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End-of-Year Open Thread:
What's on your mind?
Frank D (mail):
On November 4, I pressed the button adjacent to the McCain/Palin ticket. I did not vote FOR McCain; I voted AGAINST Obama. I did so for many reasons, but, for me, the primary one was to prevent the federal courts from being populated with the sort of left-wing extremists that I fear will now be appointed.

While it may be that appointing a bunch of Clinton re-treads to the cabinet is seen as a step toward "governing from the center," I suspect that the way Obama will mollify the moveon.org element of the party is to please them with his judicial appointments. Just as judges like Pregerson and Reinhardt are still doing damage to the constitution long after the departure of the president who appointed them is gone, I am, frankly, stomach-sick at the thought of more of the same, but 40 years younger.

Am I the only one with this feeling of dread?
12.26.2008 2:22pm
BT:
The streets here in Chicago are as bad as I have ever seen them. Covered with a one to two inch layer of ice. It is almost impossible to drive and I have yet to see a city truck throwing salt. Thank you Mayor Daley. Chicago is the city that works alright.
12.26.2008 2:22pm
SassyHats:
I'm always amazed at how your nonpartisan posts draw so many wacky politically charged respones. Also, I'd like to see a Volokh Conspiracy Swimsuit calendar. Please make this happen.
12.26.2008 2:25pm
John (mail):
How about, the end of the year is still 5 days away.
12.26.2008 2:28pm
DiverDan (mail):
Frank D - I share your pain. I can only hope that there are enough Republican Senators left with both the courage and the brains (a rare combination, it seems, among Pols of either stripe) to block the worst of them.
12.26.2008 2:33pm
DiverDan (mail):
The Bad News: Obama Elected President.

More Bad News: Pelosi rules the House with a larger majority.

Even More Bad News: Harry Reid runs the Senate with a larger Majority.

The Good News: If Al Franken becomes the Junior Senator from Minnesota, at least the C-SPAN Senate Channel will provide some occasional Comic Relief (even if unintentional).
12.26.2008 2:37pm
Neither Green nor Blue:

How about, the end of the year is still 5 days away.


Not if the Democrats have their way in appointing judges. Having already made murder legal and terrorism respectable, will they not tamper with our calendar, if only to show more women in depraved, above-the-knee swimsuits!?
12.26.2008 2:39pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Visiting my sister in New York on Roosevelt Island. Went out to smoke a cigarette and saw this guy trying to set up his camera in a way to take a picture of him next to a tree. I went over and said I could take the picture if it would help. He said he appreciated that. He told me he was from Phoenix and didn't get back to New York much. He was taking the picture of himself next to the tree because it and the plaque below are in memory of a friend of his who died in 9/11. I expressed my condolences to him and he said thanks and then walked off with a lady - seemed like she was family of his.
Best,
Ben
12.26.2008 2:44pm
David Matthews (mail):
"Also, I'd like to see a Volokh Conspiracy Swimsuit calendar. Please make this happen."

Please don't.
12.26.2008 2:47pm
UnintelligibleLiberal (mail):
I fear NGNB is right. I would only add that the Democrats have already waged war on Christmas (see Prof. Bill O'Reilly) and they are sure to do the same with New Year's.
12.26.2008 2:50pm
OrinKerr:
Also, I'd like to see a Volokh Conspiracy Swimsuit calendar.

No, you don't.
12.26.2008 2:55pm
Frater Plotter:
Has anyone applied Hernando de Soto's economics of poverty to the American urban underclass? It seems that his work on the need for property protection, moving extralegal economic activity into the legitimate economy, and entrepreneurship among the poor in Peru could have substantial parallels in American inner cities. And the tactics that worked against the Shining Path might work against (e.g.) the Crips and Bloods.

It seems that a great deal of libertarian and economically conservative writing about the underclass is focused on the evil of welfare systems and on insulting the morals of poor people, rather than on free-market strategies for dismantling the systemic problems that perpetuate an underclass. Something like de Soto's approach would be a breath of fresh air.
12.26.2008 2:55pm
Putting Two and Two...:
Say, Orin, did you make that mad dash into Paris from CDG last week?
12.26.2008 3:03pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
What's on my mind is what should be on everyone's mind: the possibility of an impending financial Armageddon. The year 2008 was a horrible one for America's economy, and the great contraction has already begun. Will next year show us that that Treasury and the Federal Reserve have successfully handled the problem? In my opinion (and I hope I'm wrong), I doubt it. I don't think "helicopter Ben" knows what he's doing, and the Obama appointees consist of some the the people who helped create the problem. Normally when a theory fails it gets discarded. But the dismal science doesn't seem to want to do that. It should give us pause that only about 10 out of some 14,000 professional economists forecast what we are now experiencing. That's pretty dismal. Should we trust these people in 2009?
12.26.2008 3:09pm
Steve P. (mail):
My pressing question: does Prof Kerr look like Christian Berkel in Valkyrie in real life?
12.26.2008 3:11pm
Steve Koch (mail):
I admire the intelligence and fairness in many of the posts on this website. It would be useful to have some threads where partisan posturing is considered bad form and all posts have to be intellectually rigorous.

These rigorous threads would be focused on conducting a debate that is precise and logical and conducive to establishing incremental gains to our common, accepted understanding of reality.
12.26.2008 3:14pm
Allan Walstad (mail):
I can imagine how the boxer feels, having absorbed a sneaky right lead to the face, watching the follow-up left hook coming in to the body. Liberty, reeling from Bush, awaits Obama.
12.26.2008 3:15pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I'd just like to brazenly plug my documentary film on the Second Amendment. Which stars three Conspirators!
12.26.2008 3:24pm
Anon Y. Mous:
How about that horrible decision by the California Supreme Court:

The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a young woman who pulled a co-worker from a crashed vehicle isn't immune from civil liability because the care she rendered wasn't medical.
12.26.2008 3:26pm
MCM (mail):
I am laughing at all of the people who think an Obama presidency will be anything more than business-as-usual statist centrism.
12.26.2008 3:27pm
MCM (mail):
(anything more, or anything less)
12.26.2008 3:29pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I'm wondering if the Lions make history on Sunday by going 0-16.

In the bigger picture, contrary to some of the posters above, I'm looking forward to the Obama administration. Like others, though, I'm concerned about the economy.
12.26.2008 3:30pm
David Matthews (mail):
"These rigorous threads would be focused on conducting a debate that is precise and logical and conducive to establishing incremental gains to our common, accepted understanding of reality."

You would want that, wouldn't you, you commie so-and-so.
;-)
12.26.2008 3:34pm
SassyHats:
I admire you, Steve Koch, for daring to dream the impossible dream. Too bad we are on the internet.
12.26.2008 3:56pm
UW3L:
Bluebooking. Whether I'll get my top choice for location for Bar/Bri classes. Whether to go to the Judicial Clerkship Institute in March or not (I actually would appreciate input on this - it would be tricky due to the timing but if it'll be useful it'd be worth it). That we should all have such problems.

What the New New Deal will look like, and to what extent SCOTUS will once again be tasked with playing whack-a-mole.

Also, hoping that Seattle gets over the Snowpocalypse soon so that I can get back home from the holidays easily. Watching the Hawks/Jets game this past weekend, at first I thought they were playing in NY.
12.26.2008 4:00pm
Eric Muller (www):
I am visiting family in the NY metro area for the next week, up from North Carolina. Today I walked the shopping area of Great Neck and was completely astonished by the number of vacant storefronts. I knew things were bad, but I had no idea they were this bad. (They're not this bad in NC.) I've been coming to this town at this time of year for over 20 years now, and have never seen anything like this.
12.26.2008 4:00pm
John Moore (www):
I have come to enjoy this site recently. The posters cover a lot of interesting stuff - especially to legal laymen like myself. When the threads get controversial, the commenters are far above average in content and civility.

Happy New Year.
12.26.2008 4:10pm
newshutz:
I am so glad that President Elect Obama's first campaign promise is being fulfilled. As he claimed in his acceptance speech, the world is starting to cool.

More Skiing for me!
12.26.2008 4:13pm
Lucius Cornelius:
What's on my mind today? I see that writer/actor Harold Pinter died. I did not know much about Pinter so I read some reports about him. It was hard to miss his angry liberalism. The Guardian published a 1996 column written by Pinter in which he wrote: "The crimes of the US throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical, remorseless and fully documented but nobody talks about them."

Here are some excerpts from the wikipedia article about him:

Pinter's political concerns developed after he became a conscientious objector when he was eighteen, in 1946 to 1947

In accepting an honorary degree at the University of Turin (27 November 2002), he stated: "I believe that [the United States] will [attack Iraq] not only to take control of Iraqi oil, but also because the American administration is now a bloodthirsty wild animal. Bombs are its only vocabulary."

He called the President of the United States, George W. Bush, a "mass murderer" and the (then) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, both "mass-murdering" and a "deluded idiot", and described them, along with past U.S. officials, as "war criminals." He also compared the Bush administration ("a bunch of criminal lunatics") with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, saying that, under Bush, the United States ("a monster out of control") strives to attain "world domination" through "Full spectrum dominance".

And finally:

"The United States is a monster out of control. Unless we challenge it with absolute determination American barbarism will destroy the world. The country is run by a bunch of criminal lunatics, with Blair as their hired Christian thug. The planned attack on Iraq is an act of premeditated mass murder" ("Speech at Hyde Park"). Those remarks anticipated his 2005 Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth, &Politics", in which he observes: "Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force--yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish"

Pinter was lucky that he did not become 18 until after the end of the Second World War. He became a Jewish pacifist after the end of the war against a regime that was eager to kill off all of the Jews. It would have been terribly inconvenient to be a conscientious objector in the war against Hitler.

