, that’s something most Americans can tolerate. A fiery critique of the U.S. from the pulpit is another thing entirely.

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  57. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 12:48 am

    I wonder if the Palin’s witch-hunting pastor – who she is hugely impressed by, and very proud of (judging by her statements on the video tape from this pasT June) will raise the same “serious doubts” amongst those same observers

    You mean like Pam, who agreed with me?

    Brian, just joshing you a bit. But you probably should’ve kept that one to yourself. Hehehe.

    EDIT: Jolene, for me it wasn’t so much Wright’s fiery criticism of the U.S., it was his overt racism. But that’s water under the bridge as Obama threw Wright, his “mentor,” under the bus.

    EDIT 2: I too anticipate the debates. I think Jolene is right to be cautiously optimistic. Obama has shown some difficulty with hemming and hawing when the teleprompter isn’t around. And I think that you really misjudge Palin, Brian. She is a very bright woman. I predict Biden will get his clock cleaned.

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  58. Jolene said on September 20, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Palin seems bright enough, Danny, but her knowledge is an inch deep, if that. Her ability to express herself w/o a script is pretty limited. Check out this excerpt from the interview conducted by that piercing journalist, Sean Hannity. We have seen nothing of her ability to argue. I think there might be a reason for that.

    Biden faces challenges in debating her, but they are socio-cultural, not intellectual.

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  59. Gasman said on September 20, 2008 at 2:23 am

    So now Sarah Palin is a “very bright woman”?!?!?!?! What evidence can you possibly offer as proof of this “brightness?” She epitomizes dimness as well as any public figure I’ve ever seen. She has shown a nearly absolute lack of understanding on every single issue. She isn’t even informed on the issues in her own state. She has absolutely no idea at all what impact her state has in overall U.S. energy production, but that certainly doesn’t stop her from bloviating about fictional numbers that she apparently pulled from her ass:

    If she can’t get the facts straight about Alaskan energy production are we to believe that she has anything cogent to say about the current crisis in the financial markets? Or anything else? It should be a real hoot to hear her thoughts on foreign policy. Maybe God will reveal His/Her plan to the Gov. sometime before the debate and she can then tell us what it is. I’d pick cooze’s sheep over Palin in a debate. Biden is walking into a battle of wits with an opponent that is unarmed.

    I guess that makes me a hater.

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  60. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 2:50 am

    Gas/Jolene, I think Palin will be a quick study. Obama is being tutored on various topics where he has no experience nor understanding. Palin will be getting similar tutoring.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

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  61. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 3:17 am

    Ooh, I love it. And what “various topics” is Obama being tutored on, Danny?

    Still haven’t heard which version of Natural Law theory you subscribe to.

    Here’s a wonderful Mark Fiore cartoon/video:

    Forget healthcare, we now have Wealthcare!!!

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  62. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Ummm. Foriegn affairs and the economy for starters, Moe. He has no experience in either. Why would you think otherwise? Please don’t make me play Captain Obvious for you.

    And your question about Natural Law, the way you frame it, sounds odd, as if you don’t really understand it. I dunno…

    Anyway, one could divide descriptions of Natural Law philosophy into two basic camps. Secular and non-secular. Even the blandest, most straightforward understandings in either camp would lend themselves easily to support of the relevance of gender to marriage.

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  63. alex said on September 20, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Danny, you’re so smug. You think you understand natural law? The way you skirt and dodge and bluster, in fact the way you dragged natural law into the argument to muddy the waters after your preposterous assertion that the courts exist to enforce the will of the people, suggests you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. But I already knew that.

    I’d enjoy tangling with you more if you had something to offer besides tired right-wing canards that even the right-wingers are beginning to recognize are tired. Glad to see via Jolene’s link above that the people of your state have actually started to consider what it is they’ve been fed and realized what fools they’ve been played for.

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  64. Gasman said on September 20, 2008 at 9:50 am

    You are either being over generous or delusional concerning Palin’s intellect. Regardless of how you agree or disagree with his politics, Barack Obama is unquestionably a brilliant man. That someone who was Editor of the Harvard Law Review would be a quick study should not be surprising.

    Palin, however? Give me a break. She has shown zero evidence of being able to learn on the fly. When her supposed opposition to the Bridge, one of her biggest lies is exposed by virtually every news outlet, including Fox, she does not learn, she continues to read from the exact same script. That’s not evidence of a “quick study.” There is also zero evidence that she has written any of her own words nor has she shown any ability to think on her feet, or even think at all.

