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Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 12/14/2010

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

All, today's roundup will be shorter than usual because I've got some stuff to do. And so...

* Is it really true that Justice Antonin Scalia has accepted Michele Bachmann's invitation for him to give a lecture to incoming House members on the Constitution? Yes, a spox for the Supreme Court confirms.

Bachmann recently said in a radio interview that incoming members would be getting together each week to study "the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights," adding that Scalia "has graciously agreed to kick off our class."

This struck some observers as odd, so I checked in with Supreme Court spox Kathy Arburg. "He accepted an invitation to be a guest speaker," she told me. "He will speak about separation of powers. The invitation came from Michele Bachmann."

* Good stuff: Law prof Orrin Kerr blows a huge hole in the ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

* Dem Rep. Peter Welch, who had emerged as the leading foe of the tax deal, throws in the towel and acknowledges it's going to pass the House.

* Jonathan Capehart explains why the House bill on DADT has genuinely given repeal another lease on life.

* Also: Steve Benen's sources on the Hill are signaling reasons for optimism.

* And this could bode well: Harry Reid says the lame duck session may reconvene after Christmas.

* Gentle takedown of the day: Mitt Romney comes out against the Obama tax deal, arguing that it's only "temporary" and will add to the deficit. But as First Read archly notes, if it were made permanent it would add more to the deficit.

* Righty bloggers pound Mitt as a big phony. Allahpundit:

Thus did Mitt cover his *ss ahead of the 2011 primaries, where support for the new porkier tax cuts compromise will no doubt be a litmus test for grassroots righties.

Key takeaway: Mitt is incapable of doing anything without it fueling his image as ideologically malleable and opportunistic. As Jennifer Rubin notes, the question of "how to convince the conservative base he's one of them" is the "perpetual Romney dilemma."

* Special bonus Romney fun: It certainly doesn't help his presidential ambitions that the debate over the individual mandate is going to be dominating the news for months.

* Which is really amusing, because as Jonathan Cohn notes, RomneyCare actually proves that the individual mandate works pretty well.

* And that's confirmed by a new study, though evidence that it actually works in policy terms won't do much to blunt the right's crusade against it.

* Ezra Klein has the latest on filibuster reform: A letter signed by a host of labor and liberal groups laying out eight principles for making the Senate functional again.

* And it looks like there's a lot more to Richard Holbrooke's final anti-war wish than we thought.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 14, 2010; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, Senate Dems, gay rights, taxes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Don't let the tax cut deal's current popularity overshadow DADT repeal
Next: The Morning Plum

Comments

Mitt Head Romney lays the first plank in his 2012 campaign platform, by declaring that he will seek to make unemployed people pay their own unemployment checks.

Lovely Mitt Head. I assume, as a logical extension of such reasoning, your next plank will be a promise: to make all disabled soldiers pay for their own disability checks and health care.

Way to go Mitt; you are well on the way to making that Grizzly Granny From Alaska, a more rational choice for President.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 14, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Another death bed pacifist?

Meanwhile, from the department of mixed metaphors, the Republican tire fire has always been Obama's ace in the hole.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 14, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"Special bonus Romney fun: It certainly doesn't help his presidential ambitions that the debate over the individual mandate is going to be dominating the news for months."
___ ___ ___ ___

High on Obama's Christmas Wish List HAS to be horribly crippled, yet still handsome, Romney running against him in '12. Alas, Father time has betrayed the Mittster...'08 was a bad year because of Bush, and '12, because of his governorship and Obamacare, is gonna just be worse.

Romney is the ghost of Christmas Past, replete with the Romneycare albatross lying heavy around his neck.

I'm no genius, but Romney is toast.



Posted by: marybel9999 | December 14, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The death of Richard Holbrooke could be a severe set back for President Obama's efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Who can he appoint to pick up where Holbrooke left off? Who has the stature with the leaders of that region, and the knowledge of the area, to be able to continue the work of Mr. Holbrooke?

Any suggestions?

The only person that I could come up with, that would have enough knowledge and prestige, to fit the job, is Bill Clinton.

He also would be about the only person who would have enough global stature to have Obama's back, were he to come to his senses, and draw down most of our Afghan forces, and just keep a footprint of no more than twenty thousand, in one strategic province, from which we can keep on launching strikes against the bad guys. To hell with trying to establish a national army, national police force, and cohesive and honest central government, in a land full of illiterates. It can not be done.

We must pivot, and start to treat the place, like another Somali, or Yemen.

We can not occupy every place that the crazies establish some camps, so we must just develop a strategy of just pulverizing them, where ever we find them.

Karzai is not on our side, so why the hell should we even attempt to make that reptile more powerful.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 14, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Liam, especially this, "...were he to come to his senses..." and the rest.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 14, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

PEOPLE WILL DIE


From today's Post:


The Marine Corps' top general suggested Tuesday that allowing gays to serve openly in the military could result in more casualties because their presence on the battlefield would pose "a distraction."


"When your life hangs on the line," said Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, "you don't want anything distracting. . . . Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines' lives."

_____________________

Do you want blood on your keyboard ?


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Pacifist

Exactly - remember when Clinton was in office, and all they cared about was Bosnia -


They were pulling our intelligence assets out of the Middle East - leaving us vulnerable to 9/11.


No one wants to talk about that - how the CLINTON PEOPLE LET OUR GUARD DOWN IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

Pleassssssssseeeeeeeeeee.


This guy was no spring tomato.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Drudge says that the democratic spending bill averages out to $575 Million Dollars per page.


Ouch


Democrats....... acting like ......... democrats.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Don't miss this genius! I hope Bachmann's classes get to the First Amendment quickly.

"Allen West: Government 'Should Be Censoring The American News Agencies' That Collaborated With WikiLeaks"

Rep.-elect Allen West (R-Fla.) may have proven himself a prime pupil for fellow Rep. Michele Bachmann's forthcoming constitutional classes, when he recently displayed selective reverence for the Tea Party's most sacred document by calling for American news outlets to be censored for running stories based on the recent WikiLeaks cable dump.

