Re: [Obligatory magnet reference deleted]

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I expect McMegan would speak with such assured cadence.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:42 AM
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I haven't been anywhere where I can watch this. I do think he's funny though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:41 AM
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"McMegan" has been replaced with "The Economic Tool That is Wrong About Everything."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:50 AM
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I do think he's funny though.

Does he do any bits that don't boil down to you "you're all a bunch of fucking whiners"?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:55 AM
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JESUS CHRIST JOSH YOU GET QUALITY COMEDY FED TO YOU FOR NOTHING ON A FUCKING MAGIC BOX AND ALL YOU CAN DO IS WHINE ABOUT IT.


Posted by: OPINIONATED LOUIS CK | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 12:06 PM
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OK people, please endeavor to distract me intermittently for the next 19.5 hours or so. I leave for my flight to Cali for the job interview in about 25 minutes, whereupon I anticipate being intermittently terrified, bored, and insomniac until said interviews begin at 8 a.m. WDT. Then kindly send me all possible positive vibes for the following 7 hours.

No stress here. None.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 1:20 PM
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I couldn't make it through the link in 1 because of said cadence, but I found it entertaining that I could largely identify the juggalos in the featured video responses solely by my hugely negative stereotype thereof.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 1:22 PM
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Think of it this way -- even if you get the job, you'll probably end up being killed in the inevitable water riots. So it's lose-lose really, which should take the stress out of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 1:23 PM
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I think I'll die from the smugness first, but let's get the call from the expert: Megan, got any thoughts on the long term sustainability of Sonoma County's water supply?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 1:33 PM
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said interviews begin at 8 a.m. WDT.

8 AM Western European Daylight Time?!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 1:40 PM
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I think I'll die from the smugness first

The smugness will seep into your pores. Once you realize it has you in its grip, suicide is the only answer. There is no cure, and moving anywhere else only makes the smugness worse.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 1:41 PM
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Oooh, Sonoma County is pretty. Actually, pretty much every place I've ever been in CA is pretty. It's a pretty state. If you don't mind being eaten by mountain lions occasionally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 1:50 PM
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Very occasionally.

Unfortunately, as is typically the case for lion feeding, the heart was missing, so we'll never know for sure if he did have a heart attack.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:02 PM
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12: There's also the possibility that a future governor might sell the state on eBay to fix the budget hole. Exciting!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:06 PM
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As much as I like to hate on Northern California, I do have to say that it's hard to imagine a nicer place to live than Sonoma County.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:09 PM
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That doesn't make any sense, Stanley; if he sells the state he won't be able to use the revenues to fix the budget because the state (and its budget woes) will be someone else's problem.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:09 PM
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Can the California state treasury sell the state? If so, it will just need to cover pensions and moving expenses and might be able to keep collecting royalties on resource extraction.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:14 PM
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I was referring to a she, neb, you sexist.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:17 PM
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Fuckin' magpies. How do they chirp?

My new DVR has let me finally watch the TV shows people talk about. That is, watch TV shows at all, since I never remember to make appointments with the TV and cannot watch something unless I am watching it from the beginning.

Verdict on "Louie": too depressing. Much like "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

Best discovery thus far is "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". THIS is what we talk about when we say British shows are great because of the writing. This show is all writing. NO OTHER SHOW IS LIKE THAT.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:24 PM
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Can the California state treasury sell the state?

Sure, the parts that the state owns. But I think post Kelo


the smart strategy would be to condemn through eminent domain some super expensive property and sell it back to the original owner. Disneyland, for example.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:24 PM
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Sonoma County seemed very nice during my only visit, though the noise from the old ladies' motorcycle club sharing the hotel kept me up a bit late.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:25 PM
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From the link in 13:

Nell Hamm said she first saw the lion when it had her husband's head in its jaws.

That's a good opening sentence.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:27 PM
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Remember when California had this governor who was really, really bad and everyone hated him and how much that sucked, and then he was recalled from office in a great victory for the power of the electorate and the new governor fixed all the problems and all the very serious people celebrated*? Weren't those the days!

*[Broder] A year after he took office, following the voters' recall of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger is riding high in California. A recent Los Angeles Times poll put his job approval rating at 66 percent, and his efforts to break through the political paralysis that had contributed to a serious fiscal crisis in state government have won commendation across the spectrum.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:32 PM
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21: I like Napa better than Sonoma. I'm not sure why, but it may have been that drinking before noon isn't as fun on the third day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:32 PM
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Sonoma county has a super awesome water agency that under its old manager would declare goals like going entirely carbon neutral in short order. They're the only district in the state looking into wave power. They have a new manager who is maybe not so wild-eyed, but I expect Sonoma county to have a very conscientiously managed stable supply. Your per capita use will have to be low, but you'll get it, Mr. Chopper, when you get that job for sure.

Then you can come to Pie Contest!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:33 PM
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So Prop 8 is overturned. For the next few months.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:36 PM
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26: That doesn't mean another few months of marraiges though, right?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:38 PM
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It's a pretty state.

Clearly you've never driven I-5 between LA and the Bay Area.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:40 PM
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Looks like not (Dallas voice says a stay is expected, that makes sense).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:40 PM
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When I was writing 23 I was remembering the general support that both the recall and Schwarzenegger enjoyed in the media; I had no idea whether or not Broder had weighed in on it, but assumed that he had. Bingo*. Has there ever been in a pundit who was more consistently wrong in such a boring and predictable way? He really deserves his own mild version of Godwin's Law.

All of this is happening with a minimum of bruised feelings -- thanks to Schwarzenegger's skillful touch with the Sacramento pols and their eagerness to stay on good terms with the popular governor and his Kennedy-kin TV-star wife, Maria Shriver.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:41 PM
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27: Dunno! Do the lawyers think the state will allow them as the case goes to appeal?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:42 PM
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I am so mad about that federal case that it's hard for me to express. I guess there's about a 15% chance that it won't result in a truly horrible Supreme Court or 9th Circuit opinion that sets back the cause of recognizing the equal rights of gay people, so, there's that. Maybe things will work out! An awful risk to take though, just to satisfy the egos of David Boies, Ted Olson, and (to some extent) Vaughan Walker.

I hope that I'm proven wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:47 PM
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28: Clearly you've never driven I-5 between LA and the Bay Area.

Sometimes it's pretty. (The white on the right is snow in the Sierras, to the left is clouds/fog over the Pacific, white in the middle is hte Central Valley completely fogged in.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:48 PM
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Arnold had general support until he went after the nurses and ran into the public employee union buzzsaw. He should have sen it coming, but we all have blind spots. The new governor, whomever she may be, will have a much easier time thanks to the revelations about the city of Bell and the general alarm now being raised about public employee pensions.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:48 PM
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completely fogged in

On this blog?! You asshole.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:49 PM
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The cable guys came by today.

Good news:I have a DVR! I can records Louis CK
Bad News:I can't make it work.

Good news:They replaced the landlines!
Bad News:They don't activate for 6 days, so in the meantime we have no phones but cellphones. My cell isn't working so I wasn't able to ask her if that is ok.
She may kill me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:52 PM
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34: The process sucked, he sucked, his supporters sucked. From the get go. Fucking dupes falling for a dupe. A travesty and a sham.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:54 PM
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37: But on the plus side, it may have prevented him from making more sucky movies.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:56 PM
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Fucking dupes falling for a dupe

There are some who would direct this comment to our current President.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:57 PM
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37 is basically my view, and 34 seems insane to me. The next governor won't have it easy.

Arnold was pretty good on the environment, though.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 2:57 PM
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The next governor won't have it easy.

The problems are large, to be sure. But I think that there is more awareness of the scope of the problems, which will enable some real change. Headlines like this get the point across real well.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-la-city-pensions-20100804,0,5060130.story


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:01 PM
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Is 32 the reason for your objection, Halford? That you think a horrible reversal is the inevitable endpoint, so you wish we weren't on a path that leads to that? Because from my outside perspective, I don't understand why it can be any worse than not-challenging a hateful law.

Dude. I never understood why we had the recall in the first place. It seemed like a terrible plan from the first. People here in Sac hate Gov. Schwarzenegger a whole lot. No one will miss him, that's for sure.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:05 PM
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Has there ever been in a pundit who was more consistently wrong in such a boring and predictable way?

Perhaps David Brooks, but he's essentially a David Broder cover band, so.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:05 PM
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42: Could the SC rule that no state is permitted to sanction same-sex marriage? Is that at all possible?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:06 PM
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Anything is possible with this Court.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:07 PM
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42, 44 -- In my view, by far the most likely outcome is a Supreme Court or Ninth Circuit opinion that severely limits the ability of gay people to make due process or equal protection claims under the US Constitution. This is also the opinion of most lawyers involved in these issues, and is why most gay rights organizations and the groups that strongly supported the gay marriage litigation in the California courts have been strongly opposed to the strategy of bringing the federal case.

The SCT won't make it illegal for other states to recognize gay marriage, but they will very likely make it easier, constitutionally speaking, for legislators to enact discriminatory laws in states that are inclined to do so.

As I say, there's a non-zero chance that this won't happen, which would be great. But it's an enormously stupid and risky strategy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:12 PM
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I never understood why we had the recall in the first place.

Gray Davis went after people's wallet in a way they could understand and rebel against. A little more withholding to the state no one notices. Having to write a check for $400 to the DMV when last year it was $200, that they understand.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:13 PM
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I barely know what I'm talking about, but isn't the 9th Circuit a bunch of hippies?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:16 PM
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48 -- Not really anymore. You could still draw a hippie-ish panel, but that makes a nasty ruling from the SCOTUS even more likely.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:17 PM
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Did you see about Cruz Reynoso's car accident? He and his wife were hospitalized when a speeding young driver hit them. I only know about him because he was one of my teachers. Super nice. Shame they're hurt.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:20 PM
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48: Every judge on the circuit losses his or her bonus if they get struck down more than once so they are getting afraid to push the envelope.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:24 PM
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46, 49: I don't understand. What's the alternative supposed to have been? How could there be any legal challenge to Prop 8 that wouldn't wind up being appealed all the way up the ladder? Is there supposed to be some percentage in tolerating discriminatory laws at the state level in the hopes while... what, waiting for some SC justices to die off?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:29 PM
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The alternative was to overturn Prop 8 through the ballot box, which had a good chance of happening in two years, without creating a bunch of bad federal constitutional rulings in the interim.

The California cases upheld Prop 8, but weren't particularly bad for gay rights in other ways.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:32 PM
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Is there supposed to be some percentage in tolerating discriminatory laws at the state level

Federalism presumes that one not tolerate anything at the state level. One moves to a more tolerable state.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:33 PM
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A little more withholding to the state no one noticesrequires a supermajority that irresponsible Republicans render impossible to achieve. Having to write a check for $400 to the DMV when last year it was $200, that they understandis the only way to secure an obviously necessary revenue increase with a majority vote.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:36 PM
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Damn civil rights marchers, always getting federalism wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:36 PM
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The California cases upheld Prop 8, but weren't particularly bad for gay rights in other ways.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

I understand about strategizing and the long game, but I also have to think that if a law is discriminatory, it should be fought on all fronts until it is changed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:39 PM
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53: So see-sawing discriminatory legislation through the ballot box every couple of years is supposed to be the great long-term strategy they passed up? That doesn't sound very compelling to me.

The California cases upheld Prop 8, but weren't particularly bad for gay rights in other ways.

Like what?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:39 PM
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Did you see about Cruz Reynoso's car accident?

Huh. In my neck of the woods, too. I hadn't seen that story. Hit by a fucking Hummer, no less.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:42 PM
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Halford makes some sense to me.

I thought I would have been trollish to have a mere mild joy at the ruling, assuming a stay and reversal. But I always thought it would a step of unambiguous progress, if too limited. I hadn't thought of a serious step backwards.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:43 PM
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requires a supermajority that irresponsible Republicans render impossible to achieve

Or requires that responsible Democrats not spend the State into oblivion.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:47 PM
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How the hell is the "tax-and-spend liberal" meme still alive, honestly? Is it just habit? What the fuck is that?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:48 PM
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TLL, your trolling seems kind of subpar today.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:48 PM
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I know! At least we tax.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:49 PM
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42: Could the SC rule that no state is permitted to sanction same-sex marriage?

If they do, let's hope they stick to a totally ambiguous verb like "sanction"!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:49 PM
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But Halford is being the strategic liberal here, isn't he. For one thing, he is assuming the ballot box will work, eventually. A great faith there, but one necessary to liberal totalitarianism.

