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Jumping the Shark, NY Times Style:

A one-sided article criticizing McCain is not unexpected. Given that he is at least temporarily the front-runner, it may not even be a sign of political bias, but of the extra scrutiny and criticism that front-runners often get. But this?

On Friday on "The View," generally friendly territory for politicians, one co-host, Joy Behar, criticized [McCain's] new advertisements. "We know that those two ads are untrue," Ms. Behar said. "They are lies. And yet you, at the end of it, say, 'I approve these messages.' Do you really approve them?"

Wikipedia [yes, I know, but there's plenty of evidence that Behar is liberal, and the comment about the administration has a valid citation] tells us that "Behar stands on the left side of the political aisle and is in favor of taxpayer-funded embryonic stem-cell research and is also in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, among other liberal positions. She has expressed her opposition to the war in Iraq.... Behar recently referred to the Bush administration as 'liars and murderers.'" Nevertheless, the Times not only featured Behar's criticism of McCain prominently in its story (without noting her political allegiances), but even ran an accompanying picture of McCain on "The View" with a caption repeating Behar's claims.

Next in the New York Times: Barbra Streisand calls John McCain "a big doodoo head."

Blar (mail) (www):
Is anything in the article inaccurate?

Would you prefer if the press did not scrutinize whether or not a Presidential candidate's statements are true?
9.14.2008 12:45am
SecurityGeek:
Prof. Bernstein-

Do you disagree with Behar's claims? Do you believe that McCain's ads are true? Is he running an honorable campaign?

I would be interested to see if you have an opinion on the accuracy of the statements that you think are inappropriate for print.
9.14.2008 12:46am
thrut:
She was on Larry King a few days ago. She said Palin did not have to wear those glasses that she did it on purpose cause of the way it made her look. Said she could wear contacts.(this was so stupid sounding). She also said Palin shot wovles from helicoptors. Of coarse that is not the true story. Larry King sat there like a fossil.
9.14.2008 12:47am
J. Aldridge:
Who cares what the NY Slimes write anymore?
9.14.2008 12:50am
poul (mail) (www):
well, yes, why you'd ask if you know that obama indeed expressed support for sex education for kindergartners, age appropriate as it may be in the eye of beholder.

what exactly was a "lie" in any mccain's ad?
9.14.2008 12:53am
BP:
Behar was, of course, right: the two McCain ads are patently untrue. And the ads are untrue whether Behar is a Democrat or a Republican, so her political affiliation is irrelevant.

So, essentially, you're upset that the NYT didn't frame it as another "he said, she said" issue between Democrats and Republicans? Wow. Please go sit in the corner.

Talk about jumping the shark....
9.14.2008 12:56am
DavidBernstein (mail):
My point is that Behar said exactly what you would expect her to say, regardless of whether her point is valid or not. It is therefore not "news." The Times article, however, is premised on the idea that McCain is coming in for some extra-special criticism for mendacity, and uses Behar as an example of a talk show host who could be expected to be friendly ["On Friday on The View, generally friendly territory for politicians"] as the lead example.
9.14.2008 1:00am
Bruce:
7 more weeks...
9.14.2008 1:03am
fullerene:
I believe the Time also printed McCain's response to Behar's criticism, so the story was not as one-sided as you claim. Furthermore, Behar may be biased, but I am not sure exactly how relevant that is to the larger story. The Times point was that John McCain's ads were publicly called lies to his face by a host of a largely nonpolitical show. Nothing in this retelling loads Behar's criticism with any great degree of credibility (she is a host of nonpolitical show for layabouts, after all). Readers would not come off thinking her especially reliable or objective as a result of the failure to print her entire political philosophy.

Now you might think that there is nothing worth reporting on here. Just a partisan leftist calling McCain's ads lies. Happens every day, right? Actually, no. It is not every day that a candidate is told to a face that his campaign ads are lies. In fact, the media is loath to ever call a spade a spade. This almost never happens. That is why this is so surprising.

Lastly, I wonder why it is that you think a substantive critique of McCain's ads is equivalent to Barbara Streisand calling someone a "big doodoo head." Behar may or may not be sophisticated enough to merit mention, but her criticism, if on the mark, does deserve attention.
9.14.2008 1:06am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Is anything in the article inaccurate?
Yes. The article says about Obama:
Then he falsely claimed that Mr. Obama supported "comprehensive sex education" for kindergartners (he supported teaching them to be alert for inappropriate advances from adults).
Despite this Democratic talking point, nothing in the law in question says anything about "sexual predators" or "inappropriate advances from adults." And yet the media keeps blithely saying that it was, as though it was actually established fact.
9.14.2008 1:08am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Foxnews.com: "In a sign that Barack Obama is coming under increasing criticism form all sides for his lack of patriotism, Sean Hannity, whose show usually provides a friendly respite for weary politicians, attacked Obama Friday when he appeared on Hannity's show for lack of patriotism."

See the problem?
9.14.2008 1:08am
Recovering Law Grad:
Prof. Bernstein - The aspect of the article dealing with "The View," did not appear until the story's 14th paragraph - after comments from several people, including the McCain campaign itself and a refreshingly honest quote from Sen. Hatch. I think you'll find that the 14th graph of almost any article of similar length contains something inane or useless.

I really thought this blog was beyond the sub-kindergarten level "the New York Times is liberal!"-type observations. It's old, it's boring, and it doesn't move us one inch closer to the truth about anything.
9.14.2008 1:12am
fullerene:

Next on Fox News: "Sean Hannity, whose show is generally friendly territory politicians, attacks what he see as Obama's lack of patriotism." Now you get the problem?


When Obama goes on Hannity &Colmes, it will be news. Just as it was when Obama went on the O'Reilly Factor.
9.14.2008 1:13am
DiversityHire:
I think the sex-ed ad was designed to get some people all huffy and get some other people to google for "obama sex children predator" and stumble upon Frank Marshall Davis...
9.14.2008 1:13am
DavidBernstein (mail):
The Behar quote is interesting only because the rise of alternatives to traditional media gatekeepers, including The View, allows questions to be asked that more "respectable" media typically don't ask. THAT would be a good Times story. But if you didn't know anything about Behar when you read the story, you wouldn't know that (a) she's a left-wing political activist with a history of outrageous comments; and (b) she's not an entertainer, not a serious political commentator. A and B mean that the substance of her comment is not about as interesting as my hypothetical Streisand comment, yet the Times gave it huge weight.
9.14.2008 1:16am
LM (mail):
DB,

My objection is that the ads are indeed deceptive, and delivering that message out of the mouth of Joy Behar does nothing to lend it credibility.
9.14.2008 1:17am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Last comment: Of course the Times is liberal. The weird thing is thinking that quoting Joy Behar on John McCain adds credibility to an article. Maybe we should look up what Jackie Mason's been saying about Obama.
9.14.2008 1:18am
David Warner:
Recovering Law Grad,

"I really thought this blog was beyond the sub-kindergarten level "the New York Times is liberal!"-type observations."

Perhaps then we can all agree that Pinch has more taste than sense, with sensibility right out.
9.14.2008 1:19am
TerrencePhilip:
I'm surprised it didn't give breathless coverage to Whoopi's suggestion that McCain-appointed Supreme Court justices might make her a slave.

The View: friendly territory for "politicians."
9.14.2008 1:22am
Recovering Law Grad:
Prof. Bernstein -

The quote is in the 14th paragraph. How is that "huge weight"?

Mr. Nieporent -

The bill said:


SB99: Course material and instruction shall discuss and provide
for the development of positive communication skills to maintain healthy relationships and avoid unwanted sexual activity. ... Course material and instruction shall teach pupils ... how to say no to unwanted sexual advances ... and shall include information about verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance. The course material and instruction shall contain methods of preventing sexual assault by an acquaintance, including exercising good judgment and avoiding behavior that impairs one's judgment.
9.14.2008 1:24am
Enough Already:
How did I know this would be a Bernstein piece before I even opened the RSS link?
9.14.2008 1:27am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The weird thing is thinking that quoting Joy Behar on John McCain adds credibility to an article.


No. The weird thing is that we've reached the point where Joy Behar has more credibility than John McCain.
9.14.2008 1:27am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Behar may or may not be sophisticated enough to merit mention, but her criticism, if on the mark, does deserve attention.


Exactly. But Bernstein would prefer to have a discussion about Behar, instead of a discussion about McCain. Similarly, the usual suspects would like to have a discussion about Charlie Gibson, instead of having a discussion about Sarah Palin. The attempt at misdirection is obvious. Behar and Gibson are not running for office.
9.14.2008 1:31am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Okay one really last: "Huge weight"--mentioned in the story, but also the accompanying picture and caption. Admittedly, the latter is the editor's not the reporter's responsibility. Second, the reporter failed to note Ms. Behar's political views, and instead suggesting that her comment was despite the expectation that the show would be friendly to McCain. If it was true that "friendly" commentators were attacking him on t.v. for lying, that would be real news.

BTW, I haven't followed the sex ed controversy, but RLG leaves out some very pertinent parts of the bill, which seem to support McCain's ad:
B99 - Illinois 2003
K-12 Comprehensive Sex Education Bill

(1) Factual information presented in course material and instruction shall be medically accurate and objective.
(2) All course material and instruction in classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual activity or behavior shall be age and developmentally appropriate.
(3) Course material and instruction shall include a discussion of sexual abstinence as a method to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
(4) Course material and instruction shall present the latest medically factual information regarding both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception, including the success and failure
rates for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
(5) Course material and instruction shall stress that sexually transmitted infections are serious possible hazards of sexual activity or behavior. Pupils shall be provided with statistics based on the latest medical information citing the failure and success rates of all contraceptive methods in preventing unintended pregnancy and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
(6) Course material and instruction shall advise pupils that it is unlawful for males or females of any age to engage in sexual conduct or have sexual relations with a minor as specified in Article 12 of the Criminal Code of 1961.
(7) Course material and instruction shall discuss and provide for the development of positive communication skills to maintain healthy relationships and avoid unwanted sexual activity.
(8) Course material and instruction shall emphasize that the pupil has the power to control personal behavior. Pupils shall be encouraged to base their actions on reasoning, self-discipline, sense of responsibility, self-control, and ethical considerations, such as respect for oneself and others.
(9) Course material and instruction shall teach pupils to not make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances and how to say no to unwanted sexual advances and shall include information about verbal, physical, and
visual sexual harassment, including without limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, non consensual physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance. The course material and instruction shall contain methods of preventing sexual assault by an acquaintance, including exercising good judgment and avoiding behavior that
impairs one's judgment. The course material and instruction shall emphasize personal accountability and respect for others and shall also encourage youth to resist negative peer pressure. The course material and instruction shall inform pupils of the potential legal consequences of sexual assault by an acquaintance. Specifically, pupils shall be advised that it is unlawful to touch an intimate part of another person, as specified in the Criminal Code of 1961.
(10) Course material and instruction shall teach male pupils about male accountability for sexual violence and shall teach female students about reducing vulnerability for sexual violence.
(11) Course material and instruction shall teach pupils about counseling, medical, and legal resources available to survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault, including resources for escaping violent relationships.
(12) Course material and instruction in classes that discuss sexual activity or behavior shall teach pupils that it is wrong to take advantage of or to exploit another person.
(13) Course material and instruction shall be free of racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and sexual orientation biases.
9.14.2008 1:34am
Recovering Law Grad:
There is no provision in the bill requiring that kindergartners be taught anything.
9.14.2008 1:39am
David M. Nieporent (www):
for the development of positive communication skills to maintain healthy relationships and avoid unwanted sexual activity. ... Course material and instruction shall teach pupils ... how to say no to unwanted sexual advances ... and shall include information about verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance. The course material and instruction shall contain methods of preventing sexual assault by an acquaintance, including exercising good judgment and avoiding behavior that impairs one's judgment.
Indeed. None of which has to do with five year olds dealing with sexual predators. It's hard to see how someone in kindergarten can "say no to unwanted sexual advances" (or what the concept even means, since there's no such thing as a "wanted sexual advance" for a five year old.) Nor would "sexual harassment" have anything to do with sexual predators, nor would "positive communication skills to maintain healthy relationships." And unless we're telling these kids not to have a beer with their cookies before naptime, "avoiding behavior that impairs one's judgment" doesn't really seem applicable to the situation either, now does it?

None of the excerpts you quote make any sense when applied to kindergartners, particularly in dealing with child molesters.

Maybe the intent of legislators in dropping the age limit from grade 6 to kindergarten was to help them deal with pedophiles, but nothing in the text of the law substantiates that.
9.14.2008 1:42am
fullerene:
Anyone notice McCain's impotent defense? Barely a protest at Behar's objection and then he was on to playing the victim. John, we get it. The media just hates you. Always have and always will. You have never gotten a fair shake. We also know that the media hates all those who will vote for you. When they aren't flying over these small town voters, they are trashing them in San Francisco. We get it. With that massive inferiority complex you and your party is carrying around, I am beginning to think that you do understand the Russians better than anyone else.
9.14.2008 1:44am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The factcheck.org article on the sex ed ad is here. McCain's ad is a lie.
9.14.2008 1:44am
Recovering Law Grad:
Again: no provision in the law requires teaching kindergartners anything.
9.14.2008 1:45am
Recovering Law Grad:
Jukeboxgrad - Don't you get it? There are no objective sources anymore. You point to factcheck? Factcheck is biased. You point to science? Science is amoral. You point to academia? Academia is elitist. You point to the news media? Well, you get it.

There's really no use pointing to sources, because the people making these arguments aren't interested in truth. They're interested in maintaining their power.
9.14.2008 1:50am
Pitman (mail) (www):
"Course material and instruction shall include a discussion of sexual abstinence as a method to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. "

I guess that the next McCain ad should say that Obama supports abstinence education. That would be both a hit with conservative voters, and a lot truer than most anything a McCain ad has said until now.
9.14.2008 1:52am
Loophole1998 (mail):
The ad is crystal clear: Obama "wanted" to have sex ed. taught to kindergarteners. There's no basis for this assertion.

The best McCain's talking heads could do to support this crstal clear allegation, after the fact, was to weakly argue--in a real stretch--that the bill could have been interpreted that way. See weak "defense" of ad.

At best it is a gross distortion. Not a classy move at all.

Nothing wrong with the NY Times pointing out that others are pointing out McCain's lies.
9.14.2008 1:54am
theobromophile (www):
And unless we're telling these kids not to have a beer with their cookies before naptime, "avoiding behavior that impairs one's judgment" doesn't really seem applicable to the situation either, now does it?

Good one. :)

Maybe I'm out of touch with modern youth, but what do kindergarteners need to know outside of "bad touching" and "private places"?

There is also a contradiction in giving "age appropriate" sex education while simultaneously teaching the most important of lessons involving sexual abuse: avoid people and situations that make you uncomfortable.
9.14.2008 1:57am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
It's hard to see how someone in kindergarten can "say no to unwanted sexual advances"


You should explain that to Boy Scouts of America, who have created a set of materials (including a video and a set of comic books) that are designed to be used by Cub Scouts starting at age 6 (maybe you'd like to quibble about one year), to teach the kids how to avoid sexual abuse. See here (pdf, pdf).

Maybe McCain would like to claim that 6-year old Cub Scouts are being given "comprehensive sex education." That claim would make exactly as much sense as the claim that McCain made about Obama.
9.14.2008 1:58am
J. Aldridge:
jukeboxgrad said: "The factcheck.org article on the sex ed ad is here. McCain's ad is a lie."

Seems the gist of the bill was to do just what McCain claims. Factcheck needs to be fact checked!
9.14.2008 2:02am
Nate in Alice:
Is the Obmromophile right about anything, or is this persona just a parody of someone who is wrong?

Only time will tell.
9.14.2008 2:07am
Obvious (mail):
"I'm John McCain and I approve of at least some of what is in this message..."

There. Problem solved.
9.14.2008 2:07am
Nate in Alice:
And seriously, Bernstein, this is the mildest thing imaginable, in the bottom of an article, and you call it "jumping the shark".

Maybe you've jumped it? Eh?
9.14.2008 2:08am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rlg:

There's really no use pointing to sources, because the people making these arguments aren't interested in truth. They're interested in maintaining their power.


Indeed. The Bush presidency was an experiment in how much dishonesty Americans are willing to tolerate. The answer: a great deal. McCain has noticed the result of the experiment, and is taking advantage of it.

If we tolerate leaders who lie to us, we'll get exactly the leaders we deserve. The way McCain is running his campaign is the same way he will run the government. We might actually get nostalgic for Bush. Kind of like the way Bush made us nostalgic for Nixon.
9.14.2008 2:14am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
theo:

Maybe I'm out of touch with modern youth, but what do kindergarteners need to know outside of "bad touching" and "private places"?


Not much. But that's all that the bill calls for (for kindergarteners). And that's what McCain is falsely describing as "comprehensive sexual education."

There is also a contradiction in giving "age appropriate" sex education while simultaneously teaching the most important of lessons involving sexual abuse: avoid people and situations that make you uncomfortable.


