DNC and the RNC: the good, the bad, the ugly


  1. Patrick Enders said:

    Well, for starters, Obama’s speech was simply spectacular. Even Pat Buchanan was gushing effusively – so much so that on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann had to cut him off to go to a commercial break. Contemplate that for a second.

    Barack Obama is a truly great orator, whose only rival in the gift of inspiring and persuading in the last half-century is Ronald Reagan. That’s a very good thing, because Obama’s skills are used in service of a sane, positive vision for our future, and because we desperately need to bring about a dramatic course correction after the terrible, foolish mistakes of the last 8 years.

    The fights will go on, but there is no way that the grumpy old man with an evolving reflexive vocal tic of “noun, verb, and ‘because I survived in a P.O.W. prison camp'” can ultimately prevail against Barack Obama and the Democrats. Ours is an inspired, inspiring, and thoughtful leader, and we have the advantage of being right.

    August 29, 2008
  2. Patrick Enders said:

    Bruce wrote, on another thread,

    What? No cardboard cutout of McCain? Perhaps that’s because his positions are complex and not just platitudes? 😉

    More seriously, maybe his supporters are not as much into a cult of personality. Though next week may prove me wrong. But I am sure we won’t hear too many people weeping with emotion over him.


    It’s not so much about a cult of personality, but rather a recognition that great oration is a necessary skill for great leadership.

    For an example of how a lack of the same leads to failure: Kerry, anyone?

    Speaking of him, Kerry actually gave a great convention speech… four years too late.

    August 29, 2008
  3. Anne Bretts said:

    Let’s see, being too popular is a bad thing? The fact that Obama drew 94,000 people and McCain can’t give away enough tickets to fill 10,000 seats for his VP announcement means McCain is the serious candidate. Obama’s celebrating the anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech and McCain is celebrating his campaign pick on the anniversary of the Katrina nightmare.
    Now it makes sense. And when McCain loses, he should come to Northfield. He’d fit right in at City Hall.

    August 29, 2008
  4. Patrick Enders said:

    I’ll also go out on a limb and bet that there’ll be plenty of wet eyes during the RNC convention, as well. I guarantee that McCain’s P.O.W. years will be presented to great effect, and many tears will be shed. Of course, it will be during someone else’s speech. But does that make it any less of a ‘cult of personality’ thing? I would say not.

    It would be a lot of work, but if it would help you to cast a vote for Barack Obama, I could force myself to sit through (well, skim, anyway) the entire RNC convention, and put together a tape of teary eyes for you.

    August 29, 2008
  5. Curt Benson said:

    Patrick, speaking of great convention speeches, did you ever hear Hubert Humphrey’s 1948 convention speech? It was revolutionary, and risky–alienating the southern Democrats.

    MPR did a show on it earlier this summer:


    August 29, 2008
  6. Patrick Enders said:

    No, that was before my time. I’ll give it a listen this morning.

    August 29, 2008
  7. Patrick Enders said:

    Thanks for the tip. You’re right, that was a great and important speech. I was passingly familiar with Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrat rebellion, as well as Truman’s order for desegregation of the Army, but I had not realized Hubert Humphrey’s prominent role in that fight. That was impressive.

    August 29, 2008
  8. Curt Benson said:

    Patrick, my father and his brothers were active in the DFL, starting in the mid 40’s. They knew Humphrey and Mondale etc. When I was old enough to become politically aware, in the mid 60’s, it seemed odd to me that they thought of Humphrey as a sort of forward looking groundbreaker. At the time, Humphrey was LBJ’s loyal vice president. I remember reading about how he sat in the White House and could hear the chants of the protesters outside, “Hubert Humphrey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today!”

    Anyway the 1948 convention speech gives one an idea of Humphrey’s true role in this nation’s history.

    And yes, Obama’s speech last night was great.

    August 29, 2008
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Anyone have a prediction on whether there’ll be a “Recreate ’68!!” debacle next week in St. Paul? I hope the hell not.

    August 29, 2008
  10. Rob Hardy said:

    The speeches by Obama, Kerry and the Clintons were all great and full of drama. The governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, was highly entertaining. I really could have done without the Spielberg films and the Superbowl halftime production values. I’m a loyal Democrat, but I have a hard time squaring the repeated emphasis on middle class values and ordinary working Americans with the over-the-top Hollywood glitz of last night.

    August 29, 2008
  11. I hate to break up this love fest, but I thought the Obama speech was way too long and boring. He said some good things, no doubt. My favorite was that government was here to help us, not hurt us. Also, I loved when he said we are not blue states and we are not red states, we are the United States of America, and he got what I believe to be the loudest response from the gathering of 75,000 – 84,000 people. That’s where Obama shines, unification, but only if he doesn’t have a great and proper opponent.

    But as for substance, and how he was going to deliver all this help without taxing the middle class at all…and how he made it seem like he was going to save anyone in this country who has any problem at all, well, I think he took it too far. He tried to show the people that it was they who needed to do the work, but I don’t think that message got very far…when Kennedy did the same thing, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, people took it to heart. Different times, I suppose. Well, we will see what McCain does. He will have to come up with an Oscar winning level performance to out do Obama. We shall soon see.

    He also gave the Clinton, as in Bill, lineabout hoping to reduce the number of abortions, by reducing teen pregnancies. Weak attempt at grasping for the middle road here. And there is also that line again about restructuring the military…on his website, he plans to get 65,000 more army recruits and almost 100,000 more military personnel, besides the National Guard. He doesn’t say how.

    I don’t think anyone is taking apart his words. He’s not THAT smart. And Biden, I will say again is old school. Way old school foreign policy that DFLers say has failed over and over again. Plus Obama didn’t vote against the law recently passed that gave the phone companies the right to turn over all the records to the govt on demand. Bah!

    Patrick, I slightly checked out the Liver Tearians, and they are in a scrambled egg mess of so many factions, I’d have to call them the Denver
    omelette of political parties. This is what I dislike about parties, if you don’t think exactly like the party line, then you are OUT on your BUM.
    It’s brainwashing through and through most of the time. I dislike that very much, but thanks, anyway.

    August 29, 2008
  12. Griff, I have heard that there will be. Peace out.

    August 29, 2008
  13. Patrick Enders said:

    Anyone have a prediction on whether there’ll be a “Recreate ‘68!!” debacle next week in St. Paul?

    C’mon Griff; of course there will not. Do you remember ’68? 2008 is nothing like 1968.

    August 29, 2008
  14. Patrick Enders said:

    I look forward to your commentary on the McCain convention.

    August 29, 2008
  15. Anne Bretts said:

    Bright, you’re a great lady, but no one will ever meet your standards. The whole point Obama is making is that this campaign is about people like you and Patrick and me all getting up out of the bleachers and working with the people we don’t like to find solutions. The process is messy and sometimes ugly and it seems to take forever, but there is no one candidate who is going to do it for us.
    If you want a lesson in change, rent “1776” which outlines the highly political process of compromise that kept the Declaration of Independence from going up in smoke. (It’s a really odd musical, but give it a chance…) Or for a much more depressing, yet uplifting, movie, rent “Amazing Grace” and watch the emotional, exhausting, long battle to end slave trading in England.
    We can’t just watch TV with the remote in our hands, clicking through the channels until we find the perfect political package. Life isn’t the Home Shopping Network or match.com.
    So come on, Bright, there are two pretty clear choices this year. Neither is perfect, but you can’t say there’s no difference.

    August 29, 2008
  16. BruceWMorlan said:

    It was interesting to me that the protesters in Denver were kept a respectrul 500 yards away (5 football fields according to one NPR reporter, if I remember right). I’m also told that at the RNC they will be allowed within 100 feet of the center (don’t know if that is distance to a back wall or if the delegates will have to run an old-fashioned gauntlet.

    I am already burned out on pep-rallies, so I may sit next week out.

    And yes, Obama’s speech was well done (I did not have the luxury of a video feed so I had to judge based on the audio only, and I was working at the same time, so may not have enjoyed the full experience).

    August 29, 2008
  17. BruceWMorlan said:

    Patrick, you wrote

    It’s not so much about a cult of personality, but rather a recognition that great oration is a necessary skill for great leadership.

    I guess my trepidation is that history is full of “True Believer” movements led by great orators. I wish group consciousness was raised by reason rather than being aroused by oratory. In the former path lies enlightenment, in the latter lies demagoguery (my thanks to P. Zorn, this time I spell checked).

    August 29, 2008
  18. Patrick Enders said:


    I guess my trepidation is that history is full of “True Believer” movements led by great orators. I wish group consciousness was raised by reason rather than being aroused by oratory. In the former path lies enlightenment, in the latter lies demagoguery

    I agree wholeheartedly: I love reasoned discussion, and wish it was the bedrock of our democracy. Unfortunately, in national politics, reasoned discussion consistently gets killed by cleverly crafted oratory.

    I’m just glad that for once, the guy with the brilliant oratory is also the one who comes closest to where reason has led me.

    August 29, 2008
  19. David Henson said:

    That was a wily pick by McCain … I think it’s the nail in the coffin for Barack/Biden.

    August 29, 2008
  20. All references to Eric Hoffer aside,

    ArtOrg will be participating at the UnConvention on Monday and Tuesday from 11am to 10pm at Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis.

    Here’s the link to our UnConvention post. We almost taglined this event with “Prints of Rage” but thought better of it in the end. It is a nonpartisan event billed as “performances and participatory culture”!

    August 29, 2008
  21. Patrick Enders said:

    McCain VP pick: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

    Well, there goes McCain’s ‘inexperience’ card. In 2005, when Obama was already serving in the US Senate, this woman was still mayor of a town of 9,000.

    “After his attacks on Obama’s readiness for the job, it’ll be amusing to hear a 71-year-old with a history of health problems justify this decision.”


    August 29, 2008
  22. Bruce, when you are right, you are right on!
    Anne, thanks for the compliment, but I’m just an ordinary person who wants great men and women in great positions to do what they say they will, and if they cannot, then don’t keep making empty promises. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Furthermore, I don’t think I ever said McCain and Obama were the same.
    I am pleased with the selection of Sarah Palin, at first glance. We need a woman in there, and she has the history to prove who she is. She has run a state for a couple of years, and come up pretty fast. I like her a lot and hope she does well, regardless.
    For those of you who have not had contact with a Downe’s Syndrome child or adult, I have to say the experiences I have had were full of love and charm and happiness. Bless the Palin family for bringing that child forth.

    August 29, 2008
  23. Patrick Enders said:

    Interesting facts on Ms. Palin:

    – She seems to be a creationist:

    – She’s under investigation for charges of firing Alaska’s Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, after allegedly “Palin, her family or members of her administration pressured Monegan to fire an Alaska state trooper involved in a rough divorce from Palin’s sister.”

    For those splitting hairs, she won’t say she believes in Creationism, or rejects Evolution. But she did say,

    ‘Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.’

    A favorite post of mine from the comments on that page:
    “Where’s the Phlogiston Theory of Combustion in my chemistry class?”

    August 29, 2008
  24. To be brief, the one comment I have time to give my opinon about it the
    one where the person said, McCain showed poor judgement in picking Palin, becuz she might be the next Prez. Well, everyone knows that the President does not rule alone. The same advisors McCain picks, and he already said he will take counsel with Pawlenty and Romney, one of the best business minds around, will be available as will many others from both parties.

    Oh, and Anne, McCain had over 15,000 at the VP announcement and they looked pretty happy about being there. Still not saying he’s the best man out there for the job, but I feel a strength there, I don’t see in Obama, yet.

    August 29, 2008
  25. Patrick Enders said:

    A little more on the accusations that Ms. Palin pressed for the firing of her sister’s ex-husband:

    There’s a tape of (Palin’s director of boards and commissions) Frank Bailey’s call to the Department of Public Safety, in which he demanded the ex-brother-in-law’s firing:

    “The Palins can’t figure out why nothing’s going on,” Bailey said in the recorded phone call. “So Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads saying ‘Why is this guy representing the department, he’s a horrible recruiting tool.’ You know?”


    Sounds like she has more in common with Cheney than I would’ve thought.

    August 29, 2008
  26. Britt Ackerman said:

    Does McCain think he’ll draw the now-undecided Hillary fans to his camp just because he chose a running mate who is a woman? Like, Hillary and Palin are totally interchangeable because they both have vaginas? Give me a break.

    America’s voters are not that stupid. Hillary and Palin have nothing, NOTHING in common other than their gender.

    The only rational explanation is that Palin’s conservatism will impress the Christian conservatives, who would otherwise be turned off by McCain’s more mainstream approach to issues important to the religious right.

    This choice changes the tone of McCain’s platform emphasizing experience and knowledge of foreign affairs. He’s got to drop that now and turn in a new direction.

    I think that Michael Feldman is right on with his assessment of this choice.

    (BTW, the Obama speech was very good, but his “A More Perfect Union” speech will always be my favorite because, in the words of Jon Stewart, “Barack Obama talked to us about race as if we were adults.”)

    August 29, 2008
  27. Felicity Enders said:

    First, Bright (#11) …boring?????????

    Second, anyone know how many houses Palin owns? I’m guessing she’s a last minute scramble pick after the previous Romney pick fell through with last week’s endless how-many-houses discussion. That would also explain why she doesn’t seem to have been thoroughly vetted (ie not know what the VP actually does, as of a month ago: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12969.html).

    August 29, 2008
  28. Patrick Enders said:


    Does McCain think he’ll draw the now-undecided Hillary fans to his camp just because he chose a running mate who is a woman? Like, Hillary and Palin are totally interchangeable because they both have vaginas?

    If one believes the small number of die-hard pro-Hillary yahoos that kept getting recycled on CNN this week: Yes, having a vagina is more important than electing a president who supports equal pay for equal work, or supporting abortion rights for women who are the victims of rape or incest.

    As someone posting on one of the national blog threads wrote (paraphrased), “Hillary will be certain to be out in force on the campaign trail this fall, rallying her supporters, and making sure that this inexperienced conservative beauty queen doesn’t break that glass ceiling before she does.” Similarly, this is the best thing to make sure that Bill Clinton also continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama’s campaign. All thought of the Clintons secretly hoping/working for an Obama loss has got to be dead after this choice.

    Which reminds me of another great moment from the Democratic Convention: Hillary giving the best speech of her life. She’s really grown into a forceful speaker over the last 6 months.

    August 29, 2008
  29. Rob Hardy said:

    In the WaPo piece Britt links to, National Review contributor Lisa Schiffren says: “Talk about a role model for our daughters: Annie Oakley in the halls of power!”

    A woman who goes around shooting things is a great role model for young girls?

    August 29, 2008
  30. rod zumwalt said:

    she reminds me of a slightly less yucky michelle bachmann. or maybe more yucky, but we just don’t know all the details yet.

    bright, reducing teen pregnancies might sound like the wishy washy “middle road” approach to the abortion issue to you, but the bottom line is that fewer unwanted pregnancies *has* to equal fewer abortions. And there’s no disputing that our rate of teen pregnancy is among the highest in the western world. (http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/pregnancy.htm)

    With our teens about as sexually active as those in Europe but half as likely to use birth control and with outdated fraidy-cat health programs, it’s no wonder.:

    August 29, 2008
  31. Anne Bretts said:

    So Hillary supporters are supposed to be dumb enough to see Palin as a substitute for Clinton? How insulting.
    Look, I love it that she had her baby instead of an abortion, and I’m all for reducing the number of abortions. But overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t the answer.
    Jailing women is not an effective method of birth control.
    McCain really doesn’t get it.

    August 29, 2008
  32. David Henson said:

    She’s female Biden’s Male
    She’s outside Beltway Biden’s a Washington Insider
    She upset her state party Obama’s the party darling
    She’s prolife (and walks the walk) Obama and Biden are prochoice
    Her son serves in the military This is rare in either party

    August 29, 2008
  33. David Henson said:

    II hit enter to soon but the list could go on. Palin was a brilliant choice. I am the ultimate independent – I have voted democrat, I have voted Republican and I have voted 3rd party (more often than not) – I will vote for McCain

    Oh and the mentoring relationship makes Biden look like a babysitter on the democratic ticket. The setup is backwards.

    August 29, 2008
  34. Holly Cairns said:

    I agree with David Henson about her being a good choice– especially if we forget the VP doesn’t really do anything.

    If elected on the ticket, she’ll preside over the Senate, but she’ll only be able to vote if there is a tie (pretty limited powers, overall, but that is power isn’t it).

    The point is that someone is allowing her to set the frame for how we will see things. We’re not remembering her limited powers as VP. Of course, McCain is a bit aged…

    In other words– IMHO– what difference does it make if she’s for or against drilling, abortions, etc.? None, really, but it sounds good.

    And as for her being a woman and appealing to Hillary voters– probably only if those people are single issue voters?

    August 29, 2008
  35. Holly Cairns said:

    BTW– the convention was good. Now for the after– the time where the news will stop showing stories, etc. And on to the RNC.

    Heh heh, speaking of Hubert Humphrey– my father was on the school board in Burnsville, and someone targeted him with constant barrage– saying things like “You’re just like Hubert Humphrey, you SOB.” I was horrified– who was this Hubert Humphrey? Until I figured out that it wasn’t a bad thing… and that my father was proud. Good times. That’s politics for you. One person’s swear word can be the name of another person’s hero.

    August 29, 2008
  36. A few meandering thoughts-first of all, age. McCain is 72. If you look around , people who have taken good care of themselves, especially after 40, and more so from the beginning of their lives are very mentally agile and will continue to be so as long as they work it. He could easily go two terms to 80 and still be young enough for the job. Remember Clinton had a quadruple bypass at like what 54? It’s not age as much as it is care and dna. He has proved that he can take the rigors of almost two years of campaigning across the country and looks pretty good. I can see the toll on Obama. But I wouldn’t let that disqualify him. I hope he is healthy, but his mom did die of cancer in her 50s. Peace and blessings there.

    Another thing, McCain has seen houses, he said four in different parts of the country, where they do business often and three for the kids and investments. It doesn’t pay to rent out places…they are expensive. The place we rented in Tulsa, a two bedroom apt before we bought our home
    was climbing up to $900 a month, and in Chicago, that’s way cheap.

    My sister has three houses and she and her husband fit middle class American to a tea, they just don’t waste a lot of money on frivolous things.

    Anyway, Obama is not one of the people. He is a rare commodity, an exceptional man, and I don’t say that out of racism. I grew up with all kinds of kids as my friends and still have them in Chicago…my neighborhood was voted the most successful city integrated neighborhood in the country a couple of times, so don’t go there. We wouldn’t want one of us to live in the White House, we can’t even decide who fed the dog last, iykwim. So, if Obama isn’t a regular guy, then McCain doesn’t have to be either. This era of self loathing to get over on other people makes me feel really bad for everyone who cannot admire true accomplishment, etc of another human being without first being duped into thinking they are one of us.
    Both of them have been able to live the American Dream, though not the one we all dream because we all have different dreams once the bills are taken care of.

    That’s it for me. Long day.

    August 29, 2008
  37. Patrick Enders said:


    I agree with David Henson about her being a good choice– especially if we forget the VP doesn’t really do anything…. Of course, McCain is a bit aged…

    I think the phrase your looking for, issued in today’s Democratic talking points, is “A Heartbeat Away From the Presidency.” 🙂

    August 29, 2008
  38. Bright,

    You have spent the past few months being a pretty consistent anti-Obama voice in these forums, largely based on your assessment that he was inexperienced and had come out of nowhere. Now, you’re saying Palin is a good choice even though she has less experience, and also came out of nowhere – and I’d call city councilor and mayor in a town of 7,700 more “nowhere” than Chicago, if we were looking purely at contact with people as a statistic.

    I actually don’t think Palin’s a bad choice for those reasons, but possessing massive amounts of experience has never been my top criterion for a candidate.

    I do think the choice is going to bite McCain’s campaign pretty hard though. She’s not fully vetted, or this mess about firing someone who wasn’t helping her sister’s ugly divorce wouldn’t have been allowed through. I also think it’s a purely cynical choice which essentially means McCain is saying to American women: all you care about is getting a woman into power, so here ya go…

    …Vote With Your Vaginas, Ladies!

    As if women can’t dislike other women, as if men vote for men simply because they are men, right? McCain’s saying that’s what women must do!

    More weak plotting from an out-of-touch man who doesn’t even know where the middle class starts or ends – despite the fact that, other than the low-entry-threshold “People Who Are Alive” demographic, it makes up the largest single group of American citizens.

    August 29, 2008
  39. rod zumwalt said:

    good lord. people who have 3 houses do not “fit middle class america to a ‘tea'”
    if you want to be for mccain, be for mccain, if you want to be for palin, be for her. but let’s not pretend they aren’t rich. There is a difference between becoming successful, as the Obamas have, after starting out poor or middle class, and marrying or inheriting millions of dollars. Personally, I’m not equating one with moral goodness and the other with evil, but let’s not pretend there’s no difference between being really incredibly rich and being middle class. Not only is there a difference, it isn’t a difference which is made by simply “not spending money on frivolous things.” Such statements are an insult to the true middle class, which is trying to find enough money for frivolous stuff like health insurance, college educations, and food, not for a second and third house.

    August 29, 2008
  40. Patrick Enders said:

    An update on the investigation of Ms.Palin:

    Steve Branchflower, the former federal prosecutor who is conducting the investigation, has a three-month contract for his work, which started August 1, and will end October 31, according to Alaska State Senate Judiciary Committee chair, Hollis French (D), who is overseeing the probe. French told TPMmuckraker that he expects Branchflower to release his report in the days before the November 4th presidential election.


    She’s already had to revise her statements on the subject since it first broke.

    August 29, 2008
  41. I liked these comments from a Talking Points reader:

    “A Babe on the Ticket”

    By Graduate Student – August 29, 2008, 2:43PM

    From the mouth of rush limbaugh. I think the McCain campaign is in for a rude awakening. Women, like my mom, did not vote for Hllary because she was a babe or wore fancy earrings or pantsuit. She represented a movement of women who have faced trials and overcome them. She represented someone who worked harder than the boys by being one of them. She was not a babe, nor was she a trophy wife. She is/was a voice for all the women who had been passed over for a job or a raise, the women struggling to get by, the women whose husbands are not always faithful-the everyday woman, who thought my life may be in dissary but I can still make it. My mom referred to her as the bitch men hate, and women love.

    Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. For all of her meager accomplishments, she has one accomplishment that will make middle age hillary voters,like my mom, go crazy. She was first runner up to Miss Alaska. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but Sarah Palin represents a bitch men love, and women hate. She is the lady that skirts by through her looks, while Hillary studies, she parties, while Hillary pulls herself by her bootstraps, this lady rides in on a MAN’s coattail. I honestly don’t know what the McCain camp was thinking but this is beyond condescending. You are entrusting the entire nation into a woman whose only concern in her state is overgrowth of reindeers. You Senator McCain are willing to lose this country in order to win an election.

    Sorry for the provacative language, but that’s how my mom rolls

    Good points. A bit vituperative and reductive, but some solid points that uncover a good chunk of the psychological narrative dredged up by this VP pick.

    August 29, 2008
  42. C’mon Brendon, we all know you are just jealous cuz she’s better looking than you.

    It does appear that in one fell swoop McCain has balanced the tickets on inexperience, cronyism and “no more old guard need apply”. So, let’s consider some issues. Like, who gets to pay for all these promises everyone will start making.

    I heard today that the top 5% of the taxpayers already pay 60% of the taxes, a figure which is consistent with my own analysis. So, when do we reach the tipping point and see the effect of such income redistribution tactics?

    Admittedly, Income inequality is a serious problem for a free society. But confiscatory taxes are also a serious problem. Even the Beatles (who surely must be seen as counterculture icons, at least in their public face) sang about the taxman (“one for you, nineteen for me”). There are two often conflicting goals: (1) encouraging the freedom that rewards people who solve problems (by creating better goods, ala Adam Smith) and (2) the desire to not disenfranchise the poor. I fear that today’s politics are more about the rule of the mob (get your guillotines boys, they’re robbing our society) than they are about the ideal of civil discourse with an ability to disagree without being disagreeable. “Fetch me my knitting kit, I feel a trial coming on.”


    August 29, 2008
  43. Ouch, Bruce, you know just how to hurt a guy-dressed-as-a-woman, don’t you?

    Well, I’ve got a nicer butt.

    August 29, 2008
  44. Holly Cairns said:

    OMG Brendon, what? Vote with your vaginas? Please.

    And Hillary isn’t one of the boys. She is a assertive and fantastic woman.

    Let’s see– how many times during this campaign did people talk about how John McCain is a man? Did they say things like “That’s a man there!” No, they didn’t.

    We’ll truly be someplace the day we can just discuss “people” and “viewpoints” rather than “gender” or “race”.

    And those who write things like:

    …Vote With Your Vaginas, Ladies!

    just get in the way of progress.

    Why did you write that?

    August 29, 2008
  45. Not getting your point, Holly, and either you’re not getting mine or distorting it…

    My point is that McCain chose Palin, very cynically, pretty much only because she’s a woman. That “Vote with your vaginas, ladies!” is McCain’s pandering thought process in this choice. It’s not what I’m saying, it’s my interpretation of McCain’s simplistic and patronizing rationale for this choice.

    Does that make sense?

    Maybe I need to use more air quotes…

    August 29, 2008
  46. David Henson said:

    Brendon #43 makes no sense at all since Hillary’s own party did not pick her. If anything John McCain is saying “you fools you had the whole deal locked down with Hillary as VP and now you have handed it to me.” Plus let’s be honest Hillary wouldn’t have been anywhere accepting her husband happened to have been president ( “pulled herself up by her bootstraps” -please ) – Palin did it on her own merits. The woman eats mooose burgers, married an Eskimo and kicked the Alaska Republican establishment to the curb – what more could you ask for in a VP or from McCain ? I’ll bet her husband thinks twice before rubbing his nose with anyone behind her back !

    August 29, 2008
  47. David H.,

    I disagree about your assessment of Hillary, and your comparison of Palin to Clinton. She beat a corrupt Republican governor for the party’s nomination, wouldn’t qualify that as kicking the whole establishment to the curb. And, somehow, eating mooseburgers and marrying an Eskimo in Alaska hardly strikes me as revolutionary.

    She’s an ultra-conservative, anti-science, anti-environment beauty queen, and while it would be nice to have the beauty queen aspect, the rest would be a repeat of the current pres / vice-pres.

    There were much better women in the Republican party that McCain could have picked.

    August 29, 2008
  48. David Henson said:

    Palin beat a corrupt governor – Hillary grabbed pork belly payola for her Governor husband. The party darlings are always the ones who accept the goodies and play ball – a la Obama’s 4 million dollar home.

    August 29, 2008
  49. Holly Cairns said:

    I got your point, Brendon. It was just so crude and flippant that I thought we should talk about it. It wasn’t McCain’s words so I guess the air quotes won’t work.

    I think voters vote for people they can relate to– Palin’ll might bring a certain amount of women who listen to her struggle and then vote for her. Not because of the woman thing, I hope, but just because of the relate thing.

    One thing for sure, we shouldn’t listen to Palin’s political point of view on the issues like abortion, drilling for oil, and creationism. She should be building up McCain and his view on the issues, but instead she looks like a renegade that’ll clean up Washington. McCain stood by her and looked, well, meek, as they introduced her. How much power does the VP have? Who cares about her stance on the issues and her ability to kick the Alaskan Republican establishment to the curb ? What does that imply– she’ll do it in Washington? Give her a pair of cleats and she’ll wander the Whitehouse hall, kicking?

    But yet, I keep reading about her balancing the ticket. She’s overbearing on the ticket, really, and it’s weird. What is the Republican party thinking…

    Bright’s point is that McCain could live until he is O-L-D-E-R, but maybe they picked someone who will really be sitting in the Oval office because he’s not going to make it?

    August 30, 2008
  50. Bruce Wiskus said:

    How does Obama Biden ticket get past the comments of Biden? Where Biden says that Obama is not ready to be President and the comments that he would be privileged to be on the SAME ticket as McCain.


    August 30, 2008
  51. Holly Cairns said:

    The Democratic Party doesn’t need to get past Biden’s comments. Obama is carrying himself on his own.

    How is the Republican party going to get past Palin? He doesn’t seem to be carrying himself on his own.

    August 30, 2008
  52. Holly,

    You wrote:

    I got your point, Brendon. It was just so crude and flippant that I thought we should talk about it.

    You definitely got part of my point. However, the remark was crude and flippant because that was another part of my point – that McCain campaign strategy on choosing Palin was as crude and flippant as that statement.

    There were other good Republican women he passes over; he went for the ultra-conservative, beauty queen. I think it was a cynical choice predicated on a gross (crude and flippant) over-simplification of half our population.

    I like what you say about the ticket being oddly unbalanced in Palin’s favor now… hadn’t thought about it that way. Her selection could hurt McCain by making him look comparatively weak. Interesting thought.

    August 30, 2008
  53. Holly Cairns said:

    Well, I got your point that McCain might have picked a woman because she’s a woman. But it’s demeaning to say “Vote with your vagina.” You could have simply said people shouldn’t vote for her simply because she’s a woman.

    To that I say “Some will vote for her because she’s a woman” and that’s okay. But if they go vote for her because she’s a woman, that’s not voting with your vagina. That’s the demeaning part.

    What we might look at instead is that other thing– did the Republicans decide that McCain was not electable on his own? Why such a conservative? Why did the daddy party pick a woman who is pro-life?

    Yes, thanks for saying you liked my point (that he looked comparatively weak). And it is odd that its so unbalanced.

    August 30, 2008
  54. Patrick Enders said:

    It was Britt Ackerman who first brought up vaginas, back in post 27. Brendon may have been playing on that.

    Holly, you also wrote:

    One thing for sure, we shouldn’t listen to Palin’s political point of view on the issues like abortion, drilling for oil, and creationism.

    Why not? The job of the Vice President isn’t just to attend state funerals, the job of the Vice President is to be ready to assume the role of President in a moment of deep crisis. And apparently, this woman is the kind of person McCain wants to cover his, and the nation’s back.

    Milquetoast political opinions are just fine in a VP. Crazy nonsensical stuff is not.

    August 30, 2008
  55. Holly Cairns said:

    Well, I guess I missed Britt’s comments about vaginas. Not exactly the same point as Brendon, but if she were demeaning– it’s even worse to be demeaning of each other as women, Britt. Maybe Britt wasn’t being demeaning and simply pointing out gender differences.

    Patrick, you don’t get it. We’re not supposed to vote for the VP. I’m not voting for Biden because he’s the electable one. In fact, I think Biden has already proven he’s not electable on his own. Here comes Palin with oddly right wing ideas, and she’s inexperienced. There are plenty of logical conclusions– what’s best to talk about as DFLers?

    August 30, 2008
  56. FOr the last time, I am not a Republican! To be brutally honest, I don’t think any of these people are oval office worthy. Thanks to JFK and WJC who made a mockery out of the Presidency with their low morality and egocentric peacocking around, no decent possiblity of a man or woman wants the office.

    That and the American Presidency does not hold any real power any more and has not for the past twenty years. It’s a joke. hahahahahahaha!

    But, least of all Obama. I just finally got word and you can believe me or not, Obama has not done well in even a small Chicago neighborhood. And this is from the people there in the trenches who’s names I may not devulge. In fact, the crime rate went up double digits since Obama got on that scene. And most of the steel mills in that area shut down in the 70s.
    He wasn’t helping more than a handful of people.

    Plus, anyone who starts preaching from the bible and changes accents three or four times during his acceptance speech…

    Don’t talk to me about Sarah’s in-laws until Obama brings his brother here. Obama even said during his acceptance speech, help the famile and no one can make it by pulling up their bootstraps if the don’t have bootstraps, which is exactly what I wrote to him last week about his brother being unable to grow any sort of success on $1 per month.

    And besides that, I don’t know any Americans who wouldn’t take a little short cut help from officials to help out a bad situation. Very few wouldn’t.
    Not saying it’s right, just saying it’s so.

    Obama was handpicked by the Kennedy clan because his resume looks good on paper and he fits the profile, but as far as experience…he will be getting his directions from the Kennedys et al. Maybe you like that sort of thing. Fine. It’s a free country so far, kind of, sort of.

    All the great people become CEOs or Popes. So, there, take that Northfield! (I’m just being wild and outrageous for entertainment value.
    Make of it what you will, but don’t put your words into my posts.)

    As for women, Hillary had such a bad attitude coming through her 99% of the time, that I could never see her bringing about harmony amongst any nations. She alienated half the women in this country with her cookie remark and the other half when she said, oH, BIll, it’s OKAy, you do whatever you want under the desk and make a fool out of me, this country and embarass your child to the ultimate max, it’s okay.

    At least Sarah has replaced Hillary’s smarminess with spunk and charm.
    Plus Sarah birthed five children on top of it all.

    August 30, 2008
  57. Holly Cairns said:

    Oh, Bright, what’s going on with you, there. Let me look back– it seems people are telling you what party you might belong to. Hmm. That’s not good.

    Yes, Sarah birthed five. But Hillary has good points, too. I wonder how much of what we know about Hillary is really the news point of view. Personally, In the latter parts of the campaign, I thought she sounded like she was yelling, as if no one could hear her, or see her for what she was. I was a Hillary person until I became an Obama person, and so I hope she gets better advice for her next time around.

    Hmm, and that forgive Bill thing. Yes. Except, did she yell at him and then they worked it out… or did she just say “That’s okay, honey.”

    August 30, 2008
  58. David Henson said:

    Britt actually said Palin and Hillary were interchangeable because they both have vagina”s” (which would make them unique candidates) but I assume she meant because they each have “a” vagina. However, lacking even a sensitive side, I still like McCain’s choice. I think Independents are less concerned about what candidates think and more about what they have done. Both McCain and Palin, although politicians, have at times shown an ability to think selflessly and to break ranks with their party – these are qualities this vagina-less Independent values.

    August 30, 2008
  59. Patrick Enders said:

    Hi again.
    You wrote:

    I just finally got word and you can believe me or not, Obama has not done well in even a small Chicago neighborhood. And this is from the people there in the trenches who’s names I may not devulge.

    I feel like a broken record saying it, but I will consider the allegations of your unsupported rumor when someone produces some evidence to support it.

    the American Presidency does not hold any real power any more and has not for the past twenty years.

    I think George Bush and Dick Cheney have thoroughly disproven this statement. Its not just anyone who can start a war, or lock up people at their whim.

    I don’t know any Americans who wouldn’t take a little short cut help from officials to help out a bad situation. Very few wouldn’t.
    Not saying it’s right, just saying it’s so.

    I would never do such a thing as she is alleged to have done. Also, you should meet my very large number of honest, decent, and upstanding friends and family members, who would never do such a thing. And some of them are even from Chicago.

    If the allegations against Gov. Palin are true, then she has grossly abused her power in office. There is no excuse for that – except that she didn’t do it. (Which might be true. We’re still in the evidence-gathering phase on this.)

    Plus Sarah birthed five children on top of it all.

    My grandmother birthed seven. Is she therefore more qualified to be (vice) president?

    August 30, 2008
  60. Patrick Enders said:

    Holly, you wrote:

    Patrick, you don’t get it. We’re not supposed to vote for the VP. I’m not voting for Biden because he’s the electable one. In fact, I think Biden has already proven he’s not electable on his own. Here comes Palin with oddly right wing ideas, and she’s inexperienced. There are plenty of logical conclusions– what’s best to talk about as DFLers?

    Thanks Holly. I do get that. My initial interest in Palin (played out in real time here in this thread), was “who the heck is this woman, and why would he have chosen her?”

    I think the best way to approach this is to look at it as a case study in McCain’s judgement: of all the possibilities, why did he choose this woman as his running mate? The only conclusion I can make is he went with a gut feeling and a roll of the dice – knowing that he was going to lose if he couldn’t dramatically change the political narrative right now. So he made a decision for purely political/marketing purposes: trying to find someone who could change the subject right nw, who might attract independent women, and who was conservative enough for his base. Why he thought this particular woman was a better choice for VP than any of the other available options, male or female – including more experienced, tested women such as Kay Bailey Hutchinson – seems to be an important thing to pick apart.

    August 30, 2008
  61. nick waterman said:

    please. the idea that bill clinton disgraced the white house is incredibly offensive yes, i would prefer that he had not lied, and he should be ashamed of having done so. give me a president who played around ANYTIME over one who enriched his rich friends, sent innocents off to war to murder other innocents, ignored the plight of Katrina victims, attacked science and ruined schools.

    and how truly trite to bring up the cookie remark: i suppose it’s better that automaton cindy mccain plagiarized her cookie recipe? And by your math, bright, hillary alienated 100% of the women in the u.s. Huh?

    August 30, 2008
  62. Bill Clinton disgraced his name,his family and the Oval office on the world scene. I will never change on that. I believe in forgiveness and do forgive him, but the world will never forget and that is a mark upon our image.

    Anyway, Obama now lives in a 4 million dollar home, look it up. He didnt’ get that from the grateful disenfranchised people of the south side of Chicago, I betcha.

    And while I say half this and half that, it’s just a figure of speech. If I was gonna go the exact route, I’d give hard numbers. I have a AA in Electronics Technology and Applied Science, so I think I can handle that.

    My sister and her husband ARE middle class. Except for a two year sprint as a health club area manager, he has been a high school teacher and she is a part time travel agent, very low key. They made some investments, like Bush urged the American people to do since day one or two of his Presidency. If anyone listened to him and invested in oil and lumber and steel, you would have prolly doubled or tripled your money by now, depending on which companies, etc.

    Anyway, my sister raised two boys, sent them to college on partial scholarships and they both now hold great jobs. It’s not that tough, just takes determination and a willingness to make the effort and sacrifice of hanging out too much with friends and such, over time.

    Patrick, I don’t know exactly what Palin was supposed to have done, so I will concede the point for now. Also, believe what you want about the neighborhood Obama fought for, it doesn’t make any difference, because people have been fighting for and with and at that neighborhood and others like it for decades, Obama was just one of a long line of do gooders.

    I think it’s great that a man of color is aspiring to the White House, but I don’t think it’s great that people are hoping for him to save them. He will not. He is asking them to save themselves now, and I don’t hear anyone listening to that message at all.

    August 30, 2008
  63. Patrick said:

    I think George Bush and Dick Cheney have thoroughly disproven this statement. Its not just anyone who can start a war, or lock up people at their whim.

    Patrick, I am afraid you are wrong about this cuz just about anybody can start a war and lock people up. Think about it.

    The kind of power I am talking about is the kind where if you come into the room, people stop and listen and then take your advice. I don’t know if that ever really happens on the world stage, but it does in my mind…and admittedly I have a very active imagination. With this kind of power, there is no war, only willing compliance out of respect and honor.

    August 30, 2008
  64. Patrick Enders said:

    Bright, you wrote:

    Anyway, Obama now lives in a 4 million dollar home, look it up. He didnt’ get that from the grateful disenfranchised people of the south side of Chicago, I betcha.

    He has, however, sold a lot of books. The advance for The Audacity of Hope alone was $1.9 million. Last year, Barack and Michelle’s combined income was $4.2 million, mostly from sales of his books.

    But I do agree that Mr. Obama’s financial interactions with Tony Rezko(sp?) were foolish or poorly thought out – at the very least. How do Obama’s mistakes hold up against the alternatives – McCain’s involvement with Charles Keating, for example? We should each look at the facts, and judge for ourselves.

    August 30, 2008
  65. nick waterman said:

    That’s great that your sister made investments, good for her and I’m glad it worked out. But many middle class people DON”T HAVE ANY MONEY TO INVEST, because they are busy spending it on their health care. Not because they weren’t bright enough to listen to Bush’s fabulous advice on oil and steel.

    Bush is rich because he’s from one of the wealthiest families in the country, not from his business acumen. indeed, if he had to live as a result of his business acumen, he’d be in a rental apartment rather than the white house. and this vague obama-bashing, using some kind of vague chicago (he didn’t really help the people there” ) expertise, is unhelpful and vapid.

    August 30, 2008
  66. Paul Fried said:

    Griff: Regarding 2008 at the RNC being a repeat of 1968 at the DNC, Please clarify:

    Are you wondering about the 1960’s-1970’s FBI “COINTELPRO” efforts to infiltrate groups on the left, to monitor, incite to violence and discredit them? (COINTELPRO is not a wild conspiracy theory, but historical fact)

    Or are you assuming that, if there is violence in St. Paul during the RNC and related to the peace movement, it would be instigated only by the peace protest crowds themselves, and not agents provocateurs?

    Or are you undecided on the question?

    August 30, 2008
  67. nick waterman, while i have never had the pleasure of your acquaintance,
    i would be happy to be helpful if i knew what it is you thought would be helpful as long as it doesn’t involve me sitting down and shutting up like a good little girl and nodding my head and holding up signs in perfect agreement with everything i hear and see.

    August 30, 2008
  68. nick waterman said:

    Hi Bright: I’m not asking you to “be a good girl and agree with everyone else,” I’m just saying that comments like “Obama has not done well in even a small Chicago neighborhood. And this is from the people there in the trenches who’s names I may not devulge,” is just ridiculous, for about 3 different reasons:
    1) what does “done well” mean?

    2) where are the “trenches”

    3) why the cia-like secrecy of people whose names which “cannot be divulged,” as if some fearsome retribution awaited those with the temerity to say something as tepid as “obama has not done well.” What, are Obama’s goons going to bump them off?

    4) most importantly, it (your comment) relies on feigning some kind of insider status to shut other people up, as if they did not have access to the truth, but you do, but you can’t say from where.

    August 30, 2008
  69. Holly,

    You can chose to read my rhetoric as demeaning, so be it. I’m not known for soft-pedaling my written words. I chose words based on how they will emphasize a rhetorical argument or advance a story. Sometimes those words can be brutish, but it’s to solidify the point. If I held back certain words or phrases because I thought someone might be offended, I wouldn’t be able to write anything. There’s a difference between you being offended and me being offensive. It’s your judgment only. Nothing I can do about that.

    To others here: As for Sarah Palin having five children: I’m failing to see the relevance to helping run the country. It’s an emotional factor in supporting her, yes, but it’s a very weak test for an office like Vice President of the US. Is there a childbirth-frequency / leadership-potential scale that I’ve never seen? A lot of seriously damaged women give birth to even more children. Republicans, historically, have demonized them.

    David H., you make a good point in comment #60: there’s the strength of being seen as independent. That will be a plus for the ticket, but I still think the negatives (as they exist now and whatever may be uncovered in the next few months) outweigh that positive.

    Bright, I haven’t the slightest idea how you conflate the Obama half-brother story and the allegations of Palin’s illegal firing of a state official based on a family grudge. Obama did what to his half-brother half a world away? If true – and Palin is already backpedaling from earlier assertions of non-involvement in the matter – then she seriously abused her power in service of a personal desire. Pretty much the definition of “corruption”. So much for the squeaky clean reformer. If true, she did this as an elected official using her authority and power as an elected official to fire someone who wouldn’t fire her former brother-in-law. So much for her respect for law and order, a supposed bedrock of conservative values.

    August 30, 2008
  70. Anne Bretts said:

    Obama is under no obligation to ‘do something’ about any of his half-siblings. His father has several children with several women in different places. The children would be the responsibilty of his late father, not him.
    On the other hand, Cindy McCain’s father had another family first and nearly abandoned them, but continued to have some contact with the child and provided some financial support. For McCain, who inherited a fortune, to cut off the meager aid her father clearly intended her sister to have is selfish. She doesn’t need to have a relationship with the half-sister, but she should have honored her father by sharing some of the many millions…or even one of the many houses…Hmmm.

    August 30, 2008
  71. nick, done well, means that he helped clear up the crime, or in some way made a difference in the life style that permeates the very concrete therein.

    As I have said before on this forum, in several ways, shapes and forms, I grew up from birth in the neighborhood right next to the neighborhood where Obama was supposedly defending civil rights and organizing people. It is an area with one of the highest crime rates in the country and has been for generations.

    I worked in City Hall, my sister worked in City Hall, and as an environmentalist with a high profile, I worked with the politicians, and as a person who used to be concerned with the plight of the black man, I do have some insider information about people such as Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition, Mohamed Ali, all of whom are also from my old neighborhood, or very nearby, and all have or had homes there for many years.

    I live in a different type of neighborhood in the U of Chicago area, where Michelle Obama worked to create an outreach program. There are a lot of people who do social and legal work there, and it’s not all that.

    The people I know are making some headway right now in their work and don’t wish to be pointed out. I am honoring their request. SO shoot me.

    And btw, people who are ill and cannot affort health insurance may have been middle class at one time, but they are no longer, and therefore not
    the people I refer to. I refer to people who have expendable income. If people would take that $4.00 per day that they buy pop and stuff with, by the end of one year, they would have almost $1500. They could buy some stock with that.

    My sister is middle class, and they have dealt with illnesses, but not the long, long term expensive sort. My sister is almost retired and it took them a while to own three places…she is by all standards middle class.

    August 30, 2008
  72. Brendon, well, when I said what I said about Palin, I said ‘at first glance’, and then I said I didn’t know the whole story, and I still don’t, the investigation has barely even begun to see if an investigation is warranted, as far as I can tell from here. I can also say that messy divorce can mean a lot of things, like maybe someone was messing with someone and needed to get gone from public service and someone wasn’t wanting someone gone cuz of the blue brotherhood thing and maybe that didn’t sit too well with someone…we just don’t know yet.

    But, Barrack’s claiming, take care of your brothers and sisters and family is all and no one can lift themselves up by their bootstraps if they don’t even have a bootstrap, and then in his own life, he has left his half brother in Kenya living in a shack on a dollar a day, not wanting to impose on his brother. For goodness sake. Can’t he bring him here and help him get
    a pell grant or something??? At least walk the talk on that level, preacher man.

    As for the five children, in my head I was thinking about how everyone says how great Fred Astaire was, when all the time Ginger Rogers was doing the same things Fred was only on high heels and backwards. As a performer, I am sure you can get that reference. As a man, you don’t know how much a woman gives toward giving birth, or maybe you do? 🙂

    August 30, 2008
  73. nick waterman said:

    Bright said: “And btw, people who are ill and cannot affort health insurance may have been middle class at one time, but they are no longer, and therefore not
    the people I refer to. I refer to people who have expendable income. ”

    so all middle class people can afford health insurance? and middle class by definition includes “expendable” income? This will be news to much of the middle class. You know, the ones with only one house, or none.

    and I’m just going to quit now, because the interminable nonsense about the half-brother has sent me over the edge. pell grants are for citizens. And why the indignant moral outrage over and over about a half brother whose circumstances you know NOTHING about (except what you have read), but a complete lack of moral outrage over the income discrepancies and poverty (not to even mention deaths, lack of medical care, etc) created right here in your country by george bush, where despite the ever more generous description of what constitutes “poverty”, more people fall into it every day?

    August 30, 2008
  74. nick waterman said:

    i do realize i broke the rule and was sarcastic in the last post, but I must say, that if sarcasm is more offensive than this:

    “I worked with the politicians, and as a person who used to be concerned with the plight of the black man, I do have some insider information about people such as Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition, Mohamed Ali, all of whom are also from my old neighborhood, or very nearby, and all have or had homes there for many years.

    I live in a different type of neighborhood in the U of Chicago area, where Michelle Obama worked to create an outreach program. There are a lot of people who do social and legal work there, and it’s not all that.”

    then something is wrong.

    August 30, 2008
  75. Yep, Obama does say these things about family, and I will concede the point that there may be a little personal hypocrisy in the situation with his half-brother. However, it’s not a function of his office as a Senator or his position as a presidential candidate. It’s a family matter, and I don’t know enough about the dynamics of his family to know why it persists, and I don’t think it’s indicative of his ability to lead since it is not a governance decision he’s making.

    How much does he even know his half-brother? (They’re twenty years and one big ocean apart, are they not?) Is it more honorable for Obama to let his half-brother figure his own way in life or to just give him hand outs? From your arguments, I think you’d much rather see his half-brother do for himself, rather than have Barack do for him.

    Palin’s actions are actually under investigation, by the Alaska legislature and by the Alaska Attorney General’s office. It is not the case that “the investigation has barely even begun to see if an investigation is warranted” as you stated. While it may be a family matter, they are actions alleged to have been carried out under her direction, using her power and authority as Alaska’s Governor – in other words, abuse of power and corruption of public office.

    Your former brother-in-law being an ass to your sister – apart from his duties as a State Trooper – does not equate with an actionable cause for dismissal of his supervisor.

    Again, regarding childbirth, somehow I’ve picked up that pain is involved. Does that mean anyone who suffers physical pain is made more ready to lead? The more pain, the better the leader? What about emotional pain? Does that count on the proficiency of leadership scale? What about a man who has five children? Is he more fit for executive office than a childless man, or a man with only one child?

    As I said, it’s an emotional hook, to be sure, but that’s all it is. The whole “mom” angle will “play well in Peoria” perhaps, but let’s not confuse that with demonstrated ability.

    It’s a grave disservice to women who have no children to consider that they are less fit for leadership based only on that criterion. This is not to say that being a mother doesn’t teach a woman many things about life, but as a marker for leadership potential at this level, it is meaningless and absurd at best, dubious and misleading at worst.

    August 30, 2008
  76. First of all, great leaders lead by example, not do as I say and not as I do.
    Everyone knows that’ doesn’t work.

    Obama has not yet answered the questions about his brother…the news refers to his book. If there was no way to get his brother some help, then so be it. I apologize, but I kind of think there is something to do for him. That’s my opinion, and I am entitled to it, nick and BE, without being belittled.

    As for the five children scam I am trying to pull, come on. If you don’t think it’s harder to accomplish a full career and give birth to five kids, than it is to accomplish a career without giving birth…all other things being equal, which they never would be anyway, you have another think coming. I’m just giving my opinion, it doesn’t mean a hill of beans around here or anywhere else. Give it a rest, you two.

