Re: In which I congratulate myself

1

People don't often complain to me, but they do tell me the worst things they've ever done. I have no idea why. Also, strangers ask me questions. That's much more annoying.

What are you eating? Where did you buy it? Do you know how to make it? How often do you make it? Do you have a nice kitchen? What part of town do you live in? Did you grow up eating that? Where did you grow up? Are your parents still there? Are they still married? How many siblings do you have? Where do they live?

Dude, if I am eating a container of couscous on the train, it's probably because I only have a few minutes before I'm expected at my job, and I really need to be left alone.

I promise I am not friendly or friendly-looking when this happens.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:29 PM
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I have, in fact, tried saying, in response to questions like this, "I am not friendly." This only provokes a lot of questions about how I came to be unfriendly and what I'm doing to become more friendly, and why I have such low self-esteem.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:30 PM
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I am the person whom strangers ask for directions and friends ask for sex advice. Those things are probably unrelated, but not necessarily.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:38 PM
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Congratulations, Blume.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:41 PM
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I received evidence recently that I am an unsympathetic listener. It is disturbing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:41 PM
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4: ?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:42 PM
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6: On being so accomplished at sex and not being lost!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:43 PM
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Presumably, friends and strangers do not necessarily know these things about Blume, but I can see where she gives off the vibe of someone who doesn't go places or do sex things without a good plan in mind.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:45 PM
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I think it's probably more like accomplishment at being non-judgmental (or appearing so, anyway -- I judge plenty)
and being beyond the reaches of TMI. As for not being lost, well, I get asked for directions in cities I've never visited before as well. My walk must exude with great conviction of direction or something.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:48 PM
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-with


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:48 PM
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I'm informed that white-haired middle-aged women get asked for directions/help most of all, as they're the least threatening.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:50 PM
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Yeah, I start getting asked for directions as soon as I arrive in a new place.

I think strangers talk to me because I'm really susceptible to people trying to catch my eye contact, mostly because I generally assume I have somehow left the house without pants on or something and if someone engages me, it must be to inform me of something important like that. But no!

Being super-aware of a timid desire for eye contact is useful when teaching because it means I don't have to wait for someone to raise a hand; I just call on the person whose eye does that thing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:53 PM
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||

I'll be back in our nation's capital this summer - I got offered an internship at a government agency I admire, with good prospects for employment after graduation if the internship goes well. I'm pretty exultant about it.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:54 PM
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12: Do you not do the millisecond-long eye contact that is (was?) standard where you are?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:56 PM
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14: Yes, I am good at that. But when the other person does it in a "no, really" way, I usually fall for it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 12:58 PM
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I'm informed that white-haired middle-aged women get asked for directions/help most of all, as they're the least threatening.

I may have told this before, but a white haired middle-aged woman friend of mine (Scottish) was once wandering through London when somebody came up and without further ado asked her directions in Portuguese. It so happens my friend speaks Portuguese.

What has kept her awake since is, as a random person in all of London, was she addressed in Portuguese because a. the other person was psychic; b. she was quite small and so are many Portuguese people, at least by northern European standards; c. she was a white haired middle-aged woman, and therefore omniscient?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:15 PM
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2: See, I think "I am not friendly" makes people think you are insecure about you. You need to make them insecure about themselves if you want them to go away. Try "You are annoying me. Go away." Or maybe "What made you think I was interested in talking to you?" "I am not friendly" is, ironically, too friendly.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:28 PM
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I'm not trying to be mean or ruin anyone's day. I dunno; it seems like being too rude could really push someone over the edge.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:34 PM
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I'm not trying to be mean or ruin anyone's day

Right. Which makes "I'm not friendly" internally contradictory. I wouldn't *really* tell someone they were annoying. You can also smile and say, "I'm sorry, but I really can't talk now -- I'm trying to concentrate on something important right now."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:40 PM
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I think the problem with "I'm not friendly" is that it's quirky and interesting.

It would certainly provoke me into peppering you with a bunch of questions..."Really? Why? What about now? Are you feeling friendly now? Why do you think of yourself as not friendly? Do you want me to try to make you laugh?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:46 PM
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13: Congratulations! That is awesome.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:48 PM
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I think there should be an obviously wide gulf between "willing to give directions or answer a brief question like where I bought an item of clothing" and "willing to be subjected to a half hour of irritating, absurdly personal questions."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:49 PM
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I get asked for directions a lot. I have also had little old ladies stop me in supermarket aisles and ask me to get something for them from the top shelf. This has happened multiple times.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:50 PM
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23: Same old lady?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:54 PM
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What I can never figure out is when lost drivers see me walking down the street and ask me for directions. Dude, if I knew how to drive there, why the hell would I be walking?

Also, people used to ask me if I was Jewish fairly often. Which seemed odd. (Not chasids or who ever does that to proselytize in NYC either, just random people.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:57 PM
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You should tell these people, "Do you know who I am? I am Pietro Fruttato, inventor of the space shuttle. I used to live in a mansion of my own design, eating couscous. But now I ride the subway, eating couscous. We are all going to die."


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:57 PM
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26 to 25, right?

"I should know. I should know. I am a medical doctor. I own a mansion and a yacht. I should know. You should quit. You. You should quit. You should quit traumatizing women with sexual intercourse."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:59 PM
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I tell them I'm Standpipe Bridgeplate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 1:59 PM
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Incidentally, "We're all going to die" is pretty much the last thing you want to hear someone within earshot repeating over and over at 3 AM.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:00 PM
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26: Marvelous.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:01 PM
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STOP WHINING YOU HAVE NO IDEA.


Posted by: OPINIONATED COMPASS ROSE | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:03 PM
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It's not very scary when you read "We're all going to die!" at 3 am in a comment thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:04 PM
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I suppose it could be, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:04 PM
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Fleur's appearance is like the O-positive of complexion and physiognomy: wherever she goes, she passes for a local. Consequently, she gets asked for directions in the local language whereever she goes. Or perhaps she's being asked for dinner dates or handjobs or to buy girlscout cookies or join the Jehovah's Witnesses -- who can say?

She also has an uncanny ear for accents and capacity for mimicry, so when she says, for example, "No hablo español," they don't believe her and continue chattering on as if she could understand them.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:05 PM
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29:Speak for yourself, Stanpolly Bridgeanna

And, anyway, it's always the dark night of the soul somewhere.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:05 PM
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26 happened to me at a bus stop, with slightly different details. He was Cuban, a famous engineer, and his worthless daughter, do you know what she did? Do you think this is fair? She put him up in a shack and stole all his money. That is not fair.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:06 PM
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I'm now assuming that Fleur looks like those psychology photoshop most average of all possible faces, which end up oversmooth and beige, somewhere in the uncanny valley.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:10 PM
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Jesus Christ did that bus take a long time to show up. Next time I'll have some couscous on hand, just in case.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:10 PM
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I think there should be an obviously wide gulf between "willing to give directions or answer a brief question like where I bought an item of clothing" and "willing to be subjected to a half hour of irritating, absurdly personal questions."

Indeed. Thus, politeness and an effort not to offend is reasonable when someone asks directions. When someone continues to natter on at you thereafter, you have to ask (1) if you are giving indication that you are willing to continue the conversation, and if not (2) why you are worried about offending someone who has no qualms about continuing to bother you despite any sign of openness on your part to being bothered. Being rude to people who are rude is polite because it teaches them a valuable lesson.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:12 PM
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37: I assure you she looks neither average nor uncanny. Olive-tinted skin, brown eyes, dark brown hair. In an Iranian restaurant they spoke to her in Farsi, in a Brazilian restaurant in Portugese. She has that look that could plausibly be "from there" wherever "there" is.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:18 PM
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To clarify 40: neither the Iranian nor the Brazilian restaurant was actually in those countries.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:20 PM
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40: And if she goes to Hollywood, she can be the terrorist's estranged girlfriend/mother!

For Christmas I got the first t-shirt listed on this page, which I adore. I consider its message more a declaration of love than of hostility, so it's not until today that I started wondering if it might actually put off accosters. I don't think I have a sufficient baseline to tell, though.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:27 PM
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Think I better let it go
Looks like another love TKO


Posted by: Remember Teddy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:39 PM
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Come to think of it, heebie and Fleur share a bit of that "could be just about any caucasian ethnicity" aspect of their appearance. I wouldn't be surprised if heebie has experienced something similar.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:45 PM
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Same old lady?

No, different ones, thousands of miles apart.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 2:59 PM
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Every 30 seconds in America, an old lady in a supermarket asks someone to get something down from the top shelf for her. Unfortunately, that someone is always Teo.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:01 PM
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13: Congratulations! But whether for getting the internship or for actually finding a government agency that you can admire, I'm not sure.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:02 PM
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I get asked for directions a lot except in places I live. The archives have a bunch of stories I've already told under another name about being addressed in local languages. I don't feel like linking to them or retelling them because I'm not friendly and we're all going to die.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:06 PM
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if heebie has experienced something similar.

This sounds so loony that I'm slightly embarassed to say it, but there have been a half-dozen incidents that all center on me looking like an Indian person, albeit very light, and obviously there are many different regions to India with different phenotypes, so I don't know what the Heebie region is.

For example, there have been a few times when I've been in a class or something and other people keep mixing me and an Indian person up. When I was in Africa, a few Indian people were convinced I was Indian, at least partly.

I think it's the dark hair and generally round squishy features.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:12 PM
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I'm not.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:12 PM
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I've tried to look unpleasantly crazy sometimes, too, but it's not very effective. Once, I tried to turn down a very persistent suitor in a clearly insane email, which only redoubled his persistence.

Lessons learned:
1) When I am trying to be charming, I am extremely off-putting.
2) When I am trying to be off-putting, I am extremely charming.
3) Everything is hard.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:12 PM
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No, different ones, thousands of miles apart.

How can you be sure?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:12 PM
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4) We're all going to die.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:14 PM
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How can you be sure?

I suppose I can't.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:14 PM
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Damn you, heebie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:16 PM
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I once went on a tour in Italy. The tour guide was an old guy who affectionately remembered the Americans from World War II, and hated the Germans. I told the guy I was an American, but he was convinced I was really German, and he kept trying to trip me up by speaking German to me. This led to some French guys saying in French how typical of an American not to know a foreign language. I know this because while I don't know German, I do know French.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:19 PM
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I suppose I can't.

Because all old ladies look the same to you?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:20 PM
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Because all old ladies look the same to you?

Because I don't remember what they looked like.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:21 PM
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Are you sure they were old ladies?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:22 PM
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I bet they were at least over 30.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:25 PM
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So still no baby?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:29 PM
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Are you sure they were old ladies?

Yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:32 PM
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They were also little. Too short to reach the top shelf.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:32 PM
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there have been a half-dozen incidents that all center on me looking like an Indian person

It's the combination of the the nose piercing and the Ph.D. in math.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:34 PM
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Stereotypes are getting so specific these days.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:35 PM
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They were also little. Too short to reach the top shelf.

If not for Teo, they'd be stuck with well drinks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:43 PM
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Also I don't actually have a nose ring.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 3:45 PM
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61: Nope. I'm beginning to wonder: how do I really know my wife is pregnant? You can fake ultrasounds.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 4:02 PM
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Ask the mailman.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 4:14 PM
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56: When I was in Spain, one of the other students in the program was Polish. He spoke very good English and Spanish but couldn't believe someone with my surname didn't know any Polish. So he would continually greet me in Polish and ask me things in Polish. It was weird.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 4:17 PM
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To be fair, Stanley, your surname is very Polish.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 4:45 PM
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68: You're not a character on Glee, are you?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 4:51 PM
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My grandaunt was once sitting in Battery Park when two young German guys came up to her and asked her if she spoke German. She said no. They asked if she was sure and she said in her strong Polish accent, 'Well, I do remember a bit' and screamed 'Haende Hoch!' 'Raus!'. Much apologizing by good liberal Germans ensued.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 5:18 PM
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Czesc Stanley, jak sie masz. No nie udawaj ze nie znasz polskiegeo. Z twoim nazwiskiem?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 5:20 PM
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56 The second half sounds like a number of incidents when I was growing up. Middle aged or older folks talking about the damn rude foreigners all over the place, staring at the kid reading a book in English, and complaining about how they don't even bother learning the language. I would sometimes give them a short statement on rudeness and stupid assumptions after listening for a while.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 5:24 PM
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I was addressed in Polish when I was in Krakow walking through a park on my way into the city center. I have no idea what they were asking, but it didn't seem like directions. Might have been the time, but usually when people do that and I haven't understood, they point to my watch.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 5:27 PM
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I very much doubt they could tell that one of my great grandmothers was from Poland.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 5:28 PM
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OT: Hello! I have just donned my newly acquired progressive bifocal lenses (glasses)! I can't see you very well!

Seriously, this is going to take some getting used to. Good think I touch type.

I've pushed the monitor back half a foot, pulled it forward again, and then forward again, have experimented with tilting my chin up (look through the bottom of the glasses! or maybe the middle?). Maybe I should raise this monitor up on top of a couple of unused books, maybe that two-volume boxed set of classics of american political, um, documents, whatever that is, has the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and what not.

These glasses are stylish, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 6:10 PM
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Back to the topic:

49: I think it's the dark hair and generally round squishy features.

Maybe. Also the olive skin. My mother was similarly featured, though I doubt that people assumed her to be, say, Iranian (in her younger days she could have been). She was actually half Costa Rican.

Those with dark hair and olive skin probably aren't taken to be Scandinavian.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 6:39 PM
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Yay Minivet! Hope the internship is all that you hope it will be.

I'm still (24 hours later) feeling all warm and fuzzy toward the federal government. Seriously, it was so excellent to hear all these terribly competent people giving clear and useful information. It was like a fantasy of good use of tax dollars.

I'm giggling at the idea that Heebie is ever mistaken for Indian. Obviously I must know Indians (and Indian-Americans) with heritage from a totally different region.

73 is priceless. Way to go, teraz's grandaunt!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 7:02 PM
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That's awesome, Minivet. Congrats.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 7:22 PM
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||
Pardon me if we've talked this into the ground before, but one aspect of the G-Whut? that I just can't figure out is the uncritical acceptance of body counts provided by the military. It just seems like nobody's the slightest bit cynical about these news stories along the lines of "Pentagon reports 2 al-Quaeda members killed in strike by drone" that pop up every so often. What reasonable basis is there for believing that a strike even happened? There's no independent media coverage, there's no official communiques from the other side, there's no way of checking any of those reports out except maybe months after the fact. And we know that the military consistently lied about body counts during the Vietnam war. It just seems very strange to me that even among staunch opponents of the war, there's barely a shred of doubt about the body count/specific dead opponent stories.
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 7:38 PM
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These glasses are stylish, though.

Metal? plastic? a combination of both? something else altogether?

I get asked for directions all the time. I doubt very much that I give off an air of confidence, I suspect it's more that I look non-threatening.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 7:51 PM
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82: Huh. It's true that I never doubt that people have been killed. Maybe that's naive of me. I figure if our government says they killed some people, they killed either the same amount or more than they're admitting to.

I almost never believe the claims about which people, though, and I think I have lots of company. I've certainly seen posts (I think a few at Lawyers Guns and Money and Obsidian Wings) that unpack the idea of "Al Queda's #3 leader" or whatever goofy claim is being made in the press releases -- both questioning whether the person was a "leader" in any meaningful sense, and how we can know the person was one of our supposed enemies at all.

I don't expect to see these issues raised often in the mainstream press, and to the best of my recollection they haven't been.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 8:04 PM
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Thich Nhat Hanh recommends keeping a half smile on the face at all times. I've tried this and it definitely increases the friendliness of strangers. I like it because I look naturally forbidding, but am in fact friendly, but those who don't like talking to stangers might want to avoid this expression. A White Bear's problem might lie in enjoying the cous cous too much.


Posted by: Shadrack | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 8:47 PM
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||
Anyone have a suggestion for how to write a sympathy letter to a Hindu family? The father (the deceased, whom I've met) was my deceased brother's musical guru of long standing, and the family connections were/are deep (several visits to India from my parents/siblings). I don't know the nuances for this situation, with my Christian background to their Hindu family. Does one mention prayers/good intentions for the next reincarnation? I want to be culturally sensitive, not say anything inappropriate but haven't got a clue. My draft so far is "honored to have met him, so valued by my brother, may memories bring you comfort".
|>


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 9:04 PM
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These glasses are stylish, though.

Well, that's all that matters, really. I must get new glasses soon. I'm afraid that I'll need bifocals.

Curiously, a stranger approached me tonight. "What's your name, I see you everywhere, so delighted to meet you!" I introduced myself politely and scampered back to my friends. I hate that sort of thing, but that's the price of fame, I suppose.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 9:19 PM
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Last year I chatted with a guy at a bus stop who somehow became convinced in the course of the conversation that I was German, or at least not a native English speaker. However, he then turned out to be an articulate nut, who believed passersby were deliberately harassing him with electrical signals from their cell phones; he used a violin with a single plastic string to divert the signals.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 9:47 PM
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Why more people don't take the bus is a mystery to me.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 9:55 PM
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86: This says to avoid mentioning rebirths or afterlifes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 10:26 PM
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an articulate nut, who believed passersby were deliberately harassing him with electrical signals from their cell phones

How is that not correct?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 10:41 PM
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82 -- I've taken up reading Waq al Waq, which is pretty good about checking the Arabic press for Yemen stuff. US mainstream media is fit only for a nation of pathetic losers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-10 11:00 PM
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74: Careful, teraz, you'll get Blume all hot.

73 is indeed priceless.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:34 AM
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Those with dark hair and olive skin probably aren't taken to be Scandinavian.

Fleur is! Her skin color is just that intermediate shade that allows her to pass for a dark-haired nordic (which isn't a terribly unusual species). In Sweden people took her for Swedish, in Denmark for Danish.

OTOH I'm not sure she would pass for a Russian or a slav of any sort. Her facial features just don't look slavic enough.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:42 AM
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88 reminds me of one time I was waiting in line in a post office in a medium-sized town in Germany. A schizophrenic street person came in ranting about Jesus and the End of Days. She was going up to people and addressing them directly, and most people just ignored her and turned away, but no one was hostile or disrespectful to her. She then came up to me and asked me if I was ready for Jesus' return. I told her, in German, "I don't understand you, I don't speak German."

She countered, "But you must speak English then," and proceeded to continue her rant in perfect English, to the obvious amusement of everyone in the post office.

I later learned that the crazy lady had been the English teacher at the local high school for decades before she went crazy. People still treated her with the respect accorded a Gymnasiallehrerin.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:22 AM
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I'm pulling *more* than my weight on this thread right now...

The peripety of the story in 95 occured a day or two later, when I had been invited to dinner with a local family. I told the story thinking it would be mildly amusing. The family was immediately familiar with the personage involved: as soon as I said "crazy woman ranting about Jesus," they nodded and said "that's Frau So-und-so", and let me continue.

When I got to the part about how she continued in English, the whole family started laughing uproariously -- as in tears-streaming-down-their-faces laughing. I looked on in bewilderment for a moment, thinking "the story couldn't have been that funny," until one of the children regained enough composure to explain that Frau So-und-so had been the English teacher at the Gymnasium.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:48 AM
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Natilo/82:

I generally like Glen Greenwald for breaking down those sort of claims.

I agree with Carp. Our press is more press agent than watchdog.

I recently sent a journalist/friend an article regarding the use of anonymous sources. She wrote back saying that he anonymous sources were almost always people in positions of authority like Police Chiefs. She didnt seem to understand that her job was to critically evaluate information from people in authority. Her job was simply to GET information from people in authority.



Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 6:21 AM
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As for crazy street people, I really dislike it when people mock them. It strikes me as the worst part of someone to mock people in those circumstances. (not that anyone here was doing that)

Mocking someone who has mental illness and isnt getting the treatment that they need?? Help me understand the humor of that??


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 6:24 AM
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Anyone have a suggestion for how to write a sympathy letter to a Hindu family?

I would avoid any attempt to bridge the Christian-Hindu religious divide and instead focus on expressing sympathy and sharing your memories of the person.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 8:11 AM
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I was at an opening once, years ago, and a strange middle-aged man came up to me and said "Wow! Look what you've done to yourself!" (Hand-flap in the direction of my clothing.) "You look stylish!" I couldn't think of anything to say but "I always look like this." This was true and I didn't look that stylish. I wonder who he thought I was and how she dressed.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 8:17 AM
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||

Dear unfoggedariat,

As most of you are aware, a special election will be held in Massachusetts on Tuesday to fill the Senate seat once held by Teddy Kennedy. Latest polls show the candidates neck-in-neck, with a number of polls showing Republican Scott Brown with a slight lead.

Rarely have the stakes in a special election been so high. It is no exagerration to say that a victory by the GOP could delay the introduction of universal health care in this country for a generation, and probably sink the rest of the Obama agenda, too.

This is a special election, which usually means low turnout. The outcome will be determined by which side gets its voters to the polls. The Republicans scent blood, and they are excited. Democrats seem not to be.

If you have any friends or relatives in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who you know to be reliable supporters of the Obama agenda, PLEASE take a moment to call or email them and urge them to vote for Democrat Martha Coakley on Tuesday.

No, even more than urging them, please extract a promise from them that they will let nothing stop them from going to the polls and voting for Martha Coakley.

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 8:20 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 8:50 AM
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||

I'll just link to this FDL thread "Don't Be Naderites". Those who are owned by the Corpocrats can cheer the post, freepeople can read the 711 angry comments.

As long as the Corpocrats are guaranteed our votes, both parties will move ever more to the right, and the "lesser evil" will just get a little more evil every election.

Coakley is a terrible candidate and will be an offensive Senator. Brown is certain to be a one-termer.

The agenda of the President for Goldman Sachs doesn't just deserve to fail, it needs to fail.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 8:58 AM
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Sorry Link


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 8:59 AM
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I haven't drawn on my modest quota in a long time, so I beg everyone's indulgence while I say "Fuck you, bob."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:15 AM
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101

No, even more than urging them, please extract a promise from them that they will let nothing stop them from going to the polls and voting for Martha Coakley.

Anyone considering voting for Martha Coakley should read this first:

Attorney General Martha Coakley--who had proven so dedicated a representative of the system that had brought the Amirault family to ruin, and who had fought so relentlessly to preserve their case--has recently expressed her view of this episode. Questioned about the Amiraults in the course of her current race for the U.S. Senate, she told reporters of her firm belief that the evidence against the Amiraults was "formidable" and that she was entirely convinced "those children were abused at day care center by the three defendants."


