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Posted at 9:11 AM ET, 02/ 6/2011

Sunday Open Thread

By Greg Sargent

Keep at it.

By Greg Sargent  | February 6, 2011; 9:11 AM ET
 
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Apparently some people on this blog believe that their offenses have been so great that they are going to be banned once the new softward comes in.

Among those: 12BarBluesAgain, who brought Cao to this blog, knowing full well what he would be like. She did this with a destructive intent, and she has admitted as such.

So, thinking she is smart, has created a new name for herself and is attempting to hide when the new software comes in.

Nice try, but we ALL see you in the open.


_________________________


Part of the problem here is the moderation policies are not spelled out - guidance has to be given.

There needs to be an "active warning system" to guide people when they have crossed the line. People don't get warnings, or even comments back stating clearly they have crossed the line.

The result has been that all the bad behavior has become the de facto guidance as to what is acceptable and what is not.

Also, moderation policy can not be influenced by political beliefs. There simply can not be the impression that liberals or conservatives are getting away with things that are enforced against the other side.


GUIDANCE - one easy way to do the "active warning system" would be to require all posters to stick to the issues - and avoid making personal nasty comments. These personal attacks have flared up recently. For me, I try to state my my opinions and CUT through the personal "ad hominem" attacks. People complain about that - however that is how I have dealt with the insanity here.


___________________________


If there are to be rules

1) The rules must be clearly defined

2) If the liberals break the rules, they get punished too.


3) You can't enforce rules ONLY against people whose views you don't like - that starts nasty lawsuits and ends careers.


Clearly

GUIDANCE - one easy way to do the "active warning system" would be to require all posters to stick to the issues - and avoid making personal nasty comments. These personal attacks have flared up recently. For me, I try to state my my opinions and CUT through the personal "ad hominem" attacks. People complain about that - however that is how I have dealt with the insanity here.

WASHINGTON POST - really should do something about the Obama paid trolls. There should be some contact made between the paper and Axelrod as to the ground rules BECAUSE if the Obama paid trolls start to harass people again like they did in 2008 and 2009, there will be a response.


.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back my friends
To the show that never ends
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside

There behibd the glass
Is a total pain in the a%%
Ignore him as you pass
Move along, move along

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

So, Palin decides to say some words on Egypt in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

" This is a transcript, provided by the network, of Ms. Palin’s response to Mr. Brody’s question about how she believes the president has handled the situation in Egypt:

“And nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and no, not, not real enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from D.C. in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And, in these areas that are so volatile right now, because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And, we do not have all that information yet.”

At her appearance here in Santa Barbara on Friday evening, Ms. Palin spoke for about 30 minutes and did not take questions from the audience or reporters.

She spoke exclusively to Mr. Brody in a 10-minute interview following the speech. Asked what she might do differently if she decided to run for president, Ms. Palin said: “I would continue on the same course of not really caring what other people say about me or worrying about the things that they make up, but having that thick skin and a still spine.”"

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/05/palin-criticizes-obama-on-egypt/?hp

What to say? Again, no questions accepted from audience nor press and the reasons continue to be obvious. Her complaint (she had to have one) is what? That the administration hasn't described the details of diplomatic traffic? I think we can find some reasons and one or two precedents for that.

Or that Obama "hasn't said what it is that America stands for so we'll know who it is that America will stand with"? This doesn't really have any meaning even if the first half of the sentence is simply false. I gather she's reciting some cute linguistic formulation a writer/handler gave her. And if she were available for a question, one might ask whether she thinks Obama ought to express an opinion of what America ought to stand by and stand echoing the opinion expressed by Bill Kristol or the opinion expressed by John Bolton?

Two very odd formulations catch my attention - "still spine" and "sound mind". What do those things mean? The first is some weird poetic formulation suggesting, what? Steadiness? Arthritis? Some Asian religious/physical state achievable if you gained the wisdom and discipline portrayed in an episode of Kung Fu?

(cont)

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

And there should be "sound mind" in the WH? I truly don't have any idea what she might have meant re either word in this context. Again, a questioner, if permitted, could just ask, "What do you mean?" Would her answer make sense? I don't think there any reason to imagine it would.

Again, simply imagining this person in a debate with other republican candidates or in a debate with Obama is not a trick I can manage. And it isn't going to be just me. There's no chance the big boys will allow her to play this game for the reasons I've stated many times before. The only way it could happen is if the big boys get outflanked by the extremists they've been happy to cultivate and use as pawns.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

“And nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and no, not, not real enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from D.C. in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And, in these areas that are so volatile right now, because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And, we do not have all that information yet.”

==

Pass that through any software linguistic parser and I guarantee you there will be a memory access violation.

A canary makes more sense.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"Noam Chomsky: “This is the Most Remarkable Regional Uprising that I Can Remember”"

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/2/noam_chomsky_this_is_the_most

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The only way it could happen is if the big boys get outflanked by the extremists they've been happy to cultivate and use as pawn

==

Let's be sure to render them any and all possible assistance.

Better still, get Missus Ditz all aflame with the holy spirit and expecting a parting of the Red Sea level miracle on her behalf .. let her run as a 3rd party candidate, Constitution or Gun Owners or maybe even have the tea baggers run their own (chuckle) primaries and convention.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Asked what she might do differently if she decided to run for president, Ms. Palin said: “I would continue on the same course of not really caring what other people say about me or worrying about the things that they make up, but having that thick skin and a still spine.”"

That may be the funniest thing I'll read all week. Palin's skin is about as thick as Saran Wrap. Maybe she was referring to her skull and just got the words mixed up, as she is wont to do.

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 6, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

if permitted, could just ask, "What do you mean?" Would her answer make sense? I don't think there any reason to imagine it would.

==

Come on Bernie you're educated, you know when someone is frying to fake it. That's what they sound like. Serial cliches. When Palin gets go the end of a sentence she's forgotten the beginning, so she just takes a breath and keeps going. Probably developed her speaking style in church, you know, glossolalia.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I think she meant "stiff spine."

This is someone who doesn't read, who has some idea what words mean but isn't quite certain.

But jeez what an answer. As President I would ignore those meanies who make fun of me.

There you are, QB, "more qualified than Obama."

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

This is really quite wonderful. Karl Pilkington and Ricky Gervais reporting from Egypt...

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/2/noam_chomsky_this_is_the_most

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Scott, I read your comment on "incorporation" and my quick response would be that it is not messy for a state, at least in terms of what rights citizens have within the state. Why not?

TX Constitution has a more far reaching explicit equal protection clause than does the Fed Constitution. The Fed Constitution does not limit a Texan's rights in TX by reason of incorporation.

Incorporation could strengthen an individual liberty within a state but could not weaken one that was granted, unless one views liberties as a zero sum game. I am viewing individual liberty as limiting governmental power.

10thA to the Constitution covers functions not granted to the fed and not prohibited to the states, and EDUCATION is the poster child function so described. There is no fed right to an education, but almost every state constitution grants a statewide right to an education. Here the incorporation of the BOR has had an effect on many occasions - notably upon integration, and more recently, upon the treatment of illegal alien children.

Is my latter example attuned to your concern that incorporation can be messy for a state? Or are you thinking of something completely different?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 6, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I do so hope Palin runs for president. I've even got a good slogan cooked up for her:

"Palin '12 - It's Got Electrolytes!"

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 6, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

You know, after watching a few of the Pilkington "An Idiot Abroad" bits from the link above (how did I not know about this???) I began thinking about the differences between Pilkington and Palin. He's honest, he's genuinely curious, he genuinely likes people and trusts them, and what provides the greatest contrast of all, he's genuinely humble.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Bernie (brought forward):

""And as I said to ABC earlier, I'd go further but the US would have to change significantly for my ideas to gain hold. I'm in favor of maximal gender equality in representation and far less concerned about how that gets achieved than most of you folks. Competence/meritocratic concerns are, obviously, of great significance for any post of responsibility but clearly those aren't the criteria by which most elections are settled anyway so I can't imagine much further negative consequence from mandated gender balance. ""

So this gets me back to my original question...what would such a mandate possibly look like? Would you change the constitution such that all states had to split their Senate representation by gender? Would you mandate that half of all congressional disctricts must, by law, be filled by women? How would you pick which congressional districts? Would a male presidential candidate be forced to have a woman running mate, and vice versa? Would you make it illegal for a woman presidential candidate to have a woman running mate?

Also, what about homosexuals? Do they exhibit the same gender characteristics that heterosexuals exhibit and which make you want to mandate gender equality? If not, how do they fit into this mandate that you envision?

BTW, as an aside, on this:

""...because an injustice is newly recognized...""

If it is not already considered an injustice by the "community", on what possible grounds might an individual within the community argue that it is an injustice, justice being, according to you, a function of community values with no transcendental truth value? If gender inequality is not considered by the community to be unjust, then it is not unjust by definition. (Your definition, that is.)

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"Palin '12 - It's Got Electrolytes!"

Oh, I really like that a LOT.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@ABC and Mark in Austin..

Thanks for your thought provoking posts about writing POV and life experience necessary to write about something with any authenticity.

You guys made me think...and I love posters who make me think. Thanks guys!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@cao - yes, she probably did mean "stiff spine". But that's not so hard to get out of one's mouth. The sense one has of her speech/cognition apparatus in any sort of non-scripted situation is that there's just way too much spinning around and screeching and creeping up behind and she just really wants a sandwich.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@Cao

Thanks for having my back! When I receive compliments I always consider the source and coming from you it's high praise indeed. Thanks.

BTW I feel the same way about insults or criticism...I consider the source. Save your typing strokes rainman,clawrence and Brigade.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

OOPS... correct link for Pilkington in Egypt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7gL9ofxl0g&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Cao

You CLAIM you are not reading my posts, but there you are, responding.

Anyway, that is just another of your lies.


Did you answer the question - PLEASE name all the US States in which you have been required to register as a sex offender.

If you make us do the research, we will send it to the Vietnamese embassey, along with our suspicions of your activities.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Also, what about homosexuals? Do they exhibit the same gender characteristics that heterosexuals exhibit and which make you want to mandate gender equality? If not, how do they fit into this mandate that you envision?

==

Homosexual men can communicate with women without the ubiquitous sexual tension between heterosexual men and women rearing its head. You can believe me when I say that some women appreciate this enormously.

Also, without gay men, who would fat women get to dance with?

Honestly I don't think there is a lot to this difference in intellectual outlooks based on gender and/or orientation, and I repeat that male competitiveness, largely identical in gay men, is the only observable difference, and a negative one pretty much without exception.

As for gay *culture* e.g. camp and the sanctioning of impulsivity and promiscuity, I would say it has produced nothing of value. Gay people, yes, absolutely. But not the subculture.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Scott - please re-read the passage of mine you've quoted for clues to how your subsequent questions might be answered.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

People holding out hope for democracy in Egypt don't know much about history. We have a word with negative connotations, corruption, but in many places, the spoils system is the political culture, there simply is no other political culture.

The Mexican disaster is an example, the narco war would not be possible without the fundamentally corrupt political process, the cronyism, the vast patronage network that is the country's police and military organizations. Mexico can paper over its corrupt political culture with one election after another, but it won't help. It could be, America's greatest and enduring strength derives not from its Constitution, but from the integrity of its military, paramilitary and police organizations. That makes democracy possible. Sadly, the corrupt political cultures of places like Mexico, Russia and Egypt means they can only choose between chaos and totalitarian rule.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Sargent, why do you call this blog "Plum Line"? I assume it is wordplay based on "plumb line", but to what end? Is it a private or inside joke? Do any other posters know the answer?


I think "still spine" is a product of peculiar pronunciation and would be written "steel spine", but the possible mid-thought confusion of "stiff" and "steel" might also explain it.


The over-under for Ms. Aguilera on the length of her solo on the National Anthem at the event near Dallas is 1:54. My suggestion: take the "over".

Posted by: MoreAndBetterPolls | February 6, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Yeah bernie there are nine year olds who can express themselves more clearly without preparation than Palin can with all the preparation anyone could want.

Ok, we know this .. all of us have seen the evidence, again and again. And in two years she has made no effort to educate herself, hasn't cracked a book, hasn't mastered any issues, she just keeps on babbling.

And of course it's unsurprising and unremarkable that the two-digit crowd adores her, the babble reinforces cohesion with them, and the mockery she inspires in the education reinforces it more. So far so good.

But what the HELL is it with people smart enough to know better?!?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Here's Benen's concluding graphs on a post re Palin/Egypt...

"It occurs to me that Palin probably has some advisers who've tried to help her make sense of developments in the Middle East. She's very likely had some briefings and/or received some talking points from those who presumably have some kind of background in foreign affairs.

If so, the problem isn't just that U.S. policy towards Egypt is complex; it's that Palin is so conspicuously unintelligent, she can't even understand the guidance she receives from her own team."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_02/027866.php

Yes.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""Scott - please re-read the passage of mine you've quoted for clues to how your subsequent questions might be answered. ""

Done.

So, reading all the "clues", including your most recent, I'd have to conclude that you are happy to mandate "gender equality", but you haven't the slightest idea what form such a mandate could possibly take.

If this is not correct, then perhaps you could simply, er, answer my questions directly instead of burying it in "clues".

BTW, your avoidance of the justice question is noted.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Steve again, this time on the Kristol (and Kagan, we ought to add) criticisms of what Beck is up to on FOX...

"What's also interesting is that National Review's Rich Lowry, who's also a Fox News contributor, piled on yesterday, praising Kristol for taking "a well-deserved shot at Glenn Beck's latest wild theorizing."

Time's Joe Klein, meanwhile, added that he considers these criticisms pretty important.

"Kristol lies very close to the throbbing heart of the Fox News sensibility. And I've heard, from more than a couple of conservative sources, that prominent Republicans have approached Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes about the potential embarrassment that the paranoid-messianic rodeo clown may bring upon their brand. The speculation is that Beck is on thin ice. His ratings are dropping, too -- which, in the end, is a good part of what this is all about. But I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a mirror-Olbermann situation soon."

For the record, I find it extremely hard to believe Fox News would actually dump Beck. It wouldn't surprise me if Murdoch and Ailes were taking some heat over Beck's idiocy, and that GOP leaders consider Beck an embarrassment, but I've never seen a shred of evidence that Murdoch and Ailes have any professional or ethical standards at all.

