The Defense Of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was struck a serious blow when the Supreme Court ruled that its Section 3 was unconstituional for denying equal rights by requiring the federal government to ignore the legal married status of gay couples in states where that is permitted when applying federal law.

There certainly are multiple benefits to be derived from federal law for married couples and now thousands of couples in the states who recognize gay marriage may avail themselves of them.

But to me the most odious provision has always been Section 2 which allows states to refuse to recognize the marital status of couples who are not one man- one woman.


SCOTUS could only rule on the issues before it and those pertained to Section 3. But Section 2 flies in the face of the Constitution,

Section IV, Article 1 reads

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.   

There has been some conflict in the application of this clause by the states, though it consistently has been ruled that it does apply to judicial actions such as judgments and orders in domestic abuse and child custody cases.

But historically, other than for miscgenation, marriages legal in other states have been treated as legal in all states. Thus, common law marriages, which only a few states permit the establishment of, have been treated equally in states that do not. Likewise where the age of consent to marry differs, a marriage created lawfully where, for instance, that age is 14, has been treated the same in states where it is higher.

But the text of DOMA’s section 2 includes judicial proceedings concerning same sex unions as acts that states cannot be forced to recognize.

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

The problem with seeking the overturn of this section of DOMA is that plaintiffs must be found who are directly affected, not just speculatively so, though the language about judicial proceedings leaves a large Constitutional hole to drive a truck through.

Of course though the tide seems turned towards gradual near, universal acceptance of gay marriages, a number of states have it within their constitutions prohibiting them. Those are much more difficult to reverse than are mere statues. where activists are fighting for this right.

But that was so back in the days when interracial marriages were prohibited and that didn’t keep SCOTUS from negating them all.

Oh what a glorious sight it be be to see a similar ruling in a same-sex marriage case and watch Scalia go ballistic.

I’d pay to see that.

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  • Tourist  On June 27, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Really? Section 2 – that states may refuse to recognize, etc. – is the “most odious” and “ridiculous”?


    Utah polygamists celebrate, but will rulings help them?
    Bigamy » Impact on families and pending “Sister Wives” lawsuit is unclear.
    By Jim Dalrymple II | The Salt Lake Tribune
    First Published Jun 26 2013 10:50 am • Updated 6 hours ago

    Polygamists and their supporters celebrated Wednesday, saying they see implications for their cause in the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Just hours after the court ruled that DOMA was unconstitutional, Joe Darger said he and his family were pleased. Darger, who with his three wives detailed their life in the book “Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage,” said the ruling should help remedy polygamists’ treatment as “second-class citizens.”


    Of course polygamous marriage is not recognized by any state – it’s a fringe reality with practitioners, supporters and advocates – so there is no immediate prospect of a state being compelled to do anything because another state might. Some state would have to be first.

    Probably not Massachusetts this time.

    • toadsly  On June 27, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      So, if polygamy and same-sex unions would become legal, a well-intentioned, decent human being, having a job that provided spousal healthcare benefits, could marry many other men and women who have no health insurance and afford them the opportunity to live long and healthy lives. Sounds wonderful! Who could object?

      • Little_Minx  On June 28, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        Toadsly! Maybe legislation extending universal health care could be promoted on grounds that it would obviate the need for polygamy/polyandry 😉

  • Tourist  On June 27, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Sounds like a plan, Toadsly. The trick, though, is to set them up for it and then take them by surprise. One of the arguments against same-sex marriage itself is that it opens the door to everything Rick Santorum likes to imagine. UMOC blows off as ridiculous a reassuring line of reasoning. He wants to tell them: Yep, it’s coming.

    Maybe that’s honorable.

  • C J Marshall  On June 28, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    SCOTUS seems too inconsistent for me. Every time they get a ruling right they follow it up with an absurd ruling like their decision on the “Voting Rights Act”. Oh that there were more true intellectuals on the court like Ginsburg.

    • Little_Minx  On June 28, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Agreed, CJ. Part of the time they avoid being “activist” justices (even when it’s in fact needed), then part of the time they are activist (e.g., Voting Rights Act) even when it’s not. Sigh…

      Some religious-right wingnut was whinging on this week in the wake of the DOMA ruling about how the Supreme Court are unelected “bureaucrats” who don’t represent the will of the people. Apparently she doesn’t believe in the US Constitution’s tripartite plan for checks and balances when her its her ox getting gored.

      Some think the GOP approach to same-sex marriage in upcoming elections (especially the 2016 Presidential race) is to couch it in terms of “states’ rights.” But I wonder if that’ll be too little, too late by three years from now. I predict that Santorum, Palin, Bachmann and their ilk will be as obsolete as pro-segregationists and anti-miscegenationists were in the wake of the Civil Rights Acts of ’64 and ’65, and Loving v. Virginia in ’67.

      • Little_Minx  On June 28, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        “…when it’s…”

  • Devildog  On June 28, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    I guess it depends on your definition of “true intellectual”.

  • Little_Minx  On June 28, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    “House committee votes that Lois Lerner waived Fifth Amendment privilege”:

    The House Oversight Committee on Friday approved a resolution that says Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment right last month by claiming innocence during a congressional hearing.


    The usefulness of the committee resolution is questionable, according to legal experts.

    “It’s political,” said Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz, who specializes in Fifth Amendment rights. “It has no legal impact at all.”

  • Little_Minx  On June 28, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Formatting corrected.

    “Darrell Issa and the overblown scandals”:
    By Dana Milbank, Friday, June 28, 12:50 PM

    This is how a scandal implodes:

    First, the head of the investigation overpromises. “This was a targeting of the president’s political enemies, effectively, and lies about it during the election year so that it wasn’t discovered until afterwards,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House oversight committee, said in May of the IRS targeting scandal. He later declared President Obama’s press secretary a “paid liar” for stating otherwise.

    Next, facts emerge to undermine the investigator’s presuppositions. Documents released by Ways and Means committee Democrats this week show that the IRS, in addition to targeting tea party groups, also had “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) lists for groups using descriptors such as “progressive,” “health care legislation,” “medical marijuana,” “paying national debt” and “green energy.”

    Finally, evidence surfaces that the investigator stacked the deck. Tuesday night, the Hill newspaper quoted a spokesman for Treasury’s inspector general, Russell George, saying the group was asked by Issa “to narrowly focus on tea party organizations.” The inspectors knew there were other terms, but “that was outside the scope of our audit.”


    When I covered President Clinton’s second term, White House officials were delighted to have the eccentric Dan Burton in charge of the House oversight committee. He gained prominence by shooting a melon to try to prove that Clinton aide Vince Foster hadn’t killed himself but had been murdered.

    Now Issa has fallen to Burtonian levels of credibility. He’s launched a dozen or so probes, but what often begins as a legitimate inquiry into government failure turns quickly into a lunge for the Oval Office, missing each time…

  • Little_Minx  On June 28, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    On NPR’s “All Things Considered” in a few minutes, one of UMOC’s faves — “Bittersweet At No. 1: How A Japanese Song Topped The Charts In 1963”:

    See also:

    • umoc193  On June 29, 2013 at 12:03 AM


      How did you remember that Sukiyaki and I had a relationship? Actually it was my sister who likd it and I gave her the 45 for her birthday.

      • Little_Minx  On June 29, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        A number of us had discussed it at “Reg on Wry,” and you’d told about buying the 45 for your sister’s birthday.

        • umoc193  On June 30, 2013 at 9:34 AM

          Minx, vaguely recall the post about the song, more surprised that you’d remember. Thanks.

  • Tourist  On July 4, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    Not too long ago, on the PG site:

    Henry Hill · Top Commenter
    These comments prove time and time again the double standard of the “progressive” minded individuals. If I disagree with homosexuality I am a bigot, that is slander . . . .

    Drew Dowdell · Top Commenter · Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Disagreeing with homosexuality is like disagreeing that the sky is blue or that there is water in the ocean or that red-heads have red hair. Just disagreeing with it doesn’t change the truth or its existence. Thus, like “disagreeing with red-heads”, “disagreeing with homosexuality” is irrational and unfounded.

    The definition of the word “bigot” is this – “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (for example; a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”

    Obstinately sticking to your irrational opinion of “disagreeing with homosexuality” fits the first definition. The fact that you want to exclude homosexual Scouts from the group is a demonstration of intolerance and fits the second. This means you fit BOTH definitions of being a bigot.

    What you really mean in this case is libel… but either way the definition of Slander/Libel is (relatively) – oral defamation/written defamation in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed.

    As I’ve already shown, your position fits BOTH definitions of the word “bigot”, thus it is not untrue to call you that.. and thus… not slander nor libel.

    If you don’t like being called a bigot… stop being one. That actually IS a choice.


    That ain’t working. That’s the way to do it.

    • Tourist  On July 4, 2013 at 7:20 AM

      Oh, what’s wrong with me? Right after that:

      Douglas Roesch · Top Commenter · Senior Software Engineer at Fortune 500
      And while we’re talking about progressives, let’s keep in mind that successful conservatism requires rule-making leaders and their willing followers. Progressives like to think for themselves and throw bad rules to the winds. History has never seen a progressive tyrant, but there are no shortage of conservative ones. Please take your tyranny — moral, social or political — somewhere else.

      • Devildog  On July 4, 2013 at 8:58 AM

        Tourist, is your point in linking Hill and Roesch to show that both “progressives” and conservatives can demonstrate stupidity?

  • Tourist  On July 5, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Is anybody sitting here?

    Joyce Carol Oates tweeted these and they are being called Islamophobic:

    “Where 99.3% of women report having been sexually harassed & rape is epidemic–Egypt–natural to inquire: what’s the predominant religion?
    2:50 AM – 6 Jul 2013”

    And: “If 99.3% of women reported being treated equitably, fairly, generously–it would be natural to ask: what’s the predominant religion?
    2:57 AM – 6 Jul 2013”

    David Brooks is being called racist and bigoted for statements in a column that there are “large populations across the Middle East who feel intense rage and comprehensive dissatisfaction with the status quo but who have no practical idea how to make things better” and “It’s not that Egypt doesn’t have a recipe for a democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients.”

    Both stories are out there in multiple places. The critic of Brooks at Salon, David Sirota, was quickly challenged by readers who pointed out correctly that Brooks’s comments (even the sentence that says “Egypt”) are in context directed at radical Islamists, not Egyptians generally. There is also context for what “basic mental ingredients” means (it does not mean that those people are all too stupid). And, of course, where is the bigotry in saying large numbers of people across the United States feel intense rage and comprehensive dissatisfaction but have no practical idea how to make things better?

    Oates? The tweets sound like what they are: questions.

    Am I still allowed to talk about Japan?

    • Little_Minx  On July 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      Tourist, as long as UMOC’s cool with you talking about Japan, I’m interested too.

      I suppose it’s also Islamophobic even to mention, let alone condemn, the latest slaughter in NE Nigeria of 29 students and a teacher by “gunmen […] believed to be from the Boko Haram sect whose name means ‘Western education is sacrilege'”:

      • Tourist  On July 6, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        Hi, Minx! Thanks. I thought of you when I read this the other day, on American Independence Day celebrations overseas. I don’t dispute any of it, but it’s short and they vary a lot, from the largest embassies to the smallest consulates. A quibble with the final paragraph: Having some of it on days other the 4th may be less “to allow for” more casual gatherings than because those involved want the day off.

        An American media theme every year (regarding Memorial Day, too, and others) is whether Americans with their cookouts and beer give much thought to the significance, blah, blah, blah. Maybe not. But from my experience, as to the 4th, Americans abroad do.

        • Devildog  On July 6, 2013 at 6:55 PM

          And racist to talk about the crime rate in the inner city, etc.

        • Little_Minx  On July 6, 2013 at 10:25 PM

          Tourist, thanks for the link to the article. I hope you had a meaningful (but equally enjoyable) 4th in the American diaspora!

      • Devildog  On July 6, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        And it’s also homophobic to be against same-sex marriage.

  • Tourist  On July 6, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Devildog, in my own feeble way I counted “Islamophobic,” “racist” and “bigoted” in the examples I cited. If you want to do the same as to “homophobic” and same-sex marriage, do it. Counter it. What’s the non-homophobic basis for opposition? Let’s see how it holds up.

    • Devildog  On July 6, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      How about religious belief which can be based on love not fear of God and His/Her word?

      • Tourist  On July 6, 2013 at 7:52 PM

        Then “homophobic” would not be a valid charge, and we move to, is religious belief a valid basis? Assuming the “American” answer is still no, the question becomes, why (other than being polite) should anyone listen to – or have to listen to – a religious argument on the point?

  • Tourist  On July 6, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    I agree with the thrust of Devildog’s point.

  • Devildog  On July 6, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Of course religious belief is a valid basis for an individual being against same -sex marriage. I didn’t think we were discussing whether a government ban/non recognition of same-sex marriage is constitutional. As far as I can tell the Court (Supreme) has not ruled that a state cannot deny that right to its residents.

    If you don’t want to listen to that argument, don’t. Also, since we have a “living Constitution”, the “will of the people” may change any Court ruling (based on Constitutional basis not religion). With a living Constitution, one might be hoist on his own petard. Better listen then!

  • Tourist  On July 6, 2013 at 8:56 PM


    “I didn’t think we were discussing whether a government ban/non recognition of same-sex marriage is constitutional.”

    We weren’t. We were discussing the too-easy use “racist” and “-phobic” and I agreed with you.

    “If you don’t want to listen to that argument, don’t.”

    What do I do about the bans?

    The discussion must move to that. I’m going out for the day and was trying to be efficient.

    “Also, since we have a “living Constitution”, the “will of the people” may change any Court ruling (based on Constitutional basis not religion). With a living Constitution, one might be hoist on his own petard. Better listen then!”

    If you’re saying that the whole shebang has always been frighteningly fragile, I agree with that, too

  • Devildog  On July 6, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    What do you do about the bans? Several choices. Get out the vote. Move. Try the courts again. See a lawyer to legalize all rights of being married except the right to marry itself. Mobilize. Wait it out since it’s moving in that direction. Count me in.

  • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    Comrades, please recognize that Devildog is on board with same-sex marriage. He differs, presumably, as to its priority, urgency, and on preferred tactics for bringing about change. He’s also said he sees single-payer as where we are ultimately headed on healthcare (or words very much like that). This is being a conservative of the cautious, skeptical, practical sort. We can work with such people – have to. We each have our epiphanies and watershed moments. Others are entitled to their own, as long as they don’t do too much harm in the meantime.

    For most of my life I don’t think I gave any thought at all to same-sex marriage. If I did, I probably would have thought the idea itself highly strange. I’m pretty sure I’d have had no objections, though. What business would it have been of mine? Something like that.

    In May 2003, after ridding Iraq of WMD’s, President Flight Suit had a 126% approval rating. It fell stunningly quickly after that to the point where the impossible was suddenly imaginable: He might be defeated in 2004.

    In May 2004, Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage and *that* took center stage. I had not been paying attention. I remember my reaction: Fine, sure, whatever, but, please, please, please, not now!!!

    Andrew Sullivan answered with a column I have tried to find, can’t, and, oddly, do not really remember. I don’t think he talked about couples being comparably committed or anything like that. I think it was about what it means to an individual when he/she decides he wants to marry that one other person – not as a contract, which lawyers can handle, not as rights, which civil unions can provide, not even as love. It was about self-realization, about the unique-by-definition *joy* of surrendering oneself totally into the state of matrimony, which most of us know, and why was he not allowed to share it? I may have that explanation quite wrong. However he did it, it was irrefutable.

    Maybe it should be a little bit urgent.

    • Devildog  On July 7, 2013 at 7:28 AM

      Since you are so good at digging up my past sayings, you can probably find where I said something like I have more questions than answers-others who are more Learned than am I Hand out the opposite.

      • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 7:53 AM

        Anyone can dig when they want to. It’s more that I listen and remember.

        “More questions than answers” is on the one hand humble/wise/useful. Nothing wrong with that. Court jesters. The emperor has no clothes. Time and place for everything.

        What came to mind for the other hand was the Japanese expression “chuuto hanpa.” I know how to use it but I put it into google for perhaps a standard English equivalent. What I got was “half-assed.” A textbook would probably say “half-way measures.”

        How about “sniping”?

        Actual alternative ideas to consider would sometimes be welcome.

  • Devildog  On July 7, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    My experience (limited as it was) seemed that it was better to judge someone by the questions asked than by the so-called solutions provided. Off to my grandson’s baseball game-a ten million dollar left arm on a 9 year old.

  • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    UMOC, there have been live sightings, which is reassuring to a degree. Would you mind, though, checking in directly and letting us know you are okay? Omit no details. Thank you.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      I think he was alive as of yesterday. He displayed a complete misunderstanding of geopolitics in a response to my post on Rogers’ Morsi cartoon. The communist PG sensors allowed him to call me a moron but deleted a post in which I indicated that he isn’t just info. liberal, he sullies the good name of low info. liberals. When I called the PG on it, they deleted all the comments on the cartoon.

      • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 8:01 PM

        It’s become standard over there for people to call you a moron. There may have been more after I looked, but I don’t recall UMOC doing it this time. Your geopolitically astute contribution on Morsi was, as I recall, to note that Obama had supported him. Someone else pointed out that the millions of Egyptians who elected him had, too, and that commenter called you a moron. When I saw it, that comment was leading the thread in “likes.”

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:03 PM

          Three likes on a liberal comment thread? The very definition of liberal lemmings. Obama removed a dictator that was an ally. Everybody with a brain knew that if Mubarak was overthrown, the Muslim Brotherhood was likely to gain power. Anybody with a brain knew that the Muslim Brotherhood were radical Islamists.

          O believes that his aura will persuade radical Islamists to accept democracy. Why else would he support Mubarak’s overthrow? Another liberal who doesn’t understand how the world works. The problem with this liberal is he is the leader of the free world

          As with everything else that O has failed at, which is everything he has tried, he doesn’t quite grasp the concept of the Law of Unintended Consequences. This is why the stimulus is a failure, Ocare is a failure and his Middle East policy is a failure

          • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 9:16 PM

            “O believes that his aura will persuade radical Islamists to accept democracy. Why else would he support Mubarak’s overthrow?”

            Note the structure: “O believes.” We know what he believes because . . . . “Why else?”

            “As with everything else that O has failed at, which is everything he has tried, he doesn’t quite grasp the concept of the Law of Unintended Consequences. This is why the stimulus is a failure, Ocare is a failure and his Middle East policy is a failure.”

            That’s a lot of failure at everything. See my 8:15 PM comment below.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:26 PM

              Yes – Why else?

          • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 9:31 PM

            “a liberal comment thread”

            This is as unscientific as can be but I just read every comment up right now on the first page of the Rogers section, flipping out fingers on my right and left had for opposition or support for Rogers. Some were not political at all and I skipped those. I did it one time so there is a margin of error in the procedure. My count: seven against, two for. That’s seven “conservative” and two “liberal.”

            The reason, I think, the thread may appear liberal is that liberals explain themselves. There is weight to their comments. A typical conservative comment (in full) is: “Rogers should be fired for this cartoon.”

            And always, of course, yours.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:32 PM

              Yada yada yada….

  • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 8:15 PM


    Consider a proposal to increase organ donations in the United States by making it a “mandated choice”—everybody applying for a driver’s license or vehicle registration has to either opt in or opt out. This sounds reasonable, but it overlooks negative perceptions many Americans have of the Department of Motor Vehicles, which may exert a profound influence on decision-making. After waiting in line for hours, fuming over DMV inefficiencies, you may be less inclined toward altruism.


    An when a president of the United States isn’t even one of us, we are less inclined toward any cognition at all.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      Not one of us? Are you saying he is an alien? Because I know it’s already been determined and a learned person such as yourself would clearly know that it isn’t what whack job liberals believe is the reason people with common sense don’t support him.

      • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        See yours at 9:26 PM.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:39 PM

          Because his policies are ineffective would be the obvious answer.

          • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 9:42 PM

            All of them?

            • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:43 PM

              Name one success.

              • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 9:45 PM

                I asked you first. But, okay, all of them, as far as could be expected in the circumstances. You guys wanted him to fail from the start. You said so.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:50 PM

                  I want progressivism to fail. I will say that now when O is prez and when any other prez be that person a male, female, black, white, Hispanic, gay, transsexual, hermaphrodite, or all or any combination of these supports the same policies O does.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:56 PM

                  I have a correction. It isn’t that I want progressivism to fail. The reason I want O (or anyone who supports what O supports) to fail is because progressivism IS a failure. The sooner people realize, the sooner we can move away from this failed ideology and work towards what this country could and should be.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 9:44 PM

              And drones and the NSA were Bush’s policies so you can’t count them as a success for O

  • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    You don’t understand how the world works. You think obstructionism is free. It’s profitable, certainly, but there are opportunity costs.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      But you know the opportunity costs of progressivism is much greater than its benefits. Given this, do you have another suggestion as to how to stop O’s policies? If you do, I am all ears.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      Maybe if conservatives were allowed to ignore the law like O does, they may be able to get somewhere. But the MSM (better known as the DNC mouthpiece) won’t allow conservatives to get away with it. We’ll just have to wait for the elections

  • Tourist  On July 7, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Today’s right, the tea party, etc., are the North Koreans. I don’t expect them to understand.


    “Someone wakes up one morning, looks in the mirror, and can’t see anything familiar. It’s contagious. The result is extreme loss of self-confidence on a grand scale. I think it might be connected to the same gene that causes animals to stampede.”

    “No, that gene doesn’t exist here. Maybe somewhere else. India, for example. Not here.”

    “You don’t think so? You don’t think the whole structure could crack, from basement to penthouse? The whole rotten lie? It was a lie, O; you know that. You always knew that.”

    “You’re going to find this hard to understand, Kim, but it wasn’t a lie. That word can’t cover how tens of millions of people lived their lives for seventy years. We had something to believe in, a way to order existence. Maybe people didn’t have much, most of them had very little, but for practically all of those years they felt they belonged to something . . . .

    “I lived according to the prevailing myth, that’s all. Everyone lives by myths. Prettied up, they’re called truths – basic truths, natural truths, self-evident truths.”

    None of this sociopolitical pabulum was worth a damn. All that mattered was that I was not going to give Kim the pleasure of seeing me admit that my entire existence had been wrong.”


    – James Church, “The Man With the Baltic Stare,” pages 192-193


    The way they’ve ordered their existence for all these years? Wrong?

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM

      I stopped reading after you said the Tea Party is the North Koreans. This is funny because North Korea is pretty much O’s vision for this country. Government control of the resources with the stated intent to redistribute them fairly. Look how it turned out in North Korea

      • Tourist  On July 8, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        I said you wouldn’t understand it so it does not bother me that you didn’t read it. Others did.

        Actually, I appreciate that you replied to it – well, went off about Obama again – after saying you didn’t read it. I try to get that across to people about you.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 8, 2013 at 12:20 AM

          OK, I read. I stand by my initial statement. Not surprised BTW.

  • Little_Minx  On July 8, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Tourist, it appears that you and I missed out on the true patriot way to celebrate the 4th! “Tea Partiers Explain How to Properly Celebrate the 4th of July”:
    A regular barrel of laughs 😉

    • Tourist  On July 8, 2013 at 12:20 AM

      It’s good, Minx. Thanks! They’re scared, though – remember that. I’m going to say that it dovetails nicely with what I posted on North Korea.

      One very intriguing comment in the thread below it:

      “I read and explain the Declaration to my kids every year. I ask them to think of examples of what happens when the points of the declaration are neglected. This year, I expect we’ll talk about Edward Snowdon, a subject for which the Tea Party “Patriots” have little or no interest.”

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 8, 2013 at 12:27 AM

      From the article: I’m guessing that not many Americans will trade their beer, burgers, and lounge chairs for colonial cakes

      Funny, I hear Ben Franklin’s burger was simply to die for..

      • pittsburgh_dad  On July 8, 2013 at 12:32 AM

        Oh wait, that’s right

        The hamburger, a ground meat patty between two slices of bread, was first created in America in 1900 by Louis Lassen, owner of Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut.[

      • pittsburgh_dad  On July 8, 2013 at 12:45 AM

        Here’s what John Adams thought we ought to do on Independence Day: “…It ought to be commemorated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bell, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…”

        • Tourist  On July 8, 2013 at 1:07 AM

          That was nice. Thanks. I quote from the article, not the original source.

          “Adams had strong feelings about Independence Day.” As Minx and I discussed yesterday, Americans abroad tend to, too.

          “. . . in the words of the Declaration, they pledged to each other ‘… our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.’”

          Ask what you can do for your country. (Why do they only quote the “Ask not” part nowadays?)

          “Acts of Devotion – Follow your family’s spiritual traditions on big days.” Whatever they may be.

          “Parades – . . . Bring hats and sunscreen . . . .”

          “Shows, games, and sports – . . . Our community is stronger when we build good relationships with those around us. John Adams would definitely approve.”

          “Now, about those guns and bonfires – . . . water guns might be the best way to go . . . . Bonfires? John Adams lived near the beach . . . . Might want to skip that one.”

          “Bells and illuminations – . . . When you hear the bells after the fireworks are over, tell your kids that Americans have to work together to make sure the bells ring on the 4th forever. John Adams knew the ringing of the bells was not a given: ‘…I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see…that the end is more than worth the means. And that posterity will triumph…’”

          We may have a different take on the last one. Isn’t that great?

          • pittsburgh_dad  On July 8, 2013 at 1:51 AM

            We may have a different take on the last one. Isn’t that great?

            This from someone who just got done comparing Tea Partiers to North Koreans and accuses anyone who opposes O’s policies of being a racist.

            Somehow, I don’t think that you think it’s great that we have a different take on the last one.

            For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s great either

            • Tourist  On July 8, 2013 at 1:57 AM

              I did. It was meant sympathetically.

              I don’t. You lie.

              Oh, but I do.

              Your way or the highway – yes, I know.

              • pittsburgh_dad  On July 8, 2013 at 2:16 AM

                I think I speak for all people that have any common sense – Thx but we don’t need your sympathy.

                ‘your way or the highway.’ Funny, Chrissy Mathews said something about the polarization in this country between the Left and Right on his quagmire of a TV show. I’m paraphrasing – ‘liberals are digging in while conservatives are becoming more extreme’. The truth is it is the other way around

                I have posted this link before. It is Buckley’s 7 original principles of conservatism. Compare these principles to the Tea Party platform – they are almost identical. The fact is that it’s conservatives that are digging in their heels as liberals go ever more leftward


                • Tourist  On July 8, 2013 at 2:27 AM

                  I am familiar. The seven are the Credenda/principles/convictions of a magazine speaking to a segment of the population of a pluralistic nation.

                  • pittsburgh_dad  On July 8, 2013 at 2:31 AM

                    Magazine? LOL. Rationalize what you believe any way you want to there Tourist. Good night.

                    • Tourist  On July 8, 2013 at 2:49 AM

                      Sleep tight.

  • Little_Minx  On July 10, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    TIASIRGOOH, indeed!

    • Little_Minx  On July 10, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      Messrs Biller, James and Wood, you’re the awesomest 😉

      • Tourist  On July 10, 2013 at 10:36 PM

        Memory runneth not to the contrary, Minx.

        I use “awesome.” It suffers from overuse but is still useful. “Perfection” is more elusive. “Nuns that fly” was perfect.

        • Little_Minx  On July 11, 2013 at 12:07 AM

          One of my pet peeves is the use of “very unique” or “one of the most unique” etc. “Unique” is an absolute, so either some is unique or it isn’t 😦

    • toadsly  On July 11, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      The Morse prequel on PBS , “Endeavor,” is…like…ya know…awesome!

      • Little_Minx  On July 11, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        Meh. And it’s “Endeavour.”

        • Toadsly  On July 11, 2013 at 10:22 PM

          I’m the solecism king!

  • Little_Minx  On July 11, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    …so either something is unique or it isn’t 😦

    • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      Minx, the thing about “very unique” and others of that magnitude (“I could care less”) is that I know them, I cringe at them, and I’ve done them all. Worse: I still do.

      • Little_Minx  On July 11, 2013 at 12:31 AM

        I feel your pain, Tourist 😉

  • Little_Minx  On July 11, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Tourist, I saw on NHK World Newsline the other evening (morning your time) that a poll of likely voters in the upcoming election favor, inter alia, governmental stimulus spending by something like 65% to 28% (IIRC). Guess Japan learned its lesson re the perils of not doing that back in the ’90s.

    • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 7:32 AM

      Minx, yes. Cuts help only those who don’t need them. Austerity never works. The opportunity costs are too high. But let’s be careful. There is plenty of disagreement on direction and details. It’s their “nation,” though – economy, society, people. Clearly the government has a role to play, and boosting the economy is something that is called for right now. Not doing what is obvious because it is “not government’s role” or because government per se is the enemy . . . . well, those do not compute.

      Anyway, what we’re talking about is selected government spending. They attempted a different kind of stimulus in early 2009 and got just about everything wrong! I remember it well because I screamed every step of the way – every step after the first.

      The first step was the decision to send every taxpayer a check. What the economy needed – no joke – was shopping. The first plan was 30,000 yen to every adult below some threshold. It went downhill from there.

      They reduced it in a couple of rounds to 10,000 yen – nothing theoretically wrong, merely less exciting. Then somebody said it wasn’t fair to draw a line against gazillionaires, so they would get their 10,000 yen, too. ($100, y’all.)

      Then they turned to “check.” Even that had been slightly off. If your purpose – and this was it – is to punch up the retail sector, you make sure that what you’re doing benefits the retail sector. You fashion a coupon redeemable at any store or restaurant, with an expiration date. “Spend this now or lose it!” Results guaranteed.

      In the end, not only did they send (only) 10,000 yen to everybody, including those to whom it meant nothing; they deposited it in our bank accounts, where 99% of it sat.

      My household booked a weekend in the nearby mountains – transportation, lodging, food – spending three times what we got, because we are team players and wanted to do our part.

      I relate this so that some fool can go off about giving taxpayers their own money back.

      • Devildog  On July 11, 2013 at 8:19 AM

        How about this ” fool” going off saing doing something is not necessarily better (could be worse) than doing nothing and that government doesn’t necessarily know what to do with our money and opposition doesn’t necessarily mean we aren’t team players. Did someone mention shovel-ready jobs?

        • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 8:31 AM

          “Did someone mention shovel-ready jobs?”

          Not me. I mentioned stores and restaurants with no customers.

          Long term is good. Without a short term, there is no long term.

          • Devildog  On July 11, 2013 at 9:16 AM

            How do stores and restaurants with no customers differ from shovel-ready jobs that are not ready! Same, same!

      • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Tourist, we have had this conversation a 1000 times. Not that it would have made much of a difference anyway, why didn’t people spend that $100? It is because that $100 has to be financed either through a tax increase (unlikely) or through increased debt. The increased debt occurred through the sale of bonds and who buys these bonds? It’s a lot of the people the government gave $100 to (i.e., they put it in the bank). People don’t change their behavior when given a lump-sum of money. There is no incentive for them to do so. It gives them no incentive to work more or invest in new businesses. There is no benefit to changing your behavior – I don’t earn additional money for every hour I work or earn profit from an investment in a company. Policies that have this effect are tax cuts, tax reform, Obamacare repeal, deregulations. All of these policies affect behavior in a good way. They provide incentives to work more and invest more.

        Your example proves what I have said all along – giving people money doesn’t change behavior, It encourages more of the same behavior. This is why welfare enslaves the poor and why I haven’t gotten off the couch in 18 months.

  • Little_Minx  On July 11, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    Returning to UMOC’s original topic on this page…

    By sheer luck of the draw the jurist who will hear the challenge to Pennsylvania’s DOMA is the same one — a Bush appointee whose appointment was favored by then-Senator Santorum! — who decided against creationists in the Kitzmiller/Dover case, Judge John E. Jones III. “Judge named to handle case trying to legalize gay marriage in Pennsylvania”:

  • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Devildog, Pittsburgh Dad,

    “How do stores and restaurants with no customers differ from shovel-ready jobs that are not ready!” (Devildog)

    In every way.

    “why didn’t people spend that $100? It is because that $100 has to be financed either through a tax increase (unlikely) or through increased debt.” (Pittsburgh Dad)

    That “why-because” explanation is unintelligible.

    “Your example proves what I have said all along – giving people money doesn’t change behavior,” (Pittsburgh Dad)

    Putting money in people’s bank accounts hoping they will spend it at retail is like giving people tax cuts hoping they will create jobs.

    I the shopper/diner did was not the target of the help. I was not in need of another meal out and was not particularly anxious to have one. It was the merchants and restaurateurs who buy from the manufacturers and farmers and hire the sales people and servers whose reggies were not ringing at a healthy rate. (See now the definition of “stimulus.”)

    If you want people to spend at retail, give them a coupon redeemable only at retail. Do it right and you will get the desired behavior. Had this one been done right (it was not), they would have gotten damn close to 100% of the desired behavior. Let the ripple and multiplier effects begin!

    This again in contrast to tax cuts and more tax cuts and maybe another tax cut until the recipient feels sufficient incentive to create a job.

    Thank you both for the opportunity to clarify that.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 6:34 PM


      It is only unintelligible to those who have no common sense.

      • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 6:36 PM

        I’m serious, people. Please read it. Why didn’t people spend money they were given? Because of how the giver might finance it? Really?

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 6:37 PM


          • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 6:38 PM

            you said people put it in the bank. That’s what I am saying. The government is financing it by selling bonds. People are buying the bonds – the equivalent of putting it in the bank

            • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 6:44 PM

              Even if a large percentage of people spent it, it is one time spending. It is spending that at best ‘creates’ low paying jobs with small multiplier effects. This is why the stimulus is a failure

            • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 6:45 PM

              The government deposited it their accounts. Inertia kept it there.