I actually feel shame that a fellow Jew can be so obnoxious and stupid. Pinter was a fool. What would have happened to him if the US had not entered the war in Europe in 1941? Probably dead in a NAZI death camp. Would have served him right.

I have a co-worker who is an Arab; a Lebanonese Christian whose family fled the civil war. She loves the US. She has seen just how evil the world can be and recognizes that, inspite of its faults and its mistakes, the US is a force for good in the world.

Pinter could say outrageous things with the perfect comfort of knowing that the government was never going to take action against him. In a few weeks, George Bush will no longer be President of the US; he will voluntarily surrender his office....hardly the actions of a tyrant.

Good riddance!
12.26.2008 4:13pm
Lucius Cornelius:
Oops. I know you all understood what I intended, but let me be clear, I meant "good riddance" to Pinter.

However, I am glad to see the Bush administration end (even though I am a conservative Republican).
12.26.2008 4:18pm
scotus_ant:
So if we're going to bail out all of these entities - they're talking retailers now too (seriously?!) - then why don't we talk about bailing out a sector of the economy that will offer double the rewards. I'm talking about student loans. By eliminating student loan debt, banks not only get the money they originally tendered out (a much-needed boost the government has already promised to give them in bail-outs), but college-educated individuals would be able to focus on using that education for innovation and building a better future instead of working 3 jobs to cover a student loan repayment plan. Think of it as an investment in the future of American workers and thinkers. Yet there is no lobby like automotive and banking "industries" have, so I guess they'll just continue struggling to stay afloat hoping some day they'll be able to turn those pieces of paper on the wall into something that will make everyone's life better.
12.26.2008 4:41pm
PersonFromPorlock:

I see that writer/actor Harold Pinter died.

Also Eartha Kitt.

Waiting for the third shoe.
12.26.2008 4:47pm
Sarcastro (www):
Financial Armageddon! PEE YOURSELF AND CRY IN THE CORNER STARTING NOW!

though actually, mixing revelations with financial markets could be kinda cool.

"And Wormwood did render one third of all credit-default-swaps corrupt, and one third of the banks insolvent, and one third of the houses upsidedown."

In the end, it will be supply-side Jesus versus the CommieChrist!
12.26.2008 4:58pm
neurodoc:
I am curious to know if others are more/less optimistic personally/collectively than they were 1 year ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago. What explains your optimism/pessimism? If you have or had children, how would you assess their prospects for a "good life" in coming years to yours at the same age?

Since I incline toward pessimistic, I would appreciate the best, most convincing cases optimists can make for their more upbeat outlooks in terms of the economy, our security, social harmony, and all the rest that affect us.
12.26.2008 5:18pm
Oren:
How about that magic negro song?
12.26.2008 5:24pm
sbron:
I think the real political conflict in the U.S. is not so much between Democrats and Republicans, but between assimilationists and multiculturalists. Right now, the latter have the upper hand, especially with the thorough defeat of the Tom Tancredo wing of the Repub. party. But the conflict could reignite given a combination of amnesty and greatly increased third-world immigration coupled with a collapsing economy. The U.S. could end up Balkanizing like the Balkans along racial lines, fulfilling the fantasies of both white supremacists and third-world nationalists.
12.26.2008 5:25pm
neurodoc:
Lucius Cornelius, I, like you, am not mourning the passing of Harold Pinter. And I too found his politics loathsome and curious, including how a Jew, especially one who lived through WWII in Britain, could conflate Germany in the time of Hitler with the United States in the time of GWB. How Pinter came to his politics I can only wonder. Perhaps a biographer with real psychiatric insight can help me understand how Pinter came to be Pinter.
12.26.2008 5:37pm
fortyninerdweet (mail):
Steve Koch wants to see all the posts here focused on improving

our common, accepted understanding of reality.

Wow. Nothing could go wrong with that expectation, could it? We all agree on whatever is "accepted", don't we?

If you have any questions on what that might mean I'll be happy to provide a definitive answer. In order to keep everything simple and collegial, of course.
12.26.2008 5:40pm
trad and anon (mail):
I predict Milk for Best Picture and Best Director and Sean Penn for Best Actor. But who will win Best Actress?
12.26.2008 5:44pm
ARCraig (mail):
<blockquote>
I did not vote FOR McCain; I voted AGAINST Obama
</blockquote>

No, you voted for McCain. Whatever your reasons, you voted for McCain. There is no "vote against" option on the ballot.
12.26.2008 5:50pm
David Warner:
trad,

"I predict Milk for Best Picture and Best Director and Sean Penn for Best Actor. But who will win Best Actress?"

Perhaps Penn will sweep them both.
12.26.2008 6:02pm
Josh K (mail):
I am going to law school for the sole purpose of becoming a prosecutor. I'm already worried about budget cuts in state and local budgets as tax revenues fall and the effect that will have on my ability to get a job.

How much do I have to worry about also having an increase in competition for any of the jobs that will come available because my fellow classmates can't get jobs at firms and they want to take advantage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007?

Or should I not really worry about the second one because my classmates won't have taken the appropriate classes?
12.26.2008 6:10pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>Republican Senators... with... courage...


<<<<


Forget it.

But you could try psychedelic mushrooms for a palliative.
12.26.2008 6:16pm
pdxbob:
Per Sarcastro, I am peeing and crying in a corner out of concern for the impending financial Armageddon, brought about by decades of bipartisan inability to match expenses to income, public or private. Our national debt is at the breaking point, and Obama's infrastructure expenditures will, I am afraid, be the needle that broke the camel's back. Watch for China and Japan to turn away from holding US currency in reserve, and move to set up alternative reserve currencies (China is already trying pilot projects in the Asia region). When this happens, the party is abruptly, emphatically, dramatically over.

Other than that, I'm enjoying the play.
12.26.2008 6:49pm
Josh644 (mail):
How about that horrible decision by the California Supreme Court:

The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a young woman who pulled a co-worker from a crashed vehicle isn't immune from civil liability because the care she rendered wasn't medical.


Not so horrible. The victim's spine was injured, and she was dragged forcibly from the vehicle, which probably worsened her condition considerably.

The "good samaritan" did so because she feared that the vehicle might catch fire. That's not a good reason. Cars don't spontaneously combust, and if a fire had started, there would have been time to remove the victim.

Most people know that you do not move someone with a spinal injury, unless the circumstances are extreme. Lisa Torti demonstrated poor judgement and injured the victim through her negligence. I'm glad the supreme court ruled the way they did.
12.26.2008 7:20pm
XON:
What is on my mind? I'm trying to understand what I will have to be able to tell my clients who lose in court about why they may be subject to penalty while those who made and enforced the laws that might have ensnared them will retire to Dubai, or Dallas free and flush with the proceeds of a national theft that literally beggars the imagination?

I want to know how the victims of the crimes committed over the past 25 years or so will finally 'have enough' and resist the predations. Will they reach for violence as a palliative, or will they look for virtues to profit themselves and their communities? And if they opt for virtue, will their fruits be merely confiscated, via force or hyperinflation, by the scoundrels who have herded us into this mess?
12.26.2008 7:34pm
DiverDan (mail):

But you could try psychedelic mushrooms for a palliative.


Ah, Psilocybin 'Shrooms - a blast from the past; I haven't had those since 1974. Know where I can get some?
12.26.2008 7:54pm
David Warner:
Josh,

"Lisa Torti demonstrated poor judgement and injured the victim through her negligence."

So, Josh, do you mind if I just sue you if my parents burn to death in a car due to standers-by being afraid to pull them out lest they be sued?

Not every mistake is a tort, despite the unfortunate name.
12.26.2008 8:10pm
Texasfox82:
Josh644:

I hope you have a car wreck whereby you suffer an injury as great as this womans, you probably won't be able to call for help, in which case I hope someone pulls you out of the car. Decisions like this keep people from doing good deeds. How many people (americans) can even point out Iraq on a map? Let alone possess even the most basic first aid skills to know something like moving someone with a spinal injury could make it worse, or even recognize that a person had a spinal injury in the first place. Either you're one of those assholes who looks down on people who care about others beside themselves or you're.....
12.26.2008 8:11pm
Bluebooking-NOT!:
UW3L: Check out CiteGenie.... automatic Bluebooking with one click, and correct for your specific jurisdiction. Works with Westlaw and Lexis. Best time/frustration saver for me since sliced bread.
12.26.2008 8:15pm
Sara:
"Since I incline toward pessimistic, I would appreciate the best, most convincing cases optimists can make for their more upbeat outlooks in terms of the economy, our security, social harmony, and all the rest that affect us."


It is not 1860, or even 1939. We've been through much worse. 1777, anyone? Or the dark nights of the soul when Mississippi burned and Governors barred the school house door?

I think not.

It maybe close to 1930, but deprivation can bring discipline.
12.26.2008 8:15pm
cmr:
Three things:

The economy and how is the media exacerbating, or ameliorating, the problem.

The U.S. refusal to sign the new U.N. anti-gay-discrimination agreement.

Was Obama elected primarily on a lark? I mean, while he seems like a decent enough man, it does seem like we picked him in the midst of our economy going apart, our melting planet, and at the end of arguably the worst President in history.
12.26.2008 8:29pm
LM (mail):
neurodoc and Lucius Cornelius,

This piece from Huffington Post is an interesting perspective on Pinter. A little soon after his death for my taste, but interesting nonetheless.
12.26.2008 8:38pm
gran habano:
Years ago, a couple friends of mine observed a terrible one car accident, and pulled over to help. One victim was a mess, and obviously gone. The other was still alive, and they dragged him out of the vehicle. One of my buddies being a medical doctor. this was done at his direction, so he could work on the guy.
12.26.2008 8:42pm
Sarcastro (www):
I also am glad that liberal writer guy died. He was such a liberal, and more dead liberals is more better!
12.26.2008 8:46pm
Oren:

Ah, Psilocybin 'Shrooms - a blast from the past; I haven't had those since 1974. Know where I can get some?

