Link roundup, July 7

Rick Perry gave a surprising speech on race. No policy breakthroughs, but his language and relative candor on the subject is unprecedented for a Republican.

If you thought the women’s World Cup got pretty rough, this traditional version of football from Florence tops it.

Almost everyone’s been nervously awaiting a Chinese economic crash for years and it never happens. While everyone distracted by the story of a tiny Third-World country in the EU defaulting on its debt, the Chinese government is intervening again to mitigate a stock market collapse. It will be interesting to watch this develop.

Lincoln was a Hamiltonian. No surprise there, but a good reminder.

Reason #463 why Jackson, not Hamilton, should be kicked off our money.

Some Texas counties are still freaking out about Jade Helm. Check out the bizarre statement from the chairman of the Bastrop County GOP.

Great summary of Google’s ambitions.

Did you know St. Louis was one of America’s largest cities until forty years ago? Vox has an animated evolution of America’s ten largest cities list by decade.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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256 comments on “Link roundup, July 7
  1. 1mime says:

    “Dylann Roof, who is accused of fatally shooting nine people last month in a historically black Charleston church, should not have been able to purchase a gun, the FBI said Friday. Because of a loophole in the system, the people who conducted Roof’s background check did not have access to a police report indicating previous drug possession, which potentially would have prevented him from purchasing a .45-caliber handgun. “We are all sick this happened,” FBI Director James Comey said. ”

    NYT

    The question now is, will this loophole be closed?

    • Doug says:

      I’ll give you this: the liberals are brilliant at using language to sway people. Illegal aliens are now “undocumented immigrants” to blur the line between between legal/illegal. All the better to disparage conservatives who are “against immigrants.” By calling this a “loophole” they will gain support for universal background checks, which they also call a loophole. They will insinuate that if we can just close these darned loopholes, these nine poor black people could have been saved.

      But it was not a loophole. It was the failure of a human to properly enter Roof’s data into the system. “This case rips all of our hearts out,” [FBI Director] Comey said. “But the thought that an error on our part is connected to this guy’s purchase of a gun that he used to slaughter these good people is very painful to us.”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-accused-charleston-shooter-should-not-have-been-able-to-buy-gun/2015/07/10/0d09fda0-271f-11e5-b72c-2b7d516e1e0e_story.html

      • Doug says:

        I just read the rest of the post article I linked to. From Center for American Progress: “The answer is simple: all records of prohibited individuals need to go in the FBI system and every gun sale needs to go through a background check.”

        That was quicker than I thought. My prediction came true before I even made it.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s risky to post a link without reading the complete article, Doug (-:

        I agree with the solution and I also agree that the word “loophole” used in the NYT article was incorrect. Human error was at fault. Unfortunately, nine good people are still dead. If linking to FBI arrest records would prevent one death, it is worth doing. It is precisely for these kind of situations that a universal check would be most useful.

      • texan5142 says:

        Republicans never use words to sway people. Black people riot they are thugs, white people riot, they are just got carried away. I could go on but l think you get the picture. The right is the real masters of dog whistle language. They have called the president every name in the book except the one word that they really mean.

      • Doug says:

        texan, yes, Republicans do some name calling. But that’s bunt and easily recognized for what it is. Liberals are much better with nuance. They are better at using words and phrases that evoke emotion or subtly change the argument. (How could any sane person be against “common sense” gun laws?) I don’t know how much is the difference in the way the liberal brain works and how much is simply better marketing, but it definitely is an advantage.

      • Doug says:

        “a universal check would be most useful”
        Universal check sounds good, but it’s unworkable for a number of reasons. Among others there are conservatively 400 million existing firearms in the U.S. Nobody knows exactly how many, who has them, how many times they’ve changed hands. And they have a very long shelf life. My favorite deer rifle was built in 1917, and many of my handguns are 50-80 years old. Who would know if or when I sold a 1930’s Colt Woodman or an 80’s model 1911 to the guy down the street?

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, you are probably correct about the difficulty with universal background checks, but I will continue to support any effort that will improve the process – existing or with changes. I have no doubt that the current limited process could be more effective if it had more resources to function or more effective operation.

        Tragically, those who are lone wolves will continue to be most difficult to pre-empt. But the consequences of doing nothing or arming everyone are unacceptable to me.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Doug – I have to admit to modifying my language to suite the situation. For example I now call myself a “gun safety proponent” rather than “gungrabbing libtard”. The latter caught on quickly in certain circles.

        Using language – Take the phrase, “registering honest gun owners doesn’t stop criminals”. Or the many variations of this idea. I’ve always felt that there was something wrong with this phrase, but could not get past its basic logic. And then it occurred to me. It states the problem all wrong. Its backward. It is not the buyer that we can and should limit, it’s the seller.

        A serious question with no “gotcha” thought behind it. Would you sell a 1911 to a stranger? Someone that could be a prince or a Roof? Would you take it to a rough part of town and sell it for more that you could get from a dealer?

      • Doug says:

        Selling to someone I suspect is a criminal? No. I rarely sell anyway, but when I do it’s usually online and something like an M1 Garand or carbine. In that case the guy on the other end will have a C&R license and I know he’s a good guy.

        I wouldn’t be opposed to making NICS available to individuals, and I’m sure many would use it. Nobody decent wants to sell to a criminal. I just don’t believe a mandatory system would do much to prevent bad guys who want guns from getting guns. Much better would be prosecuting those who knowingly try to buy illegally but fail NICs. The prosecution rate right now is somewhere around 1%.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Doug, I figured you as a careful seller, and didn’t meant to imply anything, but didn’t want to assume anything either.

        I have someone close to me that used to collect WW2 stuff including Garands, but he has moved on. He is now into things he has to get before said things gets banned. I’m sure you know what I mean.

        “I wouldn’t be opposed to making NICS available to individuals, and I’m sure many would use it. Nobody decent wants to sell to a criminal. I just don’t believe a mandatory system would do much to prevent bad guys who want guns from getting guns.”

        Agree that any additional checks would help and certainly make a seller feel more comfortable. I disagree about the effect of mandatory checks. But I’ll leave it for another time.

        “Much better would be prosecuting those who knowingly try to buy illegally but fail NICs. The prosecution rate right now is somewhere around 1%.”

        What do you think of this article? Hope the hosting site doesn’t explode your eyeballs.

        http://csgv.org/blog/2014/careful-wish/

      • RobA says:

        Doug – gun c9ntrol is the one issue where bith sides completely agree on what the other side wants.

        Usually, it’s demonizing rhetoric (on both far sides of the spectrum) that either misconstrued the others position or outright lies about it (“Democrats want to destroy Christianity!!”or “all republicans are horrible racists!!”).

        Gun control is unique in that it seems bith sides completely bang on about what the other wants but holds it up as if the error in that thinking should be self evident.

        For example, you state “next thing, we’ll be having u I versa background checks!!! *gasp*”.

        And we’re over here saying “uh, yes. Of course we do. What sane person wouldnt?”

        I cannot for the life of me fathom why this is a partisan issue. If you have nothing in your background that should preclude you from gun ownership, yiu have nothing to worry about. If you do, then thank god for those background checks.

        To us, it sounds just as bizarre as “they want to make sure only NON criminals can have guns!!! *gasp*”

  2. 1mime says:

    Here’s some positive news for those who support expanded healthcare for more Americans.

    Note: the largest increases in new coverage is among Hispanics, Blacks, and lower income Americans.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/184064/uninsured-rate-second-quarter.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=syndication

  3. RobA says:

    Wow. I was under the impression Trumps comments and brief run so far had been a disaster for him. I guess they’ve only been a disaster to his business. Politically, he’s on fire. New polls show he’s the top republican. Of ALL of them.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/07/10/the_daily_donald_meet_your_new_gop_frontrunner_america/

    Part of me thinks he has to be a secret democrat troll, showing to one and all the true colours of the religious far right.

    A guy with zero political experience and a clownish national profile comes in and is widely regarded as a joke, but as soon as he starts saying the most explicitly racist things of all the GOP contenders he all of a sudden becomes the guy leading the pack?

    I feel like this is some sort of bizarro world. Trump is doing is all a huge service.All he’s really doing is holding up a mirror to the far right and reflecting back their personal views, but doing so on a grand stage so that now every sane and moderate republican can no longer debate that the right wing that’s been controlling the party is nothing more then scared, hateful racists who just want to unleash their impotent rage at the inevitable loss of the culture wars.

    If the Donald keeps up polling this high, this will do more damage to the GOP brand/chance in 2016 then any Democrat can do.

    There’s a reason why almost everyone of Trumps partners are rushing to cut ties with him: Disney or NBC or the PGA doesn’t REALLY care about Trumps opinions on Mexicans. What they care about are the people opinions who consume their products.

    And they spend far, far more money on focus groups, research etc then any political party does in order to find out the values of the “average American”. THAT’S why they cannot work with Trump anymore. They know he’s toxic to the majority o Americans.

    Conservatives are always complaining about the “liberal media” or “pandering corporations”. They’re missing the point. Companies and the media are not becoming more liberal in a vacuum. There doing it because AMERICA is becoming more liberal (and quickly) and they (like all successful businesses) are trying to appeal to the broadest customer base possible.

    I truly believe that the push from the far right in recent years on so many culture war battle fronts os what is behind the increased rise of liberalism. The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction that holds true in the natural world. Since humans are part of that natural world, it stands to reason that mass behavior will tend to follow similar laws.

    Kind of ironic (and if I’m being honest with myself, I’m guiltily enjoying the schadenfreude ) if it ends up being the far rights hard push in recent years that is one of the main factors that really brings about the change that they so fear in the first place.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Sorry, but the Second Law of Thermodynamics is about entropy. You’re thinking of Newton, but referenced his Third Law, not the Second. Sorry for this, but I just can’t help it!

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Eh…nothing much bizarro about this.

      April 2011: Trump leads GOP polling
      June 2011: Bachmann leads GOP polling
      October 2011: Cain leads GOP polling

      This is no different than 2011. Polling at this stage is nothing more than who is being loud enough to get him/herself on the news every night.

      Trump is not a spokesperson for the religious right. He might be loved by some right-wing folks, but he’s not Huckabee/Santorum.

      Your boles seem to be a bit hyper this morning:

      “every sane and moderate republican can no longer debate that the right wing that’s been controlling the party is nothing more then scared, hateful racists who just want to unleash their impotent rage at the inevitable loss of the culture wars.”

      And yet, Bush is by far the most likely nominee, and Bush is nothing if not a highly connected insider who loves big business, just like every GOP candidate we’ve had for the past 20 years.

      • RobA says:

        Good points. This is the first election cycle I’ve been paying close attention to this early, so perhaps this is typical.

        I don’t really remember much about the specific policies of those two.

        We’re they as blatantly racist and offensive?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Bachmann is nuts and Cain is an idiot.
        Cain is nuts and Bachmann is an idiot.

        It works either way.

        You know, I’m being harsh. Both are relatively well educated and successful people. It is hard to be an idiot and accomplish what they accomplished. So, let’s just go with, “both endorsed positions and made statements that were nuts and idiotic”.

        Trumps comments about Mexico are no more racist (or more accurately xenophobic) than the comments of any dozen politicians over the last several years.

        The folks coming across the border from Mexico generally are not engineers and doctors. Some would say they are all criminals since they are breaking the law by coming here. Trump’s a blowhard, but he’s just playing different notes on the same tune Perry was playing when he was getting his picture taken with a big ol’ gun on a boat patrolling the border.

      • RobA says:

        Houston, no doubt some of the illegals are criminals. Probably even a higher percentage then the general population due to the typical socio-economic status of those that come over.

        The comments are still inherently racist and more importantly are clearly intended to appeal directly to racist voters.

        My personal opinion is that all this talk about immigrants is a massive red herring. Productivity had increased steadily since WWII, and yet middle class wages have not budged in the 60’s (inflation asjusted). Something is wrong. It is clear that the middle class is not sha ring in the rewards of the fruits of their labour.

        People are angry and they are looking for someone to blame. And the “immigrants coming ti take your job and commit crimes” meme plays very well with the GOP base. It’s been shown time and again that we are far more likely to believe something if it fits in well with our preconceived notions. The idea of the criminal Mexican, jumping the border to sell drugs and rape white women, fits perfectly within the bases narrative, and so it’s accepted without question.

        Personally, I think this is purposefully done by groups like the Koch Bros and other Big Business moneyed interests. The REAL reason the middle class is stagnating (imo) is the utter failure of supply side/trickle down economics that crushes labor unions, gives huge tax cuts for the rich, cuts social spending to the bone, and does things like hold dwn the minimum wage so low that a person working 40 hours a week will still be under the poverty line. That’s wrong.

        The reason I think this is that if Big Biz and the GOP establishment TRULY wanted to do something on immigration, they would have. They stonewalled every attempt to pass immigration reform for years now. The thing is, for all their lip service, they LOVE illegal immigrants. They have cheap labor, and due to their illegal status, have very few labour rights and are thus easily explotted.

        But I digress.

        The failed economic policies that are a disaster for the middle class have been a boon for the 1%, and they (short sightedly) wish to keep it that way. So since they must distract from the REAL reason why the middle class is being destroyed, they have to come up with a bogus reason. Not to say that illegal immigration isn’t a problem. But it’s importance to the health of the nation is so far exaggerated by the GOP that it boggles the mind. And of course, while this distracts the base from the real reason why they’re struggling (because if they KNEW thw real reason, they’d probably want to change it, and the 1% cnt have that), it also has the undesirable effect of creating a toxic, racist stew that is just waiting for the right guy to come around and say everything they’re feeling. And Trumps that guy. I’ve got a feeling he’s going to stick around a lot longer then most people think.

        But, as the saying goes, you can fool some people all of the time, and you can fool all the people some of the time, but yiu can’t fool all of the people all of the time. I have faith that people are finally starting to come around on the real illness that’s destroying the American middle class (which is kind of the same thing as destroying America itself, since the middle class IS America) and they won’t be fooled anymore. I think thats why you’re seeing Bernie Sanders and his eye popping numbers at rallies. He’s tapping into something that lots of us are feeling but can’t articulate.

        We don’t want anymore tax cuts for the rich. We want huge investments in education and infrastructure. We don’t need to be spending more money on the military then the next 9 countries combined. We want a robust social safety net that incentives work, but that do nit strip fellow Americans of their healthough and dignity just because they are poor. We want a government who takes climate change seriously and invests heavily in renewable energy (which will create far more jobs then they will displace). We want ALL Americans to enjoy the rights and benefits (and responsibilities) of citizenship, not just the white males. We think that if someone works 40 hours of good and honest labour/week they should be able to afford the basic benefits of being an American (a roof over their head, food on the table, clothes on their backs), we want to stop subsidizing corporate profits (when companies are allowed to pay subsistence wages, thy will. And when they do, Uncle Sam is on the hook in the form of welfare programs to bring that person up out of poverty). We think that education is a right, not a privilege, and that no American that WANTS to be educated should ever be shut out merely because they can’t afford it. We think that education is an INVESTMENT and NOT an expense that will come back to us many times over; The success of America and the education level of her population have always been directly correlated.

        I dont think Bernie will win the nomination, but I’ve contributed to his campaign, and I know several people I know have as well. He has huge value in bringing Hillary to the left.

        Bernie Sanders (despite the bad hair, bad teeth and overall unpresidential look to him) is speaking truth to power and Hillary has no choice but to notice the movement he’s building.

        Sorry for writing a novel lol. I guess I’m just feeling optimistic (for the first time in a long time) about the way America is heading.

      • 1mime says:

        For what it’s worth, Rob, I agree with you. I still think Hillary will be the nominee but I hope she is wise enough (and humble enough) to learn from Bernie.

      • BigWilly says:

        If a body is in the country illegally, is not that body by definition criminal? If you’re here illegally you’ve committed a crime. I don’t know that there’s any way around that.

        Frankly I don’t see anything wrong with Trump’s comments. Obviously any word that comes out of the mouth, or any other medium, of a Republican will be characterized as racist, bigoted, etc. etc. etc., if it is at all possible to do so.

        I don’t really see the big wave election that you do. There’ve been many occasions in the past when one party or the other was “on the ropes” and yet each time they still managed to hold on long enough to bounce back.

        As long as most conservatives view education as a cover term for commie indoctrination there’s a good reason to take the fight to big education.

        I’ll never forget that shrill whine of the Literature Prof. “It’s not history, it’s herstory.” God, I wanted to puke. Really? I think it should be his Tory, don’t you? What a fatuous load of gnu guano.

      • RobA says:

        HEre’s a few graphs which I think are relevent:

        First is what I mentioned above, about productivity vs. wages. Pretty stark, and pretty self explanatory. Even though the middle class has done IT’S part in increasing productivity, Big Business has kept all that extra profit for itself. This is unsustainable.

        The first graph shows that sometime around the 60’s, money is being taken from the middle class. This one shows where it’s going:

        This is a problem, and it’s 100% related to policy. In particular, the “failed” trickle down economics we’ve been suffering under for decades. I put “failed” in parenthesis because I don’t believe it truly failed. I believe it achieved exactly the result it was supposed to have when it was implemented. The obscene wealth increase of the richest 5% at the expense of everyone else was not an unexpected consequence, it was entirely by design.

        Lastly, I wanted to say a bit about unions. I know unions are not all that popular, but I truly do think they are essential to middle class fortunes. It was unions that CREATED the middle class, and unions that need to sustain it. Not “unions for everyone” or “forced unionization”. But we need to stop passing laws that are designed to do nothing else but destroy them. Yes, like anything else, unionism to the extreme is toxic, such as the role unions played in bankrupting the Big 3 (but the companies deserve at least as much blame. It is the nature of unions to ask for the moon. It is not all their fault when companies are so short sighted that they agree to excessive benefits because they’re printing money TODAY, even though the benfits they agree too may well bankrupt them during a global downturn TOMORROW). I think to look at that and say “unions are bad” is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Unions are NOT bad. Excessive unionism can be, but that can be said about anything.