              Had the government mailed checks, some would have been spent and some would have been deposited — better, not best.

              Coupons would have been spent — best.

              This is purely about a retail injection. “Free lunch” is a different discussion.

              • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 6:49 PM

                Sorry it’s not. It is why expansionary fiscal policy, such as the stimulus, is a failure

              • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 6:57 PM

                Your argument for the reason why people not spending it is that it wasn’t mailed to them? Talk about unintelligible

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      Google ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’. When you understand what this means, get back to me. Hint: it is related to those opportunity costs that you apparently still do not understand.

      BTW, I don’t expect you to get back to me

    • Devildog  On July 11, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      Tourist: do it right and you will get the desired behavior. You broke the code. The Japanese government did not do it right ( according to you). Shovel ready jobs were not ready. That’s what I meant in what’s the difference between the two. What’s the similarity-the governments didn’t get it right. What’s the moral of the story-the government rarely gets it right when it injects itself into the marketplace. What’s the solution-let it resolve itself in the free market/private enterprise system where private investment decides where and how to invest money for that dreaded word “profit”.

      Sorry to inject myself into that brilliant and spirited dialogue between pd and Tourist.

  • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    “Even if a large percentage of people spent it, it is one time spending.” (Pittsburgh Dad)

    Yes, it is, right where spending is needed this one time. Stopping the bleeding, restarting the heart and putting out the fire are all quite focused, one-time actions. Healthier living and safer wiring come later.

    The stimulus worked. It could have been bigger.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      No because to pay for it, resources are taken out of sectors that are profitable (borrowing from the people that have the money to buy bonds), decreasing spending in those sectors and this offsets a lot of the spending. And the spending is often on things the government overvalues (solar energy, electric cars, etc..). The rest goes to creating the low paying, mostly part-time, jobs that have small multiplier effects. O’s own economists predicted the economy would have been better off without the stimulus than what actually happened.

      And I know, the recession was worse than O thought. It wasn’t this much worse.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        You have got to be slower than slow to think that if spending actually worked, half the country would be against it.

        Oh wait, that’s right. They’re only against it because they are racists (or they are North Koreans).

  • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    Me: “The government deposited it their accounts. Inertia kept it there.

    “Had the government mailed checks, some would have been spent and some would have been deposited — better, not best.

    “Coupons would have been spent — best.”

    Your direct response in full: “Your argument for the reason why people not spending it is that it wasn’t mailed to them? Talk about unintelligible.”


    In the future, if you ever wonder when I lost the last flicker of hope for an honest discussion with you, that was it.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      Well, coupons are even worse. Department stores love when people buy gift cards because 30% aren’t redeemed

      • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 9:35 PM

        The more I think about it, the best possible way was what the govt did. Just like some won’t redeem a gift card, some won’t cash the check. There is a reason the govt used direct deposit.

      • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        Only because this is easy and fun:

        If checks were mailed, some would be spent as desired; some would be deposited and not spent as desired. With the deposited ones, the government would have given the money and not gotten the desired result.

        If coupons were given and not redeemed, those not redeemed would not have produced the desired result, but the government would not be out that money.

        (1) For whom is that worse?

        (2) What, all all, do department store have to do with the coupons I have been discussing?

        • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

          “The more I think about it, . . .”

          The least effective is the purest in theory. Exactly. Theory rarely fits reality or answers real needs.

          • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 9:55 PM

            So you’re assuming you know more than the government of Japan? I thought governments had all the answers?

        • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 9:47 PM

          *What, at all, . . .

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 9:53 PM

          Coupon is directly analogous to the gift card. The gift card is free money. Malls offer gift cards for all of the stores in the mall. So, in effect, like your coupon which I assume would be good for anything, gift cards could be used for almost anything

          For whom is that worse? I have no clue what you are asking. The point is to increase spending. While I think giving money to people is a waste for the most part because it doesn’t PERMANENTLY change economic behavior, the best way to do it is if there is no intermediate step to spend it.

  • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    At 9:44 PM I explained why coupons, even beyond being more effective for the purpose in this case (coming up again below), would be better than checks – i.e., because unredeemed coupons would at least not be “wasted” on something not part of the purpose – and asked: “For whom is that worse?”

    You at 9:53 PM: “For whom is that worse? I have no clue what you are asking.”

    It was a rhetorical question in answer to you at 9:17 PM: “Well, coupons are even worse.”

    Again: For whom?

    You again: “Department stores love when people buy gift cards because 30% aren’t redeemed.”

    The department store is the Japanese government in my example. Yes, *it* is better off when coupons are not redeemed.

    You: “The point is to increase spending.”

    No, the point was to increase spending in stores and restaurants right now. Coupons limited in time and place do that best.

    You: “While I think giving money to people is a waste for the most part because it doesn’t PERMANENTLY change economic behavior, . . . .”

    That’s a point of view.

    You continuing: “. . . the best way to do it is if there is no intermediate step to spend it.”

    Direct deposits (you: “The more I think about it, the best possible way was what the govt did . . . .There is a reason the govt used direct deposit) have to be withdrawn and the money taken to the restaurant. A check in the mail has to be cashed at the bank and the money taken to the restaurant. A coupon in the mail gets handed over at the restaurant.

    Which is the only one of the three not requiring an intermediate step to spend it?

    That’s another rhetorical question.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM

      I started to respond with a longer answer but no point

      One note: Coupon stupid because it is equivalent of gift card – 30% of which aren’t used. If they’re not used, how does what you want to happen actually happen?

      Whole conversation doesn’t matter because govt stimulus is ineffective and not worth any real energy to talk about. I mean, you won’t change my mind and I know I won’t change your mind.

      We see world differently. Why? I don’t know. However Japan did what they did, it really shouldn’t have mattered to the degree necessary to not attain the desired goal if the plan is effective in itself. The fact it didn’t work proves my point about the stimulus

      • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 11:33 PM

        “One note: Coupon stupid because it is equivalent of gift card – 30% of which aren’t used. If they’re not used, how does what you want to happen actually happen?”

        It does not happen to that extent. (There is no basis for assuming 30% in my situation.) The difference between my coupon and your gift card is that if I buy my niece a gift card and she does not use it, she ends up with no benefit (gift item), my purpose is not realized (helping her), and I am out the money. When the government gives me a coupon to take to a restaurant and I waste it, I end up with no real benefit (meal), the government’s purpose is not realized (helping the restaurant), but the government is not out the money.

        Not being out the money is better than being out the money.

        Ergo, coupon not stupid.

        Checks in the mail and direct deposits used for something else or left to sit do not realize the purpose either *and* the government is out the money.

        Stupid and more stupid, respectively.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 11:40 PM

          I don’t know what the percent would be. I think it would be closer to 30% than 10%. I can’t be sure though so who knows.

          You are saying that you know more than the best economic minds in the Japanese govt. OK, I guess.

          I still don’t think it should matter the mechanism used. If the policy is effective in itself, it would work no matter the mechanism

  • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    The West Wing, Season 2, “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen – Part 1”

    Jed Bartlet, a long-shot, early-primary candidate, is speaking to a small dinner crowd at a VFW hall. Interest is difficult to detect.

    CAL (an advisor, in the back of the room)
    You told him to go ahead and piss off the dairy farmers, didn’t you? If he’s asked about the New England D.F.C., you told him to piss off the dairy farmers.

    I asked him about his vote. He told me. I said then if he’s asked about it tonight he should, and only because it’s the easiest thing to remember, tell the truth.

    Do you enjoy losing?

    Not that much, but then I haven’t had much to compare it to.


    Governor Bartlet, when you were a member of Congress, you voted against the New England Dairy Farming Compact. That vote hurt me, sir. I’m a businessman. That vote hurt me to the tune of maybe 10 cents a gallon. I voted for you three times for Congress. I voted for you twice for Governor. And I’m here, sir, and I’d like to ask you for an explanation.

    Yeah, I screwed you on that one.

    I’m sorry?

    I screwed you. You got hosed.

    Sir, I…

    And not just you. A lot of my constituents. I put the hammer to farms in Concord, Salem, Laconia, and Elem.

    You guys got rogered but good.

    (Man sits down. Bartlet pauses.)

    Today, for the first time in history, one in five Americans living in poverty are children. One in five children live in the most abject, dangerous, hopeless, backbreaking, gut wrenching, poverty, one in five, and they’re children. If fidelity to freedom and democracy is the code of our civic religion then surely, the code of our humanity is faithful service to that unwritten commandment that says “We shall give our children better than we ourselves had.”

    I voted against the bill ’cause I didn’t want it to be harder for people to buy milk.

    I stopped some money from flowing into your pocket. If that angers you, if you resent me, I completely respect that. If you expect anything different from the President of the United States, I suggest you vote for somebody else.

    Thanks very much. Hope you enjoyed the chicken.

    • Devildog  On July 11, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      Well Tourist, That’s really nice of. Bartlett. One in five children live in the most abject… Gut wrenching poverty… The code of our humanity… And what is Bartlet going to do about it? He doesn’t want to make it harder for”people” to buy milk. What a humanitarian! I hope he’s also looking into the root cause of why these children are living in abject poverty and not voting for programs that encourage behavior that leads to or keeps people in poverty. Don’t watch the program so I know nothing about Bartlet but I suspect he thinks more money is the solution to whatever. Since he is portrayed in this episode at least as being so high-minded, I suspect he is a Democrat. My apology if he is not.

      • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 4:22 AM

        It’s fiction, Dog! Art inspires – makes us better. Counting down to #1:

        The West Wing is the only TV show I have DVD’s of

        • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 4:57 AM

          (Yes, that was the end: “. . . DVD’s of.”)

          My own personal West Wing trivia question: What were the first words spoken *by* President Bartlet in the series?

          In the pilot, in a big voice, appropriately:

          “I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt worship no other God before me.”
          Boy, those were the days, huh?

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 11:27 PM

      All liberalism does is make everybody poor. Do you know the poverty rate under O has gone from 14.3% in 2009 (when stimulus implemented) to 16.1% in 2012? So during recovery, rate increased by 12%. Under Reagan, poverty rate from 15.2% at height of recession in ’83 to 11.9% in 1988 – a 20% decrease.

      I will blame O’s first term on Bush. If the poverty rate doesn’t decrease by, let’s say, 10% in O’s 2nd term, will you admit progressivism is a failure?

      BTW, If I could, I would give you 5 to 1 odds against it.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 11:34 PM

        Just to make my offer clear. A 10% decrease from 16.1% would mean a drop to 14.5% – higher than it was when O entered office.

  • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    “Need for milk” versus “looking into the root causes of poverty”? I love it! Devildog wants a study!

    For Pittsburgh Dad it would be “stopping the bleeding and putting out the fire” versus “survival of the fittest and collateral damage.”

    “All liberalism does is make everybody poor”?

    And the Freemasons are poisoning the wells!

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      I provide data that demonstrably shows the poverty rate DECREASED under a conservative administration and INCREASED under a liberal admin. and you scream something about ‘survival of the fittest’

      When liberals don’t have the facts on their side and they never seem to, they start screaming about some ‘war’ conservatives have on the aggrieved group

      Thanks to low info. voters, it appears to work

      • pittsburgh_dad  On July 11, 2013 at 11:52 PM

        I’m out.

        • Tourist  On July 11, 2013 at 11:53 PM

          Since the day you arrived.

      • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 12:28 AM

        Pittsburgh Dad,

        “The market would work in its pure form. It would be survival of the fittest. Pure capitalism would be Darwinian.”

        That is my position.

        “No person would think we should go to that extreme. Do we need certain safety nets to ensure that people are not starving in the streets? Of course.”

        That, too, is my position. You said both on November 23, 2012, trimmed by me but not distorted.

        You also said: “Any liberal position is incorrect by definition and should not need further explanation.”

        Even when it’s your position? Do you understand how much you hate? Or even what?

        How would you suggest “we” work with you? Would there be a point?

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 12, 2013 at 3:45 PM

          What I mean by that is even the most basic safety nets are inefficient. The opportunity cost of the first dollar spent on any govt program is greater than its benefit. But we live in a civilized society. I don’t think anybody would be for ‘survival of the fittest’. But it is clear that SS and medicare need to be reformed. Welfare (food stamps, rent subsidies) enslave the poor and perpetuates cycles of dependency. Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform worked. It got people off of welfare. They didn’t go live under a bridge. They got jobs. The $8/hr job gave them experience and turned into a 12/hr job which turned into an 15/hr and before you knew it, millions of people were self-sufficient.

          But welfare is much more insidious than enslaving the poor. The children of welfare parents don’t want to be poor and they often have no positive role model that encourages them to get an education so they can have a good life. So what do these children do? The only thing they think they can do to become rich. Break the law. The media is all focused on Zimmerman but there was some statistic last week about 74 people being murdered in Chicago over the July 4th weekend and they were all black. But nobody cares about those blacks. Why? Because they were killed by other blacks.

          Liberalism is a failure because it attempts to solve each ‘problem’ independently of one another.

          -If we give money to the poor, they’ll be better off
          -If we outlaw guns, murders would decrease

          But these problems aren’t independent of each other and the solutions liberals have attempted for 50 years don’t work. We still have poverty, if anything, it is worse because welfare’s cycle of dependency lead to statistics like 40% of children born out of wedlock (70% of black children). This then feeds into the gun violence among the poor and esp, the poor black population. Food stamps don’t stop this and gun control doesn’t stop it. Making guns illegal would only mean that criminals will have all the guns. What would stop these cycles of dependency and gun violence are policies that provide incentives to better yourself. Welfare only provides incentives to remain on welfare

          Now the plan is for the govt to take over 1/6th of the economy. Given that the opportunity cost of the first dollar spent of any knew govt program is greater than its benefit, is it any surprise what is happening to the cost of health care as a result of Obamacare. If implemented, this program will cost trillions of dollars more then what O led the low info. voters to believe.

          But to you this is OK because we’ll just ‘fix’ it but that only means more inefficient govt. There are market solutions that would produce a lot better outcome with a much lower cost to society. Under Ocare, the cost of health care will increase and its quality will decrease.

          The fact is you don’t want less govt, you want more govt. You want Ocare. You want more regulations. These policies make society worse off

          • pittsburgh_dad  On July 12, 2013 at 6:04 PM

            Tourist: Do you understand how much you hate?

            I would ask you that question. After all, you support policies that limit economic growth for the poor and ultimately lessen what the standard of living could be for the population as a whole.

    • Devildog  On July 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

      Tourist, where do you see “study” in my comment. We already have enough studies. I said, ” looking into”. That means thinking about. Don’t we already know many of the “root causes”. One or no parent families, drugs, government programs that “hook” people forever into poverty. Haven’t so many of our “welfare” programs been tried and been in existence for 50 years and failed. But, when new approaches are proposed as well as the ending of failed ones, what’s the reaction of the left. Right, just keep throwing money at failed programs and claim the right wants to see people dying in the street and throw out this survival of the fittest bullshit. Just keep watching this Hollywood, left-wing crap.

  • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 8:38 AM


    “But, when new approaches are proposed as well as the ending of failed ones, what’s the reaction of the left.”

    The point of my “coupons” story was that approaches can be tailored to the specific need, and work.

    Failed approaches? Yes and no. Failures. Partial successes. I’m willing to talk. New approaches? I’m willing to listen. But ending failed approaches is not enough. What do the new approaches do? What do they aim at?

    Just end it.

    End it.

    End it.


    I’m out. Since the day I arrived.

    • Devildog  On July 12, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Tourist, there have been many proposals from the right, which have been routinely rejected by the left (and vice versa). I submit, however, that “ending failed approaches” is enough.

  • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    You: “Do we need certain safety nets to ensure that people are not starving in the streets? Of course.” And: “The opportunity cost of the first dollar spent on any govt program is greater than its benefit.”

    If we give a person starving the street one dollar’s worth of food and it keeps him alive, keeping him alive is the benefit to society because we not what him dying in the street, as you say.

    What is the opportunity cost that is always greater than that benefit?

    Is it monetary? Is it “growth”?

    Is there a monetary opportunity cost that outweighs human life?

    Or are you putting a monetary value *on* human life and finding the opportunity cost to be greater?

    Or are you weighting live against a non-monetary opportunity cost?


    You: “What I mean by that is even the most basic safety nets are inefficient.”

    Not always, but even so, I would venture that some government inefficiency is the price we pay for services and benefits only government can or will provide.

    You probably saw this one. It’s called “Economics 101 is Killing America.”“econ_101”_is_killing_america/

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 12, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      There are better ways to save that person than by ‘giving’ him a dollar. It would be better for him and society if he worked for that dollar.