    August 30, 2008
  77. nick waterman said:

    just to be clear, Bright, I entirely agree that you are entitled to your opinion. And that you should not be belittled for it. But belittling (for that is precisely what you are doing, trying to claim that Obama’s achievements are less than they are) Clinton or Obama or anyone else ought to be out of bounds for you, too. And it is one thing to state your opinion, and something entirely else to claim that you are in possession of facts somehow denied to the rest of us, but still unassailable.

    August 30, 2008
  78. I hardly think I was belittling you, Bright. I pointed out the difference in both the nature and meaning of the Barack half-brother story and the Palin former brother-in-law issue.

    Obviously, I know it’s your opinion and I know you’re entitled to it. I never said you weren’t. I am, likewise, expressing my opinion and challenging the basis for yours. That’s debate.

    As for the mother-of-five angle, I never even hinted that having five children and a career was the same as just having the career minus the children. My argument has been, and continues to be: there is nothing inherent in giving birth five times that qualifies someone for higher executive office. It’s an emotional hook for some, but it shouldn’t be considered as a reflection of her merit to help lead a country.

    As for your assertions about the difficulties she must face as a mother of five and a Governor, certainly that would be tough. She probably has a very supportive husband. A husband who is a father of five and a career man, I would guess.

    As for telling me to “give it a rest,” I would ask only: Did you not expect to be challenged?

    August 30, 2008
  79. No, Brendon, but I felt a bit put upon when nick w. was stamping my opinions with rather negative words, like trite, and you not seeing that fred – ginger thing made me think you went out for a walk, which is me speak for refusing to understand something you would normally understand.

    I never said anything about child bearing as making anyone more qualified for anything, and I am not sure you said I said that, but just to be clear, I agree with you.

    I hope to be challenged, but not with negative labels on my words, but with facts, or at least opinions from laudable sources, as far as they may be known, or well-thought out questions. I am a teacher by heart and former profession and hope to see all do well, even at the expense of my being publicly shown to be in error.

    August 30, 2008
  80. nick waterman said:

    once more, and only to be clear, the one and only thing I labeled “trite” was to actually bring up the Hillary cookie debacle. I certainly stand by my characterization of that as trite.

    August 30, 2008
  81. Bright, I’m not saying you’re “in error”. I didn’t agree with some of your assessments. I gave mine. We are stating opinions based on our interpretations of what we’ve read and filtered through our unique experiences and minds. Nothing more. I understood your gender differences argument, but never thought it relevant to the point I was making about Palin’s qualification for higher executive office by dint of multiple offspring.

    Time might reveal your opinions as more prescient, or it might favor mine, but, even then, they will remain opinions.

    August 30, 2008
  82. Holly Cairns said:

    What, this must be pick on Bright day. 🙁 Bright does have a point about the brother’s keeper. We all know it’s best to start with your own brother. But sometimes they are the hardest to help? I think Barack met this brother for a half an hour of his life… right? Or which brother is this…

    Patrick said:

    Why he thought this particular woman was a better choice for VP than any of the other available options, male or female – including more experienced, tested women such as Kay Bailey Hutchinson – seems to be an important thing to pick apart.

    Okay, I agree with that. Good point. Plus I wrote you didn’t get it. My bad. Sorry about that.

    Brendon said:

    You can chose to read my rhetoric as demeaning, so be it. I’m not known for soft-pedaling my written words. I chose words based on how they will emphasize a rhetorical argument or advance a story. Sometimes those words can be brutish, but it’s to solidify the point. If I held back certain words or phrases because I thought someone might be offended, I wouldn’t be able to write anything. There’s a difference between you being offended and me being offensive. It’s your judgment only. Nothing I can do about that.

    You wouldn’t be able to write anything? Ridiculous. Nothing I can do about that. C’mon, Brendon, that’s just not nice. What war are you waging, anyway? Is there no limit to what you should be able to say?

    Here: If women vote for women, they aren’t voting with their vaginas. Do you agree? You seem to say it is McCain who was saying that… but you chose the words.

    Hi Nick. You might be careful in here since the air is hot. You’ll see there is another side to things.

    See you downtown, everyone.

    August 30, 2008
  83. Okay, Holly, how about this: You’re offended. Too bad.

    I don’t know how much clearer I need to be about my opinions regarding McCain’s motivations for this VP pick.

    I explicitly and LOUDLY agree with you that women do not vote for gender reasons alone.

    I guess you just object to me using the word “vagina”; so I proudly report that I will never use the word “vagina” in this post about vagina voting again. For to use the word “vagina” to underscore pandering political motivations does no honor to vaginae worldwide.

    Please keep misinterpreting my point and applying your “war” (??) motivations to my words. It’s humorous.

    La la la la la… vagina…

    Oops! Sorry, that one just slipped out.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve broken Griff’s 5-vagina-limit-per-comment guideline.

    August 30, 2008
  84. nick waterman said:

    thanks for the warning Holly; I can see that there is indeed hot air.

    August 31, 2008
  85. Holly Cairns said:

    Brendon– vagina vagina vagina. Okay to say. That’s a ’90’s issue.

    “Think with your vagina” so you end up voting for a woman. Not okay to say. Present issue. Not McCain’s words, but yours. Wrong way to go about the issue, message is lost. People get angry and then vote for the vagina, simply because they can, and they decide you are crude. Action taken since you were crude.

    I think: There’s a difference. With your plays, are you trying to get people to be open and more understanding? One thing you can do is speak with respect. LOUDLY. Or you can be crude, and make people nervous, and maybe they’ll go away and change the world. But, if you yell at your audience and make them so offended, you lost.

    I bet, you’ll come back at me with “I don’t care if I offend you.” You get it that you were crude. I’m wondering what war you are fighting and it must be the “I can say anything I want” war and the “I don’t care about the effect” war. Right? OR, you’ve decided I don’t represent the average, and most people wouldn’t be offended by what you said to describe McCain’s point of view. I think you are wrong. If I’m pretty open minded about things and I am offended, well, then…

    August 31, 2008
  86. Holly Cairns said:

    Nick– I agree with you re: your comments/ observations here, above. Are you from Northfield, Minnesota? If you are not, tell us about your people.

    August 31, 2008
  87. nick waterman said:

    i’m from minneapolis by way of boston, and enjoying minnesota

    August 31, 2008
  88. We’re experiencing the UGLY in Minnesota with the raids, detentions and arrests in St. Paul and Minneapolis. The harassment of anyone seen with a camera near the convention site was inexcusable, and this heavily-armed multi-jurisdictional unconstitutional harassment and terrorizing of citizens is such extreme proof of the erosion of our rights. Our elected officials need to hear from us now to stop this outrageous violation of our rights. Yes, it’s what I expected with the Patriot Act and all that has come since, and I fear it’s too late to turn around. But we’ve got to try. A friend’s daughter is in jail, her Minneapolis house was boarded up. Dave Bicking is a long-time political activist, he ran for inneapolis City Council last election, and his daughter who continues the family tradition of activism is in jail… Maybe the raiders figure Minnesota Nice will let them get away with this. Watching this from 1,200 miles away is so frustrating. The implications of these raids goes far beyond the Metro and the RNC Convention. Griff – if you’re covering the convention, well, this is an important part to cover! http://www.theuptake.org has been on it.

    August 31, 2008
  89. Anne Bretts said:

    Holly, I think that either you didn’t read all the way through the relative comments or you just aren’t getting it. Brendon was playing off the comments of Britt. It wasn’t offensive to me at all, in fact, I thought it was very clever. In any case, maybe we can get back to the discussion.
    I think Palin is very bright, and the party would have done well to groom her for greatness by giving her some meaningful experience before putting her in this position. I don’t agree with her positions on issues stated so far, and the argument made by Cindy McCain that she understands foreign policy because her stat is clost to Alaska is truly frightening. She is not running as McCain’s administrative assistant, she’s running for vice president, meaning she needs to be as qualified as he to run the country. She just isn’t qualified. And while her views may energize the right, but I hope they also energize Obama backers. This is such a clear choice for the future, I’m amazed that anyone can be undecided at this point.
    As for her five children being a sign of her ability, I grew up Catholic and everyone I knew was part of a family of 5 or 8 or even 12. Some of the parents showed organizational and leadership skills, others just showed a blind obedience to the church that left them and their kids devastated and overwhelmed. Parenthood doesn’t make you great.
    Bright, your comments have me just baffled. I respect that many of your friends don’t like Obama, but to use that to say he’s not popular in Chicago is a big stretch. Mayor Daly and Sen. Durbin are hardly political idiots swayed by a celebrity.
    I feel terrible for St. Paul that the convention may be shortened and definitely will be a money-loser for all involved. And while I don’t support Pawlenty and I don’t think he was ready for VP, I feel bad for him and all the others who worked hard for McCain and got snubbed so rudely.

    August 31, 2008
  90. Curt Benson said:

    Carol, why does one need a gun, throwing knives, a bow and arrow, flammable liquids, paint, slingshots, rocks and buckets of urine at a peaceful protest?

    I’m guessing in advance that your response will contain the phrase “agent provacateurs”.

    August 31, 2008
  91. john george said:

    Nick- In your post 74 you said this, “…but a complete lack of moral outrage over the income discrepancies and poverty (not to even mention deaths, lack of medical care, etc) created right here in your country by george bush,…” How are our economic inequities George Bush’s creation? Lyndon Johnson started the “war on poverty”, and to my knowledge, it was not won during any previous administration. It isn these types of statements that prompt mne to differentioate between a liberal and a Bush hater. The liberals have a plan on how to address this problem.

    As far as income inequities, this problem has been around for a long time. The liberal plan is to address it with big government, thus imposing financial equality from the outside through forced redistribution of accumulated wealt. The conservative approach is to redistribute it through big business, through profits on goods and services paid out through wages to people who actually provide the goods and services. I personally do not think either philosophy will actually work because in individual greed. It is in dealing with this individual greed that I put my hope. I look at the economic problems we are facing as a disease of the individual spirit rather than any particular economic philosophy, but this is just my world view showing through.

    August 31, 2008
  92. Holly,

    There’s a point in exchanges like this where it is meaningless to keep beating heads against a wall. I reached that point about one comment ago.

    However, sadly – disconsolately, even – I must weigh in, since you continue to attack: I know what to write, how to write it, and why I do it in the way I do it to express my opinions.

    While it seems sweet that you care (in such an angry way), you needn’t concern yourself with my prose style. In writing what I wrote, I knew some might be shocked by word choice and arrangement, but I had faith that most or nearly all thinking women would get the meaning of both the content and the context. Why? Because women are smart, and I’m willing to bet they don’t need you to tell them to be offended or protect them.

    Was your next rhetorical step to compare me to Hitler? That’s usually where these “I’m offended” arguments lead. Trying to control someone’s argument by claiming politically correct offense is soooo 1989.

    I’m done, ramble on if you wish.


    I’m very interested in reactions to the police actions in the Twin Cities; especially as it regards the idea of “preventative detention” and the seemingly global equating of protest with terrorism. These are serious civil liberties issues, and I’m not just talking about the RNC. The DNC and other big events have had these same problems.

    I have so many questions, and I hope some attorneys or others can weigh in here:

    Why do judges sign off on these search warrants?
    What is the threshold of “probable cause”?
    What crimes have these people committed?

    August 31, 2008
  93. Curt,

    I agree. There are most definitely going to be some actual criminals mingled in with protesters. There usually are. My concern is more with the overreach we see nationally that equates legitimate protest with the bogeyman of terrorism.

    P.S. I saw the “three 5-gallon buckets of urine” report in the news too, and I first wondered: What’s that for? Then I wondered: Whose urine? Then I wondered: How long would it take me to fill a 5-gallon bucket with my urine? Then I wondered: Are their toilets broken? Then I wondered: Uh-oh, if their toilets are broken, where are the other 5-gallon buckets? Then I decided to stop wondering about that.

    August 31, 2008
  94. Holly Cairns said:

    I guess Carol’s not going to let us get off track.

    In the ’80’s, one of my friends was arrested for sitting outside Honeywell. The police weren’t so nice, then, either. But his house wasn’t boarded up. I wonder if you can elaborate on that? That really sounds like a violation of rights.

    The DNC protesters were far away, I’ve heard. The RNC protesters will be allowed closer = tougher security measures?

    It might be best to protest in other ways.

    I wonder what Gustav will do to Louisiana.

    August 31, 2008
  95. Curt Benson said:

    Brendon, I think it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall at an anarchists meeting. Unless they’ve transcended human nature, which is doubtful, sooner or later an ironic sort of hierarchy would have to develop to handle the inevitable disagreements that occur when more than one person has an opinion.

    I’m glad we’ve got this whole democracy thing worked out here locally, where citizens, administrators, mayors and councilors act like civilized, mature people–cheerfully accepting that fact that they won’t always get to have their ways.

    August 31, 2008
  96. Curt Benson said:

    Oh, and where did the urine come from? Can you still get four cases of Buckhorn or Fox Deluxe for $10? It’s been awhile.

    August 31, 2008
  97. David Henson said:

    Curt – From #90 – I’m thinking these items may just be for an innocent pictogram of Peaceful (the bucket of urine PEA, the bow for C and the flammable liquids for EFUL). Maybe not.

    If my house were raided they would find most of these items and others they could use as trophies to justify the raid (but not the buckets of urine ~ I promise). I am going to go start throwing out my paint.

    August 31, 2008
  98. Holly Cairns said:

    Brendon’s last comments not available to me before I posted about the protesting.

    I’m not angry.

    You think you and Hitler have a lot in common, or what? No, that wasn’t going to be my next move in the argument. I’m the one arguing against your word choice, so it would be me that would be more to the right in this situation.

    There aren’t any other women that have chimed in here, whether they are on vacation or whether they don’t care… whatever. Maybe I am the only one who was offended by your “vote with your vagina” if you vote for a woman.

    We’re going to have to agree to disagree, Brendon. I can concede that you use words to cause a rise, and that is sometimes good, and you cannot concede that sometimes you use a choice of words that distracts from the real intended issue.

    Plus, that moment is gone in history, now.

    August 31, 2008
  99. Jane Moline said:

    I think the RNC will reject Palin and offer another VP choice. I think the whole thing is a set up.

    August 31, 2008
  100. Patrick Enders said:

    This presents another way of looking at John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin:

    “Getting to Know You”:

    August 31, 2008
  101. David H. said:

    If my house were raided they would find most of these items and others they could use as trophies to justify the raid (but not the buckets of urine ~ I promise). I am going to go start throwing out my paint.

    I thought the same thing when I saw the list of items confiscated in one raid. Apparently, I’m also hellbent on civic disruption (sorry… “terrorism”) because I have PVC pipe and chicken wire and empty glass bottles and rags and fuel in my garage. Little did I know how evil I unintentionally have become.

    Your pictogram description was very clever, good work!

    Curt, while I’m generally liberal and I like me some good protestin’ from time to time to keep things from getting, I don’t know, stale… I do often wonder about anarchists, too. Do they honestly think a society of 300 million people spread over a country this size could run itself according to their principles? That every function of the country would need to be decided by consensus?

    In my experience, the only people who truly believe anarchy could work in any complex social system are idealistic college kids (for a couple years) and delusional people with little to lose.

    All this being said, I still think these raids are not being targeted only at anarchists bent on “doing some crimes”, but also seem geared toward squelching legitimate protest and peaceful civil disobedience. That’s not good for anyone.

    Holly, Agreed. Certainly, I make a lot of mistakes and distract from the real issue sometimes with my words. It grates on people from time to time. I understand that. It’s very subjective and messy and emotional. That’s writing. Thank you for helping me get better at it.

    Patrick, that youtube video… Their body language seemed a little odd – she sort of leans away from him, and he sort of pushes into her personal space. Like she’s trying to avoid a hug from her smelly old uncle, or something. He’s playing with his wedding ring… very funny.

    August 31, 2008
  102. Curt – you ask why they might need various items at a peaceful protest, but they weren’t at a protest, they were at home. They claim a bow and arrows were found, and I can bow hunt up my bluff from my deck of my house within the city limits of Red Wing. They were sitting at home. At the “Convergence Center” they were hanging out having dinner and watching a video. The bus that was pulled over was driving down the road and the family, their three dogs and chickens were ejected and bus towed away “to see if it was safe to be on the road.” What a crock, the DOT does roadside inspections every day, and in the youtube of the pullover, there were 10 patrol cars, 10, early on, and probably more later. The problem with thinking you’re covered with the 4th amendment is that it’s only good to get evidence thrown out at your trial, and it sure isn’t going to keep the cops from knocking on all your friends, neighbors, colleagues and coworkers and bosses doing “investigating,” it’s not going to prevent them from kicking in your doors in as they did, pointing guns at everyone, it’s not going to keep you out of jail over the weekend, it’s not going to prevent them from boarding up your home while you sit in jail, it’s not going to keep them from taking your computer and going through it and holding it for how long… until trial?, it’s not going to keep them from taking your digital camera until trial. There was a warrant for 551 Iglehart but no 549, so they broke into 551 and then kicked their way into 549 through the attic, and held everyone there without a warrant, handcuffed an attorney who was there and she was able to function as a go-between between cops and detainees but had to be handcuffed the entire time. They weren’t doing anything. I have three cohorts who were all arrested in different parts of the country for holding a sign, HOLDING A SIGN, FOR DOG’S SAKE, one saying “Cheny is a war criminal” another saying “Danger, raw sewage” and another saying “No New Coal” with not a disruptive word or action. Oh, and Alan was arrested for wearing a gag at legislative hall, quietly sitting, not disruptive in anyway. This is so serious and each of us has to stand up and SCREAM that this must stop. Loudly, repeatedly, until we turn this big full-steam-ahead ship of fools around and get our rights back. The scary thing about constitutional law is that it’s a matter of “use it or lose it” and we’ve not been using it and they’ve been taking it away. Each increment that we let slide makes the next increment that much easier. Years ago I represented two guys of the “Crandon 29” who were arrested, there were three fact patterns and they were all being tried together in a carnival kangaroo court in Wisconsin. My two were charged with blocking the highway, yet the video showed it was the cop cars blocking the street, none of the people arrested were in the street/highway, they were all on the sidewalks, sitting on the curb, singing and/or dancing, and not threatening anyone or anything in any way. Unfortunately, they lived a long ways away and couldn’t get back for hearings without a lot of trouble, so we plead out those in that group on misdemeanors that cost a lot less than airfare/gas back to Wisconsin. But it’s the same thing, people doing perfectly legal things, arrested and charged, and having to sit in jail and then defend themselves against patently bogus charges, or in this case, held without charges over the holiday. That’s abuse and misuse of the legal system — once more with feeling, we must VERY LOUDLY DEMAND THE VIOLATIONS OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS STOP. Those whose homes were invaded, held at gunpoint, detained and/or arrested will be suing everyone involved for everything they’re worth — maybe that’s what it will take to drive home the cost of violating constitutional rights. I am so furious, and at the same time glad I’m in Delaware for a couple of weeks because if I were there, I’d be in their face and probably getting “three hots and a cot” myself. This is so wrong. Take your pick – there’s “Stand up, keep fighting” and there’s “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights,” and whether Wellstone or Marley, now’s the time.
    Lawyers Guild has submitted a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent actions against journalists, taking computers and video equipment, etc.

    August 31, 2008
  103. David Henson said:

    Brendon – my home raid might be reported Swat found: red, white and blue cloth; lighter fluid; a book describing Mao, Molotov Cocktails & Mortars; a heavy Chinese metal tube stand and a bunch of disguises.

    Bath towels, a Bic, M volume of encyclopedia, Christmas Tree Holder and Halloween storage.

    August 31, 2008
  104. Holly Cairns said:

    Patrick, that video is horrible! How’d you find that one in the million out there.

    August 31, 2008
  105. Holly Cairns said:

    What’s the bucket of urine thing. Did you describe that, Carol? I’m out of it on that one. What’s that used for?

    August 31, 2008
  106. Patrick Enders said:

    What do you find horrible about that video?

    As for where I found it, it was created by the owner of one of the blogs I’ve been following off and on through the primaries, The Jed Report.

    August 31, 2008
  107. Patrick Enders said:

    Holly wrote,

    What’s the bucket of urine thing. Did you describe that, Carol? I’m out of it on that one. What’s that used for?

    I think it’s called a chamber pot. Saves the trouble of a chilly trip to the outhouse in January.

    August 31, 2008
  108. Holly – Bucket of urine came from the warrant, what they were “looking for” and why??? Who knows. Reports say they came out of one house with three buckets, two of grey water from the drain under the sink that they used to flush toilets so as not to use so much water, and another from an unrelated illegal apartment above the garage where a guy had been living for a couple years without plumbing and there was a couple of inches in that (sort of like my neighbor in Phillips who was rehabbing?). Buckets? Nope, an exaggeration. I don’t know if they found anything more solid — and that would have been reported by Sheriff Fletcher with a caprophagous grin perhaps? With McCain leaving town (perhaps Pawlenty and sour grape inspired police misconduct makes it advantageous for McCain to cut convention and exit stage right?) it’ll overtly end, but what does it mean going forward? if we accept quashing of our rights, well, there we are, and it will get worse. Guess I’d better hide my machete and bolt cutters and nails.

    August 31, 2008
  109. Holly Cairns said:

    Hmmm, chamber pot warrant.

    Hey, why were they in her house, anyway?

    I can see the need for security, but I wonder about the house thing. Sounds really weird to me, and how to have a normal life after such insinuations?

    August 31, 2008
  110. Holly Cairns said:

    Well, about the video– I’ll have to think about why I think it is horrible. Does it seem to insinuate he’s into her?

    August 31, 2008
  111. HI, Holly!

    While I agree with Carol in that we need to be ever watchful so that we do not loose personal freedoms, I don’t agree about the part where you get so angry as Carol says she is, cuz in most circles, the first one to get angry looses…not my rule, but that’s the rule, and as it should be, because anger looses it’s focus.

    In these cases it is best to reserve judgement. When I was a young woman, I would involve myself in events around me to see and to learn what I could.
    We never know what is going on unless we are there, and even then, we see through colored glasses of our own experience and understanding and lack of it. We all have blind spots.

    In the case of the raided home, it may be;

    1. as Carol claims, or it may be that

    2. they themselves called the police, with ‘information’ that would trigger an over reaction to what was really there, for effect, to prove how right they are, even though they had to fabricate something to do it, or

    3. someone else entirely may have called the police for any one of a hundred reasons, that we will prolly never know.

    I have seen these kinds of things with my own eyes and ears in years past
    and I am sure they continue today. Best to reserve judgment until the truth is known.

    August 31, 2008
  112. Paul Fried said:

    Here’s the Strib story:

    It’s interesting to read the comments here about “bucket of urine”: too many assumptions.

    What we don’t know yet is this: Of all the people “detained” and “searched,” how many had bolt cutters, containers of urine, etc., and how many were simply peaceful protesters exercising their right to free speech?

    The knee-jerk reactions about “buckets of urine” show that we’ve been trained to think in the wrong way, and we’re missing the point.

    Did the police over-react? In an age of illegal, preemptive wars, was this too much, illegal and preemptive violation of free speech?

    Seems that way so far. But the Republicans would certainly like to play up the urine, and the bolt-cutters, and spin ALL protesters as law-breakers, TAKING ATTENTION AWAY from far more serious law-breaking by government officials.

    Their message: We have to give up many of our freedoms in order to save our nation from leftist extreemists. And we have to give up concerns about Geneva Conventions and torture treaties to defend ourselves against Islamic Terrorists.

    I think there’s a thread that runs from the left to the Islamic terrorists: The men have beards more often than delegates to the RNC.

    On behalf of bearded men, I object.

    August 31, 2008
  113. Bright – FYI, my anger focuses me, and directs my action, it fueled a pretty difficult and strenuous struggle through a BA behind the wheel of a truck and through law school — plus it’s healthy… to bring up the bucket analogy again, better to be pissed off than pissed on!
    Holly and Patrick – I agree, Holly, that McCain “Getting to know you” piece you linked to IS creepy, there’s some intense body language seeping out. Yet another narcissistic politician, perhaps? Eeeeeeeuuuuw…

    August 31, 2008
  114. Patrick Enders said:

    Does it seem to insinuate he’s into her?

    Just watch McCain while she is speaking.

    August 31, 2008
  115. john george said:

    Carol- Just a question for you regarding the supression of certain demonstrators aimed at the RNC- are you saying that all groups poised to demonstrate their particular agenda are of equal validity? Just wondering. I guess I differentiate between a group of pro-choice/gay advocates with placards and banners and a group amasings knives, guns, etc. It would seem to me that those collecting weapons have a different agenda than those painting signs. Does your interpretation of the constitution allow for conplete civil upheaval as a valid form of protest? I know I am prejudging these groups, but IMHO, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then there is probable cause to say it is a duck. Terrorist come in all sizes and nationalities, and that is what I believe people are who amass weapons for the purpose of disrupting society.

    August 31, 2008
  116. Well, John… OK, let’s see… we certainly have devastating civil upheaval right now, though it’s primarily economic. Those raided, detained and/or arrested didn’t have weapons in the guns and bombs sense, no dynamite, no anhydrous, no anthrax… instead the sorts of things for disruption and not destruction (borrowed from someone who’d noted this distinction either on this post or a St. Paul yak-yak list). Advocacy can and sometimes needs to be very loud and boisterous and disruptive to shake things loose. This is a country founded, and with a constitution developed, after a revolution, a constitution based in democracy, which now has gone by the wayside in favor of malignant capitalism, where dollars have more power than votes, and we’re inching over an economic precipise with social impacts that will be devastating. I’m much more concerned about and threatened by continued economic control and manipulation than I am by even a very large army of activists armed with computers, cell phone cameras, maps, and a honey pot or two who want to chant and dance in the streets. Yes, if it looks like a duck, and I think it looks like a duck, people planning to get in the streets in an essentially harmless way, like the people I represented of the “Crandon 29” who were dancing and singing on the sidewalk and charged with blocking a highway. Where to draw the line, which I think is where you’re going here, is one of those “I know it when I see it” issues, but I’m sure each of us puts that line in a different place. That line has been moved significantly over the last 7 years, and that’s something artificial, something I don’t agree with — the fear-based “terrorist in every neighborhood” hype is as phony as the “we’re going to freeze in the dark” arguments of utilities to build more coal plants. We have much more to fear from the economic machinations of corporations (and those who rule them) that have done such a good job of destroying our earth and society! Maybe you’re wondering if I’m viewing some agendas as more entitled to freedom of speech and association, etc? And as to that, I’m all for equality across the board, particularly in a society where some have way too much ability and power to express their views and tilt society to their purposes.

    August 31, 2008
  117. john george said:

    Carol- I’m not going to convince you of my opinion any more than you are going to convince me of yours. Lawyers do not have to be neutral, but I think law inforcement does. What is better, to limit some people’s “rights” to preserve law and order, or to have to clean up the carnage after a violent protest erupts (re. Chicago, ’68)? There is no “devastating social upheaval” right now, and I would prefer to keep it that way. I think the Colorado authorities displayed good judgement in their limitations (500 yards distance), and I think the Minnesota authorities are trying to do the same. Sorry if you don’t like that, but it is just my opinion, anyway, and has no real bearing on what, if anything, is going to happen in St. Paul. It appears the RNC is probably going to be upstaged by a hurricane, anyway. It may go down in history as the great non-event.

    As far as things being loud and boisterous to get someone’s attention, would the killings of abortion clinic doctors by rabid anti-abotionists and bombings of government buildings by white supremist groups fall under that definition? I would certainly hope not! It certainly got attention, but not the kind hoped for, fortunately. I think these types of things happen when emotion reigns rather than reason. This whole concept of line drawing seems to have gotten a little fuzzy over the last few decades. I just don’t believe in forcing my views off on anyone, but I would like the right to peacefully express them. In the case in St. Paul, there is documented threats by some of these groups. For law enforcement to set back and ignore them would seem irrisponsible, IMHO.

    September 1, 2008
  118. Paul Fried said:

    Here’s a Salon.com article about the preemptive raids in the Twin Cities in anticipation of the RNC. It talks about how “Bruce Nestor, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild” is representing some of those arrested. No mention of buckets of urine, but lots of details about the intimidation tactics of the police. Some links to video of some of the police raids as well.

    Here’s the story at the Strib again about the raids.

    A few weeks ago, a variety of groups, including two self-titled anarchists, spoke at the Northfield Public Library about their plans to protest the RNC, and three of their tips were, first, that protesters should bring the kids–that it should be viewed by the public and by the police as “family friendly”; second, that folks should bring cameras and video cameras, which might reduce the risk of police abusing their power if they know they’re being watched; and third, that if there were, in fact, violent incidents by a minority, the peaceful protesters themselves intended to circle those engaged in violence and ask them to stop. I was a bit perplexed by some of the comments from the anarchists, but for the most part, they all (anarchist and others) seemed very committed to peaceful protest.

    (BTW, anarchists, by definition, are not big on authority, and at the meeting, claimed that there are as many kinds of anarchists as there are anarchists. Some self-described anarchists have sometimes been the target of intimidation and false charges by authorities. Example: It’s widely believed that Sacco and Vanzetti didn’t get a fair trial in Mass. before they were executed, and Gov. Dukakis acknowledged this formally with an apology many years after the fact, without making any claims about guilt or innocence. Sacco and Vanzetti were against WWI, fled to Mexico to avoid the draft, and so their trial was colored by the mass “drug” of “support the war” patriotism, and harsh feelings and intimidation for the free speech of anyone who disagreed.)

    John G: There were only 9 people arrested, but the number of people who plan to protest (from MN and other parts of the country) sounds like it’s in the thousands.

    It seems far too early to make judgments about any of this, except to note that the police seem to have gone too far. Of course, the police in any situation like this would want to focus on the “intelligence” they received, on which they based their decisions to raid, search, detain, etc., so we will hear about guns, knives, bow and arrow, etc.

    Anyone who wants to be truly conservative about getting the truth, getting the story right, would not want to jump to conclusions, or pass along PR attempts by the police to save their own image if not based on truth.

    For example, John, you write,

    I guess I differentiate between a group of pro-choice/gay advocates with placards and banners and a group amasings knives, guns, etc. It would seem to me that those collecting weapons have a different agenda than those painting signs.

    Is this abstract philosophical pondering, or do you assume too much about the police raids?

    One of the central ideas of the constitution was to guarantee freedoms, and to prevent the government having too much power. Because of their experience of abuse of power by the British, the framers believed it would be better to guarantee more freedom for the individual than to risk abuse of too much power by the state. During the 1960’s and ’70’s, COINTELPRO was an example of such an abuse of power. After 9-11, there was a noticeable decline in tolerance of free speech: You’re free to have an opinion as long as you support the troops and agree with the president. Excessive raids by police before the RNC tends to have a similar effect of intimidation.

    This should be problematic to anyone who is a fan of the US Constitution.

    But I know there are a lot of anti-American Bush-Cheney fans out there who think it’s just a piece of paper, and that we should compromise it and give in to post-9-11 fear.

    Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” But we have a short memory of our heritage regarding such stuff. That’s why we have Guantanamo, and extraordinary rendition, and why we had a scandal with Abu Ghraib, and the Patriot Act, and retroactive FISA immunity for telecoms, and COINTELPRO, and the Red Scare, and police raids in St. Paul. We have become, as they say, the United States of Amnesia.

    September 1, 2008
  119. John – you’re using the example of killing when addressing “loud and boisterous protest” and that’s a flawed inflammatory analogy that’s not even close to what’s happening here, either literally in the metro or logically in this discussion. Or put another way, “objection, assumes facts not in evidence!” You also state “to limit some people’s “rights” to preserve law and order, or to have to clean up the carnage after a violent protest erupts (re. Chicago, ‘68)?” but it’s not a binary — whenever someone posits something in this binary mode, it’s a false premise where reality is somewhere in between. It really isn’t a matter of my liking it or not, it’s that, as we’ll see as this unfolds, St. Paul police made pre-emptive strikes that violated basic Constitutional tenents and charges, if any, will be tossed out and the costly lawsuits begin. Speech in this country is being limited more and more, as is freedom of association, and we’re seeing increasing unreasonable searches and detentions, and yes, this is all contrary to the Constitution that I’ve taken an oath to uphold. It happens in blatant ways as we’re seeing in the St. Paul and Mpls. raids, and it’s happening more subtly but with regularity in the administrative energy proceedings handled by Office of Administrative Hearings (http://nocapx2020.info/?p=324) and at the Public Utilities Commission, I believe acting on directive from their boss, the Governor. In these cases, it’s a pattern of limitation (contrary to statute and rules) of fundamental participatory rights landowners affected by proposed projects, citizerns groups, and local units of government directly affected, requiring challenging of the limitations which is a time-consuming diversion from the issues at hand. The people, organizations and local governments don’t have a budget to put on much of a case and by having to devote resources and time to fighting for their participatory rights, their presentation of their case suffers or they drop out in frustration, effectively limiting opposition to the project. There’s a great federal case here but I don’t have the resources to take it on. Illegitimate limitations are happening every day and with each one unchallenged, with each limitation that’s effective, our rights erode. once more with feeling, in constitutional rights, it’s “use it or lose it,” and we’re losing big time.

    September 1, 2008
  120. Carol, why don’t you join an existing group that does have the resources you require, or start a 501(c)3 and raise the funds?

    If there is no existing group, that should tell you something.

    September 1, 2008
  121. Bright – This goes way off topic here, but since you posit it… and I’m deleting a LOT.

    First, it’s not that there are no organizations, there are a million organizations, but there are no funded organizations working against these utility infrastructure proposals. 501(c)(3)’s can’t get grants for legal advocacy in opposition to transmission lines (or legal advocacy about pert near anything else), and if they’re landowners in a particular fight, seeking funding would be regarded by IRS as impermissible self-interest. I started one to oppose the SW MN 345kV line but the IRS denied status based on lobbying activity — Intervention in a Certificate of Need proceeding is lobbying under Minnesota law. Over time, my clients have been landowners and communities directly affected by projects who have to pony up out of their own pocket, and what they ALL have said to me is “Why won’t any of the groups help us.” And the disturbing answer has been because the large funded organizations were in some way were part of a deal that lead to the mess that those folks were in. In Minnesota there is no Intervenor Compensation, and there is no “Public Advocate” and the Attorney General’s Office Residential Utilities Division is nowhere to be seen (only the agency Asst. AGs working for the agencies making the decision).

    Bright – when you say “if there is no existing group, that should tell you something,” what conclusion are you drawing?

    The conclusions I draw from my extensive experience over the last 13 years is that participation in utility regulatory issues as afforded by statute and rule is dependent on money, which for landowners near the project is hard to come by, that those directly affected pony up out of their own pockets to make the broader big-picture policy arguments, and that those trying to participate who have a direct interest in the outcome are subject to concerted attempts to limit their participation. Rights deriving from the constitution, statute and rule are routinely being denied by state agencies, and parties are having to fight tooth and nail, expending scarce time and resources, to stay in the process, and spend their time assuring ability to participate when they should instead be working on the substantive case (allocation of resources IS binary – when you’re working on one thing, you can’t be working on something else). People who want to participate and exercise their rights shouldn’t be thwarted at every turn and have to fight so hard to be part of the process.

    September 1, 2008
  122. Carol, I was talking about something else, but I agree that the government does stomp on individual rights at times, usually and supposedly for the greater good. It’s a tough balancing act. The pendulum swings both ways over time. Hopefully, someone will find a way to do better in the future, so that the whole and the parts are treated well.

    I am sure that there are people who will help you if they can gain something from it, like having their name in the who’s who of lawyers book, or positive glowing fame of some sort that will bring them more clients. Just a thought.

    Good luck, at any rate,

    September 1, 2008
  123. Bright – “I was talking about something else” is why I asked what you meant when you said “If there is no existing group, that should tell you something.” What do you mean? What should that tell me and anyone else?

    September 1, 2008
  124. The phrase, if there is no existing group, that should tell you something,
    means just that, no more, no less.

    Anne, I didn’t say my friends didn’t like Obama, I said he didn’t do much for the people as he has claimed to be an ‘organizer’. Plus Richie Daley is about as smart as a donut. NO offense to donuts. Sorry, Richie. Not saying he hasn’t done a few good things for Chicago, but it’s still in the top ten dirtiest cities in the country, and has a very high crime rate after all his years in office. He used to be known as “little richie” and just as an aside, it means nothing, he asked my older sister to marry him, twice back in the day. She said no.

    Anyway, it’s all mute point now. I am still where I was, but even more so since I found out that McCain was a womanizer back in the 80s, and he was divorced from his handicapped wife and was with Cindy before that. But more importantly, he doesn’t seem to have too many friends in DC and that will make him an ineffective president.

    Obama will be another war eagle, but just a different war,( where we have now been told we cannot even use air power) in Afghanistan.
    Furthermore, the RNC will not be cancelled or shortened, they have the venue until Sept. 17th, good planning there at least, as long as Gus doesn’t do too much damage. McCain will appear by satellite if nothing else.

    September 1, 2008
  125. Anne Bretts said:

    Wow, Bright. Daly is a lot of things, but dumb isn’t one of them. And I don’t know what Chicago you visit, but the one I know is amazing compared to 20 years ago. I don’t like his tactics, but it’s amazing.
    Like I said earlier, no one will ever be good enough to meet your standards, which I still don’t understand.

    September 1, 2008
  126. Patrick Enders said:

    So, Palin’s grasp of American history on display, from a candidate questionnaire for the Alaska 2006 gubernatorial race:

    11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

    SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance


    (For those who might not know, the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, and the phrase “under God” was inserted in 1954 to draw a contrast with the ungodly communists of the Soviet Union. Our country was founded a bit earlier: roughly between 1776 and 1787, with the last of our founding fathers – James Madison – dying in 1836.)

    September 1, 2008
  127. David Henson said:

    Patrick – Palin negotiated the best energy deal for the citizens of Alaska in their history and has a 80-90% approval rating – what would you expect the woman’s answer to be some pedantic discourse document dates.

    September 1, 2008
  128. Patrick Enders said:

    I expect our leaders to have a grasp of American history.

    September 1, 2008
  129. Patrick Enders said:

    Understanding the history of the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “under God” is relevent both to the relationship between the government and individual rights in the realm of religion, as well as reflecting an understanding of how we fought the great foreign policy struggle of the Cold War.

    September 1, 2008
  130. Anne Bretts said:

    The top two papers in Alaska report that her approval rating has plummeted since she became governor, and that she was in favor of the bridge to nowhere before it became politically advantageous to oppose it. She wants to drill in ANWR and that it will end the Iraq War, which she believes is about oil. Both papers have editorialized that she’s a horrible choice for VP.
    She was almost recalled as mayor of a town half the size of Northfield because one of her first acts in office was to fire the library head and police chief because they didn’t endorse her in the election.
    Cindy McCain and Republican officials say she has foreign policy experience because Alaska borders Russia.
    Oh, and she just announced that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and due between the election and the inauguration. She is going to give her full support and care to her daughter as she plans for the wedding and birth.
    So, she is dealing with a special needs infant, an ethics probe, a wedding and a new grandchild — and she’s asking the press to respect her daughter’s privacy!
    She cares so little about her teen-ager’s privacy that should would put her in the national spotlight when she’s only 44 and has years to take on national office.
    And so while she has no experience, she does show presidential judgment…Huh?

    September 1, 2008
  131. True dat, Patrick… though I’m willing to bet good money that W. doesn’t know the history of the Pledge either… not that this puts Palin in good company. In fact, I’d also be willing to bet that most Americans think that the Pledge of Allegiance was written by Jefferson himself, or, at least, that “under God” was always part of it.

    So, how many of you are waiting for the first religious-right Republican to stand up and say that Palin’s unwed, teenage daughter being pregnant is a private, family matter.

    For the record, I think it is a private, family matter, but that doesn’t stop Palin from wanting to legislate what other women can do with their wombs. Should not other women’s decisions about their own pregnancies be private, family matters?

    Isn’t Barack Obama’s half-brother also a private, family matter? How about the statements of his preacher? How about Bill Clinton’s infidelity?

    I also wonder if Palin’s daughter wants to marry the father, or if she will do so out of political expediency. What a bad situation to be in.

    Maybe the Governor should have been stricter with her daughter about contraception. Was that talked about in their house? I’m guessing they’re an abstinence-only sort of family.

    Once you open the barn door, so to speak…

    September 1, 2008
  132. David Henson said:

    Brendon – My understanding is that Palin is a huge champion of birth control, she just does not fit easily into a political box. I would not under estimate the savvy, the resolve and the naive honesty required to force a better deal with the energy companies in AK. When Teddy Roosevelt was made VP it was not because the party liked him so much as they just wanted him out of New York City – I would guess that some political forces just wanted Palin out of AK because she doesn’t play ball.

    September 1, 2008
  133. Patrick Enders said:

    My understanding is that she is opposed to education about birth control.
    From the same 2006 questionnaire:

    Q: Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

    SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.


    September 1, 2008
  134. David H.,

    Again, you make a solid point. I hadn’t considered that. I think, as I agreed with you before, that Palin does win some points on the “independent buzz” scale. Her rather far-right positions seem to fit her pretty squarely into that box, however. As more is learned about her, we’ll see how easily she can be boxed in, and, more importantly, how she responds to those efforts to paint her a certain way.

    Patrick, I would say that the 2006 questionnaire seems a little slanted in the angle of its question regarding sex education vs. abstinence. I’m for sex education in schools, for example, but I’ve never thought distribution of contraceptives in schools and school-based clinics as the way to go. Plus they use the word “explicit” to describe sex ed; seems like it was looking for only one “correct” answer out of her. I’d take that with many grains of salt.

    September 1, 2008
  135. Patrick Enders said:

    Feminists for Life does not take a stand on contraception:
    From FFL’s FAQ:

    “Preconception issues including abstinence and contraception are outside of our mission.”


    So I’ll stick with her words about her position, until better evidence comes along.

    September 1, 2008
  136. Patrick Enders said:

    Hold on there. David’s point is not supported by Feminists For Life’s own FAQ, as I noted above.

    Her political positions pretty much fall well to the right of the political mainstream. Some people may agree with those positions, and support her for that. That’s fine, but I think it is important to accurately understand what she stands for, first and foremost.

    September 1, 2008
  137. Patrick,

    I wish they’d all wise up and start using Likert scales!

    Then debate could be more informed by nuance and shades of gray, rather than the “for or against” mentality that chokes so much political progress and compromise in this country.

    September 1, 2008
  138. Paul Fried said:

    Here’s a new Strib article on the expectations of perhaps 50,000 protesters — most of them, mind you, not bringing guns, bows, arrows, slingshots, or containers of bodily fluids.

    And here’s an update at Salon.com on the involvement of federal officials in the crackdowns and heavy-handed intimidation tactics by police.

    The overall effect of the raids on the populace? Think twice about being involved in any peace protests, or you’ll get searched, raided, and if you’re in a bus on the way to a protest, your bus may be seized, and you may be left stranded on the roadside. Who would want to be a peace protester in such a society, with such disincentives? Better to watch “American Idol” and stay at home, or as Bush said after 9-11, go out and shop.

    We may not have free speech, but if you’ve got the money–or the credit–you’re free to shop.

    September 1, 2008
  139. Patrick,

    Re: 136: I was agreeing with David’s larger point about the Republican system in Alaska wanting her to be out of their hair, not about the specific issue of birth control.

    Obviously, her positions fall pretty far to right in everything I’ve read in the past few days.

    September 1, 2008
  140. Patrick Enders said:

    I love “nuance and shades of gray.” I think the problem is that neither works in sound bites.

    p.s. What are Likert scales?

    September 1, 2008
  141. Paul Fried said:

    David and Patrick: As I understand it, Palin implimented an economic deal so Alaska would get more tax dollars from the oil industry there.

    It had nothing to do with long-term, low-carbon, renewable energy. It had nothing to do with energy independence from foreign oil. It had nothing to do with being pro-environment (Palin’s in favor of drilling, and sued the Feds for putting the Polar Bear on the endangered list because it would hurt oil).

    This was not so much energy policy as it was economic policy. It’s like Indian Casinos, or like state lotteries. If it results in an economic boost for some folks, and in Alaska’s case, if it turns the state’s economy around and pulls it back from the abyss, it’s hard not to like in the short term.

    Does this mean that, if she were VP, we’d get a windfall profits tax on oil companies? I doubt it.

    September 1, 2008
  142. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “completely”, how much does Patrick realize that he already secretly knew what a Likert scale was?

    Good ol’ Likert… and you’re right, of course, saying I’m “sort of, kind of for and against” something does not play well on the radio. The irony being that politicians who say such things get labeled as “wishy-washy”, when in reality it much more honestly reflects people’s beliefs and the human condition.

    September 1, 2008
  143. Patrick Enders said:

    At 3:06PM today: “1.”

    As of 5:05PM today: “10.”

    September 1, 2008
  144. Jane Moline said:

    Likert or not, Palin is a flake.

    September 1, 2008
  145. Paul Fried said:

    It seems Amy Goodman of the “Democracy Now” show was arrested along with her news crew. About 100 demonstrators, peaceful it seems, arrested, but many more report having a good day marching, demonstrating, peaceful protest, walking with children and old-sters, signs, etc. Many surprised at riot-gear: The St. Paul and Mpls police might not be reacting as strongly, or participating in as many of the arrests, as some of the police who were called in from elsewhere?

    Another YouTube video of some of the impending arrests:

    I’m noticing that the HTML links I tried to include in #141 either never got there or were removed; did I break a rule?

    September 2, 2008
  146. William Siemers said:

    David H.

    That video just about sums it up. The pick is purely political. It is just about getting a few more voters out in the battleground states. It is not about taking votes away from Obama. Many working class whites embrace the ‘hate ’em all…don’t trust any of ’em’, point of view. These are voters who would have stayed home with a more conventional vp. Mc Cain made a simple choice: Experience be damned….give them someone they can relate to.

    Somehow I don’t think Biden will have the same effect on the Dem side. Which means Obama’s camp will have to work even harder and get every possible voter out on election day.

    September 2, 2008
  147. David H.: (re: link in comment 148) Thanks for helping me start my work week off with a few belly laughs!

    September 2, 2008
  148. David Henson said:

    William – it’s all political. Obama picked Biden because he is a white male Catholic which has been a weak demographic for Obama. All McCain, Obama and Biden have done in their careers is sit around listening to people talk. Palin has balanced a budget and negotiated a tremendous deal for Alaskans with the most powerful companies in the world (in a way almost single handedly). If she were male she would be viewed as a wunderkind but because she is female people are having a hard time accepting what she has accomplished. Wait until next weekends news hour interviews and I bet you’ll wish she would have the top spot.

    September 2, 2008
  149. Anne Bretts said:

    David, this isn’t about her being attacked for being a woman, it’s about her and McCain using her being “a woman candidate” without vetting her and then saying that any criticism is sexist.
    The real problem is that it shows the total lack of judgment and the unstable temper of McCain. He wanted Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge and the anti-women’s rights folks had a giant fit. He tossed Romney and Pawlenty to the curb and chose Palin because he was forced and was angry. He didn’t choose her because she was the best qualified candidate, he caved to the right.
    So how is he his own man? He dumped GIuliani as a speaker to have Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman. How are either of these guys about change? How is Lieberman acceptable to the party?
    So in one fell swoop, McCain has taken the focus off himself, taken the focus off his message, taken the focus off Obama and turned possible supporters into enemies. Romney has said he’s done with McCain, and the only reason Pawlenty will keep working is to prove he will be a good candidate in 2012. Party leaders already are talking about what a loyal guy he is and that the party owes him for the way he was treated.
    Instead of a reasoned strategy, McCain has chosen a PERSON who has accepted $24 million in earmarks and supported the bridge to nowhere and supported disgraced Sen. Ted Stevens — and calls herself a reformer. This person has outstanding ethics investigations going on. And this person who claims parenthood as proof of her ability to lead has a daughter who is living with her aunt. She has so little concern for her child and future son-in-law that she exposed both of them to the national spotlight.
    It’s not about the child getting pregnant but about how this amazing parent is treating her job as a parent, a job she says shows she’s ready to be president.
    Anyone who backed Clinton and thinks Palin is a suitable substitute was never a Democrat in the first place.

    September 2, 2008
  150. Anne Bretts said:

    Giuliani is back on schedule, for tomorrow night.

    September 2, 2008
  151. john george said:

    Carol- Your objection, “…“objection, assumes facts not in evidence!” in post #121 looks a little different to me today. What with a few thrown objects through a bank and department store windows, and one into a bus window, causing injury to the driver, I concede, none of this was being done before the protest. There was no evidence to support a “pre-emptive” strike by the police, you said? Perhaps there was no tangible evidence, aside from threats, which may or may not have been carried out, but it appears to me that the threats were carried out. Is this a case of “probable cause?” And, isn’t the making of terroristic threats a felony? Just wondering.

    On the original thought in the thread, comparing the DNC and the RNC, in Colorado, protesters were held back 1500 ft, about 3 blocks. This same standard was attempted in St. Paul, but it was forced down by the protesters, something about not being able to be effective at a distance, if I remember right. Hmmmm. Whose rights were actually infringed upon in this case?

    Also, the outbreak of violence served what purpose? Did it coerce any response from the RNC delegates? Whose property was actually damaged? Someone from another state? No. It was local properties. If this is considered allowable as “loud and boisterous” protest, then I know I do not agree with loud and boisterous protest. Fortunately, this was a small percentage of the small turnout of total protesters who obeyed the laws, respected other people’s property, and communicated their opposition in a way that was effective. When disagreement is done respectfully, then there is a path for communication. I don’t think anyone wants to set down and talk to someone who demonstrates disrespect of them.

    Paul F.- I was not “abstractly philosophysing” about anything. I was just expressing my opinion of reported evidence. A person can respond however they want to the reports of what was found. This just seemed like a reasonable response to me. Throwing objects through windows of businesses and buses is not an expression of freedom of speech. It is malicious damage of private property and a threat to the personal well-being of those users. I think the actions of the police to “suppress” these types of actions align with my interpretation of their responsibility to enforce law and order. I think there are peaceful ways to demonstrate civil disobedience without jeapordizing the health and wellfair of private citizens and their property. Locking arms to block traffic is one of those ways, but there comes a time to move, once you have gotten your point across. If you chose to disobey an officer of the law, then you place yourself under the judgement of that law. That is quite evident in the outcome of the demonstrations.