There's no contradiction. "Age appropriate sex education" for kindergarteners basically consists of "avoid people and situations that make you uncomfortable." And some other concepts that are described in the BSA material I cited. This is all the bill calls for, and this is all that Obama advocated. This is not "comprehensive sex ed" for kindergarteners. McCain is accusing Obama of advocating something that Obama didn't advocate.
9.14.2008 2:14am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aldridge:

Seems the gist of the bill was to do just what McCain claims


Please continue to ignore the part about "age appropriate." And please ignore the part about "how to say no to unwanted sexual advances," which is indeed something that kids should be taught. Unless you think that McCain should run an ad targeting the Cub Scout organization.
9.14.2008 2:14am
AKD:

by a host of a largely nonpolitical show


ha!
9.14.2008 2:15am
Cold Warrior:
Bernstein's comment is sound; the proper headline/lead would be something like, "When he agreed to appear on The View, John McCain surely should have expected liberal panelist Joy Behar to call him to task for some of his campaign's recent ads." Needless to say, this was not necessarily friendly turf. Not even since Rosie left.
9.14.2008 2:20am
John (mail):
What the ad said was that Obama favored comprehensive sex ed for kindergardeners.

Here is the key to factcheck.org's defense of Obama: " [the bill] would have lowered the age at which students would begin what the bill termed "comprehensive sex education" to include kindergarten. But it mandated the instruction be "age-appropriate" for kindergarteners when addressing topics such as sexually transmitted diseases."

So the ad was literally true, if you believe factcheck.org.

Considering the "age-appropriate" feature, it just means that the "comprehensive sex ed" would be age appropriate. The McCain ad doesn't deny this.

So, Obama supporters, what is comprehensive sex ed that is age appropriate for kindergarden?
9.14.2008 2:21am
ofidiofile:
personally, i think it's remarkable how bad the "msm" (i hate that acronym, btw) has gotten, that some think that ACTUALLY QUESTIONING the claims of a president candidate is outrageous. the nerve!

and DB, wtf? if so few right-wingers are afraid to ask tough questions, why shouldn't the left be doing it?
9.14.2008 2:25am
AKD:

what is comprehensive sex ed that is age appropriate for kindergarden?



Spongebob Squarepants.
9.14.2008 2:25am
ofidiofile:
..."many", er...
9.14.2008 2:25am
Wilson (mail):
I tend to agree with the gist of many of the posters here; if McCain's ads are lies--and they indeed seem to be--then the public should know this. From an insturmental standpoint, all that the NY Times needs quotes and narrative to make that point. With the highly partisan nature of our media, obviously most people of note on TV are strong partisan entertainers. I don't begrudge the New York Times quoting one of them without qualifying her as such if she is right.

I think there are 2 alternatives. 1) McCain is not lying; i.e., her factual claims are false 2) There is a suitable alternative that Professor Bernstein would considered qualified who would provide a similar quote
9.14.2008 2:28am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
john:

what is comprehensive sex ed that is age appropriate for kindergarden?


If you bother to read the whole factcheck article, you'll know that Obama answered that question personally and explicitly. And his view of the subject is indistinguishable from the Cub Scout view.

Considering the "age-appropriate" feature, it just means that the "comprehensive sex ed" would be age appropriate. The McCain ad doesn't deny this.


It "doesn't deny this," but it pointedly omits this critical information. This is called lying by omission. The ad is designed to convince the viewer that Obama advocates something he doesn't actually advocate.
9.14.2008 2:35am
Carolina:
Jukeboxgrad:

The Fact Check piece is incredibly tendentious.

It claims the ad is false because Obama had more accomplishments than that one bill, and that it's not fair to call the sex-ed bill an Obama accomplishment, because he only voted for it, and didn't sponsor it.

What of Obama's votes and legislative acts are "accomplishments" are clearly in the eye of the beholder. And as to claiming he "only" voted for it, well, again, how culpable that makes Obama is very subjective. I certainly don't see anything that would make McCain a "liar" yet.

So now we're down to the content of the bill. Even Factcheck admits that the bill did, in fact, lower the age for "comprehensive sex education" to kindergarten. Which is all the McCain says.

Factcheck then goes on to argue, quite unconvincingly, that paragraph 9 (quote above) is the only paragraph that applies to kindergartners, and it's limited to "improper touching" type stuff. That's clearly what Obama said later when he was questioned, but there is absolutely nothing in the language of the statute to back that up -- nothing says or suggests the remaining paragraphs do not apply to kindergarten.

Finally, Factcheck disengenuously quotes Obama as saying he does not support "explicit" sex-ed for five year olds. But the McCain ad doesn't say he did. It just says "comprehensive", which is right out of the text of the bill.

Pray tell, exactly what part of the McCain ad is a "lie."
9.14.2008 2:36am
Paul Allen:

David: I think you got it right in your post. The trouble with the line in the article is the insinuation that the 'The View' is friendly to politicians is universally true. 'The View' is quite liberal and quite pro-obama. Therefore the juxtaposition of their 'friendliness' and their opinion is misleading.

Most bias arises not from direct mistakes but from juxtaposition--which is insidious because it can pass the red face test but it is misleading to readers.
9.14.2008 2:38am
Thomas_Holsinger:
One of the things I liked about being a high school wrestler is that I could smell my opponents' fear when they realized just how strong I was.

I smell fear now.
9.14.2008 2:39am
Clastrenster:
Out of loving intered, I never posted on VC before the Palin mes. VC jumped the pitbull then, and we're all the undercurrent. It's terrible and disheartening to anyone who once liked coming here for thought.
9.14.2008 2:40am
Clastrenster:
i dun say it moose rite.
9.14.2008 2:40am
A. Zarkov (mail):
If Joy Behar makes true statements of fact then her political orientation is largely irrelevant. So I don't see why the Times is obligated to tell us about her politics. If she stated an opinion, then that's a different story. It seems to me that McCain's ads are not true and he should be called on them. But what would you expect? McCain is a liberal and this is how liberals operate. This is the guy who teamed up with Ted Kennedy (another notorious liar) to ram through his amnesty bill deceptively labeled "Comprehensive Immigration Reform." The bill's sponsors misrepresented it, but thanks to the Internet we could actually read what it said. The public rose up and jammed the Capital switchboard, and the bill went down to defeat.

I'm with Joy, McCain's a liar.
9.14.2008 2:45am
Clastrenster:
no more page views for you, female pitbull.
9.14.2008 2:46am
Loophole1998 (mail):
Carolina you are a good "strict constructionist." Having seen your technical parsing of the words I'm almost ready to change my vote and re-join the Republican party. McCain should be applauded for bringing this important issue to light. Who cares about the economy or terrorism when we've got presidential candidates who have voted for such things? Point McCain.
9.14.2008 2:47am
Clastrenster:
only joking.
9.14.2008 2:48am
Kazinski:
McCain's distortion of the Obama sex education bill is no more egregious than Obama's distortion of McCain's "one hundred years" remark about Iraq.

Welcome to politics.

Where Bernstein's criticism is correct is that once upon a time we used to be able to depend on the media to help us sort it out. No longer.
9.14.2008 2:49am
Clastrenster:
McCain's had an "almost-lost" wrestling fetish for a long time. Being ahead in the polls is not his strong side.
9.14.2008 2:49am
Nick B (mail):
When was the last time you saw an objectively true political ad? The only ones I know of recently are so vague as to be worthless.
9.14.2008 2:50am
WhyAdHominem:
Professor Bernstein, I'm surprised at this particular blog entry from you. It seems to me that the essence of your points are to focus on impeaching the source of a quotation ad hominem, rather than the sort of analysis of source material that seems more typical on The Volokh Conspiracy.

You are correct, insofar as that matters, that intellectually Behar is rather lightweight, and certainly biased in a more liberal direction. But that neither makes her axiomatically wrong: nor correct. Good analysis does not impeach the source, but impeaches the claim.

In the case of these McCain advertisements (and many other recent claims from the McCain/Palin campaign), what is astounding is the "depth of the bench" for those who find them outright false or deeply misleading. The New York Times did not rely on the Behar representation as their sole and best support for the position in that article.

That you would dismiss their entire coverage in that article, because just ONE of their points of evidence is someone you can easily ad hominem, is to miss everything.

That's not like your work, sir. I'd prefer to see you impeach the claim through a sturdy understanding, or admit the claim after a strong analysis. (But, likely, not to defer to Behar as an intellectual authority alone.)
9.14.2008 2:55am
Loophole1998 (mail):
Like it or not, the word "liar" is starting to stick to McCain--thanks in part to the liberal media. This is not the only web forum debating whether and exactly how much McCain may be a liar.

This is not good for McCain, but his people might have seen it coming with this stupid sex-ed ad (not matter its degree of techincal truth).

Bottom line: The percentage of voters who now think McCain has a problem with the truth (as a result of this ad) has increased more than the percentage of voters who now think Obama really wants to teach sex to little kids. Point Obama.
9.14.2008 2:58am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Not much. But that's all that the bill calls for (for kindergarteners).
False. The bill requires, for any sex ed class covered by the law, that it "include a discussion of sexual abstinence as a method to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV"; that it "shall present the latest medically factual information regarding both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception, including the success and failure rates for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV"; that it "shall include a discussion of the possible consequences of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV"; that it "shall stress that sexually transmitted infections are serious possible hazards of sexual activity or behavior. Pupils shall be provided with statistics based on the latest medical information citing the failure and success rates of all contraceptive methods in preventing unintended pregnancies and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections".

Of course, it requires that these things be taught in an "age appropriate" way, but it requires that they be included. It is therefore -- what's your favorite word? oh yeah -- a "lie" to state that "all" the bill calls for, for kindergartners, is to teach them about "bad touching" and "private places."

Just for good measure, it's sexist ("shall teach male pupils about male accountability for sexual violence and shall teach female students about reducing vulnerability for sexual violence").
9.14.2008 3:00am
David M. Nieporent (www):
It "doesn't deny this," but it pointedly omits this critical information. This is called lying by omission. The ad is designed to convince the viewer that Obama advocates something he doesn't actually advocate.
The issue is not what he "advocates," but what he voted for. And what's actually a lie -- not just by omission -- is your claim that the bill is limited to what the Cub Scouts allegedly say.
9.14.2008 3:05am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
carolina:

That's clearly what Obama said later when he was questioned


I wish I knew what you mean by "later when he was questioned." You almost seem to be implying that Obama "was questioned" after McCain ran the ad. Wrong. As the factcheck article indicates, Obama explicitly described what he intended on 10/21/04, in a debate with Keyes. So there is no excuse for anyone to be confused about Obama's intention.

there is absolutely nothing in the language of the statute to back that up -- nothing says or suggests the remaining paragraphs do not apply to kindergarten.


What is it about the words "age appropriate" that make them unable to reach your retina?

Factcheck disengenuously quotes Obama as saying he does not support "explicit" sex-ed for five year olds. But the McCain ad doesn't say he did. It just says "comprehensive", which is right out of the text of the bill.


The word "comprehensive" means 'complete.' By saying "comprehensive," and leaving out "age appropriate," McCain is plainly indicating that Obama advocates giving kindergarteners 'complete' sex education. Trouble is, he doesn't.

When I tell someone that you advocate something which I know you don't advocate, there's a word for what I'm doing: lying.
9.14.2008 3:07am
Fritz:
I rarely find myself in agreement with Zarkov but there is room for compromise when judging liars. McCain is lying in his recent ads and it doesn't make a difference to me who points that out. A lie is a lie and a liar is a liar. McCain is simply unfit to be President.

I generally try to ignore Bernstein's posts b/c he's such a thoughtless, neocon zombie. But this campaign season has seen him regularly stoop to especially troubling lows, even for him. I can't wait until Senator Obama is elected President and the Democrats win back the Senate. If ever there was a basis to justify a bill of attainder— notwithstanding the Constitution — he is it. Don't let the door hit you... David. We won't miss you.
9.14.2008 3:07am
randal (mail):
Eugene, you should add a feature to VC to allow filtering by contributor. DB drags down the site - I don't want to see anything he has to say. But I still want to read the rest of you!

Please make it possible to avoid seeing posts by individuals. Thanks!
9.14.2008 3:08am
David M. Nieporent (www):
What is it about the words "age appropriate" that make them unable to reach your retina?
Nothing. What is it about the words "age appropriate" that makes you think they mean "not"?

"Age appropriate" affects the manner in which the topic is discussed, but not whether the topic is discussed, not when the statute explicitly requires that those topics be discussed.


The word "comprehensive" means 'complete.' By saying "comprehensive," and leaving out "age appropriate," McCain is plainly indicating that Obama advocates giving kindergarteners 'complete' sex education. Trouble is, he doesn't.
When you say that he is "plainly indicating" something he isn't, that's called lying. The fact that your interpretation of a particular set of words makes them false just means you're dishonest at reading words, not that the person who said them is a liar.

And once again, what Obama "advocates" is not at issue; what he voted for was.
9.14.2008 3:13am
Mondo (mail):
I wonder how many sock puppets Bernstein posts under to bolster his inane commentary? Just throwing that out there.
9.14.2008 3:16am
Jamison (mail):

"The Times article, however, is premised on the idea that McCain is coming in for some extra-special criticism for mendacity, and uses Behar as an example of a talk show host who could be expected to be friendly ["On Friday on The View, generally friendly territory for politicians"] as the lead example."


Interestingly, The View generally is friendly territory for politicians. Although you might disagree with certain panelists' political views, The View is in no way Hannity and Colmes - the latter is an explicitly partisan program that often criticizes politicians. The former is not and is well-known for softball interviews of all stripes. The inference, therefore, is that the McCain campaign's disingenuousness is extreme enough that it's now getting called out on even more mainstream programs.

Put bluntly, as someone not unsympathetic to McCain, the past few weeks have been disillusioning. Although you might be able to torture out a defense of, say, the sex ed ad, it was pretty clearly misleading in its implications about Obama's position. In the context of other campaign statements and ads, such as those on immigration, earmarks, the Bridge to Nowhere, etc., I can see why a mainstream program would start thinking the McCain campaign has become misleading.

By the way, I've seen the defense that "this is just the way politics is played" popping up a lot recently. The fact that this is "politics" may explain the conduct, but it doesn't excuse it. Intentionally misinforming voters is a poor way to win an election.
9.14.2008 3:31am
Clastrenster:
What hurts right now as his erstwhile supporter is that McCain likes to lie. I wish he'd chosen a different moment to showcase this particular skill.
9.14.2008 3:31am
trad and anon:
If there's anyone who should be permanently estopped from complaining about media bias, it's John McCain.
9.14.2008 3:34am
Clastrenster:
I should add (and I've loved him in his past) but he's waaaaay in to torture and to being "broken." Of course, he was, as most would be. He's just really, really, into being "broken," if you know what I mean. And if not, then you also don't understand why he liked to come from behind, which he's trying to do (and succeeding at, in an odd way).
9.14.2008 3:34am
trad and anon:
Intentionally misinforming voters is a poor way to win an election.
Fortunately for John McCain, that isn't true.
9.14.2008 3:35am
Clastrenster:
the guy's seriously weird
9.14.2008 3:36am
Clastrenster:
(please note that my vacant comments are in response to a vacant vc post. abuse me, abuse me. mmmm.)
9.14.2008 3:39am
SG:
I can't believe people get so worked up over this. Is the ad technically true? Yes. Is it spinning it into the worst possible light? Absolutely. Welcome to any year divisible by 4.

Obama did exactly the same thing with his "McCain supports 100 years of war in Iraq" ad awhile back. It was even less technically true than the sex ed ad, but had enough truthiness to allow the Obama campaign to go with it.

We get this kind of politics because it's what "rationally ignorant" voters respond to. Don't blame the candidates - blame the citizens. We get the campaigns (and government) we deserve.
9.14.2008 3:57am
Harry Eagar (mail):
'Second, the reporter failed to note Ms. Behar's political views'

As verified by wikipedia?

Never heard of her, am barely aware of the existence of 'The view,' but since she asked the question, how do the Times reporter not ascribe the question to her?

Professor, are you seriously worried that some Times reader is going to mistake this woman for a McCain stalking horse who has suddenly turned on her master?

Her question does not seem to be inherently silly, which is more than I can say for any statement I have seen justifying Sarah Palin's experience as relevant to being president, for example.
9.14.2008 4:03am
LM (mail):
Clastrenster:

Are you serious? If so do you have any evidence? If not, please cut it out.
9.14.2008 4:15am
David Warner:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and contest the lying contention, because I believe the word is being abused nearly beyond use. I've been outspoken in my defense of Palin, but have no interest in defending McCain. I'm am interested that the word "lie" retain some meaning.

The ad speaks to a concern many parents have that too much of their authority over the education of their children is being taken away from them. In the case of the cub scouts and similar organizations, the excuse is usually liability, of the schools, their traditional duty of civic formation that has bled into the moral. In either case, parents are frustrated.

I share those concerns. While I would entrust my own kindergarten teacher with complete freedom, I know of more than one in whom I would not. The bill quoted above not only entrusts teachers down to kindergarten age to broach these subjects, but even compels them to do so. Many will do so unwisely.

Perhaps this was why the former law stopped at 6th grade. If McCain believed that was appropriate, why was it illegitimate to point out this policy difference?
9.14.2008 4:18am
Clastrenster:
"I'm am interested that the word "lie" retain some meaning."