        One thing that really changed my thinking on unions is how correlated the middle class is with union membership. And it makes a certain amount of sense. As Marx said, the entire history of human confliuct can be boiled down to class war. Lord vs. Serf. Bougeousie vs. Proletariat. Middle Class vs. 1%, Doesn’t matter what you call them, it’s always the same. And there is nothing inherently wrong with this. I liken it to a business negotiation. Both sides are trying to get the best deal for themselves, and that’s fine. But when you handicap one side with excessive legislation and laws, you upset the balance, and inequality and concentration of wealth are inevitable.

        these charts show union membership juxtaposed with the health of the middle class. While I don’t think these graphs settle it, I think they show something that we should all be paying attention too. This one shows the relationship between union membership and middle class incomes:

        And this one shows the relationship between union membership and income inequality, specifically union membership vs. % of income flowing to the top 10%

        http://images.dailykos.com/images/103476/large/union_membership_top_10_pct_income.png?1409679801

        I find this one so interesting, in that they are almost a mirror image of each other. Any gains by one comes at the expense of the other and vice versa. That’s why we need strong labour laws. Not to force unionism on those who don’t want it, but to make it as easy as possible for those who DO want to unionize. Right now it’s like playing poker except the other guy can see your cards and you ccan’t see his. You’re at an almost insurmountable disadvantage. That needs to chance.

      • Doug says:

        “The comments are still inherently racist…”

        Explain, please. You admitted the (somewhat exaggerated) truth of the comments. Trump also prefaced the comments with “Mexico is not sending us her best people” which implies that it’s the class (for lack of a better word) of the illegals, not the race.

        If thousands of murdering thugs were coming here from Iceland and someone said “Hey, those Icelandic folks coming over here are criminals,” would that be racist? What if the guy saying it was black?

        Now, that doesn’t mean that racists wouldn’t appreciate Trump’s comments, even though “Mexican” is not a race.

      • RobA says:

        BW – yes, the example you cite is annoying. But that’s a Liberal Arts prof. That’s a very tiny portion of what I say when I saw we must invest in “education”. I’m talking the entire gamut, from engineers, lawyers and doctors at major unis, to liberal arts or undergrads at colleges, to trades at community college or trades. The point is, “education” is merely the system humans have developed to teach one generation from the next. To ensure that the knowledge we learned since we began to write is kept, added to , and passed on. It’s no different from a lioness teaching her cubs to hunt (well, it’s not FUNDAMENTALLY different. It is of course much more complex). If that lioness doesn’t teach her cubs that knowledge, they will die. Likewise, so would we, if we fail to pass on ours ( or at least live in a society that none of us would like too).

        That’s the big picture, “surviving and thriving” reason why we need to invest in education. On a more local scale, when we look at individual humans, education is the only proven and time tested vehicle for class mobility. Even if many people don’t take advantage of educational opportunities, the important thing is that they HAVE those opportunities. If you eliminate class mobiliity, you eliminate the natural pressure release valves that exist. By confining everyone to the class they are born in, the pressure will eventually build up until society explodes, a la the French Revolution. Obviously not everyone is going to take advatnatge of accessible education. Even if 70% don’t, that’s fine. Because making education accessible is not FOR those that cann’t be bothered. since those people do not care, they do not build up class and societal pressures. Making education accessible is for those 30% (in this hypothetical example) that desperately want to improve their lives, that are willing to work their asses for it. If you confine THESE people to the class of their birth with no hope for ever getting out, THAT’S what creates unsustainable and explosive cultural pressure.

        For anyone to oppose education investment because they’re worried about “indoctrination” is patently absurd. first off all, these are adults (I assume we can agree that “indoctrination” doesn’t really start in middle school). They are free to make up their own minds. There’s a reason education skews more towards liberalism and it’s not because of “indoctrination”. It’s because the more we learn, the broader our worldview, the more we reject the classic tribalism that seems to be the root of most bigotry and racism (i.e. idealization of MY tribe, rejection of The Other).

        I do believe you when you say that conservatives will fight against what they percieve as “commie” education. That’s why I think it is so important to remove conservatives from political power as much as possible (legally, through the ballot box, of course) until they can come to their senses and reject their policies that would destroy America.

        I’m obviouslyl liberal, but I have no desire for some “liberal takeover”. I think ANY idealogy if left to it’s own devices will become toxic. I think the country is far healthiest when it has two sane and rational parties that are able to compromise and work together acting as checks and balances on the excesses of the other. Two parties that don’t think the other side is the enemy. But what I see (and I do believe that many others see it too) right now from the GOP is flat out scary. I realize you and others like you probably feel the same when you look at Dems today.

        I guess the only thing left to do is vote, and let the chips fall where they may.

      • RobA says:

        Doug – I get what you’re saying, and I guess you are right, that in a vaccuum, the comments are not INHERENTLY racist. But context matters. These are clearly designed to appeal to voters with xenophobic worldviews, and to reaffirm their own preconceived notions. If the worry is crime, then why not advocate better funded police forces (ya know, so they don’t rely on asset seizure of Americans who havent even been charged of a crime), better training for police officers, MORE police officers etc? But you don’t hear a word about stopping the CRIME. What you hear about is the stopping the IMMIGRANTS. A huge percentage of these people are opposed to immigrants in general, even legal ones.

        It’s clear pandering to a base that is just full of rage. They see their cultural dominance fading, and they need to blame someone. The problems that need to be addressed in America are FAR beyond illegal immigration. It’s like worrying about the splinter in your foot when you’ve just taken a shotgun blast to the chest.

        But it plays well to the xenophobic base, who believes in simple solutions. “If we can just build that electrified fence across the border, all our problems would be a-ok!”

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        RobA, amen

    • 1mime says:

      Actually, Rob, I’m considering making a campaign donation to Donald Trump. “A girl’s gotta do what a girl can do!” Let’s help conservatives paint themselves into a corner.

      I don’t know if you saw footage last night about the melee that occurred in the House of Reps over the legislation regarding flying confederate flags in national military cemeteries. And, the absolutely heart-felt, passionate address by the SC Republican female (sorry can’t recall her name) who reps Charleston. She forcefully spoke to the heart of the matter and called out her colleagues who were obstructing the debate on removing the confederate flag. If only more Republicans would stand up to their colleagues on issues that are dividing our nation. Well, one day at a time. I’m proud of Gov. Haley and this female representative for leading the way. More women in Congress are needed.

    • RobA says:

      Houston – just did some quick research and I don’t see Bachman ever really leading at all. Herman Cain seems to have a few weeks where he led, but it appears to have been mostly Romney and Newt the whole way.

      Cain doesn’t appear to have led in any of the Gallup polls either.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationwide_opinion_polling_for_the_Republican_Party_2012_presidential_primaries

      As you say, it’s still very early and polls don’t mean nearly as much now as they will later.

      Still not a good look for the GOP

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Rob, it certainly isn’t a good look for the GOP, but we won’t be talking about Trump leading anything a few months from now.

        From your link: “Eleven different people were at the top of a poll at one time or the other; these were (in chronological order of earliest poll lead): Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum.”

        If you look in 2011, you are going to see a relatively big set of polls (Zogby, Rasmussen) that had Cain, Huckabee, Bachmann, and a set of others leading, with Romney always lurking in second or third place. One person would rotate off the top, and Romney would pop back to first. Another goofball would rotate to the top, and Romney would be second, and then that person would fade away, and Romney went back up. Heck, there was a whole month or two where Newt was leading.

        That sounds awfully similar to what we are seeing with Bush now. We’ll flirt with Trump, let Rand flirt with us, take a flyer for a while on Walker, nod in agreement with Cruz, and then it will be Bush at the end.

      • Doug says:

        “then it will be Bush at the end”
        No. Please, just…no.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Doug, I just don’t seen any other end-game for you here, unless Bush has a big blunder somewhere along the way (which is entirely possible).

        Let’s just cross off a few right now. We know it won’t be:
        Trump
        Carson – no real way for him to win
        Fiorina – who?
        Graham – who are we kidding?
        Huckabee – nope
        Jindal – nope
        Pataki – wouldn’t win his own state
        Perry – would win his own state, and few others
        Santorum – GOP tradition would have him as the front runner since he was the last man standing against Romney, but no one seriously believes he can be President

        I would bet all the money in Donald Trump’s pockets that none of those folks will win a the election in 2016.

        So, who are we left with?

        Paul – no man with a perm wins in 2016

        Kasich – Not bad, but little name recognition – and is not rabidly against Obamacare, so no hope as a Republican

        Christie – would take a mammoth change to make that happen. Evidently, the more you know about Christie, the less you like him. In a four month campaign, maybe you can stay in the honeymoon period, but no way it lasts for a 12 month campaign.

        Cruz – appeal is just too narrow. As much as you might love him and Texas might love him, no one else does. Being the angriest man in the room rarely draws a big enough crowd to you.

        Walker – has shown he can win in a blue state and seems to be an unkillable zombie politician no matter how he is polling. Our recent string of Presidents have all been Ivy League educated. I’m not sure the country is willing to hand over the keys to someone without a college degree. Truman was the last to not have a degree.

        Rubio – four or eight years too early, not unlike Obama but does not have the charisma of Obama

        Bush – who beats him if he doesn’t beat himself?

      • 1mime says:

        “Bush – who beats him if he doesn’t beat himself?”

        Little brother. Long coat tails.

  4. RobA says:

    Wow, Pope Francis is really kicking ass and taking names lately.

    What with the climate change encyclical, and now a pretty direct and unambiguous attack on unfettered capitalism, you have to imagine this guy’s making some pretty powerful enemies.

    He seems like hes on a swrious mission. Be interesting to see how far he wants to take this.

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0PJ29B20150710?irpc=932

    • 1mime says:

      No, Rob, what’s going to be interesting is how conservatives in Congress will respond to Pope Francis as he makes the first papal address to a joint session of Congress.

    • fiftyohm says:

      RobA – You seem to forget the fact that first and foremost he wants you to be a Catholic, eschew birth control, and reproduce like rabbits. You’re cherry-picking.

      • RobA says:

        Oh for sure. I’m not holding him up as someone who is right about everything.

        In fact, I’m probably more capitalist then most of my liberal friends. There are definitely huge negatives to it, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

        That doesn’t mean we can’t tweak the model. I DO believe unfettered and unregulated capitalism is an inherently unjust system that by its nature has no choice but to eventually concentrate wealth and power in the upper tiers.

        I’m not talking about communism or anything so radical. Just reasonable regulations on what businesses are and aren’t allowed to do.

        And really, this is a ready the system we have in place. I don’t think there’s any developed country in the world that has a truly free market, it is just a matter of thw scale of regulations each country chooses to have.

        For example, the justice dept will still go pretty heavily after companies that break anti trust rules. That wouldn’t happen in a free market.

        My point in bringing it up is just how surprising it is that a world leader would be willing to stray from the script and attack capitalism so directly. You very rarely see that.

      • 1mime says:

        Imagine, the Pope is an independent thinker! Would that this example inspire rather than dismay his detractors.

      • johngalt says:

        But it’s nice to have something to cherry-pick. I used to find the Pope said very little with which I agreed. Now there are at least a few things. It does make it harder to criticize the religion for hypocrisy, since Francis seems to walk the walk a bit better than his predecessors.

  5. bubbabobcat says:

    OT, I have always been an unabashed admirer of Jimmy Carter.

    Here is a history burnishing elegy for the man. A bit fawning, but in my opinion deservedly so.

    And as the article noted, an under appreciated visionary with policies and principles way before his time.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/09/opinion/nicholas-kristof-jimmy-carter-his-legacy-and-a-rabbit.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0

    And you would think a certain demographic would hold him up as a shining example of their “culture”: He was an unabashed Southerner with a noticeable Georgia drawl, openly and devoutly Christian and practiced what he and the Bible preached, a distinguished Naval Academy graduate and submarine commander (one of the most challenging and grueling commands in the Navy), and a humanitarian who appears to have done far more good as an ex President despite the challenges and tribulations and sea change in the world he faced and had to address as Commander in Chief and leader of the free world during the Cold War.

    • Doug says:

      He also made home brew legal.

      • texan5142 says:

        Grinning from ear to ear!

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Interesting excerpts from Carter’s 1979 “malaise” (or more accurately, “crisis of confidence”) speech:

        “I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 — never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980s, for I am tonight setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half by the end of the next decade — a saving of over 4-1/2 million barrels of imported oil per day.”

        “We have the natural resources. We have more oil in our shale alone than several Saudi Arabias. We have more coal than any nation on Earth. We have the world’s highest level of technology. We have the most skilled work force, with innovative genius, and I firmly believe that we have the national will to win this war” [on energy crisis/oil shortage].

        “I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation’s first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000.”

        “To give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation’s history to develop America’s own alternative sources of fuel — from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun.”

        Oil shale, solar, biofuels, coal, energy independence, net oil exporter, hmmmmm…

        As I said, visionary ahead of his time.

      • 1mime says:

        Bubba, thank you for expanding my appreciation for Pres. Jimmy Carter. I always liked him for all the reasons that have been listed, but I lacked depth of understanding of his many contributions while in office. His quiet good work following his Presidency sets the bar very high for others. (I’ll bet Carter would never have charged $100K to speak to wounded vets.)

        The earlier observation that “nice” people don’t make good Presidents is sad. Even more sad is that they won’t ever be selected by their parties as possible candidates. The political process in our country is built around power acquisition and continuation. This is as old as time but in a Democracy we all hope for something better, more fair and honest. As citizens, we hope candidates will be fundamentally good people and that they will have enough sense and backbone to resist those who try to use them for their own purposes. The process is flawed, but it has worked – even if poorly. I believe we are seeing fundamental changes in the political process accompanied by overt disrespect for tradition and position. America’s system of constitutional checks and balance is struggling as our country and the world undergo tremendous change. The common denominator is always power. Leadership requires more than goodness, intelligence, and prescience; it requires a hard core and political savvy. Welcome to 2016. Let the games begin.

    • johngalt says:

      Jimmy Carter was a terrible president, but perhaps the best ex-president we’ve ever had. I teach students about a terrible parasitic disease called Guinea worm. In 1985 there were 3.5 million cases per year, all in Africa. There are no vaccines and no effective drugs to treat it. The Carter Center got involved, helping teach villagers to purify water through simple filters and what not to do if they are infected. Last year there were 126 cases. Not 126,000. 126. It will be eradicated in the next few years.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        JG – Although the Carter years were terrible, I don’t blame him. I just consider him the unluckiest President in my lifetime. Opec was whipping us around and energy prices were very high but that started earlier in Nixon’s years. And Iranian revolution coming to a head was not something he or anyone else could stop. He did allow the Shah in the country for medical treatment so that may have contributed to the hostage situation in the US embassy. So we had hostages that were on every news cycle for 444 days. for those of you that are too young to remember, “Nightline” was started to bring hostage news 4 nights a week. The military was at a low in terms of moral after Vietnam. And we did not have the highly trained units that we do today. And of course, the rescue attempt that went very wrong.

        He did get some things accomplished, Camp David being the best known.

        Although Carter himself says that there is nothing to the “October Surprise” with the hostages being freed on Reagan’s inauguration, I will always wonder why OPEC led by Saudis reduced oil prices a month or two after Reagan’s inauguration. Why the timing? Was it because of high Republican politicians deeply involved in the Mid East oil business and the Saudi family, or just more of Carter’s bad luck.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        JG, thanks for the story. It’s a terrific outcome.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Thank you for the clarification unarmed. I too feel that he was caught up in circumstances that I doubt any other President (or Gerald Ford if he had been re-elected) would have handled differently.

        And as a side note, I have mentioned this before also, Carter created the elite Delta Force unit after the failed Desert One hostage rescue disaster because he realized we lacked that capability and readiness on a moment’s notice. FYI I highly respect Ford also and he presided over the horribly botched SS Mayaguez attempted rescue that killed more rescuers (41) than American military hostages they were trying to rescue including 3 Marines left behind alive in the chaos and presumed later executed. The hostages were actually released before the rescue attempt.

        And the country wasn’t ready for Carter’s conservation measures to address the oil crisis. He was mocked for wearing a sweater in the White House and turning the thermostat down in the winter. He installed solar panels in the White House which Reagan promptly removed when he took office and it was never reinstalled until Obama took office.

        Carter also tightened EPA MPG requirements for cars which Reagan also reversed and not addressed again until Obama.

        And finally, I’ve noted this numerous times before also but Carter canceled the obsolete when built B-1 bomber program to focus research and financial resources on the then top secret stealth B-2 bomber program. And of course Reagan promptly uncanceled that and NEVER used the bomber in his 8 years in office. Including when he bombed Libya with old B-117 bombers. And as each B-1 crashed in training, they were never replaced. And his successor George HW Bush didn’t use one single B-1 bomber in the first Desert Storm Gulf War. It wasn’t first used in combat until Clinton in 1998.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Correction: Reagan bombed Libya with old F-111 bombers. F-117’s were actually newer stealth fighter planes.

      • fiftyohm says:

        He was a terrible president, but he was, (is), also a good man. He signed, (as noted above), H.R. 1337, and he makes furniture! How great is that?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I love me some Jimmy, but he was a horribly ineffective president. I’m not sure any president would have come out of ’77 – 81′ looking great, but Jimmy could not get ducks aligned within Congress or even within his own party.

        A very, very good man, and an extremely well-rounded man who understands and is fluent in both science and religion, truly cares about his fellow humans, and has spent more energy doing more good for people than the vast majority of the population, but a very, very ineffective president.

      • johngalt says:

        Bubba and unarmed, you give Carter a pass on things out of his control, but we elect presidents to deal with whatever may come. If he thought Americans wanted to kowtow to OPEC by lowering the thermostat, he read the tea leaves very wrongly. The issue with the Shah may have followed a long series of bad decisions by several presidents, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The raid on the embassy could have ended with all the hostages dying, with all the rescuers dying as long as they went out in a blaze of gunfire and glory and it would have been better than a helicopter crash in the desert. If you remember, one of our copters went down in taking out bin Laden, but the team blew it up and got on the backup. Is the poor execution Carter’s fault? Fair or unfair, he’s the president and the buck stops with him.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        JG – Wow,I had forgotten a lot of that. The fact that Carter was a deregulater is also forgotten lately.

        I sometimes think Obama is as lucky as Carter was unlucky. Not taking anything away from Obama or his policies, but he has had some things go his way.

        I sometimes think we were looking for honesty when we elected Carter, after the Nixon years. As you say, he brought honesty.

        He is still honest (his writings on the middle east) and we still don’t want to hear the truth.