"WEST: There are different means by which you can be attacked. I mean it doesnt have to be a bomb or an airplane flying into a building. It doesn't have to be a shooting. It can be through cyber attacks, it could be through leaking of very sensitive classified information. Regardless of whether you think it causes any harm, the fact that here is an individual that is not an American citizen first and foremost, for whatever reason gotten his hands on classified American material and put it out there in the public domain. And I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to do this and also supported him and applauding him for the efforts. So that's kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/14/allen-west-censoring-wikileaks-_n_796574.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 14, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I just want to point out that the Holbrooke obituary Greg linked to this morning said that Holbrooke didn't find the Vietnam War, which he knew firsthand, analagous to Afghanistan. Of course, he wanted the war to stop. That's what he spent the last two years working so hard to achieve, though he apparently didn't think there was a magic wand for the job.

Posted by: AllButCertain | December 14, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Reply to AllbutCertain

We really don't know what Holbrooke thought - mainly because he didn't go on a book tour like Obama.


Isn't that right?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

If Dickens were alive today, he might well be writing about the pitiless dystopia the rightwingers want to create in the US>

Posted by: fiona5 | December 14, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Is there a way to block idiot spammers and losers like 'RainForest' on this blog?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 14, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

fiona5, heavens YES, but only if you are using Chrome or Firefox.

Go here, and download the WaPo Troll Hunter. You can then put anyone you wish on "ignore."

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/89140

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 14, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

From directorblue, 14 December 2010:
"111th Congress flips off the American people one more time: introduces $1.1T omnibus spending bill to fund Obamacare and earmarks

"Has any Congress ever treated the American people with the level of disrespect exhibited by the 111th? The terms "representative government" and "consent of the governed" no longer apply to the current crop of Democrats, despite a massive and historic repudiation at the polls last month.

"The bill reportedly includes $8 billion from 6,000 new earmarks including, according to Fox News, critical "beaver management" programs.

This rogue Democrat Congress is an abomination. And Republicans must block this bowel movement using every available procedural tactic.

Fox News reports that Jim DeMint will require the bill be read on the Senate floor, which will require approximately 40 hours. Well done."
-------

National debt---what national debt?

These people have no shame whatsoever. Crooks, plain and simple. With all the blather about Bush spending us into ruin, people seem to have forgotten that the braying and whining from Democrats during the Bush presidency was seldom that he was spending too much but that he was spending too little.

Posted by: Brigade | December 14, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Greg has a different concept of a "huge hole" in a court opinion. Once you've read a few thousand, you understand that a quibble about one sentence isn't likely to be seen as a "huge hole."

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 14, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE A-HOLE OF THE WORLD:

Evidently everyone there doesn't think free-world bankers should be exterminated.
-------

"HANOI, Vietnam—The Asian Development Bank has approved a $1.1 billion finance package for two major transportation projects that will help ease traffic gridlock in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's southern commercial hub, the bank said Tuesday.

The ADB said it will provide a $540 million loan for a $1.4 billion urban mass transit line and an additional $636 million loan for a $1.6 billion expressway project to the south of the city.

Germany's KfW Bankengrupe is also expected to provide $313 million for the mass transit line, with the European Investment Bank contributing $195 million and Vietnam's government providing the remainder, it said.

The Japanese government is to provide an additional $635 million for the expressway project and the Vietnamese government the remaining $337 million, the ADB said."

-------

Freeloading third-world deadbeats.

-----

The Associated Press December 14, 2010, 2:41AM ET text size: TTVietnam shipbuilder can't make debt payment
By MARGIE MASON
HANOI, Vietnam

Vietnam's beleaguered state-run shipbuilding company does not have enough money to make a $60 million loan payment next week, and has asked foreign creditors for more time to pay, state-run media reported Tuesday.

Nguyen Ngoc Su, chair of the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group, is quoted in the online newspaper VietnamNet as saying that he informed creditors on Dec. 10 that it will be impossible for the company to make the first repayment of principal due Dec. 20 on a $600 million loan from a group of creditors led by Credit Suisse.
-------

HaHaHaHa. Great place to invest some money. Plus, the sauteed sewer rats are among the tastiest in the world, or so I've been told.

Posted by: Brigade | December 14, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

From Andrew Sullivan...

"When Republicans Broke Up With Science

Last week the Dish wondered why only 6% of scientists identify as Republican. Doctor Science's guess:

****************

My memory of the 70s and 80s is that Republican Party was not particularly anti-evolution at the time. There were discussions and debates about "Evolution and the Bible" and such, but they didn't have a particularly partisan character yet.

What I recall being much more significant were environmental issues. Although the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act were passed under Nixon, by the time the Reagan administration rolled into town the Republicans were pretty strongly on the side of pollution and extinction. Many of you are probably too young to remember Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, but that Wikipedia article covers the high points. Basically, he was completely on the side of extractive industries (including forestry and mega-agriculture). He justified it with Christianism: God wants man to have "dominion" over the earth, and besides, Jesus was coming back any day now."

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/12/when-republicans-broke-up-with-science.html

I think this is right. The coalition that formed up (and was cultivated during the Reagan period) between the Christian right and the corporate sector was facilitated by perceived benefits to both in casting science as "just another belief system" or as a field which was corrupted by "junk science". For fundamentalist Christians, this was a means of turning back the inroads scientific research had had on the way people understood the world and for the corporate interests it allowed challenges to be forwarded against any science which led to bad PR (people dying from tobacco or pollution, etc). The money and PR expertise of the corporate sector aided the fundamentalists in their pursuits and the activism of the fundamentalists helped the corporate sector make electoral gains and gave them new agents to forward PR projects.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 14, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Jon Kyl, on Harry Reid extending the Senate session to include the week after Christmas:

"It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out," Kyl said today, "frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/kyl-reid-disrespecting-christians-by-suggesting-post-christmas-senate-votes.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 14, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Sue

I love how everything just stops in America between Christmas and New Years, don't you. No gas, no McDonald's, no hospitals, no Wal Mart, etc. etc., everyone gets the whole week off. I look forward to it every year.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 14, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians"

Yeah. You don't want to go violating the sacredness of hot rum toddys, Neiman Marcus, and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". Sinfulness like that could bring another 9/11. And it would be deserved.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 14, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,

Dr. Sullivan, OBGYN's comments aside, I thought the Republicans departure from legitimacy occurred the millisecond after JFK was sworn in. How could any further corruption have occurred when you proved that several weeks ago? Or are you now saying it was more of a gradual corruption? Dr. Sullivan's Trig matrilineal search is on hold waiting for your wisdom.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 14, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Ims,

Man, I'm certainly being oppressed! My employer expects me to work the whole week between the holidays unless I want to use vacation days. It's sssooooooooo unfair!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 14, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

@troll - not sure if you believe in the efficacy of prayer but if so, I'd put in a request for a greater portion of brain power, enhanced logical processes and a bona fide sense of humor.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 14, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

" And that's confirmed by a new study, though evidence that it actually works in policy terms won't do much to blunt the right's crusade against it."

