Re: More email

1

Did it say "Pacing"?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 4:04 PM
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Obama up by ten in Virginia. Six in North Carolina. Eight nationwide. 100+ electoral votes. McCain is getting desparate. Should be interesting tomorrow night.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 4:11 PM
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Republican pollster says it's over for McCain: "The economic situation has virtually ended John McCain's presidential aspirations and no amount of tactical maneuvering in the final 29 days is likely to change that equation."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 5:16 PM
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I'm pretty sure McCain is toast, but the lunatics could stir up enough hatred to make the country well-nigh ungovernable, probably.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 5:18 PM
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It's going to get really, really ugly. Look for something truly awful from Corsi and his bunch of turds.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 5:23 PM
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I can't believe they didn't point out that radical Obama is more liberal than even the Socialist Bernie Sanders. WEAK.

I like the fact that Obama won the nomination by exploiting the "loophole" of winning more delegates by winning states by large margins. Diabolical. And why lie and say that HRC won 8 of the last 10 primaries? Not even close.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 5:25 PM
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Senator Obama, I'm just curious about something. Your family seems pretty prosperous. Why do you think your children deserve preferential treatment over, say, my children, just because of the color of their skin?


Posted by: John McCain | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 5:28 PM
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Senator Obama plans to use the loophole of winning more electoral votes to steal the Presidency, despite his upcoming losses in the true heartland states of America such as Texas and Alaska.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 5:37 PM
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I hope Obama shames McCain tomorrow night for this racist bullshit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 5:40 PM
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racist bullshit

Bullshit, maybe. It is a political contest after all. But how do you read racist?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 5:43 PM
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Hey, who knew that Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, and Rev. Wright were black? Just a coincidence.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 6:06 PM
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I saw Farrakhan and Wright mentioned. Also William Ayers and Ted Kennedy. I didn't know they were black. Also, Ahmadinejad is just a little dark, so I guess that's OK. I don't recall Malcolm X anywhere in the piece.

Point being, just because I say nasty things about a black man doesn't mean I am a racist, just that I am trying to win an election.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 6:13 PM
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Interesting, I just read a piece of wingnut propaganda that talked about how Obama's favorite model growing up was MalcolmX, but I guess it was a different one. (Also talked about how Obama pronounces Pakistan the Muslim way- anyone else see it? Ah, here it is, conservapedia.)
Anyway, the goal is to make Obama= black Muslim scary terrorist liberal. Therefore Obama = Wright Farrakhan Ayers Ahmadinejad Kennedy. The first four of those are arguably racist (Ayers is white, but these days terrorist=Muslim.) And yes, racism isn't just he's black, but also he's other scary dark people with strange names.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 6:37 PM
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I think if the only way they can think of to win is to use the strategy of a defeated opponent, Obama's in pretty good shape.

Wrongshore about to imitate max

['Remember the Horton']


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 6:42 PM
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Well, I'm at a loss then on how one could legitimately point out that a candidate has some supporters of questionable background, who happen to be black.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 6:44 PM
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I remember Ben trying to explain how he got on their mailing list, but I can't find it in the archives.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 6:54 PM
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Well, I'm at a loss then on how one could legitimately point out that a candidate has some supporters of questionable background, who happen to be black.

Surely part of the theory here is that some of them count as 'questionable background' only because they're black. I also think that 'seekrit Muslim terrorist' is not 'What ho, I legitimately object to the policy and public positions of his distant supporters.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:04 PM
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Such exquisite pacing..


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:08 PM
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I think if the only way they can think of to win is to use the strategy of a defeated opponent, Obama's in pretty good shape.

Um, the Horton ad was used against Dukakis. Bush I wasn't defeated until four years later.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:13 PM
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Al Gore mentioned the Massachusetts furlough program in a debate against Dukakis early in the 1988 presidential campaign.

In this analogy, Al Gore is playing the role of Hillary Clinton.

Banned!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:18 PM
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Ayers was a legit terrorist, though not Muslim. Doesn't it still count? In my mind the only association that counts as racist is Wright, because his notariety is from a sermon taken out of context.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:20 PM
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It all builds together, though, TLL. If it was just the Ayers thing in isolation, sure, it's not racist, they're just very, very concerned bullshit artists. But that combined with the 'very dangerous' plus the sermon taken out of context (It's actually a nice sermon if you listen to the whole thing) plus the you-know-his-father-is-Muslim-and-they-don't-convert-ooga-booga plus the Michelle-is-a-sekrit-affirmative action radical, and it looks like a strategy to paint that Barack HUSSEIN Obama dude as this foreign terrorist (and it just so happens he's black.)

I don't care overly much whether that counts as true racism or not, but I'd be interested to see the definition of racism that makes it so implausible.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:24 PM
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I don't look forward to the day when criticizing the President is racist, but there you go.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:27 PM
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21: Ayers was a legit terrorist, though not Muslim.

What is this, Discovered Terrorist Syndrome? And not Muslim. Shocking!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:28 PM
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Ayers was a legit terrorist

As was his wife, Bernardine Dohrn. You're all sexist for leaving her out.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:28 PM
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Boom! We are all terrorists, each in our own way.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:29 PM
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23: Yes Black Presidents always have it so fucking easy. Pisses me off.

And Cala is right the whole sermon was a stirring piece of perfectly reasonable rhetoric, churned into bigotry and lies by the desperate criminal liars of the Republican/"conservative" hate corps.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:31 PM
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God knows why -- maybe its the Gullible Is Not In The Dictionary-brand pills I swallow every morning -- but I thought that if this wasn't McCain's year that he would lose with honor. (I also thought McCain had the best shot of any Republican because people would feel a little bad voting against him. If my neighbor -- America's Swing Voter -- is any indication, that is no longer the case.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:32 PM
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25: Actually his first partner/girlfriend was killed while making a bomb.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:32 PM
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Senator Obama, I'm just curious about something. Your family seems pretty prosperous. Why do you think your children deserve preferential treatment over, say, my children, just because of the color of their skin?