      • 1mime says:

        Unarmed, I’m curious as to how you think Obama was “lucky”?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        JG – It may just be semantics. I’ll grant you that a president is ultimately responsible for what happens during his term. But to leave it at that is the lazy way of looking at reality. That is the way most voters see things, but it’s not for me.

        Those were horrible years, our fear of communism feeding most of it, causing terrible things to be done in my, our name. And it all came to a head during those years.

        But to say Carter was a terrible president is to prent a short-cut mental picture of who we are and how we should be governed.

        If we are going to label a terrible president, I have a candidate. I won’t name names but he is the anti-Carter. The one that spoke in sound bites. The one that ended most alternate energy research. The one that signalled that union busting was acceptable. The one that did not know that the word ballistic, as in ballistic missile, meant that it could not be recalled once it was fired. But I won’t say simply, he was terrible, without plenty of qualification.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Mime- Just trying to be consistent. I think President Obama has made some important and correct policy decisions. But the fact that the economy was in free fall when he took office was in a way lucky. There was no way but up. This was helped by the maturing of the technology called fracking.

        Carter had his failed rescue, Obama killed Bin Laden. I’ll listen to any arguments about luck being involved with either, but really, any thing could have gone right. or wrong.

        And the opposition had started to believe their own bullshit. Allowing Obama to appear even smarter and more presidential.

        In years to come, you will hear, “I’ll say this about Obama, he killed Bin Laden and he got the price of gas down”.

      • johngalt says:

        At the end of Carter’s term, gas was expensive, we had been humiliated in Iran and were not far removed from a humiliation in Vietnam. The USSR was strong, our economy was mired in inflation and the highest interest rates ever recorded in this country, and the military was so weak we couldn’t fly a helicopter across a desert. We were in a malaise, as the person whose name shall not be spoken said.

        In contrast, at the end of the presidency of the person whose name shall not be spoken, the economy was booming, interest rates and inflation were low. The military was strong and this was a significant contributor to the Soviet bloc starting to fall apart. Gas was cheap (so alternative energy research seemed less important, even if this was shortsighted). You can say he spoke in sound bites; go listen to his speech from Berlin, his address after the Challenger disaster, or his speech on the “Boys of Pont du Hoc” and you’ll get another sense. The union he busted was one of federal employees who went on strike despite being legally barred from doing so. No, you’ll need stronger beer than that to convince me that history will see Carter as the more effective president.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Unarmed…there is a difference between being correct and being effective.

        It is not as though Carter was wrong about a whole slew of issues. However, he wasn’t able to convince others that he was right. He simply was not able to “lead the country” or even much of his own party for that matter.

        Even with all the advantages of incumbency, it was going to be tough for a Republican to win the election in ’76, and I doubt Carter wins any election other than ’76.

        I do wonder if some of Carter’s better ideas would not have flourished more had he been elected in the booming 90’s rather than Clinton.

        It makes one wonder if “a good man” can be an effective President in our world today.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        JG- ” We were in a malaise, as the person whose name shall not be spoken said.” I’m smiling as I write. He didn’t say that. But still, we were in a “malaise”. It was a terrible time. Are you complimenting Him on his speeches or Peggy Noonan?

      • johngalt says:

        Give the “Pont du Hoc” speech to George W. Bush and tell me if you think the effectiveness of a speech comes entirely from the speechwriter.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        JG and Homer – I guess it is semantics. I reacted to the word terrible and now we are talking about effective.

        I read this blog and the comments because of the smart and reasonable person that lifer is and equally the smart, reasonable, people that comment. If the original comment had been “Carter was ineffective under the circumstances” I would have read on and not commented.

        That is what I mean about talking in sound bites. Reagan said, we have to control the deficit, we have to increase Defense spending, we cannot make the SS recipients suffer, we have to control entitlements, we can’t raise taxes …

        Youngsters reading this should get David Stockman’s book “The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed” and even more interesting, a copy of a “Atlantic Monthly” article by William Greider. This was the genesis of “trickledown”. A read of Stockman’s wikipedia entry might be enough.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1981/12/the-education-of-david-stockman/305760/

        I considered myself a fiscal conservative up until Reagan’s election. Anybody remember how Republicans screamed how we were going down the toilet because of Carter’s spending? We have to get this deficit under control. Seriously, do you remember? I was one of those people. Then to see the deficit skyrocket under a republican government. I screamed at the AM radio when a Democratic congress trimmed a Republican budget.

        Huge deficits year after year, good times or bad, will cause economic upturn. Huge, breathless, DUH.

        So I guess I’m saying we have to redefine “effective”.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        I still take issue with the characterization of Carter as a “terrible” or “horribly ineffective President”.

        JG, I would note that Carter had the unenviable task of dealing with “stagflation” for the first time in American history. Carter did manage to increase employment by 8 million and significantly reduce the budget deficit (Republican Holy Grails) at the end of his tenure, but he was unable to rein in high inflation and interest rates and that is all it seems we harp on now. And also, don’t forget that Reagan had two terms/8 years to get it right economically and he started off with his own Brownbackian scale fuck up by immediately cutting taxes while spending like a drunken sailor (irony intended) and plunging the country into the worst recession since the Great Depression up to that time. And how soon we forget those 10%+ unemployment rates under the Reagan recession and that Reagan ended with the largest budget deficit in US history up to that time. And that Reagan had to acknowledge his missteps and failed “trickle down economics” and raised taxes several times through both of his terms.

        JG, I would also disagree on your characterization that “the military was strong” under Reagan (and by association, implying it wasn’t under Carter) or that he deserved much of the credit of the fall of the Soviet Union or Communism. I credit Gorbachev for having the vision and foresight to see that Communism was a dead end course for the long term and instituted the radical and decidedly non traditionally Communist policies of “perestroika” and “glasnost”. I have stated all this previously also, as well as my opinion that Reagan would have started WW III and a possible nuclear one at that with his aggressive posturing and saber rattling. “Evil Empire” anyone? Any other Soviet leader other than Gorbachev would not have taken too kindly to Reagan’s in your face goading. And his massive military spending would have also led a less rational traditional Communist leader to attempt a tit for tat arms race and then subsequently forced into desperate measures militarily when they lost that arms race or bankrupted the Soviet bloc. Gorbachev just unilaterally refused to engage Reagan on his terms and follow him down that Cold War rabbit hole. And probably saved the world from a MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) nuclear world war.

        As it was, Reagan wasted countless billions on his nana booboo military “strategy” what with his useless mythical “600 ship navy” (which he never achieved) by taking obsolete WWII era battleships out of mothballs and sticking Tomahawk launchers to “modernize” them when we already had a plethora of truly modern and state of the art mobile air, ship, and subsea launched Tomahawk missile platforms. And I already noted the wasted billions on the useless B-1 bomber.

        And as for Reagan “projecting military power and swagger”, how soon we forget that Reagan did absolutely nothing in retaliation except withdraw when 241 marines and 63 US embassy personnel were killed in Islamic militant truck bomb terrorist attacks (sponsored if not planned and sanctioned by Iran) in Lebanon in 1983. That sounds like a pretty significant humiliation by Iran. But they didn’t call ole Dutch the “Teflon President” for no reason.

        Unless you count as “retaliation”, the botched invasion of that hotbed of Islamic radicalism, Grenada a few days after the terrorist attack in which they didn’t even have accurate maps of the tiny resort island country and none of the different military branches had compatible communications systems to coordinate the operation and more American servicemen were killed in friendly fire incidents and accidents than from enemy fire, including 8 Navy SEALS drowning during an operation that was later aborted. And not to mention Reagan secretly trading arms for hostages (Iran-Contra scandal) which only encouraged more hostage kidnappings in Lebanon.

        And I already noted how unprepared the US military was for hostage rescue missions and planning post Vietnam under both Ford (SS Mayaguez botched “rescue”) and Carter with the Desert One disaster so it would be unfair to compare the stunningly successful bin Laden raid 30 years later with far superior training and technology and more importantly, the organizational structure specifically created for such high risk, precision military operations. And I will note that the bin laden raid had a totally different objective in that they were tasked to kill or capture a wanted terrorist as opposed to the far more complex and risky mission to try to safely rescue live captive hostages.

        For better or worse, it was Carter also who initiated surreptitiously arming the Afghan Mujahidin guerrilla resistance with stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other sophisticated and heavy weapons after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. And eventually causing the Soviets to withdraw from the country in their own Vietnam style quagmire in demoralized retreat if not in full out defeat. Without the loss of one single US military soldier or any direct conflict with the Soviets. I’ll leave to speculation which President(s) in the intervening years was/were responsible for the ascendance of Osama bin Laden in the post Soviet withdrawal Middle East landscape.

        As for Carter not being able to work with the typical politicians with both parties in Washington, that should not have been unexpected as Carter was elected because he was not a political insider nor played the “game”. He was too honest, and transparent, and straightforward to work well in Washington. You get what you paid for. Remember that as we continue to hear the catcalls that Hillary is too much of a “typical cynical self serving Washington type”.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Bubba – Commenting on this blog for me is like, well to paraphrase George Gobel, It is like being a pair of brown shoes in a tuxedo world. Very articulate and well thought out comments. That goes to the more conservative ones also.

      • 1mime says:

        Speaking for myself, unarmed, I like your brown shoes a lot. The penguins in the group are generally well behaved – as long as we “brown shoe types” are vigilant (-:

      • UnarmedandUnafraid says:

        Mime – Since I was paraphrasing, I should have said “brown shoes in a tuxedo and evening gown world”.

    • 1mime says:

      I was doing a little more reading about Pres. Carter and noted that he received the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. I had forgotten that.

  6. RobA says:

    Here’s another hoaxy story from some hoaxy scientist about that climate change hoax.

    http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/technology/climate-change-is-killing-off-bumblebees-study-1.3145014

    Summary: bees cannot move north to escape the heat like most animals and so they are basicallytrapped by a “wall” at the northernmost tip of their range, with their habitable zone moving around 9 km north every year. This is consistent across all latitudes on all continents.

    And since I’m sure the standard GOP response is “bees? Who cares about bees ” to put it in terms that they wpuld understand, Cornell University did a study that says bees are responsible for $26 billion worth of pollination EVERY YEAR in ONLY the US.

    http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2012/05/insect-pollinators-contribute-29b-us-farm-income

    You’re probably looking at close to $100 billion per year globally of economic value directly attributed to bees.

    There’s also the whole sea levels rising and displacing millions thing to be worried about as well.

    Thank goodness that CC stuff is just a big ol’ hoax, where thousands of scientists independently and concurrently all decided en masse to perpetuate this huge scam.

    Just so the government could come take your money. and your guns. Because LIBERTY!!!!!

  7. Turtles Run says:

    A study just released by the Behavioral Sciences & the Law journal reveals that those affected by anger and impulsive issues own a disproportionate number of firearmsavailable in this country.

    “The new research also indicates that the 310 million firearms estimated to be in private hands in the United States are disproportionately owned by people who are prone to angry, impulsive behavior and have a potentially dangerous habit of keeping their guns close at hand. That’s because people owning six or more guns were more likely to fall into both of these categories than people who owned a single gun

    I do not know which is scarier. These people with access to firearms or those that want to defend their access to fire arms.

    • Doug says:

      People who carry are more likely to own multiple firearms and vice versa. Duh. So people who own multiple firearms are more likely to both carry and drive cars. Or carry and eat bacon. Or carry and have anger issues. Brilliant!

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes Doug, I’m glad I don’t have your “brilliance”. So are people who carry more likely to eat more bacon than those who don’t? Because that’s how nonsensical and stupid your analogy is.

        And Turtles didn’t specifically mention “carry”. The specific quoted term was “close at hand”. Here is is his direct bold quote once more time for the benefit of YOUR reading comprehension.

        “That’s because people owning six or more guns were more likely to fall into both of these categories than people who owned a single gun”.

        So Doug, do people with six or more guns eat more bacon than those who own just one?

        I’m thinking of a sample of one that eats more crow.

        And speaking of guns, I’m sure those grandparents with the 3 year old who killed himself with their gun were pretty secure in having their gun nearby. And so did the house that was recently robbed…of their guns along with their other possessions.

        Duh.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Thank you Doug for that demonstration of your even handedness. What was it 30 firearms and silencers?

      • Turtles Run says:

        “People who carry are more likely to own multiple firearms and vice versa”

        No, Doug the point was those with prone to impulsiveness and anger own a disproportional amount of the weapons in this nation. Reasonable people would think that maybe their access to firearms should at least be noted. But even that is too much for you it seems. It is easier to dismiss the amount of gun violence in this country because you are unwilling to admit there is a problem.

        Sad when an Onion article echos so much truth.

        http://www.theonion.com/article/no-way-to-prevent-this-says-only-nation-where-this-36131

      • johngalt says:

        Bubba – that’s the rub. Individuals who choose to keep guns in their homes most often say it is for protection of some sort, that they feel safer because of it. That is not what the numbers say – a gun in a home a many times more likely to be used against another family member (whether accidentally or in anger) or in a suicide than it is in self-defense against an intruder. Those who own guns will generally say, as I bet those grandparents would have last week, that this would not happen to them, that they are careful. Yet rarely a week goes by without a report of some accidental shooting of a child, or a domestic argument that escalates into murder thanks to a readily available tool.

        The average person with a gun is not safer because of it, no matter how vehemently they might disagree.

      • Doug says:

        Bubba, how else does one keep a firearm close at hand? Also, the actual paper says “carry guns outside the home.”

        Logic is tough huh? Let’s try again: Some people have blue eyes and some are women. Blondes are more likely to have blue eyes. Therefore, blondes are more likely to fall into both categories (women with blue eyes). Do you infer from this that blondes are more likely to be female? That is exactly the logic the Times is trying to use.

        Here’s another logic riddle: if angry people own a disproportionate share of firearms, and firearm sales are shyrocketing, why are murder rates going down?

      • 1mime says:

        Here ya go, Doug: Angry people with guns miss a lot (-:

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Doug, thank you for proving (yet again) that apparently “logic IS tough”… for YOU. As is reading comprehension. Consistently.

        You wrote:

        “People who carry are more likely to own multiple firearms and vice versa.”

        The article never stated that. This is what they DID claim verbatim (reposted for the THIRD time just for YOUR benefit and reading comprehension and “logic” issues):

        “The new research also indicates that the 310 million firearms estimated to be in private hands in the United States are disproportionately owned by people who are prone to angry, impulsive behavior and have a potentially dangerous habit of keeping their guns close at hand. That’s because people owning six or more guns were more likely to fall into both of these categories than people who owned a single gun.”

        And your factually and logically incorrect genetics analogy (as usual) makes no sense or correlation to the issue at hand (as your previous nonsensical convoluted “analogy”). Here is the logically (but NOT factually for consistency so you can possibly follow real logic) corrected version for you:

        “Some people have blue eyes [anger issues] AND…are women [guns close at hand]. Blondes [multiple gun owners] are [disproportionately] more likely to have blue eyes AND…are women [guns close at hand] than [brunettes/single gun owners]. Therefore, blondes [multiple gun owners] are more likely to fall into both categories (women [guns close at hand] with blue eyes [anger issues]) [THAN brunettes/single gun owners].”

        You’re welcome Doug.

        Nice try Doug. You fail again when debating with non wingnuts. Get a clue.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Doug wrote:

        “Here’s another logic riddle: if angry people own a disproportionate share of firearms, and firearm sales are shyrocketing [sic], why are murder rates going down?”

        Just a glutton for punishment Doug?

        Um, how about improvements/advancements in medical care for gunshot victims?

        “The number of reported gun injuries, however, is on the rise.
        There were 55,544 non-fatal injuries in 2011 resulting from assaults involving guns — up from 53,738 in 2010 and 44,466 in 2009, the CDC’s database shows. Since 2001, the rate of gun injuries is the second highest in 11 years when adjusted for population.”

        http://www.factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/

        Ain’t no drop in guns shot at (and hitting) people Doug.

      • 1mime says:

        Aw, Bubba, I liked my guess best!

    • Crogged says:

      And to JG’s point, fewer overall numbers of families have access to weapons, because to “safely” have access to a firearm (trigger locks, gun cabinets, ammunition stored away from gun) means less than calling the cops on your cell phone-unless we pass a law which requires burglars and robbers to provide five minute notice prior to entry. Hey, that’s it!

    • Doug says:

      “No, Doug the point was those with prone to impulsiveness and anger own a disproportional amount of the weapons in this nation. ”

      That is exactly what the L.A. Times would like you to think. It is not what the study said. I paid the $6 to “rent” a copy of the study and read the actual words.

      The authors asked ~6000 people about their gun access/carry habits and also to answer true/false to the following three questions:
      >I have tantrums or angry outbursts
      >Sometimes I get so angry I break or smash things
      >I lose my temper and get into physical fights

      I’ll leave aside the fact that most of the people surveyed had already reported “lifetime [mental] disorders,” plus a “probability subsample” of other people.

      Now, read their conclusions and tell me if this is what you got from the Times:

      “The proportions of the respondents who reported having tantrums or anger outbursts (19.1% of the total) or at least one of the anger items (25.0% in the total sample) were not significantly related either to having guns in the home or to the number of guns among those having any. By comparison, the proportion of respondents who reported breaking or smashing things in anger (11.6% of the total sample) was significantly lower among respondents with guns in the home than among those without. The proportion of respondents who reported losing their temper and fighting (6% in the total sample) was not significantly related to having guns in the home…but was positively and significantly associated with the number of guns among those who had any guns.”

      Yeah, I didn’t think so.

      Then they go on to state the brilliant logic that I mentioned earlier:

      “The proportion who reported carrying a gun outside the home was significantly higher among those with guns in the home than among those without (DUH!) and was significantly related to number of guns among those having any guns.”

      Of course. If you don’t have a gun in the home, you probably won’t carry said non-gun outside of the home. And people who own multiple guns are more likely to carry than those who only own grampa’s old 20 gauge side-by-side.

      So this leads us to the brilliant conclusion:

      “The proportion of respondents who reported the combination of any anger items with carrying a gun was significantly higher among those with than without guns in the home…and also higher among respondents with six or more compared to fewer guns.”

      In other words…

      The proportion of respondents who reported the combination of blue eyes with female genitalia was significantly higher among those with than without blonde hair…and also higher among respondents whose the carpet matched the drapes.