LM-- this clarifies everything. Evidence? I was pointing out VC became crazy 'round this issue, in a number of ways. Cut it out? Get real, argumogralogist!
9.14.2008 4:21am
Clastrenster:
Look, "I'm am" interested that the word truth have something to say, that's all, and this website got screwed, so what? Something shall take its place?
9.14.2008 4:25am
Asher (mail):
My point is that Behar said exactly what you would expect her to say, regardless of whether her point is valid or not. It is therefore not "news." The Times article, however, is premised on the idea that McCain is coming in for some extra-special criticism for mendacity, and uses Behar as an example of a talk show host who could be expected to be friendly ["On Friday on The View, generally friendly territory for politicians"] as the lead example.

But Professor Bernstein, this is all based on the assumption that simply because she's liberal you'd expect her to stridently attack McCain's honesty. She may be a liberal, but she's also a host of a women's talk show that traditionally treats politicians, of whatever party, in as friendly, powderpuffy a way as you'll ever see on TV. So yeah, I think it is news when even the hosts of 'The View' are grilling you. I'd also note that this shark-jumping, egregiously biased story says this immediately after the paragraph you cite:


Mr. Obama's hands have not always been clean in this regard. He was called out earlier for saying, incorrectly, that Mr. McCain supported a "hundred-year war" in Iraq after Mr. McCain said in January that he would be fine with a hypothetical 100-year American presence in Iraq, as long as Americans were not being injured or killed there.

More recently, Mr. Obama has been criticized for advertisements that have distorted Mr. McCain's record on schools financing and incorrectly accused him of not supporting loan guarantees for the auto industry — a hot topic in Michigan. He has also taken Mr. McCain's repeated comments that American economy is "fundamentally sound" out of context, leaving out the fact that Mr. McCain almost always adds at the same time that he understands that times are tough and "people are hurting."


Of course, there are many other dishonesties they could've cited, but they don't mention all of Mccain's either.
9.14.2008 4:30am
Clastrenster:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2D_mhqDRBY&feature=related
9.14.2008 4:30am
Clastrenster:
RIP David Foster Wallace, and rise to the occasion you much fuclers!
9.14.2008 4:41am
Clastrenster:
Who hanged himself amidst of the shame of American Politics and crappy ways of being this website has suddenly and terribly sought to promote.
9.14.2008 4:44am
Clastrenster:
For whatever reason and more...
9.14.2008 4:45am
Nate in Alice:
I noticed McCain's penchant for brazen lying in the CNN debate in the primary where he repeatedly stated that Romney had advocated "timetables". It was frustrating to Romney, I'm sure, but as an informed observer I was shocked at McCain going back to the trough after Romney called him out on it.

When McCain lies, he NEVER backs down.
9.14.2008 4:57am
LM (mail):
Clastrenster:

... or a simple, "No, I wasn't serious" would have worked too.
9.14.2008 5:05am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
as an informed observer I was shocked at McCain going back to the trough after Romney called him out on it


Video of Romney calling McCain "dishonest" is here. First he said "lying," and then he backed away from that.
9.14.2008 5:10am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
kaz:

McCain's distortion of the Obama sex education bill is no more egregious than Obama's distortion of McCain's "one hundred years" remark about Iraq.


I disagree, because creating an ad is a lot more deliberate than delivering a statement carelessly. There are times that Obama made the statement carelessly ("John McCain wants to continue a war in Iraq perhaps as long as 100 years"), and there are times he said it accurately ("has said that he is willing to have these troops over there for 100 years"). I think he made the careless statement on exactly two occasions. Enshrining a falsehood in an ad is a lot more deliberate, and more egregious.

And that's what McCain did with the business about Iran being "tiny."

By the way, only one of these candidates uses "straight talk" as a slogan.
==============================
sg:

Obama did exactly the same thing with his "McCain supports 100 years of war in Iraq" ad awhile back.


Obama made an ad on this subject? Show me. And it said those words? Show me.

I know of a DNC ad, but it didn't use those words, and it didn't use any words that weren't true.

Don't blame the candidates - blame the citizens. We get the campaigns (and government) we deserve.


Agreed. When we tolerate lots of dishonesty (as we did with Bush), that virtually guarantees that subsequent politicians will push that envelope further and further. Why shouldn't they? McCain is taking Bush's ball and running with it.
9.14.2008 5:10am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

it requires that these things be taught in an "age appropriate" way, but it requires that they be included


Wrong. It requires that they be included, but it doesn't require that they be included at every grade. Try reading more carefully. The bill is here (pdf). Notice this passage:

All course material and instruction shall be age and developmentally appropriate.


The key word is the first one. Now notice the next passage, which is an example of the various passages which you're complaining about:

Course material and instruction shall include a discussion of sexual abstinence as a method to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.


Do you notice the word that's omitted from the beginning of that sentence? The passage does not say "all course material … shall include a discussion of sexual abstinence …" Why not, since the earlier passage begins with "all?" Because these later passages only indicate content that needs to appear somewhere in the K-12 program. Not everywhere in the program. Whereas the passage that begins "all" is intended to apply everywhere.

So you're not reading the statute carefully. And aside from that, Obama made his intention clear, in 2004. So the most you can do is claim he voted for a bill that wasn't clear enough in expressing his intention (he didn't write the bill).

"Age appropriate" affects the manner in which the topic is discussed, but not whether the topic is discussed, not when the statute explicitly requires that those topics be discussed.


The statute enumerates topics that need to "be discussed" somewhere in a K-12 program. It doesn't stipulate what is supposed to appear at each grade level. It only says that decision should be made on an "age appropriate" basis. Interpreting that is in the hands of each school district, which is a sensible approach.

The fact that your interpretation of a particular set of words makes them false


It's not my "interpretation" of the words in the ad that make them false. It's the lack of congruence between the ad and reality which makes them false.

it's sexist ("shall teach male pupils about male accountability for sexual violence and shall teach female students about reducing vulnerability for sexual violence")


Your point will make sense as you soon as you show that women rape men as often as men rape women.
9.14.2008 5:11am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I'm going to go out on a limb here and contest the lying contention


Maybe you'd like to chew on this one (more details here).

There are so many to choose from.

The ad speaks to a concern many parents have that too much of their authority over the education of their children is being taken away from them


You and the ad ignore the fact that the bill stipulates that parents can always opt out.

The bill quoted above not only entrusts teachers down to kindergarten age to broach these subjects, but even compels them to do so.


It "compels" that all the topics appear somewhere in a K-12 program, but it does not 'compel' that all these topics appear in kindergarten.

Perhaps this was why the former law stopped at 6th grade. If McCain believed that was appropriate, why was it illegitimate to point out this policy difference?


Because McCain didn't honestly portray Obama's stated, known intentions.

Obama's policy is that kids in kindergarten should be taught how to avoid sexual predators. If McCain thinks that's bad policy, let him run an ad saying that, directly and honestly (if he truly thinks it's a major national issue; obviously, it's not). Trouble is, that's not what McCain did.

And maybe "the former law stopped at 6th grade" because there are lawmakers who are worried that an unscrupulous opponent like McCain might ambush them someday, the way McCain is ambushing Obama. Notice who pays for this: kids who are denied a chance to learn how to protect themselves. Unless they're lucky enough to be a Cub Scout.
9.14.2008 5:11am
Clastrenster:
Could I say that again? I'm really sad, as anyone who cares about language should be. But huh?
9.14.2008 5:14am
Clastrenster:
Broaden the base now, before you find yourself hanging by the depression of your own conspiracy!
9.14.2008 5:20am
Clastrenster:
lay down your google-numbed swords and moron! i mean mourn.
9.14.2008 5:37am
rarango (mail):
Randle: are you telling us you are not intelligent enough to scroll past posters you don't like? I think that reflects more poorly on you than the blog proprietors.
9.14.2008 6:10am
Pedant:
So far only one commenter seems to have questioned Prof. Bernstein's reliance on Wikipedia for his characterization of Behar's views. It demonstrates a misunderstanding of how Wikipedia operates to say that "Wikipedia tells us ..." It would be more accurate to say, "According to one anonymous and unaccountable person I've never met and know nothing about, ..."
9.14.2008 6:14am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Unlike most Republicans Sarah isn't boring and has injected some life into an otherwise dead campaign. You might call Palin the Reanimator. But will this help? No matter how many times Sarah injects the re-agent into McCain, he will always be a zombie. One day the Palin-bots will wake up and find all they really have is a horror show.
9.14.2008 6:28am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Pedant, the most relevant part of the Wikipedia entry is her characterization of the Bush Administration as composed of liars and murderers. There's a footnote link, and I checked it.

And FWIW, the fact that McCain is willing to go to hostile territory to try to attract women's votes reflects a new confidence, perhaps overconfidence.
9.14.2008 8:28am
DavidBernstein (mail):
But Professor Bernstein, this is all based on the assumption that simply because she's liberal you'd expect her to stridently attack McCain's honesty. She may be a liberal, but she's also a host of a women's talk show that traditionally treats politicians, of whatever party, in as friendly, powderpuffy a way as you'll ever see on TV. So yeah, I think it is news when even the hosts of 'The View' are grilling you.
Why isn't that just a sign that this election has become so bitter and partisan that even the hosts of the powderpuffy "The View" can't contain themselves? More respectable outlets that have a stake in objectivity are certainly having trouble.
9.14.2008 8:32am
just me (mail):
I think it is possible to argue Obama's intent on the sex ed for kindergarteners issue was that they only be taught the good touch/bad touch stuff, but his intent isn't what the law says. It it a poorly written law.

McCain's ad was factually true-and intentionally misleading, but that really is what politicians do-even Obama. And to be honestly as a parent I am not sure I even want my kids teacher to teach my kindergartener good touch/bad touch in a way they deem age appropriate. Sure Cub Scouts has their chapter, but a den leader isn't the one teaching it-that portion is read by the parent to the child and the parent and child discuss it-which is very different from a kindergarten teacher teaching it.

Age appropriate is left undefined-and I know from talking with other parents what they consider age appropriate sex ed with their children isn't what I consider age appropriate.

It isn't so cut and dried and as clearly defined as some might think it is. And I am sure Obama had his ideas of age appropriate when he voted for the law, but was it the same as the guy three rows up, and the guy four seats down?

And I really don't think a DNC ad using the 100 years war stuff means Obama doesn't support it when Obama has used the line all the time during the election cycle. The charge didn't come out of nowhere and is just as misleading.

As for Behar's glasses comment-I hadn't heard it, but I am somebody who wears glasses because I can't wear contacts-so contacts are not an option for everyone.
9.14.2008 8:44am
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

Amazing how many lawyers have reading comprehension problems when it comes to politics.

Well not that amazing really.
9.14.2008 9:14am
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

"Because McCain didn't honestly portray Obama's stated, known intentions."

Which is certainly a relief. We all know that the courts base everything on what a politician "intended" rather than what is actually *written* in the law. God help us all if laws are implemented as written.

Frankly one reason I really enjoy this blog is that it reminds me that people who work with the law are as dumb and opinionated as anybody else.
9.14.2008 9:18am
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

"It "compels" that all the topics appear somewhere in a K-12 program, but it does not 'compel' that all these topics appear in kindergarten. "

**LAUGH**
9.14.2008 9:20am
TDPerkins (mail):

If McCain believed that was appropriate, why was it illegitimate to point out this policy difference?


He did. In the ad we are discussing.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.14.2008 10:03am
TDPerkins (mail):

It would be more accurate to say, "According to one anonymous and unaccountable person I've never met and know nothing about, ..."


And the statement that indifferently anonymous person made has been vetted by every single viewer of the page. A quick glance at the page history tells you if there is any controversy which might result in temporary distortions, and let you look at the opposing edits and discern for yourselves the validity of the post.

Also, a wikipedia post serves as a aggregation of links to the means to verify a post.

Which is more than you can do more easily there than for any other information source, frankly making wikipedia generally the superior one in my view.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.14.2008 10:14am
Franklin Drackman:
I have a sneaky feeling that the last week of October is gonna be the Reverend Wright revival and endless loop playing like back in the Spring.
9.14.2008 10:15am
sputnik (mail):
question to professor Bernstein.
All my life I felt disgust for the liars.
I also was ashamed if somebody would associated my friends or supporters with liars and sleaze.
How do you feel about it?
And don't worry about McCain camp, they obviously do not care:

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said this to the Politico about the increased media scrutiny of the campaign's factual claims: "We're running a campaign to win. And we're not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it."
9.14.2008 10:26am
mls (www):
Just me- I agree (so I guess its not just you).

If the Obama campaign was being honest in its defense here, it would say (1) Obama's support of the bill was based on his understanding that it would provide for age-appropriate sex education; (2) his belief is that age-appropriate sex education for kindergartners consists of teaching them to be aware of inappropriate touching (or something like that); (3) this wasn't a bill that he was particularly involved with, and his support for it was based on trusting the (Democratic) sponsors; (4) he never read or thought about the parts of the bill which suggest that students, including kindergartners, should be given "comprehensive sex education," including instruction on transmission of STDs; and (5) none of this is particularly important or relevant to the presidency anyway.

Instead of making this defense, Obama accuses McCain of lying.
9.14.2008 10:45am
Vandy Law 2010 (mail):
Prof. Volokh, please ask your colleagues to stop posting this inane political commentary. The postings and the comments are beyond stale.

Thank you,

A Loyal Reader
9.14.2008 10:49am
Oren:
Vandy, I think you are mistaken if you think EV has editorial control over the other conspirators. He, in fact, does not.
9.14.2008 10:58am
elim:
all this jbg stuff and still not a single explanation for the actual language of the statute which mandates that certain things be taught all the way down to 5 year olds. it doesn't say you don't teach certain things to them-in fact, it mandates that such teaching be done, just in an age appropriate way. I was taught in law school that little things like the word "shall" mean something in legislation-how many times is the word used in terms of what "shall" be discussed in the classes?
9.14.2008 11:11am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The history of parental opting out is mixed.
Frequently, the idea fails to get as far as...the parents. In fact, the entire course material is sometimes unknown to the parents so there is nothing to opt from.
Or the opt-out papers get lost. Turning up later, like certain billing records. Or not at all.
Opting out is not a solution. It's an excuse.
9.14.2008 11:19am
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
"My point is that Behar said exactly what you would expect her to say"

Wow, that's interesting, because I'm thinking that if McCain "expected" one of the hosts of the show to out-and-out call him a liar, he probably would have skipped the appearance.

I'm pretty sure he didn't "expect" it based on his appearance on the same show in 2005, either. [Photo from that episode, showing Behar not calling McCain a liar.]
9.14.2008 11:25am
DavidBernstein (mail):
question to professor Bernstein. All my life I felt disgust for the liars.
That doesn't leave a lot of prominent politicians for you to admire, does it? Certainly not anyone on either ticket.
9.14.2008 11:29am
Norman Bates (mail):
It's Pinch Sulzberger's NYT now. No rational person pays them much attention anymore. According to the last few years' of subscription data, fewer and fewer people even bother reading the fish wrap. Who cares?

On a more positive note: This nonsense just encourages the DailyKos and MoveOn crowds and their ilk to maintain their delusions. It can only benefit McCain/Palin.
9.14.2008 11:40am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I'm pretty sure he didn't "expect" it based on his appearance on the same show in 2005, either. [Photo from that episode, showing Behar not calling McCain a liar.]
If McCain's "people" thought he'd be treated the same as a Republican presidential candidate then as a Senate gadfly who clearly dislikes George W. Bush, then they should be replaced.
9.14.2008 12:01pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
The NY Times also has a one-sided article attacking Palin.
9.14.2008 12:04pm
wb (mail):
Why is any of this mud-slinging surprising?

You have three candidate who have never run anything. And one with limited experience. You have one presidential candidate who has no legislative accomplishments (that means he has done more than sign on as a co-sponsor). You have two presidential candidate who have voted with their parties >90% of the time yet claim to "agents of change."

You have liberals saying that a mother should stay at home with here kids, and "pregnant and in the kitchen" conservatives saying "you go girl." You have the R's who have stacked the decked against themselves for 8 years and D's who seem terrified that a hail mary pass will connect.

Means where are serious policy discussions and questions from the press. Not about minutia and what words to apply to policy.

The race in the gutter is just beginning. Meanwhile some of us would like to here about stopping the erosion of civil liberties and about the limits of wealth redistribution.
9.14.2008 12:05pm
frankcross (mail):
The NYT has run a lot of pretty worthless human interest stories this season. Including several puff pieces on Palin. The focus on something buried within an article, when the article was itself fairly deep within in the NYT seems strange. Why the picture? Maybe to get attention? It's not the old gray lady any more. It even has color.
9.14.2008 12:09pm
CJColucci:
Politician goes on popular TV show, gets called a "liar" on the air by one of the hosts. This is news. It's that simple. I have no idea what Rachael Ray's or Dr. Phil's politics are, but if the same thing happened on their shows, it would be news. If Bill O'Reilly gets tough with Barack Obama on the air, is it not worth reporting just because O'Reilly's politics are such that one might "expect" it? This Obama Derangement Syndrome would be silly if it weren't so sad.
9.14.2008 12:12pm
Ak:
I was mildly leaning towards McCain before the past week or two. In policy matters I much lean towards McCain's side of things.

