Re: "It Bends Towards Justice"

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Today, an African-American man may well become the president of the whole country, and it feels almost normal.

It feels effing about time to me, but I know what you mean. In a way the cynical joke about allowing gay marriage applies here as well:

Why shouldn't they get to be as miserable as the rest of us?

This touches on the fact that everything comes with its goods and bads.

It should go without saying that marriage and leadership are overall "good" things, and everyone deserves the opportunity, but it should also go without saying that both come with their share of responsibilities and duties as well.

Another cynical saying that rings with truth: Be careful what you wish for because you may get it.

Both of these sayings are nuanced and require wisdom to understand, a quality that has been very lacking in recent public discussions. Indeed we've temporarily handed the reins of our country over to the least wise of us, the authoritarians. Time for us to take our country back.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:00 AM
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I'm just finding myself a little giddy about the fact that we really are going to have a black president, and it's not going to be some conservative twerp where I'm thinking "Yes, historically momentous, but I hate him anyway," It hadn't seemed real until now.

(And I can't summon up the necessary 'don't count your chickens' caution to pretend I don't think it's in the bag. I think it's in the bag, barring something really implausible.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:04 AM
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2:AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!

You're jinxing it!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:06 AM
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What I think is astonishing -- and this is true for me as well -- is how quickly a speech of that caliber has become par for the political course. We are some lucky goddamn Democrats, we are. Maybe a lucky country, if LB didn't jinx us.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:18 AM
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||

For Cala et al

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:23 AM
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Ezra is so Romantic.

It's ...interesting. These long struggles for incremental change seem to have a victory marked as a peak. I have said that when a black can be elected President, well, he/she can get elected, and that means that the struggle is partly over. But not completely over, by any means. We are only at the top of the mountain, and it is still a long way down to "normal."

I was around and watching, and Colin Powell and Condi Rice could not have been appointed, let alone confirmed in the Senate of 1968. Obama, to me, is not a giant leap, but just one symbolic additional step. Governors, mayors, congresspersons, a lot of people have paved the way for Obama) That is how it should, and must be. An anomaly, something transcendental (Ezra is wrong, this is not transcental, Obama did not overcome this system despite overwhelming odds, winning in 1968 or 1988 would have been transcendental) or incomprehensibly wonderful, would not mark an enduring change. I think this might. Might not, I want to see a lot more blacks, hispanics, women, glbts socialists (see, I'm not crazy) in political power.

I don't know how to characterize it, it is kinda like the moon landing. Ten years of step-by-step, earth orbit, moon orbit, and then the actual landing seemed a little anti-climactic. But the landing was still amazing.

The "good guys" presuming we are talking about progressives and not blacks or the other parts of the party, have not won yet. I have yet to see if the election of Obama will really represent progress and victory, or just change. There are a lot of things I liked about the 60s that have been lost.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:29 AM
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5 is excellent. I would like to throw the bomb at the Chinese Room, please.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:43 AM
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Ezra is wrong, this is not transcendental, Obama did not overcome this system despite overwhelming odds

Bob, you are on crack. Seriously, put down the pipe and get some help. Professional medical help.

Jeebus.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:47 AM
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I don't know how to characterize it, it is kinda like the moon landing. Ten years of step-by-step, earth orbit, moon orbit, and then the actual landing seemed a little anti-climactic. But the landing was still amazing.

Actually I think this is a really good analogy, because with the moon landing, it's like, "There, we did it. We don't need to do this every day," which parallels the danger of complacency with believing a black president ends racism.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:49 AM
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The cock of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.


Posted by: The moral universe | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:49 AM
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8: enabler.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:49 AM
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11: Whitey.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:51 AM
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8: Odd. I thought Bob's comment was perfectly reasonable. Maybe I'm on crack, too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:52 AM
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Wow, the first black president! Finally, racism is defeated forever.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:52 AM
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Bob's 8 seems perfectly reasonable.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:54 AM
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13 gets it right.

NCProsecutor is so tired from all that rosecuting, he can't recognize mcmanus's moments of lucidity and perceptiveness.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:55 AM
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Bob's 8 is fairly reasonable, but you people realize he's just trying to suck you in again, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:55 AM
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13: Much of it was, but notice I only quoted the most ridiculous part to criticize.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:56 AM
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Bob's 8 is fairly reasonable, but you people realize he's just trying to suck you in again, right?

Hopefully this thread can become a cock joke thread instead of a political diatriborama.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:56 AM
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8:No, it is not I who is on crack. Obama is not a transcending, but an incremental step.

And there have been two dissonant themes to the Obama candidacy:

1) That we are going to force/sneak a black into the WH despite massive amounts of residual racism

2) That the nomination/election of Obama means America has become just post-racial enough.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:57 AM
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16: Yes, rosecuting is right tirin' work. Back to it!


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:57 AM
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I was trying to reasonable and achieve comity,but apparently, thru some process of tribalism trolls are created by the community as much as self-generated.

NCP is your guy and I'm a monster. Bye.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:00 AM
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19: I made a "McCain's historic concession to Obama at the base of the Washington Monument" diatriborama using two lego figures, a megaphone, white body paint, and a shoebox with a hole in it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:00 AM
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22: see? See? After everybody defends him.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:01 AM
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22: Hey, when did I become everybody's guy? Mrs. NCP won't be pleased.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:02 AM
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Bob, you are on crack. Seriously, put down the pipe and get some help. Professional medical help.

I broadly agree with bob's #8, especially here: Obama, to me, is not a giant leap, but just one symbolic additional step. Governors, mayors, congresspersons, a lot of people have paved the way for Obama) That is how it should, and must be.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:03 AM
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Since I've been lurking for a while, I guess primary season got a little more heated around here than I'd realized. Oops.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:05 AM
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So... McCain sure sucks, don't he?


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:06 AM
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a shoebox with a hole in it.
Was Captain Kangaroo still cutting up shoeboxes when your cohort was coming up? I can still hear the sound those dull round scissors made.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:06 AM
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20: Jeremiah Wright winning the nomination would've been transcendent. Or, alternately, an Obama who won the nomination without distancing himself from/denouncing/rejecting/belittling the views of Jeremiah Wright. Or even the nomination of a black candidate who campaigned hard on "traditionally black" issues - poverty, social justice, inequality, civil rights, prison reform, etc. Obama won the nomination the only way he could've won (and the only way any of us, I think, expected him to win) - by presenting himself as a "safe" black candidate, "post-racial," "one of the good ones," not too black and not too white. This isn't a criticism of Obama but a criticism of this country. No candidate who came out of the civil rights movement, for example, could possibly be taken seriously by this country's media or its electorate. We're too fucking racist.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:07 AM
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29: uh, hopefully not for the reason I meant to imply.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:11 AM
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I just thought Obama was off his game in the middle part of the speech, mostly because the crowd kept clapping so much he couldn't work up a good rhythm, and also because he sounds a bit nerdy when he talks about policy.

Or his 'arc' could have been 'bending' towards 'justice.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:13 AM
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Well, I relieved that the consensus seems to be that I'm not on crack.

Because, you know, crack is kind of low-class.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:14 AM
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JE, hehe. That comics been on the wall here for about a year.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:16 AM
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I wrote "I relieved"

I not on crack! I just kind of simple!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:16 AM
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socialists (see, I'm not crazy) in political power

I'm not crazy either, but I'd like to see more socialists in power because I feel like Bernie Sanders must get really lonely up there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:19 AM
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30: How racist is too racist?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:21 AM
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The curves of the moral universe are voluptuous, but they bend toward justice.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:23 AM
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I don't know how to characterize it, it is kinda like the moon landing. Ten years of step-by-step, earth orbit, moon orbit, and then the actual landing seemed a little anti-climactic. But the landing was still amazing.

I also think this was an apt analogy.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:24 AM
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NickS, were you around for the moon landing? I had you pegged as younger for some reason.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:27 AM
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[someone competent insert appropriate Greek root here]tropism.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:34 AM
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41: appropriate for what?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:37 AM
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1. That was a total jinx
2. I think something can be the result of incrementalism and transformative at the same time. Bob's moon landing analogy captured this nicely. Sure, getting to the moon was kind of inevitable once we had rockets, but still if you don't have a "dude! the freaking moon!" reaction, there's something wrong with you.
3. We'd be a healthier country if racial divides tracked less to political divides. I don't (really, really) want to start a conversation about how this is all the fault of GOP racists. First, I kind of agree. Second, it's a boring discussion that leads primarily to smugness and defensiveness respectively. What I do wonder is what path could be to an America where a) racial divides aren't de facto political divides, and b) the parties retain something of their essential ideological character (pro and anti market, dovish vs. hawkish, etc). We are going to have (legitimate) hawk vs. dove debates and pro vs. anti market debates on a series of issues. It would be nice to disentangle these from racial politics, but I don't see how we get there.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:38 AM
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2. I think something can be the result of incrementalism and transformative at the same time. Bob's moon landing analogy captured this nicely. Sure, getting to the moon was kind of inevitable once we had rockets, but still if you don't have a "dude! the freaking moon!" reaction, there's something wrong with you.