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:28 AM
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101: I have no special enthusiasm for Coakley. She was my third or fourth choice in the primary. But she'll be vote #60 for UHC, and hopefully for a lot of other Dem priorities as well.

I am fully prepared to believe that JBS's objection has merit -- notwithstanding the fact that it appears on the WSJ editorial page, where alleged facts are presumptively false until independently verified -- because Rabinowitz did the Lord's work in publicizing prosecutorial abuses in Mass. child abuse cases.

But this is about partisanship, and I'm an acknowledged partisan. I urge Dems to hang together on this one.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:41 AM
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People wonder why there's no serious Left in the United States. I wouldn't rule out the evident faxt that what Left there is wears its unseriousness as a badge of honor as one of the factors.

Not a predominant factor, but maybe enough to strangle many a nascent Leftist in the cradle.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:41 AM
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sorry, I meant to reference Shearer's 106, obvs.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:42 AM
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108:Whatyathink, Carp, Coakley gonna be a great vote for defendant's rights? You gonna blame the "unserious Left?" for the next FISA or Patriot Act or Enhanced Interrogations?

Look in the mirror.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:49 AM
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Get your head out of your ass, Bob, and start worrying about President Palin. Because if health care doesn't pass, Obama's a one-termer.

Now you can tell us all how that will be no worse.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:52 AM
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111: Bob's all in favor or heightening the contradictions, mcmc. You know, the strategy that worked so well when the KPD hastened the arrival of the proletarian revolution in Germany by declining to save the Weimar Republic from Hitler. President Palin is a feature, not a bug, in bob's world. Which is why "fuck you" is the only sensible response. Though "get your head out of your ass" is a worthy competitor, I must concede.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:59 AM
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When CharleyCarp looks in the mirror, he sees a man who personally represents Guantanamo victims. He flies there, meets them, helps them, and represents them in court. He also sees a man who spends a good deal of time working against the jurisprudence of hidden military courts hiding non-combatants away for years. He doesn't just oppose them in the abstract, like I do, and then do nothing, like I do. He is actually doing more, in a venue that matters, than ranting about ideology in blog comments. I hope that when CharleyCarp looks in the mirror, he is quite proud. I would be if I had done as much as he has.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:59 AM
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113: Well said, Megan, and thank you for saying it.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:01 AM
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107

But this is about partisanship, and I'm an acknowledged partisan. I urge Dems to hang together on this one.

I expect Coakley had similar thoughts when she decided her political career was more important than getting an innocent man out of jail.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:02 AM
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Well, CCarp is one of the few of us who has found a way to do more than rant in blog comments. Of all people, it is ridiculous to call him out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:05 AM
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115: I doubt it. There's a far more parsimonious explanation than partisanship in that case, James. Believing in the face of all evidence in the guilt of a defendant, especially an already convicted defendant, is an occupational hazard of being a prosecutor, unfortunately. And bless those prosecutors who resist it, because it's all too common--in red states and blue states alike.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:06 AM
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The agenda of the President for Goldman Sachs doesn't just deserve to fail, it needs to fail.

How the Left can win, in three easy steps:

1. Defeat Obama's agenda.
2. ??
3. Victory!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:15 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:18 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:20 AM
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Jeez, Bob, I hate prosecutors as much as the next anarchist, but we live under a winner-take-all electoral system. We're not voting for the best candidate, we're voting against the worst candidate. What's so hard to understand about that?

Also, to the responses to my 82: it's not so much that nobody criticizes the body counts I guess, as that they're so infrequently discussed, and the criticism is usually pretty muted and narrowly focused on political blogs and what not. I just never see my friends & comrades or the person on the street expressing the contempt that those stories clearly deserve. Emperor's new clothes moments should be happening everywhere, all the time.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:26 AM
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117

I doubt it. There's a far more parsimonious explanation than partisanship in that case, James. Believing in the face of all evidence in the guilt of a defendant, especially an already convicted defendant, is an occupational hazard of being a prosecutor, unfortunately. And bless those prosecutors who resist it, because it's all too common--in red states and blue states alike.

There is some truth in this but a reason for this sort of prosecutorial blindness is partisanship. As far as I know Coakley was not involved in the original prosecution so she was not rationalizing her own past behavior (as prosecutors are in fact prone to do). But she was defending fellow Democrats (and prosecutors) some of whom had made considerable political hay out of the case. And partisanship commonly causes people (not just prosecutors) to defend objectively ridiculous positions.

But you are probably right she was not consciously deciding to sacrifice Amirault's freedom for her political future. So perhaps I should have said: "I expect Coakley had similar thoughts when her political ambitions prevented her from seeing that Amirault was innocent.".


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:28 AM
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Carp has been swimming upstream against the laws, judges, and justices for almost a decade now. It is noble, very noble, but I don't think it is the most efficient or effective way to fight. In the, what, 10-30 year fight to get our constitution back, Coakley is not exactly going to be any help. She is going to be a vote for judges and justices that will make Carp's job harder.

Look, they ran Coakley in Mass because they knew they could, because they knew KR would vote for her. If she is elected, they will just nominate more and more conservative Democrats in every election in the country. That will redefine what is an acceptable Democrat, move the discourse ever more to the Right.
Republicans will move Right to compete, and eventually win the Presidency with a fascist.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:30 AM
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121

Also, to the responses to my 82: it's not so much that nobody criticizes the body counts I guess, as that they're so infrequently discussed, and the criticism is usually pretty muted and narrowly focused on political blogs and what not. ...

They aren't discussed much because most people don't care.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:31 AM
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112:We obviously disagree on the very relevant question as to whether ir was the SPD or KPD who enabled the Nazi's.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:34 AM
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Well, CCarp is one of the few of us who has found a way to do more than rant in blog comments. Of all people, it is ridiculous to call him out.

Indeed. And I say that with quite a bit of sympathy for bob's sentiment about the lesser of two evils growing progressively more evil.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:37 AM
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Emperor's new clothes moments should be happening everywhere, all the time.

True of so many things, really.

As to Coakley, she really does seem like a uniquely uninspired choice on the part of the MA Dems. But that's not why I've found the race so disheartening. Instead, I've been struck by how many ostensible Democrats have been more interested in Saturday morning quarterbacking her loss rather than trying to make sure she wins. From what I've been reading, only Josh Marshall has consistently been trying to bloody Brown rather than seizing the opportunity to prove that he knows more about politics than his readers, or Martha Coakley, or the chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Nevertheless, in my usual bootlicker-of-the-British fashion, I've sent Coakley money and have wasted my time begging all my friends and relatives in MA to vote for her.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:39 AM
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It is noble, very noble, but I don't think it is the most efficient or effective way to fight.

Exactly what do you think would be more effective and efficient? And who do you know who is doing it?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:42 AM
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Genuinely curious, how do you feel the SPD enabled the Nazis?

And talking about lesser evils, do you think it was wrong for most European Socialist parties to embrace the Popular Front strategy, in spite of the fact that it meant entering an electoral alliance with the high Stalinist Great Terror period Communist parties who, if given full power, would have massacred their allies at the first opportunity?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:44 AM
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107

But this is about partisanship, and I'm an acknowledged partisan. I urge Dems to hang together on this one.

To rephrase my response again, it is probably this desire to be a "team player" which has induced Coakley to persist in defending an erroneous conviction. So be careful of where partisanship can lead you.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:46 AM
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125: Well, obviously, the take-away from that situation is that people should listen to anarchists/anti-authoritarian Marxists more. Over and over again we tell you what's going to happen, and over and over again you ignore us until it's too late. We were right about the inherent problems with the dictatorship of the proletariat. We were right about the problems with capitalism. We were right about opposing fascism and National Socialism right off the bat. It's the corollary to the principle that you can't consider it an ad hominem attack to disbelieve someone who's been proven to be a liar on repeated occasions. If someone's right over and over and over again, you need to start paying more attention.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:47 AM
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they ran Coakley in Mass because they knew they could, because they knew KR would vote for her.

It's amazing how "they" could stitch up the results of a hotly contested primary, and damn near inexplicable why, given their capacity to do so, "they" didn't hand the nomination to the most conservative Dem candidate, since "they" knew KR would vote for him no matter what. It's so improbable as to make you almost suspect that bob is full of shit as usual.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:49 AM
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121

Jeez, Bob, I hate prosecutors as much as the next anarchist, but we live under a winner-take-all electoral system. We're not voting for the best candidate, we're voting against the worst candidate. What's so hard to understand about that?

Some people continue to believe that personal character has some weight in determining who is the worst candidate. An old argument I know.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:49 AM
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131 just makes me smile sadly and think, things never did turn out well for Cassandra, though she too was always right.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:50 AM
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132: as has been long established, mcmanus has difficulty understanding that Massachusetts is a real place, rather than a magical land of imagination where all his crackpot theories about the machinations behind the curtain are made real.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:51 AM
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135: Yes, and shame on me for letting him distract me from the infinitely more important task of emailing every liberal I know in the commonwealth to urge them to get to the polls on Tuesday.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 10:58 AM
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129.2: I think you meant that to be addressed to Bob, but it poses a difficult question for the social democrats among us as well. For my part, I'm hard pressed to second-guess either the Socialists who did embrace the popular front when and where they did (pre-war France, civil war Spain) or those who didn't (Weimar SPD).

FWIW, it wasn't only parties of the Left that made the unsavoury choice to collaborate with Stalin post-1941. Winston Churchhill supposedly made a remark to the effect of "If Hitler invaded Hell, I could think of one or two good things to say about Satan before the House of Commons."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:06 AM
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132:"hotly contested primary"

Results

47-28

A real barnburner.

The lurkers can decide whose credibily that puts into question.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:08 AM
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The lurkers can decide whose credibily that puts into question.

The lurkers will support me in e-mail? I hadn't realized that particular tendentious construction needed watering down.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:09 AM
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138: I would cheerfully stake my credibility versus yours on a referendum of unfogged lurkers, or indeed, on a referendum of any similarly sized population drawn at random from any state or nation in the world.

And I would even spot you 20 points, you raving lunatic.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:14 AM
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mcmanus has difficulty understanding that Massachusetts is a real place, rather than a magical land of imagination

At about minute one or two of a DMT trip in Massachusetts, you may be greeted by a chorus of self-bouncing partisan hacks. "We're the machine politicians! You never noticed us, but we've been here all along."


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:17 AM
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The Weimar era SPD didn't have the option of entering an alliance with the KPD. At that point the Comintern/Stalin still completely rejected the idea. Suggesting it was grounds for expulsion, and, if you had the bad luck to be in the USSR, execution.

FWIW, I do think that the French/Spanish decision was the right one, though even on pure pragmatic grounds its dangers were shown in Spain (NKVD run terror) and France (early WWII era Communist policy of opposing the war effort on the grounds that the fascists were their new best friends).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:26 AM
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137:It wasn't just about "embracing the popular front", terza, it was also about the SPD's post-crash economic policies. The SPD not only didn't jerk to the left, they also accommodated the corporatists from 1930 onward. It was about policy.

Late Weimar

"In line with conservative economic theory that less public spending would spur economic growth, Brüning drastically cut state expenditures, including in the social sector. He expected and accepted that the economic crisis would, for a while, deteriorate before things would improve. Among others, the Reich completely halted all public grants to the obligatory unemployment insurance (which had been introduced only in 1927), which resulted in higher contributions by the workers and fewer benefits for the unemployed."

(I hear 2010 is going to be about deficit reduction. That'll work well for the midterms.)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:27 AM
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141 glimpses the truth behind the Baked Bean Curtain.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:30 AM
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142:Hell, after the SPD supported WWI, and after the SPD unleashed the Freikorps, the grudges and loss of trust could have been enough to make the KPD wary. They didn't need orders from the Comintern.

But why the hell was the KPD supposed to ally with the Party that ends unemployment insurance in a Depression?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:32 AM
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Shorter Bob: Ernst Thälmann ist mein Vorbild. Ich gelobe, zu lernen, zu arbeiten und zu kämpfen, wie es Ernst Thälmann lehrt.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:37 AM
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144: Great, now I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to stitch together baked beans. You and your sewing notions.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:38 AM
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145 You are aware that at the same time as the SPD was condoning Freikorps killings of Spartacists the Bolsheviks were killing political opponents on a much wider scale?

As for your second point, well other than the whole Nazi thing, entering into a coalition with the SPD would have pulled policies to the left, as opposed to the existing alternative of an SPD alliance with the democratic center-right parties which did the reverse.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:40 AM
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Let's talk about football. History's greatest monster: Peyton Manning or Brett Favre?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:42 AM
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143 Also, pet peeve, using the term 'corporatist' in its current American Left sense is rather confusing in the context of European interwar politics when it was an important term that meant something very different.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:46 AM
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145 I think this is the link you were looking for.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:48 AM
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You and your sewing notions.

Pins, hooks, snaps! Zippers!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:48 AM
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148.2:Social Democrats will always beg for support from the Left to get elected, and then betray them by continuing wars, waffling on civil rights, and selling out to business by putting Rubin's proteges in power, bailing out banks, and passing insurance-friendly healthcare.

Ooops. I think I have my history all mixed up.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:49 AM
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151: Ha, I was just watching this one.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:50 AM
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143: Bob, are you even aware that Heinrich Brüning was not an SPD politician, and that the SPD was not part of his parliamentary majority, and that he imposed his economic program through Article 48 emergency authority against the will of the Reichstag including the SPD?

Your brain is remarkably impervious to actual facts, even by the standards drug-addled, superannuated, dogmatic wanna-be revolutionaries.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:52 AM
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149: definitely Manning. Favre isn't the greatest anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:54 AM
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I think that mine has the best refrain:

Die Partei, die Partei, die hat immer Recht! Und, Genossen, es bleibe dabei; Denn wer kämpft für das Recht, Der hat immer recht. Gegen Lüge und Ausbeuterei. Wer das Leben beleidigt, Ist dumm oder schlecht. Wer die Menschheit verteidigt, Hat immer recht. So, aus Leninschem Geist, Wächst, von Stalin geschweißt, Die Partei - die Partei - die Partei.

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:57 AM
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Huh, damn interwebs turned that quote into paragraph form, let's try again.

Die Partei, die Partei, die hat immer Recht!

Und, Genossen, es bleibe dabei;

Denn wer kämpft für das Recht,

Der hat immer recht.

Gegen Lüge und Ausbeuterei.

Der das Leben beleidigt,

Ist dumm oder schlecht.

Wer die Menschheit verteidigt,

Hat immer recht.

So, aus Leninschem Geist,

Wächst, von Stalin geschweißt,

Die Partei - die Partei - die Partei.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:59 AM
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Was Bruning the Geithner or Bernanke of his day?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 11:59 AM
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That is a great -- and apt -- refrain.

In mine, the line "Ein Lump, wer kapituliert!" cracks me up.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:02 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:07 PM
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Anyway, I'm through.

Just as I couldn't vote for a healthcare bill with the Nelson abortion restriction (among a hundred other problems) the people of MA should stay home if they think Coakley inadequate.

They should not be ruled by terror.

Obama can save his own sorry ass.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:07 PM
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Luckily, bob, you'll never have to take responsibility for ever having any influence on anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:09 PM
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Just as I couldn't vote for a healthcare bill with the Nelson abortion restriction (among a hundred other problems) the people of MA should stay home if they think Coakley inadequate that it doesn't matter who wins.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:23 PM
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Exactly what do you think would be more effective and efficient?

I hope you aren't expecting an answer to this question. I'm sure Bob has no idea. He's just busying himself until it's time to run his dogs. (Though why he chooses to do so this way, instead of looking at cute videos or porn like most people, I can't say. It must be because he's a radical.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:27 PM
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The SPD's economic policy was completely wrong, and instrumental in bringing Hitler to power. The KPD's "social fascism" line was completely in the wrong, and instrumental in bringing Hitler to power.

I'm a little bit sympathetic to your argument, Bob, but if 30s Germany is the historical parallel that you're relying on, then your argument is in trouble. The Left turned on the center Left, and a fascist came to power. If that's the relevant lesson, then the Left better cleave to Obama post-haste.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:27 PM
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The SPD's economic policy of a series of Weimar governments, in which the SPD never once held a majority of ministerial posts and always relied on the parliamentary support of bourgeois parties was completely wrong, and instrumental played a contributing role in bringing Hitler to power.

The actual economic program of the SPD was a a lot more sensible than what Weimar coalition governments could agree on, just as FDR's economic program went a lot further than his Congressional majority and a conservative-activist Supreme Court permitted.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:39 PM
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What choice did the SPD have? How do you run major budget deficits if you have a large trade deficit, extreme and well organized hostility from domestic capital, and no ability to get foreign financing? In any case, the irony is that the SPD refused to join the Bruning government because it was unwilling to make any further concessions to the right.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:41 PM
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I'm a little bit sympathetic to your argument, Bob

Bob's argument is always and ever available, is the thing, given that this country won't be run by the True Left, or by social democrats, or anarchists, in our lifetimes. This is not an argument winnable by either side; cripe, we were worrying the relative merits of trying to change the system from within, or from without (either by refusing to participate or by outright disobedience) when we were thirteen.

That's not to say that revisiting the argument is always a waste of time, or that anyone here is behaving like a thirteen-year-old; just that this is as old as the hills, and has no definitive answer. Bob will always have a point, just as those who counsel compromise will always have a point.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:47 PM
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168: It's a fool's errand we're on, teraz. And bob has probably gone to walk his dogs or troll Yglesias' blog or forge prescriptions for Schedule II drugs anyway.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:47 PM
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Now I'm confused about something. I saw a quote somewhere of a finance minister under the (pre-WW2) SPD who said something like until we make the transition to full socialism, we have to follow balanced-budget, sound-money policies. Did I imagine this?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 12:59 PM
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86 was me. Thanks, Apo and Jackmormon!


Posted by: honigessig | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:00 PM
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168: The conventional answer is that Germany should have gone off the gold standard sooner.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:04 PM
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With respect to the MA Senate race, everything I've read attributes the closeness of the race to a combination of (a) Coakley's apparent choice to run a 'political insider' campaign; (b) her wooden and/or inept campaign performance in comparison to Brown, who's apparently quite the articulate charmer; (c) funding support of Brown from a variety of nefarious sources (Dick Armey, anyone?); and (d) ??

I enumerate these because I'd been concerned that some of it was attributable to Mass. Dems' decision to stay away from the polls, out of some sense of either outrage or apathy. That could be (d) above, but I haven't seen anyone say so. If there is any significant amount of that going on, I find myself rather disgusted by it. But again, I haven't seen much mention of it.

I'm a little baffled by Massachusetts on this. I'm calling my Mass-dwelling brother this evening to see what's what.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:14 PM
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171: The SPD rarely held the Finance portfolio during the Weimar Republic, and held it only for a couple of months between the start of the Great Depression and the rise of Hitler. The grounds for the sacking of that particular minister was his willingness to countenance deficit financing.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:14 PM
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174

I'm a little baffled by Massachusetts on this. ...

Voters are in a foul mood. Which hurts incumbents.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:19 PM
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175 True, but I seem to remember Hilferding (the Finance minister in question, major Marxist economic theorist) saying something like that in the twenties. But as I said earlier, Weimar Germany was in a really, really poor position for large scale deficits. Simply having the Reichsbank supply capital on a large scale was risky, and starting at the end of 1928 foreign capital dried up completely, first courtesy of the Wall Street boom, then the Depression.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:26 PM
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It's cause MA voters lack the proper Christian moral values and go for nude centerfold models


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:28 PM
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Voters are in a foul mood. Which hurts incumbents.

In theory, yes, but that's not good enough in Mass. A historically blue state (notwithstanding Romney) replacing Ted Kennedy's Senate seat (yes, I understand the seat doesn't belong to the Kennedy-esque), and which already has in place a state-run health insurance initiative which benefits some 96% of residents, last I heard: stubborn reactionary voter behavior smacks of a general "fuck you" to the rest of the nation.

There must be some other explanation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:33 PM
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I seem to remember Hilferding (the Finance minister in question, major Marxist economic theorist) saying something like that in the twenties.

Could be. But in the 1920's he wasn't wrong to say that. I detected in 171 a hint of imprecation that the SPD's fidelity to balanced-budget economics aggravated the Depression in Germany, which is what I was trying to rebut.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:34 PM
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I found it. It was Hilferding, but after he was already out as Finance minister. It's at Brad's.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:34 PM
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I don't care what y'all say or about his past sins. Favre is pretty amazing right now. Favre + Sidney Rice, to be precise.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:38 PM
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180: If Brad is to be believed, he was saying it in 1931.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:45 PM
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179: notwithstanding Romney, Swift, Celluci, Weld (who form an uninterupted line of Republican governorships from 1991 to 2007), Sargent, Volpe, Saltonstall, Brooke, and the many U.S. and state represenatatives from Masschusetts who are members of the GOP, sure. Also notwithstanding the fact that the bluest state in the union (that'd be Connecticut) continues to offer us Lieberman. And notwithstanding that even your own (deep, deep blue) state gives us (among others) the delightful Rep. Gilchrest.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:46 PM
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And incidentally, the (utter shithead) GOP candidate for senate can point to the (unfortunately quite true) fact that the governor under whose stewardship Massachusetts passed health care reform was the aforementioned Mitt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:47 PM
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184: Are you trying to make me wring my hands? I'm trying not to, with limited success. Word is that smacking people upside the head doesn't work, and it's difficult to know how else to proceed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:49 PM
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Poor voter education- there's a double-digit spread in polls between Brown's support (47-49) and support for the HCR bill (58-62). Brown's been excellent at hiding his true positions from the general public, and Coakley didn't do anything for so long that once she started pointing out that the guy's a Birther and Teabagger all he said was that she's desperate and all the coverage was about how she's going negative rather than the fact that was she was saying was true.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:50 PM
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I read 184 as a reply to 178, and was surprised to discover that Romney, Swift, Celluci, and Weld had all been nude centerfolds.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:52 PM
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185: Who has since disowned health care reform.

Ii mean, what's the message there (in the minds of some voters) supposed to be: See, Republicans don't totally suck!

I'm fussing because I do think of Mass as my state, still, or at least my people, and this is ... consternating. But I'll cut it out now. I'm not saying anything not obvious.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:53 PM
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187 gets it right, no doubt. Thanks, SP.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:56 PM
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I'm fussing because I do think of Mass as my state, still, or at least my people

I hope you're registered to vote here, then.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 1:57 PM
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181: that's an interesting discussion, and sheds light on the diversity of views within the SPD in 1931, but again, the SPD was not in the government in any capacity, much less in the finance portfolio, after March 1930. So a hypothetical claim that the SPD could have staved off the rise of Hitler (presumably by winning an absolute majority it never once enjoyed and implementing policies that had literally no support among the other democratic parties) if only it had made an unambiguous programmatic commitment to deficit financing is a little hard to swallow.