I am now leaning towards Obama simply because I am strongly disturbed by the success of McCain's recent "Big Lie" approach where his campaign just says something untrue and repeats it over and over again - and as a result he's closed the gap with Obama. If you don't ever admit you're wrong the media is powerless to do anything against you, because when they call you a liar you just call them liars back. Meanwhile, Obama stupidly admits when one of his ads is wrong or lying and gets hit for it.

Quite frankly if this gets rewarded I am horrified at what it means for the future of US democracy. The worst part is that, win or lose, politicians of both spectrums will notice how effective it is for McCain (and Bush before him, who was the pioneer in simply refusing to acknowledge any attempt at proving something the campaign said to be right or wrong).
9.14.2008 12:19pm
SG:
I know of a DNC ad [about 100 years of war in Iraq], but it didn't use those words, and it didn't use any words that weren't true.

I remember seeing an ad, but after doing some research I believe it was probably the DNC ad. And as you point out, that ad is technically true.

So I withdraw my assertion that the 100 years ad was worse than the sex ed ad. I'd call them roughly equal in that they are both technically true, but I'd give the edge (such as it is) to Obama, since the DNC and not Obama ran the ad.

I stand by my main assertion that it's kind of silly to get upset with politicians who play politics. It's like being angry that fish are wet. It comes with the territory. I don't think either politician has "crossed the line", although I do think McCain's campaign is spending more time real close to it.

A line of attack that I think would be both more honest and more salient would be to acknowledge that Obama didn't want to teach sex ed to Kindergardners, but was so poor at drafting legislation that that could have been the outcome. And then draw the point that all of Obama's experience, as a community organizer, as an edcation reformed, and as a legislator, is marked by well-intentioned failures.
9.14.2008 12:32pm
DG:
Of, for God's sake! Its the VIEW! Its a show that makes Larry King look like Tim Russet, a show that causes my wife, who loves all daytime TV (via TIVO) to become violently ill, a show whose hosts have a collective IQ of 120, excepting Walters, who, it turns out, is sort of a big slut.

How can anyone take this seriously?
9.14.2008 12:50pm
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
I'm uncomfortable with the phrase "jumping the shark" when it is used to describe a newspaper... TV shows almost inevitably reach a point where they lose their original appeal and acquire a sense of implausibility or staleness... I don't think that quite fits with newspapers. They are always formulaic and stale.
9.14.2008 1:01pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
If Bill O'Reilly gets tough with Barack Obama on the air, is it not worth reporting just because O'Reilly's politics are such that one might "expect" it?

Would this be reported as Obama appeared on O'Reilly, where he could have expected "friendly" treatment and instead was attacked?
9.14.2008 1:08pm
David Warner:
"Mr. Obama's hands have not always been clean in this regard. He was called out earlier for saying, incorrectly, that Mr. McCain supported a "hundred-year war" in Iraq after Mr. McCain said in January that he would be fine with a hypothetical 100-year American presence in Iraq, as long as Americans were not being injured or killed there."

This isn't a lie either. Obama is reflecting the concern a lot of people have with the U.S. playing world policeman, a policy McCain is much more likely to continue than Obama. We still have a substantial troop presence in Germany over 60 years on - getting close to 100.

"More recently, Mr. Obama has been criticized for advertisements that have distorted Mr. McCain's record on schools financing and incorrectly accused him of not supporting loan guarantees for the auto industry — a hot topic in Michigan."

Again, which candidate is more likely to increase school financing? To actually bail out Michigan instead of merely promising to? Clearly, the answer is Obama. These are not lies.

"He has also taken Mr. McCain's repeated comments that American economy is "fundamentally sound" out of context, leaving out the fact that Mr. McCain almost always adds at the same time that he understands that times are tough and 'people are hurting.'"

The two are not mutually exclusive. McCain is more likely than Obama to believe that the economy is fundamentally sound.

Bottom line: if we keep playing along with the character assassination of our elected representatives and candidates, the alternative is unlikely to be more honest elected representatives and candidates, and more likely to to be even greater power for the unelected - media, the bureaucracy, and K Street.
9.14.2008 1:09pm
mel (mail):
All of this reinforces my intention to vote Libertarian.
9.14.2008 1:10pm
Laura S.:
jukeboxgrad,

Your detailed dissection of the law is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that teaching 6yr olds about sexual predators means indirectly teaching them about sex and destroys the innocence of ignorance.

Which DOES matter to a great many people, otherwise you're right the statute would say "all" everywhere. Unfortunately people backing that statute failed to consider that sex pred talk implies learning to a degree about sex--if sex is just mommy and daddy hugging under the sheets why are the perps dangerous !?! inquiring children will wonder.
9.14.2008 1:29pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
"Stop lying about my record" worked so well for Bob Dole.
9.14.2008 1:33pm
elim:
jbg doesn't have kids and apparently doesn't understand the meaning of the word "shall", something it appears taxes many of the posters here. can someone tell me why the long list of things that "shall" be taught or discussed with 5 year olds really means they won't be discussed with them?
9.14.2008 1:34pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
My my,

These comments seem to reflect a sense of deep rooted panic setting in among the liberal Obamaites. He ascended into the heavens from his temple on mount Invesco, and the Lord spake to him and verily the lord said to him, you will not be president because you are an empty suit with tired old socialist ideas dating back to the 1920's.

Interesting poll out in Minnesota of all places. The extremely liberal Star Tribuen, who famously tilts its polls for the democrats, has a new poll out showing McCain Dead Even with Obama, having closed a 13 point gap.

If McCain actually carried a state like Minnesota then a huge democrat defeat up and down the ticket would likely be in the works.

Oh, and on sex education for Kindergartners. Obama voted for it and the ad is TRUE. Liberals don't understand that there are millions and millions of parents in this country that think its there job to tell their 5 year olds to be wary of strangers. These same people distrust having their 5 year olds being indoctrinated into all sorts of Liberal dogma from sex ed to abortion to homosexuality.

Says the "Dog"
9.14.2008 1:46pm
just me (mail):
The history of parental opting out is mixed.
Frequently, the idea fails to get as far as...the parents. In fact, the entire course material is sometimes unknown to the parents so there is nothing to opt from.
Or the opt-out papers get lost. Turning up later, like certain billing records. Or not at all.
Opting out is not a solution. It's an excuse.


Especially when you consider it is a class for 5 year olds-and they are expected to be the go between when it comes to important paperwork.

I think my concern though is under the vague and undefined term "age appropriate" because I am not really certain what this means and honestly when it comes to sexual matters being discussed with my 5 year old I prefer to be the one doing the discussing and deciding what is age appropriate.

I think the real problem is it was a poorly written law and Obama's best defense is to say just that-and I am sure his intent was not that condoms and STD information be taught to 5 year olds, but he did vote for a law that said it should be-even if that isn't what he thought it meant.

I suspect lawmakers vote for laws all the time that they haven't taken the time to read and vote more on what they think the intent of the law is.
9.14.2008 1:48pm
NYer:
I have to confess that I didn't understand the point of your post, Professor Bernstein, until I read your response to some of the comments. But even then I have to question the criticism here -- it's my impression that everyone knows The View is predominantly liberal, and anyone who has ever seen the show knows that Joy Behar is extremely liberal, and I don't think it is even necessary to point it out. I think the article just meant to point out the criticism McCain got from unlikely sources (from the typically not-even-softball-throwing View hosts) -- and it directly follows this blog posting that details the surprising reaction of the View co-hosts to McCain.
9.14.2008 1:49pm
markH (mail):
Laura S.

Teaching good touch/bad touch to 6 year olds has nothing to do with sex. It's about who can see or touch their private parts and what to do if someone not on the approved list touches them. Where's the sex?

Do you feel the need to go into the motives of someone who would want to touch your 6 year old's genitalia? When you talked with your 6 year old did you bring up mommy and daddy hugging under the sheets?

If this discussion at this age begs questions in the mind of a kindergartner about sex, you're doing it wrong.

I assume you speak from experience, right?
9.14.2008 1:58pm
Asher (mail):
Why isn't that just a sign that this election has become so bitter and partisan that even the hosts of the powderpuffy "The View" can't contain themselves? More respectable outlets that have a stake in objectivity are certainly having trouble.

So then you admit it's news in a certain sense?
9.14.2008 2:28pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'the most relevant part of the Wikipedia entry is her characterization of the Bush Administration as composed of liars and murderers'

Professor, is it your contention that some of them are not liars?

Is this woman, whoever she is, half right?
9.14.2008 3:26pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
"But even then I have to question the criticism here -- it's my impression that everyone knows The View is predominantly liberal, and anyone who has ever seen the show knows that Joy Behar is extremely liberal,"
My guess is that there isn't a huge overlap between fans of The View and t readers of the Times, but, personally, while I was vaguely aware that The View is liberal (because I associate it with Rosie O'Donnell), I had no idea that Joy Behar was; indeed, I had no idea who Joy Behar is. So when I read the story, I was thinking, "is Joy Behar someone who could be expected to be deferential to McCain, so that her questions were somehow out of character." And, "is she a serious person?" No, and no, from what I can tell.
9.14.2008 3:40pm
subpatre (mail):
Cold Warrior said "What is it about the words "age appropriate" that make them unable to reach your retina?"

What part of "shall include a discussion of the possible consequences of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV" (actual text) can't you comprehend? You aren't that dense, you're doing this deliberately.

There is no 'age appropriate' classroom education that teaches the consequences of sexual relations and the use of contraceptives to kindergarten children. Yet that is mandated by the law Obama voted for.

'markH' fall for the same BS, asking "It's about who can see or touch their private parts and what to do if someone not on the approved list touches them. Where's the sex?" assuming that age appropriate somehow means teaching different subjects for different ages.

Not so. The law dicates a list of precisely what subjects must be covered: that sex with a minor is illegal (taught in all classes, sexually transmitted disease as a possible consequence of sex (taught in all classes), and the possible side effects and health benefits of different contraceptives (taught in all classes), are just some of the mandatory subjects in the law.


Those defending Obama --perhaps Obama himself-- illustrate "the quintessential leftist habit of judging politics by its intentions, not its acts." [Horowitz in Radical Son 1998]

Despite the undeniable fact that this proposed legislation would mandate sex education (and specified the contents) for children in kindergarten and all elementary grades, liberals deny the facts anyway.
The intent was good.

The intent was good, so teaching 6 year-olds about condoms and HIV if OK. The proposal was a disgrace, and McCain was absolutely truthful on this score.
9.14.2008 3:51pm
Angus:

can someone tell me why the long list of things that "shall" be taught or discussed with 5 year olds really means they won't be discussed with them?
Because it doesn't say what you think it says. K-12 is a common shorthand to indicate all grades before college. It is not a specific reference to kindergarten. So what the bill says, in plain english, is that all of these things shall be taught, at age appropriate levels, by the time the person graduates high school.
9.14.2008 3:51pm
Angus:
There is no 'age appropriate' classroom education that teaches the consequences of sexual relations and the use of contraceptives to kindergarten children. Yet that is mandated by the law Obama voted for.
Try reading the bill again. Only this time, take off the partisan blinders and put on the glasses.
9.14.2008 3:53pm
elim:
except that's not what it says. if it did, the "lie" crowd might have a point-it doesn't, so they are engaging in wishful thinking.
9.14.2008 3:57pm
sputnik (mail):
professor Bernstein.

All politicians lie. This is often a prerequisite for the profession -- at best, they must be disingenuous, or mislead, or avoid the subject, or obfuscate . . . in other words, push the truth to its limit. Of course, there are gigantic variations in scale (see, e.g., the Republican party -- there's an order of magnitude difference here), which ties into questions of agency, accountability, and guilt, but the core moral question remains the same.

You cannot be absolutely, 100% honest in politics. There are other professions that have a similar requirement (e.g., advertiser, etc.), and, as is often the case in the aforementioned professions, the important distinction is not a black and white Lie/Truth dichotomy but a sliding scale of ethics.

On one end, there is hardly any unethical behavior -- it's more a matter of politeness ("I do not question John McCain's qualification for president due to his advanced age."). In the middle is simple-minded rhetoric that is understood (by reasonable people) to be a bunch of hot air and hooey ("Read my lips: No new taxes."). And at the furthest extreme is a knowing lie that is repeated in the face of objective reality ("Sarah Palin's record shows that she is an opponent of earmarks.").

What we're seeing from the McCain campaign, and their assorted hacks, flacks, and false attacks, is a total abandonment of any ethical restrictions whatsoever. It's the difference between an overheated advertisement (e.g., "Product X is awesome dude!" -- the advertiser does not actually expect consumers to be literally overwhelmed by awe) and a culpable, knowing lie (e.g., "Cigarettes do not have any negative health effects." -- when your own company's studies show that they do).



The only way that I can see these people justifying their lies as ethical (or, rather, not unethical) is an "ends justify the means" rationale: more along the lines of, say, an undercover police officer or a spy. If you're infiltrating the mafia, you have to lie ("Hey, no, I'm no cop man!") and there is no real ethical conundrum. The problem here is that the mole believes that the people they're lying to are the enemy: in a very literal sense. An enemy that is immoral, criminal, and must be destroyed.



Yes, and even Sen. Obama. He's just hard to catch at it (i.e., is very very careful), and his lies are much more of the shading-the-truth variety, rather than the big bullshit whoppers other politicians are prone to. Which is one of the reasons I like him -- he lies far, far less than any other (national) politician I've seen.
9.14.2008 3:59pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
db:

the most relevant part of the Wikipedia entry is her characterization of the Bush Administration as composed of liars and murderers. There's a footnote link, and I checked it.


The footnote leads to a clip where she says "they are liars and they are murderers." She doesn't say "Bush administration" (at least not in that clip). Do you have a clip that establishes the antecedent for "they?" Why is her previous sentence omitted from the clip that's presented?

Why isn't that just a sign that this election has become so bitter and partisan that even the hosts of the powderpuffy "The View" can't contain themselves? More respectable outlets that have a stake in objectivity are certainly having trouble.


I wonder if you think of VC as one of the "more respectable outlets that have a stake in objectivity."
9.14.2008 4:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
just:

I think it is possible to argue Obama's intent on the sex ed for kindergarteners issue was that they only be taught the good touch/bad touch stuff, but his intent isn't what the law says


One of the things you're overlooking about the bill (and this is something I haven't mentioned yet) is that it doesn't require that anything be taught to anyone. It only says that if a school decides to provide "sex education courses," that those courses shall meet certain guidelines:

All sex education courses that discuss sexual activity or behavior shall satisfy the following criteria


Where does the bill say that every school shall offer "sex education courses," or that any school is required to do so? For any grade? Nowhere.

Obama issued a statement about this (pdf). The statement points out that a number of states (including MA under Romney) have already passed bills like this. The language in those bills is quite similar to the language that Obama approved, and I don't think any kindergartener in those states (including CA, MI, NH, IA and NJ) is currently being taught how to use a condom.

It it a poorly written law.


Then McCain should run an ad accusing Obama of signing "a poorly written law" (as if McCain has never done such a thing). But what McCain did is quite different. McCain's ad accused Obama of supporting "legislation to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergarteners." But here's the key statement in the bill which uses the phrase "comprehensive sex education:"

Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K -6 through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.


As a commenter elsewhere explained:

The english translation of this statement is that if, in any of grades K-12, said grade is offering comprehensive sex education already, then that comprehensive sex education should also include instruction on preventing sexually transmitted disease.

Nothing in this quote, or in the bill, *establishes*, mandates, requires, or otherwise enforces comprehensive sex education in any specific grade. It adds only a specific requirement about such content, if it is at any time established.


Nowhere does the bill establish a requirement that "comprehensive sex education" be taught to kindergarteners. In fact, nowhere does the bill establish a requirement that "comprehensive sex education" be taught to anyone. The bill only says that if you are already teaching "comprehensive sex education" (at any grade level), then you have to make your course meet certain criteria. Likewise if in the future you decide to establish such a course.

McCain's ad was factually true


I have just demonstrated that the ad is not factually true.

as a parent I am not sure I even want my kids teacher to teach my kindergartener good touch/bad touch in a way they deem age appropriate


You seem determined to obscure the fact that the bill emphatically gives parents a chance to opt-out.

Sure Cub Scouts has their chapter, but a den leader isn't the one teaching it-that portion is read by the parent to the child and the parent and child discuss it


Wrong. Read the BSA material I cited. The "It Happened to Me" video is designed to be shown at a den meeting. Parents are encouraged to attend with their son, but the parent's presence is not a requirement.

Similarly, if you want to be present in school while a teacher is teaching the same material, I'm sure no teacher would object. So there's essentially no difference between the Cub Scout approach and the approach defined in the bill.

I know from talking with other parents what they consider age appropriate sex ed with their children isn't what I consider age appropriate.


That's why the bill offers you a chance to opt-out.

I am sure Obama had his ideas of age appropriate when he voted for the law, but was it the same as the guy three rows up, and the guy four seats down?


This bill, like other similar bills that have passed in quite a few states, leaves those decisions in the hands of the school district and the parent, where they should be.
9.14.2008 4:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
just:

I really don't think a DNC ad using the 100 years war stuff means Obama doesn't support it when Obama has used the line all the time during the election cycle.