My children are likely to get far more preferential treatment because I'm a U.S. Senator than any affirmative action program has ever provided, just as you, the son and grandson of admirals, benefited from unearned opportunities throughout your military career. That's the unfortunate reality. Affirmative action is intended to give children from less favored backgrounds a decent chance, so that a kid like Barack Obama can grow up to compete on an equal footing with a kid like John McCain. I believe that's a good thing.

/Barry O


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:33 PM
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Black Presidents always have it so fucking easy

Well, I think that all the ones we have had so far have had it pretty easy. Except Clinton, but he wasn't really black.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:36 PM
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I don't look forward to the day when criticizing the President is racist, but there you go.

No way you get that out of what I said if you read the words.

Criticisms are fine, but even you've acknowledged that this isn't criticism, but campaign bullshit (cf, #10). Let us ruminate on the distinctions between criticism of a sitting President's policies and campaign bullshit about whether the guy hates America because his preacher gave a sermon.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:38 PM
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Actually his first partner/girlfriend was killed while making a bomb.

Yeah. God, that's so pathetic. How old was she? Well, she was a terrorist too. Or a would-be terrorist, at any rate.

Has anyone else seen that documentary on the Weather Underground? A fascinating glimpse into a world (or a world within a world, I guess) gone mad.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:39 PM
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And the key development this weekend and today is that although e-mails like this have been circulating for a year+, now the campaign itself is going there full speed ahead. And I suspect they will continue, because once you start down this road you need to go the Full Monty for it to be effective. They will probably get a lot of press criticism at the start (from the not completely-in-the-tankers), interesting to see if they bull on through with it to the bitter end.

I will say yet again the debate has a compelling story going in.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:44 PM
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30

... Affirmative action is intended to give children from less favored backgrounds a decent chance, ...

Actually it isn't, it is intended to increase the representation of underrepresented ethnic groups. Which is why it is based on ethnicity and not class.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:46 PM
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3

This sounds plausible.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:47 PM
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33: I really do think the appellation of "terrorist" is loaded and inappropriate in this context. It is not the way it was conceptualized and viewed at the time. (Not saying they were not nuts, misguided, violent, naive etc.) It's use now brings shades of meaning that are loaded and misleading. Any serious use from this point on should be considered trolling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:48 PM
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I expect TLL's equanimity to survive this election unscathed, no matter how bad it gets. At some point he may graciously concede that McCain went slightly over the line, and we'll thank him for that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:50 PM
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I'm afraid, Minivet, that the explanation isn't likely to be very satisfying.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 7:59 PM
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I really do think the appellation of "terrorist" is loaded and inappropriate in this context.

I'm open to other possible appellations. I'm not interested in any term which glosses over the violence, though, nor the violence of the intent.

Too absurd, and too absurdly constraining, to now define any use of the term "terrorist" as "trolling."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:16 PM
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Whatever else he mgiht be, TLL is not demented, incoherent, and foul.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:16 PM
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Also talked about how Obama pronounces Pakistan the Muslim way

It's worse even than that. He personally lived with an actual Pakistani.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:19 PM
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40: Too absurd, and too absurdly constraining, to now define any use of the term "terrorist" as "trolling."

I meant specifically to refer to William Ayers. Do not mean to gloss the violence. But I do want to point out that the term "terrorist" is right now being used consciously by a demented, unethical racist campaign as a dog whistle aimed at folks like PA and Ohio working class Catholics (whom you are so in tune with, and among whom I have lived most of my life, so we both probably have some inkling of what might or might not work ). It is a conscious, cynical strategy to drive people apart and subconsciously appeal to their worst instincts.

So you can either sign up and be part of this deliberate strategy of "othering" Barack Obama by continuing to use "terrorist" to describe Ayers or you can choose not to. I for one will interpret any use here of the term for Ayers et al as concern trolling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:40 PM
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nor the violence of the intent

Which was to do violence to property, upon which property depended various facets of the wars in Southeast Asia.

If we're going to be specific about the intent, that's fair, isn't it? And I think it distinguishes them from every terrorist in the world today, who universally intend to kill humans with their terrorist acts.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:41 PM
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I think "bomber" is a more accurate word than terrorist.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:45 PM
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45: For instance this just out from the PA GOP: OBAMA - A TERRORIST'S BEST FRIEND.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:47 PM
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You know, I'm feeling confident that the only voters stupid enough to fall for this shit are already voting for McCain.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:49 PM
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47: It is not really about "falling for it". So, yes the people who swallow it hook, line and sinker are already in the bag. For everyone else this is about creating an aura of "otherness" around Obama, reinforced by "elitist", "liberal", "don't say black" etc., that a) attempts to change the dialogue in the media and at the water cooler and b) helps pave the way for other more "sane" avenues of attack. Don't listen and respond to this with your forebrain, this goes to the inner lizard.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:54 PM
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I can't figure out how on earth enough people know who William Ayers is to make it stick. I had no idea who he was before they trotted his name out the last time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:57 PM
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Perfect set-up for the inevitable Bin Laden video. Lying scum.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:57 PM
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McCAIN/PALIN 2008: AT LEAST THEY'RE WHITE


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 8:58 PM
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Wrongshore about to imitate max
['Remember the Horton']

Heh. But in 1988, the Elder Bush was just using that to pound down Dukakis' lead. So they could afford some subtlety. In '92, on the other hand, Bush couldn't wrap his brain around the idea of people voting against him (because he had beaten Hitler Saddam!), and Ross Perot was eating his lunch. So he was just as surprised as anybody when he lost.

