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September 01, 2007 03:57 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“I hope today’s bill is a pedophile’s nightmare.”

–Mark Foley


82 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

      1. But, he did accept and cash Marc Murphy’s $500 check and justified doing so, as reported by the Gazette last year.  His disclosure came in response to whether he had accepted any donations from the gambling or pornogrophy industry.  Murphy was the manager of Bronco Billy’s.  Murphy didn’t want to see the gambling industry expanded, which, in Lamborn’s view justified his accepting the $500, to help Murphy be sure the industry was not expanded, a euphemism for limiting competition, which benefits those kids already on the block from having any new kids on the block.

        1. Im sure Im missing something here (and in an indirect way this sort of relates to JP accepting, or maybe not, lobbyist money).

          First did Marc Murphy donate the money on the predication that Lamborn would represent gambling interests? 500 dollars seems like a piddly amount if you are trying to influence a congressman with regards to your business.

          Also, how do you know what Lamborn’s state of mind was when he accepted the contribution?

  1. First we have the best news story of the week – A clever High School student

    And for the few who have not seen it – Miss South Carolina answers a question. She’s clearly smarter (and prettier) than Wayne Allard so maybe she has a future as a Republican Senator.

    And what would it be without a great musical clip – Eurovision 2006 Slovenia entry – Mr. Nobody. The guy is so good that even surrounded by beautiful women you can’t take your eyes off of him (I mean that in a non-Larry Craig sort of way).

    1. …No harm was done, they got a good laugh.

      I remember a prank in HS, it was in the hallway before class. (Bud Wyman & I took the hinge pins out of the locked door. We are tall. When the teacher opened it, the door fell to the floor.)  Anyway, once we were in class, the teacher was trying to be angry and tell us that those responsible should come forward, yada yada yada.  But he could hardly suppress his grin.

      Six years later I started a teaching job and one of my coworkers was that teacher’s wife.  She went home that night and told her husband that an ex-student of his was now her coworker, and she said who.  The first words out of his mouth were, “The door!”

  2. Bush will looked on favorably by history:


    OK, OK, maybe a hundred years out when none of us are alive, when things have distorted enough through a century of historical rewriting. 

    If he is to be looked on favorably, God help the Republic.

  3. This was just posted on the Denver Post online –

    The following is a text of two voice messages that Rep. Doug Lamborn left on the home telephone of Jonathan and Anna Bartha.

    FIRST MESSAGE: “Hello, this is Doug Lamborn calling for either Jonathan or Anna. Something very serious has happened. There was a letter to the editor that you both put in your names to the editor of the Woodmen Edition and there is something that is blatantly false in that letter.

    “I would like to get together with you and show this to you and appeal to you as a brother and sister in Christ. You didn’t give me that opportunity but I am happy to overlook that and deal with you on that level because I think that is the right thing to do and show you where you made a blatant, wrong statement.

    “Now there are consequences to this kind of thing, but I would like to work with you in a way that is best for everyone here concerned. So please call me at your earliest convenience. It is now 2:40 (p.m.) on Saturday afternoon.

    SECOND MESSAGE: “Hello, this is Doug Lamborn again, I’m finishing up my message from a moment ago. I got cut off. It is critical that you get back to me as soon as possible on this because I’ll be going back to Washington here in a few days and I have to make sure that this is resolved one way or another. And like I said I’d rather resolve this on a Scriptural level but if you are unwilling to do that I will be forced to take other steps, which I would rather not have to do. So please call me. This is essential. Call me by tonight, Saturday night and we can get together sometime Sunday afternoon.”

  4. Does this mean the Denver Post is covering this story tomorrow?  Where is the Gazette in their coverage?

    I’m amazed Lamborn would do this, though I shouldn’t be surprised by anything stupid he does.  I cannot imagine a U.S. Congressman calling and threatening me like he did to the Barthas. 

    This should be an embarrassment to Jonathan Hotaling for not keeping his candidate reigned in and away from damaging situations like these. 

    1. The Congressman mentions that there are consequences to making false statements.

      And he says he may be forced to take other steps if they don’t call him back to get the differences straightened out. 

      Doug sounds like he is earnestly looking to clear his name and limit damage, but there is no threat to harm them. 

      He simply warns that he may have to take other steps if they choose not to cooperate. 


      Now that I’ve seen the transcript, I can’t help suspecting that the Barthas have some motive that they have not publicly disclosed. 
      Being a scriptural Christian has some responsibilities that it appears they may have walked away from. 

      1. I don’t recall any in any bible I’ve ever read.

        Exhortations, admonitions, yes. But black and white mandates on intra-Christian relations is rather sparse. Well, non-existant.

        However, as much as I dislike Lamborn, I don’t necessarily read threats into his messages.  Probably, but not necessarily. 

        1. That last year Doug Lamborn gave up any right to the biblical principles you refer to when he was approached by several other Christians regarding his ads.  Lamborns ads and his supports ads were blatantly false (so much so that the media eventually pulled them), but Lamborn refused to quit slandering other Christians in the race.  If you continue to read the passage you refer to in the Bible, you will discover that the protections afforded to Christian/Christian interactions are withdrawn when someone is confronted with wrongdoing and refuses to change his ways.  In my opinion, Lamborn does not and has not acted like a Christian since the race began in 2006.  He is a hypocrite who uses Christians to get into office, nothing more.

          Jesus talked about evaluating people by the fruit they bear.  Look at Lamborn and tell me what you see.  His family is in disarray, his supporters slander other Christians, and Lamborn himself refuses to stand up for personal ethics and bashes and threatens Christians.  Therefore, I have to conclude by his actions that his faith may be nothing more than a means to political power.