    Please don’t insult us with this contention that Palin has any kind of intellectual capabilities.

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  65. Jolene said on September 20, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Gasman, I hope you won’t be offended if I suggest that you dial it back a little. I agree w/ most of what you say and, obviously, am a strong Obama supporter. But your tone is starting to bother me. A little humor, a little kindness, please. At the risk of being corny, I urge you to remember what kind of world Obama is striving to create.

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  66. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Gasman, I agree with Jolene. Why?

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  67. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Alex, I was explaining from a first person perspective, what really went down here in California and why the Supreme Court was wrong to act in the manner it did. It was an explanatory statement, devoid of emotion and vitriol. You then responded with the extremely condescending jurisprudence comment. Or did you already forget about that? So why give yourself a pass?

    And my comment to moe (the part regarding natural law) was not meant to be smug. You just took it the wrong way.

    Anyway, enough. You’re wrong and are just trying to turn this into something it is not. A fight.

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  68. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I just reread Alex’s comment mischaracterizing my argument as saying that “the court exists to enforce the will of the people.” That was not my contention. The reason that I think the court was wrong was that they knew a ballot measure to modify the constitution was going to be approved within a week of their decision, yet refused to allow a motion for injunctive relief until the people had spoken (again). And they did this knowing that it was likely that this measure will pass and that the state constitution will be amended to ban same-sex marriage.

    The result is now we find ourselves with the possible mess where a number of couples who have gotten “married” are about to have their legal status put in limbo.

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  69. Jolene said on September 20, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Danny, it appears that support for the proposition banning same sex marriage is waning, so the problems you contemplate may not come to pass. A survey released a couple of days ago shows that the percentage of respondents opposed has grown from 51% in July to 55%.

    Also, the marriages that have taken place are, at least for now, as legal as any, so there is no need to use quotes to refer to their status.

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  70. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Danny, when did you graduate from law school? Because when I attended law school and then did a Master’s of International Law several years later, the concept of Natural law was so ‘out there’ that the only place you would find it was as part of the outline of a Philosophy of Law course.


    We, in the United States, follow common law, as does England, while Europe and Louisiana are civil law states. Do you know what the difference is? Common law is embodied in the doctrine of stare decisis. Do you know what that is? This is bedrock legal jurisprudence, Danny.

    Natural law these days is commonly cited by ‘constitutionalists’ as they attempt to argue, e.g. that the IRS is illegal and that they do not have to pay taxes. The folks in Idaho in their compounds cite Natural Law to prove their racial superiority.

    So, Danny, what is Natural Law for you? Because our courts, both federal and state, cite to case law as precedent for their rulings. Not to Natural Law. The use of the term Natural Law is a dog whistle in legal circles.

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  71. Gasman said on September 20, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Jolene & Danny,
    I am sorry if my tone offends you, but I take great offense at the condescending and patronizing attitudes that Republicans have shown toward the electorate since at least 1980. Was I being unfair? I think not. I have not engaged in histrionics nor ad hominem attacks. My observations are readily backed up by the statements, conduct, and records of McCain and Palin. Show me where I have been grossly unfair or in error. Sen. Obama is more magnanimous than I am when it comes to confronting lies, pandering, and slur based campaigns of innuendo. I would note that being passive in the face of such attacks has cost the Democrats the last two elections.

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  72. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    a conservative endorses Obama

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  73. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Moe, the way I have seen the appeal to natural law in the discussion of marriage is in relation to what is the greater common good. Namely, what is better for society. It is effectively argued that traditional marriage is what is better for society.

    And since civil unions afford all the legal rights of marriage here in California, the converse argument that a whole set of same-sex couples is being denied rights is just not true.

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  74. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    And Lynn Forester de Rothschild supports McCain. Neener neener.


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  75. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Danny, Let me repeat myself. There is no basis in current legal jurisprudence for “natural law” to have any sort of weight in court decisions. You just cannot go to a court and say “natural law” compels you to find that marriages between two men or two women are illegal. ‘Natural law’ has no sort of cachet or weight with our courts.

    You have to find a basis in the constitution (best) or laws or other court decisions to successfully win in court. And if your citation to laws or decisions is inapposite to the constitution, then you lose (this is shorthand, there’s a lot more to it).

    Natural law is a non sequitur to most judges and lawyers, and like I said, it operates like a dog whistle for constitutionalists and Aryan nations members.