This time, the R's are operating under no illusions about their popularity, so it's pull out all the old skool Dixiecrat tricks. I've been figuring come about Halloween, the ads they'll be running will be something like: 'What? Can you believe it? White people are actually going vote for a n*****????'

It'll be precisely clear that they mean exactly that even if they don't use the word (not that I would be surprised if they did). And John McCain will be fine with that, since he's from Florida, and good God, how could anybody vote for a n***** over a POW?

Hell, he telegraphed it at the debate. Back in Mayish, I'll bet he even figured that when push came to shove, if he ran his campaign right, there was no way he could lose to either Hillary or Obama.

So, we have not yet plumbed the depths of ugly.

max
['And he's still gonna to lose! HUZZAH!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:02 PM
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47,49: I don't think it will "work" this year. Where "work" means win the election for McCain/Palin. But it still ratchets up the hate and sets the context and tone for political violence.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:03 PM
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49: They don't. Some 60-year-old dude who turned himself into the Feds 20-ish years before supporting Obama isn't nearly as scary as 'fugitive terrorist.' (Not really a good fugitive with the whole letting everyone know where he works bit, eh?)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:05 PM
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Holy Crap! Caught stealing home!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:16 PM
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I think more, suicide squeeze and batter f***ed up by missing it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:19 PM
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So you can either sign up and be part of this deliberate strategy of "othering" Barack Obama by continuing to use "terrorist" to describe Ayers or you can choose not to.

But I thought the idea was that Obama actually has no real association with Ayers to speak of in the first place, in which case, I guess it doesn't really matter how I, or anyone else, might choose to describe Ayers?

When I first heard of Ayers, through the documentary on the Weather Underground that I mention upthread, I had never even heard of Obama, btw. And I thought Ayers, and his wife, and various of his associates, did very much qualify for the term "domestic terrorist," no question about that at all. And I also thought they were a small group of interesting, but misguided, and also rather creepy, people, but a good subject for a documentary. And I still think that, yeah, I'm sorry, but I still do.

But I'll shut up about this until the day after the election, I guess. I (selfishly) can't wait for Obama to win this thing, just so I can speak freely again. The new rules and regulations governing political speech have just about got my head in a spin.

Yeah, working-class Catholic I do know, but I'm not responsible for every last lunch-bucket vote in PA and Ohio, FFS. And mostly I think the "racist voter" theme has got it mostly wrong, anyway. Or, if not outright wrong, then at least significantly askew.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:20 PM
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56: holy crap either way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:20 PM
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See, this is what I tried to tell you people back in the spring, but did you listen? No, and now we have a choice between this incredibly dangerous radical and an unstable, senile warmonger.

PS - JBay, Real AmericanCanadian Hero.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:23 PM
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WOOOOOOOOOO


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:24 PM
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55: If broadcast television prevents me from watching the game on mlb.tv, then broadcast television is morally obligated to bring me the game, don't you think? And yet.

HOLY CRAP! IN YR FACE ANGELS!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:24 PM
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And Roth's friend Bay wins it. Excellent, and I'm thinking we ought to pitch in and get Roth a Bay jersey from his current posting.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:26 PM
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LOWRIIIIEEEE!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:26 PM
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MC, tell us what term you support for describing McCain friend and ally G. Gordon Liddy, and we can talk.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:26 PM
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Sadly, the bouncing of the White Sox has indicated that comments about the fake Sox team should be immediately deleted. I'm just kidding of course. OR AM I?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:28 PM
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Thanks again for Bay, JR. CC, count me in on the jersey.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:28 PM
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Ayers was a terrorist. Which isn't meant to imply that the word terrorist has a static meaning. In other words, it's probably fair to consider that when the McCain camps calls Ayers a terrorist today they're conjuring a very different meaning than MC has in mind when she uses the word. They are, I imagine, implicitly trying to link Obama to Islamic extremists, a move abetted by the fact that nobody knows who Ayers was/is and many people think that Obama might well be a seekrit mooslim.

Speaking of present v. past tense, Ayers is a pretty good guy these days, no?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:29 PM
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61: I'm developing a theory that the real reason that the NFL has become the dominant league is that it was the last one to have all its games on free TV. I grew up loving hockey, but I hardly care now, because I never ever get to see it on TV, and I can't afford tix (plus why would I buy tix to see a team I know nothing about?). I'll be a baseball fan to the grave, plus it's awesome on radio, but I haven't seen the Pirates on TV in 5+ years. Will Iris really turn into a fan based on 3-5 games/year in person plus background radio? I have my doubts.

Nice job, MLB/NHL/NBA*.

* My theory deals with the NBA by noting that its fortunes ebb and flow with the presence of super high profile stars that do, in fact, get a decent amount of free TV time.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:31 PM
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And mostly I think the "racist voter" theme has got it mostly wrong, anyway. Or, if not outright wrong, then at least significantly askew.

And I somewhat agree with that. It is however, certainly *one* component in the whole "otherness" package that they are trying to tie onto Obama. They all help to reinforce each other in 'not like you" way.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:32 PM
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Which isn't meant to imply that the word terrorist has a static meaning. In other words, it's probably fair to consider that when the McCain camps calls Ayers a terrorist today they're conjuring a very different meaning than MC has in mind when she uses the wor

I'm not unconvinced this whole Ayers thing is designed to let the left get itself into a debate about what defines terrorism, a debate that we already had, but they'd eat it up if we did so.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:33 PM
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G. Gordon Liddy only planned on murdering journalists. Totally different.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:35 PM
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70: double negative may not have avoided tripping you up with the "but", there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:36 PM
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67: Ayers was a terrorist

Yeah, wow. Big fucking deep truth from history boy. But then of course there are for more specific terms and descriptions that applied back then and now. But why not just use the generic term that has been cynically coƶpted by cynical politicians attempting to scare the populace?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:37 PM
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My understanding is that Palin didn't even use the name "Ayers" in discussiing Obama palliing around with terrorists. But Mary C is no doubt right - nothing racist worth mentioning here. Probably just an oversight on Palin's part.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:38 PM
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72: I'm admittedly chest-cold sick. How long have you been preying on the sick, Sifu?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:39 PM
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68 -- They don't show Pirates games? We have the Nats on broadcast every week it seems.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:39 PM
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Speaking of present v. past tense, Ayers is a pretty good guy these days, no?

