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Showing posts from September, 2012

Conceptualizations of freedom

Todd Akin offers one of his:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?

AKIN: Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I'm making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don't think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don't pay. I think it's about freedom. If someone what’s to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that's fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.
This is a pre-civil war conception of freedom. He can embrace the freedom to pay people whatever a business owner wants because he is a white man who has never been discriminated against. But to anyone who isn't a wealthy white man the limitations of free enterprise and the benefits of freedom are apparent.

Notice that he tries to dodg…

It's always 1979 to Republicans, continued

More evidence arises that Republicans still think it's 1979. The history of the "it's always 1979" mantra can be found in posts here, here, here, and here. This time it's Paul Ryan talking about the middle east:

This week, GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan topped off a critique of President Obama's response to violent demonstrations at American embassies across the Middle East by saying that because of the president's policies, the Middle East "looked like 1979 Tehran" – when demonstrations by Iranian student revolutionaries culminated in the invasion of the US embassy and the taking of 50 hostages in a stand-off that would endure 444 days. It has become all too easy for opponents of Ryan and his boss, Governor Mitt Romney, to level zingers at their foreign policy bloopers, and I had mine all ready: all this does is remind us that Ryan, who was born in 1970 and has no national security experience other than, as he has said, "voting t…

How I Met Your Mother season premiere

I wasn't a big fan of how they ended last season. Ted leaving with Victoria, who left her fiance at the alter, felt extremely rushed. Marshal and Lilly having a baby is nice. But that really limits what they can do with them. And I hated Barney and Robin getting married. It never worked for me. So how did they handle all of those stories in the first episode of the new, and hopefully last, season?

It was ok. It was a cop out to have Victoria's fiance bail on the wedding too. We were given absolutely no background on their relationship. So we really have no emotional investment in them and therefore no reason to care about what should be huge moments in their lives. It's almost like they had the guy bail just so that they didn't make Ted look like an asshole, like they did with Stella.

Lilly and Marshal were simply played for laughs. Ha ha, they aren't getting any sleep because they have a baby. Cliche. The only thing that makes it not boring is the sheer glorious …

Another "cross on public land" debate

I've discussed this issue before here. I was combing through Andrew Sullivan's blog roll for something to read and came across a site called "Secular Right". I thought it could be interesting given that you rarely hear about anyone on the right being secular. It's not a bad site. But I didn't care for this post regarding some cross that will be in a 9/11 memorial.

I spelled out most of my objections to this type of thing in that first link. I'm not sure if they all apply to this situation. Andrew Stuttaford's post on "Secular Right" doesn't link to the story about the cross, so I don't have all of the info. But I just wanted to point out some things based on what is quoted:

While these battles have become all-too-familiar, there’s one showdown brewing that distinguishes itself from the rest — atheists’ demands that a cross found in the rubble following the September 11, 2001 attacks not be included in a museum that is being planned t…

Rick Perry calls out Satan and secularists

Being the secularist that I am, apparently Satan is making me push for the separation of church and state:

“Satan runs across the world with his doubt and with his untruths and what have you, and one of the untruths out there that is driven -- is that people of faith should not be involved in the public arena," Perry said on a conference call with former pastor Rick Scarborough as part of the “40 Days to Save America” campaign.

He goes on to say:

This separation of church and state, which has been driven by the secularists to remove those people of faith from the public arena, there is nothing farther from the truth. When you think about our founding fathers, they created this country, our Constitution, the foundation of America upon Judeo-Christian values, biblical values and this narrative that has been going on, particularly since the ’60s, that somehow or another there’s this steel wall, this iron curtain or whatever you want to call it between the church and people of faith a…

Republicans against the environment

I must me missing something here because I don't completely understand this:

Republican leaders in the House brought to the floor a bill called “Stop the War on Coal Act, “ which seeks to weaken and in some cases overturn laws and rules protecting the very things that Mr. Train stood for – clean air, clean water, a stable climate and fair effective regulation of the big polluters, including but not exclusively the fossil fuel industry.

The bill (which the senate will certainly strike down) contains no new ideas. According to a database compiled by Representative Henry Waxman and the Democratic staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Republicans have voted an astonishing 302 times this year to hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency, weaken clean water and air rules, undermine protections for public lands and coastal areas, and block action to address global warming – all while seeking to make the regulatory climate as favorable as possible for the oil, gas…

Romney goes malicious again

Coming off his ridiculous comments about the attack on our embassy in Libya and the death of our ambassador I didn't think Romney could say much more that would surprise me. And granted, he was talking to a group of potential donors. But these remarks did surprise me:

In his comments, Romney says that “these are people who pay no income tax,” but they are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”
Republicans in general think this and say it frequently. But I don't recall this kind of bluntness and embrace of conservative rhetoric before. Ezra Klein does a good job on the technical problems with it in that link I posted above. I'll also send you to Jamelle Bouie for more commentary.