    September 2, 2008
  152. Patrick Enders said:

    Protests can be a serious two-edged sword. Richard Nixon loved protesters, and used them as stage props in his ascedancy to power.

    Caught this on public radio last week:
    To The Best Of Our Knowledge: Rethinking the Sixties

    I highly recommend the Rick Perlstein interview. “Rick Perlstein is a historian who thinks the real story of the sixties is the rise of the modern conservative movement. His books include “Before the Storm” and “Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America.”

    I think I need to read this book.

    September 2, 2008
  153. Patrick Enders said:

    John George wrote,

    Throwing objects through windows of businesses and buses is not an expression of freedom of speech. It is malicious damage of private property and a threat to the personal well-being of those users. I think the actions of the police to “suppress” these types of actions align with my interpretation of their responsibility to enforce law and order. I think there are peaceful ways to demonstrate civil disobedience without jeapordizing the health and wellfair of private citizens and their property. Locking arms to block traffic is one of those ways, but there comes a time to move, once you have gotten your point across. If you chose to disobey an officer of the law, then you place yourself under the judgement of that law.

    Yep. What John said. If you do something illegal, you can expect to be arrested. There was no need for violent protest, and those few instigators make it easy to characterize the rest of us – a large number of reasonable, responsible people opposed to the war policies and civil rights abuses of the Bush administration – in a very negative light.

    September 2, 2008
  154. John – Of course it’s different today, there are facts in evidence, facts which could be enough to arrest someone. Before that, there wasn’t sufficient evidence. Take a look at the video of the Amy Goodman arrest if you haven’t already for a up-close and personal arrest without basis. That was a big mistake and it will have wide repercussions. That’s a graphic example of what shouldn’t be happening, though her name got her out of jail quickly, and others in the same situation will be sitting longer.

    September 2, 2008
  155. I was saddened to see the way the police were goaded by the men who used was appeared to be their weapon shield camouflaged as a sign. It is hideous.
    I know the police make honest mistakes and from time to time and they get carried away, but most of the people have no idea under what stresses they live every day, so that we can all take a lovely stroll down the streets of our towns without delays from criminal activity. Why take it out on these, the most honorable of souls?

    Most won’t even know what I am talking about. Walk a mile in my shoes, or in the shined boots of a military pr paramilitary man.

    September 2, 2008
  156. john george said:

    Carol- Where is this video? I would love to see it. One thing about reporters (I’m asuming she was one?) trying to cover this type of event is that they get themselves into harm’s way. I think it is a little like the media trying to cover the front lines of a war. There are risks. You also said, “…Before that, there wasn’t sufficient evidence…”. Do you mean for something to be proven in a court of law? I wouldn’t know how to judge that. When the police had reports of plans for violence, I appreciate their prudence in trying to quell that. Perhaps you think they do not have a right to do this, and I would have to say that that is your opinion of the interpretation of the constitution. I just don’t see where violence or plans to commit it is justified by the constitution. I think Pat has a great opinion in that these few individuals give everyone a bad name. I agree, and I don’t think it matters what is being protested.

    September 2, 2008
  157. Patrick Enders said:

    I wrote, “There was no need for violent protest, and those few instigators make it easy to characterize the rest of us – a large number of reasonable, responsible people opposed to the war policies and civil rights abuses of the Bush administration – in a very negative light.”

    And, I might add, this plays right into Republican strategy.

    September 2, 2008
  158. John – Here’s the video on my site: http://legalectric.org/weblog/2379/
    It’s all over the internet — search Amy Goodman arrest on Youtube, I can’t remember where I got it, probably indymedia. or coldsnap (National Lawyer’s Guild RNC group). Go to http://uptake-minnesota.groups.theuptake.org/ for a lot of on-the-scene reports.
    Once more with feeling — What I have trouble with is pre-emptive arrests, arrests of journalists, and arrests based on what “might” happen, way too speculative, and use of threats of arrest, or “investigations” based in retaliation or to quash participation and speech. A big no-no. When I get back, for sure I’ll be in the fray, it’s very frustrating to be out here in plantation Delaware and not able to help spring these folks who shouldn’t be in jail. And don’t even get me going about Biden!

    September 2, 2008
  159. Patrick Enders said:

    John, you wrote:

    One thing about reporters (I’m asuming she was one?) trying to cover this type of event is that they get themselves into harm’s way.

    Amy Goodman and Democracy Now are somewhere in the realm of advocacy journalism.

    You can find their work here:

    September 2, 2008
  160. William Siemers said:


    “Goaded”? From what I saw they walked across the street with a sign stretched in front of them…they walked across the street and were shot at with tear gas canisters. The police, in full battle gear, were about 15 feet away from the protesters and they opened fire. What were they worried about? Why did they have to shoot gas canisters at unarmed protesters in shorts and tee shirts?

    And why did these ‘most honorable of souls’ continue to fire at the protesters well after they had driven them back past their initial position? Did they need to ‘win’ this little engagement…assert their power? Of course they are under so much stress dealing with unarmed ‘hideous’ kids in flip flops, we should understand that they might get ‘carried away’ and shoot about 20 gas canisters at them. Just another little ‘honest mistake’.

    Bright…understand this…In this country the establishment has used the police against progressive forces for many years. Whether civil rights, labor, suffrage or anti-war struggles…police have been there breaking heads, and worse, on behalf of the status quo. That’s a fact. We do not need to justify brutality…we need to stop it.

    September 2, 2008
  161. Jerold Friedman said:

    I worked with the National Lawyers Guild yesterday on the streets outside the RNC. NLG President Marjorie Cohn wrote the following article which is more informative than my observations:

    “Since Friday, local police and sheriffs, working with the FBI, conducted preemptive searches, seizures and arrests. Glenn Greenwald described the targeting of protestors by ‘teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets.’ Journalists were detained at gunpoint and lawyers representing detainees were handcuffed at the scene.

    “‘I was personally present and saw officers with riot gear and assault rifles, pump action shotguns,’ said Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, who is representing several of the protestors. ‘The neighbor of one of the houses had a gun pointed in her face when she walked out on her back porch to see what was going on. There were children in all of these houses, and children were held at gunpoint.'”

    Full article:


    September 2, 2008
  162. Paul Fried said:

    Thanks, Jerold and William, for your comments. John G., I think you assume way too much.

    There was a story a few weeks back about a young person being arrested, and then being approached by the FBI and asked to attend vegan pot lucks with left-leaning types, and to infiltrate, because he “fit in” as the “type.” This was the kind of practice that occurred during the ’60’s and ’70’s with FBI’s COINTELPRO operations.

    Now if we know that there have been attempts to infiltrate (there have been other such reports of infiltration of peace groups since shortly after 9-11), then how do we know who were the youths in black, wearing bandanas, tipping over garbage containers and setting fires? How do we know if they were anarchists, or members of some grassroots violent group, or if they were recruited by the Republican Party, or the government, to discredit the protesters? Rush Limbaugh was speaking longingly of violent protest, and he makes enough money to hire some thugs to do some violence and give himself something to rant about.

    And there are larger interests with much more money and motivation than Limbaugh–I’m only using him half-jokingly as an example. This is nothing in the Karl Rove, machiavellian playbook. This is nothing in the playbook of the party that, when McCain ran against Bush, placed photographs of McCain under the wipers of cars at white churches, photos with his dark-skinned adopted daughters (from India), with the implication: McCain is a “nigger-lover.” And worse. PBS did a fascinating documentary on past Rovian election tactics. You should try to obtain and view it sometime. In fact, it’s very well-documented, with interesting interviews, and you don’t feel at all as if you’re viewing a conspiracy theory film meant to smear the kind and charitable citizen that Karl Rove must surely be. Instead, you tend to say, Gosh, I wish I knew more of this before 2000.

    So maybe they were violent n’er-do-wells. Or maybe they were hired to do what they did for effect. Both have happened in history, and we have no way of knowing, so why assume? People have been killed, and police have planted guns on them, to make it appear as if the police acted in self-defense, when later it has been proven that the gun was a plant. This kind of stuff happens.

    Again, the vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, and the police have overdone it. They searched and detained members of a group from NYC who were staying in Mpls., a group that sometimes films and documents police brutality. What did the police make sure to confiscate the day before the RNC? Their cameras.

    John, your approach is to give the police the benefit of the doubt at every turn, but there’s a great deal of evidence that something else is going on.

    September 3, 2008
  163. William, you and I saw two different scenes. No one was arrested from the description I heard, and there was no shooting of any sort involved. This sort of jumping to conclusions, and then brow beating of anyone with another view is really pathetic.

    September 3, 2008
  164. Jerold Friedman said:

    This is the National Lawyers Guild – Minnesota update:

    In what appears to be the first recorded charge under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

    Affidavits filed in support of the search warrants executed in raids over the weekend, and used to support probable cause for the arrest warrants, are based on paid, confidential informants who infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. These allegations appears to be uncorroborated by any evidence other than the claims of the informants.

    These charges wrongly turn stated public plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC into acts of terrorism. The charges represent an abuse of the criminal justice system and seek to intimidate any person organizing large scale public demonstrations potentially involving civil disobedience. It is likely that the expressed “anarchist” political views of the defendants will be a major issue in any future legal proceedings. The last time such charges were brought in Minnesota was in 1918, against labor union organizers charged with “criminal syndicalism.”

    Bruce D. Nestor, President
    Minnesota Chapter National Lawyers Guild
    3547 Cedar Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN 55407
    612-659-9019 – Phone
    612-436-3664 – Fax

    September 3, 2008
  165. Jerold – thank you for getting this out. Too scary for words, seeing charges like this, and to see the “Patriot Act” used in ways we’d apprehensively anticipated.

    September 3, 2008
  166. Patrick Enders said:

    Possibly the best moment of the Republican convention:

    After a segment with NBC’s Chuck Todd ended today, Republican consultant Mike Murphy and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan were caught on a live mic ridiculing the choice of Sarah Palin.

    “It’s over,” said Noonan, and then responded to a question of whether Palin is the most qualified Republican woman McCain could have chosen.

    “The most qualified? No. I think they went for this — excuse me — political bullsh** about narratives,” she said. “Every time Republicans do that … because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at and they blow it.”

    Murphy chimed in:

    “The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.”

    Noonan’s blunt call contrasted with her conflicted column today saying Palin “could become a transformative political presence.”

    See/hear it for yourselves: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0908/Noonan_Murphy_trash_Palin_on_hot_mic_Its_over.html#commentsl

    September 3, 2008
  167. Patrick Enders said:

    Possibly the best moment of the Republican convention:

    After a segment with NBC’s Chuck Todd ended today, Republican consultant Mike Murphy and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan were caught on a live mic ridiculing the choice of Sarah Palin.

    “It’s over,” said Noonan, and then responded to a question of whether Palin is the most qualified Republican woman McCain could have chosen.

    “The most qualified? No. I think they went for this — excuse me — political bullsh** about narratives,” she said. “Every time Republicans do that … because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at and they blow it.”

    Murphy chimed in:

    “The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.”

    Noonan’s blunt call contrasted with her conflicted column today saying Palin “could become a transformative political presence.”

    See/hear it for yourselves: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0908/Noonan_Murphy_trash_Palin_on_hot_mic_Its_over.html#commentsl

    September 3, 2008
  168. Patrick Enders said:

    Apologies for the double post. Don’t know how that happened.

    Jerold wrote that they were charged with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism”? That’s very disturbing. Violent activities should be charged as violent activities, or even conspiracy charged as conspiracy to commit violent acts. The punishment should fit the crime, and not have a “terrorism” escalator thrown on top of it.

    September 3, 2008
  169. David Henson said:

    Patrick – Palin was a talent pick over career establishment choices so there will be some jealousy. From what I have seen the people who have actually interviewed Palin “in person” fawn over her. Obama feels so threatened he is comparing his campaign finances against her mayoral budget failing to mention Alaska’s budget and the significant revenue Palin added.

    September 3, 2008
  170. Patrick Enders said:

    Well David, I have to give you credit for being consistently optimistic.

    September 3, 2008
  171. Patrick Enders said:

    I’ll give my review of Palin’s speech now, in advance of her actually giving it: That was a good, well-crafted speech, and it was skillfully delivered.

    Here’s a good (and liberal) blogger on the subject:

    Republicans have lowered expectations for Palin, and a lot of Democrats have bought into it. That’s a mistake — Palin, I suspect, will be very good tonight.

    Sarah Palin reminds me a great deal of George W. Bush — underwhelming qualifications, overwhelming confidence. It’s a combination that makes exceeding expectations pretty easy.

    Look back to the event in Ohio last week, and notice how poised she was speaking to a national audience for the first time. Substantively, she lied blatantly about her opposition to the infamous “bridge to nowhere.” But stylistically, she was composed and charming. The same it true if you go back and look at the 2006 debates in Alaska. The substance is weak, but the rhetorical style is strong.


    September 3, 2008
  172. Holly Cairns said:

    I wish we could let this pregnancy issue rest– whether it be Palin’s pregnancy or her daughter’s. I’m getting bored with that. On to what Palin can do, besides having babies or deceiving us about pregancies, etc.

    The most damning thing I’ve heard is the secessionist issue. Goodbye, Alaska? Now that’s pretty odd. I doubt we’d let “Seward’s folly” go so easily. Was she a secessionist, or was it just her husband who registered with that party? Weird stuff.

    And the second most damning thing is her inability to match McCain’s views or be his huge supporter. Who would be running the show?

    September 3, 2008
  173. john george said:

    Paul F.- You said I give the police the benefit of the doubt. I feel, from your comments, that you do not. I think that is probably our differences in how we approach authority. I pick up an attitude in many of the comments in this thread that authority is something to mistrust and, in some cases, treat with dirision. It seems there was an attitude that emerged back in the ’60’s that went along this line. I come from a different world view. I approach authority as coming from God, not man. Even Jesus told Pilate that he could do nothing to Him unless His Father had allowed it. Also, in Jude, it is said that Michael, the archangel, would not bring a railing retribution even against Satan. If you look at Abraham in Genesis, you find him appealing to God to spare the righteous in Sodom. I believe there is a place of appeal to authority when it is not a moral issue. And, even in moral issues, I do not believe that rebellion is the correct method. Take a look at Solzhenitsen in his resistance to the Communist dictators. This raises some issues even with the way this country broke away from England, but I’m not going down that path here.

    I still take my stand that violence and anarchy do not bring resolution to a situation, even if you wear a press badge. The whole idea that a person can create mayhem and property damage and be exempted from any responsibility for their actions just because they are “demonstrating” is an affront to the Constitution and law and order, IMHO. I believe it infringes upon the rights of the property owners affected to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

    September 3, 2008
  174. Patrick Enders said:


    Was she a secessionist, or was it just her husband who registered with that party?

    It appears she has never registered with the party, but she has
    – attended the AIP’s 1994 Convention
    – attended the AIP’s 2000 Convention
    – given a videotaped address to the AIP Convention in 2008


    September 3, 2008
  175. nick waterman said:

    I’m with Holly on the pregnancy issue being a non-issue. And we will never sort out the experience issue: if you’re with them, she’s full of executive experience and the media are a bunch of mean-spirited lefties. If you’re agin ’em, she’s a newbie.
    But here are the two issues I wish would get a little more play:

    1) her nutball pastor and her nutball speech at that church (http://www.(huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/02/palins-church-may-have-sh_n_123205.html

    I mean, my goodness, night after night after night after week of jeremiah wright and why won’t obama disown him, and this hasn’t gotten any play outside of the actual leftist media (as opposed to the corporate owned media that righties call leftist); and
    2) her meanness and pettiness toward cancer survivor Lyda Green as heard on her appearance on the Bob and Mark show in Alaska radio (available on youtube). The silence, where she could have spoken up instead of tittering at the name-calling and mean-spiritedness, is deafening. Talk about double standards — if Hillary or Michelle had said this, it too would be on an endless loop punctuated only by the self-righteous ranting and tsk-tsking of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, et al.

    September 3, 2008
  176. Holly Cairns said:

    Hi Nick. How’s Minneapolis? Can you get around?

    Ooh, more to think about. I’m watching and googling.

    September 3, 2008
  177. William Siemers said:



    This looked alot like what you described. If it is not the same incident, so be it. Same movie…different scene.

    You’ve been beating on my brow with your opinions for several weeks now…thought I’d return the favor.

    September 3, 2008
  178. Bruce Wiskus said:

    As of right now I am in the undecided category. I have issues with both candidates that I can not resolve yet. In full disclosure mode I tend to be a fiscal conservative first and I fall in the middle on social issues. I usually vote right of center but can and will cross party lines for someone I support.

    Of course not surprisingly on this blog the vast majority of contributors are left of center. With that being the case let me ask a few questions.

    There has been a lot of talk about how Gov. Palin is not experienced enough to be the VP. I find this to be a fairly disingenuous criticisms in light of Sen Obama’s level of experience. How is it a good thing for Obama to have limited political experience as the Presidential candidate yet it is not ok for Gov. Palin to be a newcomer to national politics and run as the VP?

    Palin has been accused of flip flopping, yet Sen Biden said he did not think that Obama was ready to be President, it is amazing what being asked to be the VP does for ones prospective. The good Sen Biden also said he would be proud to serve on the same ticket as McCain. How is that not a flip flop?


    When it comes down to my vote in November I will vote for the person that will show me they are serious about balancing the budget and getting a strong energy policy to remove us from foreign oil. So far neither candidate has won me over on those issues.

    September 3, 2008
  179. Paul Fried said:

    John: You’re off-target. It’s not about authority coming from God, because if this were another context, you might be on the other side of the fence. If it were the Clinton years and Clinton had his press conference in which he said, “I did not have sex with that woman,” you might voice your concerns and suspicions about the many rumors regarding his alleged affairs. You might wonder if the rumors are just lies, or if there’s some truth to them. Trusting authority vs. giving authority the benefit of the doubt because it’s from God is not the issue here. Clinton abused his power and lied under oath. Bush abused his power and had his own lies. Rove developed lies to new heights of political art. It’s about learning the lessons of history, not about benefit of the doubt. I advocated fairness: Maybe there were violent anarchists who acted on their own. Maybe they were planted for effect. I’m leaving the question open. You’re assuming power and authority should be trusted–because all authority comes from God?

    No. Hitler was an authority, but you have to twist the “from God” argument beyond usefulness and recognition to get it to work: Perhaps you say God allowed Hitler to have authority so that we could learn about abuse of authority, but the authority was still from God. Sure, but then it blows the argument that authority should be trusted because it’s from God. If God’s point is to learn how human authority can be abused, then we miss the whole point if we are as cunning as lambs. Baaaaa. The scripture passage counsels, “Be innocent as lambs, but cunning as serpents.” You’re failing the test, John. You have it backwards.

    People of faith can say that all real human power and authority comes from God, who perhaps they argue to be the model for all good authority. Fine. But without an awareness of how human authority is abused (and for that reason should not be trusted as we do God’s authority), it’s too easy to mess up. We can’t risk being cunning as sheep, John. And for those who take scripture very literally and seriously, one is being disobedient to the authority of God if one chooses to be that foolish about trust (cunning as a lamb) instead of being “cunning as serpents” as scripture commands. Or at least, that’s the way I’d read and apply that scripture passage to this situation. Correct me if you think I’ve misread it.

    September 3, 2008
  180. John – you state, “I still take my stand that violence and anarchy do not bring resolution to a situation, even if you wear a press badge.” Who among the press was bringing violence and anarchy? Or did you mean “police badge?” I’m confused…

    September 3, 2008
  181. Paul Fried said:

    John, as an afterthought, I want to mention that I’m not unaware of St. Paul’s counsel in Romans regarding obeying human authority (a helpful thing if you don’t want a young church to be snuffed out, from one point of view). But I came across this in a review of a Richard Cassidy book on Paul:

    “Cassidy interprets Paul as a convinced apologist for Roman rule in Romans 13, but as a reflective critic, similar to Luke’s Jesus, in Philippians. Cassidy finds plausible factors in Paul’s imprisonment that impelled him to re-evaluate the Roman authorities. In particular, Paul, after facing the agonies of his own prolonged, unjust imprisonment, gained a clearer realization of Roman injustice in the crucifixion of Jesus and in his own imprisonment and possible execution and was confronted with a new awareness of the extent of Nero’s moral depravity and assertions of sovereignty.”


    Perhaps even Paul had a learning curve regarding his relationship to human authority and abuse of power.

    Pardon the major thread drift, but my point: Don’t trust the police around the RNC simply because they’re police, and remember Jesus’ advice to soldiers: Don’t bully. Don’t abuse your power.

    September 3, 2008
  182. john george said:

    Paul F.- I think you are not understanding my point, here. My whole argument has been against the use of violence to resist authority and demonstrate opposition to a cause. An anarchist, just by the pure definition of the word, is one who rejects any authority as being higher than the individual. These people who threaten to and carry out violent acts of disobedience are not resisting the police. They are resisting the law that is over the police. There is a reason that police officers are refered to as “law enforcement” agents. They have no authority aside from what is granted them by the various penal codes. This is the point I am trying to make.

    That being said, we are dealing with a fallen world, so for individual police officers to react wrongly is probably as much to be expected as the anarchists doing their violent deeds. These individuals fall under the same judgement of the law, as I’m sure Carol O. will dutifully see carried out. I don’t think I advocated blind trust of the police so much as a respectful approach to them. Please forgive me if I did not express myself clearly. Some of the comments here, IMHO, hint more at a contempt for the officers and their superiors. My argument still stands that opposition to a cause does not, in and of itself, justify violent acts to express that opposition.

    My world view has me look beyond the various events of the day to try to find the purposes of God in them. That is something, I readily confess, I do not always recognize immediately. Just because I don’t recognize or understand them does not mean there there are no purposes of God in what is going on in the world. My need of understanding presses me into greater communion with Him to find out what they are. That same access is granted to all who believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. I don’t mean to be preachy, here, but I am not ashamed to say where I am coming from if it helps anyone to understand me, no matter whether they agree with me or not.

    September 4, 2008
  183. William Siemers said:

    John G.

    In my opinion, incidents of police brutality deserve contempt, and those who attempt to justify that brutality should not expect a kind and respectful response. ‘Derision’ in response to the abuse of authority, does not equal derision for authority.

    September 4, 2008
  184. Griff – I note there’s about a delay in my posts, this last one, about 12 hours. What’s up with that?

    September 4, 2008
  185. Patrick Enders said:

    More evidence supporting the case against Palin for abuse-of-power: her own emails to the head of the Public Safety, repeatedly criticizing the lack of punishment for him.

    Washington Post “Palin E-Mails Show Intense Interest in Trooper’s Penalty”:

    Her emails included the following:

    “This trooper is still out on the street, in fact he’s been promoted,”

    “It was a joke, the whole year long ‘investigation’ of him,” the e-mail said. “This is the same trooper who’s out there today telling people the new administration is going to destroy the trooper organization, and that he’d ‘never work for that b****’, Palin’.)”

    “He’s still bragging about it in my hometown and after another cop confessed to witnessing the kill, the trooper was ‘investigated’ for over a year and merely given a slap on the wrist,” the e-mail said. “Though he’s out there arresting people today for the same crime!”
    “He threatened to kill his estranged wife’s parent, refused to be transferred to rural Alaska and continued to disparage Natives in words and tone, he continues to harass and intimidate his ex. — even after being slapped with a restraining order that was lifted when his supervisors intervened,” the e-mail said. “He threatens to always be able to come out on top because he’s ‘got the badge’, etc. etc. etc.)”

    “my ex-brother-in-law, the trooper, who threatened to kill my dad yet was not even reprimanded by his bosses and still to this day carries a gun, of course.”
    “We can’t have double standards. Remember when the death threat was reported, and follow-on threats from Mike that he was going to ‘bring Sarah and her family down’ — instead of any reprimand WE were told by trooper union personnel that we’d be sued if we talked about those threats. Amazing. . . .
    “So consistency is needed here,” the e-mail said. “No one’s above the law. If the law needs to be changed to not allow access to guns for people threatening to kill someone, it must apply to everyone.”

    And remember, this is coupled with her aide calling the Public Safety director and delivering the following message:

    “The Palins can’t figure out why nothing’s going on,” Bailey said in the recorded phone call. “So Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads saying ‘Why is this guy representing the department, he’s a horrible recruiting tool.’ You know?”

    September 4, 2008
  186. Patrick Enders said:

    I had to remove my citations from that last post, because the LGN window refused to accept a post containing them. I’ll try again below:

    September 4, 2008
  187. Patrick Enders said:

    One is referenced in my post #26.

    The new one is at: (broken up into pieces to help it post)


    September 4, 2008
  188. Paul Fried said:

    John G: I understand and respect your quest for spiritual meaning in all this, and your respect for the law. But I question three things: 1) your unquestioning support for police power (and abuse of power), 2) your unquestioning assumption about anarchists acting alone, as compared to troublemakers as government (see COINTELPRO) or Republican-financed (see Karl Rove) agents provocateurs, and 3) your failure to be critical of the violence of the Bush administration based on lies and and illegal war, while being critical of the violence of revolutionary, Boston Tea Party types who are destructive of property and hide their identity.

    Bruce W: You ask excellent questions in #183. But in the end, for me, it’s a forest-for-the-trees kind of thing. I asked similar questions about the rhetoric of the Kerry smears, when Kerry was criticized as a flip-flopper, while Bush was just as bad or worse (about nation-building, about global warming and carbon caps, and a long list of other things). In the end, it’s not just about little contradictions that can sometimes be blown out of proportion by the party with the most money for TV ads.

    I think there are larger concerns about Palin’s and McCain’s loyalties and vision (this is the forest), and these concerns will lead some to vote for Obama. But in the end, as Karl Rove has shown us over and over again, sometimes it’s not about larger concerns: politics is about who wins an election, not about who is right, and sometimes attack ads, even based on lies and distractions from larger concerns, play a role in winning elections. Ethics and morality are about right and wrong. Politics is about what wins. In a nation that values ethics and morality, attack ads don’t have as much effect. But we are often a superficial nation, too hypnotized by images and too addicted to TV, so for now, this makes the politics easy.

    Democrats also have to learn that politics is about winning and framing the issues and terms of the debate. If Democrats were better able to express their best ethical concerns while framing the terms–instead of simply playing defense in response to right-wing smear and attack–they’d have a better chance.

    September 4, 2008
  189. Paul Fried said:

    Carol: regarding the delay in seeing posts appear, I’ve noticed that too. Maybe we’re too much the radical lefties in the view of some, so instead of approving comments to be added to the heap in the order they come in, some are delayed and buried in the heap, to be approved later when newer comments are ready to bury them. Anyone who speaks of Geneva conventions and the Constitution nowadays is a radical who is unpatriotic and unsupportive of the troops probably deserves such a fate. Instead of book-buring, it’s kind of like book burying…. It’s their right, if that’s the case, I suppose. It’s their blog. And appearances are appearances, after all. Politics is about winning, and all that?

    September 4, 2008
  190. Curt Benson said:

    Paul, leave it to you to reveal the nefarious Karl Rove/Griff Wigley conspiracy.

    What color is the sky in your world?

    September 4, 2008
  191. kiffi summa said:

    Curt : The sky is blue … except when it is not … in ALL our worlds.

    But it is time , Griff, for you to explain how you “monitor” some people’s comments, and why you feel it is necessary to do so.

    Let me be the first to say, I am “monitored”, so this comment will be delayed, unless Griff is working on LG at this moment.

    September 4, 2008
  192. kiffi summa said:

    OOps, that was Kiffi … not Victor . That’s what I get for looking at LG on Victor’s site rather than mine.

    September 4, 2008
  193. Griff Wigley said:

    Carol, I’m not sure why your comments are being held for moderation. I’ve double-checked and I can’t figure it out. I’ll ask Sean to take a look.

    September 4, 2008
  194. Griff Wigley said:

    Kiffi/Victor, I’m confused on which of your comments to fix for the authorship. Please email with me the info.

    As for moderation rationale, I’ll launch the discussion with a new blog post.

    September 4, 2008
  195. Paul Fried said:

    Curt: Ah, the sky is grey today, but I’m still smiling and joking in self-parody on this one. As they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. In an age of so many Rovian (formerly known as machiavellian) conspiracies, those who are not “conspiracy-theorists” are simply not paying attention. Applicable song lyric quotes apply here:
    – Denial is more than just a river in Egypt (Dire Straits)
    – A man only hears what he wants to hear and he disregards the rest (Paul Simon –hey, talking about the way we defend our world-views!)

    September 4, 2008
  196. Paul Fried said:

    George Lakoff on the symbolism of the Sarah Palin choice
    I’ve added lots of elipses (…) to shorten this, especially when Lakoff gets too abstract for too long, but it’s an interesting analysis (positive in many ways) that Dems should read especially.

    This is Lakoff doing his usual thing, but even if you’ve read “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” this is helpful to read as a new aplication of his theories.

    URL at end. All the way down if you want to click to the original.

    Quote starts below:
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Election campaigns matter because who gets elected can change reality. But election campaigns are primarily about the realities of voters’ minds….. They can be framed honestly or deceptively, effectively or clumsily. And they are always framed from the perspective of a worldview.

    The Obama campaign has learned this. The Republicans have long known it, and the choice of Sarah Palin as their Vice-Presidential candidate reflects their expert understanding of the political mind and political marketing. Democrats who simply belittle the Palin choice are courting disaster. It must be taken with the utmost seriousness.

    The Democratic responses so far reflect external realities: she is inexperienced, knowing little or nothing about foreign policy or national issues; she is really an anti-feminist, wanting the government to enter women’s lives to block abortion, but not wanting the government to guarantee equal pay for equal work, or provide adequate child health coverage, or child care, or early childhood education; she shills for the oil and gas industry on drilling; she denies the scientific truths of global warming and evolution; she misuses her political authority; she opposes sex education and her daughter is pregnant; and, rather than being a maverick, she is on the whole a radical right-wing ideologue.

    All true, so far as we can tell.

    But such truths may nonetheless be largely irrelevant to this campaign. That is the lesson Democrats must learn….
    the Palin nomination changes the game. The initial response has been to try to keep the focus on external realities, the “issues,” and differences on the issues. But the Palin nomination is not basically about external realities and what Democrats call “issues,” but about the symbolic mechanisms of the political mind-the worldviews, frames, metaphors, cultural narratives, and stereotypes. The Republicans can’t win on realities. Her job is to speak the language of conservatism, activate the conservative view of the world, and use the advantages that conservatives have in dominating political discourse.

    Our national political dialogue is fundamentally metaphorical, with family values at the center of our discourse…..
    The strength of the Obama campaign has been the seamless marriage of reality and symbolic thought.

    The Republican strength has been mostly symbolic. The McCain campaign is well aware of how Reagan and W won-running on character: values, communication, (apparent) authenticity, trust, and identity – not issues and policies. That is how campaigns work, and symbolism is central.

    Conservative family values are strict and apply via metaphorical thought to the nation: good vs. evil, authority, the use of force, toughness and discipline, individual (versus social) responsibility, and tough love. Hence, social programs are immoral because they violate discipline and individual responsibility. Guns and the military show force and discipline. Man is above nature; hence no serious environmentalism. The market is the ultimate financial authority, requiring market discipline. In foreign policy, strength is use of the force. In fundamentalist religion, the Bible is the ultimate authority; hence no gay marriage. Such values are at the heart of radical conservatism. This is how John McCain was raised and how he plans to govern. And it is what he shares with Sarah Palin.

    Palin is the mom in the strict father family, upholding conservative values. Palin is tough: she shoots, skins, and eats caribou. She is disciplined: raising five kids with a major career. She lives her values: she has a Downs-syndrome baby that she refused to abort. She has the image of the ideal conservative mom: pretty, perky, feminine, Bible-toting, and fitting into the ideal conservative family. And she fits the stereotype of America as small-town America. It is Reagan’s morning-in-America image. Where Obama thought of capturing the West, she is running for Sweetheart of the West.
    At the same time, Palin is masterful at the Republican game of taking the Democrats’ language and reframing it-putting conservative frames to progressive words: Reform, prosperity, peace. She is also masterful at using the progressive narratives: she’s from the working class, working her way up from hockey mom and the PTA to Mayor, Governor, and VP candidate. Her husband is a union member. She can say to the conservative populists that she is one of them….

    Yes, the McCain-Palin ticket is weak on the major realities. But it is strong on the symbolic dimension of politics that Republicans are so good at marketing….
    The initial Democratic response to Palin – the response based on realities alone – indicates that many Democrats have not learned the lessons of the Reagan and Bush years.

    They have not learned the nature of conservative populism….. A great many working-class folks are…split between conservative and progressive modes of thought….
    Conservative theorists won them over in two ways: Inventing and promulgating the idea of “liberal elite” and focusing campaigns on social and family issues. They have been doing this for many years and have changed a lot of brains through repetition. Palin will appeal strongly to conservative populists, attacking Obama and Biden as pointy-headed, tax-and-spend, latte liberals. The tactic is to divert attention from difficult realities to powerful symbolism.

    What Democrats have shied away from is a frontal attack on radical conservatism itself as an un-American and harmful ideology. I think Obama is right when he says that America is based on people caring about each other and working together for a better future-empathy, responsibility (both personal and social), and aspiration….
    The alternative, as Obama said in his nomination speech, is being on your own, with no one caring for anybody else, with force as a first resort in foreign affairs, with threatened civil liberties and a right-wing government making your most important decisions for you. That is not what American democracy has ever been about.

    Democrats, being Democrats, will mostly talk about the realities nonstop without paying attention to the dimensions of values and symbolism. Democrats, in addition, need to call an extremist an extremist: to shine a light on the shared anti-democratic ideology of McCain and Palin, the same ideology shared by Bush and Cheney. They share values antithetical to our democracy. That needs to be said loud and clear, if not by the Obama campaign itself, then by the rest of us who share democratic American values….

    (George Lakoff)

    September 4, 2008
  197. We’ll see how “blue” the sky is over the Ramsey County Prosecutor’s office… I’d forgotten that that’s where former House Speaker Phil Carruthers is, he’s the “director of the prosecution division” at the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. The “blue” voices of outrage seem to be awfully quiet…

    September 4, 2008
  198. Curt Benson said:

    Paul, I think it is possible to be pro Obama and anti poop chucking and anti window breaking at the same time.

    It is also possible to be pro Obama and not attribute everything negative in the world to a Rovian conspiracy.

    September 4, 2008
  199. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Speaking of Karl Rove, try this on for size:

    Daily Show 9-3-08 – Throwing Their Own Words Back. (YouTube):

    September 4, 2008
  200. Patrick Enders said:

    You beat me to it on that link – it gave me a good laugh over lunch. It’s amazing how easily hypocrisy can slide off the well-rehearsed tongue.

    September 4, 2008
  201. john george said:

    Paul F.- Your question #1- purporting that i advocate “unquestioning support for police power (and abuse)” I think is not even close to accurate. I said this,”…police officers to react wrongly is probably as much to be expected as the anarchists doing their violent deeds. These individuals fall under the same judgement of the law,..”, the individuals here being the offending police officers. #2, It seems to me that you are saying that there is more likelyhood that there is a great Republican conspiracy behind this violence rather that a bunch of lawless thugs. I just don’t buy that argument. If you want to believe this, go ahead, but I don’t. I get a lot of e-mails with this type of conspiracy jargon aimed toward the Democrats, but when I check out the accuracy of them, they are baseless prevarications. Why should I believe your liberal sources to be any more accurate? #3- You speak of the “violence of the Bush administration”. I don’t remember Carl Rove or Dick Cheney going around throwing bricks through windows of abortion clinics or liberal coffee houses. You and I are coming from two different viewpoints. That is OK. I don’t have to prove you wrong, because I don’t consider these moral issues. But, I refuse to be shamed because I happen to believe in conservative political ideas.

    Carol- You asked, “…Who among the press was bringing violence and anarchy? ” In a mob situation like that, I don’t believe it is always possible to discern who is doing what. That is why I said in an earlier post that reporting on violent protests is like reporting on the front lines of a war- the reporter is putting themselves in harms way. I would use this analogy- If it is open season on mallard ducks, and you are a pintail flying in the flock, and the season is closed on your kind, it is quite possible that you will get shot at. I don’t mean to offend you with the analogy, but it is the best thing I could come up with. I think it would be wisdom to stay out of the way, but if you put yourself in the middle of a conflict, I don’t think you should be surprised if you get swept up with the perpetrators. I don’t think in that situation that a press badge is going to very good cover, especially for a person representing a media that is not openly recognizable, like NBC or CBS.

    September 4, 2008
  202. Now, back to the original topic. I liked Sarah’s speech, and I liked the way she gave it. It’s was too tough for my tastes, personally, but it was very effective and smart. I also like Mike Huckabee’s speech a lot, especially the story about the desks. He is a good man.

    I am a pro NRA person, too. I feel as long as we can arm ourselves, there is a lesser chance of being overtaken buy radical forces, from within or without. I don’t advocate killing, unless you are fighting to defend the weak or your own family or country, or yourself.

    SO, go Sarah Palin, as far as you can go up, break that Glass Ceiling with all the cracks in it, and oversee that natural gas pipeline from there to here, and love ALL the babies, and that good looking Alaskan guy of yours, and show us how well you can do it all!

    September 4, 2008
  203. Holly Cairns said:

    Hey, thanks for those links way back in post 179, Patrick.

    I’m reading Laikos, but I disagree with a few things. I loved The Political Brain (Weston) but I skipped over the first sections and got right to the Democrat Republican talk. Good stuff.


    And Hi Paul, what’s happening over at your beautiful house? Nice siding!

    September 4, 2008
  204. David Henson said:

    Bright – she knocked it out of the park !

    I like the contrast that when Palin got some power she sold the luxury jet and drove her self to work vs Obama running out and buying a 4 million dollar house and pumping his ego in Germany.

    September 4, 2008
  205. Paul Fried said:

    Curt/203: Agreed on all points. Just the other day (blue sky, a few clouds), I was listening to someone talk about student plagiarism. Rove was nowhere in sight. But then again, he was kind of there in spirit….

    John: If one accepts that ignoring the Constitution and treaties and Geneva Conventions and such is OK, and that preemptive, illegal wars are now acceptable, and if hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are killed by th4e actions of a military under the command of George Bush, then no, Bush-Cheney-Rove-Rumsfeld, to my knowledge, have never been known to throw rocks through windows. But when you place the two kinds of violence side-by-side, how many people were hurt by the rocks during & near the RNC in St. Paul, as compared to how many Iraqi civilians and our own soldiers died? Yes, we can disagree on violence. You take an extreme position that sounds like moral relativism with a big presidential blind spot. We won’t agree.

    I’m not saying the Rovian conspiracy is more likely. I’m saying that history sometimes repeats, and there are many unexplained details in the story. The police might have clustered at the point where the peace march met the counter-protesters (Republicans) behind a fence, but they left that area open, almost as if they were hoping there would be an unmanaged confrontation and violence. The police and riot squads used pepper spray and gas against what turns out to have been a group that included a somewhat large number of journalists. We have no story, no report, that details the terrible civil unrest and criminality that was perhaps being recorded by these journalists by violent protesters nearby when, sadly, the police had to round up and arrest the whole lot. No such details. Just a few lines and excuses from the chief of police that don’t hold with the rest of the facts. Many witnesses say it was unwarranted.

    So we need more answers:
    1. Why did the police act the way they did, when many eyewitnesses clamied that there was no need for the extreme measures they used? It almost seems as if the use of pepper spray and gas was to create and/or heighten an artificial crisis for the purposes of discrediting the protesters.
    2. Instead of hearing about the arrest of specific kids who were dressed in black and wearing bandanas, and a prime suspect who broke a window, we hear about all these journalists who were arrested, and whose cameras were confiscated. If the police have information about the violent troublemakers, why don’t we hear more about such police reports in the stories appearing in local and national news? Instead, journalists, independent journalists, an AP photographer, and citizen journalists.

    Too many assume that
    1) the troublemakers were acting on their own (we have no more proof of that than we do they were prompted or paid);
    2) that the journalists must have been doing something wrong or they probably wouldn’t have been arrested;
    3) that the police were simply doing their job in a hard situation, and if mistakes were made at all, they were honest mistakes made by people with the best of intentions from the start;

    We have no more proof of these things than we do that we’ve witnessed a resurgence of COINTELPRO and something like the nastiest of Rovian campaign/PR tricks.

    So might it be better to be wise and admit the limits of our knowledge, and let the mystery be, instead of taking the mystery and refashioning it into some kind of idol of our own making?

    Holly: the house is relatively quiet for now, but thanks for the compliment.

    Say, Holly, to shift the subject a bit from the protesters, police (and provocateurs?) outside to the VP candidate inside,
    what did you think of George Lakoff on Sarah Palin in #201?

    September 4, 2008
  206. David Henson said:

    Paul – Do you just want Holly’s opinion of George Lakoff 🙂 ?

    September 4, 2008
  207. john george said:

    paul F.- You wrote,”…So might it be better to be wise and admit the limits of our knowledge, and let the mystery be, instead of taking the mystery and refashioning it into some kind of idol of our own making? …” My point exactly. I don’t have verifiable evidence to “prove” my point, and I haven’t heard of verifiable evidence to “prove” the opposite. I believe this will come out in the weeks and months ahead. I’m not assuming, nor have I suggested, that the journalists were doing anything wrong. My point all along is that if you are going to try to get close, firsthand information in that type of violent scenario, you are taking a calculated risk. Nor have I suggested that all police force was done with the best intentions. These guys are human, and being so, can have tempers that flare. I could recount things I have read about law enforcement officers’ opinions of being “hamstrung” (I think that was the term used) by the courts. If there are those feelings in a person, this would be a likely time they could get out of control. Trying to understand peoples’ actions does not necessarily indicate approval of those actions. This applies to the protesters as well. As far as there being no baricades where the protesters and the conventioners were in close proximity, it seems I read in the PP that this was suggested by the police, but it was vetoed by the demonstration organizers as too limiting to their freedom of expression. I have the feeling that there is no way the police could have come out on top on this whole thing.

    September 4, 2008
  208. Holly Cairns said:

    Hi Paul,

    Paul says Lakoff quotes:

    They can be framed honestly or deceptively, effectively or clumsily.

    I agree

    And they are always framed from the perspective of a worldview.

    I don’t agree.. What? I think Lakoff has good ideas but then goes on to talk too much.

    I like how he brings us back to Obama here (we’ve not been talking about Obama, we’ve just been talking about Sarah Palin as if it’s General Hospital. Instead of Luke and Laura buttons, I see McCain and Palin buttons.)

    The alternative, as Obama said in his nomination speech, is being on your own, with no one caring for anybody else, with force as a first resort in foreign affairs, with threatened civil liberties and a right-wing government making your most important decisions for you.

    In all seriousness, the “frame” idea is of value. Don’t you think? But the
    emotional side of things is a huge factor (Drew Westen’s the Political Brain).

    Lakoff– I agree with the idea that everyone should take Sarah Palin seriously. Lakoff is right about that. The mommy party and daddy party thing is insulting, however. I get the feeling it is inferior to belong to the mommy party.

    Palin did outline a lot of values. Right down the line. I agree with the values, and worry people won’t see the actions taken and just listen to “the values.” We’ve heard that take on it for so long, now. That’s more Bush. Notice the Bush advisers met with Sarah before the speech… c’mon, Americans.

    Do we want honestly, love in marriage, hard working Americans, or what? What has been happening at the top for the last eight years? I didn’t vote for that. I didn’t vote to send troops to Iraq. I voted for peaceful means to discuss problems, rather than the use of force. I value my way of life, but I only use guns when we absolutely need it.

    I was more nervous about the ethnic cleansing in Africa and CERTAINLY the AL QUIDA CREW than about those Iraqis getting out of hand. Now I am more worried about Iran, and remembering how Jimmy Carter left office AND THEN those people were released in Iran. Funky.

    I didn’t vote for the loss of whitehouse e-mails about serious issues. I value honesty and integrity.

    I didn’t vote for people to sit in Gitmo jail cells in Cuba, without trials. I value our judicial system. I didn’t vote for the world scruitiny we now are facing. I value helping and working with others, and using technology to avert terror. And I value using the word terror when it is truly appropriate. 911 was horrible, and a terroristic act. I value going to get Bin Laden and making an effort, there. I value doing what I say we’ll do. Can McCain give us that? What a risk.

    Oops, I’m on a rant. I guess the point is that I’m not really thinking about Sarah Palin as much as Lakoff would like– maybe I should help to set the frame about what we should be thinking about. That’s Lakoff, too, and good stuff.

    End– In good years, I think people vote for those that are most likely to be winners (we all love the winner and the better of two, or the cuter, or the meaner), and then for those that can most help them in bad years. Swing to the left, swing to the right. Too bad, this swing is way out there.

    Clinton had us reducing the deficit and on good terms with the world. Scary, like Coolidge scary. Hoover was just after that.

    Yes, David H, your opinion?

    September 4, 2008
  209. Holly Cairns said:

    John George (not that other John George in town, but this one up above, although I like both) said:

    Nor have I suggested that all police force was done with the best intentions. These guys are human, and being so, can have tempers that flare.

    Let’s think Kent state. I distincly remember being in high school (Burnsville High, 1984, Welckle’s American History debate class, although I am a graduate of NHS in ’86), and staring at that American History book picture of the dead kid– the kid was laid out, face down, and everyone was running, and one person pointing and yelling…. I remember thinking “What’s Kent State? What made Ohio so different?” It was one of the first times I didn’t have to think “How will I remember this for the test?” I knew there was high energy, an anger, a taste of rebellion, and the heat.

    So, who feels the kids and Gen Xers of today are letting things slide when the baby boomers would not have? Iraq: I honked at the local protesters (Division and Woodley) but I didn’t participate. RNC– I was thinking it was better to stay home and not protest– better to use words to than to get arrested. But, that’s not now the Baby boomers would have done it. And those baby boomers that protested paid. And the cops, they paid, too. It’d have been hard to kill a Kent State kid, I think.

    September 5, 2008
  210. Amazed that no one has offered anything about the Star of the RNC .
    Just for the record, I think McCain is an amazing man, and I totally take back what I said about his younger days as a poor husband, in light of the fact that he has more than made up for that, and in light of the fact that he is a strong, daring, and capable candidate and man who could and should be President of the United States Of America. He can call Obama if he needs any advice.
    But with Sarah on his ticket, I think they have it covered for likability and star power. The RNC was a hit. And as long as Obama is gonna be just as much of a war power leader as McCain, if you saw the video above, I think I’ll let McCain, the man with the actual experience of leading our military
    and understanding the whole martini of it, I’ll be on his side. At this point, I don’t think it matters what anyone did do in the past. For every point anyone brings up, there is an equal and adequate rebuff.

    Now, they are both starting from an equal field. Polls showed them to be at 42% to 42%, neck in neck. Whooooooha. This was a good year to be interested in the dialogue of the race to the top.

    September 5, 2008
  211. Patrick Enders said:

    I’m glad you’ve finally found a ticket you can believe in.

    September 5, 2008
  212. David Henson said:

    I’m estimating by Oct 1 we will see Palin’s relationship with the RNC begin to fray. I saw footage of a rally in WI that grew out of hand in size and everyone was yelling “Sarah” while McCain looked on from the background. Palin has a keen sense of power and a zeal for reform. She will quickly realize without her the Republican ticket is sunk and the leadership won’t able to keep her on message or even on the reservation. I’m estimating Palin will begin pushing ideas and reforms that neither party finds appealing but rank and file Americans will be backing all the way.

    September 5, 2008
  213. Paul Fried said:

    David: Of course, share. (I was targetting Holly with a special request only because a mutual friend of ours suggested I read Lakoff a few years back.)

    Holly: You wrote, “the “frame” idea is of value. Don’t you think? But the
    emotional side of things is a huge factor (Drew Westen’s the Political Brain). ”

    I haven’t read Westin, and you go on to talk about Palin talking about values. She does that. But I think one of the things I like about Lakoff is the idea of symbolism, which goes beyond what candidates talk about, and which also speaks to the confusion of some liberals regarding what they describe as the middle class voting for Republicans against their own interests, shaking their heads, and some, walking away claiming that people are stupid and have been duped. Well, Lakoff rings true to me that these liberals are acting a bit elitist and should pay more attention to the Republican’s understanding of, and/or ability to play off, of the symbolic impressions, not just the talk-talk-talk, the ideas.

    September 6, 2008
  214. Paul Fried said:

    Bright: You write, “I think I’ll let McCain, the man with the actual experience of leading our military…”

    If you Google the words “Gen Wesley Clark McCain lacks command experience” you find a number of versions of a story where retired Gen. Clark disagrees.

    But that’s ideas, not symbolism. He’s a war hero, a prisoner of war, as the whole US of A is symbolically right now. So even if he had an affair, even if he wasn’t good to his family, even if he doesn’t understand the economy, even if he flip-flopped on many issues since his change from maverick to candidate, people don’t pay as much attention to that kind of stuff as they do the symbolism. Gosh, when most of us are against the war, but we’re still in it, most of us are prisoners, JUST LIKE McCAIN.

    “Luke, join me. Join the dark side, and we’ll rule the universe together.”

    The injured arm. Father and son. Kind of like Madonna and child; family. McCain should have an ad in which he appears wearing a Darth mask, with Palin dressed like Queen Amadala. That would be symbolism.

    Lakoff says symbols speak louder than ideas and words, so the Dems better get crackin’.