    And as far as having effing ‘royalty’ (Lady Rothschild) support McCain because Obama is too elitist? Well, if the irony hasn’t hit you by now, you must be humor impaired.

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  76. Gasman said on September 20, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    I think that the conservatives totally misjudged when they decided to use gay marriage as their wedge issue a couple of years ago. Ultimately, the courts will side with granting equal rights to all citizens. Marriage is either a civil or a religious matter. In this country, although we may have religious services, it is legally a civil union. If you claim that it is for the good of society to deny civil benefits and liberties for some, it is incumbent upon you to provide demonstrable proof that it is indeed for the greater good. Merely saying that traditional marriage is better for society does not make it so.

    I’ve heard conservatives make that argument without ever citing any proof to back it up. If civil unions provide everything that marriage does, why not allow gay marriage? What is it about the word “marriage” that does not allow extension to all citizens?

    This seems to come down to simple bigotry. If you substitute the word “blacks” or “Jews” for “gays”, your arguments sound incredibly narrow minded. We are all entitled to the same rights.

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  77. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    She’s from a middle class background, but yeah, I thought it funny.

    Moe, you do realize that the proposition is for an amendment to the state constitution? The court acted inappropriately.

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  78. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    This seems to come down to simple bigotry. If you substitute the word “blacks” or “Jews” for “gays”, your arguments sound incredibly narrow minded. We are all entitled to the same rights.

    Gas, race (“black”) and religion (“Jew”) are not relevant to the definition of marriage. Gender is.

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  79. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Yes, Danny, I am aware that there is a proposal to amend the constitution and it is entirely consistent with everything I have been saying.

    The court ruled that the constitution gave rights to all regardless of sexual orientation, thus gays could marry. (remember the constitution trumps all)

    The proposed amendment to the constitution would take away marital rights for gays. Which, if it passes, could happen because again, the constitution again trumps laws and legal decision.

    Thus, we will have to see what the vote is on this. But lay off the natural law stuff, k? There is no way that anyone can point to what ‘natural law’ is because depending on whose talking it could be anything. That is why the founders of this country in their wisdom, set up the system of governance that we have. Natural law simply is an attempt to subvert it.

    In times like these, I tend to fall back on the movie A Man for All Seasons. In this scene, More and his son in law Roper, are discussing whether the ends justify the means:

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

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  80. Jolene said on September 20, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    That’s a great quote, moe. It gets to the issues at stake in our policies on torture.

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  81. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Yah, Jolene, it’s amazing how handy that quote has come in over the past 8 years for many, many deeds done by this administration. This is my other favorite quote:

    “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”

    — H. L. Mencken

    obviously inapposite to the first one, but we are only talking about temptation, after all…..

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  82. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    In light of our discussion thus far, take a look at the language of the bailout bill proposed yesterday and see what you think:

    This little section has me very concerned:

    “Sec. 8. Review.

    Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

    You tell me where they get off precluding judicial review.

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  83. Gasman said on September 20, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Why is gender relevant to marriage? The natural law argument is intellectually and legally spurious. The term is like “original intent” and has no accepted meaning other than what the user wants it to have. The natural law crap was used to justify slavery, Jim Crow, and the subjugation of women. It has no basis in law and cannot be used a rationale for denying rights to citizens.

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  84. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Why is gender relevant to marriage?

    Because only a marriage of two people of opposite gender can naturally produce offspring. There’s some original intent for you. Gender is relevant to the definition of marriage. Period.

    Trying to roll it into civil rights issue is wrong. No citizens are being denied rights. Civil unions have the same legal status, and thus rights, as marriages in California.

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  85. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    And here’s what Barack Obama said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune:

    “I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.

    “Giving them a set of basic rights would allow them to experience their relationship and live their lives in a way that doesn’t cause discrimination,” Obama said. “I think it is the right balance to strike in this society.”

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  86. Danny said on September 20, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    After reading that quote, I find it interesting to imagine the mental gymnastics that some will have to go through to still consider Obama as someone who inhabits their special happy place. If anyone with an -R after their name had stated that exact quote, whew, would there be some upset folks!

    First, he starts of by saying he is Christian. We all see where that has gotten others. The worst sort of vitriol aimed at them. Think about what Sandra Bernhard and others have said of Palin. That is what would happen if Obama were a Republican.

    Secondly, the use of the phrase, “Giving them.” Why how dare he refer to a group of people as them?!? What a bigot. Why didn’t he just say “those people” and be done with it.