You should explain what's dishonest about the DNC ad. And you should explain why you said "all the time." As far as I can tell, Obama made the statement in a careless manner on exactly two occasions. If you can show otherwise, please do so.
9.14.2008 4:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mls:

If the Obama campaign was being honest in its defense here, it would say …


Above I cited the statement issued by his campaign. It says most of the things you are claiming he needs to say.

Instead of making this defense, Obama accuses McCain of lying.


Not "instead." In addition to. And it's appropriate to point out that McCain is lying, because McCain is lying.
9.14.2008 4:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elim:

still not a single explanation for the actual language of the statute which mandates that certain things be taught all the way down to 5 year olds.


As I have explained, there is no language in the bill that "mandates" that anything be taught to anyone. It just says that if you already are offering "comprehensive sex education," or intend to do so, then you have to adhere to certain guidelines.

No school is required to offer sex ed, to kindergarteners, or any other grade. But if a school chooses to do so, it has to adhere to certain guidelines.

I was taught in law school that little things like the word "shall" mean something in legislation


Were you taught that you shouldn't claim a bill "mandates" something that it doesn't actually mandate?

can someone tell me why the long list of things that "shall" be taught or discussed with 5 year olds really means they won't be discussed with them?


Because the bill says certain things "shall" be taught only if a school has already made a decision to teach sex ed. If your school board opts to not teach sex ed, then you have nothing to fear from this bill.

And if your school decides to teach sex ed, this bill requires them to do it in an "age appropriate" manner. By the way, here's an example of how to teach a 5-year old about HIV in an age-appropriate manner: 'if you see a needle lying in the gutter, don't pick it up.' There are some communities where kids don't need to know that. But there are other communities where they do need to know that.
9.14.2008 4:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
richard:

The history of parental opting out is mixed


It mostly depends on whether or not parents are paying attention. If they are, then opting out will work. If they're not, then all sorts of bad things are likely to happen. When parents are too distracted with other activities and ambitions, they sometimes even have a hard time making sure their kids stay unpregnant long enough to finish high school. Which is a good reason to try to equip schools to address this problem.
9.14.2008 4:18pm
Brian K (mail):
DB,

But if you didn't know anything about Behar when you read the story, you wouldn't know that (a) she's a left-wing political activist with a history of outrageous comments; and (b) she's not an entertainer, not a serious political commentator.

do you point out your right-wing political activism on all of your posts? I didn't think so.
9.14.2008 4:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wb:

You have liberals saying that a mother should stay at home with here kids


Actually what I've said is that there should be a parent home with the kids. People who keep having lots of kids even though no parent is around to take care of them are being irresponsible. This is true in the Bronx, and it's true in Wasilla.

Palin's irresponsible parenting is my business only because she's trying to convince me that she's capable of being responsible.
9.14.2008 4:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
sg:

I'd call them roughly equal in that they are both technically true


I've explained why the sex ad doesn't even rise to the level of being 'technically' true. The ad describes the bill as "legislation to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergarteners." This plainly indicates that the bill creates a requirement "to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergarteners." But that's not what the bill does. It just says that if a school chooses "to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergarteners" (or to any other grade), that it must do so according to certain guidelines. Here's one of those guidelines: that it be "age appropriate." Here's another guideline: to emphasize abstinence. I guess this makes Obama quite a radical.

I don't think either politician has "crossed the line", although I do think McCain's campaign is spending more time real close to it.


I think your standards are too low. And I think your complacent attitude tends to guarantee that it's only going to get worse.

The net result is that people decide that democracy is a failure, and they should just stop paying attention. Deliberately inciting cynicism is a winning strategy for certain groups.

Ak is correct in pointing out that democracy is at risk.
9.14.2008 4:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dg:

Of, for God's sake! Its the VIEW!


Yes. And it's pretty shocking that we have to rely on a show like that to give us an honest appraisal of what's going on.
9.14.2008 4:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
laura:

teaching 6yr olds about sexual predators means indirectly teaching them about sex and destroys the innocence of ignorance


Your perspective is legitimate. I'm sure a lot of people agree with you. Then again, I'm sure a lot of people don't. In any case, you could choose to opt-out. Or if your community is made up of people like you, then your school just wouldn't offer sex ed at all. The key point is that Obama's bill did not mandate sex ed. That's why the ad is a lie.

Unfortunately people backing that statute failed to consider that sex pred talk implies learning to a degree about sex


I think if you review the BSA material, and other similar material, you will see that there are ways of handing the subject without "learning to a degree about sex."
9.14.2008 4:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Planned Parenthood has created an ad responding to McCain. It's here. In the last few days it's been viewed about 70,000 times.
9.14.2008 4:19pm
Brian K (mail):
I smell fear now.

you could try to take a shower once in a while. it might help until the next time palin says something stupid.
9.14.2008 4:26pm
Laura S.:
markH says:

If this discussion at this age begs questions in the mind of a kindergartner about sex, you're doing it wrong.

Ultimately the point of the programs is to break down children's concepts of trust--which is itself a loss of innocence. At age five, they are not generally developmentally ready for this--and exhibit substantial incomprehension of even the concept of a 'stranger'. By age 7, children tend to naturally be aware of and receptive to these concepts.*

In a typical school setting, the program uses group instruction. Yet age is already a poor proxy for developmental readiness after 36mo. One size fits all; it just isn't "appropriate".

For further reading:
* Daro, D.A. (1994). Prevention of child sexual abuse. The future of children: Sexual abuse of children, 42(2), 198-223.
9.14.2008 4:44pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Wrong. It requires that they be included, but it doesn't require that they be included at every grade. Try reading more carefully. The bill is here (pdf). Notice this passage:
Wrong. Don't give up your day "job," because you're not very good at reading and don't understand statutory interpretation.

The law has a general requirement: all instruction has to be age appropriate. But it also has specific requirements: the course shall teach a list of specific things. There is no "K-12 program," despite what you claim; it's not a collective requirement over the entire time period. The statute says that any course -- a course is something at an individual grade -- yes, at each grade level -- covered by the law must teach those things.

You have completely misunderstood the law. There is no "K-12 program." Each grade is considered individually.

So you're not reading the statute carefully. And aside from that, Obama made his intention clear, in 2004. So the most you can do is claim he voted for a bill that wasn't clear enough in expressing his intention (he didn't write the bill).
No, I can claim that he voted for a bill that did not comport with his after-the-fact self-proclaimed "intention."

The fact that he found a way to spin his vote after the fact does not change what he actually voted for, and if he had an (R) after his name, you'd be screaming about his "dishonesty" in falsely representing what he did instead of placing the blame on the "bill" for not being clear.


it's sexist ("shall teach male pupils about male accountability for sexual violence and shall teach female students about reducing vulnerability for sexual violence")

Your point will make sense as you soon as you show that women rape men as often as men rape women.
If women rape men only 1/10th as frequently as men rape women, would that make it not sexist to treat women solely as victims and men solely as perpetrators?
9.14.2008 4:53pm
nicestrategy (mail):
Joy Behar isn't a serious person. Nor is anyone who thinks the State of Illinois was about to start teaching young children about adult sex.
9.14.2008 4:54pm
Dr. Guest:
A simple question for you Obama supporters: if a very conservative talk show host (oxymoron, but go with it) asked a similar question of Obama, do you think the commentator's political orientation would be mentioned in the NYT story?

Please answer yes or no, and offer any pertinent explanation. But if the answer is no, I think if you're being intellectually honest you'd have to say that Bernstein has a point. Does it make that much of a difference? Maybe not. But is it evidence of bias (shocking, from the Times no less)? Of course it is.

Newsflash: admitting bias (as many conservatives would admit of FoxNews) doesn't preclude you from supporting your preferred candidate!
9.14.2008 4:57pm
DavidBernsten (mail):
I wonder if you think of VC as one of the "more respectable outlets that have a stake in objectivity."
This is an opinion blog. We have a stake in reasoned analysis, but not in seeming "objective." Specifically with regard to the election, several members of this blog (not me), including the Big Cheese, are members of Lawyers for McCain. If we were trying to seem objective about the election, we'd have a policy against that.
9.14.2008 5:04pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The key point is that Obama's bill did not mandate sex ed. That's why the ad is a lie.
If the ad said that Obama's bill mandated sex ed, then the ad would be a lie. Since the ad doesn't say that, it's your claim which is a lie.
9.14.2008 5:18pm
one of many:
"I'm John McCain and I approve of at least some of what is in this message..."

There. Problem solved.


I prefer "I'm John McCain and I approve of this message. Approve is a technical legal term mandated by laws which I helped write and should not be taken to mean I actually approve of this message in any sense other than the narrow legal one regarding campaign coordination. All approve in this context means is that someone associated with my presidential campaign was made aware of the existence of this commercial before it aired."
9.14.2008 5:37pm
subpatre (mail):

Call it the Obama toddler-sex education proposal if you want:
093_SB0099, AN ACT concerning education.

[Strikethrough = delete, italics = addition]
22 Sec. 3. Comprehensive Health Education Program.
23 (a) The program established under this Act shall
24 include, but not be limited to, the following major
25 educational areas as a basis for curricula in all elementary
26 and secondary schools in this State: human ecology and
27 health, human growth and development, the emotional,
28 psychological, physiological, hygienic and social
29 responsibilities of family life, including sexual abstinence
30 and prevention of unintended pregnancy until marriage,
31 prevention and control of disease, including age appropriate
32 instruction in grades K 6 through 12 on the prevention of
33 sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention,
[[ -10- LRB093 05269 NHT 05359 b]]
1 transmission and spread of HIV AIDS, public and environmental

Under these provisions, is clearly unlawful to teach tiny children 'no stranger touchy' without teaching all the other listed categories (condoms, HIV, etc) in any class.

Argue a school can opt out by teaching 6-12 but not K-5; but "basis for curricula in all elementary and secondary schools in this State" seems as clear as one can get.

13 such pupil. Each class or course in comprehensive sex
14 education offered in any of grades K 6 through 12 shall
15 include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted
16 infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread
17 of HIV AIDS. Nothing in this Section prohibits instruction in
18 sanitation, hygiene or traditional courses in biology.

Argue it was poor writing if you want, but the words and meanings are clear on its face (and consistent throughout); if any sex ed takes place in any classroom, all the listed elements must be taught.

Now it's possible Obama voted for this because he didn't read it or maybe Obama voted because he doesn't understand legal language like "shall teach" or "all classes". Nobody claimed Obama wants kindergarteners having sex or putting condoms on, but this bill's words is clear and unambiguous.

McCain's ad was absolutely accurate on what the bill said and what its effect would have been.
9.14.2008 5:37pm
subpatre (mail):

Call it the Obama toddler-sex education proposal if you want:
093_SB0099, AN ACT concerning education.

[Strikethrough = delete, italics = addition]
22 Sec. 3. Comprehensive Health Education Program.
23 (a) The program established under this Act shall
24 include, but not be limited to, the following major
25 educational areas as a basis for curricula in all elementary
26 and secondary schools in this State: human ecology and
27 health, human growth and development, the emotional,
28 psychological, physiological, hygienic and social
29 responsibilities of family life, including sexual abstinence
30 and prevention of unintended pregnancy until marriage,
31 prevention and control of disease, including age appropriate
32 instruction in grades K 6 through 12 on the prevention of
33 sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention,
[[ -10- LRB093 05269 NHT 05359 b]]
1 transmission and spread of HIV AIDS, public and environmental

Under these provisions, is clearly unlawful to teach tiny children 'no stranger touchy' without teaching all the other listed categories (condoms, HIV, etc) in any class.

Argue a school can opt out by teaching 6-12 but not K-5; but "basis for curricula in all elementary and secondary schools in this State" seems as clear as one can get.

13 such pupil. Each class or course in comprehensive sex
14 education offered in any of grades K 6 through 12 shall
15 include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted
16 infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread
17 of HIV AIDS. Nothing in this Section prohibits instruction in
18 sanitation, hygiene or traditional courses in biology.

Argue it was poor writing if you want, but the words and meanings are clear on its face (and consistent throughout); if any sex ed takes place in any classroom, all the listed elements must be taught.

Now it's possible Obama voted for this because he didn't read it or maybe Obama voted because he doesn't understand legal language like "shall teach" or "all classes". Nobody claimed Obama wants kindergarteners having sex or putting condoms on, but this bill's words is clear and unambiguous.

McCain's ad was absolutely accurate on what the bill said and what its effect would have been.
9.14.2008 5:37pm
LM (mail):
DavidBernstein

My guess is that there isn't a huge overlap between fans of The View and t readers of the Times, but, personally, while I was vaguely aware that The View is liberal (because I associate it with Rosie O'Donnell), I had no idea that Joy Behar was; indeed, I had no idea who Joy Behar is.

Now I get it. Something happened here even more intolerable than robbing children of their innocent ignorance of sex. David was robbed of his innocent ignorance of Joy Behar. Well, for that, David, you have my sincere sympathy.
9.14.2008 5:58pm
just me (mail):
I think if you review the BSA material, and other similar material, you will see that there are ways of handing the subject without "learning to a degree about sex."

I think it is possible to say this, but one point of fact. BSA doesn't teach the good/touch bad touch in a den or pack meeting situation. They provide the material in a small booklet and as part of the requirement to earn your Bobcat badge you read the material with your parents and discuss it with your parents. This is entirely done at home-not at the scout meeting.

Key words there are parents. Why with parents? Because it is possible the materials will provoke questions that are more detailed and a parent can handle those questions as they see fit. What happens in the school setting, when a child raises a question? Who determines what is age appropriate for that child and the other children in the class to learn?

Not to mention-the law actually does require that all those other things be taught-Obama may not have intended that or realized that, but that is when he says "this is what I intended by the law, and I admit I didn't read the bill carefully enough when I voted. But Obama has a really hard time admitting he is wrong about something-it is that arrogance thing that keeps creeping up and IMO is a huge character flaw.
9.14.2008 6:23pm
CJColucci:
If Bill O'Reilly gets tough with Barack Obama on the air, is it not worth reporting just because O'Reilly's politics are such that one might "expect" it?

Would this be reported as Obama appeared on O'Reilly, where he could have expected "friendly" treatment and instead was attacked?


No, but it would be reported as it actually happened, just as the "View" story was. Just because you don't know anything about The View doesn't mean that everyone needs a reminder.
9.14.2008 7:25pm
Asher (mail):
Did this law get passed, and if so, how is it actually being interpreted? I'm 99.9999% sure that Illinois's kindergartners aren't receiving sex education.
9.14.2008 7:26pm
jrose:
It is greasily specious to argue that Obama supports "learning about sex before learning to read".
9.14.2008 7:31pm
Dr. Guest:
Here is what the NY Times said when Obama appeared on O'Reilly:

It was billed as the ultimate smackdown, and it certainly promised to be a wonk vs. wacko match: the cerebral, conciliatory Senator Barack Obama versus Bill O'Reilly, Fox News Channel's most irascible, combative anchor: a commentator who calls liberals "loons" and "pinheads" and on Thursday's show described reporters scrutinizing Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as "sniveling, left-wing, wine-drinking, brie-eating."

The interviewer's political orientation was clearly staked out. The question is why the same was not done with Behar? At the end of the day, no one disagrees that the questions and answers are more important. But the way that the coverage is presented is relevant as just another example of how the "news" is presented differently when it involves conservatives and liberals. I expect you'd find similar contrasts with FoxNews. But it's fun to watch some of you liberals contort yourself rather than admitting that, yes, the Times is biased and they do slant news coverage, even in very subtle ways. Those differences don't always matter, but the fact that they exist will inevitably affect coverage. I have no problem covering either event, but if you're going to talk about how O'Reilly calls liberals loons, talk about how Behar says that Bush is a murderer. Give context in equal doses.

And please save the retort that this was "different" because Obama's appearance in a conservative forum was newsworthy, making the political orientation a legitimate subject. The View is a notoriously liberal program, notwithstanding the token conservative they have on the show. I also don't think it would have mattered, as I firmly believe that if there was an entertainment analogue to the View hosted by conservatives, the political orientation of the questioner would have been mentioned. If you disagree on that last point, please say so. I'd really be interested to see someone say that they think the Times wouldn't have mentioned someone's conservative politics in that context.
9.14.2008 8:21pm
AKD:

You have two presidential candidate who have voted with their parties >90% of the time yet claim to "agents of change."


McCain voted with his party 90% of the time in one year, 2007. His voting with the GOP has been as low as 67% during the Bush Administration.

Obama, however, has voted with the Dems 96-97% of the time during his few years in the Senate.
9.14.2008 8:42pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
db:

This is an opinion blog. We have a stake in reasoned analysis, but not in seeming "objective."


Fair enough. Thanks for answering my question.
9.14.2008 8:57pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporerent:

Don't give up your day "job"


You recently said I have "no job." Here's an idea: pick one story and stick with it.

There is no "K-12 program," despite what you claim; it's not a collective requirement over the entire time period. The statute says that any course -- a course is something at an individual grade -- yes, at each grade level -- covered by the law must teach those things.


Really? Prove it. The current 6-12 law is structured the same way. So please tell us if 6th graders in Illinois are currently being taught all "those things."

instead of placing the blame on the "bill" for not being clear


The bill could be clearer (like most bills), but it's sufficiently clear to indicate that McCain's ad is a lie.

If the ad said that Obama's bill mandated sex ed, then the ad would be a lie.