Regardless, it appears Beck's shtick is starting to wear thin, with his audience and with his own conservative allies. Whether his job is safe or not, that's good news."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_02/027865.php

What would the FOX audience do if Beck got canned? Good question. To prevent an ugly surge of paranoid anger (directed at the wrong target - which in reality would be the right target) Ailes would have to craft some cover story of serious illness or such an avalanche of death-threats that this brave patriot and scholar would have to regretfully cease his broadcasts - and woe the Republic!

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Mark writes:

Scott, I read your comment on "incorporation" and my quick response would be that it is not messy for a state, at least in terms of what rights citizens have within the state. Why not?

TX Constitution has a more far reaching explicit equal protection clause than does the Fed Constitution. The Fed Constitution does not limit a Texan's rights in TX by reason of incorporation.

Incorporation could strengthen an individual liberty within a state but could not weaken one that was granted, unless one views liberties as a zero sum game. I am viewing individual liberty as limiting governmental power.

10thA to the Constitution covers functions not granted to the fed and not prohibited to the states, and EDUCATION is the poster child function so described. There is no fed right to an education, but almost every state constitution grants a statewide right to an education. Here the incorporation of the BOR has had an effect on many occasions - notably upon integration, and more recently, upon the treatment of illegal alien children.

Is my latter example attuned to your concern that incorporation can be messy for a state? Or are you thinking of something completely different?


_______________________________

Thank you for this comment - this comment is extremely informative and insightful.

I wish everyone would read this a few times and fully understand these issues.


NOW. Let's make this clear. Conservatives believe health care is in the domain of the States.

That position should not be mischaracterized by liberal whackjobs into the position that "nothing should be done" on each individual within the health care debate.


THAT is the FLAW IN THE THINKING OF THE LIBERAL AGENDA.

For instance, If the liberals really want 26-year olds to be covered, go to your State legislature and do it there. Period.


ALSO, if you want a Patient's Bill of Rights, go to your State legislature.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, welcome back. I attribute "enduring strength" to the respect for just law, which is only fit, considering my profession of 43 years.

Not only MX, but all the former Spanish colonies were introduced to government as kleptocracy. There were better colonists [Brits] and worse colonists [Spaniards] in my view.

How entrenched in Egyptian culture is the bribe? How amenable would Egypt be to Turkish style government? Do we know? I fear you may be correct, Shrink, but I do not know it.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 6, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Along with my comment at 10:54, allow me to state this: Obama is preventing the States from going ahead with health care improvements.

The liberals have changed their position to: the Federal government should do it.


So, now, progress is in limbo. The liberals are focused on defending a blantantly UNCONSTITUTIONAL BILL - WHILE they should be focusing their efforts on State-level health care legislation.


CASE closed.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Bernie writes, @cao - yes, she probably did mean "stiff spine". But that's not so hard to get out of one's mouth. The sense one has of her speech/cognition apparatus in any sort of non-scripted situation is that there's just way too much spinning around and screeching and creeping up behind and she just really wants a sandwich.

Thank you, Bernie, for a good morning laugh. I like still spine, though. It could have so many applications--Now for a moment of silence with still spines. Or, if you children would settle down and get your spines still. And my image of Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, and Julian Assange: pale and long and definitely still spines.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Mark:

""Is my latter example attuned to your concern that incorporation can be messy for a state?""

Messy was probably the wrong word. Redundant would have been better, although I understand your point which is, I think in essence, that incorporation sets a floor on protections of rights which state constitutions cannot go below, but which they can go above.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Was the Onion around thirty years ago? Were they this bright even back then?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9ks36c549BI/TU3Oo9MyxbI/AAAAAAAAB4s/Sz77ByD2vfk/s400/kill.JPG

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Scott - thanks. We each understand what the other is saying, always making for better conversation.

I also am curious about the gender mandate. I do not know how to draw "tongue-in-cheek" but I suggest the following in that spirit.

Amend the Voting Rights Act to include gender. Then males could have carve out minority-majority districts. :-)

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 6, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@ABC - You're welcome. I actually like "still spine" too (though I get some un-nifty imagery from the movie Predator impinging). It does sound rather Buddhistic to me (a good thing usually). I'm sure Leonard Cohen has achieved the Still Spine up there on Mount Baldy. Assange, apparently born with one. Swinton I don't know well enough to comment on. But Blanchett!!! Her spine could be made of concrete and titanium and she could still make you utterly convinced she was a gazelle. I don't know if I've seen anyone with her genius other than Olivier. (Can you imagine the two of them working together).

And probably MABP above gets it right as a mis-pronunciation of "steel spine". But what a way to describe oneself! Who is she trying to convince, given her "Bring on those insignificant noodles who wish to ask me questions about stuffs!"

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Hi Mark,

How entrenched in Egyptian culture is the bribe?

People who have lived in Egypt understand that baksheesh is involved in **all** interactions between officials at any level of authority. Here is an illustration, a tract from some travel site...

"In the West, we call it "tipping" or "service." But those words don't fully express the breadth of flexibility and purpose of the practice known as "baksheesh." Egypt appears to run on baksheesh...there are people at the airport whose only job appears to be opening doors. Of course, they require baksheesh. And every bathroom has an attendant, who expects a few piastres for keeping the place clean (supposedly). One is continuously passing out a few piastres here and a few there...
baksheesh is "for the granting of favors." Want to see what's in the tomb which is posted as closed? A few piastres will see a key miraculously produced. Want to see an excellent photo location? Just 25 piastres. How about having a light in that museum display case? Don't forget me when you leave. Want to see a forbidden mummy? Only another 50 piastres The amazing thing is that you don't even need to ask for the services. Upon identifying a mark, even the museum guards will follow you around and provide services and grant favors. Interestingly, after getting over the initial adverse reaction to the practice, it becomes expected and even pleasurable. In the Museum of Islamic Art, for instance, we really appreciated the guard who turned on lights and pointed out features in terribly broken English. Without him we never would have enjoyed some beautifully illuminated manuscripts. It was a pleasure to give him 2 pounds as we left. And the smile on his face was rewarding also."

Turkey has a unique history, obviously. It had the Byzantine and Ottoman cultural traditions of bureaucratic administration. Egypt had been operated as a Satrapy or looted as a Colony for too many centuries for its post independence politics to turn to respect for just law.


Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Mark, I left a try at an answer on POV for you on last night's thread.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, shrink. Would that it were more hopeful.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 6, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

ABC, thanks. I agree that it can be done and done well with enough research and painstaking care to stay in character.

I suppose I was suggesting that it was neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of good writing, but that is such a banal observation that I now think it was past my bedtime when I posted.

Still, I enjoyed thinking about it, as well as the conversation about it.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 6, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, baksheesh isn't unique to Egypt. I personally don't feel I have anywhere near enough knowledge of Egypt to declare their aspirations DOA, something I'm trying to remedy a little by reading Anthony Shadid's Legacy of a Prophet (mentioned by Josh at TPM).

And just for sheer pleasure and a delightful, every day look at a quirky, affluent Jewish family in Egypt, there's Andre Acinam's memoir, Out of Egypt.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Here in Tampa Bay we have an interesting legal case revolving around "who" is entitled to a public defender.

A poor unfortunate woman apparently lost her mind last week and murdered her two teenage children. She did not leave the site of the murder, their home, and when the police responded she told them she did it because they had been mouthing off too much.

I leave it for all of you to determine if that seems enough to make it obvious she is deranged...perhaps she is a clever actress who knew the right thing to say and the proper way to act for an "insanity plea"...I do not know..I'll let shrink handle the medical defintion of insanity and our attorneys can tell us what she has to prove legally...in my laymens mind...I possess no ability to understand how a person could do such an heinous thing and still actually be "rational"...but I am a layman not experienced in such matters and so I'll defer to folks like shrink and Mark in Austin.

But here is my actual question...and a topic for debate in my community.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/should-public-pay-defense-for-tampa-mother-accused-of-killing-teens/1149611

TAMPA — She and her husband paid $448,000 for their home. They own two others. She drove a Mercedes-Benz. She's married to a longtime military officer whose income is estimated in six figures.

But the first time Julie Powers Schenecker appeared in court this week, the suburban mother accused of killing her two children had an attorney with the Hillsborough Public Defender's Office at her side.

The state-funded office exists to provide counsel to the poor, whose income is no higher than twice the poverty level. For a two-person household, the poverty level is $14,710. For one person, it's $10,890.

Will taxpayers foot the bill for Schenecker's defense?

The answer isn't as clear-cut as some might expect.

The factor playing the biggest role in whether the Public Defender's Office stays on the case is how much money Schenecker has at her disposal — and that means cash she could get to a private lawyer from the position she is in, at the Falkenburg Road Jail with no hope of bail.

"A person charged with a serious crime needs a lawyer right now. If they have to go through a lot of financial transactions to gain access to the money, they are technically indigent at this moment."

Schenecker's court file does not yet include the financial paperwork she must complete to be considered indigent. The mere veneer of wealth may not accurately reflect her liquid assets. She could be in debt, upside down on her mortgage, or living above her means.

And it's unclear, at this point, whether her husband will help defend a woman accused of killing their children."

This is a complex case because the woman killed her HUSBAND's children not just her's. In effect can the state make this man pay for his legal spouse...even though she inflicted great damage upon him by taking the lives of his teenage children?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Mexico is so sad, people thought the end of the PRI's virtual monopoly on power (from 1929 to the early 90s) would turn the country toward democracy and yet it, the country, appears to be falling apart. Expats are coming home, people I know who go there every Winter are not going. So how will the narco corporations be defeated, or better, who will do it? Last month the government said the drug war killed over 15,000 people in 2010, a staggering figure. People who think a certain level of corruption is safe, that a cultural tradition of corruption is something that can exist within a functional democracy are wrong, it is a metastatic disease.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

ruk - I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know if Florida is a community property state, but it would seem that if it is, the answer would be "yes" if none of the other conditions prevail (in other words, if they do have assets, are not upside-down in the mortgage, etc). Technically half of their property is hers.

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 6, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I get exactly what I'm looking for when I come to this blog.

I get to learn something or have somebody provoke thought within me...I appreciate both.

Yesterday mark in austin gave a great swimming pool metaphor to teach we lay people about judicial activism

ABC and Mark both provoked thought with the discussion of the limitations of gender in POV when writing fiction.

And today shrink has taught me a new word...satrapy. As a writer I especially love learning new words.

Thanks guys for providing a great blog experience..at least for me personally. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Cao

If you do not voluntarily disappear from this blog, I will be contacting the Vietnamese embassey about you and giving them the results of our research into your history.

Clear and simple.

There are many people on this blog who are completely sick of your attitude and repeated violations of blog rules.


Your nasty behavior has been going on for over 3 years.


This has to stop now. AND I will spend time on this. LAST WARNING -


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

3AM. The phone rings and wakes up President Palin.

"Madam President, huge protests have erupted in Cairo, Egypt. What should we do?"

President Palin: "I need to talk to someone with deep links to that nation's history. Contact Leon Spinks"

Posted by: Liam-still | February 6, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Leon Spinks got together with Dallas native Sam the Sham (Domingo Samudio) and the Pharaohs to create a consulting firm called De River in Egypt.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Bill O'Reilly claimed that God put the moon in orbit around the earth to regulate the planets tides.

Apparently God must then have gone off his meds, and started bombarding The Moon with asteroids, because it looks like it sure has taken a beaten.

When contacted for a comment on what Bill O'Reilly had claimed: God said: "Just ignore the moronic ravings of that Pinhead"

Posted by: Liam-still | February 6, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

@ru - re words... here's a fine one, little know but describing a phenomenon you'll meet here on this blog rather regularly.

"misology" and variant "misologist"

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Another illustration of what people who hope for Democracy by which we agree we mean respect for just law in Egypt must consider...

(AP) "A wealthy Russian lawmaker has fled with his family to the United States, where he says he fears assassination over accusations that some of Russia's richest and most influential people swindled him in a real estate deal. Back home, he's been charged with financial crimes.

Ashot Egiazaryan says he is considering seeking asylum in the U.S. But after suing a Russian billionaire and several former business partners — including a close friend of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Moscow's former mayor — he said he doesn't feel safe even in this country...

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev came into office in 2008 pledging to battle what he called Russia's "legal nihilism." But so far, many inside and outside Russia see more rhetoric than reform. The respected watchdog group Transparency International's latest rankings place Russia 146th out of 180 countries in its corruption index, just ahead of Sierra Leone but behind Kenya."

http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results

Egypt is tied with Mexico in its legal nihilism score, a bad prognostic indicator, no doubt about it.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,

You posted the wrong link to the Ricky Gervais item.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 6, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

rukidding and Bernie


I want to make clear - you and other liberals appear upset that I refuse to engage you on the pathetically low level on which you post. Instead, I just post-away my opinions. That should not be an issue.


However, for some reason, you believe that if someone does go down to your level, you will win. You won't. Your ideas are clearly that WEAK.


Rukidding - around the New Year, you promised to quit the blog, because, as you said, it brought out the DARK SIDE in you. Well, why haven't you followed through.

Bernie - you too said you would quit. When is that happening.


Cao - I will give the information I have on you to the embassey. All I ask is that you leave peacably right not - go find a blog on Vietnamese politics and leave us alont.


12Bar - stop harassing people. You said you have gone into therapy because you can't handle the blog - please deal with those issues before come back onto the blog because clearly you aren't playing well with the other children.


Liam - you have potential


Several of the liberals are paid Obama hacks - they should not be allowed here. The Washington Post should contact the Obama campaign and the other Obama committees and tell them STOP HARASSING THE READERS OF THE WASHINGTON POST.

That simple.


To the other liberals - you have potential, but clearly you aren't living up to it. The country has to have a budget and live within its means. PLEASE if you want the government to do something, PLEASE at least know how much it is going to cost and how the government is going to PAY for it on top of ALL THE OTHER LIBERAL programs in the budgets.


TO ALL LIBERALS - if you actually pull out the budgets, you will change your minds.

I CHALLENGE YOU ALL - get the actual budgets for your town, school boards, county, State and Federal 5 FIVE LEVELS


Look at the amounts - look at the TOTAL TAXES - and tell me WHY ANYONE HAS TO BORROW ONE DOLLAR MORE.