God love ya', Ari, but no. I've read his blog, and I'm pretty sure he's not a pretty good guy at all at all. Smug, self-satisfied, self-aggrandizing, and smarmily self-referential, but let's be honest here, he has no remorse for the bombs he once threw, and he's a privileged, upper-middle-class white guy who got to dabble in the revolutionary politics of the propaganda of the deed, but without ever having to face the consequences of what that might have entailed. He and his wife now live in a spacious and tastefully appointed townhouse in Hyde Park, or so I'm told.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:40 PM
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G. Gordon Liddy only planned on murdering journalists. Totally different.

Yeah, but Ayers didn't repent his evil, and was permitted to serve on the board of a public institution, whereas Liddy has frequently expressed his sorrow, and has maintained a studiously low profile.

Oh, wait. Never mind.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:40 PM
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73: Just to clarify, are you serious?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:41 PM
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He and his wife now live in a spacious and tastefully appointed townhouse in Hyde Park, or so I'm told.

The horror!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:43 PM
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79: About what? YES I AM FUCKING SERIOUS.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:43 PM
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77: Fair enough. I honestly haven't spent much time looking into his career, thus the question mark at the end of the sentence in 67.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:44 PM
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81: Oh, okay then. Maybe you could take a minute to re-read 67, in which I basically agree with most of what you say, before you jump down my throat.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:46 PM
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77: Jesus Christ. Cry me a goddamn grievance river why don't you MC? And the "no repentance thing is far overblown by the nutters. Look, I don't mean to defend the guy too far. But my God, who cares?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:47 PM
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83: Yes, I know I am bit into Mcmanus performance art mode here tonight, and I see that your larger point is pretty much in line with mine. Just annoyed that they have trapped us all into having this freaking discussion.


Posted by: JP "Terrorist in my Heart" Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:50 PM
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MC, would you agree that `Bush pals around with terrorists', given he's met Gerry Adams, would be offensive and inaccurate?

I.e, the main point is to get `obama' and `terrorist' in the same sentence; part of the contra-argument is to never say them in the sentence, given that it's a baseless smear.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:51 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:52 PM
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Be the change you want to see, JP.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:52 PM
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73: I was at a university at the time, Ayers and his ilk were anxietists at best if the reactions of many New Yorkers to 9/11 was "terror".

However, the Sixties idiots tried for terror so that counts for a punch or two in their terrorist ticket. As for Mary Catherine, a few years in a re-education camp should straighten her out.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:53 PM
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85: No problem. I just couldn't figure out what I did to elicit your response.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:55 PM
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I'm with JP on this one. If you want to call Ayers a terrorist, you'd better be painting with a brush wide enough to include McCain and Bush.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:55 PM
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If I'm reading you correctly, MC, it's not so much the terrorism that bothers you as it is the tastefully appointed townhouse in Hyde Park.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:56 PM
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92: it's not the tastefulness as much as the spaciousness. If there were any justice, he'd have a murphy bed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:58 PM
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The problem here is that we're conflating the word "terrorist," which was long associated with domestic political violence, with "terrist," which specifically refers to swarthy Muslim sorts. Ayers was a terrorist, but not, as the McCain/Palin campaign is trying to elide, a terrist.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 9:59 PM
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93: In a shared dorm room with W-lfs-n. Sorry, Ben.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:00 PM
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94: ah the or-eliding smear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:00 PM
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"he's a privileged, upper-middle-class white guy who got to dabble in the revolutionary politics of the propaganda of the deed, but without ever having to face the consequences of what that might have entailed. He and his wife now live in a spacious and tastefully appointed townhouse in Hyde Park, or so I'm told."

So, a lot like the rest of us, then.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:01 PM
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97: Wait, domestic terrorism is now swipple?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:03 PM
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And as to G. Gordon Liddy: not a name that resonates with memories of my childhood or anything, but as best I can make out, he's the paranoid conspiracy theorist who once killed a rat and ate it in order to conquer his fear of vermin? Crazy!! And an argument for American exceptionalism, for real and for sure.

Now, far be it from me, a mere Canadian, to lecture youse on your constitutional arrangements or anything, but has it ever occurred to any of you good people that you might have done better had your founding fathers just adopted the British parliamentary model in the first place? Just asking, of course, and no judgment, needless to say.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:03 PM
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90: And so to bed.

As partial explanation, I have been carefully nurturing small Obama flames in a number of wavering soccer moms, dads and co-workers here in PA. I have managed to talk them down from Palinmania etc. (with an able assist from Palin herself), but I fear this type of thing unchecked can become the metaphorical big bunch of snow on a spruce branch waiting to come down and snuff out my little flames. (Don't think it is going to happen, media climate better than in 2004 for instance, but it gets to a place beyond my ability to connect with many of these folks.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:04 PM
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I think we have to know which block in Hyde Park the house is on to properly judge the moral depravity.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:05 PM
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And heaven forfend a blog be smug, self-satisfied, self-aggrandizing, and smarmily self-referential!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:06 PM
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I think we have to know which block in Hyde Park the house is on to properly judge the moral depravity.