The ad describes the bill as "legislation to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergarteners." You should explain the hairsplitting which tells you that this is any different from saying that "Obama's bill mandated sex ed."

If women rape men only 1/10th as frequently as men rape women, would that make it not sexist to treat women solely as victims and men solely as perpetrators?


If it's true that "women rape men only 1/10th as frequently as men rape women" then the approach suggested in the bill is about 90% correct. Not bad for government work. And I think the proper figure is probably closer to 1/50 or 1/100th. If you have some data on this point, I'd love to see it.
9.14.2008 8:57pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
sub:

Under these provisions, is clearly unlawful to teach tiny children 'no stranger touchy' without teaching all the other listed categories (condoms, HIV, etc) in any class.


Not quite. It would just be "unlawful to teach tiny children 'no stranger touchy' " if you didn't also include "all the other listed categories (condoms, HIV, etc)" somewhere in the K-12 curriculum. The bill doesn't say that every topic has to be covered in every grade. It just says that every topic needs to be covered in the overall K-12 curriculum. This is especially obvious when you notice the way the bill emphasizes the concept of "age-appropriate."

Argue a school can opt out by teaching 6-12 but not K-5; but "basis for curricula in all elementary and secondary schools in this State" seems as clear as one can get.


I think that language just means that the bill applies to "all" schools. Which is not the same thing as saying all schools are required to teach sex ed. If the bill was trying to say that all schools are required to teach sex ed, then the following key sentence doesn't make sense:

All sex education courses that discuss sexual activity or behavior shall satisfy the following criteria


If the bill intended to force all schools to teach sex ed, then that sentence should have said this:

All schools shall offer sex education courses that discuss sexual activity or behavior and that satisfy the following criteria


But it doesn't.

if any sex ed takes place in any classroom, all the listed elements must be taught


That one sentence ("each class or course") is specifically talking about HIV. Yes, it does say that in any grade where the school is providing "comprehensive sex education," it must also cover HIV. So what? No school is obligated to offer "comprehensive sex education" in kindergarten. And aside from that, it's perfectly fine to tell kindergarteners to avoid picking up used needles they see in the street. That is an "age appropriate" way to educate a kindergartener on HIV.

maybe Obama voted because he doesn't understand legal language like "shall teach" or "all classes"


Are we reading the same bill? Those phrases appear in the bill a grand total of this many times: zero.

Nobody claimed Obama wants kindergarteners having sex or putting condoms on


Unfortunately, the ad does indeed strongly imply that Obama wants kindergarteners to learn about "having sex [and] putting condoms on."

but this bill's words is clear and unambiguous


Yes, especially when you invent phrases that don't even appear in the bill.

McCain's ad was absolutely accurate on what the bill said and what its effect would have been.


Really? There's already a law in effect covering 6-12. If McCain is correct, then 6th graders in Illinois are currently getting "comprehensive sex education," including inappropriate and explicit information about condoms, pregnancy and STDs. Can you show this is true? If the old law did not bring such information to 6th graders, then there's no reason to think the new law will bring such information kindergarteners.
9.14.2008 8:57pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
just:

BSA doesn't teach the good/touch bad touch in a den or pack meeting situation.


I've already told you where to look to realize that you're wrong. But I guess you're going to keep making this false claim until I rub your nose in the evidence. Of course even that might not stop you. The relevant document is here (pdf). See page 2:

Cub Scout leaders who viewed the video suggested that it would be most effective when used as a special pack meeting, or even at a special den meeting with a smaller group of participants.


Yes, they do indeed "teach the good/touch bad touch in a den or pack meeting situation."

Key words there are parents.


As I already pointed out, parents are encouraged to attend, but it's not a requirement.

the law actually does require that all those other things be taught


It requires "all those other things be taught" somewhere in the K-12 program. Not in any particular grade. And this is true only if the school makes a decision to teach sex ed.

Obama has a really hard time admitting he is wrong about something


Hopefully you'll be back here setting a fine example for him, when you admit you are wrong about BSA.
9.14.2008 8:58pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
akd:

McCain voted with his party 90% of the time in one year, 2007.


Is that the only year that McCain voted 90% with the GOP? Really? Since he came to Washington? I wonder how you know.

Yes, it's true that in 2007 McCain voted 90% with the GOP. In that same year, he voted 95% with Bush.

His voting with the GOP has been as low as 67% during the Bush Administration.


Yes, in 2001. McCain 2008 is a very different creature from McCain 2001. He realizes that this is his last chance, and he has decided that he is willing to say anything and do anything in order to get elected.
9.14.2008 8:58pm
good strategy (mail):
13 such pupil. Each class or course in comprehensive sex
14 education offered in any of grades K 6 through 12 shall
15 include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted
16 infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread
17 of HIV AIDS. Nothing in this Section prohibits instruction in
18 sanitation, hygiene or traditional courses in biology.
19 (b) All public elementary, junior high, and senior high
20 school classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual
21 activity or behavior intercourse shall emphasize that

The change from 6th grade to K does not require any kind of class or course to be taught to any particular grade. It says that any class in "comprehensive sex education" at any grade level must include attention to STDs. It is unclear from the quotes provided by subpatre whether education on related subjects that wouldn't fall under the rubric of "comprehensive sex education," like safety awareness, is permissible or mandated to pupils elsewhere in the IL Ed code, or whether and how "comprehensive sex education" is defined in the law.

Having read the whole law, albeit quickly, it is pretty clear what the law intended.

In several places, the law refers to: "All course material and instruction in classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual activity or behavior shall be age and developmentally appropriate." Looking at the context on pp. 10 and 11, most of the rest of the provisions simply state: "Course material and instruction shall include...." This suggests that some classes teach sex education and sexual activity and some do not, and thus some provisions apply to all health/family life type classes and some only to those that relate to "comprehensive sexual education" which presumably was and still is only taught to about-to-be pubescent pupils and older.

There is no evidence that the implementation of this law would have led to new material being taught to kindergarten students, be that about sexual activity or more innocuous safety from strangers sorts of lessons.

My first introduction to sex ed was in 5th grade, and I believe the age of puberty has only gotten earlier since the early 80s. Why not change the law to read 5, not K? Who knows, but the most simple explanation is that K-12 covers all schools and is no longer written to cover junior high/middle and high school. Using K and not 4 or 5 does not require any school to say anything about sex to anyone.

One consistent edit throughout the law is striking intercourse with "sexual activity." For those conservatives who are aghast at the supposed oral sex culture or were flabbergasted by Bill Clinton's definition of "relations" it seems that IL was making sure that pupils are aware of the risks of all sexual activity and not just going all the way. Seems like something conservatives would like.

Most of the rest is making sure that local school districts don't teach lies to children of any age. Good. Many of the claims made in abstinence-only curricula were demonstrably false fearmongering -- fearmongering that has been shown not to work when you look at surveys of adolescent sexual activity and teenage pregnancy rates.

I'd love for Eugene to take a look at that law and whether it would have mandated teaching about HIV in a course that wasn't already delving into the mechanics of sex and fertility. I don't think so, and the chances of that having been the intent of the legislation are even slimmer. Even then, the McCain ad rests on the edit from 6th grade to K being combined with the idea that "comprehensive sex education" was ever going to go much lower than grade 5 which is rather ridiculous when you remember that real live teachers actually implement the law and aren't textual robots will will implement an "uncommonly silly" law just so they don't get called judicial activists.
9.14.2008 9:09pm
Smokey:
Thomas_Holsinger:
One of the things I liked about being a high school wrestler is that I could smell my opponents' fear when they realized just how strong I was.
If you're that strong, soap & water is the answer.

neener.
9.14.2008 9:09pm
Mark A.R. Kleiman (mail) (www):
David:

If you're willing to defend the two claims by the McCain campaign that Behar called (accurately, in my view) "lies," my challenge to go on blogginheads.tv is out there. To date, no defender of McCain has picked up the gantlet.

If, as would be natural, you're unwiling to defend them because they were, in fact, lies, then I'm not sure I see what you're fussing about. As Tom Edsall points out today, the McCain Campaign is blazing new trails in mendacity, trying to rewrite the rules of Presidential campaigning to include no truth constraint whatsoever. Part of the strategy is to "poison the well" by pre-emptively discrediting the press, thus protecting the lies from effective exposure. Your willingness to collude in that effort comes as a disappointment.

Mark
9.14.2008 9:18pm
good strategy (mail):

If McCain is correct, then 6th graders in Illinois are currently getting "comprehensive sex education," including inappropriate and explicit information about condoms, pregnancy and STDs. Can you show this is true? If the old law did not bring such information to 6th graders, then there's no reason to think the new law will bring such information kindergarteners.


Well put, but let's not concede the idea that comprehensive sex education is inappropriate for 6th graders. Many 6th graders are ovulating, getting erections and ejaculating although probably not with other people just yet. Which is the point. Educating students before they get a chance to educate themselves is wise.
9.14.2008 9:18pm
Smokey:
This is fun and all, but when discussing 6th graders, it's best to keep in mind the liberal contingent's messiah and HE-RO: clicky
9.14.2008 9:26pm
Mark A.R. Kleiman (mail) (www):
It is not the case that Behar's comment was "exactly what you would expect her to say." It is not normal for someone on television (even a Hannity or an O'Reilly or an Olbermann) to call a Presidential candidate a liar to his face. That is, in fact, extraordinary, and reflects the extraordinary level of mendacity and viciousness in the McCain campaign.
9.14.2008 9:36pm
Dr. Guest:
Kleiman,

Let's talk mendacity. Earlier this summer, Obama said McCain would scare voters by talking about his race and funny name. McCain has done neither. Obama's statement was a smear, pure and simple, which is why he gave a phony denial about it being about his "race." Is a false accusation of racism vicious, or is that just part of a tough campaign?

I happen to agree that the McCain claim about sex education is ridiculous. But the media hasn't been going with the story and the ad isn't being played up. It's getting exposure now only because Democrats are using it as an example of how bad McCain is. Well, it is bad, but it doesn't really distinguish McCain in my view because Obama is just as bad. Not saying two wrongs make a right, but I also can do without the feigned outrage.

Obama also lied about McCain and his number of houses. He claimed to be quoting McCain when McCain's actual words were actually quite different. I don't actually think that situation is nearly as bad as the McCain ad, but the point is these guys all phony up charges against the other side. And it boggles the mind to see how you'll rationalize a false and outrageous smear of racism while harping on a McCain claim that is really getting no air time.
9.14.2008 10:03pm
good strategy (mail):

Obama said McCain would scare voters by talking about his race and funny name. McCain has done neither.


I'm pretty sure Obama was responding to the "Paris Hilton" ad in which a background audio track included "O BA MA! O BA MA!" So maybe Obama's name was being used against him. In either case, Obama said that "they" were going to do this and as it turns out "they" have even if McCain himself has not. By the standards of this campaign, not a bad qualifier, since everything the media or Daily Kos diehards does serves as evidence for what "libs" think and therefore and Obama presidency will bring.

Its always fun to see conservatives adopt a moral equivalency, especially when the evidence shows that the McCain campaign's relationship to the facts is far weaker than Obama's. The Bridge to Nowhere lie has been repeated dozens of times now. The 7 houses (7 properties, really) claim was based on a moment at an actual press conference during which McCain stumbled, and fits into context of Cindy describing AZ as place you have to fly around and other statements that show McCain as out of touch with the daily lives of typical Americans. Heck, he even admitted as much just this past week. As good as it would be for him to reach out and engage the experiences of others, there are ways of doing that without putting an unqualified person in VP slot.
9.14.2008 10:22pm
Dr. Guest:
First, McCain's name was used in the sentence immediately preceding Obama's ridiculous charge, so you can rationalize it all you want, but Obama was absolutely implicating McCain.

And if you're going to hold McCain accountable for every nutty thing said on the right, do the people on the right get to hold Obama accountable for the Kosmonaut crowd? In a viciousness contest, that crowd will win in a walk.

No moral equivalency here, and if you'd read the post you'd know that. Unlike yourself, I have enough intellectual honesty to say McCain acted inappropriately. Too bad you can't do the same. Then maybe we can talk about which one is worse. But in your world view, there is only one "good guy" (Obama) against one bad guy (McCain). Naive doesn't begin to describe you.
9.14.2008 10:30pm
AKD:
jukeboxgrad,


Yes, in 2001. McCain 2008 is a very different creature from McCain 2001. He realizes that this is his last chance, and he has decided that he is willing to say anything and do anything in order to get elected.



You realize this makes no sense, right? In a year when Bush is extremely unpopular, McCain frequently votes with him. He does so to win an election?
9.14.2008 10:58pm
trad and anon:
This isn't really that complicated. John McCain has a problem with the truth, and the media are accurately reporting that.
9.14.2008 11:06pm
trad and anon:
You realize this makes no sense, right? In a year when Bush is extremely unpopular, McCain frequently votes with him. He does so to win an election?
Bush and his policies are not unpopular with Republican primary voters, and McCain needed their votes. So he adopted all of Bush's positions, hoping that his preexisting reputation as a "maverick" would keep independents from noticing.
9.14.2008 11:10pm
trad and anon:
For example, McCain originally took a responsible position against the Bush orthodoxy of billions in tax cuts for the rich, but not one dime for the middle class. But then he decided he wanted to be President, so he threw responsibility out the window.
9.14.2008 11:15pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Earlier this summer, Obama said McCain would scare voters by talking about his race and funny name. McCain has done neither.


Really? Maybe you don't realize that in McCain's first ad he called himself "The American President Americans Have Been Waiting For." As if the other candidate isn't exactly American. It's hard to interpret McCain's words as something other than a claim that a black person named Barack Obama isn't quite as fully "American" as John McCain.

Then on 6/27/08, McCain put out an ad showing Obama's face on US currency (video). This was before Obama made the remark about how he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills." Given McCain's ad, that comment was justified.

Here's an interesting exercise. Obama's remark got lots of coverage. See if you can find even one MSM report about Obama's remark that also mentions McCain's ad.

Notice that I'm just talking about stuff coming directly from McCain.

it doesn't really distinguish McCain in my view because Obama is just as bad


Tell me about one ad that Obama ran that is half as sleazy and dishonest as McCain's sex ad. And McCain's Iran-tiny ad is every bit as dishonest.

A nice video summary of McCain's dishonest ads is here. It's been viewed almost 700,000 times in about 3 days.

Obama also lied about McCain and his number of houses.


What lie? I don't know what you're talking about. Obama's ad about the houses is here.
9.14.2008 11:21pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
akd:

In a year when Bush is extremely unpopular, McCain frequently votes with him. He does so to win an election?


It's no secret that McCain has been moving to the right, to appeal to the base. There are many, many indications of this. Palin is just one.

McCain is running the same old GOP playbook, which is to win by inciting culture wars that polarize the electorate and excite the GOP base.

(I see trad already explained it better than I did.)
9.14.2008 11:22pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
McCain originally took a responsible position against the Bush orthodoxy of billions in tax cuts for the rich, but not one dime for the middle class. But then he decided he wanted to be President, so he threw responsibility out the window.


I guess VC would probably not report this, but Greenspan just said that McCain's tax cuts aren't affordable without a lot of spending cuts.
9.14.2008 11:22pm
trad and anon:
Obama also lied about McCain and his number of houses.
Because he called it seven and it's really eight?
9.14.2008 11:27pm
AKD:

For example, McCain originally took a responsible position against the Bush orthodoxy of billions in tax cuts for the rich, but not one dime for the middle class. But then he decided he wanted to be President, so he threw responsibility out the window.



Best part is, so did Obama!
9.14.2008 11:28pm
Smokey:
trad and anon:
Obama also lied about McCain and his number of houses.

"Because he called it seven and it's really eight?"
In other words, 0bama LIED about the number of U.S. states...

Either that... or 0bama is a clueless doofus.

Your call. Take your pick.
9.14.2008 11:42pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Best part is, so did Obama!


Not quite. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center figured out that there's a $2.8 trillion gap in McCain's economic plan. The gap is so obvious that the McCain campaign had to admit that he's been making statements that shouldn't be considered "official." In other words, "McCain may not speak for the McCain campaign." Inspires confidence, right?

The gap on Obama's side is a lot smaller. Look it up.

Sorry to confuse you with the facts.
9.14.2008 11:44pm
byomtov (mail):
In a year when Bush is extremely unpopular, McCain frequently votes with him. He does so to win an election?

No. he does so to get the nomination.

Then he starts spreading BS about how he wants change in Washington. Apparently he's able to fool a lot of people.

McCain has gne from being a widely respected individual to a being one of the scummiest liars ever to run for national office, all in the space of a few months.
9.14.2008 11:51pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
First off, my view is that Dr. Bernstein's post is focused on an entirely trivial aspect of this discussion. If we're to discuss media bias, there are surely far more substantive examples that can be found than an omission of credentials in the source for an accusation in paragraph 14 of one news article. The meaningful debate is over how true/untrue McCain's ad was. My view on this after reading the text of the law is that McCain is technically correct, but probably wrong in practice. The text of the law supports education about at least some sex ed issues right down to kindergarten, but it would probably never be implemented in practice.