The comparison is to Dred Scott? Bringing that case could be viewed as a terrible mistake, enshrining slavery into the Constitution for decades. But Tubman & the UR, John Brown, and finally the CW, and I might argue that Dred Scott heightened the contradictions and inspired the abolition movement to illiberal and ultimately effective measures.

Perhaps a lesson to be learned.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:50 PM
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Like what?

The California Supreme Court case "upholding" Prop 8 only ruled that the amendment was an "amendment" and not a "revision" under the California Constitution. It didn't affect in any other way any other protection for the rights of gay people under California's Constitution or laws, at all. Indeed, the California Supreme Court opinion specifically relied on the notion that California provided generally strong equal protection rights for gay citizens (and provided a status, domestic partnership, that is functionally and legally identical to marriage) in finding Prop 8 to be an amendment and not a revision. Thus, while the opinion unfortunately allowed Prop 8 to stand, it had no broader impact whatsoever on gay rights.

By contrast, what is likely to come down from the United States Supreme Court is a ruling clearly affirming that, under the US Constitution, gay people are not a suspect class, that limitations based on discouraging homosexuality or encouraging "traditional family values" are constitutional, and that gay people can be subject to a broad assortment of discriminatory laws without Constitutional difficulty. This will likely have a far broader impact than just the gay marriage issue. It will probably make it easier for legislators in conservative states to actively and affirmatively discriminate against gay people in many other ways, including housing, employment, and family law more broadly. Hence the risk.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:51 PM
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Damn civil rights marchers, always getting federalism wrong.

Wasn't that the point, though? Unjust laws were written and enforced up and until Federal legislation preempted? IANAL, but States have all kinds of different laws about stuff and except for the Commerce Clause, it is just the way it is unless preempted by some Federal statute.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:51 PM
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Or by the, you know, federal constitution.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:54 PM
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I obviously would not welcome a SCOTUS decision that stated that gays were not human beings with the rights o human beings. It would be a horror.

But it might help people understand what kind of country we are living in, and who their neighbors really are, and be in some ways probably unpalatable to Halfords...liberating.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:54 PM
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I, for one, can't wait for the liberating possibility of Alabama banning gay teachers from public schools or of Wyoming preventing lesbian moms from obtaining custody of adopted kids.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 3:58 PM
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71:And I can't wait for the John Brown of the gay rights movement, or the riots, or the Federal troops sent to Alabama.

Social change is always outside the law.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:01 PM
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The 9th Circuit is liberal in basically the same way as the "liberal media." It's certainly very liberal in the popular imagination, and maybe it really was that liberal forty years ago, but it certainly isn't anything like that anymore.

Now, there's always some chance that we'll draw a three-judge panel of, like, Berzon, Reinhardt, and Pregerson. Then we just have to hope that certain Supreme Court justices really do luuurve Ted Olson as much as Ted Olson seems to think they lurve him.

But I think Lambda et al are wrong on the broader strategy here, and I'm glad that Olson and Boies are fighting this one out even though we're almost certainly going to lose this particular case. We were never going to win the broader fight for marriage equality through the federal courts (not with the federal courts we actually have in the year 2010, anyway), so it's not like we have a lot to lose there. And if we expect to convince our broader political audience that this is about fundamental human rights and basic principles of constitutional liberalism, we need to act like we believe that too.


Posted by: Monkey-Annoyance Expert | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:02 PM
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TLL, your trolling seems kind of subpar today.

Sorry, I'm actually working and only half paying attention. Phoning it in as it were. But seriously, the realization of the amount of money that has been given away as pensions to public employees is amazing. A private employee would have to have $500,000 in their 401k earning 5% to have the same payout as the average public employee. Do you think the average private employee will be able to save that much if he is taxed to death? They are supposed to be working for us, not the other way around.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:02 PM
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Or by the, you know, federal constitution

Oh, that. You mean the document written by the white slave holders?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:06 PM
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Not the Civil Rights Amendments bits of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:13 PM
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But seriously, the realization of the amount of money that has been given away as pensions to public employees is amazing.

After all, it's a fundamental principle of contract law that if you realize you've made a deal you're unhappy with after the other party has performed their obligations to you, you're free to walk away from it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:14 PM
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74:This meme that public employees are overcompensated is very dangerous, folks, and you should think about the implications at length.

Democrats and liberals do not want to be the ones forcing retired cops, firemen, and the military onto catfood. Loyalties and affiliations could become confused, their children and grandchildren, often in uniform themselves, will remember.

Republicans are fucking smart. They are always imagining the potential militias.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:15 PM
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67.1: It didn't affect in any other way any other protection for the rights of gay people under California's Constitution or laws, at all.

But this isn't happening in a vaccuum. Prop 8 occurred in the context of, and is clearly a transitional demand by, the same movement conservatives has been pushing measures like anti-sodomy laws in multi-state campaigns for the past decade. I understand that the California decision may have argued this context is immaterial when evaluating the impact discriminatory legislation like Prop 8 and its implications for the future, but that doesn't make it so.

67.2: I'm not so much about heightening the contradictions as Bob is, but here I tend to agree with him. If the SC has really skewed so far to the right that this is the only likely outcome, then I don't see what the gay rights movement gains by trying to pretend that hasn't happened instead of directly confronting and exposing that fact. 73.3 makes more sense to me.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:16 PM
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67: It will probably make it easier for legislators in conservative states to actively and affirmatively discriminate against gay people in many other ways, including housing, employment, and family law more broadly. Hence the risk.

However, I think it should be pointed out that any pro-gay (?) lawsuit in federal court runs such a risk, and it doesn't seem likely that SCOTUS could overturn the ruling in such a way as to prevent Prop. 8 from being overturned in California at the ballot box. And many of the states have passed anti-gay marriage laws anyways, so only a SCOTUS ruling that overturned them all could affect that status.

The real threat here is that we may find out equal protection doesn't run very far outside of California, but given the makeup of the court that was a risk anyways.

max
['So I'm not seeing a loss here.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:17 PM
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I wonder what makes mcmanus think TLL is a liberal?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:17 PM
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After all, it's a fundamental principle of contract law that if you realize you've made a deal you're unhappy with after the other party has performed their obligations to you, you're free to walk away from it.

This is exactly the point. We are stuck with it, and it stinks. There was a reason that the private sector went away from defined benefit to defined contribution. It is one thing when you retire at 65 and die at 70. Quite another when you retire at 50 and die at 85.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:20 PM
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75: Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Are you telling me the American constitution wasn't written by Presidents George Clinton, Olaudah Equiano, W.E.B. DuBois, Jack Johnson and Maya Angelou as I've always been taught?

This puts things in a whole new light. There were white people involved with the American constitution? Whoa. I never knew that. I think... I think I need to lie down... that's just overwhelming.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:20 PM
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The tassles.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:20 PM
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82: Do you have a proposed course of action here, or are you just cursing the darkness?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:22 PM
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81:I don't. But liberals and Democrats can be set up to take the blame, to whatever extent they aren't actually complicit or enthusiastic, like Obama.

Liberals and Democrats should never vote to decrease benefits or social spending and always vote to increase taxes, primarily on property and wealth.

My main point is about the good faith and intentions of Republicans:They are rapidly moving to fascism.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:23 PM
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75: ...who didn't want to pay their taxes. That part is important.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:24 PM
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85: so racist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:24 PM
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TLL is waiting for the John Brown of the public pension reduction movement. Who'll only have the entire national political media on his side.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:25 PM
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That TLL is still talking about the California vehicle license fees is awesome. "Hey, I cut this licensing fee when we were running a surplus in order to make myself look good! Whoops, we're in a recession, I'll put it back to where it was and keep California's credit rating good. Surely people like the estimable David Broder will commend me for running the state in a responsible manner! And the people of California will certainly not react by participating in a Darrell Issa-funded clusterfuck that everyone will treat as a Jay Leno bit rather than an step in my state's potentially irreversible decline!"


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:29 PM
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For 79.1, what I'm talking about is the legal context of the decision. After Strauss v. Horton (the California Supreme Court case), other than the fact that Proposition 8 was held to have validly amended the California constitution, there was no legal impact whatsoever on any right held by a gay person in California (or anywhere else). As for the political impact, knowledgeable people I've talked to think that the measure almost certainly would have been repealable by initiative in 2012 or 2013.

When the Perry case (the federal case) is ultimately decided, it is extremely unlikely that the net result will be beneficial for gay people, and it may be extremely harmful, for gay people in the United States as a whole. And not just on the "gay marriage" issue.

To be honest, I'm not really sure how "heighten the contradictions" is supposed to work here, at all. OK, so the U.S. Supreme Court is exposed as not wanting to create new precedent that would recognize gay rights. So what? If I were a gay person in Arkansas, I wouldn't put much hope in the possibility of the coming revolution.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:29 PM
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Do you have a proposed course of action here, or are you just cursing the darkness?

My knowledge of the actual nuts and bolts of the pension system is rudementary, but for full disclosure my brother is pension advisor to SAG, the Directors Guild, the carpenter's union and various others.

Well, for starters one could delay the payout of the pension until age 65, means tested with any other income earned in the intervening years. New hires would be defined contribution.

These people have worked hard and done nothing more than get what they could negotiate. It is not their fault that the idiots in the Assembly couldn't figure out that the money would have to come from somewhere.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:31 PM
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Halford, have you read the decision and do you have any view of what the Supreme Court will see differently from Judge Walker?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:32 PM
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Maybe next we can talk about how Enron creating brownouts during California's power deregulation is proof that we need more power deregulation, and then we can move on to other subjects that were hotly debated in 2002. (For instance, I think the Hives are the future of rock and roll, you guys! Also, it's very important to find those WMDs Saddam has hidden in the craggy Iraqi desert.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:33 PM
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It is not their fault that the idiots in the Assembly couldn't figure out that the money would have to come from somewhere.

Like, you know, taxes. The idiots are the ones who won't raise taxes to pay for the state's commitments. That's a Republican problem.

Once someone's rendered services on the basis of a contract, as the current and former employees of California have, there's no decent way for the state to disavow those contracts. If you've got a problem with California state spending, figure out something to cut going forward, rather than bitching about paying for services the state has already received.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:35 PM
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snarkout, as funny as 2002 was I was merely pointing out "why" we had the recall, not that it was the greatest political act of the century.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:36 PM
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If I were a gay person in Arkansas, I wouldn't put much hope in the possibility of the coming revolution. ...that's cause you would still be Halford, but better dressed

Revolutions take many forms. Gays moving from Ark to Cali and finding friends who will help them move all the California Republicans to Utah is an idea. Revolution is about imagination and hope, in that you are correct. Liberalism is about making and following rules. That's exciting.

Digby

Merging topics, we need to think about Lindsay Graham wanting to take away birthright citizenship. We can't wait for them to do it, and then hope to change it back. Obviously, we would have the votes only by permission of Republicans.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:38 PM
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94: Also, it's very important to find those WMDs Saddam has hidden in the craggy Iraqi desert.

Why are we still fighting a war started by a guy who was executed three years ago?

Oh, right, that Osama bin Laden guy! Have they checked to make sure he's not just sitting mummified in a Tokyo apartment?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:39 PM
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96 - Fair enough. But "fucking dupes falling for a dupe" doesn't quite describe the epic fail back then. (I mean, seriously, the fucking Hives?)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:39 PM
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99, amended - Not your phrasing, of course. But I think Stormcrow would agree that the recall was not something that just happened with no intervention out of a clear blue sky like that beautiful double rainbow I saw on YouTube.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:41 PM
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Like, you know, taxes. The idiots are the ones who won't raise taxes to pay for the state's commitments.

Oh we'll just raise taxes later is always a good way to plan a budget. The sad part is like snarkout said, California used to run a budget surplus, not that long ago.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:44 PM
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the recall was not something that just happened with no intervention out of a clear blue sky like that beautiful double rainbow I saw on YouTube.

I admit that I was more amused than energized by the spectacle. I saw it as revenge on the Progressives, hoist by their own petard.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:48 PM
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Oh we'll just raise taxes later is always a good way to plan a budget.

If you have any ideas for cutting California spending other than by not paying for services the state has already received, you haven't mentioned them. In the absence of such ideas, there's no alternative to raising taxes other than becoming insolvent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:49 PM
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93 -- I've skimmed the decision. I think the 9th Circuit or SCOTUS is very likely to disagee with Walker and hold (in broad outlines) the following:

-- The due process clause does not protect an interest in same-sex marriage; it protects only the right to marry, but not the right to same-sex marriage.

-- Gays are not (as Judge Walker ruled) a suspect class.

-- Prohibiting gay marriage is not discrimination on the basis of sex.