      The difference in the probability of the combination is directly related to probability of *one* of the factors (owning guns or blonde hair). It says absolutely *nothing* about the other factor (anger issues or female genitalia).

      All that said, the point of the study wasn’t who owns what (surprise!). The major point was that the hoopla over mentally ill mass shooters isn’t likely to lead anywhere productive. Most mentally ill people aren’t violent and a large percentage of violent people haven’t been involuntarily committed, and so wouldn’t be prevented from owning weapons by most proposed laws. The authors state that a better criteria might be restricting firearm ownership based on misdemeanor violent convictions or multiple DUI’s. I happen to partially agree with that assessment, since it’s counterproductive to write laws to restrict firearms based on the less than 1% of firearm homicides committed by psycho mass killers.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Doug, I am not going pony up any of my own money just to refute your continued obstinate nonsensical ramblings. Particularly based on your propensity to, and the preponderance of evidence indicating your inability to comprehend data logically and accurately. And that your own quotes of the paywall portion of the study contradict YOUR flawed interpretation of the study.

        Suffice it to say, this is the AUTHOR’S OWN abstract summarization of the study:

        “Analyses from the National Comorbidity Study Replication provide the first nationally representative estimates of the co-occurrence of impulsive angry behavior and possessing or carrying a gun among adults with and without certain mental disorders and demographic characteristics. The study found that a large number of individuals in the United States self-report patterns of impulsive angry behavior and also possess firearms at home (8.9%) or carry guns outside the home (1.5%). These data document associations of numerous common mental disorders and combinations of angry behavior with gun access. Because only a small proportion of persons with this risky combination have ever been involuntarily hospitalized for a mental health problem, most will not be subject to existing mental health-related legal restrictions on firearms resulting from a history of involuntary commitment. Excluding a large proportion of the general population from gun possession is also not likely to be feasible. Behavioral risk-based approaches to firearms restriction, such as expanding the definition of gun-prohibited persons to include those with violent misdemeanor convictions and multiple DUI convictions, could be a more effective public health policy to prevent gun violence in the population.”

        I’ll take the author’s own interpretation of THEIR data over your persistently biased and fact challenged “translations” every time, Doug.

        And speaking of which Doug, You DO realize that the quote you posted to refute the association you refuse to acknowledge actually accomplished the opposite and CONFIRMED that association and CONCLUSION of the study? Ellipses and redactions of the full quote and all.

        “The proportion of respondents who reported losing their temper and fighting (6% in the total sample) was not significantly related to having guns in the home… but was POSITIVELY and SIGNIFICANTLY associated with the number of guns among those who had any guns.”

        In other words, the more guns they had, the more likely they “reported losing their temper and fighting”. As noted in the study’s OWN abstract and in the conclusions CORRECTLY noted by the LA Times. And apparently, inadvertently corroborated by YOU also despite all your semantic, logical, and factual gymnastics, contortions, and convolutions in a yet another failed attempt to prove the opposite.

        Again, nice try Doug. But your reading comprehension and fact comprehension fail you. Yet again.

      • Doug says:

        bubba, sorry, I can’t make you understand statistics or logic. Or propaganda. Or carefully worded study summaries. Perhaps if I type slowly…

        There were three measures of “anger issues.” These were compared against gun ownership (access), and for those with guns, the number of guns.

        Of the three anger categories individually, ***none was positively correlated with gun ownership.**** One was negatively correlated.

        For any of the anger issues (inclusive), there was also ***no correlation to gun ownership.***

        Only one of the three anger categories was positively correlated to the number of guns *for those who owned guns*. So of course that’s the headline. Here’s one thing they don’t say: since “owns lots of guns” is a subset of “owns one or more guns” it logically follows that those who own a few guns are *less* likely than a non gun owner to have anger issues. Who’da thunk?

        The study and newspaper article would be more honest if the headline was “Study Finds Anger Issues not Correlated to Firearm Ownership.” But believe what you want to believe.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Bubba – I think this helps describe Doug’s point

      • bubbabobcat says:

        “But believe what you want to believe.”

        Yes Doug, we know that is your mantra and the “principles” you live by. Especially with all the “logic” and “facts” you have expounded on regarding global warming, race relations, economics, gun violence, …

      • johngalt says:

        Doug is closer to being right than the journalists are. The study (which I read – turns out my employer subscribes to “Behavioral Sciences and the Law”) did not find any correlation between gun ownership and impulsive/angry behavior. About 25% of people answered “yes” to at least one of three measures and this wasn’t significantly different between Gun+ and Gun-. For those who carry outside the house, the ones with more guns did have a higher-than-expected number of anger issues. This probably won’t reproduce well, but I’ll give it a shot (pun sort of intended). Carrier + Anger (expected) = carries X anger issues. The actual is what they observed.

        # of guns Carries Anger Carries + Anger Carries + Anger
        owned outside home issues (expected) (actual)
        0 0.7% 25.4% 0.2% 0.2%
        1 7.3% 21.9% 1.6% 1.8%
        2 8.8% 23.4% 2.1% 2.9%
        3-5 8.4% 27.0% 2.3% 2.5%
        6-10 14.2% 25.2% 3.6% 7.8%
        11+ 22.2% 24.6% 5.5% 7.3%

        So if 25% of everyone has “anger issues”, then amongst the owners of 6-10 guns, we’d expect (14.2/4) = 3.6% to carry outside the home and have anger issues. The actual number was a bit over twice that (7.8%). This is a statistically significant difference but how meaningful it is from a policy standpoint is debatable. The authors do not make any conclusions beyond this and acknowledge the uncertain implications on policy or public health.

        But, seen another way, 4.4% of people in their study routinely carry a gun and a quarter of these are prone to emotional outbursts of anger. So look around you on the street next time – for every 100 people, there is one person who you really don’t want to piss off.

      • johngalt says:

        Let me try that table again.

        # of guns……..Carries…………….Anger…………..Carries + Anger……..Carries + Anger
        owned…………outside home……issues……………..(expected)………………(actual)
        0…………………….0.7%……………25.4%………………….0.2%……………………0.2%
        1…………………….7.3%……………21.9%…………………1.6%…………………….1.8%
        2…………………….8.8%……………23.4%…………………2.1%…………………….2.9%
        3-5………………….8.4%……………27.0%…………………2.3%……………………2.5%
        6-10……………….14.2%…………..25.2%…………………3.6%……………………7.8%
        11+…………………22.2%………….24.6%………………….5.5%…………………..7.3%

      • johngalt says:

        OK, forget it. You can probably get the idea.

      • Doug says:

        “Bubba – I think this helps describe Doug’s point”

        That was a funny episode.

      • Doug says:

        Thanks, jg.

        I also question the significance of statistical significance when the numbers are so small. According to the study, people who own exactly one firearm are about 60% as likely to be “fighting” folks as those who own zero or two. Really?

      • johngalt says:

        “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

  8. 1mime says:

    In a time when there is so much conflict over racial issues, I thought all would appreciate this great story about one of America’s most famous jazz performers, Louis Armstrong. We need to always remember that there are many who have suffered and gone on to a better life, often through the kindness of others.

    http://www.jewishjournal.com/sacredintentions/item/did_you_know_that_louis_armstrong_wore_a_star_of_david

    • Doug says:

      Thanks for the link, mime. Louis Armstrong was an amazing man, and an amazing talent. Life definitely was not all roses, but he did a pretty damned good job of making the most of it.

      Funny how so much good music back in the day came from guys named Louis. Louis Prima was a contemporary of his, also from Louisiana. Also Louis Jordan, who had lots of hits on the “white” charts, and performed with Armstrong. Looking at wiki, I see that Jordan also performed with Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby. Can you imagine going to a concert and seeing seeing those four?

  9. johnofgaunt75 says:

    Wanted to point out to the group that the Conservatives in the UK (i.e. the Tory Party) have just proposed a living wage of 9 GBP per hour (or about $14 per hour). This is being rolled out in connection with a cut in several tax credit and other benefits given to low wage workers.

    Obviously the details are going to have to be worked out but I think this is an interesting idea. It is obvious that we have been subsidizing companies like Walmart and McDonalds who pay their employees wages that no one can survive on in today’s economy. Mandating a living wage while at the same time fazing out many tax benefits and credits we provide to people (because now they can afford to survive), makes sense to me. Is this something the conservative party in the United States could raise and win with?

    • RobA says:

      The Conervatives in the UK would be slot comfortably on the middle left in America.

      They would be incomprehensible to American conservatives. They love their single payer healthcare (I. E. Obamacare on steroids), they would not publicly oppose gay rights/gay marriage (as official party policy), they believe in strong gun control etc.

      ThE idea of the conservatives there pushing a living wage is much less controversial then conservatives here doing the same thing.

    • goplifer says:

      It isn’t a bad idea if the problem you are trying to solve is the presence of a large pool of fit, ready workers who are unwilling or unmotivated to go get a job. Excuse me while I pull up my soapbox…

      If that premise if flawed, like for example, there aren’t enough jobs, then that approach actually compounds the problem.

      There is a persistent belief on the right that more people would work if conditions for the unemployed were made severe enough to deliver the requisite motivation. I think that’s a myth. I think it’s always been a myth, but forces being unleashed by accelerating economic dynamism are transforming that myth into an absurdity.

      The best way to meet these priorities of a modern, capitalist economy:

      – Reducing the burden of government complexity
      – Increasing the ability of ordinary people to capitalize on economic dynamism
      – Lowering the cost, both economic and political, of social welfare programs
      – Shrinking the power of the central state

      Is to abandon the myth that government is supposed to curate a complex, individually tailored, nanny-like social welfare system and stop assuming that everyone who isn’t earning a lot of money is some kind of reprobate who needs to be bullied or cajoled.

      Replace the social welfare system with an income floor and be done with it. Slash the size and power of the government while providing a minimal support for everyone equally.

      I know this seems like a wild idea, but I’m convinced that it is inevitable over time.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, allow me to offer a personal, current, real example of exactly the problem that many people face whose work opportunities run smack dab into a wall.

        I employed a caregiver for my husband through a professional agency. She is a certified nurse assistant, meaning, she went to class and passed her tests. She is excellent at her job. She is the mother of 3 young children, husbandless (he died tragically), so she has their full care and they are little so she has the challenge of providing for their care while she works. She desperately needs and wants to work, I want her here, but now she has found out that she will be without an apartment in two weeks as her father (with whom she is living…after moving here to find a job in her field) informed her that he is giving up his lease, and she doesn’t have sufficient income to qualify to extend the lease. She has put in work applications all over the place for night positions in her field at skilled nursing facilities, in combination with her second job – morning work (at our home). So far, she hasn’t been able to get a night position and time is running out. If she isn’t able to get her income level up to a certain amount, she cannot get an apartment lease, and she doesn’t have sufficient savings to rent a home. She’s concerned about living in a safe environment with adequate (not not great) schools for her children. She may have to move back to live with her mother in an area with less opportunity in her field, even though she’s trained, skilled, and willing to work. She’s a good person, skilled, and she is an example of many who want to work but have real challenges.

        There are those who feel that people who get food stamps or who may have to go on welfare, are lazy and don’t really want to work. There are certainly people out there who fit that profile, but many others who are stuck due to circumstances that have a choke-hold on them. I don’t know if the solution is higher wages, alone, for people like this. Child care and access to affordable housing in safe areas with good schools for their children are the second and third legs of the table. The fourth leg is a society that understands that shit happens and help people transition. It is so sad. What a waste.

      • Crogged says:

        An insurance company with an army, no more or less. The more people in the risk pool, the the risk is shared and becomes less expensive per individual. Some would be satisfied with the minimum, oh bloody well………

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – The solution is pretty obvious. Give her a raise.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, are you making charitable donations to worthy causes? ‘Cause, this family’s finances are takin’ a lickin’ as it is…..I have more than one caregiver so, unlike Uncle Sam, we can’t print $$ around here…This young woman needs more than we can supplement but she’s a hard worker and deserving of employment. Hopefully, it will work out.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – Well of course we make charitable contributions. But in this case, she is effectively *your* employee. To address her situation, you should do it. Or require OPM, which is pretty much all the left talks about. Ante up, Buttercup!

      • 1mime says:

        OPM?

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, wait, Fifty, I get it! OPM…Old Peoples Money! Hey, that’s my money you talkin’ bout!

        Gosh, Fifty, you have no heart! You’re taking all your money to Canada! What to do, what to do? Die young, Fifty. That way your money will never run out (-: And, you won’t ever have to worry about us OP snaring any more of your money…No way gonna let that happin.

        I knew you would be a soft touch, Fifty…In fact, I could have predicted it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        *Other* people’s money. And RobA here would call both of us ‘old’. Look – you figure you’ve paid enough to have people who work for you to get enough from others to get by. Well, apparently they don’t. Therefore, it’s got to come from somewhere else. Got news fer ya – government printing presses ain’t it. It means that either it’s gotta come from you, or it’s gotta come from somebody else. You vote for somebody else. Fine. Who? Well, fat cats, that’s who! You ain’t no fat cat, are ya? Tell you what – do a poll of really poor people, and tell me where *they* think the “fat cat threshold” is. Then get back to me. You’re a fat cat. And you “need to pay, or should have paid more”. That’s the reality. Get used to it. We’re *all* fat cats. Live with the consequences of that. You *underpaid*. What do you do?

      • 1mime says:

        Buttercup here…..NO, I did not underpay. I paid premium dollar for the services we require. My point with the story is this young woman wants to work and hasn’t been able to find another job with the hours she needs. That is not my responsibility but I do feel badly for her. I am not asking government to pay her either. The lady is trying to work but things are tough. Tough happens, I get that. And, unless you have infiltrated our financial records, you don’t have a clue what we can afford….but, you are correct that whatever we have probably looks like a whole lot to someone who has very little. And, we worked for that and I am grateful it is there.

        So, dear friend, take your sermon elsewhere. I ain’t impressed. (unless, that is, you change your mind about donations….us OP can never have enough moola (-: )

      • fiftyohm says:

        Gee pal, and you are, that was no “sermon” – just reality. Either the money has to come from you, or from someone else. That’s all I said. You want it to come from someone else. It’s pretty simple really. Don’t get mad at me. What did I say that was not accurate?

      • 1mime says:

        I wasn’t offended, Fifty, I understood and expected your response. You just have it wrong. Just because I am worried about someone who is trying really hard to do all the right things but is running into lots of brick walls, doesn’t mean that I want “someone else” to “solve” her problem. She’s trying to solve her own problem. I can’t give her enough hours by myself and she doesn’t expect that. She enjoys working for us and simply needs to find more work…NOT a handout. Why is this so difficult for you to understand? She’s not asking anyone to give her anything. I admire that and respect her for trying so hard. That doesn’t change one damn thing about her situation. I get it. Keep workin on it, Fifty. It’s riiiight there….almost got it…..

      • fiftyohm says:

        OK. You feel for her. I do too, but you’re closer to her situation. I understand.

        But you made a comment to Chris that extended it to a larger context. It was that to which I was responding.

        We are all Americans. We are all human beings, and we are all, (or at least should be), empathetic. The complexity comes when that noble goal gets codified in law. When it does, we are *all* affected. That was my point. We all must be – but to what extent is the debate. And it *is* a valid debate.

      • 1mime says:

        Ah, Now I understand your frame of reference, Fifty. “The complexity comes when that noble goal (empathy) gets codified in law. When it does, we are *all* affected. That was my point. We all must be – but to what extent is the debate.”

        Well, Fifty, here’s where it starts getting hard. If you agree that a moral, civilized society does need to provide common services for its people, we are all affected….funding schools we no longer have children attending; highways we no longer drive; fire departments we never use; Coast Guard we may never need….It is all needed and it all has to be funded. I’m ok with that. We pay taxes every year for many things we never directly benefit from. Yes, I want it to be cost-effective, not wasteful, and honest. But I won’t budge in my belief that all citizens in a civilized society must contribute for the good of the whole. At some point in one’s life, that might be food stamps, public schools, PBS, or social security, public libraries, or National Parks, or community health centers, or disability assistance…all courtesy of OPM. The debate is all about the extent.

        Count me in.

        A great and good nation doesn’t just provide opportunity for a few; it offers opportunity for all. Not all will succeed, but they should all have an equal chance to try, and in doing so, America will be a better country. If you disagree, you’ll still be my buddy but you’ll still be wrong (-:

        Yours truly, Buttercup

      • fiftyohm says:

        BCMime – Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know, but it sure seems like the left is always talking about OPM. When it comes down to specifics – like household help, even – well, that’s different. It’s *not* different! What goddam lefty ever gave their freakin’ yard guy a raise because they think he’s underpaid and can’t feed his family? *We* are the employers, Mime! Whether you pay household staff, or gardeners, or nurses, of shop at the grocery, or buy gasoline, it’s us. Hopefully, you have a 401K or it’s equivalent. It’s invested in stocks, right? Are you sure it’s not Walmart? Or Chase? Or pick your hated corporate evil? What if they were making less money? Well, you’d have less to pay your nurse. And so on. Now, are the major corporations paying stupid compensation to good old boys without a clue, or giving a shit for their shareholder’s interests? Ah, yup. That’s a huge problem. Maybe one of the worst problems, but I have no easy solution for that. And anyway, fixing that isn’t going to solve the problem at hand. If, as you’ve said, you’ve paid in enough for your nurse to make a living wage, and you can’t pay in any more,, where did the money go, and where is it going to come from? Don’t believe that all that fat-cat money is enough. It’s not even close. And, as we discussed, some of that fat-cat money is ours. Can, or should we do with less, given all the years of work and effort, and long hours, and risk? Unless you are willing to do that – to go backward from where you are today – your position is not defensible. It’s impossible. And it’s unfair, selfish, and all the things the left is constantly accusing the right of. What is that called again? Hypo..?

      • 1mime says:

        My, my, Fifty, sure glad to know I’m still your buddy. Was getting a little confused there. Hate to burst your bubble, but this is one lefty who does pay help more. (Check that one off your list, please.) I reward them for doing a good job, being responsible, and handling a difficult tasks. I also help them occasionally with advances for special needs, and they have never abused this privilege. I want quality people who will stay with us and figure that if I pay them well and treat them well, they will do a good job for us. This is how we operated our small business and it is how we operate our personal lives. It’s worked well for us thus far. It is up to them to supplement their income as necessary by working other jobs to make a decent living. I know paying people well is important, but so is letting them know they are appreciated and valued.