    For instance, someone sent me this cute Jon Stewart Daily Show video where the conservative wing-nut talking heads get to be shown as rather two-faced in some of their fawning over Palin, and their criticism of Obama, etc. It’s clever, it’s fun, but it preaches to the choir. The committed right-wing isn’t going to hear this message. They’re already in the grove, the trance. Doesn’t help to show that the cheerleaders are two-faced when the cheering section is in the trance. But give it a look if you like:

    Daily Show 9-3-08 – Throwing Their Own Words Back. (YouTube):

    September 6, 2008
  215. Paul Fried said:

    JohnG: You write, “I have read about law enforcement officers’ opinions of being ‘hamstrung’ (I think that was the term used) by the courts.”

    Not at the RNC. Mayor Coleman was careful to be sure the RNC took out a large insurance policy for millions to protect the city against lawsuits that might be brought if there were troubles, misconduct by police, brutality, etc.

    The strings might be present most of the time, as they should, to protect against abuse of power, but they were all gone for the RNC. If there are lawsuits, it won’t cost the city a penny.

    Futhermore, they recruited many out-of-town police (and FBI, Secret Service were there, perhaps some military?) – just as it’s hard to identify, track down and arrest a masked person (youths with bandanas), it’s hard to identify who was too quick with teargas or pepper spray when they’re in riot gear and gas mask. Off the hook, if it even got that far. But I bet it won’t.

    September 6, 2008
  216. William Siemers said:

    Paul F.

    You are spot on regarding the importance of symbolism in this political campaign…and that the democrats need to ‘get crackin’.

    But let’s not forget what got Obama the nomination. Organizing. And now that organizing needs to be focused on registration and turnout. The swing states will be decided by relatively few voters. Independents are important in these states, but so are those who have never been ‘likely voters’. The apathetic, disillusioned, and marginalized citizens who usually don’t vote. There are potential votes in this group for both parties (republicans recognized this with the Palin pick), but I think there are many more potential democratic votes…particularly Obama votes.

    So somehow the symbolism employed in this effort has to appeal to both middle american independents and the disaffected. That seems like a tough proposition…let’s hope it can be pulled off.

    How sweet it will be for the republicans to be defeated by the very thing they denigrated over and over at their convention…community organization.

    September 6, 2008
  217. John George said:

    Paul F.- Regarding my quote on police attitudes toward court limitations, that is something that has been around for a long time. It is not specific to ST. Paul and the RNC. Sometimes old attitudes, like racism, for example change slowly. I am not saying they are correct. I’m just saying they do exist. Just because some police reacted with force does not exempt the violent protesters from responsibility for enciting violence. The Police were not hiding in some ambush waiting to spring out on some hapless demonstrator who happens to spit on the sidewalk. They were in open display. Any person who openly begins violent behavior in this type of setting deserves what he got, IMHO. Any person who chooses to be right in the middle of the fray is likely to get swept up in the events whether they are doing anything or not.

    I really get weary of all the rhetoric blaming the police for inciting the violence. These demonstrators were people whose only intent, according to reports of what they said prior to the convention, was to create a mob event to prove their point. The police openly said what they would do if this happened. Civil disobedience does not include destroying private property, IMHO. I still say this type of demonstration is unjustified and detrimental to the messages trying to be communicated by those people who were demonstrating within the law, and I think I am right in my opinion.

    September 6, 2008
  218. David Henson said:

    Paul how much more symbolism can you ask from the dems than Obama himself ? I think the dems will lose this election but I will offer a little help 🙂

    1) Obama should praise Palin to no end and say she is a great candidate, committed to change, and he’s glad she is not who he is running against at the top of the ticket.

    2) Palin’s idea of the “net tax burden on society” is very powerful. If the dems can deliver their grocery list of services while spending less overall taxes then they should focus on that issue.

    3) The dems need to purge themselves of the idea that some people are manipulated by “symbols” into doing things that are not good for them while others “know better.” Aside from this elitist concept being intellectually weak* – it also insults the very voters the dems hope to attract – and that clearly is not smart.

    * all humans are, of course, symbolic creatures and everyone, formally educated or not, knows this

    September 6, 2008
  219. Paul, it’s just that I see signs of Barry folding at the least amount of normal campaign pressure.

    September 6, 2008
  220. Patrick, referring to your post no. 218 above, I didn’t say ‘finally’, did I?
    Well, things can change, iykwim.

    September 6, 2008
  221. Patrick Enders said:

    Given your extensive previous commentary regarding all your problems with ‘Barry,’ I find it hard to imagine you changing your mind and voting for Barack Obama over John McCain. But I think it’d be a great idea to consider the Libertarians, or even the Greens.

    September 6, 2008
  222. Paul Fried said:

    Bright: Barry Goldwater had some interesting qualities that some conservatives now seem to lack, but I think he already folded. ( O ;
    See John Dean’s book, “Conservatives without Conscience.”
    (I got lost trying to follow the “Barry” comments)

    DavidH: You may prove right in your hunch that McCain will win, and although you don’t care or Lakoff on symbolism, I’m glad he’s receptive to the possibility. With polls for Bush and Iraq so disapproving, it’s obvious why Obama’s themes are “Hope” and “Change,” but I don’t like the fact that many liberals assume it’s a done deal. The right seems to be doing a good job whipping up its base with smear books about Obama, and I’m sure that worse is yet to come. Regarding her ideas on net burden, I don’t care for what I’ve heard about her term as mayor, the town’s increased debt (up tens of millions), as well as removal of progressive income tax burden in favor of regressive sales tax (even food tax). I don’t think her history on tax burden is anything that would be in the interests of most Americans, as they say, but it would not be the first time that people get elected on promises and values (like Bush, of not nation-building), and then wake up to find we didn’t get what we voted for. I still think folks who vote for her will do so more for the symbolism than for having researched the consequences of her tax policies in past offices. And more drilling, with more taxes on oil companies, in itself, will not really solve addiction to oil. It would only make some giddy and go back to buying Hummers.

    JohnG: Sorry if I implied that the legal strings/limitations were totally removed: the bite was removed only because of the insurance. One of the reasons that police and cities try to limit the use of police force is the fear of lawsuits and specifically economic consequences. Big money talks in ways that a slap on the hand and a small fine don’t. Take away the negative consequences of bid lawsuits by way of insurance, and suddenly the police can cause more bodily harm (physical harm to human beings) than the demonstrators did, and they don’t have to fear lawsuits to the city. Neither do individual police, if they don’t be identified becaue of gas masks and riot gear. We can assume they won’t testify against each other.

    On symbolism: Pro-football player Pat Tillman served in Afghanistan, enlisted and gave up money and comfort, but was killed by friendly fire; this didn’t come out for a long time, but only after persistent questioning.

    Why wasn’t McCain (Senator from Tillman’s state, the state of his football team) more involved in advocating full disclosure of information on Tillman’s death, and consequences for those involved in the cover-up? Is this issue a potentially powerful symbolic one to be used against McCain? It seems that we’ve had too much fraud and abuse, too many cover-ups, and McCain doesn’t seem too concerned. Do voters want to move away from the people who symbolize such corruption?

    September 6, 2008
  223. Jerold Friedman said:

    Earlier this year, I heard of a Washington Post article that concluded that McCain wasn’t the maverick he claims to be. McCain’s record for voting on bills where his vote would have made a 50:50 or 51:49 result (tying or winning by one), McCain always voted for the GOP’s position. When McCain’s vote wasn’t so hotly needed by the GOP, he would vote with either side. The Post’s conclusion was that when the GOP needed him, they got his vote.

    September 6, 2008
  224. David Henson said:

    Paul – I think a whole lot of Americans see McCain and Obama as cut from the same cloth. Now the system will go to work on Sarah Palin, probably starting with a new book deal, and the question is will she be able to stay outside the system – maybe donating her book proceeds to special needs children. In Alaska, she took her job seriously as representing Alaskans as the owners of resources and netted an extra billion from energy companies. She listed the jet on Ebay as a symbol that she would not get sucked into the self important BS of our current system. If she stays true to her past then she is likely to be in conflict with the Republican party soon. In this video she lays out her dislike for both parties http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV9rW25bT5o . Did you notice when she got fervent in her acceptance speech about “workers” how light the clapping became ?

    September 6, 2008
  225. Holly Cairns said:

    Paul said:

    I haven’t read Westin, and you go on to talk about Palin talking about values. She does that. But I think one of the things I like about Lakoff is the idea of symbolism, which goes beyond what candidates talk about, and which also speaks to the confusion of some liberals regarding what they describe as the middle class voting for Republicans against their own interests, shaking their heads, and some, walking away claiming that people are stupid and have been duped. Well, Lakoff rings true to me that these liberals are acting a bit elitist and should pay more attention to the Republican’s understanding of, and/or ability to play off, of the symbolic impressions, not just the talk-talk-talk, the ideas

    It’s one thing to talk about this at a meeting, and another to talk about it in public. Let’s think this is public and try to set the frame, ourselves. Hear hear! I’d like to remind us that she spoke at a secessionist party convention in Alaska right about now…

    I’ve got Westen for you and will leave on the doorstep if you’re not home. On a non-rainy day.

    I’m only halfway through the book and so maybe you could explain symbolism.

    September 6, 2008
  226. Paul Fried said:

    I think what Lakoff means by symbolism is that, if Palin is good looking, and a hunter, and if she has a downs syndrome child, and a husband who is a union member, and if she got oil companies to send some of their revenues to the state in Alaska, this symbolizes something to some folks, regardless of what the investigative journalists dig up about her faults, or the shifting of tax benefits to the rich, or regressive tax and sales tax and food tax.

    Lakoff–and this may be what David says he finds elitist and offensive–claims that folks sometimes vote for what people symbolize more than what their position statements are, or their record is. Bush symbolizes the tough guy who won’t back down from a fight in Iraq, and who, even if he made mistakes, or people around him did, he’ll keep working the plan and trying to make it good, whether that requires a surge, or paying bribes to Iraqi insurgents to keep them less violent till after the election, or special PR, or cover-ups regarding fraud, etc. Bush has a pickup truck with a gun-rack, and cuts wood and brush on his farm, likes to fish and hunt. Bush is a “strong father” figure, and some are drawn to that as a symbol. The strong dad who won’t admit he’s wrong, but you respect him becaues he’ll beat the crap out of you if you lip off.

    Kerry, on the other hand, was more of a soft father figure. Thinks too much. Too smart for most of us. Pays close attention to facts and analysis. Brainy nerd. If new analysis and study shows that you need to change your plan, he’d change his plan, so then folks can call him a wind-surfer and a waffler. And he’s rich, probably likes French food. Not french fries. Too french.

    So who cares if Bush’s policies rob you blind and redistribute your wealth via the social security slush fund to the richest 2-5%? Cut everyone’s taxes, but then raise social security withholding, and eventually the rich will make off like bandits, but at least you don’t lie to your friends and say you voted for that elitist French guy.

    September 6, 2008
  227. David Henson said:

    Paul – can you provide a link to analysis of Palin’s tax policy ? I have yet to see this information other than that as Gov she returned $1200.00 to each citizen.

    September 7, 2008
  228. Paul Fried said:

    David: Here it is:
    A Northfielder (who sometimes comments here) sent me an email form of this, by an Alaskan (written either with or without help from the DNC) describing some of the tax effects of her years as mayor and governor.

    I checked on snopes.com to see if it was an email hoax/smear (as some claims about Obama are), or if the Alaskan author really takes credit for the letter and it’s claims, etc. It was published at Huffingtonpost at the link above. Of course, all such claims/analysis can be up for debate. Did they really tax food? Is such a tax really regressive (!?), etc.

    We don’t know much about her, so writers are having to trust sources of varying bias and trustworthiness regarding both the facts and the analysis. I’m sure we’ll see an information war unfold, with the mainstream media focusing, perhaps, on more of the senational things (if it bleeds, it leads), and the “elitist” and indy press focusing more on investigative journalism and hard (but still biased) analysis. None of that symbolic stuff, of course, but the stuff policy wonks like. We’ll see where all the pieces fall — or which selective pieces get more attention than others in which press.

    Just remember: McCain is a war hero. Palin is a hunter, married to a union husband, and a mom who deals with the kind of family challenges that many of the best conservative families deal with. And the RNC likes her economics, which McCain says he wishes he understood more. Symbolically, if you’re conservative, what’s not to like?

    September 8, 2008
  229. Patrick Enders said:

    She’s a real person, at the very least. I haven’t read the email in question yet, but I did hear a tiny clip of an interview with the author, saying that she hadn’t intended it to spread it as far is it went; she just wanted to get it off her chest to some of her friends and family.

    September 8, 2008
  230. I read that letter ak letter a couple of days ago, and while she may have some points, and I don’t know how much is true or right, even when SP has done something ak agrees with, she makes up a reason why if SP did it, it was wrong anyway, guessing and assuming what SP motives were. Sometimes things are not as they appear.

    Anyway, No one cares. And, I must say how times have changed. Laura Bush KILLEd her ex boyfriend when she ran thru a stop sign in rural Texas and hit his car by accident when she was young. No one hardly even mentioned that.
    What a world, what a world.

    What they do care about is that AP comes off likable and that’s what you need when you sit down at the table with some of these world leaders and their cabinet members, et al.

    September 8, 2008
  231. Paul Fried said:

    One thing that’s kind of strange is this: It seems that the Republicans have a much better grasp of how lies and smear actually work in terms of influencing some people. Obama is the topic of all kinds of wierd email claims, and the large majority of them have debunked by fact-checking sites, etc.

    Sarah Palin gets the VP slot, and all the Dems can come up with is this Irish Anne Kilkenney from Alaska who sounds like a policy wonk. Not juicy. Not sexed-up enough, as the Brits say.

    Now if it were the Republicans responding to a Sarah Palin type who was a Democrat, there’s be stories about strange acts in the bedroom with Alaskan husky dogs on those long, cold nights when the sun doesn’t quite rise…. You know what I’m saying? You know this is simply the truth.

    The Democrats are such amateurs at smear and lies. All that stuff about ideals, ethics, the high ground, etc. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to have won many elections lately.

    How many democratic ads have you seen on TV highlighting Bush-Cheney lies and unconstitutional acts, and also the homosexual hijinx of Republicans? If the tables were turned, that’s what the Repugs would do. Connect the sins of the lame duck President to the new candidat representing his party. Even if it’s a stretch for facts. Repeat a lie enough, even a big lie, and people will believe it. The Republicans knew that, and got MANY people to think that Iraq has something to with 9-11. The Nazi’s understood the power of the “big lie” repeated often enough. The Dems just don’t get it. They try to run on virtue and facts and stuff.

    Maybe Dems should hire some “agents provocateurs” in business suits to commit illegal acts and make it seem that some Republicans on Wall Street, or Oil barrons, were absolutely evil…..

    But with Dick Cheney (and his history), and with Rudy and crowd chanting “Drill, baby, Drill” at the RNC, maybe it’s a waste of money to hire people to discredit them? Maybe the Dems should use tape of Rudy’s chant, with a little twist, in an ad?

    Ya gotta admit, Repugs have a corner on the smear market. And they make it work. And the customers who consume it keep coming back for more! Like old home night with the KKK! (My sister went to the Republican caucus by mistake this year, having been given bad directions from a neighbor who either wanted to keep her away from the Dems, or assumed she was Republican; she tends not to be political, but came back with the impression that she was at a KKK meeting – ! This came as a surprise to me, as I was trying to assume the best about the GOP….)

    (How can some of you conservatives around here stand it? Are you guys John Dean/ Barry Goldwater “Conservatives with Conscience”? Or Ron Paul fans?)

    So what’s a party (the Dems in particular) to do? Fight fire with fire (smear back?), or stay on the moral high ground and lose the election? Jesus asked if it was better to win the world but lose your soul — but he never ran for office….

    If they don’t fight fire with fire, I think the Dems need to get MUCH more creative. Try lots of things and see what works. Like neighborhood marshmallow/smore gatherings. Or maybe a petting zoo: “Pet a llama for Obama”? Or signs at bus stops and waiting areas at airports: “Bidin’ our time for Obama and Biden”….

    Nope, I’m not there yet, but I’ll keep tryin’.

    I still like the bumpersticker that said, “Cheney-Satan ’08” (or “Cheney-Voldemort ’08”)…..

    September 8, 2008
  232. David Henson said:

    Paul do you think facts like this are a smear ? “Sen. Barack Obama is the No. 3 recipient of Fannie and Freddie campaign dollars, having collected $123,000 from the companies since he first ran for the Senate in 2004, according to the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics.”


    Obama is just a compromised politician. In taking that much money it would appear Obama has absolutely no clue what is going on … when money is being handed out he just grabs a pillow case. In fairness McCain took $19,000 and he probably knew these were payments to avoid regulation. I mean how grotesque do these 2 parties have to behave before Americans decide to kick them all out.

    September 9, 2008
  233. Paul Fried said:

    If you line up contributions and votes on related legislation, then it makes a better case than what is often called smear, which in this example might be simply the contributions, minus any attention to voting record. I’ve seen some interesting articles that line up both money and votes, and sure, I think that’s fair–while elected officials (like Cox, when he was MN State Rep) often defend such votes as being often for omnibus bills that contain many other provisions. Sometimes what elected officials do in committee is as important, or more important, to pay attention to.

    Now as far as throwing the bums out goes, I suppose some would defend even the practice of accepting the money and voting favorably to the interests, claiming that the elected official did many worthwhile things unrelated to the money-translating-to-favorable-votes equation: They raised minimum wages, passed legislation that created jobs or helped many who needed it, etc.

    But no, fact-based claims help, and in your example, they help most when it’s shown the money-voting-record-committe-record connections. This is wonkish stuff, not symbolic stuff unless you repeat it often enough, and in abreviated enough form, that it sinks in: So-and-so candidate is corrupted by money, votes are bought.

    Yet the “facts aren’t smear” stuff cuts both ways. I heard about some “indepencence party” story related to Palin a few days back, but nowadays, if you blink, you sometimes miss a story, or the key point. I heard about the story again, and was surprised that Palin’s husband was a member of an Alaskan political party that is secessionist, or in other words wants to leave the union, as the south tried during the Civil War. Palin’s membership status in that party is uncertain, but she addressed their convention twice. The party’s founder has made statements about hating the US government and not wanting to be buried under the US flag. If one had this kind of record and were traveling to St. Paul to demonstrate outside the RNC, this would have been enough evidence to get a person’s hotel room searched, some of their belongings/cameras etc. confiscated, and have law enforcement consider pressing terrorist charges (as it seems they are planning to do with the self-described anarchists who were searched and detained).

    Is it smear to highlight the association of Palin with the secessionist party in Alaska, and her husband’s membership, which is fact?

    Is it smear to note the fact that the same party has encouraged its members to go out and infiltrate other parties in Alaska?

    Is it smear to therefore ask if Palin is a stealth secessionist VP candidate?

    Granted, McCain could get elected and have a heart attack, and Palin may have no future interest in cutting off Alaska from the union. But facts are facts — they may not be smear, but they often distract from more important issues/prioroties, or the bigger picture. In this case, secessionist movements may not be the important issue, but Palin’s fickle political allegiances might.

    September 9, 2008
  234. Patrick Enders said:

    Apparently, the “change” Sarah Palin believes in is taxpayer money that she can put in her own bank account.

    In today’s Washington Post:

    “Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home”

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a “per diem” allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.


    September 9, 2008
  235. David Henson said:

    Patrick these were allowed expenses of $16,951 – this would have filled the jet she sold with fuel about once … please these silly attacks on an honest person only hurt the Dems chances – I think the pet a Llama of Obama is a much better idea.

    September 9, 2008
  236. Patrick Enders said:

    That doesn’t look like honesty to my eye. Throw in the McCain camp’s lies that she stopped the Bridge to Nowhere (or even that she was opposed to it before it was already dead), and it looks like a whole lot of ‘more of the same.’

    Wall Street Journal: “Record Contradicts Palin’s ‘Bridge’ Claims”

    September 9, 2008
  237. Patrick Enders said:

    And since when is $16,000 a ‘silly’ amount of money? If I billed my company $16,000 for travel expenses when I was at home, I’d be out of a job already, at the very least.

    September 9, 2008
  238. Patrick and David, this is all well and good to consider, but the real issue is who will lead? and based on what experience? John McCain is not a blow hard and is not given to talking about himself in a big important way, like Obama, but he is undoubtedly more about experience by several decades of hard work and being there on the scenes, not just reading about it in a book written by someone who has referenced a few dozen other books and so on, than Barry.

    All these other issues are smoke and mirrors. And I cannot live on hope alone. If I could I would be “Time” magazine’s most talented and influential person ever.
    Hope is what the preachers promise people who have nothing else but,
    and who more than likely never will have anything else if Daley’s man gets
    into the White House.
    What you are seeing is the Daley Machine at work, like back when Richard J. invented it over fifty years ago…and that’s politics as usual, with the only difference being the astute understanding of the power of the internet to build a grass roots movement, that usually lasts about as long as it takes to build it. We shall see. I’d love to be wrong on this one, but my guts are telling me different right now.

    September 9, 2008
  239. Patrick Enders said:

    Bright wrote,

    John McCain is not a blow hard and is not given to talking about himself in a big important way

    You mean John “I don’t like to talk about being a P.O.W., but did I mention yet that I was as a P.O.W.?” McCain?
    John “I’ll give you nothing but Straight Talk (TM)” McCain?
    John “I’ll always put my Country First(TM), not like that other guy who’s all for himself” McCain?

    He’s always talking about himself in a big important way. He just uses a different narrative.

    September 9, 2008
  240. David Henson said:

    Patrick – Palin’s new job, Governor, was based in Juno and the article specifies that this was acceptable practice. She was elected to run Alaska not to personally fund Alaska. All her expenses specify exactly what she was doing. You fail to mention how her airfare was $90K compared to the previous governor’s $450K. These arguments are non-starters.

    September 9, 2008
  241. Peter Millin said:

    To no surprise this site is completely to the left, no wonder that Kerry carried Rice county.

    The Liberals are completely surprised, they simply don’t know what to do with Palin. She completely defies there view of a feminist.

    She is smart, self sufficient and doesn’t need a prompter to give an answer. Maybe she doesn’t have enough political experience, but do we really need more of the same in DC?

    Despite changing presidents, congress and senates we have a $ 9Trillion deficit, Social security is on the verge of collapse, we have a crumbling infrastructure, no immigration policy, ever higher taxes and a do nothing congress. So why would I want more guys like Biden, McCain, Pelosi or Obama and the rest?

    It is time for new blood.

    September 9, 2008
  242. Paul Fried said:

    From Ray McGovern re: evidence of agents provocateurs in the form of plainclothes law officers who worked to provoke trouble at the RNC.

    McGovern is a retired CIA analyst who used to deliver daily briefings to, I think, three presidents. You can read the article in full at the URL at the bottom.

    From the last section of McGovern’s article:

    The young protesters had some success in exposing infiltrators in their ranks. During confrontations, members of the Welcoming Committee, in particular, took copious photos of law enforcement officers and then memorized the faces. This tactic worked like a charm in one of the St. Paul parks, when a man who looked like a protester — dark clothes, backpack, a bit disheveled-walked by.

    One of the protesters recognized the man’s face and searched through her camera until she found a photo of the man actually performing the raid on the Welcoming Committee’s headquarters on Friday night. The young protesters asked the man, and two associates, to leave the park, at which point the three hustled into a nearby unmarked sedan.

    The license plate, observed by a Pioneer Press reporter, traced back to the detective unit of the Hennepin County sheriff’s office, according to the county’s Central Mobile Equipment Division.

    Protesters later drove two other men out of the day’s planned march — one because he was wearing brand-new tennis shoes. The two left without indicating whether they were with the organs of public safety.

    So there is hope. Young people are smarter than old ones. It is a safe bet that in the coming weeks lots of unwelcome photos will be exposing various agents provocateurs, including over-the-hill flat-feet in unmarked cars, as well as young Republicans with unmarked tennis shoes. If those are the kind of “sources” upon which the police, FBI, etc. have been relying…well, that would be like having Shia reporting on Sunni, or vice versa.

    The organs of public safety are probably not quite so dumb as to be unaware that one cannot expect valid “intelligence” from such amateurish antics. More likely, the attitude is that any kind of “intelligence” will do for the purposes of local law enforcement and timid public officials cowed by the Feds.
    The article is called “Trickle-Down Preemption: Baghdad on the Mississippi”
    by Ray McGovern

    September 9, 2008
  243. Peter Millin said:

    Anyone the breaks the law in a public protest has forfeited his rights. Of course like most criminals they will make every excuse imaginable.

    Freedom is an absence of force. Force and violence are not part of a functioning democracy.

    September 9, 2008
  244. Patrick Enders said:

    And her billing for her family’s travel? Were they all on ‘state business’?

    As you know, Alaska has a history of corrupt government – look at the indictments. Following accepted practice in a corrupt environment doesn’t make you clean. It makes you the same as everyone else.

    Let’s look at the facts:
    – She fires people for personal reasons. She did it as Mayor, and there is a fair bit of evidence supporting a case that she did it again as Governor. As Mayor, she won a lawsuit challenging those firings, not by claiming that her firings were justified, but simply because there’s nothing in Alaska law that prevents Mayors from firing people for any reason they want. Does that make it right, or just politics as usual in a free-for-all state?
    – She’s in favor of taking public money for herself and her people, but she’s now opposed to it for everybody else. As Mayor, she hired a lobbyist to bring in the Pork, and even bragged to the city council on bringing in an earmark that John McCain cited as a waste of money. As Governor, she has bragged about bringing home the bacon – most notably in favor of the money for the “Bridge to Nowhere.” Which she kept, even though the bridge didn’t get built. And apparently, she’s even willing to pay herself government dollars to cook her own lunch.
    So she’s in favor of pork, but she’s against it, huh?

    Sounds like more of the same.

    September 9, 2008
  245. Actually, Peter, the American people as a whole, don’t want congress to do anything. They, and I mean all Congresses since the beginning of our country, have done enough. Just how much, we may never know, but I will see if I can find just how many laws are on the books right now.

    Wanna bet it’s over a hundred thousand?

    Holly, if you ever decide to learn your numbers, I’ll tutor you and a few friends for free. Math, baby, math!

    September 9, 2008
  246. Peter Millin said:

    Dear Patrick,

    common dreams is hardly a reputable news source. Next to moveon it is just another Soros mouthpiece.

    Most of the smear has been already debunked, see below.


    Bright I have no idea what you are talking about???

    September 9, 2008
  247. Patrick Enders said:

    I have no idea what ‘common dreams’ is. My main sources on this have been the Washington Post and Politico. Neither is a liberal blog.

    September 9, 2008
  248. Patrick Enders said:

    Also, which one of my points are you disputing?

    September 9, 2008
  249. Patrick Enders said:

    Finally, Peter, the article you cite does not address any of my criticisms.

    September 9, 2008
  250. Peter, you said:

    Despite changing presidents, congress and senates we have a $ 9Trillion deficit, Social security is on the verge of collapse, we have a crumbling infrastructure, no immigration policy, ever higher taxes and a do nothing congress.

    I was responding (#253) to your claim of having a do nothing congress. Sorry, I thought that would have been obvious. Sorry.

    September 9, 2008
  251. john george said:

    Paul F.- In your post 239, you asked how we conservatives can srand around and put up with it. Take a look at this URL. I think it explains what we conservatives are putting up with.

    September 9, 2008
  252. David Henson said:

    Patrick, your right, Palin firing unwanted staff after being elected made no sense, she should have kept them around for 4 years of in fighting at which time they could have quit and sued the city for severance. Oh boy she knows how to manage – that’s a severe indictment. You’ve outlined Northfield’s need for a “strong mayor.”

    September 9, 2008
  253. Patrick Enders said:

    You’d like it if our Mayor decided to fire our Administrator for not ‘fully supporting’ his reelection campaign?

    That’s not change I can believe in.

    September 9, 2008
  254. David Henson said:

    Let’s suffice it to say that it’s change that 85-95% of Alaskans do believe in ! These are sky high approval ratings or do the Dems plan to attack the approval ratings as well ?

    September 9, 2008
  255. Patrick Enders said:

    No, I just plan to attack McCain and Palin’s words and actions, when I believe – and can make a reasonably good case – that they have been wrong. Looks like that’s exactly what Obama is doing, as well.

    September 9, 2008
  256. Peter Millin said:

    It is amusing to see how the democrats supported by the media are bending over backwards to find some dirt on such a fine young American.

    Currently 30 people have descended down on to Alaska. This is a group of lawyers, opposition researchers and the media, trying desperately to digg up some dirt.
    Of course they are within their rights to do so, but does anyone remember this been done for Obama?
    Wright, Pfleger and Ayers are but side notes in his resume. These connection are much worse then “trooper gate”.
    Speaking of trooper gate, the press only tells half the story. It completely ignores the background of the guy that has been fired. The Alaska police union has eleven complains against this guy, of one is that he tazered his own eleven year old son. Others include drinking in a police car and being pulled over for traffic violations by his own colleagues.

    Do we here about that? Of course not. All we hear is about “Will she able to be a VP by having five kids”? ( what a sexist comment that is)..blah..blah…
    Why did she fly 8 hours to have her baby? and so on and so on.

    I hope this will be kept up and expose the democrats and the supporting press for what they really are. Bias hate mongers who get their kicks by creating descent and tumult.

    Americans are not supid if they can’t stand one thing it’s being unfairly treated. We can’t mention Obamas color, religion or middle name without being demonized.
    But a hardworking mother including her children are fair game?

    Wow this is not the America I came to love.

    September 9, 2008
  257. Patrick Enders said:

    It is amusing to see how the democrats supported by the media are bending over backwards to find some dirt on such a fine young American.

    It’s called reporting. As of two weeks ago, most Americans had never heard of this woman. Since she’s trying to be elected to a position where she could be leader of our country six months from now, I think it’s a very good idea to dig very deeply into her past.

    They do it to all politicians – as they should. But for her, the process has been necessarily compressed.

    And yes, I’ve read both the good and the bad in the press. I highlight the bad because I find it alarming, and because McCain and his fawning press coverage are already highlighting her virtues.

    As for the soap opera elements, you’ll find that I’ve had nothing to say on those above. It seems the one group of people who keep bringing those up is the McCain campaign itself, which has decided to abandon any intelligent talk about policies, in favor of its own brand of an issues-free cult of personality, paired with a smear against the press and Democrats.

    September 9, 2008
  258. Holly Cairns said:

    Math! I did make it through Calculus, and then I never looked back.

    There are legitimate reasons to check on Palin. What’s this secessionist idea? Goodbye, Alaska? Hello! Not a small deal.

    Who cares about the trooper. We all have interesting brother-in-law (or some other relative) stories.

    It’s not so great that her kid is pregnant and marrying the boy at 17, but families are important and I worry about that kid. Mom is busy, but I hope not too busy to help.

    Being mean to a cancer person– we all have bad days and deserve the penalty box.

    But the secessionist thing is worrysome.

    Really, she seems so different from McCain and it is bizarre that we keep talking about her. Does someone have a crystal ball, and can see she’ll be President?

    Now, as for Obama. He has strong family values, believes in using appropriate military action, he believes in fair taxation and investing in good programs, wants effective and efficient government (which does mean cutting some programs, I would bet), worries about fiscal restraint and also our responsibility to our children, and more.

    I’ll admit Obama’s been hanging out in the legislative branch instead of the executive branch, but he carries less baggage than a lot of other senators do. Like the baggage McCain carries, for instance. McCain is a member of the Keating 5, if we remember the ’80’s. I know he was cleared, but he was criticized. And that’s baggage.

    September 9, 2008
  259. Patrick Enders said:

    Paul wrote,

    so who is playing dirty now.

    Good to see the Democrats fighting fire with fire. Didn’t see any suggestion in that article that the Democrats were lying, just ratcheting up the tone of their rhetoric a little closer to matching the Republican tone.

    September 9, 2008
  260. Peter Millin said:

    Two wrongs never equal one right IMHO

    September 9, 2008
  261. David Henson said:

    Patrick – from 263 – it’s not working. I’m an independent, I voted for Wellstone the first time when he ran around with no money in the green bus and then against him when he grabbed big money off the east coast. Independents are not interested in hearing Obama or Dems rip Palin – the Dems are losing votes fast – find a new strategy. Honestly, it’s weird to see the top of a ticket attack the bottom of a ticket.

    September 9, 2008
  262. Peter Millin said:

    It’s quiet telling hat Obama spends so much time attacking Palin. I believe he realizes that she poses a real danger to him. Until now he was able to claim the outsider status.
    In comparison to her McCain, Biden and Obama represent the establishment. They are the problem not the solution.

    Remember the “Bridge to Nowhere”…maybe she was for it before she was against it..but Biden and Obama voted for it…twice.

    September 9, 2008
  263. Jane Moline said:

    Peter: Sarah Palin is not a femiinist. That is why feminists denounce her.

    McCain’s judgement is in question. Palin’s judgement is in question. (So nice of her to parade her pregnant-unprotected-sex-daughter in front of the entire nation. Good job, Mom.)

    Also, Peter, we stopped one war with civil disobedience. Being arrested does not mean that you have broken the law. (That is another little idea called “innocent until proven guilty.”) It is embarrassing that Americans cannot get organized enough to protest the illegal acts of the Bush administration. It is even more embarrassing that some Republicans advocate fascist tactics to prevent free speech.

    September 9, 2008
  264. Peter Millin said:

    Before we discuss feminism maybe we should define the term. In my world a feminist is a women that despite some existing sexism manages to stand on her own.
    Thinks for herself, is independent and asserts her rights as a human being.

    If having a daughter with a child out of wedlock questions her judgement, shouldn’t we eliminate Obama from consideration as well? After all his mom made bad choices as well.
    The hypocrisy of using this issue against her is baffling. I guess if you are a liberal we feel sympathy or even worse give you financial support for having a child out of wedlock.
    However if you are a conservative the rules change?

    How does her daughter having a child out of wedlock cloud her judgement?

    I am all for civil disobedience and protest it is one of our basic right as Americans.
    But what does civil disobedience have to do with destroying private property? Nothing. It’s an cowardly act and you should pay the price for it.

    Because Bush went to war and you disagree somebody is going to slash my tires, put my car on fire and break my window.

    Your freedom and rights end when it infringes on somebody elses freedom and rights. If it doesn’t we have anarchy.

    September 10, 2008
  265. Jane wrote:

    So nice of her to parade her pregnant-unprotected-sex-daughter in front of the entire nation.

    I wouldn’t use the term “parade”, I would say the daughter was included, and not hidden away, like they did in the 50s and earlier, only to be mercilessly dragged out by the opposing party later on.

    And how do you know that she was having unprotected sex? Were you there?

    Furthermore, feminism is a fad that has died out over the last 30 years.
    They really didn’t have an idea of what makes a woman’s heart beat,imho.

    September 10, 2008
  266. Felicity Enders said:


    1. Feminism has not died out. Feminism is alive and well, in the discussion of equal pay for equal work, in how long women have to identify such inequities in the workplace, and in the issues of childcare for women who choose to work. This last issue should actually be considered a family issue, but is typically a women’s rights issue instead.

    2. Feminism was never about what makes a woman’s heart beat.

    Feminism has certainly developed. Most of the country has now gotten past barefoot-and-pregnant, perhaps primarily because two salaries are required in today’s economy. However, women have certainly not achieved equality as yet, and the issues that pertain (primarily) to women have definitely not yet achieved equality with issues that hit front and center for men.

    September 10, 2008
  267. Felicity Enders said:

    Further on the feminism issue: I heard a talk this week by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (Author of Off-Ramps and On-Ramps). She has done research around the country with women in science, technology, and engineering careers. This research has helped her identify a fight-or-flight moment that typically occurs between ages 35 and 40, when women who have been successful up until that point in these challenging careers essentially hit a wall, and have to decide to fight or not.

    52% of such women leave their careers at this age. Less than a quarter do so in order to raise a family (contrary to popular belief). The rest tend to switch careers entirely, or even go back to school. The wall that leads to this fight or flight moment is in trying to do what is required for promotion in what continues to be a male-dominated culture. Women are provided fewer opportunities, time off for parenting is typically not considered when women come up for promotion, and the vast majority of leadership in such fields is male. The result is this enormous percentage of highly educated, highly qualified women leaving their careers behind.

    This does not happen to men on a national scale.

    September 10, 2008
  268. Hi, Felicity. I completely respect your views as stated, but it’s kinda of not what I am talking about and that is my fault for not explaining my stance.
    I am of the old computer posting school that says keep it simple and short.

    One issue I will raise, and this is only my personal opinion and based in my own experience and you would have had to be there with me living it for proof, cuz I didn’t keep the receipts, and all that, here I am laughing, again, no one but me would understand, but I think the American family is way spoiled, lives way out of their ability to pay, and even if they did stay within their income to outgo ratio, as many do, they still have a ton of wasteful habits that could certainly be curtailed and turned into savings or health insurance. I can say that because while my friends and family members had such a stretch to make it on $60K or more per year 10-15 years ago, I was living very comfortably on $8-12,000 and putting away the rest for many years. I know others who can do that, too. And I enjoyed my share of movies, dinners out, books, museums, etc. I didn’t have a cell phone, a
    SUV, pay tv, cleaning bills, or a lot of fancy clothes, shoes and handbags, cocaine, fancy wine or exotic cars, race cars, airplanes, video games, guns, or no, I take that back, I did have a Zelda game and a Mario for awhile, as a gift, but I didn’t have “all the extras”, like so many have. I am not saying they shouldn’t have that, but they shouldn’t have that AND complain to the government that they cannot afford health care, and that they need more money. As soon as they do that, everyone is gonna have to pay for their extravagances. That’s what I see too often. And don’t tell me about the poor, I am not including them here at all.

    Come on, somebody is buying this stuff now by the billions and billions of dollars every year and it’s not just the rich people.

    I am NOT saying anything against equal pay for equal work here. I think that everyone should get out what they put into a job.

    And as for feminism, I was referring to the old feminism that turned off a lot of people to the real issues. I don’t really want to get into all that now, but defer to your expertise on the issues of the day, Felicity. And thanks for all your good work. Really.

    September 10, 2008
  269. Jane Moline said:

    Felicity, I agree. Feminism is long from dead–unfortunately those anti-feminists claim to define it for the feminists–twisting it into something unatractive.

    Peter, in your case you define feminism as being a human and standing on your own two feet. That, unfortunately, is too broad. Feminism means standing up for all your sisters–even those that don’t know what feminism is and don’t know how sexism will harm them.

    Sarah Palin is against what feminism is for.

    Bright, I may not have been there but I have a 90% chance of being right that the girl (Bristol) that is pregnant became that way during unprotected sex. Birth control does work. Unfortunately, this poor girl, if her mother lives what she preaches, was denied basic sex education and probably had no clue how to protect herself from pregnancy at this young age. How will we ever know if she really ever wanted to be married right now? Now, her life is a media event thanks to her mother.

    Peter, I love how you think that I should judge Barack Obama by his mother’s decisions BEFORE HE WAS BORN but you think that Sarah Palin should not be subject to any criticism on how she has managed her family. (See, Barack Obama is the candidate, not his mother. Sarah Palin is the candidate-not her daughter.)

    Sarah Palin has NO qualifications to run for national office, and a lot of baggage including very questionable judgements as mayor of a town that had a population closer to 5000 when she was there, and that she left in debt for a money-losing sports center, and where she tried to get the librarian fired for not banning books. And, as governor used her position to summarily fire or attempt to fire anyone that did not toe her line, (and for which she is under ethics investigation.)

    Sarah Palin is a religious nut case. Her ideas of forcing religious laws on the general public and the nation are dangerous.

    McCain is a war mongering Republican who will do anything to get party support, including turning his back on the US torture that he claims to oppose (since he was tortured as a POW.)

    All that McCain and Palin can do is claim that Democrats will tax and spend–while continuing to advocate that we should spend spend spend 300 million dollars a day so their contractor buddies can continue to rake in money on the Iraq war, and drill drill drill so we can destroy the environment and continue our dependence on Islamist-fundamentalist controlled oil from their other Republican supporting buddies in Saudi Arabia, etc. (Where the terrorist of 9/11 were really from and where Osama Bin Laden gets his funding.)

    The Iraq war has led to economic disaster in the USA that is getting worse–and McCain-Palin will give us more of the same. Unemployment is up again.

    Now that the shock of Palin is wearing off, we will get all the dirt on her (if the media is doing its job for the public rather than just for their Republican-supporting owners.)

    More information is coming out–Sarah Palin is a big liability, and reveals McCain’s bad judgement.

    September 10, 2008
  270. Peter Millin said:

    Based on your comments a conservative women can’t be a feminist? Hmm interesting.
    I thought women issues affect all women?

    Please Google feminism on Wikipedia…

    This is my definition of feminism…how does Sarah Palin not fit here. I think she is right on.

    September 10, 2008
  271. Anne Bretts said:

    Peter, I think that in her own choices, Palin acts like a feminist. When she would deny the right of women to make different choices, when she would force others to learn her beliefs instead of science, when she would keep women and men from learning about birth control options, she is exercising the same kind of repression that created the feminist movement.

    September 10, 2008
  272. Gee, Jane, I can find so many things to disagree with you about…when we may actually agree on some things, but the way you put them…I’ll show you what I mean…you said;

    this poor girl, if her mother lives what she preaches, was denied basic sex education and probably had no clue how to protect herself from pregnancy at this young age. How will we ever know if she really ever wanted to be married right now? Now, her life is a media event thanks to her mother.

    Start with “this poor girl”, I wouldn’t say that about any 17 year old girl in this country who has her health, food, shelter, two parents, and some siblings in the same house because around the world, since time began, women aged 17 have been able to bear children as a natural fact. Motherhood is sacred, not something to be pitied. It is YOUR judgment that if a young woman get s pregnant, they will be considered ‘poor girls.’

    In this day and age, and you know perfectly well, Bristol was not denied access to knowledge from and of the outside world. She wasn’t living in a
    cloistered community or under lock and key or I am sure you would have brought it up.

    You said, how will we ever know if she wanted to be married?, first of all, we don’t need to know that, it is truly none of our business, and second of all, you seem to make it sound like marriage is awful…only if you marry the wrong person, or if you are the wrong person for marriage…in and of itself, it’s a good thing, imho.

    Bristol’s life may not be a media event if people like you and me drop it, and I am dropping it right now.

    September 10, 2008
  273. Peter Millin said:


    The myth about her wanting creationism in the school has been already debunked by factcheck.org so it’s a non starter.

    Sorry, but I don’t think it’s the schools or any other government entities job to teach my children about birth control or about sex.
    I reserve the right as a parent to teach this myself. Who and why would somebody outside of my house want to make a decision about when the time is right to teach my children about sex? Where is my right to chose?

    I am a conservative and I believe a women has the right to an abortion if she chooses to. But how about the rights of a unborn?

    The part that makes me mad is that we don’t call it what it is “killing a baby”. The notion of life not beginning at conception and that the fetus is not a life, is merely designed to make us feel better about the choice we make. Call it what it is.

    September 10, 2008
  274. Anne Bretts said:

    Peter, actually she said she wouldn’t force the issue but she’d like the schools to teach both creationism and evolution and let kids debate. But of course that means we’d have to add the creation theories found in other Western religions as well as the teachings of those who think we are reincarnated again and again and those who think space aliens brought us here and built the pyramids for us. I’m game as long as we include them all, but I don’t think that’s what she had in mind. That’s the problem, the truth isn’t evolution or creationism. It’s evolution and a lot of other stuff that I’m sure Palin would not want mentioned.
    As for sex education, parents always have the option of having their children exempted from sex ed lessons or classes, just as they can opt out of doing book reports on books their parents don’t like. I agree that your children shouldn’t be forced to take sex ed classes, but they should deny others the option of learning.
    That’s what the debate is all about in this election. I believe you’re free to believe whatever you want. Palin wants to limit what I discuss to the boundaries of your belief system. Palin wants to limit relationships to the kind that make her comfortable. That’s not what the founding fathers had in mind when they opted to keep religion out of government.

    September 10, 2008
  275. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    If Karl Rove could persuade McCain to take Palin for a running mate, all the more reason to vote for Obama. Surely makes him look good by comparison. If the country sees otherwise and votes for McCain, the country is truly lost.

    I saw Palin in the 2006 governor debate run on CNN. Her answers were very extreme. Made the other two candidates look reasonable. And yet, she won. Guess I won’t be moving there anytime soon.

    September 10, 2008
  276. Peter Millin said:


    You assume to much. I tend to take people by their word until proven wrong. There is nothing that Palin has done or said so far to make me think that she has a hidden agenda.
    The part I found disturbing is that women are only feminists when they believe in a certain world of thought? Seems very exclusive to me and certainly limits the feminist movement to a particular group.

    I believe that the vast majority of people are very capable of taking care of their own needs without government interference.
    Should government and religion be separate of course they should, but this strong division would disqualify 90% of our politicians including Obama. he has stated one more then one occasion what he believes in.
    Personally I’d rather have a person in office with strong moral values then one that believes in nothing. It shouldn’t matter which religion he/she decides to observe. Muslim, Chrisitan, Hindu or Budhist it doesn’t really matter as long as the person is honest, loving and respectful.

    In comparisson this issue is minute to the bigger issues at hand. My concerns are more about spending, taxes, inflation, healthcare and government power.

    Judging by those, Obama has an eerie likeness with socialism, a system I had to live under and moved away from.
    In his policies and stands he is like a bad re-run of the German SPD/Green coalition 25 years ago….and look where it has taken Germany today.

    Sorry, been there done that.

    September 10, 2008
  277. Peter, I agree with you about the pro life vs baby killing issue. True, a woman or a man has control over her or his own bodies, and that shouldn’t be a legislative issue. But when choices have been voluntarily made to do things which lead to having a baby, then you kill the baby cuz you made a mistake. Even in the case of rape, I would find a way to love that baby no matter what. There are grey cases that I cannot make statements about, true, cuz I have not walked in those shoes, but I would never ever ever kill a baby if I had any control over the situation and I would maintain that control, and if I needed help, I bet I could find someone to help me. I bet I could. And I bet anyone who had love in their heart could find help.

    What is really dastardly is giving someone the choice to think that they are so precious that they can kill their own baby, and tell you them it’s alright, it’s the law, and if you don’t get to kill your baby, you are not living in a free country. These types of thoughts are confusing our youth and destroying families all over this country.

    September 10, 2008
  278. Jane Moline said:

    Peter, I said that Sarah Palin is not a feminist–not that a conservative could not be a feminist, (although there are basic conflicts that would have to be resolved.)

    I am not impressed with Wikipedia for your understanding of Sarah Palin’s “feminism.” She believes that creationism should be taught IN SCIENCE CLASSES along with evolution, so that students could “decide for themselves.” This reveals that Palin does not understand basic scientific theory, and that she believes that her religious beliefs should be taught in publc schools to everyone. This is exactly what the Taliban believes. She believes that we should impose laws that align with her religious beliefs–that is exactly what the Taliban believes. (You gotta check out her religious beliefs –they are way beyond wacko.)

    And Peter, just because you believe that an embroyo is a baby does not make it a baby. If it is a baby, take it out and raise it yourself. It is part of a woman’s body. Call it what it is–part of her body. When it comes out–whichever way it gets out, it might be a baby. Or it might not–it might be miscarried or delivered dead.

    Anti-choice proponents simply want to substitute their judgement and religious beliefs as superior to the pregnant woman’s–and that is what makes them anti -feminists. They really don’t want women to have the right to make their own decisions. They want to impose their religious and moral views on –women.

    Sarah Palin made her own decisions for herself–good for her. She wants to impose her choices on everyone else. That is bad. This devotion to dogma is dangerous and anti-American in addition to being anti-feminist. Hopefully her 15 minutes will be up soon.

    And Bright, it is wonderful that you can count all of little Bristol Palin’s blessings. It must really be fun for a teenager who is pregnant to be national news. Makes her feel like you she is related to Britney Spears.

    I feel very sorry for Bristol Palin. To have her life run through the national news. You would have to be one sick teenager to enjoy that kind of attention. It just shows where Sarah Palin’s priorities are. VP or bust.

    September 10, 2008
  279. Peter Millin said:


    I am guessing that you never had a child. After seeing three of my kids sonogram I can assure you , that whatever you want to call it, is alive.

    The whole discussion if it is life or not is purely academic designed by selfish people, who rather put their head in the sand then face responsibility.

    Today there is absolutely no reason to get pregnant. If you do it’s your own doing.(with the exception of rape and incest).

    I don’t think that abortion should be another means of birth control.

    I find it very disturbing that the measuring stick for being accepted in to the feminist club has to include pro-choice and the believe in evolution.

    Freedom of choice has to include the freedom to be against abortion. You accuse Sarah of intolerance I am sorry but your position isn’t very tolerant either.

    September 10, 2008
  280. David Henson said:

    Jane – Sarah Palin is Governor of the state with the most liberal abortion laws and she never proposed any legislation to amend those laws. She also never once has said she wants creationism taught in school.

    Not that I’m a proponent of creationism but most theories of “beginnings,” including evolution, are as much myth as fact. The type of evolution taught today in school is actually very old fashioned and does not begin to deal with the complexity of modern biological understanding. Evolution itself has little to no predictive value which makes it sort of a quasi-science.

    The idea of being concerned about what someone “thinks” is over hyped relative to looking at what they actually do. Don’t you find it refreshing that Palin followed her own convictions ?

    September 10, 2008
  281. Barry Cipra said:

    In posting #278, Bright Spencer writes:

    “I am of the old computer posting school that says keep it simple and short.”

    Bravo to that. But, Bright, what would your next paragraph have been like if you’d opted to make it long and drawn out?

    September 10, 2008
  282. Haha, I think that is truly funny, Barry. Well, I am of two schools, I could go on and on or I could shut it down for awhile. Right now, I am for the second.

    September 10, 2008
  283. Alright, I’ll just say this. Each woman should decide for herself how she wants to be treated and how she will act in her world. Feminism doesn’t work for everyone and everyone doesn’t need it. If I am not going to let society dictate to me how much money I should make or how many doors I want opened, why would I listen to some person who is trying to make me feel bad about how I think or act now…this is the fall of feminism, imho. And I refer to my legal and moral actions when I speak of this topic in this reference.