Isn't that crime-facilitating speech right there (underlying crime: conspiracy to purchase a controlled substance)?
12.26.2008 8:59pm
Fub:
Oren wrote at 12.26.2008 8:59pm:
Isn't that crime-facilitating speech right there (underlying crime: conspiracy to purchase a controlled substance)?
You mean it's a felony to say that they sometimes grow under meadow wafers in the springtime?
12.26.2008 9:05pm
Katl L (mail):
If a car is in danger of burning, you simply switch off the car and left the person inside. According to Chevron Public service on tv more or less 15 years ago
Still bad ruling. Does California have a good samaritan law?if so you will lost one way or another
12.26.2008 9:19pm
AnonymousXYZ (mail):

The "good samaritan" did so because she feared that the vehicle might catch fire. That's not a good reason. Cars don't spontaneously combust, and if a fire had started, there would have been time to remove the victim.

Well, if every single TV drama didn't show cars bursting into flame at the slightest provocation, perhaps people would be less likely to overestimate the risk of such an occurrence...
12.26.2008 9:37pm
Sagar:
I am optimistic that things won't get too bad. 2009 will be similar to 2008 with respect to economy (slow), but we will recover in 2010. This is not the 2nd great depression.

Obama is not going to heal the planet and change everything; but also not going to bring communism to the US. However, elections have consequences and the govt will move towards left for the next 4 years. If people can learn to deal with it, life would be easier.

I am glad of the govt corruption that is coming to light; hope there will be more revelations:)
12.26.2008 9:45pm
Sagar:
one other thing:

The "American people" have always managed to elect the better presidential choice (among the available candidates, that is) going back several election cycles! I say that as a non Obama voter.
12.26.2008 9:50pm
Xerxes:

Since I incline toward pessimistic, I would appreciate the best, most convincing cases optimists can make for their more upbeat outlooks in terms of the economy, our security, social harmony, and all the rest that affect us.

- real purchasing power has jumped by 2%.
- savings has increased
- consumer debt has decreased
- we have an economy that can ride out 10% unemployment

A little bit of hard times every so often helps remind folks that an appropriate amount of caution and planning for lean times is necessary. To much prosperity for too long can in fact be a bad thing for a society when the day finally comes that the prosperity weakens.
12.26.2008 10:15pm
kiniyakki (mail):
Economic Question

Is it worth it for me to pick up pennys? Or, is it worth it for Bill Gates to pick up a one hundred dollar bill?

A friend of mine says no - that based on the money I (or Bill Gates) make, that it is an inefficient use of my time. I say yes - that the time I spend picking up pennys (or Bill Gates picking up $100s), is not necessarily time that I lose from my salary earning job.

What is the economically correct answer?
12.26.2008 10:28pm
Chris Bell (mail):
It depends. Are you picking up pennies during the work day or on your weekend?
12.26.2008 10:59pm
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
What's on my mind is that I'm the only person posting about how BHO has never provided definitive proof of where he was born. For instance, despite what you've probably heard, the state of HI never confirmed where he was born, nor did they confirm the cert posted at BHO's site. That hasn't stopped some sources from jumping to conclusions about what the state of HI said.

However, when I contacted the state of HI and asked them to confirm that those sources had jumped to the correction conclusions, they declined.
12.26.2008 11:11pm
kiniyakki (mail):
Chris Bell,

Does it matter?

But my answer - when I am out walking around where I might see pennys I am usually not on the clock.
12.26.2008 11:28pm
Allan Walstad (mail):

Is it worth it for me to pick up pennys?

Only you can answer that. Your judgment of your satisfaction is absolute.
12.26.2008 11:43pm
ll (mail):
Is Global Warming going to give us runaway temperatures or then next ice age?
12.26.2008 11:45pm
Hannah:
"I actually feel shame that a fellow Jew can be so obnoxious and stupid. Pinter was a fool. What would have happened to him if the US had not entered the war in Europe in 1941? Probably dead in a NAZI death camp. Would have served him right."

Could care less about Pinter but as a Jew, and as a human being, that has got to be one of the more shameful, obnoxious and stupid comments, ever written.
12.26.2008 11:49pm
Waldensian (mail):

What's on my mind is that I'm the only person posting about how BHO has never provided definitive proof of where he was born.

And what I'm wondering is how you can fail to recognize why you are so very.... alone.
12.27.2008 12:06am
first history:
24AheadDotCom:

. . . I'm the only person posting about how BHO has never provided definitive proof of where he was born . . .

Neither has any other President; and you are hardly the only one writing about this; specifically go here. More generally, you can go here.

The rest of us are applying Steve Koch's advice (see above.)
12.27.2008 12:08am
LM (mail):
24AheadDotCom,

What's on my mind is that I'm the only person posting about how BHO has never provided definitive proof of where he was born.

Don't despair. I'm certain you're not alone.

How do I know? Because the notion that an 18 year old girl giving birth in 1961 to a half-black baby in Indonesia or Kenya or Shangri-la, would conspire to gin up phony U.S. birth announcements and certificates her baby would need to become President of the United States just makes too much sense! Once you hear it, how could you not know it's true? And once you know it's true, how could you not talk about it?

So have a little faith. You're doing God's work, aren't you? Take my word for it, as sure as there are people convinced the moon landings were filmed on a sound stage, there are others who believe Obama isn't an American.
12.27.2008 12:41am
LM (mail):
OK, 24AheadDotCom, not only did it take me about a minute and a half to find these nice folks, but now I've got something on my mind. Why are Gina and her friends the only ones asking the serious questions, like whether Ann Dunham was really Barack Obama's mother?

It sounds to me like someone owes Gina an apology.
12.27.2008 12:53am
TCO:
Put the ban hammer away, Orin. Let's kiss and make up.
12.27.2008 1:09am
theobromophile (www):
Very happy that Sol Invictus Day is over - that means that the days are getting longer.
12.27.2008 1:49am
Name:
Rest in peace to members of the Ortega family and peace to their children.
I hope that s.o.b. Pardo is burning in hell.
12.27.2008 2:11am
Lucius Cornelius:
Hanna:

No, Pinter's comments were worse than mine. The NAZIs are gone, but there are other frightening movements that would gleefully take their place.

Those people who eagerly and vehemently condemn the USA because this country's mistakes (and who confuse error with evil) lose the ability to recognize true evil. If we lose the ability to recognize true evil, then we lose the ability to fight it and in the end, evil wins.
12.27.2008 2:20am
Anon21:
Lucius Cornelius:
Pinter was a fool. What would have happened to him if the US had not entered the war in Europe in 1941? Probably dead in a NAZI death camp. Would have served him right.

I've got no opinion on Pinter, with whom I'm unfamiliar, but the quote above shows a rather weak grasp of the history of the period. The United States had no decisive influence on the outcome of the war in Europe, and its formal entry into the war at the end of '41 did not save Great Britain from collapse. From June '41 on, the fate of Europe was exclusively decided on the Eastern Front, with the Western Allies' North African campaigns and eventual second front serving only as sideshows.
12.27.2008 2:30am
Cornellian (mail):
I am going to law school for the sole purpose of becoming a prosecutor.
How much do I have to worry about also having an increase in competition for any of the jobs that will come available because my fellow classmates can't get jobs at firms and they want to take advantage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007?
Or should I not really worry about the second one because my classmates won't have taken the appropriate classes?


There will be lots of competition for those prosecutor positions because there will be lots of competition for every position - the legal job market is horrible right now. Also, if you mean federal prosecutor (AUSA), those positions are always extremely competitive, even in a good market. State prosecutor is much less competitive, but I still wouldn't count on an easy ride in the current job market.

Everyone will have taken criminal law since it's required in first year. Beyond that, course selection doesn't matter all that much. It helps that you've taken criminal procedure and some kind of criminal law clinical course, if only to demonstrate your interest in the subject, but it's not a substitute for respectable grades from a respectable law school.
12.27.2008 2:52am
Fury:
Steve Koch

I admire the intelligence and fairness in many of the posts on this website. It would be useful to have some threads where partisan posturing is considered bad form and all posts have to be intellectually rigorous.


Thank you. I'd settle for less posting of multiple comments in a row from posters. When a VC'r posts ten comments in a row (recent thread), it essentially turns the discussion into a monologue, effectively killing off the thread. It would be helpful if people could practice a little self restraint. Quantity does not equate into quality.
12.27.2008 8:48am
newshutz:
Anon21:
The United States had no decisive influence on the outcome of the war in Europe, and its formal entry into the war at the end of '41 did not save Great Britain from collapse. From June '41 on, the fate of Europe was exclusively decided on the Eastern Front, with the Western Allies' North African campaigns and eventual second front serving only as sideshows.

Though the US entry did not make a great difference in Germany's inevitable defeat, It did have a great deal to do with the outcome of the war in Europe. People in France, Germany, Italy, Greece and probably Spain, Portugal and Switzerland were spared living under the heel of Stalin.
12.27.2008 9:52am
Hannah:
"No, Pinter's comments were worse than mine. The NAZIs are gone . . ."

Pinter is gone, but your absurd race to the bottom defense is still here.
12.27.2008 9:53am
pdxbob:
the govt will move towards left for the next 4 years. If people can learn to deal with it, life would be easier.

Ah - that's what it's all about - making life easier. Thanks! I'll start ignoring all slights, injustices, annoyances, fiscal irresponsibilities, and moves towards a collective. I want it easy baby!
12.27.2008 10:01am
Steve Koch:
fortyninerdweet:

You stated:
"Steve Koch wants to see all the posts here focused on improving our common, accepted understanding of reality."