Absolutely right. Milestones are rarely arrived at suddenly or unexpectedly, but we mark them as signifiers of the magnitude of the journey.

It would be nice to disentangle these from racial politics, but I don't see how we get there.

More black billionaires?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:41 AM
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NickS, were you around for the moon landing? I had you pegged as younger for some reason.

No. But neither was Heebie, unless I'm mistaking her age.

I posted my age in one of the threads, early thirties.

But I can still think it's an apt analogy even if that belief isn't based on personal experience.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:45 AM
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I made a "McCain's historic concession to Obama at the base of the Washington Monument" diatriborama using two lego figures, a megaphone, white body paint, and a shoebox with a hole in it.

If one of Obama's first acts in office were to paint the Washington Monument black, well, that would be just too awesome.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:04 AM
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It would be nice to disentangle these from racial politics, but I don't see how we get there.

Karl Rove had a go at doing this on the theory that a lot of Black people hate faggots just as much as white folks do, but it turns out that the African American electorate was a little more attuned to its interests than Mr. Rove gave them credit for.

More black billionaires?

This won't do the trick. The whole point of the GOP coalition is to find less well-off white folks who are willing to vote as if they were billionaires. If you can't stoke racial resentment, how's that going to work?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:05 AM
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I'll leave my "raining on people's parade" for another day. We need to completely enjoy this moment as it is.

socialists (see, I'm not crazy) in political power.

You want real crazy imagine an atheist president. Done right it would be one of the best things ever for this country but currently we are a LONG way from that and if the upcoming times are fearful we will move even further from it, not closer to it.

But today is a day of celebrating the moment. The future will take care of itself.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:08 AM
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I don't know how many people reading this are over forty; I suspect most of unfogged's readers are. Y'all younger types are about to see something you've never seen before: the red-eyed race hate that still possesses a sizable fraction of white American citizens, all up front and bare naked.

You know why John Kennedy got shot, don't you? The day that happened, I was in a third grade classroom in a public school eight hundred miles South of the Mason-Dixon line. That afternoon, a bunch of kids - elementary school kids - at the bus stop were singing:

The nigger lover's dead
The nigger lover's dead
They shot him in the head
The nigger lover's dead

A few years later I suppose most of those kids were socially pressured into keeping their filthy yaps shut. Did any of them ever actually change their minds? And what do you suppose their offspring think about those non-whites? You're about to watch and hear it all bust out. Hold on to your hats! I guarantee you: you're gonna wanna puke.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:11 AM
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The future will take care of itself.

(Mimes gun to head motion)

Take care of itself?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:12 AM
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40:

NickS, were you around for the moon landing? I had you pegged as younger for some reason.

Nick is so old his S's look like F's!

But you want old - tomorrow is my 30th year on the job at GlobalCorp. You do the math.

Remember though, like Joe Drymala (is he still around here?) I was also a child protege, so I started VERY young. Well, pretty young. Kinda.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:13 AM
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Knecht, you need to imagine for a moment that someone could in good faith believe, for example, that European style left-center government will work poorly in the US. After that exercise in empathy maybe the discussion will be more productive. Our political parties are, of course, scams perpetrated by interest groups. But that's not all they are.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:14 AM
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The moon landing analogy really doesn't match my perceptions of Obama's winning the nomination, possibly because I *wasn't* alive during the moon landing. In my mind, the moon landing has therefore achieved the status of iconic milestone, despite the fact that intellectually I know that there were countless small steps which led to Armstrong's "one giant leap" onto the moon's surface. I suppose that I view Obama's nomination in the same way, and upon due consideration, that view undoubtedly minimizes the countless small steps of progress made by others in getting this country to the point where it was possible for a black man to be the nominee of a major party to be President of the United States.

Comity?


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:14 AM
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You want real crazy imagine an atheist president.

All I want is somebody who understands the importance of the separation of church and state and works to maintain it. Hell, they could even be a Southern Baptist evangelical (coughJimmyCartercough).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:14 AM
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A few years later I suppose most of those kids were socially pressured into keeping their filthy yaps shut.

Yes.

Did any of them ever actually change their minds?

Probably some of them, yeah.

And what do you suppose their offspring think about those non-whites?

Probably something somewhat different than their parents, in many cases.

Seriously, though, I think the behavior of eight-year-olds forty-five years ago has less than perfect predictive power, although sure, it'll be ugly and racist and all those things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:15 AM
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49:

the red-eyed race hate that still possesses a sizable fraction of white American citizens, all up front and bare naked.

I am 51 and I still remember.

Bring it on white trash, I've been aching for this fight since the end of the Civil War! I am your worst nightmare - a powerful white man with the legal system and courage on his side.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:16 AM
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54: Jimmy Carter Says Yes!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:17 AM
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I suspect most of unfogged's readers are

Mmm, I think at least a slim majority of Unfogged's readers are under 40, though I've got nothing whatsoever to back that up (I turn 40 in November; maybe I'm the median). I think it's correct that people are going to be shocked at the naked racism on display over the next six months. However, "what do you suppose their offspring think about those non-whites" is probably a much more complicated question. The generational divide on race, gender, and orientation does exist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:20 AM
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I think it's correct that people are going to be shocked at the naked racism on display over the next six months.

Don't you think it will be clothed racism? Or at least racism-with-plausible deniability? I have in mind more the Willy Horton revolving door ad (revolving door) than the Willy Horton mugshot ad. Perhaps I just have an optimistic view of the American common culture. But my sense is that naked appeals to racism are out, and the action is in implication, push-polls, blind emails, and the rest of the dirty tricks.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:24 AM
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52: what about European style center-center? I can see someone in good faith believing that a UK style parliamentary democracy, say, wouldn't work well in the US, so long as they hold this position out of ignorance. I have certainly seen many people hold this position in bad faith, too.

Which of course isn't to say that something like that is is what the US should have, but the idea that there is some fundamental reason that it would work poorly here is a strange one that seems to pop up often. Every time I've seen it though, the supporting `argument' has been laughable. Maybe someone has made it sensible, but I doubt it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:25 AM
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But my sense is that naked appeals to racism are out

Harold Ford would beg to differ on that score.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:25 AM
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. . . possibly because I *wasn't* alive during the moon landing. In my mind, the moon landing has therefore achieved the status of iconic milestone

The mental reference point I have, that makes me think about the incremental steps needed to reach the moon, is based on having read on of Zubrin's books about Mars. It gives a sense of how much can and would have to be worked out well in advance of a manned mission to Mars. I assume that the Moon race was similar.

Thinking about it, this is completely off topic from the original thread.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:26 AM
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49:Jesus, I seriously hope not. I desperately want 20.2 to be the case rather than 20.1.

Sometimes I do believe the major political/policy shifts in American history have been more vanguardist than majoritarian, at least in the degree of change. That the Great Society/Civil Rights or the Reagan Revolution were plurality positions that became majoritarian after the fact. So if someone wants to argue that the election of Obama would be a vanguardist plurality event, I am willing to listen.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:27 AM
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naked appeals to racism are out

From the McCain campaign proper, yes. From Joe Blow on the street, not so much.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:27 AM
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60: it wouldn't work here because it's the frontier, man. The land of rugged individualism! Of manifest destiny! Of a chicken in every pot and a gun in every crib!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:27 AM
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Further to 47, I don't think it would be particularly fruitful for the GOP to pursue the black vote in any meaningful way. I think it was Glenn Loury who noted that, while racist whites are a small minority of whites, they are every bit as numerous as blacks. Consequently, the Republicans are as likely to lose votes as gain them in catering to Blacks.

Speaking cynically, I think the Republicans would be far better off trying to foment racial divisions among minorities than in soliciting African Americans. Hispanics, because of their growing demographic prominence, would be one obvious target audience (though this creates obvious risks with the racist anti-immigrant constituency). Just as Richard Nixon ratfucked the New Deal coalition by using Executive power to force affirmative action on the construction unions, a smart Republican should tacitly encourage the slavery reparations movement as a way to drive a wedge between African Americans and Latinos. The Karl Roves of the world are surely clever enough to come out with some wedge issues to cleave East Asians and South Asians from the Democratic coalition as well. I don't know whether it would pass constitutional muster, but the GOP could come out in favor of prohibiting states and municipalities from taxing the profits of family-owned small businesses, for example.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:29 AM
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What I do wonder is what path could be to an America where a) racial divides aren't de facto political divides, and b) the parties retain something of their essential ideological character (pro and anti market, dovish vs. hawkish, etc).