-- There is a reasonable basis for prohibiting gay marriage, namely the belief in upholding the structure of the traditional family, and that is sufficient to uphold Prop 8 under rational basis review.

-- Judge Walker should not have permitted the trial or taken evidence in the manner that he did, and that his weighing of the evidence inappropriate for resolving a Constitutional question where rational basis scrutiny is the relevant standard.

-- More generally, the US Constitution's control over state family law should be limited, particularly where family law has been applied by a state in a traditionally accepted manner.

Depending on how any of the above points are made in the opinion, the outcome could range from not very bad (but the plaintiffs still lose) to extremely bad.

Of course, I could be wrong. I sure hope that I am.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:50 PM
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"I think the Hives are the future of rock and roll, you guys!"

History will judge.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:52 PM
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100: Yes, agreed. I almost brought up things like Issa's role, registrations etc.*, but settled for the broad, low information quasi-wordplay slam instead.

Because I'm unserious a logophile.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:53 PM
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104: A lawyer friend was saying that the whole opinion was written as heavily-Lawrence-quoting Kennedy bait.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:53 PM
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there's no alternative to raising taxes other than becoming insolvent.

There are guys who do this for a living, and I am not one of them. I know that the law of unintended consequences has taken good ideas like zero sum budgeting and turned it into warehouses of unused office furniture. Caltrans is sitting on literally hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus property just in Pasadena and South Pasadena in the form of condemned housing for a freeway that it will never build. There is more, but I'll try to get you the links, if you're interested.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:56 PM
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Yes, 107 is correct. Ultimately, the only hope for the case is that Ted Olson knows Kennedy well enough to think that he's persuadable on this issue. But I strongly doubt it -- I just don't see AK ruling that there is a constitutional right to gay marriage protected by the US Constitution.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:56 PM
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104: the outcome could range from not very bad (but the plaintiffs still lose)

If you don't play, you can't win.

max
['They'd really be reaching with a 5-4 decision to do much else other than overturn Walker.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 4:56 PM
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logophile

I love that word


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 5:02 PM
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re: 105

Maybe Ian Svenonius and the other members of The Make-Up will sit on the judging panel.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 5:08 PM
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112 - I believe you mean "Ian 'Sassiest Boy in America' Svenonius".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 5:10 PM
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re: 113

Indeed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 5:13 PM
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we need to think about Lindsay Graham wanting to take away birthright citizenship.

If this even comes close, bob, I'll stand next to you on the barricade. I'm still a pretty good shot.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 5:15 PM
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If you don't play, you can't win.

Sometimes you can win hitting on 17 with the dealer showing a 3. Doesn't mean it's a good idea.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 5:46 PM
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Prohibiting gay marriage is not discrimination on the basis of sex.

If there's a right to marriage, how is prohibiting gay marriage anything other than discrimination on the basis of sex? On what other basis does one discriminate between who a man, or woman, is or isn't allowed to marry?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 5:53 PM
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Both sexes have an equal opportunity to marry someone from the opposite sex.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 5:55 PM
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91: what I'm talking about is the legal context of the decision

Yeah, but I thought it was sort of obvious that my point is that there's more context to consider than the proximate legal context. Like for example, once there are laws on the books that make it okay to discriminate against gay marriage, it legitimates and normalizes the idea of such discrimination and makes it easier for the right wing to go on and attack the various fundamental protections that the California decision was so blase bout. Which is the entire point of short-term tactics like Prop 8.

I mean, it seems sort of silly not to factor that in when you're talking about risk.

As for the political impact, knowledgeable people I've talked to think that the measure almost certainly would have been repealable by initiative in 2012 or 2013.

... assuming that was the case, then what? That's a short-term solution. Is the gay rights movement supposed to spend the next three decades playing whack-a-mole with right-wing initiatives? Moreover, is it supposed to do so while explicitly not soliciting support from the federal courts, since this might lead to the Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here halls of the Supremes? If the court system is that off-limits to the gay rights movement, that seems to me to amount to an informal version of the outcome you're so nervous about anyway. "Let's keep from exercising our rights to due process so that nobody will know the courts will surely strip us of those rights" does not impress me as a pragmatic political strategy.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:00 PM
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The relevance of that as a response entirely escapes me. My opportunity to marry a man is not equal to a woman's, and hers to marry a woman is not equal to mine.

Ipsisexual marriage isn't a different kind of thing from contrasexual marriage, AFAICT; one isn't entering into a different kind of relationship, something which is, I take it, the whole point of the campaign for ipsisexual marriage. This already makes the claim that only the "right to marry" but not the right to ipsisexual marriage is protected badly put, in my eyes; clearly what is meant is that only the right to contrasexual marriage is protected. (So much more or less by the way.)

To say that this is state of affairs does not discriminate on the basis of sex because a man can marry a woman and a woman a man seems insane. As well say that women can play on women's sports teams, so it's not discriminatory if they're denied the opportunity to try out for men's, or that I can patronize Jewish-owned businesses so it's not discriminatory if I'm excluded from those owned by Catholics.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:06 PM
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A bad precedent now makes it much more unlikely that we'll get decent federal constitutional law on this issue for another 20 years if ever, with, as I've said above, potentially very deleterious consequences in the interim. If Bowers had come before the Court in 1996 as opposed to 1986, I think it would have been decided differently; as it was, it was a near-run thing to get it overturned in Lawrence. So if your ultimate goal is to move this issue out of the political arena and establish gay marriage as a constitutional right, I think this is a bad way to do it.

It's also not true that not pressing this issue means that you might as well not bring any gay rights case anytime ever. There are plenty of gay rights cases -- mostly run by lawyers knowledgeable in this area, who generally oppose the Boies/Olson strategy! -- in which the plaintiffs aren't asking the Supreme Court to rule that there is a general federal constitutional right to gay marriage, which is, effectively, what the plaintiffs are asking for here.



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:13 PM
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As well say that women can play on women's sports teams, so it's not discriminatory if they're denied the opportunity to try out for men's

This is, in fact, the law. Schools aren't required to allow women to try out for male football teams.

If you allow a definition of marriage as "a union between a man and a woman" men and women are being treated equally under that definition; both men and women are free to enter into a union between a man and a woman. Your argument seems to depend on a separate claim that "Ipsisexual marriage isn't a different kind of thing from contrasexual marriage," which is of course what's at issue -- but is a separate issue than the one about sex discrimination.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:21 PM
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I think it's long past time for broad civil disobedience by gay people. If you're gay and you want to be married, fuck what the law says, just do it. Don't claim to be "partners", claim to be spouses. Wear rings. Have ceremonies. Tell everyone you're married. The state won't recognize it, and that's a bitch, but you should make sure that everyone else in your life does. There's no one who can stop you from having a same-sex spouse, even in the reddest state in the union.

We've discussed this before, I think? Oh well.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:24 PM
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It's also not true that not pressing this issue means that you might as well not bring any gay rights case anytime ever.

Except "this issue" isn't a disposable issue; it's very evidently the pivotal, high-profile issue over which the question of legitimacy of the two movements is being fought. Which is precisely why the right-wing so evidently likes it as a means of transitioning into their more extreme agenda.

If you cannot and "should" not have recourse to the courts to fight discriminatory legislation on a pivotal issue being heavily used by an opponent that wants to return your country to the days of sodomy legislation, and that lack of recourse is because the highest court in the land has been packed with conservatives who will always break against you and are just waiting for a chance to bust you into formally subhuman status, that's a pretty important development. As a gay rights activist, it means that your hands have effectively been tied behind your back by the legal system.

If in fact the Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit are so absolutely biased in this way, tiptoeing about to avoid exposing this bias is extraordinarily dangerous and short-sighted and recipe for a neutered and ineffective movement and a continually triumphal and empowered right wing. It will hobble many forms of work to be carried out against the right-wing (not just by the gay rights movement) in fairly critical years ahead. I find it unbelievably stupid to suggest this is a good idea.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:25 PM
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There's no one who can stop you from having a same-sex spouse, even in the reddest state in the union.

The IRS can make you suffer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:27 PM
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125: I'm not sure I'd extend my exhortation to filing taxes as "married filing jointly", because yes, the IRS can make you suffer. Although I'd certainly be fully supportive of anyone who wanted to file that way.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:29 PM
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(Not that my support would do them much good, granted.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:30 PM
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I find it unbelievably stupid

Well, I find you unbelievably misinformed about both what the practical consequences of a ruling are, what actual work is being done (full time and for low pay) by actual-existing gay rights activists in the real world, what the relevant legal consequences are, and what the actual politics of Prop 8 in California are, right now! And, you are, more or less, talking out of your ass! So, comity, or not.

(I think that there's an argument along the lines of, why not take a long shot now because things can't get any worse. That's an understandable argument, though I come out the other way. But just asserting your master-knowledge of the long-term political chess on this issue on the basis of no knowledge, and while totally discounting the political impact of a negative ruling, is just dumb).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:31 PM
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This is, in fact, the law. Schools aren't required to allow women to try out for male football teams.

I wondered about that but if that is the law, it also seems bizarre to me.

Your argument seems to depend on a separate claim that "Ipsisexual marriage isn't a different kind of thing from contrasexual marriage," which is of course what's at issue -- but is a separate issue than the one about sex discrimination.

Yes, it does; it may be a separate issue, but if one acknowledges the truth of the claim the claim about discrimination seems to follow directly.

One can't, anyway, start with the claim that marriage is a union between a man and a woman on pain of begging the question. Once that definition is put in the balance there seems not to be any defensible reason for sticking with it rather than adopting a more expansive definition, but, fortunately for us all, the courts never have to defend their decisions or their reasoning.

I wonder what people who think that the definition of marriage is "a union between a man and a woman" think that advocates of same-sex marriage are actually asking for. Something self-evidently nonsensical?

Oh well.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:31 PM
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Yeah, just to be clear, I'm not endorsing the argument in 122, just saying how I think higher courts will view the issue.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:34 PM
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Really all I wanted to do was characterize marriage between a woman and a man as contrasexual, and having done that, I'm satisfied.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:39 PM
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you are, more or less, talking out of your ass!

Ah, this is the patented Rob Halford "because I say so" argument. I recognize this. Bye.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:40 PM
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See you. Perhaps you'd like to learn something about this issue in the meantime.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:45 PM
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You know who was opposed to gay marriage? Hitler. Look it up.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:52 PM
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Oh, can we trade petty, passive-aggressive parting jibes? Awesome. I'm going with:

"I can be sure you won't."

Enjoy!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:52 PM
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I totally agree with 123, by the way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 6:59 PM
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I wish we lived in nosflow's world where logic matters.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:05 PM
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What this thread needs is a good knife fight.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:16 PM
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Maybe some snakes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:19 PM
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Snakes wielding knives?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:22 PM
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No fair arming just the snakes. The mice get little cute micey knives, too, or no deal.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:22 PM
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But then the mouse switches its knife to the other hand, and has to face the snake's complete disdain at its table manners.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:25 PM
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Have you ever seen a snake trying to finish a bowl of soup? That's gay marriage, right there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:37 PM
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But then the mouse switches its knife to the other hand, and has to face the snake's complete disdain at its table manners. says, "I'm not left-handed either!"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:41 PM
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Rob, do you have links to anyone else articulating your argument? I'm really not doubting you/it; I'm just interested in seeing it laid out in a non-unfogged context.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:47 PM
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I'm just interested in seeing it laid out in a non-unfogged context.

Ari likes fog.

Because he's a Central Valleyist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:49 PM
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145:Lemieux had a post along similar lines earlier.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:51 PM
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Dahlia Lithwick weighs in.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:51 PM
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But that isn't very non-unfogged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:51 PM
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149: But it isn't doing what Ari was asking for, so it is ok.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:55 PM
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147: I'm not sure why, but I find it hard to read Lemieux these days. Still, I guess I'll take a look. Thanks.

On preview: wait, what? Dahlia Lithwick isn't very non-unfogged? Huh?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:56 PM
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Also, coincidentally, I lectured on the issue of slave marriage and the 14th Amendment today. But naturally, I suggested that the slaves shouldn't have pressed the issue so hard. Pushy slaves.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:59 PM
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Ari, this New Yorker article lays out the basic issues, the background of the suit, and gives some details on the gay-rights legal establishment's view that bringing the suit was not wise strategy. As with all New Yorker articles, you have to wade through a lot of excessive biographical detail to get to the point.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 7:59 PM
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Perhaps David Brooks, but he's essentially a David Broder cover band, so.