        Your statement about “going backward from where you are today”… I’m not certain what you mean by this. Do you mean am I willing to do with less in order to help other people have more? Yes, but doing so also helps me and thus is mutually beneficial. This means I get the help I need but have less money for other desires and needs. It’s a matter of priorities. We’ve had second homes and larger homes. Now we are at a place in life where we are very careful and live simply in the smallest home we’ve ever had. This is not so much a sacrifice as it is responsible management of our financial and personal resources. I think you can check that criticism off your list too.

        Most of my criticism with the “right” is from a social values standpoint, but since one cannot honestly support social values without being willing to fund them, that necessarily means I take issue with many of the fiscal priorities of Republicans – certainly, not all. That’s a whole ‘nuther subject, so I’ll leave it at that.

        If this doesn’t satisfy your questions or concerns, let’s leave it. We’ve spent enough time trying to communicate on the subject and I’ve exhausted my ability to explain my position.

        As ever, Buttercup.

      • fiftyohm says:

        And I still think highly of you, BTW. Hells bells, Bubba and I are old pals. Please remember, its just a political discussion. And I know you do…

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yup I can vouch for the veracity of ole fitty. We are online buds that are overdue for a (good) beer summit in real life sometime. Most likely because I think fitty is really a liberal sheep hiding in (conservative) wolf’s clothing. 😉

        But seriously mime, I respect fitty because he is an intelligent thinking man that makes good rational points (whether I agree or disagree with them) and you really can’t pigeonhole him as a lockstep “conservative” or any other political label. There is quite a lot I disagree with him on (i.e. economic orthodoxy) and surprisingly a substantial amount we agree on (i.e. social mores). And the debates are always lively and even tinged with levity most times.

        On a side note, who woulda thunk fitty’s cosmic twin namesake has successfully reinvented himself and transformed from the raging anti-establishment rapper outsider to successful mainstream business entrepreneur and erudite renaissance man? Fifty Cent came to my mind when I first encountered his avatar name way back when even though I know it’s really a geeky engineering radio/cable impedance reference. And I am an engineer by training. 

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/fashion/50-cent-renaissance-man-southpaw.html?hpw&rref=movies&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

      • EJ says:

        The real issue with a minimum income, in my understanding, is not a political one but an economic one.

        Ultimately, things cost money as a means of rationing them. There are a finite number of turkeys for sale every Christmas. We cannot all have as many as we like. Someone, usually a poorer person, ends up going without. We could increase turkey production but since there is only a limited amount of birdseed in the world, that would mean we would have fewer chickens, and then someone – probably again a poorer person – would go without.

        Things that do not need to be rationed, like air or seawater or long walks in the countryside, generally do not cost money.

        Right now in some parts of America there is a glut of unsold goods on the market and so if we simply give more people money then they can buy those things and the economy will prosper. However, in other places (for example the housing market in San Francisco) there is a paucity of goods, meaning that prices will rise until demand shrinks. In other words, no matter how much money the poor have, they will never be able to afford those goods: their price is pegged at “whatever poor people cannot afford.”

        Poverty, however, is not about money. It’s about deprivation of those things which we use money to buy. If a good – housing, for example, or education for one’s children which gives them a good start in life – is too scarce, then it will never be affordable and thus those without money will remain in poverty.

        To return to the point, therefore: I agree with Chris when he says that the belief that one can lift poor people out of poverty by inflicting hardships upon them is as sensible as a belief in the tooth fairy. However, I’m not sure that the belief in a minimum income will help either. Unless supply is extremely elastic, all it will do is raise the price of goods within the market and leave the poor in deprivation.

      • Crogged says:

        I want to return what EJ brought up. Certainly a minimum income wouldn’t go as far as getting you an apartment in San Francisco-but the elasticity applies to “people” and not the goods. The minimum income would afford the individual the beginning of an ability to leave, to choose to be where you are at the bottom. And further, to the author’s point-the point of the ‘lesser’ regulation wasn’t just intended regarding avoiding meddling from Washington, but also locally, as he has addressed how many of the same people who decry federal regulation cast a blind eye when it comes to rent control, or local business regulations which protect the status quo more than allow for opportunity (eg food trucks).

        You can pay our elected officials to write laws and stop those people from spending our money on cheetos, or we can afford opportunity to people and let them make what they will out of it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Crogged makes an important point regarding government growth. While we tend to focus here on issues federal, there was a link here in the last week or so, and apologies for not crediting the poster, that showed federal employment had not grown appreciably in many years. On the other hand, state and municipal rolls have surged over the same period. I think, for example, were one starting a small business in say, New York City, the Feds would likely be the least of your worries.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I’d like to expand on your thought about government employment levels (new subject – yea!). Employment declines at the federal level aren’t always accompanied by a reduction in service requirements. States and local counties find themselves inheriting some of these responsibilities along with increased staffing needs – and, more cost. It is a vicious cycle. Local government complains with legitimacy that the state is giving them more responsibility with less funding and expanded mandates, requiring more staffing and more local revenue to compensate for state reductions. Those who advocate for “states rights” have interesting challenges ahead with the assumption of greater responsibilities. We are seeing that shift in the increased state and local employment levels cited in the study. Will a shift from federal to state/local control actually reduce taxes or simply “shift” them? Will that necessarily be an improvement in efficiency and cost control? How will equity be impacted for states and counties which lack an affluent tax base?

        Public education is a good example. When the state of TX cut public education by over five billion dollars three years ago, local districts experiencing population growth and the associated challenges (transportation, staffing, curriculum, etc), struggled to find adequate revenue to meet these expanded needs. Wealthier districts which had/have greater capacity for making up the difference simply increased property taxes. Poorer counties lacked this ability. The state restored about three billion of that cut this year but student growth has continued as well, undercutting the benefit of the partial restoration. Meanwhile, Texas has been sued by a majority of its county school systems for failure to properly fund education. That lawsuit is pending.

        Until technology or bureaucratic changes (such as Lifer has suggested in his book), radically transfer services to fewer people and through a “different” delivery system, someone – a real person – is going to be needed to serve the public. The study noted that even as local and state employment is increasing greatly and federal government employment is declining significantly, overall, total government employment is declining. Time will tell if this is a good thing. More call centers in India? How will America deal with disasters? Who will respond? Is the only area of government that is going to be allowed to increase our military? Who will make these decisions?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        So many points in this thread. Defining the opposition, jobs that are not paid as well as they should, problems with minimum income, and the fairness of using OPM.

        Sticking with just one, how about OPM. I think this gets to the root of the inequality discussion. Fifty talked about this but didn’t mention fairness until talking about redistribution or OPM.

        I understand that in the 60s the pay difference between the bottom and the top was 40X. Now it is ~230X. Which was fair? Is one ratio unfair? Was the former unfair to the hard working CEO? Whose money is it before the decision, the choice, give a 50 cent raise to the bottom or give another 500,000 to the top tier of management? It seems that the bottom tier, usually where the productive work occurs has as much claim on that dollar as the middle or top management.

        Or depending on the product maybe it would be fair to cut the price to the customer?

        It ALL seems very arbitrary.

        But if we can’t control the income growth of the upper class or tax them, nor institute a minimum wage, what is left? Tax the poor?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – I pretty much agree with what you say, buttake some issue with your statement, “the federal government is declining significantly”. I think the figure of merit is the federal government’s share of GDP, rather than total number of employees. That has remained pretty flat. They outsource too, and for often good reasons.

        Unarmed – ” Fairness” is mostly leaving OPM alone, if you ask me. We are spending a higher percentage of GDP on social welfare than ever before. The excersize is not to tax the poor, but to foster an environment in which they can be independent. Limiting incomes by fiat, or taxing the crap out of this group or that,isn’t going to do that.

      • EJ says:

        The phrase “other people’s money” is one which is inherently designed to steer the conversation, much like calling bigotry “religious freedom” or abortion “women’s reproductive health” does. (Disclaimer: I indulge in the use of that last one on occasion.) Such phrases are unworthy of intelligent, honest people and we should desist from using them.

        As a white collar professional living in a European nation which taxes people quite substantially, that isn’t other people’s money. It is very much my money. I pay vastly more than I receive back, and I’m perfectly happy with that. My fellow citizens need it more than I do.

        It should not be charity. Charity implies that giving that money is a good deed on my part. It’s not. It’s my responsibility. If you don’t give to charity then nothing happens. If you dodge your responsibilities then you should face sanctions, which is what happens if you don’t pay your taxes.

        It should not be my choice what it gets spent on. I am very competent at my job, but do not profess to have extensive training or experience outside of it. I don’t know how to run a modern post-industrial state. You know who does? Professional bureaucrats. I’m happy for some of my tax money to pay their salaries if they can then target the rest of my tax money more efficiently. If they tried to do my job they’d probably get it wrong; it would be dishonest of me to assume that if I tried to do their job I’d do any better.

        It should not be restricted to a subset of my fellow citizens who more closely resemble me. Due to the way we tend to live amongst people like ourselves, and especially people who are economically like ourselves, this would have the effect of keeping my money amongst similarly wealthy people and preventing it from going where it needs to. I live in a rich city. I want my money to be spent on a poor city instead. I might never go there, but those people are my fellow citizens and it is my duty to help them.

        Finally, it is not invalidated because some percentage of it is wasted or misspent. Any system includes a certain percentage of waste. Some have very high levels. This doesn’t invalidate the amount which isn’t waste. A certain percentage of people receiving my tax money are going to be grifters, addicts or cheats, but I accept that percentage of loss as an inherent cost in the system. After all, a filament lightbulb is only about 3% efficient but that doesn’t mean we would rather sit in the dark than use one.

        If you want to discuss taxes and income redistribution, please don’t use the phrase “other people’s money.” If you like, use the phrase “EJ’s money” instead. Or just say “tax money.”

      • 1mime says:

        EJ, What an incredibly thoughtful and accurate explanation of the issue of individual responsibility. America does have a moral obligation to all of its people. That doesn’t mean irresponsible management but it does require more equity than our current income divide demonstrates. When the U.S. spends over 50% of our nation’s entire budget on defense, that pressures revenue for all other needs and that’s where things start to get ugly. Continuing to place blame for America’s fiscal problems on the back of social programs for the poor and elderly is not solving the problem. Fundamental, structural changes are necessary to enable more people to participate in the workplace. The constant criticism from conservatives on redistribution is a tired refrain that is not doing anything positive and continues to divide our nation.

        Thank you for a beautiful response on the issue of individual responsibility. We are in exact agreement in every respect.

      • fiftyohm says:

        EJ – With all due respect, from to to bottom, that entire post was one of the biggest steaming heaps of unadulterated horseshit I’ve had the pleasure to read in some time.

        OPM is not a term of obfuscation. It is a term designed to remind that production belongs first to the producer. We agree to fund communal services, and pursue collective goals through taxation, (the contribution of some fraction of that production), that fraction determined by mutual consent through the democratic process. The sniveling notion that “my money”, that which I produced, is actually “your money” first, is the antithesis of the concept of private property – a primary and fundamental tenet of Western civilization. Lose sight of that fact, forget the collective does not own inherently the production of the individual members, and the results will be paid for with “everybody’s money”. It’s been attempted before, but a review of history is beyond the scope of this post, don’t ya know…

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, you are always articulate and clear in your positions. EJ’s response to your point about OPM was not presented in a confrontational manner; rather, it simply offered another point of view – one which I share and felt he handled quite well. Though I disagree with you, I understand where you’re coming from. I think there is a profound difference between presenting and attacking alternative viewpoints. Occasionally, I am guilty of being too forceful on issues I care deeply about. When I reflect upon the missed opportunity to engage civilly with another person with different opinions, I feel badly and it is a missed opportunity. We are all here to share and learn. I’m going to work harder at being a more thoughtful respondent. If/when I fail, let me know.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – The opening sentence ended with. “:..I’ve had the pleasure to read in some time.” I was being somewhat ironic, and at the same time forceful. There was nothing confrontational about it, other than a principled counterargument. OK?

    • RobA says:

      And to answer your question, no I don’t believe the Cons would ever choose to run with this.

      At the end of the day, I think the modern republican party is fundamentally the party of the corportocracy. They dress it up in religious talk, or “liberty!!” Talk. But i think that strategy is only because they need the votes, and they know that the religious right will go along as long as they pay lip service to Jesus.

      So you have situations where climate change denial has become a hugely partisan issue, and it really shouldn’t be. Climate change denial benefits Big Oil and the Koch Bros.

      But they can’t tell “good Christian folk” to deny climate change because it will negatively impact their bottom lines and their oil profits. So they dress it up in ways that appeal to this base. “God would never let that happen” they say. Or “man is far too insignificant to harm God’s creation” etc etc. And you pay your politicians to say this stuff. And you get fox news to say this stuff. And the KOCH Bros pump billions into the system to get this idea our there.

      And then bam, next thing you know, this has become an issue that the religious right CAN get behind and support.

      That’s just one example. If the Republicans REALLY cared about God they wold follow the teachings of Jesus. Jesus would have fully supported Obamacare. Jesus would vote for a higher minimum wage. Jesus wpuld stop giving tax breaks for the rich. Jesus would broaden thw social security net, not cut it to the bone.

      So I see the GOP’s religious rhetoric as mostly superficial. To that end, since their interests lie much more with the corportocracy then it does with anything resembling the actual teachings of Jesus, I don’t see how they could/would ever do anything but fight this tooth and nail.

      McDonald’s and wal mart etc HAVE been having their profits subsidized by paying their employees poverty wages, with the taxpayer picking up the remaining tab (and of course it’s the welfare recipients who get all the scorn and vitriol). And it stands to reason that they’re going to fight tooth and nail to keep those subsidies in place.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Wow, RobA. Does Jesus talk to you? Listen bud, (and I mean that), tone down the wild rhetoric. It doesn’t do a thing for your case. (“Jesus would vote for a higher minimum wage.”. Good grief.)

      • BigWilly says:

        Neither party can say that it is of Jesus’ Kingdom. They both work, almost perfectly in sync, for the other guy, Lucifer, in that they contain about half of WWJD. That’s why we seem to get about half of the argument from this page. Love without obedience. On the other side there’s not much love, but there’s an abundance of punishment.

        Together they combine to ensure that this nation cannot be governed righteously.

      • fiftyohm says:

        On Righteous Schmietous. Correctly and constitutionally is the goal, and you’ll not find it in any Iron Age tome.

      • fiftyohm says:

        “Oh Righteous…”. Goddam autocorrect! 😉

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Actually, Rob may be on to something. Jesus, my accountant, is generally conservative in nature, but he does support Obamacare. As an accountant, though, he does enjoy tax cuts and all sorts of tax mumbo-jumbo since that would be the key to his livelihood. We’ve not really talked about the social safety net or a higher minimum wage.

        I guess my point is that Jesus, like most of us, is difficult to pigeon hole neatly into one side or the other on all of these issues.

        He does tend to be pretty financially savvy, so I guess I would encourage all to follow the teachings of Jesus.

      • BigWilly says:

        Actually, if we could get back on the topic of being stoned, I’d recommend this understanding of Bob Dylan when he sings:

        “Everybody must get stoned.”

      • fiftyohm says:

        Both of you guys make me smile! Thanks!

      • RobA says:

        I’m am atheist, so I say “Jesus” rhetorically.

        I’m quite familiar with his teachings though, having grown up in a very devout Pentecostal household.

        No, Jesus did not specifically say these things. But we can logically infer what his opinion would be based on his other teachings.

        When Jesus saw rich men putting huge sums of money at the temple, and then saw an old woman give two small coins, he said that the woman had given more because SHE had given all she had. SHE would be the one who pleased the Lord the most.

        When Jesus walked into the temple and saw that commerce and business was going on, he lost his sh!t. He grabbed a whip and drove them out of the temple, asking how dare they defile the Lord’s house with something as petty as commerce.

        Some select teachings of Jesus:

        Deuteronomy 15:11

        For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

        Luke 4:18

        “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

        Mark 10:21

        And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

        Luke 6:20-26 ESV / 46 helpful votes

        And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. …

        Proverbs 19:17

        Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

        Matthew 19:24

        Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

        I could go on. Now, since Jesus didn’t say anything about a minimum wage (obviously ) let’s just take a wild guess at how he would feel about one.

        Isn’t ironic that those who purport to hew closest to Jesus teachings actually are those who would despise him. Read those quotes and tell me Jesus wpuld be anythibg other then a “lazy welfare queen” if he were around today.

      • 1mime says:

        I seriously doubt that Jesus would have been a “lazy welfare queen”; rather, he would have been an “in your face redistributionist” in a dress (-:

      • 1mime says:

        A friend posted this interesting question on his FB page. I hope the link opens. If not, copy & paste in your browser and tell me the answer.

      • RobA says:

        Jesus was more of a socialist then ol Bernie Sanders. Jesus despised the rich.

        It doesn’t take any special insight to see how he would feel about the vast majority of republican policies today. Which is fine (he wasn’t really the Son of God, after all, just a dude with some progressive ideas, ifbhe existed at all). But it’s interesting that those who claim to work in his name wpuld be literally at complete odds with almost everything Jesus has actually said.

      • BigWilly says:

        It’s a Bible throw down! Rant on my brother, if the Spirit so moves you.

      • objv says:

        Mime, according to the Bible, Adam, Eve and their early descendants lived hundreds of years. By the time that Cain got around to killing Able, there may have been enough people alive to form towns or cities.

        Populations can grow quickly. Interestingly, we are all more interrelated than we think. The good news is that you and I are descended from Charlemagne. We all are if we have any European ancestry.

        http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/05/07/charlemagnes-dna-and-our-universal-royalty/

    • 1mime says:

      John of Gault, would you be in favor of a dual fazing out of many tax benefits and credits for those who are at much higher income levels in addition to low wage earners? Lifer addresses this concept in his book and the combination approach might get more traction than focusing purely on those living on the edge of abject poverty. It might be perceived as a “smoke and mirrors” by low income folks. Of course, what I am suggesting is broad tax reform.

  10. texan5142 says:

    Beautiful day, 72 and clear blue skies. Fresh snap beans out of the garden!

    Life is good.