Region- or class-based parties seem like the way to go. But I think that it will be a while before that's an available strategy, because those are two axes along which the racial issues are most problematic. (Though note Jimmy Carter.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:29 AM
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53:Sure, comity. I think Ezra says as much, that his youth...well let me re-read Ezra.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:29 AM
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So if someone wants to argue that the election of Obama would be a vanguardist plurality event, I am willing to listen.

People have been calling him the Democrat's Reagan for months now and you seem to have taken that to mean he would adopt Reagan's policies, so I think we've gotten a little burnt out on it. Still and all, I agree with you about various movements having a vanguardist flavor, and that's what I think could plausibly happen to a (probably not as) left (as you would like) agenda during an Obama presidency. At least, that's where I'd peg the upper limits of my optimism.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:30 AM
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65: this place is exceptional, just like every other place. Unexceptionally exceptional, if you will.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:33 AM
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70: and it is in the very unexceptionability of our exceptionalism that we find our uniqueness! Alone among countries in the world is our destiny indistinguishable from that of every nation!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:36 AM
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30. Stras, an election is not won by appealing to the minority, from a minority position. It is won by appealing to the majority. An angry black man, however righteous, will not deliver a message that can be heard by the majority. If you find that racist, so be it. I think it's just politics.

That said, are there racists in this country? Of course there are. Are they the majority? I don't think so. Are the racists a vocal enough minority to derail Obama? Probably, but not enough so that the answer is obvious.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:36 AM
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Knecht, you need to imagine for a moment that someone could in good faith believe, for example, that European style left-center government will work poorly in the US.

I don't deny or disparage that good faith belief. And you, baa, I might add, are a frequently eloquent exponent of that point of view. But there aren't enough of your kind to make a durable electoral majority for the GOP, or even an occasional one.*

If a rising tide of affluence among the African-American middle class were sufficient to allow the GOP to cut into the Dem's dominance of that population segment, you should have seen come evidence of that in recent elections. But the trend has gone the other way.

I will not deny that there are some pretty unsavory beliefs represented on the Dem side. Take away the people who want to ban imports to countries populated by brown or yellow people and the Dems would have trouble, too.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:37 AM
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72: I don't think he disagrees with you, TLL. I just think he thinks it would be neat if it happened.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:37 AM
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Soup: just to clarify, I didn't mean the political system, I meant the suite of policies. And by "not work" I meant, "not work as well as what we have now." The point being there are good faith reasons to think the basic thrust of Democratic domestic policy is mistaken. Lots of people think that -- even working class people! -- without being deluded by evil GOP spin-masters.

Tweety: Yup, that was pretty bad. I don't think it will fly in a national election because the backlash would destroy the GOP in Western and Northern swing states. But again, I may be optimistic.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:39 AM
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The space landing analogy is excellent. The landing itself was transcendent but the nomination doesn't reach that level. The black presidency will be that level. Right now, we're just at another incremental step.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:41 AM
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The point being there are good faith reasons to think the basic thrust of Democratic domestic policy is mistaken. Lots of people think that -- even working class people! -- without being deluded by evil GOP spin-masters.

Yes, they're wrong for other reasons.

Tweety: Yup, that was pretty bad. I don't think it will fly in a national election because the backlash would destroy the GOP in Western and Northern swing states. But again, I may be optimistic.

Well, I think the problem with post-Rove smears is that people have figured out how to be very targeted about things, so maybe you and I won't get the full racist press, but plausibly racist households in plausibly racist parts of swing states sure as hell will, with the advantage of 527-style deniability at the national level.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:42 AM
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calling him the Democrat's Reagan for months now and you seem to have taken that to mean he would adopt Reagan's policies

I've taken it to mean that I don't know how Obama will govern or what his policies will be in every particular. Johnson & Reagan surprised (and disappointed) both their supporters and opponents.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:44 AM
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73: that's very gracefully said, KR. Thanks


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:45 AM
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The point being there are good faith reasons to think the basic thrust of Democratic domestic policy is mistaken.

There is a fair amount of argument about some of those fundamentals even within the Democratic coalition. But pretty much all of us agree that, whatever misguided policies our party allies might favor, they can't possibly mismanage the economy as badly as the cabal that has gained control of the GOP in the last 15 years.

I continue to assume that people such as baa hold their convictions in good faith, but sometimes I have to wonder how an otherwise intelligent person--even one with conservative/capital-oriented/market-oriented policy preferences--can look at the domestic policy of the contemporary GOP and decide it's the lesser of two evils.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:47 AM
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Data point for Obama. Last night I was at a victory party for a friend who is running for State Senator. He is a Korean immigrant. Throughout the evening, the vast majority of the speeches, thank yous etc. were conducted in languages other than English. Mind you, this was a Republican event. The keynote speaker, and indeed the crowd were transfixed by Obama nomination, in a positive way. It was very much a moment of "If he can do it, so can I". The candidate specifically mentioned that the next generation, i.e. the native born would see more diversity in government, including the White House.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:49 AM
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Take away the people who want to ban imports to countries populated by brown or yellow people

Do you mean imports from, or exports to?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:52 AM
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1)I give Obama enough credit to believe that his building a new political organization of the Democratic Party will be matched in some form & degree with a new kind of policy.

2)As someone with an attraction to left libertarianism or Anarchism I can (barely) concieve of a socialism that would include the dismantling of a centralized welfare state. This might be something that leftists and Reaganites could both support. Very high national taxes block-granted to local control might be marketable.

I am not at all saying this is what Obama has in mind. I am saying there are varieties and paths to progressivism than seem to be usually acknowledged, and that IMO Obama will not be last year's Democrat but more efficient.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:58 AM
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We'd be a healthier country if racial divides tracked less to political divides. ... What I do wonder is what path could be to an America where a) racial divides aren't de facto political divides, and b) the parties retain something of their essential ideological character (pro and anti market, dovish vs. hawkish, etc).

The answer is obvious. We need a more aggressively racist Democratic Party. That would eliminate the salience of race as a political issue.

Given the terms you impose on this conversation - "I don't (really, really) want to start a conversation about how this is all the fault of GOP racists" - there is no other possible answer.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:58 AM
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58: Apostropher

(I turn 40 in November; maybe I'm the median).

You may be median and you may be mean but you are never average.

We "year of the monkeys" gotta stick together.

People, we need to celebrate today and briefly set aside the arguments and nuances and worries. Ummm, blatant comments of aggression are OK though, since I've done that.

Really, take my word, today is GOOD and it is okay to shut off the brain and feel good for one day. Tomorrow will come soon enough.


Posted by: Tripp the crazed! | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:00 AM
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Local control is not anarchism, libertarianism, or an approach to either one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:06 AM
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Local control has always seemed an abdication of responsibility to me, but I know it is important to some people.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:08 AM
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Do you mean imports from, or exports to?

I meant "imports from". That mistake was just ambiguous enough that I'm going to give Ben the benefit of a doubt and assume he was sincerely seeking clarification rather than being a little bitch.

Hank Williams, Jr., in his Confederate nostaligia anthem If the South Woulda' Won [We'd a Had it Made] sang, "I'd have all the cars made in the Carolinas, and I'd ban all the ones made in China."

At the time, I wondered whether Hank Jr. was deliberately taking license with the facts in order to make the rhyme, or whether he really didn't know the difference between China and Japan; and if the former, was he counting on his fans to be ignorant of the difference, or to ignore it in good fun?

Now I realize that he was just a prescient economic forecaster.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:09 AM
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possibly mismanage the economy as badly

This is probably a fundamental point of disagreement. I'm no fan of the house GOP, but I think tying economic performance to party politics in a direct way is almost always a mistake. Congress spends money, that's what they do. While the Bush tax cuts aren't helping long term financial health, they are a rounding error compared to our entitlement obligations. On that, Medicare prescription drug was the signal event of the past ten years, and I am in no way convinced a Democratic Congress would have yielded a better result.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:12 AM
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Long off-topic argument there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:13 AM
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-almost and i applaud the paragraph cited
and 81
i know it's a big deal for you Americans, but isn't it pretty normal elsewhere for a half-outsider to get elected if he/she is a deserving and/or power driven person
for example the French president, he is the second generation Hungarian immigrant iirc or Angela Merkel, she is from the former east Germany or Putin who is ethnically not 100% Russian again iirc, or some of our half or 1/4th, 1/8th ethnically Chinese prime ministers, which is really a very big fuss for us
i wonder whether there were any black democrats holding high government positions before
Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell are the republicans, right?
i mean if they were appointed with not much of that, objection over their race then the general elections campaign for Obama also is not going to be that much about race, no?
if to think that people other than the democrats are not more or less racist than the democrats


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:19 AM
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tying economic performance to party politics in a direct way is almost always a mistake

I dunno. It took us ~210 years to run up a 5.6 trillion dollar federal debt. In seven short years, a GOP-controlled government managed to nearly double that. That's some world-class mismanagement there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:19 AM
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And Medicare's unfunded liability is like 60 trillion. There are systematic problems here that are beyond "mismanagement" by our favored villains. (although there is also that mismanagement, to be sure).