Of the parties of the Left in Germany 1929-1933, there was one that was malfeasant in enabling Hitler and one that wasn't, even if there is scope for debating the lesser charge of misfeasance against the SPD.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:01 PM
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191: I just lived there until I was 26. I do think of it as my home state, where I'm from. Obviously I don't have a right to vote there any more, so yes, this Senate election is the prerogative of Mass. voters, period. Good luck, guys.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:02 PM
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Brown hasn't mentioned the word "Republican" in any of his ads, leading the local talk radio station (home of Rush in Boston!) to propose this as a potential Coakley attack ad.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:03 PM
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||

Ahem. 34 to 3. Thirty-four to fucking three. Suck it, America's Team.

|>


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:08 PM
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So, which one of you is representing Sunstein in the argument against bob?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:12 PM
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194: It's not that different in tone or content from the real Coakley ads

View and weep, my red state homies.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:17 PM
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which one of you is representing Sunstein in the argument against bob?

Don't mistake me for someone who cares about Sunstein. I only jump in when someone disses FDR, J.K. Galbraith or the Weimar SPD.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:21 PM
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do you think it was wrong for most European Socialist parties to embrace the Popular Front strategy, in spite of the fact that it meant entering an electoral alliance with the high Stalinist Great Terror period Communist parties who, if given full power, would have massacred their allies at the first opportunity?

It's all hindsight, obviously, but I think in the case of Republican Spain specifically it was a disaster. They had a better chance if they had followed the Durruti plan and extended the kind of social revolution that Catalonia saw in fall '36 to Spanish Morocco and divided Franco's attempt at a reconquista.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:28 PM
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Your denial does nothing to dispel the suspicion that you're part of the secret government non-government effort to combat without being seen to combat conspiratorial thinking.

Anyway, the playoff games have been awful (as games, not necessarily as outcomes). I blame MA Dems.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:35 PM
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199: Precisely!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 2:52 PM
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Well, no, they had a better chance if they got some decent logistical support. Given that the only chance they had of that was getting the USSR on side, cuddling up to the CP was the best bet. (Immoral power politics? Yes. True? Pretty much.)

Also anti-splittism --- the enemy was not on the left & the most important objective was maintaining a united front against fascism. Remember -- the PCF was not the enemy. Nor was the PCI, then engaged in active resistance to the then existing fascist regime. Nor, for that matter, was the KPD rotting in the camps.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:00 PM
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I've come to the conclusion that if something is going to solve, or partially solve, the process problems in American government, it's going to have to come through independent mind-changing or persuasion rather than winning elections. The structural changes required to drop supermajority requirements aren't going to happen, and no party is going to get to 60% or in California, 2/3 majorities for very long. So someone in the solid obstructionist minority is going to have to budge. In other words, we're doomed.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:34 PM
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That's not to say that winning elections isn't important, just that there aren't enough wins out there to get.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:34 PM
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In other words, we're doomed.

Comity. I'm sure Bob would agree.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:44 PM
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Also: we're all gonna die.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:44 PM
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Not me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:48 PM
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Not all of us, Stanley. Don't be so credulous.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:49 PM
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When the purges begin, nosflow's first against the wall.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:50 PM
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On the other hand, my dad was pretty shocked to read the statement Bank of America sent out detailing how the Credit Cardholder Bill of Rights Act (or whatever it was called) they passed last year has changed the relationship between credit card issuers and cardholders. He took at as a sign that real positive change actually can happen. So there's that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 3:53 PM
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205:Not really. We aren't necessarily doomed.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

And we need to fear sacrificing a fastidiousness for policy and principle to a fastidiousness for process.

If Coakley falls, they can go reconciliation (they will not be able to ram the Senate bill down the House's throat, especially after Coakley). It won't get us everything, but what it can get could be better. If they won't go for reconciliation, we primary everybody.

Winograd vs Harman. Winograd is a candidate worth helping.

(Two "progressives" are helping Harman. This will be remembered.)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:03 PM
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I don't see how primarying Democrats is going to win Republican seats (irrespective of whether a particular primarying of a particular Democrat is a good idea in itself, which it sometimes is).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:07 PM
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And if Coakley loses, since it is MA, it should be clear that the loss was because the discouraged base stayed home.

Of course, it will be spun by the media and Village, and possibly by the liberal blogosphere (Damn Naderite DFH's).

But the candidates know where their votes come from. Not from Republicans.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:10 PM
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212:I have explained this before. You primary moderate Democrats with progressives, and primary progressives with leftists. The idea is to move the Caucus to the left.

Replace Harman with Winograd.

Somebody at MY asked why Republicans ran a wingnut in MA instead of a "moderate." Because Republicans understand politics and don't succumb to fear, that's why.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:14 PM
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In the Senate, 59 slightly (or more) more to the left Democrats would still be 59 Democrats.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:19 PM
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215:But you only need 51 hardasses to pass a bill.

As Republicans showed us for eight years.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:21 PM
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If Coakley loses, conventional wisdom in Washington instantly becomes that Obama "went too far", just like in 94. In 94, the Republicans took over because the Democratic base stayed home. Everyone decided it was because Clinton was too far left.

The progressive moment ends in two days. See you all again in about twenty years.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:21 PM
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Some of those 51 vote things republicans passed are hitting sunset now, though. I don't know how many lasting things came out of reconciliation.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:27 PM
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And many of the awful things passed under the Bush admin passed with Democratic votes. Only one side seems to be "persuadable." (See above, re: doomed.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:28 PM
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217:Like I care about what the Village thinks.

A "progressive moment" happens when the base runs against the Party and and often against their own President. 1968-70 and 1992-94 (for Republicans) are examples.

Not so sure about the dynamics of TR.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:32 PM
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But you only need 51 hardasses to pass a bill.

As Republicans showed us for eight years.

I think liberals tend to exaggerate greatly just how much Republicans accomplished in those years legislatively without Democratic support. There was the tax cut and not much else. Medicare D, No Child Left Behind, and the energy bill were all bipartisan. Unfortunately, Democrats were also too happy to lend support to the war agenda. Most of the Bush craziness was via executive branch stuff.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:34 PM
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Democrats also pwned me.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:36 PM
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213: And if Coakley loses, since it is MA, it should be clear that the loss was because the discouraged base stayed home.

Bob, per some of the remarks upthread, it's not clear that this will have been the case. As Sifu points out, Mass. has a recentish history of supporting the GOP. In this case, Brown has misrepresented himself apparently quite well; and as SP pointed out in 187, there's a significant gap in voter support of national health care reform and support of Brown. People don't seem to have their eyes open, and if Brown wins, it may be just as much due to poor voter education, to use SP's term, as to Democratic base demoralization.

How it would be spun is another story, of course.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 4:51 PM
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The progressive moment ends in two days. See you all again in about twenty years.

Aw geez, you're right. Guess I'll just stay home on Tuesday.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 5:10 PM
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On the OT glasses thing way upthread at 78, 83, 87:

Mary Catherine: Metal? plastic? a combination of both? something else altogether?

A combination of both: metal frames and plastic arms. They're these. Weirdly, that picture doesn't look nearly as stylish -- i.e. skinny frames, quite rectangular -- as these things look. Not at all, in fact. The picture makes them look much rounder than they are (she says as she takes them off and frowns at them). That's odd. Maybe the "eye" height on mine is 52, and 54 is what's pictured. They're still on the conservative side, because it seemed silly to me to go too trendy if I expect to have these things for upwards of 5 years. ... You know, those pictured frames kind of don't look like these things, though. Weird.

The prices on that site look quite attractive, by the way, at least for such designer frames. A google sampling shows even better prices in a few other places. Now that I have a prescription in hand, I'd go the online ordering route in future.

Populuxe at 87: I must get new glasses soon. I'm afraid that I'll need bifocals.

Eh, do it. The lenses are more expensive, but you'll be able to see.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 5:40 PM
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I put some pictures of te new baby (and others) in the flickr pool. Enjoy good baby-goodness.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 5:48 PM
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217: You mean we're not going out there to burn shit down if Coakley loses? I've only got a few years left to get into that in any effective way.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 5:48 PM
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Alert baby iz alert! Very cute.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 5:53 PM
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127: I was planning to write in Barney Frank, but now that it's close I'll vote for her. None of the Senior congressional dems wanted to run. Only Capuano, for whom I voted. She got the pro-choice above all else suburban women's vote by saying things like, she'd vote against any health care bill that had any restriction on abortion.

I was really depressed by the options. I mean, one of the candidates had given money To GWB.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 6:52 PM
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184: Brooke was very different from Brown. If he, as he was then, were running I wouldn't vote for him, but I wouldn't despair if Coakley lost to him.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 7:19 PM
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What a beautiful family, TJ! Congratulations on your newest member, and thanks for sharing the photos. So sweet.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 8:04 PM
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A very good description of some of the factors at play in the MA special election.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:45 PM
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Thanks, friends, for the kind words.

I look in the mirror, and am not feeling all that effective these days: a years work with one of our district judges washed away in a single bad appellate decision (two Bush Jr. appointees -- both of whom were filibustered then let through by the Gang of 14 -- with the Reagan appointee telling them they were out of line). I've got some hope still for my other judge, but only once the hysteria dies down. Brown is adding to the hysteria. Because of the way the body works, very Senate seat counts -- not just the 59th or 60th -- and even a single term is too long, especially when there is no reason, no reason at all, to think the result is going to be better,

Life tenure is way too long for experimentation or unseriousness.

I wish, Bob, that you and yours would spend more time creating a real left than electing the real right.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:46 PM
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I wish, Bob, that you and yours would spend more time creating a real left than electing the real right.

Like he has any interest in that! He lives in Texas: there he can be pure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-10 9:48 PM
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No, Blume, no! Great, now Brown will win by one vote, and it'll all be my fault.

I'm assuming that Coakley will win, but if Brown wins, it's pretty bad for progressive politics.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 12:52 AM
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Mark Scmitt has an interesting idea about combining filibuster reform with reconciliation reform.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 1:09 AM
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Re the OP: I am a weirdo magnet and perfectly happy with it. This weekend an interesting fellow in bright yellow corduroys pants told me all about how the Rothschilds and the Illuminati created the 9/11 attacks as a pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan so they could control the opium supply.

The main problem I have with weirdos is the lack of variety. It's always the goddamn Illuminati or the Jews scheming to control the world. You rarely see genuine creativity other than from people who are clearly mentally ill. We need creative new conspiracy theories, dammit! The teabaggers are working on it, but they haven't yet settled on a coherent narrative.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:22 AM
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No, Blume, no!

No worries, I'll definitely be voting. I was just being pissy about the already-given-up-ness of so much of the left wing discourse about it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:25 AM
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We need creative new conspiracy theories, dammit! The teabaggers are working on it, but they haven't yet settled on a coherent narrative.

The Finnish secret service is prolonging the civil war in Congo in order to gain control of the coltan mines, which they need because without tantalum you can't make mobile phones, and Nokia is the power behind the Finnish government. Their eventual plan is to use Bluetooth headsets to convert everyone into Borg (1).

They have a secret mental advantage over the rest of us, you see - their long winter nights make them very depressed(2), and it's well known that depressives are better at reasoning than mentally healthy people (3). Plus, the cold weather means they can run their brains at higher clock speeds.

(1) This part stolen from Doctor Who.
(2) This part is really true.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder#Nordic_countries
(3) So is this.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depressive_realism


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:07 AM
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they can run their brains at higher clock speeds

This made me laugh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:09 AM
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Finnish cerebral overclocking is good. We need to work in the a few more players, though. I'm thinking the Indonesians are due for a turn at demonization. Maybe the New Zealanders.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:23 AM
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Oh god, if the Suojepoliisi, the Viestikoelaitos, and the Puolustusvoimien Tiedustelukeskus are working together on this coltan project, we're really in trouble.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:28 AM
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Chris Bowers the most optimistic poll watcher, now thinks Coakley will likely lose.

More Bowers today, paraphrased with apologies if necessary:

1) Coakley is not a bad candidate;Brown is a very good one. Bowers has numbers.
2) It's the economy, stupid
3) Obama's attempt to rebrand Democrats as the party of Wall Street, insurance, Pharma, and war has not attracted massive Republican support, has discouraged and disillusioned the base, and will not play well in the midterms.

I tried to tell everyone this guy was pretty poison a year ago. This does not mean we are doomed, although Obama is probably doomed.

We cut him loose and attack him like LBJ and Humphrey were attacked.

It will be ugly beyond imagining, but that threat of internecine Democratic warfare was always a source of his power.

PS:If you want, you should go find Scott Horton's current Harper's article on the murder in 2006 of three Gitmo detainees by slow suffocation with rags stuffed down their throats. He makes a strong case with eyewitness testimony and details the coverup.

Eric Holder is shutting down the investigation.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 4:06 PM
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However ugly the destruction of our own President might be, it will be one tenth as ugly as enduring a Republican Congress after November.

Better the wake-up call now than later.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 4:22 PM
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I tried to tell everyone this guy was pretty poison a year ago. This does not mean we are doomed, although Obama is probably doomed.

THERE WAS NO GOOD DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE

OH MY GOD

HOLY CRAP


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 4:42 PM
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Heh. I miss Opinionated Grandma.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 4:47 PM
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225: I really like those frames. Stylish!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 5:09 PM
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Latest Bowers Analysis

Brown 2:1 Favorite.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 5:20 PM
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Well, it's been made clear recently that having 60 "votes" is not any better than having 59 or 51 "votes".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 5:24 PM
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The phrase "60-vote Democratic majority" is making me want to hurl things at the radio every time I hear it. There is no 60-vote Democratic majority, you sorry-ass excuses for journalists.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 5:30 PM
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it's well known that depressives are better at reasoning than mentally healthy people (3)

This is a confused summary of the depressive realism literature. To the extent that reasoning depends on executive function, depressed people, at least when depressed, will be worse at it. Depressive realism is likely a function of heuristics, not reasoning, and it's very far from clear that a set of heuristics in the domains where depressive realism has been demonstrated (e.g., that depressed people tend to have more accurate heuristics about locus of control, at least in a lab where they're pressing a button to make a light go on) would legitimate a global characterization of depressed people as more realistic.


Posted by: Poppet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 5:38 PM
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Hey, Poppet. Good to hear a new voice in here. Hope you stay.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 5:57 PM
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Poppet is clearly a plant, trying to lull us into complacency about the coming Finnish ascendancy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:01 PM
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All kidding aside, I agree with 252.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:01 PM
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Hold up. With only one comment, on what could we possibly base our hopes that Poppet will stay? What's so "good" about this "new voice", aside from its information about depressive realism?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:03 PM
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Goonies never put kidding aside.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:06 PM
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So, if I'm understanding correctly, people who are depressed don't reason better; people who reason better are depressed?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:41 PM
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257: Reasoning is like drinking then. Best done in moderation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:43 PM
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Or licking the butter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:44 PM
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Reasoning is like licking the butter?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:45 PM
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Yes. Both should only be done in moderation and both really make you stand out if done in public.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 6:48 PM
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My high school girlfriend was afraid to eat at my house, because my mom had a habit of leaving out the butter. The girlfriend had seen the cat licking the butter one too many times. (Actually, one time may have been too many times.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:01 PM
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Cats can lick their own ass, right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:05 PM
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Well, yeah, that's how they get the butter there.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:18 PM
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Fortunately we've got opposable thumbs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:20 PM
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Actually, 263 was a serious question. I just don't know as I have not spent much time around cats.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:20 PM
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I'm still pretty sure the answer's yes, but no, I am not going to go watch the cats for the next two hours to see if they lick their asses.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:24 PM
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266: They can and do. They also step in their litter boxes and then jump on kitchen counters. Foul, awful animals.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:25 PM
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So it's a dog or nothing for us. And one too small to get to the counter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:28 PM
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No, dogs are even worse. Be your own animal, Moby.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:31 PM
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On the other hand, it ain't the cats who have trained people to follow them around the neighborhood to pick up their shit.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:31 PM
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Dogs are smelly and the smell gets on your hands and you want to get rid of the fucking animal but it seems to be attached to you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:31 PM
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My dog was pretty big and a determined butter thief.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:32 PM
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That sounds as if you think dogs don't lick their asses. They do as well. And sniff other dogs'.

You want a non-disgusting pet, get a goldfish. You want to own a pet mammal, don't think too hard about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:32 PM
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272:My dogs are odorless, both breath and fur.

It's a breed characteristic.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:33 PM
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272: Maybe you smell, heebie, and get it on the dog! (My dog smelled like warm and fuzzy.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:33 PM
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Poppet is clearly a plant

I wouldn't have had to cognitively infiltrate you if you hadn't been fomenting anti-Nokia resistance. I comment more in sorrow than in anger.

I don't know what you mean.


Posted by: Poppet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:34 PM
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Geebies smell like roses.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:34 PM
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I grew-up with dogs and am used to their filthy habits. But neither of our dogs were able to lick their own ass, though not for lack of trying.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:34 PM
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You want a non-disgusting pet, get a goldfish.

And watch it swim around with a turd twice its own length hanging from it. Oh neat.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:36 PM
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DogBreath doesn't have that 'dog fur stink on your hands' thing, which I am very grateful for. I like dogs, but I don't like having my hands stink after petting them. I think longer-haired dogs are less stinky in that regard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:37 PM
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My dogs are odorless, both breath and fur. It's a breed characteristic.

What breed are your dogs?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:38 PM
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And what breed is DogBreath?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:39 PM
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And do they make that nasty smacking sound with their mouths when you're sitting around quietly concentrating? Because that's another reason to prefer cats.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:39 PM
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We cut him loose and attack him like LBJ and Humphrey were attacked.

And just like post 1968 we get ourselves our real liberal president four years later, elected in a landslide pushing though a massive set of left wing legislation, ushering in a new period of liberal dominance for a generation.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:40 PM
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We had spaniels. They had that dog fur stink even straight from a bath. Also, they both got near-blind at about 10 or so. The first one we had was responsible for a huge number of dead birds and small mammals, despite the fact that we kept in a fenced yard when outside. This continued even after you could hardly see anything in her eye that wasn't clouded by a cataract.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:41 PM
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283: She's an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie cross. (Actually, she's the daughter of an Aussie/Collie cross and an Aussie, so 3/4 Aussie.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:42 PM
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282:These

Look Like These


Posted by: Simon Weill | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:42 PM
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285: It's not about the country, it's about feeling pure and righteous and angry and idealistic and youthful and SUCK IT WWII GENERATION.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:46 PM
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My cat smells super great.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:48 PM
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SUCK IT WWII GENERATION.

What's wrong with Wii?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:53 PM
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291: I can't clear level 10 on the Swordplay game in Sports Resort.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:55 PM
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285:terza, you need to look at the Congresses 1968-76 to see what the benefits of the purification were. The social revolutions were permanently established. The fucking war was defunded.

Bringing down a President in 1968 gave us, directly in places like NY, and indirectly nationally, the right to to an abortion, for one example.

Being careful, accommodating and deferential to leaders since 1975 has taken us to the point where female progressive House members are voting to restrict access.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:57 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 7:59 PM
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Being careful, accommodating and deferential to leaders since 1975 has taken us to the point where female progressive House members are voting to restrict access.

This is true and depressing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:03 PM
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So Jimmy Carter created the Religious Right?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:04 PM
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Jimmy Carter licked his own butt.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:11 PM
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In his heart.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:12 PM
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Which is kind of a neat trick, when you think about it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:12 PM
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301!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:13 PM
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Fuck.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:13 PM
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Jimmy Carter created the Religious Right with one swift lick of his own butt.

McManus should post pics of his dogs to the flickr pool.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:13 PM
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304!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:13 PM
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The social revolutions were permanently established. The fucking war was defunded.

Wha? Let's see. This is Earth, right, the one where LBJ was succeeded by Nixon? And then Nixon introduced his War on Poverty programs and apologized to Cambodia for all that bombing LBJ did? Yeah. For a minute I thought I was living on that other earth.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:24 PM
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I am having this same argument at Yggles. Yeah, Nixon was elected. So what?

How did Stonewall happen? Why was Harvey Milk so very fucking free?

You have break old ties and dependencies, lose all hope in previous processes and paradigms, burn some bridges, get stoned a lot, and then you feel you must and can do it for yourself.

Bringing down LBJ empowered a generation.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:26 PM
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And remember how we stuck it to Al Bore because he was just like the other guy? That was awesome!
I was getting depressed today about how a million Iraqis died because someone in Palm Beach didn't know graphic design, and now we're going to be stuck with the same crap health care for another 30 years because Curt Schilling was traded to Boston. Fuck history.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:32 PM
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Yeah, Nixon was elected. So what? How did Stonewall happen? Why was Harvey Milk so very fucking free?

Those who brought down LBJ and replaced him with Nixon were responsible for the ascendancy of Pol Pot and genocide in Cambodia. True fact.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:32 PM
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Bringing down GHWB empowered a generation of Republicans. Too many people think 1994 was about Clinton's mistakes, as if the Republican base were irrelevant.

Fratricidal internecine warfare very good.
Comity and consensus very bad.

This is politics on the street. It is only ugly to the suits.

And yeah, the Coakley disaster, all condolences to Massachusetts, has enlivened and encouraged me more than anything in the last 15 years.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:32 PM
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How nice for you, bob.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:35 PM
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"Fuck history."

History fucks you first.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:35 PM
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Remind me what you've ever done for "the left," Bob. As I recall, (if it wasn't someone else who called themselves "Bob McManus") you were quite the agitator for war on Yglesias's old blog. Love of war, hatred of Democrats, live in Texas: admit it, you're really Karl Rove, aren't you?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:38 PM
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I do blame all you Sox fans.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:43 PM
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On the other hand, remember how Bill Clinton killed a whole bunch of Iraqis? And that maybe if the Democratic take away from Nader had been: don't fuck the far left, not fuck the far left, Obama wouldn't be currently repeating Clinton's mistakes, right down to the embarrassing health care stuff ups?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:44 PM
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Sorta-on-topic: Paraphrasing a recent bOING bOING comment on conspiracy theories w/r/t Haiti: "If the Zion/st Occupationa/ Government actually existed, we'd have Universal Health Care by now."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:44 PM
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Bringing down LBJ empowered a generation.

Nah, you lot were self-indulgent, over-entitled shits well before LBJ's abdication.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:45 PM
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313: And sticking closer to the left wing of his party would help Obama with Ben Nelson how?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:46 PM
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Bill Clinton killed a whole bunch of Iraqis?