Is there one in which the streets are paved with the bones of orphans?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:06 PM
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I don't live in a spacious or tastefully appointed townhouse.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:07 PM
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97: Wait, domestic terrorism is now swipple?

I make my bombs from handcrafted local African-American powder.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:08 PM
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Is there one in which the streets are paved with the bones of orphans?

Yes, but Ayers lives a couple blocks over, on a street paved with the bones of spat-upon Vietnam vets.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:08 PM
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99: but has it ever occurred to any of you good people that you might have done better had your founding fathers just adopted the British parliamentary model in the first place?

Certainly. Our election process has become the democracy-killer.

Actually, it probably worked better for quite a while to have the change, but maybe they should have put in a crazification or simple time-delay clause that would switch over to the parliamentary system based on either certain pre-conditions or after xxx years. Hari Seldon would have thought of it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:08 PM
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Is there one in which the streets are paved with the bones of orphans?

That would be Harper between 57th and 59th.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:09 PM
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Liddy was a thug in the employ of the Nixon administration, who organized the burglary of the DNC headquarters at the Watergate hotel. He also advised the Nixon administration to firebomb the Brookings think tank, and to kidnap anti-war protestors and smuggle them out of the country, but cooler heads (i.e. not Dick Cheney's) prevailed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:10 PM
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Maybe if the Brits hadn't been engaged in demonstrating the limitations of their own model at the time....


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:10 PM
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Now, far be it from me, a mere Canadian, to lecture youse on your constitutional arrangements or anything

(Psst, MC, speaking as your fellow Canadian, if you're wondering why these grumpy Yanks get mad at you sometimes, you could do worse than considering the impact of the above rhetorical tic. Just saying.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:12 PM
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Au contraire, Ari, that didn't bother me at all. It's because my first and only loyalty is to Hyde Park.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:13 PM
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One problem with bringing up Liddy is that he's also (kind of inexplicably) pretty good friends with Al Franken.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:13 PM
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I mean, if we're doing the whole "if you ever nodded at somebody who was in the same room as you it is fair game to define you as exactly that person at their worst moment" thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:14 PM
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I've never been in the same room as you, Sifu, so you're safe.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:15 PM
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He also advised the Nixon administration to firebomb the Brookings think tank

You know, the thing that gets me about the plan to firebomb the Brookings Institute is what Liddy intended to accomplish. Most people who come up with a plan to firebomb something, they want to threaten or intimidate or sow terror. Not Liddy: he wanted to firebomb the Institute so he could send in agents dressed as firefighters to plant documents in the wreckage. Crackhead.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:16 PM
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Rather, it is you who should be concerned if you've been in the same room as me! For I have been in the same room as some people who are abjectly unqualified by both criminal record and criminal tendency to be President.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:17 PM
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113: Why oh why couldn't you have waited until after the election to mention that? I was thinking of donating some money to Franken's campaign.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:17 PM
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I once shot a man in Reno to watch him die. Turns it's harder than it sounds, though. He got better.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:18 PM
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Did you all see the Slacktivist post elucidating the Obama/Ayers connection? Turns out Tim Robbins and Steve Buscemi are also implicated.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:19 PM
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114: Actually I think one of the best defenses I've seen to this was brought up by a Kos diarist, staunch Repub multimillionaire Walter Annenberg (and others) had far more extensive ties to Ayers. Doesn't quite connect at the old lizard brain level, however (also he's Jewish, but not an Israeli).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:19 PM
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Turns out Tim Robbins and Steve Buscemi are also implicated.

As far as most 'wingers are concerned, Robbins is a bonus. Buscemi, OTOH, used to be a firefighter and rejoined his old company right after 9/11 to help with recovery work at Ground Zero. Watch their heads explode.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:22 PM
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It seems like we should be able to come up with better Hyde Park association-guilt smears.

"Barack Obama's neighborhood in Chicago is home to Cholie's Pizza #2, a McDonald's, and a Harold's Chicken Shack. Barack Obama: Wrong on nutrition, wrong for America."


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:22 PM
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Nevertheless, Walt, you successfully shot him with that purpose.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:22 PM
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Oh, Cholie's. There's something I would have preferred never to think of again.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:24 PM
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But on the other hand, Otto, Obama learned everything he knows, and everything he needs to know, about transparency in government in Hyde Park, lunching at Valois.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:25 PM
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Much like Russia and Alaska, Hyde Park and Kenwood are separated only by a narrow border, so if Louis Farrakhan rears his head in Hyde Park air space, Obama will be prepared.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:26 PM
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Why thank you, Ben. Hearing that is good for my self-esteem.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:26 PM
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I shot a man in Reno just to obtain the self-esteem boost watching him die would have entailed, and although he did not die, my self-esteem was raised somewhat by realizing that I had taken the aforementioned positive step towards self-esteem raising.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:30 PM
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I now make a living touring the country, speaking to business groups. I have a detailed Powerpoint presentation giving my 5 steps to success by the proven method of shooting a man and Reno to watch him die.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:33 PM
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Don't shoot Reno.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:34 PM
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I'll shoot motherfucking Boston if I have to. This shit's serious.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:36 PM
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Terrist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:39 PM
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Reno may try to make excuses, but that's just a ruse.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:39 PM
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Once, on a trip to Reno, some asshole ran up to me on the street and shot me. At first, all the doctors thought I would die, but I eventually recovered. It was a real pain in the ass, though. If I ever track down the fucker who did that to me I will have a civil discussion with him in which I explain the many ways that being shot made my life difficult, in the hope that he will come to see the error of his ways and we can reconcile.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:42 PM
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I dyed a man near Reno just to watch him do shots.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:47 PM
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I short Ferdinand de Saussure, not to watch him die, but as an arbitrary sign best understood synchronically in relation to other arbitrary signs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:49 PM
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Shit. Short s/b shot.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:49 PM
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105 and 107 made me laugh.