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:26 AM
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41, 42: [someone competent insert appropriate Greek root here]tropism.
appropriate for what?

Greek root for the concept of justice. Looking for a parallel construction to heliotropism. But, nevermind.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:27 AM
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And Medicare's unfunded liability is like 60 trillion.

Yes, but.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:31 AM
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I'm no fan of the house GOP, but I think tying economic performance to party politics in a direct way is almost always a mistake.

Linking actual macroeconomic performance to party politics is tricky, sure. There are timing lags, discrepancies between intentions and results, etc.

But I'm talking about policy, here. And here both the GWB-led executive and the GOP-led Congress have shown themselves to be at best indifferent to good policy--both macroeconomic and microeconomic--if not actively hostile to it, except on those rare occasions where they did the right thing as an incidental benefit of doing a favor for some political ally.

On that, Medicare prescription drug was the signal event of the past ten years, and I am in no way convinced a Democratic Congress would have yielded a better result.

It depends if you define "better" in strictly ideological terms or not. If you don't object on principle to a government-administered benefit, the Dem package would have been better in terms of costing less, providing more help to the neediest recipients, and structuring the incentives more sensibly (i.e. no "doughnut hole" to artificially focus cost savings on a small, politically feeble segment of the insured population).

While the Bush tax cuts aren't helping long term financial health, they are a rounding error compared to our entitlement obligations.

I dispute the premise of that statement, but even if you accept it, by what logic does that excuse the irresponsibility of Bush's tax policy? (And the tax code even got more complicated on his watch; you'd at least think he might have gotten some simplification done while he was cutting.) And why, if entitlement obligations are an important domestic policy issue, did Bush spend all his political capital attacking the less severe entitlement problem (Social Security) with a proposal that would have made the S.S. funding gap worse?

Really, even relativism is no help when it comes to defending the contemporary GOP on economic policy. Unless you are convinced, in the face of all evidence, that frivolous lawsuits or personal income tax rates on dividend income were the most important issue affecting the US economy, then the Bush administration has been an unmitigated disaster on the economic policy front. I challenge anyone to supply evidence that it was even a mitigated disaster.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:36 AM
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Western Carbon Club

Five western states, from Washington to New Mexico, have banded together to coordinate their carbon reductions efforts to address global warming. These states, plus Northeast and Atlantic states with similar pledges, are forming the basis of a de-facto carbon trading market, a course opposed by the Bush administration. KQED's Amy Standen reports.

This ain't federalism.

Believe it or not, anarchists & libertarians don't always let the perfect be the enemy of the good either, and accept any decentralization or local autonomy as a step in the right direction.

Not that this is necessarily my position or something I expect from Obama. Devolution is an idea gaining traction and probably has a better future than statism.

Wars will be less likely in a devolved polity.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:36 AM
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93: How the hell is that calculated? A sum of undiscounted future obligations for the next many many years? A sum of future obligations discounted at current low-as-hell long-term bond yields minus the current trust value and ignoring future taxation? Or does it just assume a 50-100 year period of medical spending growing 3-5 percentage points faster than GDP?

That number must be invented with some crazy ass math, considering that even the entire present day government budget would only produce a present day discounted obligation $60 trillion if we ignored all tax revenue, discounted at 10%, and assumed the budget would grow at 5% (similar to nominal GDP) from its current massively inflated state. This also ignores that the primary goal of the Democrat's main universal health care plans which pull lots of the sector under Medicare's direct payment umbrella is to allow for greater cost controls.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:36 AM
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75: Ah, ok, sorry I misread you. Area by area, they typically do some things much better than the US does (and vice versa, to be sure) but wholesale adoption would be very strange.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:40 AM
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That's some world-class mismanagement there.
See? American Exceptionalism. Huzzah!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:43 AM
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While the Bush tax cuts aren't helping long term financial health, they are a rounding error compared to our entitlement obligations.

I don't think that's true, especially since Medicare is the main problem and Social Security is only a little bit in the hole in the long run.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:46 AM
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101. Isn't Medicare an entitlement? And if Medicare is the "main problem" with government spending, how in the heck will UHC not bankrupt us all? The only way is to limit access after a certain age. Sorry Grandma, no pacemaker for you after 65. Crack baby, you never really had a chance, so you won't care if we pull the plug. Or maybe ground unicorn horn will cure AIDS.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:52 AM
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And you find that analysis comforting? I can't say I do. I'd recommend the Concord Coalition on this.

One quote:

Today, federal government spending absorbs 20 percent of the economy. At the high end of what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) sees as a possible range, federal spending could rise to 42 percent of GDP in 2050. In contrast, federal spending never went above 44 percent of GDP throughout World War II.

KR,

I don't like the tax cuts. I don't like the Medicare benefit (although I dispute that it would, necessarily, have been less damaging in democratic hands). Just on the "how could it be worse" standpoint, I expect the democratic house will do better than the GOP did (unless democrats actually believe the anti-trade rhetoric). With all that said, I don't think that someone who votes primarily on economic policy should feel compelled to vote democratic. I don't think, e.g., that the housing crunch would have been averted had Democrats held the house. And if you think, as I do, that the effect of partisan politics on the economy is generally minimal, then again, one will vote on other matters. I don't think either party is likely to reform entitlements, for example. So I don't think the state of the economy constitutes a sufficient reason to vote democratic.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:52 AM
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maybe ground unicorn horn will cure AIDS

Actually, ground unicorn horn cures Ebola, not AIDS.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:55 AM
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With all that said, I don't think that someone who votes primarily on economic policy should feel compelled to vote democratic.

Compelled in general? Or compelled this particular year?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:57 AM
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I think the election of Obama would have a non-trivial effect on racism, so in that sense it would be a vanguardist event. Obama would be the most powerful symbol of black America, a symbol that would overshadow the existing stereotypes. When Obama is President, and doesn't force anyone to the back of the bus, then racism will take a body blow.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:59 AM
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97:

Believe it or not, anarchists & libertarians don't always let the perfect be the enemy of the good either, and accept any decentralization or local autonomy as a step in the right direction.

Anyone who accepts any decentralization or local autonomy as a step in the right direction is being driven by ideology and not rationality.

Maybe they are not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good but they are still not being rational.

The answer to whether moving towards local political control is a step in the right direction is "it depends."

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. I really dislike political arguments based not on rationality but on ideology.

It is proper that morality arguments are based on ideology and they may inform or even direct the political decision but they cannot be the sole basis for the political decision or bad things happen.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:59 AM
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the effect of partisan politics on the economy is generally minimal

The effect of partisan politics on the federal budget and the various regulatory agencies is not, though. And those do play more than a minimal role in the economy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:03 PM
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103:

It hurts to agree with baa but my opinion is that while the economic rhetoric is different between the two parties the fact is that in general our economic policies are formed not by the parties but by the true power holders - those who currently have the most money.

I don't see this changing much.

What bothers me is that it is pretty well known and demonstrated that an unregulated absolutely free market with no other distribution of wealth is not sustainable.

In simulation after simulation the market degrades into a situation where one person has all the wealth and then the trading stops.

Even adding regulations to ensure the trading is 'fair' just slows down the degradation. To keep the market going you must have a means to take some of the wealth from the 'top' and put it back into the 'bottom.' It seems to me progressive taxes that fund safety nets and small entitlements are a pretty good way to do that.

Even the sainted Adam Smith knew this but most modern "Libertarian" economic theory has about as much to do with Adam Smith as much of modern 'Christianity' has to do with Christ.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:10 PM
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Wars will be less likely in a devolved polity.
Just ask Lebanon.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:12 PM
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Well, I think the problem with post-Rove smears is that people have figured out how to be very targeted about things, so maybe you and I won't get the full racist press, but plausibly racist households in plausibly racist parts of swing states sure as hell will, with the advantage of 527-style deniability at the national level.