I await their collaboration EP, "Chillin' at the Salad Bar with the D Bros".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:00 PM
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Thanks, Rob. Having read that piece, I wondered if it was a useful source. Also thanks to you, Sifu, as the chain of links from the Lemieux piece (mostly to other Lemieux pieces -- surprise!) seems somewhat helpful.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:02 PM
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Rob, do you have links to anyone else articulating your argument?

I don't have any links (not that I'm Rob, of course), but I've certainly encountered versions of his argument in a non-unfogged context, and it strikes me as not at all stupid (albeit unfortunate, as in, it's unfortunate that half the members of the SC are wingnuts, and etc).

DS, I suspect you are seriously underestimating the craziness of the crazy half of the US Supreme Court. Avoiding a court battle for fear that you will lose (and not only lose your case, but possibly give your opponents an opportunity to set a new, and very bad precedent) doesn't mean giving up, or not fighting at all. It means fighting the battle in other arenas, until court conditions look more promising.

Mind you, I'm not saying that I think Halford is absolutely 100 percent correct about all of this, I honestly don't know. But I think his concerns are valid, and I believe his argument is compelling enough that it shouldn't be so readily dismissed.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:06 PM
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any pro-gay (?) lawsuit in federal court runs such a risk

See, it doesn't seem to me like that's true. I find myself agreeing with Halford in this thread (though dreading the prospect that he might be right) and thinking that DS is not wrong so much as arguing a different point. It's not merely a question of strategy or philosophy in advocating for social change, it's primarily structural question.

The weird nature of precedents and the US court system seem to be at issue here. The thing about this case is a) they're asking for a federal constitutional right, b) it's guaranteed to be taken up by the appeals court and unusually likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court. Which means it will affect everyone, not just Californians.

I don't know beans about the specific issues involved in litigating gay rights, but I do know that there's a big difference between a negative ruling at the state or even circuit-court level, and a negative ruling at the national level.

And while the SC gets something like 7,000 requests to hear a case every year, they take only a tiny percentage of them. Sometimes they don't take cases even where there is a split between how the different appellate courts have resolved them. So this case, where the SC is pretty much guaranteed to take it (or heck, maybe they're legally required to -- I'm not up on the details), is already unusual compared to the incremental (but important) gay-rights cases on issues like adoption, etc., that have been being fought for decades now.

The one thing I do believe is that if when we finally do get national gay marriage, it will become a non-story about five days after it happens. Wait, there was a time when gay people couldn't get married? How quaint.

School kids will write reports on it, like Loving v. Virginia. A few die-hards will still answer poll questions negatively, but the entire rest of the country will absorb it and move on pretty much effortlessly.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:06 PM
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A few die-hards will still answer poll questions negatively, but the entire rest of the country will absorb it and move on pretty much effortlessly.

A part of me thinks this is right, but another part of me, borrowing language from MC, thinks that "you are seriously underestimating the craziness of the crazy half of the US". And that part of me would point to how slowly the crazy half of the US has "absorbed" the legal advances of the civil rights era, how slow these people have been to move on.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:20 PM
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Also, 156 captures my sentiments nearly perfectly, including my sense that DS and Rob are arguing over different issues.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:21 PM
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Ari, in all seriousness, you don't think it's a crazy half of the country on this issue, do you? I mean, I think it's an absolute maximum of 25-27%, and dropping fast.

If 40% of people will straight-out tell a pollster they think gay marriage is fine, then I've got to believe that there's another 30% that will decide they think it's fine just as soon as there's a big headline-making law that tells them it is. Probably more like 40%. So 40+30 gets you 70%, or maybe 40+40 gets you 80%...I just don't see us getting as polarized on this as, say, abortion.

Maybe I'm wrong, though.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:26 PM
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Also, in my 157 I totally meant to say when we get national gay marriage. The "if" is a formatting fail.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:27 PM
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You start out in 1974 by saying, "Faggot, faggot, faggot" By 2008 you can't say "faggot" -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like gay marriage, family values and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about right-to-work and employer choice, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] gays get hurt worse than straights. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the sexual identity problem one way or the other. You follow me -- because obviously sitting around saying, "We don;t want to burden small busineeses," is much more abstract than even the gay marriage thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Faggot, faggot."


Posted by: Lee Atwater's Spirit | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:30 PM
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Actually I agree with Witt's 157.2, I just couldn't resist working the Lee Atwater rift.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:31 PM
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RifF for fuck's sake.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:32 PM
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When I talked about this issue with a pollster a few months ago, he said that roughly 45% of California voters were strongly in favor of gay marriage, with roughly 35% strongly opposed. The remaining 20% is increasingly favorable to the idea, partially as a result of national trends, partially just as a result of people dying off. But the "strong yes" pool is growing, whereas the "strong no" pool is staying stagnant or shrinking.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:33 PM
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No, I don't think it's half or even close to that. 25-30% sounds about right, if we're talking about national averages. But there's two problems with looking at it like that: one is that gay people should be able to live anywhere they want, even Provo, Utah, without fearing harassment*; and two is that the Republican Party, not to mention the Supreme Court, is in the thrall of that 25-30%.

* I know you agree with this, and I don't want you, or anyone else, to think that I'm implying otherwise.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:33 PM
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And I'm sure that DS and I were talking past each other. But we did so so nastily, so it was fun.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:36 PM
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I, for one, am glad that Zombie Lee Atwater made an appearance. No party is complete!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:36 PM
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whereas the "strong no" pool is staying stagnant or shrinking dying off.

166: Comity!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:38 PM
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I mean, does the Fourteenth Amendment even guarantee that gay people are citizens? This is really an issue we need to examine more closely.


Posted by: Senator Graham | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:38 PM
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No fair arming just the snakes. The mice get little cute micey knives, too, or no deal.

Speaking of armed mice, people with kids might find that they like the Mouse Guard comics.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:39 PM
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I have had two excellent customer service experiences in the past ten days. This is a record.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:41 PM
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Thank you for your patronage. We aim to please.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SACRAMENTO AREA ESCORTS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:42 PM
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If I protest at all, it'll be too much, won't it?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:44 PM
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Oh, hey, lawyers, can you explain this bit from the New Yorker article linked above?

(The State of California, in the person of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, declined to defend Proposition 8, leaving it to private lawyers to fill in.)

What would happen if the state was getting sued over something, the state refused to defend it, and *no* private party wanted to fight on their behalf? I'm not thinking of gay marriage specifically, but just anything. What happens then?



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:44 PM
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We aim to please.

And your aim helps!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:44 PM
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Anyway, after my old MacBook Air kept doing annoying things, Apple gave me a new, much fancier one. And Thule, because one of their racks screwed up my bike's paint, not only gave me a new, much fancier rack, but also paid for a crazily expensive paint job. The check just arrived, which is why I said something in the first place.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:45 PM
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Shorter me: the escorts weren't that great.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:46 PM
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Please rate the following characteristics of the service representative on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 means poor service and 5 means excellent service.

Knowledge of the product ___
Courteousness ___
Willingness to help ___
Efficiency/quickness ___
Ability to complete transaction ___


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:48 PM
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112-114: Heh. I saw Nation of Ulysses open up for Fugazi, probably in 1991. I was very confused as to what they thought they were doing, which seemed to consist mainly of flailing about in suits.

Thanks to ttaM and snark's prompt I just watched a great interview of MacKaye By Svevnonius (here). MacKaye gets it right at the start of the interview and continues in rightness thereafter (except for his thing about histories, which, I can see what he's wrestling with, but history can be a spur as much as a burden).


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:48 PM
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Shorter me: the escorts weren't that great.

Perhaps the Thule-Gesellschaft was a poor sourcing decision.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:49 PM
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The clip in the OP isn't very funny.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:50 PM
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Witt, I know the answer to 175, but unfortunately it's a live issue in current litigation that I'm involved in, so I can't say anything.

The more you know, the less you can say.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:53 PM
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Does anyone (Ari?) know anything about the history of child labor legislation ca. 1900-1930? I have a (vague, and possibly ill-informed) notion that popular opinion was on board with the idea of restrictions on child labour, with several state legislatures passing various measures toward that end and etc., but that the robber-baron Supreme Court of the day (1917? 1918?) pulled out some 'interstate commerce' (or possibly 'freedom of contract'?) objection to the popularly-supported restrictions, and that it then took another generation (late 1930s? early 1940s?) to undo the work of that court.

In a system which privileges "judicial review" over "legislative [or parliamentary] supremacy," the Supreme Court is no joke, even when half its members are quite patently absurd.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:58 PM
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Why are we still fighting a war started by a guy who was executed three years ago?

If only.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 8:58 PM
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I think you're just mean, Halford.

(Live issue, whoa. I really did not expect that answer. Never ceases to amaze me what issues a 234-year-old country can have unresolved.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:01 PM
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Shorter 179: How Am I Driving?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:08 PM
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You can't even say what kind of thing happens in general?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:08 PM
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184 -- You're thinking of Hammer v. Dagenhart, 247 U.S. 251 (1918), in which the Supreme Court held that an Act of Congress regulating child labor was unconstitutional because Congress had no power under the commerce clause to regulate the manufacture of interstate goods. There was talk of a constitutional amendment at the time to overrule this decision, but it never happened.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:10 PM
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Do you guys actually know gay couples who are sating, "Oh no, we'd totally be married if not for this wicked law!" and structuring their lives that way? Where I live in Red State Central, people who want to call themselves married do that and hold weddings and so forth. My partner and I are pretty much aberrations, as our decision is that we won't call ourselves married until we're living in a jurisdiction where we can make that happen legally. That way, when people are treating her as they would if she were my wife, the terminology reminds them that the law is keeping us from that and thherefore the law doesn't accurately reflect how they think of us. But I'm more a Civil Unions for Everyone type anyway, so I'm not claiming to be typical. I just don't think the kind of civil disobedience referenced above is rare.

As far as the larger legal isdue, I managed to be both thrilled and relieved by the verdict and depressed that I anticipate pretty much the same future Halford does. It's kind of like the Obama election all over again.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:13 PM
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(Apologies if my spelling is Btorcked. I'm on the ipad and also had quite a bit of wine to be able to face my mother's scorn about the idea that any professional might place a child with us. Ah, the joys of gay not-quite-parenting!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:16 PM
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190: My proposal did not go over well in comments with the married crowd, IIRC.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:17 PM
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I know a couple who would have married if they'd been able to get immigration benefits for the non-U.S. citizen. I don't know how getting married would have affected the subsequent course of their relationship (they broke up after a number of years together).


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:17 PM
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Wow, I just went back to look at Hammer v. Dagenhart, the child-labor-regulation-is-unconstitutional case, and I had forgotten how crazy it is. Basically, the Supreme Court had to distinguish a bunch of precedent saying that Congress could ban obscene books and taking women across state lines for immoral purposes. So the Court says that, while Congress has the power to regulate activity that's inherently dangerous (i.e., obscene books), child labor laws don't fall within that category.

The statute in question

prohibits transportation in interstate commerce of goods made at a factory in which, within thirty days prior to their removal therefrom, children under the age of 14 years have been employed or permitted to work, or children between the ages of 14 and 16 years have been employed or permitted to work more than eight hours in any day, or more than six days in any week, or after the hour of 7 P.M. or before the hour of 6 A.M.

Clearly unconstitutional! God bless our wonderful Supreme Court.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:19 PM
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"structuring their lives that way"


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:21 PM
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192: I think I'll let those comments be my bedtime story. I'm inclined to think your plan is a good one, but that shift would be more radical than just letting gays partake of the fruit of the tree of matrimony.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:25 PM
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Oops. 195 was my linkology.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:28 PM
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Do you guys actually know gay couples who are saying, "Oh no, we'd totally be married if not for this wicked law!" and structuring their lives that way?

At the moment, no. But back in the day, before the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled (in 2003) that restrictions on gay marriage violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and etc., yes, I did know such a couple. One of them was an American citizen, and the other (a good friend of mine) was a Canadian, and the laws of both lands refused to recognize their partnership, and then each ran out the clock on their visas for visiting each other's country, and eventually, of course, they, predictably enough, had to break up. If you're both from the same jurisdiction, sure, I can see how the issue of same-sex marriage might be more symbolic than real. But for some couples, the legal issues can mean the difference between staying together or not.

(Okay, sorry to sound so didactic or whatever, but that situation was just so obviously crazy, and so heartbreaking too, and it's probably what solidified my support for same-sex marriage).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:37 PM
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Oh, I misread the question in 190. Yes, I know gay couples like that, and couples who marry in a jurisdiction where it's a legal ceremony but live in a jurisdiction where it's not.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 9:56 PM
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85

Do you have a proposed course of action here, or are you just cursing the darkness?