          If you have read my posts before, you know that I am big on personal character.  I believe politicians should hold themselves to high personal ethical standards.  Because I am a conservative Christian, I hold anyone who purports to be a conservative Christian to the highest personal ethical standards.  I expect “Christians” in politics to set the example of ethics, not set to floor for them.

              1. With a bit of elaboration, we’re probably not that far apart. Are you for endless war? Are you for expanding poverty? Are you for degrading the environment? Are you for dirty air and polluted water? Are you for allowing the free market to produce or import the cheapest widget, even if that widget is a health hazard…You get the point. Are we really that far apart?

                1. but not the solutions.  I dont want US forces to be in Iraq longer than needed, but I am for winning the war and then leaving.  I believe in the principals of Adam Smith and am a fundamentalist economist.  It has worked every time and failed every time societies strayed (think communism and modern day Europe).  I believe following Smith’s ideas of free market is the key to solving “expanding” poverty (actually, those in the US who live in poverty live better than many “middle class” in the rest of the world). 

                  I consider myself a personal environmentalist.  I pick up trash when I see it, I have energy efficient lights, and I would like to see much less air pollution.  But I believe we should attack environmental issues logically.  For instance, liberals talk about total pollution that a country produces.  This has led to outsourcing out pollution to third world countries whose pollution standards are lower.  We should talk about pollution efficiency of a country.  This means dividing the production (GDP) by pollution and pushing for those countries efficient in polluting to produce more.  (In case you didn’t know, the US is one of the best polluting countries.) 

                  I am a complete free market believer (I have to be because of my belief in fundamental economics).  This may be where I differ from a lot of other conservatives like Savage (who I think is an ass).  This does not mean that there should not be safety checks, but we should promote free trade because it works and it is the future.  If the US wants to be the leader in the world economy, we must embrace and lead free trade, not fight it.

                  And finally I am pro life.  I can accept that reasonable people can disagree on what point life begins (conception vs viability vs birth) but I think terminating that which is alive is murder.  Again, reasonable people can disagree on when life begins, but I think we can all agree that ending life is wrong. 

                  So maybe we agree on what we would like to accomplish, but not how to get there.  I guess that is what promotes good debate in society and I think it is very healthy.  Conservatism thrives on logical and thoughtful debate and I always welcome it.

                  1. You are flat wrong about the “failure” of the EU.

                    Average income is higher than the US, the nations with the greatest number of millionaires per capita are in the EU, and they are creating millionaires faster than the US.

                    To say nothing of a greater social safety net, “free” education and health care.

                    1. Fact: The unemployment rate in the US is about half of most EU countries. 

                      Fact:  The GDP per capita (which is the best measure of productivity) in the US is nearly 50% higher than in the GDP per capita in the EU.

                      Fact: The long term economic growth rate in the US is higher than the EU.

                      Fact:  The time spent on unemployment in the US is lower than the time spent on unemployment in the EU.

                      Fact:  The US leads worldwide innovation in new medical technology.

                      Fact:  The economies in the EU that embrace more free market tactics are growing at a more rapid rate than those who are government controlled.

                      Next time you try to question something I say about economics, you should get your facts right first. Next time you want to question me on economics, you had darn well better get your facts right. 

                    2. ..and they don’t necessarily contradict yours.

                      The US measures its unemployment rate rather dishonestly.  The EU is rather more honest.  For instance, I’m not counted as unemployed in the US because I’ve pretty well given up.  I’d be counted in the EU.

                      Similarly, the reason time spent on unemployment is less in the US is because we dump folks off of the support system after six months!  Sheeeeesh.

                      Not sure what the medical technology snippet is about.  I agree.  We also lead in other sectors, I’m not that naive.

                      As to “50%” productivity, check…  Oh, dear, on a per hour basis, France and Germany actually exceed us a bit.  Due to their shorter work weeks, we beat them a bit – but nowhere near by 2:1 – annualized.  In other words, while they were using their 5 weeks of vacation, we were checking intot he office and the coal mine.

                      I’m not sure what nations you have in mind as more or less “free market.”  If you are thinking Sweden, their economy is going along with a lot of strength, thank you very much.

                      And none of your points negate what I said about creation of  millionaires in the EU.

                      Unfortunately for me, my books are packed up, so I can’t quote specifics or sources.  The volume that so generally informed me is “The European Dream” by Jeremy Rifkin.  Now, before you use your second amendment rights and you shoot the messenger, you need to accept that most of his sources for data were respectable and in depth.  As I read it a few years ago I wanted to weep for America.  Not that Rifkin implied this, but we have become a third world country in so many respects.


                    3. I am going to go out on a limb here and state that you probably have not traveled to a third world country nor do you have much international business experience.  You probably get your information from other libs who like to criticize the US but really dont know how bad it is elsewhere.

                      Now you may use other sources, but my source is the CIA World Factbook.  They generally have solid and accepted numbers for economies around the world.  Furthermore, they do a good job of using the same standards for all economies.  Therefore, your statement that essentially says I am not comparing apples to apples is wrong.

                      The countries I refer to as more free market are the newer EU nations (Poland, Czech, ect.)  They have adopted a more Americanized model of economics and have pretty solid growth to show for it.  The biggest complaint I hear from Europeans is that they are pissed that they must now go to the Ukraine and Belarus for cheap labour rather than Poland, Czech, and Hungary (very considerate mindset of them!).