Literally dozens! Not that Bill Clinton doesn't suck and all that, but we're talking about a difference of several orders of magnitude here. It makes a difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:47 PM
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My effort not to despair: assuming the Democrats either ram through hcr before Brown is seated or the House agrees to the Senate's nasty piece of legislation, the only real casualty of Coakley's impending loss will be the far-left wing of the Democratic Party. Which wing, it's become pretty clear lately, isn't really of the party of anyway, so I'm not sure it's that big a loss. Right?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:47 PM
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That said, I do appreciate the historical gymnastics required to transfigure Humphrey's loss in 1968 into progressivism's gain. My only regret: just think how great things could have been if Wallace had won instead of Nixon.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:51 PM
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249 to 316

Getting 60 votes for anything meaningful is impossible. Maybe the end of the blissful 4-month-long 60-vote majority will convince them to change the rules.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:51 PM
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320: I think there's a decent chance that's going to happen. Which will have all kinds of wonderful benefits, not least making sure that Lieberman and Nelson have no power at all.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:53 PM
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318:Whatever Obama wants, huh, ari.

But if Coakley loses, neither of those options will be available, and Obama will have lost control and will get what he wants only by coincidence. Congress will look to their constituents as the midterms approach and laugh in Obama's face.

Whether the people turn left or right isn't even up to Obama anymore, he has no credibility left.
It is up to us. The FDL people are trying to reach the peopler, others are on bended knee begging for Daddy to save them.

Massive fail. Loser. Over.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:56 PM
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321: Why do you think there's a decent chance of that happening? Not a rhetorical question--has someone proposed a plausible path to reform of the senate rules?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:57 PM
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STOP SAYING THERE'S A 60-VOTE MAJORITY. LIEBERMAN DOESN'T COUNT.


Posted by: OPINIONATED Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 8:57 PM
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323: Biden talked today (yesterday?) about changing the Senate rules. Which sounded to me a lot like the beginning of an effort to mainstream that idea and/or dealing with the coming fallout from Coakley's loss.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:01 PM
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319:Osha? EPA? Indexing? The list of Congressional achievements is overwhelming. To call the period after the election of Nixon a disaster is what takes gymnastics.

I knew Rauchway was a hero-worshiping authoritarian Carlylist (if that wasn't a word, it is now) but I wasn't sure about you, ari. Thought so, with the Lincoln worship, but wasn't certain.

Carlylism:"The leading ideas or teachings of Thomas Carlyle, who inculcated especially the importance of individual force of character, and men's need of rulers and leaders of strong character."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:02 PM
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You haven't answered my question, Bob. Drop the shtick and admit that you're just a hippie-teabagger.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:06 PM
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Further to 306, it just occurred to me that this is all Theo Epstein's fault. I knew the Jews were behind it somehow.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:09 PM
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Drop the shtick

While I applaud your optimism, Pop, what about prior interactions with Bob makes this seem likely in the least?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:09 PM
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Time to stop feeding the troll and go put food on my family. I expect cock jokes by the time I get back.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:10 PM
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Go away, bob.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:11 PM
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#330. Time to stop feeding the troll and pour another glass of wine. Wait. Maybe I shouldn't. Another glass of wine and I'll only want to feed the troll MOAR.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:15 PM
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Great Man Theory

silbey seems ok over at EotAW

327:Oh hell, it you remember, i called for something like 5 million men in Iraq for ten years, and 500 thousand for fifty years. In the context at the time, this was recognized as a kind of irony.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:16 PM
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Which wing, it's become pretty clear lately, isn't really of the party of anyway, so I'm not sure it's that big a loss. Right?

you must be kidding. Or just trolling Bob.

Anyway, getting rid of the filibuster would empower the left wing of the Democratic party enormously. The marginal vote becomes someone like Conrad, Webb, or Warner rather than Nelson or Bayh. Someone who could be convinced to join at least some issue coalitions with the left.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:17 PM
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It's long past time for this to turn into a thread about food or sex.

I had sex with bob's dogs, and then I ate them.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:19 PM
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Come on, you all couldn't expect post on talking to crazy people to not feature Bob.

I talk to crazy people all the time on the job. It's great fun.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:20 PM
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You talk to crazy people all the time while equipped with instruments of persuasion. Not the same!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:21 PM
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this was recognized as a kind of irony.

Yeah, war is a barrel of laughs. Sounds like Texas Teabagger humor to me.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:23 PM
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317

Literally dozens! ...

That isn't what the liberal bleeding hearts were claiming at the time. Sanctions were supposedly killing thousands of Iraqi children.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:25 PM
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And then I had sex with James B. Shearer. The sex was very good. Afterwards I stayed up for days writing epic poetry. The epic poetry was very bad.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:28 PM
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334: I was actually talking about people like Jane Hamsher and Chris Bowers. I should have been clearer. But yes, we agree that the Nelson/Landrieu/Bayh bloc would be left out in the cold. So it's not all bad!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:28 PM
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40% of standpipes have masturbated Bob's dogs.

Bob has been insane in this thread. Ari's 318 made him seem less insane, unless, per PGD, Ari was trolling.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:30 PM
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334: Mostly, though, I was trying to make myself feel better.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:30 PM
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342: I guess I'm missing what was so insane about 318.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:31 PM
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313: And sticking closer to the left wing of his party would help Obama with Ben Nelson how?

And sticking like glue to the right of the party has helped how?

Basically, from the left-Democratic point of view, Obama's been a failure. HCR's turned to sludge, Afghanistan's getting worse, and human rights are not exactly in the best of nick.

Literally dozens! Not that Bill Clinton doesn't suck and all that, but we're talking about a difference of several orders of magnitude here. It makes a difference.

Eh, this is basically excuse making -- the sanctions were really quite nasty. (Ooh, ooh, and welfare reform! remember that barrel of laughs?) Clinton pulled some scummy shit, and the left of the party did fuck all to punish him. Except Nader, who did manage to establish that if you go too far right, you can't win a Presidential election, at the price of giving you Bush.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:34 PM
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"Bob's dogs" is too similar to "Bob Dog", the character from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:35 PM
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Building on previous nonsense, 339 gives me hope that an epic battle will break out between trolls and straw men in this thread.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:36 PM
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What's striking to me about Hamsher and Bowers and such is precisely how partisan they are. They're committed to a particular ideology, yes, but it's an ideology that's well within the traditional Democratic Party parameters. And they've got a tremendous amount of energy and some amount of resources and audience. They're the kind of activists the party needs. Of course a centrist like Obama, or really any Democratic president because of the demands of governing and seeking reelection, isn't going to give them everything they want. But if the Democrats manage to lose them, it's a big loss.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:36 PM
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Except Nader, who did manage to establish that if you go too far right, you can't win a Presidential election, at the price of giving you Bush.

This is not what actually happened.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:40 PM
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Basically, from the left-Democratic point of view, Obama's been a failure. HCR's turned to sludge, Afghanistan's getting worse, and human rights are not exactly in the best of nick.

You forgot the "losing what should be safe Congressional seats" thing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:40 PM
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Further to 348: It would also be a loss for those of us who are to the left of the Democratic Party if the party jettisoned its left wing because they dare speak up against its right wing. I don't think 318 is insane; I just think it illuminates which side Ari is on. And now I'm sounding like Bob.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:40 PM
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Basically, from the left-Democratic point of view, Obama's been a failure.

We're coming up on a year now with no President McCain and no Vice President Palin. That's a significant success all by itself. We do have this small problem that there are a whole lot of people who don't see the world the way that we do.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:42 PM
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it's a big loss

Not if their opposition to compromise is so strident that they're willing to advocate for Coakley's loss. And really, it's not clear to me how Democrats have lost them. They've lost their own way without any help, it seems to me.

I mean, as recently as a month ago, I would have agreed with you on every point you've made. But things have gotten pretty ugly since then. And while I'm not very confident in Obama, or any mainstream Democrat, the alternatives are so much worse that I'll chat about my misgivings with friends and then send Coakley another check. That's not the stuff of folk songs, I know, but there it is.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:42 PM
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350: Now who's being a Carlylist, Bob? The Democrats' fortunes are down because they were at such a peak in 2008 that they really couldn't have gone much higher; presidents almost always lose seats in midterms; and the economy REALLY sucks.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:43 PM
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351: Bave, I'm about a million miles to the left of the Democratic Party's positions on almost every major issue. That said, what I want doesn't much matter. My point was that it seems likely to me that party activists will have no time for people like Hamsher and Bowers if Coakley loses.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:48 PM
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We're coming up on a year now with no President McCain and no Vice President Palin. That's a significant success all by itself. We do have this small problem that there are a whole lot of people who don't see the world the way that we do.

You can't keep on like that tho'. It's not a long term strategy.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:48 PM
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And Bave, people like Bowers and Hamsher didn't just speak up against the right wing of the party. They've vigorously advocated for Coakley's defeat so that HCR will go down. They've done this, from what I've read, because they want to see Obama wounded. They're having their own little tea party, aren't they?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:51 PM
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Hamsher and Bowers are party activists ari.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:51 PM
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Not if their opposition to compromise is so strident that they're willing to advocate for Coakley's loss. And really, it's not clear to me how Democrats have lost them. They've lost their own way without any help, it seems to me.

Their question is: Is Obama on my side negotiating with reactionary plutocrats, or is he on the side of reactionary plutocrats and negotiating with me?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:51 PM
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Oh c.mon, since the Obama agenda is not worth passing, at least to anyone who has actually looked at the bills rather than wetting themselves at the words "Obama's Financial Reform", Coakley and the seat is expendable.

Brown is certain to be defeated after his very short term, the 60th Senator has not exactly been the answer to progressives prayers, and God Save Us if the party doesn't wake up very very quick.

That's ari's dream for Obama above will not come to pass. The progressives in the House will lose their fucking jobs if they vote for the Senate Bill, and they know it.

Now I understand that some think that any number of congresspersons should be sacrificed to the whim of the Leader, but I value each lowly little representative more highly than one big corporatist asshole.

Sue me for liking the underdog.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:52 PM
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And Bave, people like Bowers and Hamsher didn't just speak up against the right wing of the party. They've vigorously advocated for Coakley's defeat so that HCR will go down. They've done this, from what I've read, because they want to see Obama wounded. They're having their own little tea party, aren't they?L

I believe they want "HCR to go down" because they think "HCR" would make things worse rather than better.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:52 PM
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359:Is there any question anymore?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:54 PM
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Obama's been a failure. HCR's turned to sludge

I don't understand how the failures of HCR are primarily, or even substantially, Obama's fault. He's a crappy party leader, but that's no surprise; he's been doing the post-partisan shtick for a while. What exactly was he supposed to do to get Congress to pass progressive HCR? Go all unitary executive on their ass?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:54 PM
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Cheese.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:55 PM
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358: By what measure, Keir?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:56 PM
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HCR is a big progressive win, for all its flaws. I think people are realizing that -- MoveOn is out campaigning for Coakley after briefly joining the "kill the bill" bandwagon in December.

Interesting piece by Chris Hayes in the Nation


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:57 PM
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361: I know that, Ned. And I'm glad that they have good enough insurance that they have no skin in the game.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:58 PM
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364 to everything. I had a lovely St. Marcellin recently. It was very pleasantly stinky and runny.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 9:59 PM
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367:I don't have any insurance. The bill would probably help me a lot.

I want it to die a quick death because it will hurt millions better off, but not well off, than me. Hurt them for decades.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:02 PM
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Ugh, this is an old fight, and it's not getting us anywhere. I'm just terribly sad that Hamsher and Bowers, people that I think have the very best intentions and mostly excellent politics, have decided that they'd rather see a Republican elected to Teddy Kennedy's old seat than Martha Coakley. And I'm sad that, as the Democratic Party tacks right leading to the mid-terms and maybe beyond that, Hamsher and Bowers are very likely going to end up on the outside looking in. But maybe not. Maybe this time the Party leaders will realize that they should have embraced the left wing. Maybe this time will be different.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:02 PM
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363: fucked if I know, I'm not a President. But he sure as hell didn't campaign on `i'll fail to get progressive hcr through congress.'' I do not think it unreasonable to expect politicians to do things they campaigned on.

365: Because they have in the past worked hard to get Democrats elected, and have had some reasonable success at it.

367.last is, I think, a bit ad hom, no?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:04 PM
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Also, I do apologize for how terribly unclear I was in 318. It was filled with mournful ironies that only I can hear in my own head. It was a lousy comment.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:07 PM
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369: not true.

And I'm sad that, as the Democratic Party tacks right leading to the mid-terms and maybe beyond that

The most interesting possibility right now is that there's a populist movement that is pushing a little beyond the left-right divide, so that it might even move the Dems somewhat to the left (e.g. the bank tax, weak as it is). I think that events are starting to make the standard liberal/conservative divisions look a little stale intellectually, particularly when "liberalism" was so thoroughly coopted by the corporate center during the 90s. But I'm not too optimistic -- Fox et. al are just too good at propaganda, they'll capture that energy for nefarious purposes.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:09 PM
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You can't keep on like that tho'. It's not a long term strategy.

Out here in the cheap seats it sure as hell is.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:10 PM
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Fox et. al are just too good at propaganda, they'll capture that energy for nefarious purposes.

Right. This is my biggest concern. And because of that, while I agree about the staleness of using a rhetoric of left-right politics, I'm not sure populist-corporatist is any fresher.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:12 PM
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And what, in ten years time when Palin's the new respectable right and Obama's mistake was being too far left, rinse and repeat?

The left has to start articulating a left-wing alternative to Obama.

I don't think that the ballot box is the right way to do that in general, mind you, and Nader made a mistake. But Democrats need to worry about desertion to the left.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:14 PM
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"Maybe this time the Party leaders will realize that they should have embraced the left wing. Maybe this time will be different."

Maybe that is partly up to us, and maybe we could do something about it by helping Hamsher and the crew?

I haven't analyzed it deeply, but my gut feeling is that there is no longer much room at the right, either political or policy or real conditions, toward which Democrats can move. The remainder from what Republicans have consumed is suicidal.

And anyway, the Obama administration is further to the right than I would have thought possible for a Republican twenty years ago. But they can't compete with Republicans over there, and that should be what they learn from Coakley.

For instance:War with Iran? More bank bailouts? An even better deal for Pharma? Drill Drill Drill?

The only sane choices left are on the left.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:17 PM
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Here is what I mean -- Obama campaigning against Brown for not supporting the bank tax. I think there are at least some people within the administration who buy the critique that the political problem is in part due to the Democrats appearing too close to big business. So the effect of political losses might not only be to push the party to the right...might be more complex than that.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:18 PM
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376: But the problem isn't primarily Obama, it's Congress and brain-dead public opinion. The reason Democrats don't worry more about desertion to the left is that they have far bigger problems on the right.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:19 PM
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379:The reason they aren't as worried about the left is that the left has conceded everything, as in female House members voting to restrict abortion.

When the left kills HCR, which I see coming, maybe they will start to listen.

Trumka got concessions, didn't he?

Let's give them problems on their left. Real fucking worries.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:26 PM
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The reason Democrats don't worry more about desertion to the left is that they have far bigger problems on the right.

Then become a bigger problem; these guys are immoral powerseeking politicians, if they can't win without appeasing the left they will appease the left. It certainly isn't the case that Ca. dems face insurmountable problems from the right & likewise New England dems. (& big city dems the country over again.)

(If appeasing the left means they don't win at all you've gone too far, but I doubt that's a problem at the moment.)

And by building up a strong left wing alternative, you change public opinion. You make Congress scared of the left as well as of the right.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:28 PM
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I don't think that the ballot box is the right way to do that in general, mind you, and Nader made a mistake

I long for the day when the left in this country is no longer associated with a once-great voice for reform turned egomaniacal cunt who does nothing but turn up at election time to say "I told you so."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:32 PM
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I have full confidence that a progressive Congressperson can go back to her district and tell them:

"I just couldn't vote to tax your government-mandated health insurance, on top ot your premiums, copays, and out of pocket. You deserve better."

This bill is insane and evil, and the only reasons it has survived are corruption and Obama.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:35 PM
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382. Yep. Elections are pretty blunt tools to effect change with. A lot of hard work happens the rest of the time, especially in this kind of intra-party argument.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:38 PM
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It certainly isn't the case that Ca. dems face insurmountable problems from the right

Aside from not being able to pass anything involving the raising or spending of money, of course, and who really cares about that?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:43 PM
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But that has nothing to do with how far left ca. dems are.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:47 PM
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You talk to crazy people all the time while equipped with instruments of persuasion. Not the same!

Yeah, it does help to have mutual understandings such as "getting stabby is not allowed".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:49 PM
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So as long as Dems sponsor the right sort of bills it really doesn't matter whether they pass?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 10:50 PM
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The centrist Democrats are really bad at performing the "cooling out" function towards the marks left. I'm probably assigning too high a power to rhetoric, but I really do believe that if all else were the same (in terms of policy and outcome) a shift away from "fuck the left, they need to grow up instead of being like babies" rhetoric towards something more conciliatory would have led to less disaffection on the left. For a while - at some point they'd have to back up the rhetoric with more substantive support.

Instead you get all these lectures about how in coalition politics nothing's perfect and you have to make compromises with those you don't agree with (on the right), in which the lecturer assumes a stance that implies they are just as much on the left too, thereby defining the left out of position to be negotiated and compromised with.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:06 PM
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Also, the thing that sort of disturbed me about Fallows recent article on the difficulties of governance and the future of the US is that he doesn't seem to imagine the possibility of the US going totally insane and starting, like, a bunch of wars in response to real or perceived decline. That could never happen, you know? Better stick with the safe, if not all positive, possible outcomes.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:09 PM
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So as long as Dems sponsor the right sort of bills it really doesn't matter whether they pass?

No; as long as Democrats adopt left wing positions to start with, and don't give them up for nothing.

(And really, if the Democrats can't spin an obstructionist minority they aren't competent politicians.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:18 PM
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Okay, Keir, I'll bite: how do you spin an obstructionist minority like the CA Republican legislative minority, a minority that's perfectly happy to see the state governing and social service apparatus seize up and grind to halt*, a minority that has a stranglehold on its remaining seats and thus faces no threat of being punished at the polls? Because really, we could use some good advice out here.

* More proof that government doesn't work, you see.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:30 PM
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Oh, and while we're at it, how would it work at the federal level, where the remaining 40 Republican Senators have decided that their fate is tied to their ability to march in perfect, obstructionist lockstep for the remainder of Obama's time in office?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:32 PM
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Because really, this is the big question for everybody out there who thinks that Obama is the problem or that the CA Democrats just aren't far enough to the left: how do you get the 60th vote in the US Senate? How do you get to a 2/3 majority in the CA legislature?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:34 PM
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OT, but anyone in the UK know if there's an online repository for older (1950s) public documents? I'm looking for a parliamentary report from the 1950s.

I have a scan of a copy, but whoever made it didn't pay enough attention to the edges of the copier/scanner and as a result words are partially cut off. But I can get by as is, if need be.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:35 PM
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If Nelson had any guts, he'd have stayed and defended his vote and defended health care reform. What a waste of a chance from a waste of a man.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:40 PM
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where the remaining 40 Republican Senators have decided that their fate is tied to their ability to march in perfect, obstructionist lockstep for the remainder of Obama's time in office?

I really, really want to know what the Republicans have on Snowe and Collins. Both of them would seem to me to be in strong enough positions to buck the party, but as we saw from last summer they won't. So what's keeping them in line?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:42 PM
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It's amazing to me that every single Republican is 100% completely dedicated to making things worse. On every issue. Even those who are going to retire soon and are dedicating their last couple of years in office to serving Satan so their colleagues can have some incremental improvement in their power at a later date.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:47 PM
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I wonder how strong they are, though. I guess Dodd's an extreme case, but people seem to be able to fall quickly these days. Maybe it's the general climate of disaffection.

Also, to some extent, telling the Democrats to build a better left in California is like telling unemployed people to they just have to keep working hard and they'll catch a break during the depression. It's good advice, but the structural problems are huge too.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:50 PM
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You say, fine. You don't want to let this budget pass? And you interview wee kiddies who aren't going to school on Monday, because the Republicans won't play. You get Grandma, who isn't getting her pension because the Republicans are playing games. You get every cute affecting group that needs government money into the gallery as the Republicans vote down the budget and get them weeping on camera and saying why won't the Republicans just pass the damn budget. Bloody hell there must be some zoo with cute megafauna you could rustle up.

I mean ffs most political parties when they are winning manage this stuff. The Democrats appear to be uniquely bad at actually doing the whole `governing' thing.

And yes maybe this goes to hell, but on the other hand if 60% of the population won't let you govern you're fucked anyway and may as well go home. (And even if you do get thumped next election, you can always play the same game against the Republicans, so it isn't a huge loss.)

Of course it's not easy to build a better left in CA (or the USA); if it were easy then we wouldn't be here having this conversation. But the structural problems can only be fixed by building a better left.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:53 PM
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394 -- The answer, ari, is to return to 1968. We need to get people to move back to the northeast, and rejoin unions. And Ralph Yarborough: we need Texas to start giving us senators like Yarborough again, and cut out that Cornyn shit.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:55 PM
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maybe this goes to hell

The problem with the game of chicken you propose is that granny dies, and the kids don't get to go to school, which means their dad can't go to work and loses his job, and the charismatic megafauna from the zoo go on a rampage after they're not fed for a few weeks and rip a couple of people apart. And really, that's just the tip of the iceberg. But then, as likely as not, people blame the Democrats. Because, after all, they're in the majority.

See, there's one party that sucks, but it mostly wants to govern, and then there's another party that sucks worse, and it badly wants to dismantle the government.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:58 PM
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401: Yup. I'm all about rebuilding the New Deal consensus. It's just that we'd probably have to re-segregate to do it.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-18-10 11:59 PM
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And and, let's get some Republican moderates. You know, like the ones who voted for civil rights. They'd be helpful, I bet.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:00 AM
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Further to 402: Keir, you have to remember that the right controls the public sphere in this state and in this country. As PGD noted above, that means that the Republican Party gets to control the spin, which makes it very hard to win in the way that you propose.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:02 AM
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To be fair, the California Democrats did miss some chances last election cycle. The party seems to have too much of an establishment/machine set-up, which messes with the way they distribute resources for elections, but despite all that, there still weren't six seats up for grabs in 2008. Plus, the Governor isn't a Democrat and the Dems did come up with some creative legislative end runs around the constitution that a Democratic governor might have passed (taking chances with the courts) but a Republican wouldn't touch.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:06 AM
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But then, as likely as not, people blame the Democrats. Because, after all, they're in the majority.