We don't have to borrow anymore, we are taxed enough.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

As long as we're discussing gender some, here's a link to a very good book review of a book that looks at neuroscience and concludes brains aren't hard-wired to produce differences in behavior in males and females.
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article7171325.ece

The book is Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, but I like the name of a book by the reviewer, Carol Tarvis, even better: The Mismeasure of Woman: Why women are not the better sex, the inferior sex, or the opposite sex.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

It reads like The Egyptian Regime's might be just engaging in a game of rope-a-dope, to stall until the attention of foreign media fades away.

After all; the media, especially American TV networks, can not cover Egypt and the upcoming wedding of an English Royal Penis, to an English Commoner Vagina, at the same time.

Since the Egyptian store broke, the American MSM, have stopped providing any coverage of the hanging on to power by the Ivory Coast Despot.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0206/breaking2.html

"Egyptian opposition groups said today a meeting with vice president Omar Suleiman was positive but had done nothing specific to meet their demands for a complete political overhaul in Egypt.

The government said the sides had agreed to draft a road map for talks. A statement after the meeting indicated president Hosni Mubarak would stay in power to oversee changes, which is likely to anger protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square demanding he leave now.

"Representatives from all political parties, civil societies and the Council of Wise Men met with vice president Omar Suleimen today and agreed to draft a road map," a cabinet spokesman said.

He said the meeting did not include the views of youth activists, who have been the driving force of protests against Mr Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Abdel Monem Aboul Fotouh, a senior member of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood which joined the talks despite the fact it is officially banned, said the government statement represented "good intentions but does not include any solid changes".

"We need president mubarak to issue presidential decrees to change articles 76, 77, dissolve the parliament, release all political detainees the government knows very well, end emergency status," he said.

"Until then, the youth will remain on the streets and at the same time, discussions will continue," he said.


According to a statement issued by the government, the sides agreed to form a committee to study constitutional and other reforms to propose changes by the first week of March.

The statement also said the sides agreed on lifting the state of emergency based on the "security situation". Critics say emergency law, in force for decades, was used to stifle dissent.

"The meeting was positive in general but it is only the beginning. We appreciated Omar Suleiman meeting with us independently after a general meeting with all political forces," Mustafa Naggar, co-ordinator for Mohamed ElBaradei's National Association for Change, said after the talks.

"We demanded a full democratic transformation and not partial reforms. But Suleiman responded: 'Democracy comes in stages and I am keen that there is a peaceful transitional period and civilian rule'." Many of the opposition parties, including the Brotherhood, had said they would not meet any government representatives before Mubarak left power."

Posted by: Liam-still | February 6, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Here is another pithy paragraph...

"The demonstrators are aware that the army is the one institution in Egypt that commands universal respect and that could tip this struggle one way or another. They are also aware that Mubarak, who continues to hang on, thereby continues to remain the commander-in-chief, and that an outright mutiny by the generals is unlikely." (WaPo)

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

On to a more optimistic note, ever so slowly the world becomes more transparent...

"A former Israeli soldier has admitted leaking secret military information to a newspaper. Anat Kamm pleaded guilty in return for the prosecution dropping more serious charges, which included spying and harming state security. According to the charges, she passed more than 2,000 documents to the daily Haaretz newspaper.

Kamm, 24, will be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum jail sentence of 15 years. The Tel Aviv District Court heard that between 2005 and 2007 Kamm copied secret documents from army computers while working as a clerk in the office of a general.

After leaving the army and while working for an Israeli website, she gave the documents to a reporter from Haaretz. Haaretz later published a report about a possibly-illegal Israeli operation to kill Palestinian militants in the West Bank." BBC

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Liam

You are correct about that - on the Egyptian government strategies.

However, that may not work. Clearly they are hoping to hang on like the Iranians held on.

Clearly, the Muslim Brotherhood is tempted because the liberals and Obama appear willing to be "played" - Obama hoping/pretending that he is going to come up with an accomplishment.


AT THIS POINT

it appears that Obama has backed off of his original inclination to support the crowds - in favor of a more reasoned approach based on AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS.


Obama has NOT listened to the Generals on Afghanistan.


So who is going to go in there and tell Obama what the correct course should be in Egypt ??? Seriously folks, Obama has already shown his incompetence and reluctance to listen to experts - as outlined in Woodward's book on Afghanistan. Some of those recounts are astonishing as to how Obama has forced people into his liberal positions AGAINST ALL THEIR PROFESSIONAL JUDGEMENT.


So, Obama does not have a good track record over the past two years - a recipe for DISASTER.


Anyway - someone MAY have finally jogged something in Obama's brain - and he is finally listening to someone who understands what is going on in the Middle East.


What is happening now is important.

ONE good thing - perhaps we are winning in Afghanistan, forcing Al Queda to Pakistan.

We are winning in Pakistan, forcing the Obama people to express ASTONISHMENT that Al Queda was "operational" in the Arabian Penisula - Yemen.


So perhaps the pressure is on in Yemen now - and Al Queda decided to go for Egypt. Is that desperation, or a real move on their part???


CLEARLY THIS IS WHAT AL QUEDA WANTED ALL ALONG.

IS AL QUEDA MAKING ITS MOVE IN EQYPT NOW BECAUSE THEY WANT TO, FROM STRENGTH, OR BECAUSE THEY FELL THEY HAVE TO, BECAUSE THEY FEEL THEY ARE LOSING STRENGHT GOING FORWARD ???


That is the real question.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

That Suleiman guy, gives me the willies. He gives off the same psychopathic vibe that Saddam did.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 6, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

What I for the life of me can't understand are educated bright people apparently free of crippling emotional disorders, people like tao9 and Kevin on here, people with the sense to know better but who still buy into the conservative thing. Logic should rear its head. Why doesn't it? Yeah, I know, compartmentalization, got it, but why? It's like when you learn that not all racists are complete idiots, a shattering discovery.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
I'd like to broaden this question to apply to all of us, regardless of political orientation. Why **do** we become more and more entrenched in opinions when the evidence starts to erode? I think we all do this--we hold onto outdated opinions, ridiculed opinions, and unexamined opinions as if our very life depended on it.

I'm sure there are a lot of psychological reasons, but I'd like to offer my own.

I think we do this because of unstated assumptions that we might not even be aware of. We may defend our alcoholic sister's drunk driving because we fear the family falling apart more than we value responsibility. Yet, we will fail to recognize the family issue and keep saying that she's not really irresponsible because three or four drinks are **not really that bad**. Or we will defend our political ideal even when the person representing it fails to live up to the ideal. Mrs. Palin and Mr. Edwards come to mind. We will defend their intellect or morality, when the underlying assumption is that if we admit our candidate's shortcoming, we will personally lose face.

For myself, I've learned to ask myself the following question. "What piece of evidence would it take for me to question my conviction to my opinion?" The question isn't to overturn my opinion, but to make me begin to question.

If I cannot imagine that there is **anything** that would shake my conviction, I have overcommitted to a mere opinion. Changing facts are **supposed** to shake us.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@12bar - The issues you are thoughtfully addressing above are the focus of a fair bit of neuroscience research. Weston's "The Political Brain" is a good and clear accounting.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone here considered knowledgeable about the middle east, or not?

I'd like to hear some comments from a knowledgeable source on the news about the recent "deal."

smd

PS - aside from the dreadfulness of SP's word salad, it is so very sad to see her trying to be involved/relevant (to be controversial?) by criticizing the admin. when she is so obviously not knowledgeable. James Zogby (neither a favorite of mine or someone I follow) has a piece not mentioning her on this very topic. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-zogby/politics-and-nonsense-on_b_819067.html?ir=Politics

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"But the conservative media is both very influential and also at this point pretty highly concentrated. Consider, for example, the case of John Thune. Thune voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which won’t be a very popular item on his record. But I’m sure he has some hand-wavy explanation for why this doesn’t impugne his conservative credentials. Will people buy this? I think the question comes down largely to whether or not Fox News as an institution buys it. If the Weekly Standard says Thune is a true-blue conservative and Fox News agrees and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck also espouse this view on their radio shows (two of the top five in the country) then that’s almost a consensus right there. If Rush Limbaugh insists that these guys are all wrong, and someone else is the real conservative, then that guys got a fighting chance. But Rush + News Corp is a juggernaut that would be pretty hard to stop if the interest is there in really picking someone. Of course, the interest might not be there—I could see taking the view that a stance of studied neutrality is the way to go. *But the larger point is that to a great extent the dynamic duo of Roger Ailes and Limbaugh basically just get to decide among the two of them which positions count as authentically conservative.*"

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2011/02/the-invisible-primary/

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@bernie,

Just ordered the book. Thanks.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@smd,

I'm no expert on the ME. I think the whole revolution is matter very little. The world's governments are effectively working against the interests of the youth and in the interests of the established government of Mubarek. It may not be Mubarek's face we see, but Mubarek will be just behind the next sand dune. I fear that this time is the **the** time for Egypt to gain true democracy.

The problem for us is that we cannot have what we want: we want a popular leader in Egypt who supports our policies. That's impossible. The Arab street hates our policies and therefore no leader with those views would be popular.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I fear that this time is not the time for Egypt to gain true democracy.
---------------------------------------
Someday I will proofread and catch all my mistakes, but I'm beginning to give up hope.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

When the new system comes, the first to be banned should be RainForestRising. Threats and inflammatory accusations deserve no place on WaPo blogs. Shame on you, RFR. You're disgusting.

Posted by: Amminadab | February 6, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

@smd - on top of that sad/dreadful aspect you note above on Palin speaking about things she is hopelessly uneducated regarding, there is the strong tendency within her modern right audience to imagine that her lack of education is a positive attribute. It's the "common sense" over "ivory tower" formulation (or "practical man" over "effete intellectual", etc). Permit me to recommend Richard Hofstadter's "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life" for the history on this. Pardon if you know of it already.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Even as the chorus of prayers for a return of Reagan lift up to heaven on the high shout of trumpets, let me offer this further corrective on the man's mythology...

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_02/027871.php

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@12 bar - wonderful! And if you ever get the chance to hear the fellow speak, don't miss it. Very bright and entertaining guy.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Thought I would stop by this afternoon to see whether rukidding was going to man up and admit that he falsely accused me of putting words about Jimmy Carter in his mouth yesterday, along with venting another litany of his patented insults.

Much to my nonsurprise I see he's instead comiserating and whining about imagined insults to himself, after launching a series of his "effing moron" etc. word fogs, because I had the gall to disagree with his hyperbolic attacks on Fox.

You used to be strident, ruk, but I don't recall your being so dishonest. That's certainly changed. Which is a shame, for you.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, QB....

Why do conservatives whine and cry so much?

Posted by: Amminadab | February 6, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@Bernie....

Two new vocabulary words in one day...woo hoo! Thanks. After looking it up I agree with you that "misology" does indeed describe most of the right wing posters here.

I also wonder if a few of them are also misanthropes.?

@12Bar

"I think we all do this--we hold onto outdated opinions, ridiculed opinions, and unexamined opinions as if our very life depended on it."

At the risk of sounding incredibly arrogant and conceited (the righties will be here in 3-2-1 to confirm I do indeed possess those qualities in copious quantities) I do not believe I do this anymore 12Bar. Although that does not mean I dismiss your point because I basically agree with it...I just feel I'm past it now. I attribute a growing spirituality to getting past it...everything happens for a reason...including having one's ignorance or incorrect positions exposed. I'm cool with someone exposing my errors, and I love somebody changing my mind with a particular way to view something. I must confess that Mark in Austin's swimming pool metaphor to explain judicial activism really did force me to think and change my opinion on the subject. Mark is an excellent advocate for his chosen profession. I've learned from many many posters on this blog and sometimes that new knowledge has changed my mind or position on different issues...or at minimum altered my viewpoint. I never wish to grow so old as to become calcified in my thinking..which to me is the ultimate end of life.

12Bar...Bernies' new word for me..misologist doesn't give the reason why, but it describes perhaps that to which you are alluding. It's a pretty cool word.

@ABC

"“The Mismeasure of Woman: Why women are not the better sex, the inferior sex, or the opposite sex.”

I LOVE that line, and that line of thinking. ABC you are increasing the size of my library daily. :-) My you have some eclectic and IMHO excellent taste in your reading material.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

12Bar

OK I'm going to go all 12Bar on you here. :-)

"The Arab street hates our policies and therefore no leader with those views would be popular."

I agree with your point but wonder if you care to elucidate why this is the case?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"Even as the chorus of prayers for a return of Reagan lift up to heaven on the high shout of trumpets, let me offer this further corrective on the man's mythology..."


Isn't it marvelous how the entire liberal/Democrat media apparatus is mobilized around this new message, all singing the same song from the same song sheet.

How does that happen, Bernie? It almost seems like it's orchstrated by someone behind the scenes.

I guess the bright side is that now that Reagan has been rehabilited as a tax-and-spend liberal, you all can stop claiming that economic progress and growth stopped and reversed in 1980, that he wrecked the economy, imosed "trickle down" economics, and destroyed the middle class. Apparently it really was morning in America.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

12BarBluesAgain at 2:35 PM

What is wrong with you?


Can't you see the budget decifits?

The Conservatives are CORRECT.


For the life of me, you are a lesbian - and you think the way you do, from that point of view.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Q: "Why do conservatives whine and cry so much?"

A: Trying to return to a past that never was is frustrating.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Amminadab AT 3:09 PM


Two straight days of harassing me.

That means you should be banned?


Who do you think you are, coming onto this blog and demanding that someone should be banned???

That is why I think you are an old person under a new name.


I don't care either way - you should be banned -


STICK TO THE ISSUES , AND LEAVE THE OTHER PEOPLE ALONE.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

What I'm really exploring are the assumptions we make that bolster our opinions, but assumptions that we may not consciously aware of. Sometimes, most of the facts can change and yet we'll still cling to our opinion. That's not as irrational as it appears. I think we have value based or emotional reasons why we cling to our discredited opinions and if we got in touch with those emotional reasons, we would learn what **really** motivates us.

It's not the facts, it's the values and emotions that really drive us.

I really got in tune with this when the posters were doing a mini debate on whether waterboarding is torture. Some people were dealing with whether it is legally torture. My reaction was strong in that I don't care what's legal, it's torture morally. If the law defines it as acceptable, that doesn't influence me to accept it.

I had to ask myself: what new fact would have to appear for me to question my moral judgment. Well, perhaps if I was waterboarded and it wasn't so bad, or if a group of people whose opinion I valued were waterboarded and said it was benign, I would reconsider. Not saying I would change, but that would shake my conviction.