Right, but... what is Post-Rove going to tell the racist households? That Obama's black? This is going to have what impact on the election, exactly?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:15 PM
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if you think, as I do, that the effect of partisan politics on the economy is generally minimal, then again, one will vote on other matters.

There's where we differ, then. Policy matters a lot to the long run health of the economy, even if you measure only GDP growth. If you expand your definition of "healthy" to include distributive equity, equal opportunity, and stewardship of natural resources, then policy matters even more. But even on the narrowest definition of good economic policy, the GOP failed.

Take your basic policy wishlist of an orthodox, center-right economist. It would probably look something like this:
- prudent fiscal policy (reasonable people can disagree about what constitutes "prudent", but economists generally agree that debt service as a % of GDP should be low and stable, and that current revenues should be sufficient to finance current expenditures, while borrowing can finance capital expenditures or investments)
- neutral taxation
- predictable tax environment
- public investment in future infrastructure needs, with focus on the investments with the highest marginal returns
- investment in education
- enforcement of contracts in impartial courts
- statutory protections for minority shareholders
- minimally distorting tax or regulatory interventions to internalize external environmental costs
- taxpayer support for basic research in science and technology
- phase out subsidies for primary production,
- careful intervention to encourage competition in monopoly markets
- lower barriers to international trade,
- a prudent statutory framework to balance society's interest in protecting creditors and promoting risk-taking
- a balanced intellectual property framework to balance society's interest in rewarding innovation and fostering the diffusion of technology
- efficient provision of necessary public services
- honest public procurement
- minimize public spending on low-return activities
- transparent government
- opportunities for political redress of economic grievances

Is there any one of these where baa or someone else wants to argue that the Bush-Cheney-Rove-DeLay-Lott cabal made things better? How about that they didn't actively make things worse, on balance? I'll take that debate any day.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:25 PM
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111: That Hussein Obama is a secret Muslim who went to a radical black church whose pastor says "God Damn America" and where his wife gave a speech calling on the parishioners (all also secret muslims, apparently) to "Kill Whitey". Which presumably would have the effect of encouraging those racist white people to go to the polls to defend their wimmenfolk instead of just sitting the election out. Or whatever.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:29 PM
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113: Don't forget Marxist. That one still seems to have some real potency.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:31 PM
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112: I'm giving KR a mental fistbump right now, just like the one from last night's Obama speech.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:38 PM
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Are you giving him an almost imperceptible butt-pat too?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:39 PM
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114: At a business meeting today, some banter about something being revolutionary versus evolutionary led to one participant wittily following up a recitation of "Marx, Lenin and Trotsky" with "Hillary and Obama". Ha, ha, ha.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:43 PM
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- neutral taxation (by which you mean?)
- predictable tax environment (made things worse)
- public investment in future infrastructure needs, with focus on the investments with the highest marginal returns (not much worse, but baseline is really bad)
- investment in education (same overall. the attempt through NCLB to improve hasn't done much good. Dem proposals are usually worse and represent obvious handouts, however)
- enforcement of contracts in impartial courts (same, to my knowledge.)
- statutory protections for minority shareholders (don't know)
- minimally distorting tax or regulatory interventions to internalize external environmental costs (no change, but still bad)
- taxpayer support for basic research in science and technology (same)
- phase out subsidies for primary production (didn't make much worse, but still bad)
- careful intervention to encourage competition in monopoly markets (don't know)
- lower barriers to international trade (not worse. hate farm bill. but you know what would be bad? rolling back NAFTA?)
- a prudent statutory framework to balance society's interest in protecting creditors and promoting risk-taking (don't know. bankrupcy bill the big issue here on which smart people take both sides.)
- a balanced intellectual property framework to balance society's interest in rewarding innovation and fostering the diffusion of technology (not sure what you have in mind here. GOP avoids kookiest anti-pharma policies, which counts as a plus)
- efficient provision of necessary public services (not sure what you have in mind here, except for Katrina.)
- honest public procurement (worse)
- minimize public spending on low-return activities (not much worse, not much better)
- transparent government (worse, I'd bet. But I don't know)
- opportunities for political redress of economic grievances (what does this mean?)


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:44 PM
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102 Maybe "no new taxes" will have to be taken off the table. There will be considerable savings as insurance companies are driven out and HMOs reconfigure, and when pro-bono care becomes less necessary. Some individuals will pay more in new taxes than they save in medical expenses, and some will gain more than they pay.

The US is not overtaxed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:46 PM
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In simulation after simulation the market degrades into a situation where one person has all the wealth and then the trading stops.

I am not aware of these simulations. I do agree that culturally pure laissez faire/libertarianism is a non-starter.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:47 PM
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Baa, the Concord Coalition is not credible. They've been party to a lot of misrepresentations of the Social Security part of the long term budget situation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:49 PM
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equal opportunity, and stewardship of natural resources

You don't have to "broaden" much for these to be part of responsible fiscal policy, Knecht.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:52 PM
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I am not aware of these simulations never won at Monopoly and still don't know why.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:53 PM
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116: Of course. I always do.

- statutory protections for minority shareholders

I have to admit that I think the federal government has very little power on this front. Unfortunately, the bulk of our statuatory protections seem to be decided by the Delaware Chancellor Court, and Jonathan Chait was completely right about Delaware (I can't find that damn article! Help!).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:57 PM
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119. No doubt that this is true. My biggest fear is that as government consumes more and more of a share of the economy, as it would do if the government takes over health care, then the patronage aspect of our ridiculously under representative government will be overwhelming. We have not expanded the number of Congressmen since 1910.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9903E6D8153FE433A25752C3A9669D946197D6CF


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:05 PM
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ever won at Monopoly

Libelous. Focus on the Oranges and Purples!

The Concord Coalition is not credible

Maybe. But I think the conclusions in that article are.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:08 PM
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You don't have to "broaden" much for these to be part of responsible fiscal policy, Knecht.

Knecht knows he is spotting baa 99 yards. If I understand baa correctly, he is generously acknowledging that he still can't punch it in over the goal line.

On a related topic: Why are Republicans opposing the Farm Bill ? I mean, I understand that they are claiming a principled opposition to pork-barrel spending, but that can't possibly be it, can it ?

Given the nature of the modern Republican Party, I feel compelled to assume an ulterior motive, but I can't work out what it might be.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:11 PM
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I feel compelled to assume an ulterior motive, but I can't work out what it might be.

Maybe it's the language that uses tax incentives to encourage setting up conservation easements on farmland, making the land essential off limits to development in perpetuity.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:25 PM
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Stoller on comity, etc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:25 PM
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128: That helps, but I'm not sure it's dispositive.

And there's a lot at stake here. If I am forced to conclude that Bush is correct and Obama is demagogue-ing an important economic issue, I fear my head might explode.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:28 PM
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129: can't trick me into reading that, Mr. Sneaky.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:29 PM
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OK, OK. Ian Welsh. They all look the same to me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:36 PM
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BTW, I know it looks like I just threw down the gauntlet and then ran away, but I'm doing real work and couldn't continue the debate with baa.

Upon reflection, I think I will back off of my assertions on a couple of points.

- neutral taxation (by which you mean?)
Worse. Pointless tax subsidies to politically connected constituencies, differential taxation of dividend income and earned income, preferential treatment of inherited wealth, etc.

- public investment in future infrastructure needs, with focus on the investments with the highest marginal returns (not much worse, but baseline is really bad)
Much worse. Huge increase in the proportion of "earmarks" in transportation bill. Tilted the balance of public spending even further in favor of road transport. Shifted transportation funding away from urban bottlenecks and toward greenfield building in Red districts.

- investment in education (same overall. the attempt through NCLB to improve hasn't done much good. Dem proposals are usually worse and represent obvious handouts, however)
Worse. Some worthwhile aspects to NCLB, but overall too much effort spent on ideological crusades (e.g. abstinence education, phonics) to the detriment of real progress.

- enforcement of contracts in impartial courts (same, to my knowledge.)
Maybe. I think it's fair to say that the net effect of Bush's judicial appointments is more to shift the balance in favor of corporations over individuals than it is to alter the balance among corporate litigants. I was actually thinking of the politicization of the justice department, which is a separate issue unrelated to disputes between parties to a contract.

- statutory protections for minority shareholders (don't know).
I defer to PMP's wisdom in 124. I was thinking of the GOP's neglect of enforcement at the SEC (except w/r/t major donors to Democrats).

- minimally distorting tax or regulatory interventions to internalize external environmental costs (no change, but still bad).
I say worse; expanded loopholes on mercury emissions from power plants, resisted common sense measures on fuel economy, pre-empted tougher state regulations

- taxpayer support for basic research in science and technology (same)
Here I have to say that the anti-science bias of the administration, including the muzzling of dissident scientists in the federal bureaucracy, counts as "worse". Also, the totally fucked up re-orientation of NASA priorities.