    Pretty short, huh?

    September 10, 2008
  284. Barry Cipra said:

    Bright writes:

    “Pretty short, huh?”

    Not really, imho.

    September 10, 2008
  285. Anne Bretts said:

    Just watching ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ and the difference between Sarah Palin and Jimmy Stewart’s ordinary fellow Jefferson Smith makes a person want to move to Canada.
    Of course there are a lot of great old movies on right now showing that the evils of politics are nothing new. ‘Advise and Consent’ for example, dealt with a married senator who committed suicide after being blackmailed over a homosexual liaison. The blackmail was designed so conservatives could block a secretary of state nominee considered too liberal.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same…we’re going to hell in a handbasket…or maybe there’s hope for real change…We’ll know in a few weeks, I guess.

    September 10, 2008
  286. Jerold Friedman said:

    I didn’t think that feminism was telling women to do anything. I thought feminism was tearing down the obstacles that prevent women from doing what they want to do, whether she wants to be a wife with kids and no career or president.

    This is why Jane said in #279 that feminism includes standing up for other women. It’s not telling other women what to do, but ensuring that other women are not told what to do.

    September 10, 2008
  287. john george said:

    Jane- You said this in comparing Palin to the Taliban,”…This reveals that Palin does not understand basic scientific theory, and that she believes that her religious beliefs should be taught in publc schools to everyone. This is exactly what the Taliban believes. She believes that we should impose laws that align with her religious beliefs–that is exactly what the Taliban believes…” I don’t think you are quite correct in your assesment of the Taliban. If I understand them correctly, they would not allow the teaching of any other theory that does not align itself with their understanding of the Koran. Actually, this is the position of the intelligencia in this contry toward anyone who would question the holy grail of evolution and dare to bring the discussion of any other theory into the classroom. Methinks you have the analogy backwards.

    You also said this, concerning her religious beliefs, “…(You gotta check out her religious beliefs –they are way beyond wacko.)…” Are you saying that anyone who does not believe as you do, or at least what you consider to be an acceptable expression of religious convictions, is “wacko”? What beliefs are you refering to here? All of her convictions? Or just some of them? This seems like a pretty severe accusation without giving some specifics. It is this same type of attitude that seemed to come out last year when three ladies were found to be praying in city hall. On the surface, your statement seems to be intolerant and condescending. I would hope that my assesment is incorrect.

    Peter- Welcome to Northfield. It is always good to have another opinion expressed on the site, especially a conservative one. You might say that we have a liberal supply of liberals in this town. On abortion, take a look at my URL I listed in post #259. One thing about abortion- it is a pretty effective means of birth control. What we need is conception control.

    September 11, 2008
  288. Patrick Enders said:

    John George wrote,

    Actually, this is the position of the intelligencia in this contry toward anyone who would question the holy grail of evolution and dare to bring the discussion of any other theory into the classroom. Methinks you have the analogy backwards.

    The significant difference is that evolution is perhaps the most strongly supported ‘Theory’ in science – right up there with gravity. As I posted before, “Not a single observation, not a single experimental result, has ever emerged in 150 years that contradicts the general outlines of the theory of evolution.”

    The reason we teach evolution is because it is the fundamental cornerstone of biology and the medical sciences. It is the rational framework upon which we understand the living world. It is the rational framework in which we analyze and fight diseases.

    Evolution is at work when diseases mutate, and when successful new mutant strains of influenza (or HIV, or any/every other disease organism) spread across the world as lethal epidemics. Our understanding of evolution is the tool by which we identify the essential features of these disease organisms, and by which we figure out how to stop their spread.

    If we give up the teaching of evolution, we might as well give up on medicine, and leave it to the clergy to figure out how we’ll deal with HIV, or the next influenza epidemic, or the next spread of the bubonic plague.

    September 11, 2008
  289. Patrick Enders said:

    The core of evolutionary theory is quite simple:

    1. There are variations in traits in a population.
    2. Populations tend to produce more offspring than their environment can support.
    3. Some of those traits provide an advantage over others without that trait.
    4. Individuals possessing those traits are more likely to survive, and more likely to produce offspring, than those without those successful traits.
    5. Traits are passed from parent to child.

    As a result, the next generation will contain more individuals with the successful trait.

    Carry this out over enough generations, and the unsuccessful traits will disappear, and the successful traits will predominate. The population of living organisms will then be fundamentally different than at the previous point in time.

    It’s pretty simple, really, and as I quoted before, “Not a single observation, not a single experimental result, has ever emerged in 150 years that contradicts the general outlines of the theory of evolution.”

    In those 150 years, we have learned how genes determine traits and pass them on. We’ve also learned how variation arises through genetic mutation and reassortment (and even genetic exchange). The beauty of it is that Darwin figured it out with no understanding of any of that whatsoever.

    So yes, the theory of evolution is science at its best and most powerful.

    September 11, 2008
  290. David Henson said:

    Patrick – Your 1 -5 is a nice description of ‘natural selection’ but not ‘evolution.’ As an aside, animal breeders knew about ‘selection’ for 100,000s of years before Darwin – no doubt the concept of breeding originated in nature – Darwin pushed the idea as an explanation of origins -but to date breeders have taken dog stocks and produced lots of breeds of dogs but none have taken dog stocks and bred a cat.

    Mutation, which is only one problem area, is not well understood at all as is clear from your glossing over the issue. If one defines successful science by it’s capacity to predict outcomes then evolution is nearly a religious concept.

    But for the purposes of acting as an elected official what one believes about origins should not matter – what should matter is what laws one proposes and passes. Obama has proposed and passed none in his career. I don’t choose a butcher, a baker, or a candle stick maker based on their ‘beliefs.’ I choose them based on their meat, bread and candles. Palin has produced great outcomes and has 85-95% approval ratings to prove this.

    September 11, 2008
  291. Patrick Enders said:

    Sorry, I was trying to keep it brief and simple. Natural selection is the process in 2-5. Evolution is the change that results from 2-5.

    From Wikipedia (in this case, it provides a decent definition):

    In biology, evolution is the process of change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next. The genes that are passed on to an organism’s offspring produce the inherited traits that are the basis of evolution. Mutations in genes can produce new or altered traits in individuals, resulting in the appearance of heritable differences between organisms, but new traits also come from the transfer of genes between populations, as in migration, or between species, in horizontal gene transfer. In species that reproduce sexually, new combinations of genes are produced by genetic recombination, which can increase the variation in traits between organisms. Evolution occurs when these heritable differences become more common or rare in a population.

    Mutation is pretty well understood, as well. Which part would you like to discuss?

    September 11, 2008
  292. Patrick Enders said:

    On your second point, the beliefs of John McCain and Sarah Palin on evolution are relevant because they are going to be making decisions and setting policy on science and education.

    September 11, 2008
  293. Prayer has been found to be a very important part of the healing process. The scientific community denied that fact. Science doesn’t know everything, but is making a heroic effort to do so. However, you then have to think if you really want the solutions that science has to offer, you have to believe that that is the right path to pursue. For many, it is not.

    Barry, so sorry you think my posts are too long. Skip over them. I won’t mind at all…and thanks for th set up.

    Jane, I see you have mimicked my style. Good for you. I don’t know if you are right about the WMDs, but my take on it is like I posted a while back about how Saddam let the cat out of the bag about how he supposedly had WMDs at all times to keep himself looking powerful. It makes complete sense to me that he would do that and that he would send out people with that message far and wide. I would do that if I was him, I think it makes perfect sense. Everyone believed it and I saw Bush admit that it was a mistake and that he was fooled just like everyone else. That isn’t the issue anymore…so let’s move forward.

    If you think Barack Hussein Obama has something, lets hear about that and not all these hearsay accusations and personal judgments against others personal business.

    Again, please just cruise past my posts if you don’t want to read them. I don’t have a problem with that, people. It’s a free USA.

    September 11, 2008
  294. Jerold, you would be right in theory, but in every day life, I can tell you that every ‘feminist’ I have met cannot tolerate any other options. You may not tell them that women rose to the top before they came along.

    First of all, feminists are trying to break into areas that men developed over the centuries, men’s games. Why would I want to go to war, or build ships, or construct highways? I wouldn’t want to be the CEO of those companies or would I want to be a wartime general in the armed forces. I wouldn’t and I don’t. Yeah, I would live the old tribal ways of my ancestors had I not been born smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago, etc, and I would be happy teaching and caring for children and the elderly. I would cook, and it the time came for me to negotiate peace, I would do that. I might run an inventory of food, or design a new long house. I would definitely design clothes and jewelry. I’d do what women do and have done throughout the centuries, and if other women wanted to hunt and plow fields, so be it. Not a problem.

    People like the woman who started Mary Kay cosmetics, or the author of the Fountainhead, the many women who started service organizations,
    well here you go,


    Most of them rose to the occasion on their own merit, with help, of course, no one does anything alone, of that construct, but without new laws and new enforcements. The doors aren’t locked to people who go to the right doors and have the right keys, imho.

    I do appreciate that women and especially women with children who have
    no husband or father for their children need special help, and should get it but the glass ceiling has little to do with that. There is more to my opinion, but basically I just wanted to reply to Jerold’s post.

    September 11, 2008
  295. David Henson said:

    Patrick – Griff would have to set up a ‘monkey trials’ thread to debate evolution further but for the record the fact that Wiki says the word “mutation” does not further the debate. There are lots of cool new “”theories”” about retroviruses, parasitic and symbiotic relations where multiple species become one, ecology shaping by bacteria etc.

    I don’t know what Obama and the Reverend Write believe or have proposed for legislation on evolution but I know that neither McCain or Palin have put forward legislation to teach creationism. I guess I don’t know enough about what any of them “believe” and I will have to rely more on the facts of their policy initiatives and careers.

    September 11, 2008
  296. Peter Millin said:


    If personal beliefs matter and have a connection to policy making the Obama owes us some answers.

    He should explain his relationships to Wright, Ayers and Pfleger.

    It is funny how Palin is being described as a religious wacko when Obama and his family have spent a lifetime in an extremist church, who’s dogma is so Anti American

    September 11, 2008
  297. Anne Bretts said:

    Bright, I’m not following you at all. And defining feminists by the women you know is like defining the Catholic Church by its pedophile priests. They exist, but they’re certainly not whole picture of the feminist movement.
    Men didn’t build ships and develop companies because women didn’t know how, but because women weren’t allowed. There were laws, regulations, policies that kept me from taking construction classes, even though my dad was in construction and my brothers took the classes. There were policies that kept women out of medical school and until recently, off most police and fire departments and out of combat roles in the military. In my lifetime there were laws that wouldn’t let a woman own property in her own name or have a credit card without her husband’s signature. Hell, we only got the vote 88 years ago.
    My friend’s mother and her husband were teachers in the late 1940s, but when they had a child she was forced to resign because mothers weren’t allowed to work. She protested and made history in that Illinois town when she got them to change the rules — and taught another 30 years. Clearly the problem wasn’t that motherhood had diminished her teaching skills, but that the men in charge didn’t allow mothers to teach.
    Yes, feminists got tired of hearing the word no, and some got pretty shrill and angry, just as the anger of generations poured out in some of the extremes of the civil rights movement and anti-war movement of the 1960s.
    Yes, laws had to change. And once they changed, women did just fine.
    Women didn’t ask for special treatment, just equal treatment.
    And some laws still need to change. What does it say about the state of our society even now that a woman serving in Iraq is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than be killed by the enemy?
    I totally don’t get that whole piece about why would women want to design highways or build ships. They do it for the same reason some men like to stay home and take care of babies or work in elementary schools or be nurses instead of doctors. Men and women are just people, and while there are some interests that are more dominant in one gender than the other, there are no interests that I know of that are exclusive to one gender.
    I’m cool with you teaching children and designing clothes and whatever. I like that too, but I also loved driving the big red trucks and fighting fires. My granddaughters like to hunt and do gymnastics and ballet.
    Why should our lives be defined by the limits you put on yourself?

    September 11, 2008
  298. Jerold Friedman said:

    The evidence for evolution is compelling. Even Pope John Paul II claimed evolution was undeniable, but that evolution is not incompatible with faith.

    Evolution occurs not only in biology. It occurs in language, for example. From Latin we get French, Italian, Spanish and other languages, and Latin has gone extinct.

    The process for biological evolution is up for debate, whether it’s “natural selection”, “aesthetic/sexual selection”, a mixture of these or something else. The something includes “artificial selection” of breeders.

    There is ample evidence of evolution before and during human civilization. As David H. notes in #300, breeders have not taken dogs and bred cats, but they have taken wolves and bred dogs. Dogs all descended from the eastern gray wolf probably through artificial selection, and humans further bred them into 150 or so modern dog breeds. In one human lifetime, Dimitri Belyaev took foxes, selectively bred them for friendly dispositions, and the descendants look like dogs.

    There is no shortage of examples from before human civilization. I remember being fascinated with whales (I still am). As a child, I remember hearing that whales came from land animals who returned to the ocean. Modern DNA analysis shows that whales are closely related to hippopotami, who in turn, spend a majority of their time in the water.

    What all this and other evidence proves is not the point. The point is that evolution has a rich history of scientific discovery, and as such, rightfully belongs in science classes. There is no scientific discovery in Creationism. There is no inquiry nor debate on how Creation works. No scientist has pondered the process of Creation. Why some people want pieces of theism taught in science class defies my understanding of theism.

    September 11, 2008
  299. Patrick Enders said:

    David wrote,

    There are lots of cool new “”theories”” about retroviruses, parasitic and symbiotic relations where multiple species become one, ecology shaping by bacteria etc.

    I agree – evolution is a very interesting process. We are learning more and more about the myriad ways in which it works every day. (Although observations about retroviruses, et al. are data – not an actual theory.)

    My personal favorite discovery recently has been how retroviruses can inadvertently pick up pieces of DNA from one species or individual, and deposit it into the genome of another. All of this is great evidence which – along with our ever growing understanding of how mutations work – helps to fill in the details in the outline provided by Darwin’s initial Theory. In this cas, they reveal how the diversity of traits in a population (point 1 of my brief outline above) comes into existence.

    The reason the Theory of Evolution is so strongly supported is that all of these new, surprising findings fit with the theory, and none of them have contradicted it.

    September 11, 2008
  300. Anne Bretts said:

    For me the key issue is that nobody should force anyone to believe in evolution, you just have to learn about it because it is the commonly accepted information on the subject. You can get an A in evolution and believe aliens dropped us here as punishment when our ancestors misbehaved on an intergalactic road trip.
    I don’t have a big problem with students studying ABOUT the great religions of the world and their influence, making it a part of the overall discussion of history and geography and politics. You can learn Gregorian Chant in music class without believing in the words being sung.
    You can even have a some space in the science book that says there are some religions that reject science. Let’s face it, the whole creation theory is about a page long and not all that complicated. One guy, six days and a nap…then we add the theistic evolution view that God did it all but may have fudged his timesheet, so it could have been anywhere between 7 days and maybe 4 million years. Toss in the Ojibwe Great Spirit story and the Greek gods and a few other tales and you’re covered. The focus remains on the science, but there’s an acknowledgment that some folks don’t buy it.

    September 11, 2008
  301. Patrick Enders said:


    Actually, there is a hypothesis that we (humans) did not breed dogs from wolves, but that dogs initially evolved due to natural selection. (Of course, we’ve done plenty of work on dogs since they’ve come into being.) The theory is that there was a subset of wolves who were slightly less afraid of humans, and were therefore able to get close enough to human settlements to feed off our garbage piles. Given this advantageous access to a new resource, these tamer wolf descendents were able to feed and prosper, with successive generations ever more favoring combinations of traits which favored success as scavengers at the periphery of human settlements.

    The most interesting evidence supporting this hypothesis are from a Soviet scientist’s experimental breeding of foxes, in which he selected for docileness. It turns out that the genes associated with a lack of fear of humans are also closely linked to those supporting traits of floppy ears and even barking (bet you’ve never heard a fox bark before). It took only a very few generations of crossbreeding the foxes that were least afraid of humans to produce a remarkably dog-like fox. Therefore, it is possible that dogs became a distinct species from wolves all on their own.

    If you’re interested in a light bit of amusement on the subject, it’s covered in a PBS Nature documentary, ‘Dogs That Changed The World.’

    Again, this is just a hypothesis, but it’s an interesting one. Perhaps it’ll be supported by additional evidence, perhaps not.

    September 11, 2008
  302. Jerold Friedman said:

    Patrick: You missed that I mentioned the fox-to-dog selective breeding in my post…

    In one human lifetime, Dimitri Belyaev took foxes, selectively bred them for friendly dispositions, and the descendants look like dogs.

    September 11, 2008
  303. David Henson said:

    Patrick – Evolutionary theory is not like the truck of your car and every new biological discovery can be tossed in and called part of evolution. Many of these new ideas could be tossed into the creation design trunk just as easily. Darwin did not predict retroviruses – where does this code come from (gas bubbles ?) ? Another perplexing logical thought is that Nietzsche, a contemporary of Darwin, said something to the effect of, ‘the current utility of a thing says absolutely nothing about it’s origins.’

    September 11, 2008
  304. Patrick Enders said:

    David H,

    Darwin did not predict retroviruses – where does this code come from (gas bubbles ?) ?

    Darwin didn’t describe the full details of the universe: he described a fundamental principle by which the universe appears to be governed. In what way do you think that retroviruses contradict his theoretical framework?

    September 11, 2008
  305. Paul Fried said:

    Leave for a while, and folks cover infanticide, evolution, feminism, dog breeding, the Taliban, creationism — you can’t blink around here.

    While Locally Grown’s stated mission is to deal with things local, this thread (like many others that experience thread drift) is evidence that there’s a strong LOCAL desire to discuss things that transcend the local.

    I knew of one discussion site that had threaded discussions, and contributors could label their tangents, which became sub-threads; the administrators sometimes took those tangent and moved the whole sub-thread to a new discussion with its own title, including a note that it started in a different place. The ability to do that might be handy around here.

    But perhaps another local blog for discussion of non-local issues would be nice. It seems that Locally Grown favors the local issues, but occarionally includes larger issues, which then act (perhaps) like pressure valves (just because we live in a town with population under 30,000 doesn’t mean we don’t think about larger issues).

    JohnG: Back in #259 you posted a link to a video (with very high production values — some significant money went into making that) which claims Obama favors infanticide. FactCheck.org did some research on those claims, and the results are ambiguous at best: http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/obama_and_infanticide.html

    There is also the question of proportion: There have been many more deaths of innocent civilians, including women and children, in Iraq in the last four years than there have been live-birth abortions. This is a wedge issue and distraction from larger issues, an attempt to make a mountain of a mole-hill.

    I’m pro-life, but for Obama in spite of his stand on abortion because it seems to me there are far more important priorities that need to be addressed that might affect the survival of the whole human race, not just the unborn. I think we could use a better and more compassionate understanding of the difference between a woman’s body and the unborn that depends on and seems also part of that body; we might improve as a people in our values if we recognized more that this is not a black-and-white moral issue. But then we might also look more carefully at the prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, which Palin’s remarks at the RNC seem not to do.

    Republicans want to treat people at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as if we don’t have to respect their rights — “He want to read them their rights” Palin said of Obama. This assumes that they’re guilty and the guilty have no rights.

    But a CIA agent who was asked to in spect at Guantanamo determined that many were innocent and not terrorists — but after their time there, if they weren’t before, they are now. Many are there because a bounty was placed on the heads of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, so impoverished people turned in neighbors they happened not to like.

    Similar observations have been made of Abu Ghraib — that many imprisoned and tortured included doctors and food delivery people, a rounding up of many suspicious persons without clear evidence in many cases. This represented efforts by an understaffed military to intimidate the population and remind them who was in control. The torture also represented privatized companies charged with the task, who were paid by volume — the more prisoners you torture, the more you get paid. This doesn’t win hearts and minds.

    This is not to say that none of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo are guilty of crimes and conspiricies to harm people and property. Some are.

    This is not a conservative-liberal issue. There are elements in our body politic who have become defenders, not of the rule of law and the preservation of rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but of the use of power without restraint, what John Dean, a self-described Barry Goldwater fan, describes as “conservatives without conscience.” It is this, more than the so-called “Islamo-Fascism,” that we should be most concerned about. These are domestic enemies of the Constitution. Many (in elected office and the military) take an oath to defend against such enemies, but in practice, let them have free reign.

    Mock the idea of suspects being read their rights and not mistreated.

    Mock the idea that many of our nation’s founders defended: That it’s better to have a fair trial that is uncertain regarding guilt, and possibly have a guilty person go free, than it is to have hasty, unfair justice where the innocent become victims of the system. This is the evil that many were cheering when Palin said of their opponents that they “want to read them their rights.” Let’s assume we know who is guilty. Skip the formalities. Let’s round up a gang with guns and a rope and have a hangin’.

    This is a phenomenon that has morphed so far beyond what should deserve the name “conservative” that it’s a joke.

    September 11, 2008
  306. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Thanks for trying to reign in this conversation a bit. I want to share a tidbit I was told today–that some Democrats are having a hard time voting for Obama because “somebody will shoot him.” And that 2 guys were arrested about a week before the DNC, thought to be planning to take him out when he gave his major speech. Sniper rifles were found?

    Has anybody heard this? Is it something unsubstantiated that’s coming through the blogs??

    September 11, 2008
  307. Jane Moline said:

    Peter: How manly of you to assume that since you were transported by the sonograms of your children I could not possible have born children and still believe that they were part of my body when they were in me, and that my choice to carry a pregnancy or not was mine to decide–not one that some supreme court justices or other, fatherly type men should make for me.

    And, furthermore, Peter, (#289) you are so manly to say:

    “Today there is absolutely no reason to get pregnant. If you do it’s your own doing.(with the exception of rape and incest)”

    Again, Peter, I can only assume you are a man and have never been pregnant. The only way to never get pregnant is to be a man or to never have sex.

    Keep your laws off my body.

    And the whole evolution/creationism thread is important, because even if you “chose” not to believe in evolution, evolution is NOT a religious belief. Creationism is a religious belief–and has no place in the science curriculum of a school.

    And Sarah Palin and the rest of the radical religious who believe it should be taught are extremists. To claim or misunderstand or state or believe that creationism is a “theory” LIKE evolution reveals an ignorance of scientific study–David H, do you really think that scientific theory is part “myth?” (Post 290)

    So, IMHO, anyone, including Sarah Palin, who thinks that creationism should be taught in science curriculum in schools so that children can “choose” for themselves what to believe, are religious wackos that are dangerous for forcing their religious beliefs on the general public. They are dangerous to public education, the separation of church and state, and being American.

    John George, the Taliban may have taken it one step further, but their belief is the same as Sarah Palin’s–that their religious beliefs should be taught in public schools-forced on everyone, even those that don’t share that religion. I am as intimidated by forced Christianity as I am by forced Islam.

    Our country was founded by those fleeing religious persecution–and the documents of our country were drafted to keep us free from such forced religious training. Sarah Palin is un-American and un-patriotic.

    September 11, 2008
  308. Jane Moline said:

    Stephanie, regarding your hearing of Obama as a target, I have no doubt it is true. We lost Bobby Kennedy, and you can bet that there are extremists who are looking out for a chance to get Obama–but is has been much discussed–the Secret Service, we hope, would be on top of it.

    For me, the Obama candidacy brings on the same inspiration of hope that Bobby Kennedy did–he knew that war was wrong and that we had to get out of Vietnam–and he was killed for it. And we got Richard Nixon–and the Republican war machine has not stopped.

    We need to unite against those that are destroying our nation–corrupt Republican politicians who want to drain our economy in favor of their corporate war machine buddies, who can’t think beyond enriching their oil company buddies (Drill Baby Drill) while destroying our planet–all the while making an unholy alliance with religious wackos–like Sarah Palin–who believe the Iraq war is the precursor of the End of Days, who believe they will rise into heaven and not have to deal with climate change, so pollute away.

    Vote for peace and love. Vote for Obama.

    And if you put lipstick on a pitbull, it is still a pitbull and not fit for public office.

    September 11, 2008
  309. I haven’t heard this, Stephanie, but he is like the Kennedy’s and he IS Kennedy’s and Daley’s man. The Kennedy’s are known to be targets, and for some curse or some such silly thing, I guess.

    What scares me about Obama is that I have seen him drift off into a style of conversation that is more like him spouting off some very heady verbiage then, drifting off into a sort of malaise a few times now. This isn’t gonna fly with the US Congress, Senators, or Putin, for that matter.

    September 11, 2008
  310. Barry Cipra said:

    From the LA Times:

    By Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    August 27, 2008
    DENVER — Federal authorities Tuesday downplayed what they said were threats made by a pair of men arrested here over the weekend possessing rifles, sniper scopes and an alleged desire to kill Barack Obama.

    Shawn Robert Adolf, 33, and Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, face federal weapons charges, as does an associate, Nathan Johnson, 32.

    U.S. Atty. Troy Eid said that during a methamphetamine binge, Adolf and Gartrell had expressed strongly racist views and spoken about killing the presumed Democratic presidential nominee.

    Eid said the talk did not meet the legal standard to file charges for threatening a presidential candidate.

    “The law recognizes a difference between a true threat — that’s one that can be carried out — and the reported racist rants of drug abusers,” Eid said at a news conference.

    September 11, 2008
  311. Anne, I am not asking you or anyone to follow me. I am just stating my opinion. Some people can’t stand that. I am not asking or demanding that anyone follow me. Again, I am just stating my opinion on feminism as I see it.
    I follow my own heart and hope people will do that themselves.

    I am not a big strong woman. I am not full of desire to change the world.
    I am a natural woman living in a very constructed society. I would change that if I could, but for now, I live as close as I can to the earth, to my heart, and to God. If that doesn’t work for you, I cannot say I am sorry. I am just me and don’t want anyone to tell me how to live outside of being respectful of the rule of law.

    September 11, 2008
  312. john george said:

    Just one observation on evolution, belief or disbelief in it, IMHO, is not really a litmus test for public office. David H. said this, “…but to date breeders have taken dog stocks and produced lots of breeds of dogs but none have taken dog stocks and bred a cat…” I think that is a valid observation. It seems the comment drift has shifted to claims that micro-evolution (which can be observed) is sufficient evidence that macro-evolution, the developement of complete new species out of existing and separate species, actually exists. I think that if a person is scientifically honest, he would have to admit that there is no observable evidence that macro-evolution exists. You science wonks out there, is this a reasonable evaluation of the available evidence?

    September 11, 2008
  313. Patrick Enders said:

    John George wrote,

    I think that if a person is scientifically honest, he would have to admit that there is no observable evidence that macro-evolution exists. You science wonks out there, is this a reasonable evaluation of the available evidence?

    Yes – a whole lot of it. Unfortunately, doing it justice will have to wait (for me, at least). I’ve got to get to bed, and I’ve got a couple busy days ahead. Then, I’m off to a conference. But I’ll see if I can’t put together a quick response somewhere in there.

    September 11, 2008
  314. Anne Bretts said:

    Bright, If you believe everyone should be able to follow their hearts as you follow yours, you are a feminist, and you should support the laws that allow all of us to have the freedom you do.

    September 11, 2008
  315. Maybe I am without intelligence, but I do not see why everyone has to keep arguing this or that, when it’s both. For instance, science uncovers truth about nature and what it is and what it does, but religion uncovers truth about what is possible and what inspires science, art and music. Where is the battle, but in your own minds. I am not right and you are not wrong, there is only partial views coming together…for progress and love amongst all humankind.

    By way of and thanks to St. Olaf college;


    Why can’t Obama and McCain run together. You know what! They will because they are men of conscience and will learn from one another no matter what. They both know defeat and victory in their lives and they both know how to love.

    September 11, 2008
  316. Paul Zorn said:

    In reference to John George’s question about macroevolution, asked in #320:

    I think that if a person is scientifically honest, he would have to admit that there is no observable evidence that macro-evolution exists. You science wonks out there, is this a reasonable evaluation of the available evidence?

    As Patrick Enders suggests in #321, John’s view is held by very, very few scientists. Here’s what Wikipedia’s entry on macroevolution has to say:

    Although the occurrence of macroevolution is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, a tiny minority of scientists dispute its factuality or degree of occurrence.[3][4] This minority view is often associated with the anti-evolution position of certain religious groups which attempt to differentiate between microevolution and macroevolution, asserting various hypotheses which are not considered scientific by scientific organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science[5]. See intelligent design or creation myths for more information on these views.

    Perfect unanimity on any point of science is rare — appropriately so, because science is all about skepticism. But evolutionary theory comes as close as any theory I know to being universally accepted in the broad sense.

    September 11, 2008
  317. Sean Fox said:

    Here’s a handy site with some good examples of the concrete evidence for ‘macro’-evolution: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    Depending on where you draw the line between macro and micro evolution (a distinction largely dreamed up by anti-evolutionists as a way to ‘move the ‘bar each time someone disapproves one of their arguments) folks often puts speciation (the evolution of a new species from an existing one) as in the macro category. Here are quite a few examples where creation of new species has been explicitly observed:

    So in reponse to “..he would have to admit that there is no observable evidence that macro-evolution exists” I’d have to say exactly the opposite is true. All observable evidence points to the veracity of evolution, macro and otherwise.

    September 11, 2008
  318. Jerold Friedman said:

    If people with different views don’t agree to terms, there isn’t much chance that they will agree.

    John George mentions “species” in post #322. There are several definitions of species, so how can (macro-)evolution be observed if there is no agreement as to what “species” means. Some say that members of a species are the exclusive group that can interbreed. As wolves and dogs can breed, horses and donkeys, etc., they would be the same species. Some say that members of a species who choose to interbreed are one species. There are breedable grasshoppers with characteristic chirps. While they can breed with other chirpers, they only choose to breed with their own. The difference between macro- and micro-evolution are meaningless if we can’t faithfully define what makes a species.

    John George also mentions “evidence”. How do we weigh evidence; what evidence is acceptable? As I stated, DNA evidence links hippopotami with whales. If that evidence is acceptable, there are be volumes of evidence for macro-evolution. If that evidence is not acceptable, I’m curious why. DNA tests are reliable enough for tracing human heritage, why not nonhuman heritage?

    September 11, 2008
  319. David Henson said:

    Let’s approach this differently – Hitler was in fact a firm believer in evolution and Mother Theresa was not a firm believer in evolution. Which one would you vote for ? Should origin beliefs be a litmus test for elections ?

    September 11, 2008
  320. Jane Moline said:

    Unfortunately religious extremists continually blast at science with cleverly crafted arguments that are cultivated and developed by an organized group of zealots who want to take over our country and our world and force their religious beliefs on anyone and everyone.

    By claiming that they are doing it peacably through prayer does not make it any more palatable. Such devotion to religious dogma is un-American and un-patriotic.

    Religious extremists believe themselves bringing salvation to everyone through their “prayer” (and manipulating elections and putting up candidates, including judicial candidates who will legislate religious justice from the bench.) They ask “how can you complain when I am just trying to save you?”

    John McCain has aligned himself with the most extreme un-American group–and they are all the more dangerous because most of the public think they are just harmless little “prayer” groups. They want to dismantle scientific teachings and study, ban books, and force their own “Shi’a” law on the American people. Just because they call it “Christian” instead of “Islam” does not make it better.

    I am quoting CIntra Wilson, and could not agree more:

    “I don’t want Sarah Palin being the representative leader and custodian of my rights, my Constitution and my country any more than I want polygamist compound leader Warren Jeffs baby-sitting for my preteen goddaughters.”

    And Quinn Latimar and Lyra Kilston, who wrote to American women:

    “Perhaps like us, as American women, you share the fear of what Ms. Palin
    and her professed beliefs and proven record could lead to for ourselves
    and for our present or future daughters.

    “To date, she is against sex education, birth control, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech (as mayor she wanted to ban books and attempted to fire the librarian who stood against her), gun control, the separation of church and state, and polar bears. To say nothing of her complete lack of real preparation to become the second-most-powerful person on the planet.”

    Dump Palin AND McCain. Vote Obama.

    September 11, 2008
  321. Paul Fried said:

    Debates about evolution and whether it can be a litmus test are all interesting, but then again, not within our city limits but less than an hour away in St. Paul, there were some disturbing events that some folks are still pondering. At the risk of coming off as a party pooper by posting something related to the original thread (I am the pot that calls the kettle black when it comes to thread drift, anyway), here is a new article by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, who was arrested while here:

    The Party Police – by Amy Goodman

    And an old link I posted earlier to a Ray McGovern piece (McGovern, the retired CIA analyst):

    Trickle-Down Preemption: Baghdad on the Mississippi – by Ray McGovern

    On the one hand, as they’re critical of Bush, they’re easy to pigeon-hole as lefties, but on the other, they’re very conservative about the constitution and rights; they are not merely flower-children and anarchists, so to that extent, they have much in common with conservative Constitution-lovers and defenders like the John Birch society….

    And finally, here’s a link to a song and video based on Bob Dylan’s “the Times they are a Changin’,” but the words have been changed to, “It’s time for some campaignin'”….

    I don’t recommend voting at sites like this for fear of cookies and viruses, but it’s worth a chuckle.

    September 11, 2008
  322. john george said:

    Jane- Your comments, “…Sarah Palin is a religious nut case. Her ideas of forcing religious laws on the general public and the nation are dangerous…” and “…Sarah Palin is un-American and un-patriotic…” seem pretty exreme, to me. You state it as a fact when in reality it is just your opinion. If you want to believe this, you have my permission, but the way you state it seems to promote more division rather than opening up more discussion and understanding. I can certainly understand having a passion one way or another, but this seems to me to be forcing your opinion onto any who disagree with you.

    Jerold- Your mention of DNA as evidence of macro evolution just doesn’t explain the mechanics of it to satisfy my curiosity. I also read a report recently that our DNA is about 80% the same as that of an earthworm. I have a hard time seeing the similarity between a warm blooded human and a cold blooded earthworm, yet, according to the evidence, we are about 80% alike.
    Just an opinion of mine, but it seems that there are various ways to interpret “observable evidence”. Interpretation first has to have a foundation upon which to evaluate the evidence. This just seems to presuppose a necessity to believe that foundation is valid. The collection and evaluation of that evidence supposedly leads to greater credibility of that foundational belief. That being the case, much of the same “observable evidence” could be used to validate differing foundations. I think it was David H. that alluded to this in one of his earlier posts.

    Sean- I took a look at the reference you cited above and found this interesting quote, “… most biologists accept the idea that speciation takes a long time (relative to human life spans). Because of this we would not expect to see many speciation events actually occur. The literature has many more examples where a speciation event has been inferred from evidence than it has examples where the event is seen. This is what we would expect if speciation takes a long time.

    Third, the literature contains many instances where a speciation event has been inferred. The number and quality of these cases may be evidence enough to convince most workers that speciation does occur.

    Finally, most of the current interest in speciation concerns theoretical issues. Most biologists are convinced that speciation occurs. What they want to know is how it occurs…”.

    Two quotes specifically stood out to me, “… The literature has many more examples where a speciation event has been inferred from evidence than it has examples where the event is seen…” and “… Most biologists are convinced that speciation occurs. What they want to know is how it occurs…” The first suggests that conclusions are based on inferences rather than observable evidence. The second one supports my postulate to Jerold above, and, I believe, suppoorts Paul Z.’s comment above, “…Perfect unanimity on any point of science is rare — appropriately so, because science is all about skepticism. But evolutionary theory comes as close as any theory I know to being universally accepted in the broad sense…”

    I admit that I did not read the complete dissertation. It is, afterall, a whole book and not within my realm of possibilities to accomplish at midnight. The few “evidences” I found refer to “fragments”. The only majorly complete skeleton I have heard of is the famous “Lucy” skeleton. What studies I have read on this do not seem to clarify exactly where this actually fits into the scheme of human history, but there is not enough evidence in it to convince me. Sorry, I just don’t agree with your statement, “..All observable evidence points to the veracity of evolution, macro and otherwise…”

    You can write me off as one of Jane’s “religious nutcases” if you want, but I would just remind you that it was a very small segment of scientists who rejected the midevil assumption that the world was flat. That assumption was an organized religious viewpoint that was not supported by Biblical evidence. The more I read about new archeological finds and medical discoveries, the more I see my assumed beliefs confirmed. I also know that there will come a time when these discussions about evolution and creatinism will become obsolete.

    September 12, 2008
  323. Jerold Friedman said:

    John: My question was focused on how do we determine when a fact should count as evidence and when a fact should be discarded. If we don’t agree on some way to evaluate evidence, then we have no common currency to evaluate the unknown.

    The same science used for paternity tests via DNA shows the relationship between hippos and whales, or earthworms and humans. (You might find it even more amazing that carrots and humans share about 40% DNA. DNA works like a toolbox. Most species need several of the same tools, like the Krebs cycle, which explains common genes among most living things.) I’m not specifically asking whether such tests *prove* (macro-)evolution, but can such DNA tests be considered evidence of evolution.

    If we can take DNA from your cheek and tell you how closely you’re related to Genghis Khan, is that same technique evidence of evolution if the technique claims that hippos are related to whales, broccoli to cauliflower, or octopi to squids? How do you determine if this DNA test is credible? And if it’s credible, how do you determine if it’s relevant to evolution?

    And don’t forget, what do you mean by “species”? For this discussion, I’m happy to adopt any of the 22 or so competing scientific definitions that you choose.

    September 12, 2008
  324. David Henson said:

    Paul – I see a connection between larger government institutions of all kinds and larger security issues and police actions. Is this a parallel those supporting federal socialized solutions to issues do not accept ? Or ?

    September 12, 2008
  325. john george said:

    Jerold- I think this is a case where existing evidence could be used to support either creationism or evolution. The fact that there is a commonality in basic DNA amongst all life forms suggests a common beginning. What science is looking for is this beginning. So far, no one has come up with evidence of this beginning, but the observable facts infer that there must be a common beginning. This is where my faith steps in, in looking at the seemingly infinite variations of life, yet with a common DNA base suggests for me a common designer. The scientific community suggests that life developed out of chaos. It seems to me that there must be an element of faith involved in either philosophy since there has not been found yet this beginning point. I think either philosophy has merit for discussion, but when it comes down to it, one must choose to believe certain foundations. To say the creationists have no evidence to base this on is, IMHO, denying the possibility of this assumption in regards to the evidence at hand. I think neither side has a slam dunk on the interpretation.

    September 12, 2008
  326. Sean Fox said:

    John –

    Indeed neither creationism nor evolution offers concrete evidence explaining a ‘beginning’. And that is exactly where the crucial difference lies (and why this line of discussion is relevant to this thread). Creationism looks at this gap and offers an explanation (God). Evolution looks at this gap and says “we don’t know, but leave open the option that future evidence may be found which will allow us to know”. This difference is what makes evolution a scientific theory and creationism NOT a scientific theory. Science does not attempt to explain that which can not be unambiguously explained through concrete evidence.

    This certainly leaves a huge range of important human consideration outside the realm of science. Most of the big important questions in my opinion (starting with ‘why are we here’ and ‘how should we act’). That’s why we have philosophy and religion and a million others ways of trying to probe these questions.

    Important as they may be they aren’t science and don’t belong in a science class. Now you might argue that they belong in the school curriculum, but that’s an entirely different argument.

    When I hear a candidate say creationism should be taught in a science class I have to believe that either they have really mis-understood what science is (which to me puts them in the ‘unprepared to govern’ category given the importance of scientific issues and considerations in current political decision making) or perhaps they do understand science in which case their I would question their honest (again taking them out of consideration).

    September 12, 2008
  327. Wasn’t it determined fifteen years ago or so that underlying the chaos is order but it appears as chaos because you have to stand way, way, way back to see the pattern?

    September 12, 2008
  328. Paul Fried said:

    Palin seemed not to know what the Bush Doctrine was. Was this more due to natural selection, or intelligent design?

    (The Bush Doctrine having to do with US claims to the right to preemptive war, and to pursue terrorists wherever we think necessary — which harmonizes nicely with torture….)

    I know it’s a kind of wonkish kind of question, and Palin may be more symbolic than wonkish….

    DavidH: You commented and asked, “I see a connection between larger government institutions of all kinds and larger security issues and police actions. Is this a parallel those supporting federal socialized solutions to issues do not accept ? Or ?”

    I’m not sure what you mean. You’ll have to explain a bit more. Are you saying that Democrats are confidient that big government can work (all questions of military-industrial complex aside?), but big government, big security, and incidents such as abuse of police power tend to go hand-in-hand, so Dems have no room to complain? And if only we had lower taxes and smaller government and police force, then the abuses at the RNC might not have happened?

    If that was your point, I don’t think there’s necessarily a connection. One can support laws and limits to the use of power; confidence in government solutions to crime, for instance, which might include police, doesn’t have to mean power without limitation or regulation. The other thing Dems are stereotyped for is regulation, things like OSHA, Miranda rights, etc. But let me know if my guess was off the mark.

    September 12, 2008
  329. Jerold Friedman said:

    John (and Sean):

    Evidence of evolution isn’t necessarily evidence of life’s origin. Common genes do fit into a natural or theistic origin of life. Even Pope John Paul II expressed that belief in evolution does not contradict belief in creation.

    Some theists strongly believe in evolution from the principle that Noah’s Ark could not fit two or seven members of every species. Therefore, after the flood, the animals evolved into the great diversity we have today.

    So it appears to me that you agree, DNA tests are evidence of evolution but species may have evolved from a natural or theistic origin.

    You state that there is no evidence of a natural origin of life. Again, I’m not sure what method you use to determine what is evidence. From my readings, there is evidence — but not proof — of the origins of life with several experiments intent to imitate the conditions of an early Earth. These experiments created amino acids from inorganic chemicals. While the science and faith communities have plenty of criticisms about these experiments, I take the experiments as evidence — not proof — of the origin of life.

    In alignment with your post, I am OK with someone’s faith answering these questions. Relating to Palin, one’s faith does not belong in a state-sanctioned science class. If Palin or anyone else can provide a scientific explanation for Creationism, that would be exciting! As far as I know, its explanation has always been, “God wills it”. I would be seriously deficient in science if that was taught to me as science.

    Even if modern science is wrong in some details, science class is more about teaching scientific method than scientific conclusions. How evolution works is an enriching subject for teaching scientific method. Creationism has no scientific method to it.

    September 12, 2008
  330. Peter Millin said:

    Most people outside of the Republican don’t undesrtand the current battle within the party.
    Ever since Reagan we haven’t had a truly conservative party leader/president. Ever since Bush 1 the conservatives within the party have been told to vote for the “lesser of two evils”. This line of reasoning has been holding true all the way to todays contest.
    Quiet frankly their are a lot of conservatives like me that don’t agree with Bush one and two. Neither of those two is a true conservative.

    When McCain was put on top of the ticket by the rinos and Rockefeller “country club republicans” many conservatives like me wanted to sit out this election or vote libertarian.
    McCain knows this, thus his selection of Palin. Has he satisfied enough conservatives? Not sure about this, because the last thing we conservatives need is for the Rinos to win. In short I am still on the fence.

    My favorite line is: I am American first and Republican or Democrat second. We should vote for those that stand for the principals this country was founded on and promise to defend them.

    September 12, 2008
  331. Jerold Friedman said:

    Peter: I like your thinking. I have become shy of party affiliation because, in my opinion, it makes an artificial “red state vs. blue state” division among a common people. My line is therefore, “I am an American first.” I vote on the issues, not along party lines.

    September 12, 2008
  332. john george said:

    Jerold- Those are good observations on your part, and I tend to agree with most of what you are saying. I appreciate a resonable, non-acusatory approach to this discussion. As far as origins of life, I see some distinction expressed here that I haven’t heard before. Darwin titled his book Origin of Species. This has been presented to me as the origin of life, since species represent life forms. When you differentiate between origin of “species” and the origin of “life”, evolution makes more sense in the whole scheme of things. I still have a little problem understanding how certain specific life forms “evolved” from something simpler, like the bombardier beetle and the eyes of vertibrates. Darwin even had a problem with the eye. He said in one of his writings that evolution does not have an explanation for this. I appreciate that type of honesty in an individual. Anyway, I appreciate the discussion I was able to have with you.

    September 12, 2008
  333. Barry Cipra said:

    Peter Millin writes:

    “Ever since Reagan we haven’t had a truly conservative party leader/president.”

    Ah, nostalgia! Is Peter yearning for the days of the conservative leader who oversaw an expansion of the federal government, the conservative leader who agreed to a bailout of the Social Security system, or the conservative leader who, after an initial round of cuts, signed into law a series of tax increases?

    September 12, 2008
  334. Peter Millin said:

    Once Reagan was done cleaning up Carters mess he put the country in to the right direction….AND most importantly he did it with the support of a Democratic congress and senate…go figure.

    Truth is that if you look at our national debt curve versus GDP it has been consistently going up since Carter.

    Since then we had various forms of congress, senate and president. My point is that the money our federal government eats up is pretty much independent from who is in power.

    Remember politicians change and bureaucrats remain.

    September 12, 2008
  335. Peter Millin said:

    I am not sure how to format quotes, but the article below under scores some of my earlier points.

    Unions Bargain At Table With Governor Whose Re-election They’re Helping Fund

    Posted 9/11/2008

    Democrats are expected to make strong gains in state legislatures this fall, but what do these stronger Democratic majorities mean? A look at Washington State may show what is in store for the rest of the country.

    Public employee unions are handing over vast amounts of money to the incumbent governor’s re-election campaign, while the governor is simultaneously sitting at the bargaining table negotiating contracts with these very unions.

    If it seems inappropriate for the governor, Christine Gregoire, who is locked in a very tight re-election, to benefit personally from the parties that her office is negotiating with, that’s just your conscience, not the law.

    As of Aug. 28, a number of unions — the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME, National Education Association and Washington Education Association, Service Employees International Union, and the AFL-CIO — had already contributed more than $1.5 million to the Evergreen Progress PAC.

    The current negotiations are covering everything from general government employees, home health care workers, home child care workers, and nurses in state institutions to staff in the public universities. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the PAC’s ads have unleashed “a drubbing” of her Republican gubernatorial opponent, Dino Rossi.

    Amazingly, neither union members nor the taxpaying public knows the details of these negotiations until after the legislature approves the budget funding the resulting contracts. Even the members of the legislature do not know the details of the contract negotiations before they vote.

    That wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. A joint committee from the state House and Senate was originally supposed to consult the governor during the negotiations, but that committee never met. The Democratic-controlled legislature has simply chosen to ignore the costs of the collective bargaining agreements that burdened taxpayers with more than one-half billion dollars in the last budget. By law, the contracts themselves are not public records until after the legislature approves the budget.

    Even worse, while the negotiations are going on immediately before this fall’s election, the budget votes won’t occur until next year. Because of term limits, this November is Gov. Gregoire’s last election for governor, and she will never have to face the voters again after the contracts eventually become public.

    Washington state collective bargaining laws invite more abuse than some other states because they cover wages as well as hours and benefits.

    If nothing questionable is going on, the legislature could easily solve this “appearances” problem by either disallowing campaign contributions from unions while they are sitting at the bargaining table, or, even better, require that collective bargaining sessions be open to the public. Yet, there appears to be little public pressure to do either.

    Currently, 39 states lack any transparency for their public-sector negotiations. Michigan law goes so far as to explicitly prohibit any documents related to the negotiations from being disclosed. Other states don’t even let union members have access to the documents related to the negotiations on their behalf.

    Twenty-three of those 39 states also have compulsory unionization for public employees, giving the unions access to tens of thousands of paychecks per state. Unions not only get to help re-elect the politicians who give them favorable contracts, they can impose dues on people who don’t want to be union members to accomplish this.

    It is not even clear how happy public-sector employees are with their unions. When government workers have a choice whether to join a union, union membership rates are only about a third the rate that they are in agency-shop states with mandatory membership.

    Unfortunately, just as Barack Obama’s and congressional Democrats’ promises to end the secret ballot for union elections next year are largely being ignored, state labor issues are also going undiscussed.

    Yet, some minor changes in current state laws could create problems similar to those in Washington state. The big money for unions is in wage negotiations. Covering wages under secret collective bargaining would not only guarantee more abuses, it would ensure that unions care even more over what politicians get elected to office.

    November’s elections may mean that voters will soon wake up to even much higher taxes than they had expected.

    Jones is director of the Labor Policy Center at the Evergreen Freedom Foundat

    September 12, 2008
  336. Barry Cipra said:

    Peter writes:

    “Truth is that if you look at our national debt curve versus GDP it has been consistently going up since Carter.”

    I wish it were possible to paste in the fascinating graph at http://zfacts.com/p/318.html , which is based on data from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (Table 7.1 at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2007/pdf/hist.pdf — not knowing who drew the graph, I thought it important to check its source). I found the former by doing a google search on “national debt gdp graph” and the latter through a link at the former.

    September 12, 2008
  337. Patrick Enders said:

    I’m sorry, I still haven’t got time to address your question of evidence for speciation (the development of new species from old) – it’s a biggie, and I should write it quite carefully, as whatever I write is certain to be parsed in very fine detail.

    However, I want to agree with Jerold on what the Theory of Evolution is NOT. The theory of evolution says absolutely nothing about the origin of life. It simply describes what already existing life does.

    Science doesn’t yet have a ‘Theory’ of how life began. It just has a bunch of weakly-supported (but not disproven) hypotheses. We know what the basic building blocks of life are (DNA, RNA, amino acids, and lipid bilayers). We also know that under some conditions (conditions similar to what we think things were like early in Earth’s history) these things can spontaneously form from more basic, more ubiquitous materials. However, we don’t yet have evidence addressing how likely it is to happen, or to have happened.

    We are looking. When the news reports that probes are ‘looking for signs of life’ when they are landing on other planets, what they’re mostly hoping to find is these basic building blocks. One hypothesis is that these reactions may take place quite readily; if so, we’d expect to find some remnants on other planets. There are others. Again – they’re all just hypotheses, which mean there isn’t much evidence supporting them, but there isn’t anything that outright disproves them, either. The evidence may be out there, but we haven’t found it yet.