Obviously, I have another value: torture is unacceptable for the U.S. regardless of its utility. In other words, I value the principle more than the usefulness of the technique.

That is an example of what I'm talking about--our underlying assumptions that support our opinions.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

ALL,

I suspect that 12Barblues thinks she is being smart - I think she simply has another computer, or her cell phone.


She is on this blog, talking to HERSELF, pretending to be different people !

In fact, I think she is using 4 FOUR names right now.

It is a laugh.

But 12Bar, you aren't fooling anyone by talking to YOURSELF SMD,

or to your OTHER SELF Amminadab.


It is funny, but you really haven't outsmarted anyone -

I think you are doing this because you think you might be in line for being banned - as a result of bringing Cao to this blog - KNOWING FULL WELL WHAT HE WOULD DO - a clearly destructive intent.

ALL of which you have admitted to.


12Bar - keep up with the circus - but your hostility shows.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

The Arab Street doesn't like our support for Israel (settlements and Palestinian issue) and our support for the existing Arab governments. I see that support for U.S. in Egypt (the regular people) is 12%. That's pretty much the same over the whole Arab ME.

We want what we can't have: popular Arab leaders who support our policies.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Poor RFR.... am I harassing you? Oh you poor little baby. I read the crap you spew constantly, but now you whine that I am harassing you? What is your preoccupation with everyone's sexual orientation? What makes you constantly post illiterate nonsense? How come you cannot engage in conversation?

These are the mysteries of RFR.

BTW.... maybe you can answer, why do conservatives whine and cry so much? Please answer, as your time here is running short.

Posted by: Amminadab | February 6, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Dear RFR,

Please take your meds. I am not 12Bar, and I am not smd. Your paranoia is astounding. You are... ummmm.... being outsmarted by your own... uh... demons.

Posted by: Amminadab | February 6, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"Is anyone here considered knowledgeable about the middle east, or not? Posted by: smd1234"

There are legions of Historians and geographers and sociologists who can exlpain Egypt and its history from Joser to Mubarek in fine detail. They can explain that Egypt is the gift and the slave of the Nile River, explain Egypt's acceptance of baksheesh, they can develop a great narrative of Egypt after Napoleon, when the British shouldered their way into shadow government. They can develop from that a great explaination of the Muslim brotherhood.

They are flatly guessing and that poorly if they try to tell you what is really happening in Egypt right now.

Five millenia of despotic rule have produced a people who don't tell anyone of importance anything except under duress. As long as the Nile rises, (And with the Aswan High dam's closure, it no longer rises) and floods, and the bosses leave the farmers with enough of their produce to live on, they have little reason to expect very much from Pharaoh except that bandits get caught and executed. For the rest, the get as much law and justice as they can buy from the local powers. Nothing in the last seventy years that they have experienced can make much a dent in that kind of accumulated wisdom.

Now Kids and crones and professionals and fellahs are doing the very unusual, throwing Pharaoh out of his palace. That is most unusual, because the epitome of Watershed Empires has never had a change of rulers brought about by the ruled in all that incredible time.

The current revolution has no where to look for a model of how to procede. The Egyptian People are looking at learning how to build a government of, by, and for the people, where, literally, they have had government on the populace, under despots, for the wealthy.

I doubt that even the intelligence services have more than a rough outline of what the people who are the real forces now acting expect or will accept in the way of change. And even then those very forces haven't a strong sense of what they want or can accept.

It might be that they decide that the precedent of Mubarek finishing his established term and departing is so unusual in their history that it is worth establishing. It may be correct that what Mubarek claims is true, that unless he finishes his term chaos will return to Egypt such that the green strip along the nile hasn't seen since they learned to make huts of mud brick.

This particular revolution is quite the unique experience that does not fit anywhere in all of human history.

It is quite likely that no one knows where things stand or where they are trending, and no none will know until they have reached a stable pausing, years in the future.

And therefor out of office politicians, even the most knowledgeable, are totally unqualified to criticize Obama's approach to the problem. because, quite literally, NOBODY KNOWS what is going on and nobody can say who we should support, or even that we SHOULD support anybody.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 6, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

BTW.... maybe you can answer, why do conservatives whine and cry so much? Please answer, as your time here is running short.
---------------------------------------------
Tick

Tock

Time grows short for the Rain Man...

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar

"It's not the facts, it's the values and emotions that really drive us."

If I may add to your observations...which btw I agree with...there is another HUGE driver of this type of behavior...and I mean a really large reason this occurs..

CHANGE!

Humans by and large are afraid of change, and I mean instinctually. Perhaps someone more schooled in anthropology can explain this better than me..but a couple of examples..one quite common..the other very dramatic.

A lecturer on Dental Practice Management once told his audience, which included me, that change is incredibly difficult to implement. Hence Obama's trying times with change we can believe in...doesn't matter whether we "believe" in it or not, it's still CHANGE! This man related a story of when he first visited a dental practice as a consultant and talked about some changes coming up in the practice. The dental assistants, hygienists, front desk folks, as well as the Doc were present for this staff meeting. When the word "change" came out of his mouth one of the ladies started choking up and said, "Change? You mean we have to change" It was very traumatic from her point of view.
Humans are incredibly adaptable but amazingly we do not embrace change.

The most egregious example this man gave about the difficulties of change was to describe what happens when state agencies show up to rescue a baby from a physically abusive mother. Even the worst mothers..accused of awful stuff like putting out cigarettes on their children...what does the child do when taken from the mother? It screams for its' mother because the known terror is more comforting than the unknown change.

We now joke in our dental practice...Change?..you mean I have to change?...delivered in a really whiny voice.

This pretty much sums up the conservative philosophy to me..."Change? You mean we have to change? Waaaahhh."

Obama or anybody out to really change things will always confront this phenomenon.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, why does Yglesias let Ailes and Limbaugh decide what conservatism is for him? Seems like he's giving over alot of power to other people. Plus, I'm pretty sure he's not a conservative, so it even makes the question doubly curious. It would be equivalent to me allowing Ed Schultz and Pinch Schultzburger to decked what liberian means to me.

And how far did Democratic Presidential Candidates,who voted for the Iraq war and then later did not apologize get? TARP's a dealbreaker for me, ergo Ryan, for example, w/out a Democratic Presidential Candidate level of grovelingly apologei for the Iraq war vote.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@cefyline

Agree totally with your 4:04 Post.

Again I would toss in my "change" problem.
People are discomfited by change..even when it is for the better.

@12Bar

Also agree with your post at 4:04.

Tick

Tock

Time grows short for the Rain Man...

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"deciding what Liberalism means to me.". Doh, forgive my predictive text.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

qb:

""It almost seems like it's orchstrated by someone behind the scenes.""

Heh.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

And developing my previous note, which ran out of characters.

Of all the nations on this earth, Egypt is the one withby far the longest continuousthread of government. Egypt has, for perhaps six or seven thousand years, been under some form of despotism, that is rule by a despotes, a single ruler ruling in his own name and on his own authority. The claim may be based on being the son of a Pharoah, or on being the appointee of Cyrus or Ceaser, or a califf or a Khedive, but the ruler rules in his own name and is legitimate just as long as he can enforce his rule. Mubarak is as much Pharoah as any of his thousands of antecedents, he rules as long as he can make his rules stick. When the despot's writ and law can extend to every mud hutin the Two Kingdoms, and therefor banditry is controlled and men walk according to the law, Egypt ought to prosper. When Pharoah becomes old and weak, and his son's or agents cannot control the upper and lower kingdoms, anarchy rises and Egypt begins to starve.

Making a transition from that paradigm to one where the people rule throug their elected representatives will not be a quick transition. The inertia of seven thousand years of experience will most likely assert itself and another despot will end up wearing the modern equivalent of the Vulture and the Cobra. Maybe he will need his assembly more than Mubarak needed his, and maybe the revolution that topples the next Dynasty will further the advancement towards at least Democracy, (the rule by Demes, the political groupings that actually ruled Athens) and eventually to Republican (Representative rule by persons elected by their particular gens or locus)rule.

But to expect instantaneous change in a culture with those seven millenia of experience is probably rather impatient of us parvenus.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 6, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama or anybody out to really change things will always confront this phenomenon.
--------------------------------------------
And yet 63m voters voted for Change We Can Believe In.

If we are so change-phobic as a people, why would we vote for Change?

I do believe we are change-phobic, but there is some other value going on here.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line:

1. The Mubarak regime stays.

2. The United States gets blamed by Arabs and Muslims for supporting dictators in Muslim countries on behalf of Israel and oil companies.

3. Muslims and Arabs hate the United States even more than they already do.

Now let's get on to undermining the New Deal.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 6, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

3. Muslims and Arabs hate the United States even more than they already do.
-----------------------------------------------
You are probably right, wb. The only good news (for those of us with cynical minds) is that only 12% of the street in Egypt approves of us now. We can barely sink lower.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

The other day, in the context of our morality discussion you asked me if there was any analogous phenomenon that I could think of, which I thought existed but which could not be demonstrated. I said no, but I think I spoke too soon. It seems to me that the notion of free will, or volition, is not only analogous but related. We all (most of us, anyway) operate on the assumption that free will exists, and the way we talk about things incorporates that assumption, but we cannot prove or demonstrate that any such thing actually does exist. Our “choices” could simply be the necessary result of our brain makeup and the stimulus with which we are presented. So there you go.

Do you accept that free will exists?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar

"And yet 63m voters voted for Change We Can Believe In."

Indeed and the trauma of electing a black man named Barrack HUSSEIN Obama, a man with a Kenyan father and white mother, a man as versed in Islam as any previous President, is obviously more change than our nation could handle gracefully. Hence all the ugliness, and vitriol from the right. Toss in genuine change...such as acknowledging we are as good as any other nation in the world and can provide healthcare for our citizens...the change that Obama inherited, a global economy and G.W. Bush's crapped out economy...when viewed from all of this we should actually be very, very proud of our nation. It hasn't been pretty, in fact it's been disgusting at times, birtherism, "real" Americans pitted against "unreal" Americans...but still here we are with Obama sitting at relatively high approval ratings...and in fact approval ratings that blow away St. Ronnie at a similar point in his Admin.

As for the 63 million who voted..what put O over the top was the huge turnout of young people. Which begs another question of you 12Bar.

Just my personal observation but young folks seem to accept change more easily than the blue hairs and baldies. Not quantifiable evidence, just an observation.

What do you see 12Bar. Are the young more able to accept change...a Black President?
gay rights? Less hostility at our illegal immigrants? If you are observing the same thing why do you suppose that is the case.
Fox news audience skews much older than the other news networks. How do you explain this 12Bar?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

12BB
"And yet 63m voters voted for Change We Can Believe In."

Of which a substantial number, arguably most, had no idea what that change entailed.

That is the beauty of modern progressivism, as it habitually and obsessively evolves, it has no fixed vision.

Desire for power is its only constant.

Can't you (proles) see what's good for you, you have to pass the bill to find out what's in it.

Posted by: tao9 | February 6, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"3. Muslims and Arabs hate the United States even more than they already do."

Geez, I hope we don't get them so mad[der] that they'd do something crazy, like... I don't know... Fly planes into buildings or something.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"only 12% of the street in Egypt approves of us now. We can barely sink lower"

12BB:

And it's the percentage that REALLY hates us that is even scarier, to which this event will only add. I truly think the United States will regret having Mubarak stay for several reasons, including the possibility that this approach will lead to even greater instability in Egypt than is presently at risk. But the decision to stay with the Mubarak Regime so was made very early on, I suspect by the time McCain left his private meeting with Obama and said that ElBaradei was "not a friend" to the United States.

So much for foreign affairs and national security. Now we have public employee unions to smash and corporations to genuflect before.

I'm way past cynical.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 6, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

12 Bar, I've recommended this article on this blog before: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html It's a fascinating NYT magazine piece by Steven Pinker called "The Moral Instinct," and it addresses the way the categories of things we value divide us into groups that have consistent but contrasting moral outlooks. It may offer insights into why we tend to be so dug-in in our thinking. And it may shed some light on Cao's question of why bright people can seem impervious to what other bright people see as objective fact.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

O&O.

Enjoy the Big Game. Sorry for you Pittsburgh guys but I can't root for Roethlisberger which makes me a Temporary Cheesehead. I'm really rooting for my numbers in the pool.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 6, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

I do think that young people are less entrenched in maintaining the past, probably since they've seen little of it. But, we were once those young people and we were pushing for change too. Once people get a little older and have more skin in the game, they seem to swing toward protecting their assets more.

I like your example of the woman groaning "does that mean we have to change" because I think that applies to the vast majority of us, regardless of political party. Liberals don't want to touch SS--conservatives don't want to touch the present healthcare system. We both have our "rational" reasons, but underlying those reasons, and far stronger, is fear. We are afraid that any change will be out of our control and have unanticipated consequences and will lead to other changes we won't like.

If you are right (and I think you are) that change is not a positive value for most of us, wouldn't you think the worst strategic mistake would be for a candidate to push Change. And yet Obama did, and won on that slogan.

Something else appealed to us subliminally, I think. Or our change-phobia is very carefully prescribed and is not as universal as we say.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

McWing:

""Geez, I hope we don't get them so mad[der] that...""

You know, it's interesting. When the American "street" expresses disdain or distrust of Arabs, it's a failure of America. When the Arab 'street" expresses disdain or distrust of Americans, it's a failure of America. There seems to be a pattern here.

It's quite amazing how the rest of the world is only ever responding to stimuli that we give them. If only we came up with the right stimuli, all would be well in the world, it seems.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"If we are so change-phobic as a people, why would we vote for Change? I do believe we are change-phobic, but there is some other value going on here. Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain "

Because the most hide bound Conservative has no problem demanding that YOU change while HE gets to keep on doing whatever it was he was doing.

When your house is slowly filling with water in the latest 100 year flood, you are definitely for change, you want the water gone. When the water is gone, and the house cleaned up, and the GOVERNMENT, Big and Bold, comes to you and says We are going to prevent your ever being flooded again, and you will be taxed according to how much damage this flood did to your house, odds are that you will protest, I HATE Big Government and I am already taxed too much.

Read the history of the Miami Conservancy District.

Our last hundred year flood was probably only a few years or so ago, but because leaders in the community got fed up with the hundred year flood of 98 years ago and dis something about it, our floods occur in convenient places and not in the cities and towns that flooded March of 1913.

But the resistance to Big Government, and to the taxes it would bring, and on and on were loud and sincere.