      I read the article. While it makes some good points, it skimmed over one simple truth. The market doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be better than the outcome produced by the government. It dismisses this point by saying no economist saw the 2008 recession coming. Markets aren’t perfect. I don’t think any economist would make that argument. But the simple fact is that the USSR failed and the US has outperformed western European social democracies for the last 60 years. There is a reason for this

      Economic models are highly imperfect but before economics, recessions occurred more often and they were more severe. Economic theory has minimized the boom and bust pattern that occurred often til the Great Depression. What the Great Depression taught economists is that there are policies that can manage recessions. What the stagflation of the 1970s showed us was that govt policy has its limits. The failed stimulus provides more evidence that this is true

      Before you dismiss the ability of economists to determine the best economic policies, keep in mind that the climate scientists that are predicting the earth will end 50 years from now are using models based on the same econometric principles. The reason I don’t believe climate change is real is because I understand the limitations of these models. It doesn’t mean that the models aren’t helpful in understanding the dynamics of the system of interest. Hell, the main reason I don’t believe the climate change models is because they all conclude that climate change is real. Would you believe economists if they all predicted that the urate would steadily rise for the next 50 years to 12 or 13% and remain there?

      • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 9:05 PM

        “There are better ways to save that person than by ‘giving’ him a dollar. It would be better for him and society if he worked for that dollar.”

        That is not what I asked. You said the opportunity cost is higher. I asked what the opportunity cost was.

        You always say the opportunity cost is higher. You never say what it is.

        You always say a lot of things.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 12, 2013 at 9:38 PM

          The opportunity cost is that person needs another $1 tomorrow and the next day and the next day and so on and so on… At the same time, he produces nothing and becomes a burden to society by sucking up dollars that others earn

          By working for that $1 and producing the output he produces, everybody, including that person, is better off.

          Are you really arguing that it is better to give someone a dollar than for a person to work for a dollar?

          • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 9:48 PM

            That is not the definition of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the value of the benefit obtainable by doing something else with that dollar.

            There *are* other things that could be done with that dollar.

            You have (1) not identified any, (2) not determined their values, (3) not shown how any of their values exceed the benefit of keeping the man alive, or (4) indicated how you would even do that.

            Or how liberalism is a failure.

          • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 9:52 PM

            “The market doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be better than the outcome produced by the government.”

            That’s the two guys being chased by the bear. The second one says, “It’s no use. We’ll never outrun that bear.” The first one says, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

            Better than the outcome produced by the government? What’s better? For whom? Who decides?

          • Tourist  On July 12, 2013 at 11:15 PM

            Again: “The market . . . in its pure form . . . would be survival of the fittest. Pure capitalism would be Darwinian.”

            Fine by me!

            The market would not save that man. Pure Darwinians would celebrate his removal.

            If we decide as a society that we do not want him dying in our streets, we need collective intervention – your forced contribution – because “common good” does not mean individually better for each of us. Conservatives think civilization is free.

            Setting goals, designing effective approaches (“coupons”), measuring, monitoring, making adjustments – these are perpetual challenges. I choose to take them up rather than rationalize surrender to the outcomes of a theoretical mechanism in its pure form.

            • Devildog  On July 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM

              Well Tourist, I know nothing about you except I’ve been led to believe that you reside in Japan so I don’t know your age but were you “of age” before the “Great Society” came into being. I was and seem to remember that people in need were taken care of quite well by other than “the government”.

              There is something between the market in pure form and government largesse. Not to say that there should not be any government involvement but… That man would be saved by the private sector and taught to fish to improve his future. You just can’t seem to get it through you head that I might be able to use my own money as I see fit that would be of more benefit to people in need than if I gave it to the government and let them decide how to spend it.

              • Tourist  On July 13, 2013 at 5:41 AM


                I suspect you came of age during the Eisenhower years of Ozzie and Harriet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I would question anyway how broadly you state that “people in need were taken care of quite well.” But you label it as “before the ‘Great Society,’” as if all had been hunky-dory until LBJ. How did you miss blaming FDR? Before Eisenhower’s post-war boom was the war, and before that was the depression.

                This is the only way I can do the rest right now:

                “There is something between the market in pure form and government largesse.”


                “Not to say that there should not be any government involvement but…”

                Right, including the “but.”

                “That man would be saved by the private sector and taught to fish to improve his future.”

                The private sector would teach him to fish?!?!? The capitalist wing or the charitable wing? Three quick points on charity, beyond the obvious goodness of it: (1) It will always be selective/discriminatory. (2) In sum, it has never been adequate, which is why we have to discuss safety-net-as-public-policy at all. (3) When one is unemployed, just for example, in an economic system that requires a certain level of unemployment in order to function “freely,” said one is entitled to some protection from the system itself, beyond the willingness of beneficiaries to be charitable.

                “You just can’t seem to get it through you head that I might be able to use my own money as I see fit that would be of more benefit to people in need than if I gave it to the government and let them decide how to spend it.”

                Which people? See particularly point 1 above on charity.

                Few things are ever “that simple.” A consequence of there always being multiple factors is that, whenever valid criticisms are made, there’s always the defense that the real problem is something else.

                I will listen to different views on ends and ways and means, and on what works and doesn’t and what we should do about that – changes we should make.

                I will not listen to “not government’s role.”

                I will not listen to “unsolvable, give up.”

                I will not listen to “Why should I pay?”

                • Tourist  On July 13, 2013 at 7:13 AM

                  * benefactors

                • Devildog  On July 13, 2013 at 9:01 AM

                  Tourists, your “not listen to’s” do not apply to me. I told you there’s a role for government. And, indeed, there’s a need for a safety net. But the net should be for people who are not in a position to help themselves not for people perfectly capable of helping themselves (maybe with a helping hand and a kick in the pants).

                  You’re always asking for solutions and I’m always saying I’m not smart enough to provide them. You sit there as smug as shit without recognizing that there is tremendous waste in government spending and that there are programs that have failed or are in need of drastic overhaul. Where are your solutions.

                  Correct, I came of age in the Eisenhower years. You-in the great society years? Are things really better now after spending trillions of dollars-much of it unsuccessful and even worse counter-productive. I have no problem with S.S. or Medicare or Medicaid but they need change, some minor change and some great change.

                  What’s your solution to the situation or is everything hunky dory? It seems that pd wants to eliminate taxes and abolish government and you want taxes to quadruple and government to control everything and everyone. An exaggeration (maybe).

                  • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 1:36 PM


                    I think I have clearly stated that I believe a safety net is not only necessary but humane. We live in a civilized society. Now I may believe my safety net may not be as extensive as your safety net (although not sure about this). I feel like I have to exaggerate to a certain extent to show Tourist where his thinking may be a little inconsistent with the facts. It doesn’t appear to be working but ‘peeing on his pizza’ (Tourist, is this the phrase you used?) has become somewhat of a hobby for me

            • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 2:17 AM

              The opportunity cost is the lost output that the worker produces along with what could be done with the dollars that are ‘given’ to him. This is the best alternative foregone by just handing the guy a $1

              What you don’t accept is that this guy could get a job. Usually this is true for only a couple million people and then only for a brief period (6 months). But O’s failed stimulus has resulted in millions of people who have been unemployed for 2 years and this has led to the explosion in welfare payments

              • Tourist  On July 13, 2013 at 4:54 AM

                You set the only parameter – starving in the street – and declared that spending one dollar to help him had a greater opportunity cost than benefit. This remains a simple search – wait – for how that is so. Why is it important? Because you have declared it across the board as an indictment of any and all government programs, always and forever, and you can’t even explain it for this one.

                His “lost output”? “Could get a job”?

                Who said he was unemployed? Or *employable*? Old, homeless, physically sick, mentally ill, disabled veteran – one of the working poor on whom you have not been able to lower the minimum wage yet?

                You politics are your business. Your policy preferences are your business. You declared something to be an economic truth: The opportunity cost is always greater.

                Back it up.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 11:43 AM

                  I did. You just don’t accept it. Not surprised BTW

                • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

                  You always want me to prove some program is ineffective. Let me turn that around. Show me the evidence that the Great Society Programs are effective.

                  Has the poverty rate decreased? Data I have show the poverty rate hasn’t decreased since about 1965. It may have increased. This is after spending trillions of dollars to alleviate poverty in the last 50 years

                  So tell me, why are these enhanced safety net programs effective? Please don’t come back with ‘what would the poverty rate be without these programs?’

  • Tourist  On July 13, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad;

    You: “You always want me to prove some program is ineffective.”

    I never have. I want you to substantiate your position that spending a dollar on food for a person starving in the street has a higher opportunity cost than the value of the help.

    The question is not about any particular person “who could get a job.” The question is not about the rightness, wrongness or effectiveness of any particular program. It is not about whether there should be a safety net. It is about your statement that the opportunity cost is always greater.

    You haven’t. You can’t. You’re wrong. It’s clear.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      I’m wrong? OK.

      • Tourist  On July 13, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        This may sound hackneyed: And about how much else?

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM

          I was being sarcastic.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        You know 8 months ago I would have fired off a long response to your comment. The election scared the hell out of me. I was afraid that people that agree with Tourist will essentially be running this country for the rest of my life.

        But now. Progressivism is falling apart in front of our eyes. O is done whether he gets the boot or not (and I have a feeling if we find out the whole truth about the IRS scandal (unlikely), he would get the boot). The economy is tanking and is only being propped up by the Fed printing money. Immigration Reform is DOA in the House. Obamacare looks like it will be repealed more and more every day. Liberals can’t defend his NSA policy and O’s foreign policy is a joke.

        The GOP will almost certainly control both Houses of Congress in 2015 and even if Hillary wins in 2016 (more unlikely to happen by the day), she will be more Bubba than O and I never had to worry about Bubba ‘fundamentally transforming this country’.

  • Tourist  On July 13, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    “Sarcastic” about being wrong? That’s good. “Would have fired off a long response”? Exactly.

    O, this. O, that. Progressivism blah, blah, blah.

    You have made specific economic predictions and when asked for the basis, replied: “Free speech.” You do not have to know what you are talking about, or even care about being truthful. You can *say* anything you want.

    As you reminded us in this thread, you got your degree, got a job working for the state of Washington, where “they want[ed] to get rid of me so much” but “it would have cost them every dollar they had” so “they agreed to not blocking the benefits” and you “haven’t gotten off the couch in 18 months.” You sit “’applying’ for jobs” – inner quotation marks yours – telling yourself you prove your point.

    “I could get a job tomorrow.”

    My society is compassionate. I wonder about that last claim.

    You do not process reality effectively and have little if anything useable to contribute. That’s okay. Not everyone can. In the past, your type stoked its resentments in the dark and they mostly died there. Now you have keyboards. This is a problem.

    Ironically, those you identify with view you no differently – useful, sure, as tools of misinformation and distraction, but less than expendable – cannon fodder. Survival of the fittest? Ooh.

    You at July 8, 2013 at 2:16: “I think I speak for all people that have any common sense – Thx but we don’t need your sympathy.”

    You’re welcome. You will.

    Sweet dreams.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM

      your type stoked its resentments in the dark and they mostly died there?????? There are a lot of things I do in the dark. Stoking resentments ain’t one of them

      Ronald Reagan
      George H.W. Bush
      GWB (at least til he started spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave)

      I would be happy with any prez that has the same vision for this country that these people had. Of course, another Reagan is preferred but he’s likely a once in a lifetime president.

      Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Condaleeza Rice, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz. All would have a legitimate chance to win in 2016. I am looking forward to the election

  • Tourist  On July 13, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    Since we seem to have some time . . . .

    “Dog, I think I have clearly stated that I believe a safety net is not only necessary but humane. We live in a civilized society . . . . I feel like I have to exaggerate to a certain extent to show Tourist where his thinking may be a little inconsistent with the facts.” (Pittsburgh Dad to Devildog)

    Let me play with that. It comes from our Rob Rogers era.

    One of your frequent proclamations was that for an economic system to work, it had to work in its pure form. Asked where that came from, you answered: “It is common sense that this is true.”

    You then argued the pure form of liberalism was communism, the Soviet Union represented the purest form of communism, the Soviet Union is no more; therefore, liberalism is a failure.

    None of that was true either, but it was the bed you made.

    You tried not to, but you were trapped into acknowledging that the purest form of capitalism was the jungle. You were then (obviously) accused of advocating for an American jungle – survival of the fittest, granny eating cat food, all of that – which is a hard sell to most people. Reminded further that tea party town-hallers had cheered the idea of the uninsured being left to die, you were forced to try to differentiate yourself by taking the position you claim again here: “No person would think we should go to that extreme.”

    I don’t know. Maybe you meant it.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On July 13, 2013 at 11:52 PM

      Never said communism was pure form of liberalism. Not true. I said for an economic system to work, it has to work in it’s pure form. There has never been a modern example in which the government controlled all resources (pure form). This includes the USSR. However, the USSR is the closest attempt at government control of all resources that has been attempted and it failed.

      The second part of your comment is mostly nonsense.

      ‘Reminded further that tea party town-hallers had cheered the idea of the uninsured being left to die, you were forced to try to differentiate yourself by taking the position you claim again here: “No person would think we should go to that extreme.”?????

      I never advocated for survival of the fittest. Not true. All I said is it would work. It would be brutal, but it would work.

      And if you think Ocare will lead to everyone being insured, you’re more delusional than I thought

      • Tourist  On July 14, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        “I never advocated for survival of the fittest. Not true. All I said is it would work. It would be brutal, but it would work.”

        (Quote) The closer the better” (Unquote)

        • pittsburgh_dad  On July 14, 2013 at 12:23 AM

          Although I don’t recall saying that, yeah, more or less, I agree with that. Especially as opposed to being closer to progressivism

  • Little_Minx  On July 13, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Hey Tourist, think you’ll get an invitation to the embassy for next July 4th? “Caroline Kennedy poised for Japan”:

    • Tourist  On July 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM

      Oh, Minx, we don’t like to presume, now, do we?

      • Little_Minx  On July 14, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        I’m sure you (and your better half, if you have one) would be delightful company for such a patriotic celebration!

  • Little_Minx  On July 14, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Tourist, in case you hadn’t heard yet, George Zimmerman was acquitted tonight.

  • Little_Minx  On July 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Toadsly! This one’s for you:

    • toadsly  On July 14, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      Thanks for this, Little_Minx! As a amateur herpetologist, I’m always delighted to read pieces promoting ranarian preservation. Out here in Podunk, toads and frogs and turtles and snakes are disappearing so quickly many kids never experience the wonder of encountering them in the wild.

      • Little_Minx  On July 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM

        We usually seem to have a few in our vegetable garden every year. Lots of insects for them to dine on.

  • Tourist  On July 15, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    It is meaningful to say only that the chili is good. It is less meaningful to say only that the chili is bad. What’s wrong with it?

    Rob Rogers’s cartoons together with his written captions have a message. They make a point. They *say something*.

    Comments like “Good one, Rob,” and “Amen” and “This man gets it” say something. The chili as tasted is good.

    Comments (all in full) like “Rob, like all liberals, doesn’t allow facts to get in the way of a good story,” and “More vile, disgusting ‘journalism’, Rob,” and “Admit it Rogers, you’ve been abducted by aliens before. Right?” and “Rogers should be fired for this cartoon” do not *say* anything.

    If I only say “I agree,” you know what I think: I think the same as what was said. I think *that*.

    If I only say “I disagree,” you do not know what I think. You might suspect I don’t know either. You might suspect I’m not thinking.

  • Anonymous  On July 16, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    The most interesting comment in many moons is the one Susan Allan Block posted yesterday concerning Rob’s “Zimmerman Verdict” editorial cartoon. She being the recently married wife of Block Communications chairman, Allan Block!

  • Toadsly  On July 16, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    The most interesting (and ominous) comment in many moons was posted yesterday concerning Rodger’s editorial cartoon “Zimmerman Verdict” by Susan Allan Block (nee Pond). She being the recently married wife of the chairman of Block Communications, Allan Block.

    • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      Thanks, Toadsly. I saw the comment. I did not place the source.

      Ominous, indeed. Or might “chilling” be the point?

  • Toadsly  On July 16, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    “Chilling” is perfect considering P-G lost over $20 million last year and is thinking about relocating to the suburbs. P-G paper-newspaper costs a buck; Trib is half that, unless you pick one up at McDonalds for a quarter.

  • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 5:11 AM

    Following up on “not thinking” (mine just above, at 11:57 PM), someone posted this as the very first comment to a PG editorial: “Well, liberals don’t want to talk about real solutions. They just want to throw more money at the poor like we have for 50 years thanks to the failed Great Society Programs. Where has this gotten us? Well, the poverty rate is higher today than it was in 1965.”

    Throwing money? Failed Great Society? Poverty rate?

    The editorial was about the Zimmerman case.

    Just paste in the boilerplate wherever you have a chance.

  • Toadsly  On July 16, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    Hey, a belated “Happy Birthday” greeting to this blog’s host!

    • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      I’ll join! Where is he? Did he forget his password?

      • Toadsly  On July 16, 2013 at 8:00 AM

        Maybe he’s still trying to blow out all the candles on his cake?

        • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM

          Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake.