My father, whose fancy-free Springtime emails about Obama's sekrit mohamettan beliefs have since been downgraded to oh-so-collected editorials by one of the preacher Grahams about how Obama seems to be a good lad but maybe a bit too full of himself and, in recent weeks, ceased altogether, didn't once mention my Obama magnets when I visited this weekend except to bring up Obama's visit to Asheville in a way that suggested that there need be zero rancor between us over politics. It was so nice, after having a couple of random and really unpleasant run-ins with strangers and near-strangers on Saturday, to find out that not all of us are engaged in a culture war and it's still OK for two people to think differently and like one another. I had assumed my father, who normally refuses to discuss politics on the grounds he has no right to tell anyone else what to think, must be a rabid Obama hater if he was willing to forward emails about him.

Now instead I am led to wonder whether my father's genuine and utter disgust at overt racism is making him consider voting for Obama just to piss off bigots; it would be nice if his desire for racial parity overcame his religious small-mindedness.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:52 PM
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138: by the seashore.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:52 PM
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I know a guy that bought a house in reno to avoid the tax consequences of HP buying his soul.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:54 PM
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I think it is Arabs that are shot by the seashore, because of the glare of the sun.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:55 PM
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I short Ferdinand de Saussure because I heard from my cousin Frank that Ferdinand is heavily invested in questionable mortgage-backed securities and I figure I'd better play it safe since I don't really know whether the Ridiculous Names Bailout Bill of 2008 will do anything.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 10:55 PM
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In the early 21st century, remarkable developments in structured finance allowed investors to begin placing bets on everything from volatility to dead semioticians.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:00 PM
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if you're wondering why these grumpy Yanks get mad at you sometimes, you could do worse than considering the impact of the above rhetorical tic.

Yeah, but Ari, I'm nobody, and I have no power, so if anyone pretends to care what I have to say, they're already admitting to some sort of weakness, of course. Show your strength and pay me no mind!

And as to the Gerry Adams example upthread, is this some sort of trick question or something? No, I don't think Adams was ever a threat to the American polity, but then again, I don't think he ever was meant to be. False equivalence, really.

I got pulled over at Heathrow once, btw, and me a loyal subject of the Crown. But I had admitted I was just passing through England on my way to Ireland, and they were suspicious enough that they wanted to know a little bit more. "So you're going to visit family, are you?" And this said not in a friendly way, no, not friendly at all, but in a way that made me realize I was already under suspicion, though of God knows what,...well yeah, I guess I did know that deal. My knees shook, I don't mind admitting, but I knew I was innocent of all implied charges, so I put on a brave face and attempted to forge ahead. 'I'm just a Canadian!' I wanted to say, but of course I knew it was a little bit more complicated than that. I was pissed off, obviously, but I recognized there was a logic to my being singled out, rather than someone from Venezuala or Sweden or wherever.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:06 PM
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The values of the latter instruments are often highly ramsified by other market transactions.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:07 PM
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I think one of the fastest times I've ever decided "I don't like this person" was when some new student at the U of C declared, sans context, "I just love seminotics!" [sic].


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:09 PM
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And as to the Gerry Adams example upthread, is this some sort of trick question or something? No, I don't think Adams was ever a threat to the American polity, but then again, I don't think he ever was meant to be. False equivalence, really.

Who said anything about threats to the American polity? The word in question was "terrorists", not "domestic terrorists".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:11 PM
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You may not realize it, but 146 is very funny.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:13 PM
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You could have put "ramsified" in bold, if you're inclined to think we're too dull to get your clever joke.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:14 PM
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has it ever occurred to any of you good people that you might have done better had your founding fathers just adopted the British parliamentary model in the first place?

Repeatedly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:15 PM
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150: You have shamed me.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:16 PM
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||

So once upon a time there was this post over at the Poor Man's, which had this really crazy disco video. It was mega cheesy, with stars in the background, hypnotic dancing, and two blonde (swedish?) singers, male and female. The guy was notable for having the same haircut as he-man when he was being mild-mannered prince whoever. They were singing about love or something. Anyway, I can't find it, and have no better idea of what to search for than "crazy disco video". Anyone remember this?

|>


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:17 PM
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hah! just found it. Who knew that simply searching for "disco" would work?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:19 PM
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Who knew that simply searching for "disco" would work?

Yeah, who knew? But it's a crazy old world, and google knows it, I guess.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:23 PM
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138+144: I shorted a bank just to watch it die.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:24 PM
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154: So, this one? 'Cause it never occurred to me before that "disco" is short for "discourse".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:26 PM
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157, yeah, that one. Apparently, "disco" only appears in the comments, but that's enough for good ole google.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:28 PM
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still, I hope you now appreciate the 70s better.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:29 PM
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Now, far be it from me, a mere Canadian, to lecture youse on your constitutional arrangements or anything, but has it ever occurred to any of you good people that you might have done better had your founding fathers just adopted the British parliamentary model in the first place? Just asking, of course, and no judgment, needless to say.

Nope. At the time, the parliamentary model still required being ruled by a king or queen, and nobles to populate the House of Lords, both of which were right out. Also at the time, the parliamentary model was not as widely used and successful as it is now; afaik Britain was the only example.

Furthermore, the issue where small states have disproportionate influence in the Senate was a required condition for the small states to agree to confederation; they were naturally and rightly worried about being forced to knuckle under to the larger states. There was no way for them to predict how far mechanization of agriculture and urbanization would go to change the population ratio between big states and small states.