Angus:
Because it doesn't say what you think it says. K-12 is a common shorthand to indicate all grades before college. It is not a specific reference to kindergarten. So what the bill says, in plain english, is that all of these things shall be taught, at age appropriate levels, by the time the person graduates high school.


Except that the wording indicates all classes taken in grades k-12, not one of the classes taken in grades k-12. From the text of one of the amended laws, emphasis mine:

(105 ILCS 5/27-9.2) (from Ch. 122, par. 27-9.2)
Sec. 27-9.2. Family Life.

...and whenever such
15 courses of instruction are provided in any of grades K
16 through 12, then such courses also shall include age
17 appropriate instruction on the prevention of sexually
18 transmitted infections, including the prevention,
19 transmission and spread of HIV.


You can check to see whether this is out of context, since I provide a link at the bottom of the post. And I'm not sure exactly how much of the stuff being talked about this quote is applicable to (other than the discussion of HIV, which is in the quote). But barring a mistake in interpretation on my part, the language does indicate that all the classes between kindergarten and high school would be affected, not just one of them. Indeed, all the classes between kindergarten and 5th grade would be effected, not just affected.

jukeboxgrad:
Where does the bill say that every school shall offer "sex education courses," or that any school is required to do so? For any grade? Nowhere.


Emphasis mine:

(105 ILCS 110/3) (from Ch. 122, par. 863)
22 Sec. 3. Comprehensive Health Education Program.
23 (a) The program established under this Act shall
24 include, but not be limited to, the following major
25 educational areas as a basis for curricula in all elementary
26 and secondary schools in this State: human ecology and
27 health, human growth and development, the emotional,
28 psychological, physiological, hygienic and social
29 responsibilities of family life, including sexual abstinence
30 and prevention of unintended pregnancy,
31 prevention and control of disease, including age appropriate
32 instruction in grades K through 12 on the prevention of
33 sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention,
1 transmission and spread of HIV, public and environmental
2 health, consumer health, safety education and disaster
3 survival, mental health and illness, personal health habits,
4 alcohol, drug use, and abuse including the medical and legal
5 ramifications of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use, abuse during
6 pregnancy, sexual abstinence, tobacco,
7 nutrition, and dental health.


Now, unless you take "age-appropriate" instruction to be "no" instruction, that looks like a required program for all grades K-12. And why bother lowering the limit from 6th grade to kindergarten if the "age-appropriate" thing to do from kindergarten to 5th grade is nothing?

So in the proposed legislation, we see that:
1. The program would be required for grades K-12 (unless "age-appropriate" means "optional").
2. The program is required to teach at least some components (e.g. STD prevention) right down to the kindergarten level, though in an "age-appropriate" manner.

Then the only question remaining would be whether an "age-appropriate" discussion of STDs in kindergarten would be considered "sex ed". If it would be, then McCain's ad is entirely true.

The full text of law SB0099, which is the relevant legislation, can be found here. I took the liberty of cutting out parts that the proposed amendment would have deleted rather than putting in strikethroughs.

Yes, in 2001. McCain 2008 is a very different creature from McCain 2001. He realizes that this is his last chance, and he has decided that he is willing to say anything and do anything in order to get elected.


But McCain's overall voting record since 2000 has been under 90% in party line. More to the point, his voting record since 2005 has been under that mark - he averaged 76% and 84% in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and he voted many more times in those years than in 2007. So his average ought to be around 84% for those three years, though exact numbers are elusive. Linky. Meanwhile, Obama's voting record has hovered around 97% since his arrival in national office a few years ago. So if we're going to get into discussions of who's been the rank-and-file partisan, it's not McCain who'll be tarnished.
9.14.2008 11:57pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
I am persuaded by the comments on this thread that Illinois desperately needs to mandate sex education for adults.
9.15.2008 12:35am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
I am persuaded by the comments on this thread that Illinois desperately needs to mandate sex education for adults.


And Harry Eagar wins the thread, even if it's me he's disgusted with.
9.15.2008 12:45am
Vinegar Hill:
I'm Barack Obama and I approve of the content of this New York Times Ad, even though it seems to have been published as a news story.
9.15.2008 12:51am
Suzy (mail):
It's funny that the View is being dismissed in so many of the comments above, when its audience is comprised of so many of the women voters who are crucial targets for both campaigns.

The reason the event was newsworthy is that the hosts of a daytime talk show watched for frivolity and entertainment, as much as for more serious topics, were the first to directly challenge McCain on the serious matter of his campaign's honesty. Meanwhile, supposedly "serious" political news sources seemed afraid to tackle this question directly, and have spent more time on fluff issues instead. The turnabout in that situation is what merits notice, rather than anything special about Joy Behar. Why was she the first one to ask a tough journalistic question that needed asking?
9.15.2008 1:30am
Suzy (mail):
Is it possible that most people commenting here have never sat through a sex ed class? It would be interesting to see how laws in some other states were worded. However, in most places there's a certain time when certain subjects are introduced. E.g. maybe in 3rd or 4th grade you get one of those horrid videos about how the relevant organs function. In those cases, does the law mandate that "organ function" info be given out to 4th graders, or does it merely leave the timing of the curriculum up to the schools?

Regardless, the McCain ad quite clearly suggests that Obama's priority is for kids to be learning all about sex before they learn reading. If you consider this an honest portrayal, no matter what the correct parsing of the bill's language is, then there's no point discussing it further. Try not to be such a bad person, if that's the issue.
9.15.2008 1:47am
Dr. Guest:
Leave it to Juke Box to come up with more phony BS. McCain's ad doesn't suggest that Obama isn't American. Just doesn't. Saying that McCain is the President Americans have been waiting for means . . . that he is the President Americans have been waiting for. Guilty of hubris? Undoubtedly. Guilty of attacking Obama's "American-ness?" What a reach!

Then you refer to Obama on the dollar bill. Hmm . . . maybe that's sarcasm given that Obama had already made his own presidential seal. In fact, I didn't know that McCain had done that but that's just funny as hell. He should play that up more. Would make a great SNL skit. Obama has been lampooned — fairly — for taking curtain measurements at the White House, and the dollar bill reference sounds right up that alley. If you can read racism into that, I now stand corrected on the lipstick remark — definitely about Palin. Amazing how rationalizers like yourself infer egregious intent from any statement by a Republican and then fraudulently dismiss clear smears by your candidate.

Check out the story in the Atlantic about the crazy photographer -- it describes you to a tee. Wonder when you'll take up photography.

This is what happens when a person gets so blinded by the "rightness" of their candidate/side of a political debate that they see only honor in what they do and only evil on the other side. Pathetic. But not surprising given the TPM references, where that is par for the course.

If the McCain references could reasonably be interpreted in the manner you suggest — rather than the silly inferences you attempt to draw — Obama and his staff would have defended his remarks. They didn't because they couldn't. That's why they lied about what they were saying, because the remarks were indefensible.

You guys remind me of the Republicans during the late 90s. You're out of power for so long that your hate consumes you and causes you to believe the very worst about the other side. And the other side is guilty in this case of some clear distortions. But your blindness cannot possibly allow you to believe that your candidate has engaged in similar misbehavior. And when faced with that bad behavior, you try to justify a remark he awasn't willing to defend himself.

You're pathetic.
9.15.2008 1:49am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
My Google must be broken. I was looking for David Bernstein complaining that the NY Times didn't mention Judy Miller's affiliation with AIPAC and AEI in connection with her stories from Iraq, that turned out to be fiction. Unless someone can find those links for me, I will be forced to conclude that Bernstein's insistence on extensive disclaimers from reporters is of recent and hypocritical vintage. Or is it that Behar's statement needs a disclaimer because, unlike Miller's, it is true.
9.15.2008 2:19am
Tony Tutins (mail):

The NY Times also has a one-sided article attacking Palin.

Republicans, do your job. Attack Palin so the NYT can feature both sides.

The duty of a newspaper is to show that the emperor has no clothes, not to think of possible ways in which the naked emperor could actually be clad ("Well, he does have a thin film of grime from the atmosphere all over his body...") Let McCain's apologists respond.

I was a bit shocked to see multiple View members attack McCain. I guess chat show host attacks will be credible only when Jay Leno calls McCain a liar to his face.
9.15.2008 2:42am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Sean Hannity is a liablity to the right. He suffers form liberal-derangement syndrome and doesn't know when to STFU. Questions just about everyone's patriotism. The ultimate jingoistic idiot. I wish Fox News would get rid of him - he hurts the GOP cause.
9.15.2008 2:59am
trad and anon:
Or is it that Behar's statement needs a disclaimer because, unlike Miller's, it is true.
I think someone has hit the nail on the head.
9.15.2008 2:59am
EIDE_Interface (mail):

Suzy (mail):
It's funny that the View is being dismissed in so many of the comments above, when its audience is comprised of so many of the women voters who are crucial targets for both campaigns.

The reason the event was newsworthy is that the hosts of a daytime talk show watched for frivolity and entertainment, as much as for more serious topics, were the first to directly challenge McCain on the serious matter of his campaign's honesty. Meanwhile, supposedly "serious" political news sources seemed afraid to tackle this question directly, and have spent more time on fluff issues instead. The turnabout in that situation is what merits notice, rather than anything special about Joy Behar. Why was she the first one to ask a tough journalistic question that needed asking?
9.15.2008 12:30am


Not really. The View atracts far left radical women viewers. Not the type McCain is trying to woo.
9.15.2008 3:01am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
Is it possible that most people commenting here have never sat through a sex ed class? It would be interesting to see how laws in some other states were worded. However, in most places there's a certain time when certain subjects are introduced. E.g. maybe in 3rd or 4th grade you get one of those horrid videos about how the relevant organs function. In those cases, does the law mandate that "organ function" info be given out to 4th graders, or does it merely leave the timing of the curriculum up to the schools?


a little o/t, but as someone who sat through a sex education class less than 3 years ago, I'd say that 3rd-4th grade is too early for the sex talk. Puberty, maybe, in 4th grade, but in school I certainly wouldn't have wanted to learn about the specifics of what would happen to my genitalia, or that of the opposite sex. Leave that to Mom and Dad. I didn't see hide nor hair of a sex ed class until around 7th grade, and puberty ed came around 5th grade.

Regardless, the McCain ad quite clearly suggests that Obama's priority is for kids to be learning all about sex before they learn reading. If you consider this an honest portrayal, no matter what the correct parsing of the bill's language is, then there's no point discussing it further. Try not to be such a bad person, if that's the issue.


Given the rhetorical technique and the fact that many (most?) children begin learning to read before kindergarten anyway, I'd guess that that particular statement was hyperbole - but badly executed. It's certainly misleading to the listener.
9.15.2008 3:05am
Tony Tutins (mail):
1. The Bill (SB 99) cited on the McCain ad was not passed.
2. The Bill (SB 99) cited on the McCain ad was never called for a vote.
3. The Bill (SB 99) cited on the McCain ad expired at the end of the 93rd session of the Illinois General Assembly.
4. The committee Obama chaired, Health &Human Services, did send the Bill (SB 99) cited on the McCain ad to the Senate floor, affirmatively recommending it.

California passed its own version of SB 99, back in 2003. The age/development appropriate curriculum resulting from the bill's implementation requires that Kindergarteners be taught about (drum roll) sexual predation.

Parents who after reading the comments, particularly Nieporent's, are concerned that Kindergarten teachers will destroy the innocence of their children, will want to keep away from John McCain's Arizona, which mandates abstinence education, as well as drug abuse education, for four-year-olds:

15-716. Instruction on acquired immune deficiency syndrome; department assistance

A. Each common, high and unified school district may provide instruction to kindergarten programs through the twelfth grade on acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the human immunodeficiency virus.

B. Each district is free to develop its own course of study for each grade. At a minimum, instruction shall:

1. Be appropriate to the grade level in which it is offered.

2. Be medically accurate.

3. Promote abstinence.

4. Discourage drug abuse.

5. Dispel myths regarding transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus.

C. No district shall include in its course of study instruction which:

1. Promotes a homosexual life-style.

2. Portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style.

3. Suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.

D. At the request of a school district, the department of health services or the department of education shall review instruction materials to determine their medical accuracy.

E. At the request of a school district, the department of education shall provide the following assistance:

1. A suggested course of study.

2. Teacher training.

3. A list of available films and other teaching aids.

F. At the request of a parent, a pupil shall be excused from instruction on the acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the human immunodeficiency virus as provided in subsection A of this section. The school district shall notify all parents of their ability to withdraw their child from the instruction.
9.15.2008 3:16am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Obama promoted sex ed for little kids.
9.15.2008 3:19am
Tony Tutins (mail):

The View atracts far left radical women viewers.

Housewives of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your diaper bags!
9.15.2008 3:25am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Here's how the age and development appropriate sex education was implemented by the California Dept. of Education for Grades K-3:

Child abuse, including sexual exploitation:

Identifying ways to seek assistance if worried, abused, or threatened, including how to tell a trusted adult if uncomfortable touching occurs Developing and using communication skills to tell others when touching is unwanted

After parents are notified and local standards are complied with, age-appropriate information about child abuse or neglect can be introduced. Included should be reference to each person's right to the privacy of his or her body and the appropriateness of telling others when touching is not welcome. Instruction should emphasize that a child is not at fault if the child is touched in an improper or uncomfortable way by an adult. The child's responsibility in this situation is to tell a trusted adult what had occurred.


And yet McCain opposed this.

Obama promoted sex ed for little kids.

McCain encourages perverts to molest your little kids.
9.15.2008 3:52am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Here's how the age and development appropriate sex education was implemented by the California Dept. of Education for Grades K-3:
And yet McCain opposed this.
He did? Why would McCain have had an opportunity to support or oppose a California state curriculum item?

I think it's a rather bad idea to contribute to child abuse hysteria by telling kindergartners about it, but the California one you quote does contrast strongly with the Illinois one; no instruction in AIDs, STDs, pregnancy, or contraception. Just child abuse.
9.15.2008 5:22am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Parents who after reading the comments, particularly Nieporent's, are concerned that Kindergarten teachers will destroy the innocence of their children, will want to keep away from John McCain's Arizona..."

Done. McCain is no standard for behavior and judgment. I do want the innocence of our children of tender years protected. The liberals are crazed about sex and McCain is one of them.
9.15.2008 6:19am
Tony Tutins (mail):

the California one you quote does contrast strongly with the Illinois one; no instruction in AIDs, STDs, pregnancy, or contraception. Just child abuse.

What I quoted was the implementation of the statute by the California Department of Education. They are the education subject matter experts, not the legislature. Unremarkably, the California legislature passed a statute, and the executive branch signed it and implemented it.

Here is part of the California statute, including the ominous, Obama-approved words:

comprehensive sexual ... education
age-appropriate
Kindergarten to grade 12, inclusive
Medically accurate and objective

Schools may, but are not required to, teach children earlier than Seventh Grade about birth control, STDs, emergency contraception, how to make responsible decisions about their sexuality, and how to safely surrender a newborn.

Yes, by commenter logic, the State of California teaches kindergartners how to put on a condom, how and where to get RU 486, and where to drop off their newborns.

51933. (a) School districts may provide comprehensive sexual health education, consisting of age-appropriate instruction, in any kindergarten to grade 12, inclusive, using instructors trained in the appropriate courses.
(b) A school district that elects to offer comprehensive sexual health education pursuant to subdivision (a), whether taught by school district personnel or outside consultants, shall satisfy all of the following criteria:
(1) Instruction and materials shall be age appropriate.
(2) All factual information presented shall be medically accurate and objective.


Although I obviously cannot swear to it, based on the California precedent, I'm fairly certain that the education authorities in Illinois would similarly interpret the Illinois statute to find that the only sex education appropriate to kindergartners is defending against child molesters.
9.15.2008 11:27am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
math:

The text of the law supports education about at least some sex ed issues right down to kindergarten


I already addressed this. The key word in your sentence is "supports." Let's be clearer: the bill permits "education about at least some sex ed issues right down to kindergarten." 'Permits' and 'requires' are two very different things. McCain's ad dishonestly implies the latter, even though that's not what the bill says.

whenever such courses of instruction are provided in any of grades K through 12, then such courses also shall include age appropriate instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV … the language does indicate that all the classes between kindergarten and high school would be affected, not just one of them


I already addressed this. A grade would be affected by this portion of the bill only if the school had already decided to present "such courses of instruction" in that particular grade. In other words, if your school had made a decision to offer sex ed in kindergarten, then this passage in the bill requires your school to make some kind of HIV information part of that course, in an age-appropriate way. This would probably mean 'don't pick up needles in the gutter.'

The program established under this Act shall include, but not be limited to… including age appropriate instruction in grades K through 12 … unless you take "age-appropriate" instruction to be "no" instruction, that looks like a required program for all grades K-12. And why bother lowering the limit from 6th grade to kindergarten if the "age-appropriate" thing to do from kindergarten to 5th grade is nothing?


I already addressed this. This does not mean there is "a required program for all grades K-12." It just means that the scope of the bill is K-12. This means that under this bill, sex ed is permitted in those grades, but it has to conform to the criteria set out in the bill.

Because this bill did not pass, the current situation in Illinois is that a principal who wants to offer sex ed in 5th grade is probably going to decide to not do that. Why? Because he will be subject to criticism and complaints. But for 6-12, he has a law that tells him exactly what he is allowed to do, and that law helps shield him from criticism.