As the saying goes "when you find yourself in a hole stop digging". In other words public authorities should stop additional defined benefit pension liabilities from being accrued by eliminating the plans going forward.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:07 PM
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103

If you have any ideas for cutting California spending other than by not paying for services the state has already received, you haven't mentioned them. In the absence of such ideas, there's no alternative to raising taxes other than becoming insolvent.

You could require all public employees to contribute say 20% of their salaries to bailing out the pension fund.

There is also plenty of spending that could be cut. Double class sizes and fire half the teachers. Abolish the UC system. Let anyone out of prison who agrees to stay out of Cailfornia thereafter. Of course if these were the alternatives I suspect your belief in the sanctity of contracts might waver a bit.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:15 PM
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You should run for governor, James. The current field is pretty lackluster, and I think yours will be an ideas-driven insurgency with legs.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:19 PM
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95

Once someone's rendered services on the basis of a contract, as the current and former employees of California have, there's no decent way for the state to disavow those contracts. ...

This is somewhat dependent on exactly what is in the contracts. There may be some wiggle room. Or the state could argue that whoever entered into the contracts had no authority to do so (or perhaps in particular no authority to incur long term unfinanced obligations). Similar arguments have worked in the past when public entities found contracts burdensome.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:23 PM
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So I read:

You could require all public employees to contribute say 20% of their salaries to bailing out the pension fund.

And I think "as if California would be able to keep many public employees if they did that". But then I read:

Double class sizes and fire half the teachers. Abolish the UC system.

... and I realize James wants the employees to go away anyway. Yes, by all means! Let's destroy a great state and dismantle one of the world's best public education systems! Because asking people to pay taxes would just be absurd.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:25 PM
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Let anyone out of prison who agrees to stay out of Cailfornia thereafter.

We've all been had. Obviously, James has been setting us up all this time, and stringing us along, with a view to scripting (and perhaps also casting?) his ultimate reality TV show. Off the island!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:29 PM
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Repeat after me, essear: public employees are the problem, lower taxes are the solution.

Governors mansion here we come!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:30 PM
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'


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:31 PM
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Regarding gay marriage, of course I think today's ruling was ridiculous. However I am not as confident as you all that the Supreme Court will overturn it. The four leftwing judges seem unlikely to vote against gay marriage (especially in a 5-4 decision) so Kennedy is the likely swing vote. And Kennedy has already written one absurd pro gay opinion, Romer v. Evans. And of course there could be an unexpected vacancy among the five conservative justices before the case reaches the Supreme Court.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:41 PM
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120

... As well say that women can play on women's sports teams, so it's not discriminatory if they're denied the opportunity to try out for men's, ...

Or women can use women's bathrooms so it is not discriminatory if they're denied the opportunity to use men's.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:46 PM
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I'm sure it would not be difficult to come up with some casuistry to resolve that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:52 PM
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204

And I think "as if California would be able to keep many public employees if they did that". But then I read

I doubt a 20% pay cut would cause any significant number of resignations.

... and I realize James wants the employees to go away anyway. Yes, by all means! Let's destroy a great state and dismantle one of the world's best public education systems! Because asking people to pay taxes would just be absurd.

Not exactly advocating this. Just pointing out the consequences of honoring the crushing pension obligations may include things less palatable to liberals than raising taxes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:52 PM
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Let anyone out of prison who agrees to stay out of Cailfornia thereafter.

Shearer, there is one candidate who you can support!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 10:53 PM
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Why are you all going on about pensions? AFAIK, they aren't a particularly significant component of California's budget problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:01 PM
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You should run for governor, James.

You could balance the ticket with Dwight David Honeycutt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:09 PM
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214: Holy shit.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:22 PM
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213

Why are you all going on about pensions? AFAIK, they aren't a particularly significant component of California's budget problem.

According to one study California has unfunded pension obligations of $500 billion. This exact figure may be debatable but the amount is enormous and will be a heavy long term burden on the budget. It may not appear to be an immediate problem only because California is not funding its pension obligations adequately as it incurs them allowing the problem to snowball unseen.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:50 PM
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I saw Nation of Ulysses open up for Fugazi, probably in 1991

I saw Ween open for Fugazi right around then. City Gardens in Trenton -- more or less Ween's home field (they are from New Hope, PA, an artsy little bucolic Bucks County village where they used to tease my sister in the ice cream store).

The audience hated them some Ween. It was great. They held up middle fingers like lighters.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:52 PM
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They held up middle fingers like lighters cell phones.

Okay, okay. I'm off your lawn. Sheesh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:54 PM
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Or California could just raise taxes*, James. And if some people want to leave after we begin rebuilding our infrastructure, re-hiring the teachers who have already been laid off because of the budget crisis, and returning the system of higher education -- community colleges, Cal States, and the UC -- to its former glory , let them go. They can shuffle off to Texas or Arizona or Florida or whichever low-tax paradise they want. We won't miss them, because new people will flock here to take their place.

* Not until we change the supermajority requirement, I know. But still.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 4-10 11:58 PM
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219

Or California could just raise taxes*, James. And if some people want to leave after we begin rebuilding our infrastructure, re-hiring the teachers who have already been laid off because of the budget crisis, and returning the system of higher education -- community colleges, Cal States, and the UC -- to its former glory , let them go. They can shuffle off to Texas or Arizona or Florida or whichever low-tax paradise they want. We won't miss them, because new people will flock here to take their place.

The only people currently flocking to California are illegal immigrants who of course are a big part of the budget problem. The idea that a half trillion dollar liability doesn't matter because you can just raise taxes is all too typical of liberal thinking.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:11 AM
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I'm about 80% sure that the pension study you cite is total bullshit, but it's late and I'm too tired to look into it further. In any event, pension liabilities don't matter very much for the current state fiscal crisis -- I think pension costs are on the order of 2% of the total state budget.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:11 AM
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Jesus fucking Christ, Shearer, even the study you cite doesn't list a half a trillion dollar current liability.

I think TLL, who got this conversation going, was reacting to a local scandal in the city of Bell, that has nothing to do with the state's overall budget.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:15 AM
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|
I have hobo consultants. I follow hobos. Hobos don't sign noncompetes. I don't think I can lock out a determined hobo.

I need to plant powered instruments in an out-of-the-way corner; there are good level walking trails (fences pre-cut!) because of the coastal migrant labor and nativ(ist) Santa Cruz free spirits; the chance that no-one will strip my equipment hoping to find copper wire seems nil. (Sadder yet, it's mostly not copper wire.)
>


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:15 AM
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a local scandal in the city of Bell

Also! Also! A member of the fire department in Vacaville makes more than $200,000! And there are illegal immigrants! And the president is black! And things aren't going as well for me as I'd like! And let's not talk about the fact that the California legislature can't pass a responsible budget because the opposition party is a death cult and there's a supermajority requirement in place!

Seriously, James, California's population is, even in the midst of this massive crisis, projected by demographers to continue to grow. And things absolutely suck here right now. Just imagine how fast the state would grow if we had serviceable roads and first-rate public schools. But no, you're right, illegal immigrants and public employees are stealing your lunch money.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:26 AM
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The idea that a half trillion dollar liability doesn't matter because you can just raise taxes is all too typical of liberal thinking.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:37 AM
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225: Sifu called me a Republican when I suggested (national) spending cuts.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:52 AM
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re: 180

Yeah, I saw the Make-Up on what, I assume, was their first British tour. Late 1995, maybe? Or early-mid 1996. They played the Art School in Glasgow, to what was quite a small crowd. Despite the smallness of the crowd they were full-on --all of the punked up James Brown revue sort of schtick, tons of energy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 1:00 AM
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From Shearer's pension link:

Solutions to this mounting crisis require that more money be injected into pension funds today and that funds invest in less risky assets. Contributions should also be made to pension funds on a steady basis, unlike in the past when payments were allowed fluctuate with market conditions.

The stories I remember reading about pensions - I was following them before they were cool, apparently - a couple of years ago said that there was a big problem, especially with CalPERS, I think, with the people administering them deciding to play the market instead of keeping them in more stable funds, and then they lost big in the financial crisis. Maybe now enough time has passed that people who are against real pensions can pretend that the problems were caused by being too generous to public employees and not trying, like private companies often do, to fuck them out of their hard-earned work through confusing policies designed to allow financial manipulation from the top.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 1:02 AM
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Shearer, of course I can think of worse things than raising taxes. That's why I'd like the state of California to raise taxes enough to cover its spending. I was asking Leech, who doesn't want to raise taxes, to tell me what he wanted to cut to keep the state running, and apparently he's pretty sure that everything will be fine if they just cut out the waste fraud and abuse. So no problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 5:35 AM
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I just encountered a couple California Republicans. It's hard to overstate how completely their entire worldview is centered around a hatred of the unionized nurses and firefighters who have bankrupted the state. They deserve some credit for actually seeming to be unaware of the somewhat less sympathetic unionized prison guards.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 5:58 AM
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I should say "the unionized nurses, teachers and firefighters". But really, I'm accustomed to unionized teachers being hated by all Republicans everywhere. Whereas these Californians talk about "nurses" and "firefighters" the way I would talk about "Blackwater" and "Monsanto". Apparently Governor Arnold was on his way to finally fixing all our problems, until he ran into the amoral and nihilist political death cult that calls itself "nurses".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:06 AM
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Haven't caught up with this thread, but I have an extremely timely and important thing to say:

Good luck, Chopper!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:16 AM
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Also timely and important: 232 was me.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:17 AM
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Because I wasn't clear in 190, I wasn't at all trying to dismiss or ignore cases like the ones Mary Catherine and Bave referenced. Calling yourself married does not in fact get you all that much much, though I suppose even there straight couples trying it would fare better socially. I was just being peevish because I'd seen several people I presume to be straight make the same sort of argument Brock did, that the gays should be doing xyz as civil disobedience and it was rubbing me the wrong way to be told what to do and/or know that I had validation from some people who don't have to get involved in said civil disobedience themselves.

I was just trying to say that it's not exactly a new idea that same-sex couples can get married in jurisdictions where that's legal or just have it done outside the law where they are and that they don't need straight people to inform them of that possibility, thank you very much. But that's because I was being needlessly prickly.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:19 AM
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But that's because I was being needlessly prickly.

No such thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:40 AM
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Except for the last sentence, I think 234 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:44 AM
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||

Is there some way I can blame this on unfogged?

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:52 AM
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237: Not on all of Unfogged. Only on the front page posters.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:57 AM
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221

I'm about 80% sure that the pension study you cite is total bullshit, but it's late and I'm too tired to look into it further. In any event, pension liabilities don't matter very much for the current state fiscal crisis -- I think pension costs are on the order of 2% of the total state budget.

Once again this is because the state is not adequately funding pensions. Benefits are being paid with current contributions. This can continue for quite a while but eventually it all comes crashing down. Just ask Bernie Madoff.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:59 AM
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F&*K OFF SHEARER. I'VE TOLD YOU, YOU'RE NOT GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BERNIE MADOFF | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:01 AM
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228

The stories I remember reading about pensions - I was following them before they were cool, apparently - a couple of years ago said that there was a big problem, especially with CalPERS, I think, with the people administering them deciding to play the market instead of keeping them in more stable funds, and then they lost big in the financial crisis. Maybe now enough time has passed that people who are against real pensions can pretend that the problems were caused by being too generous to public employees and not trying, like private companies often do, to fuck them out of their hard-earned work through confusing policies designed to allow financial manipulation from the top.

The funds are invested in the stock market in order to justify the assumed rate of return (8.5% according to my earlier link). A realistic rate of return like 3% would reveal how expensive these benefits actually are.



Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:03 AM
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229

Shearer, of course I can think of worse things than raising taxes. That's why I'd like the state of California to raise taxes enough to cover its spending. ...

Apparently even its imprudent spending like its current pension provisions.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:05 AM
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The key to that incredibly dodgy pension study is in this sentence: "Instead, sound accounting and economic principles require that future liabilities be discounted at what we call a "risk-free" rate, similar to a long-term U.S. Treasury bond."

This is, to put it bluntly, an out-and-out lie.

Sound accounting principles are FRS 17, which dictates use of the Aa corporate bond rate. This is a lot higher than a long-term T-bill rate - about 100 bp, 25%, higher at the moment. That makes a colossal difference to the size of your liabilities.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:06 AM
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Sorry, it's more like 33% higher. Makes it even worse.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:10 AM
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242: You keep on failing to draw a distinction between the current pension obligations, which are previously contracted for payments for work that has already been done, and possible changes in the state pension structure going forward for future work. If the state of California wants to negotiate changes in its pension plans for work to be performed in the future, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with that. What's wrong is treating payment for work that's already been done as if it were some kind of optional charitable donation. It's not, it's a debt like any other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:12 AM
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I posted 237 in the wrong thread, didn't I?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:13 AM
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246: The commenters of yore would never have made such a mistake.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:18 AM
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Apparently even its imprudent spending like its current pension provisions.