==

That's the epitaph of America right there. Ignoring reality in favor of ideology. This is how nations end.

And worlds.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, he wanted the war to stop. That's what he spent the last two years working so hard to achieve, though he apparently didn't think there was a magic wand for the job."

Everyone loves peace just as long as we win this war (or lose with honor). Plausible Exit-ability is what we are about now. You know it is a lost cause. What can Democrats say, the surge worked in Iraq but we lost anyway, but the surge in Afghanistan will work? We'd better not be hearing the word victory before we leave another war zone, angry that no one thanked us again.

Or will Democrats say surges work and we won both places, because that will get a compromise on DADT back to a possible vote in theory?

No one thinks about magic wands except partisans short on rhetoric, they know better.

Now we have another policy review. The policy review will decide that it is good to stay the course.

The inexplicable aspect of the collapse of Obama.
America doesn't want the Republicans, that is why they elected Obama a few months ago. Why can't Democrats fight?

Holbrooke was a better man than I. Just so you know I know what a tiny piece of post-it board crud I am.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 14, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

bernie,

According to you, my ejumacashyun is difishint acause it ain't exactly yourin's. It was on a Saturday back that you so informed me. Unfortunately, I lack the brain power to hang on the every word of someone who thinks there is a conspiracy surrounding the maternity of Trig Palin. If that's "enhanced logical processes" I'd rather be schtoopid.

What's a objective definition of "bona fide sense of humor?" I find myself quite jocular.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 14, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid needs a recoring. Paying homage to a kid's holiday is more important than the nation's urgent business? WtF?!? Yeah like a week of dogs barking twinkle bells and pa rumpa pum pum is more important than doing something about institutionalized discrimination. Get a clue, Harry, would you?

The fact alone that so many qualified translators of Arabic have been kicked out is enough by itself to get rid of this medieval law.

Though I'd really like to know what's the basis of that correlation. Maybe it's just that gays tend to be smarter, and smarter people are better at languages. Not that it's helping me with Vietnamese, Jesus was a beeyotch of a language.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

dogs barking twinkle bells and pa rumpa pum pum
-------------------------------------------------
Laughing here. Chris, you are THE scrooge of all time. Luv ya.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 14, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Gonna be hard to claim victory when we have to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban because we just can't afford it anymore.

Of course Republicans will claim that Democrats lacked testicular fortitude again, and it'll sell like hotcakes among their filthy base. And resonate with those thickwits we charitably call the "center right."

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute! What's wrong with dogs barking twinkle bells? I'm very fond of dogs singing any song, even if they get off key sometimes. And dogs wearing reindeer horns, too.

Bwahahaha!!!!!!!!

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 14, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Some years ago the novelty track of the season was some kid with a Silvertone guitar playing that song, don't know the title, giddyup giddyup it's grand. It was horrid. He played so badly that the song was stithed together from many takes, the useful portions from each, and so the repeats literally WERE repeats.

At the end of that line he would pull on the tremolo bar (those things should get you a year in prison) making this awful sour chord that was supposed to be some sort of "embellishment." I have perfect pitch and this ... *hurt*.

About the fifth time I heard it I was in Sam Goody's in NYC and my head spun, I actually had sniper thoughts.

Christmas is really hard on people who know music and theory.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Christmas is really hard on people who know music and theory.
----------------------------------------------
You need a puppy who sings. Then you don't care about theory anymore.

Did I mention I may be getting a new puppy in February? What do you think about Mei Tze for a shih tzu puppy?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 14, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, I seem to remember that the Reagan administration was also the time of the rise of the Moral Majority. They're the ones that politicized anti-science beliefs, in my opinion.

Posted by: Michigoose | December 14, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

The Moral Majority, like the Tea Party and so many right wing groups, qualify as what Greg Egan so sharply refers to in "Distress" as *ignorance cults*. All fundamentalist religions are ignorance cults.

Palin's "common sense" is *homage* to ignorance. As is, frankly, pretty much every use of the phrase.

Denying global warming even as record temperatures are set everywhere, denying evolution even as the scales on a bird's leg and the segmentation of the spine could not possibly make it any more obvious, denying the failure of tax cutting as stimulus despite the evidence.

This is survival-negative behavior, what a pity we can't restrict the damage to the practitioners. Evolution would put right-wing ideology in the fossil bed toot sweet were that the case.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Geeessshhhhhhhh


Chris Fox and 12Bar having a conversation - they have destroyed the blog

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Cao

Did you get the news? Your side lost the election.

The American People don't buy your arrogant crap anymore.

You are wrong, always been wrong. No matter how smug you are, you are still wrong.

Obama's bait and switch only proves you are even more wrong - your liberal agenda can not stand on its own.

It is fitting that you moved to a Communist country, and you get all the other liberals to join you there?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Americans should stop pretending they are better than other people. You only get to do that so long as you get to kill the people who disagree, one way or another.

Lord Wolseley, then a death bed philosopher, variegated hero of Queen Victoria’s dozens of “Little Wars” wrote this in 1903.

"The Chinese are the most remarkable race on earth, and I have always thought, and still believe them to be, the coming rulers of the world. They only want a Chinese Peter the Great or Napoleon to make them so…In my idle speculation on this world’s future I have long selected them as the combatants on one side of the great Battle of Armageddon, the people of the United States of America being their opponents. The latter nation is fast becoming the greatest nation in the world."

Posted by: shrink2 | December 14, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

How much DEBT will Obama accumulate by the time this whole BAIT AND SWITCH operation is over with ???

This Compromise deal is going to add another TRILLION DOLLARS to the debt.

And that is on top of the 1.3 Trillion for this year - and the year after that.


So in the next 2 years, Obama is now on track to add 3.6 TRILLION MORE TO THE DEBT


So, if the debt is now 13 Trillion, it will be closer to 17 Trillion by the time Obama is done. The debt was 10.7 Trillion when he started.