In that case, the Dems PR people fucked up, and yeah you are screwed. You have to not let the electorate forget it was the Republicans that did this. (If you don't take the risk it all goes to shit, then the same thing will just happen next budget, and the one after, and the one after.)

As PGD noted above, that means that the Republican Party gets to control the spin, which makes it very hard to win in the way that you propose.

So how did Obama get elected? How is it that in countries where the right doesn't just control the spin, but also the ball, wicket, and umpire, left wing parties manage to win? It's too easy to say: oh, the public sphere! Oh Fox. But if Kevin Rudd can beat Murdoch, then Obama ought be able to.

Yes the structural factors suck. But the only way to fix them is win within them.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:18 AM
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(Actually, not Obama in that last mention, should be Calif. Dems.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:22 AM
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By every measure previously used, the California Dems have won within the structure. The totally solid minority is new. I suspect most parties in most states faced with the same situation would be in a similar amount of trouble.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:26 AM
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Oh, also I found the report I was looking for from the UK. Turns out I have access to a subscription database.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:28 AM
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394

... How do you get to a 2/3 majority in the CA legislature?

That's easy, you stop gerrymandering. If all the districts were competitive then if the Democrats won big they would get 2/3 majorities. And if they lost big the Republicans would get control. But the districts have been drawn to be either safe Democratic or safe Republican. So neither party has much to fear from the voters.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:33 AM
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In most places, minorities don't pull that shit. Why? Because it doesn't work*. Why? Generally, because the majority, who, by the way, have this advantage called `being more popular', manage to make it look really quite shoddy. If Calif. Dems can't do that, then why are they in politics?

* Also 'cause nobody wants to have to face it when they win, which is a problem that is more specific to California and which deserves serious thought and which I will refrain from offering glib suggestions about how to solve.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:34 AM
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Keir, the Republican minority occupies safe seats. No amount of press attention, if the Dems could get it, would cause them any trouble at all: their voters support their obstruction. They don't actually believe they're going to have a majority in the political life time of anyone serving -- and they're right, because political careers are so short -- so there's not much point in playing by a golden rule either.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:40 AM
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A Citizens Redistricting Commission passed in 2008. Calitics isn't all that happy about it.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:43 AM
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Why? Generally, because the majority, who, by the way, have this advantage called `being more popular', manage to make it look really quite shoddy.

It doesn't look shoddy in the districts that elected the holdouts. In those places it looks like the fulfillment of a pledge (literally) and a reason not to primary them with someone else who will hold out. The Democrats can't run anyone in those districts who could win right now. One of the Republican leaders who agreed to a budget compromise was stripped of his leadership almost on the spot. I don't think a Democrat could win that district either.

This is all short term, though. Long term things could change. The seat that Tony Strickland barely won last year was drawn to be a safe Republican seat (or so it's been said), but that got overtaken by demography.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:45 AM
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If Brown wins tomorrow, the dominant narrative is going to be that Obama is so left wing, even Massachusetts couldn't stand it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:46 AM
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The potential problem with moving to the left for elections, that the various people who advocate it don't seem to acknowledge is that in addition to potential non/third party voters on the left, there are also swing voters in the center. Given that every non/third party voter you pick up is only worth half as much as a voter that flips from one major party to the other, this understandably makes campaign managers and candidates a tad wary of this strategy. I wish this country had the solid left popular majority that the disaffected Dems think it does, but I'm just not convinced it exists. This is particularly true if you consider that the 'social' issues left does not overlap perfectly with the economic left.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:10 AM
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412 Supermajoritarian rules plus gerrymandering plus a geographically skewed voter distribution. All those deep, deep blue districts in the urban coastal areas where dems rack up thirty or fifty point wins make California a solid Dem state, but they don't help at all in getting exurban state legislative seats. The degree to which gerrymandering creates paucity of swing districts is exaggerated. I live in a CD which gives the Dem Presidential candidate 80-90% of the vote, ditto for the ones next to mine. It would take some really extreme gerrymandering that linked me with upstate to put me in a competitive district.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:17 AM
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418: Yeah, I think there was a book recently showing (among other things) that clustering has done a lot of the work that gets attributed to gerrymandering. I don't remember who wrote it, but it was discussed on some political blog or another in the last couple of years. (This is very helpful, I know.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:21 AM
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418 419

Sure 100% competitive districts is unrealistic, it is normal for some districts to be safe. But there could be a lot more competitive districts than there are.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:28 AM
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416

If Brown wins tomorrow, the dominant narrative is going to be that Obama is so left wing, even Massachusetts couldn't stand it.

So, what is the correct explanation?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:29 AM
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It doesn't look shoddy in the districts that elected the holdouts.

Which is a problem, yes. But not-being-left doesn't really solve it either. So why not have a damn go?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:04 AM
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So, what is the correct explanation?

The correct explanation is that Massachusetts aready has healthcare, and doesn't give a fuck about you. Plus Martha Coakley is a rightish hack. For whom I will be voting this morning.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:03 AM
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mcmc has it correctly.

Brown is much worse, but Coakley is too far right to make many liberals happy.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:24 AM
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I also gather that she's not very charismatic.

Tip O'Neill wasn't crazy when he called all politics local -- and nowhere is this more true than off-year elections. One might as well blame Obamunism for the Virginia governor's race. As many in the Village did.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:34 AM
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423,424:Lessons to be learned, and they should be obvious, and judging from the tone and content of Obama's speech in MA yesterday, are obvious.

1) Won't win by moving to the right
2) Health care bill doesn't give enough, clearly and understandably, to the middle class or others

3) jobs


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:40 AM
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Deeds didnt get anyone excited. McDonnell is personable and well liked by those that meet him. Same goes for our attorney general now. Great guy as an individual. Horrible views on the issues.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:41 AM
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425:Coakley is fine. A female prosecutor who has been in State office for decades with a reasonable position portfolio.

Unless you want to ignore independents and centrists entirely, this is a dream candidate on paper. She loses some liberals, but gains law & order blah blah.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:45 AM
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417 -- I suppose (but don't know) that campaign managers figure there are two votes to be lost in the center for every one to be gained moving leftward. In 40 years of watching events in the US, I've not been convinced that this is wrong. I'm certainly not convinced that it's wrong today.

The hope seems to be to make the math even worse: for every vote in the center, lose two on the left. But if you don't also change the dynamic at the center, you get nothing but epic fail.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:48 AM
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Dan Kervick at Yggles. One of the better commenters around, who I thought had abandoned us from disappointment about the Forever War.

You had a chance to create a health care bill that accomplished the progressive goals of insuring everybody and ending discrimination, while at the same time making sure that the average middle class voter was a very clear net winner in the deal. That would have won the votes of all of those unaffiliated middle class voters. But doing that would have required taking on the entrenched wealth and power of the health care system's status quo, who are invested in the existing inefficient and profiteering system. But instead you sat back, bit your nails and watched as some of the House, and then all of the Senate, turned the bill into a list of industry favors, threw out the only measure the industry was actually afraid of and passed the check onto onto the middle class, many of whom are now - surprise - abandoning you.

It doesn't matter what kind of left you get - mature, immature, smart, dumb, empathetic, apathetic or pathetic. You are weak, pusillanimous and stupid, and so will keep throwing away your political advantages instead of pressing them. You know nothing of fighting and have no will to fight - except with those who are most easily hit. You cowards disgust me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:50 AM
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Worthington gets it right, as usual. The question is, how does electing Republicans improve things. The answer is that it doesn't.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:11 AM
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429: I think it's at least confused. People 'in the center' aren't midway between Republicans and Democrats on a clear ideological scale, they're voting for reasons that don't have much to do with policy. Going left substantively doesn't necessarily mean losing 'centrist' voters -- leftist policies are often fairly popular among them.

I don't mean to say that there's not a problem with attracting swing voters, but pissing off the left doesn't automatically make you a profit in the middle.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:46 AM
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I think that "the commenters support me at Yglesias' blog" is actually even more pathetic in terms of a clutch for ethos than "the lurkers support me in email".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:52 AM
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402: it badly wants to dismantle the government

Oh, it doesn't either. The Republicans want a strong central government that can crack down on expressions of popular discontent and throw its weight around on the international stage. And they want local governments that maintain strong police capabilities and that can be used to funnel tax revenues to businesses.

Look, if there's one problem with the center left in this country, it's that people get all excited about the big national elections and forget about supporting their party, and specific tendencies within their party during the off-years/municipal elections.

Back when I abstained from voting, (which, I still maintain, is a perfectly reasonable and defensible position for an anarchist to take) I had leftwing friends who would get on my case in the presidential election years about voting for the Democrats, or sometimes for the Greens. But they didn't have the vaguest clue about how the city they lived in worked, what the power structure was like, what issues were on the ballot, who the power players were, etc. If all politics is local, a big reason we don't see more progressive candidates for the big statewide and national offices is that vaguely lefty people can't be bothered to support those candidates when they're just starting out. And surprise, sur-fucking-prise, the big-money people get their hooks into them early on, and it's all over.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:01 AM
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90% of voters are partisans -- even the so-called "independents."

One of the NYT articles on the MA race talked about all the independents outraged by ObamaCare and government overreach. One of them had even voted for Al Gore in 2000!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:01 AM
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they're voting for reasons that don't have much to do with policy

My suspicion is that well over 50% of the electorate knows practically nothing about policy, including the policy stances of the candidates for whom they vote. I'd like to believe that the same considerations that are decisive in high school class president / prom queen elections aren't similarly decisive in national politics, but so far I don't see much evidence against it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:01 AM
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There's no way for you all to verify this, but lurkers would almost certainly be going down on me if they knew they could. I'm pretty sure.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:04 AM
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436: hence the conclusion that elections are determined mainly by employment levels and the state of the economy. If they're good, the incumbent gets another shot. If they're bad, he doesn't. Whether he had anything to do with them being like that, or whether his policies can be reasonably expected to make them better or worse, doesn't really enter into it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:04 AM
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Every time I go down on Standpipe, there's always some lurker tapping me on the shoulder and telling me to hurry up already. Anecdata, of course, but the pattern is unmistakable.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:06 AM
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I confess, it's always the same lurker tapping you on the shoulder. Actually, Raul isn't even a lurker. He's my accountant.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:08 AM
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433:Well, Kervick writes better than me. Don't know him, do ya.

Linked because arguing at a level of generality along the lines of "Going left substantively doesn't necessarily mean losing 'centrist' voters" is umm, one thing, and saying that "it is a miserable and suicidal health care bill" is yet another. Maybe more specific, challenging, and actionable. Which is mostly why I linked to Kervick.

Ezra Klein this morning is demanding that the House pass the Senate Bill unaltered (if Coakley loses). This must be stopped. It possibly can be with the FDL tactics of putting pressure on the House progressives.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:11 AM
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If all politics is local, a big reason we don't see more progressive candidates for the big statewide and national offices is that vaguely lefty people can't be bothered to support those candidates when they're just starting out.

This, I believe, but I can't figure out how to do it. My problem may be NYC specific, in that even local politics is big enough that it's opaque to anyone who isn't a full time insider, but I literally can't figure out how to identify ideology in candidates for small local offices. I give money to local candidates who people I know identify as good people, but (a) that doesn't happen often, and (b) they never win.

There has to be some way of applying a reasonable amount of effort and having some effect, but I'm stuck on how.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:13 AM
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440: that's a really strict billable-hours policy you've got there.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:14 AM
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441: Thing is, Bob, I can kind of agree with you about the need to go further left and so on. The 'this bill must be stopped' bit? Makes no sense at all. It's nowhere near as good as it ought to be, but it's much better than nothing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:15 AM
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much better than nothing.

agreed


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:17 AM
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David Sirota on Republican rhetoric attacking the health care bill.

SHADEGG: Both the House and Senate bills contain mandates that compel, or would compel you and I as individual Americans to buy insurance from Americas private insurance industry. I think America's private insurance industry is the problem...

Yeah right, asking progressive and centrist Democrats to return to their districts and defend the insurance companies against Republican populism was a terrific idea.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:20 AM
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It's nowhere near as good as it ought to be, but it's much better than nothing.

Mmm, maybe. That was the same thing that was said about the bank bailout, though, and I'm still not convinced that it was true.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:20 AM
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444: quite. Is the current bill better than the status quo in terms of its effects on the population, in particular the uninsured population? Yes. Then pass it. Slight improvements can be built on. Wrench it inch and ell and all, slowly from the King, and all that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:21 AM
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Would that we were all so bobniscient.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:21 AM
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From Bob's link in 446:

Shadegg is absolutely correct that "America's private insurance industry is the problem." He is also correct that this legislation is exactly what that industry wants - not, as the Orwellian White House spokesholes insist, some great victory over that industry. And Shadegg is right that compelling people to buy an expensive (and faulty) product from a private corporation without giving people at least the choice of a public product is unprecedented and grotesque.

If the health care bill is not improved, this is exactly the kind of argument the Republicans will make in the 2010 and 2012 election. And I say that not just because one lone GOP congressman is making the argument, but because you are starting to hear a similar case being made by top Republican Party officials.

I don't think you can just hand-wave this sort of stuff away. I mean, it's utterly ludicrous that the GOP should be able to make *any* headway with arguments attacking deficit spending, and yet they are.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:25 AM
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To put 444 another way. I might disagree with, but I'd listen to, an argument that having HCR go down in flames now is the route to leftist domination of electoral politics, and so the deaths and bankruptcies that will result from another several years of the intolerable status quo are worth it because things will get much netter down the road. I don't think I'd buy that as a matter of strategy, but if I did, there's nothing wrong with the argument.

Arguing that having the current bill fail is a good thing in itself, rather than just a worthwhile price to pay, is just nuts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:25 AM
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Going left substantively doesn't necessarily mean losing 'centrist' voters -- leftist policies are often fairly popular among them.

Leftist politicians, and leftism generally, have negative baggage. Making centrism even more negative doesn't help solve this problem.

Natilo is right about the farm system, and about local politics. I wouldn't, though, describe the situation so much as the money people getting hooks in, as people who already agree with the money people on most of the money-people issues having a built-in advantage of getting money-people support when the time comes.

Sure, we live in a country where a picture of a guy riding a tank was (a) a plausible campaign stunt and (b) a disaster in the event. They wanted to run counter to the stereotype, and ended up confirming it. We also live in a country where the Sista Soulja moment was necessary and effective.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:29 AM
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452: My point is that, as a representative of whatever you call the 'left of any current elected Democrat, but I still probably don't qualify as the Left', I don't give a damn about the atmospherics. Politicians can cater to the center as hard as they like on campaign stunts and photo ops so long as they're with me on the substance. The stuff that I get angry with Democrats about not getting isn't stuff that the 'center' cares about or is strongly opposed to.

This isn't an easy process -- I'm just saying that it's not an inevitable tradeoff. You can make me happy substantively and still attract centrist votes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:37 AM
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432

I think it's at least confused. People 'in the center' aren't midway between Republicans and Democrats on a clear ideological scale, they're voting for reasons that don't have much to do with policy. Going left substantively doesn't necessarily mean losing 'centrist' voters -- leftist policies are often fairly popular among them.

This isn't true in general. Some moderates really are in the middle in that they agree with liberals about some things and agree with conservatives about other things.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:37 AM
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451:"just nuts" as an argument tends to liberate me, folks. And I'm used to it.

What is 451 "nuances of arguments in justifications for"

Whatever. Of course I want a better bill, and think a Coakley loss can get us one, if Congress goes to reconciliation or nuclear. We will no longer be worried about Lieberman or Nelson, but about the 51st vote.

But it is also a bad bill, on policy and politics, albeit with good stuff in it.

If "no bill" would doom Democrats, well, toi use an analogy, since i have been liberated, if "no war" or "no torture" doomed Democrats, would that be an argument for war & torture?

It is a bad bill, with terrible consequences. I sure didn't put us in this trap, and believe a substantively good bill that lost on the floor could have been defended on the hustings and used to increase the Democratic majority in 2010. This one is a loser.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:39 AM
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442: I agree that NYC politics can be pretty opaque, as can, to a lesser extent, the politics of other large cities. I'm not sure what the best ways of interacting with that are. Surely there must be other lawyers around who could get you up to speed on ways you might productively engage though, right?

452: Well, now we're just arguing semantics, it seems to me. If everyone knows that real grassroots campaigns don't stand much of a chance because they'll be defeated in the end by the better-prepared, better-funded insider campaigns, then no one even tries. Frankly, I share much of your cynicism about the possibility of change through electoral politics, but if there's so much reason to be cynical, we should see more people out at protests.

Further to my point about what Republicans want: It's not that they're "anti-government", not a bit. They're anti-working-class-institution. They want to preserve the government that kills brown people and spies on dissidents, while eliminating the government that supports public schools, public libraries, public arts, public oversight of corporations, etc. It's sort of an "if by whiskey" argument, although most of the rank and file are not advanced enough to put it into even those crude terms.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:40 AM
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It's sort of an "if by whiskey" argument,

I don't know this one. Background?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:42 AM
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457: I think I made a parody "if by whiskey" argument here a long time ago, but I can't remember what the subject was. The wikipedia article reproduces it humorously though.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:45 AM
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417 Actually I was just talking about electoral math. In a winner takes all system with two major parties, a voter that flips from one to the other has twice the effect as a non-voter or third party one that's convinced to vote for you. Or in other words, for a left electoral strategy to work you need to bring in at least twice as many Naderite and non voting types as you lose on your right fringe to the Repubs.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:46 AM
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Surely there must be other lawyers around who could get you up to speed on ways you might productively engage though, right?

You know, I know ideological people who sit around with me and bitch about the opacity of the system. And I know (a few) people who are actually involved with local politics, who seem to me to be absolutely free of ideology -- all of their thoughts about local politics are about interpersonal loyalty/jockeying for position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:46 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If-by-whiskey


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:47 AM
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Or in other words, for a left electoral strategy to work you need to bring in at least twice as many Naderite and non voting types as you lose on your right fringe to the Repubs.

That's still assuming there's a tradeoff -- that moving left means losing the center. And I don't think that's accurate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:49 AM
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456(b) -- We don't disagree. In the past, immigrant-friendly machines and unions were a real countervailing force. Having lost the latter first with civil rights and then gay rights (among other issues), and watched them diminish in importance with de-industrialization, it's hard to see where the counterforce comes from in the future.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:51 AM
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But it is also a bad bill, on policy and politics, albeit with good stuff in it.

bob seems to believe that the effect of passing the bill as it currently stands would be worse for the population, in particular the uninsured population, than the status quo. (I say 'seems' because he's not going to say outright whether he believes this or not.)

If he's right about that, then of course he should oppose it. But it's worth mentioning that very few other people agree with him, so I think he might be wrong, deliberately for the sake of posturing or accidentally.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:51 AM
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If by 'government' you mean the invasive, nanny-state, bureaucratic, Big Brother institution that prevents free people from exercising their God-given rights to liberty and property, that undermines the traditional family and affirms every sort of deviance in the name of civil rights, that taxes people into penury and redistributes wealth to the most parasitic members of our society, then I am against it.

However, if by 'government' you mean that hallowed experiment in democracy, the flag our fathers fought and died for, the arbiter of international disputes, the 'city on a hill' that shines as a beacon to the rest of the world, that bulwark against communism and anarchy, the righteous hand that protects good people from thieves in the night, that never rests in its quest to prevent wrongdoing and preserve the freedom to work hard, act fairly and profit by the honest fruits of your labor, then I am for it.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:51 AM
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464: Oh, I think that's what he's claiming. And that's also where he lost me.

On a much saner level, that was why I argued with Keir upthread about Clinton. Yes, Clinton did all sorts of terrible things. But from the perspective of the Iraqi on the street, there is no comparison between how much suffering the US caused under Clinton to how much it caused under Bush. Clinton may be as bad as Bush in terms of his personal moral qualities -- I wouldn't want to claim that one was a better person than the other. But the difference between the Bush presidency and the Clinton presidency is a very significant difference in the number of people the US burns alive, and I don't like hearing people say there's no difference between the two parties in a manner that sounds as if they've lost track of that fact.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:01 AM
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462

That's still assuming there's a tradeoff -- that moving left means losing the center. And I don't think that's accurate.

Do you think it is inaccurate for Republicans moving right? Do they risk losing center votes?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:02 AM
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Natilo is spot-on about local political involvement. I resolve to pay closer attention, especially since I live in the land of developer-owned local politics.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:04 AM
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I live in the land of developer-owned local politics.

As do most of us.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:06 AM
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466

... But from the perspective of the Iraqi on the street, there is no comparison between how much suffering the US caused under Clinton to how much it caused under Bush. ...

You confident a poll of Iraqis would agree with this? At least at one time lots of Iraqis though getting rid of Hussein was worth the suffering.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:07 AM
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469: Tell me about it! The entire City Council here is mobbed up with developers, relatives of developers, best friends of developers, etc. Plus, of course, they have to kowtow to the police lobby. Buncha good-for-nothing bums.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:08 AM
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467: It depends on what you mean by 'right'. There's some right-wing rhetoric that will lose centrist votes. But there are some very right-wing positions that the center doesn't mind at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:09 AM
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470: Just when was that again? The time that a couple dozen of them got help from US tanks to pull down a statue?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:09 AM
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poll of Iraqis


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:09 AM
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moving left means losing the center. And I don't think that's accurate.

I don't know, but I imagine this is probably true for a guy like Shumer. I'd have believed it of Sen. Clinton. I really doubt, though, there's much room for leftward movement for Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu.

That Worthington piece I linked above is a good case in point. I think Obama made a huge mistake kowtowing to the military/intelligence establishment on this stuff, but on the other side (a) their positions poll very well and (b) the military/intelligence establishment is opposed to O and will play dirty.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:10 AM
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At least at one time lots of Iraqis though getting rid of Hussein was worth the suffering.

[citation needed]


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:12 AM
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I think that's what he's claiming. And that's also where he lost me.

Well, once again, use the bank bailout as an example. We were told, look, we have to shower the banks with money--AND NOW--to avoid Great Depression II, but don't worry, once the ship has been righted again, we'll go back and crack down on them so that this never happens again.

Pretty much the exact opposite happened. Not only did we shower them with money that they then didn't bother to lend out, but we effectively guaranteed that we'd bail them out again should they crash the economy again. Now we're being told that we have to pass anything that could plausibly be called HCR--AND NOW--but not worry because they'll go back later and actually reform the insurance industry that created this entire gd mess.