    Purely for amusement, I offer the following hypothesis:

    The RNA world hypothesis

    Again, it’s something I find interesting and it does fit with what we know of RNA chemistry and biology, but it’s still just a hypothesis. Maybe someday people will know more about this than you or I do, but for the foreseeable future, learning about it is certainly not core to learning biology.

    Hey, we can agree on something today: the origin of life is still a mystery.

    Have a great weekend.

    September 12, 2008
  338. john george said:

    Patrick- Thanks for the wish on the weekend. Hope yours is great, also. Still would like to get together for coffee again sometime. Take a look at my post #343. I really appreciate discussing things with you and Jerold. Hey, we might actually be able to live peacefully together in the same town! Wouldn’t that be revolutionary? Liberals and Conservatives living together in harmony in the same town!

    September 12, 2008
  339. David Henson said:

    Darwin observed specific instances where ecology had appeared to favor certain traits within species – natural selection. His observations are easy to understand. The vision of an ever expended tree of life based on adaptability to conditions was developed. Exceptions to this vision are becoming known. One being situations where hosts and parasites have given up battling each other and effectively fused into a single species.

    The idea of a governing force created by the selfish desire of everything from viruses on up try to replicate themselves is powerful but seems like less than the whole story of nature. To me as “this branch of science” attempts to “fit” all new data into this framework no matter how awkward – the science begins to look like a religion. The “science” then becomes reactionary and begins to demand adherence to their ideology – again looking more like a religion.

    “Evolution” and “Global Warming” are too ideologically demanding for me to view them as hard science. I believe they are ideologically demanding because they lack powers of prediction (usefulness) that other hard sciences offer. I am certainly not casting Palin aside simply because she asks that these ideas hold their own against other ethical and philosophical explanations. I am more concerned about those who demand strict adherence to their ideas and are afraid to have them tested in debate.

    September 12, 2008
  340. After some more praying on the abortion issue, and not wanting to inflame more passions than necessary, I will use the euphemism of ‘abortion’.

    First of all, the woman does have rights over her body, just like a man.
    Second of all, when a woman becomes pregnant the fetus or baby is not
    only hers, in her body. The fetus or baby does in fact partly belong to the
    father, and fully belongs to the human race and completely belongs to nature.
    And for me, is totally a child of God, that is to say, unless you created it, you have no true right to destroy it, including your own body.

    As for Sarah Palin, I believe she is who she says she is and I think she is a strong and energetic woman, fully dedicated to her family, and her country.
    Even if she wouldn’t become VP, she adds a healing and vibrant note to the history of this country, not just as a woman, but as a leader.

    September 12, 2008
  341. Paul Fried said:

    Here’s Jonathan Freedland of the UK (I like the sound of that name) with a piece about how the world would love Obama, and won’t react kindly if we get McCain.

    I’m for Obama, but gosh, when the world reacts as if they can tell us what to do with our elections, or how to rig our electronic voting machines — it kind of ticks me off and makes me feel cornered. After all, we consume more oil, electricity, sugar, chocolate, and coffee — don’t we? OR have we been surpassed? (I know China passed us on CO2 emissions). We’ve been using our military bases, our CIA and our corporations to exploit cheap labor in other countries for more than a century, and we have the world’s most millionaires in part due to that. SO if we’re king of the hill and the world thinks they might get a kinder, gentler US with Obama at the helm, well, them’s fightin’ words, aren’t they? If I were a ‘publican, after chanting “Drill, Baby, Drill,” I would have sung Randy Newman’s song, “Political Science”:

    No one likes us — don’t know why
    we may not be perfect, but heaven knows, we try
    All around, even our old friends put us down
    Let’s drop the big one, and see what happens….

    But then I snap out of it and get sane again. It’s just a passing temptation, a moment of weakness. Sorry, all my like-minded Obama voters out there. I promise, I won’t vote for McCain….

    Pete: Thanks for your comments on the fault lines in the Republican party. There’s still Bob Barr and a Ron Paul write-in option. Too bad that with the terrible news coverage we get, most folks don’t even know about the positions of Barr and Paul….

    September 12, 2008
  342. Barry Cipra said:


    I tried (twice) submitting a reply to Peter Millin’s posting #345 responding to his statement about the national debt curve versus GDP, but it has yet to appear? Technical glitch or guideline violation?

    September 13, 2008
  343. Griff Wigley said:

    Barry, this is the 2nd report we’ve had about comments not appearing. It appears to be a technical glitch. I’ve asked Sean to investigate. Apologies!

    September 13, 2008
  344. Patrick Enders said:

    I appreciated your post #343, and that’s why I wanted to chime in and agree. I’ve sent you an email.

    September 13, 2008
  345. Paul Fried writes in post #354, “that no one likes us”, oh BOO HOO HOO,
    well, I don’t like THEM that much either. With France, England, China and Russia Each selling more that ten times the amount of arms we have sold to Iraq, gee, I wonder how those tribes people are dying. It is not by our soldiers, and they have been at it long before we were even a country.

    Still I am against war, as always, but this isn’t my personal doing and I did not vote for GWB. However, I give kudos to the Bush administration because there have been way fewer American deaths than any other previous war. Less than five thousand to date, that many were killed every year of the Viet Nam war, more than 50,000 killed.

    There is lot more to all these stories than time or talent permit, so I hope any reader who is truly that interested and has the time to research and read several written histories of it all, can do that and then feel like they have a more complete, if not perfect, understanding of the Middle Eastern situation, including the democratic countries of Israel and George. Peace.
    All this is just smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that Obama is old school, trained old school, backed by old school and headed into the Morlock caves with all the others. Hope it turns around and proves me wrong if he is elected US Pres.

    September 13, 2008
  346. Jerold Friedman said:

    We certainly have become more efficient in our killings during war.

    During the Vietnam war, the Vietnamese suffered 1.1 million military deaths and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. The U.S. suffered 60,000 deaths (including 2,000 MIA). [Source: Wikipedia]

    Comparatively, during the Iraq war, the Iraqis suffered up to 1.1 million civilian deaths although Wikipedia writers note that surveys, sources, and causes vary greatly. The U.S. suffered around 4,200 deaths, and other U.S. coalition nations suffered about 4,000.

    I can’t mention these numbers without also mentioning that both wars were unnecessary and illegal under international law.

    September 13, 2008
  347. Jerold, what sort of war would be legal under International war? And how is this Iraqi one different?

    September 13, 2008
  348. Peter Millin said:

    Most of the previously linked sites are a very narrow view of what is going on. BUT I might have confused my terms…I was mostly referring to spending and the increase in the national debt.

    Attached link spells out what i was talking about.


    Either way our politicians are out of control and we are heading for a financial disaster

    September 13, 2008
  349. Patrick Enders said:

    Barry wrote,
    Still no dice, so I’ll modify the posting here to remove the explicit links, which I suspect are causing the problem.

    I’ve had a lot of problems with including html links in my posts. I’ve given up on writing true html links, and even pasting a complicated web address into the comment often causes trouble.

    When I’ve had that problem, I’ve had to break up the address into smaller chunks. It gets the whole text of the address into the message, but not as a functional single unit.

    September 13, 2008
  350. Jerold Friedman said:

    Bright: South and North Vietnam never declared war on the other. Because of this, it is a civil war under international law, and illegal for other countries to intervene. The SEATO treaty and Tonkin Resolution did not expressly authorize war with North Vietnam or else they would have been illegal under international law, so presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson interpreted the treaties to permit war.

    The Iraq war would clearly be legal if Iraq attacked the U.S. As this was not the case, and as the United Nations did not sanction the U.S. attack on Iraq, the war is clearly illegal.

    Nations are not allowed to attack other nations unless they are attacked, or unless the U.N. approves it. Article 51 of the U.N. Charter recognizes the “inherent right” for a nation to defend itself from an “armed attack”. Any war other than self-defense are presumed to be illegal unless the U.N. sanctions it. Also note in Article 2: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

    Also note that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution holds U.S. treaties with other nations to have the same effect as federal law. We have treaties with other nations to abide by U.N. resolutions, otherwise what point would U.N. resolutions have if member nations were not obligated to obey them? Because the Bush administration did not receive U.N. approval to attack Iraq, the administration broke U.S. federal law.

    September 13, 2008
  351. Barry Cipra said:


    Thanks, it looks like the technical glitch, whatever it was, got fixed — creating, of course its own little glitch, namely the posting of all my attempts to call attention to Peter Millin’s inaccurate assertion. It would have been preferable to suppress the unsuccessful “say it!”s. (On the other hand, it’s good to have the explicit links available.)

    Among the potential problems when a posting is inserted after a delay, it can screw up some of the cross-referencing various people, including myself, use when citing postings by number. I think it would be better to order things according to their time of appearance, with a notation for time of submission if there’s been a delay in publication.

    September 13, 2008
  352. Paul Fried said:

    Jerold: Here’s a clip from a piece that’s in part about Lt. Gen. William Odom, a critic of the war in Iraq (along with many other generals). Odom died this year. The clip below relates to some of what you’re saying:
    NPR aired an interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski right after Odom died that offered a concise insight on the Lt. General’s career.

    “I think what was decisive for him was his own experience as a soldier, as an officer fighting the Vietnamese war. I think he came to realize that there are some wars that are not winnable in the conventional sense unless a democracy like the United States embarks on total national mobilization and then engages in total national annihilation of the enemy. And he knew that is the kind of thing a democracy would not do. And he saw some real parallels between his own experience in Vietnam, which made him increasingly critical of our war efforts, and the recent war, the ongoing war in Iraq, which he felt very strongly ought to be terminated as soon as possible,” Brzezinski said.
    The “no one likes us” line is songwriter Randy Newman’s, not mine.
    The song continues,
    We give them money-but are they grateful?
    No, they’re spiteful and they’re hateful
    They don’t respect us-so let’s surprise them
    We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them

    Asia’s crowded and Europe’s too old
    Africa is far too hot
    And Canada’s too cold
    And South America stole our name
    Let’s drop the big one
    There’ll be no one left to blame us

    Boom goes London and boom Paris (“Pair-ee”)
    More room for you and more room for me
    And every city the whole world round
    Will just be another American town
    Oh, how peaceful it will be
    We’ll set everybody free
    You’ll wear a Japanese kimono
    And there’ll be Italian shoes for me

    They all hate us anyhow
    So let’s drop the big one now
    Let’s drop the big one now

    This is a kind of Dr. Strangelove theme song of sorts….
    It would’ve fit right in after the “Drill, Baby, Drill” frenzy at the RNC….

    September 13, 2008
  353. Griff Wigley said:

    Barry, I’m not sure why your comments (and a couple other people’s) were held in the spam bucket but they all got published when Sean discovered it. I’ve removed all the duplicates now so that your comment to Peter now appears as #348:

    Let me know if you’d prefer in a different order. Again, apologies for the glitch.

    September 14, 2008
  354. A petition is circulating relating to the arrest and present imprisonment of 8 people, charged with conspiring to riot at the RNC.

    We the undersigned call for the dismissal of the charge of “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism,” which you have filed against the RNC 8, activists involved in organizing protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention. This use of a conspiracy charge seeks to punish political speech and thought. Labeling these members of our community as “terrorists” sets a dangerous national precedent for persecuting political activists, threatens political dissent, and greatly distorts the concepts of violence and terrorism. We demand the dismissal of these charges and condemn the use of police state tactics of infiltration, surveillance, and militarization of our streets and community to suppress demonstrations and dissent.


    October 28, 2008
  355. john george said:

    Jerold F.- When it comes to civil rights, I think the gate swings both ways. If I remember correctly, there was an interview with one of these organizers published in the media stating that their intent was to disrupt and possibly close down the RNC. In a situation like this, where someone is determined to keep a group of people from meeting for peaceful business, whose rights are going to be protected? Do you protect those who are meeting peacefully or do you protect the rights(?) of those whose intent and preparations are to keep the meeting from happening? I don’t think we can have it both ways. Using the argument that the protesters had not used their methods yet raises the question as to why they were planning it in the first place. Also, since these plans appear to be violent, as opposed to non-violent, do you wait until someone gets injured or killed before you act? I just don’t buy this line of defense, and my hope is that it will be thrown out of court before we waste any more time on it. I don’t think these types of violent “protesters” should be given credibility.

    October 29, 2008
  356. John G: Neither of us has patience nor respect for violent protests, and if good police intelligence shows that a violent protest is being planned, I have no reservations about it being disrupted.

    Peace officers and public policy should protect everyone’s rights. For the delegates, the right to meet privately. For the demonstrators, the right to protest peacefully.

    I can’t judge whether the RNC 8 were planning a peaceful protest or planning to commit crimes at the RNC. I haven’t seen any evidence either way. However, I do take issue with the overall “police state” presence and tactics used outside the RNC. I also take issue with protesters, even violent protesters, being labeled as “terrorists”. Terrorism is a term I would use very carefully, but in my opinion, it’s being used against protesters in order to oppress the RNC 8, and as a tacit threat against other people who may want to protest. I know too much about COINTELPRO-style disruption of conscientious citizens by the government to think that the incredible police presence at the RNC, and calling those arrested “terrorists”, is coincidence. On the contrary, it’s completely disproportionate to the spirit of political protest that the U.S. is supposed to embrace.

    October 29, 2008
  357. john george said:

    Jerold- This whole thing will be handled through the courts, as it should be. There is a sentiment among some people I have talked to who believe the court system and legal technicalities have been used too freely to let people off where there is evidence of violent intent. You say you have not seen any evidence about what these individuals’ intents were. I suppose you can evaluate what has been found so far however you please. I suppose molotov cocktails could be considered just a light source in case the electriciry goes out. Home-made shields made of stolen safety barrels and riot batons, I’m not sure about. Sorry if I do not display much magnanimity toward these individuals, but I admit that I do not feel much toward them, either. We’ll see how the courts rule.

    October 29, 2008
  358. John G: I am unaware of any Molotov cocktails, shields or batons that relate to the RNC 8 or any RNC protesters. Do you have a cite?

    The Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, with whom I volunteer, has issued regular press releases that claim there is no evidence to support the RNC 8 had any plan for any violent activity.

    Affidavits released by law enforcement which were filed in support of the search warrants used in raids over the weekend, and used to support probable cause for the arrest warrants, are based on paid, confidential informants who infiltrated the [protesters’ group] on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants. Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provocateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence.

    See http://www.nlgminnesota.org/node/66

    It frightens me that eight people are in jail on terrorism charges based entirely on paid informants. If the informants had infiltrated a group that was planning to use Molotov cocktails and other harmful instruments, why has nothing turned up in evidence?

    I am eager to read the stories you’ve seen that speak of cocktails, shields and batons.

    October 29, 2008
  359. john george said:

    Jerold- There is an article in both the Strib and Pioneer Press about this. The search warrants issued turned up the evidence I cited. The defense attornies involved are trying to get this evidence thrown out because the search warrants did not list the basement area specifically, where the bombs were found. The shields and weapons were found in a trailer, which, according to how you interpret the law, can be considered a vehicle, and therefore subject to search without a warrant because of the possibility of it being moved. It is these types of legal games that really turn my crank. I have no use for this type of interpretation of laws which allow these types of people to go free. If you want to defend this type of mindset, you are free to do so, but I am grossly offended by it.

    October 29, 2008
  360. john george said:

    Jerold- Correction on my last post. The Strib does not have an article yet about these protesters. I just had a chance to glimpse it on the way out of the house this morning, and I thought I saw a headline similar to the one in the Press, but I was wrong. The Pioneer Press article is on the top of the first page of the local section.

    October 29, 2008
  361. Ben Oney said:

    John: The Pioneer Press article is about two men from Austin named David McKay and Bradley Crowder. They are not members of the RNC 8, a separate group of arrestees who have been charged based solely on ‘evidence’ provided by paid informants, as Jerold has already mentioned. I don’t want to be a dick, but maybe you should get your facts straight before dismissing the legal rights of community activists.

    Jerold: Thanks for posting the link to the petition! One corrrection though: All members of the RNC8 are currently free on bail, not imprisoned as you mentioned.

    Anyone interested in this should check http://www.rnc8.org for updates.

    October 29, 2008
  362. John G: I found only one related story in the Pioneer Press, and it doesn’t say anything about what you mentioned. Do you suppose what you read did not make it to the web? Seriously, if there were Molotov cocktails, shields or batons, I would reconsider my position with the RNC 8, but I have heard nothing of the sort. Even this article mentions things that can clearly have several purposes, kin to finding a knife in someone’s kitchen, the knife can’t be said to be intended for violence.

    See http://www.twincities.com/ci_10750009?IADID

    If you can find the story, or direct me to the article (publication name and date), I want to read what you read.

    Pardon the reference, but please understand that “the authorities” are sometimes challenged or frightened by new or contrary ideas. This is part of my understanding of the New Testament. New ideas are sometimes pounded down by government. Considering your background and interests, I respectfully request that you not convict the RNC 8 based solely on what the sheriff declares. There is always more to the story.

    While my experience with police has been generally positive, I will always remember a case I worked on as a legal assistant. The police arrested six people for “blocking the sidewalk” at a demonstration. In the police report, the arresting officer said that she “walked into the middle of the group” and they refused to disperse per her orders. The question was later asked, if they were “blocking the sidewalk”, how could the officer walk into the middle of the group? The charge was dropped. I sincerely believe that the officer wanted to disrupt the lawful protest. I can’t say that the same thing was intended with the RNC 8, but from what I’ve read, I am suspicious that’s what happened.

    Ben: I am happy to hear that the RNC 8 are out on bail. I fear that my information is outdated, like John’s remark about Molotov cocktails being found.

    October 30, 2008
  363. Paul Fried said:

    One of the things the police and Homeland Security was really good at was identifying certain people who had a record of documenting police misconduct and brutality, and doing pre-emptive raids to take their cameras and laptop computers away.

    This was somewhat useless and pathetic, because others documented much of the police brutality, but the intimidation was effective.

    If you want to control and intimidate people (and generally move toward a Fascist state), it doesn’t matter if some folks document it. The YouTube videos of the police pepper-spraying civilians, and arresting journalists, sends a chilling message regarding freedom of speech. If McCain wins, they’ll censor anything they want from the internet.

    Here’s the obvious message: Protest at the DNC, or cover it outside as a journalist, and we’ll go easy on you. Protest at the RNC, and you’ll risk pepper-spray and arrest. The Fascist Bush-Cheney criminals in charge have been very effective in this way, and McCain promises more fear and intimidation, judging by his campaign charges of association with terrorists, socialism, etc. Be afraid. Be afraid.

    But the Department of Homeland Security has resulted in a whole new growth sector in the economy of government entitlements for Republican start-ups. Pepper-spray, tasers, riot suits, all paid for by taxpayers (and our grand-children). Redistribution of our wealth to the pseudo-conservative Fascists. Notice that it’s working pretty well.

    I predict that many people who want to keep making money in the stock market will put their money in companies with government contracts to provide pepper spray and tasers. This is a growth sector: Even if people lose their jobs, their homes, and start to riot, our tax dollars will still go to pay for riot prevention and crowd control at mass public protests, if there are any in spite of the intimidation.

    Follow the money.

    October 30, 2008
  364. john george said:

    Ben O.- The Press article does not differentiate between the “RNC 8” and these two individuals. If they are not considered in the group, then I am not aware of it. I can only tell of what I have read. The article and my comments are only directed to the two individuals cited.

    Jerold- The article I read is the printed edition dated 10/29. I have no idea how this compares to the on-line article. I have the copy at home if you cannot find it at the library. I do not have a scanner, so I will photo-copy it and mail it to you if you want.

    October 30, 2008
  365. Bill McGrath said:

    Republicans have the right to hold a convention. But people who don’t want the Republicans (or Democrats or skinheads or atheists) to have a convention have a right to protest that convention, or even to try to prevent the holding of such a convention. If the protesters commit a crime in the process of protesting or preventing that convention, they should be arrested and prosecuted for that specific crime. If they lie down in the street to block the passage of vehicles, for instance, they should be arrested and charged with the appropriate crime — perhaps disorderly conduct. They should NOT be charged with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism,” which is a felony charge that carries a maximum sentence of 7 1/2 years in prison. Yet this is exactly the charge that faces eight people who were arrested while sitting around in a house several days before the convention began. No one has been charged with that type of “crime” in Minnesota since World War One. — Bill McGrath

    October 30, 2008
  366. Bill: You state my sentiments perfectly. Citizens must be free to protest, even to disrupt events using lawful means (boycotts, for example, are lawful means to disrupt businesses). If a citizen commits a crime, they should be prosecuted for that crime. Laying down in the road could be a disorderly conduct, j-walking, or some other infraction or misdemeanor. Charging them with felonies, labeling them as terrorists, is disrespectful for everyone in the U.S.’s history who risked their freedom to further political discussion. I remember my history, from the Sons of Liberty to Susan B. Anthony, to John Brown, to Dr. King, and so many others. Yes, they were criminals, but they were not terrorists.

    October 30, 2008
  367. Peter Millin said:

    Bill and Jerold

    Tolerance has to go both ways. Free speech is only free if you let somebody speak that you don’t agree with.
    You have right to protest as long as it doesn’t interfere with the other persons right to freely assemble and exercise their right to free speech.

    A right that infringes on the right of others is not really a right.

    October 30, 2008
  368. Peter: I think that I agree with what you said, but you inserted a paradox which confuses me. If I have free speech rights so long as I don’t interfere with another’s free speech, does that mean that the other’s free speech is interfering with mine? I suppose having a specific example would help rather than work from an abstract statement.

    If the RNC protesters want to protest, that’s peachy. If they break laws while protesting, they should be prosecuted for the laws they break. It’s that simple. I think that means that you and I agree on this matter.

    October 30, 2008
  369. Peter Millin said:

    Jerold, this is scary you and I agreeing on something.

    October 30, 2008
  370. john george said:

    Jerold & Bill- I think I see a differentiation between what you are saying and the position Peter and I are coming from. Free “speech” is different from free “actions”. Under the Bill of Rights, we are granted the freedom of “speech”. I don’t think the framers of our constitution intended this to be inerpreted to cover “actions” to suppress others’ “speech”. Do you see the difference? What some people did during the RNC was not “speech”. It was “actions”, some of which were violent and destructive. These, I believe, are the fly in the ointment of “freedom of speech.”

    October 30, 2008
  371. John (, Peter & Bill): The term “free speech” is slightly misleading. The freedom of speech has pretty much always been interpreted as the freedom of expression. In this way, sometimes “actions” are included in the meaning of free speech. Picketing is an action, performance art is an action, and so on.

    Anybody who breaks laws should be duly prosecuted. It’s not any more difficult than that. If a protester’s speech (like inciting a riot) or actions (like breaking windows) are breaking the law, then that deserves an arrest. Otherwise, respecting the history of our Union and the enrichment that protest brings to democracy, I say “Let them protest.”

    The problem I have is when infractions or misdemeanors rise to the level of felonies or “terrorism” because it’s directed against a political party or another organization that tries to insulate itself from the citizens. If a protester is spray painting a building, it’s vandalism, not terrorism. If a protester is participating in any number of misdemeanors, that does not make them felonies. I wish that the government was not afraid of protest. The government shows its fear when it inflates misdemeanors to felonies, state crimes to federal crimes, and so on.

    I look at this identically as a candidate for public office. I prefer that citizens communicate and work with me in a cooperative if not mutualistic way. However, if someone is upset with my governance, I will listen to their grievance and I will not retaliate in any way. I won’t send the police after them; I won’t legislate anti-citizen laws. I see the federal government moving away from the fundamental right of citizens to criticize the government, and this scares me.

    October 30, 2008
  372. john george said:

    Jerold- You are definitely an open and aproachable individual, and I think, just from the discussions we have had here, that I could talk to you about any concern I might have with your involvement on the council. That is not the issue with some of those who participated in the RNC demonstrations. Lets say, for example, that I was filled with hatred for what you stand for, as some of these people were toward the GOP, and I decided the best way to keep you from getting into office would be to deter you in any way I could from participating in some of the local candidate discussions. Lets say I planned to baracade your doors so you could not get out of your house, or slash your tires (on both your car AND your bike) so you could not get to the forums. Next, I go out and purchase the materials to carry out these plans.Then, lets say I was stupid enough to reveal these plans in a NN interview. With this prior knowledge, would you say, “Oh, John has a right to demonstrate against my candidacy, so I’ll just take my chances?” I don’t think so. I think you would possibly go to the police and report these plans and ask for increased surveilance, and rightfully so. This may not be line for line what happened in St. Paul, but I think it is close enough to demonstrate my point.

    Another area is regarding hate speech. If I take up a vengeful tirade against some minority and publicly defame this minority, this is prosecutable under federal law. It is not considered just an expression of an opinion. Would anyone be physically harmed in this? No. Would they be offended? Most definitely. Is this level of crime worthy of prosecution and incarceration ? Yes, according to the interpretation of these laws on the books right now. I see a discrepency in the application and coverage of these laws if the terrorist laws cannot be used against violent protesters. The concept of zero tolerance leaves no room for mercy.

    October 30, 2008
  373. John: I agree with you. Barricading the doors to my house = false imprisonment and trespass to land. Slashing my tires = vandalism and arguably larceny. These crimes, if known before they’re committed, should be prevented.

    If these were your plans, I would not want you to be charged with a felony or terrorism. That is my point.

    October 30, 2008
  374. john george said:

    Jerold- Unfortunately, that is how the law is being intrpreted right now. Perhaps the most important outcome of this next election will not necessarily what is done with the economy but what will be done with the Supreme Court.

    October 31, 2008
  375. john george said:

    Jerold- There is an interesting article in the Pioneer Press today (11/07), lower left of the front page of the local section. It is about some protesters’ treatment of an oposing viewpoint caught on film. I don’t know how it reads on the web. There is an interesting internet posting with one of the protester’s comments, too.

    November 7, 2008
  376. Jerold Friedman said:

    John G: Thanks for keeping this topic current. I am dismayed if the Molotov cocktails are indeed what they appear to be. I have known police to mislead the public by calling neutral things (like kitchen knives) dangerous. I can imagine the shields being neutral, and I don’t believe that shields are illegal. I think it’s very unlikely for police to confuse (intentionally or otherwise) anything for a Molotov cocktail.

    I think public demonstrations are great, whether they’re silly, annoying, dramatic, or anything nonviolent. If public safety becomes threatened, I have no sympathy for the demonstrators.

    Assuming they were Molotov cocktails, I hope that only the culpable people are found guilty, not the entire lot via guilt by association.

    I’ll be eager to follow this story as it evolves.

    November 7, 2008
  377. john george said:

    Jerold- I agree. It seems to me that we have lost sight of what King was actually able to accomplish through his non-violent but persistent demonstrations. It takes a little more time, and I wonder if some people just do not have the patience to try to effect change peacefully. I still think this minor, extreme fringe of people do more harm for a cause than helping it.

    November 7, 2008
  378. Jerold Friedman said:

    John: I would hesitate to use King in context with the RNC 8.

    King had said that if it weren’t for the violent advocacy of Malcolm X, that King didn’t think his own advocacy would have been as effective. It was an unintentional good cop (King), bad cop (Malcolm X) routine that made King seem desirable to a great many white people.

    Some may view the RNC 8 — if they were planning violence — as the bad cops who scare society into the arms of the good cops. Like King, the good cops may not have been successful without the bad cops. As such, the bad cops may have been necessary for the good cops to succeed.

    This routine works in other contexts. Some believe that it took a really, really, really, really bad white president to scare enough people out of their prejudice, so they would finally vote for an articulate, capable non-white presidential candidate. I don’t have my magic 8-ball to be sure, but I think that Obama would have done much worse in the primary if Bush was a popular guy.

    November 8, 2008
  379. john george said:

    Jerold- You might be correct on the election. As far as violence in protests, I still don’t believe this is justified. We’ve determined a difference between legality and justification. I still contend that change actually comes about more on a personal level than a community level. That is not to negate community efforts to change unjust practices or laws, but unless the people actually change inside, outside change can only be coerced. When that happens, the natural tendency is to revert to the original behavior once the person feels they can get away with it. There is a scripture in Ezekial (if I remeber right) that goes something like this. Can an Ethiopian change his skin color, or a leopard change his spots? So can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

    November 8, 2008
  380. Jerry Friedman said:

    John G: I don’t claim that using fire is “justified” for any protest. Nor do I think that King’s success with using political nonviolence is the model, because Malcolm X’s influence was also a factor. Without Malcolm X, Dr. King said that he would not have been as successful. Therefore, we can’t determine how effective Dr. King was in the absence of Malcom X.

    I try to keep my analogies as accurate as I can, so I am not accused of trying to win an argument by using false analogies. Your example with King and now Ezekiel are false analogies. Ethiopians have immutable genetic factors controlling their skin color. No one claims that psychology is immutable, but it’s more difficult to change in some than others. There have been plenty of people accustomed to doing evil who change to doing good and vice versa. Among them, Malcolm X was an imprisoned criminal when he decided to change into a civil rights leader. Malcolm X didn’t change his skin color, but he certainly changed his spots.

    November 9, 2008
  381. john george said:

    Jerry- I think the Ezek. reference has more to do with motivation than behavior. It exposes the basic depravity of man into which we are born. I have heard it said that we are born as little savages, and we need to be domesticated. Anyone who has been through the raising of a two year old or a teenager can attest to that, I think. There are a lot of hormonal changes going on in young people and it behoves us to understand how to handle them.

    Any person can change his behavior, either by will or by outside coercion. This can be done without having a change of heart, though. Once the incentive for change is removed, it seems that the person reverts to the original behavior. For instance, and this is very simplistic, when my children were young, if I was in the room with them, they played together pretty well. Once I left the room, then the selfishness arose pretty quickly. When a person has a change of heart, then the behavior change is more permanent. I’m sorry you do not like the analogies, but I think they are correct. The scriptures have more insights into human behavior than most psychology books I have read, but I have not read them all, so I am not condemning them all in one fell swoop.

    November 10, 2008
  382. Peter Millan – that’s a patently false statement, that all the votes go to one candidate. For example, in the Mt. Iron fiasco, I believe coleman got 27 and Franken 56 or something like that. Maybe you should make it a point to attend/observe the local recount, if they’re held in each county, so you can see how it goes back and forth and back and forth and errors all around. Please be more responsible in your statements.

    Here’s a breakdown from the STrib:
    Since the preliminary Election Day numbers, Franken’s biggest gains were in Lake County, where he added 246 votes, and in Pine and St. Louis counties, where he picked up 100 in each.

    Coleman’s biggest gain was in Ramsey County, 29 votes, but that was more than canceled out by an additional 41 votes there for Franken. Coleman’s biggest drop was 124 votes in Anoka County, where Franken also lost 90 votes.

    November 11, 2008
  383. Peter Millin said:


    Do you deny that in case of the iron range votes votes for Franken were changed from 45 to 145? Due to an clerical error???
    How about the ” Frankenvotes” that mysteriously appeared in the back of a car of an election official? Those only were rejected AFTER the Coleman lawyers challenged them?

    The issues surrounding the vote counts for senate are questionable and suspicious at best.
    It casts ill feeling on no matter who wins in the end.

    What is so hard about 1) filling in a ballad correctly? 2) Counting every ballad correctly. This shouldn’t be rocket science I don’t want us to be turned in to another Florida.
    If you take a multiple choice test in school and you mark your ballad wrong what happens to that answer???
    You get it marked as wrong, there is no room for interpretation or discussion.

    November 11, 2008
  384. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: These statements from the Fox News article is painfully misleading, “There should be no role to divine voters’ intentions. […] But the real travesty will be to start letting election officials divine voter’s intent.”

    Why does the article’s author characterize recounts as “divining” the voters’ intent? Recounts do no such thing.

    This has nothing to do with making mistakes on a test. Voting is a fundamental right (i.e., it relates to democracy, unlike test-taking) and fundamental rights earn a high priority to ensure the right is respected, and the controversy is not over the voter’s mistake but the voting machine’s mistake. If you took a test and the automated grading machine failed you when you should have passed, do you suggest that you should keep the failed grade?

    November 11, 2008
  385. Peter – I’m saying your statement that “all all the extra “found” votes go to one candidate,” is false, which it is. I’ve sat through a recount and watched how it works, and I think it would do you good to do the same and learn how it is that ballots are not counted, miscounted, spoiled, all of the above. Voters don’t fill in the circles correctly, or they circle a name rather than fill in a circle, all sorts of things. In a recount, conducted by a neutral team with members of both sides observing, challenging, and each ballot is physically looked at, you can see for yourself.

    November 11, 2008
  386. Peter Millin said:

    So far all the extra votes went in favor of Franken, maybe that’s a better way to say it.

    I don’t question the sincerity of the election officials. I am more concerned about the lack of clear procedures and ballot safety.

    It clearly states on the ballots to fill in the circle. IMHO if that is not done correctly the vote should not count.
    If we leave any other marks to the interpretation of “voter intend” we open ourselves up for these kind of situations.
    Which does nothing more then question the whole system.

    November 11, 2008
  387. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: Carol already corrected your false statement, that “all the extra votes went in favor of Franken”. Some went to Coleman. It looks like you aren’t reading her responses to you.

    Again, voting is a fundamental right in a democracy. If someone votes incorrectly, but their intent is obvious, such as circling the name of the candidate rather than filling in the bubble, then you are advocating that we disenfranchise voters. Again, voting is not an academic exam and it should not be treated as such.

    Your proposal, to reject all non-conforming votes even when the voter’s intent is clear, means that you would deny people the vote with vision, reading, or comprehension problems.

    You say that you favor a clearly stated rules, such as the clearly stated rules of how to fill out a ballot. Why then do you disfavor the clearly stated rules of an automatic recount if the tally is less than 0.5%? Why are you selective about which rules you like?

    Are you happy with the Florida 2000 election results? The official recount was stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court even though the Court’s own rules are to stay out of state sovereignty, which applied in this case. The unofficial recount sponsored by Florida newspapers claimed that Gore should have won Florida. Do you think, therefore, that it was right for the Court to stop the recount, or should every vote have been counted even if Gore won the 2000 election?

    November 11, 2008
  388. Peter Millin said:

    Who is against a recount? Certainly not me. I do disagree that “under votes” or “wrongly marked” votes should be counted.
    Their are clear instructions on how to fill out voting sheets.
    Why do we have rules and don’t behold to them, especially if it’s convenient for once political gains?

    Do we want o be know as a state of morons that doesn’t know how to fill out a basic ballot ??

    November 11, 2008
  389. Peter Millin said:


    All the extra votes in the Iron Range went for Franken……100 to be sure, which in itself is to equal of a number.

    November 11, 2008
  390. Jane Moline said:

    Peter: What you are saying is that people who are unable to understand the directions should not be allowed to have their vote counted. Voting is not an intelligence test or comprehension test or even an English test–it is a vote. Our rules do not say that someone must complete the ballot as instructed–only that they are allowed to vote. In most elections, these ballots that are not completed to the instructions are ignored as the other ballots make it obvious who the winner is–but in the case where the margin of vote is less than one-half of one percent, we automatically look to all ballots to count those that would otherwise be ignored due to to using a machine to count ballots–and if they can be hand counted they are counted–the law does not say that they must be marked to be counted by machine only—a valid vote is a valid vote. This is not a test. If you want to change the law, you should lobby for that law change, but I doubt many people will agree with you. Most Minnesotans are content with our voting and recount process.

    If someone did not vote for any candidate, they will not have a vote in the Senate race. If they just marked an “x” next to a name, circled the name, or only partially filled in the oval, the vote will be counted. If they voted for more than one, their vote will not count.

    The Iron Range total that changed was from a precinct that incorrectly reported 24 votes instead of 124 votes for Al Franken–it was a clerical input error, not any mysterous jump of 100. That is why the votes are not certified until the counties have completed their review or audits–in this case, they caught their error the next day. Voting totals change like this in every election–it is difficult to report accurately 100% of the time on a late night after a long day. That is why votes are not certified immediately.

    Minnesotans are proud of our long tradition of voting turnout. Part of that is same day registration. This apparently bothered you because you were questioned at the poll–but you were allowed to vote–(even though you are a Republican who blogs on a left -leaning blog)–and the delay was not unreasonable and you found out later that it was due to your name having been misspelled –a clerical error. However, you mentioned it on election day as if it was either a conspiracy against you or a sign that it was too easy to vote in Minnesota.

    Unfortunately, the Republicans are setting up for a legal challenge to this particular race–and raising issues that do not exist. I would hope that both parties will abide by the recount–which I know could go either way.

    The Republicans are circulating bizarre theories about why the margin is shrinking–continuing the mudslinging that was their mainstay during the campaign. If you are so darn worried, volunteer to be an observer.

    November 11, 2008
  391. Peter Millin said:

    I think my kids have learned “filling in the dot” in Pre-K.
    If you lazy or stupid or just plain ignorant to execute a simple task as “filling in a dot”…then maybe you are not capable of even comprehending the election process.
    Gimme a break. How hard is it?

    My nephew who has “down syndrome” knows how to fill in a dot……how far are we willing to dumb down the simplest tasks to support stupidity ???

    November 12, 2008
  392. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: When someone has a right, the government has the duty to honor that right. I am delighted that your children can follow test instructions, but they do not have a Constitutional right to take tests. Trivial obstacles are no excuse to deny someone a right.

    Your characterization of some citizens as “lazy, stupid, [or] ignorant” overlooks the people who may not follow directions for any number of reasons. It overlooks the possibility of bugs in voting computers. It overlooks the occasional reversal of outcomes that happen after recounts. Your position would deny voters of the democratic process by not counting their votes if something went wrong.

    And again, I must point out that if you embrace the rules on ballot, to be consistent, you should also embrace the rules of the recount. Between the two, the administrative rules on the ballot are more arbitrary than the Constitutional rules of a recount.

    November 12, 2008
  393. Jane Moline said:

    Peter: Luckily, you are not in charge nor make the rules. The rules have already been made. If you don’t like them, get elected and change it or move to a state where they don’t protect voters rights–like Ohio or Alabama or Texas. (You will not likely be elected in Minnesota on the basis that you want to stop people from voting.)

    November 12, 2008
  394. Peter Millin said:

    Geez my communication skills are worse than I thought.

    Let me try again.

    I have never argued against a recount.
    I do support every bodies right to vote.
    I do believe voters should be protected.
    I do believe every correctly filled out ballot has to be counted.

    What I not support is:
    Falsely filled out ballot be counted. Unless it’s an equipment error.

    Interpreting voter intend. I.e. Somebody voted for Obama but for nobody else so we give the vote by default to Franken?????

    I personally would be embarassed if I couldn’t muster enough brains to fill out a circle.

    Holly…where did I say that I want to prevent people from voting????

    November 12, 2008
  395. john george said:

    Peter- On this one point, I agree with you, “…Interpreting voter intend. I.e. Somebody voted for Obama but for nobody else so we give the vote by default to Franken…” I was very happy that supposedly 300,000 people who voted for Obama did NOT vote for Franken. If these votes were to be infered, as you suggest, I think that would be questionable. I don’t think the recount laws would be interpreted in this way.

    As far as people’s right to vote, there are still some very sharp people around who never learned to read or write, especially in the older generations where formal schooling was not even available for them. I dare say some of these poeple have more wisdom than some educated people I have met, but then that is just my opinion. I’m not sure that being able to read or write necessarily qualifies a person to vote.

    November 12, 2008
  396. William Siemers said:

    Peter…If someone did not mark their ballot for a senatorial candidate then the ballot will not count. If they voted for two or three of the candidates then that ballot will not count.

    If someone circled a name, underlined a name, made a check mark or an ‘x’ next to a name, then that ballot should be allowed. If someone writes an ampersand, question mark, dollar sign or any other ‘mark’ in or over the oval then that vote should be allowed. If one pencil point mark exists within the oval, then that ballot should be counted. If someone brings in an ink pad and marks the ballot with a thumb print, that ballot should be allowed. If I decided to mark my ballot in blood that should be allowed. The idea of a democracy is for the vote to count…not to be disallowed.

    November 12, 2008
  397. Peter Millin said:


    Your example are beyond common sense and reality and I respectfully disagree with MOST of you example.

    Unless you (not you William) are an complete idiot there is no need for ANYBODY not to fill out a ballot completley,

    Everything else is childish an immature.

    Many great Americans have given their lives so we can vote freely. The least we can do to honor them, is to respect our right to vote and do it in normal, respectful and professional manner.

    The rest is just showboating.

    November 12, 2008
  398. john george said:

    Peter- Your opinion, “…Unless you (not you William) are an complete idiot there is no need for ANYBODY not to fill out a ballot completley…” doesn’t quite hold water. My wife, a BA with honors graduate of ISU, will not vote for anyone or anything she does not have any knowlege of, especially soil conservation candidates or judges. I think we have a choice in this country to vote or not for whomever we desire. I think the 300,000 people who voted for Obama but did not vote for either Coleman or Franken probably decided they would not choose the lesser of two evils. They simply did not vote for either, and that is their free choice.

    November 12, 2008
  399. Bright Spencer said:


    November 12, 2008
  400. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: If you object to Franken getting votes simply because the person voted for Obama, I agree with you. However, I haven’t heard of this practice ever being done.

    Otherwise, I would re-state what William said. If there is a mark on a ballot that a person wanted to vote for a candidate, that vote should be counted for that candidate.

    John G.’s point is also extremely important. If someone has comprehension problems for any reason, and that person votes but doesn’t follow directions, that person’s vote should count.

    The U.S. is not supposed to be a nation where people are disenfranchised because they don’t comprehend voting instructions.

    November 12, 2008
  401. Peter Millin said:


    I should have said “correctly”…not “completely”. And yes that includes not voting for all of the people on the ballot.

    November 12, 2008
  402. Patrick Enders said:

    Jerry wrote,

    The U.S. is not supposed to be a nation where people are disenfranchised because they don’t comprehend voting instructions.

    But we used to have a pop quiz before voting, if you were a person of a certain color.

    A bit of googling brought up this gem from our racist past: a sample Alabama “literacy test” selectively given to African Americans, for which they were excluded from voting if they didn’t get all questions right:

    Quick, see if you can answer these:

    – If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?
    – At what time of day on January 20 each four years does the term of the president of the United States end?
    – If the president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for reconsideration?
    – In what year did the Congress gain the right to prohibit the migration of persons to the states?
    – The president is forbidden to exercise his authority of pardon in cases of _______.


    Mercifully, those laws were long ago declared unconstitutional. A side effect of striking down those racist policies of the past is that challenging people’s intelligence (even by so apparently simple an act as requiring them to perfectly fill out a little circle) is not legal. Because, among other things, it would disproportionately impair the voting rights of some populations – in this case, including the visually impaired and those with unsteady hands.

    November 13, 2008
  403. Peter Millin said:

    Expecting from someone to put a pencil dot in to the right place hardly qualifies for “challenging or testing” someones intelligence.
    You are really stretching here Patrick.

    And for those that have a physical or mental conditions we already have help in place.

    November 13, 2008
  404. Peter Millin said:

    There is still hope that the Democrats get the 60 vote filibuster proof majority in the senate.
    This is great news…no more whining and no more excuses.

    November 13, 2008
  405. Patrick Enders said:

    You may think that I am stretching things, but the law does not agree with your point of view.

    November 13, 2008
  406. Patrick Enders said:

    For your conveniece, I have posted selections from Minnesota law regarding the assessment of ballots:

    Subdivision 1.Ballot valid if intent determinable.
    A ballot shall not be rejected for a technical error that does not make it impossible to determine the voter’s intent. In determining intent the principles contained in this section apply.

    Subd. 2.From face of ballot only.
    Intent shall be ascertained only from the face of the ballot.

    Subd. 3.Votes for too many candidates.
    If a voter places a mark (X) beside the names of more candidates for an office than are to be elected or nominated, the ballot is defective with respect only to that office. No vote shall be counted…

    Subd. 6.Mark out of place.
    If a mark (X) is made out of its proper place, but so near a name or space as to indicate clearly the voter’s intent, the vote shall be counted.

    Subd. 9.Votes for only some offices or questions determined.
    If the voter’s choice for only some of the offices or questions can be determined from a ballot, the ballot shall be counted for those offices or questions only.

    Subd. 10.Different marks.
    If a voter uniformly uses a mark other than (X) which clearly indicates an intent to mark a name or to mark yes or no on a question, and the voter does not use (X) anywhere else on the ballot, a vote shall be counted for each candidate or response to a question marked. If a voter uses two or more distinct marks, such as (X) and some other mark, a vote shall be counted for each candidate or response to a question marked, unless the ballot is marked by distinguishing characteristics that make the entire ballot defective as provided in subdivision 13.

    Subd. 11.Attempted erasures.
    If the names of two candidates have been marked, and an attempt has been made to erase or obliterate one of the marks, a vote shall be counted for the remaining marked candidate….

    Subd. 15.Blank ballot for one or more offices valid.
    If no name or response to a question is marked and no name is written in, the ballot is blank with respect to that office or question.

    The full Minnesota law on the matter of “Determining Voter’s Intent” is at this link:

    November 13, 2008
  407. Peter Millin said:

    IMHO stupidity should not be excused by law. The fact that we have to have these laws for such a simple task, doesn’t hold well for us.

    November 13, 2008
  408. Jerry Friedman said:

    Patrick: I didn’t see you post the law that says, “If one votes for president but fails to vote for a senator, the senator who belongs to the president’s political party will be given the vote.” Is that law missing from your post or did Peter just make it up?

    I highly recommend “Freedom Song” by Danny Glover, a film about the drive to get Mississippi black voters the right to vote in the 1960s. While the film is fictionalized, it covers the issues you’re describing. It depicts blacks being denied the vote for failing to pass a literacy test, and after they were coached on how to pass the test, the registrar asked them additional questions, like “How many suds can you get from a bar of soap?” It’s difficult to see the movie and believe that these things really happened.

    November 13, 2008
  409. Patrick Enders said:

    You are correct: there is no such provision. The relevant portion that addresses this is:

    Subd. 15.Blank ballot for one or more offices valid.
    If no name or response to a question is marked and no name is written in, the ballot is blank with respect to that office or question.

    November 13, 2008
  410. Peter Millin said:


    November 13, 2008
  411. Peter Millin said:


    n Associated Press analysis of votes in the tight, still-to-be decided race for a U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota shows that most ballots lacking a recorded choice in the election were cast in counties won by Democrat Barack Obama.
    The finding could have implications for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, who are headed for a recount separated by the thinnest of margins — a couple of hundred votes, or about 0.01 percent.
    About 25,000 ballots statewide carried votes for president but not for the Senate race. Although some voters might have intentionally bypassed the race, others might have mismarked their ballot, or optical scanning machines might have misread them.

    November 13, 2008
  412. Peter Millin said:


    According to conservative statistician John Lott, Mr. Franken’s gains so far are 2.5 times the corrections made for Barack Obama in the state, and nearly three times the gains for Democrats across Minnesota Congressional races. Mr. Lott notes that Mr. Franken’s “new” votes equal more than all the changes for all the precincts in the entire state for the Presidential, Congressional and statehouse races combined (482 votes).

    This entire process is being overseen by Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who isn’t exactly a nonpartisan observer. One of Mr. Ritchie’s financial supporters during his 2006 run for office was a 527 group called the Secretary of State Project, which was co-founded by James Rucker, who came from MoveOn.org. The group says it is devoted to putting Democrats in jobs where they can “protect elections.”

    November 13, 2008
  413. Patrick Enders said:

    The Secretary of State Project was a direct response to the actions of Katherine Harris in 2000, as well as some concerns about Ohio.

    November 13, 2008
  414. Peter Millin said:

    Meet Al Franken

    Al Franken’s campaign hit a new low when they tried to argue that they should get all of the personal information connected to rejected absentee ballots in order for them to determine the legitimacy of the rejection. They spun a sad tale of a Bemidji woman whose ballot got rejected because her signature had changed — due to a stroke. This touching tale had everything to pull on the heartstrings … except the truth


    November 14, 2008
  415. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: Good article, albeit your summary left out some balance. This comment is key, but omitted in your statement. Sometimes people err, and they dutifully correct the mistake:

    “We are still investigating,” Franken spokesman Andy Barr said Thursday night, adding that while the woman’s absentee ballot was rejected it was not because of her shaky signature as he reported a few hours earlier.

    And how could you miss this jewel?

    And a state administrative law judge Thursday dismissed a Coleman lawsuit over a Franken commercial claiming that a watchdog group listed Coleman as one of the four most corrupt U.S. senators. The judge ruled that the group listed just four senators on its corrupt list, so Coleman would be considered one of its four most corrupt.

    I favor more election oversight. If Franken’s camp helps ensure that elections are honest, I will be the very last person to complain.

    November 14, 2008
  416. Peter Millin said:


    In typical lawyer fashion you deflected from the issue…..nice going…. 🙂

    If I ever need one you be the first I call

    November 14, 2008
  417. Patrick Enders said:

    For those of you interested in the finer points of the Senate recount, I highly recommend the following sites as being particularly informative:

    At FiveThirtyEight, there is insightful coverage of the recount, and how it is progressing:
    I especially recommend the following post:
    Minnesota Challenged Ballot Primer http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/minnesota-challenged-ballot-primer.html

    At Star Tribune’s ‘Ballot Challenge’, you can view individual challenged ballots, and personally decide how you think each challenged ballot should be counted:
    (Don’t forget to reread the rules for determining voter intent, and do be sure to click on the links to view the entire ballot – as, according to the rules, you sometimes need to compare the mark on the Senate section with the kinds of marks that the voter used elsewhere on the ballot.)

    November 28, 2008
  418. Peter Millin said:

    Most experts agree that the only way Franken can win is by going to court.
    Looks like he took a page out of Gore’s book.


    Priceless !!!!

    I am still hoping Al can pull it off, because that would bring the senate closer to a filibuster proof Democratic majority.
    Which means that the whining about “We can’t get anything done because of the senate” has to stop. It will also establish clear responsibility and accountability for all decisions made as long as the total majority lasts.