We want change when we are in danger, or hungry, or homeless. When we are fed and safe and warm in a home, let someone else change.

Like the man of the hills with the leaky roof explained it, when asked why he didn't fix his leaky roof, "When it rains, I can't very well go up on the roof, can I, and when it don't rain the roof don't leak,"

Posted by: ceflynline | February 6, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"BTW.... maybe you can answer, why do conservatives whine and cry so much?"

Remember the 20-year study published in 2006 that showed that whiny kids grew up to be conservative? Summary of findings here: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=67745

Seriously, these days the conservative slogan could be: "Butthurt is the force that gives our lives meaning."

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 6, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Of which a substantial number, arguably most, had no idea what that change entailed.
------------------------------------------------------
If change-phobia is a common human fear, having no idea of the change would make it worse, not better.

I'm not arguing politics. I'm pointing out that we believe in two conflicting ideas: 1) People fear change and 2) People voted for Change.

There is more going on here than our #1 and #2.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Just my personal observation but young folks seem to accept change more easily than the blue hairs and baldies. Not quantifiable evidence, just an observation. Posted by: rukidding7"

It is inherently obligatory in youth to value change, because otherwise they would never become independent of their parents.

But the parents, having made that particular change, and become established in their independence, have every reason to keep doing what they know and can implement, because that is what keeps them fed, sheltered, and reproductive. To change puts that at risk. As L Sprague deCamp points out in "The Anchient Engineers", "Unyil the rise of cities, change must procede very slowly because any change disturbs the village and risks destroying the village."

Only where many sufficiently different ways and customs exist side by side can change become rapid, because new things can be discovered more often, and used and evaluated and found to improve the lives of people and be noticed to do so. And yet every one of the people in such a city has every reason to fear change, because even if it IS good for the city, it may not be good for each and every citizen.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 6, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

We want change when we are in danger, or hungry, or homeless.
-----------------------------------------------
@ceflynline,

I think you are onto something. You are saying there is a stronger fear than the fear of change, and that is the fear of imminent death (financial ruin being a facsimile thereof). We overcome our fear of change temporarily.

In 11/2008, if you weren't scared, you weren't alive.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Best Obama interview with a hostile host. He was perfect.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"If only we came up with the right stimuli, all would be well in the world, it seems."

Perhaps we could pay for a new shingles for everyone in the world that has a leaky roof.

And if the shingles were of recycled materials or "Green"(tm) materials developed via Fed stimulus at a GE lab it would employ 25 million Americans. Tomorrow!!!

win win

Posted by: tao9 | February 6, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

12Bar - it's a combination of things - people want THINGS to change but they don't want to have to deal with change themselves for one, for another, you can't look at election results and say "people voted for change" and "people fear change" as if you're describing a massive overlap. You aren't, because for one thing, close to half of those who voted (many didn't bother) didn't vote for change. Then you look at people's opinions in different polls - for health care for example, when people are asked only if they favor repeal vs. keeping the new law, the percentage of those in favor of keeping the new law is not that much lower than the percentage of people who "voted for change." Of course when it's broken down further yet, we find that MORE people favor keeping the law or making it even stronger than "voted for change". So you can't really go by the whole "voting for change" thing - there's not that big of a disconnect there between the vote and polling on most issues.

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 6, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

@jenn,

This doesn't respond to your whole post, but I think that perhaps the ACA is now considered the new status quo and people increasingly want to leave it alone. For a while anyway to see how it goes.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

12BB, "You are saying there is a stronger fear than the fear of change, and that is the fear of imminent death (financial ruin being a facsimile thereof). We overcome our fear of change temporarily."

If you really want to get into those weeds, read this book. But it may change your life and you know I don't say stuff like that.

http://www.amazon.com/Denial-Death-Ernest-Becker/dp/0684832402

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@shrink

"Best Obama interview with a hostile host. He was perfect."

I was busy helping to feed my 92 year old mother in law her super bowl dinner. Talk about gaining some perspective..and when it's from helping a 92 year old it's all good. And please I say this not as a pat on my back...because that is not the case...everytime I've ever done anything for my 92 year old mother in law or my own 85 year old mother...I've always received far more than I've given.

BUT...I only caught the second half of Bill O's interview. I agree with your observation about how the President came off but perhaps because I only saw the second half I found Bill O to not actually be that hostile and in fact somewhat respectful...it was a disturbing sight in some ways...perhaps because of that "change" we are discussing. Has Bill O's view of Obama, not his policies but the man changed?

@cefynline and 12Bar...

Great discussion on change in general and what "change" might mean to Egyptians...apparently it's too difficult for them to pull off this revolution.

Time to join the 100 million plus and check out the Super Bowl. I'll catch y'all later.

GO PACK!!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Good points that Change can be perceived as either 1) Change that affects you but not me or 2) Change to conditions that only affect me if they are good.

Either definition still confirms we are change-phobic at our core.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

No, we should not subsidize foreign nations, whether with shingles or ballistic weapons. So we should be out of Afghanistan and out of Iraq. And we should stop sending Egypt 1.5B annually to fund its military (and maintain its dictator) while we are simultaneously sending a lot more to Israel to finance ITS military and refuse to settle for a reasonable peace.

It isn't our "stimuli" that are at issue: it is our dollars. We should keep our money here and pay off the debt instead. (Isn't that the priority du jour?) And then let the Egyptian People govern themselves.

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 6, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I am guessing no one here just watched the Bill O' interview with the POTUS? Well millions of Americans did, so watch a re-run, it was really good.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

TO........12Bar

I have seen this in my father in law in his later years......http://www.frumforum.com/fox-geezer-syndrome

This may help - the observation that the brain desires to have harmony. The 2nd explanation below is what I am addressing:

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance.

They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.

Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying.

It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

this might be a repeat

TO.....12Bar

I observed this phenomenon in my father-in-law as he aged: http://www.frumforum.com/fox-geezer-syndrome

I think the 2nd explanation here will be of value:
Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance.
They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.
Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying.
It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

re: Reagan myths and reality

Guys like quarterback1 see the Gipper resurrected in the female form, our celebrity 0.5-term governor of Alaska.

smd

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The secret of happiness revealed!

Everything I've ever done for yadda worthy recipient yadda, I've always received far more than I've given. You show me a happy person, I'll show you someone who tries to give more than they get.

Now of course, it doesn't always work. There are lots of miserable people who give more than they get. I am just saying there are no happy people who try to get more than they give.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

@shrink,

I just ordered the book from the library. If it changes my life, I will buy it. How's that for commitment. I am aware that there are a lot of events in our lives that are reasonable facsimiles of death, even if on reflection, they are not life threatening. We behave as if our lives depend on it.

For a time in my life, I kept myself paralyzed unable to make progress with my life, until I decided I was clinging on as if I was perched on top of a chasm. Those are life changing moments when you look down and see that ground right beneath your feet and not a thousand yards down.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Can someone explain how to install the gizmo so I will not see the rainman's barrage?

TIA

smd

PS - 12Bar, yesterday the rainman was ranting in repeated posts (naturally) that I am really YOU.
LOL

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

@shrink

"I am just saying there are no happy people who try to get more than they give."

Amen! And this has been taught to us through so many cultures, religions and belief systems. I'm not sure how many cultures have actually internalized and accepted the true meaning of this bit of Universal knowledge. Indeed when Oliver Stone tried to point out what you have just stated shrink...there were many, far too many IMHO who actually thought that Gordon Gecko was cool and that he was correct that greed was existentially good.
I suspect we have some of those same people posting on this blog and I feel pretty certain they are not coming from the left.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

PS - 12Bar, yesterday the rainman was ranting in repeated posts (naturally) that I am really YOU.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Rainman has accused me of everything including the killing of Koch Robin (hope that gets through the filter).

He can't believe that dozens and dozens of people want him gone, including people who agree with him politically. So, that must mean there's only two or three of us and we impersonating each other. Of course, when he goes into his Paid Cabal of Liberal Posters, there are dozens of us.

Not to worry. He's skating on thin ice now that he's taken to threatening our blog host with lawsuits and trying to get him fired. He tried that with Chris Cillizza, and guess what, Cillizza zapped him.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Now that we have shrink in our midst, I'll throw out my totally uninformed view knowing that he will correct me if necessary.

We do try to reduce our dissonance by changing our attitudes to support our actions, or I suppose in some cases, changing our actions to support our attitudes. But what I experience is that we seem to be comfortable just ignoring our dissonance by not connecting the dots. If we don't talk about our conflicting views in the same sentence, we just carry on.

I have read my own writing, and have occasionally noticed, I will make a declaration at the beginning that is in conflict with my closing line three paragraphs later. Until I wrote it, and reread it, I was not even aware that I was holding these two conflicting views.

Writing can be a great clarifier.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse


Amminadab AT 3:09 PM


Two straight days of harassing me.

That means you should be banned?


Who do you think you are, coming onto this blog and demanding that someone should be banned???

That is why I think you are an old person under a new name.


I don't care either way - you should be banned -


STICK TO THE ISSUES , AND LEAVE THE OTHER PEOPLE ALONE.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

12Barblues thinks that because she is "talking to herself" on two computers, or by using a cell phone -

she thinks that means we don't think she is writing under 4 different names.


That trick is 20 years old, HA.


Yea, that is an old AOL trick from the early 1990s.


HA

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar

I'm enjoying this discussion on "cognitive dissonance" and change and as you suggest with our resident shrink in the house he can correct where we falter...

And so 12Bar...understand that I agree with all of your observations...but what say you to the great F Scott Fitzgerald in his 1936
essay "The Crack Up".

"the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

Do you agree with Fitzgerald?

Have you experienced this in your own life?

How do we differentiate this from "cognitive dissonance"?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"And we should stop sending Egypt 1.5B annually to fund its military (and maintain its dictator)"

I thought we were treaty bound to bribe, er, provide aid to Egypt a la Jimmeh? Shod we be the first tear it up?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

GO PACK...............


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
--------------------------------------------------
I hope Fitz is right, because I'm aware quite often that we hold opposing ideas. Take Egypt for example. I want the people to have a thriving democracy and I want the U.S.' interests to be protected. Those are probably opposing ideas in reality. Both can't be achieved. I am aware of that, and yet I still pine for both ideals. But, if I were President, I would have to balance those two ideas. Not that easy, but still it must be done.

I think it is more honest to live with internal conflict than to immediately swerve into compensating behaviour to reduce stress. I think more good can come from grappling with our internal conflicts and being uncomfortable for a while while trying to prioritize and rethink. Too much of the time, we just blame, condemn, get huffy or plain ignore our conflicts.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 6, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

OK genius, quarterback1, let's do a comparison to test my assertion that you've quoted and commented on this A.M. (your post excerpt is below)

Walter Dellinger was Solicitor General for the 1996-97 Term of the Supreme Court. He returned to Duke in August, 1997.
Walter Dellinger HAS ARGUED 13 CASES IN THE SUPREME COURT SINCE 1997

Bork HAS ARGUED 5 CASES THERE SINCE 1977

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
"Unlike most who serve as Solicitor General, Bork DID NOT have much of a career arguing cases before the Court AFTER he was no longer Solicitor General. Since 1977 he has argued only 5 cases before the Court."

Indeed, he wasn't in private practice. Before he was SG he was a full professor at Yale Law School, as I noted earlier.
. . .
Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 6:55 AM

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

@Troll

Do you ever view ANYTHING other than from the prism of a rigid partisan?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 6, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

If shrink is going to clarify things, maybe he can expand his reponse on cognitive dissoance to include Stockholm Syndrome. Shrink? If a captive has a different set of beliefs than the captor, does that create the same kind of dissonance so that a captive is more likely to adapt the captor's beliefs? And can that be extended to more prosaic situations?--e.g., a husband or wife adopting the views of a more dominant or controlling spouse? So often it happens that people switch politics or religion or other outlooks from generation to generation and I'm curious why that happens, if it's more than just rebelling against the older generation.

Looks like it's about kickoff time.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

When the new system comes, the first to be banned should be RainForestRising. Threats and inflammatory accusations deserve no place on WaPo blogs. Shame on you, RFR. You're disgusting.

Posted by: Amminadab | February 6, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, QB....

Why do conservatives whine and cry so much?

Posted by: Amminadab | February 6, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse


Kinda funny. You've got the liberal thing down. Good work.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

"Do you ever view ANYTHING other than from the prism of a rigid partisan?"

Funny, I see myself as partisan, because that's how you gain power in a Representative Republic, and my idealogy guides how that power should exercised. I see myself as no more rigedly partisan than your average commentor on a political blog.