                      My statement about medical advancement is that we are the innovators in medicine AKA growth in the field.  Think about this, what if we had universal (and lets make it really free like aliens came down to give it to us and we did not have to pay insane tax rates for it) health care but with one caveat: It is medical care where advancements stopped in 1945.  We would not have to pay anything, but we would not have MRIs, modern medicine, or (heaven forbid) Viagra.  That is what you are proposing for our next generation.  Shutting down free market innovation in the health care industry will drastically slow the advancement of tomorrows technology.  We have a lot left to discover in the medical field (cure for AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s, ect.) and I dont want stop the current growth in that industry.  Without high profit potential, it is impossible to get free market innovation to come up with treatments for new and existing problems.

                      Finally, I dont know anything about the creation of new millionaires in Europe nor do I care.  I believe in growing the economy and letting those who work hard and take risks benefit.  I do know this, a European millionaire probably sees about half as much of his paycheck as an American millionaire so he might prefer to be a non-millionaire in the US as a “millionaire” in Europe. 

                    4. comparing western European countries to the emerging markets of the Czech Republic (which I have visited, along with Romania–struggling though its also adopting more ‘Americanized’ practices, Serbia, Hungary etc. etc.) and Poland is in fact apples and oranges.  Just like your ‘fundamentalist economics’ based on ‘mathematical facts’ is simplistic to the point of absurdity.  I have also traveled all over Central America and parts of Asia, so before you make up who I am, ask rather than ‘go out on a limb…’

                    5. …but been around a little bit.  No sense getting into who has had the bigger travel budget.

                      I acknowledged that the US has had more medical advances, so why you are flogging that horse I’m not sure.  Do note, however, that most of the pharmaceutical “advances” in the US have been “lifestyle” drugs or tweaks on old formulations.  And, of course, the US is not the only pharm homebase there is.

                      What you are claiming as superior, is indeed, the American mindset of values. Could be summed up as “get more.”  Even Toqueville noted this, and things have only become more self centered since the Reagan “eff the middle class” policies.

                      Europeans have different values, that of living a quality life not measured by accumulations of “stuff.”  Recognizing that life is to be lived and not be a victim of running ever faster.

                      Now, you may prefer the dominant US mode, and that is your privilege.  I prefer to live in a culture that values people before property. 

                      And that, too, is my right.

                  2. of a well-reasoned conservative perspective. We can only hope that others who CLAIM to value reasoned debate, but frame their posts with the principle intention of derailing such debate, take note.

                    I disagree with many elements of your position, but am impressed with your graciousness in establishing such a sound basis for discussion.

                    Let me start with what may seem a nit-picking point: When you say that we can all agree that ending life is wrong, does that mean that we all agree that a diet which includes meat is wrong? I’m not trying to be snide, but rather to point out the value of precision in addressing these issues. Am I right in assuming that what you really meant to say is that we can all agree that ending HUMAN life is wrong? This distinction can be important to the discussion, and I personally wish it were more regularly included.

                    Here’s why: The “right to life” position is based on reasoning from definitions, rather than reasoning from unreduced reality. That is a defensible approach: It makes sense to reduce reality to managable compartments in order to better understand it. But it is an approach which also comes at a cost, and, in this case, I think the cost is greater than the benefit.

                    The debate is almost always framed as a two-part issue: 1) When does life begin? and 2) If life begins at conception, then abortion is morally wrong. Here’s my reframing of the issue: The moral prescription against the taking of human life (except in “legal” warfare, self-defense, or state execution of a convicted criminal…) developed over millenia in which the definition of human life (or when it begins) was mostly unproblematic, and the social consequences of abortion (to be distinguished from the morality of abortion) were as unambiguously negative as the social consequences of murder (maximizing procreation was a legitimate societal goal). Now that the definition has become more problematic, and the social consequences have become out of sinc (unwanted children born to young, unwed mothers can reasonably be argued to be a phenomena that has large negative social consequences), we need to reconceptualize the issue completely. Instead, we have just tacked on a preceding question, and have not addressed the short-comings in our prior conceptualization.

                    Here’s my radical suggestion: It doesn’t really matter when we define life to begin. The reality is the same regardless of our definition, and it is the unreduced reality that we should attend to. We understand the reality far better than our inability to agree on its label would suggest: The fetilization of an egg by a sperm, the growth of the zygote into a fetus, the developmental stages, and the largely arbitrary moment when the fully developed baby in the womb actually leaves the womb. The real question is this one: Does the motivation for our moral proscription against murder apply to a prescription against abortion? I have no problem (except for the support it gives to a political cause which I consider dysfunctional) with calling abortion the killing of a human being. The question for me is, is it an action which should be proscribed, independent of what we call it?

                    I think the answer, very clearly, is “no.” The moral proscription of murder is neither arbitrary nor absolute. It is not arbitrary in that it evolved for functional reasons, to facilitate human cooperation and collective welfare. It is not absolute in that few of its adherents support it without exception, and even fewer support it in a more generalized form. Let me elaborate the last point: Most (though not all) pro-lifers are also defenders of capital punishment, relatively hawkish militarily, and strong advocates of an individual’s right to defend himself against attack by another. In other words, they recognize instances when killing another human being is permissable, and they are not all instances in which the other human being is guilty of any wrong-doing (e.g., most enemy soldiers killed in war are as innocent as the soldiers killing them). Even fewer pro-lifers are moral vegetarians, eschewing the taking of life (often mammalian life) merely for the pleasure of eating and tasting its flesh. (I’m not a vegetarian, by the way, but I can present their case quite graphically).