So we are talking about Obama adding about 6 Trillion to the debt when he was in office.

Bush, paying for 2 wars and 9/11, and Clinton's internet bubble burst, only added 5 Trillion in 2 terms.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

"This is survival-negative behavior, what a pity we can't restrict the damage to the practitioners. Evolution would put right-wing ideology in the fossil bed toot sweet were that the case."

And yet, in all these millenia, it hasn't.

Ahh, the wish for hastening natchselXion...perhaps nostalgia for the PolPot solution for inconvenient humans?

Posted by: tao9 | December 14, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

If natural selection operated at the level of political philosophy, right wing "thought" would have joined the dinosaurs long ago. Alas, it doesn't.

Pol Pot operated the other way, killing the educated and the intellgient. I don't want to kill right-wingers, I just want to see them die out. Letting them kill each other sits just fine with me, which is why I'm all for secession movements. A few years of the smell of gunpowder and rotting flesh, then peace.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

"Letting them kill each other sits just fine with me, which is why I'm all for secession movements. A few years of the smell of gunpowder and rotting flesh, then peace."

You right-wing nut freaks and your eliminationist rhetoric!!!!

Er,... wait.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 14, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Michigoose said: "Bernie, I seem to remember that the Reagan administration was also the time of the rise of the Moral Majority. They're the ones that politicized anti-science beliefs, in my opinion."

One of the memos that came to light during hearings into tobacco company suppression of their own scientific findings on the relationship between smoking and cancer originated within a public relations company hired by a tobacco company to turn back the growing popular knowledge and consensus of negative health consequences. The memo explained, "Our product is doubt". That is, fomenting doubt on the science (even while the tobacco company's own scientists had verified the health consequences). This exact PR strategy is now in evidence as regards global warming.

But since the 20's, the corporate world and the PR people who they hire, have been well aware that their campaigns will have far more credibility if the corporate interests involved are hidden or disguised. "Front groups" is the term used to describe such covert operations. So the corporations supply the funds and the PR people set up these groups (with benign or objective or non-partisan sounding titles..."Citizens for Healthy Forests" for a pro-logging initiative etc).

All of that to point out the important difference between a group like the Moral Majority who are loud and proud about who they are and what they want (even while funding sources may be hidden) and corporate entities who commonly do everything possible to stay out of sight.

Now, consider that the modern religious right in the US almost universally supports pro-business and pro-Republican ideology and policy. There's no logical or theological reason they do and such a stance is greatly a modern phenomenon. Church's previously had offered solid support to unions, to responsible stewardship of the environment, and to pacifist causes, for example, and that's very rare presently.

What has brought them together is the perceived benefits in working together under a modern conservative government ideology which the Republican party offered. Coalitions form up this way. And of course, the elements in a coalition will determine or influence the over-arching body they are members in. Thus some of the reasons why the GOP is now the sort of creature we witness.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 14, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

By the way, the Tarp money -


they might be charging that against Bush on the debt -

And then when it got paid back, crediting that money for Obama

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

"If natural selection operated at the level of political philosophy..."

It occurs to me you haven't a much of a grasp of either.

How can human evolution occur independent of human thought?

Posted by: tao9 | December 14, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

@troll: "You right-wing nut freaks and your eliminationist rhetoric!!!!"

That would be those left wing progressiveness and their ends-justifies-the-means rhetoric. ;)

@Bernie: "Church's previously had offered solid support to unions, to responsible stewardship of the environment, and to pacifist causes, for example, and that's very rare presently."

And some do, although I expect some of the left's hostility to the idea of religion, the progressive equation of faith with superstition, and then general tendency of the far left to want to deconstruct the traditional institutions of society (in terms of the nuclear family, gender roles, the church itself) probably has a lot to do with why the church seems much more aligned with the right and conservatives these days. Less likely to fight with the left against social injustice, and for progressive causes on Monday, when your so-called allies are attacking you the rest of the week.

Or, at least, that's my theory.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 14, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Liberalism is fueled by EGO


Liberals just want to convince themselves they are better than other people.

So liberals convince themselves that they are better than other people because they believe certain things.


The thing is - the liberals are really NOT attracted to those ideas - the liberals ARE attracted to the idea of believing that they are better than other people.


The liberal agenda - for most people - is simply a MEANS TO AN END.


The END is them thinking that they are better than other people - THE LIBERALS REALLY DON'T CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Haven't seen your cogent comments much lately. Hope all is ok.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 14, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Cogent

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

@cao: "If natural selection operated at the level of political philosophy, right wing 'thought' would have joined the dinosaurs long ago. Alas, it doesn't."

It must, to some extent. Where are the Whigs? The Federalists? Why are we a two party system, functionally, when so many other options exist and can be theorized, yet never seem to root. Or are you arguing that there was an inherent superiority in Perot's Reform Party or with Naders Green party, yet something other than a selective process prevented them from taking root.

Survivability is not determined by aesthetics or personal preference, but of the suitability of the adaptation to the environment. And the adaptation hardly has to be perfect to be effective.

Given that numerous political ideas have gone the way of the dinosaur, I think you may be confusing personal preference for actual survival traits. Indeed, conservatism shows no sign of waning, and Democrats have gone from a philosophy that involved a generous taxation of the bourgeois middle class (see Mondale, McGovern, Clinton in a limited capacity) to a philosophy that involves wanting to increase taxes only the wealthy, and willing to give that up in trade of lower taxes on the middle class.

"Pol Pot operated the other way, killing the educated and the intellgient."

In the service of The People. Of the Great Progressive Cause. You can't create the perfect communist utopia omelet without breaking a few eggs, after all.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 14, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Kevin and Cao


Natural selection does exist - AND Conservatism has survived and THRIVED all these years.


Hence, Conservatism is the FITTEST.

Take this last election, the liberals were thrown out.

Conservatism is the EVOLVED MIND.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,

My apologies for the unpleasantness of the past 24 hours.

Whereas Dr. Sullivan's moodswings merely crack me up, Dr. Alterman's sorties from the 9thRing stir up Taoist indignence.

You're right, Jesuit (see Dedalus; "Come up, you fearful...!") is better.

Posted by: tao9 | December 14, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

@RainForest: "Cogent"

Thank you.