Ah, so you want to deliberately keep money from being raised to pay a legal obligation because you wish the obligation didn't exist, so as to make it easier to say "Oops, sorry fellas, guess you're out of luck" and skip out on the obligation, with some legal fig leaf pasted over.

Did you work for the 1983 Greenspan Commission, by any chance?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 7:41 AM
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I was just being peevish because I'd seen several people I presume to be straight make the same sort of argument Brock did, that the gays should be doing xyz as civil disobedience and it was rubbing me the wrong way to be told what to do and/or know that I had validation from some people who don't have to get involved in said civil disobedience themselves.

I was just trying to say that it's not exactly a new idea that same-sex couples can get married in jurisdictions where that's legal or just have it done outside the law where they are and that they don't need straight people to inform them of that possibility, thank you very much.

This seems like a fairly uncharitable reading of what I said, but to be clear: I didn't intend it that way. Of course it's not a new idea, nor is any of this my fight, personally. And I wasn't suggesting that "the gays" should be doing anything. I was just noting that "yes, we're married, although the law doesn't currently recognize our marriage" strikes me as in some ways more powerful rhetoric than "I wish the law gave me the right to marry a same-sex partner." (That's not a comment on your personal situation, and I'm not suggesting that is a position that each and every long-term gay couple should necessarily adopt. I'd just to hear more of it.)

Now, this isn't really "civil disobedience", of course, and I was using that phrase flippantly, as acknowledged in 126. It's civil disobendience only in rhetorical sense. Although, this actually *is* a rhetorical civil disobedience that even a straight person like myself can participate in, if gay couples do so themselves. Meaning: I'm happy to unapologetically refer to gay couples as "married" if they do so themselves. But long-term partners who merely say they wish they had the right to marry? I'm not going to tell third parties that they're spouses; that's their decision, of course.

And in answer to 190: yes, that's what I hear from just about every long-term gay couple I know. (I'm not sure what "structuring their lives that way" means, but in terms of rhetoric, I don't hear many referring to themselves as married.) The ones I know who do talk that way got married in other states, where same-sex marriage is legal (and are quick to qualify: yes, this is my spouse--we got married in Massachusetts). I don't know any same-sex couple who's had a wedding ceremony here in Red State.

Partly this is all driven by my belief that (many) people who actually begin living amidst same-sex marriages will rapidly become less freaked out by the idea of legally allowing it. See, e.g., the experience of states that have legallized it. And I think that desensitization would occur whether or not the state was recognizing those marriages.

But maybe I shouldn't really have opinions on any of this, since I'm straight.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:02 AM
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And, to 190's "Where I live in Red State Central, people who want to call themselves married do that and hold weddings and so forth"? Great. That's exactly what I mean. I haven't seen much of that, but I'm glad to hear that maybe I'm just missing it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:04 AM
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How many weddings do you see on a daily basis, Brock?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:28 AM
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I didn't intend it that way.

I'm glad you didn't, but to me at least it came off as extremely glib.

And I wasn't suggesting that "the gays" should be doing anything.

meet

I think it's long past time for broad civil disobedience by gay people. If you're gay and you want to be married, fuck what the law says, just do it. Don't claim to be "partners", claim to be spouses. Wear rings. Have ceremonies. Tell everyone you're married. The state won't recognize it, and that's a bitch, but you should make sure that everyone else in your life does.

Even apart from the explicit use of "should", the whole thing is pretty exhortatory. I'm not sure what other way there is to read it.

But maybe I shouldn't really have opinions on any of this, since I'm straight.

Methinks he doth protest too much.</obligatory>

But seriously, it's a human rights issue, and I'm pretty sure you're a human, so you probably should have opinions about it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:34 AM
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252: I'll cop to glib, and glibly exhoratory. I'd have thought those attributes would be written off as mere tone, reflective of the forum, and not treated as essential aspects of the thoughts expressed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:45 AM
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I never even considered that there might be actual gay people reading the comment, or I might have been more careful to express myself clearly.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:47 AM
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249: Yup, I was definitely being uncharitable and you just happened to be the person who pushed me over the edge into commenting when I was annoyed about other things. My restatement was just to explain what I'd been thinking and not expressing clearly last night; I'm no longer annoyed.

I'm not personally convinced (obviously) how much the linguistic side of things matters in terms of public opinion, but visibility is huge. In the little working class town where I live, everybody seems to like the lesbian couple down the street and their cute baby, though I have no idea whether they consider themselves wives. My partner and I have faced absolutely no negative consequences for being an interracial lesbian couple. The black gay man who lives three blocks away has had good experiences as a foster parent. I think those are the kinds of things that chip away at prejudice much more than just terminology. I'm not saying people shouldn't go ahead and get married and I've celebrated the friends who've made that choice (and family, since my partner's cousin recently eloped to Canada with his partner of more than 30 years) but I think it's a combination of a lot of things that makes the difference.

I have never talked with our neighbors about whether they think we should have the same marriage rights they do, and I'm more concerned about encouraging them to reject Rand Paul than seeing activity on that front. But I know they think of us as good neighbors and good people, and I have to hope that will have some payoffs for other gay people down the line. Plus there was the time a guy at the local corner bar bought us shots because he "had jumped out of airplanes in foreign lands to protect your rights to get married" and we didn't have the heart to break it to him, especially since he was drunk.

So I'm a little bit skeptical about how much impact marriages themselves have, but I don't think what you were saying was meritless and I'm glad there are people doing exactly what you suggest!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:47 AM
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I never even considered that there might be actual gay people reading the comment

RMMP gets no respect.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:48 AM
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I'm not sure how that plays out, but one possible negative to the 'just call yourself married' technique is that it hides the real legal issues -- goodwilled but not-paying-attention straight people are going to look at the nice gay 'married' couple down the street, and lose track of the fact that there's important work yet to be done.

Plus there was the time a guy at the local corner bar bought us shots because he "had jumped out of airplanes in foreign lands to protect your rights to get married" and we didn't have the heart to break it to him, especially since he was drunk.

Aw, this is sweet. Weird, but sweet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:50 AM
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though I have no idea whether they consider themselves wives.

I recently encountered the term "lusband" used by a lesbian couple (in Massachusetts and legally married) to refer to the more butch member of the pair. Funny, but I don't like it aesthetically.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:52 AM
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I'm not sure how that plays out, but one possible negative to the 'just call yourself married' technique is that it hides the real legal issues -- goodwilled but not-paying-attention straight people are going to look at the nice gay 'married' couple down the street, and lose track of the fact that there's important work yet to be done.

That's exactly why we've chosen the take we have. I don't correct LGBT people who call Lee my wife (which is a huge thing at church, where practically everyone is married and they go so far as to do name changes and the whole bit) but I'm very consistent about using "partner" myself. With straight people -- even a straight friend's little son -- on the rare occasion "wife" is used I tend to explain that we can't legally hold those roles but that this hasn't lessened our commitment to each other or something cheesy and/or pointed like that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:54 AM
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RMMP gets no respect.

It's because he's so gay.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:55 AM
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I think 123 is well-intended and not as misguided as it's being received as. It's no great consolation to say "we're married whether the government thinks so or not," but the outward effect is worthwhile. I mean, I like Thorn's approach, too--don't say you're married, because people shouldn't forget that you can't get married--but...

I remember even as a fledgling homo, it was surprisingly jarring to say or hear "his boyfriend" or "her girlfriend." These tiny, formal steps toward acceptance are not meaningless, I don't think. And foisting "his husband" and "her wife" upon people is a practically homeopathic political act, but worth doing while we wait for UNIVERSAL COMPULSORY GAYMARRIAGE.

Now if I can get my mom to say "boyfriend" instead of "friend" with that tiny eyebrow gesture...


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:55 AM
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257 strikes me as unlikely. I'm not saying abandon the fight for legal recognition. "We're married, just like you; we ought to have the same legal rights as you" is (I believe, based on very little evidence) rhetorquially stronger than "We'd like to have the same rights to marry that you do". At least that's how it's struck me, whenever I've encountered it, and I'm known people who were less sympathetic to same-sex marriage (but not hostile to it) who also became more sympathetic when faced with that rhetoric (although it's hard to isolate causation in these sorts of things). But who knows; I shooting from the hip here.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:58 AM
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UNIVERSAL COMPULSORY GAYMARRIAGE

I knew it! That's part of the bolshevik-phariseeical nihilistic agenda, isn't it?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:58 AM
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I mean, I like Thorn's approach, too

I agree. APPROVED. Thorn: You may continue, with my validation.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:02 AM
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I think 123 is well-intended and not as misguided as it's being received as.

No. Brock is history's greatest monster, and it's time everyone realized that.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:03 AM
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262: I dunno, I think a whole lot of people really don't get the legal issues. My dad, who while generally well intentioned would be in danger of slipping rightward on all sorts of social issues if he wasn't firmly anchored on the left by economic beliefs (and a Stras-like level of environmental despair), did a certain amount of "Sure, civil unions are fine, but why are they making such a fuss about the word marriage -- it's just making trouble." And I had to beat him over the head a bit with inheritance and taxes and child custody and visiting in the hospital/next of kin and so on; that it's very difficult to assure literally all the legal rights associated with marriage unless you make it literally the same legal status. (And then pointed out that if there were a legal status genuinely practically and legally equivalent to marriage, people would call themselves married anyway whatever words you printed on the Civil Union certificate.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:04 AM
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Is it wrong that I'm changing these comments in my head so that "get married" becomes "be Batman"?

Like, obviously I can't actually be Batman, but if I engaged in mild civil disobedience and said I was Batman, doesn't that make the case that it really would be better if I could be Batman, and that pressuring the government to let me be Batman would be a good thing?

I think it is wrong, yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:04 AM
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262: I've seen that tactic work too. I guess the question is at what level and in what context people are thinking about these kinds of things, and that's not the kind of question that can be answered. Smearcase's 261 is absolutely right about the exciting power of relationship words. So yeah, I'm cool with that approach too.

And Brock, sorry if I started a pile-on. It's just complicated and also emotional to talk about these things. (I loved Smearcase's post about that, too, but he should link to it here himself if he wants it linked and I probably shouldn't have said this, should I?)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:07 AM
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Now if I can get my mom to say "boyfriend" instead of "friend" with that tiny eyebrow gesture...

I'm now picturing your mom saying, "My son's 'friend'. Nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean, eh?"


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:07 AM
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It's just complicated and also emotional to talk about these things.

Not for me!

(More seriously: 123 really was glib, so your reaction was understandable.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:11 AM
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267: Very very wrong.

Sifu is now in a tight race with Brock for the title of
HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTER


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:12 AM
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Not for me!

That's because you have no heart! But at least I have your validation.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:12 AM
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Not for me!

It's just complicated and also emotional to talk about these things for me where it counts.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:13 AM
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267: This brings back the woman in a case I read in law school, who drove her car off the road because she became convinced that she was Batman and could therefore fly. My class's reaction to this, as one law student: "Batman can't fly!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:15 AM
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Like, obviously I can't actually be Batman, but if I engaged in mild civil disobedience and said I was Batman, doesn't that make the case that it really would be better if I could be Batman, and that pressuring the government to let me be Batman would be a good thing?

May I suggest a reputable charity?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:16 AM
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Is it wrong that I'm changing these comments in my head so that "get married" becomes "be Batman"?

So THAT'S what you thought was going on when you proposed to Blume!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:16 AM
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My son's 'friend'.

"It's not my lifestyle, Mom. It's my life."

"You, and your life... style."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:17 AM
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So THAT'S what you thought was going on when you proposed to Blume!

Is it any wonder she kicks me out of bed when I call her Robin, the Boy Wonder?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:18 AM
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Well, everything is complicated and emotional for me. Right now, I'm also not wanting anything I say here to mean I don't value the experiences of gay people who aren't boring settled homebodies like me. It's also important for people to be all fabulous and boundary-pushing and whatnot, not merely palatable to Middle America.

I'm reminded for no particular reason of our elderly neighbor's response when Lee and I started dating. After the first time I spent the night, she came over to Lee and said, "So, was that your life partner I saw this morning?" And Lee had to say that, um, no, we were just dating but maybe something would come of it! It was incredibly sweet and I think it's wonderful that an 80-something woman would have any terminology to cover this sort of situation (though perhaps unsurprising that she'd be nosy enough to get the details) and I think this is a sign of huge cultural change in the last 10-20 years.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:20 AM
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After the first time I spent the night, she came over to Lee and said, "So, was that your life partner I saw this morning?"