I'm not particularly self-actualized though, so YMMV.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

OK genius, quarterback1, let's have you prove what you've asserted about me. We'll start with 3 to keep this a manageable number for you.
see below

'''''''''''''''''
smd's attempt to portray him [BORK] as a dullard reveals nothing but smd's own fraudulence.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 6:55 AM

1. PROOF PLEASE THAT I ATTEMPTED TO PORTRAY BORK AS A DULLARD
................................

And yet I . . . said not a word related to Palin. At first I noticed that your arguments are sloppy, your thoughts careless, and your knowledge strangely patchy.
. . .
Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 5:56 AM

2. PROOF PLEASE THAT MY "ARGUMENTS" ARE SLOPPY

3. PROOF PLEASE THAT MY "THOUGHTS" ARE CARELESS

~~~IF YOU WANT, WE CAN GET INTO MORE FROM THERE ONCE YOU RESPOND TO THESE 3.
................................

smd

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Whooooboy QB1, you unleashed an ALLCAP tirade on yourself. Ethan? Is that you? ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"OK genius, quarterback1, let's do a comparison to test my assertion that you've quoted and commented on this A.M. (your post excerpt is below)"


Apparently I'm not enough of a genius to grasp whatever point it is you think you are making.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Troll,

I've been wondering the same thing. ; )

But smd hasn't yet asserted that Rethuglicans are the lowest scum on earth or those other impersonal denunciations that Ethan spent most of his last few months shouting into the void.

I seem to have a gift for attracting the nutjobs with chips on their shoulders.

Boy didn't that National Anthem stink?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

smd,

I'd suggest instead that you either take a nice warm bath and have some tea. Cuz I'm probably not going to indulge your silliness.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

12BB

"I decided I was clinging on as if I was perched on top of a chasm. Those are life changing moments when you look down and see that ground right beneath your feet and not a thousand yards down."

Yes, but a child gets run over in a cross walk for no reason, by someone who was not drunk, just a bad day. Life is hard and it is short and we have to live it as if it is and as if it is not.

Someday, we will talk about this the central problem we face. After you read that book, I'll post a Rilke passage and then we can really talk about the human condition, which is all about mitigating cognitive dissonance.

ABC, I will (expand, I hope it makes sense), briefly the identification with the aggressor is an important defensive (survival) gizmo in our heads, it might be wired by evolution.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

TO ....RainForestRising

I have no idea what your 9:22 AM post today is really about but one part intrigued me.
Please share what you mean by "there will be a response."
'''''''''''''''''''''''''
WASHINGTON POST - really should do something about the Obama paid trolls. There should be some contact made between the paper and Axelrod as to the ground rules BECAUSE if the Obama paid trolls start to harass people again like they did in 2008 and 2009, there will be a response.

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, at the risk of losing my "Saying Conservative Things" cred, I kinda liked it. I'll turn in my Conservative Club membership card if necessary. Just don't treat me like Glen Matloch.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

qb:

""Kinda funny. You've got the liberal thing down. Good work.""

Well, there was the whole discussion about cognitive dissonance. Perhaps he was just trying to contribute in his own way.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Troll,

I suspect you'd have to do something much crazier to jeopardize your card or your standing. I've heard from good sources that Cheney has his eye on you. Bigger things, my friend, bigger things.

Well, rats, there goes my Super Bowl score contest for the quarter.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

qb/McWing:

I kinda liked "America the Beautiful" by the Glee chick.

And did you guys see Chris Hanburger, former Redskin great? Man is he small compared to today's guys. He'd never make it in today's game.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

"And did you guys see Chris Hanburger, former Redskin great? Man is he small compared to today's guys. He'd never make it in today's game."

Agreed. Size does matter.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Scott,

Same observations. I hadn't seen paid attention to the HOF class for the year and was mildly surprised to see Hanburger, but he did look small. Probably has taken good care of himself though too.

Christina A could have done a nice job if she'd just sung it straigter, imo.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"And did you guys see Chris Hanburger, former Redskin great? Man is he small compared to today's guys. He'd never make it in today's game."

Agreed. Size does matter.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Our minds are always at odds with reality and our minds are always at odds with ourselves. Cognitive dissonance is a controlling force, it can not be made to go away. We have wishes and fears that are in conflict. We have instincts that conflict with what we know and believe to be true and real, we need to be well defended. We are in perpetual conflict with ourselves and each other, then eventually we die. There is no alternative. Still we get to be happy. We are happy when we own and learn the work arounds for our internal conflicts and become able to understand and truly appreciate our sincere effort to be valued if not loved by other people.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Cognitive Dissonance is a term that is basly confused. Once upon a time I had the impression that it was a derogatory term for people who held two contradictory positions , like Tea Party times who want the government to stay out of their medicare. Accusing someone of cognitive dissonance was equivalent to saying that he didn't understand his own positions and so could want a twelve passenger van he could park in a motor cycle slot.

Then it became a term for internally contradictory thinking where, for instance, you wanted a Reaganesque budget, low taxes, high defense spending, and a surplus.

Now it seems to be intended to mean the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts and not get all hung up mentally, although that should really be intentionally holding those two thoughts and being able to accept them both.

Sort of like I can easily understand some Conservative Principles, and fuly understand them from a Conservative point of view, and still understand that they are flatly incorrect. It isn't that I don't understand the Conservative position on taxes, but I can understand it and still realize that fiscal conservatism, in its essential form, actually demands some major tax increases if we are to balance our budget and keep it balanced.

But that kind of cognitive dissonance is quite rare, because it actually requires that you master your opponent's thought and reasoning, without losing your own reasoning and values.

Much harder to do.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 6, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Did you just see that commercial? Now I have to sit here and explain to my 10yr old what a "rack" is.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse

So shrink, the idea could be expanded even further to say that people experience less cognitive dissonance when they stay with their own group? This could be one frame for understanding sectional differences and various allegiances that play out in our politics.

And for some reason, I'm wondering about the cognitive dissonance that must have been present behind the calm at the SOTU with the bipartisan seating.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse

TO.....bernie

I was a political science major at a Univ. with one of the truly great political science departments in the USA.

Some tidbits for you re: Hofstadter


==1==
I am pretty sure that it was not more than a couple years after Hofstadter's book on anti-intellectualism was published, he had a collection of essays published titled The Paranoid Style in American Politics was.

Here is a link to a collection on the "Paranoid Mentality" which includes a Harper's magazine article on that topic by Hofstadter.

The article was one of the essays in Hofstadter's "Paranoid Style" book. (http://www.kenrahn.com/jfk/conspiracy_theory/the_paranoid_mentality/Paranoid_mentality.html)

Regarding the Hofstadter article, according to wikipedia....

In a 2007 article in Harper's, Scott Horton wrote that The Paranoid Style in American Politics was "one of the most important and most influential articles published in the 155 year history of the magazine."

Laura Miller writes in Salon.com that conservative commentator Glenn Beck is a contemporary example of the "paranoid style":

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" reads like a playbook for the career of Glenn Beck, right down to the paranoid's "quality of pedantry" and "heroic strivings for 'evidence,'" embodied in Beck's chalkboard and piles of books. But Beck lacks an archenemy commensurate with his stratospheric ambitions, which makes him appear even more absurd to outsiders."

David Greenberg writes in Slate that the essay is invoked too often, and "ought to be used carefully and sparingly....sometimes [pundits] appear to be endorsing a psychological diagnosis of conservative activists—a reading of Hofstadter's work that he pointedly disavowed".

==2==
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/alumni/Magazine/Fall2005/Hofstadter.pdf

==3==
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/arts/04iht-idbriefs5a.2389223.html

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Re "you rack," yep, they just have to keep pushing the boundaries of coarseness. I suppose the Euros would laugh at us, but that's fine with me.


Shrink, interesting stuff as usual.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Scene I want to see in the next Cohen Brothers film...

An inter-faith conference at the Sheraton in Minneapolis. Camera follows through lounge (various religious garb, beards, etc) and picks up a rabbi and a Catholic priest or bishop sitting at a table. The rabbi, emotively...

Rabbi: Guilt! From guilt you people do not know.

Bishop: Oh, I think I know guilt very well.

Rabbi: Look. I feel so guilty with my God that I feel guilty about not feeling enough guilt! Don't try to top that. You can't.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 6, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Coke commercial was pure awesomeness.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"So shrink, the idea could be expanded even further to say that people experience less cognitive dissonance when they stay with their own group?"

Yes clearly. The value of this board is its participants' desire to immerse themselves with people who disagree.

cef said, "Now it seems to be intended to mean the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts and not get all hung up mentally, although that should really be intentionally holding those two thoughts and being able to accept them both."

Cognitive dissonance occurs when what we know (or wish, hope, believe, experience, etc.) to be true and what we know (or wish, hope, believe, experience, etc.) to be true are in conflict.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I missed her opus. How did Ms. A. do on the over-under?

I had suggested taking the "over" 1:54.

Posted by: MoreAndBetterPolls | February 6, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I have now read that she hit 1:54 on the nose. Push.

Posted by: MoreAndBetterPolls | February 6, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Black Eyed Peas are horrible. They are supposed to be good?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I generally hate the halftime show. This year is no exception.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

"If a captive has a different set of beliefs than the captor, does that create the same kind of dissonance so that a captive is more likely to adapt the captor's beliefs? And can that be extended to more prosaic situations?--e.g., a husband or wife adopting the views of a more dominant or controlling spouse?"

"more prosaic situations?--e.g., a husband or wife"

There is nothing prosaic about husbands and wives, but that is a different conversation.

As for being held hostage, captives will endure fantastic hardship if they set themselves in that position.
You could say identification with the aggressor (Stockholm syndrome) is a weak defense, but it is an adaptation to life.

Peoples' defensive structures, specifically how they operate for and against reality on behalf of the person who owns and uses them is the most interesting aspect of psychology, for me anyway.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse


TO......RainForestRising

I admit I've only read a couple of your posts today, but I liked the one below.

Are they after you in black helicopters or silver ones?

smd
''''''''''''''''''''''''
12Barblues thinks that because she is "talking to herself" on two computers, or by using a cell phone -

she thinks that means we don't think she is writing under 4 different names.


That trick is 20 years old, HA.


Yea, that is an old AOL trick from the early 1990s.


HA

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 5:55 PM

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"Black Eyed Peas are horrible."

Yep. Atrocious. But they are very popular so do we have cognitive dissonance? Heck no.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

TO.....ScottC3

I'll bet your 10 yr old already knows.

smd
'''''''''''''
Did you just see that commercial? Now I have to sit here and explain to my 10yr old what a "rack" is.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Deep thought, h/t to Egypt and Super Bowl XLV: Arabic numerals were a brilliant creation.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Even worse than the Stones a few years ago. Stones had the excuse of being old and deaf. I can't believe people pay money to hear the talentless mess they just showed.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Senator Orrin Hatch: Kagan Should Recuse Herself From ObamaCare Case
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jrXa_PNXl0oAQipVuFCrJcLmLlYA?docId=277e924c63024af6af608a1919c35f98

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, an opponent of the recently enacted health care overhaul, says Justice Elena Kagan should not take part in the widely expected Supreme Court consideration of the new law... Hatch said he is sure that Kagan participated in discussions about the law and challenges to it while she served in the Justice Department as Obama’s top Supreme Court lawyer. Hatch told Fox News that he believes Kagan “should recuse herself”...

*he is sure*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 6, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Scott,

My old man occasionally tut-tuts the more provocative things on TV, explaining how unfortunate it is that some parent is now having to prematurely explain the facts of life. Of course, he left issues of Playboy in the bathroom magazine rack when I was growing up.

And no headshrinking me, er, shrink.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

MUST READ (IMO):

comments at blog of Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody.

http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2011/02/05/exclusive-sarah-palin-interview-with-the-brody-file.aspx#52201

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

smd:

""I'll bet your 10 yr old already knows.""

Probably, which would explain why, after the ad ended, she said "Dad, what's a rack?"

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I thought our number system was actually invented in India.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

McWing:

"" Of course, he left issues of Playboy in the bathroom magazine rack when I was growing up.""

That's why I always "delete history" in my browser. The last thing I want is one of the kids stumbling across one of Bernie's posts.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 6, 2011 8:53 PM | Report abuse

"That's why I always "delete history" in my browser. The last thing I want is one of the kids stumbling across one of Bernie's posts."

Heh.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 6, 2011 9:00 PM | Report abuse

qb--Hindu-Arabic numerals, yes. Presumed origin of my thought: Egypt and Super Bowl.

But h/t to you and Wikipedia. I didn't actually know about the Indian derivation. Not a math person. But how in the heck did they do computations with Roman numerals?

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 6, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

ABC,

Just one of those pieces of info I thought I remembered from somewhere.

I always wonder the same thing. "Our" numbers seems so obvious and inevitable that it's hard to imagine they had to be invented. So little time, so many interesting things it would be nice to study.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Hatch is just pandering.
e.g.,
Politico reports:

By MANU RAJU | 2/2/11

At first glance, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch seems to be the ideal tea party target: He’s a 34-year Senate veteran with a history of deal cutting with Democrats who voted for the bank bailout of 2008.

But this ultimate establishment Republican is mounting perhaps the most aggressive courtship of the grass-roots movement of any sitting senator. The Hatch survival playbook for 2012 includes one-on-one meetings with tea party leaders, phone calls to key players ahead of controversial Senate votes, hours-long town halls and picnics with hundreds of activists.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/48647.html#ixzz1DEgvUCmg

MORE FROM THE HATCH/KAGAN ARTICLE CITED BY KaddafiDelendaEst:

Kagan addressed her participation during her confirmation hearing. She said then that she "attended at least one meeting where the existence of the litigation was briefly mentioned, but none where any substantive discussion of the litigation occurred." Kagan left the administration in August, about five months after the health care overhaul became law.

A federal law sets conditions for when judges who formerly worked for the government should bow out of cases.

Stephen Gillers, an ethics expert and law professor at New York University, said he thinks Kagan can take part in the case if her involvement was limited and did not include offering advice about how to defend the law.

"She should not be sitting in the matter if she is essentially reviewing her own advice as a government lawyer," Gillers said.

Douglas Kendall, president of the liberal interest group Constitutional Accountability Center, said he believes Kagan already has made clear she is fit to hear the health care case. "I think Sen. Hatch is wildly off-base suggesting that she will or should recuse in this case," Kendall said.

The law governing judges' participation was strengthened after William Rehnquist refused to stand aside from a Supreme Court case involving allegations of the Army spying on U.S. citizens, even though he had expressed an opinion about the surveillance as well as the actual lawsuit while serving in the Justice Department.

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

TO........quarterback1

RE: the exchange below

As I expected, you are quick to make smartass remarks and slow to back it up.

Reflecting on your behavior (w/ regard to me) in the not many hours I've posted on this board - - you are the person who was on the mind of the author of that Texas expression:

'All Hat, No Cattle'

’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’
smd,
I'd suggest instead that you either take a nice warm bath and have some tea. Cuz I'm probably not going to indulge your silliness.
Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 6:50 PM
................................
OK genius, quarterback1, let's have you prove what you've asserted about me. We'll start with 3 to keep this a manageable number for you.
see below
'''''''''''''''''
smd's attempt to portray him [BORK] as a dullard reveals nothing but smd's own fraudulence.
Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 6:55 AM
1. PROOF PLEASE THAT I ATTEMPTED TO PORTRAY BORK AS A DULLARD
................................
And yet I . . . said not a word related to Palin. At first I noticed that your arguments are sloppy, your thoughts careless, and your knowledge strangely patchy.
. . .
Posted by: quarterback1 | February 6, 2011 5:56 AM

2. PROOF PLEASE THAT MY "ARGUMENTS" ARE SLOPPY
3. PROOF PLEASE THAT MY "THOUGHTS" ARE CARELESS
~~~IF YOU WANT, WE CAN GET INTO MORE FROM THERE ONCE YOU RESPOND TO THESE 3.
................................
smd
Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 6:30 PM

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Enlighten yourself.
Enjoy the wisdom of Jon Voight who, unlike the Hollywood liberals, has "dug a little deeper":

Q. What was it about [Joe] Miller's views ... he's a tea-party backed candidate, he's a constitutionalist.

A. Well see, I'm a constitutional conservative. I think that's the answer. I think the Constitution is a magnificent document.