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  87. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 5:21 pm


    I’ve always known that Obama was not where I was on the marriage thing. It’s why I didn’t support him early on and placed my money on someone else. But even with that, I will support him now, as he more closely approximates my other views wrt governing in this country. There will never be a candidate that I see eye to eye with on everything.

    Also, here’s a website titled Economists for Obama. Some interesting stuff there:

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  88. Gasman said on September 20, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Again, my question: if civil unions are the same, why not call it marriage and be done with it? It sounds suspiciously like “separate but equal.” Your “because I said so” argument for only opposite sex marriages is surprisingly unconvincing. And as for the offspring argument, does that mean childless couples aren’t really married? Procreation is not the only reason for marriage, thank you very much. Thankfully, you won’t be deciding this issue.

    For many millions of American citizens, gay and straight, gender is not the issue. Millions of American citizens very much are being denied their rights whether or not you choose to acknowledge it. Notice the operative words, American citizens. If you are extending rights, privileges, and benefits to some, you cannot deny them to others without some compelling argument, which you simply have not provided. I am also not in agreement with Barack Obama on this issue.

    I suspect that your opposition to gay marriage is religious in nature, yes?

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  89. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 20, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    There are, actually, non-religious conservatives (Heather MacDonald, John Derbyshire, etc.) who make an argument against changing the definition of marriage based on their understanding of conservative principles.

    My straddle on this debate is up at the more recent post comment strand. I’m squishy among religious conservatives, having argued passionately against folk who want to deny adoptions to gay couples and singles, and have participated in partnering ceremonies for gay/lesbians couples, but i worry about unintended consequences with a shift in the definition of marriage. But the definition of marriage has changed socially so much in the last couple decades i’m not sure that particular conservative stance makes any sense — you’re already in a changing tide up to your chin, and arguing that the tide will go back out someday doesn’t help much if there’s still another foot to go, and you don’t want to move.

    Conservative means conserving something of value, not just quixotic stands on principle — but i’ll salute as the waves lap over your head and Taps is played . . .

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  90. MichaelG said on September 20, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I thought you so called conservatives were all for less g’ment interference in peoples’ lives. So whose business is it who marries whom? And who gives a shit? This is a religious issue and we still live in a secular democracy. We don’t live undersome sick so called “Chrisitan” version of sharia. Yet. Thank God. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t marry within your gender. Quit being such a bunch of busybodies about other people’s lives. And somebody please explain how gays getting married is going to have one whit of an effect on anybody elses’ marriage?

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  91. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden and her husband Patrick are editors at Tor magazine and have a blog that is second only to our hostess’ in erudition and content. Teresa brought up a subject in a longish post on the presidential election that is worth pondering: why will McCain not make his medical records public?

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  92. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 20, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Hence, the elimination of “marriage” as a governmental function, and the rise of “civil union” as a special category of contract law.

    You make my point, MichaelG. There is no longer any real consensus on “marriage” as a public category, similar to the development of the term “fiance” over the last thirty years. The rise of divorce as a core component of family life, along with the increase of never married and childless married couples means the category as a public concern has become meaningless, and the assumed role of clergy as “ratifiers” of civil marriage is under too much stress to continue without major alteration. I’m not saying it’s good, i’m just saying it is.

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  93. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 20, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Oh, and “hello,” but McCain has released massive portions of his health records, while Obama has released a one page note from his family doctor. The link, Moe, is wildly tendentious. MY own father plans to vote for Obama because he’s 74 and thinks being president at his age would suck, which is his call. With all due respect to my dad, not all 72 year olds are created equal. And i forget who asked if anyone was saying McCain and Palin were idiots, but Moe’s link gets the job done.

    My wife was livid when a co-worker at her small private liberal arts college said “can you believe this woman for veep? She took six years and only graduated from a state school.” She observed that her husband (moi) took six and a half to get out of a Land Grant state university analogous to Idaho called Purdue, and (flatteringly) he seemed bright enough to handle being vice-president or president, in a pinch.

    This was not well received, since Palin’s dumbness is clearly an article of faith in some churches.

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  94. MichaelG said on September 20, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    So what, Jeff? Although I can see that a dilution of the power of the clergy might distress you.

    Moe, has Johnny Mac disclosed his full tax records? Including his wife? I recall that was missing and don’t recall the omission being rectified.