- phase out subsidies for primary production (didn't make much worse, but still bad)
Disagree. GWB and the GOP Congress backpedaled from the modest progress made under the "Freedom to Farm" bill. Also, subsidies for and preferential treatment for domestic timber production and domestic oil production.

- careful intervention to encourage competition in monopoly markets (don't know)
I say worse, on account of telecoms policy and media policy is controlled by incumbent interests. In fairness, too many Dems are in the thralls of the same producer cartel.

- lower barriers to international trade (not worse. hate farm bill. but you know what would be bad? rolling back NAFTA?)
I say worse. The administration could have accomplished a lot through the multilateral WTO process if it had been willing to give some ground on ag and IP. Instead, it went for "camel's nose under the tent" bilateral deals with smaller trade partners, where it could impose its will on these two negotiating objectives, which are both pretty much the opposite of free trade.

- a prudent statutory framework to balance society's interest in protecting creditors and promoting risk-taking (don't know. bankrupcy bill the big issue here on which smart people take both sides.)
I've yet to hear a disinterested smart person make the case for the bankruptcy bill that we got.

- a balanced intellectual property framework to balance society's interest in rewarding innovation and fostering the diffusion of technology (not sure what you have in mind here. GOP avoids kookiest anti-pharma policies, which counts as a plus)
The Mickey Mouse copyright bill gives 100% of the economic benefits of a creative work to the inventor (after 99 years the NPV is essentially zero). That's a bad balance in my book. Also, the exportation of some of the more extreme IP doctrines that the pharma, media, and software lobbies have dreamed up into international trade agreements.

- efficient provision of necessary public services (not sure what you have in mind here, except for Katrina.)
KBR, Blackwater, privatization of IRS collections to for-profit debt collectors that cost more to collect a dollar than in-house collection agents, extension of the private-sector student loan racket, gutting the enforcement arms of regulatory agencies (e.g. mine safety), and so on ad nauseum

- honest public procurement (worse)
agreed

- minimize public spending on low-return activities (not much worse, not much better)
I know the Iraq war is technically an off-budget emergency appropriation, but really...

- transparent government (worse, I'd bet. But I don't know)
The most obsessively secretive administration since Nixon?

- opportunities for political redress of economic grievances (what does this mean?)
Poorly worded claim. I was getting at something like "the guys with the most money don't get to dominate policy-making for their own benefit", and I contend that we've gotten worse along that dimension, from a pretty bad starting point.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:46 PM
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Good thing you got that real work wrapped up, Knecht.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:47 PM
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Good thing you got that real work wrapped up, Knecht.

If I could only figure out a way to get someone to pay me to write these comments, I'd be set!

Err, I mean, if only I could figure out a way to get someone to knowingly and willingly pay me.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:56 PM
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Consent is always the sticking point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:57 PM
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Cut-and-paste them as an appendix to your next document, with no pointers in document body. Dare you.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:58 PM
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111, 113: Don't forget long association with a former member of a left-wing terrorist group. A genuine, if incompetent, left-wing terrorist group that tried to bomb a military recruitment station, not some some pansy-ass Green who vandalized a lab that tests shampoo on rabbits, which is the only kind of left-wing terrorist we've had in 20 years. And doing cocaine or whatever it was when Obama was younger. And getting his political start in Chicago, a city with a Democratic Party infamous for supposed corruption.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:13 PM
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138: And he can't bowl for shit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:14 PM
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I turn 40 in November

I thought apo was a couple of years older than me. Now I can think of him as my (twisted, troubled) little brother.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:23 PM
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140: and you his twisted sister.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:24 PM
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Seriously, SK? You don't look a day over 35.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:27 PM
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I turned 40 in February, whippersnapper.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:28 PM
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I thought apo was a couple of years older than me. Now I can think of him as my (twisted, troubled) little brother.

Ha. For some reason I have you fixed at 26.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:28 PM
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Stoller on comity, etc.

That's not by Stoller.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:30 PM
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Stoller on comity, etc.

That's not by Stoller.

That's not comity.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:31 PM
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I turned 40 in February, whippersnapper.

Kraab and I are practically twins!!!!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:31 PM
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If you turned 40 in February and Apo turns 40 in November, that's awfully tight timing for you to be siblings.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:32 PM
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136 Consent is always the sticking point.

Don't let the Feinazis here you say that, Sufu.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:33 PM
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Irish twins, they call that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:34 PM
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Children, children.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:35 PM
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I initially read 150 to 149, and thought "Sinn Feinazis? Irish Twins? I still don't get it."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:36 PM
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148: Whaddya mean? [Insert offensive Irish twins joke here.]


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:37 PM
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There does seem to be quite a cluster of us right at 40. Didn't B just pass that marker too?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:37 PM
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Of course I was pwned by apo on that.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:37 PM
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M/tch turns 40 in August.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:38 PM
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156: I'm only a couple years behind all of you then...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:45 PM
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Seriously, SK? You don't look a day over 35.

A lot of people are totally 30s-hot through their early 40s. I don't get why 40 is considered such a dooming age. Now 45-50 on the other hand...

(Actually, seriously, this is an area where my mother's done a lot of research lately in keeping with her recent aging. She wants to redefine the major functionality peer groups from being decade-defined to mid-decade-to-mid-decade definitions)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:50 PM
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That's not comity.

And, of course, yet again, an inability to mention Iraq. Yes, it's a real puzzler why a medium energized by opposition to the Iraq War would prefer, sometimes quite strongly, the candidate who was against the Iraq War.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:51 PM
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baa 120

I am not aware of these simulations.

At the moment I cannot find the link so go ahead and call me a blowhard if you must. Grrr. One good thing is that in my search for the paper I stumbled upon "The Myth of the Free Market" and ordered it so it looks like I have come upon a good read.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:52 PM
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Now 45-50 on the other hand...

This is exactly right. In almost all the series I've seen in which someone is photographed over time, somewhere from 42-47 is when they start showing signs of being "aged." (Of course, as we've discussed, they lose the spark of youth much sooner than that.) What's Bellow's description? Death taking bites out of your face?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:54 PM
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(Of course, as we've discussed, they lose the spark of youth much sooner than that.)

Oh yeah, the spark of youth. What did I come in here for again?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:57 PM
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I eat with the spork of youth. For a laugh, I read the fark of youth. My favorite Star Trek character was the Spock of youth.

If that answers your question, Gonerill.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:00 PM
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The erection of the aging universe is fading, but it droops toward justice.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:01 PM
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160: Depending on how the model is arranged, I can see this being an emergent property. All you really need is a couple things:

1) Random noise/luck term causing perturbations in wealth or how good trades are relative to "fairness"

2) Information asymmetry or some other term that skews a slight advantage in trades to the wealthy

So long as the advantage factor has a sufficiently high coefficient (which depends on the size of the noise term and other uncorrelated effects), it can cause runaway effects after a large, but still within the realm of chance, perturbation skews wealth a little too much to one agent.

That's something which would be difficult to equate to real life, where the noise terms and other non-correlated effects are REALLY DAMN HUGE, as is the total number of agents, all of which slow down the runaway wealth-control aspects of the model drastically.

If the model is instead based upon returns-to-labor vs. returns-to-capital, I would have to think a lot more about how it could emerge that capital would end up controlling all wealth.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:06 PM
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164: what rough beast, its year come round at last,
Droops towards Jerusalem to be judged?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:10 PM
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161: God, so true. My dad is 55, and the last twenty years all seemed to hit him in the last two. My mom's only 52, and damned hot, and really has only started to look older at all within the past couple years. I think she could still pass for 35.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:13 PM
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42, but you'd never guess because of my unflagging good cheer and optimism and excellent posture. Let me tell you about the best places to get a good price on gasoline, bulk groceries, and metamucil.

So much for hanging around here to keep up with the young, apprently.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:13 PM
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In your 40s you have entirely lost the freshness of youth, without yet having gained the dignity of age. This is a good time to confess any crimes hanging over your head, because you're pretty much sexless and useless and might as well be in jail anyway. Or perhaps you should withdraw to a monastery, or join a cult. Wasting your golden years in jail is not rational scheduling.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:25 PM
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129:Heh. Can't remember if I read that at the Agonist, but it is the kind of thing I have been reading. There was one good comment in a vicious post-and thread at Yglesias, noticed one I liked at Shakes place., etc. Haven't been sharing them where they would not be accepted. Welsh needs to be excerpted:

Part of the blame will belong to us. And honestly, to me, all of this has felt mostly like high-school pack politics. Too many bloggers, just like the media we despise, wanted to be part of the pack. Wanted to be on the "right" side with their peers and friends. Damn near 50% of Democratic voters went for Clinton in the primary, but you'd never know it online. The largest pro-Obama (and not shy about it, either) blogs dwarf the size of the largest pro-Clinton blogs. I doubt the pro-Clinton blogosphere is one-tenth the size of the pro-Obama blogosphere. It's probably closer to one-twentieth.