I mean when you look at the nonsense. And I'm going to say the nonsense that's going on in Washington these days. With a 2,000-page bill and no one reads it. And they're voting on it? This is a kind of insanity. And it's reprehensible. And they all should be censured because of it. You don't do that. You must know what you're voting on.

Q. What are your thoughts on Sarah Palin? Are you a fan?

A. I'm a big fan. I think she's a remarkable person.

May I say this, to the Alaskan people? I think you should be very proud of her. She certainly represents the spirit of the Alaskan.

She certainly loves her Alaska. She loves it. But there's something extraordinary in her. She's very smart. And the attacks against her, even just based on the attacks against her, I would like her. Because all these mean-spirited people try to find something wrong with this very admirable person. It's quite transparent that they're just bad-intentioned folks trying to bring down this very nice gal.

Q. Would you vote for her for president?

A. I sure would. I sure would vote for her if she was running for president.

... Some people have said that they were upset with her for leaving the governorship when she did. I disagree with those people. I think she saved Alaska with that move. She had capable people who were going to take over ... She was being attacked, she was being prevented from governing. And they knew it. That's what they were intending to do.

They were going to bring her down. She had to answer all of these nonsense lawsuits and everybody who's gone through one lawsuit knows the stress that puts on you. The time that it puts on you. The money it draws from you. She was being destroyed in her governance of the state and in her personal well being.

What she did was she took the target and moved it. She took it away from Alaska. Great. She did a great service there. And smart as hell.

Q. As an outspoken conservative, do you find that affects your business? Does it affect your ability to get movie roles?

A. I've been working pretty steady. I'm lucky. I'm very fortunate.

Most people in Hollywood are on the liberal side and when I say that, I say, 'Look, I know all these folks.' I'm friendly with all of them, almost.

That I've dug a little deeper, that I made a change in my point of view over the years, based on information. ... Are people talking about me when I'm not around? Yeah, a little bit, but there are also people changing too. Because there's something wrong. There's something off.

http://www.adn.com/2010/12/05/1589407/have-questions-actor-jon-voight.html

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

@12bar: maybe I'm different, I was a big Edwards supporter, sent money, but when he revealed his affair I regarded his going or the nomination while that fuse burned as unacceptably irresponsible .. He would ave GIVEN the presidency to the Republicans, and I stopped supporting him at that moment.

You realize, that would have been McCain, immature, erratic, and daffy, and his subliterate idiot woman. The nation would be in two new wars and unemployment at 40% right now,

@cef: disagree on 7000 years of despotic inertia. The repository of culture is human memory (and to some extent, the structure of language) , not land or buildings. It would be the unimaginative inflexibility of living Egyptians that kept despotism alive.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 10:49 PM | Report abuse

A. I'm a big fan. I think she's a remarkable person.

May I say this, to the Alaskan people? I think you should be very proud of her. She certainly represents the spirit of the Alaskan.

She certainly loves her Alaska. She loves it. But there's something extraordinary in her. She's very smart.

==

Hahahahaa

Now there's a real judge of character for you. What dd he ever do after Midnight Cowboy, anyway?

Re: embracing contradiction. It's a pity that doing so isn't painful, it'd be nice if bright people who embraced lies and illogic were awakened a dozen times every night with hearts pounding but that isn't how it happens.

An educated person can love with "Palin is experienced and smart" by simply not engaging the contradiction, leaving it unchallenged. Facing these contradictions is one reason we used to value honesty, and the necessity of embracing them is one reason conservatives no longer value it.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey smd don't bother trying to get substantiation out of QB. He's limited to insults and when pressed for detail he suddenly "doesn't have time."

He's a phony.

You made your case with Bork, so he sneers about wikipedia; then he goes on to write about Bork's failed nomination with complete didn't-happen nonsense about personal destruction, despite having LIVED THROUGH IT. He could have used wikipedia.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Apparently some people on this blog believe that their offenses have been so great that they are going to be banned once the new softward comes in.

Among those: 12BarBluesAgain, who brought Cao to this blog, knowing full well what he would be like. She did this with a destructive intent, and she has admitted as such.

So, thinking she is smart, has created a new name for herself and is attempting to hide when the new software comes in.

Nice try, but we ALL see you in the open.


_________________________


Part of the problem here is the moderation policies are not spelled out - guidance has to be given.

There needs to be an "active warning system" to guide people when they have crossed the line. People don't get warnings, or even comments back stating clearly they have crossed the line.

The result has been that all the bad behavior has become the de facto guidance as to what is acceptable and what is not.

Also, moderation policy can not be influenced by political beliefs. There simply can not be the impression that liberals or conservatives are getting away with things that are enforced against the other side.


GUIDANCE - one easy way to do the "active warning system" would be to require all posters to stick to the issues - and avoid making personal nasty comments. These personal attacks have flared up recently. For me, I try to state my my opinions and CUT through the personal "ad hominem" attacks. People complain about that - however that is how I have dealt with the insanity here.


___________________________


If there are to be rules

1) The rules must be clearly defined

2) If the liberals break the rules, they get punished too.


3) You can't enforce rules ONLY against people whose views you don't like - that starts nasty lawsuits and ends careers.


Clearly

GUIDANCE - one easy way to do the "active warning system" would be to require all posters to stick to the issues - and avoid making personal nasty comments. These personal attacks have flared up recently. For me, I try to state my my opinions and CUT through the personal "ad hominem" attacks. People complain about that - however that is how I have dealt with the insanity here.

WASHINGTON POST - really should do something about the Obama paid trolls. There should be some contact made between the paper and Axelrod as to the ground rules BECAUSE if the Obama paid trolls start to harass people again like they did in 2008 and 2009, there will be a response.


.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 6, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Nothing has changed, not a damn thing:

http://www.newsweek.com/2008/09/26/palin-is-ready-please.html

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 11:26 PM | Report abuse

TO........shrink

thanks
I think

especially the last part

smd

''''''''
Our minds are always at odds with reality and our minds are always at odds with ourselves. Cognitive dissonance is a controlling force, it can not be made to go away. We have wishes and fears that are in conflict. We have instincts that conflict with what we know and believe to be true and real, we need to be well defended. We are in perpetual conflict with ourselves and each other, then eventually we die. There is no alternative. Still we get to be happy. We are happy when we own and learn the work arounds for our internal conflicts and become able to understand and truly appreciate our sincere effort to be valued if not loved by other people.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 6, 2011 7:25 PM

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Nothing has changed, not a damn thing:

http://www.newsweek.com/2008/09/26/palin-is-ready-please.html

==

And just think .. people right here on this blog read those words and say, "not only is she presidential caliber, she's better suited for the job than Barack Obama."

And somehow they live with themselves. Dishonesty like that should hurt. Like bone cancer it should hurt.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 6, 2011 11:47 PM | Report abuse

one more (a little funnier) re Palin

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/06/palinism-101.html?obref=obinsite

Posted by: smd1234 | February 6, 2011 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Awrighttttt!!!!! The Pack is back.

Posted by: actuator | February 7, 2011 12:03 AM | Report abuse

@shrink--Thanks. Quite a bit to think about there.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 7, 2011 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Her exuberant incoherence testifies to an unusually wide gulf between confidence and ability. She is proud of what she doesn’t know and contemptuous of those “experts” and “elitists” who are too knowledgeable to be trusted. The issue is not that Palin, thrust upon the national stage with little warning, still doesn’t know all the details. That’s understandable. The issue is that she rarely appears to have the slightest grasp of what she’s talking about.

==

But that's good, don't you see. That means she's more like a Real American, someone who works swing at the Hormel plant, not some thin-nosed easterner who knows which fork is for the salad and can't make a simple decision without getting sidetracked by all those facts and things.

Two years, and she hasn't learned a thing. And her supporters would be disappointed if she did.

Face it, this is raw anti-intellectualism, like the Red Scares, if not in the spirit of Pol Pot. The new popuaism doesn't resent the rich, it resents the educated. And this rabble-rouser is its leader.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 12:08 AM | Report abuse

One more thought on cognitive dissonance, shrink. The defense mechanism must kick in so strongly for converts (no fervor like theirs) because there's some remaining dissonance from having replaced one belief system with another? They have to keep pushing back?

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 7, 2011 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, that response to Couric's bailout question is nonsensical. And not nonsensical in the sense that it is illogical or factually wrong. Nonsensical in the sense that the string of words strung together just doesn't have any meaning.

"That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the--it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that."

Yah...This is the Conservatives' hero.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 7, 2011 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"Reducing taxes has got to accompany tax reductions."

Presidential timber.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 2:11 AM | Report abuse

@QB-

Re: The Stones.

Are you a musician?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 7, 2011 3:31 AM | Report abuse

Saw the Stones in '72, Exile on Main Street tour. The old tracks were fantastic, "Gimme Shelter" one of the finest live performances of my life. The Exile tracks were indistinguishable and awful. They were already past their prime. They may have done an occasional great track since but AFAIC it was downhill after Let It Bleed.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 3:41 AM | Report abuse

I thought our number system was actually invented in India.

==

It's Arabic. Specifically the contribution of the placeholder for zero.

Computation with Roman numerals isnt do bad, it's weakly positional, the notation for nines is the only serious positional violation.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 3:50 AM | Report abuse

I believe our number system is called Hindu-Arabic. That's how I learned it.

Never saw the Stones live, but Gimme Shelter is easily my favorite song of theirs.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 7, 2011 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Krugman ties thing together:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/opinion/07krugman.html

"Consider the case of wheat, whose price has almost doubled since the summer. The immediate cause of the wheat price spike is obvious: world production is down sharply. The bulk of that production decline, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, reflects a sharp plunge in the former Soviet Union. And we know what that’s about: a record heat wave and drought, which pushed Moscow temperatures above 100 degrees for the first time ever.

The Russian heat wave was only one of many recent extreme weather events, from dry weather in Brazil to biblical-proportion flooding in Australia, that have damaged world food production.

The question then becomes, what’s behind all this extreme weather?

To some extent we’re seeing the results of a natural phenomenon, La Niña — a periodic event in which water in the equatorial Pacific becomes cooler than normal. And La Niña events have historically been associated with global food crises, including the crisis of 2007-8.

But that’s not the whole story. Don’t let the snow fool you: globally, 2010 was tied with 2005 for warmest year on record, even though we were at a solar minimum and La Niña was a cooling factor in the second half of the year. Temperature records were set not just in Russia but in no fewer than 19 countries, covering a fifth of the world’s land area. And both droughts and floods are natural consequences of a warming world: droughts because it’s hotter, floods because warm oceans release more water vapor."

But it's just a hoax, right?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 4:25 AM | Report abuse

Ooooh, the fire is reaching
My very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull, lost his way

All the lights were down but a sepulchral red glow on the stage. When Richards played those opening chords I felt a chill go all over me.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Why are "conservatives" so whiney? Evident to the meanest intellect.

Their beliefs are purely consensual; reality offers no aid at all. The facts are a solid wall of unrelenting contradiction. Their economic ideas don't work, their foreign policy ideas backfire every time, their skepticism of science is ridiculous. All they have is their consensus, the hive mind groupthink orthodoxy where fealty requires allegiance to unmitigated falsehood.

So when someone in the press has the temerity to break the spell by speaking the truth .. Palin's a moron, Bush caused the recession, Iraq was a mistake, cutting taxes doesn't increase revenue, the Nazis were right-wing .. they just get mad. Dammit wer're trying so hard to believe this crap, how dare you contradict us.

No wonder they feel persecuted. Reality itself is liberal.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 4:54 AM | Report abuse

There is a lot of chatter these days about what a Supreme Court decision to invalidate the ACA on political grounds would do to its reputation and legitimacy. The frightening thing is that such damage to the Court would sit very well with Thomas, who seems on a long term campaign of payback for the confirmation indignities visited upon him.

Posted by: rhallnj | February 7, 2011 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Thomas is on a lifelong campaign of feeling sorry for himself.

He sold out to the conservatives for a few attaboys. The same black community that respects Colin Powell even while disagreeing with his politics has come to loathe Thomas, who so far as his judicial opinions go is little more than a second vote for Scalia.

Given the rants that Fat Tony has been handing down as law, does anyone think ACA will get a fair hearing? Of course by then it'll be quite popular and reversing it will be a other bead on the rosary of albatrosses around the Republican neck.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 6:27 AM | Report abuse

"...on a lifelong campaign of feeling sorry for himself."

These posts are strange but incontrovertible attestation that their are no mirrors in Saigon.

Posted by: tao9 | February 7, 2011 6:48 AM | Report abuse

"'All Hat, No Cattle'"

That really hurts. Next, you'll be saying I've lost your respect, and what will I do then?

Your most recent posts flailing away at me aren't even coherent. There's no logical point to which one could even respond. No cattle, no hat, no nothing. So carry on with your fussing.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 7:09 AM | Report abuse

"Are you a musician?"


What depends on the answer?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

If God presently strikes down this nation, ala Gomorrah, it will be because of the Black Eyed Peas (& whomever produced that inchoate, lunatic mess).

If God stays his hand it will be because of Charles Woodson.

Posted by: tao9 | February 7, 2011 7:19 AM | Report abuse

@Cao

LMAO! NOW I understand why the conservatives despise you so much.

All the talk of the nasty name calling vitriol is really an irrelevant distraction...perhaps a cover up for their "cognitive dissonance". Your 4:54AM post was as good of a take-down of "C"onservative philosophy as I have seen. And worst of all Cao...you have proved again just how much the truth hurts.

"Their beliefs are purely consensual; reality offers no aid at all. The facts are a solid wall of unrelenting contradiction. Their economic ideas don't work, their foreign policy ideas backfire every time, their skepticism of science is ridiculous. All they have is their consensus, the hive mind groupthink orthodoxy where fealty requires allegiance to unmitigated falsehood.

So when someone in the press has the temerity to break the spell by speaking the truth .. Palin's a moron, Bush caused the recession, Iraq was a mistake, cutting taxes doesn't increase revenue, the Nazis were right-wing .. they just get mad. Dammit wer're trying so hard to believe this crap, how dare you contradict us."

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 7, 2011 7:31 AM | Report abuse

"If God presently strikes down this nation, ala Gomorrah, it will be because of the Black Eyed Peas (& whomever produced that inchoate, lunatic mess)."