That is not what I said. I would like to see some threads (not "all the posts" as you state) that are focused on improving our common, accepted understanding of reality. I call these threads rigorous threads. The existence of rigorous threads would not preclude other kinds of threads where anything goes. Nobody is forced to participate in a rigorous thread but if they do choose to participate then they follow the rules.

The idea of a rigorous thread is to approach a topic via the scientific method rather than an adversarial approach. The adversarial approach dominates in law and politics (and talk radio and most internet message boards and the Jerry Springer Show and on and on). I contend that the adversarial approach is not the best way to advance knowledge. The scientific method dominates in science and engineering and is the best known method for understanding reality.

Why not experiment with some threads where the scientific method is the accepted way of doing business? It should be an interesting experiment, right?
12.27.2008 11:03am
Hoosier:
P. G. Wodehouse is underrated.

That is all.
12.27.2008 11:10am
Frank D (mail):

Was Obama elected primarily on a lark? I mean, while he seems like a decent enough man, it does seem like we picked him in the midst of our economy going apart, our melting planet, and at the end of arguably the worst President in history.


The worst President in history?? What about Millard Fillmore, Warren Harding, and James Carter? Compared to them, GWB is a great statesman.
12.27.2008 12:45pm
TEvanFisher (mail):
I'm a law student thinking about learning Mandarin so that I can get a job when I graduate.
12.27.2008 1:34pm
Portland (mail):

I've got no opinion on Pinter, with whom I'm unfamiliar, but the quote above shows a rather weak grasp of the history of the period. The United States had no decisive influence on the outcome of the war in Europe, and its formal entry into the war at the end of '41 did not save Great Britain from collapse. From June '41 on, the fate of Europe was exclusively decided on the Eastern Front, with the Western Allies' North African campaigns and eventual second front serving only as sideshows.


Exactly. Therefore, since Jews have to be loyal to the ideals of the people who defeated Hitler, they should really feel obliged to give their hearts to Stalinism.

Of course, Stalin's Russia doesn't exist any more, so they will have to chose some other gang of thugs, self-righteously and sadistically murdering the weak in the name of a false idol of historical destiny. They can call it "Zionism."
12.27.2008 1:36pm
Lucius Cornelius:
Hanna:

I do not believe that my comment was a "race to the bottom." I do not believe that it is wrong to wish that, when people claim that the US presence in world affairs is the same as what the NAZIs would have done, those people experience the true charms of NAZI rule. These same people often forgive the horrific crimes of leftist or anti-American, authoritative regimes just because they are anti-American.

I remember THIS article and it makes my blood boil:

AN AMERICAN IN LONDON

There seem to be a lot of people in England who would gleefully see the world's Jews suffer. I try to turn the other cheek (even though I am not Christian), but sometimes I am just unable. When I am provoked, I wish on them what they wish on me. Let's not forget that it was the English who put Jewish death camp survivors into concentration camps after the war.

However, I commend your desire to keep the comments civil. I just don't think that my comment was anywhere close to the worst that has been posted at the VC. Of course, maybe you are paying me an indirect compliment with your criticism; perhaps you feel that I am not so far gone that I might be convinced of the error of my ways. If that is the case, then I truly and sincerely thank you. The best way to respond to bad speech is to encourage better speech.

I wish you a happy holiday season and a very happy new year. I hope you had a merry Christmas.
12.27.2008 2:24pm
Anon21:
newshutz:
Though the US entry did not make a great difference in Germany's inevitable defeat, It did have a great deal to do with the outcome of the war in Europe. People in France, Germany, Italy, Greece and probably Spain, Portugal and Switzerland were spared living under the heel of Stalin.

Quite true; I was not thinking of "outcome" in that sense, but of course the Second Front did indeed determine the shape of the post-war world, and exerted a decisive influence for the better in the lives of millions of people (although British citizens, such as Pinter, likely had somewhat less to fear from a Stalinist takeover of the Continent--but obviously not nothing). Spain, of course, ended up under the heel of Franco, which is only somewhat better.
12.27.2008 2:36pm
David Warner:
OK,

"so they will have to chose some other gang of thugs, self-righteously and sadistically murdering the weak in the name of a false idol of historical destiny. They can call it "Zionism.""

Not usually a fan of the ban-hammer, but have to say I'd not be sad to see Portland to the door.
12.27.2008 3:23pm
David Warner:
LM,

Enjoyed your rightful mockery of the Obama paranoia upthread. Any thoughts on this at the HuffPo link you helpfully provided?
12.27.2008 3:26pm
traveler496:
Scattered thoughts-

1) A second to Steve Koch's suggestion. Also, as a more general comment, experimentation's a good thing and when done at the thread level (rather than at the whole-blog level) allows for varying poster tastes, not to mention more experiments.

2) A second reaction to Steve's suggestion: I wonder whether there is what I'll call "argument support software" which could possibly be leveraged in e.g. the more debate-oriented threads on this blog. I imagine such software could help make the logical structure of arguments more explicit, better elicit group intelligence, make clearer the degree/nature of any consensus achieved, etc. (Admittedly, even if such software exists, there'd be significant user and facilitator overhead to use it, so it wouldn't always - and might never - pay its own freight in practice).

3) I wonder whether critical thinking will ever be taught well in the public schools (I understand or at any rate assume that parochial schools are a lost cause in that regard).

4) An early Happy New Year!
12.27.2008 4:35pm
LM (mail):
DW,

Apart from being put off by the timing, I don't know enough about Pinter to say more than "interesting" -- both the contents and that HuffPost would publish it. Accepting as true everything the author said, it sounds like Pinter generated enough controversy and contradictions to make him an easy target. That the first hostile postmortem I saw came from his left is again interesting, but looking on HuffPost does make it likely I'll find keys that get dropped under leftish lamp posts.
12.27.2008 4:43pm
Portland (mail):


Not usually a fan of the ban-hammer, but have to say I'd not be sad to see Portland to the door.


Also on my mind today is Bush's recent pardon of arms smuggler and accomplice to ethnic cleansing Charlie Winters, the scumbag who funneled arms to the European colonists who stole Palestine in the name of the Jewish religion. This comes just weeks after the conviction, at the second go, of employees of the Holy Land Foundation which, according to the prosecution's own theory, did nothing other the provide food, shelter, medicine and education via institutions which we (like all institutions in Gaza) influenced by the (democratically elected) Hamas government.

This county's support of Israel and its crimes is a bipartisan national disgrace.
12.27.2008 4:45pm
Frank D (mail):


I did not vote FOR McCain; I voted AGAINST Obama





No, you voted for McCain. Whatever your reasons, you voted for McCain. There is no "vote against" option on the ballot.


Literally, you are, of course, correct. But I thought I'd made it plain that, other than the fact that he'd do far less damage to the composition of the federal judiciary than will Obama, there was virtually nothing I found to my liking about McCain. And the "judicial appointees" issue is the sole reason I voted "for" him rather than for someone like Bob Barr, with whom I have much more in common ideologically.
12.27.2008 4:46pm
Bob Goodman (mail) (www):
Money is on my mind almost continually now. I haven't worked regular, and not much in general, for a year and a half, I've decided to stop credit card payments to pay some current bills, and prospects are glum. Actually prospects always look good to me, but projecting realistically from my results would indicate only doom. I've an offer to move in with a cousin in NJ, but that would probably mean he'd have to support me for life unless I can work entirely from home.

The frustrating thing is that I'm highly qualified, willing and able to work, but nobody wants to hire me. I've been underemployed most of my life, never good at selling myself or anything else, but now the situation is extreme. It seems that to get things done, I often have to do other people's jobs, yet they're the ones getting paid to do them.

On the one hand, there's money and commerce all over the place, and all I need is a little bit of it. OTOH, all of that money is spoken for. However, if people would just send me some of their money I wouldn't have any complaint that it was 2nd-hand.
12.27.2008 5:22pm
pdxbob:
Portland wrote:
This county's support of Israel and its crimes is a bipartisan national disgrace.

Multnomah county support Israel? Never!!

Portland, you have chosen an apt moniker as you so well embody the spirit of The People's Republic of Portland.

If any of the rest of VC's fine members wish to visit our fair city, please remember that we verify your ideological purity before entering. Luckily the beer here is so good that it almost makes up for the mind-numbing predictability of its inhabitants ("say how did you like the Progressive party at Jane's house last night?" - overheard at the coffeehouse where I type this message).

That's what I wish wasn't on my mind.
12.27.2008 6:26pm
Portland (mail):


Multnomah county support Israel? Never!!


Two things: typically, we don't troll typos and spelling errors on VC.

Also, if you think Multnomah county doesn't support Israel, you need to get out more and talk to the actual Portlanders who frighten you so. If you did, you'd find that liberals and conservatives alike back that brutal apartheid monstrosity by large majorities.

Liberals tend to criticize Israel more on human rights, while conservatives, on occasion, point out the heavy damage to American interests caused by our knee-jerk support of the "Jewish state." But at the end of the day, both sides lick the boots of the Lobby and preach the delusion of a "right to exist" as a Jewish-ruled state and the myth of "a land without a people for a people without a land." Sickening.
12.27.2008 6:56pm
pdxbob:

"we don't troll typos and spelling errors on VC. "


I know - I was trying to be funny. While Portlanders frequently support Israel, we have a disproportionate level of antagonism towards Israel.
12.27.2008 7:10pm
LM (mail):
Portland,

Jews and Arabs have done unpardonable things to each other, as warring parties inevitably do. But it's odd that the Jews, who only drove some of the Arabs out of Israel are accused or "apartheid," while the Arabs (including the Palestinians until 1967) who effectively cleansed their lands Judenrein... well, what's the word for that?
12.27.2008 7:42pm
tanarg:
The following is short and sweet. I wrote it and sent it to my senators and my representative, as well as every Republican senator. Please feel free to adapt it to your own preferences.