          • Little_Minx  On July 17, 2013 at 12:04 AM

            Cake? Does somebody have cake??? Is there a “yum” emoticon? Hope you had a good day, UMOC 🙂

  • Devildog  On July 16, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Susan Block and the juror who spoke on CNN had it tight and David Hammond and you other so-called intelligent people are idiots. What the hell does getting out of one’s car have to do with 2nd degree murder or manslaughter? Nothing. What does feeling “disrespected” (is that a racist comment) and jumping someone doing nothing wrong and pounding his head into the ground have to do with self-defense? Everything!

    As the juror said, nothing Zimmerman did beforehand mattered. What is it with you liberals? This case has nothing to do with Stand Your Ground but is a matter of self-defense, a defense as old as the world’s oldest profession. Once again, your heart is getting in the way of your brain. On the other hand, I’m lucky because I have no heart.

  • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Re my comment not far above at 5:11 AM, my opinion is that it was the person in question’s usual empty and erroneous boilerplate about “liberals” and that he again leapt at the chance to insert it as if it meant something, but the final line of the editorial – “And we are impatient for the day when the opportunities of good education and family-sustaining jobs will be truly available to all” – did give him a twig to hang it on. I was wrong to that extent.

  • Devildog  On July 16, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Not only that Tourist but his first sentence talked about getting at root causes(and not, generally speaking throwing money at all problems). Ease up on your Joe G. Fixation and let’s hear some about Ed Heath and David H.

  • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 9:31 AM


    The commenter’s first line says “real solutions” and you say “root causes” – fine; no issue. The editorial is about the Zimmerman case. The root causes of why Martin is dead are not the punches he threw. Yet to you they are the whole story.

    You: “you other so-called intelligent people are idiots.”

    For wanting to talk about root causes?

  • Devildog  On July 16, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Idiots for apparently not understanding/recognizing that the jury decision was correct under the law, a defense that’s been in existence forever. Not idiots for their beliefs as liberals which could lead them only one way being led by their hearts. On the other hand being liberals at their age might conclude one to believe they are … Throwing the punches may not be the whole story but it’s the whole story why Z was acquitted because absent his “injuries”, he would have been convicted, at least of manslaughter.

    No problem talking about root causes in this matter but it will be worthless as the conclusion, at its heart, will be racism.

  • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 8:59 PM


    There’s no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman profiled Martin and, braced by a gun, set off in quest of heroism. The result was a quintessentially American tragedy — the death of a young man understandably suspected because he was black and tragically dead for the same reason.


    The problems of the black underclass are hardly new. They are surely the product of slavery, the subsequent Jim Crow era and the tenacious persistence of racism. They will be solved someday, but not probably with any existing programs. For want of a better word, the problem is cultural, and it will be solved when the culture, somehow, is changed.

    In the meantime, . . . .

    (Unquote) (Order of the two parts reversed by me)

    Tragically dead for being black.

    “In the meantime”?

    In the meantime we talk about root causes and celebrate the “rule of law.”

    If you see only self-defense, pure and simple, how do you describe what happened prior? Just another exciting night in America?

    The events, starting with Martin coming home from the store with Skittles and ending with Martin dead at Zimmerman’s hand, did not unfolded as they should have. None of it had to happen. Zimmerman made it happen. It is not my “liberal heart” that – recognizing self-defense in the final seconds – balks at a result premised on everything that led to those final seconds being irrelevant.

    Zimmerman created the circumstances leading to his killing of Martin – set it all in motion. If the system disregards that because “none of it matters,” putting the guilt only on Martin, then the system is defective or inadequate for our needs, and that is something we *may* talk about.

    • Devildog  On July 16, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      Tourist, if doubt does not exist in your mind that Z “set off in quest of heroism” , then doubt is not the only thing missing from your mind. I won’t ask for evidence, or even reasoning because there isn’t any. People of your belief often cite the 30 more or less times Z called 911. Did he also set off in quest of heroism braced by a gun on those occasions-according to “you” people also involved all or mostly all Black people. And where was Martin during the four minutes that lapsed between encounters of the two-eating his skittles and drinking his whatever or stalking Z waiting for the right moment to doubt in one’s mind means having an inoperative mind.

      And whose culture needs to be changed to solve the problem? I think I can guess your answer but I don’t want to presuppose. So, the problems of the Black underclass won’t be solved by existing programs, eh. Is that an admission against interest or does it mean that we need to add more programs to the current ones (and, of course, change the culture too).

      You want to talk about the system, go ahead and I’ll join you in talking but I talk about a verdict that was correct under the law. Parenthetically, there’s no doubt in my mind that Martin stalked Z for four minutes, found the right opportunity to attack him and did, and Zwould at the least have been seriously injured had he not had a gun and pulled the trigger. No doubt whatsoever. 100 percent certain. A matter of disrespect. Now you wouldn’t expect anything else from this racist, would you. Who says racists don’t go around proudly announcing what they are.

      My name, address and phone number are as follows:

      Tourist, I don’t know what is you and what is Cohen so I am joining you at the hip.

  • Devildog  On July 16, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    I usually have trouble understanding where Tourist is coming from, is and is going (as in this instance) so maybe I should apologize to Richard Cohen for joining him at Tourist’s hip.

    • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      I’m pretty sure Cohen would want that apology. Can’t tell him from me? Beyond the irony (I admit I chose him for irony), I put him between “Quote” and “Unquote.”

      Also: “People of your belief often cite . . . .” I have not.

      The verdict may have been correct under the law. The issue is whether there is therefore nothing troubling in the result, or whether there is nevertheless something troubling in the result.

      Might anyone be dissatisfied from any legitimate perspective?

  • Devildog  On July 16, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Since neither you nor I know precisely what happened throughout, dissatisfied from any legitimate perspective would have to be about changing a self-defense law (not stand your ground) that has been in existence forever. So, what is your legitimate perspective and what do you propose?

    • Tourist  On July 16, 2013 at 11:56 PM

      You: “Since neither you nor I know precisely what happened throughout, . . . .”

      You: “Parenthetically, there’s no doubt in my mind that Martin stalked Z for four minutes, found the right opportunity to attack him and did, and Zwould at the least have been seriously injured had he not had a gun and pulled the trigger. No doubt whatsoever. 100 percent certain.”

      You: “. . . dissatisfied from any legitimate perspective would have to be about changing a self-defense law . . . .”

      No. I’m fine with self-defense.

      You: “So, what is your legitimate perspective . . . .”

      Mine. I look at this case and I see the self-defense. I also see Martin walking home from the store, guilty of nothing. But for Zimmerman, he probably would have made it. I was told in the previous thread to shrug that off. The verdict did. That’s my perspective, that of a citizen. Is this the best our legal system can do? Or is this the result we want our legal system to produce? Either way, I’m dissatisfied.

      • Devildog  On July 17, 2013 at 8:17 AM

        Tourist, I feel your pain (sort of). It must be real hard at times to have a heart and a conscience-not to mention trying to change the world.

  • Tourist  On July 17, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    What I will be posting in another minute or so is not meant as a direct response to anything.

  • Tourist  On July 17, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Socrates was homely in a society in which good looks in men were prized.


    The trial of Socrates was a foregone conclusion. It was one of those events whose outcome precedes its beginning and whose ending inspires its start.


    The trial . . . took place in a democracy. That was another of the things appalling to Plato . . . .


    He was found guilty by a vote of two hundred eighty to two hundred twenty-one.

    He was surprised only by the tally, he said . . . . He’d been certain the margin for conviction would be larger.

    The vote for death was larger: three hundred sixty to one hundred forty-one.

    Eighty jurors voted he be put to death for the crimes they believed he had not committed.


    The larger majority for the death sentence for Socrates was not helpful to the pleadings of the tanner Asclepius at his own trial one month later. The vote was a precious freedom in Athens . . . . Asclepius had twice wasted his by . . . voting to exonerate a criminal whom the bulk of his fellow citizens had first found guilty and then ordered executed.

    So far as Asclepius could judge, nothing at the trial attested to the guilt of Socrates for any of the crimes with which he had been charged.

    What difference did that make? Anytus snapped. What mattered was that most people thought him guilty, wanted him guilty, and voted him guilty, and Asclepius had not. The integrity of the system was at issue, not the life of one man . . . .


    Anytus, the strong voice of stability behind both prosecutions and, like Asclepius, an important factor in the Athenian leather trade, asserted that he could not understand how any honest businessman in Athens would not want to see a person like Socrates dead.

    “Therefore, either you are not honest or you are not telling the truth.”

    They did not believe Asclepius when he said this was too confusing for him to understand.

    They suspected him of arousing their suspicions.

    . . . He could not see that Socrates had done anything harmful to anyone.

    That was not the point, Anytus answered him testily. Asclepius had voted to spare a man who had been charged with crimes.


    There were guilty people in Athens committing criminal acts every day who knew they would not be punished.

    What right had anyone innocent to assume he was safe from the law?

    The penalty demanded was death.

    – Joseph Heller, “Picture This,” 1988 (some repositioning by me)

    • Devildog  On July 17, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      Brilliant, Tourist. I’m talking about Heller not you. Very apropos to this case, however, except it’s turned on its head. “Did nothing wrong!

      Zimmerman is Socrates, I am Asclepuis and Anytus, rather than being the strong voice of stability, is the voice of so-called progressivism and the race-batters.

      What right did Zimmerman have to assume he had a right to save himself-after all, he did get out of his car.

  • Tourist  On July 17, 2013 at 4:58 PM


    People will see in it what they want to. If they’re open about it, they’ll see more than they want to. Yes, Zimmerman is Socrates. So is Martin. Most of this case is there. Prejudgment. Media circus. Guilt, innocence, evidence. Who the system serves. Conflicts of interest. Doubletalk. Being A in a society of B.

    The book is one of a kind.

    • Devildog  On July 17, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      Tourist, I’m glad you agree that Zimmerman is Socrates. Asclepius (me) doesn’t think Zimmerman did anything wrong and, also, is homely in a society in which good looks in man is prized.

      Martin is not Socrates because he is not homely and, also, because I (Asclepius) could see that he had done something harmful to someone (assault and battery).

      This is all, of course, before the shooting.

      • Tourist  On July 17, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        Dog, correct me if I’m wrong. As I’ve followed our conversation to this point, yours is still the only correct way to view the Zimmerman case. Now, there is only one correct way to apply a 1988 book to it. This is not encouraging.

  • Little_Minx  On July 17, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Tourist, some interesting stuff on tonight’s NHK World Newsline. Comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s election for the upper house of the Diet:

  • Tourist  On July 19, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    Tony Norman’s column on space aliens is fun because none of us has a clue. Here’s what I think. Not having a clue is the good news.

    Life anywhere could be more technologically advanced or less technologically advanced than we are, but visitors would be more advanced by a long shot. Mr. Norman notes Stephen Hawking’s warning that such visitors (quoting Mr. Norman) “would probably treat Earth the same way that the Europeans treated the native peoples of the New World 500 years ago. Genocide, slavery and the ruthless exploitation of the planet’s resources would be the likely outcome of first — and last — contact with technologically advanced aliens, according to Mr. Hawking.”

    Mr. Norman has Neil deGrasse Tyson answering Mr. Hawking: “I think his fear about aliens is a reflection of his actual knowledge about how humans treat each other, not real knowledge about how actual aliens would treat us.” Mr. Tyson offers that we might instead be too uninteresting for aliens to bother with.

    Mr. Norman himself says: “From an alien’s perspective, we probably look like aggressive basement mold consuming and depleting our planet’s resources,” and, later, “a strip of fungus.”

    See! This is fun!

    What is rarely part of these speculations – because it shuts down discussion and no one wants to do that – is how incomprehensively unlike us alien life surely is. In every way. That’s the good news.

    Life on Earth, from microbes up, is driven to reproduce itself beyond the limits of resources. Higher forms are driven to dominate resources, consume more than they need, and, individually, to demonstrate their superiority over others.

    One can certainly argue that life on Earth is aggressive and competitive because it needs, or needed, to be. But how much was in response to conditions and how much was random variables producing behavior in conditions? Not only will conditions, including initial conditions, be different anywhere else; our 3-4 billion-year string of random variables beginning with the first spark would never be repeated in identical conditions.

    With all of the ways aliens will be different from us – *incomprehensibly unlike* – why do we assume that they, too, will be into “genocide, slavery and ruthless exploitation,” driven to over-reproduce and over-consume?

    I’m just asking.

    If there is, to the contrary, some universal imperative that causes life to develop more consistently, Carl Sagan had an answer to why we have not been visited or contacted. Maybe before technological civilizations reach the point where they are actually capable of doing that, they reach a point where they cannot avoid destroying themselves.

    • toadsly  On July 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Since we are created in the image and likeness of God, any

      • toadsly  On July 19, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Sorry, I accidentally posted the preceding comment before I was done writing it. But any alien visitors who are substantially different from us – say a silicone-based lifeform – would destroy widely-held religious beliefs. I think aliens dwell amongst us…take that serial P-G comment king, Joe Giannamore, for example.

  • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Obama says,” Traymon Martin could have been me 35 years ago”. I guess that means that Obama jumped a guy 35 years ago and beat the shit out of him. Lucky for the country that guy either didn’t have a gun or if he had one he didn’t use it.

  • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Are you saying Obama didn’t mean it that way?

  • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Or are you astounded that I wrote, “Lucky for the country”?

  • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Love your one word posts. How was the march today? Is it in dispute that Martin (the 17 year old “kid”) attacked Zimmerman and threw the first punch, for which I can think only of two possible reasons. One was that he was in fear of ZImmerman, which I find hard to believe. The second is that for which many people, mainly young and mainly Black, have met there maker and that is because he felt disrespected. I’m not saying that Martin deserved to die for what he did but there is a law of unintended consequences.

    He didn’t deserve to die but he didn’t deserve a Justice for Martin protest march either, a march comprised of the usual cast of characters-the “victims”, the “bleeding hearts” and the anarchists. All joined by the causes of racism, guns, stand your ground and Wall Street.

    I have a lot of empathy (and I have it for his parents and so many others who did their best to no avail), probably not as much as you guys, so I have to limit it to people who did not contribute to their difficulty or are not in a position to help themselves.

    • Tourist  On July 20, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      “He didn’t deserve to die but he didn’t deserve a Justice for Martin protest march either, . . .”

      Why not? He did die. It was either justice or it wasn’t.

      Or is your point, correctly, that it’s too late for Martin now?

      If the rallies were called something else, would that help you?

  • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Tourist, my point is not that “it’s too late for Martin now” and, also, it’s the rally itself and its purpose that I can’t understand. Was it justice-res ipsa loquiter. Unintended consequences, remember. Justice you ask? That’s for a court to decide.

    Was the rally against racism, which didn’t occur, was it against guns, the gun was used in this case for self-defense; was it against stand your ground laws that was not a part of this case.

    What the hell was this protest about anyway? If anyone thinks this type of march accomplishes anything except bringing this troika together (aided by the media), he is mistaken. Actually, as in the fable of the boy who cried wolf, it is quite counter-productive.

    • Tourist  On July 20, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      “What the hell was this protest about anyway? If anyone thinks this type of march accomplishes anything . . . . Actually, . . . it is quite counter-productive.”

      Taxed Enough Already.

      Gunned Down Enough Already.

      Zimmerman’s heart was in the right place.

      Twenty years for a warning shot.

      The latter jury needed twelve minutes on all three counts.

      The rallies are about liberty and justice for all.

  • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    I’m all for liberty and justice for all, and legitimate rallies for that purpose when the occasion warrants, but what does Martin have to do with that? You’ll get your 50 percent to march with you but I would think you want to get beyond that.

    • Tourist  On July 20, 2013 at 8:35 PM

      What do taxes have to do with the tea party?

      • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        Refresh my recollection-what is the saying when/why someone changes the subject? Ask Pittsburgh Dad née Anonymous about taxes and the Tea Party.

        • Tourist  On July 20, 2013 at 9:13 PM

          You asked what Martin has to do with today.

          • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 9:26 PM

            Sorry but I have no idea what you’re talking about. You say you mentioned taxes and the tea party because I asked what Martin has to do with today (actually, I asked about what Martin has to do with liberty and justice). Huh!

            What does rallying for Martin have to do with rallying for liberty and justice? Answer-nothing!

            • Tourist  On July 20, 2013 at 9:51 PM

              You said Martin didn’t deserve to die. His killer was exonerated by a system intended to protect liberty and promote justice, for all. Today’s rallies are from the perspective that the system appears not to have done so for Martin, and perhaps in other cases. It’s an exploration. An inquiry. A public discussion. Its less *about* Martin than that it includes Martin, as the tea party is less about taxes than whatever.

              • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 10:11 PM

                Martin didn’t deserve to die, Zimmerman didn’t deserve to beaten up and Zimmerman did’t deserve to have his liberty taken away. Justice was served-justice can’t bring back Martin.i understand the rallies’ perspective but it is ill-founded. You want to “explore” other cases, go ahead. The woman who missed and got 20 years-seems like an injustice but I would like to know more before coming to that exclusion.

                You want to explore, inquire, go ahead but the Martin case should have no relevance to that discussion except the influence of politics and the media in judicial matters-except we might disagree on how that influence played out in the case. Taxes and the tea party-forgeddaboutit.

              • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 10:26 PM

                One more thing. You can explore, inquire and discuss but it will neither save the life of a Black, nor provide any Black with any more liberty or justice than already exists. What will do that is somehow a change in the culture of the Black community-and no White man nor any government can make a significant contribution to that.

                • Tourist  On July 20, 2013 at 10:33 PM

                  Although the 20-year woman “seems like an injustice” to you?

                  • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 10:40 PM

                    Ah, do you mind if I know a little more about the case (as much as I do About the Z/M case, before I give a firm “opinion”. I would ask you to educate me but I suspect you know very little about the case

                    P.S., I’m not a proponent of mandatory minimum sentences. Shocking, no?

                    • Tourist  On July 20, 2013 at 10:50 PM

                      Actually, I read about the Alexander case at the arrested-and-charged stage.

                      You were of the view that Zimmerman should never have been charged — that there was no reason for a trial when an unarmed man was shot and killed.

                      Please learn whatever you want to about Alexander. Note particularly that no one was hit or even hurt.

                    • Devildog  On July 20, 2013 at 11:00 PM

                      If I said Z shouldn’t have been charged, I changed my mind. For whatever reason(s), I think a manslaughter charge was ok. I think abortion is a killing but for whatever reason(s), I think it’s ok for a minimum time of pregnancy-I’m a pragmatist.

                      Thanks but no thanks about learning more about Alexander. Any reason why I should be interested in that case. Oh, yeah, a possible injustice was done and I should be marching. Just imagine what the sentence would have been if she fired at a White man-much longer right.

  • Tourist  On July 21, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    I just searched this thread and the previous one. Assuming I did it right, I never used the word “black” in any of my comments in either thread, other than when quoting someone else (here or an article), except when I said a TV show on slavery would probably need black slaves and white owners.

    I’m surprised. I did not avoid the word intentionally. We’ve been talking about Martin and Zimmerman, and I’m not convinced Martin’s being black was a major part of it for Zimmerman, so I was not pressing that.

    I do think innocent black (mostly) men end up like Martin far too often and that their being black is frequently the distinguishing reason why. Liberty and justice for them, life or death for them – that’s what we are talking about. Nobody from the president down to me says it’s all a problem of “white America,” but Devildog insists still, again (July 20, 2013 at 10:26 PM), that it’s all a problem of the black community.

    I do not believe Devildog has denied the existence of racism in America. He just does not believe it’s relevant to anything important in real life.

    What Toadsly said: astounding.

    • Devildog  On July 21, 2013 at 7:47 AM

      No White man or government can make a significant contribution to a change in the culture of the Black community! If that’s so astounding, why not provide a litany of things that Whites and government can do to help accomplish that change that hasn’t been tried already. More money, affirmative action, Head Start? What? I’m listening! How about legalizing drugs or sending more whites to jail with longer sentences to equalize it with Blacks.

      • Tourist  On July 21, 2013 at 7:52 AM

        “How about . . . sending more whites to jail with longer sentences to equalize it with Blacks.”

        That might put an end to the continual question of why the disparities.

        • Devildog  On July 21, 2013 at 8:06 AM

          Yes, but it wouldn’t help the Black community unless it reduced the number of riots for “injustice”.

          • Tourist  On July 21, 2013 at 8:18 AM

            Reducing resentment over the disparities might help the community.

            • Devildog  On July 21, 2013 at 8:41 AM

              Maybe on the margin, Tourist, but way out on the margin. Toadsly, I suspect we have more miscegenation now than you ever thought possible but things are worse . But, in the long run (besides we all being dead in the long run), you may be right-but probably not because there’ll probably be conflict between the lighter and darker skinned. For affirmative action, we’ll have a paper bag test.

  • toadsly  On July 21, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Miscegenation will bring equality.

    • Devildog  On July 21, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      Astounding! Equality of what?

  • Little_Minx  On July 21, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Tourist, just heard on the news that Shinzo Abe and his program of stimulus spending since last December is winning the election handily today. Guess the Japanese people prefer that to 20 yours of economic stagnation.

    • Little_Minx  On July 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      …20 years…

  • Tourist  On July 21, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Socrates was about ten when Pericles rose to leadership, nullified the prerogatives of the hereditary Areopagus, and transferred the authority to legislate to the Assembly, to which every adult male citizen was now eligible to belong.

    A patrician of the noblest lineage, he was called, of course, a traitor to his class.


    In the democracy of Athens most public officials were chosen by lot . . . . Socrates would wonder out loud that people who would not choose a pilot or a builder or any other craftsman by lot would pick that way judges and government officials whose mistakes in statecraft were far more disastrous.

    . . . Scoffing observations like these were not ingratiating to people who believed their system sacred and superior and exempt from analysis by anyone other than themselves.


    The most he could say for the democracy he knew was that it was not something worse.


    In the eighty years . . . after victory in the Persian wars, the sole diplomatic principle asserted by Athenians . . . was the right of the strong to suppress the weak.

    . . . To obtain absolute compliance from other free cities, the free city of Athens conquered, massacred, deported, and enslaved.

    When an Athenian moderate opposed the motion of Cleon to slaughter the men of Mytilene and sell into slavery the women and children, Cleon labeled him lily-livered, anti-Athenian, un-Athenian, a bleeding heart, and a knee-jerk liberal.

    The demagogue Cleon was a radical democrat, the first in the line of businessmen political leaders after Pericles.


    Cleon ranted effectively in legislative debate . . . . He harangued and bellowed in his speeches, paced in rage and sawed the air, and earned for himself the resentful contempt of . . . the educated elite who were appalled by the vulgarity of his appeals and the coarseness of his followers.


    Like many in politics who are self-centered and brazen, Cleon was thin-skinned, immovable, histrionic, boisterous, and self-pitying.

    He demanded to be told why the same autocratic practices should not suffice in the management of government that had served him so profitably in the management of his leather business, where his laborers were slaves.


    One of the effects of capitalism is communism.

    – Heller, 1988, op cit.

  • Tourist  On July 21, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Basically the same commenters who disagree with Tony Norman on other topics took issue with his column on space aliens, for the obvious reason that what the universe holds, too, fractures along domestic partisan lines.

    One says: “The aliens will likely assimilate into Democrats.” I don’t get that exactly, but I see the intent and it’s funny. (Funnier is one who amplifies a major point of the article, thinking he’s revealing its flaw.)

    A news story I’m not trying to flag involves a doctor with child pornography on his computer. In the article, the prosecutor’s office notes there is no evidence that the doctor did anything but possess. There are disgusted comments that the doctor is “sick,” there are sympathetic comments that the doctor is “sick,” there are comments focused on the law, and there is one comment warning that the future of Obamacare is illegal immigrants with no background checks becoming doctors in America with new identities given by the government so they will vote.

    That’s called writing for those who get it. I’m pretty sure.

    • toadsly  On July 22, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      Get it, like in mental sodomy.

      • Little_Minx  On July 23, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        Coming soon to a P-G comment near you:

        “…In an interview with the conservative website Newsmax, the anti-immigration crusader [Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)] was asked about ‘amnesty’ and the DREAM Act, which would give undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children a path to permanent residency. The Iowa congressman had this to say about DREAMers'”:

        Some of them are valedictorians — and their parents brought them in. It wasn’t their fault. It’s true in some cases, but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents. For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.

        “…King has a long record of racially tinged quotes. Such a record, one would hope, would at some point draw strong rebukes from King’s fellow Republicans — at least because of the potential damage to the party’s already-declining standing with the country’s Hispanic population. Yet no GOP leader has yet disavowed his intolerant views…”

        • Devildog  On July 23, 2013 at 6:45 PM

          BothBoehner and McConnell have gone on record as saying that not only are King’s comments reprehensible but that King as a human being is reprehensible. I believe their comments were joined by 102 Republicans in the House and 32 (give or take one or two) Republicans in the Senate. Also Palin and Bachmann among others.

          • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 7:07 PM

            Devildog, that’s a strong rebuttal. I can’t find anything on it. Could you give me some more googling clues?

            • Devildog  On July 23, 2013 at 7:22 PM

              Tourist, you are my guru in “searching”. How about googling Boehner?

              • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 7:24 PM

                Google says: About 8,670,000 results (0.17 seconds)

                • Devildog  On July 23, 2013 at 7:37 PM

                  Well, how about trying Palin or Bachmann. There probably are fewer hits for them.

                  • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 8:17 PM

                    Maybe I’m losing my touch. Boehner, McConnell, Palin, Bachmann, Steve King, comments, denounce, reprehensible, immigrants – I tried all kinds of combinations, simple and complicated. What I got was Democrats calling on Republicans to denounce King, but only an occasional Republican openly disagreeing with him.

                    Are you sure those 100+ Republicans weren’t denouncing *Stephen* King?

                    • Devildog  On July 23, 2013 at 8:54 PM

                      Well, it could be a “google” conspiracy (with Democrats) to make it look like Republicans didn’t denounce King (who’s Steven King, one of those artistic types). Look, I’m not going to swear I saw those Republicans denouncements-it could have been a wish on my part so strong I thought it actually occurred when it didn’t so maybe you’re wasting your time. If that’s the case, my bad.

                  • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 9:38 PM

                    Rock is about the passion, man!

                    • Tourist  On July 24, 2013 at 3:17 PM

                      (Lightbulb) I hate when this happens. I think I missed the joke. (Bows deeply to Devildog)

  • Tourist  On July 22, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Under a Rob Rogers cartoon likening the U.S. to the U.S.S.R. in regard to domestic surveillance, etc., Commenter A takes it further: “With food stamps and housing help funding both getting cut by the federal government, we are making a good first effort at a Stalinist purge of our poor.”

    Commenter B responds: “This is quite a keen insight. Let’s see, conservatives want smaller government and liberals want big government but you’re indicating that the country with the biggest government in modern history starved its people. Liberals, forever misunderstanding cause and effect.”

    “Liberals want big government”? Probably too big for a bathtub. Never mind.

    Note that the “cause and effect” that liberals “forever misunderstand” here is that big government starves its people.

    Cause: big government. Effect: starvation of the people.

    Big government does this.

    As night follows day.

    It’s false and it’s catchy – like “opportunity costs are always higher” – and it’s either an intentional lie told to manipulate in the manner of propaganda, or its incredibly stupid. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. It is trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. It emits more stupid than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. Nothing in our universe can really be this stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial fragment from the original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know. I’m sorry. I can’t go on. Duh.


    Stole it.

    • Devildog  On July 22, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Tourist, I suggest that, for your own well-being, you get over your obsession.

      • Tourist  On July 22, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        Thanks for your concern, Devildog, but I think it’s good for me. It’s easy and I get to tell myself I’m contributing. My occasional hesitation is that I don’t actually want to hurt him.

        I was serious recently when I said the historical game-changer was keyboards.

        • Devildog  On July 22, 2013 at 5:19 PM

          Actually, Tourist, I have no doubt it’s good for your psyche just as I have no doubt it is good for “his”. As for some others on this blog (not all), perhaps a little discretion is in order- which, alas, may not be my strong point.

          • Tourist  On July 22, 2013 at 5:29 PM

            Some others, not all? Is that 2-1 or 1-2? Is this any more than a time capsule? Damn Facebook!

            Oops! They heard that.

    • toadsly  On July 22, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      Dumber than reality television! Dumber than Honey Boo Boo?

  • Tourist  On July 22, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Very roughly culled from her wiki page:

    When Cuban leader Fidel Castro was asked in the early 2000s what was the difference between democracy in Cuba and democracy in the United States, Castro reportedly replied, “I don’t have to answer questions from Helen Thomas.”

    On May 17, 2000, the day after it was announced that the UPI had been acquired by News World Communications Inc., an international media conglomerate founded and controlled by Unification Church leader Reverend Sun Myung Moon which owns The Washington Times and other news media, Thomas resigned from the UPI after 57 years with the organization.

    After leaving her job as a reporter at the UPI, Thomas became more likely to air her personal, negative views. In a speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she quipped, “I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?’”

    During President George W. Bush’s first term, Thomas reacted to Press Secretary Ari Fleischer’s statements about arms shipments to the terrorists by asking: “Where do the Israelis get their arms?”

    In January 2003, following a speech at a Society of Professional Journalists banquet, Thomas told an autograph-seeker, “I’m covering the worst president in American history” . . . . her comments were published. After that she was not called upon during a press conference for the first time in over four decades. She wrote to the President to apologize . . . . Thomas was moved to the back row during press conferences . . . . On March 21, 2006, Thomas was called upon directly by President Bush for the first time in three years: “I’d like to ask you, Mr. President, [about] your decision to invade Iraq … Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? ….”

    In July 2006, she told The Hill, “The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I’ll kill myself.”

    At the July 18, 2006, White House press briefing, Thomas remarked, “The United States … could have stopped the bombardment of Lebanon. We have that much control with the Israelis….” Press Secretary Tony Snow responded, “Thank you for the Hezbollah view.”

    In a press conference on November 30, 2007, Thomas questioned White House Press Secretary Dana Perino as to why Americans should depend on General David Petraeus in determining when to re-deploy U.S troops from Iraq. Perino began to answer when Thomas interjected with “You mean how many more people we kill?” Perino immediately took offense, responding: “Helen, I find it really unfortunate that you use your front row position, bestowed upon you by your colleagues, to make such statements. This is a…it is an honor and a privilege to be in the briefing room, and to suggest that we, the United States, are killing innocent people is just absurd and very offensive.”

    Refusing to back down, Thomas responded immediately by asking Perino if she knew how many innocent Iraqis had been killed and then questioned the worth of regret when Perino responded that the administration regretted the loss of all innocent Iraqi lives.

    On February 9, 2009, Thomas was present in the front row for newly elected President Obama’s first news conference. President Obama called on her with the statement, “Helen. I’m excited, this is my inaugural moment” . . . . Thomas asked if any Middle Eastern country possessed nuclear weapons.

    On July 1, 2009, Thomas commented on the Obama administration’s handling of the press, “we have had some control but not this control. I mean I’m amazed, I’m amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and you have controlled…”. She also said that not even Richard Nixon tried to control the press as much as President Obama.

    Rabbi David Nesenoff . . . questioned Thomas as she was leaving the White House via the North Lawn driveway. When asked for comments on Israel, she replied: “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.”

    Thomas said in an October 2011 radio interview with Scott Spears of WMRN that she realized soon after making the comments that she would be fired, stating, “I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive.”

    Asked by the Detroit Free Press how she’d respond to people who say she’s anti-Semitic, Thomas responded: ‘I’d say I’m a Semite. What are you talking about?'”.

    • Devildog  On July 22, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      Tourist, you’re one of the best researchers I’ve ever encountered. So, why didn’t you include Thomas saying, in a response to a question on Israel asking where the Jews should go (from occupied lands), she answered home. When followed up with the question of where home is, she said Germany and Poland, then laughingly said America. She was talking about Jews and Israel proper. A little different than the short version you provided about her talk with the Rabbi.

      Technically correct that she is a Semite, but not correct as anti-Semitic is commonly used.

      Her accomplishment besides being the first woman to… And asking some tough questions is…

      • Tourist  On July 22, 2013 at 10:17 PM

        Why didn’t I include? Because it was really long. How much did I leave out compared to what I put in? You’re right, that I was not complete, but said it was the wiki page, and I gave the Rabbi’s name. I thought that particular incident was well-known enough. You found it.

        I also included a major criticism of Obama and her immediate Israeli-nukes question to Obama after he greeted her so graciously.

        I was motivated only by some very ungracious, one-sentence blow-offs of a long life and long career.


        I’m out for the day.

        • Devildog  On July 22, 2013 at 10:49 PM

          So your post had something to do with your continued obsession with Joe G. Yes, it was a long life and long career, but not a distinguished one.

          • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 1:34 AM

            Gettin’ robbed
            Gettin’ stoned
            Gettin’ beat up
            Broken boned
            Gettin’ had
            Gettin’ took
            I tell you people it is harder than it looks
            ‘Cause it’s a long way to the top if wanna rock and roll.

            • Devildog  On July 23, 2013 at 8:56 AM

              Not too hard when you’re too dumb to know you’re the fool (and nowhere near as close to the top as you think you are). I can vouch for ignorance being bliss.

              • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 9:01 AM

                You understood it! I’ll settle for that. ‘Night!

  • Little_Minx  On July 23, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Tourist, I guess Japan’s not immune to bat-guano crazies, either:
    (Just imagine how much more bloodshed there’d have been if he’d used a firearm).

    • toadsly  On July 23, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      Gee, and I thought all Oriental haiku poets were harmless. Can’t wait to get Tourist’s slant. Hi, Little_Minx! Is Umoc missing in inaction?

      • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        Sorry, guys. I have no slant on it. It’s news of a crime. No society is immune from whatever bad you can think of. If you look at, for example, American society and you conclude that the overwhelming majority of people are good, honest, sincere, and so on – there’s no society where that isn’t true either.