"Haven't seen your cogent comments much lately. Hope all is ok."

Busy. Holidays, etc. Spent a lot of my free time writing the equivalent of the WaPo Troll Hunter for Ain't It Cool News--though I doubt there are too many Aint It Cool aficionados here. If there are any, I wrote a Greasemonkey/Chrome script to ignore Talkbackers, hilite favored talkbackers, and fix some of the format stuff (since AICN recently update the underlying code and formatting for their site for the first time in more than a decade, leading to many complaints . . . A little more time consuming that the original WaPo troll hunter.

Also, I periodically go on strike, and will continue, until rukidding returns. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 14, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, you're all mixed up.

It isn'd the church nor is it Christianity that're aligned with the far right, it's the fundamentalists. They're not Christians in any sense other than their false claims to be. They believe in nothing Christ taught and hold positions that are absolutely opposite anything authentically Christian.

And the rejection of "faith" in favor of reason is the trend for centuries, correlating with the rise of reason. Religion IS superstition (sorry, 12BB), and the retrograde holdout of fundamentalism in the USA reflects its ancestry in people who came here so they could practice extremes of intolerance out of fashion in Europe.

I mean, really, do you REALLY believe that there's some magical invisible spirit controlling everything? That's nuts and you know it.

You really should get some grasp of history and science. The American family you see as some eternal norm is anything but, it's a recent phenomenon of industrialization.

And acceptance of gays is sometnhing you're just going to have to get used to.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

"How can human evolution occur independent of human thought?"

Dude, you don't understand evolution, either, if you have to ask this question. Evolution--in order to destroy a civilization--is pretty much exclusive of rational human thought.

Kevin, I'm a Leftie but I don't make an equivalency of faith and superstition, nor am I hostile to religion. I *do* equate superstition with a faith-based refusal to accept facts as accepted by peer-reviewed experts simply because a group of uneducated (in this field) leaders deem them false, and I *am* hostile to religious followers (in this nation) requiring me to live by their religious laws. Plus, what Troll said.

Posted by: Michigoose | December 14, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Well, Kevin, conservatives oppose stewardship of the natural kingdom, and the machinery that renews our air and keeps food available is collapting, so, you're wrong. Conservative behavior is survival-negative (don't bother telling me you don't believe in global warming, I already know that) and eveolution is operating. Unfortunately you cretins will take the rest of your species, and most of the others, with you. I would much rather you guys suffered the consequences alone, but alas that's not how it works.

It's be great if you guys formed your own Christian Libertaria and wiped yourselves out trying to out-intolerate each other. Please give it some thought.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Eveolution

Adamnation

Posted by: tao9 | December 14, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

"Evolution--in order to destroy a civilization--is pretty much exclusive of rational human thought."

Would that be turbo-evolution? So Gibbon got it wrong re.: Rome?

{{{giggle}}}

Posted by: tao9 | December 14, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

"It's be great if you guys formed your own Christian Libertaria and wiped yourselves out trying to out-intolerate each other. Please give it some thought."

Yes, we're the intolerant ones. Especially as demonstrated by your tolerance.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 14, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Religion IS superstition (sorry, 12BB).
-------------------------------------------------
No offense taken.

You see, I'm willing to take the chance that it is superstition.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 14, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

"I wrote a Greasemonkey/Chrome script to ignore Talkbackers, hilite favored talkbackers, and fix some of the format stuff (since AICN recently update the underlying code and formatting for their site for the first time in more than a decade"

Uh,... yeah. I've heard that ;-)

Glad to see your posts and hope things slack-off, in a "good" way.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 14, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Rather than defend religion, we should defend goodness.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 14, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, intolerance of intolerance. Russell's Paradox?

Think about it till something pops.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, intolerance of intolerance. Russell's Paradox?

Think about it till something pops.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Cao

Intolerance of intolerance....

.......... isn't that "political correctness" ??

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:


I thought you wrote your Troll-Hunter program so it would automatically delete your comments BEFORE they appeared, anywhere.


I thought that is why you disappeared.


And, that Troll-hunter collects all the credit numbers on a computer, right???


And you use that information.... to help the local homeless shelter.... right ???

And you keep on disappearing.... right???

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 15, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

12Bar

Religion is the defender of goodness.


So why dont we defend the defender of goodness ?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 15, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

"Rather than defend religion, we should defend goodness."

==

Genau.

To those who say that atheists are incapable of morality, I saw phbbbbt. Just look who was at the center of Emancipation and Suffrage. Hint: they weren't Presbyterians. And look who's at the center of racism and homophobia. Hint: they aren't atheists.

Goodness as in being kind to one another, as in considering oneself as part of a society and one's actions as affecting it. Which the fundamentalists, religious and economic, condemn as "collectivism" and "redistrutionalisticalism" or whatever. Hard to keep up with these neologs.

Sometimes I think the real point of religion (the real kind, not the fundies) is the community. You get together with people at least once a week and when you need to talk to someone you have people can call. I know a hell of a lot of churchgoers who don't really believe, whether or not they're committed to it or not.

Over here the religion of choice isn't that much of one, I think most Buddhists are pretty vague about the Big Guy stuff, it's an outlook on life, and a healthier one than what the Palin crowd calls their "faith."

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes I think the real point of religion (the real kind, not the fundies) is the community.
--------------------------------------------------------
It's interesting you say that. That's what Jesus said, it's about the community.

Someone asked me just the other day why I went to church, since it is a rather quaint custom these days. I said it was to remind me of what goodness actually looks like, in action, because sometimes, we forget.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 15, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

"I think most Buddhists are pretty vague about the Big Guy stuff"

---
No, they aren't vague. They don't believe in a Supreme Being, and see that the traditional "God Idea" as rooted in fear.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 15, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

The $1.2 trillion bill, released on Tuesday, includes more than 6,000 earmarks totaling $8 billion, an amount that many lawmakers decried as an irresponsible binge following a midterm election in which many voters demanded that the government cut spending.

____________________________________

WOW - those democrats work fast on those earmarks.

Just this afternoon, the bill was $1.1 Trillion,


NOW, it's $1.2 Trillion.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 15, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

After what seemed like a lifetime of thirty-Year adjustable-rate mortgages, with monthly mortgage payments going up all the time, The "123 Mortgage Refinance" helped me to lock in a great low fixed rate of 3.16%, helping me to guarantee myself the ability to always make my mortgage payment on time with money to spare.