Dear (Name of Senator or Representative):

As of today, December 27, 2008, no legal authority in the United States has publicly stated that Barack Obama meets the constitutional requirement of being a natural born citizen.

Many Americans will not accept that a man will be inaugurated as president who has not been shown to meet the constitutional requirements for that office.

I expect you, as a defender of truth and decency, to take action on January 8, 2009 to establish once and for all whether Barack Obama is legally qualified to be president.

Sincerely,
12.27.2008 8:02pm
Portland (mail):

Jews and Arabs have done unpardonable things to each other, as warring parties inevitably do.


So you take the position that all warring parties are equally at fault, regardless of little things like who invaded whom? Let's try it: "America and al-Queda have done unpardonable things to each other, as warring parties inevitably do."

No. Sorry. Doesn't work.


But it's odd that the Jews, who only drove some of the Arabs out of Israel are accused or "apartheid,"


There are a number of things wrong with your statement here. First, the expulsion of the Palestinians is why Zionists (not "the Jews," please) are accused (rightly) of ethnic cleansing, not apartheid. Their forty-years-plus rule of millions of Palestinians who are denied basic civil rights because they were not born Jewish is the reason they are accused (rightly) of apartheid.

Second, your hyperventilating description of the actions of Jordan and Egypt in supposedly rending lands "Judenrein" (an exaggerated and misleading claim, but beside the point) doesn't have anything to do with the Palestinians, who had nothing to do with expelling any Jews.

Also, the fact that a small minority of Palestinians survived the ethnic cleansing and held on to their land, which included leveling more than three hundred Palestinian villages, doesn't change what happened. Stalin didn't kill all the Ukrainians with his famine -- his actions still constituted genocide.
12.27.2008 8:08pm
Portland (mail):
Intrade puts the chance of the economy entering a full-blown depression in 2009 as one in three.

One in three. Not a recession, a honest-to-God depression. Man, that George Bush is an awe-inspiring screw-up. The environment, wars of choice, the budget, taxes, civil liberties, disaster relief, the economy -- he's left his special stamp on all of it. It's a level of incompetence and ideological blindness coupled with spinelessness in the face of his even worse cronies -- we will (hopefully) never see his like again.
12.27.2008 8:17pm
David Warner:
LM,

I wasn't linking the Pinter article, rather the 24aheaddotcom-style paranoia on display at America's blog of record among the our best and brightest in media, academia, law, gummint, etc...
12.27.2008 8:24pm
Lucius Cornelius:
Portland

Sir, your comments about Israel demonstrate your ignorance.
12.27.2008 10:00pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
What Zarkov said, plus the threat of Islam.
12.27.2008 10:22pm
LM (mail):
DW,

Sorry. The link had "death" in it, so I assumed it was the Pinter post.

My take on the post you did link? Dog bites manecheists.
12.27.2008 10:23pm
LM (mail):
Portland,

The notion that it's only Zionists, not Jews, who get smeared with labels like "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing" would I'm sure come as a relief to the Rabbi and his wife who were targeted, tortured and executed in Mumbai. But more to the central point, when the only blame you think worth mentioning belongs to the evil, ethnic-cleansing, apartheid-making Zionists (who just happen to be Jews), yet you accuse me without a hint of irony of "hyper-ventilating," I have to wonder if we're ever really going to reach agreement.
12.27.2008 10:57pm
neurodoc:
Steve Koch, how would the "scientific method" be employed in VC threads, which are mostly about law and politics, not the stuff of science or engineering?

sarcastro, you count the late, unlamented (by me) Harold Pinter as a "liberal"?! ("I also am glad that liberal writer guy died. He was such a liberal, and more dead liberals is more better!") Is it a "liberal" position to support mass murderers like Slobodan Milosevic? I think not, but if so, then it is no wonder liberalism has come into such disrepute.
12.28.2008 12:39am
neurodoc:
Xerxes, I take it that the following argues for optimism over my pessimism about our economic situation:

- real purchasing power has jumped by 2%.
- savings has increased
- consumer debt has decreased
- we have an economy that can ride out 10% unemployment

But has purchasing power jumped by 2% (if it has) because of a real "positive" (higher productivity and/or wages) or a "negative" (deflation)?

A higher savings rate is generally a good thing (savings = investment), but at this time isn't everyone hoping that people will spend more so as to revive our consumer-driven economy?

Has consumer debt decreased because it had reached such unsustainable levels that it couldn't keep getting bigger and because lenders have been pulling back?

When was the last time we had 10% unemployment (I don't know) and what assurance is that we will ride it out?

Hopefully, you're optimism will prove to have been warranted. Im not placing any bets on a roaring economic recovery any time soon, though.
12.28.2008 12:54am
David Warner:
LM,

"Dog bites manecheists."

Another classic. I just wonder why 24ahead gets debunked at the FreeRepublic, which I'm supposed to think is some Neo-nazi fringe, while the most popular blog with 3 out of 4 journalists surveyed not only doesn't debunk, but actively encourages similar trust-draining tripe.

I'm concerned because people I generally respect and admire read, and believe, said journalists. I really could care less what party or ideology is involved, other than the extent to which my liberalism is further defamed. It's a recipe for mediocrity (and worse).
12.28.2008 11:00am
Sarcastro (www):
neurodoc as many posters will tell you, liberals love death.

I'm not sure which side they were on in the whole Kosovo thing, but I'm sure they wanted whichever side they weren't on to die.

Indeed, Pinter clearly wants people he doesn't like to die. Thus, I do not like him and want him to die.
12.28.2008 12:22pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
warner:

trust-draining tripe


That's your description of this article. Would you please tell us which statements in that article you find objectionable?

Michael Connell was a leading GOP internet consultant. His death is also discussed in reports by local news outlets here and here. As far as I can tell, those local reports are similar to the HuffPo report. Are they also "trust-draining tripe?"
12.28.2008 12:29pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Portland wrote:

This county's support of Israel and its crimes is a bipartisan national disgrace.


You know, I agree with exactly half of your statement. I also think that a big part of the problem is the inability for the West to come to terms with our history in how badly we have treated the Jews collectively.

One of the basic things one has to remember though is that Israeli independence movements really got their boost not from the Holocaust but from general antisemitism in Europe. When Avraham Stern can say "Hitler just hates Jews, but Churchill is the REAL enemy," follow this up with an attempt to form a military alliance between his terrorist organization and the Nazis, and yet his protege gets elected as PM in Israel some 40 years later, this provides a picture of how insane Israeli politics is.

I don't think anything can ever atone for the horrible war crimes committed by LEHI, Irgun, and the like during the 48-49 war. However, they can be understood against the framework of the Jewish experience in Europe for the last thousand years. In fact, during most of the history of Islam, they treated Jews MUCH, MUCH better than the Christians did. In fact, Jews are still treated better in modern-day Iran than they were in this country prior to WWII. When a people has been terrorized for a thousand years, a bit of craziness is to be expected.

The second thing I would point out is that the last few Republican administrations have been far better at managing our involvement with Israel than at least Clinton was. The Clinton/Barak proposals were fundamentally flawed in that they provided limited territorial control to the PA, and while most of the West Bank and Gaza were to be handed over at least in theory, in practice, Israel would still control everything on the ground. Bush (and I am not a Bush fan) deserves some serious credit for basically saying that Israel needs to be moving towards recognizing the 1967 borders as their formal borders, and divesting themselves of Gaza, Golan, and the West Bank. He also deserves some credit for interfering with foreign aid deliveries and allocation, at least according to Ha'aretz.

Our goal needs to be regional peace and stability and this can't happen while either side is staring down the barrel of the guns of the other. This largely means that negotiations MUST be the way forward. When Hamas won the elections, the policy should have been to bring them into the negotiations tentatively at first, and then fully once they would agree that the discussion needs to be about borders and not wiping out one side or the other. Hamas and Likud could have made good negotiating partners (and they have more in common both in rhetoric and action in this regard than is apparent on the surface) and both could have been credible, but we let this opportunity pass us by. Instead we have lost valuable political capital by showing the world that democracy means the right to elect the leaders we, as a foreign power, choose.

The far-right of Israel is pretty horrid. They are the ones who repetitively propose destroying Muslim holy sites (like the Al'Aqsa mosque), and transferring Israeli citizens to foreign countries just because they are not ethnically or religiously Jewish. They are also the ones who tend to applaud the killing of Arabs, whether Israeli or Palestinian. In short, they recommend doing to the Arabs exactly what had been done to the Jews in Europe in the past thousand years (terrorizing and ethnic cleansing as per the Alhambra Decree). However, this side of Israeli politics is dying. Now, the problems are coming largely from the central left (the Ehud Barak wing).

Folks like Barak are engaged in a careful shell game designed to show the world a) how much Israel is "willing" to give up for peace while b) ensuring that such can never happen. This is diametrically opposite from the way Likud does things which is to project a "no concessions" image and then negotiate real and painful ones, ensuring that they will be followed through. Given the choice, I will choose substance over words, which is why I hope Likud wins the next election. Every time we have seen a Likud administration since before Shamir, we have seen substantial steps toward peace. Every time we have seen a Labor or Kadima administration after Rabin, we have seen the situation on the ground get worse in terms of prospects for peace.

However, the real progress will need to be made in helping bring about an end to the illegal (under Israeli law) discrimination that Israeli Arabs face. This means that the Israeli High Court's judgements regarding nondiscrimination in housing need to be implemented rather than simply filed. Otherwise I think we are headed towards serious problems as the Beduin, Arab, and Druze communities grow. Right now they are 20% of the Israeli population, but their birth rate is over twice what the Jewish birth rate is in Israel (and more than that if one excludes ultra-orthodox Sephardim who tend to be relatively non-Zionist).