Sure, there will be some people who are better off in the short run under this bill, but it doesn't address the underlying structural problems of our completely dysfunctional system at all. It just provides subsidies to get some more people into the completely dysfunctional system, and still doesn't achieve universal coverage.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:14 AM
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Further to 476, I don't think there was ever any evidence of any kind that any significant number of Iraqis ever thought that the amount of suffering which has in happened was worth it. People might have thought a nearly bloodless war worth it. Exiles thought it worth it to get them into power. Iranian agents too, but I repeat myself.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:15 AM
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Sure, there will be some people who are better off in the short run under this bill,

Good. So do it. And when you've got enough political muscle to reform the insurance industry, do that too.

You don't refuse to donate to the homeless shelter just because it won't do anything to solve the reasons why the mentally ill don't get proper treatment.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:20 AM
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Further to this: the problem is I think a "lump of political capital" fallacy. It's as if you get into office with 200 Politics Points which you can spend on upgrades, and if you spend 50 on Financial Reform and another 75 on Health Care Reform, then you won't have enough left for Carbon Emissions. That's really not the way it works. If you achieve something good, even of limited size, then you get more political capital.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:22 AM
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And when you've got enough political muscle to reform the insurance industry

I don't foresee a future where we've got more muscle than we do right now.

You don't refuse to donate to the homeless shelter

If the homeless shelter was the primary cause of homelessness, then you would.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:23 AM
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You confident a poll of Iraqis would agree with this? At least at one time lots of Iraqis though getting rid of Hussein was worth the suffering.

Jesus fucking Christ, Shearer, have you paid no attention over the last decade? On the order of a million Iraqis died because of Bush's war. Millions of children were orphaned.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:23 AM
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but it doesn't address the underlying structural problems of our completely dysfunctional system at all. It just provides subsidies to get some more people into the completely dysfunctional system, and still doesn't achieve universal coverage.

That's not exactly true. The subsidies are a big deal. Community rating and guaranteed issue are a huge deal for sick people. The exchanges, where it's actually possible for people who currently have health problems to comparison shop for decent insurance? Also a huge deal.

The system's still fucked up if this bill passes -- Republican obstructionism guaranteed that. But this really is a significant improvement over the status quo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:26 AM
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And of course not doing anything also doesn't address the underlying structural problems of our completely dysfunctional system.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:27 AM
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481: so your position is

that the most important problem by far is the horrible insurance system,

that the benefits of the bill are outweighed by the support it gives to the horrible insurance system,

and that not passing the bill - ie the status quo - is more likely to lead to reform of the insurance system than passing the bill is?

In other words, the insurance system has battened and fattened on the status quo like a hagfish in a halibut for the last half-century, but surely that's going to change soon if only we leave it alone?

I'm not sure that makes any sense. Do you actually think that the insurance industry is tottering on the brink of fundamental reform, and the only thing that will save it from being reformed is the HCR bill?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:34 AM
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Or, more succinctly, 484.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:35 AM
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Well, we've gone 'round and 'round on this, and I don't think we're breaking any new ground here. But as I've said before, reforming health insurance by strengthening the insurance companies is like ending the Afghan War by expanding the Afghan War. I keep reading people saying that if we pass this, then universal coverage will be established as a given (even though this bill doesn't actually achieve it) and can be built on from there. Looks to me like what it establishes as a given is that until you hit retirement age, you are only and ever going to have the option of private insurance and, moreover, you'll now be sending tax dollars directly to the insurance industry so they can lobby more effectively against any future changes.

To me, that's a serious, long-term shortcoming of this bill that affects a much larger group than will benefit in the short term.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:35 AM
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Natilo, if you're still about, Waq al Waq is good today: http://islamandinsurgencyinyemen.blogspot.com/2010/01/dead-are-living-and-living-are-dead.html


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:37 AM
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I think the employer-based insurance system is right now in the (slow but steady) process of disintegrating, and propping up the insurance companies just allows them to milk the treasury right up until it goes belly up.

Saying the options are pass this bill or do nothing is a false dichotomy. Because of the process limitations they agreed to, we have Joe Lieberman's (I-Hartford) ideal insurance bill. I don't believe that is actually the best we can accomplish, and I don't want that set as the ceiling.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:39 AM
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489->485


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:40 AM
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you'll now be sending tax dollars directly to the insurance industry so they can lobby more effectively against any future changes.

This seems wrong to me. The fact that we're giving money to the insurance industry burns me as well, I agree. But do you really think that it's going to make them more politically powerful? Congressmen are pretty cheap compared to what the insurance industry has to spend now -- I think they've got about as much power now as money can give them.

Which is way too much, don't get me wrong. I just don't think they get more political power out of this bill.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:41 AM
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480 is correct. Political capital grows with success and shrinks with failure. Success and failure are not necessarily tied to passage of particular bills, and may have to do with stupid things like "winning the news cycle" or visibly crushing some political enemy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:41 AM
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do you really think that it's going to make them more politically powerful

Yes. Money = power.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:44 AM
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493: Sure, but 1.5x money doesn't mean 1.5x power -- it's not a simple linear relationship (see, e.g., the really close mayoral race in NY last fall; Bloomberg spent many multiples of what Thompson spent, and got a very small percentage more votes). Right now, the insurance companies have a shitload more money than anyone who wants to act against their interests -- if we ever win everything, it's not because they didn't have enough money to throw at the problem, it's despite that fact. If the insurance companies end up with more money out of the deal, I don't think that means they win more political fights -- they're already winning everything that can be bought with money.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:48 AM
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Health care reform does not increase the power of the insurance companies. It just doesn't reduce it by as much as people were hoping for. The mandate comes with a bunch of new regulation.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:53 AM
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There's a step missing there, though. They aren't really having that easy of a time making money. They keep having to exclude ever larger numbers of customers to remain sufficiently profitable and hiking premiums by double-digit percentages year over year is driving toward fewer employers being able to provide insurance. Lucky for them, this bill puts guaranteeing their profitability as priority numbers 1, 2, and 3.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:54 AM
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Also, I don't think the insurers are all that rich or powerful compared to pharma or the doctors. Private insurers are probably the politically weakest of the really major players in the health care system.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:56 AM
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464:bob seems to believe that the effect of passing the bill as it currently stands would be worse for the population, in particular the uninsured population, than the status quo.

Look at the way the strawman is built. And if I believe this, I'm insane. And "I say 'seems' because he's not going to say outright whether he believes this or not.)"
is written as if it were a fact.

And you wonder why I get hostile.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:00 AM
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498: In voicing your irritation, you seem to have omitted to say outright whether you believe the statement or not, much as I expected you would do.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:03 AM
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Health care reform does not increase the power of the insurance companies.

We disagree on this.

compared to pharma or the doctors

Sure, pharma is way larger than the insurance industry. Doctors aren't organized in such a way that they can be fairly compared to either the insurance or pharma industries. But we aren't considering legislation to reform the pharmaceutical industry or the medical profession; we're considering how to pay for insurance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:04 AM
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Doctors aren't organized in such a way that they can be fairly compared to either the insurance or pharma industries.

I thought the AMA had been pretty active in killing previous health care bills?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:07 AM
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501: Yes. And their lobbying budget is roughly twice that of AHIP's.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:14 AM
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We disagree on this.

That's because like most other left critics of the bill, you compare it to what you were hoping for and not to the status quo. I'm disappointed too relative to what I would have wanted. But I don't see how you can conclude that a bill which requires insurers to take all comers and regulates the prices they can charge for doing so must increase their power. Mandate or no mandate.

Robert Kuttner agrees with Apo on Obama . As I said above, a Brown win could end up pushing Dems to the left.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:15 AM
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499:Why should I engage people who are hostile for the sake of hostility? Who, umm, disrupt the discourse with ad homs to get attention and drive opponents away?

They're called trolls in most online communities.

ajay, I ain't jumping through your hoops so that you get a chance to criticize my form.

Of course the strategy was to use the uninsured as hostages to the insurance company giveaway. Is anybody interested in what system I would prefer, or id the framing entirely "Obama's Bill or do you want people to die. Choose. Tell us now. Which"

The only sane fair answer to such a question is: "Fuck off."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:15 AM
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503 was me. I'm out now.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:15 AM
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They keep having to exclude ever larger numbers of customers to remain sufficiently profitable and hiking premiums by double-digit percentages year over year is driving toward fewer employers being able to provide insurance. Lucky for them, this bill puts guaranteeing their profitability as priority numbers 1, 2, and 3.

I don't understand your argument. If they have to exclude larger numbers of customers to remain profitable, and the bill limits their ability to exclude customers, won't the bill make it harder for them to stay afloat?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:17 AM
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The local Blue around here has something on the order of 75% of the market and has had some success in controlling costs (i.e. lots of providers griping about "inadequate reimbursement rates"). Empowering them to the extent we have (state-level employer mandate + market concentration) is far from ideal, but we do seem to be doing better than most places at providing coverage and controlling costs.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:20 AM
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Kuttner at 503 addresses some of the problems. Pretty good, although he blames Rahm.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:23 AM
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won't the bill make it harder for them to stay afloat

Just under a trillion dollars in subsidies.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:24 AM
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476 482

According to this (pdf file, see page 4) support for the invasion has run around 40% among Iraqis in the years afterward.

I doubt there are polls of Iraqi opinion regarding Bush vrs Clinton but I am not confident that Clinton is seen much more favorably.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:24 AM
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509: $1 trillion in new business isn't the same as $1 trillion in subsidies.

510: that's very interesting. Thanks.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:32 AM
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you compare it to what you were hoping for and not to the status quo

That's one way of interpreting it. Alternatively, I'd analogize (sorry, Ogged!) that the Kurds are objectively better off today than they were under Saddam, and the various reconstruction projects going on make tangible improvements in people's lives there, but that doesn't mean that invading and occupying the country for the better part of a decade was a good way to accomplish them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:34 AM
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Presumably those numbers are a bit less positive if you include the votes of the Iraqis who either died or were forced to flee the country. I'm guessing they'd be predominantly anti.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:36 AM
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Just under a trillion dollars in subsidies.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a damned thing about economics or the insurance industry, but it seems like you're only looking at one side of the balance sheet. That trillion dollars is paying for insurance policies for a population that isn't any healthier than the population that's already insured, and if the insurance industry is already having financial trouble, it's not at all clear that this is a net plus for the industry. Especially given that their current preference for marginally increasing profits -- excluding sick people rather than just taking on more customers -- is being denied them. (Maybe it is a boon for them, but it would take some work to see why; it's not obvious.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:40 AM
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See? I can disagree with Jane Hamsher

"Pass Senate Bill, Fix it with Reconciliation?"

her steps to get through "sidecar" reconciliation:

1. House passes the Senate bill 2. House and Senate pass a "fix" to the excise tax that they've negotiated 3. Find a way to pay for the "fix," which costs $60 billion. The best way to pay for it without raising taxes means putting in a public option, expanding Medicare, passing Dorgan's drug reimportation amendment, or some combination of the above. 4. House and Senate then pass the "fix" through reconciliation, which requires a simple majority. 51 Senators have said they'd vote for Schumer's "level playing field" public option, while 51 voted for Dorgan's drug reimportation amendment.

I argue with quote from her commenters:

Once the House passes the Senate bill, it goes to Obama's desk for his signature and IT BECOMES LAW.

That fact changes the legislative landscape dramatically, and not for the better.

Once the Senate bill becomes law, all the discussions of a "fix" involve either the filing of a new bill or amending other items already before Congress. But make no mistake: the process you are sketching out involves the House accepting the Senate's bill as is and adopting a major law now, and then immediately going to work in the HOPE of fixing it.

There will be lots of pressure to simply leave the law alone and come back to it later -- and the later the later, the happier a lot of people will be. The GOP will be more than happy to delay, derail, and otherwise obstruct all the progress to fix it, and PhRMA and the rest of the Baucus Caucus will be happy to oblige them.

This is the next argument if Coakley loses. Yglesias and Klein are already making it. Don't even try to get me to trust Obama and the Senate.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:43 AM
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413 and 415 both supported by this SacBee article today:

The two GOP leaders who negotiated last year's deal to temporarily raise taxes by $12 billion annually lost their jobs. One Republican leader, Sen. Dave Cogdill, was ousted the night of the budget vote. The other leader, Assemblyman Mike Villines, stepped down last spring.
Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, suffered a recall threat and bowed out of seeking re-election this year. The message sent by conservative GOP activists was clear - raise taxes at your own peril.

Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:48 AM
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Yes to 514, and of course the uninsured population isn't just not-healthier than the currently insured population, it's probably sicker.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:53 AM
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514: Oh, in the long run, the insurance industry is doomed. Betting against people getting sick is not a good formula for generating profit. As I said above, this bill just punts the day of reckoning down the road some and allows them to milk an already depleted treasury in the mean time. Which will make it that much more difficult to pay for the system we'll be trying to put in place when this one finally collapses.

Fortunately for everybody here, it doesn't matter whether I'm wrong or right, since I don't have any say over what's in the bill or what happens to it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:55 AM
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518: I'm hoping for a soft landing where they transition into highly regulated utilities, you know, the way they are in the systems the current bill is modeled on. It's annoyingly Rube-Goldbergy and non-ideal, but if it's functional in Switzerland, it can be functional here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:58 AM
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519: It's semi-functional in Hawaii, which is technically part of the United States already.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:00 AM
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I'm hoping for a soft landing where they transition into highly regulated utilities

That would indeed be the best-case outcome of the proposed system.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:05 AM
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519: It's semi-functional in Hawaii, which is technically part of the United States Kenya ...


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:09 AM
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519:It's all pretty much non-profit in Switzerland and other countries that keep private insurance (inc the UK & Canada I think). Extra coverage is available at a price.

One of the things I have been meaning to look up is how the transitions were handled in these countries.

The change from profit to non-profit would probably need some very expensive payoffs to equity and bond holders. The equity of the insurance companies isn't that huge, but they have laid off their reserves to the big banks etc.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:15 AM
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523: some very expensive payoffs to equity and bond holders

Well, that worked out pretty well in Russia, not so much in Haiti.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:17 AM
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514: Oh, in the long run, the insurance industry is doomed. Betting against people getting sick is not a good formula for generating profit. As I said above, this bill just punts the day of reckoning down the road some and allows them to milk an already depleted treasury in the mean time.

Maybe I'm just repeating myself, but this isn't apparent to me. Why couldn't forcing the insurance industry to cover a much larger number of sick people hasten its collapse?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:26 AM
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Ezra Klein isd making the 45k uninsured argument today.

Nelson, Lieberman, Insurance, Pharma:"Give us an extra trillion dollars or the uninsured will die." Twirl handlebar moustaches.

Obamafans:"Oh Noes, Bob, do you want the uninsured to die? Give them the trillion."

Bob:"But I don't want to give them the trillion. Can we find another way?"

Obamafans:"Bob is INSANE and EVIL"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:34 AM
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Can we find another way?

I dunno, Bob. You got any ideas?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:38 AM
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Why couldn't forcing the insurance industry to cover a much larger number of sick people hasten its collapse?

I think because they will control the fine print, rather than the handful of congressional staff who will be on the other side.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:46 AM
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527:It is not my ideal, but House Bill passed by nuclear option in the Senate.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:47 AM
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What are the policy differences between the House and Senate bill that make you see the Senate bill as a tragedy and the House bill as an active good? They're really pretty close -- I think I must not be appreciating the implications of their differences.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:49 AM
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472

It depends on what you mean by 'right'. There's some right-wing rhetoric that will lose centrist votes. But there are some very right-wing positions that the center doesn't mind at all.

So the center is ok with left-wing positions on some issues? But hates other left-wing positions? So any move to the left needs to be selective. Not convinced that is going to work. Which left positions are you going throw overboard because they are electoral poison? I doubt there is a consensus.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:50 AM
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531: My seething contempt for anyone who doesn't attend the opera regularly? I'm perfectly willing to throw that off the troika.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:53 AM
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Why couldn't forcing the insurance industry to cover a much larger number of sick people hasten its collapse?

Well, it could if everything else stayed static. But there are also a lot of uninsured that are perfectly healthy young people, who will pay premiums and use very little health care. Mostly, though, my apprehension comes from the fact that few industries in America can match the insurance industry for greed and unethical practices, and I sincerely doubt that all the regulation in the world could compete with an available public option for keeping their hands above the table. Hell, I've got good insurance (that I practically never use, but that's another issue) and I would sign up for a public option tomorrow, given the chance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:55 AM
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462 In deep blue CD's I agree. To a slightly lesser extent this is true of deep blue states. However, this is absolutely not true for presidential elections where popular vote margins in safe states are irrelevant and what matters is getting the swing states. There you do have the trade off. I spent many hundreds of hours canvassing and phone banking in MO. In my area (NW MO) it was clear that Obama would lose more votes to McCain if he moved left than he would pick up among non voters, i.e. it would have moved the state from a tie (we lost by 0.1% of the vote) to a solid McCain win.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:55 AM
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530:Funding for one. Tax on millionaires in the House vs taxing middleclass health insurance from the Senate. Without a strong public option and drug price controls, this will just destroy the middleclass in a very short time.
Even Klein says health care costs are going to rise. Not even counting the political downside. An alternative scenario is that corps weaken or abandon employer coverage in the face of the excise tax.

Actually, once the PTB decide to go nuclear and only need 51 votes, I would hope for a more liberal bill out of the House.

The House needs 50%+1. If the Senate won't go nuclear, well then...

Oh Noes, Bob, do you want the uninsured to die?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:56 AM
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But you're fine with requiring everyone to buy private insurance so long as employer-provided insurance remains deductible for everyone? I hadn't realized that was the primary sticking point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:01 PM
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On the Swiss system: people who are pointing out that the mandatory basic insurance is non profit are right. There are two things they don't mention. First of all this has only been true since the mid nineties. Before it was the Obama system, but less subsidized. Talking about subsidies, a middle income family of four is going to be spending on the order of $1000 a month on insurance, plus hefty co-pays when they use it. From a user point of view it is the Obama HCR bill, including all the bureaucratic crap of dealing with the insurance industry. It is also a pretty good deal for the insurance companies - they get a guaranteed wash on the basic policies, plus whatever they can rake in on the very common supplemental ones.

Yeah, the system sucks. It's the worst in the rich world. Except for the US of course, which is much, much worse in its present incarnation.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:04 PM
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The Senate is not going nuclear. Period.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:08 PM
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Why couldn't forcing the insurance industry to cover a much larger number of sick people hasten its collapse?

I thought the argument was that it makes everyone (under Medicare age) dependent on private insurance only, which means that if we want people to be insured, which we do, we have to make sure the private companies survive. So it's an implicit guarantee of their survival.

I think it would be good to pass the bill anyway, mind you, but this argument is plausible.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:10 PM
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538:The second option is reconciliation.

Ezra Klein says, "What would be eligible through reconciliation? Well, Medicare buy-in, for one thing. Medicaid expansions. The public option. Anything, in short, that relies on a public program, rather than a new regulation in the private market. That means we'd probably lose the regulations on insurers, many of the delivery-side reforms, the health insurance exchanges, the individual mandate and much else."

We can take care of the uninsured there.

Hey, I'm still talking. It is the people saying "Senate Bill or you want people to die" that are the problem.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:12 PM
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532

My seething contempt for anyone who doesn't attend the opera regularly? I'm perfectly willing to throw that off the troika.

I see this is like asking a wingnut to get specific about what wasteful government spending he is going to cut.

How about these left positions which I don't think poll well?

Gun control, gay marriage, bilingual education, foreign aid, amnesty for illegals, international law, federal control of schools, higher taxes etc.?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:14 PM
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541: You left out teaching evolution and banning prayer in schools.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:19 PM
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That Kuttner piece on increases my dislike of Nelson.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:24 PM
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-ly


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:24 PM
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Bob:"But I don't want to give them the trillion. Can we find another way?"

I think, bob, that if this were an accurate characterization of your argument, you wouldn't get the pushback that you get.

I will give you this, though, your desire to sink health reform as contemplated by the Dems has been consistent since the campaign, unlike others who switched from supporting half-assed reform in the campaign to opposing it in reality, then supporting it again now that it's threatened.

(I too, have been consistent and continue to support half-assed reform.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:32 PM
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How about these left positions which I don't think poll well?

Gun control, gay marriage, bilingual education, foreign aid, amnesty for illegals, international law, federal control of schools, higher taxes etc.?

Haven't checked in a while, but gun control generally polled well, but the intensity level of its opponents was much greater than that of its supporters so it tended to be a net loss. That's why the Dems have largely abandoned it on a national level. Local pols have a different calculus: cf. Bloomberg, Mike or Giuliani, Rudy

Foreign aid simultaneously polls badly while the same polls say we should spend more on it than we do.

Amnesty for illegals varies widely depending on the phrasing of the question.

Higher taxes depend on what exactly we're talking about and when the poll is conducted.

International law has negligible importance except for those who are lost to the Dems anyways.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:33 PM
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541: Gun control, I mostly don't give a damn, and plenty of other leftist don't either.

Gay marriage is a matter of substantive human rights, I'm holding on to it.

Bilingual education? I'm very fond of my children's dual language immersion program -- to the extent that there are bilingual education programs that have been shown to suck, I have no ideological attachment to them.

I fully support a resolution capping foreign aid at no more than 10% of the federal budget.

Amnesty for undocumented immigrants? The question is poorly phrased, but we're not going to agree on that one.

International law? Like, you're opposed to the concept in its entirety? Wow. Um, I'm sticking with international law.

Federal control of schools? I have no idea what you're talking about -- are you opposing some particular proposal to exert more control, or are you thinking the amount of control there is now is too much? This isn't something I recognize as a left issue without some specifics.

Higher taxes? What was your sense of the viable alternative -- defaulting on treasury bonds? Because I think that would be a poor idea. Or were you going to provide defense, debt service, entitlements, and a plausible minimum of discretionary spending by cutting out waste fraud and abuse?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:37 PM
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The author of 546 should re-read 534. In the real world, the question has to be what positions Robin Carnahan can take to win Kit Bond's seat. In KY, you have the Lt Gov and the AG running in the primary to keep Rand Paul out of the seat being vacated by Bunning. National polling and Pauline Kael thinking isn't going to help either of them.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:47 PM
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547 -- The question isn't what your position is on the issues. It is what (of what you favor) are you willing to give up as part of coalition building.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:53 PM
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The Senate is not going nuclear. Period.

Then they won't pass anything, no problems with the country will be addressed, everyone's economic situation will continue to get worse, they will be blamed for failing to do anything, and will be replaced in a landslide?