She knows the U-Haul joke!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:21 AM
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278: That's when the Bat Grappling Hook comes in handy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:22 AM
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Is it any wonder she kicks me out of bed when I call her Robin, the Boy Wonder?

I was unaware that Batman has a predilection for doing it on the floor.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:23 AM
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Thorn: oh, I'm not sure which post you mean but my pseud links to my blerg. Unfortch my last posting is just incoherent squee about winning for once.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:23 AM
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278: There might be a Dark Knight Returns joke lurking somewhere here, but I hate Frank Miller too much to think about it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:24 AM
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Right now, I'm also not wanting anything I say here to mean I don't value the experiences of gay people who aren't boring settled homebodies like me.

Phew! Otherwise I was going to have to put you in the running for History's Greatest Monster.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:25 AM
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I thought last night I saw your pseud not linking; my mistake. Yeah, the last one was about just how winning is emotional. I found it very moving!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:25 AM
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Hmmm. I'm not sure 266 is necessarily right -- here in California, at least, domestic partnerships are simply defined as being 100 percent equivalent to marriage, in all forums ----- inheritance, hospital visits, child custody, divorce, whatever. That doesn't deal with legal recognition in other states, of course, or under federal law -- my friends with the worlds cutest/sullenest three year old now spend 8 mos/yr in Germany because ICE doesn't think their domestic partnership means anything. At the single-state law level, though, it's not hard to create a status that is the legal/practical equivalent of marriage -- you just pass a statute that says as much. Maybe I'm missing something, and of course the symbolic importance of state recognition of the union is still very, very significant, emotionally and politically.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:27 AM
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Wait, I'm still confused: does Dahlia Lithwick comment here? Is she using the pseud James Shearer or something? And are we not supposed to know that Mr. Smearcase has a (really, really great) blog (that's linked through his pseud)? I can't keep up with the protocols, I tell you.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:27 AM
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149 was to 147, ari, I think. Or maybe there's some part of Standpipe's blog I'm unfamiliar with.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:29 AM
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288: I was just wrong, but not wrong enough to count as History's Greatest Monster.

And speaking of monsters, yay for hating Frank Miller!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:30 AM
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I liked that post too, Smearcase.

OT, but speaking of Phoebe, on our recent vacation Sir Kraab and I got to watch "The Comeback", starring Lisa Kudrow, and she's so great in it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:31 AM
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I don't think Lithwick lurks or comments, but I don't know.

287: There are a couple of issues. First, how many people have a single-state life? It's hard not to be vulnerable to the laws of other states sometimes. Second, there's a difference between "the state will treat these two statuses as equivalent" and "the state will make businesses and so forth treat them as equivalent" -- I remember reading about hospital visitation problems in private hospitals. And there's the whole federal tax thing, and so on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:31 AM
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289: Oh, does Lemieux comment here? Wait, are you Lemieux?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:34 AM
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I'm Lemieux.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:36 AM
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I wish we'd get back on topic though. How DO magnets &*$&# work?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:38 AM
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First, how many people have a single-state life?

I suspect probably lots. Not that it undermines your point, I don't think, but it seems to me that many, many people still live their whole lives in one place.

I suppose, given the occasional contentiousness of this thread, I should now accuse you of a NY-centered, Pauline-Kael-like ignorance of real Americans. But since I have no idea if I'm right, and since I certainly think that even if I am by some chance right your point still stands, I guess I'll hold off. Especially because you well might be Dahlia Lithwick, so I'm feeling a little star-struck.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:38 AM
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279: Shouldn't Thorn's partner/spouse/significant other be named Rose?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:39 AM
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Knowing that neb is Lemieux and that anyone could be Dahlia Lithwick is really going to change my commenting style. This was the point of Change Your Pseuds day, wasn't it? Smash the commenter hierarchy!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:40 AM
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I am Lemieux!

No, I'm not.

I am Spartacus!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:43 AM
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297: Since they're not unfogged-specific, each has a hint to our real names that make them memorable enough that real-life friends don't slip up and use real names. I'm just trying to keep us ungoogleable as long as possible and decided to go with namelike names rather than something more adorable like "peep."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:44 AM
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297 - Fone, I think.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:44 AM
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296: Huh. Counting family close enough that there could be legal implications to the relationship, and over the course of a lifetime, I think I'd still be surprised by someone whose life didn't have the potential to be shaped by the law of more than one state. But I'm easily surprised.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:45 AM
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300: She thinks my name is adorable! (to be read in the voice of Rudolph saying "She thinks I'm cute!")(if you don't know what I'm talking about then, stop reading, you unchristian foreigner commie!)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 9:49 AM
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302: Well, all people are my brothers and sisters, so anything short of fully realized universal human rights hurts my family, but still, while living in real American places -- like Oklahoma and Louisiana -- I learned that there are lots of people who never leave their hometowns. Like I said, it doesn't really undermine your broader point, but I do think it's easy to forget that rootless cosmopolitanism is by no means the norm, you arugula-munching, Dalton-attending, Obama voter.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:00 AM
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The part about Dalton was just gratuitous, wasn't it? My apologies. I never meant to imply that you're as bad as Yglesias.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:00 AM
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305: Not just gratuitous, also false. LB just told us what high school she went to.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:03 AM
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LB just told us what high school she went to.

And you believed her? FOOL!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:04 AM
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Yeah, you can't trust Lithwick when she starts talking about her high school years.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:04 AM
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304: It's not just cosmopolitanism, though, but where you are in a state. I drive out of my state, into another, and then back to mine to get to work every day because it's faster than taking the in-state highway. This always seemed normal to me, but there are other people toward the heart of the state who don't have that experience at all. The issue of how many same-sex couples are going to be happy never leaving their little towns in Oklahoma or Oklahoma at all (and I've been to Oklahoma City's gay complex this summer; seriously, leave Oklahoma if you can!) does not seem large enough to be useful. Plus, it's not as if states like Oklahoma or mine even offer domestic partner benefits, so even if you never leave you never have it anyway. California is not the norm.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:06 AM
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how many people have a single-state life?

I just skimmed through this thread and thought y'all were talking about somehow using applying physics to the arc of an individual existence, possibly involving magnets.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:12 AM
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First, how many people have a single-state life? It's hard not to be vulnerable to the laws of other states sometimes.

Like ari I think the answer to #1 is very, very many. And #2 is a problem with addressing the marriage-equality question at all at a state rather than federal level; it's really got nothing to do with the "civil union" vs. "marriage" question, at least under current law (DOMA).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:12 AM
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Rootless? Am I incorrect in thinking that apart from college LB has lived in the same city her entire life?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:12 AM
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P.S. Everyone say h/ppy b/rthday to M/tch!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:12 AM
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There probably aren't too many folks who have to deal often with radically different state law regimes on this issue -- i.e., without checking, I suspect that NJ, NY, and CT all have fairly similar laws with respect to civil unions, as do, say, Georgia and South Carolina. But all I was trying to say is that in terms of purely state law consequences for things like visitation, divorce, child custody something like Prop 8 -- which prevented recognition of marriage in California, but continued to allow domestic partnerships -- doesn't have that big of an impact. On the other hand, abandoning DOMA and allowing for federal recognition of marriage rights would be game-changers.

I'm not sure why I'm going on about this, though -- marriage is, in itself, important, and is something that everyone should have the right to enter into (even if people can obtain the joy of having to pay spousal support or pay divorce lawyers tens of thousands of dollars to get out of a relationship through another legal mechanism!)


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:13 AM
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312: you're forgetting the peace corps.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:14 AM
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312: I think you're right, but it's by definition impossible to get rooted in NYC. Note the absence of trees!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:15 AM
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288: Thanks so much about yonder blog. I just link it from pseud and figure if people go looking for trouble, they'll find it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:15 AM
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Oklahoma City's gay complex

Surely that's treatable.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:16 AM
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315: Oops! I forgot that too! Brock wins the LB trivia contest! He gets a doily!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:17 AM
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||
Hey, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack just wrote me back! He's real sorry about the firing; he acted to hastily.

On re-reading, I can't believe how punk my letter to him was*. I was rude! If only there were some way to know that one is being rude in prospect, rather than finding it out a few weeks later, when one gets a polite reply.

*Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Surely you realize by now that you made a terrible mistake. The only way it will blow over is if you admit the full extent of your mistake, and make reparations to Ms. Sherrod. Anything less than that, and this episode is the only thing you'll talk about until the end of your term as Secretary of Agriculture. You'll get asked about it everywhere you go and it will hover over you if you try to ignore it now.

Besides that, you've been terribly unfair and committed a serious injustice. You should correct it just for that reason. But you should also correct it for yourself, so that this doesn't become the defining moment of your career.

Good luck with that.

Megan
|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:19 AM
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320: That was a good letter, Megan! You told him the truth.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:21 AM
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On re-reading, I can't believe how punk my letter to him was*. I was rude!

Hopefully Vilsack believes in forgiveness.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:21 AM
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320: The man just ignores my corn field themed romance novels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:23 AM
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I do think it's easy to forget that rootless cosmopolitanism is by no means the norm

While I'm a New Yorker, I'm the provincial closed-minded kind. I get all nervous when I have to cross running water.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:25 AM
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323: I think your choice of the title If You Build It, They Will Cum is probably putting him off.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:25 AM
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324: I was once in a bar where the urinal was broken. The drain was clogged and the flush value stuck so that new water was continually flowing in. So, there was a steady steam flowing into the main room of the bar. As nobody stopped using the urinal, this was not the cleanest running water. I wasn't exactly afraid to cross it, but I do think more should have been done to warn people to step over the stream. Women and men with large bladders knew nothing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:30 AM
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325: Good one, b-day boy!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:31 AM
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how many people have a single-state life?

57%.

Among all respondents to the Pew Research Center survey, 57% say they have not lived in the U.S. outside their current state: 37% have never left their hometown and 20% have left their hometown (or native country) but not lived outside their current state.

Lots of really interesting data in the report, including a list of sticky vs. magnet states. The stickiest state: Texas. North Carolina, Georgia, California, and Wisconsin round out the top 5.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:32 AM
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The stickiest state: Texas.

Huh. I associate corn fields more with Kansas.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:36 AM
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Iowa has more of the corn. Kansas has wheat and range land in addition to corn. Iowa is just corn and an occasional outlet mall.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:40 AM
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It seems like they have the presentation of "sticky" states just right (% born there who are still living there), but that a much more useful definition of "magnet" states would be the total number of immigrants from other states, rather than the percentage of the state population that's from other states. That makes smaller states seem like much more significant "magnets" than they are.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:44 AM
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331: Magnet states: how the *#&% do they work?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:45 AM
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Texas. North Carolina, Georgia, California, and Wisconsin round out the top 5.

Huh. Perhaps TX and CA, by being so large in both area and population, make it easier for people to relocate to very different surroundings and still be in the same state. NC is as close to perfect as a state gets, so that one's no surprise. GA and WI are mysteries. Just lazy, I guess.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:52 AM
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329: It's the tar from oil spills. Louisiana's trying to steal our crown, obvs.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 10:58 AM
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320: Hey, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack just wrote me back!

Hmmph! He hasn't written me back. Now I'm *really* pissed. My letter was not as good as yours and I referred to him in the 3rd person for some reason.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:05 AM
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GA and WI are mysteries.

WI has cheese. Georgia remains to be explained.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:09 AM
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Peaches?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:14 AM
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Strip clubs in Atlanta?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:20 AM
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GA isn't a mystery: people have been trying to leave for decades, but they're all stuck in traffic around Atlanta.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:22 AM
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339: Also, so many Yankees came and tore up the tracks again.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:24 AM
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GONE WITH THE WIND THAT SWEPT THROUGH GEORGIA.


Posted by: OPINIONATED MARGARET MITCHELL | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:26 AM
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255
Plus there was the time a guy at the local corner bar bought us shots because he "had jumped out of airplanes in foreign lands to protect your rights to get married" and we didn't have the heart to break it to him, especially since he was drunk.

This is confusing. He thought gay marriage was legal? He thought one of you was a man, so the only obstacle to your marriage was the interracial thing, which he protects as any constitutional right? He realizes you marrying your partner isn't now legal, but he thinks it should be, so he's trying to "protect your rights" in the mere sense of offering emotional support for them?