The birth rate difference is why some on the far-right (like Effe Eitam) have proposed what would essentially be an Alhambra Decree, round 2, expelling all non-Jews from Israel, just like the Spaniards did to the Jews back in 1492. Fortunately, the vast majority of Jews I know are horrified by such ideas and for good reason.
12.28.2008 2:42pm
Portland (mail):

The notion that it's only Zionists, not Jews, who get smeared with labels like "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing" would I'm sure come as a relief to the Rabbi and his wife who were targeted, tortured and executed in Mumbai.


Aside from who gets the blame I, as a critic of the ethnic cleansing and oppression of the Palestinians, have to be very careful to distinguish between the people who did that -- the Zionists -- from the people they claim to represent -- the Jews, many of which are indifferent to Zionism, and some of which are hostile. Otherwise (and, sometimes, in spite of this) I get accused of anti-Semitism.

Zionists, of course, do not have this problem, being on the friendliest of terms with anti-Semites, who they use to further their goals, and having incorporated many of the teachings of the anti-Semites -- such as the idea that Jews are firstly loyal to the Jewish nation, that Judaism is a race, or that the state's function is to represent and embody the ethnic Volk.

This quote from Hertzl sums it up well: "The antisemites will become our most loyal friends, the antisemitic nations will become our allies."

And so it has proved.


But more to the central point, when the only blame you think worth mentioning belongs to


Straw man. You don't know what blame I think worth mentioning, only the blame that is, in the words of the OP, "On my mind tonight."


the evil, ethnic-cleansing, apartheid-making Zionists (who just happen to be Jews),


Jews hiding behind their Judaism, with rhetoric like yours, to further the dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians. Disgusting. As if we owe it to people whose relatives have suffered as minorities the right to inflict that suffering on others.


yet you accuse me without a hint of irony of "hyper-ventilating," I have to wonder if we're ever really going to reach agreement.


I doubt it. In the first place, you'd have to want to reach an agreement, which would mean leaving out your hyperventilating and Godwin's-Law-triggering references to "Judenrein" areas of Palestine (and while you're at it, don't forget to fight the good fight to keep China British.)

When you're ready to ditch your self-pitying baggage and deal with the reality of Israel -- a bully, not a victim -- I'm sure we will have much to talk about.
12.28.2008 2:57pm
LM (mail):
DW,

As Yogi Berra is supposed to have said, no doubt with Huffington Post in mind, "It's so popular, nobody goes there any more." It used to be one of my favorite sites, but I mostly avoid it now, partly out of frustration with the comments and comment moderation, but also for the same reason I avoid shopping malls. I prefer mom and pop stores. Like most malls, there's a wide range of merchandise, from high quality to crap. Caveat emptor.
12.28.2008 3:01pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Portland:

Aside from who gets the blame I, as a critic of the ethnic cleansing and oppression of the Palestinians, have to be very careful to distinguish between the people who did that -- the Zionists -- from the people they claim to represent -- the Jews, many of which are indifferent to Zionism, and some of which are hostile. Otherwise (and, sometimes, in spite of this) I get accused of anti-Semitism.


There is another side to this too. The apartheid that exists in Israel relating to citizens who are Arab vs citizens who are Jewish (apartheid being a label that at least one Ha'aretz editor has used to describe the situation) is illegal under Israeli law, but that this area of law is routinely ignored. Even when Arab citizens sue and win, they are still blocked from purchasing housing in most of Israel. I think the US could do more to ensure that if we are providing a great deal of aid, that the antidiscrimination laws are more than just a formalism and are actively enforced.
12.28.2008 4:17pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Portland:

One other thing I would point out is that the majority of Israel as strongly Zionist is actually threatened by demographic pressures. The two groups of Israeli citizens with the highest birth rates are the Arabs, and the ultra-orthodox Sephardim (ultra-orthodox immigrants have a high birthrate too but not as high). The ultra-orthodox Sephardim tend not to be very Zionist in their outlook, and the Arabs are anti-Zionist. I think that within 20 years, Zionists will be a formal minority of Israeli citizens, and within 50 (under current demographic forecasts), Jews will be a minority.

These demographic pressures have resulted in unspeakable nastiness from the far-right of Israeli politics, as well as dastardly acts from the center-left (PM Ehud Barak wanting to "exchange" Arab Israeli citizens and their land for settlements). The far right is dying in Israel. The center-left is now the group to watch out for.
12.28.2008 4:22pm
LM (mail):
einhverfr,

I agree with much, though certainly not all of your comment. The one exception I'd point out, since we've been over this ground before, is that when you say,

The Clinton/Barak proposals were fundamentally flawed in that they provided limited territorial control to the PA, and while most of the West Bank and Gaza were to be handed over at least in theory, in practice, Israel would still control everything on the ground.

the operative word is "proposals." Because there was no counter-proposal, Arafat choosing instead to walk away, at which point the second Intifada commenced, rendering Barak an impotent lame duck, we'll never know how much further Barak would have gone to conclude an agreement.
12.28.2008 4:59pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
LM: There are serious questions as to when exactly the second Intifada began and what caused it. I suspect that there were the beginning of hostilities following the breakdown at Taba and Camp David and the recognition that Barak had no history of credible negotiations (why there wasn't a counter-proposal). However the level of violence prior to Sharon's visit to the temple mount did not seem higher than it was in, say, 1996.

On the other hand, things went downhill very fast following Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. I am undecided whether things could have been contained at that point but by the aftermath of the October Riots (largely between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs), there was no turning back.

Personally, looking at the Barak proposals both involving Syria and the Golan issue, and Gaza/WB/PA, I would place most of the blame on him and his government for a lack of good faith as well as a general sense that he may have deliberately sabotaged the negotiations.

The Sharon visit also needs to be seen against the backdrop of the far-right statements of Israeli politicians urging the destruction of the Al'Aqsa Mosque (which is atop the Temple Mount). The popular uprising was clearly triggered by this event more than anything else.

However, like the First Intifada, the initial crisis seems to have been a popular crisis rather than an orchestrated one.

The simple fact though is that almost every credible negotiator on the Israeli side has been an individual who has been responsible for disproportionate actions and/or war crimes. This was true of Shamir (a former terrorist), Rabin (who directed the brutal tactics of the First Intifada), Netenyahu seems to be the exception though not a lot happened during his time either way except for some steps taken in accord with the Oslo requirements, and Sharon's involvement during the invasion of Lebanon and support for the Sabra and Shatila massacres have earned him many calls for war crime indictments (yet Sharon managed to cause the near-total collapse of the Settler movement).

Unfortunately, Olmert is pretty much in the image of Barak. Nothing good will come out of his term in office and we may well see this turn into a Third Intifada.
12.28.2008 6:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lm:

Like most malls, there's a wide range of merchandise, from high quality to crap.


I'm sure some crap can be found at HuffPo, because crap can be found almost everywhere. But I just can't find any in the article Warner is making a fuss about. So I hope he'll tell us what his complaint is.
12.28.2008 7:01pm
LM (mail):
Portland,

Straw man. You don't know what blame I think worth mentioning, only the blame that is, in the words of the OP, "On my mind tonight."

You're right. I don't know what blame you think is worth mentioning. I only know what blame you mentioned, and what blame you've mentioned before. I also know what blame you didn't mention, and what blame you've omitted before. So yes, I inferred what blame you think is worth mentioning. If I misunderstood you, or if I missed where you expressed an understanding of the more nuanced, complicated reality, I hope you'll clear that up here.

Jews hiding behind their Judaism, with rhetoric like yours, to further the dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians. Disgusting.

If I've ever expressed anything less than sympathy for the lot of Palestinians, please point it out. Otherwise, how anyone else may abuse words or religion is irrelevant. I'm not the one who's objected to acknowledging that each side has done terrible things to the other. In this instance I was referring only to your absolutist caricature of the conflict. If I mischaracterized your position, I'd welcome your explanation of what your position really is. Because when you said,

so they will have to chose some other gang of thugs, self-righteously and sadistically murdering the weak in the name of a false idol of historical destiny. They can call it "Zionism."

and then called my suggestion that "Jews and Arabs have done unpardonable things to each other" a false equivalence analogous to comparing America with Al Qaeda, and accused Israel of ethnic cleansing you likened to Stalin's Ukrainian genocide, I have to admit, yes, I did get the impression that "the only blame you think worth mentioning belongs to the evil, ethnic-cleansing, apartheid-making Zionists." I just can't account for how I missed that in the grand sweep of the Middle Eastern conflict, Israel is a Stalinist Al Qaeda, and Hamas, Hezbolah and Islamic Jiyhad are America.

As for who's hyperventilating, I'll let that, to borrow a term from Orin, be "an exercise for the reader."
12.28.2008 7:47pm
Portland (mail):

There is another side to this too. The apartheid that exists in Israel relating to citizens who are Arab vs citizens who are Jewish (apartheid being a label that at least one Ha'aretz editor has used to describe the situation) is illegal under Israeli law, but that this area of law is routinely ignored. Even when Arab citizens sue and win, they are still blocked from purchasing housing in most of Israel. I think the US could do more to ensure that if we are providing a great deal of aid, that the antidiscrimination laws are more than just a formalism and are actively enforced.


That's an important part of the story, and I'm glad you also pointed out that Israeli sources, including Ha'aretz, frequently talk about the situation in blunt terms that get labeled as anti-Semitic in the United States. The prime minister, for example, recently acknowledge that settlers in the West Bank were executing "pogroms" (his word) against the native Palestinians.

The is a sort of a mixed system, with the regime in the territories clearly resembling apartheid, and the system inside the Green Line being more akin to the segragationist era. East Jerusalem (annexed to Israel but without granting citizenship to the Palestinian Jerusalemites) is a mix of the two systems.
12.28.2008 7:48pm
Portland (mail):

If I misunderstood you, or if I missed where you expressed an understanding of the more nuanced, complicated reality, I hope you'll clear that up here.