Posted by: Cryptic Nud | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:53 PM
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548: While admirably realistic, this isn't all that useful unless you identify which left positions you think need to be thrown under the bus where.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:54 PM
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All but the last Nud, all but the last.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:55 PM
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550: See above, re: (see above, re: doomed).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:57 PM
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For the area I was in in MO gun control, gay marriage, and amnesty were toxic. Higher taxes for the rich were fine. International law, bilingual education, federal control of schools and foreign aid didn't register at all.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:58 PM
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Gun control, gay marriage, bilingual education, foreign aid, amnesty for illegals, international law, federal control of schools, higher taxes etc.?

A fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with that stuff.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:58 PM
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549: Shearer listed a bunch of things that mostly I either I don't give a damn about or that I can't in good conscience walk away from. Gun control is something that I suppose I favor but I'm certainly willing to give up -- other than that, he hasn't really identified anything that can coherently be haggled over.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 12:58 PM
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In California, some Republicans, when asked what concessions it would take to get them to compromise with Democrats, answered with things like "collective bargaining rights" - you know, stuff that's been established for decades and hasn't been on the table for a long, long time. They were arguing from a position of electoral-damage equivalence: the punishment in their districts for raising taxes was thought to be equal to the punishment in Democratic districts for giving up on collective bargaining. Anything less and it would be like losing for nothing (where nothing = benefits to the members of society they live in, of course). Chances for compromise on those terms? Why even ask the question.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:03 PM
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554: Gay marriage is a problem -- I recognize that it's unpopular with a lot of people that might otherwise go Democratic. I don't really know what to do about that, though -- not advocating it isn't an option.

Amnesty for undocumented immigrants -- is there some specific proposal along these lines we're talking about, or is it just inchoate 'leftists like undocumented immigrants, rightwingers don't'? Because I don't have an immigration policy fix that I like and think is politically realistic, but I haven't seen a realistic policy fix from anyone else. Close the borders isn't realistic, because it's demonstrably impossible. Here, we're haggling over rhetoric, and about pointlessly immiserating people, which I'm generally opposed to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:04 PM
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and about pointlessly immiserating people, which I'm generally opposed to

Sometimes I think this is the fundamental difference between right and left.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:07 PM
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558: Re gay marriage -- I don't think we're asking you, LizardBreath, to change your position and oppose gay marriage. You just have to be willing to support a candidate that opposes gay marriage. And we know that you will do that -- you voted for Obama, didn't you?

(I have no idea who the "we" is in that last paragraph)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:09 PM
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Because I don't have an immigration policy fix that I like and think is politically realistic, but I haven't seen a realistic policy fix from anyone else.

I don't even know what anyone means when they say immigration reform.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:22 PM
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"As usual, Tristero is perfectly correct. A loss in MA now will mean the end of all progress and the rape of the nation by the insane ruthugicans. If Coakley doesn't win, our country will be a smoking hole by the end of the year - a barren wastelend in which the living will envy the dead." ...Orson P at Digby's

Made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:22 PM
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561:Me neither, heebie.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:23 PM
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560: I, and any other Democratic voter with any pretensions to thinking of themselves as a leftist, will demonstrably vote for candidates who are way, way, way to my right on all kinds of issues, when that's the best I can do. We've done the compromise thing.

What I was thinking originally was that not all of the really leftist positions are unpopular among 'centrist' voters -- you can't gauge how toxic an issue is by how happy it makes leftists. Gun control? Wildly toxic, not something that leftists get really exercised about mostly. Single payer health care? Actually polls pretty well among voters generally, and makes leftists giddy with delight. So there's no point in 'running to the right' thoughtlessly -- it has to be an issue by issue analysis, and it has to start from what centrist voters actually want, rather than about how much of their dearest goals leftists are willing to give up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:25 PM
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It doesn't necessarily matter what centrist voters "want". What matter is what will get giant corporations to give massive bribes to a candidate, which will then allow the candidate to attract centrist votes through advertising.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:27 PM
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548 - Any idea what sort of principles are going to be thrown under buses to oppose Paul? On the ground here, it's not clear to me what's going because no one seems to be stating much in the way of positions and the Democrats are pretty damned centrist to begin with.

I haven't been terribly impressed by our representation at the state level, but I got a piece of mail recently from my local rep that was addressed to my partner and me as a couple. I'm pretty sure the dude wouldn't admit any support for gay marriage (and we don't consider ourselves married anyway or foresee it becoming a legal option any time soon) but that kicked him up a few notches for me. I also have substantive policy disagreements with him, but they're not cases where I could imagine my position is in any way the local norm.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:29 PM
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565: I mostly agree with that. At which point it's not about running to the right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:31 PM
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Democrats are pretty damned centrist to begin with.

Yep. The party would be acknowledged as center-right in pretty much any country other than this one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:37 PM
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No more masturbating to Kate McGarrigle.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:38 PM
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569: Tell Raul that he's still got Anna.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 1:47 PM
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569: Or Erich Segal. I've never read Love Story, but his recent book on comedy is good!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:00 PM
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||

My wife had the baby, causing me to miss the politics thread. And I love politics threads. The baby, a boy, was 9lbs. It's sad that he was born into a barren wasteland where the living will envy the dead.

|>


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:02 PM
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Congratulations, Someguys!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:04 PM
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Congratulations! I will save my condolences for posterity in the wasteland.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:05 PM
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572:Congrats to everybody.

I live in Dallas. Wastelands aren't that bad.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:05 PM
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Perhaps the title of the post should be changed from "In which I congratulate myself" to "In which we congratulate some guy".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:07 PM
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"In which congratulations are offered and received from and to various individuals, including those offered by oneself to oneself."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:10 PM
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Good work! We will see your child on the barricades, Walt.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:13 PM
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Welcome to the Somebaby and congratulations to his family!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:15 PM
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Congratulations, Somepeople.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:20 PM
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581

Yay, baby!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:21 PM
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582

Congrats to Somegal, Somebaby, and Someguy.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:22 PM
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583

Yay for Somepeople!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:24 PM
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584

So awesome, Walt! Mazel tov!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:27 PM
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Yay baby! How was his first exposure to the American healthcare system?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:44 PM
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Congratulations, Walt! Baby beats politics thread by a mile!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:44 PM
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Thanks, everyone!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:45 PM
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547

International law? Like, you're opposed to the concept in its entirety? Wow. Um, I'm sticking with international law.

It isn't a question of what I support. However in this case I think the US Supreme Court should be the court of last resort for people under US rule and that US should refuse to recognize any general right for foreign courts to try Americans for violations of international law.

Federal control of schools? I have no idea what you're talking about -- are you opposing some particular proposal to exert more control, or are you thinking the amount of control there is now is too much? This isn't something I recognize as a left issue without some specifics.

Liberals are always whining about rich school districts having more money than poor school districts. Proposals to equalize funding generally involve some loss of local control.

Higher taxes? What was your sense of the viable alternative -- defaulting on treasury bonds? Because I think that would be a poor idea. Or were you going to provide defense, debt service, entitlements, and a plausible minimum of discretionary spending by cutting out waste fraud and abuse?

The realistic alternative is deficit spending. In any case I personally favor some higher taxes. For example a carbon tax and higher income taxes for the very rich. However I don't think raising taxes polls well.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:47 PM
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Proposals to equalize funding generally involve some loss of local control.

Local control = some combination of the local teacher's union and the local religious right.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:49 PM
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Liberals are always whining

Full stop.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:54 PM
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558

Amnesty for undocumented immigrants -- is there some specific proposal along these lines we're talking about, or is it just inchoate 'leftists like undocumented immigrants, rightwingers don't'? Because I don't have an immigration policy fix that I like and think is politically realistic, but I haven't seen a realistic policy fix from anyone else. Close the borders isn't realistic, because it's demonstrably impossible. Here, we're haggling over rhetoric, and about pointlessly immiserating people, which I'm generally opposed to.

I don't know what you mean by "demonstrably impossible". It would be easy to make it much harder to cross the border illegally (see for example the boundary between East and West Germany during the cold war). However a more effective way to reduce illegal immigration is to reduce the attraction by making it harder for illegals to work in the United States which would also be easy. As for concrete proposals it seems like liberals are often caught supporting things like driver's licenses for illegals that poll badly.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:55 PM
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pointlessly immiserating people

It's not pointless at all. That's how we show that we hates them and their deviant brown lifestyles.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:56 PM
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However a more effective way to reduce illegal immigration is to reduce the attraction by making it harder for illegals to work in the United States which would also be easy.

But terribly unpopular with business interests. That one's an electoral loser.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 2:59 PM
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I, and any other Democratic voter with any pretensions to thinking of themselves as a leftist, will demonstrably vote for candidates who are way, way, way to my right on all kinds of issues, when that's the best I can do. We've done the compromise thing.

So it is pointless for them to move left to get your vote, they already have your vote.

What I was thinking originally was that not all of the really leftist positions are unpopular among 'centrist' voters -- you can't gauge how toxic an issue is by how happy it makes leftists. Gun control? Wildly toxic, not something that leftists get really exercised about mostly. Single payer health care? Actually polls pretty well among voters generally, and makes leftists giddy with delight. So there's no point in 'running to the right' thoughtlessly -- it has to be an issue by issue analysis, and it has to start from what centrist voters actually want, rather than about how much of their dearest goals leftists are willing to give up.

I think there are a lot more leftist positions that poll badly among moderates than that poll well. I believe the following left positions poll well:

Minimum wage, financial regulation (usary laws) and higher tariffs.

Perhaps there are a few others. Single payer health care is sort of meaningless as it has no chance at all of being enacted so saying a lot about it just disillusions your supporters when it gets thrown overboard. As we have seen.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:02 PM
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US should refuse to recognize any general right for foreign courts to try Americans for violations of international law

Are you prepared to give up the US right to try foreigners for violations of the law of nations? Are you renouncing Nuremburg?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:03 PM
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But terribly unpopular with business interests. That one's an electoral loser.

With the WSJ editorial page to be sure. I expect it would be popular with voters. You have some evidence to the contrary?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:06 PM
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28 U.S.C. section 1350 has been the law since 1789.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:07 PM
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I expect it would be popular with voters. You have some evidence to the contrary?

Just because they don't want all those Mexicans here doesn't mean they're willing to pay more for their boneless chicken breasts.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:09 PM
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594: Yeah, Shearer, the Democratic party already has the vote of all those leftists I identified as Democratic voters. Good catch. But we were thinking about the leftists that aren't Democratic voters, weren't we?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:10 PM
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Congratulations for baby!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:15 PM
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Single payer health care is sort of meaningless as it has no chance at all of being enacted so saying a lot about it just disillusions your supporters when it gets thrown overboard

Actually, I think the kind of "immigration reform" that you(Shearer) support falls into this category too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:15 PM
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595

Are you prepared to give up the US right to try foreigners for violations of the law of nations? Are you renouncing Nuremburg?

No, I see no obligation to be evenhanded about this.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:19 PM
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Yeah, Shearer, the Democratic party already has the vote of all those leftists I identified as Democratic voters. Good catch. But we were thinking about the leftists that aren't Democratic voters, weren't we?

So who are these leftists? Why do think the positions that would attract them are the few popular left positions instead of the many unpopular left positions? On what issues specifically should Democrats run more to the left?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:22 PM
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that US should refuse to recognize any general right for foreign courts to try Americans for violations of international law.

What does that mean in practice? Let's say Dick Cheney takes European vacation and gets arrested on a warrant issued by Judge Garzon. Let's further say that we protest vigorously and the Europeans politely acknowledge our protests but say they can't interfere with the legal process. What next? Are we going to shut down trade with the EU? Institute a draft, quadruple military spending, institute a WWII style command economy and start a war? My guess is we make loud noises and if the Euros are set on the prosecution it will have exactly the same impact as German or French protests that the Iraq war was illegal.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:26 PM
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Actually, I think the kind of "immigration reform" that you(Shearer) support falls into this category too.

I think incremental improvement such as wider use of e-verify is possible (and in fact is currently occurring). Isn't single payer more all or nothing?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:28 PM
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603 Big tax cuts for the middle class, big tax hikes for the rich. Let the Bush tax cuts expire completely, propose a simple tax cut bill for middle income folks, don't allow ammendments, force the Repubicans and Blue dogs to vote yes or no. At the same time create a separate tax bill to create a new tax rate affecting all income over $1M a year. Repeat the process.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:31 PM
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604

What does that mean in practice? Let's say Dick Cheney takes European vacation and gets arrested on a warrant issued by Judge Garzon. Let's further say that we protest vigorously and the Europeans politely acknowledge our protests but say they can't interfere with the legal process. What next? Are we going to shut down trade with the EU? Institute a draft, quadruple military spending, institute a WWII style command economy and start a war? My guess is we make loud noises and if the Euros are set on the prosecution it will have exactly the same impact as German or French protests that the Iraq war was illegal.

The US has the military power to enforce its will in this matter. France and Germany do not. Which is why (fortunately for the left in the United States) this issue is unlikely to arise.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:32 PM
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606

Big tax cuts for the middle class, big tax hikes for the rich. Let the Bush tax cuts expire completely, propose a simple tax cut bill for middle income folks, don't allow ammendments, force the Repubicans and Blue dogs to vote yes or no. At the same time create a separate tax bill to create a new tax rate affecting all income over $1M a year. Repeat the process.

I asked about running not governing. And Clinton's tax hike at the start of his administration while probably good policy doesn't seem to have been all that helpful politically.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:37 PM
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603: Largely poorer voters who have an interest in robust social services, which generally poll fairly well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:38 PM
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May I go on record as firmly opposed to starting a war with France and Germany to free Dick Cheney from a Spanish judge?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:38 PM
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No it does not have the military power. Not even close. We needed a quarter million troops to invade Iraq. France on its own would take many times that.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:42 PM
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I don't think a Democratic party platform that was substantially to the left of the current one could have much business support. And since it costs a billion dollars (or whatever) to become president nowadays, we're back to talking local politics or acceding to the status quo for most large policy positions (i.e. that Democrats are going to pull very weakly from the left, and Republicans are going to pull very very slightly more strongly from the right.)

Serious, broad-based political change isn't going to come from party politics. "Smoke-filled rooms" didn't get civil rights legislation passed, serious long-term grassroots organizing, leavened with the occasional riot, did. That's kinda the problem with gay marriage -- the segment of queer activism that would actually throw down is not really that interested in it. The assimilationist wing is, well, assimilationist.

Regarding immigration specifically, the current ramp up in "enforcement", i.e. pointless immiseration, is about all we can expect in terms of change. It keeps undocumented workers broke and fearful, doesn't actually stop very many people from getting in, and presents a powerful disincentive for people already here to leave again.

Things just get worse and worse. If you're lucky, it gets so bad that things break, and if you're really lucky, then the fix is slightly better than what it was like before the break happened.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:43 PM
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Oh, to clarify, why then do I, an anarchist vote? After 9/11isajokeinyourtown happened, I figured it would on balance be better to have Demoncrats in office, as there's generally a little bit more breathing room for the people I actually care about when that is the case.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:47 PM
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613: Right -- the worst it can be is pointless, and who knows, it could do some small amount of marginal good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:54 PM
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I dunno, maybe the silver lining here is that Obama will fail miserably, not get elected for a 2nd term, and then pardon Mumia, Leonard, Assata and the rest of them on his way out of the Oval Office. Just to be spiteful.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:57 PM
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613 was pretty much Frederick Douglass's ultimate view of things. Better to give voting a whirl than to just keep burning the Constitution and renouncing the whole political process as a pact with the devil.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:58 PM
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Just to be spiteful.

You know how those people are.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:58 PM
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On what issues specifically should Democrats run more to the left?

The ones that big business is forbidding them from running on.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:59 PM
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Also, on days like this, I really miss Emerson and Stras.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 3:59 PM
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There'll be days like this, mama said.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:00 PM
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617: Well, isn't that why we elected him? So at some point he can take off the mask and be free to say: "Listen up, crackers, you're all a bunch of racist assholes and you deserve whatever you get, 'cause you're too stupid to do anything in your own best interest!"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:03 PM
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Congratulations, Walt!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:12 PM
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611

No it does not have the military power. Not even close. We needed a quarter million troops to invade Iraq. France on its own would take many times that.

You don't have to invade, you just start lobbing cruise missles in until France sees the light and gives Cheney back. Sure if this was really a matter on which Europe was willing to fight to the end it would be difficult but it isn't. And even Japan surrendered without an invasion.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:15 PM
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I'm basically with Natilo, I think, but lately I've been wondering if I ought to register as a democrat in order to have a say earlier in the process of winnowing candidates. Now I'm officially independent but in practice I'm not voting for any Republicans and we don't have other interesting options here.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:17 PM
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James, we love you and all that, but you're not by any chance related to Ste/ven de/n Bes/te, are you?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:24 PM
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Let's skip the potential retaliation here (lots of dead US troops to start with, Great Depression II to follow) and let me get this straight, you believe that given the choice between Cheney getting prosecuted by a European country and having the US lose all its bases in Europe while destroying its most important alliances, the latter is the right choice?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:26 PM
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D/en B/este suggests nuking Paris?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:26 PM
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Who says conservatives have no plan to deal with global warming?


Posted by: terez kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:28 PM
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627: IIRC he had a long and widely-linked piece analyzing whether and how France would take military action against the United States to prevent the Iraq war and how the U.S. would respond when they did.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:32 PM
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626

Let's skip the potential retaliation here (lots of dead US troops to start with, Great Depression II to follow) and let me get this straight, you believe that given the choice between Cheney getting prosecuted by a European country and having the US lose all its bases in Europe while destroying its most important alliances, the latter is the right choice?

I think the threat would be sufficient to get him back. And if you think Europe could prosecute Cheney without that in itself destroying the alliance (and incidentally moving US domestic politics far to the right) you are seriously deluded.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:34 PM
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630: okay, how about Kissinger?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:37 PM
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On the latter point you may be right. Unlike the French, US politicians these days don't really care for clearheaded cynical realpolitik calculation of US interests. The French are more in the Kissinger/Baker/Bush I/Nixon school of policy making. On the other hand the French-US alliance survived Iraq, I suspect it would survive this. But just to be clear, if Cheney got arrested (extremely unlikely, unless Cheney decided to force the issue after a quiet warning) any open threat from the top of the US administration against any EU country would kill NATO, kill US ability to use European airspace and lead to the Europeans actually acting in a deliberately anti-US manner in concert with the Russians and CHinese.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:43 PM
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Further to 629: the post was on February 6, 2003, and is competently summarized by everyone's second most favorite cunt here.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:47 PM
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Maybe it would be better for the French to just shoot Cheney in the face Chuck Norris-style.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 4:49 PM
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595 et seq reflect, it seems to me, rather an insane over-estimation of our remaining stature in the world. I debated between "insane" and "typical conservative."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:01 PM
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634: Ooo, ironic. Maybe they could do it while hunting orlotan or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:03 PM
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632

... in concert with the Russians and CHinese.

What makes you think the Russians and Chinese would take your side on this? Have they conceded the right of random European countries to try their former high officials for alleged violations of international law?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:06 PM
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The Russians and Chinese would be taking their own sides, actually. And on some realpolitik calculations, that would mean opposing the US.

Anyway, Europe would quickly discover that their budgets could handle a bit more military spending. Then things would be relatively quiet. For a few decades.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:24 PM
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That's kinda the problem with gay marriage -- the segment of queer activism that would actually throw down is not really that interested in it. The assimilationist wing is, well, assimilationist.

I think the gay marriage movement has, in general, been a brilliant success, considering the opposing political forces. I'm not unsympathetic to Natilo's view that it's necessary to throw down on occasion, but I don't think this example serves that point very well.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:38 PM
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And if you think Europe could prosecute Cheney without that in itself destroying the alliance (and incidentally moving US domestic politics far to the right) you are seriously deluded.

I believe that by this standard, I am seriously deluded. In any event, I'd be willing to risk it. I think you overlook the fact that Cheney's crimes have never really gotten an airing in the U.S.

In any event, if you think there'd be political support for threatening to nuke France over a war crimes trial, then you're seriously deluded.

But I got to admire your Overton-Window-moving gusto here. You're actually involved in a discussion with serious-minded people over nuking a European country to defend Dick Cheney from the law.

Much as I'm inclined to mock you for this, I'm compelled to admit that there was a time when public advocacy of torture was also considered beyond the pale, and the inheritance tax was obviously necessary and just. Times change, and it's people like you who are determined to be history's movers, shakers and blower-uppers. We mock you at our peril, and also at the peril of men, women, children and other living things.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:50 PM
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France and Germany do not

Shearer. If the French had Cheney before a judge and the US started threatening military reprisals, the moment the first US warplane entered French airspace, the eastern seaboard of the United States would be radioactive.

It isn't a credible threat. The French have nuclear weapons; you can't militarily threaten people who have nukes, because they will just say, look, do you want to lose DC?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:52 PM
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||

I've been drafting a brief for the past few days that requires me to state over and over again that my client was neither arbitrary nor capricious. And in one of those ways that words go funny when you look at them too much, I'm thinking "Goatlike? It's a government agency -- it's not likely to be particularly goatlike, is it? Arbitrary I could see, but goatlike?"

I'll recover soon, I'm sure.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:53 PM
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What, you think the French are going to preemptively kill millions to prevent one of their airfields from getting bombed? You're more delusional than James, which is saying something.

There would no doubt be a gradual escalation of tensions, possibly starting by selling out the French troops in Afghanistan while blocking attempts to evacuate them by air and going from there.

When has international law ever been enforced against a more powerful country that was willing to fight it, and why should this time be any different?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 5:59 PM
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There would no doubt be a gradual escalation of tensions, possibly starting by fried potato nomenclature-related program activities.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:12 PM
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What, you think the French are going to preemptively kill millions to prevent one of their airfields from getting bombed? You're more delusional than James, which is saying something.

Er, yes. That's why they have the damn things after all.

Actually, I exaggerate; they'd probably hold off on the nuclear weapons until US troops were threatening the integrity of the French state, and then someone in the Elysee would go, am I going to be Petain or De Gaulle, and. But if you think that the French would let anyone bomb France itself, then you're kidding yourself.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:18 PM
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And if you think Europe could prosecute Cheney without that in itself destroying the alliance

I suspect there are quite a few European countries who'd happily accept much less by way of an 'alliance' with the US. The US, in recent years, being something of a shitty ally.

And, as already remarked, the US wouldn't, I hope, be stupid enough to try to enforce it's will militarily in such circumstances. It's hard to see what they'd have to gain.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:19 PM
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Which, by the way, is why war between two nuclear states is a really, really, bad thing, and to be avoided at pretty much all costs.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:23 PM
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You all have become delirious in only a few several hundred comments.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:24 PM
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who'd happily accept much less by way of an 'alliance' with the US

By which I mean the introduction of a bit more hard-ball 'realpolitik' rather than anything genuinely confrontational.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:27 PM
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Arbitrary I could see, but goatlike?