    Time to get out the popcorn….this will be better then watching “As the world turns”.

    December 1, 2008
  419. Bright Spencer said:

    Peter, I am afraid you will be waiting along time because the accountable persons and parties will still spin and twist and the press will be hiding, slicing, dicing the truth until it looks like grandma’s mince meat pie.

    I’ll be happy to be wrong on this one.

    The only things that are gonna change are we might end the war in Iraq, which I still maintain was and is the best way to route out terrorist, due to the more educated population and favorable landscape over the mountainous and treacherous lands and seasoned warriors of Afghanstan, (if you had to fight a war anywhere, and once you started, you better end it well). So, you’d end the war, which is set to end sometime anyway, and the second thing that might change is the end of Guantanamo Bay, which is nearing the end anyway with only 80 prisoners left so far and some awaiting trial with actual evidence against them. That is happening, too. SO, so far, Obama looks a lot like Bush to me, and the press is saying nothing…even when Biden referred to Obama as Mr. President today, he was not called on it. Come on, Dems, wait your turn!
    Come on, Press, act like an American institution with a drive and determination to print the truth.

    December 1, 2008
  420. Peter Millin said:


    What is even more pretentious is Obamas sign that says ” The office of the president elect”..huh ????

    I didn’t realize that there is such a thing. As always with Dems….symbolics over substance.

    December 2, 2008
  421. Bright Spencer said:

    Peter, regarding creation of the new “office”, we must keep in mind that America is a country just beginning to bloom. We are inexperienced children making things up as we go. That is where both our beauty and our blunders lie.

    So, no office last year?, there’s one now and even if it’s no more than a few chairs with blanket over it, it’s our newest creation! America lives for anything new.

    John Baer, former White House communications man, 1995-97 said yesterday on C-SPAN, what we see in the American news resports about what is happening on Capital Hill is one “pin prick” of what is really going on behind the scenes. And much less than what our European counterparts see and hear.

    I can imagine with all the diversified views of the Obama appointees, there might be a lot more haggling going on than actual progress toward the “there” that we were promised during the campaign.

    December 2, 2008
  422. Peter Millin said:


    While you might be correct it still speaks to Obama’s character. It’s not about change its about his glory and history.

    December 2, 2008
  423. Bright Spencer said:

    Peter, in #442 you made an interesting comment. Could you expound upon that?
    Did you mean his personal history?

    December 2, 2008
  424. Bright Spencer said:

    I don’t know why the absentee ballots were excluded in the first place, ref 441.

    December 2, 2008
  425. Peter Millin said:


    Obama for better or for worse will make history as the first black POTUS, regardless if he does well or not.

    Currently that fact has gone to his head a bit. How else would you explain his own POTUS elect office and logo. Seems a bit to grandiose for my taste.

    December 2, 2008
  426. Bright Spencer said:

    Okay, Peter, I hear what you are saying now.
    O might make a mistake by being visible too often and playing the transparency card as if it was something in and of itself.

    December 2, 2008
  427. john george said:

    I’m not sure why all the fuss over calling Obama “president elect.” That is what he is, afterall. I thought this was just a proper term to address someone in his position.

    It seems there are greater issues out there that need addressing, like how this cabinet of “opposites” is actually going to function. Seems to me I’ve read some historical perspectives about Lincoln’s and Wilson’s cabinets that would suggest this is ill-advised. Sometimes, the push to bring plurality to a board is a good safety net and fosters balance. Other times, it is a recipe for mass confusion. Time will tell how these new appointees will actually work together. Of course, this is America, and there is space for wrong decisions to be righted without there being complete civil (uncivil?) upheavel.

    December 2, 2008
  428. Bright Spencer said:

    John, Obama said that he likes to have strongly opinionated people around him so he can consider the different views, but it may also be that he is surrounding himself with his future opponents of 2012, in hopes that they will have had enough of the big time by then. You have a good point though and I think there will be
    more haggling than “getting there”.

    As for the to do about the term “president elect”, Peter was talking about a circular sign that appears at O’s press conferences (five already) that says “offiice of the president elect” and Peter notes that there is no such office officially. My gripe is that Biden looks at Obama at the last conference and calls him “Mr.President”, to which I say, hey, Dems, wait your turn. Although Bush seems way ready to go home and make coffee for Laura every morning and leave it to O now, I think he should serve out his term and help this country move forward into the new era of rebuilding and restructuring.

    December 3, 2008
  429. Peter Millin said:

    Pretty sad that it will come that.
    One would think that a simple issue like one man/woman equals one vote.

    Even more of a reason to be clear on filling out the ballot properly as requested and simply discard all those that don’t follow established procedure.

    The notion of “voter intend” is open to personal interpretation and fraud. Although I would say that most of the ballots I have viewed on the STRIB were pretty clear cut.

    I go back to my original point. Voting is not just a right it is a duty as well. Unless somebody has a mental or physical handicap there is no reason for not filling out the ballot properly.
    If one can’t or won’t do it the vote should be discarded.

    December 7, 2008
  430. Bright Spencer said:

    Peter, you have good points. There is also some real need to look over all of our democratic systems and rework them. This recount, as frustrating and costly of time and money, is one way to get at that, if people will recognize the good opportunity the count represents.

    Also, I saw the case of a ballot being cast by a voter who drew an form very much like the
    one that should have been filled in, but it was placed about an inch to the left from the actual location, which was not filled in or marked in any way. I have only to guess that this voter has a perception problem and should have the vote counted. Maybe another way of voting could back up the written ones, like answering a verbal question and then have the number match the balloot number. Or the voter could blink their eyes or eye once for candidate Frank, and twice for candidate Norm. Something like that could work as confirmation.

    December 7, 2008
  431. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: You contradict yourself a few times. You state at first the celebrated democratic principle of “one man/woman equals one vote” and later “Voting is not just a right it is a duty as well.”

    In the same breath, you repeat your suggestions on how to systematically remove that right from people who make mistakes, whether the mistake is caused by physical or psychological impairment, or carelessness.

    In other words, you didn’t say, “Voting is a right only to people who read, comprehend and follow instructions,” but “voting is a right.”

    Television news has displayed a dozen or so sample ballots that raise the question of voter intent. For example, one ballot had Coleman’s and Franken’s name filled in, but one was X’d out. The ballot machine rejected the vote. On a recount, the voter’s intent is clear. Why do you complain ad nauseum about such things? Coleman’s and Franken’s legal teams have access to all the ballots which is a healthy way to ensure the right to vote, you support, stays a right and not a privilege.

    December 7, 2008
  432. Peter Millin said:


    There is no contradiction in my comments at all. Yes evry should be counted and YES every citizen has the duty to fill out the ballot correctly, unless of course any kind of handicap would prevent them to do so.

    So where is the contradiction??

    Leaving someones vote up to a board of lawyers to interpret is just plain nonsense.

    And I also stated if the intend is clear and the rejection is due to a machine error it should be counted.

    Where do you see a problem with my position? Unless of course you suggest that we start reading tea leaves??

    December 8, 2008
  433. Peter Millin said:

    There is an old saying in Germany :

    Tell me who your friends are and I tell you who you are…..(or something like that)

    In short…judging by Obama’s friends he is either as crooked as they are or he just has incredible bad judgment.
    Based on him being our future POTUS I hope it’s the first one….otherwise we are in deep trouble.


    December 9, 2008
  434. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    With the understanding that election results are public information, I have incorporated a tape of Bridgewater Township election results into a large sculpture piece “The Time is Now: Election 2008” in the NAG members show. Opening is Thursday night Dec. 11, 7-9 pm. Hope to see some of you there.

    There were 1193 ballots cast, 563 for McCain/Palin and 603 for Obama/Biden.

    December 9, 2008
  435. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: You’ve repeatedly said that people who don’t follow directions should not have their vote counted, i.e., if they “X” the bubble rather than filling it in. That statement contradicts your later statement that citizens have a right to vote. If there is a right to do something, the burden is on the government not to disenfranchise the right — unless there are laws that clearly outline the circumstances, the processes, and so forth. The recount is being done in accordance to the citizens’ right to vote; by your saying the “X” votes (and other misread votes) should not be counted, you are saying that the law should not be followed and the right should not be respected.

    If you ask me the same question again, I’ll tell you the same: You cannot both support one’s right to vote and then support petty reasons to disenfranchise the right.

    You said, “Leaving someones vote up to a board of lawyers to interpret is just plain nonsense.”

    Do you mean the Canvassing Board? The Canvassing Board has the Secretary of State and four judges, no lawyers. What other Board do you mean, or do you just make your facts up?

    “The board’s five members are composed of two state supreme court justices, two district court judges and Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.”


    December 11, 2008
  436. William Siemers said:

    Peter…Re: #460…Regarding the article to which you link: Read it.

    For the most part this is a rehash of ‘connections’ that voters discounted. The AP in almost every case says Obama’s connection to these people is either limited or irrelevant.

    December 11, 2008
  437. Peter Millin said:


    Given the latest scandal surrounding Blagovich those connections are relevant, unless you believe that there is a Santa Clause.

    You can’t seriously believe that the zest pool called Chicago politics had no impact on Mr. Teflon ???

    Relationships matter and remember it was Obama who said about Wright ” I have been in his church for twenty years I never heard him say that” and about Ayers ” Just a guy who lived in the neighborhood”.

    Now he wants us to believe that he didn’t know that Blago was auctioning off his senate seat??

    Wake up. Obama is a crook just like most of them.

    December 11, 2008
  438. Peter Millin said:


    If you fill in your ballad correctly there is no need for interpretation and the recount would be over by now.

    Mark Richie, you mean the very same guy who was involved with ACORN?? LOL

    December 11, 2008
  439. Patrick Enders said:

    The Canvassing Board met this morning, and made two important rulings:

    1) 4,823 rejected absentee ballots have been examined, and 638 – 13% – of those were wrongfully rejected. (That is to say, the ballots were completed correctly by eligible voters, but were rejected anyway.) The Board therefore unanimously voted to have all counties review and count all wrongfully rejected ballots. Projected statewide, 13% would mean 1,600 citizens had been wrongfully denied the right to have their votes counted, and will now have that corrected.


    December 12, 2008
  440. Patrick Enders said:

    Oops. Ruling #2 is: Because of the 133 missing ballots, that single precinct will have its original election night count used in the recount. (same source)

    December 12, 2008
  441. Patrick Enders said:

    Here are the faces and voices of several persons whose absentee ballots were inappropriately rejected:

    December 12, 2008
  442. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Patrick, thanks for the info on absentee ballots. I decided to work through my feelings about the election by doing some art. There are two pieces in the NAG Membership Show which opened last night and will be up through Jan. 3:

    “The Time is Now: Election 2008.” An actual tape of the Bridgewater Township results is a part of it.

    “Hogs in Winter” with ag quote from Obama flyer.

    Check out the ornaments on the tree inside the NAG shop also.

    December 12, 2008
  443. Peter Millin said:

    If the illegally rejected absentees are counted and Franken is still losing will he finally go away and shut up.

    This guy is a sore loser and an embarrassment to Minnesota.

    While we made a big deal about Palin’s experience…what are Franken’s qualifications??

    December 12, 2008
  444. john george said:

    Peter- Franken didn’t have to have a stand-in on SNL.

    December 12, 2008
  445. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: How could Franken be a sore loser if he may have won the election? Doesn’t that mean he might be a sore winner?

    December 12, 2008
  446. Peter Millin said:


    President elect is already involved in a scandal, that even before he takes office.
    I hope this is not a sign of things to come, for all our sake.

    What ever happened to “change we can believe in”? Obama has hired back all of the Clinton thugs and surrounds himself with the leaders of Chicago gutter politics.
    This doesn’t look like change….it looks like more of the same.

    To Obama’s credit though, he actually never defined change. Is this what he meant? Yikes.

    December 14, 2008
  447. William Siemers said:

    Peter…once again you have linked to a story (in # 472) that in no way supports the allegations in your post. Surely among the right wing websites and blogs you can find a link that would actually support what you say.

    December 14, 2008
  448. Peter Millin said:


    You seriously believe that Obama had no knowledge on who would replace him? You can’t be serious, nobody is that naive.

    Here is the statement Obama should have made. “Of course I am aware of the people and negotiations surrounding my replacement, but what I didn’t know is that money was involved.
    I won’t tolerate such behavior and those involved have no place in my administration”.

    What did he do instead ? He denied even knowing who was on the list for his replacement.

    Seriously William…..c’mon take your blinders off.

    December 14, 2008
  449. Peter – once again, you’re going overboard, citing to a story that does NOT support the statement you’re making. While the fire is being investigated as arson, the article refrains from any speculation. These references detract from your credibility.

    December 14, 2008
  450. Bright Spencer said:

    Carol, There is a whole lot of surmising here…Patrick Fitzgerald has stepped out early after several years of investigating Gov. B of IL because I think he wanted to precede any actual appointment that would be covered up, swept under the rug, and then burnt. There’s your arson for ya. 😉

    I feel as though Obama is not in the camp of Gov B of IL, but he did say he would back him in 2006, after the investigations and after every body already knew that Rod was doing things that made him appear to be punkish.
    That in itself makes Obama look less like one would have liked to think of him last week.

    Now maybe some people will understand why I was so jumpy about Obama for POTUS from the get go.

    December 14, 2008
  451. Bright & Peter –

    Bright, I am posting in a strictly literal reference here, that the site you, Peter, used:

    … does not state or even allude or imply or hint that:
    Left wing radicals are burning the church Palin attends.

    This is not the first time you’ve done this, Peter, but I’m going to add to the objections, as stated by William Siemers, and perhaps others too.

    Griff – I think this should be addressed by NoLoGro moderator(s).

    December 14, 2008
  452. Bruce Anderson said:

    Peter: I will add my voice to those of William and Carol. I welcome your opinions (I really, honestly do), but implore you to stop making inflammatory comments and providing links to stories that do not, in any objective sense, support your comments. This does not contribute to enlightened/enlightening discussion. I think Carol is right to suggest that this issue should be addressed by LoGroNo moderator(s). (Although it’s asking a lot of a moderator to continually be the arbiter of whether linked stories supports comments made here.)

    I think this is important because many people do not have or make the time to read the stories that people link to, and make their own judgment concerning whether the stories support the opinions voiced here. When you provide a link to a reputable news source such as the Washington Post or AP (two of your recent links), reasonable folks with limited time may reasonably think, “Geez, this guy is linking to a reputable news source to support his stated opinion. He must be on to something…”

    I would feel this way whether the opinion expressed, but not supported by the linked story, was from the left, right or in between.

    December 14, 2008
  453. Peter Millin said:

    I find it surprising that most of you support any type of slander against the current regime..but God forbid when someone questions Obama.

    Carol and Bruce the linked story is an illustration that despite earlier denies from Obama, his advisers knew about the candidates.
    Which means Obama doesn’t have a clue on what goes on in his transition team or he was lying.

    I hope he was lying, because if he has no control over his team then we are in even more trouble then I sought.

    Both of your cries for procedural issues on this blog are a diversion…since neither of you is able to disprove my allegations.

    December 14, 2008
  454. Earth to Peter – please reread — my objection is to your post 475 wtih the Palin link that has nothing to do with your comment, I quoted your comment and the link in BOTH posts… and that has zip to do with Obama. That’s TWICE now…

    December 14, 2008
  455. Peter Millin said:

    If not the fringe left who else would burn a church?? Certainly not the fringe right.

    You are right I should read your comments more closely.

    December 14, 2008
  456. Bruce Anderson said:

    Peter: Re comment #481. Again you are dissembling. The Guardian article you link to says NOTHING that supports your charge that Obama is lying.

    While it is within the realm of the possible that Obama will be found, in the future, to have been lying about his or his staff’s inappropriate involvement with Blagojevich in any deal-making concerning his old Senate seat (although I doubt that very seriously), none of the stories you are linking to provides any evidence of this.

    As Carol said above (#476), these references detract from your credibility. If you expect to influence anyone’s views of Obama (as opposed to just attempting to get some zingers in), objectivity and references that actually support what you are alleging would be a good place to start.

    December 14, 2008
  457. Jerry Friedman said:

    Why do you [bloggers] who (1) appropriately put the burden of proof on the one who affirms, (2) want more than specious evidence, and (3) understand that analysis, not fiat, is necessary for a sound conclusion, keep giving Peter your time and insight?

    Peter has repeatedly shown us that he puts the burden of proof on the liberals/progressives/intellectuals/etc., he is OK with specious evidence, and his opinion is more important to him than a sound (i.e., supported by evidence and analysis) conclusion.

    It’s tiring to read Peter’s posts. It’s becoming tiring to read others’ posts who pretend that Peter can be convinced to respect rules of evidence and logic. A friend once told me that he used to lead truth to where he wanted it to go — but he was confounded by an irrational world that did not conform to the truth that he was leading. When he decided to follow truth, where ever it went, my friend discovered that the world was not irrational.

    If Peter is leading the truth, let him, but don’t fool yourselves into thinking you can train him to follow the truth.

    I don’t think that Peter needs to be moderated/censored. Rather, he is asking to be ignored. I have honored Peter’s request.

    December 14, 2008
  458. Bruce Anderson said:


    In comment #487 you conclude

    I don’t think that Peter needs to be moderated/censored. Rather, he is asking to be ignored. I have honored Peter’s request.

    I’d rather have a vigorous, honest discussion/debate with those of differing points of view, but I reluctantly will be doing the same.

    December 14, 2008
  459. Patrick Enders said:

    I’m with Jerry. I’ve found that a great deal of peace of mind can be gained by ignoring posters who have consistently shown no ability to engage in an honest dialog.

    December 14, 2008
  460. David Henson said:

    Jerry – do you prefer to preach to the choir ?

    December 14, 2008
  461. Bruce & Patrick – you’ve hit on the key words, “honest discussion/dialog,” and it pains me to have blatant misrepresentation sitting there… and frankly, I feel a lot better taking sixty seconds to expose baseless crap than to let obvious false statements go unchallenged in public. In this culture often saying things over and over and over makes it appear true, so IMHO sometimes it’s worth the sixty seconds.

    December 14, 2008
  462. Jerry Friedman said:

    David H: No.

    Is it a rhetorical device to ask someone, that if they do not want to waste their voice on someone who does not listen, whether they only want to talk to those who listen only to them? Now that you’ve named the two extreme positions, might you name the hundreds in between?

    Your devil’s advocacy is apparent, and I appreciate that, but offering two extremes does not advance any understanding of the more plausible in-between.

    December 15, 2008
  463. Jerry – Take a look — I think you’ve the one who’s framed it as binary (waste time or ignore) and through a “rhetorical” statement posited as a “question” declared that my two sparse 60 second statements of fact are a waste of my time and that reading Peter’s flase statements are a waste of your time. You can, of course, speak for yourself, but you really can’t speak for anyone else. There are many ways of handling someone who slings around false statements, and we each can choose, and if it’s not a choice of your liking, yes, feel free to ignore and delete! Or any of the many inbetween measures you now acknowledge. We’ll see if Peter’s inflamatory false statements are attention seeking and act accordingly. I’m certainly not making statements in an effort to convince him of anything, but instead making statements to correct the public record rather than let false statements sit like the fart in the elevator.

    December 15, 2008
  464. Holly Cairns said:

    Jerry said:

    Why do you [bloggers] who (1) appropriately put the burden of proof on the one who affirms, (2) want more than specious evidence, and (3) understand that analysis, not fiat, is necessary for a sound conclusion, keep giving Peter your time and insight?

    Ha ha! Deja vu.

    December 15, 2008
  465. Patrick Enders said:

    Perhaps you could just copy-and-paste the following statement, whenever appropriate:

    Once again, the article you have linked to does not support your assertion.

    And then leave it at that?

    December 15, 2008
  466. Jerry Friedman said:

    Carol: Yes, we’re all autonomous and can keep engaging anyone in any way. My recommendation not to have him moderated/censored covers that aspect, so anyone who prefers the status quo can still enjoy it.

    You understand my complaint because of your selection of analogy. I can certainly take another elevator, take the stairs, or change my destination. However, I hope to stay involved in this DNC/RNC forum spin-off. It’s a classic question: Should those who object to a stinky elevator ride have the burden of leaving or should those who create the stink?

    I am against censorship. I am also against this DNC/RNC forum being taken over by a single subject: one person’s indefensible conclusions and others’ efforts to show that they’re indefensible.

    Every analogy I’ve come up with is not as fragrant as yours, yet they all reveal that this forum’s purpose is for an engagement of ideas on a particular subject, and one person’s habitual refusal to engage should not be rewarded. If there were infinite elevators, Peter and those who want to try to engage him could do so ad nauseum. We are several elevators short of infinity.

    I don’t and won’t criticize you for your posts to Peter, to me, nor to anyone else. I won’t criticize others who want the status quo. I’m just saying out loud that this elevator smells, and it would smell less if we don’t say the things proven to cause flatulence.

    December 15, 2008
  467. Peter Millin said:

    To all,

    It is quiet obvious that neither of you is interested in another point of you. Most of you deflect this issue by trying to discredit me.
    Some of you just like to hear yourself talk and only listen to those that agree with you.

    Not all of my posts are posted in seriousness some of them are posted to get you upset. Because of your attitude towards me. It’s my way of paying you back for your smugness and elitist behavior.

    Yeah you can make fun of me and can come up with all sorts of intellectual calisthenics, but it only illustrates your own insecurity and narrow mindedness.

    You want to continue to live in your own world, please do so. I have nothing to prove to anybody and all your personal attacks and trying to put me down really have no effect on me.
    I am too old and I have seen too much.

    Before some of you ” get your knickers in a twist” the above comments are not meant for all here…those I have directed them to…..you know who you are.

    Cheers….and peace out.

    December 15, 2008
  468. Jerry Friedman said:

    Peter: I am happy for once to see a post of yours in earnest.

    December 15, 2008
  469. Patrick Enders said:

    I suggest studying the posts of David Ludescher, Ray Cox, and John George for examples of conservatives who participate in a constructive, honest, and valuable dialog on this site.

    December 16, 2008
  470. David Henson said:

    Jerry and Patrick – I think everyone now understands your position on Peter and additional posts are at best thread drift and at worst a rant.

    December 16, 2008
  471. Jerry Friedman said:

    Patrick: Thanks for being on top of this story.


    While I will be delighted with either win, in the sense that I want democracy — the voters’ will — to prevail, this story has been frustrating for me in two ways:

    1. I am still depressed that Al Gore stopped his legal challenges in 2000/1. I wish that, like Al Franken, Al Gore zealously advocated the voters’ will rather than assuming the best thing to do was to concede a victory. Franken did an SNL skit with Gore in 2001 relating to Gore’s loss. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gore’s mistake was a prime mover in Franken’s decision to keep litigating.

    2. I deeply want the U.S. to move away from the dominating two-party system. With close elections like this, and Dana Graham and Kris Vohs (14 vote difference and 63 write-in votes), I don’t think I can vote for third parties any more. When I lived in California, with its long history of Democratic and/or liberal and/or progressive politicians being elected, I felt safe voting for my preferred candidate rather than lesser evil (I voted for Leonard Peltier in 2000, California of course went to Gore). With Gore and Franken in mind, how can I ever vote for my favorite candidate if there’s a chance that it helps my least favorite to get elected?

    December 18, 2008
  472. Bright Spencer said:

    Jerry F said this: “With Gore and Franken in mind, how can I ever vote for my favorite candidate if there’s a chance that it helps my least favorite to get elected?”

    Jerry, take a tip from Mother Theresa or whoever wrote the “do it anyway” poem.
    No one’s vote is helping or hurting more than anyone else’s, right? Plus, if nothing else the third parties may grow large enough to win elections on a regular basis someday. Besides, they bring up points that often go overlooked by the D and R parties and bring issues to mind that no one else would. That in itself is valuable.

    December 18, 2008
  473. Patrick Enders said:

    Jerry, you wrote,

    2. I deeply want the U.S. to move away from the dominating two-party system. With close elections like this, and Dana Graham and Kris Vohs (14 vote difference and 63 write-in votes), I don’t think I can vote for third parties any more.

    Yep. Even though I’ve voted for third party candidates in the past (and been especially interested in seeing them get a foothold on the local level – the Greens held a couple offices in Madison when I lived there) your assessment above is exactly why I finally declared myself a Democrat in 2000. For now, the end result of divided liberal voting is that Republicans will get elected.

    Mercifully, elections are more complicated on the local level. Kris vs. Dana was a tough choice for me, and I’m glad my vote on that one mattered.

    Apparently, my vote on the Senate probably mattered, too.

    I wonder how people who voted for the Reform candidate are feeling about the recount?

    December 18, 2008
  474. Patrick Enders said:

    The MN Supreme Court has rejected Coleman’s suit to stop the counting of inappropriately rejected ballots:

    Star Tribune:

    In a ruling crucial to the disputed U.S. Senate election, the Minnesota Supreme Court Thursday rejected an attempt by incumbent Norm Coleman to block the state Canvassing Board from counting improperly rejected absentee ballots.

    However, the court ruled that the campaigns of Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, along with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and vote canvassing boards establish a uniform standard for identifying and counting such absentee ballots. The court said they should then be added to the tally.

    Given the Democratic Party’s strong push for early/absentee voting this year, it is likely that at least a slight plurality of the inappropriately rejected absentee ballots will turn out to have been legitimate votes for Franken.

    Al’s gotta be considered the most likely to win at this point. And the legal options for the Coleman campaign don’t look too promising:

    In objecting to the counting, the Coleman campaign argued that the state Canvassing Board violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by not setting uniform procedures for counties to identify and count improperly rejected ballots.

    But Charles said he doubts that argument would sway the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “The equal protection issue goes against them. … Their best argument is that some counties are going to count them and others aren’t … But the proper response to that argument is an order telling all the counties to count all legal votes.”


    December 18, 2008
  475. Jerry Friedman said:

    Bright: Ethically I am a consequentialist, meaning that the consequences of an action are the most persuasive on what I think is the right thing to do. Unlike the popular mischaracterization of Utilitarianism, I don’t simply assert that the ends justifies the means. Rather, the *best* means should be used to achieve the best ends. For example, assuming that democracy is best for Iraq, we shouldn’t bomb them into democracy, but we should work with them in humane ways toward becoming democratic.

    Usually, I say what you said along the lines of vote for whom I want to be elected. If I faithfully did so, I doubt that I’d ever vote for someone who is on the ballot. I prefer candidates who are demonstrably loyal to people (not corporations, government org’s like the military, etc.), to free speech and civil rights, to deep ecology and mutualistic policies toward other nations. I can think of only one federal politician who probably fits my expectations. Such is the fate of complex societies, having so many things to disagree on.

    With a 5-vote difference, Coleman has 50.00009% of the vote. If “the good party” or “the bad party” had a comfortable lead, I’d be much more comfortable to vote my conscience. Suppose in the State of Columbia, the Moderate Party has 35% of the vote, the Good Party has 15%, and the Bad Party has 50%. I’d feel OK voting for the Good Party to help them overtake the Moderate Party. (This has happened to some extent in Hawaii, where the Democrats and Greens are the most popular parties.) When the vote is 50.00009% vs. 49.99991%, I keep thinking about how important it is to get the less-bad party elected.

    Frankly, more important than my one vote is my advocacy. If a few others agree with me, it may change the outcome of an election by 10 votes, even 50 if I can be so bold. Fewer write-ins could change the next close call in Northfield elections, and it might change state elections. Considering Bush v. Gore, the consequences of a few votes can affect the world.

    I am often accused of being an idealist, and I am usually guilty in that regard. Recent elections have been so close that I fear the consequences of ideal voting are worse than voting for the lesser of the evils. I fear my idealism will lose to the realism of such close votes.

    December 18, 2008
  476. Bright Spencer said:

    Jerry, I hear you and I know that is how people do generally understand what happens. But I would like to say that once they have you voting against your heart, they have you. Say you went the other route of getting whom you really wanted on board. Maybe you would convince your person, or maybe you’d become the person yourself. Maybe you would convince me to become the person. Cuz for every person who votes like you do, there is another voting for the G or B party for some other reason than which one will be the best for the situation/s at hand so there is little reason to it. Most of us are voting with our hearts anyway and numbers are just numbers.

    Mike Bloomberg, Mayor of NYC has said that both sides rule from the center, because that is where most of us really live on most issues. So maybe you don’t really feel that strongly about your issue or person but really have a stronger feeling for the center?
    Not accusing, just considering the possibility for continuing the conversation tomorrow.

    December 18, 2008
  477. john george said:

    Patrick- You’re right about the complexity of that ruling. Nothing seems really clear or easy in this recount. It seems like those in authority to come out and say, “This is the way we are going to do it!” are just starting to say that. I think the system actually works. It is whether everyone will be satisfied with the results.

    December 19, 2008
  478. Jerry Friedman said:

    Bright: You pose a good topic for discussion, whether it’s right to vote for one’s ideal candidate and voting for the better (but not ideal) candidate means “they have you”.

    I think it has a lot to do with how we’re raised and what our culture imbues in us in this regard. Compared to many other nations, people in the U.S. are raised with a glowing idealism about the American Dream. A popular view outside the U.S. is much more cynical, oriented toward survival and practical matters. People seldom question their cultural values. Once again I am confronted with questioning the American Dream, as it relates to voting.

    I have said that consequentialists should vote for the better candidate who has a statistical chance of winning (statistics based on Dem/Rep party dominance in getting votes). I admit that voting for our ideal candidate also might be consequentialist — if the *consequences* of not being ideal are that “they have you,” which is bad — but I think that idealism in voting is much more likely to be based on what our *duty* is believed to be.

    For hundreds of years there has been debate on which is the better approach, *duty* or *consequences*. Life is full of decisions where acting on duty or consequences would give different results, so life is full of this debate.

    So my question to you is whether you support voting of one’s ideal candidate out of a *duty* to do so, or because the *consequences* of not doing so are bad. It’s a slender distinction, voting for one’s ideal of duty or voting to defend the ideal of duty, i.e., consequences. There is no right answer; I’m seeking your answer. Your answer might help me advance my position on this debate.

    December 19, 2008
  479. Bright Spencer said:

    Jerry, first of all, I would frame things differently. I think no matter who wins a place, there are enough outside forces, inside balances and unforeseeable and mysterious things going on, that no one person can cause more than a little ‘bad’ for a small amount of time. We all like blame one person, but when a lot of people vote with that one person, then, a lot of people can take the blame or praise.
    I am also a firm believer in the horse story, where everything happens and it always works out. Labeling every person or outcome either good or bad is not really realistic over the long view.
    So, saying that, I would vote for the candidate I would truly like to see in that office. If I didn’t like the candidate, I’d not vote and see if I could stir up some one that I did like…or at least plant some seeds for someone to grow.We can’t always have our way right away and the pendulum swings right and left so everyone or their progeny eventually gets a turn.
    If we don’t vote for our person, then that person has no way to know whether to try again,or to make necessary changes til that person looks so much like the person we did vote in.
    Ralph Nader is a great American, and if it weren’t for him, candidates wouldn’t have anyone to be better than outside of the major parties. He pushes them and that’s a great position to be in, so it’s not all about winning.
    Have to get going now, but hope this makes some sense so far.

    December 19, 2008
  480. Jerry Friedman said:

    Bright: Yes, I better understand your position now and it has helped me focus on what is distinct between your position and my evolving position.

    Like you, I believe that for the most part government is complex enough that “a little bad” caused by one person doesn’t last. One bad senator won’t affect a largely good Senate.

    My concern here is the peril that might come if most voters believe that, there’s a risk that several “a little bad” people will be elected. Even more perilous, if “a big bad” politician is elected.

    Senator Joseph McCarthy beat his opponent, Robert M. La Follette, Jr., by 5000 votes in the 1946 primary (a narrow margin according to the Wisconsin Historical Society). I cannot agree that McCarthy did “a little bad” to the American people, or that had La Follette won, La Follette or another senator would have been the firebrand behind the Red Scare. The 5000-vote difference in the primary had terrible consequences. As you suggest, surely there was more to McCarthyism than McCarthy. La Follette was also an anti-communist but otherwise he was a shy and introspective senator. I pose that he would have done more to calm the Red Scare than to inflame it.

    I admit that most elections aren’t that polar. I don’t think every time someone is elected, the government is affected as greatly as McCarthy’s era. As you said, “there are enough outside forces, inside balances and unforeseeable and mysterious things going on, that no one person can cause more than a little ‘bad’ for a small amount of time”. I think this is usually correct. How can we predict that. If I lived in Florida, how could I have voted for Nader and not regretted helping Bush win the initial Florida vote? I could claim ignorance, not knowing that Bush would be voted America’s worst president ever. Having experienced that once in 2000, how could I vote for a third party candidate again?

    I don’t believe that things always work out. Some people die, lose their job or savings, or suffer other tragedies directly because of our elected leaders. What is the death count in Iraq now? Millions I’m sure. Things can’t work out for the dead. Their families will grieve for a very long time. And it’s predicted that a new generation of terrorists will hurt Americans for revenge because of the Iraq war and occupation. Bush caused this to happen. Bush caused the trillions of dollars to fund the war, which is hurting America today. The consequences of wasting the money on an illegal war will not work itself out ever. Americans will suffer until the taxpayer pays for what Bush spent.

    Nader is a great American and I would celebrate if he won an election. I promise you that if there is an election where Nader has a statistical chance of winning, I will vote for him. If there is a vote where the Republican or Democrat is a statistically certain winner, I’ll vote for Nader or another great American. Otherwise, I don’t want to help another Bush-McCarthy-Coleman-type to win.

    December 20, 2008
  481. Bright Spencer said:

    Well, let me just think out loud for a few paragraphs. If we vote for A, and A dies as a result of a spider bite, and B gets in and makes a crucially bad decision. We voted our duty and it came out bad. I don’t think we can know of the consequences beforehand.
    Both sides, Dems and Reps have things they do that have caused lost lives…it’s just a matter of definitions, but they both do. They all voted for the Iraq war, save one. So, I am having a hard time unraveling this one. Do you blame yourself for what happens as a result of your vote, when you really didn’t have any control over anything but putting yourself in the voting booth and believing information you were given?
    And what would make you vote for your person over the other one?
    Also there is the fact that we will never know what Gore would have done and we will never know that would have been the consequences of his decisions. I think he’s just an old pot head and he would probably be of as little of an asset as he could manage, but that’s just my little ol’ opinion. (Btw, I didn’t vote for either of them, as I don’t feel they are presidential enough. I want my president to be a real good and wise person from day one, and there are people out there like that.)

    December 20, 2008
  482. john george said:

    Jerry- You express an opinion that Bush is the worst president in history as if it were a fact. You evidently feel very strongly about this issue, as you normally don’t do that. I don’t think we have enough perspective of time or events to make that evaluation yet. You can believe that if you want, but I don’t think it can be declared as a fact at this point in time.

    If you look at American lives lost in Iraq, there have been 4209 so far. Overall, about 1.2 million have died. I still say these numbers pale in comparison to the 50+ million babies that have been aborted since the Roe v. Wade ruling. I suppose it depends on a person’s perspective and what he places a value on in determining loss. You say the war could have been avoided. Perhaps you are correct. I say the abortions could have been avoided, and I think I am correct. So when it comes down to it, we all must make some decisions based on what we believe to be true but can’t definitively prove to be true. History is the only thing that can provide the proof, and that takes time.

    December 20, 2008
  483. David Henson said:

    Obama the Gambler … Rick Warren … WOW ! This will be Chicago politics. Obama has not even had a day in office and he just throws a core constituency under the train to make a grab at a bigger voting bloc. The issue is not talked about much but African-Americans turned out in record numbers but in addition to voting for Obama in California they voted down gay marriage. Obama is seeing an opportunity for a galactic power consolidation and he is going for the gold. I’m not sure how liberals feel about this move but I am surprised in that the move seems likely to backfire.

    John – what do you think about this choice, is it admirable or cynical ?

    December 21, 2008
  484. Jerry Friedman said:

    John: I have read this and other articles by professional historians that conclude the same, that Bush Jr. is the worst U.S. president ever.


    I started to become politically aware around the time of Gerald Ford, so my memory includes a scarce few presidents. From what I’ve read and what I’ve experienced, Bush is the worst.

    December 21, 2008
  485. john george said:

    David- I am going to give Obama the benefit of the doubt- I would say it is admirable. It is a fact that there is a schism between many evangelicals and the GLBT movement. When Obama said he wanted to unify America, not divide it, I now believe his intentions are sincere. It is possible that this is all just a political conspiracy to more firmly establish Obama and the Democratic party in the ruling position for a long period of time, but perhaps it is not. I would have to wait and see what the outcome of this invitation is. I have heard that there is a lot of pressure coming from the left side for him to say this was a mistaken decision on his part and to uninvite Warren, but I hope he does not give in to that pressure. Some of the reports I have heard coming out of California strenghten my opinion that the GLBT movement does not want to have tolerance between them and the Evangelicals. It seems their position is to force acceptance and blessing of their lifestyle onto those who disagree with them. This is, IMHO, the heighth of intolerance, and their pressure on Obama to dump Warren is more confirmation of this intolerance.

    Jerry- I cannot get your link to open up, so I can’t really respond to it. I remember when Goldwater was running against Johnson, he said that we either needed to go into Viet Nam and fight that war or get out. The peaceniks of the time decried this course of action in favor of a negotiated peace. I think history is quite evident as to whom was right, but it took a couple years of Johnson’s administration for us to realize this. That is just one case I can use to substantiate my convictions that we do not have enough time elapsed to really make a difinitive decision. You may feel otherwise, but I do not lean toward instant evaluations of and conclusions about historical events. No matter who or how you compare Bush to any other president before him, these are different times. The only other president to have experienced a direct military attack on our country during his office was Roosevelt, and we know what that lead to.

    December 21, 2008
  486. David Henson said:

    I guess we have to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. But I would think the basic rules of “You dance with the one who brung ya” would apply … buy hey I didn’t vote for him.

    December 22, 2008
  487. Jerry Friedman said:

    John: I am not aware of a direct military attack on the U.S., at least not since WWII. If you’re referencing 9/11, we were not attacked by any nation nor any military.

    Nonetheless, I agree that later generations may hold a different opinion. So I’ll revise my statement to call George Bush the worst U.S. president ever, from the perspective of this generation’s historians (as cited), and my own opinion. Roosevelt’s attack on Japan and Germany was morally and legally justified. Bush’s attack on Iraq was neither.

    December 22, 2008
  488. Jerry Friedman said:

    Bright: Sorry for the delayed response. Regarding your last post, I don’t think that we can *know* what a candidate would do before being elected. However, everyone can evaluate a candidate and vote based on their evaluation. As imperfect as that process is, it’s what we have. So if there is a candidate whom we evaluate as scary, isn’t it more important to vote against that candidate than for our ideal candidate? This was the basis for the criticism against Nader’s voters, because someone voting for Nader would probably prefer Gore rather than Bush. Maybe Bush wasn’t scary enough in 2000 to persuade Nader’s voters to choose Gore, but with the 2000 election in memory, you can understand why I now hesitate to repeat that mistake.

    While the Dems and Reps voted for the Iraq War, it’s documented that the Bush Administration tainted the evidence, resulting in the nearly unanimous vote. In this sense, I don’t blame the Reps, I blame Bush.

    I blame myself for all things I do that I had reason to know was the wrong thing to do. If I thought that Graham was clearly better than Vohs and I voted for you as my ideal candidate, I would have blamed myself for 1/14th of the reason why Vohs won. Thankfully, I am happy with either Graham or Vohs winning. Take this formula to Franken and Coleman, I would have assumed some blame for Coleman winning if he wins narrowly and I did not vote for Franken. Believing Coleman to be much worse than Franken, I think that I am compelled to vote for the person best able to prevent Coleman from winning.

    We will never know if Gore would have been a better president than Bush. I’d rather have “an old pothead” as president (remember, George Washington grew pot) than a coke-head and drunkard. Pot, at least, tends to pacify people. Coke and alcohol amplify aggression. Comparing narcotics is a poor way to predict presidencies. Gore is vastly better educated than Bush. On that aspect alone, it’s hard to believe that Gore would have been worse than Bush.

    December 22, 2008
  489. Jerry Friedman said:

    John: Since you had trouble with the link, here are its first three paragraphs (citing, in part, 415 nonpartisan, professional historians):

    The Worst President in History?
    One of America’s leading historians assesses George W. Bush

    Posted Apr 21, 2006 12:34 PM

    George W. Bush’s presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.

    From time to time, after hours, I kick back with my colleagues at Princeton to argue idly about which president really was the worst of them all. For years, these perennial debates have largely focused on the same handful of chief executives whom national polls of historians, from across the ideological and political spectrum, routinely cite as the bottom of the presidential barrel. Was the lousiest James Buchanan, who, confronted with Southern secession in 1860, dithered to a degree that, as his most recent biographer has said, probably amounted to disloyalty — and who handed to his successor, Abraham Lincoln, a nation already torn asunder? Was it Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, who actively sided with former Confederates and undermined Reconstruction? What about the amiably incompetent Warren G. Harding, whose administration was fabulously corrupt? Or, though he has his defenders, Herbert Hoover, who tried some reforms but remained imprisoned in his own outmoded individualist ethic and collapsed under the weight of the stock-market crash of 1929 and the Depression’s onset? The younger historians always put in a word for Richard M. Nixon, the only American president forced to resign from office.

    Now, though, George W. Bush is in serious contention for the title of worst ever. In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a “failure.” Among those who called Bush a success, many gave the president high marks only for his ability to mobilize public support and get Congress to go along with what one historian called the administration’s “pursuit of disastrous policies.” In fact, roughly one in ten of those who called Bush a success was being facetious, rating him only as the best president since Bill Clinton — a category in which Bush is the only contestant.

    December 22, 2008
  490. Griff Wigley said:

    Paged comments are now working again.

    Or maybe not!

    I’m testing.

    1:15 Update: Still a glitch evident. It puts the newest comments at the top. I’ve turned off the plugin again. Apologies!

    December 22, 2008
  491. Bright Spencer said:

    Hey, Jerry. No problem on the wait time, I am happy to have someone with whom to discuss these ideas.
    Well, I don’t know if Bush tainted evidence, they all seem to get accused of such things at one time or another, and I am never really sure of anything that I don’t see and then it’s “Believe none of what you read and half of what you see.”
    Well, say I agree that Bush was an awful president…well,I can agree that he wasn’t perfect by any means…and none have been so. There is no school for presidents or place s where you can get the full impact of experience needed for the presidency…altho shrub certainly had an eyeful thru his father’s presidential stint.

    And then, I’ll need to pull a fast slick willie and ask how you define “success”?

    Furthermore, one of the things I meant to get to before was the notion of unexpected consequences…like when we found out that feeding peoples around the world sometimes creates more crisis by fueling population growth that cannot be well sustained on any level…there are also good consequesnces like people becoming free for the first times in their lives and whether or not you think we should be liberators, forced liberators, or unintentional liberators, it’s still a great great outcome…that is if you think education women and children is a good idea.

    Another thing that must be considered by Christians and believers in an afterlife, is that death is not a bad thing, and in fact, may be a really good thing.And one of the things I believe is that not all people come to this earth to live a set amount of time and have a set amount of progeny and do a set amount of tasks. That is manmade parameters and not necessarily of the spirit…though I feel sure that we are not put here to die for nothing.
    And, while I don’t expect your point to point response, I’d be happy to hear it, Jerry.

    December 22, 2008
  492. Jerry Friedman said:

    Bright: The story about Bush tainting evidence comes from the false reports of Iraq trying to buy weapons-grade uranium. There was no evidence of Iraq trying to do so, but Bush and his administration said there was. That was when Ambassador Joe Wilson publicly announced that the Bush administration was lying about Iraq (then purportedly the Bush administration retaliated against Wilson by outing his ex-wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent). The point being, there were zero facts that Iraq was trying to get uranium, but Bush authorized the use of a fake letter claiming Iraq’s efforts to get uranium, and then we went to war. Public record shows that Bush decided to use the fake letter; Scooter Libby testified that Bush was the one deciding to leak Plame’s name.

    There is no school for presidents. No president has escaped accountability for not going to a president’s school and for good reason. Of all officials, the president should be the one held up to the highest standard, and should be last to escape accountability.

    Unexpected consequences happen, but I don’t see how that fits into our discussion. Regarding voting, I wouldn’t blame myself for a good candidate gone bad. If the candidate was terrific on the campaign and I voted for her, then she later turned out to be bad, I would be OK for voting the best way I could based on the available information. However, if I had reason to believe she was bad and I did not vote for her strongest competition, and she won, then I would have helped her get into office. So my self-blame would have nothing to do with truly unexpected consequences.

    If “death is not a bad thing, and in fact, may be a really good thing,” remind me why you are against abortion?

    December 22, 2008
  493. Bright Spencer said:

    Let me see if I have this straight. You might be for a third party candidate unless there is a tight race between two polar opposite candidates, and then you would feel obliged to vote for the one you felt was the better of the two.

    The consequence of that is sort of telling people that a person with great qualifications won’t get your vote if there is a danger of a bad guy getting in as a result.

    And, you wonder how I can say people can die and it’s alright and still be against abortion. Well, I am banned against speaking about abortion on this forum so I can’t answer that but if I could, I would. I can tell you off line if you want…brightATbeautywood.commotion. I am writing it that way so it doesn’t get harvested.
    In the meantime,let me ask you these question, becasue you seem to have a good understanding, of things that come up as red flags in my mind.

    Why would Bush use something so thinly veiled to start a major invasion?
    Was it just to
    utilize the mfg locations in 42 states that make munitions?
    What kind of evidence would Saddam or his assigns leave if they were purchasing uranium, given their history of massive deceit? And by that I mean his telling people he had more weaponry than he actually did to make himself seem more powerful over the years.
    How do we know that Valerie Plame was an honest agent? Or that Joe Wilson wasn’t playing a deceitful card himself?
    I know we got way off the subject, but it is interesting to me. And once again, I will state that I am not a Bush person, but I do appreciate that we have not been reinvaded.

    December 22, 2008
  494. john george said:

    Jerry- Thanks for posting part of the link. In my perusal of it, I do not find any references to time tested standards by which to judge a president’s performance. Perhaps these are something understood by reading other writings by this and other Princeton authors. This only confirms my theory that we judge anyone’s performance along lines of what we happen to believe. I know you and I come from different perspectives, so it does not surprise or better illumine me as to where you are coming from. I agree with Bright’s observation that no president in our history has done everything correctly. In fact, I have already read a published opinion about president elect Obama shamed the Democratic party by inviting Rick Warren to speak at the innauguration. If we base our judgements of presidents upon popular opinion or opinions of those who do not agree with his policies, then we will certainly find basis for condeming his performance. Sorry, I am not convinced that tenure at Princeton necessarily elevates a person to non-partisan objectivity in his or her judgements.

    December 22, 2008
  495. Jerry Friedman said:

    Bright: Let’s carry the abortion talk over to private e-mail. Answering your post:

    Your summary of my position looks accurate.

    1. “Why would Bush use something so thinly veiled to start a major invasion?” I don’t know. My assumption is that the Bush Administration plan looked good on paper, but for several unforeseen reasons (like Joe Wilson outing the fake letter) it fell apart.

    2. “What kind of evidence would Saddam or his assigns leave if they were purchasing uranium, given their history of massive deceit?” Last I heard before the invasion, the U.N. weapons inspectors wanted more time. One can’t hope for a thorough investigation if the the inspectors’ time was cut short. It’s more suspicious that no evidence of nuclear weapons were found before or after the war, and Bush later admitted that there was no evidence to be found. Whether Hussein had nukes or not is irrelevant. No one found any evidence of them. Even if evidence was found, war is not justified, otherwise we should invade China, Israel, Pakistan, India, and Russia for having nuclear weapons.

    3. Regarding Wilson and Plame, first I look at evidence, secondly motive. I am aware of no facts that suggest that Wilson or Plame were dishonest. Further, Plame’s role came only after the fake letter was revealed, so we only have Wilson to look at. Why would Wilson be suspect for telling the world that the Iraq war was predicated on a fake letter, that he told U.S. intelligence agencies was fake? After Wilson discredited the letter, Bush nonetheless used it as the official reason for the invasion, and later said, oops — U.S. intelligence was wrong. Bush’s admission that the letter was fake means Wilson was honest. Add to that, the information came from a U.S. ambassador, not an anonymous tip.

    4. “And once again, I will state that I am not a Bush person, but I do appreciate that we have not been reinvaded.” We were not invaded a first time, and we were never attacked by Iraq. If thwarting attacks and invasions are important to you, you should have wanted us to finish what we started in Afghanistan and left Iraq alone. If demolishing Al Qaeda was our mission, Bush messed up repeatedly. Saddam’s government hated Al Qaeda too.

    December 24, 2008
  496. Jerry Friedman said:

    John: You’re free to read the article. Search Google for “worst U.S. president ever”. I posted it to share that my claiming ‘Bush is the worst U.S. president ever’ is not solely my opinion.

    The article explained some of the criteria for weighing a president’s merit. The article explained that the surveyed historians were bi-partisan, and even the “liberals” didn’t fault Regan or Bush Sr. as the second or third worst presidents, which tends to show that the liberals weren’t swayed by politics.

    In my view, a president who breaks treaties and federal laws, who authorizes torture, illegally invades a sovereign, who holds criminals or prisoners of war or enemy combatants for years without civil rights, who shreds U.S. citizens’ civil rights, who appoints cronies and fires prosecutors based on loyalty to the Republican Party, and overall turns great sympathy for the U.S. into volatile hatred, earns my vote for the worst U.S. president. If you have a moment, I’ll add more to the list.

    December 24, 2008
  497. john george said:

    Jerry- Perhaps what we are discussing here is not whom is the worst president but whom is the worst historian. (Ha!Ha!) Take a look at this article by Clifford May on this Strib link.:
    You and others have refered to our invasion of Iraq and Afganistan as an “illegal war.” I think this article may give you pause to rethink that conclusion. There are other learned people in this country besides liberal educators at Princeton. At least we do still have the freedom to choose which ones we believe.