Finally, for Canadians with their dreams of mediocrity, being like the British but less so is a reasonable course of action. But someone has to try to advance the state of human affairs, and all things considered I think that we're better off that the American founders gave it a try.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:43 PM
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Of course it wasn't a trick question -- the point is that you can up with technically true but misleading descriptions of all sorts of actions -- eg, `Bush meets terrorist'. Nobody would use that as the description, because it'd be substantially misleading.

Basically, names are difficult, and just saying `Ayers was a terrorist' may not be wrong but still be confusing.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:45 PM
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Er, can come up with.

At the time, the parliamentary model still required being ruled by a king or queen

I think that's false -- Interregnum England, and bits of Dutch history.

I think the Founders thought they were getting a Parliamentary model -- after all, the Westminster model only dates from 1911 in finished form, and there's plenty evolutionary change in 2 centuries from a reasonably common ancestor.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-08 11:50 PM
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There was no way for them to predict how far mechanization of agriculture and urbanization would go to change the population ratio between big states and small states.

Meh. In 1790, the ratio between Virginia-to-Delaware was 12:1. The 70:1 ratio of California:Wyoming today is certainly worse, but it's hard to say that they didn't anticipate that Delaware wasn't always going to be a lot smaller than the big states with which it had equal voting power in the senate.


Posted by: Ted | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 12:00 AM
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And if they could have predicted a 70:1 ratio, they'd probably have been even more tenacious in wanting disproportionate representation.

Solution: dissolve state-based representation at the federal level.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 12:08 AM
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Finally, for Canadians with their dreams of mediocrity,

Yeah, I dream of mediocrity, and I sleep well most nights.

What? you think Alexander Hamilton didn't worry about this stuff? Smartest American founding father ever, and it's really too bad he was killed in a duel.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 12:17 AM
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Yeah, I dream of mediocrity, and I sleep well most nights.

As Hobbes said: "I got my wish".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 12:23 AM
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I wonder where Hamilton would have ended up politically had he not died in the duel. After his feud with Adams and the decline of the Federalist party (nationally, if not in New England as of 1804), there weren't a lot of places for him to go. Disclaimer: I don't know what he was doing between 1800 and his death, so maybe he was already figuring out his next steps. I guess I could read that big Chernow biography of him.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 1:32 AM
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I guess I could read that big Chernow biography of him.

Or you could poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick. But if you do -- read the book, not poke yourself in the eye (though that, too) -- let me know if it's good.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 1:42 AM
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I poked myself in the eye with a sharp stick just to watch me cry.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 1:48 AM
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It might be a long time before I read it, if I do. I've started something like 10 books this summer that I haven't gotten anywhere close to finishing. And the Nasaw Carneigie biography is above it on my biography list.

Anyway, Teo liked it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 1:50 AM
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They should totally do this with more music videos.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 4:02 AM
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I'm nobody, and I have no power, so if anyone pretends to care what I have to say, they're already admitting to some sort of weakness, of course. Show your strength and pay me no mind!

Bravo ! This is some quality trolling - way over the head of the ToS. Kaus could have written this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 5:04 AM
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I'm nobody, and I have no power

With this same logic, people wear furs, eat foods produced in extreme cruelty, deny their own role in global climate change, etc etc.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 6:23 AM
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I wonder where Hamilton would have ended up politically had he not died in the duel. After his feud with Adams

Mental whiplash here as I pictured Gerry "Grizzly" Adams, with a rapier, dueling with a guy in eighteenth-century gear.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 6:40 AM
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So, credit default swaps. This is not my kind of thing, but I'll ask anyway: why not simply void them?

I can imagine objections along several lines:

(1) It's not practical; a CDS is not a standard form of contract; a CDS is hard to identify;

(2) It's not lawful; there are no laws or international treaties to legitimise a general CDS void;

(3) It would be economically harmful, or at least more so than any other kind of fix; other things depend on any given CDS;

(4) It's not necessary; CDS are not harmful.

There are some views in favour of putting CDS contracts onto an exchange; these views seem to attract objections along the lines of (1). Any thoughts? You're bound to know more about this than me, so fire away.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 7:35 AM
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United States Constitution, Article I, section 10, clause 1:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

We'd need a constitutional amendment. Regulating them, on the other hand, is a great idea, and should have been done decades ago.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 7:40 AM
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154: Doesn't it bother you that Google knows that much about you?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 7:41 AM
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I'll defer to smarter people, but your FT link seems very misguided. This bit I do not understand at all:

the pressure to hedge has led the most liquid contracts to overshoot, in effect pricing in absurd default risks and recovery rates. These same prices are then used as supposedly objective indicators to value the securities the CDS contracts were designed to hedge - hence the spiral of over-hedging and overstated marked-to-market losses.

If CDS were pricing in absurd default risks, then why does the U.S. government own AIG?

This, however, seems right:

The priority, rather, should be to move trades on to already regulated exchanges.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 7:44 AM
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CDSes are deliberately not standardized to prevent them from being traded on exchanges. How hard is it to define a "credit event" for a bond?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 7:49 AM
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How about regulating CDSs as insurance? This is still on the state level, but it could be a good first step.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 7:55 AM
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Hamilton was a jerk, and in no way the equal of either Marshall or Gallatin, both of whom ran rings around him when it came to it. At Weehawken, the better man survived.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:04 AM
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I believe there's a federal law pre-empting regulation of CDSs that would have to be gotten rid of, but certainly regulating them as insurance would shut the whole mess down by requiring capital reserves sufficient to cover the amount of CDSs sold. I'd rather some uniform federal regulation, but state regulation would be something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:06 AM
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180 - I would worry about a race to the bottom in terms of jurisdiction. You could set up your CDS underwriting bank in the Caymans, for example.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:06 AM
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176: I anal, but doesn't that only apply to the states, not the Federal Government? The Feds can certainly coin money, enter into treaties and all the rest. Presumably they can also diddle with contracts.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:07 AM
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You're right, it does. I was thoughtlessly lumping in the Fifth Amendment takings clause problems with voiding CDSs (which would effectively transfer a whole lot of money from people who had already performed under CDSs to their counterparties who hadn't yet) with the contracts clause, which does only apply to the states. But I can't see a federal voiding of CDSs making it past a takings clause analysis.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:17 AM
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Has everyone listened to the This American Life on the crisis? It's a nice clear explanation of CDSs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:18 AM
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185: Takings clause analysis? Could you elaborate?