All reality is nuanced and complicated. Basically, there are two things that you should understand about me views:

1. I am not a moral relativist. I believe in right and wrong. If you believe that fault is always equally distributed between combatants, then we differ. I believe there are aggressors, like the Zionist movement, and there are people who defend themselves.

You can be a moral relativist, or not, and there's arguments to be made for both. I hope that you are not someone who goes back and forth, seeing clear cases of good and evil when convenient and falling back on complexity and nuance when the people you identify with are clearly in the wrong.

2. People are basically people, and have a roughly equal capacity for good and evil. However, there can exist ideologies and institutions which nudge people towards the better or the worse. Zionism is an evil ideology and I have nothing but contempt for it. The people who follow it are like people everywhere, and if you took a different group of people and gave them the same set of experiences they would likely do much the same.

It is the Zionist side, which fumes over even bear-bone descriptions of Jewish fundamentalism, Israeli racism, or Zionist ethnic cleansing, which assumes the belief that cultural group are distinctly better or worse than one another and that these terrible things could not possibly be true of Jews, who (to them) are the eternal victims, ever on the side of justice.

I strongly suspect that if you saw these actions and these principles espoused by people you saw as "Others," that you would describe them in much the same way I describe them.

It is the height of hypocrisy to have one vocabulary for Jewish terrorism and another one for Islamic terrorism; to denounce Islamic fundamentalism and wink at Jewish fundamentalism; to endorse democracy and self-determination and then pitch them down the memory hole in the name of a fraudulent "right to exist (as a Jewish state.)"



Jews hiding behind their Judaism, with rhetoric like yours, to further the dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians. Disgusting.


If I've ever expressed anything less than sympathy for the lot of Palestinians, please point it out.


This is not about sympathy for the "lot" of the Palestinians (who in any case need justice, not sympathy, and are suffering under the heel of a tyranny, not some unspecified "lot.") It's about deflecting criticism of the Israeli regime by saying (as you did above) "You are criticizing Jews -- that's suspicious." You are quite self-consciously using people's fear of being labeled racists to silence criticism of racism. That is deplorable.

so they will have to chose some other gang of thugs, self-righteously and sadistically murdering the weak in the name of a false idol of historical destiny. They can call it "Zionism."

and then called my suggestion that "Jews and Arabs have done unpardonable things to each other" a false equivalence analogous to comparing America with Al Qaeda, and accused Israel of ethnic cleansing you likened to Stalin's Ukrainian genocide, I have to admit, yes, I did get the impression that "the only blame you think worth mentioning belongs to the evil, ethnic-cleansing, apartheid-making Zionists."


Zionists are the party who is mostly to blame, having invaded Palestine, committed ethnic cleansing, and denied those who remained their basic human rights, all in the name of establishing Jewish supremacy over a piece of land they had not the slightest legal or moral claim to.

But they are not the only ones that have been at fault in the course of the conflict; they are not the only ones doing terrible things today. They are, however, the one getting supported with billions of tax dollars, yours and mine, transfers of advanced technology, and a diplomatic blank check. They are also the ones obstructing any possible resolutions to the long conflict and doing everything in their power to keep it going. So their myths need puncturing more urgently than those of the Palestinians or the Arabs in general.

The fierce and unquestioning adherence of the political and media elites to the narrative laid down be Israel and her supporters ensures all the faults of Israel's enemies, real and imagined, will get the Lou Dobbs hyperventilating treatment. So while their mistakes need to be mentioned, they do not need to be mentioned by me, in this context, especially not, as you would seem to propose, in such a way as to justify or rationalize Israeli crimes. The internment of Japanese citizens in WWII is important, but not in a discussion of Pearl Harbor.


I just can't account for how I missed that in the grand sweep of the Middle Eastern conflict, Israel is a Stalinist Al Qaeda, and Hamas, Hezbolah and Islamic Jiyhad are America.


You don't seem to understand analogy, which is "the comparison of unlike things that are alike in some way."

As for who's hyperventilating, I'll let that, to borrow a term from Orin, be "an exercise for the reader."


I'm fine with that, given that you compared Jordan and Egypt to Nazi Germany -- and comparison that by itself, according to hoary internet tradition, means that you have forfeited the argument almost as soon as you began.
12.28.2008 8:23pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BTW, my view on Arafat is that he had shown some willingness to commit to real negotiations through Oslo and other processes but that he was not willing to make some of the difficult decision necessary to show beyond all doubt that he was ready to commit to full negotiations either.

With Arafat and Rabin or Arafat and Shamir, you had real, substantive negotiations by the Israeli side and solid participation by the Palestinian side. Under Netanyahu and Barak, you had no real commitment to negotiations by the Israelis and more or less stalling by Arafat. By the end of Barak's term, I wonder if he had picked up bad habits from Barak, and if the second Intifada might not be partly a response to his lack of skills in running the PA in a reasonable way.

I still think that Hamas needs to be brought into the negotiations with a Likud-based Israeli government. Likud has pledged to ensure no Palestinian state can exist, and Hamas has pledged that Israel cannot exist, so they have that much rhetorically in common. However, both parties have also shown that they are willing to commit to changes on the ground necessary or bilateral peace, and both have shown a great deal of political aptitude.
12.28.2008 9:41pm
ManBearPig:

Was Obama elected primarily on a lark? I mean, while he seems like a decent enough man, it does seem like we picked him in the midst of our economy going apart, our melting planet, and at the end of arguably the worst President in history.



This is a hilarious notion. It's only arguable by a very silly person--someone who has no concept of history (even recent history).
12.29.2008 2:00am
LM (mail):
Portland:

I am not a moral relativist. I believe in right and wrong. If you believe that fault is always equally distributed between combatants, then we differ.

There's so much false dichotomy implied there I'm a little dizzy trying to get my head around it. But no matter. I do believe in right and wrong, and I've never yet thought of fault as being equally divided in a conflict, though I'm still young. It's a good bet I'm what you would call a moral relativist, and I don't mind the label, even though it's a poor description more often than not. For example, some protracted conflicts, and the Middle East is a prime example, are the product of so many policies, plans and acts of every moral description by so many individuals, groups and states, and over so long a time, that hanging a "right" on one side and a "wrong" on the other only makes sense to me as an exercise of validating a pre-existing preference (ideological, religious, tribal, etc.). That's not moral relativism as I understand it, but whatever.

I believe there are aggressors, like the Zionist movement, and there are people who defend themselves.

Yes, you've made that clear. What I believe is that the certainty in which you apparently hold that belief and the others you've expressed here dooms any attempt at an open-minded conversation on the subject. On another thread you made what I thought was an excellent point about non-falsifiable ideologies. Do you think it could possibly apply to your views here? To paraphrase part of what I recall you saying, before trying to persuade you of something you don't already believe about Israel or Palestine, I'd want to see some evidence that anything possibly could. Your comments here argue against the likelihood that such evidence exists.
12.29.2008 2:20am
LM (mail):
JBG:

I'm sure some crap can be found at HuffPo, because crap can be found almost everywhere. But I just can't find any in the article Warner is making a fuss about. So I hope he'll tell us what his complaint is.

Obviously I can't speak for David, and I agree with you that there's nothing in that post I'd call crap, but I think Edsall fell short of his usual standards when he withdraw his criticism of Larisa Alexandrovna's (and some other) blog post(s) in his update. I also assumed DW's criticism included Alexandrovna's post, since Edsall talked about, responded to and linked to it.

Now I think Edsall set himself up by using "conspiracy theorist" too casually to describe bloggers like Alexandrovna who qualified their speculation much more than others who probably did deserve it (I haven't read all the posts he referred to, so I don't know how this applies to some of them). When Alexandrovna called him on it, he may have bent over backwards out of sheepishness. But though Alexandrovna stopped short of conspiracy theory mongering, she did it by planting herself firmly in Jim Lindgren territory. Her post, including this disclaimer,

I am not saying that this was a hit nor am I resigned to this being simply an accident either. I am no expert on aviation and cannot provide an opinion on the matter. What I am saying, however, is that given the context, this event needs to be examined carefully.

has that familiar Lindgrenesque "I'm not bringing up murder because I think anyone was murdered or because I want you to think about murder or because murder is even what the story is about, much less that the murderer (assuming a murder was committed) owes Orin a beer" ring to it. I'd have hoped Edsall would have stood a little more of his original ground in distancing himself from it.

But to repeat, no, that's not what I had in mind by "crap." I was thinking more along the lines of this.
12.29.2008 3:59am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Portland:

I am not a moral relativist. I believe in right and wrong. If you believe that fault is always equally distributed between combatants, then we differ. I believe there are aggressors, like the Zionist movement, and there are people who defend themselves.


One of the big issues with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that the civilians who would prefer to live peaceful lives within the established borders of their state are the first to pay. Blowing up buses in Tel Aviv is not self-defence. My thinking is that a man who blows himself up on a bus is a war criminal as are those who run his organization, while a man who blows himself up surrounded by IDF soldiers is a legitimate war hero to the Palestinians.

Hamas has shifted tactics to what may be thought of as more legitimate means (even if they are still terrorist in methods): Use widely feared but ineffective weapons to provoke a response. Since the weapons are ineffective, any response will be disproportionate in the view of any outsider but not to the Israelis. This builds international pressure on Israel. I still don't think that such tactics are fully legimiate but I don't think that all of the tactics Israel uses are legitimate either, so perhaps we can consider it the equivalent to Adm. Doenitz's unrestricted submarine warfare (illegal but set against Adm. Nimitz's similar behavior and so not seen as legitimate prosecution by the Nuremberg tribunal).
12.29.2008 11:50am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BTW, the last post is NOT subject to Godwin's Law because Doenitz was apparently never a NSDAP member.
12.29.2008 11:51am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lm:

I think Edsall fell short of his usual standards when he withdraw his criticism of Larisa Alexandrovna


The latter's criticism of the former's criticism is here. I think she has a point.