Posted by: terellwilson | December 15, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

They're probably right, about that fear foundation. I;m sure the ability to see that one was going to die by virtue of seeing it happen to others was only a step before the appearance of fanciful assurances that it wasn't so.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

It's fun once in a while to turn off the troll filter and see what justifies the block count. It quickly goes back on.

I wish we'd had that back when 37th, zouk, and Jake were trashing Cillizza's blog, and I wish people had been as diligent there about ignoring the trolls.

Having fun talking to yourself, 37th?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 2:15 AM | Report abuse

And then there's Brigade, seething with hate and bigotry, stopping just short of calling my neighbors "gooks," always wrapping up the screed with some fourth-grader gross-out stuff. Sauteed sewer rats? Almost as infantile as zouk's garlic leeches. Birds of a feather.

You can seethe all you want, Briggy, I got out. I walked away from your little free market paradise and I'm happy I did, not a moment of regret.

People (I'm generous) like you and qb are bent with rage at a liberal who isn't consumed with doubt, wavering apologetic and uncertain, twisting the handkerchief with indecision and anxiety about subjectivity. It gets your-plural undies in a bundle when I come right out and say that free markets suck and we should raise taxes, and raise them steeply, that we should regulate mercilessly, and that America would be better off without the bankers. I lose control of neither saliva nor bladder when someone mentions freedm or libbiddy and I have unalloyed and unapologetic praise for Socialism.

Don't bother responding unless it's for your small audience, I won't see it, you're back on the filter.

And oh, nobody eats the sewer rats, they'll filthy and diseased. It's the rice field rats, sleek and bright-eyed and healthy from the same diet as people, that end up on the plate. They're an expensive delicacy, and they're delicious. I haven't had rat in a while, maybe I'll go have some tonight just for you.

You wouldn't like it here. Tha flags would make your head pop.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

"People (I'm generous) like you and qb are bent with rage at a liberal who isn't consumed with doubt, wavering apologetic and uncertain, twisting the handkerchief with indecision and anxiety about subjectivity."

You have quite a sense of self-importance. I've noticed this is typical of liberal pseudo-intellectuals. I simply don't trifle with your communist nonsense but call your genocidal belief system what it is. You vainly call this rage, but it's just sober realism about your malignant beliefs.

There are plenty of "liberal" fools here who apparently take you as a serious and respectable voice, not noticing that you not only have uprooted your odious presence to a communist dictatorship but openly and explicitly advocate mass murder and Soviet-style "development," which takes place on the backs of hundreds of millions murdered and starved to death.

That's the true face of the "socialism" you love, and you've repeatedly and explicitly admitted it. All I do is point out what should be obvious to everyone: that you are an enemy of humanity and an exponent of pure evil dressed up as compassion.

You misuse terms like "social contract" when what you really mean are a gun to the head, mass theft, central committee dictatorships, and secret police. Every word you speak is part of a war on truth. Other people here might think you are amusing or clever. They find it unpleasant to remember that people just like you slaughtered and murdered hundreds of millions of people in the last century, and you openly advocate repeating those crimes in the U.S. But I'm glad you are here in that perhaps your rantings will draw their attention to the unhappy connections between their beliefs and yours.

But don't flatter yourself that a peon like you is of any greater importance, or that the grownups in the room go into a "rage" because of your great "courage" or audacity in attacking freedom. You seem to think your departure for the workers' paradise was some heroic act of defiance. Such pitable vanity.

I'm surprised you eat the rats, since it sort of makes you a cannibal. Enjoy. Just don't ever come back.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 15, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

So Crazy-Eyes Bachmann wants to study some 200+ year old documents to gain insights into contemporary problems. Yeah, that should help. With the economy and the natural environment collapsing, the real issue before us is limiting government.

Uh-huh.

The smarter of you will keep passport current and a bag packed. Things are going to get a lot worse and not as a prelude to getting better either.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

"To those who say that atheists are incapable of morality, I saw phbbbbt. Just look who was at the center of Emancipation and Suffrage. Hint: they weren't Presbyterians."

Your historical knowledge is truly astounding. The more I see it displayed, the more impressed I am.

"They're not Christians in any sense other than their false claims to be. They believe in nothing Christ taught and hold positions that are absolutely opposite anything authentically Christian."

And clearly the authority on authentic Christianity, especially given your declaration it is supersition. Clearly, the churches are suffering from your absence and need your instruction as to their true faith.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 15, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Heh heh heh as you would know if you ever turned off Rush and read books by people other than Beck and Hannity, atheists almost always know more about religion than believers.

Just so happens I've read Origen, Tertullian, Iraenaeus, Eckhart, and a lot of the other early church fathers. Early Christian doctrine, especially the Gnostic heresies, happens to be something I know quite a bit about.

Stick to the "your a foreigner an' you should renounce yore citizensship 'cuz you don't believe in free markets" junk. You can just let your fingers do the talking, since all that suff is obviously a spinal reflex.

And the role of atheists in social progress (not that you would call it such, you who probably want to "let the marketplace decide" about slavery) is historical fact. Religious people have this nasty habit of accepting inequality as "God's will."

Try again, chump.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting to watch the death spasms of the Dem congress. VERY reminiscent of a chicken with its head cut off.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 15, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

"And the role of atheists in social progress (not that you would call it such, you who probably want to "let the marketplace decide" about slavery) is historical fact. Religious people have this nasty habit of accepting inequality as "God's will.""

First, you might attend to the claim you actually made. Then, you might explain to the world how William Wilberforce, Quakers, Mennonites, and other Christians who were leaders of abolitionism never really existed.

"Heh heh heh as you would know if you ever turned off Rush and read books by people other than Beck and Hannity, atheists almost always know more about religion than believers."

I'm speechless at your forensic mastery. Wow, just wow.

"Just so happens I've read Origen, Tertullian, Iraenaeus, Eckhart, and a lot of the other early church fathers. Early Christian doctrine, especially the Gnostic heresies, happens to be something I know quite a bit about."

Very impressive. Having read on gnosticism, you clearly are the authority on authentic Christianity and the beliefs of contemporary American Christianity and theology. You might even have read some of the Bible at some point.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 15, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to know how Mr.Obama's supporters feel about 100,000 service men and women in Afghanistan at a cost of $100 billion per year.