I'll just point out that he obviously has a very narrow definition of "dependent upon gov't&q…

The disgrace that is Guantanamo Bay

Conor Friedersdorf reflects on the death of a prisoner:

If the unjust incarceration of Adnan Latif inspired in conservatives even a fraction of the concern that they had for Scooter Libby; if liberals felt for him a small part of the outrage that they muster on Sandra Fluke's behalf; if President Bush had been a bit more careful in who he detained, or if President Obama had closed just the portion of Guantanamo Bay holding prisoners cleared by American intelligence agencies for release; if the federal judiciary were slightly less inclined to defer to dubious government claims in habeas cases; or if Congress were less derelict in its duty to preserve and protect the Constitution -- if any of those things were true, the Yemeni man might still be alive, and his death, a possible suicide, wouldn't disgrace us.

But he is dead.

Held for years on end without trial in a cage thousands of miles from home, he endured interrogations, indignities, and depression long enough to be cleared…

Romney goes from clueless to malicious on foreign policy

Actually, it appears that he will always be clueless on foreign policy issues. It's bad enough he doesn't take the time to understand the issues and give them serious thought. Beyond that, he surrounds himself with advisors who half understand the issues and suggest ridiculous policies.

Given those two problems, it's not surprising that he would have a poor response to the embassy attack that killed our ambassadors. But I wasn't sure he was capable of the completely partisan and malicious response he gave.

I'll send you to Andrew Sullivan for the specifics. Andrew suggests that Romney's reaction is a sign that he is unfit to lead. I'd certainly agree. But it's not the first sign that he is unfit to lead our foreign policy. I doubt it will be the last. I just hope that with the economy being the biggest issue foreign policy doesn't get overlooked.

Explaining introverts

This is a nice introduction to us introverts for those of you who are extroverts and don't quite understand us, or to fellow introverts that could help explain your own behavior and why you shouldn't feel awkward.

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren't caring for him properly.
I certainly do and have been accused of doing those thin…

God in the campaign

This actually took longer to happen than I would have guessed:

“That pledge says ‘under God.’ I will not take ‘God’ out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coins, and I will not take God out of my heart. We’re a nation bestowed by God.”
And here...we...go,the pledge is a made up thing that was changed by a bunch of christianists in the mid 20th century to include 'god'. Your platform is moronic dribble. You should take god off our coins because it's unconstitutional. If you don't think it's unconstitutional then I want my money to say "In Batman I trust". Maybe Batman could do a better job of getting us out of this bad economy. God may be in your heart but you have no fucking clue what Jesus taught., we aren't.

If Romney wasn't such a hackish empty suit that just wants power this would have annoyed me as much as it normally does. Though I guess I have to worry that Romney is so scared that conservatives don't trus…

Dolphins vs Texans

It's nice to have the NFL back. I was excited to see the Miami Dolphins play their first game. But I wasn't as excited as I probably have been in seasons past. That's because I just don't expect the team to compete for a spot in the playoffs. And that's mostly because we have a rookie in Ryan Tannehill starting at QB. Still, I enjoy the season no matter what and at least I might get to see our QB of the future develop.

Tannehill didn't look bad the whole time this Sunday against the Texans. Houston was a very good team last year and they should be as good this season. So I didn't expect us to win this one on the road. But for much of the first quarter we played well and even got the lead. That's because they really coddled Tannehill and got a decent effort from the running game and defense.

But Tannehill make a rookie mistake on a slant route that the corner jumped. That INT led to a FG that tied the game. From that point on it was all completely down…

My problems with the Democratic Convention

Michelle Obama spoke beautifully. Bill Clinton gave the kind of policy driven speech that politics geeks like me wish we could hear all the time, and did so with the charisma he is famous for. And President Obama gave a fairly typical speech. I agree with the consensus that it was an average speech for him. But I think the context of the last four years dictated that more than anything Obama actually did or said.

But while Clinton largely nailed the policy points I care about, Juan Cole highlights some of the big issues that I can't agree with:

Dear Democratic Party:

If you bring Gabby Giffords to say the Pledge of Allegiance, you have to bring up the issue of gun control somewhere in your speeches or platform.

If you slam Republicans for foreign policy naivete, you have to explain why you just pissed off 1.5 billion Muslims by giving away all of Jerusalem to Israel as its capital.

If you boast of taking out Osama Bin Laden by saying if someone kills innocent Americans we will fol…