I also assumed DW's criticism included Alexandrovna's post, since Edsall talked about, responded to and linked to it.


I think that doesn't make much sense, since her original post on this subject was not at HuffPo. warner seemed to be specifically complaining about HuffPo.

though Alexandrovna stopped short of conspiracy theory mongering, she did it by planting herself firmly in Jim Lindgren territory


I think that's a matter of judgment. Not all speculation is equal. Some is offensive. Some is not. It depends on the circumstances. When an important witness dies a sudden, violent death, a certain amount of speculation is normal. Especially in the first few days, when a lot of questions haven't been answered yet. If and when we learn the results of a proper investigation, then it becomes more reasonable to criticize gratuitous speculation.

that's not what I had in mind by "crap." I was thinking more along the lines of this.


HuffPo has a section called "Entertainment." You're citing an article from that section. It's 'crap' in the sense that all celebrity reporting is 'crap.' But it's not 'crap' in the sense of dishonest, false or bogus. The fact that HuffPo has a section for entertainment 'news' does not automatically discredit what they run in their politics section. WSJ devotes plenty of ink to people like Paris Hilton and Heather Mills.

I'm still hoping that warner will tell us which of Edsall's statements are fairly described as "trust-draining tripe." Then again, maybe warner's claim about "trust-draining tripe" is just trust-draining tripe.
12.29.2008 12:03pm
David Warner:
LM,

I'm not surprised that JBG is blind to the Vince Fosterishness of the article (all I've seen on the matter), but that was the gist of my question.
12.29.2008 12:28pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
warner:

the Vince Fosterishness of the article


I cited three reports (including Edsall's) that discuss the matter. Show us which statements demonstrate "Vince Fosterishness."

Then again, maybe you're claiming that any article discussing the sudden death of a key witness is guilty of "Vince Fosterishness."

I'm not surprised that …


I'm not surprised that you seem awfully reluctant to actually show proof for the claim you made.
12.29.2008 12:47pm
LM (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

The latter's criticism of the former's criticism is here. I think she has a point.

I agree. That's why I said she called him on his overreach.

I think that doesn't make much sense, since her original post on this subject was not at HuffPo. warner seemed to be specifically complaining about HuffPo.

Her response was on HuffPo, but you may be right. I was speculating.

I think that's a matter of judgment. Not all speculation is equal. Some is offensive. Some is not. It depends on the circumstances.

I agree it's a judgment call. I don't consider either Alexandrovna's or Lindgren's posts offensive. I do think they're both extremely partisan and, since they also at least implicitly claim to be somewhat objective, their partisanship is either clueless or dishonest. I give them both the dubious benefit of the doubt of being the former, which is what stops them short of offending me.

When an important witness dies a sudden, violent death, a certain amount of speculation is normal. Especially in the first few days, when a lot of questions haven't been answered yet. If and when we learn the results of a proper investigation, then it becomes more reasonable to criticize gratuitous speculation.

I guess we disagree. I'd see nothing wrong with my musing to you, "I wonder if he was knocked off," but that's just conversation. Journalism, and commentary that wants to be taken seriously as more than just ideological determinism, should be more rigorous. Which, I assume, is why Edsall referred to "conspiracy theorists" in his first iteration. But he blew it by overstating the objection as it applied to the bloggers he named.

HuffPo has a section called "Entertainment." You're citing an article from that section. It's 'crap' in the sense that all celebrity reporting is 'crap.' But it's not 'crap' in the sense of dishonest, false or bogus. The fact that HuffPo has a section for entertainment 'news' does not automatically discredit what they run in their politics section.

You got me. I did have in mind posts I've found crappy on more substantive topics, but I couldn't find anything current that strictly meets that standard, and I was too lazy to search the archives or my memory for a better example, so I weaseled.

I cited three reports (including Edsall's) that discuss the matter. Show us which statements demonstrate "Vince Fosterishness."

Nothing short of actual accusations of murder would be at the Vince Foster level, so DW certainly took some rhetorical license. But I think this passage from the CPD article exemplifies the kind of awful journalism that feeds right wing narratives of a left-biased MSM:

Numerous blogs have also reported that Columbus attorney Cliff Arnebeck - who filed the lawsuit - this summer received a tip that Connell's life was in danger and that Rove had threatened Connell and his wife, Heather. Arnebeck did not return a call Saturday.

One of Connell's attorneys did nothing to halt the rumors.

He declined to comment Saturday on the TV news report or to answer questions about the litigation.

The attorney instead referred to a brief statement that Connell's family posted on its business Web site, technomania.com.

The statement, posted Monday, calls Connell's death "a terrible tragedy for his family, our community and our country."

It talks about Connell's faith, family and work to help the poor around the world and describes him as "an engaged citizen, who was actively involved at all levels of our political system."

Do they suspect foul play? The statement doesn't say.
12.29.2008 9:11pm
LM (mail):
BTW, just so there's no confusion, I think the average quality of the substantive posts on Huffington Post is much higher than on, say, PowerLine or FreeRepublic. But I wouldn't discount the impact of my own bias on that assessment.
12.29.2008 9:20pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
this passage from the CPD article


I see room for improvement, but I don't find it particularly awful. And warner was complaining about Edsall, not CPD or Alexandrovna. So I'm still hoping he'll tell us what Edsall said that is objectionable.

the kind of awful journalism that feeds right wing narratives of a left-biased MSM


FWIW, CPD endorsed Bush in 2004.

Journalism, and commentary that wants to be taken seriously as more than just ideological determinism, should be more rigorous.


When a key witness dies in a sudden accident, it's reasonable and normal to consider, at least initially, the possibility of foul play. This is different than making a specific accusation, and I don't see it as a failure to be "rigorous."

For example: the case against Blago does not depend on one key witness. But let's say that it did. And let's say that this witness got into a plane tomorrow, alone, and died in a crash. And let's say that a lawyer connected with the case had warned, months ago, about threats against the witness. Would many observers and commentators mention the importance of a proper investigation to rule out the possibility of foul play? Of course they would. And this would be normal and proper, and no reasonable person would call it "trust-draining tripe."
12.29.2008 10:43pm
David Warner:
LM,

"I do think they're both extremely partisan and, since they also at least implicitly claim to be somewhat objective, their partisanship is either clueless or dishonest."

I'm not so big on the partisanship as the presumption of guilt/when did you stop beating your wife quality of the discourse, which seems awfully similar to 24ahead's line of thinking.

I consider Connell to be a key witness about as much as this guy was. YMMV.
12.30.2008 2:28am
LM (mail):
JBG,

FWIW, CPD endorsed Bush in 2004.

I didn't say the narrative was reasonable. I disagree with it. But it's not irrational so long as you only look at the evidence, like this article, that seems to support it. So pieces like this irk me because I can hear what they sound like in Rush Limbaugh's voice.

When a key witness dies in a sudden accident, it's reasonable and normal to consider, at least initially, the possibility of foul play.

Depends what you mean by "consider." As you said, this is a judgment call, and these facts don't strike me as being sufficiently suspicious to trigger the kind of consideration I see in these stories. That doesn't mean it's impossible his plane was sabotaged, just that I don't see the basis at this stage for thinking it's likely enough to justify how the story's being told.

This is different than making a specific accusation, and I don't see it as a failure to be "rigorous."

Not really the Edsall post, but Alexandrovna's and the CPD story strike me just like Lindgren's Blago posts did. The questions are legitimate, and no direct accusations are made, but the overall tone, and the relative quantity and weight of what's presented leave me convinced the curiosity about wrongdoing is influenced by wishful thinking. But that's just me. Maybe I'm too credulous of conventional explanations. Anyway, I realize YMMV.
12.30.2008 3:13am
LM (mail):
I wish I'd reloaded the page before saying YMMV.
12.30.2008 3:20am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
warner:

I consider Connell to be a key witness about as much as this guy was.


According to gopusa.com, Connell was:

a leading Republican Internet consultant … In 2000 and 2004 Mike oversaw President George W. Bush's online outreach. During the 2002 and 2004 cycles he was also the lead online consultant for several GOP campaigns, including those of Sens. Gordon Smith, Lamar Alexander and John Thune. New Media Enterprises [Connell's company] has also done extensive work for the Republican National Committee.


Connell and his companies have done lots of important work, like hosting the email domains that Bush and Rove used (eg, gwb43.com). Maybe you remember that a lot of emails disappeared. He also worked on Florida systems in 2000 and Ohio systems in 2004.

A witness has testified as follows:

[Connell] made a statement that he is afraid that … partisans of the GOP may have exploited systems he in part worked on for this purpose [voting theft] … He has admitted to me that in his zeal to 'save the unborn' he may have helped others who have compromised elections.


That affidavit is here (pdf). Other legal documents are here.

Connell tried to avoid being deposed, but a judge rejected those motions, and a deposition took place on 11/3. Other depositions were supposed to follow.

Sounds like a key witness to me. If he wasn't, it's hard to understand why the judge compelled him to testify.
12.30.2008 3:55am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
A few other interesting facts.

The preliminary NTSB report is here. Connell was an instrument-rated pilot with over 500 hours of flying time. The engine was producing power at the time of the crash (in other words, the problem was not engine failure or running out of fuel). Two minutes before the crash, the local visibility was nine miles. He crashed during his landing approach, about two miles from the airport. He was returning home from DC, on an IFR flight plan.

Connell had started his trip at College Park Airport, near DC. Since 9/11, this airport has been under tight security and is used by a small number of people who are carefully vetted.

The plane is a Piper PA-32R-301T Saratoga II TC. This model became sort of famous when JFK Jr crashed a Piper Saratoga on 7/16/99. It's a popular plane, and generally considered safe and reliable.
12.30.2008 4:23pm

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