It was pretty entertaining without the sound.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 7, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

tao,

You've captured the halftime "show" in one sentence. Perfect review/summation.

Good shows imo (to the extent they can be good):

U2
Tom Petty

Pretty good:

Sir Paul
Sir Bruce
Shania (was that Super Bowl?)

Lousy:

All the rest

Crudest:

Prince
Janet & Justin

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 7:41 AM | Report abuse

@ruk: why thank you. I had to scroll back and see what you were talking about, I'd forgotten writing it.

But yeah just look at all the gyrations they need to go through .., yeah, prosperity under Clinton was Reagan's doing, Iraq was worth it, snowstorms disprove global warming. It takes a cerebral helicopter to stay above the leaping pile of BS they need to believe in.

And the cracks are appearing. Palin as competent is too much of stretch, so her supporters are the very nastiest people & posters of all. When someone like David Frum violates the omertà the reaction is vicious. Obama turns out to be a darker Bush in foreign policy but the rubes need to believe they're being sold out to the Brotherhood.

Damn that reality, why won't it cooperate just once?

Their big challenge isn't far off, when they get what they want WRT corporate control and they're all Third World poor. They'll still be praising the free market but by then the pain will be physical, too.

Stupid conservatives. Still haven't figured out that lying is hard.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 7, 2011 8:00 AM | Report abuse

quarterback1, of course Ted Kennedy used the politics of personal destruction. Someone leaked Bork's video rentals too. Keep up the good fight.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 7, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_morning_plum_181.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 7, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Post Super Bowl ramblings...

Music...Sorry but I am a fan of the "Black Eyed Peas"...as well as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Call it midlife crisis. LOL

I can't say I've ever seen a Super Bowl show that presented the musicians in a favorable light. I'm not sure it can be done...move tons of equipment in five minutes..onto a football field surrounded by 100,000 seats, (I've never gone to a stadium concert and never will)coordinate all the pyrotechnics and hundreds of dancers...IMHO I've yet to see it done although I basically agree with Q.B. on which artists came the closest. The "Peas" "Gaga" and "Perry" are not producing "serious" music. It's all party music from the perspective of today's young people. I get that and can appreciate it.
Is it Sam Cooke's "A Change is Going to Come" or Dylans "Blowin in the Wind"..please that's a sacriligious comparison...two are timeless classics..the songs of the other 3 artists are purely for entertainment purposes only.
I do understand that many of you were NOT entertained, but then again that might be more of a reflection of the musical taste of a group of old white guys than an actual review of the musicians talent.

Christine Aguilera's Anthem...yeecchhh.
I will quickly add I wouldn't wish to see the "Peas" "Gaga" or "Perry" mutilate the Anthem either. I'm over trying to turn the Anthem into some rock/jazz/country classic...I prefer a more traditional approach. Whoa call me a small c conservative.:-)

Commercials...at first I was disappointed...all those freaking movie trailers and not a movie amongst them I wanted to see...however upon further reflection..there were some good ones.
Love the Beaver saving the guys arse and then hearting him!
Loved the Doritos..preferred the dog..the guy licking fingers while humorous was kinda disgusting.
Sorry righties I like the Teleflora "rack" commercial...honest..and a humorous reflection of a young male mind.
And if we're going to bring up coarseness as in "rack" am I the only one who thinks continually presenting an old man with very few functioning brain cells remaining due to his drugs and alcohol abuse..Ozzie..is funny? To me it's like making fun of the village idiot...or picking on rainman on this blog. Funny perhaps? Coarse, crude, and tasteless..probably.

Oh and the football..Great Game. I'm a Packer fan so I'm prejudiced but it was a terrific ending that allowed Aaron Rodgers to showcase his special talent against one of the best "money" as in 4th Quarter defenses in the game. That last five minute drive..the 3rd down 31 yard completion have cemented Rodgers rep for the ages...and he's a nice guy.
Karma? A serial rapist having two interceptions giving up 14 points!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 7, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Super Bowl halftime shows are proof that there are clueless people who can get paid a lot of money for incompetency -- the producers more than anytone. How hard is it to figure out that the successful shows just put a big act with broad appeal out there? The failures instead try to produce a "show" that's a mishmash of throw-away kitsch with shout-outs in all directions. Naturally, no one with actual talent would fit the format.

I get the good-time, throwaway music versus real music thing, but BEP (and "Usher") are still some of the most talentless charlatans I've seen. I will grant that Let's Get It Started has a certain catchiness. I once went to a wedding reception for some friends where the families and party made their entrance dancing to it. Pretty hilarious.

But sorry ruk, BEP is a horrific, careening and toneless clown show. Poor Slash.

Christina -- ugh.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Re Bork discussions above... I didn't join in on the questions of legal expertise/talent because I don't know nearly enough about that aspect. But I find Bork interesting as a symbol for the modern right's self-portrayal and self-conception as victims of liberals and liberalism, in this case, even generating a new verb which means unfairly attacked and smeared by the left - Borked.

This victim meme was pathetically harvested or fostered by Nixon out of his own neuroses and intuitive grasp of its effectiveness politically. Hard to imagine earlier Republican leaders like Eisenhower either thinking that way or stooping to the political trick but Nixon was a pretty unique case. Victimization by the press was a convenient aspect of his own and his administration's narrative and many on the right bought it or came to understand how the narrative could be used to generate certain emotional responses that might gain sympathy for them and resentment against the "victimizers". The same theme was a fundamental notion in the religious right's storyline of "Silent Majority". The Thomas hearings played it to the hilt and one of Thomas' supporters went on to utilize the themes and language of the civil rights movement to portray whites as victimized by anything that looked like a quota. (If you recall the Alito hearings, you'll recall that his wife was always immediately behind him and positioned to be in camera. No accident. Recall her leaving in tears? Do high level lawyers have an expertise and interest in creating sympathetic portrayals of their defendants so that the jury will tend to perceive things in a particular manner? ) Victimization by the "liberal media" and by "liberal elites" is central to right wing mythology and the political function of it is obvious and many have written on this.

Palin is something like the apotheosis of movement victimhood. And perhaps smarter conservatives defend her to the lengths they do because the victimhood myth is so central to their worldview that there are risks in acknowledging something else is going on here.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 7, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"That's why I always "delete history" in my browser. The last thing I want is one of the kids stumbling across one of Bernie's posts."

Not to mention the wife.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 7, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if it is fair to call big Ben a rapist. But I will say a lot of Packers showed character. Good to see.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@smd - re Hofstadter... thanks! As the folks here will attest (with varying degrees of boredom or anger) I've been pushing Hofstadter down their throats since Greg's blog was aborned, and particularly The Paranoid Style essay. Poli Sci and US History students are usually familiar with this body of work but far too many Americans are not and that's a real pity.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 7, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Modern liberalism is from one perspective an entire ideology of victimology. So it makes sense that the left as always seeks to project that characteristic. It is also their natural defense to the critique of the dominant media overs recent decades as reliably liberal.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

qb

I re-read two of the torture memos so far, Yoo and Gonzales from January. I haven't gotten to the water-boarding memos yet but just off the top of my head I see a couple of problems with your assertions of Camp A vs Camp B.

Yoo simply said, and I'm paraphrasing, Al Qaeda did not meet the requirements under I think it was Article 3 of Geneva as they were outside of a nation. My problem with that is we went on to invade two countries and used the terms of engagement ie war as the justification for collateral damage. I don't see how we can have it both ways, it's not a typical war but it is a typical war.

And Gonzales himself highlighted, by playing devil's advocate, some of the problems with "the new war rules".

""Since the Geneva Conventions were concluded in 1949 the US has never denied their applicability to either US or opposing forces engaged in armed conflict, despite several opportunities to do so.""

And this:

""Concluding that the Geneva Convention does not apply may encourage other countries to look for technical "loopholes" in future conflicts to conclude that they are not bound by GPW either.""

So far I still contend that GWB et al took a circuitous route to justify the ends they desired. It just doesn't seem like a direct line to me.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 7, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"Don't know if it is fair to call big Ben a rapist."

I'll bite. What would you call him. The fact that he got away with a crime that would have put a less famous, less wealthy man behind bars for a long time does not negate the validity of the charge.

Does anybody really believe O.J. is innocent of murder.

I basically respect our legal system as being the best in the world...but there are plenty of deficiencies when it comes to the privileged in our society.

In your case Q.B. I believe you have a daughter. If she had gone though what that poor girl in Georgia experienced..what would you call Big Ben then? Not to be disagreeable..just sayin'.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 7, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

ru,

When I said "don't know," I suppose I was a tad flippant. I literally meant I don't know. I haven't followed BR's criminal career closely enough to know but assumed (perhaps incorrectlly) that if he were really a serial rapist he would actually have been prosecuted and convicted for it.

Re OJ, no, he murdered those people as surely as the sun rises in the east.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

lms,

Wow, you must have some fortitude and deserve some kind of credit (or raised eybrow?) at your willingness to plow back trough those memos. I haven't read them in, what is it more than a year since they came out? But here goes nothing.


Regarding the convention, again, I haven't read any of these in a long time, but as I recall it, at least one of them concluded that AQ terrorists were/are unlawful enemy combatants and thus not covered under the convention, if that's what you mean. There is disagreement over that, but it isn't unreasonable and isn't as far as I can see inconsistent with toppling Iraq. The OLC writers, recall were addressing specific questions about terrorist detainees, not invading Iraq.

When our forces fought and captured terrorists in Afghanistan, for example, the question of whether those terrorists were covered by the convention really had nothing to do with the later decision to invade Iraq and topple Hussein.

Similarly, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by using war engagement to justify collateral damage, but I don't generally see what the contradiction is there. For example, because (some of) our adversaries were unlawful combatants doesn't mean we were, or that our forces were involved in unlawful combat as opposed to "war."

I don't understand your point about the Gonzo comments. If anything, I would think they show he was/they were, weighing the issues.

Not sure what your last paragraph means. Your original question about the memos, as I recall, was how they can be explained in terms of the competing views of "the law" I was describing. The attacks on the memos, like those repeated by posters here, have made extreme assertions that they lack any reasoning, lack any cited authority, etc. My main point has always been that those extreme claims are patently incorrect. You can disagree with all or parts of them, but they aren't the lawless and unreasoned fig leaf the critics portray. They attempt to answer questions based on textual analsis and relevant legal sources.

Yoo has said he received absolutely no pressure at all from the WH or anyone else in drafting what he did. And from what we know, there were no conclusions changed by Goldsmith et al when they took over about the legality of any actual interrogation methods.

I have seen no evidence that these people "did whatever they had to do" to justify the EI methods they reviewed. On the other hand, I've seen plenty of criticisms (attacks, really) from people who appear simply to assume that the methods were illegal torture, without regard to how the relevant laws work or the definitions they use.

It's sort of a microscopic way to examine a larger conceptual issue. More later, as possible.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Q.B.

No problem with being flippant once it's clear. Big Ben walked because he paid the girl a huge sum of $$$.

Honestly I don't know whether that was part of an effort to placate the local sheriff who was really peoed and searching diligently for witnesses etc...or whether it was simply to avoid a civil case which would have not only been horrible P.R. but would still have cost him big $$$.

I understand that simply paying somebody off is not an admission of guilt but simply a move to limit liability..but for Big Ben it was the third time this issue has popped up. Perhaps I too am being flippant but where there's smoke as in two prior instances before this one, and a big payoff...well you can see how it looks.

And we agree on something...OJ is a murderer. Legally though I don't know what he is? You can explain it to me.
If a man is adjudicated as innocent in a criminal court but then found guilty of that very offense in a civil trial is he technically a murderer?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 7, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

qb

I'm not trying to re-litigate our EI techniques, I was trying to point out, not very well apparently, that the justification was not a Camp A mindset that you seem to believe conservatives adhere to. Remember you said:

""One thinks that looking for clear, bright lines and following them wherever they go is the proper approach. The other thinks that looking at things as having a range of possibilities and choosing the more "right" result based on higher purposes is the better approach.

Camp A looks at Camp B as lawless activists, Camp B looks at Camp A as secretly or unconsciously doing the same thing,""

My point I guess is that number 1, the administration was looking for a way to specifically define the war on terror as outside of the usual rules of engagement and number 2, they went through some hoops to get there. That's it. I read a couple of the memos again to see if my memory of them was correct and I think it was. I may or may not read more of them again. I think I'll have to take ESL classes first, as I'm unable to express myself very well apparently. :)

Posted by: lmsinca | February 7, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"And we agree on something...OJ is a murderer. Legally though I don't know what he is? You can explain it to me.
If a man is adjudicated as innocent in a criminal court but then found guilty of that very offense in a civil trial is he technically a murderer? Posted by: rukidding7 |"

No, because Murder is a criminal term, whereas wrongful death is the civil term.

Personally, I never bought his being the murderer because the evidence was so obviously ridiculous. Somehow he managed to dump all the blood soaked clothing he supposedly would have been wearing, including leaving one glove at the scene but then took ONLY one glove to his residence and then dropped it on the ground. ???

I have heard from cops that the whole thing was a hit to tell Simpson to stay out of certain criminal activities in Florida.

Then again, a book at the time, "Killing Time" does a great job of suggesting that the real target of the murders was Nicole's boyfriend and that she was just collateral damage. But the book DOES poke lots of holes in the case against Simpson.

He didn't fight the civil charges all that well because he really doesn't care enough about the money he doesn't have going to the Browns to defend himself. Especially since a robust defense would severely smear Nicole Simpson, and the benefits, winning a civil trial weren't worth the effort.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 7, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@ceflynline

Well that IS an interesting take on OJ's case. I don't remember it well enough to re litigate it here on a blog and you apparently have taken some time to read beyond the headlines.

You certainly present some very interesting conjecture about OJ perhaps being set up and framed, from that perspective..who knows.

Your theories are certainly far more plausible than the "birthers" and if I truly cared about OJ I'd do some more reading like you. Whatever thanks for presenting a totally different perspective on the case.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 7, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

The suspicion that Ron Brown was the target is in the book. He was in a situation where he might have been a male prostitute who aggravated the wrong customer, (Book's postulate) Since that customer might have known that brown would be going by Nicole Simpson's to drop off a pair of glasses she had left at the clib where he worked, that would cover the murder easily, and when Nicole walked in on the murder she was dead and the cops could try to pin the murders on O J. again this is all in the book, which was a very interesting read.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 7, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

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