    • 1mime says:

      Tex, I miss gardening. I loved our fresh snap bean salad, and my husband wouldn’t pick the corn until I had the pot of water at a boil…talk about fresh! There is something so honest about gardening…the planting prep, nurturing during growth, harvesting and eating. A side benefit is teaching your children the joys and responsibilities of gardening and all that is involved…composting, tilling, forming, planting, mulching, watering, killing those blankity- blank stink bugs and worms, and, finally, the harvest. Such a complete experience. Happy for ya, Tex!

    • fiftyohm says:

      Where are you, Tex?

  11. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Several posters here have proposed free birth control. So Colorado did it.

    http://www.vox.com/2014/7/7/5877505/colorado-contraceptives-teen-pregnancy-birth-control

    Results: reduction in both abortions and births by teenage girls.

    Whodathunk?

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Long term, high-effective, reversible birth control reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies.

      It is a remarkable success story and far from shocking.

      Also not shocking, Colorado Republicans are refusing to fund the program next year, so it is ending.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, the only thing worse than all those abortions are all those promiscuous teens! Ignore the effectiveness of the contraceptives…as EJ said, facts are facts unless your reality is based on abstract belief.

        How very sad. Well, if the good people of CO needed another reason to turn blue from purple, here it is.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Really, I don’t know how Republicans justify their existence.

      • 1mime says:

        Really! This action sure does illustrate the depth of their belief in the sanctity of life and clearly illustrates the disregard they have for women. Of course, there’s all that “sexual promiscuity” of these women…..Do they really believe their daughters and other single Republican women are not having sex? Why not hold the males accountable like they do women? Last time I checked, it still takes “two to tango”, and tango is gonna happen. Why should the female be the one who conservatives penalize?

        You are right, Bobo, the hypocrisy is staggering.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Thanks Bobo. I saw that in the NY Times also. And not only did they improve/reduce the abortion and unwanted teen pregnancy rate, it also has long range economic benefits for us and the young people in that they aren’t locked into low paying, low skilled jobs, they get their education, better skills and jobs and pay, AND they are less likely to rely on public assistance.

      Win, win, win all around. So you know the wingnut Republicans are going to hate it and oppose it with everything they have. It’s like they have a deal with the Devil to never, ever do the right thing.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/science/colorados-push-against-teenage-pregnancies-is-a-startling-success.html?hpw&rref=health&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

  12. Crogged says:

    The American Revolution happened in part because American’s didn’t like the color red and insert representative government and liberty stuff here

  13. johngalt says:

    Apparently Texas has approved social studies textbooks that barely acknowledge slavery and do not mention Jim Crow laws or the KKK. That’s definitely going to help.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/150-years-later-schools-are-still-a-battlefield-for-interpreting-civil-war/2015/07/05/e8fbd57e-2001-11e5-bf41-c23f5d3face1_story.html

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I have no kids, but this morning I gave the gift of a Kindle book about the Holocaust to the 11 year-old daughter of a coworker. Her mother is trying to tear her away from You Tube videos.

      I took my responsibility VERY seriously and screened the book to make sure she would read something “fair and balanced,” since she is young and impressionable.

      I was especially careful, because this is someone’s else’s kid, and that brings with it an even greater responsibility, which is something I would hope education officials would also keep in mind and take to heart.

      This is about the child, not about us.

      • 1mime says:

        Absent more “tuttas”, the vast majority of children (and parents) depend upon professional educators who are charged with the responsibility to provide textbooks that are “fair and balanced”. As pointed out, in TX, not only is that responsibility been abused but the individual who was appointed to chair the TX SBE home schools. In TX, there is a lot of room for change for the better. The point is, better in what way and for whom?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        In addition to “fair and balanced,” it should also be “honest.”

        Sometimes we take so many pains to be “fair and balanced” that the truth gets lost.

        I do think it’s important to present opposing views to kids, even if those views are incorrect, but they should be presented as incorrect, or at the very least, they should be presented as controversial, so kids know there is a gray area, that not everything is black and white.

        That would have helped me when I was a kid. I was presented with a certain view, I assumed everyone agreed with that view, and was shocked when I came across people who held the exact opposite view.

      • 1mime says:

        Honesty is key, Tutta. I totally agree. I also agree with offering differing viewpoints as long as factual history is part of what is presented and is not distorted. If creative thinking were taught as a basic component of the educational process, our young people would not grow up with limited views of history. Debate offered a wonderful opportunity in high school for students to look objectively at both sides of issues and argue both positions. Sadly, debate is a passing scene in today’s high school curricula, but the process can still be integrated into the classroom by teachers. How lucky are the students who have this opportunity!

      • Turtles Run says:

        Tutt – If we know those views are incorrect then why waste time presenting that information. It serves only to confuse the topic.

        For instance we know the South seceded because they wanted to preserve the institution of slavery. Their documents support this view as well as their actions and words. To present a lie as an opposing view simply adds credibiltiy to that lie.

        Assuming you were taught the correct version of history, you should be shocked by those that are incapable of knowing the truth.

        There is a finite of time to teach children in the day. That time should not be wasted teaching “feel good” history for slavery apologists.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Turtles, I was referring to simply letting kids know that there are people out there who think differently, even if they are wrong, so the kids are not shocked when they come across those people.

        What those people believe may not be the truth, but the fact is these people DO exist, and THAT is the truth.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, I don’t believe in gloating over something like this. As far as who “won”, I believe America won. It will take time for people who feel differently to accept the changes and they should begin the process by following the law of the land. I do not support a view that holds that those who are “different” by reason of birth should be treated differently under the law or by social or religious standards – whether the issue is same sex marriage, racial, ethnic or gender differences. We should all be respectful without being dishonest or hurtful to others.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Tutt – Lots of things are going to shock kids when get into the big world. The job of the education system is to teach subjects as accurately as possible. If kids are properly educated then they can confidently look those people in the eye call them a dum…..I mean understand why a person thinks the way they do.

        We have read many comments by people here that make outlandish claims about history and as educated people we are able to deal with it.

        If parents want to teach their kids about the benevolence of the CSA, creationism, science denial, and ugly racial stereotypes then they can do so on their own time.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime makes a good point about the importance of debate. There’s a finite number of hours in the day, and it’s good to devote some of those hours to learning to defend your view. It’s good to be prepared in case your view is challenged when you go out into the real world.

        You may know the truth, but it’s important to be able to defend it. Dismissing someone as a dumb-ass doesn’t help your cause. It just closes minds even more.

      • 1mime says:

        There is greater value to debate than learning how to defend one’s views. The chief benefit, I believe, is that debate teaches students to study issues more carefully and to observe the issue from both a pro and con vantage. In essence, it teaches one to think more broadly.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Tutt

        1mime wrote: Honesty is key, Tutta. I totally agree. I also agree with offering differing viewpoints as long as factual history is part of what is presented and is not distorted

        mime wrote that factual history be presented. You stated that incorrect information should be presented. Debate hinges on both sides using a logical consistency and factual accuracy. Valid points of any subject should be presented not points that are known to be incorrect.

        If someone knowingly makes false claims then I refuse to give that claim any validity nor will I support it being taught in public schools.

      • EJ says:

        “The quest for balance creates imbalance, because sometimes things are true.”

        In Europe the education system stresses critical thinking skills and evaluation of bias. Children are taught that even biased sources can be useful so long as you factor out the bias, but that no source is truly neutral and authoritative. Needless to say, these are useful adult skills. I assume that America does the same?

        Unfortunately this has the side effect that it leads to children applying that same questioning spirit to the religious beliefs that their parents teach them, which in turn makes traditional religious communities feel under threat and withdraw from the rest of society, to the severe detriment of their childrens’ development.

        As for balance, frankly I’m against it. The concept that balance is desirable leads one into a mindset in which you habitually look around you for a contradictory narrative to offset everything, and thus makes it difficult to teach people facts. For example, it is a fact that the Holocaust happened. We do not need anyone to present an alternative view in order to achieve “balance.” It is also a fact that humans evolved from the same common ancestor that the great apes evolved from. Society is not well served by giving equal weight to the opinions of those who find this fact unappealing. Any parent who insists upon teaching their child such a narrative is raising their child irresponsibly.

    • Turtles Run says:

      JG

      IMHO, I believe that such views are taught so that far right wingers can justify their attempts to roll back civil rights legislation. After all if Jim Crow never occurred then why should minorities have laws that protect their rights. If we erase the historical context of the racial issues our nation suffers from then we do not need to address to issues but simply blame those that suffer its effects.

    • rightonrush says:

      Thank God I have no kids or grandkids being uneducated in the state of Texas.

      • Turtles Run says:

        My wife and I do have to send our kids to school here and I do not want to have to send them to private school but we are strongly considering it since moving out of state is a NO GO for my wife. We live in a good school district now but we do monitor what our oldest is learning (others are too young to attend public school).

      • 1mime says:

        Turtles, we faced much the same situation (for different reasons, but tough ones) and we chose to stay in our otherwise good school district and teach our kids the values we felt were most important – at home. We monitored what they were being taught, had conversations around the dinner table (what a passing scene) about their studies, and tried to help them develop inquiring minds, critical thinking skills, honesty and fairness. A tall order! Our hope was they would absorb enough from our home environment to influence their behavior and judgment around others in an educational or social setting. They have all turned out to be good people even though we have do have some disagreements politically. I would expect nothing less. We felt that placing them in a private school when their public school was a good one would deprive them of a greater life lesson – living and learning from a broad mix of people. Not all life’s lessons are academic.

        I abhor what Texas is doing to sanitize the social studies curriculum (not to mention science), but, that does present parents with a teaching opportunity that may pay more dividends than what you might lose from a more narrowly defined educational environment. It will require more effort on your parts but I think you will do a great job.

      • 1mime says:

        Sadly, I do, Right On, and there’s not a whole lot that grandma can do except vote, and my vote seldom counts in TX except in my own mind and heart. IF I am asked something directly by my grandchildren, I always give an honest opinion, being sure that they understand that this is how I feel and what I understand. I respect the limitation of my role in their lives even as I have legitimate concerns about what they are being taught. I am not their parent.

      • rightonrush says:

        IF I had a child in school or even a grandchild in Texas schools I’d sue hell outta the school board. Until the blithering idiots are faced with getting hit in their pockets this ignorance is just going to continue. All my boys headed outside of Texas when it came time to educate their kids (except for the one that chose John Cooper in the Woodlands) because they saw this crap coming. Let us face facts, Texas education is a national joke.

      • Turtles Run says:

        RoR – We send my oldest to tutoring afterschool for reading and math and my wife works daily with him and the younger two on additional lessons. I am fortunate in that she has a degree in Biology and a minor Chemistry so the science side is covered as well. But it is a lot of work.

        mime – I believe it is criminal what the state is doing to education here. The fact that people in this state allow because they think they are – stikkin it to the librals – makes it even harder to accept.

      • 1mime says:

        The people of TX are voting for the people who are making these absurd changes, Turtles. All we can do is encourage more people to vote against this crap. But, so far, you see what we’ve got. You and your wife are doing great by your kids, but if you are having to tutor your child in two subjects, maybe your school isn’t really a good school. That’s something you can evaluate by assessing how your school performs as compared to other public schools. That performance criteria is available. Maybe the question is which public school district as opposed to public vs private.

      • Turtles Run says:

        mime – We would still do the tutoring. Additional subject reenforcement is a good thing to us. Our son has good apptitude with math so the math tutor is there to encourage him to work on it more. His reading tutoring is a different matter. Unless a subject interests him then he will not put the effort in to understand the sugjec at hand. So the tutoring helps in coaching him.

        Our schools are highly rated. Clements High School which we are zoned too is one of the top rated HS in the nation and the elementary school he attends is very highly rated.

      • johngalt says:

        My kids also go to a public elementary school (in HISD). It is fortunately an International Baccalaureate (IB) school which means it has some freedom to depart from the Texas SBOE curriculum and textbooks. It has been a wonderful environment for them so far. We’ll see what middle school holds for them.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Sounds like Texas Schools are rich with chances for subversion. What one child with questioning mind could do in an American history or biology class. It’s human nature to question everything a person says after being told a lie.

        As Molly Ivins said:
        “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point–race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.”

  14. 1mime says:

    For all the Spocksters out there, Nimoy’s son is producing a Spockumentary with crowdfunding. Here’s a little blip about it for ya.

    http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HoustonChronicle/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=SEhDLzIwMTUvMDcvMDY.&pageno=MzY.&entity=QXIwMzYwMw..&view=ZW50aXR5

  15. RobA says:

    Rick Perry’s hipster glasses must be starting to effect his values.

  16. flypusher says:

    Perfect fodder for a link roundup.

    http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3843680.shtml?cat=500

    I’ll make a bet here. I’m going to declare that everyone here will agree with me when I say that this type of asset seizure is the worst form of 4th Amendment violating BS, and it should have been up before SCOTUS decades ago and killed with a 9-0 opinion.

    Although these days, Scalia just might argue for it with a very cranky and obscure word filled dissent.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Oh, I dunno. A lawful arrest could be interpreted as “due process”. And then there’s the ‘public good’/’general welfare’ argument. Best not to be too awfully absolutist about such things. See where I’m going with this?

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, come on, Fifty! You can’t mean that. You are kidding us, right?

        What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? Why should police (or anyone) be able to seize property until the accused is found guilty? (If it’s contraband, that’s another thing.) Isn’t the very definition of “due process” being given the opportunity to defend oneself against charges?

        No, this stinks. Absolutely. Surely, you jest……..

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – Please, please reread my comment. Why should any amendment be a sacred cow if all of them, ( with fanciful enough interpretation) can’t be?

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry, Fifty, I just don’t get it.

    • 1mime says:

      Wow, Fly! So, either way the accused are screwed. Their property is still seized, but:

      “Law enforcement agencies must store the items and either send them to the state Treasurer’s Office or auction them locally.”

      “Under the law, police cannot seize a suspect’s property unless they prove a crime occurred.”

      Duh, isn’t this how THE LAW is supposed to work?! Police who could previously take the items and auction them off and use the revenue to fund police equipment or training are
      HAMSTRUNG by a law that requires them to first prove a crime occurred!!!

      Just who is robbing whom?

    • RobA says:

      This is obscene. WaPo did a great expose on this a while back, highlighting some examples.

      One example wqs a guy driving across Texas with $5000 in his pocket…..to buy a car he found on ebay. He even had a printout of the eBay ad on his person and the cash he had was the exact amount the car was agreed too.

      Still, the cops took his money. Never even brought in to the station. Just “we have reason to suspect this is drug money, we’re gonna keep it, be on your way now”.

      Police departments relying on stealing property from citizens not convicted of crimes to fund themselves is so much potential for abuse I can’t believe this is even a th8ng.

    • Creigh says:

      Signed into law by our Republican Governor, Susana Martinez on Apr. 10. I was in Texas at the time (Old Settler’s Music Festival!) and I missed it. Go Susana!

  17. Griffin says:

    Lincoln was interesting ideologically, he was pro-industry but he was also pro-labor to the point of some of his speeches coming across as quasi-socialist by today’s standards. I suppose he was a progressive conservative, to the “left” (if such terms could even be applied in the U.S. back then) of the Southern conservatives and the business conservatives in the GOP but more conservative then the liberals and radicals in the GOP at the time. A centrist in his own time, which is why everyone (except the Southern feudalists and so-called “libertarians”) tries to claim him as their own.

    • goplifer says:

      It’s a long tradition really that’s older than Lincoln and remained pretty powerful in the GOP until the 80’s. Republicans with an urban, commercial, capitalist orientation which necessarily includes concern for a welfare state and worker protections.

      Alexander Hamilton
      Daniel Webster
      Lincoln
      T. Roosevelt
      William Taft, yes Taft
      Eisenhower
      Margaret Chase Smith
      George Romney
      Jack Kemp
      Colin Powell

      There is no one left in that line currently in a position of power in the party. There are commentators like David Brooks and David Frum. And there are local political figures all over the country, or at least outside the South, in legislatures and city halls and whatnot.

      The nearest thing we have to a major official in that tradition is Chris Christie.

  18. texan5142 says:

    Cheese, sorry I got nothing. Did pick first fresh cucumbers yesterday, good stuff. I love my garden.

  19. tuttabellamia says:

    With respect to Google:

    From the perspective of technology and inequality . . . simplistic thoughts that come to mind: If you can’t beat them, join them. Join them, as in . . . We should provide education and training to bring people up to speed and make them able to compete for the fewer jobs available, instead of allowing themselves to become zombies glued to their phones. Encourage and teach them to become creators, not users.

    OR beat the Googles at their own game, as in . . . become less dependent on technology if at all possible, thus starving the beast.

    I think it’s possible for each of us as individuals to reduce our dependence on technology, if we choose to. I don’t like anything or anyone to have any type of hold on me. I like to be able to just walk away. There’s always an alternative, and it’s not always as bad as they make it out to be.

    I resent the smugness of the Google and other Silicon Valley types taking it for granted that they have us in the palm of their hands. They do have the right and freedom to act on their ambitions and push the envelope, but we also have the freedom to say no.

    • Creigh says:

      Tutt, I for one can’t wait for driverless cars. I read an article recently that pointed out that 90% of all auto accidents are caused by driver error, and that insurance costs could drop by half for driverless cars.

      I do like to understand technology, and I think it’s possible to do that at a level that is satisfying, if you want to. Lots don’t, seemingly.

      I think your more interesting question is what does all this technology do to us as human beings. You mention providing education “to compete for the fewer jobs.” When there are more people than there are jobs, it won’t matter how much education people have, there will be unemployment. And this is a big deal. It is said that losing a job and being unemployed for an extended period of time is more psychologically traumatic than losing a loved one or sustaining a debilitating injury. This may turn out to be the fundamental economic challenge for the future, and I don’t see Google or the “free market” coming up with answers. It will be up to “We The People,” partially at least through our elected government, to come up with solutions.

      • RobA says:

        Jobs are going to be fairly scarce. Ironically, the one thing that would “kill jobs” (according to republicans ) would likely do the exact opposite.

        Acknowledging climate change as real and mostly man made, and thus, preventable would require a massive infrastructure change as we switch from a primarily fossil fuel based economy to a renewable energy one.

        I don’t get how republicans don’t see this for the massive jib creator that it would be. Can you imagine? An infrastructure shift of thi size would equal the one that society underwent with thw advent of the automobile. Back then we changed and resigned cities; we built highways connecting everywhere; we build suburbs etc. This took decades and created a massive amount of labor.