        • Devildog  On July 23, 2013 at 10:00 PM

          What good is it to have one “of us” in Japan if he doesn’t believe he is competent to opine on Oriental haiku poets and Abenomics. Tourist, you might as well come “home”.

          • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 10:21 PM

            Huh? On the haiku poet, I opined. I said there was nothing to opine about. Not in Minx’s article was a local witness’s saying the haiku was hanging before the killings, but that does not change the basic crime story.

            Okay, this: I suspect detailed news coverage will continue longer because such things are still rare here. Last weekend I saw a young woman sitting alone in a crowded Mister Donut go to the restroom, leaving her purse and phone on her table in the middle of all the traffic. I noticed it because it was foolish, even here. It’s also common, still.

            Abenomics? Keep in mind that Abe’s Liberal Democrats are Japan’s Republicans. Also, the day after the election, TEPCO acknowledged that its radioactive water was flowing into the sea. Data on contaminated water in the sea had been public for a few months (?) but TEPCO had been denying that it was the source – must be somewhere else. Notwithstanding the election, the Abe government’s approval rating is down 12 points since June.

            • Devildog  On July 23, 2013 at 10:35 PM

              Okay then, stay there and continue to opine. Glad you didn’t fall on your sword when the Republican Party did so well in the election. We might have a new adversary, or partner, in the arms race. Maybe a military/industrial complex will get Japan out of its economic malaise-if they actually are in one. Noted liberal Nobel laureate in economics Krugman doesn’t think so.

  • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    These two musical links, posted separately, have a targeted audience, but I think most can enjoy them. The first is more for fun. The second . . . .

    • Tourist  On July 23, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      With a few words added because I’ve had links alone not post here.

  • toadsly  On July 24, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    Enjoyed watching both videos.
    Jack Black, for me, is like garlic: A soupcon enhances; much more ruins the dish. The video is perfectly seasoned.

    • Tourist  On July 24, 2013 at 2:28 AM

      Thank you, Toadsly. I’m glad. Did you see “Bernie”? A very different Jack Black.

      I think the two clips stand on their own, but there may be people who didn’t pick up on the connections.

      The first was about the movie “School of Rock” and the Led Zeppelin song in it. The second was Led Zeppelin being honored at the Kennedy Center last year. The drummer on stage is introduced at the beginning as “the son of John Bonham, Jason Bonham.” John Bonham was Zeppelin’s drummer until his death.

      Heart, before being recognized in its own right, was known for its Zeppelin covers.

      Left to right as you see them are John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. You’re watching Plant watching Ann Wilson singing Plant, and Page watching the guitarist playing Page, and everybody’s lovin’ it. Some people think old rockers are sad. I think this is glorious – although, of the three, Plant is the youngest and he’s my . . . never mind.

      Just after the middle, just after the Obamas, during the guitar solo, the camera cuts to Yo-Yo Ma twice. The last face you see on the stage at the end is Jack Black.

      • Tourist  On July 24, 2013 at 2:36 AM

        Might as well, from 1973:

        • toadsly  On July 24, 2013 at 7:41 AM

          Never caught “Bernie,” but remember reading good reviews. It may not have been in wide release in this area.

          Thanks for info on the first two videos.

          • Tourist  On July 24, 2013 at 7:44 AM

            I’d not heard of “Bernie.” I saw it on a plane.

  • Devildog  On July 24, 2013 at 9:20 AM


    1. Improve race relations-0

    2. Improve relations in/with Congress-0

    3. Improve standing in world -0

    4. Help middle class- 0

    5. Help poor- 0

    6. Help Wall Street- 10

  • Little_Minx  On July 24, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Thank you for your comments, Tourist! I appreciate an American’s first-hand perspective of events in Japan.

    • Little_Minx  On July 25, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      Wow, Tourist! There’s even coverage of the Fukushima reactor on NPR this AM. Wonder how bad it must be still to be getting international coverage after more than two years.

      • Little_Minx  On July 25, 2013 at 9:46 AM

        And of course Caroline Kennedy’s nomination as US Ambassador. How do the Japanese feel re this? I’d think they’d be thrilled.

  • Tourist  On July 26, 2013 at 4:20 AM

    Hi, Minx!

    Consider: Traditionally in business here a company never sends one person to visit a customer. Two or more are needed to demonstrate the high regard the company has for that customer. (Yes, the times they are a-changin’.)

    Almost every American news story on Caroline Kennedy has noted the string of heavy hitters who were the American ambassadors to Japan, until Thomas Schieffer and John Roos. It’s hard to convey how important this was to Japan – or the difference it sometimes made. Mike Mansfield famously declared U.S.-Japan to be the “most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none.” Wow! Bar none. Japan loved it! Not only did every Japanese know those words by heart; subsequent ambassadors made a point of repeating them.

    Or used to. It’s history. Japan knows the U.S.’s Asian focus is China now. Japan doesn’t like it. It knows there is little it can do about it.

    If North Korea lobbed a missile at downtown Tokyo, which would certainly miss and land in the western suburbs, or onto an uninhabited mountaintop for that matter, would the U.S. retaliate? It has said it would. For Tokyo? For the mountain?

    What if the Chinese and Japanese navies got into it somewhere? What if it was about more than “uninhabited rocks” (and associated resource rights)? China and Tibet? China and Hong Kong? Chinese academics (not the government yet) have been laying the historical groundwork for China’s claim to Okinawa.

    Elsewhere, between the two atomic bombings on August 6 and 9, followed by Japan’s surrender on August 15, the Soviet Union on August 8 declared war on Japan and seized and annexed four Japanese islands off – right off – Hokkaido, known as the Northern Territories. Russia and Japan continue to dispute sovereignty. Tensions rise and fall. Russia has physical control. Japanese and Russians live there. Shows of force are mustered.

    Russia, China, North Korea: How much American military support would Japan receive? How much would Japan be wise to count on?

    There was a time, post-war, when the U.S. provided Japan’s defense – the “American umbrella” – no doubt about it. For quite some time Japan has been paying more for that (I mean money) than many people appreciate; nevertheless, the American “commitment” is still crucial and it does cost us – little doubt about that either. Of course, having forces stationed conspicuously throughout the world is part of being a global power, and we appear to still want to be.

    To the question, “Why should we?” part of the answer has to be, “Then why should they?”

    Japan wasn’t sure what Gulf War I (“Desert Storm,” liberating Kuwait) had to do with it when George H.W.B. called Toshiki Kaifu and told him Japan was expected to be part of the coalition. Japan deployed its Self-Defense Forces in support roles for W’s Iraq War even less enthusiastically.

    As, or if, the U.S. backs further away from supporting Japan in ways that Japan can actually value – because “Why should we?” – how much faithful following should we continue to expect on what we want? Why should they?

    I’m not talking about “Japan” or any particular issue with Japan. I like being a superpower. It’s complex and not free.

    Caroline Kennedy does not appear to be exciting people in any big way – not that I see. Minx, you might think about why you’d “think they’d be thrilled.” In part, maybe, the appointment now is an anti-climax. It’s been expected. It’s news of a sort and she will make more news in due course. We’re America. She’ll be our ambassador. What else is there?

    In some contrast, the Abe government is playing her up as an example for Japanese women. It’s relative, but Abe does seem to be serious about wanting to increase opportunities for and participation by women, as long as they also have more babies. The current birthrate is around 1.3 per woman.

    • Devildog  On July 26, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      No friends, only interests!

  • Tourist  On July 27, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Devildog, is that your summary of what I said or your rebuttal to what I said? Could you apply it to any of the situations I mentioned, or some other situation, or something hypothetical? How are you suggesting nations behave?

    All you need is love.


    The Sunday morning shows recapping the week had segments on Caroline Kennedy. They reviewed the history of distinguished ambassadors and quoted Mansfield again. (I’m shocked.) One commentator ventured that what’s important is being able to get directly to the president, and she will be able to do that. As I was thinking, “That’s silly,” another responded, “That’s silly.” It was offered that if getting a Kennedy was supposed to make Japan happy, it was slightly insulting. Emphasis: slightly. On the whole, I still think the appointment is being received with a polite shrug.

    Also noted was the death of Helen Thomas. In Japan they knew of Helen Thomas. I’m not sure many knew her personal views on the Mideast, for example. What impressed was her tenacity in the face of presidents. Institutional media in Japan operate somewhat differently.

    On our blogs, criticism included that Thomas “had no business being in the WH press corps,” which is inanely meaningless, and “here, gone, underwhelming,” which is legitimate, but, then, true of virtually everyone.


    I’m out in search of beer served in the shade.

    • Devildog  On July 27, 2013 at 10:28 PM

      Tourist: Definitely not a rebuttal and, I think, a summary of what you said and what you think. But I often have trouble deciphering what it is you think and are saying. I apply ” countries have interests not friends” to all situations you mentioned and to everything any sensible country tries to do, past, present and future. We are a sensible country.

  • Tourist  On July 31, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    That’s a P-G editorial on American prestige. There’s a good first comment to it (Allan V.) and second comment (Allan W.) in the usual form of, when issue X is raised, answering “What about issues Y and Z?” What about them? The P-G is then mocked: “You can’t make this stuff up.” What stuff? What’s funny?

    None of it says anything.

    The United States exists within the world. We prefer to “lead” (benefit, get what we want) rather than to follow. Our influence is based on three things: We buy a lot of what they sell, and we can blow them up.

    The P-G could have put the third any number of ways – respect, stature, our historical record, the good we’ve done; as the first commenter said, the example we set. Calling it “prestige” was fine.


    Whatever else happens around here, I’ll be out for about a week.

    • Little_Minx  On July 31, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      Hope you have a good vacation, Tourist! I just got back. Catch you when you return.

      • Tourist  On August 1, 2013 at 3:03 AM

        Thanks, Minx!

        There’s a third comment now to the editorial. The comment in full:

        “You can thank Obama and Clinton for all the countries that do not want anything to do with the US. It is so bad that Obama has to start campaigning all over again because that is all he KNOWS HOW to do.”

        If I were on Facebook, I would say thank you.

        It’s not about America or the world. It’s about hating Clinton and Obama. It’s not about Obamacare. It’s about hating Obama. And liberals. And Muslims. And immigrants. And scientists. And teachers. And Pelosi.

        It’s never why. It’s always who. And hating them.

        Add this to “Standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’”

        • Tourist  On August 1, 2013 at 6:43 AM

          In my Facebook sentence, I meant I would say thank you to that commenter for illustrating the truth so clearly.

        • Devildog  On August 1, 2013 at 9:08 AM

          Well, then, at least it’s not just being racists. Is that a step up. Tourist neglected to mention women, including our wives, mothers and daughters. Guess he didn’t have time, going somewhere for a week, to include everyone on the hate list. The only ones that should be excluded apparently are fetuses.

  • Tourist  On August 1, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    P-G editorial:

    “With the magazine being yanked from the shelves before consumers can render a judgment, a disservice has been done to those who want to read solid reporting on the bombing suspect.”

    P-G columnist:

    “I read Ms. Reitman’s entire article and there is nothing worshipful or glamorizing about it . . . . I highly recommend doing so. It’s a great piece about a disturbing story, worth every minute of your time. I doubt you’ll come away thinking Jahar was being glamorized in the slightest, but you may find yourself wondering why anyone called for a boycott in the first place.”

    P-G commenter:

    “I don’t need to read the article. Thx.”

    Christian Science Monitor:


    Though widely denounced . . . Rolling Stone nonetheless comes out a winner – with sales of that particular issue soaring and the magazine’s profile raised in the crowded media marketplace.


    Beyond that, the controversy revives the magazine’s credibility, especially in the eyes of its targeted demographic: young people . . . . You have a group that sees itself as anti-establishment anyway, and now here is an issue that the Establishment is boycotting . . . .

    Rolling Stone . . . provided an important service . . . . [T]he boycotters, not the magazine, are the ones who shirked an important public responsibility.



    Fox Business:

    “The pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector accelerated in July to the highest level in two years as new orders surged, supporting the view the economy will pick up in the second half of the year . . . . Hurt by government spending cuts and weaker global demand, manufacturing growth has been lackluster of late and the sector contracted in May. But the pick up in July added to economists’ views that the economy is on stronger footing for the last half of the year”

    (Second link coming separately.)

    I can hear him:


    • Tourist  On August 1, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      The Fox link:

      Honest, I’m out NOW.

      • Devildog  On August 1, 2013 at 11:31 PM

        Thanks Tourist for informing us, through Fox Business, of all those figures that “prove” that the recovery has been good, the economy is doing good/great and that “happy days are here again. Now, if someone could just convince the Fed of that because they have announced they are continuing to pump money into the economy because it believes the recovery has been tepid and the economy is fragile.

        Figures don’t lie but liars figure. So, Tourist, keep pumping out those stats while the Fed keeps pumping out that money until it believes the economy is on stable footing. But Obama’s friends in Hollywood and Wall Street and in the oil industry are doing just fine thank you. But at least he’s giving lip service to the middle class-that counts for something does it not.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On August 1, 2013 at 11:46 PM

        Hey Tourist, is there a reason you shortened my PG my comment about the radical Islamist that killed an 8 year old boy because he had a somewhat troubled period in early adulthood that wasn’t necessarily all his fault? I willing to bet ‘yes’

        • pittsburgh_dad  On August 1, 2013 at 11:55 PM

          Hey Tourist, I have a statistic for you. Since O took office, median income has decreased 5% while the earnings of the top 1% has skyrocketed. But I know, it’s all Bush’s fault.

  • Devildog  On August 2, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    It has been asked in the past on this blog, I believe by Tourist and perhaps others, as to what kind of country we live in. Well, here’s an example.

    Riley Cooper of the Philly Eagles used the N word in more than a casual manner (so, there are racists alive and well-but their number and significance may be in doubt). Cooper has now been excused from participating in activities with the Eagles, for how long or forever, who knows. So, PC reigns-saying things offensive to other groups often means having to fall on one’s sword. There seems to be no end as to who is offensive to what and how offensive that word may be. Some may require an apology, some figuratively falling on one’s sword, and some figuratively the death penalty.

    So, in one respect, this country is quite different from the one I knew 60 years ago or so because I can clearly remember hearing and believing that sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me.

  • Devildog  On August 2, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    But now, there are numerous sociological studies that “prove” the (everlasting) harm that calling people names can cause. Call me anything you want (troll, etc.) but don’t call me late for dinner!

  • Little_Minx  On August 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    For Tourist, whenever he gets back: You’re not the only American vacationing in Japan lately. Heard on NPR Sunday Weekend Edition today that puzzle master Will Shortz is there, inter alia to visit where Sudoku was invented and for table-tennis competitions.

  • Little_Minx  On August 5, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    UMOC, it looks like WVU just isn’t trying hard enough any more. They’re all the way down to 4th place (must be due to Morgantown’s crackdown on couch-burning):

  • Tourist  On August 5, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Greetings from the global village! I am *not* back. I *am* having fun!

    Pittsburgh Dad, you above: “Hey Tourist, is there a reason you shortened my PG my comment about the radical Islamist that killed an 8 year old boy because he had a somewhat troubled period in early adulthood that wasn’t necessarily all his fault? I willing to bet ‘yes.’”

    You’re willing to bet there was a reason? Do effects have causes? I’m not sure how I would do anything without a reason.

    It certainly sounds like I’m being called for some offense, but on closer look the challenge does not mean anything. Let’s keep looking. Here’s the “shortened” comment in full:

    “I wonder what percentage of ‘kids’ go through a difficult period in early adulthood, partly caused by others, and decide to kill innocent people, including an 8 year old? I don’t need to read the article. Thx.”

    Hey, Pittsburgh Dad, is there a reason that “radical Islamist” and “wasn’t necessarily all his fault,” neither of which appears in the original, were added after the fact to an accusation that I played loose with context? Go for it! This one I’d like to hear.

    What percentage? Depending on how one reads your qualifiers, the answer is either a very small percentage or only this one, although combinations of them return Timothy McVeigh.

    In any case, as to why individuals become terrorists, the original version of your comment referred, sardonically no doubt, to a “difficult period in early adulthood, partly caused by others, and decide to kill innocent people.” That was the “what percentage” question. Read it again. It doesn’t actually help us, does it? It doesn’t actually say anything.

    Don’t get me wrong. I honestly believe you believe you’re onto something much of the time. What you say simply seldom means anything. (I distinguish this from your knowing lies – imaginary statistics you justify with “free speech,” for example.)

    So, since my comment above was about the effect of the boycott of Rolling Stone, and Ms. Kalson’s column to which you commented was about the content of the article – lest we forget, how a normal kid became a terrorist – I skipped the part of your comment that doesn’t say anything in order to focus on the part that says everything: “I don’t need to read the article.”

    Oh, by the way, where did you get the idea that it “wasn’t necessarily all his fault”? Is that what you think? Ms. Kalson didn’t say that. The article doesn’t say that, which you wouldn’t know, which is the point. Is that what you think? Do you feel guilty about something?

    Maybe you do think people act without reasons.