Are you doing that because you are courting "moderates" for the 2012 election cycle, or do you believe you just have to support the President no matter what? You know the plan is still the same. There is no plan. The plan is to do the same thing the Republicans did in Iraq, surge, declare victory and leave. You just keep killing the Taliban until you quit and the region descends back into chaos.

"American commanders say their plan in the next few years is to kill large numbers of insurgents in the border region — the military refers to it as “degrading the Taliban” — and at the same time build up the Afghan National Army to the point that the Afghans can at least contain an insurgency still supported by Pakistan. (American officials say Pakistan supports the insurgents as a proxy force in Afghanistan, preparing for the day the Americans leave.) NYT

The next few years eh? The next few hundred borrowed billions not to mention all those lives later, can someone explain how it will all have been worth it?


Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

tao said:
"My apologies for the unpleasantness of the past 24 hours."

Ain't no kind of problem. As I said, I know you're a good guy and we all have spikes of anger. But let's take this...

"Whereas Dr. Sullivan's moodswings merely crack me up, Dr. Alterman's sorties from the 9thRing stir up Taoist indignence."

First, you slip in the feminizing characteristic of "moodswings" and use it in the classic ad hominem manner - shifting to an irrelevancy (usually negative insinuation) and thereby avoiding content issues. I understand you are just being brief here in explanation but it's a move you make quite commonly. God knows boards like this aren't the best venue for careful discourse but I think we ought to push in that direction.

Second, I'm truly at a loss as to your take on Alterman. He's a leftie though probably less so than I in most matters. But he's a very careful and thorough journalist with a wealth of knowledge and experience. So, I just don't really get it. Can I ask how and when your opinion of him formed up?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Actually, QB, no, I wouldn't read the Bible, that's of no interest to me, being so chopped up and edited to leave out so much of Christ's actual teachings. Anything Christ taught inimicable to a worldly church was excised by the Council of Nicea AKA the First Ecumenical in 325, and at that point my interest drops to zero, excepting the Mystics like Eckhart.

Prior to the Council there was no Bible per se, just itinerant preachers each with his own collection of hand-copied manuscripts, no two alike. But the Niceans were more interested in consolidating power than in fidelity to Christ so they cut out a lot.

If you want to learn something (OK, I'm joking there) you might look up on Eunomius and his censure by the Cappadocian Fathers .. he believed that faith should stand the test of logic and boy did they come down on him for THAT.

Pity none of you ninnies are willing to stand up for the same in your own sordid beliefs. Logic? In your "free market" thing *arithmetic* is seditious.]

Contemporary Christianity is about as interesting a study as the history of Coke slogans. After the Council it was gone.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

@shrink

Here's what I'd like to know from you.
1) who do you think ought to represent the Dems in 2012? Why?
2) what do you see as the contrasting outcomes for the issues that concern you if Obama runs and wins or if Obama runs and loses to a new Republican president?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

@shrink: speaking as a former Obama supporter and four-figure contributor to his campaign, I say it stinks on ice. It was his doubling down there that gave me my first serious doubts about him and left me with nothing more than "McCain would have been a lot worse."

That remains true, especially knowing that he would have instantly started some petty acts of vengeance against my new home and hell, by now the Tramp probably would have poisoned him or arranged his assassination so she could get the Rapture going. Anyway.

Agreed on all points .. Obama is pouring lives and money down the chute for no better reason than not wanting to "look bad" and be vulnerable to Republican charges of wavering will. And since his will is indeed wavering and Republicans are going to call him the N-word anyway, the waste is truly despicable. Wear down the Taliban? He's nuts. These people think in centuries.

We're propping up a UNOCAL exec who steals elections because conceding the whole thing would hurt our feelings. Seen this movie before, and last time we crawled into bed with Saddam.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

From Tomasky...

"...What does this comparison tell us? That something else has been decisively shaping our discourse besides Obama's shortcomings. And here resides the second interpretation: the Republicans have become more nakedly than ever the party of rich people and corporations, and those rich people and corporations are uniting with Republicans to do everything in their power to block even mildly ameliorative reform. By all appearances, these people believe the country is theirs to run, was somehow stolen from them in 2008, and they're just going to oppose everything until they get it back in 2012.

I lean toward this interpretation, but among what we might call the "professional liberal" class of advocates and pundits, it seems I'm in the minority. Hence the classic liberal circular firing squad that's been on display in Washington over the tax deal.

But I can't really blame the president for not being liberal enough. It's not a liberal country. I do, however, blame him for being in denial about the nature of his opposition. They want to destroy him...."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/14/barack-obama-democrats-republicans

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie: A new Republican president is going to be an ecological disaster. Not even to be considered, nothing to joke about. With Republicans on crusade against science, education, logic, and arithmetic, and the world likely well past the tipping point in melting of the ice caps, raising sea levels, and further elevating warming .. the last thing we need is one of those cavemen running the country.

Obama has had two years to show some fight. He's not going to surprise us with a spine. He needs a solid primary challenge.

I see no hope for America, my priority is minimizing the effects on the natural kingdom. America is finished.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

And somewhere under those ice caps are corpses of people who died of diseases now extinct. When the ice melts and explorers of the newly bared land come across those corpses, expect a new round of plague. Nature has a way of healing itself.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Losing wars isn't liberal or conservative, it is just stupid. So isn't this a stupid country? I remember thinking how stupid the Soviets were with their tanks and helicopters there, how they learned nothing from the American experience in Vietnam so they had to teach themselves a lesson. And since Reagan's revanchist revolution, well, I guess Americans will just keep on not learning their lessons the hard way.

The only thing that will stop this country is its economy, same as the Soviets. After all, the Russian love for dictators and empire has not changed, they'd still be killing all over world if they could afford to.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/the_morning_plum_151.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 15, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

caothien said:
@Bernie: A new Republican president is going to be an ecological disaster. Not even to be considered, nothing to joke about...

Obama has had two years to show some fight. He's not going to surprise us with a spine. He needs a solid primary challenge."

You believe that what you propose in the second sentence won't increase the probability of your worry expressed in the first?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

@caothien9: "Kevin, you're all mixed up."