                    (As Parsing said, I should be a lawyer, and in deference to that goal, I should be reading case-law right now rather than making this argument. So, I’m going to abbreviate this now). Here’s the bottom line for me: Which is more repugnant from the point of view of the empathetic essence of the moral proscription against murder, the slaughter of a conscious cow which feels terror and pain at the moment of its death, or the removal of a clump of cells soon after conception which in no way resemble a conscious human being (or even a conscious animal)? And which is more repugnant from the point of view of the social contract that we should each refrain from killing those who have the same right to life that we have: The murder of a fully conscious man (or woman) who just happened to have the poor judgement to be born in a country that became our enemy for reasons beyond his or her control, or the murder of a person who has not yet tasted life and so does not yet have any framework by which to measure what it has lost (or is about to lose)?

                    If the exceptions I’ve used for comparison are permissable on moral grounds, then there is no basis for assuming that an exception for abortion should be impermissable on moral grounds alone. The question then becomes, is there a socially compelling reason why it should be permissable, as, some would argue (though I might not), there is a socially compelling reason why killing enemy soldiers (or serial murderers, or innocent chattel) should be permissable? And, from a sociological point of view, the answer is clearly “yes.” The impoverishment of women and children as a result of removing abortion from the table, and a host of other social ills, far outweigh any social benefits to proscribing abortion.

                    The issue of a woman’s right to control her own body does not even have to be addressed. The final determinant is the fact that permitting abortion by those who wish to terminate a pregnancy, on the whole, improves the quality of life of those human beings already in conscious existance, and is not as subjectively brutal to the “victim” (which in the first trimester has no sensory perception, much less consciuosness) as many forms of murder which we blithely accept.

                    I’d like to address your other points as well, and perhaps in future breaks from case-law (though not today), I will have the chance to do so.

                    Have a great labor day! Ah, enjoy your barbecue… 🙂

                    1. Setting aside all the arguments for and against, time of life, etc etc., I have one observation:

                      Where, just where, in the Bible does this matter get addressed and defined?  The answer, of course, is zero, nada, zippola.

                      In fact, the Bible generally is far more about murdering, not saving lives.

                      Jews have always had a long and deep oral tradition to parallel the written.  Their historical belief is that life begins with the first breath (“ruach.”)

                      So what is with Christians dumping that foundation and making up there own w/o Biblical support?

                    2. I’m just as loathe to rely on biblical arguments when they favor my position as I am when they don’t. The bible, for me, is one work of wonderful allegorical wisdom among many, certainly archaic, useful to a very limited extent, and currently more destructive than constructive to our collective welfare as a result of its sacred status and disproportionate influence.

                      Now THAT’S bound to piss a few people off!

                    3. U guys forgot to count the number of angels who can stand on the head of a pin, too.  Your philosophical arguments are amusing chess games, not relevant to the public policy issue.  Murder is taking the life of a person, as defined in the constitution.  The US constitution defines person as “born”.
                      End of argument.

                      If the so-called pro-life faction were serious, they would be working for an amendment to the US Constitution redefining personhoold as beinging at conception.  They are NOT doing that. 

                      And as for O Razor’s interesting arguments of
                      moral  risk/benefits ratios….that argument can be used to justify the state eliminating whole groups of unborn….the illegtimate, for example.  Do you support mandatory abortion of bastards? If not, why not?

                    4. …is doing what you suggest, dwyer.  Except instead of a constitutional amendment, tackling it state by state.  Like right here in our beloved CO.

                    5. The United States Constitution defines who a person is and what rights that person has; not a state constitution.  States lost the right to define who was a person and who was not a person when the South lost the Civil War.  That is legally what that was all about….

                      When you amend the US Constitution, you have to get the amendment passed by both houses of Congress and three fourths of the state legislatures.  So the states may vote, one state at a time, but they are voting on an amendment to the Federal, the US Constitution.  There is also a process to amend the US Constitution by calling a constitutional assembly, but that has not been done since the Articles of Federation were dumped…literally way back when….

                      Proposing an amendment to the state constitution in Colorado, which is what that home schooled Christian young woman is doing, only comes into effect if Colorado passes the amendment and IF Roe v. Wade is overturned.  And, then, a fetus would be a person only in Colorado.  Which, of course, destroys the United States Consitituion, because rights would derive from the state definition of personhood, not the US Constitution.  It would destroy the guarantee of “equal protection of the law”….etc.  It is imperative that people who love the Constitution and this country not be hoodwinked by the argument, presented by the Republicans, that the states should decide what civil rights are and who is a person and who is not….

                      Am I making any sense?  Is anyone listening?

                    6. …I’m not ADVOCATING states doing the back door amendment.  Trust me!

                      A good overview of the process and possible ramifications, thanks.

                    7. and whether a specific incarnation of a broader policy satisfies the purpose of the broader policy is irrelevant to the question of whether the specific policy is a good one or not, but a legal position based on an arbitrary definition settles the matter? Okay, if you say so….

                      And, precisely for the reason given above, my argument most certainly can not be used to justify (at least not legitimately) the perversion of my logic that you cited, precisely because the social consequences of that perversion are not at all desirable. If you can’t imagine the problems that would ripple out of mandatory abortion of bastards, then you don’t have much of an imagination.

                    8. The reason why my argument doesn’t lead to advocating the forced abortion of bastard children is that the forced abortion of bastard children would be a gross violation of the rights of the fully conscious women who are being forced to have an abortion. My reference to the negative social consequences was based on the fact that, in a democratic society, such a gross assault on the rights of conscious human beings would lead to a disintegration and discreditation of the entire legal and political framework within which we operate. That is quite a formidable social ill.