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  95. brian stouder said on September 20, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    My wife was livid when a co-worker at her small private liberal arts college said “can you believe this woman for veep?

    Cry me a river, Jeff. In my part of the world, being a known-Obama supporter is cause for co-workers to raise their eyebrows and drop their chins, at the drop of a hat. Just 5 days ago, I became involved in yet another conversation about whether or not Obama is a Muslim (he made a remark to George Stephanopolos (sic?) that – if you take it out of context and squeeze your eyes tight enough, can be made to look like an admission that he IS a muslim!)

    This ridiculous topic drew in three additional co-workers, plus my boss….and by the time the strained-but-polite conversation ended, it was clear that everyone continued upon their already chosen path.

    If I was going to be rude, I’d say that no person with any respect for the truth – or even anything like a plausible lie – can possibly support such a crashingly dishonest bunch of charlatans as the ones the McCain campaign has all across the airwaves (including McCain himself, now).

    For example, Tucker Bounds is appropriately named; the fellow works so hard to exceed any reasonable boundary between truth and flat-lie that he MUST be tuckered out every night. (The tell-all autobiography that this mercenary will no doubt write, right after the election that Obama is about to win, might well be titled “The Ceaseless Exertions of a Jerk”).

    How’s about a “margin call” on the truth-quotient in McCain’s most recent, incredibly scathing assault on Obama….wherein John S McCain asserts that Barack Obama caused the financial market crash!!!! I mean – no offense intended, but Jesus Christ! Who buys fantasy-land crap like this?

    McCain has been in Washington since before Obama was old enough to vote, AND McCain acted ‘inappropriately’ with regard to a key player (Charles Keating) back before the Savings and Loan crash, and McCain considers himself a ‘deregulator’ and basically always for less regulation,…and yet he says Barack Obama was “right in the middle” of the precursors of our currently unfolding crash?

    I could more understand not voting for anyone at all for president, before I could understand how anyone who places any value on simple honesty (aka “straight talk”) could possibly vote for a liar and a moral coward like John McCain. (didja catch how he brushed away a question about the tone of the campaign, back at that forum at Columbia, on 9/11? He said simply “It’s a tough business”….which spoke volumes, to me. “tough” doesn’t excuse “malicious”; it didn’t excuse what W did to him 8 years ago, and it doesn’t excuse the lows to which his geek squad of liars [like Bounds] or he himself are now stooping to. It sounds like the “tough business” McCain was referring to was carpet bombing the American electorate with enough Big Lies to make the rubble of the ideals of our nation bounce)

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  96. moe99 said on September 20, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    From what I have read, McCain’s medical records were provided in May to select individuals from the press to read for a limited period of time. We are now relying on their understanding and memory.

    WRT Obama, a doctor released a summary of the medical information concerning Obama:×6170374

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  97. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 21, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Michael, i was agreeing with you, if not your tone. And the dilution of the power of the clergy? Hey, bring it on. My role in saying “by the powers vested in me by the state of” have always been my most uncomfortable (ask any pastor to say — quick, what would you rather do next week, a wedding or a funeral?), and the state doesn’t ask me to sign off on and verify a death certificate to do a funeral.

    So i was saying the state should back away from us on what will likely become “civil unions, broadly defined under contract law.”

    I feel for Hillary in the debate at Moe’s link, and this kind of debate is only going to poison more campaigns in the future. Hillary no doubt was smart enough to get tested for STDs after her husbands misadventures, and those would be in her medical records even if they came back negative. With a major percentage of Americans picking up STDs (40+% last i saw a figure), and testing becoming more routine, pressure to release “full medical records” will become just another oppo research tool, to create talking points around people’s herpes status. We should have some standard form for candidates, i guess, and say “fill out your form MD-135 along with your petition for candidacy” and declare all other requests out of bounds.

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  98. MarkH said on September 22, 2008 at 3:49 am

    moe —

    Regarding your reference to the Schanberg article on McCain and the POW cover-up, see below:

    This is a similar article, almost identical, also by Schanberg, only with John Kerry substituted for McCain, and written in 2004. My only point is that this is something Schanberg has latched onto that I have been hearing about for some time, including from some local Viet Nam vets: that there was a massive cover-up of surviving Nam POWs, still alive, still in Nam. I’ve not been one for such conspiracies, but it has something to do with a deal made, then possibly broken, between the US and North Viet Nam during or after the ’73 peace talks. And it likely involves more than Kerry or McCain.

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