Part of this is probably because "if it bleeds it leads". Many of the blogs supporting one side or the other have seen large increases in traffic. Not all have, mind you, but there certainly are blogs whose traffic has doubled from tossing out daily red meat.

The larger reason isn't even as understandable as traffic. It's just the instinct drilled into us that being out of step with your peer group is a really bad, and really dangerous, idea.

But that sort of group-think has combined with a self-reinforcing spiral of received truth to build to a crescendo of accusations against both sides (Racist! Sexist! Murderer!) that are going to be very hard to talk down from.

And the blogosphere, created in part to say "just put down the kool-aid" has become what it sought to end, just another part of the echo chamber, endlessly screaming horrible accusations and unable to see either the other side or the damage it was doing to the cause it claimed to believe in.

Yeah I am a trollish asshole. But an a-social trollish asshole, with a aversion to belonging anywhere, which is probably worse, but possibly useful.

Thanks for linking to that.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:30 PM
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My mother's 61, but looks much, much younger. People ask all the time if we're brother and sister, and I don't think they're just being polite.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:32 PM
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without yet having gained the dignity of age

One of the companies I recently valued produces an array of medical devices for "pelvic health". That research process swiftly eliminated any remaining illusions I had about the dignity of age.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:33 PM
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Actually, come to think of it, I think my mom looked older a couple years ago. I got engaged, and she decided to start an exercise program to lose weight before the wedding, and whatever the merits of that desire, starting your first exercise program when you're fifty does wonderful things for your muscle tone and general carriage.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:37 PM
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How could a Calamom be anything other than hott and glamorous?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:41 PM
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Both my parents were pretty young looking until their mid 50s. Now, in their late 50s, they both look their age. When I was in high school, people thought my mom was my sister. (It just occurred to me that I really don't want to know what else they thought about her. Ick.)

My face seems to have aged a lot in the past two years; I'm 34. It might just be the hard NYC living, though. (Also, until a few years ago I looked like I was about 20, so it's probably all for the best.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:54 PM
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139: he can't bowl for shit

Well, hell, it's all over then.

Dammit. I wish that could have come out in February. I bet Clinton can bowl.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:59 PM
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I don't get this. Isn't bowling something that it's okay to be hilariously inept at? When I go bowling with friends (admittedly at the hipster-retro alley in Greenpoint), it makes me happy when they are as bad as I am. Plus, bowling is a drinking sport, so how is anyone expected to be any good at it?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:02 PM
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133

"Worse. Some worthwhile aspects to NCLB, but overall too much effort spent on ideological crusades (e.g. abstinence education, phonics) to the detriment of real progress."

Why are lumping phonics with abstinence education? My understanding is that phonics works. Is whole language (like bilingual education) something liberals are obligated to support whether or not it is effective?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:16 PM
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Phonics may work, but it is also an ideological crusade.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:16 PM
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My understanding is that phonics works.

I think whether phonics or whole language works depends hugely on the individual kid, right?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:26 PM
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Why are lumping phonics with abstinence education? My understanding is that phonics works. Is whole language (like bilingual education) something liberals are obligated to support whether or not it is effective?

My amateur understanding of the issue is that the Bush Dept. of Education has steered grants toward programs that push phonics to the exclusion of all other other methods, when the professional and academic consensus is that no single method should be taught to the exclusion of others.

I don't have any brief for whole language or any other pedagogical technique, but neuroscience is not friendly to the notion of phonics as the be-all and end-all of reading instruction.

In other words, what ardent reader said.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:29 PM
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Isn't bowling something that it's okay to be hilariously inept at?

Not if you're from the midwest, you coastal elitist. And anyway, I think he bowled something like a 38, which I wouldn't have thought possible for a grown man; he must have rolled something like 80% gutter balls.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:30 PM
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I think he bowled something like a 38

That was the score. You'd almost have to be trying to miss.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:32 PM
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Wow, I thought I sucked at bowling. Wait, I do suck at bowling.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:33 PM
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You'd almost have to be trying to miss.

He was subverting the paradigm! /whirlyeyes


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:34 PM
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He was subverting the paradigm! /whirlyeyes

I suspect some Obama-backer has in fact made this argument. Cue the swoon. Seriously, 38 is weak, even in the real man's game that is candlepin.



Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:38 PM
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Abstinence and Phonics should be the name of a blog. Maybe a new blog for w-lfs-n?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:39 PM
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Abstinence and Phonics should be the name of a blog. Maybe a new blog for w-lfs-n?

No, w-lfs-n's blog would be "Absinthe and the Delphonics".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:42 PM
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Assonance and Harmonics


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:46 PM
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Nepenthe, nepenthe, absinthe, nepenthe.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:46 PM
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Fivepin bowling (in Canada) is a lot of fun, easier to play, and I'm even worse at it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:49 PM
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I'm even worse at it

You need to pitch from the full wind-up.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:51 PM
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I'm even worse at it

It's not you; it's your teammates sweeping the lane in front of your ball.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:52 PM
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49: most of those kids were socially pressured into keeping their filthy yaps shut.

This is called hegemony. It changes the game on a structural level, and it's a real win.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:54 PM
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Obama bowls: the video.

Ummm, so I can't actually vote for this guy anymore.

However! Watch GHW Bush bowl. This country never had a chance.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:57 PM
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which I wouldn't have thought possible for a grown man

That's perfect. And I agree.

he must have rolled something like 80% gutter balls

He didn't bowl out the whole game. I think he let some kids bowl after the sixth frame. I can't quite remember what a decent bowling score is, or what I bowled in general. It must have been less than 100, but it wasn't 38.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:57 PM
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Obama bowls: the video.

Gawd, that's painful. Are we sure he's black?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:59 PM
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Ask not how many points you score when you bowl, but how many people bowl with you - this is the true test of our country's democracy.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:00 PM
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I can't quite remember what a decent bowling score is

A perfect game is 300 and your average bowls-once-a-year guy will bowl a 100-120 by just flinging the ball down the lane. 38 makes more sense if he didn't finish the game, because it really is almost impossible to bowl that badly (it's still horrible).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:03 PM
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Jesus Quintana for President. That creep can roll!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:03 PM
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That really is bad. Worse than the skinny hipster dude at the Greepoint place who was too weak to even deal with the ball properly -- he sidled up to the line holding the ball in both hands and kind of shoved it forlornly at the pins. And yet he scored higher than Obama.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:04 PM
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And no, I'm not describing myself.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:05 PM
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he sidled up to the line holding the ball in both hands and kind of shoved it forlornly at the pins

I remember doing this when I was 7 or 8.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:05 PM
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But how did GHWB score? My understanding is he's a good all-around athlete.

Gawd, that's painful

It's like a Chappelle imitation of a white guy's free throw.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:06 PM
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199: I forgot about adding the next frame, etc. (It has been a while.) I must have been in the 100+ range. I wasn't good, but I wasn't embarrassing.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:07 PM
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I think he let Hamas bowl a few frames for him...


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:07 PM
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I remember doing this when I was 7 or 8.

This kid appeared to have the muscle mass of an eight-year-old, although he was about five-foot-eight and appeared to have gone through puberty. And despite his lack of bowling ability, he was accompanied by a fawning, beautiful young woman.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:10 PM
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So great. I'm pretty sure Farrakhan was scoring for a while, and wouldn't count the white pins.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:10 PM
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KR curls?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:11 PM
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bpl and I went bowling on one early-ish date, despite my warnings. Not our best date, although she was very understanding.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:11 PM
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Huh. I hadn't realized he's left-handed. And google tells me Ford, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bill Clinton were all left-handed. McCain is also left-handed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:14 PM
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At least Obama wasn't using the bumper pads in the gutters.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:14 PM
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shivbunny used to play curling in gym class as a sixth grader.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:15 PM
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John Edwards: left-handed. What is going on here?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:15 PM
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I hadn't realized he's left-handed

Maybe he's not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:16 PM
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I searched for "Quran + bowling", "Fatwa + bowling", "Imam + bowling", et cetera, to see if I could find any advice on whether bowling is permitted for Muslims. It seems to be fine; there were no links to those "ask the imam" advice sites.

Very popular in Brunei and Malaysia.