                      Your “end of argument” approach is tautological: “It should be the law because it is the law.” The sacred status of the Constitution may be enough to satisfy all discussion where you are concerned, but I prefer to dig deeper. As, apparently, do most lawyers. The constitution is a rational, not sacred, document, and if we can’t find the rationale in some detail of its mandates, then we need to keep looking. It just isn’t enough to declare that the constitution defines this as this, and therefore, the law that follows that definition is a good one. Certainly, that is true in the very limited sense that a law is a good law if it is a constitutional law. But if that is the limits of our thinking, then we have really lost it! The constitution is not the final word: Reason is. The constitution has merely been a very useful servant of reason. Woe to the society that confuses a means to end, no matter how efficacious that means has been, with the end itself.

                    9. I am speaking pragmatically. Period.  Never talked about good or bad laws.
                      The Constitution provides the legal framework for this country. It is not a philosophical construct for the purpose of some “angels on the head of a pin “argument. The police power of the state is used to enforce those laws and to prosecute and punish those who do break the law.

                      And the law, good or bad, is ultimately what the Supreme Court says it is.
                      If Roe v. Wade is overturned and the issue of abortion becomes the right of each state to regulate, pregnant women would not have any rights except those which a state would give them. The fetus might have rights or might not.

                        Under this scenario, a state could pass a law saying that all illegtimate fetuses had to be aborted because of the social costs associated with bastards.  I don’t know what rights a pregnant woman would have to protest this action.  There would be no recourse to a Constitutional protected civil right. And as for the state mandating a medical treatment, the state does intervene for the purposes of public health.  Some diseases have to be reported, such as TB.  If a person refuses treatment, the state can use its police power to isolate and confine them. 

                      The point being that the overturn of Roe v. Wade would have awful consequences for the US Constitution.  It would not necessarily protect the right to life of anyone, born or unborn. 

                    10. The constitution is a living framework. Our legal system is referred to as common law system (although it is really a hybrid), which means that we make it up as we go, that how courts interpret the law is what, incrementally, makes the law. That is how we can have Dred Scot from one court, and Brown from another. Bad law can, and should, be overturned. To argue that it is “pragmatic” to ignore all questions because the constitution and the courts answer them all for us may satisfy you, but it doesn’t satisfy anyone who participates in the legal system, or the political system, or is a student thereof. The ball remains in our court. We remain responsible for how it bounces. There is nothing pragmatic about failing to understand that.

                      As for angels dancing on the heads of pins, What the hell are you talking about? My arguments concern whether the laws concerning abortion SHOULD (not “DO”) be responsive to arbitrary definitions, or to unreduced realities. Sometimes, unreduced realities are simply too elusive, and definitions must be the starting point. Sometimes definitions are just too arbitrary, and unreduced realities must be the starting point. When dealing with definitions, one makes a rule that depends on a definition, and then resolves the applicability of the rule based on that definition. When dealing with unreduced realities, one considers the entire system, the effects and consequences and implications of different policies within that system, and makes a choice based on that analysis. There are no angels and pins anywhere in the analysis, no obscure medieval ponderings, just a question of how to address legal and social questions that, despite your belief that they are of no practical concern to us (by virtue of being “resolved”), remain both controversial and inescapable.

                      The challenge in the abortion issue is that there is no single, clear, unambiguously correct interpretation of the constitution on this matter, because it reduces to whether a fetus is a living being, and thus protected by the rights of a citizen, or is merely an extension of the mother until birth, and thus subject to the choices of the mother whose rights are thus protected. So, in the real world (that’s what being pragmatic means, right? Dealing with the real world?), it is an issue with which we, collectively, must struggle, because, while it is settled law, it is not settled policy, nor is it incontrovertably “correctly” settled law.

                      Again, this analysis does not abandon the Bill of Rights, and so does not open the gateway to the forced abortion of fetuses, since that would involve forcing conscious human beings to undergo abortions. Your above statements on this topic don’t seem to have any focus: Some are simple truisms, and some are arbitrary conclusions. I’m really not sure how they connect to what I’ve written.

                      Despite the fact that I am a staunch defender of Roe v. Wade for political and social reasons, most legal scholars disagree with you completely. There is a wide-spread malaise in legal circles that the Roe decision was poorly reasoned, in a strictly legal sense. Throwing the issue back to the states would have some negative consequences, but most states would probably not substantially change the current status quo. It may be convenient to claim that overturning Roe v. Wade would be some kind of constitutional crisis, but there isn’t much rational foundation for such a belief.

                      And if you don’t believe that this kind of argumentation is precisely the process by which law is created and evolves, you have never set foot inside of a law school, or read a supreme court decision! You want to talk pragmatic? Let’s talk about the actual practice, then. This is it. Sorry if it doesn’t satisfy your sensibilities.

                    11. Lets see if we can find some coherence in your treatise..

                      Paragraph #1:  I totally agree.

                      Paragraph #2  “unreduced realities” what the h…. does that mean?  This is where you enter the world of “pinheads and angels” i have no idea what you are talking about.  This is all philosophical bullshit. I am talking about what the law is now and how overturning Roe  could have disasterous consequences.

                      Paragraph #3  “While it is settled law, it is not settled policy.”  Again, that makes no sense. Public policy has to be based in settled law; which can be changed and that impacts public policy. Duh. The supreme court has ruled and continues to interpret Roe. There is not such thing as “correctly settled law.”  See your paragraph #1. That is the real world.  The rest of this is just crap.  You are looking for absolutes which do not exist in the real world.