328: I don't think that applies here much. The laws of other states can easily still affect people even if they don't live in those states. Growing up, the nearest department stores/major hospitals/etc. were over the state line and we'd go there twice a month or more. I attended college out of state but never legally resided in that state. Today I live in one state but work outside its borders every workday. In any of those cases, the legal status of a relationship could come up. Hospital visitation rights if someone got in a car accident, etc.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:31 AM
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354: That's the sort of thing I was thinking of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:33 AM
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I can't wait to hear what LB is thinking.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:38 AM
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You know, I wish we had a technical term for the referring-to-a-comment-as-yet-unwritten error.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:39 AM
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How on earth did I type 354? I meant 342.last, but it's an implausible typo, isn't it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:40 AM
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343 to 342? If so, that's confusing, since you originally brought this up in response to Halford's civil union point, and none of those things turn on marriages vs. civil unions, they turn on having decent laws of one sort or another in neighboring states. It's not like you'll get more rights in the hospital at Bigoted Neighbor State if you can say that under the laws of Home State you're married to your same-sex partner instead of being civilly-unionized. (Civilly unified?)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:40 AM
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That's okay, LB. We know how hard you try.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:41 AM
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342: My understanding was that he thought gay marriage was legal and was one of the major American rights that had pushed him into participating in the Global War on Terror. He just wanted us to know that he was glad he was home safely but also glad he had helped our cause, because of course the terrorists don't want us lesbians to be able to marry. He seemed like a really nice guy (for a drunk helicopter-jumper, at least) and so we just thanked him for the support and took the drinks.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:42 AM
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My guess with 255 is that he thought that gay marriage was legal everywhere and wanted to communicate "The 101st Airborne is fighting the forces of global intolerance! Go Army!" But maybe he was just drunk.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:44 AM
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37% have never left their hometown

Boggle.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:44 AM
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Oh no, pwned! What, Thorne, you think just because you were there you know what happened?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:45 AM
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Maybe he was Dutch?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:45 AM
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349: he might have just inarticulating (drunkenly) been trying to express the idea that he jumped out of airplanes in foreign lands to protect American liberal ideals, which in his mind should include (and with luck, will soon include) your rights to get married. That seems more plausible than that he thought it was already legal. Of course, I wasn't there, so.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:45 AM
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"I wish I had some pho for lunch."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:45 AM
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That was a terrible waste of LB's thinking-of, Brock.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:46 AM
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343: Is this the sort of thing you were thinking of?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:46 AM
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I blame M/tch.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:47 AM
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Damn, missed. Sorry, LB, you're doomed to be in the anti-pho book, may your tribe increase.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:47 AM
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356: History's greatest monster, I tell you.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:47 AM
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She *was* going to be thinking of coming down for some hot, sticky Carolina lovin'. But no.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:47 AM
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he might have just inarticulating (drunkenly)

Btock!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:48 AM
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As I was falling asleep last night I was thinking about this issue. I was framing my argument around traditional marriage being about socially sanctioned procreation and property rights. Then I thought of several gay friends who have adopted, and are in many ways better parents than some traditional penis in vagina types. So while not exactly procreation, stable family life is good for kids, ipso facto gay marriage is a net benefit to society. If we ever get to such a time when there are so few babies being born that we need to change our emphasis back to procreation, we can deal with it then.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:49 AM
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She *was* going to be thinking of coming down for some hot, sticky magnetic Carolina Nevadan lovin'.


Posted by: OPINIONATED LASWEGIAN | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:53 AM
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OT: How rude is it to root around in the purse of a coworker I barely know? She must have set some kind of alarm on her phone and it has been ringing for five minutes*. Even with all the doors shut, I can hear it. The purse is really large, like a messenger bag, if that makes a difference. I've already asked around and nobody knows where she is.

*Or she has no voice mail and the world's most patient idiot is calling her.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:55 AM
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365: Never mind. Somebody has less patience that I do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:56 AM
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365: I would say that it's ruder than allowing one's phone to make claxon-like noises in the workplace. But only narrowly.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:58 AM
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365: Rifling around in someone else's purse just isn't done, Moby. The polite thing is to drop it, unopened, down the mail chute, or, in a pinch, out the window.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:58 AM
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How rude is it to root around in the purse of a coworker I barely know?

Are you black? It could make a difference.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:58 AM
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366: Go call them out for not respecting personal property.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:59 AM
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Happy B/rthday, M/tch.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:59 AM
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You know, the question of who I'll allow to be the first to wish me a happy birthday is still undecided. Just sayin'.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:59 AM
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I don't even have a mail chute. I was going to stomp on the purse until it was quiet. It turns out that the problem was solved by somebody going to get the purse owner, not somebody pawing through it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:00 PM
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Anyone else's theories may be as good as mine. Neither or us really interrogated the guy, just thought it was a sweet and funny situation. It's probably not as weird as the night I went down to that bar alone and there was a girl who wanted consolation about her mother's breast cancer diagnosis and I for some reason said I was an atheist and talked about what I believed and it turned out that six of the other ten people there were atheists too and had never spoken about that before. It's not maybe a totally typical neighborhood bar.

In our state, only one member of a same-sex couple can adopt and the other is a legal stranger to the child, though we've been assured by child protective services that if we adopted and my partner died, policy states that the child would stay with me. We're getting piecemeal protection where we can, but the inequality and inadequacy just sucks.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:00 PM
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372: I have been looking for an excuse to wish you a happy birthday, though I'm sure the winner will be drawn from your History's Greatest Monster list.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:02 PM
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375: Well then start doing more bad stuff, pronto!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:04 PM
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372: Kraab already ruined that for everybody a couple of years ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:04 PM
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377: She truly is history's greatest monster.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:07 PM
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357: I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone before they visit the link, but I think it would be an excellent term for commenting on an as yet unposted comment: "LB -----ed the ----. Again."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:24 PM
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378: As long as ogged's (pbuh) name is still on this site, 357 will remain history's greatest monster.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 12:27 PM
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She knows the U-Haul joke!

Wow, the joke has a wikipedia page.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 6:59 PM
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There probably aren't too many folks who have to deal often with radically different state law regimes on this issue -- i.e., without checking, I suspect that NJ, NY, and CT all have fairly similar laws with respect to civil unions, as do, say, Georgia and South Carolina.

So which adjacent states have the greatest civilization gradient? California-Arizona? Maryland-Virginia?

(Bored, tired, and catching up on threads I haven't had time to read.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 8:06 PM
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For more on pensions see this NYT article :

The finding also raises vexing legal issues, because public debts in California are supposed to be approved by the voters. The voters have, in fact, duly authorized all of the state's general obligation bonds, but the much larger pension debt is appearing out of nowhere.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:45 PM
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The article indicates that the study is based on a method recently developed by a couple of economists that has not been adopted by pretty much anyone else so far. It might be a good idea to wait to see if the method pans out. Right now it looks a bit like squinting until you see what you want to see (in this case, larger pension liabilities).

It would be interesting to know if Schwarzenegger, who was apparently trying to do something to pensions last year, and who commissioned the study, and who now is using the study to try to bring up his pension ideas again, knew what kind of method the study would use. I don't doubt it was independent, but independent doesn't mean the outcome can't be guessed.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:55 PM
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382: CA-AZ is pretty good, yes. Probably also WA-ID has to be a contender. MI-IN is another one to think about. Apo will insist that NC-SC is the winner, of course. But that would ignore the obvious champ: anywhere-MS.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-10 11:59 PM
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CA-AZ

This border surely has to be one of the more frightening regions in the US. If there are gay people living in Needles, Blythe, or El Centro (and I'm sure that there are), they are probably pretty fucking tough.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 12:10 AM
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Also: MN-SD, MN-ND, and anywhere-UT are contenders for biggest cultural shift.

PA-WV, although the parts of PA that are next to WV are pretty dang WV already.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 12:12 AM
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Who was talking about how weird PA liquor laws are? (I guess lots of people, but someone was wondering about how they got that way.) This dissertation, if you can get hold of it, looks like it might have some answers.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 12:41 AM
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anywhere-MS

Is that a border or an event horizon?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 1:06 AM
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384, see 243, I think.

And I think that "Drunk Paratroopers for Marriage Equality" would be a ferocious political force.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 2:07 AM
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CA-NV? When driving around Lake Tahoe the differences were immediately obvious.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 5:49 AM
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The finding also raises vexing legal issues, because public debts in California are supposed to be approved by the voters. The voters have, in fact, duly authorized all of the state's general obligation bonds, but the much larger pension debt is appearing out of nowhere.

That's actually an interesting question. Offhand I would have guessed there's some legal distinction between "obligation" and "debt" - between setting up pension schemes and actually borrowing money - but even if there were, the California Constitution requires public approval before the Legislature "create[s] any debt or debts, liability or liabilities".

So the distinction might be more historical: if pensions were seen as employee benefits, not liabilities in the sense of requiring public approval under the Constitution, then the Legislature might have treated them on its own just as with employee compensation. This understanding could even have been cemented in through court rulings over the years.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 6:22 AM
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392

So the distinction might be more historical: if pensions were seen as employee benefits, not liabilities in the sense of requiring public approval under the Constitution, then the Legislature might have treated them on its own just as with employee compensation. This understanding could even have been cemented in through court rulings over the years.

Or perhaps the obligations were entered into unlawfully and can be voided. This has been know to happen, just ask the WPPSS bondholders about the Washington Supreme Court ruling which voided the "take or pay" contracts which were backing their bonds.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 6:38 AM
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Or perhaps the obligations were entered into unlawfully and can be voided. This has been know to happen, just ask the WPPSS bondholders about the Washington Supreme Court ruling which voided the "take or pay" contracts which were backing their bonds.

Not impossible. But I've been looking around for discussions of the constitution in relation to pensions, and not seen this issue mentioned by would-be reformers. There is one recently filed case that argues that local-government retroactive pension increases are unconstitutional. But the Reason Foundation recommends "adopt[ing] an amendment to the state constitution requiring all future government employee benefit increases to be ratified by the voters." So I suspect there's something we're not aware of here that makes existing pension obligations kosher.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 6:58 AM
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382
So which adjacent states have the greatest civilization gradient? California-Arizona? Maryland-Virginia?

I'd doubt it's CA-AZ; California has its reputation as a left-wing bastion, but come on, what have we been talking about for 600 of the last 2,000 comments? California has a bigger gradient in civilization within its borders than over them, or else the state is just schizophrenic and unquantifiable on the left-right axis. My first thought was WA-ID like 385 says, but I'm told that there are some pretty right-wing parts of WA once you get inland. Lots of states with relatively left-wing legal systems have right-wing enclaves, or vice versa, and those enclaves tend to border states more like-minded than their own.

If such a gradient exists meaningfully, it's probably something we'd never expect. Iowa legalized gay marriage last year, right? What's the most right-wing state bordering it?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 7:19 AM
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Happy Nuclear Transfiguration, Cyrus!


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 7:22 AM
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396: Thanks. Wow, that's a good memory, especially for the double reference.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 7:23 AM
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there are some pretty right-wing parts of WA once you get inland.

Indeed. The conventional wisdom is that WA and OR would be much more domestically tranquil if they were somehow divided E/W at the Cascades.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 7:27 AM
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384

The article indicates that the study is based on a method recently developed by a couple of economists that has not been adopted by pretty much anyone else so far. It might be a good idea to wait to see if the method pans out. Right now it looks a bit like squinting until you see what you want to see (in this case, larger pension liabilities).

Whereas nobody has any interest to minimize the obligations? Pension accounting rules historically were notoriously lax. Private companies have been gradually forced to use more realistic (but still lax) methods. The rules for public entities have not been tightened as much. By the standards applied to private companies the pension debts of public entities are generally much larger than they report. In any case by the fund's own accounting the unfunded liability is apparently over $165 billion (note it increases not just by the amount of their market losses but by the implicit interest (given by the discount rate) accrued on their obligations) which is still massive.

As of July 1, 2008, the funds officially reported they were $55 billion short. They have not issued financial statements since then, but have said informally that they lost a total of $110 billion.

And note their reluctance to admit how much money they lost. Are the voters generally aware that the state of California lost over $100 billion of their money in a short period of time in speculative investments?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 7:32 AM
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That reminds me, is zadfrack still around? If so, happy birthday to him.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 7:43 AM
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392: I have a hard time imagining any legal issue that would impact this pension debt, that wouldn't bar the creation of a pension scheme in the first place (and I assume that the California state pension scheme was set up with all the necessary authorizations to begin with). Even if you've got the money in the bank to cover it, a defined benefit pension is an obligation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 6-10 8:27 AM
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