I think that should be the basis for your argument. How can anyone accuse them of goatlikeness? In what manner do the accusers suggest the agency displayed goatish qualities or behaviors? How often are this agency's actions displayed among goat populations? In the wild? Captive? Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:31 PM
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Is this the results thread? Swing state project has it coming out extremely close based on early results- like Coakley will probably lose by 0.5%. Fuck Curt Schilling.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:34 PM
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650: "Unlike certain bloggers, my client does not blow goats."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:35 PM
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648:I doubt we set a record. Hell, I have seen delirious posts.

651:I presume results may end up on top, especially if Coakley pulls it out.

Chris Bowers is running precincts 13.1% reporting as of now.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:42 PM
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I doubt we set a record.

I blame Shearer in this case.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:47 PM
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Who are these people voting for Brown? Why were we stuck with Coakley who sucks as a candidate in her own right? Obviously, she's better than the alternative, but that's because Republicans are horrid.

53%-47% for Brown right now. Has Schilling been out campaigning for Brown?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:50 PM
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Any word about premarked ballots for Brown?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:51 PM
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656: Have you heard something about election fraud, or is this some Mass. election thing I don't know about?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:52 PM
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Is it really too much to ask for fucking Massachusetts to elect a fucking Democrat, however fucking lame, to Ted Kennedy's fucking seat?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:53 PM
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658: Yeah, this one snuck up on me -- I didn't realize it was in trouble until a week or two ago -- and I still don't know what exactly went wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:55 PM
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Baseball sucks, anyway.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:55 PM
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Look at the bright side, BG. At least bob will be happy.

Parsimon's right; this is one of the crazier conversations I've seen here. But since the Republicans are about to win back an effective majority, maybe people will start talking about politics again.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:56 PM
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Coakley campaign had reports of ballots pre-marked for Brown. I'm not sure exactly what that does other than spoiling the ballot if you don't vote for Brown, but the machines they use here immediately tell you if you overvoted so you can try again (hear that, Florida?)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:56 PM
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France has the same nuclear use doctrine as everyone else: retaliation for same or imminent likelihood of being overrun, plus nuclear umbrella for allies with the same standards. If anything I suspect that there's a decent chance a nuclear power wouldn't use its weapons for the overrun part when dealing with another nuclear state. So no, there is not a chance they'd use nukes in response to a few cruise missiles. In other news we did not nuke Afghanistan and Israel didn't nuke Iraq. India has also not nuked Pakistan. All European nukes mean is that US nukes are off the table.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:57 PM
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Coakley's not doing well enough in Boston, but those could be Southie reporting first. At least my city is currently 88-11 Coakley.
May I propose a new thread?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 6:59 PM
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What if Dick Cheney personally invaded France to get Polanski out of jail? How would China and Russia respond? This is the question of the future.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:00 PM
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I'd also like to mention that I think the idea of letting a judge make the decision to prosecute someone like Cheney is batshit insane. I think Shearer is massively overstating the US reaction, but nonetheless the foreign policy implications are very important. This is a major political decision that needs to be made by the elected political leadership after public debate.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:00 PM
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There must have been a hell of a lot of premarked ballots, because with 40 percent reporting, he's kicking her ass to the tune of six percentage points or so. Time to go hide my BIL on facebook.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:01 PM
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665 Kosciuszko, Lafayette, and Washington all over again; everyone fighting for the values of the philosophes.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:02 PM
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Dang. It would he interesting if senators or congressmen could be elected multiple tmes to the same congress. Not "good" but definitely interesting.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:07 PM
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Don't worry Jesus, all this means we get single payer, federally financed abortion, and a general massive shift to the left among the Senate Dem caucus.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:08 PM
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671

Yeah, from about 5% to the current 45% or so, Brown has had about a 6-point lead. NECN did a county-by-county list, and only in Suffolk (Boston) was Coakley ahead, and not by much there. This is looking bad.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:08 PM
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657: Check TPM. I haven't looked at any details, but there's apparently a move afoot to challenge voting irregularities.

As for what went wrong, didn't this come up already in this thread? See some of Tweety's and SP's comments upthread. Coakley and her people thought the election was in the bag and didn't campaign very carefully as a result (and probably shouldn't have won the primary in the first place); Brown got a hell of a lot of funding from outside sources (including quite a bit from some of those 'astroturf' organizations behind the town-hall meeting disruptions and eventual tea party). Coakley's a political insider and hasn't hidden it terribly well, and people resent that; large numbers of Mass. voters are registered Independents, and while the state tends to vote Democrat, it's gone Republican for Governor for a long time now. People decided to vote on the two candidates in front of their faces. Also Brown misrepresented himself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:08 PM
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667: Not that she's going to win, but the apparent blowout probably comes from suburbs reporting before city. I'm sure it'll at least be close.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:08 PM
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In which Josh Marshall loses Unfogged:

But it's something Democrats have great difficulty with. For a whole variety of reasons voters clearly have a lot of hesitation about this reform. I think the polls make clear that the public is not against it. But the reticence is real. If Dems decide to run from the whole project in the face of a single reverse, what are voters supposed to draw from that? [emphasis added]

Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:09 PM
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674: Ezra, who I'm otherwise fond of, did the same damn thing today. I came this close to commenting about it, and then remembered that I'm not Nosflow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:11 PM
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Looks like she's getting the percentages she needs in Dem places, but not the turnout. The mcmanus strategy prevails!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:12 PM
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674: I say we nuke him.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:13 PM
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678

Can we please have a new thread for the MA results?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:13 PM
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679

Swing state now projects 51.3-47.7 Brown wins.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:15 PM
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680

Brown misrepresented himself by putting up a picture of JFK. His other policy positions were clear.

Coakley = Shannon O'Brien


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:16 PM
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In which Josh Marshall loses Unfogged:

Yeah. We all know it's spelled "reticience".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:18 PM
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I just like going through the town by town results and seeing that all the places I give a shit about voted for Coakley. I'm going to live in my own little world.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:19 PM
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There's a New Braintree? The old one wasn't enough?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:19 PM
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I love how Shearer got people to earnestly discuss the possibility of war with France over Dick Cheney. That's some fine trolling.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:19 PM
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France has the same nuclear use doctrine as everyone else: retaliation for same or imminent likelihood of being overrun, plus nuclear umbrella for allies with the same standards. If anything I suspect that there's a decent chance a nuclear power wouldn't use its weapons for the overrun part when dealing with another nuclear state. So no, there is not a chance they'd use nukes in response to a few cruise missiles. In other news we did not nuke Afghanistan and Israel didn't nuke Iraq. India has also not nuked Pakistan. All European nukes mean is that US nukes are off the table.

Eh, of course you didn't nuke Afghanistan. Bad form to nuke non-nuke countries, you know? (India hasn't invaded Pakistan either, nor the reverse. The Kargil War was very very limited for pretty much this reason.)

Further, that really really isn't the French nuclear use doctrine, & not all states have the same doctrines.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:20 PM
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Coakley has conceded.

Fuck.
(boston.com, NECN)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:23 PM
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687

Coakley conceded. Massachusetts is dead to me now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:24 PM
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Brown's winning the town of my birth by nearly 20 points. Good thing I left when before I turned two.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:24 PM
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Fuck that, my precinct hasn't been counted yet! I got two ballots this morning!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:24 PM
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-when, obvs.

Anyway, nice work, Democrats!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:25 PM
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FUCK.

Coakley conceded.

Who can we run against himin 2 years?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:25 PM
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692

Capuano


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:26 PM
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693

Can we burn shit the Senate down now?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:26 PM
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684: I've been marveling over this all afternoon. Then again, through much of my lecture today, I tried to come up with something like 665. I failed. But I did entertain myself during the boring bits about the Panic of 1857.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:26 PM
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Who can we run against himin 2 years?

David Ortiz turns 35 this year. How about it?

Alternately, Bostoniangirl, who will prove far more passionate, motivated and capable of communicating with the average voter than Coakley.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:27 PM
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Martha Coakley is the new Bill Buckner.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:27 PM
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697

Martha Coakley is the new Bill Buckner.

Well done.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:28 PM
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This does seem to be virtually the same thing that happened in 2002 with Romney over a female dynastic empty suit. Thanks for the reminder, 680.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:28 PM
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684: It wasn't so much the fineness of the trolling as the need for something silly to discuss to distract from the election.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:29 PM
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What do you mean? Buckner was a Yankees Mets fan!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:30 PM
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Umm, I totally suck at communicating to the average person. I can communicate with intellectuals and people with significantly below average intelligence, but I'm not good with average.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:30 PM
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684: I love how Shearer got people to earnestly discuss the possibility of war with France over Dick Cheney. That's some fine trolling.

Isn't it, though? I check in after 24 hours, and I see: "So, it's pretty obvious that France would nuke the US eastern seaboard if the US threatened it militarily for putting Cheney on trial for war crimes. So, you know. Discuss."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:30 PM
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I can communicate with intellectuals and people with significantly below average intelligence, but I'm not good with average.

There's a chance your electorate's IQ will be bimodal!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:32 PM
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I'm so glad the Democrats appointed the Senators to the administration they appointed, because they had such a large majority, who could imagine it wouldn't last? Really looking forward to November.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:36 PM
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I think we should threaten to nuke France unless they agree to take Dick Cheney off our hands.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:37 PM
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661:"Happy" is not exactly the word I would use. There are people I hate more than corporatist Democrats, and think an early catastrophe better than the end of the world in November.

For God's sake, I'm old. I have already had to live thru Vietnam and Nixon redux, I don't want 1995-2000 repeated.

But it is a tragedy to lose the Kennedy seat. A horror,
For shame.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:38 PM
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699: pretty much. I really haven't an actual opinion on this stuff, 'cause it's just too ludicrous for words, but that's what it makes it fun. It's like: Godzilla vs. the Iranians, who wins? If there really were giant monsters threatening Tehran it would be horrible and grim and so-on, but it's never going to happen so.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:38 PM
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I think it would be hilarious if Cheney "freed" Polanski by bringing him back to the US.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:38 PM
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704: Yeah. Obama picked three sitting Democratic Senators for his cabinet (including VP). Nice job!

This is fucking fucked up. Fuck.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:39 PM
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703: Highly intelligent people are not necessarily intellectual.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:43 PM
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709: And those seats looked a lot safer for a generic Democrat at the time. If you had certain assumptions about the future. On the other hand, maybe all three didn't want the Senate anymore and I can't really begrudge them that. (Plus the state parties didn't handle things all that great. So many people to blame.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:43 PM
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Let's not forget the Cabinet appointments of the sitting governors who were the only Democrats who could possibly be elected governor of Kansas and Arizona. Although they are, you know, doing a good job in the Cabinet.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:44 PM
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I'm really not so complicated. I acquired an all-consuming loathing of Republicans and conservatives around 1972, and it has only intensified in the ensuing 40 years.

Everything is subservient to their destruction. I hate.

Obama says "bipartisan" I want to punch him out. Republicans, all fucking 70 milion of them, are not welcome in my world. If the loss of the Kennedy seat can shut him the fuck up and turn him into a rabid pit bull, it is an acceptable sacrifice.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:47 PM
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Dean would have been too left for HHS, and I bet that Sebelius wanted out. Kansas was a financial mess when she left. (Not in any way her fault, but who would want to deal with that when there are no deficits?)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:48 PM
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Jim Webb, via TPM- no votes on Health Care in the senate until Brown is seated.
Way to show some spine. If the situation were reversed the Republicans would ram through 11 new supreme court justices before a new senator could be seated.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:50 PM
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I suppose you can argue that on one level this is better for campaigning on (as in against) Republican obstruction. The fact that Democrats could actually pass things together and had to negotiate mainly with themselves meant Republicans could stay even further out of the spotlight, except to say crazy things. Now if something's going to happen everyone will have to acknowledge that Republicans have to participate and that they're holding things up. Unfortunately, this probably just means that nothing's going to happen on the big issues.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:53 PM
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Josh Marshall does well to point to the Jon Cohn and Jon Chait pieces advising a refusal to panic.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:54 PM
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I spend the first decade of my life in MA, but with 90% reporting there are still zero results for two of the three towns where I lived.

But I'm still amazed at the fact that even in this economy we managed to lose in MA. That takes some special smarts, especially given that it's not like this guy has the wonk fiscal conservative social liberal appeal to the upper middle class suburbanites that Romney and Weld had, and in the latter case his Dem opponent was probably the more right wing one.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:55 PM
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I'm willing to put basically all the blame for this on Coakley and her campaign/backers, for her being dull and not taking this seriously. All politics is local, as the guy from down the street said, and her local touch was crap. Turns out you can lose a "safe" seat by doing nothing - good for everyone to know!

(Remind me: why is AG an elected position in the first place?)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 7:58 PM
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I have this overwhelming urge to go to Massachusetts tomorrow and walk around glaring at people and shaking my head in disgust.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:00 PM
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721

I guess no votes in the Senate doesn't rule out the House voting and bypassing the Senate. I guess.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:01 PM
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722

This next thing I'm going to say is not about politics, and it's not important. But if there's anything to what they say about collegiality in the Senate -- that there are actually some long term friendships there -- I wonder how any Republican who was friends with Kennedy feels now. They needed every procedural device to drag this mess out until he died; that's a really shitty way to win.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:01 PM
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723

721: Hasn't Pelosi said they will?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:03 PM
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684: There's a long and storied tradition.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:05 PM
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No votes in the Senate isn't quite what Webb said:

"In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated."

At least he's clearly speaking only for himself right now.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:09 PM
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726

You think we can't lose both houses in November?

I remember Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Convention, and liberals and progressives saying the Republicans have gone batshit insane and made themselves irrelevant. I remember liberals laughing at Gingrich and the Contract.

I remember 1980, and many of the best people of my life losing their jobs to scum.

Fuck, I remember 1964.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:11 PM
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722: Well, yes. For shame, all around.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:13 PM
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Okay, I'm going to say it: would you shut up, bob? For now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:17 PM
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729

This Health Care Bill is political suicide, and only exists in its current form because liberals think they need to do something, anything, as success at process justiifies any outcome. Josh Marshall is openly saying that success, passing a bill, in itself wins.

But I believe this Senate Bill can cost us both houses.

It is worth that?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:17 PM
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730

728:For you.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:18 PM
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731

||

Cell Phone Bleg:

I need to get a cell phone for work which will require very heavy usage--it will be my only work phone; there are people who had $200 phone bills. They give me $40/month which comes out to $33 post tax.

So, I'm looking at Boost Mobile and Metro pcs. I do have another cell phone, and I don't think I'll be using it for work outside of the Boston area.

I can get a plan from metropcs for $40 and one from Boost for $50. I've heard that Boost has better coverage.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:20 PM
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In a fit of pique, I have sent Gov. Patrick a letter (paper) blaming him for the current poor image of Democrats in MA, and holding him personally responsible for tonight's loss. We'll see what kind of enhanced state attention this brings.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:20 PM
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733

For those who say pass a public option by reconciliation, are you sure you've got the votes? I count six definite Dem no's - the Arkansas pair, Landrieu, Bayh, Lieberman, and Nelson; one probable no (Carper); and several up in the air - the rural interior West folk from the Dakotas and Montana, and the VA ones. You can only lose nine.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:21 PM
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734

Seeing "bob mcmanus comments on In which I congratulate myself" in the sidebar seems appropriate right now.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:21 PM
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735

Clearly all those poor disaffected but economically left leaning non-voters are going to be happier if they don't get health insurance. It will reverse the belief that voting is useless and they'll come out in droves in November and 2012.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:24 PM
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736

731: Verizon and AT&T both just lowered their unlimited plans to $70/mo. Not sure if that makes sense for you, but a $200 bill is unnecessary these days.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:24 PM
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737

Also, if my work made me get a cell phone, I'd want to make them pay the whole bill. But capitalism sucks. My sympathies.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:26 PM
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738

parsimon, are you talking about Silber in the gubernatorial race or Kerry in the 96 Senate race? Silber was definitely a right wing wacko.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:27 PM
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739

Squishy human services companies routinely abuse their employees, Bave. If they paid the whole cost, I'd still have to pay tax on the benefit. I guess that people block their ID and return a bunch of calls using a personal phone. We have virtual numbers which let us check our voicemail, and we can send all of our calls to voicemail.

I may only be there 9-12 months, so I don't want to sign a K.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:31 PM
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740

Nathan, you think that Charlie Baker will be our next governor?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:32 PM
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741

738: What? Am I talking about that in what comment of mine?

732: Nathan, though I don't know enough about Patrick, I applaud your letter. I fear it will be filed in the manila folder called "letters clearly written in a fit of pique." A paper letter -- legible, I hope.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:40 PM
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742

Can't say I like the idea, but voting for Patrick again may be beyond my nose-holding capabilities.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:40 PM
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743

You know, tomorrow's going to be a really good day to avoid all blogs and get a bunch of work done at the office.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:42 PM
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744

Legible - definitely. Laser-printed and then hand-signed. And for bonus fun, I used my official "Massachusetts Democrat" return address labels.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:42 PM
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745

738, 741 I think BG might be referring to a comment by me, and yes I was talking about Silber, not Weld. I was in RI at the time and remember thinking that I would have actually voted for a Republican.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:46 PM
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746

If they paid the whole cost, I'd still have to pay tax on the benefit.

Huh, I am pretty sure I've never paid taxes on any phone service I got through work, cell or otherwise. Perhaps I am a SCOFFLAW!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:49 PM
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747

I'm making leek, egg, and scallion jiaozi and ignoring Massachusetts. La la la!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:56 PM
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748

Late congratulations, Walt!

Has anyone made the "Q: Who's the father? A: Someguy." joke yet? If not, allow me to be the first . . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 8:56 PM
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749

I'm eating kasha and Ritter Sport and ignoring Massachusettes!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:00 PM
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750

||

I've begun to read the post title as "In Which I manipulate myself"

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:01 PM
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751

ÑONGRATULATIONS!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:05 PM
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752

750: Well, this is a blog, after all.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:07 PM
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753

Who can we run against himin 2 years?

Conan. He's a local, has some name recognition, and likes to be on TV.

How successful is the MA state healthcare plan ?
So successful that an MA citizen would care not a hang for a federal plan ?


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:13 PM
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754

They must really hate it if Brown's winning campaign message was that he would deny an extremely similar plan to the entire country.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:14 PM
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755

Alright, glad that's over.

On to the next one: Primary is June 8, and I have to choose between two guys for the open (state) house seat.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:21 PM
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I'm going to put myself on the line here and say that if the House needs to just adopt and pass the Senate bill, do it, for fuck's sake. I recognize that the Senate bill is deeply wanting in many ways, and corporatism etc. is among my own deep banes, but people. Ditching passage altogether is just jaw-droppingly WEIRD. Crazy weird. There is really not going to be a chance like this again for decades. Settle, for fuck's sake.

I'd want to see some very serious arm-twisting -- in the House at this point, since it apparently wasn't done very effectively in the Senate -- on whoever is in a position to do that. That may mean arm-twisting of progressives in the House. I am sorry. But the country's run out of time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:22 PM
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757

on whoever is in a position to do that s/b by whoever is in a position to do that

Also, "corporatism etc." really should read: corporatism and various other malign indignities.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:27 PM
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719

I'm willing to put basically all the blame for this on Coakley and her campaign/backers, for her being dull and not taking this seriously. All politics is local, as the guy from down the street said, and her local touch was crap. Turns out you can lose a "safe" seat by doing nothing - good for everyone to know!

Actually Kennedy himself deserves a big part of the blame for this fiasco. If he had resigned his seat in a timely manner after he knew he was dying Massachusetts would likely have a Democratic Senator today. The election would have been earlier before the voters had as much time to sour on the Democrats and the Massachusetts legislature wouldn't have had to change the rules for filling a vacancy (the second change in 5 years purely for partisan advantage). One of Brown's most effective lines was that it was the people's seat not Kennedy's seat and the repeated rule changes no doubt helped this resonate.

Yglesias claimed back in August:

... But when you have a state whose state legislature is firmly and forever in the hands of one political party, the smart thing is for the legislature to be constantly changing rules based on short-term considerations. ...

Maybe it wasn't so smart after all.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:46 PM
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759

Blaming the dead man who clung to his seat in the futile hope that he'd see the work of his lifetime become law before he succumbed to a terminal illness? Well played.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 9:55 PM
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746: Employer-provided cell phones are one of those things that get taxed because of the high potential for personal use unless you jump through some hoops. I forget the details.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:31 PM
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761

Where'd everybody go? Must be at the firedoglake victory party.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:41 PM
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762

Probably engaging in sexual congress or something.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:44 PM
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763

761: I posted a whole new thread! Everyone! To the barricades comfortable chair you're already in!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:44 PM
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764

Massachusetts, boo, hiss, obviously. As to the much more entertaining question about a nuclear exchange over a war crimes trial against Cheney, etc.: I would not be at all surprised to read later that a platoon of "wise men" from Scalia to Obama to Ted Olsen and everyone in between made lengthy and cogent pleas to the Bush people not to force the issue by traveling much---if at all. I reckon that the Europeans would probably back down, although they'd likely ask for a steep concession of some sort, but a lot of the judges are at least constitutionally independent...


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:03 PM
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765

Christ, my baby is only a day old, and you're already trying to get him killed in a nuclear war with France. What kind of monsters are you?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:49 AM
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766

764: for some reason Israeli alleged war criminals always manage to just invade any arrest attempts when travelling tot he EU, so I doubt any US alleged war criminal has much to fear.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:00 AM
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767

Don't worry, Walt. We won't actually nuke France. Don't be surprised if we nuke Haiti, though. Just to show France we're serious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:06 AM
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768

For the sake of the children, the US must seek peace, and unconditionally surrender to France. They will impose their foul and decadent health care system upon us, but pockets of freedom will survive in Alaska.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:55 AM
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769

Christ, my baby is only a day old,

Congratulations, Walt! I missed the announcement.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:12 AM
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770

Me too Walt. Congratuations.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:19 AM
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771

Congrats, Walt!!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:23 AM
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772

Yay Mrs Someguy and Walt!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:31 AM
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773

I missed the announcement.

Comment 572.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:38 AM
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774

Congrats Walt! Welcome Somebaby!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:21 AM
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775

No wonder you missed the announcement. I was upstaged by the prospect of nuclear war. Probably the day I have grandkids will be the day actual nuclear war breaks out.

At this point, isn't nuking Haiti like that scene in Untouchables where Sean Connery shoots the dead guy to show he's serious? It only works if France doesn't get too good of a look.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:24 PM
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