So in the proposed legislation, we see that:
1. The program would be required for grades K-12 (unless "age-appropriate" means "optional").


There is no basis for your claim of "required." Even nieporent admitted that the bill does not mandate sex ed (he said "if the ad said that Obama's bill mandated sex ed, then the ad would be a lie").

2. The program is required to teach at least some components (e.g. STD prevention) right down to the kindergarten level, though in an "age-appropriate" manner.


No. You are required to teach STD prevention at any particular grade level only if you have decided to offer sex ed at that grade level.

Then the only question remaining would be whether an "age-appropriate" discussion of STDs in kindergarten would be considered "sex ed". If it would be, then McCain's ad is entirely true.


I have explained that the bill does not mandate a "discussion of STDs in kindergarten." But even if it did, telling kids to stay away from used needles is hardly something that should be "considered 'sex ed', " in the sense that is implied by the ad.

No matter how you slice it, the ad is a big fat dirty lie.
9.15.2008 11:36am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
math:

McCain's overall voting record since 2000 has been under 90% in party line


"Under" is an exaggeration. The link you cited says this:

In 2007, CQ found that McCain voted with his party 90 percent of the time


That's not "under."

if we're going to get into discussions of who's been the rank-and-file partisan, it's not McCain who'll be tarnished


But that's not the point. The point is that McCain is constantly (and especially recently) flogging his maverickness. But when you look at his record, and especially his recent record, you discover that this is just another distortion.

Obama is not pretending that he's running against the Democrats. But McCain is indeed pretending that he's running against Bush and the GOP (change! change! change!), even though his recent record is very closely aligned with Bush and the GOP.
9.15.2008 11:36am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
suzy:

Why was she the first one to ask a tough journalistic question that needed asking?


Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter.
9.15.2008 11:36am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
guest:

Saying that McCain is the President Americans have been waiting for


You seem to be someone who does not think, read or write very carefully. What you said McCain said is not what McCain said. Go back and find the word you omitted. It matters. It was put there for a reason. And maybe you omitted it for a reason.

Then you refer to Obama on the dollar bill. … If you can read racism into that


The fact that McCain put Obama's face on money is absolutely relevant to Obama's later comment, about how he looks different then the other presidents who have their faces on money. The fact that you didn't even know the context underlines my point, that our lazy media didn't even explain the context behind Obama's remark.

But not surprising given the TPM references, where that is par for the course


There is exactly one TPM reference in this thread. It's a pointer to the McCain video you had never seen. So you should explain why you said "references," and you should explain your objection to the one reference that was provided.

That's why they lied about what they were saying, because the remarks were indefensible.


You should explain what you're talking about ("lied"). Earlier you made this claim:

Obama also lied about McCain and his number of houses


I asked you to show proof for that claim. Why haven't you?

your blindness cannot possibly allow you to believe that your candidate has engaged in similar misbehavior


Show some proof.
9.15.2008 11:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
tony:

Parents who after reading the comments, particularly Nieporent's, are concerned that Kindergarten teachers will destroy the innocence of their children, will want to keep away from John McCain's Arizona, which mandates abstinence education, as well as drug abuse education, for four-year-olds


Nice. And let's be clear about what really goes on behind closed doors in "John McCain's Arizona:"

Elective sex education lessons shall not exceed the equivalent of one class period per day for one-eighth of the school year for grades K-4


In John McCain's Arizona, schools are permitted to provide "sex education lessons" to kindergarteners! Some of those kids probably don't know how to read, but Arizona lawmakers think it's OK to give them "sex education lessons." I'm horrified.

And these perverted lawmakers thought that waiting eight days between each 'sex education lesson' would make this OK. As if this would make us not notice that someone is giving "sex education lessons" to an innocent 4-year old.

But things might be even worse in the fine state of Alaska, where proposals were raised where:

principals would have the complete right to reject parent submissions to pull their children from topics they think are controversial or inappropriate. Children starting from the first grade would then be required to take entire curriculum despite the opinions of the parents.


Can you imagine? Obama's bill strongly emphasized that parents always have a right to opt-out. Those perverts in Alaska (a very red state) need to get some guidance from Obama.
9.15.2008 11:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
McCain encourages perverts to molest your little kids.


Indeed. McCain's ad discourages lawmakers and schools from implementing programs which teach kids how to protect themselves. Any legislator or principal who was considering doing such a thing now has to take into account that they could end up being the target of the same kind of despicable attack that McCain just made against Obama.

It's really hard for me to understand how any honorable person can still support McCain. He has sold his soul to the corrupt gang that is running his campaign. They are going to run the government the same way they are running the campaign.
9.15.2008 11:38am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

He did? Why would McCain have had an opportunity to support or oppose a California state curriculum item?


That's not what's meant by "McCain opposed this." He opposed it in the sense that his ad is effectively a criticism of all such education.

the California one you quote does contrast strongly with the Illinois one; no instruction in AIDs, STDs, pregnancy, or contraception. Just child abuse


Why are you assuming that the portion pasted into this thread represents the entirety of the CA curriculum? Are you really that simple-minded? The CA curriculum (pdf) indeed includes all that other stuff that you ignorantly claim is not in the CA curriculum.

And likewise for a bunch of other states that are mentioned in Obama's statement (pdf).

I see Tony also explained this.
9.15.2008 11:39am
Suzy (mail):

The View atracts far left radical women viewers.


Not really. One of its stars, Elisabeth Hasselback, is an extremely conservative woman who recently made (minor) headlines when she praised Cindy McCain's openness and said she had nothing to hide, unlike some others (the implication being Michelle Obama), after both Michelle and Cindy had made separate appearances on the show.

You'd have to ask some advertising person for a detailed breakdown of who watches the show, but I know that it's very mainstream and popular among all kinds and ages of women.
9.15.2008 12:24pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Recovering Law Grad:

There is no provision in the bill requiring that kindergartners be taught anything.

"K-12 Comprehensive Sex Education Bill".
Please note the "K" part.
9.15.2008 12:58pm
Toby:

Have any of you been in sex education class recently?

Just as long as neither side shows movies of Dr John singing

Don't give a dose to the one you love most.
Give her some marmalade...give her some toast.
You can give her the willies or give her the blues.
But the dose that you give her will get back to youse.

I once had a lady as sweet as a song.
She was my darlin', and she was my dear.
But she had a dose, and she passed it along.
Now she's gone, but the dose is still there.

So, don't give a dose to the one you love most.
Give her some marmalade...give her some toast.
You can give her a partiridge up in a pear tree,
But the dose that you give her might get back to me.

So if you've got an itchin'...if you've got a drip,
Don't sit there wishin' for it to go 'way.
If there's a thing on the tip of your thing or your lip,
Run down to the clinic today, and say...

"I won't give a dose to the one I love most.
I'll give her some marmalade...give her some toast."
Give her the willies or give her the blues,
But the dose that you give her will get back to you.

As I recall, this figured prominently in STD schooling back in the day...It was supposed to make it all edgy and relevant you see...I may still not have recovered...

Youtube Recording, but without the visuals...
9.15.2008 2:18pm
just me (mail):
I've already told you where to look to realize that you're wrong. But I guess you're going to keep making this false claim until I rub your nose in the evidence. Of course even that might not stop you. The relevant document is here (pdf). See page 2:

Cub Scout leaders who viewed the video suggested that it would be most effective when used as a special pack meeting, or even at a special den meeting with a smaller group of participants.


Well when my sons were in cub scouts that was done only at home-not in den meetings or pack meetings and when my sons were tigers I was required to attend every meeting with them.

I do note the link was revised in 2007, my boys have been out of cubscouts and out of this program for three years.

Interesting quotes though, which indicate my point that it is intended for use by parents:

The intent of the video is to develop communication between parent and child about
personal safety decisions made by the child—but with help from parents or other trusted
adults.


It Happened to Me is designed for a viewing audience of children from 6 to 9 years of
age. When used in the Cub Scout program, parents should be present to view and discuss
the video with their child.
Some units will want to preview the video with the Cub Scout
pack committee or invite parents to preview the video before watching it with their children.


To accomplish the objective
of strengthening communication between parent and child, the discussions are intended to
be family-specific with parents and their children discussing how the rules would apply in
their family.


Before showing It Happened to Me at a unit meeting, a letter should be sent to the
parents of each Cub Scout to inform them of the planned presentation and to encourage
them to attend with their children. A sample letter is included as part of this guide.
9.15.2008 6:07pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
jukeboxgrad:
"Under" is an exaggeration. The link you cited says this:

In 2007, CQ found that McCain voted with his party 90 percent of the time



That's not "under.


In 2007, McCain did indeed vote with his party 90% of the time (though he voted on less than half the bills proposed, having spent the rest of the time campaigning). In 2006, he voted with his party 84% of the time (being present for 90+ percent of the votes); in 2005, 76%; and for his whole career, 88%. Bearing in mind that his early years in the Senate showed 100% party unity, that means that his record from 2000 to 2007 was well under 90%, which was my claim. Are you going to go with a sparse (because oft-absent) voting record from 2007, or a full voting record from 2005-07 or 2000-07?

But that's not the point. The point is that McCain is constantly (and especially recently) flogging his maverickness. But when you look at his record, and especially his recent record, you discover that this is just another distortion.


McCain has been one of the less party-unified conservatives in Congress. He's certainly a Republican, but runs closer to the center than most and certainly demonstrates a willingness to work with Democrats - witness McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman, and the Gang of 14. Irrespective of my opinion of those acts, they were not the actions of a blind partisan.

Obama is not pretending that he's running against the Democrats. But McCain is indeed pretending that he's running against Bush and the GOP (change! change! change!), even though his recent record is very closely aligned with Bush and the GOP.


Wait, are you seriously saying that Obama hasn't been running on change? Obama has been running on the New Politics line, throwing out the "old" divisions (as supposedly represented by Bush, McCain, HRC, and so on) for unity and working together to achieve progress. That's a centrist platform. Yet he votes with his party 97% of the time. That's not the action of a uniter, of someone who wants to break old quarrels and reach across the aisle. McCain, on the other hand, has a demonstrated willingness to go bipartisan in order to get things done, even if the voting record as a whole is more right than left. So when both run on a centrist platform of "Change" and bipartisanship, which one will you castigate, the one who's voted with his party 84% of the time since 2005, or the one who's voted with his party 97% of the time during the same period?
9.15.2008 6:42pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wuzza:

Please note the "K" part.


Please note that permitting something is not the same thing as requiring something. And please note that this has already been explained in this thread. Did you read it?
9.16.2008 11:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
just:

I do note the link was revised in 2007, my boys have been out of cubscouts and out of this program for three years.


The following words were published on 7/7/2000:

At the first pack meeting of the year, Cubs are supposed to watch the videotape "It Happened to Me," which features boys describing situations in which they were abused.


So teaching this material at a pack meeting is not something that just started 1-3 years ago.

parents should be present to view and discuss the video with their child


Yes, I said that parents are encouraged to attend. But you said this:

BSA doesn't teach the good/touch bad touch in a den or pack meeting situation.


That statement is false, and it's been false for at least 8 years. I think it was you who said this:

Obama has a really hard time admitting he is wrong about something


How ironic.
9.16.2008 11:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
math:

Bearing in mind that his early years in the Senate showed 100% party unity, that means that his record from 2000 to 2007 was well under 90%, which was my claim.


OK, I see your point (about "under"). I didn't read your statement carefully enough. My mistake.

He's certainly a Republican, but runs closer to the center than most and certainly demonstrates a willingness to work with Democrats - witness McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman, and the Gang of 14.


I think you're correctly describing a McCain that no longer exists.

That's not the action of a uniter, of someone who wants to break old quarrels and reach across the aisle.


Obama's record going all the way back to HLR indeed demonstrates his willingness and ability to "reach across the aisle." He was elected president of HLR (in part) because conservatives there believed he would give them a fair shake. And there is every indication that he did.

So when both run on a centrist platform of "Change" and bipartisanship, which one will you castigate, the one who's voted with his party 84% of the time since 2005, or the one who's voted with his party 97% of the time during the same period?


It would be nice if you could reduce the whole analysis to a comparison between the number 84 and the number 97. But that entirely misses the point. McCain's party has been in charge for the last 8 eight years. Obama's party has not. It's laughable that McCain claims to represent change, since he is a leader of the party that's been in charge.
9.16.2008 11:38am
Smokey:
Tony Tutins answers:
The NY Times also has a one-sided article attacking Palin.
With this:
"Republicans, do your job. Attack Palin so the NYT can feature both sides."
The really astonishing thing is that Tutins is suggesting this as a reasonable way to get evenhanded coverage from the NY Slimes.

Really amazing.
9.16.2008 5:15pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
jbg:
I think you're correctly describing a McCain that no longer exists.


McCain-Feingold was in 2002, McCain-Lieberman introduced in 2003, and the Gang of 14 was 2005. Only the 2007 voting record indicates any abnormally conservative tendencies, and McCain wasn't even there half the time so it doesn't make sense to use the 2007 voting record as a benchmark. So on what basis do you say that the bipartisan McCain no longer exists?

Obama's record going all the way back to HLR indeed demonstrates his willingness and ability to "reach across the aisle." He was elected president of HLR (in part) because conservatives there believed he would give them a fair shake. And there is every indication that he did.


So you're saying that what Obama did as chair of the Harvard Law Review 17 years ago is significant, but neither his voting record from the last four years nor McCain's from the last eight is indicative of anything. I love the sound of cognitive dissonance in the morning - too bad it's after 9:00 PM where I am.

It would be nice if you could reduce the whole analysis to a comparison between the number 84 and the number 97. But that entirely misses the point. McCain's party has been in charge for the last 8 eight years. Obama's party has not. It's laughable that McCain claims to represent change, since he is a leader of the party that's been in charge.


Except that Obama, like McCain, campaigned on being different from BOTH parties, not just on being different from the party in power. We saw this during his early campaigning and primary run against Hillary. I already made this point.
9.17.2008 1:02am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Only the 2007 voting record indicates any abnormally conservative tendencies


Picking Palin is sufficient proof of "abnormally conservative tendencies."

The reaction of the GOP base to Palin, as compared with their very lukewarm feelings toward McCain himself, is sufficient proof that Palin is "abnormally conservative" (compared with McCain).

you're saying that what Obama did as chair of the Harvard Law Review 17 years ago is significant


If you want to argue that recency is an important criterion, then you need to acknowledge that McCain picking Palin is more recent than anything else we've mentioned. And in the last year or so he has given various other indications of turning to the right.

The key point is that it's a joke to claim that you represent 'change' when you're the candidate of the party that's been in charge. Even if your alignment with that party is 'only' 84%. By that measure (a measure you chose), McCain is 16% 'maverick' and 84% GOP. Not that impressive, if the message is 'change.'
9.17.2008 12:08pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
Picking Palin is sufficient proof of "abnormally conservative tendencies."

The reaction of the GOP base to Palin, as compared with their very lukewarm feelings toward McCain himself, is sufficient proof that Palin is "abnormally conservative" (compared with McCain).


McCain picked Palin to pander to the base. It says nothing about how conservative he is, and in fact speaks to the fact that he wasn't conservative enough for the base!

If you want to argue that recency is an important criterion, then you need to acknowledge that McCain picking Palin is more recent than anything else we've mentioned. And in the last year or so he has given various other indications of turning to the right.


No, I was pointing out the dissonance between your use of McCain's 2007 voting record (instead of a more complete one) due to "recency" and your use of Obama's 17-year-old HLR record over his ENTIRE Senate voting record. As for picking Palin showing "conservative tendencies," see above: it simply doesn't.

The key point is that it's a joke to claim that you represent 'change' when you're the candidate of the party that's been in charge. Even if your alignment with that party is 'only' 84%. By that measure (a measure you chose), McCain is 16% 'maverick' and 84% GOP. Not that impressive, if the message is 'change.'


What happens when you look only at the votes where there was actually a party split? I mean, voting with the 91 in a 91-9 vote doesn't exactly show party unity...

And besides, if that's a joke, both the candidates are comedians. Obama only voted against his party 3% of the time, yet claimed to represent a change from his own party as well as from the Republicans. But you ignore that, preferring to measure change only by divergence from the party in power and neglecting to note what the candidate says he's diverging from.
9.18.2008 12:57am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
McCain picked Palin to pander to the base. It says nothing about how conservative he is


That's like saying 'President X governed as an extreme conservative only to pander to the base. It says nothing about how conservative he is.' In other words, I think you're describing a meaningless distinction.
9.18.2008 2:13am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
That's like saying 'President X governed as an extreme conservative only to pander to the base. It says nothing about how conservative he is.' In other words, I think you're describing a meaningless distinction.


If you think there's no distinction between picking a conservative VP and governing by pursuing conservative policies, I have nothing more to say to you.
9.18.2008 11:24pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
If you think there's no distinction


It's not that there's no distinction. It's that picking Palin is an indication of abnormally conservative tendencies on the part of McCain. It's in direct conflict with the idea that you're promoting, that McCain is more of a centrist than a rightist. Maybe used to be. Not anymore.

Maybe the real point is that it's hard to know what McCain is, because it seems to depend on which way the wind is blowing. Even more so than with most politicians.
9.19.2008 12:33am