    December 24, 2008
  498. Jerry Friedman said:

    John: Perhaps predictably, I disagree with the article you presented, for these reasons:

    1. It’s improper for an individual or a nation to break a law and later say the law should have been different. For an individual, this amounts to civil disobedience. I don’t see why a nation can’t engage in civil disobedience, except (a) it’s still illegal, and (b) a nation has much more influence to change an international law than an individual can change a national law; I expect nations to change laws or obey them until they are changed. Of all nations, the U.S. could have had the Geneva Convention clarified under international approval. Terrorists are not new, nor are the legal issues surrounding them. Remember that when the U.S. sponsored the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, the U.S. was sponsoring terrorism. The U.S. could have had this matter clarified a long time ago. It’s insincere and therefore unbelievable to me that now, suddenly, the U.S. has a problem with Geneva’s application to “enemy combatants”.

    2. The U.S. Courts have generally condemned the Bush Administration’s actions regarding “enemy combatants”. To be patriotic, one has to respect the U.S. rule of law, and not respect any branch of government acting outside of its authority. The courts, who have the authority to explain the rule of law, say that Bush is acting outside of his authority. By supporting Bush’s illegal actions, the author is supporting a criminal U.S. — criminal by federal and international standards.

    3. As I said recently to Bright, the invasion of Iraq has put the U.S. at greater risk. Saddam Hussein’s government hated Al Qaeda. By destroying Hussein, we destroyed an enemy of Al Qaeda, and we pulled resources away from Afghanistan where the terrorist attacks on the U.S. were developed. In my opinion, the Bush Administration underestimated the Taliban and took the post-9/11 hatred of Americans against Arabs to make an immoral, illegal and opportunistic takeover of Iraq.

    4. The article’s author says, “It is absurd to suggest that America can prevail in a war against terrorists by prosecuting them after they carry out attacks in which they intend to die. A rational government, conscious of its duty to protect the population, must attempt to prevent terrorists from completing their missions. That requires gathering solid, actionable intelligence.” I agree. However, every interrogation expert I’ve heard or read about says torture gives very unreliable information. See “In The Name Of The Father” or “Rendition” as lovely examples.

    5. Civil rights exist for countless historical reasons. The U.S. has an impressive record of incarcerating and executing innocent people. Civil rights are supposed to be the best guard against the state harming innocents. By denying civil rights to enemy combatants, you virtually ensure that innocent people will be imprisoned and tortured.

    December 24, 2008
  499. john george said:

    Jerry- I was not assuming that you would agree with the article, but I like to challenge people with something that is well thought out and articulated. Neither one of us is going to convert the other, and I am not trying to do so with the link. I think you and I can agree on one thing, that the enemy we are fighting here is hatred, and not any particular political block or nationality. This is a human shortcoming that is irrespective of race or creed. It is something, that according to my beliefs, is only overcome with the demonstration of good. That is why Jesus said to bless those who despitefully use you, for in doing so, you heap burning coals upon them. There is One who will ultimately judge the conduct of each man, so I am more concerned about lining up with His revelation than I am with any particular scholar.

    I don’t think we did everything right with the Iraq invasion, but my view of world events presupposes that when God says He holds the king’s heart, and it is as a watercourse in His hand, then there is something of eternal significance beyond the mere current events we are witnessing. In the article, May gave a good example of Stalin’s response to Pope Pius XII’s oppositon and how that played out. I think this is an example of what I am talking about.

    This is where you and I really differ in our analysis of world events, whatever they be. And that is ok. We each have the freedom to choose our beliefs without fear of recrimination, at least at this time. I believe there will come a time when expressing my views will cost me my life, as it does in most Islamic dominated countries. I am not anxious for that day.

    December 25, 2008
  500. Jerry Friedman said:

    John: Indeed the enemy we’re fighting is hatred. It’s not Arabs, it’s not Muslims, it’s a small group of idealists who think their holy book is unquestionable truth, and who have little or no tolerance for others. It’s a small group of idealists who think god speaks to them, or to their leaders. It’s a small group of idealists who think that sacrifice, perhaps martyrdom, and always piety will give them great rewards in the afterlife.

    I think that there would be more peace in the world if holy books would come after respecting, honoring, and having compassion for others. I can dream.

    December 25, 2008
  501. john george said:

    Jerry- Someone else had a dream, and that has affected social trends in this country for the last 40 years. The battles for the hearts of men continue on, and are not yet won, but that is no reason to give up. I desire to dream along with you. And I am not ashamed to do so. We really need to get together for coffee sometime. Give me a call after the first of the year.

    December 25, 2008
  502. Jerry Friedman said:

    In case anyone is still following this thread, two RNC protesters have just been acquitted. One remains on trial for what looks like trumped up charges (parading without a permit; fleeing a police officer).

    I don’t recall any other convictions but I know a lot of people were arrested. As a Legal Observer for the National Lawyers Guild, I witnessed a whole lot of arrests. Not hearing about any convictions, and hearing about acquittals like the two below, reinforce my belief that the federal and Twin Cities police at the RNC were unconstitutionally oppressive.


    (3/19/2009) A Ramsey County jury today acquitted two defendants on seven counts arising from last year’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul. After a four day trial, the jury of six people found Ilana M. Radovsky not guilty of two counts of Unlawful Assembly, one count of False Name to a Police Officer, and one count of Fleeing a Police Officer on Foot. Gracia Logue-Sargeant was found not guilty of two counts of Unlawful Assembly and one count of Disorderly Conduct. Prior to deliberating, Judge Michael Fetsch, with the consent of the prosecutor, dismissed one count against each defendant of Parading without a Permit in violation of a St. Paul city ordinance.

    Despite eyewitness testimony from Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jeff Jindra that Ms. Logue-Sargeant was part of a disorderly demonstration and personally pulled a newspaper box into the street, the jury refused to convict Ms. Logue-Sargeant of Disorderly Conduct. “Some of the police testimony was simply not credible and the remaining police testimony did not establish that any crime occurred,” said Bruce Nestor, attorney for Logue-Sargeant. “These two young women were simply trying to participate in the democratic process when they were swept up in a mass arrest by a military-style police operation,” he said. Ted Dooley of St. Paul, MN, represented Illana Radovsky. Both Dooley and Nestor are attorneys with the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

    This verdict follows on the heels of the acquittal of seven defendants on unlawful assembly charges in a prior Ramsey County trial. Attorneys with the National Lawyers Guild urged St. Paul City Attorney John Choi to dismiss the remaining Unlawful Assembly charges being prosecuted by his office in light of the City’s failure to obtain a conviction on any charges to date that have proceeded to trial.

    In addition, a second RNC related trial involving Sean McCoy is ongoing. Mr. McCoy originally faced four charges. Two charges, of Unlawful Assembly and Obstruction of Traffic, have already been dismissed by the court and trial is continuing on a count of Parading without a Permit and one count of Fleeing a Police Officer on Foot. Mr. McCoy was arrested at the same time and location as Ms. Radovsky but is being tried separately. He is represented by the Office of the Ramsey County Public Defender.

    March 20, 2009
  503. john george said:

    Jerry- I’ve been following this somewhat, also. The article I noticed the other day (and I cannot find it right now) was that the man accused of manufacturing molotov cocktails has now changed his plea to guilty. He has also changed his story about being coerced into manufacturing these weapons by a FBI informant. Griff’s original title, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly is appropriate, I think. When public sentiments run as high as they have over the last couple years, there is bound to be some extreme behavior on all sides. I think the word “caution” was lost somewhere in all the security plans for the convention. Martyrdom loves adversity.

    March 21, 2009
  504. David Henson said:

    No one chanting “Yes we can” was pushing for a change that would stick America’s middle class taxpayers with additional trillions of new debt in order to fill up the coffers of some of the biggest and richest swindlers on Wall Street.

    Where’s the change, in short, between Bush’s TARP-1 and Obama’s TARP-2?

    From ‘Hopelessly Naive’ The American Spectator

    March 30, 2009
  505. Peter Millin said:

    Yes we can :

    1) Load trillions of debt on to our children.

    2) Have the IRS hunt you down for not paying taxes, while put people in government that have done the same.

    3) Ask you to drive a smaller car while flying around in a private jet.

    4) Raise your taxes to bailout our friends from Wall street.

    5) Force you in a government run health care system, while going to a private clinic ourselves.

    6) Use the tax code to target a select group of people.

    7) Increase the cigarette tax on the poorest in the country, while promoting pot.

    8) Use cap and trade to increase energy cost on the poorest.

    Change we can believe in?

    April 3, 2009
  506. Peter Millin said:


    Unrelated but still illustrates government hypocrisy

    April 3, 2009
  507. David Henson said:

    US banks that have received government aid, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase, are considering buying toxic assets to be sold by rivals

    Mr Bachus added it would mark ”a new level of absurdity” if financial institutions were ”colluding to swap assets at inflated prices using taxpayers’ dollars.”


    April 4, 2009
  508. Patrick Enders said:

    Another update on a story that just won’t die:
    We’re getting very close to the point where Mr. Pawlenty will have to decide whether or not he’s going to certify the results of the Senate election.

    Minnesota has just finished counting the 351 previously-rejected ballots approved by the three-judge panel as having been legally cast and rejected in error. The numbers: Al Franken 198, Norm Coleman 111, Other 42.

    This means that Al Franken’s lead has increased from the 225 he had going into today, up to 312 votes out of roughly 2.9 million. We still need to wait for the judges to rule on the remaining issues, but the vote-counting during the election contest-proper is done.

    The only way for Coleman to overcome this lead would be to win an appeal against the election court’s prior rulings in favor of strict standards to let in new ballots, or to somehow win his much more far-fetched proposal to retroactively declare a number of absentee votes illegal and deduct them from the totals based on countywide averages. The first one is more likely in terms of feasibility, and even that’s a long shot, leaving the Coleman camp at their other proposal to “set aside” the election result entirely.


    April 7, 2009
  509. Ben Oney said:

    On the off chance that any of the few people contributing to this thread still give a damn, I think its worth mentioning that Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner has dropped two of the four totally bogus charges against the RNC 8 defendants. Dropped are one count of ‘Conspiracy to Commit Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism’ and one count of ‘Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage to Property in Furtherance of Terrorism.’

    From the ‘Defend the RNC 8’ website:

    In removing the controversial MN PATRIOT Act from the debate at this moment, Susan Gaertner obviously hopes to defray the costs of this unprecedented prosecution on her campaign for Governor, and to mitigate the overwhelmingly negative public opinion of Ramsey County’s repressive behavior during and since the RNC.

    “Make no mistake,” said defendant Luce Guillen-Givins, “This change to the complaint against us is a token gesture meant to placate our supporters and bolster a floundering political prosecution.”

    As defendant Eryn Trimmer pointed out, “This move only focuses attention more acutely on the outrageous nature of the two remaining charges, Conspiracy to Commit Riot and Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage to Property.”

    If you’ve got a bone to pick with legitimate political dissent, please further admonish the RNC 8 in this thread. If you think things like the constitution are actually pretty rad, just head over to http://www.rnc8.org, where you can learn more about the criminalization of dissent in Minnesota and even make a donation that contributes to the cost of the defendants’ legal defense.

    April 22, 2009
  510. Patrick Enders said:

    Thanks for the update.
    Do you know which, if any, of the original charges and allegations are still being alleged?

    April 22, 2009
  511. Jerry Friedman said:

    Don’t forget that there were about 800 arrests of demonstrators at the RNC. Last I heard (last week) there were 34 trials, 1 conviction for parading without a permit, and that conviction is being appealed.

    On mass arrests, prosecutors usually try the easiest cases first, so their early wins will build momentum in the public eye. If this is how St. Paul approached the mass arrest, their conviction rate on the easiest cases is lousy.

    Such a waste. St. Paul contributes to the police state and spends tax dollars like they have a limitless bank account.

    April 22, 2009
  512. john george said:

    Ben- Thanks for bringing this to the forefront again. Yes, there are some of us who still give a damn.

    Wasn’t one of the accused acually convicted of, or at least pleaded guilty to, the manufacture of molotov cocktails? I remember there being a big flap about how an FBI mole was supposed to have been the instigator of this, but, if I remember correctly, this was found to be baseless.

    This one point I would agree with: the dropping the “Furtherance of Terrorism” clause. This smacks of off-shore influence to topple our government. We don’t need off-shore influence to do that. There is enough home grown sentiment to accomplish that. I still am ambivilant in my opinion about civil disobedience to accomplish a political goal. If there is precedent to inhibit the RNC delegates’ access to their meeting place, then is there precedent to inhibit access to any organization’s meeting that we happen to disagree with? Where do we draw the line? Is it just along lines that our particular group that we associate with agrees to? It is these questions that leave me undecided about the practice.

    April 22, 2009
  513. Patrick Enders said:

    John, you wrote,

    This one point I would agree with: the dropping the “Furtherance of Terrorism” clause. This smacks of off-shore influence to topple our government.

    Terrorism is a method, not an offshore influence. It has been used by persons who were anti-Vietnam War protesters, abortion clinic bombers, and paranoid isolationists like Timothy McVeigh.

    We’ve got plenty of that here at home.

    April 23, 2009
  514. john george said:

    Patrick- Terrorists, huh? I thought people like McVeigh were just criminals. To me, terrorism suggests there might be some cause worthy enough, at least in the minds of the terrorists, to justify criminal damage to life, limb and property. I don’t think the people you cited deseve this type of validation. I have never thought of the original colonists, in their uprising against Britain, could be classified as terrorist, but perhaps they could, if I’m following your line of reasoning correctly. After the 911 attack, there seemed to be a consensus that terrorism is a method more bent on overthrow of the government or society in general. I think this is different than peaceful civil disobedience to protest a particular policy or societal attitude. I just don’t agree with the concept that damage to life, limb and property is justified to further a cause. My response to the demonstrators would be, “Ok. You’ve stated your mind. You have not changed mine, so get out of my way and let me into the convention. If you refuse to do that, then you can suffer the consequences.” I do not believe the right to protest supercedes my right to meet with those with whom I agree.

    April 23, 2009
  515. Patrick Enders said:

    Interesting timing:
    Yesterday, Coleman’s lawyers took a verbal beating in their appeal to the MN Supreme Court. It’s well worth a listen, here: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/06/01/midmorning1/

    Today, Pawlenty will announce that he’s not running for reelection in 2012.

    Since the Gov will no longer have to face the voters of Minnesota, my guess is that he’ll feel free to drag out the ‘certification’ process as long as possible – unless the Supreme Court’s ruling is extremely specific in directing him to do otherwise.

    June 2, 2009
  516. Anthony Pierre said:

    was tiller’s killer a terrorist? I think so. and this terrorism works. there are less and less people willing to put their lives on the line.

    June 2, 2009
  517. kiffi summa said:

    in response to 541.5 ; usually a comment like this one of AP’s would have drawn a response, but there has been none in the five days intervening.

    Is this a ‘no-no’ because of the ‘religious right’ connection? the Operation Rescue” connection? the alleged mental illness?

    This man definitely fits my definition of a terrorist, albeit a single actor… but wait …given the statements of the head of Operation Rescue, is this witnessed murderer a single actor or an ‘agent of influence’ ?

    Does it make a difference?

    June 6, 2009
  518. Jerry Friedman said:

    Kiffi: Of course you know the reason. Economics. Politics. Who cares about objective definitions when the same people who brought you the Red Scare use propaganda to control public opinion.

    Journalist Will Potter explains his point of view (which I share) here: http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/crimes-the-government-does-not-label-terrorism/2062/

    These 30 crimes are not called terrorism, with links to the full story on Potter’s blog:

    1. Plotting to assassinate the president.
    2. Beating African-American voters because they voted for Obama.
    3. Threatening to assassinate the President and detonate C4 at the Mall of America.
    4. Making death threats against biologists to “kill the enemies of Christian society.”
    5. Attacking a black man with a chainsaw because of his race.
    6. Using a noose to assault a black man at the Pentagon.
    7. Tying up a black student and taunting him with racial epithets as part of a high school graduation party.
    8. Smuggling “shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and other military weapons.”
    9. Leaving an incendiary device at a federal courthouse.
      1. Placing a pipe bomb near a hotel and then calling in a bomb threat.
      2. Making bomb threats on an airplane.
      3. Impersonating an armed federal agent.
      4. Shooting at FBI agents in a drive-by.
      5. Threatening federal agents with an assault rifle.
      6. Offering to sell your own child for sexual purposes.
      7. Attempting to buy a 9-year-old girl for sex.
      8. Selling a 5-year-old for sexual purposes.
      9. Forcing a young woman to engage in prostitution through force, fraud and coercion.
      10. Kidnapping 3 children.
      11. Sending white powder to John McCain’s presidential campaign with a note reading, “Senator McCain, If you are reading this then you are already DEAD! Unless of course you can’t or don’t breathe.”
      12. Mailing 65 threatening letters to financial institutions with white powder.
      13. Mailing the Social Security Administration and saying ““I’m going to blow up your office and the IRS office as well.”
      14. Sending more than 25 threatening letters to federal, state, and local governmental agencies containing fake Anthrax.
      15. Sending a white powder through the U.S. mail to the Internal Revenue Service with a note that says “YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO ANTRAX DIE!”
      16. A former sheriff’s deputy forcing a teenage girl to perform sexual acts in his patrol car.
      17. Three police officers shooting a 92-year old woman at her home “during the execution of a search warrant obtained by the defendants based upon false information.”
      18. Using “deadly weapons including firearms, baseball bats, machetes, bottles or knives in the commission of numerous murders, attempted murders and assaults…kidnapping; obstruction of justice; and witness tampering.”
      19. Stealing cattle for personal profit.
      20. Setting fire at a petting barn and killing more than 40 animals.
      21. Setting dozens of fires that caused “incalculable suffering.”
    June 6, 2009
  519. john george said:

    Kiffi- I’ll restate my comment from my post 541.4

    I think this is different than
    peaceful civil disobedience to protest
    a particular policy or societal
    attitude. I just don’t agree with the
    concept that damage to life, limb and
    property is justified to further a

    This type of crime, no matter what side commits it against the other side, is just plain wrong. I think there is a responsibility we have with our free speech in this country, and I think we have been leaving it in the dust.

    June 6, 2009
  520. David Henson said:

    The first bill containing language to put in place his (Obama)health care goals has begun circulating on Capitol Hill. Draft legislation from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee would require employers to cover their employees or pay a penalty, and would guarantee coverage for all.

    This kills small business. And if you exempt small business then it kills the concept. The first thing any health reform needs to do is get employers out of the health care field – not expand their roll.

    June 6, 2009
  521. The effort to subvert Obama’s health insurance plan has also begun:


    The goal of insurance companies: to eliminate any competition from a ‘public option’ which might drive down prices for health insurance.

    June 6, 2009
  522. Anthony Pierre said:

    requiring employers to cover their employees wouldn’t be such a big deal if insurance wasn’t so expensive.

    having a public option that is just as good as a private one at a fraction of the price is just what the economy needs.

    June 8, 2009
  523. john george said:

    Anthony- Your comment

    having a public option that is just as
    good as a private one at a fraction of
    the price is just what the economy

    leads me to this question, which I have not found an answer for anywhere. What government administrated health care system in any country of the world has treatments “just as good” but “at a fraction of the price?” I still think it is interesting that if anyone anywhere in the world really wants their medical problems solved, they come to the United States. I also think, as I look at my various EOB’s, the marked difference between the regular price of the treatment I recieve and the “allowed” (contracted) price that the insurance company actually pays says something about the actual cost of the care. I just don’t see how, given the salaries associated with medical carriers, that the government take-over of the industry is actually going to change costs. I just see a shift in where and how the money goes. Instead of private enterprise being profitable, it appears to me that we will see a gigantic growth in the size of government and a loss of tax base along with it. Where are the taxes coming from to fund this program? What amount of tax is going to be required of us next?

    It is really two different economic theories we are talking about. I don’t think these are proven or disproven in a short period of time. It would be a tragedy to see our health care system disentegrate just because we are not presently covering 100% of the population all on the same level.

    I have a concern that the same thing will happen with this industry as has happened with manufacturing. Sending production off shore has not raised the economic levels of the countries we have sent production to. It has set us on the brink of sinking down to the same level of economic status as most of the third world countries are at.

    June 8, 2009
  524. Patrick Enders said:


    Obama’s proposal is NOT a plan for the government to take over the health care industry. At the most, he proposes that people have the right to CHOOSE a federal health insurance plan, as one choice in addition to the privately available ones.

    Interestingly, insurance companies are worried that the government will actually be able to offer insurance at a lower rate than their profit-based business plans. There’s a very interesting article in the New York Times today on this, titled “State Coverage Model No Help for Uneasy Insurance Industry”

    The best bit is this:

    But critics argue that with low administrative costs and no need to produce profits, a public plan will start with an unfair pricing advantage. They say that if a public plan is allowed to pay doctors and hospitals at levels comparable to Medicare’s, which are substantially below commercial insurance rates, it could set premiums so low it would quickly consume the market.


    …which prompted this very nice commentary:

    So let me get this straight. It’s not fair to have a public option because they don’t have to make obscene profits for their shareholders and they can use the leverage of the combined group of medicare and public option customers to negotiate better fees with doctors, hospitals and drug companies.

    Isn’t that the point?


    June 8, 2009
  525. Patrick Enders said:


    Obama’s proposal is NOT a plan for the government to take over the health care industry. At the most, he proposes that people have the right to CHOOSE a federal health insurance plan, as one choice in addition to the privately available ones.

    Interestingly, insurance companies are worried that the government will actually be able to offer insurance at a lower rate than their profit-based business plans. There’s a very interesting article in the New York Times today on this, titled “State Coverage Model No Help for Uneasy Insurance Industry”

    The best bit is this:

    But critics argue that with low administrative costs and no need to produce profits, a public plan will start with an unfair pricing advantage. They say that if a public plan is allowed to pay doctors and hospitals at levels comparable to Medicare’s, which are substantially below commercial insurance rates, it could set premiums so low it would quickly consume the market.

    …which prompted this very nice commentary:

    So let me get this straight. It’s not fair to have a public option because they don’t have to make obscene profits for their shareholders and they can use the leverage of the combined group of medicare and public option customers to negotiate better fees with doctors, hospitals and drug companies.

    Isn’t that the point?


    June 8, 2009
  526. Patrick Enders said:


    Obama’s proposal is NOT a plan for the government to take over the health care industry. At the most, he proposes that people have the right to CHOOSE a federal health insurance plan, as one choice in addition to the privately available ones.

    Interestingly, insurance companies are worried that the government will actually be able to offer insurance at a lower rate than their profit-based business plans. There’s a very interesting article in the New York Times today on this, titled “State Coverage Model No Help for Uneasy Insurance Industry”

    The best bit is this:

    But critics argue that with low administrative costs and no need to produce profits, a public plan will start with an unfair pricing advantage. They say that if a public plan is allowed to pay doctors and hospitals at levels comparable to Medicare’s, which are substantially below commercial insurance rates, it could set premiums so low it would quickly consume the market.

    …which prompted this very nice commentary at Talking Points Memo:

    So let me get this straight. It’s not fair to have a public option because they don’t have to make obscene profits for their shareholders and they can use the leverage of the combined group of medicare and public option customers to negotiate better fees with doctors, hospitals and drug companies.

    Isn’t that the point?

    I’d have links, but Griff’s filter is screening them again.

    June 8, 2009
  527. john george said:

    Patrick- The term “federal health insurance plan” doesn’t sound like private enterprise to me. I do not have the advantage of the inside perspective of the health care industry that you have, so I do appreciate your perspective. I can only speak from the experience we had with my mother’s health care costs and treatments in her waning years. I saw the billings for an angioplasty (actually, 5 stints) performed at Abbott Northwestern. Of the total bill, her medical assistance paid about 20%. Medicare covered about 40%. The rest was actually written off as a loss by the hospital, since she had no other insurance. When we were settling her estate, the state of Iowa only recovered about $11,000 of a total bill that was about $250,000. I don’t see how this type of practice can continue any more than ever paying off the billions of dollars we have commited to the whole financial sector. I don’t believe any hospital has a 40% margin of profit on its services. Until I can see some of these figures in black and white, I will be skeptical of the claims of a federal insurance plan.

    I think there is validity to the accusations of profiteering within upper management of some of the insurance companies, but what happens to the rank and file people that actually make these companies work? Do you really believe that greed can be forced out of people just because of government competition? I don’t. These people will just go to some other industry to make their bucks. I think the whole industry will shift over to government control, and the government departments have just as much greed and mismanagement as private industry. One of the jokes circulating is how to get an affluent liberal to pay his taxes. You appoint him to a cabinet position. Neither party has a monolopy on virtue or vice.

    June 8, 2009
  528. Bright Spencer said:

    As for insurance stories, I’ve heard as many variations on a theme as there are recordings of “White Christmas”.

    June 8, 2009
  529. Patrick Enders said:

    John, you wrote:

    The term “federal health insurance plan” doesn’t sound like private enterprise to me.

    It’s not private enterprise. But it would be a public option as an option in competition with private enterprise.

    Anyone who prefers private enterprise would be free to choose any of the existing private options.

    Personally, I trust private insurance companies about as far as I can throw them. The goal of private insurance is to turn a profit, and the best way to turn a profit often seems to involve finding excuses to refuse payment altogether.

    June 9, 2009
  530. William Siemers said:

    I agree with Bright.There are plenty of ideas being discussed on health care reform, but no proposal from the administration…yet.

    Wisely, Obama’s team is letting ideas develop in congress. They want something, but what that something turns into is anyone’s guess at this point. The administration knows that they cannot repeat the Clinton’s mistake of trying to ram a plan down the throats of senators and members of congress.

    Given this scenario, it seems likely that change will be incremental. In other words…no universal coverage.
    On one hand this is very disappointing. The country needs a bold solution, not another band aid approach.

    But on the other hand, we are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the depression. The government has committed trillions of dollars, that it does not have, to addressing it. The long term effect of this spending is unknown. Markets remain nervous. And still, the economic situation is by no means resolved. Maybe a cautious, and dare I say, conservative, approach to health care reform is in order.

    June 9, 2009
  531. Jane Moline said:

    We are in an economic crisis caused by greed compounded by lack of regulation. We are seeing the same problem in the health insurance industry–and private enterprises are attempting to save their excessive salaries, bonuses, retirement plans and stock options. The per capita cost of health insurance in the US is the highest of 12 developed nations and we get the lowest return on our dollar.

    When an insurance executive’s bonus is affected by their decisions to raise premiums and deny coverage, they are choosing to benefit themselves over the insured. We have to regulate this industry to reduce the administrative costs. There are 50 million uninsured plus 50 million more underinusred, and another 50 million who are afraid they may not have the coverage there when they need it. We need universal health, and if that means we end up with a system like Canada or Great Britain, so be it. I think we can come up with a better plan by learning from the systems used in other developed nations and making the US system the best in the world.

    June 9, 2009
  532. john george said:

    Patrick- If we have an option of choosing private enterprise or a federal plan, where is the money going to come from for the federal plan? Out of our collective pockets! To say that we have a choice between being forced to pay for health insurance once through our taxes, plus purchasing our own private plan on top of this, is no choice at all. Why on earth would I pay twice for the same thing? According to my Canadian relatives and friends, this is exactly what is going on there with their health coverage. Those who can afford private coverage get better and more timely treatments than those who rely only on the federal system. Will the IRS allow me to deduct that portion of my taxes alloted toward the federal plan? I don’t foresee that as likely.

    One thought I have had about our system is that it is a little like a dysfunctional family where verbal and emotional abuse is rampant. Though the children in this family are offered a better family situation, they will not readily take the opportunity because there is more security in what they know, bad as it might be, than in the unknown new family.

    I definitely think we need some shake-up in the way health care is provided and financed in this country. I’m not convinced that a federal program with more regulations will accomplish that any more than the community expectaions policies being considered by the city council will change any of the bad behavior being displayed down town.

    June 9, 2009
  533. David Henson said:

    The profit and corruption in insurance largely has to do with Medicare and Medicaid. How does a bigger government footprint fix that ?

    Also, social security is bankrupt and will not fulfill it’s promises. Freddie and Fannie are near to bringing down the whole financial system. So how is that citizens are to accept the vision of universal health care and ignore the reality of other government programs.

    June 10, 2009
  534. Patrick Enders said:

    David, you wrote:

    The profit and corruption in insurance largely has to do with Medicare and Medicaid.

    Huh? Could you perhaps explain your assertion – it doesn’t seem self-evident.

    June 10, 2009
  535. Jane Moline said:

    The corruption in the health care industry has to do with plain old greed–when the head of United Health is compensated 123 million dollars in one year, that is outrageous. How many premiums were raised for his compensation? How mamy were denied coverage?

    Medicare and Medicaid have their own problems, but they are only a small portion of the corruption–it is when companies refuse to look at their compensation practicies as corrupting. We have to eliminate bureaucratic waste–and there minimal waste in the Medicare system while administrative costs in the private insurance industry are upwards of 10 to 12 percent.

    And John George–you are worried about paying for healthin insurance twice when you are already paying for it twice–you policy and then the increased policy price due to increased health provider costs becuase the uninsured are not paying their bills–so we get to through higher pass-through costs, higher property taxes (so we can support our local hospital) and increased overall health costs because people are unable to avail themselves of preventive care–so the uninsured cost us 2 and 3 times over.

    One proposal is to use a payroll tax to fund insurance–if the business provides insurance, they get a credit from the tax–but business is nervous about this as they worry that the tax may exceed their health care costs now. For many companies, it should be a savings–the excessive cost of insuring their employees has led many companies to reduce their benefits.

    Another proposal is to tax health care benefits that are now tax free to employees. The proposal is to tax those who are in the higher income range for the benefits received with an exlusion for those at lower income.

    We have to realize we are paying too large a portion of our annual incomes-overall–for everybody–for health care costs. The system is broken and the only people benefiting are–health insurance executives.

    Now we need to put it in a package so we know what we are paying–instead of all the hidden costs resulting from the broken system that we have.

    Those health insurance executives are going to be the most voracious against real reform. Let’s hope we don’t get a useless “reform” like we just witnessed with credit cards.

    June 10, 2009
  536. David Henson said:

    Patrick, if you you Google Medicare Fraud there are over a million links. Here are 2:

    A report on Medicare fraud that will reportedly be released shortly by the US Inspector General is said to indicate that more than one-third of spending for medical equipment, by licensed providers, is improper.
    Some experts estimate that up to 10% of health-care dollars are stolen. For Medi-Cal, that translates to about $2.5 billion a year, almost half from the state general fund.

    And that $2.5 billion is just California and just the “criminal fraud” but not the “soft fraud”/ waste in the system.

    June 10, 2009
  537. Patrick Enders said:

    Maybe I’m just being thick, but I’m still not following the connection between those articles and your assertion that

    The profit and corruption in insurance largely has to do with Medicare and Medicaid.

    Corruption and profit in private insurance would seem to be entirely independent of anything that goes on inside of Medicare/Medicaid.

    June 10, 2009
  538. David Henson said:

    Patrick, you are playing with semantics – esp considering you said private not me. The point is government run programs cannot deliver. So why create another?

    These debates are tough on libertarians because when debaters refer to United Health Care as “private industry” I cringe. 100% of UHC income is either directly from government or from tax incentivised employer premiums – this “revenue” to me is much more “public” than “Private.” Health care costs since the start of Medicare & Medicaid have jumped from, I think, 5% of GDP to 16% of GDP.

    June 10, 2009
  539. john george said:

    Patrick- I think the thing that is evident in your discussion with David H. is that greed and fraud are as evident in government programs as they are in private programs. Regulation does not eliminate it because of the human factor involved. There are unprincipled people who will find a way to get their hands in the till leaglly or not. Since you will be directly affected in your compensation, I think it would be very important to know how this whole thing is going to work before oyu put your stamp of approval on it. Just because it is an Obama program does not make it advantagious for everyone. I know that the budget cuts are affecting my wife because the whole geriatric care industry is pretty much funded by government payments. It is going to be interesting what will happen when we no longer have money in the funds to pay people.

    June 10, 2009
  540. Patrick Enders said:

    I assumed you were referring to private insurance because you referred to profit. There is no profit in Medicare/Medicaid.

    June 10, 2009
  541. David Henson said:

    Patrick, sorry, I see now you are agreeing about the corruption in public programs but were questioning the concept of “profit.” But, of course, all these public programs have coincided with DRAMATIC inflation in medicine (to be fair a society growing richer is going to increase medical spending but not by that degree we have). And this inflation has unquestionably lead to greater profits in medicine.

    During this massive run up in health expenditures (I think like $200/year in 1960 to $6000./year per person now) the health spending breakdown % between hosp/rx/admin/office/etc. is largely unchanged. That is very suspicious to me because it appears as more money has flowed into the system it has been divvied up: “one for you, one for me” style. This would suggest that we have gotten limited innovation for the dollars spent. My concern about a public program is that innovation will stop and inflated overhead will be locked in forever.

    June 10, 2009
  542. Anthony Pierre said:

    Why arent all of the republicans screaming terrorism (shooting of tiller and the holocaust museum)?

    they are acts of terrorism on obama’s watch.

    maybe they are afraid of alienating their base.

    June 10, 2009
  543. kiffi summa said:

    YEP … and they think the views of those who don’t agree with them are ‘terroristic’, in that they feel their ultra-right, preferred life choices are being affected, i.e. a deterioration of the moral quality of the US.

    You’ve heard it here… haven’t you?

    June 10, 2009
  544. john george said:

    Anthony & Kiffi- I think this is an interesting quote from the President regarding the Holocaust Museum attack:

    This outrageous act reminds us that we
    must remain vigilant against
    anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its
    forms. No American institution is more
    important to this effort than the
    Holocaust Museum, and no act of
    violence will diminish our
    determination to honor those who were
    lost by building a more peaceful and
    tolerant world.”

    especially in the light of the overtures he has made to the Islamic nations of the world, many of which have openly sworn to erase Israel from the Middle East. I would suggest that we can’t have our cake and eat it, too. Hatred and intolerance does not have ethnic, gender, political, or religious boundaries, as has been evidenced by some of the posts here. I believe that until we, as a nation, can make make a unified stand against these types of criminal actions, we will not see them subside.

    June 10, 2009
  545. Anthony Pierre said:

    John, take a really hard look at the last 2 terrorist attacks. Where does the foundation of their hate come from?

    June 11, 2009
  546. David Henson said:

    Anthony, the foundation of those attacks is that the USA enriched non-democratic regimes through trade. Effectively we traded our ideals of freedom for cheap energy. Really the energy would have been cheap either way – so a few corporations traded our ideals of freedom to secure themselves as the middlemen for that cheap energy.

    June 11, 2009
  547. john george said:

    Anthony- I believe these attacks came out of deceived, unregenerate minds of people who reject the truth. As I said

    Hatred and intolerance does not have
    ethnic, gender, political, or
    religious boundaries,

    and I think these acts are evident. Just because the cat has kittens in the oven, it doesn’t make them biscuits.

    June 11, 2009
  548. Anthony Pierre said:

    david, I was talking about the killer of the abortion doctor and the holocaust museum shooter. 2 acts of terrorism.

    June 11, 2009
  549. Anthony Pierre said:

    who deceived them, john? it sure wasn’t the atheists.

    June 11, 2009
  550. john george said:

    Anthony- Some of these people decieved themselves. There are possibly as many different reasons these people do these things as their are people. Just as we cannot make a sweeping accusation that athiests precipitated these acts, I don’t believe you are justified in making a sweeping generality that Republican or Christian groups as a whole are to blame. As I said,

    Just because the cat has kittens in
    the oven, it doesn’t make them

    June 11, 2009
  551. Patrick Enders said:

    I wouldn’t blame Republicans or Christians generally, but there is a faction of the party that can best be described as “right wing crazies.” Unfortunately, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and even Palin and McCain have fed into the paranoia of that group – continually misrepresenting Obama’s agenda, linking him to Socialism and Terrorism, and claiming that he is planning to take away everyone’s guns and turn Israel over to Muslims.

    To some degree, these Republican (and supposedly Christian) agitators bear some responsibility for the fruits of their labors.

    June 11, 2009
  552. Patrick Enders said:

    I wouldn’t blame Republicans or Christians generally, but there is a faction of the party that can best be described as “right wing crazies.” Unfortunately, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and even Palin and McCain have fed into the paranoia of that group – continually misrepresenting Obama’s agenda, linking him to Socialism and Terrorism, and claiming that he is planning to take away everyone’s guns and turn Israel over to Muslims.

    To some degree, these Republican (and supposedly Christian) agitators bear some responsibility for the fruits of their labors.

    June 11, 2009
  553. Anthony Pierre said:

    I know that all people that believe the same thing are the same person, and I know you walk the walk and talk the talk. However there aren’t many like you.

    June 11, 2009
  554. john george said:

    Patrick- I think that probably every organization has some extreemists. There are even those who drove half way across the country to try to disrupt both political conventions and destroy property and cause personal injury in the process. There are even factions within the gay movement that want to use any means to silence those who speak out against them. I think that Hanity and Limbaugh have done we conservatives a disservice, but this is, afterall, a country of free speech. Free speech does not necessarily mean wise or rational speech. We all need to sort the chaff from the grain. When a person is deceived, they will twist any comment to justify their actions. To place blame on someone else is just a cop-out from personal responsibility. It is the same thing Adam and Eve did in Genesis, so this trait has been around for a long time.

    June 11, 2009
  555. john george said:

    Yes, Anthony, they broke the mold when they made me. There are many of my of my contemporaries that are very glad of that, too, if ask them. LOL.

    June 11, 2009
  556. Matt Sewich said:


    I agree with you about where the money is going to come from.

    There is little doubt that a “federal option” will eventually kill-off the private health insurance companies and the not-for-profts who provide health insurance in the current system. They will be competing against a seemingly bottomless pit of money, they can’t win.

    June 11, 2009
  557. Patrick Enders said:

    So a note was found in the killer’s car – and guess what? Among other things, he had bought in to the paranoid Republican myth that Obama wants to take away people’s guns:

    “You want my weapons — this is how you’ll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America’s money. Jews control the mass media.”


    He was already known as a racist, antisemite and a ‘birther’ – one of those people who is convinced that Obama was not born in the U.S..

    All groups attract some extremists. Republican agitators should know better than to actively stir up their armed crazies with the kinds of lies, misinformation, and outlandish rhetoric they’ve been spreading.

    Surely there are some times when an agitator is in some way responsible for the actions of their listeners.

    Speaking purely hypothetically, let’s say that a preacher declared to his congregation: “X is a ___, and a ___, and a ___. Someone needs to kill him.”

    If a listener in the pews then went to the man’s house and killed him, would the preacher be entirely unaccountable for the results of his free speech? (I understand that he could, for example, be held unaccountable for inciting a riot by shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.)

    Under my understanding of the law, he would not be guilty of murder or party to the murder in this case (unless he was more explicit in his directions). However, he might well be guilty of incitement. I have to admit, though, that I don’t know the legal threshold for such a charge in the US, and I had trouble finding it on a search.

    Where would you draw the line?

    I’m not asking that Limbaugh or Murdoch or Glenn Back be charged with incitement. I am suggesting that as members of civil society, they have a (purely moral/ethical – if they’re capable of such a thing -) duty to bring their rhetoric back out of the realm of paranoid fantasy.

    June 11, 2009
  558. john george said:

    Patrick- There are people on both sides of this issue that could be accused of inciting others to unconscionable actions. This fellow that shot up the Holocaust Memorial is an extreemist whose ideas would not line up well with most Christians. Just because we Christians line up with where the Republican party is right now does not mean we approve of what people like this do. I don’t listen to Limbaugh or Hanity, as I just don’t believe that lambasting those with which you disagree accomplishes anything of any value. If people could get wise and draw away from these types of people, their effects could be diluted or possibly reversed. It is written that a soft answer turns away wrath. It is also written that we should live in peace with those around us in as much as it is in our power to do so. It is also written that we should not return evil for evil, but rather, bless those who despitefully use us. I think these approaches have a much greater effect than guns or bombs.

    June 12, 2009
  559. john george said:

    Ok, guys. We are at post #578, now. I am going to be on vacation for a couple weeks, so don’t get carried away. I want you to reserve the post #666 for me. I think the old saying is third time is a charm? I don’t want to break Barry C’s. pattern.

    June 14, 2009
  560. Patrick Enders said:

    Back to the issue of health insurance reform:

    Insurance executives appeared before Congress this week, and managed to make an excellent case for why the government needs to be involved in the process of guaranteeing access to insurance for all Americans.

    You see, insurance companies love to drop people who actually have costly medical problems.

    From the LA Times:

    Health insurers refuse to limit rescission of coverage

    Executives of three of the nation’s largest health insurers told federal lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday that they would continue canceling medical coverage for some sick policyholders, despite withering criticism from Republican and Democratic members of Congress who decried the practice as unfair and abusive.

    The hearing on the controversial action known as rescission, which has left thousands of Americans burdened with costly medical bills despite paying insurance premiums, began a day after President Obama outlined his proposals for revamping the nation’s healthcare system.

    **An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.**

    **It also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.**

    I think that the contradiction between turning a profit and actually paying claims was best captured by Monty Python:

    *[INSURANCE AGENT, MR.] DEVIOUS:* Well Reverend Morrison, in your policy, it states quite clearly that no claim you make will be paid.
    *VICAR:* Oh dear.
    *DEVIOUS:* Yes, you plucked for our Never Pay policy – which if you never claim is very worthwhile… but you had to claim, and well, there it is.

    June 18, 2009
  561. David Henson said:

    Patrick, are you backing the idea of forcing everyone to purchase a health plan?

    June 18, 2009
  562. Patrick Enders said:

    I am backing the idea of making affordable, reliable insurance available to everyone for purchase. (For those too poor to purchase it, I back the idea that subsidies should be available to make it affordable.)

    There are two big problems with the insurance industry as presently constituted:

    1) It is not affordable (or unavailable) to many of those who need it the most.

    2) Even for those who think that they have insurance, insurance companies are very good at finding reasons to refuse to provide coverage. See preexisting conditions, rescission, large deductibles, and caps.

    June 18, 2009
  563. David Henson said:

    I understand you want universal affordable insurance but do you want to make that a mandatory requirement for everyone or can individuals still choose not to purchase health insurance?

    June 18, 2009
  564. Patrick Enders said:

    Short term, I’m willing to see how simply making things affordable works out.

    Longer term, I expect that universal coverage mandates will be necessary, at least for children. Unfortunately, I have seen terrible financial and personal tragedies that resulted from uninsurance – both due to ‘preexisting condition’ exclusions, and due to avoiding/delaying needed medical care due to costs.

    Now just to be clear: I’m mostly interested in making sure that all children have medical insurance. I take a whole lot less interest in mandating health insurance for adults – simply because I am more amenable to the idea that competent adults have the right to be stupid, so long as they are only harming themselves by their actions.

    June 18, 2009
  565. Matt Sewich said:

    The rising cost of health INSURANCE keeps getting talked about…what about the rising cost of health CARE?

    I mean in reality, how can you not expect the cost of health insurance to go up with the increasing cost of health care?

    Key here being you’ll make health insurance more affordable once you make health care more affordable.

    June 18, 2009
  566. Patrick Enders said:

    I agree. I see a few practical ways to reduce the cost of medicine. Some of them might be addressed by Obama’s reform efforts.

    First, the cost of medicine for the uninsured/out-of-pocket is often inflated (sad, but true, as I understand it) in part to make up for losses from providing care to the uninsured/non-paying. If non-payment can be eliminated, the cost to paying customers can be reduced a bit.

    Second, tests and procedures are expensive. At least two factors can play some role in encouraging increased numbers of procedures and tests under the present system. One is that procedures and tests are better compensated than a mere office visit. Another is that defensive medicine (i.e. doing extra tests out of a fear of missing something, or perhaps out of a fear of liability because of missing something) is very real.

    I don’t know what the answer is to ending defensive medicine, but I am glad to see that Obama is talking to the AMA (not a favorite organization of mine) about options to help this.

    On the compensation disparity, I am consistently shocked/annoyed to learn that in clinics across the country, the act of seeing patients in the outpatient clinic for general medical visits is considered a money-losing proposition – which is only counterbalanced by the profits from hospitalization and procedures. There is clearly something wrong with such a system, which could be improved.

    Third, Pres. Obama and others believe there are efficiencies to be gained through standardization of medical records. I can follow the general logic of efficiency, but I’ll have to see on that one.

    Fourth, there is definitely money to be saved on medications. Some of the most popular medicines are ludicrously expensive in the U.S., often while the same medicine is much cheaper in other parts of the world. One reason for this is that in the U.S., pharmaceutical companies have a fair ability to name their own price. Medicare has demonstrated that these prices can be driven down considerably by collective negotiating for bulk discounts. Similar cost savings could be generated by increasing the pool of patients included in those negotiations by including all persons who choose a ‘public’ insurance option.

    Finally, there is always the very difficult question of ‘rationing’ care. The basic idea is simple: if one is going to try to get the maximum health benefits from a finite amount of money, it would be much better spent on cheap effective therapies for the masses who aren’t yet sick, rather than spending that same amount of money on a single patient at the end of a long life with a terminal illness. However, I don’t have any easy answers on that one. I just don’t think the country is ready to face that difficult choice yet. (My purely hypothetical, if-I-ruled-the-world answer would be: the government decides how much money can or should be spent on health care, then figures out which treatments have the best cost-benefit ratio. It then fully covers those cheap and effective treatments. Drastic, expensive treatments would be covered to the extent they could be afforded according to the government’s budget. People could then buy private insurance which could cover things that the governemnt refuses to pay for.)

    So yes, I do agree that health care costs need to be controlled, and I think that health care reform should address some cost-reducing measures, as well.

    June 18, 2009
  567. Matt Sewich said:


    Ok, we agree then…let’s have Health Care fix up it’s mess and then get back to me on the Health Insurance side of things, because let’s face it as much as people like to rake the insurance companies through the mud here, it’s really the Health Care industry that is driving the price of the insurance.

    I won’t disagree with you on the difference in cost for the uninsured vs. the insured…the insurance companies and hospitals/clinics make deals.

    As for defensive medicine, there isn’t a good and fair solution to this otherwise it would be implemented. Part of me wants to cap the losses, but the other part of me says wrongs need to be made right. You wish you could see more common sense in awards, but it is what it is.

    I don’t know if your idea of the government will cover “this” but you need to buy insurance for “that” (or self-insure) idea at the end of your post will fly because then too many people will just want “that” and not have to be responsible to buy “that”, it’s partly recreating the problem we already have.

    June 18, 2009
  568. Patrick Enders said:

    Matt, you wrote,

    Ok, we agree then…let’s have Health Care fix up it’s mess and then get back to me on the Health Insurance side of things, because let’s face it as much as people like to rake the insurance companies through the mud here, it’s really the Health Care industry that is driving the price of the insurance.

    I see three problems with the delay you propose.

    First, just like a battle against “corruption” or “immorality” or even a “war against terror,” the fight to have “Health Care fix up it’s mess” is a process with no endpoint, because there is always room for improvement.

    Second, the presence of one problem does not preclude dealing with another problem. The public uprisings in Iran this week are no reason to stop working towards a solution to the Palestine-Israel situation. Similarly, the banking crisis is no reason to abandon school reform As Pres. Obama has said, “The American people don’t have the luxury of focusing on one problem at a time.”

    Third, insurance costs and medical costs are inseparable issues. Quite simply, medical costs and insurance rates are both largely determined by the interaction between these two co-dependent industries. You can’t fix one without also fixing the other.

    June 18, 2009
  569. Matt Sewich said:


    Yes, there are always room for improvements with service industries, but the endpoint for the general public would be to make health care more affordable and then continue on with improvements.

    To your second point…there isn’t a way to fix health insurance premiums without first fixing the cost of health care. Premiums have to go up when the cost of care (or medicine) goes up, it’s just how it works. If it suddenly costs more to fix a fender bender (which they are predicting it will with hybrid cars and the like) then auto insurance rates need to go up, more money going out means more money needs to come in.

    Third…again, I’ll kind of disagree here, medical costs drive the premiums so if you do fix the cost of care you are fixing the cost of the insurance.

    I respect that the President went in front of the AMA, I’d be surprised though if the AMA buys into any plan that cuts their revenues and pay and there isn’t a plan in the government that isn’t going to do that from what I can tell.

    June 19, 2009
  570. Paul Zorn said:

    Of course medical insurance would be cheaper if medical care were cheaper. But IMO Patrick’s right that the two are closely intertwined — something like the two snakes on the caduceus. If insurance is too expensive, for instance, then people may delay getting care until problems, and costs, become a lot worse. These higher costs make their way into the system, insurance rates climb higher still, and around we go.

    Speaking of the cost of medical care, has anyone else mentioned an influential article (President O. is supposedly waving it around the White House) by Dr Atul Gawande, in the June 1 New Yorker? (You can find it online — google gawande cost conundrum .) Dr Gawande looks in great detail at the area around McAllen, Texas, where medical spending per patient is much, much higher than in demographically and economicaly similar nearby places, such as El Paso. (McAllen seems not to be healthier as a result.) Spending at McAllen is also far higher than in Rochester, Minnesota, which Dr G uses to illustrate that high-value, medically advanced care can be provided at rates far below those elsewhere.

    Dr Gawande’s main finding about McAllen is striking: The extraordinary costs there seem to be driven mainly by far-above-average use of medical care, including expensive procedures that are prescribed way more often there than elsewhere. McAllen’s over-use seems driven less by patients (who don’t really know the pros and cons of high-tech procedures) than by doctors, who may be in over-supply in the area. The problem seems not to be driven significantly by worry over malpractice, etc., since one doesn’t see the same pattern in nearby El Paso.

    Read the article yourself and see if you agree with my summary. I would by no means describe the piece as doctor-bashing, but Dr(!) G does a good job of portraying one system and the role doctors