    • Little_Minx  On August 5, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Hi, Tourist! Hope you’re managing to keep cool (saw the weather forecast on NHK World Newsline tonight — whew!).

    • pittsburgh_dad  On August 5, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      Tourist – LOL

      • pittsburgh_dad  On August 5, 2013 at 11:59 PM

        BTW, since he is a radical Islamist and anyone with any common sense would know this, it didn’t really need to be mentioned in the PG post. I said it in my post addressed to you because I know you don’t believe in the monolith that is radical Islam and you responded like I knew you would – by including some random, meaningless comment about Timothy McVeigh

        I have read articles which discussed the Rolling Stone article that state the RS article claims there were negative outside influences which are at least partly responsible for turning him into a radical Islamist. Here, in fact, is a summary from Rolling Stone in which the author indicates the brother’s home life was dysfunctional:

        ‘• Jahar shared few details of his troubled home life with even his closest friends. In the months leading up to the bombing, his family had disintegrated. His parents were both living in Russia. His two older sisters were estranged. Only Tamerlan, who was becoming increasingly devout and judgmental of all non-Muslims, was still in Boston. When one of Jahar’s friends asked to meet Tamerlan, Jahar said, “No, you don’t want to meet him.”‘

        Guilty? LOL

        • pittsburgh_dad  On August 6, 2013 at 12:09 AM

          that should be *brothers’

          • pittsburgh_dad  On August 6, 2013 at 12:12 AM

            One last thing – you didn’t respond to my ;statistic’ concerning how the median income under O has decreased by 5% while the income of the top 1% has skyrocketed. Do you have a reason for this? Is it that you believe it isn’t true? Or, what I believe, you think it’s Bush’s fault

  • Little_Minx  On August 6, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Toadsly! (et al.): Great news from Rob Owen:

    “‘Downton Abbey’ returns for a new season on Jan. 5. New seasons of ‘Sherlock,’ ‘Mr. Selfridge,’ ‘The Bletchley Circle’ and ‘Call the Midwife’ will also be back in 2014.”

    • Anonymous  On August 11, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      Thanks for this info! You’ve made my day!

    • toadsly  On August 11, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Thanks for this info, Little_Minx! You have made my day…week…year!

  • Tourist  On August 11, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    From Mr. Shribman’s current column on George H. W. Bush and Robert Dole:


    In their day these two men . . . controlled two of the three branches of the government in ways that have no modern analogue.

    . . . Mr. Dole may have lost two GOP nomination fights before capturing the prize in 1996 . . . but his reign as Republican Senate leader stands out for its crispness, efficiency, productivity — and civility.

    . . . . Mr. Bush and Mr Dole are of a different era — but also of a completely different outlook from today’s political figures.

    . . . Mr. Bush flew 58 missions in a single-engine aircraft, one of which ended in a rescue at sea by a submarine, and won a Distinguished Flying Cross. Mr. Dole was injured in the last days of the war in Italy, winning two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star but requiring years of surgery and therapy even to walk down the street in his hometown of Russell, Kan. They returned to civilian life with a strong sense of nation — and of national service.

    Both were strong partisans and ferocious fighters. But both believed that compromise rather than contention was the grease that made the political machinery work.


    From a reader of TPM, in full:


    Saw your editor’s blog post on McConnell and it’s something I have been thinking about all week. I work in the investment industry and I am watching the town hall meetings, this thing with McConnell, and it’s bringing flashbacks to 2011. I don’t think most people understand just how close we were to a real meltdown that summer. Without Biden and McConnell, there would have been a default and that would have dwarfed 2008.

    Now normally, the country would be able to count on the fact that they averted disaster last time, so therefore, they will find a way to avert it again this time. But as I’ve thought about it all week (and for some time before this week), I’ve had a nagging thought that this is all wrong. But, I couldn’t put a finger on it either.
    But after seeing the coverage of the town halls this week and listening to the right wing turn on their own, little by little, I guess I get it now. These people really are nihilistic and the only thing that will satisfy them is a total breakdown of government. Only then, they believe, can we have our “freedoms” and our “rights”. I don’t pretend to understand how you mentally get to that point, but that’s where they are.

    Now, I know that there have always been crazy people in this country throughout our history, but there has also always been rational people who think first about the country and act accordingly. But that’s not where we are today. Rational people have been voted out or left and in their place are the Lee’s, Cruz’s, Rubio’s, etc. And while they claim to be capitalists and free market proponents, they couldn’t negotiate themselves out of a paper bag in the real world, and they have no understanding of practical economics. You can spout Ludwig von Mises all you want, but it has no practical application to the real world.

    Which brings me back to McConnell. For all of the issues I disagree with him on, at least he was rational and would cut the deal to keep us from going over the big cliff. If he’s gone over to Crazyland and Boehner has abdicated any remaining parts of his speakership, then what’s left?

    And all this comes as economically, our world is getting better. I realize that there is a ways to go with unemployment/underemployment, housing, etc. but this economy is still getting better. The market is up because of that fact. I know there’s a lot of noise around what’s driving the market, but at the end of the day, professional investors would not be pushing money into the market if they didn’t think the overall economy was headed the right direction.

    So, yes, I am worried. A government shutdown can be dealt with, that won’t kill the economy, but the debt ceiling/default will. And without someone who can/will cut a deal, it’s unnerving to watch. At this point, I think we are in a more dangerous position than 2011.

    I apologize for the length, but you guys are on the right track here with your reporting. This is the story of the fall, and very few people are talking about it yet.


    From a long article on the tea party in Salon:


    The Tea Party’s paranoid narcissism helps us explain another important feature of its politics: an intransigent dismissal of the necessity, even the morality, of compromise. In 2011, Democrats and many Republicans looked on in horror as the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives pushed the country to the brink of its first ever default; . . . .

    Establishment figures in both parties tend to interpret this kind of conduct as an expression of immaturity. The Tea Party, they sigh, simply doesn’t understand that compromise is the life’s blood of transactional politics: only a naïf thinks no bread at all is better than half a loaf. What this view of things misses is that the Tea Party doesn’t think of politics as transactional; its narcissism is the right’s version of identity politics . . . . [W]hen our identity is at risk — as it always is for the paranoid narcissist — there can be no room for compromise . . . .

    The question the rest of us confront, then, is not how to tutor the Tea Party in the realities of democratic governance. It is what we should think when one of our two major political parties is captured by a faction that rejects the possibility of normal politics. In his essay, “The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt — 1954,” Richard Hofstadter left us these strikingly prescient words:

    “[I]n a populistic culture like ours . . . in which it is possible to exploit the wildest currents of public sentiment for private purposes, it is at least conceivable that a highly organized, vocal, active, and well-financed minority could create a political climate in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would become impossible.”

    What our own time is in the process of proving, however glumly, is that such a political climate is much more than merely “conceivable.”


    Links for the latter two coming separately.


    I with others have been involved for some time in supporting/protecting/trying to get through to and get help for a mentally ill individual. Irrational. Paranoid. Not living in reality. There used to be good periods and bad periods. There is little hope for more good periods.

    • Tourist  On August 11, 2013 at 2:58 AM

      The Salon link:

      • Little_Minx  On August 11, 2013 at 8:28 PM

        Speaking of Crazyland, The Donald and Ramblin’ Rick Santorum are trying to drum up interest in possible 2016 Presidential runs already. Trump still won’t completely let go of his “birther” nonsense, which should be folly enough to disqualify anyone for office.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On August 11, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      How much do you want to bet that the individual mandate provision is delayed?

    • pittsburgh_dad  On August 11, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      Urate would be 11% if labor force participation rate was the same as 2008, the unemployment rate would be 11%. Because there are no jobs since the stimulus failed and O has put implemented welfare policies that make it attractive to not work, people are leaving the labor market artificially decreasing the urate. Reagan had growth rates of 7-8% during his recovery. O has averaged 2%. The recovery, what there is of it, isn’t real. Median income is down 5% and, income of top 1% has skyrocketed. Do you agree that it is O’s policies that has caused this or is it Bush’s fault. I thought his policies were supposed decrease inequality. Isn’t he failing to do this? The fact is that it is the low paying jobs created by the failed stimulus that has caused median income to fall. And it is the Fed’s quantitative easing that has propped up the Dow and caused the incomes of the top 1% to skyrocket. Bernanke hinted at taking his foot off the gas and the Dow dropped 100 points in 2 hours.

      • Devildog  On August 11, 2013 at 10:46 PM

        Pd, how can a person of your intellect be so far behind the times. Don’t you know that “your opposition” has transitioned from Bush to Boehner and the House, and, of course, the Tea Party as the cause of “the problem”.

        Speaking of the Tea Party (actually, I should be using a small “t” and small “p”), the obsession with it by the intelligentsia is quite astounding. It/they are the greatest threat to American freedom, liberty, separation of state since-well, ever in our history.just read that Salon link. Wow!!!

        But, just have I have faith in America surviving Obama “in one piece”, have faith my friends.go beyond Salon, Slate, Huffpost and the like and patting yourselves on the back via this blog. Even listen to the trolls once and a while.

        BTW, hasn’t it been great this week enjoying Roger’s replacements while he is on vacation.

        UMOC, please let us know you are okay!

        • pittsburgh_dad  On August 11, 2013 at 11:35 PM

          Yes, DD you’re correct. It is Boehner and the evil tea party that are ruining the recovery. It’s Bush that got us into the mess (although he was only tangentially at fault for the financial and housing market collapses. re: Dodd- Frank) and it is the tea party that is preventing a bigger recovery (even though O spent 1 trillion in his first 4 years and even the AP is acknowledging that Obamacare is the cause of the growth in part-time jobs and that growth is less than what O predicted (promised?)).

          As long as Salon and the Huff Post are saying that it’s the paranoid narcissistic tea baggers’ fault, it must be true. And I want to thank Tourist for being involved for some time in supporting/protecting/trying to get through to and get help for the mentally ill, irrational, paranoid, not living in reality tea party followers.

          To show how grateful I am for Tourist’s heartfelt efforts to save me and other sadly misguided individuals, I think I will now go read my copy of Das Kapital.

          • Tourist  On August 12, 2013 at 2:37 AM

            The saddest thing about the individual is that he always thought he was trying, in work, in personal relationships, and there was a time when he grasped that there was *something* wrong with him, at least in flashes. It wasn’t enough, or it never lasted long enough. He was not, or is not (is this the right word anymore?), stupid. The failures, the fresh starts, the same endings – everyone against him and at the same time knowing it *was* him – the dissonance . . . how increasingly debilitating must that be?

            Yet he functions. He’s not dangerous. He’s alone. He doesn’t work. Nor is he “happy in his own little world.” He wants friends. He wants more. Nothing was his fault. He’s irrational, paranoid, delusional, angry, bitter and hates most the people who make it possible for him to maintain his narcissistic fantasies and eat under a roof without being locked up.

            He ain’t heavy.


            “To show how grateful I am for Tourist’s heartfelt efforts to save me . . . .”

            Why did you think I was talking about you?

            • pittsburgh_dad  On August 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM

              Well, the straightforward answer is that while I am not a tea partier, I certainly sympathize with their ideas about limited government. And your last post described tea partiers. I didn’t necessarily think you were talking about me but all tea partiers. With that said….

              Since your post above was a direct reply to me, I will assume that it is directed to me. I hope that isn’t narcissistic. There must be a point you are trying to make with that passage. I will say this, if I was paranoid, I would think you were Bob, my case manager at the behavioral health clinic I ‘voluntarily’ visit every week. But you can’t be Bob. Bob knows I don’t want friends.

              • Tourist  On August 12, 2013 at 8:44 PM

                “There must be a point you are trying to make with that passage.”

                The point is that there comes a point when the sane give up on the insane.

                “These people really are nihilistic and the only thing that will satisfy them is a total breakdown of government. Only then, they believe, can we have our ‘freedoms’ and our ‘rights.’”

                Good Germans, take note.

                • Devildog  On August 12, 2013 at 9:49 PM

                  Nihilistic, “a word that nobody really knows what it actually means but is used by the pretentious so that they can feel smug”.

                  Make up your mind! Nihilistic or racicist to be against Obamacare, to believe Holder is an idiot for his actions including what came out today. Why has the crime rate gone done the last decade. No doubt for several reasons but no doubt that a major reason is that so many of the potential perps are in prison. Duh! Racism?

                  To be against the Dems’ immigration reform proposal is racism. To be against bailout of GM and the Wall Street banking empire and to “reduce the rate of growth” of government spending (meaning also not increasing taxes) is nihilism.

                  Tourist, forget the “good German” analogy-there may be a few on the extreme “of the movement” but most are good Americans, even if they have a different philosophy of government than do you and your fellow travelers (I mean on the left not communists) and it is shameful for you to urge the “good Germans” to rise up.

                  • pittsburgh_dad  On August 13, 2013 at 12:44 AM

                    It’s actually sort of funny. Because the good Germans are actually the ones being called nihilists and racists.

  • Tourist  On August 13, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    Everybody needs a place to rest.
    Everybody wants to have a home.
    Don’t make no difference what nobody says:
    Ain’t nobody likes to be alone.


    There have only been five participants here for more than a month, but there are readers. Since the middle of last evening, Pittsburgh time, the counter at the top of the page has gone up about a hundred hits. If I refresh the page or leave and come back, the count doesn’t change, so this probably means something like a hundred people took a look.

    Hi, there!

    Old friends? UMOC’s friends? Curious Swedes?

    A forum not owned by Facebook is a terrible thing to let die.

    If my own presence has demonstrated anything, it’s that you can change the topic to anything you want. Witness also the joint and several oeuvres of Little Minx and Toadsly.


    You can, but it’s not necessary. You just have to put your cursor in the comment box at the bottom, say something, decide your name and give an e-mail address, to which, as far as I know, UMOC does NOT send anything. The “website” box can be skipped.

    Be aware that posting two links in the same comment will hang the comment up until UMOC releases it. I think he also has to approve new people the first time. That may take a few hours in current circumstances, which are puzzling, but he’s around. My best guess is that a nurse slips him an iPad once or twice a day.

    • Little_Minx  On August 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Second the motion.

  • Toadsly  On August 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Third the motion

    • Little_Minx  On August 13, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      Call the question, UMOC.

  • Tourist  On August 16, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    We saw this movie (“Kaze Tachinu” in Japanese) in a packed theater last month, one week after trying and for the first time ever not being able to get in. The universal reaction among those knowing all about it was that it was not what any of us expected. This trailer has English subtitles. The song . . . .

    • Little_Minx  On August 16, 2013 at 12:21 AM

      Somehow, I was expecting our fearless leader’s favorite Japanese pop hit from 50 years ago…

      • Tourist  On August 16, 2013 at 12:36 AM

        I hope you weren’t disappointed, Minx.

        • Little_Minx  On August 16, 2013 at 1:03 AM

          No problem.

          BTW, I hope you’ve been keeping cool in the heatwave. Meanwhile here in da ‘Burgh we’ve been having delightfully unseasonable cool/dry weather lately.

  • Little_Minx  On August 16, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    “Downton Abbey Preview: A Dozen Things We Already Know About Season Four”:

    • Anonymous  On August 16, 2013 at 6:08 AM

      Great tidbits to whet one’s “Downton Abbey (4)” appetite! Thanks, Little_Minx.

    • Toadsly  On August 16, 2013 at 6:24 AM

      Whets one’s appetite for “Downton Abbey (4)”. Thanks, Little_minx!

      • Little_Minx  On August 16, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        Your buttons are so-o-o-o easy to push, Toadsly! 😉

  • Tourist  On August 16, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    Staying with our broad theme, we’re just back from “White House Down.” Is it current for you guys? We’re usually a couple months behind. I could quibble on details – this or that is a bit off technically, or a tad unlikely in real life, but that’s what artistic license is. Overall, it’s a rock-solid epic in the manner of West Wing. It’s been a while since I saw a movie that was so much fun. Trust me.

    • Toadsly  On August 16, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      “White House Down” debuted about a month ago, stateside, and was a box-office bust. I enjoyed it, but a very similar (plot-wise) movie was released this spring that was much better titled “Olympus Has Fallen.” “OHF” was grittier, and Gerard Butler gave it a nasty edge that “WHD” lacked.

      • Tourist  On August 16, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        Toadsly, thanks for that. I had not heard of OHF. I’ve done some quick reading. I certainly see the glaring similarities and the two seem to have been produced (according to the two wiki articles) in the same time period. I have no idea what that means.

        From seeing “Down” and watching a few different trailors for “Fallen,” it looks – I agree with you – like “Fallen” tries to be more serious. I don’t know the ending of it at all, but “Down” was definitely “feel good” and often funny.

        If it is somehow – this or any other situation – one ripping off another, I’m not very forgiving. Otherwise, I’m the type who can enjoy them both.

        I’m looking forward to “Pacific Rim,” loved “Oblivion” earlier (particularly the swimming pool), “Prometheus” last year, and admit to having gone to “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which was enough for me for that franchise, but I don’t regret it.

Please give me your thoughts.

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