        A large scale shift to renewable energy would be just as big an undertaking, would also take decades, and would create probably millions of jobs.

  20. Crogged says:

    Those no-good Greeks! Spendthrift out of control, must a been a bunch of dang ol’ librals givin’ erbody erything they could ever want!

    See page numbered 183 in the attached (it’s not that long……..).

    https://www.fdic.gov/bank/historical/history/167_188.pdf

    • 1mime says:

      Lots of brilliant thinking/scheming in the 80s S&L bailout. Taxpayers paid over $130B of the $160+B in bailout costs….For all its criticism, the bank bail out of 2008 (TARP) resulted in a net profit.

      (https://projects.propublica.org/bailout/)

      The Reagan Administration’s program was structured differently. (from your link, Crogged)

      ” Believing that the marketplace would provide its own discipline, the government used rapid deregulation and forbearance instead of taking steps to protect depositors. The government guarantee of insured deposits nonetheless exposed U.S. taxpayers to the risk of loss while the profits made possible by deregulation and forbearance would accrue to the owners and managers of the savings and loans. ”

      What is interesting to me, as a lowly taxpayer, is that major economic institutions – S & L and Banking – people who are educated and supposed to be smart business people, managed to screw up royally, costing taxpayers and creating massive market upheaval. And, these are the “smart” people? The ones who guide our economy?

      • Creigh says:

        1mime, the S&L owners didn’t screw up royally, they knew exactly what they were doing. See “Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy For Profit,” by Akerlof and Romer (wonkish), or “The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One,” by Bill Black. Maybe we should all be more cynical.

        In Chris’s book, which I hope you are reading, he talks about regulation that is somehow more responsive and flexible. I’d like to see regulation that doesn’t set up perverse incentives, like the ones that made it more profitable to run S&Ls into the ground rather than running them responsibly.

        This is one reason why I’d like to see elimination of corporate taxes. They make corporations do suboptimal things they wouldn’t otherwise do. And since, as Mitt enlightened us, “Corporations are people my friend,” — or more accurately, corporations are property owned by people — we could just tax dividends and capital gains as ordinary income. That would simplify the tax code and probably raise more revenue in the bargain.

  21. unarmedandunafraid says:

    Lifer, I listened to Gov. Perry’s speech. Under most circumstances, it’s not likely that I would have, but I did because you mentioned it. So you were like the first guy who ate a lobster, someone had to go first. Thanks.

    I noticed he mentioned an expanded EITC to replace the federal safety net. I was wondering what you and others would think of connecting the EITC program to the government as employer of last resort? Maybe allow states first shot at providing jobs before the federal government gets involved? This isn’t a universal minimum income and would require additional programs for some. But has a lot of the features and an additional work requirement that would please the more conservative.

    • goplifer says:

      Sometimes it’s a lobster, sometimes it’s a slug. You never know how an experiment is gonna turn out.

      There are some problems with the EITC currently. First, it almost exclusively* applies to families with children. Second, you can only collect it if you are working. It is a lump sum delivered with your tax return. And finally, it tops out at just over $6,000 annually for people with three children. For the rare individual who qualifies without children it is capped at less than $500.

      In effect, the EITC is just a subsidy to low-wage employers. Think of it as $70bn a year the Federal government spends to keep workers chained to McD’s or WalMart.

      Marco Rubio is flirting with a version of the EITC that comes much closer to being a basic income. http://taxfoundation.org/blog/marco-rubio-proposes-replacement-earned-income-tax-credit The problem is that his proposal is expressly a subsidy for low-wage employers. Basically, it amounts to a public-private partnership to force the poor into menial low wage work in exchange for a small support.

      It is like a basic income in that its a consistent income stream, but it provides none of the freedom or flexibility that a basic income is supposed to provide.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Lifer – I was thinking of it as an easier sell. And it sounded like Perry would put a considerable amount of cash into it. But, you are right. Even if you expanded it so it provided a “living” wage and tied it to government last resort “employment” it would still be a end of year credit which would be a hardship for most.

      • 1mime says:

        Unarmed, how is anyone going to “sell” more gov’t giveaways…EITC or what have you? All those lazy people need to just get a job! (or two, or three…)

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        mime – ” All those lazy people need to just get a job! (or two, or three…)” or become president of a Savings and Loan.

      • 1mime says:

        Or, a member of Congress !

  22. 1mime says:

    OT but want to send a big “high five” to our U.S. Womens’ Soccer team for their decisive win over Japan. Soccer is becoming a huge sport for women in the U.S., and you can thank Title Nine for the expansion of college womens’ soccer. A good law that has opened up opportunities for women in a great sport.

    Go USWNT!

    • 1mime says:

      As a follow up to the World Cup win by U.S. women, it was reported today in the H.Chronicle that that bastion of honor and integrity, FIFA paid the championship of the Men’s World Cup $32 million, however, they pay the victors of the Women’s World Cup only $2 million. Now, lest one feels that this difference in pay is justified on the basis of viewership ( men vs women’s soccer), the final game (womens’) against Japan was the most watched soccer match in U.S. history, men or women.

      Just sayin’. Think maybe this pay differential might be due for a little correction?

      You Geaux, girls!

  23. 1mime says:

    “Interestingly, it was the freedom-loving conservative SC justices in the dissent.”

    My, my, interesting times at the SCOTUS! Law and order trump freedom!

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Trump??

      • 1mime says:

        IOW, for the dissenting conservative justices, it was more important for them to allow unfettered access to records than it was to acede to greater constraint vis a vis, specific orders.

        Does that explain my remark?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I was making a joking reference to Donald Trump. Sorry. My love of puns often gets the best of me.

  24. 1mime says:

    Lifer, this statement says it all: ““People think the government is just not on the side of the white guy,” Orr said.”

    And, I loved the final quote by one of the sane members of the community: “I think those people are crazy,” she said. “I’m more worried about them taking over.”

    Indeed. Bring that gold home, I don’t care how many millions of dollars it cost to build a depository! It just ain’t safe in those NY banks…it’s ours, and we want it here, now! (stamps feet repeatedly)

    http://www.inquisitr.com/2225932/texas-blows-the-secessionist-dog-whistle-ahead-of-jade-helm-15-state-to-bring-gold-stockpile-home/

    Petulant, absurd, weird. Texas.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      “Terry Wareham, head of the Bastrop County Tea Party, said she fears that the Obama administration might deliberately instigate violence between soldiers and Texans as a pretext for establishing martial law. “We’re not against the military. This community is very supportive of the military,” Wareham said. “But who’s the commander in chief of the military?”

      Somehow, these folks manage to go about their day, brush their teeth, put on pants, and I assume generally be a productive member of society. I’m not sure how some of these folks manage to keep their delusions at bay while going about their normal day.

      • 1mime says:

        Here ya go, Homer.

        “There’s nothing new about nice, salt-of-the-Earth people who sincerely believe that certain other people are undeserving of empathy or respect or fair treatment. There’s nothing new about those beliefs being expressed and justified in religious terms, or put forward by ministers and theologians.

        Quite the opposite, that’s the normal situation. Throughout American history, most people have been pretty nice — even the bigots. America has seen nice slaveholders, nice segregationists, nice male chauvinists. And from the beginning, we have been a religious people, who could not have lived with ourselves if we couldn’t justify our bigoted beliefs in religious terms.

        So we did, and we do. It’s normal.

        Bigotry has a long history in the United States. And while that tradition includes haters, they’ve never been the majority. Today’s non-hateful bigots, with their sincere beliefs and their Biblical justifications, stand in a line that goes back to the beginnings of our nation. But the people in that line have consistently been wrong, and eventually even the people further up the line see it.

        http://weeklysift.com/2015/07/06/you-dont-have-to-hate-anybody-to-be-a-bigot/

      • objv says:

        Mime, has it occurred to you that the writer of the Daily Sift is a bigot? Intolerance toward religious groups is bigotry. When members of certain faiths feel they have to stand by their beliefs, there is precious little “empathy or respect” shown by some on the left.

        When it comes to the gay marriage issue, there needs to be tolerance on both sides.

      • 1mime says:

        And, just how do you define “tolerance”, Ob? I have no problem with a minister refusing to marry a couple because of his or her religious beliefs. I have a big problem with a gov’t employee failing to follow a US Supreme Court decision. And, from what I have observed about the religious right’s “tolerance” and views towards gays – generally – it hasn’t been very Christian….at least as I understand Christianity. Everyone has a right to their own beliefs, and I respect that right even if I disagree, but when people make judgments of others in the name of religion and hurt other people in the process, that is wrong. Can you truly say that you think gay people have not been treated badly?

        As for The Daily Sift author – he calls out bigotry. Tell me why you think he is a bigot. That might be instructive.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Just exactly what “tolerance” do gay people need to show to religious folks?

        It seems that gay folks tolerate heterosexual marriage just fine. I cannot recall many cases of gay folks stating that allowing heterosexuals to marry will ruin our great country.

        Gay folks do not seem to be firing or refusing to hire heterosexuals for jobs. It may be a liberal media conspiracy, but I cannot find a single news story of gay folks wanting to get a teacher removed because he or she was indoctrinating children with the heterosexual agenda.

        Of course, in the 1950s or 1960s, we probably should have been more tolerant of bigots too. I mean, sooner or later, White folks would have gotten around to removing hurdles to Black folks voting and eventually Virginia might have allowed inter-racial marriage, but those wacky activist liberals just would not leave well enough alone.

        I don’t think gay folks really care what bigots think, and if your church doesn’t want to marry gay folks, you are welcome to not let your freak flag fly, but your country clerk has to give a marriage license, and if your pharmacist/baker/florist/etc provides services to the public, then they get to provide services to the whole public without discrimination based on a few key factors.

      • 1mime says:

        Ah, your response was such an improvement to Ob’s question than mine was, Homer. Thank you for that. As The Daily Sift pointed out (which I thought was done without rancor, and without bigotry, but then, guess I read the post from a different perspective…) – most bigots truly don’t see themselves that way for all the reasons cited in the post.

        I ran across this today on Yahoo website that speaks to the issue from the heart of a gay Christian.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/whitney-kay-bacon/so-gay-marriage-biblicall_b_7717502.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

      • objv says:

        Mime wrote: “most bigots truly don’t see themselves that way.”
        —————————–

        From Mirriam-Webster: ” bigot: a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group).”

        —————————————–

        Mime and Homer, the author of The Daily Sift conveniently forgets that intolerance toward religious groups is bigotry. Therefore, he is a bigot even though he doesn’t see himself that way.

        You’ve got to remember that religion is more important to many people than sexual orientation. Christians are not at liberty to rewrite the Bible. While the case for slavery is weak and many biblical passages indicate that enslaving people is wrong, both the Old and New Testaments strongly condemn any sex outside that of that between a man and a woman married to each other.

        In other words, Christians have to accept a straightforward interpretation of the Bible or do mental gymnastics and much re-interpretation in order to justify same-sex marriage.

      • 1mime says:

        Ob, I fail to see how religious people/groups/churches are being treated as bigots in the Weekly Sift post. What is being acknowledged is their refusal to accept other peoples’ choices while expecting their own to be protected. If you perceive that as bigotry, so be it. Heterosexual marriages have not been legally disallowed (except for interracial marriage which fortunately was overturned decades ago), but, until the recent SCOTUS ruling, those seeking to marry as same sex partners were legally forbidden. What was the basis for the refusal of same sex marriage if not religious belief? The law is now changed but it doesn’t change any rights heterosexual couples have in order to expand the right to same sex couples. Where is the threat?

        No one is telling you to change your beliefs against same sex marriage, nor is anyone telling pastors of churches that oppose same sex marriage that they “must” perform this type of marriage ceremony, nor is anyone telling you to not believe the Bible, verbatim. What is being suggested is that gay people are more tolerant of your rights than you are of theirs. I’ll bet if a heterosexual couple wanted to get married in a Church that also performs marriage ceremonies for same sex couples, they would not be turned away. I can’t imagine any same sex couples seeking or wanting any minister to marry them who didn’t want to do, but a government employee is a whole different situation. The “religious exception” accorded to civil servants by the TX Governor and AG will be tested in court as it should be. Given the Hobby Lobby decision, who knows what the outcome will be?

      • objv says:

        Homer, government employees should have to conduct marriages for same-sex couples. That is the law of the land now. However, remember tthor’s example? If you were Jewish should you be compelled to bake a cake for a white supremacist party with blood red icing and a big ol’ swastika in the middle and lettering saying “Death to Jews”?

        This isn’t about small businesses denying all service to gays and lesbians. It is about providing a specific product or products with a message that the owner of the business may not agree with due to religious convictions.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…TT’s example was thoroughly discussed, and almost the identical situation actually was in the legal arguments for the case. If Nazi’s or White supremacists were protected groups (which they aren’t), the baker would be required to make a cake, but would not generally be required to write the offensive words or decorate the cake in an offensive manner (free speech and all that).

        So, let’s take your point, ”
        This isn’t about small businesses denying all service to gays and lesbians. It is about providing a specific product or products with a message that the owner of the business may not agree with due to religious convictions.”

        To your point, requiring the baker to provide a “multi-tiered cake with white frosting and floral accents” would be OK, but requiring the message, “Happy gay marriage Bob and Steve” on the cake would not be so absolute.

        Oddly, that is almost exactly where the courts have come down on this issue, and I have a hunch most gay folks would be fine with that.

        It is interesting that you point “both the Old and New Testaments strongly condemn any sex outside that of that between a man and a woman married to each other.”, and I appreciate the inclusion of “married to each other”.

        Oddly, we rarely see this need to protect religious freedom when we are dealing with divorced people or unmarried people who have the audacity to have sex with other unmarried people. A few years ago, there was an issue of a hotel not renting a room to two gay men, but the hotel was not checking the marital status of the heterosexual couples checking into the hotel.

        Funny how the line seems to more often get drawn at homosexual activity rather than heterosexual fornication. Go figure.

        As for the interpretation of the Bible, good luck to those folks living in 2015 trying to abide by a literal interpretation of the Bible. If they want to do that, more power to them. However, they still have to live by 2015 laws. Alternatively, they can start a private club (or even a church) that allows them to only provide service to those who also belong to that club (or church).

        I still come back to not understanding what you mean by tolerance towards religious groups. Nominal “Christians” comprise something like 75% of the US, hold the vast majority of wealth and power in the US, and are overwhelmingly represented in government at city, state, and Federal levels. It certainly seems like religious folks are tolerated all over the place.

        If tolerance means, “letting your religious beliefs limit someone else’s fundamental rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness”, I’m not sure we are going to have the same definition of tolerance.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Speaking personally, I think the principal way of showing “tolerance” for opposition to gay marriage that’s based on religious grounds is to show some respect to people who have that view. That’s not the same as allowing them to discriminate, but simply to show some good manners and not gloat over the Court victory.

        I am totally in favor of same-sex marriage, but I see no reason to gleefully boast to OV that her side lost while my side won (not that HT or Mime is doing that, but I’ve seen a lot of evidence of that online since the ruling). She is entitled to her opinion, to feel whatever discomfort she feels about gay marriage. To accuse her of being a bigot because she doesn’t agree with me would be bigoted of me.

        There may be some older court clerks who’ve been at their job for over 40 years, who might be extremely uncomfortable with processing a same-sex marriage, who if they refused would have trouble finding a new job. I think there might be a way of accommodating them, by maybe assigning the task of processing same-sex marriage licenses to someone else in the office who has no qualms about it. Just a thought. I know it would probably open up a can of worms and create a precedent.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, I don’t believe in gloating over something like this.  As far as who “won”, I believe America won.  It will take time for people who feel differently to accept the changes and they should begin the process by following the law of the land.  I do not support a view that holds that those who are “different” by reason of birth should be treated differently under the law or by social or religious standards – whether the issue is same sex marriage, racial, ethnic or gender differences.  We should all be respectful without being dishonest or hurtful to others.  

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Even Andrew Sullivan recommended giving people time to get used to the idea of same-sex marriage.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        These are Andrew Sullivan’s words from a New York Times interview about the Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage:

        “I think the main issue now will be protection of religious liberty. Many of us have no problem allowing religious institutions to run their own organizations as they see fit, as long as they are sincere and in good faith. I don’t think they have anything to fear. What we need to express at this point is magnanimity. We’ve got to let people who genuinely find [same-sex marriage] disconcerting the space and time to deal with it. That’s what I would caution and urge.”

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I don’t generally disagree with Sullivan on this issue.

        Gloating is not likely to win converts.

        Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right, but in a remarkable dose of tone deaf meanness in February,

        Texas lawmakers joined conservative leaders at the Capitol for a controversial slice of symbolic wedding cake yesterday, in a 10th anniversary celebration of a constitutional amendment that defined Texas marriages as “the union of one man and one woman.”

        http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/State-leaders-celebrate-ten-years-without-6101014.php

        “Hey, we are going to celebrate you not being able to get married by having some wedding cake”.

        With regard to whether or not someone is a bigot, I’m pretty sure we won’t find a clear definition (outside of Webster’s) for our real world.

        “I don’t think Blacks people should be allowed to marry White people” = Bigot? Probably
        “I don’t think two men should be able to get married” = Bigot? Probably also.

      • objv says:

        Homer, Christians may be in the majority, but that does not mean they can’t face discrimination. The CEO and co-founder of Mozilla was forced to step down after it was found that he once donated $1000 to support prop. 8 in California. Does a $1000 and support for traditional marriage really disqualify someone for a job? Give me a break.

        http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/03/technology/mozilla-ceo/index.html

        In another instance, a man interviewing for a job at GoDaddy as a software engineer saw this statement unintentionally attached to his rejection email: “about keith he’s great for the job in skills but he looks worse for wear do we really want an obeese (sic)christian? is that what our new image requires of us?”

        Then there’s Ben Carson. SPLC put him on a anti-gay extremist list. They had to eventually remove his name after the outcry became too great, but you can go to their site and see plenty of Christian organizations which are labeled as hate groups merely because of their stance on gay marriage.

        How many examples do you want?

        The irony here is that the slain members of Emmanuel Church would be considered hateful, extremist and bigoted by the SPLC if they, like many African-Americans, had a view of traditional marriage.

      • objv says:

        Mime, the author of the Daily Sift is a bigot because he labels socially conservative Christians as bigots.

        Since he is stereotyping and showing intolerance toward an entire group of religious people because of their biblical beliefs, he meets the dictionary definition of bigot himself.