                      Paragraph #4  UR right, ur analysis doesn’t “open the door.” It is just a blog opinion. It doesn’t do a damm thing.  If the Supreme Court overturned Roe, that would do a whole hell of a lot. If it overturned Roe by stating that this is a manner for the states to decide,  it would change the entire Constitutional framework of this country, BECAUSE it would allow the states to decide who is a person and who is not. You don’t know what states would do.  Some states already have in place a law called the “family cap” which limits the number of children in a family who can receive welfare. So if a woman on welfare becomes pregnant, she would have to divide the available money by more children, reducing the funds available for each. New Jersy has such a law and its abortion rate went up.  My concern about forced abortions is legitimate.  Talk to anyone who has volunteered in clinics about kids whose parents or boyfriends are making the decision. Talk to anyone who has worked in prisons, public institutions, the welfare systems…

                      Paragraph #5 and #6.  I think Roe is a crock; I think the legal and more importantly the medical foundation for the decision  were absolutely inaccurate.  So, R. O. the remendy is not endless debates, the remedy, now, is a constitutional amendment…either one making the right to abortion absolute or one declaring that a person exists from the moment of conception.  Either one would protect the constitution.  My argument is that turning the manner over to the states, destroys the constitution.  I don’t give a damm about speculating on what the states would do.  The fact of overturning Roe makes the states the arbitrators of who a person is and is not. That is what I am arguing against.  That is why I don’t like the Republican position.

                      Now, what don’t you understand?

                    12. why I continue to waste my time engaged in a dialogue with someone who aggressively confuses shallow tautologies for cogent analyses, and arrogantly dismisses even the most minimal subtlety as a metaphysical irrelevancy. You win: Far be it from me to continue to intrude on the circle-jerk that is this blog. No need to respond: I won’t log on again to read it.

                    13. You should have broken up your post into chapters so I could respond one at a time.  I’ll have to get back to you later for a civil and intellectual discussion on these issues.  I enjoy a logical debate with libs, I just dont like it when people check their brains at the door as so many on this site do.  We can all debate the issues if we agree to deal with the issues with facts and logic.

                  3. What do you mean by “fundamental economics”? It’s a cute phrase but I’m not so sure it actually, you know, means anything.

                    I believe in the principals of Adam Smith and am a fundamentalist economist.  It has worked every time and failed every time societies strayed (think communism and modern day Europe).  I believe following Smith’s ideas of free market is the key to solving “expanding” poverty (actually, those in the US who live in poverty live better than many “middle class” in the rest of the world).

                    Laissez Faire economic theories are as deeply flawed as communist theories. The fact of the matter is society benefits from some economic and market regulation. We can argue about the amount and types of regulation but the invisible hand needs some guidance.

                    As for Adam Smith working “every time” and that other economic theories fail “every time” I believe John Maynard Keynes would disagree.

                    1. That is a term I like to use because it is descriptive.  I refer to fundamental economics as economic thought based in math and provable logic derived from known mathematical economic principals.  This type of economics is prevalent in good economic schools in the US (Chicago, MIT, ect.), but is not taught in Europe.  European schools tend to teach a much more morality based economics.  In these programs, they decide that it is moral for the government to do something (like provide health care) and then try to use reason to demonstrate that it can help the economy.  Fundamentalist economics do not make moral statements about the effect of a policy, just the likely outcome based on mathematical models.

                      Minimum wage is a classic example.  It is a known fact in economics that when minimum wage is raised, there must be job loss in the market.  It is provable and any first year econ student would expect to fail a test if they answer otherwise.  Much as all you libs out there are fuming at the mouth over these statements, it is mathematical fact that there will be job loss (unless the current and future minimum wage are lower than the lowest pay in the market in which case the change is meaningless). 

                      There are many other examples I could give you, but you get the idea.  My view is that economics are a science and not a morality.  If we acknowledge this, it is easier to make decisions.  For instance, nationalized health care.  It WILL hurt the economy, this is really not debatable by anyone with an understanding of math based economics.  The policy makers should decide if it is worth the damage to the economy (ie the cost).  Unfortunately, we have a bunch of people who either dont understand economics or prefer to bastardize them for their own political gain.  I prefer to return to the fundamental roots that got us going and have kept up the biggest and best economy for so long.

                    2. ..the second paragraph.  Study after study shows that an increase in minimum wage does NOT result in noticeable, significant job loss.

                      What you call “mathematically provable” I would call “faulty math.”  All economics is mostly voodoo, not just what GWB claimed.  It’s very hard to track all of the possible inputs into the economy and predict the outcome.

                      My models are predominantly empirical.  What has worked, what hasn’t.  And we have to define who “the economy” is working for.  I select the 80% of the curve, the middle class. It is not, for me, the 20% or the shareholders. 

                      What history shows us is the the extremes don’t work: unregulated capitalism or Communism.  Or state planned economies (socialism and fascism.) The greatest economic good for the greatest number of people has consistently shown to be under well regulated capitalism.  Similarly, the greatest number of people getting the highest level of health care at the lowest cost is done by national health plans.

                      Eff ideology, do what works.

                      You are probably right about what the European shools of economics preach.  And there is something wrong with moral behaviors and outcomes???????????  Does the economy “work” for us, or are we its serfs?

                      Adding onto a post I made earlier, the EU does not have the absolute cutting edge of economic growth.  I admit it!  But they step back a bit, accept a sub-race car but still damned fast car level, and make sure that everyone is able to reap the benefits.  That includes civilized concepts like we work to live, not live to work.