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:22 AM
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Not without doing some actual work; I don't have similar cases at my fingertips. But transfering billions of dollars from one set of private parties to another set, which is what voiding CDSs would do, is the sort of thing that I can't imagine would pass muster.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:33 AM
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What's the legal basis for bankruptcy, then? You have a contract, which is modified by the bankruptcy court. Why doesn't faul afoul of the takings clause?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:39 AM
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183: How do they prevent that in the regular insurance business? Or do they?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:41 AM
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Sorry, I'm not trying to put anyone on the spot. Does this help?

Private contracts must be understood as having been made subject to the possible exercise of the rightful authority of the Government, and their impairment, resulting from such exercise, is not a taking of private property for public use without compensation, or a deprivation of it without due process of law.

This precedent has been floated elsewhere, so I'm not claiming originality.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:43 AM
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Bankruptcy law is an enumerated power of Congress. The problem I'm seeing with the proposed voiding is that it would be a giant transfer of wealth from one set of private parties to another, regardless of ability to pay, so well outside the scope of the bankruptcy clause.

Maybe I'm wrong, and you could get a proposal like this past a constitutional challenge -- I haven't done the real work it would take to be sure. But my snap reaction is that there's no way on earth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:46 AM
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The government could try one of those we-did-it-for-your-own-good arguments they got the Federal Circuit to buy in Abrahim-Youri. Obviously, though, if the government regulated CDS contracts into a 15% position, rather than voiding entirely or taking them over, we'd be talking a 'regulatory taking,' which is a much friendlier analysis for the government.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:47 AM
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But transfering billions of dollars from one set of private parties to another set, which is what voiding CDSs would do ...i>

OK, so if this is the key proposition, an evaluation seems to involve an assessment of whether or not the trade in CDS will stabilise harmlessly, or can be made to do so. If CDS are not stable, then some future harm is inevitable, no?


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:48 AM
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(people ought to feel free to read both opinions in Abrahim-Youri for discussion of the takings clause in an interesting circumstance)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:49 AM
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Maybe I'm wrong, and you could get a proposal like this past a constitutional challenge -- I haven't done the real work it would take to be sure.

Finance lawyers presumably will not suffer much during the coming downturn.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:54 AM
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191: And I shot my mouth off in an area where I'm not an expert, so to the extent you feel bad for putting me on the spot, I got myself into it.

I would still read the gold-clause case you link -- voiding clauses in contracts requiring them to be paid in standard gold coinage as of the date of the contract -- as very distinguishable, as not creating a similar windfall to one party to the contract. Gold clauses were 'insurance' against a devaluation of the currency ancillary to the primary purpose of the contracts in question. Voiding them didn't leave the parties to the contracts in a position where one party had fully performed and the other was excused from performance by government fiat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:54 AM
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Finance lawyers presumably will not suffer much during the coming downturn.

Something that's been making me happy about this crisis is that I'm no longer in a job where I'll be working on the ensuing litigation. These are annoying, dull, unpleasant cases to work on. But there'll be buckets of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 8:56 AM
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The government can void a contract to be paid in heroin, or in slaves, so too can in void a contract to be paid in gold. Legal tender for all debts public and private.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 9:14 AM
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A-Y: CAFC. I can't find the COFC online.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 9:22 AM
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Voiding them didn't leave the parties to the contracts in a position where one party had fully performed and the other was excused from performance by government fiat.

I think LB is absolutely correct. I don't think they could void existing CDS contracts generically (but they could ban them going forward) unless they could successfully invoke public safety. They could do them one individual party at a time in bankruptcy court.

That's the point about taking control of the banks: once you own them, you (we, us) become the party of the first part, and if the area of control is large enough, we also become the party of the second part. Off to the shredder with them.

max
['Oh, the fun you'll have.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 10:36 AM
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At Weehawken, the better man survived.

Traitor though he may have been. At least the duel was about politics, not women.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 11:00 AM
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McCain, not a surrogate:

I don't need any lessons in being honest with the American people, and if I did, I wouldn't seek it from a Chicago politician. . . . There's much we don't know about Senator Obama. For a guy who has authored two memoirs, he's not exactly an open book. Who is the real Barack Obama?

It's as if somehow the usual rules don't apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Senator Obama seems to think he is above all that . . . His campaign had to return $33,000 in illegal foreign funds from Palestinian donors, and this weekend, we found out about another $28,000 in illegal donations. Why has Senator Obama refused to disclose the people who are funding his campaign? Again, the American people deserve answers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 12:36 PM
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McCain, not a surrogate:

I don't need any lessons in being honest with the American people, and if I did, I wouldn't seek it from a Chicago politician. . . . There's much we don't know about Senator Obama. For a guy who has authored two memoirs, he's not exactly an open book. Who is the real Barack Obama?

It's as if somehow the usual rules don't apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Senator Obama seems to think he is above all that . . . His campaign had to return $33,000 in illegal foreign funds from Palestinian donors, and this weekend, we found out about another $28,000 in illegal donations. Why has Senator Obama refused to disclose the people who are funding his campaign? Again, the American people deserve answers.

What I meant to say.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 7-08 12:38 PM
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