        Many who are socially conservative like me are for government sanctioned gay marriage, but believe that a religious ceremony should be preformed in accordance with church doctrine. No one should be forced to participate or provide a service for a marriage ceremony they think is contrary to their religious beliefs.

        Believe me, many Christians are torn over this issue. I have two friends who have lesbian daughters and one friend with a gay son. The two friends who are Christians are no doubt conflicted. They want their children to be happy like any other parent.

        Tolerance should be a two way street. Surely, accommodation can be made where the rights of all can be respected.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…I don’t think I indicated that “christians” aren’t discriminated against. I might suggest that Christians overall are doing pretty OK in the grand scheme of discrimination things compared to gays, minorities, and women (who may or may not be Christian as well).

        Regarding your examples, the Mozilla dude is a bit of an idiot who worked for a very progressive high-tech company who took action that the company felt would ultimately hurt it. He wasn’t let go because he is a “christian”, he was let go because he did something that would embarrass the company.

        The godaddy issue is actually against the law, and godaddy would lose the case if proven the person wasn’t hired because he/she is Christian.

        I think that, above all, highlights the key difference, and that point absolutely kills your argument. It is illegal to discriminate against Christians. It is legal to discriminate against homosexuals (in huge parts of this country – including Texas).

        I believe the SPLC apologized to Carson for putting him on the list of extremists.
        http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/02/12/southern-poverty-law-center-apologizes-to-ben-carson-takes-him-off-extremist/

        I won’t/can’t defend the SPLC because I do not know anything about them other than that they are a bit nutty at times. However, I suggest the instances of “labeled as hate groups merely because of their stance on gay marriage” isn’t exactly accurate. In fact, it is kind of the opposite of accurate.

        Pick any group on their LGTB , and I’m pretty sure you are going to find something other than,” merely because of their stance on gay marriage”

        Let’s look at the innocuous Providence Road Baptist Church. Surely, upstanding Christians who just happen to have a pastor who suggests: “Build a great, big, large fence … put all the lesbians in there. … Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out … . [I]n a few years, they’ll die out.”

        Or maybe Berean Baptist Church, who’s pastor suggests, “Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch.”

        Closer to home in Fort Worth at the Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, their pastor suggested gays should be put to death, said, “I’m not going to let any of these dirty faggots inside my church.” and, “They are all pedophiles. They’re always trying to rape and hurt other people. They’re relentless. They are relentless. They are predators and given an opportunity to snatch one of your children, they would do it in a heartbeat.”

        So, I guess I’m interested in all those poor groups on the SPLC hate list “merely for supporting traditional marriage”, because I can’t seem to find any, and you would not be using inaccurate information to try to bolster your point.

        With that said, Carson should be on a list for being a bit of a loudmouth blowhard with really, supremely idiotic thoughts about things.

        “Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Association, a group advocating pedophilia], be they people who believe in bestiality—it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition.”

        Carson took some heat for bringing in the lovely NAMBLA, pedophilia, and bestiality arguments, so he issued this “apology”.

        “I think people have completely taken the wrong meaning out of what I was saying. First of all, I certainly believe gay people should have all the rights that anybody else has. What I was basically saying is that as far as marriage is concerned, that has traditionally been between a man and a woman, and nobody should be able to change that.”

        So, Carson believes gays should have all the rights that anyone else has, except, you know, for some of those rights that everyone else has.

        I’m not even going to provide comment on these…they speak for themselves.

        “Obamacare is really the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And … in a way, it is slavery.”

        “I mean, [our government and institutions] are very much like Nazi Germany. … You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they really believe.”

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj….I’m just not sure where you are going with this:

        “Many who are socially conservative like me are for government sanctioned gay marriage, but believe that a religious ceremony should be preformed in accordance with church doctrine.”

        You are staring with a strawperson argument, and then subtly linking it to a different point. Regarding all this straw, I don’t think there is a major push to have churches perform these services, just as there aren’t a whole slew of Jews petitioning to get married in a pretty Catholic church.

        Then, your more subtle point:
        “No one should be forced to participate or provide a service for a marriage ceremony they think is contrary to their religious beliefs.”

        Then you do not get to be a vendor or business in the public marketplace if your “religious beliefs” mean that you cannot provide services to a small number of protected groups. If your religious beliefs mean that you cannot make a cake for a Hindu couple, you are violating US law. If your religious belief means you cannot rent a hotel room to Jews because they killed Christ, you are violating US law. If you open a business to provide service to the public, you get to provide service to the public. If you want to restrict your business to only certain groups, you can open a private club.

        Your last point is mighty, mighty confusing.

        “Tolerance should be a two way street. Surely, accommodation can be made where the rights of all can be respected.”

        Which rights of socially conservative Christians are not being respected? The “right” to be a bigot and to discriminate without someone calling you out on your bigotry and discrimination is not a real right.

      • objv says:

        Homer, the ministers who said those hateful things surely should be condemned. I have no patience for that kind of language. However, they are not the norm. Believe me, I have attended many churches and have not heard words like those used.

        Here’s an example where the SPLC did cross the line merely because of African-American churches’ stance on homosexuality:

        “About a dozen African-American pastors joined anti-gay extremists on Tuesday in condemning the SPLC for using its “hate group” label to describe faith-based organizations that are against the LGBT lifestyle …

        “The SPLC has moved from monitoring actual hate groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis to slandering mainstream Christian organizations with that very same hate group label,” said Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel. “By extension, the SPLC is smearing billions of Christians and Jews worldwide as haters simply because they embrace the traditional Judeo-Christian ethics.”

        http://www.bet.com/news/national/2012/01/18/black-pastors-protest-the-splc.html

        By tolerance being a two way street, I mean that the LGBT community needs to realize that Christians can not change what is written in the Bible. Christians need to realize that gay marriage is now the law of the land. Both sides need to respect each other’s personhood and right to their beliefs even though they disagree. A Christian baker should be able to refuse to bake a wedding cake as much as he could refuse to decorate a white supremacist cake. The baker/florist/photographer should still provide services to the LGBT community – just not products or services related to a wedding ceremony if that is against their beliefs.

        Far from being bigoted places, churches are usually warm and inviting. Anyone is welcome to enter. Like I’ve mentioned, homeless people often come in to my church during services and the church tries to provide for the needs of the community from a charitable fund and personal resources. Unfortunately, the Christians have gotten tangled up in social issues. The church’s main mission is to communicate God’s love and his gift of forgiveness which is offered to all.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…your issue is not with the Bible and gay marriage, your issue is with the laws of the United States.

        You write: “A Christian baker should be able to refuse to bake a wedding cake as much as he could refuse to decorate a white supremacist cake. The baker/florist/photographer should still provide services to the LGBT community – just not products or services related to a wedding ceremony if that is against their beliefs.”

        If you are the hiring manager for a company and your religious beliefs indicate that a woman should not work outside the home, it is still illegal for you to refuse to hire women.

        If you own a gas station and your religious beliefs are that women should not be allowed to drive cars, it is still against the law to not sell gas to women.

        If your own a restaurant and your religious beliefs suggest that Jews are evil, it would still be illegal to refuse to serve Jews.

        We addressed all this with a couple of big Civil Rights Acts, and eerily, the same tired, sad, and frankly scary arguments are coming out again.

        These deeply held religious beliefs were used in the past to justify discrimination against Black people and to forbid inter-racial marriage. Those people were wrong then and this is wrong now.

        At one time, the Supreme Courts in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Indiana, and Virginia argued religious reasons to ban inter-racial marriage: “natural law which forbids [racial intermarriage] and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to [the races] different natures.” Kentucky used that language to support residential segregation.

        In an argument that sounds remarkably like the argument you are making right now, Senator Harry Byrd (Democrat) used Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew on the senate floor when he argued against banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters.

        Some of us think it was a good thing for the country to reject these deeply held religious beliefs as a basis for law.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj….I’m not sure if you could help my argument any more than you already are. Each time you bring out examples that you think support your argument, your evidence is just a horrible reflection of what is good in society.

        You quote Matt Barber, but you leave off other quotes from Mr. Barber.

        Same-sex marriage is “tempting the wrath of God”

        So, America, here’s a refresher. Homosexuality 101: The central, defining feature of homosexuality is same-sex sodomy, a filthy practice – both from a moral and biological standpoint – that spreads disease, ruins lives and mocks both God and nature. In short, these sexually confused and spiritually lost souls, particularly males caught-up in this lifestyle, can only “consummate” a counterfeit “gay marriage” through the squalid, unnatural and feculent abuse of both the reproductive and digestive systems. Yuck. Is it any wonder why these “gay” jihadists want us to focus on the subjective specter of “gay rights” and ignore the objective reality of “gay” wrongs? This is why they terrorize anyone who fails to conform.

        “Fake ‘gay marriage’ is fake ‘consummated’ through squalid & feculent abuse of the reproductive & digestive systems”

        God’s “due penalty” is non-discriminating. America’s official endorsement of “gay marriage,” “gay pride,” homosexualist indoctrination in our schools, “transgender” bathroom bills and bans on counseling to help with unwanted same-sex attraction will not end well. Ask the Romans.”

        Gay people “purchase kids” and treat them “like having little pets or something”

        Tolerance is a “cancer that brings down societies” before linking same-sex marriages to Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood
        ________________________

        Yeah, this is the guy I want to support as a poor, persecuted Christian.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…your “Black pastors” in the above story are holding a big ol’ banner for “Americans for Truth about Homosexuality”.

        If you want to take a gander at what your fellow Christians are up to with regard to homosexuality (and if you have a fair amount of brain bleach), why don’t you wander over to their website so you can see how they are “merely supporting Biblical marriage” and undoubtedly respecting the rights of gay folks.

        You might want to google some of their names to see some of the choice “respectful” language they are using.

        Not sure why you feel the need to bring Black folks in to bolster your arguments. Black folks can be bigots just like White folks.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      • 1mime says:

        Spinning your thread out a little further, Homer, here’s a link to illustrious KS Governor “keep cuting until the patient dies” Brownback and his Executive Order on Religious Freedom and Same Sex Marriage announced July 7, 2015. Note there isn’t ONE item in the order that is even under contention…no one requiring clergy, organization or religious institution to perform SS marriages. IOW, it’s ALL posturing. He’s the real deal alright!

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/07/07/1400155/-Sam-Brownback-R-KS-Signs-Sweeping-Anti-LGBT-Executive-Order?detail=email

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…while far from a Biblical scholar, I have spent a fair amount of time in a Baptist church in small town Texas and Catholic churches in Dallas and Houston, and there is nothing in the Bible commanding thou shall not make a cake for a gay couple.

        I do understand that faith is a big part of people’s lives. My brother-in-law is a deacon in his church and my sister has taught Sunday school for just about 40 years.

        The folks making threats towards bakers/florists/etc. are bad people who do harm to the cause, but I’m not sure we would find anything like a balanced scale if we put threats and harm towards anti-gay folks on a scale with threats and harm to gay folks.

        The Black ministers in the SPLC story did not face “persecution” in any tangible sense, and I would venture to say any “hostility or ill-treatment” they felt by being put on a list on a website paled in comparison to their own words about gay folks. Google their names and “gay” and you will not find much Christian love and respect in their words about gay folks.

        At one point not too long ago, there were many restaurant owners who you could say that we, “will not find that the owners were hateful or seemingly intolerant people. All were trying to follow biblical teaching the way they understood it” as they refused to serve food to Black people or refused to let their White daughters date a Black man.

        To your last point, if making a cake for a gay couple causes you to, “just give up on religion or change long-standing church doctrine”, your grasp on your religion is so tenuous that it is meaningless. No one is asking them to change their religion. They are being asked to make a cake.

        The religion and doctrine they are using to support their position likely has more strongly worded prohibitions towards many, many things they are not refusing. The next time “Sweet Cakes” refuses to make a cake for the wedding of two divorced people will be the first time they refuse to make a cake for the wedding of two divorced people.

        Their fine cakes and pastries have been shared by two sexually active single people a few thousand times more often than by gay folks wanting to get married, yet they still provide those services.

        Again, as I said before, I’m not a Biblical scholar, but there is no Biblical prohibition regarding gay marriage. I believe it was the kind and tolerant folks at Sweet Cakes (but it may have been a different bakery) who said they would certainly make cakes for gay folks, but they just could not do a gay wedding cake. What is it about a wedding that tips them over the edge? Being gay and having gay sex is the problem – and the Biblical prohibition. Why would they sell their fine pastries and cakes with gay people having gay sex but draw the line at a gay wedding – which has no Biblical prohibition?

        Finally, and it has been said before, gay marriage does not affect straight religious people. No rights are being taken away from straight religious people. No one is making them get gay married. Stopping marriage actively affects gay people, it harms them and denies them equal rights.

        The two sides of that coin are not equal.

        Well, that was not, “finally”, but this will be. With respect to the laws of this great country, your sincerely held religious beliefs should not and cannot allow a government entity or business to discriminate against people based on race or sex. Thankfully, sexual orientation is going to be added to that list.

        Your religion does not allow you to break the law and limit the rights of other people.

    • objv says:

      Homer, there’s a good deal of hateful language used by both groups involved. “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” owners received death threats not only directed toward themselves but also toward their children. This kind of invective has been commonly received by small business owners who felt that it was against their religious convictions to provide services to gay and lesbian weddings. If you look at any of the current cases of businesses that have refused to provide services, you will not find that the owners were hateful or seemingly intolerant people. All were trying to follow biblical teaching the way they understood it.

      The black ministers popped up among the first search results. I decided to go with their story because of the recent church shooting. Here you have a group of black men who have undoubtedly experienced discrimination because of their skin color and who now face persecution by the SPLC because of their religious beliefs.

      Homer, you may feel that religion does not make a whole lot of sense, but it is an integral part of many people’s lives. Their beliefs help them through many a crisis. One of my neighbors, a beautiful Native American woman, recently found out that she had stage III cancer. It doesn’t look good for her, but she is relying on her faith to get through it all. Faith has helped people get over addictions and changed many a life for the better. Here you are expecting people to just give up on religion or change long-standing church doctrine. That is about as easy to do as it is to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual to straight. 🙂

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…while far from a Biblical scholar, I have spent a fair amount of time in a Baptist church in small town Texas and Catholic churches in Dallas and Houston, and there is nothing in the Bible commanding thou shall not make a cake for a gay couple.

        I do understand that faith is a big part of people’s lives. My brother-in-law is a deacon in his church and my sister has taught Sunday school for just about 40 years.

        The folks making threats towards bakers/florists/etc. are bad people who do harm to the cause, but I’m not sure we would find anything like a balanced scale if we put threats and harm towards anti-gay folks on a scale with threats and harm to gay folks.

        The Black ministers in the SPLC story did not face “persecution” in any tangible sense, and I would venture to say any “hostility or ill-treatment” they felt by being put on a list on a website paled in comparison to their own words about gay folks. Google their names and “gay” and you will not find much Christian love and respect in their words about gay folks.

        At one point not too long ago, there were many restaurant owners who you could say that we, “will not find that the owners were hateful or seemingly intolerant people. All were trying to follow biblical teaching the way they understood it” as they refused to serve food to Black people or refused to let their White daughters date a Black man.

        To your last point, if making a cake for a gay couple causes you to, “just give up on religion or change long-standing church doctrine”, your grasp on your religion is so tenuous that it is meaningless. No one is asking them to change their religion. They are being asked to make a cake.

        The religion and doctrine they are using to support their position likely has more strongly worded prohibitions towards many, many things they are not refusing. The next time “Sweet Cakes” refuses to make a cake for the wedding of two divorced people will be the first time they refuse to make a cake for the wedding of two divorced people.

        Their fine cakes and pastries have been shared by two sexually active single people a few thousand times more often than by gay folks wanting to get married, yet they still provide those services.

        Again, as I said before, I’m not a Biblical scholar, but there is no Biblical prohibition regarding gay marriage. I believe it was the kind and tolerant folks at Sweet Cakes (but it may have been a different bakery) who said they would certainly make cakes for gay folks, but they just could not do a gay wedding cake. What is it about a wedding that tips them over the edge? Being gay and having gay sex is the problem – and the Biblical prohibition. Why would they sell their fine pastries and cakes with gay people having gay sex but draw the line at a gay wedding – which has no Biblical prohibition?

        Finally, and it has been said before, gay marriage does not affect straight religious people. No rights are being taken away from straight religious people. No one is making them get gay married. Stopping marriage actively affects gay people, it harms them and denies them equal rights.

        The two sides of that coin are not equal.

        Well, that was not, “finally”, but this will be. With respect to the laws of this great country, your sincerely held religious beliefs should not and cannot allow a government entity or business to discriminate against people based on race or sex. Thankfully, sexual orientation is going to be added to that list.

        Your religion does not allow you to break the law and limit the rights of other people.

  25. 1mime says:

    And, since we’re “linking” to disparate issues, here’s a thoughtful piece on that touchy subject of global warming, or, “why a centrist politically moderate solution won’t work”.

    http://theweek.com/articles/448189/vanity-centrists-doom-climate-disaster

  26. tuttabellamia says:

    Another link to add — Back to the US Supreme Court: I’m particularly interested in anything relating to the fourth amendment, which pertains to one’s private space. Here’s an interesting ruling by the Court from last week pertaining to a person’s privacy when that person is a guest at a hotel:

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-1175_2qe4.pdf

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      As someone who spends too much time in a hotel, the ruling is interesting, but it is only tangentially related to the privacy of guests. The ruling was about the privacy of hotel owners being requested to turn over guest registries without a warrant/subpoena.

      Evidently, since we willingly give information to the hotel owner (e.g., name, address, picture ID, credit card information), there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for the guest.

      The ruling by the SC was in favor of the hotel owner not to be required to turn over a guest registry without the opportunity to challenge the request. Most hotel owners will readily turn over guest registries just to avoid the hassle of the challenge. The hope is that since they are no longer required to turn over the information without a warrant/subpoena, then maybe the police will stop asking for such information.

      This seems unlikely since it takes all of five seconds for the police to ask for the information, so they’ll ask for it, and if it is refused, then maybe the police will then go through the process of getting a warrant/subpoena.

      However, in general, in ruling in favor of privacy is a good thing. Interestingly, it was the freedom-loving conservative SC justices in the dissent.

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