                    3. of rebutting your answer. You are just dead wrong on the issue of minimum wage.

                      Fundamentalist economics? It’s a made up phrase. No one at the University of Chicago is using that term, sorry. 

                      For many on the right it appears that they view life as little more than a series of Econ 101 problems. The world is infinitely more complex than that. You are of course free to ignore questions of morality and justice  all you want but that doesn’t make the problems faced by tens of millions of American’s any less real.

                      Universal healthcare will hurt the economy? Excuse me? That’s quite a statement to make while providing zero evidence.Please prove that. We will reduce the amount of GDP spent on healthcare, we will level the playing field for our corporations and we will free up entrepreneurs to pursue their passions as opposed to clinging to dead-end jobs because they provide healthcare. Yet you contend universal coverage will hurt the economy?

                    4. You have to concede that the US has arguably (some dont even think it is arguable) the best health care in the world.  Our innovation and advancement in medicine is second to none.  Dont you think it is funny that we are pretty much the only major economy that does not have socialized medicine and ours is the best? 

                      Regarding your other statement about how less GDP will be spent on the economy, it’s almost too difficult to refute because it is so blatantly wrong.  Dems say that somewhere around 40M Americans are without health care (in fact that is those without insurance).  If the problem is that dire and we add a massive government agency to oversee health care, add about 15% into the system, and increase coverage, dont you think overall spending will skyrocket???  Every dem prez candidate seems to think so and wants to tax the hell out of all the most productive Americans to pay for it. 

                    5. I absolutely do not concede that point AT ALL.

                      Portions of our health care system are very good. Other portions are very poor. Our overall health care system is significantly worse than the single-payer systems you are decrying. Our infant mortality is much worse, our life spans shorter.

                      Overall spending will NOT skyrocket. Right now we spend 25% or more on administrative costs due to the insurance companies. Other countries cover everyone for significantly cheaper per patient than we currently do.

                    6. Deeeeeep red.

                      “Best health care system in the world?”  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

                      Best medical technologies, sure.  Why is it we are the only country in the world that keeps this dinosaur?  No democracy with national HC has said, “You know, our system sucks.  We need a system like in America.”

                      National health brings health care to everyone at lower cost.  Every friend I’ve ever known that has had a medical event in Europe could not believe how well they were treated……at no cost.

                      FIFTY percent of all bankruptcies have their origins in our “Best health care system in the world.”

                      Say, where DO you get such brain washing?


                      Health care via the ER Man

                    7. I heard a great analogy yesterday about government run health care.  Think about how fun it is to go to the DMV.  Now picture the SAME entity running your health care.  You show up at a hospital and get the same quality treatment of the DMV, the IRS, disbursed with the integrity and care of our congressmen.  Enjoy!

                    8. that’s a silly analogy and insulting to doctors, nurses and hospital administrators. Not to mention the fact that we can have universal coverage without maing the doctors, nurses etc.  employees of the state.

                      You’re way out of your depth on healthcare

                    9. Man, I can almost hear you and your ilk yukking on that one.  From one of your uber-right dittohead programs? 

                      Once again, I prefer empirical evidence, not ideology and conjecture. 

                      Actually, the DMV in California was run like a well oiled clock when I was there, 1981-1993.  You could even make appointments and the clerks typically really knew their stuff. 

                      The speed at which something takes place in any government office is primarily a reflection of the budge for that function, usually not mismanagement.  Trying to do a lot with a little. 

                    10. I think you were the one who said that we would pay less under a socialized program.  So you are telling me that the government will be able to run medicine for less than a free market cost, be speedy and fair in delivery, and offer a good service to all of society.  Are you nuts???

                      I am glad that your DMV runs well.  I would propose that that is the exception rather than the rule.  I guess I am not willing to trust my health care to the same folks who run the IRS so “efficiently”. 

                      Can you name one instance in which the government has taken over a business and it has run more smoothly?  (I’ll except natural monopolies because I could already hear you salivating). 

                      Since you want “empirical evidence” of how effective government is at running things, lets look at every country that has turned to market socialism.  My favorite are the three mainstream European countries who were free before WWII and socialist afterward (Poland, Czech, and Hungary).  All of these countries were similar to the rest of Europe economically until socialism took over.  Now, it has taken nearly 20 years of free market economy to clean up the mess.  Lets face it, our politicians are no better than the ones in other countries, and yet you think they will do a better job running one of the biggest and fastest growing sectors of our economy?

                    11. Yes.  Medicare delivers its care for 3% of the billings.  Private insurance, your oh-so-efficient cohort, is 30-35%. Didn’t you know that?  Where have you been?  Medicare recipients rate their care above that of private care.

                      If your memory can last more than 24 hours, on one of these threads I disctinctly said that socialism, like Communism (they are different in case you weren’t aware), unrestrained capitalism, and fascism are all failures. So why you brought up those three nations is beyond me.  Pay closure attention.

                      The greatest good for the greatest number of citizens has been with well regulated capitalism.

                    12. In fact, true communism has never been attempted.  The true state of all “communist” countries is that of a command administrative economy run on socialist principals by a communist party.  True communism would imply equality for all.  Socialism is the accurate term for those economies that are frequently (and incorrectly) referred to as communist. It is also the left most on the economic continuum before communism. 

                      Have you noticed how many doctors DO NOT take medicare?  Great move buddy, lets run them out of business.  Docs typically make their money on other patients and not on their government subsidized folks.  Logically, many doctors will lose their incentive to practice under a socialized program because of the loss of profit. 