Well, it's my good fortune that I've run into my intellectual betters and they can thus school me in the truth.

With such expert opinions as that fundamentalists aren't Christians (I'm glad we have someone like you to decide that for everybody else) and to at once claim that you don't think faith is superstition, but then say "I mean, really, do you REALLY believe that there's some magical invisible spirit controlling everything? That's nuts and you know it."

And, given that you're an expert on Christianity, surely you understand that Christians don't believe that God micromanages the universe. That's contrary to the doctrine of free will.

"You really should get some grasp of history and science."

Thanks, I'll get right on that. Thank goodness I finally ran into a smart person to let me know what an idiot I am. You are an excellent debater. Truly, I have finally met my match.

Sheesh.

BTW, "And somewhere under those ice caps are corpses of people who died of diseases now extinct. When the ice melts and explorers of the newly bared land come across those corpses, expect a new round of plague. Nature has a way of healing itself."

Really, cao? How many bacteriological or viral contagions do you know that could survive and remain contagious over tens- to hundreds-of-thousands of years at sub-zero (as in, Arctic, -50° C) temperatures? Are you worried about what happens when we start being attacked by unfrozen dinosaurs, too?

What was that you said? "You really should get some grasp of history and science."

Hmm.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Guess you dob't know anything about bacteriology or virology, Kevin.

(1) Bacterial spores are among the most refractory biological items on the planet. Heat might denature them, cold won't touch them.

(2) Viruses aren't alive in the first place so how can they be killed?

Sheesh.

And, no, fundamentalists aren't Christians in any doctrinal sense Iof Christianity. They only claim to be, as a pretext for hating people. I would educate you with some supportive text references but you don't seem to be too promising a pupil so I won't waste my time.

And do you REALLY believe in God? Seriously? Where is he? I stopped believing that junk before Iwas twelve. You might consider it as you approach that age yourself.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Actually, QB, no, I wouldn't read the Bible, that's of no interest to me, being so chopped up and edited to leave out so much of Christ's actual teachings. Anything Christ taught inimicable to a worldly church was excised by the Council of Nicea AKA the First Ecumenical in 325, and at that point my interest drops to zero, excepting the Mystics like Eckhart."

You mean Jesus didn't write the King James Bible? Golly! Like, we totally didn't know that!

Kevin already flayed you pretty well, but the contradictions that flow out of your stream of consciousness pontifications are awe inspiring -- as impressive as your narcicistic complex.

Let's see, Christianity is a supersition of fools, but you deem yourself an expert on the real thing, because you've copiously studied up on gnosticism and pre-Nicean "doctrine," and can authoritatively declare that modern fundamentalists (evangelicals too?) aren't actually Christians. You've devoted yourself to studying the roots of this superstition so that you can condemn the modern heretics! You haven't actually read the Bible the moderns espouse, because -- not having read it -- you still know that it was ideologically abridged by ancient conspirators against gnosticism and the TRUE TEACHING OF CHRIST. I bet you watched a History Channel documentary about it, too. The Templars are probably involved, too.

And this guy calls others mixed up.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 15, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"Guess you dob't know anything about bacteriology or virology, Kevin."

He's a veritable polymath. We are all in the hands of a greater intelligence now.

But, I somehow doubt that we are all about to be wiped out by virulent ancient corpses (would that be "corpsemen"?) littering an unfrozen Antarctica and Arctic Ocean.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 15, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@cao: "Guess you dob't know anything about bacteriology or virology, Kevin."

I guess I dob't.

"Viruses aren't alive in the first place so how can they be killed?"

I didn't use the word "killed". I can't be held responsible for your presumptions.

"Bacterial spores are among the most refractory biological items on the planet. Heat might denature them, cold won't touch them."

Then I'm curious by which mechanism you think these bacterial infections would be extinct, and thus prone to bring about a new plague, once unfrozen. It seems that such robustness that allows structural survival for tens-of-thousands of years at less than -50° C under tons of ice, that would allow said bacteria to be infective and contagious, would have made such bacteria difficult to completely eradicate.

In any case, if such corpses are discovered, the first reaction is probably going to be that some museum or university will pay good money for this thing. I'm calling them! Or the press.

I imagine even when these highly contagious dinosaurs are finally awoken from hibernation, they will be treated with due dilligence, thus making a new round of plagues extremely unlikely.

In regards to believing in God, yes, I do. And I was an atheist for almost all my life. Like C.S. Lewis! But I would be considered very liberal, or even apostate, as I am not a creationist, a young earther, and do not ascribe to Biblical inerrancy and do believe in evolution. But do I believe in Intelligent Design? Yes.

Not only do I believe in it, I feel like I was blind not to have seen it earlier. What the heck was wrong with me?

"You might consider it as you approach that age yourself."

Oh, snap! I guess I got served, eh?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

apostate? a Christian apostate who believes in God can only be called an agnostic

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2: Details, details. I'm sure most fundamentalists would consider me an agnostic (or apostate), but I don't consider myself thus, at all.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Details, details." Rules are rules. People were put to death for many centuries for playing loosely with words like these. In fact, they still are in some places. My wife is a Muslim apostate, I am a Catholic apostate, she is an atheist, I am an agnostic. Some (male and female) members of her family wish my death so that she may return to Islam, so that our children might be spared an eternity in Hell.

Do you believe in Heaven and Hell? If you don't, there isn't much point in saying you believe in God.
What would the point of such a God be, an evolutionary clockmaker?

You are agnostic, I can tell, it is ok, we don't know, better to say we can't know and we don't have to.
My dog loves everybody, is really good at some things, has a few bad habits and loves everybody, never even been in a dog fight...and he doesn't know anything. He is a devout member of my religion, Confusionism.

Confusionism holds as its central myth (it *is* a religion after all, I'll tell you were to send money and why later), that people are cursed to be able to formulate better questions than answers. A corollary, the more important we think a question is, the less likely we are able to know the answer.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"But I would be considered very liberal, or even apostate, as I am not a creationist, a young earther, and do not ascribe to Biblical inerrancy and do believe in evolution."

I am reminded of a line from Anne of Greengables.

"That [boy] is next door to a perfect heathen." : 0

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 15, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Conservative Justices don't have a partisan thought in their heads. Just callin' balls and strikes, my friend.

Posted by: stevedwight | December 15, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

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