This site should be added to the sidebar of links from the Unfogged main page.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:16 PM
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What is going on here?

That is really strange.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:17 PM
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Seems like there's a recent concentration of lefties in the presidency.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:19 PM
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Hopefully all those blogs appreciate how rare it is for someone to find them by searching for "Fatwa + bowling".


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:21 PM
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McCain is lefty too, I think.

I went bowling on one early-ish date

See, the problem with going bowling as a couple is there's not enough downtime for the 'hanging out over an activity' vibe to manifest. Great double-date evening, however.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:24 PM
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The left has always been the "sinister" hand.

Left handeness and ambidexterity run in the male side of my family. My father and brother throw left and bat right. I throw right and bat left.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:25 PM
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The left has always been the "sinister" hand.

Heh. I just put up a quickie post about this at my site, and titled it Sinister.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:27 PM
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there's not enough downtime for the 'hanging out over an activity' vibe to manifest

That was one problem. Berating myself every time I left a frame open was another. I'm pretty sure that anything with a score is a bad date activity. /w-lfs-n


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:28 PM
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I'm pretty sure that anything with a score is a bad date activity.

I wouldn't go that far.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:32 PM
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I think the ladies dig guys who exhibit futile rage.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:35 PM
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I'm bad enough at bowling that I found it to be a good date. It's hard to be competitive when you're bowling for a 102.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:42 PM
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225: I sure hope so.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:49 PM
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futile rage

That's my cage fighting name.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:50 PM
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So fearful, y'all, so fearful! Open yourselves to the possibility of dates in which you say (as I did not long ago): So what are we looking at here, and why is it important, because I don't see it. Explain?

Competition is bad.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:52 PM
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No slap-boxing on a first date.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 5:59 PM
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It seems, as I suspected that Cala's parents are exactly the same age as my wife and I, except that I'm a year older than her dad. Also obviously living to a different schedule, however you pronounce that word.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 6:00 PM
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So apparently Hillary is going to suspend on Friday? Is this already in a thread somewhere?


Posted by: Brodysattva | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 6:03 PM
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Yes and no.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 7:48 PM
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Yes and no.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 7:48 PM
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Yes and no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 7:52 PM
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Yes and no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 7:53 PM
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Isn't there some whole thing about left-handers being disproportionately represented among leaders? Something that someone else can Google while I practice writing with my left hand?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:32 PM
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237: we sinister control the levers of power, Kraab. We trust our own kind. No use faking it, though; unless you have the right sort of golf clubs already you're out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:37 PM
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I always suspected the invisible hand was a lefty.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 8:40 PM
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240

M/tch turns 40 in August.

All this time, I thought he was at least 48.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:03 PM
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38 makes more sense if he didn't finish the game, because it really is almost impossible to bowl that badly (it's still horrible).

Actually, the first and only time I went bowling, one of the people I went with, whose second time bowling it was, scored about that on the first and second games.

I did surprisingly well (I thought) given the circumstances. Fun!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:06 PM
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I'm pretty sure that anything with a score is a bad date activity.

I don't know, scoring can be a good date activity.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:13 PM
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There does seem to be quite a cluster of us right at 40.

me too.

Aging takes you from the ground up. First my achilles tendon went, then my knees, then my lower back. That's where I'm at now.

Then it will be some internal organ, then my face will crater.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:22 PM
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then my face will crater.

Senex bis adolescens, eh?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 9:52 PM
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Hehe.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:02 PM
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Go on, chortle about your superior knowledge of Latin. It's a dead fucking language, people!

I would take zits if only I could have other physical characteristics of an adolescent.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:32 PM
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Cracking voice, hollow chest, gangliness due to growth spurts?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 10:56 PM
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No, blue balls. Duh.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 12:10 AM
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There you go.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 1:55 AM
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Further on the left handed presidents: in 2000, GWB became the first right-handed president elected since 1976. But the guy who actually won, Al Gore: left-handed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:35 AM
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I won't do the pause/resume routine, because this seems the active political thread. Although we bicker about its boundaries, a lot of us here are actually interested in working class voters in the rust belt, and their role in the campaign just finished and the one just starting.

In that connection, Mark Schmitt has very interesting things to say about HRC's positive appeal in the later primaries, and how successful her actual message, as opposed to so much of what we've all been talking about, appears to have been.

I know that the lessons will be hard to apply, and somewhat amorphous as the comments to Schmitt's post complain, and it's only one piece of the puzzle to be sure, but I'd far rather take this seriously and address it politically than go on about the intrinsic racism of whole regions.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:49 AM
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251:Schmitt, as usual, is excellent.

It's about a return to an imagined normal order, where individuals' thrift is matched by a comparable sense of responsibility on the part of their government. At other times, she uses the metaphor of a recent "detour," arguing that we need to get back onto the "main road" of economic policy.

Note:FDR was about "Happy Days are here Again Remember:"Return to Normalcy"

I have noted this indirectly, in saying that the Obama "Change" message was alienating to Clinton's demographic, and although not sure, at least in my mind contrasted it with a "Return" theme.

This needn't be at all classically conservative or reactionary. A "return" slogan just says that some values are worth protecting & preserving, like fairness or responsiblilty;which values and how they are renewed can be in the mind of the listener.

But "change" without a nod toward tradition can be scary as hell.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:09 AM
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Schmitt:

It is tempting to describe this modest, nostalgic, moral language as conservative, and in many ways it is. Certainly it establishes a tone that has no trace of ideology and would not put off more conservative voters. Yet it contains within it policy proposals that are as progressive as any others that emerged in the presidential campaign: universal health coverage, investment in green technologies and public jobs, access to higher education, and a reversal of some of the Bush tax cuts.

The electoral success of Clinton's message -- even if limited to one region -- is a reminder that many working-class voters are uncomfortable with big promises or the permanent struggle.

I seem to remember the famous Obama convention speech connecting to traditional shared values. Maybe he still does, I haven't paid enough attention. His policy proposals don't seem so radical, so much of a leap from Democratic tradition.

Or maybe he does intend radical change, not a shift from Bushism to solid center-leftism, but something completely new.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:21 AM
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Finally, a commenter:

Obama may be well ahead here. An excerpt from the prologue of Audacity:

"[W]hat struck me was how modest people's hopes were, and how much of what they believed seemed to hold constant across race, region, religion, and class. Most of them thought that anybody willing to work should be able to find a living wage. They figured that people shouldn't have to file for bankrupcy just because they got sick. They believed that every child should have a genuinely good education -- that it shouldn't be just a bunch of talk -- and that those same children should be able to go to college even if their parents weren't rich. They wanted to be safe, from criminals and terrorists; they wanted clean air, clean water, and time with their kids. And when they got old, they wanted to be able to retire with some dignity and respect.

"That was about it. It wasn't much.And although they understood that how they did in life depended mostly on their own efforts... they figured that government should help."

Posted by: Brian Rose | Jun 5, 2008 9:26:32 AM

But he didn't choose that theme in the primaries. I think it was intentional, that the Yglesias Demographic Obama was going after needed a "Change" theme and would be alienated by a "return" theme. Maybe Obama will adjust as he runs in the general. We'll see.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:27 AM
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252: Trivial correction, but don't let me stop you when you are on a roll:

"Return to Normalcy" was Warren G Harding's slogan, you know, returning to scandals and conspiracy theories of being poisoned by your wife.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:51 AM
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255: But it's a good roll.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:53 AM
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256: Oh I agree, I think we are seeing a possible 'agonizing reappraisal' of Obama going on. But, shhhhhh, he might hear us.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:58 AM
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I think it was intentional, that the Yglesias Demographic Obama was going after needed a "Change" theme and would be alienated by a "return" theme.

I think it's simpler than that, really. A "return" theme would indicate "returning" to the last Democratic administration. "Change" indicates change from both GWB and WJC/HRC (and, for that matter, GHWB and RWR); when the "normalcy" you're talking about is 40, 50, 70 years in the past, a significant number of voters are going to read a return to that place as "change".

Oops, sorry 257. Shhhhhh!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:03 AM
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The other thing about a "return to better days" theme not working great for Obama in the primaries is that the most recent better days were under the Clinton administration.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:06 AM
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The "Change" theme covers an entire constellation of policies. Of course he was running against Clinton and what is perceived as Clintonism, but for instance the negotiatin' with baddies stuff is not that far from the President Bill Clinton policies. Saying so, while running against HRC might have been counterproductive.

OTOH, deep cuts in defense spending would be a change.

I revisited the "bitter" speech, although not the revisions. Would have taken a closer reading than I am in the mood for today. In any case, I am more interested in where Obama goes from here, now that he is no longer directly running against Clinton.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:42 AM
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