                      The reason I used those three countries as examples is because it shows what a government does when it takes over.  Obviously you missed my point there.

                    13. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Sez it right there, no brains required.

                      Socialism as we’ve seen in the Scandinavian countries is bottom up, democracies.  No Communist nation that I know of does more that try to put a veneer of democracy on a very authoritarian government.

                      Another difference is that socialist nations run, or attempt to run, the major industries and services.  But Volvo and Saab were always private corporations.  And ordinary citizens can open shops and businesses. 

                      Try that in a Communist country without approval from the top.  And no private corps.

    1. then Lamborn is toast.  His PR handling of this situation is embarrassing and he is showing he is incompetent. 

      He should apologize to the Barthas for intimidating them and this would end.  Fortunately, his ego is too big and he is too arogant to apologize for anything and he will drag this on.  Dumb PR, dumb Congressman.

          1. that the cost structure of the big 3 are not competitive with foreign car makers. Years ago, unions demanded incredibly high pensions and benefits (I think about 3K per car, but that is just what comes to mind).  Japan, Germany, and Korea do not have this problem.  Therefore they can make cars of similar quality for cheaper or superior quality cars for the same price as US manufacturers. 

            You really need to take a business economics course… or you can just read my factual responses to your unsubstantiated allegations.

            1. why are Unions forced to demand those benefits from employers in the US and not in, say, Germany? The reason, of course, is that the US government does not supply benefits (like healthcare) that the market demands. Employers are left holding the bag and our corporations are at a competitive disadvantage.

              Now, you see that issue and decide the solution is fewer benefits for American workers. Of course in that situation the only one who benefits are the corporations. Many of us see that issue and see the solution is government leveling the global playing field for our corporations by providing the benefits the market demands. Our corporations become more competitive in the global market place and the American worker is not deprived of essential benefits.

              Why do righties who espouse their love of the “free market” attack American workers who choose to leverage their market power to benefit themselves?

            2. And the focus on just this one piece by the right wing pundits is disingenuous. Let’s not forget that the Big 3 are notoriously slow to react to changing demand, at least when cheap gas suddenly becomes expensive. In the 1970s they kept on building big 2-ton cars despite the oil embargo and consumers turned to the Japanese who were offering small, fuel efficient cars. In the late 1990s SUVs became highly popular while gas prices were at their lowest prices in a decade. (I remember buying gas for 89 cents a gallon when I was visiting Colorado for Christmas of 98.) But when the prices went up, up, up, what did they keep rolling out? SUVs.

              And let’s not even get started on their resistance to developing hybrid technology. It’s my understanding that they have to pay big licensing fees to the Japanese for American hybrids.

              Yes, the union pensions are taking their toll but good business acumen would have prevented the Big 3 from being in this predicament.

      1. Management is FAR more culpable than the labor unions for the demise of our auto industry.  Always way behind the consumer curve. Bringing America boats when they wanted economical cars that Honda and Toyota were all too happy to provide.  Faux wood grain and chrome when the public had moved on to a clean look.

        Every other country that is a major car producer has unions, just like the US.  Somehow they have done just fine.

        If there is a second boogy-man it is the lack of national health care.  Every American car has $1500 worth of health costs built in, other nations about one half of that. 

        So, on this day that you might have off of work, thanks to organized labor, and that 40 hour work week, and safe work environments due to OSHA,

        go find yourselves another, more accurate reason the auto industry is in decline. 

        Get an education (oops, thats a liberal idea) and drop the mouth breathing right wing ideology.

    1. for the 40-hour workweek, health insurance, paid leave, workplace safety, and the attention that businesses now pay to the rights and needs of their workers. 

      The free market and capitalism have done a lot for American progress, but if left unconstrained by conscience, this country would not be great. 

  5. The second opinion today on P.38 says that the reason Americans work so much more than those in the other industrial countries is……I be you didn’t know this…..WE LOVE TO WORK!

    Nothing about how we used to work less, get more vacation, or (yes, young adults, this is true) wonder what we would do with all of our free time in the future!

    I agree that there is satisfaction is work.  Well, some of it.  It gives structure to the days and has its obvious financial rewards.  But to say that we love to work is a right wing spin beyond the pale. 

    Run faster, me little monkeys.  Your job is about to go overseas…

      1. To have your own business doing something that you thoroughly enjoy, is intellectually stimulating, and, presumably, something that you are successful at. My guess is that you are the exception rather than the rule.

        1. I know a lot of other people in the software industry who really enjoy the work. Granted we are generally treated well and get to create something.

          And there are times I would like to blow up every computer on the planet, think my boss is an idiot, etc. But by and large I enjoy my work and a lot of others in this industry do too.

  6. Labor Day-related article in the Willamette Week about the worst jobs in Portland, Oregon, mentioning a former, local newsman:

    The Impossible Job

    Like being a commie organizer in Dallas, Jim Anderson faces one of Multnomah County’s most daunting political jobs: recruiting Republicans


    Anderson bears the slightest resemblance to Dick Cheney. His eyeglasses are the same squarish style, and his hair has receded in the same pattern. Both are dedicated Republicans of a certain age. But that’s about all they have in common.

    Cheney favors power ties. Anderson wears a bolo. Cheney hates the press. Anderson was a newspaperman for 42 years, most recently at The Denver Post.

    Cheney sneers. Anderson smiles, when appropriate.

    Cheney runs the country. Anderson runs the, uh, Multnomah County Republican Party.

    And the only more impossible political job than getting Republicans elected in a county that went 72 percent for John Kerry in 2004 would be organizing a communist takeover of Dallas.


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