« Newton's Third Law #3, 4th UPDATE, Saturday 2/12, 5:50 p.m. EST | Main | all politics is local »

February 14, 2011

Comments

IMO we should adopt the Johnny Dangerously standard and allow the epithets "Bastage!", "Farging Icehole!", and "Sonamabatch!" when needed to vent otherwise unvented steam.

Maybe also the occasional "Why you I oughta...!".

Is there an emoticon for the Moe Howard eye poke?

I'm actually stunned that most people appear to be falling all over themselves to say that Turb's in the wrong here. Are we in the Red Universe or something?

Well, it wasn't one comment by T. It was the series of comments he made after I had failed to take his original comment seriously enough for him.

I wrote a 16 point summary of what I've concluded about the media during the last 8 years or so. It did come to a conclusion: we're in bad shape; what do we do? The thread ended up being about the 21 word coda at the end of one of the 16 points. And if it hadn't been that, it would have been one of the dozen or more other points I asserted without substantiation in my summary.

The cause / effect problem is a quibble. It's as unlikely that the Republican thinktank superiority had no influence at on on the media as it is that it was the major cause. I say that there was some degree of cause -- i.e., that conservatives weren't completely wasting their time and money, since influencing the media was one of their goals. This seemed then and seems now an uncontroversial statement, and also one which was not necessary for my main point, though it did contribute to it. So I basically blew T. off, and from there on he was explaining things to me in that charming way he has.

the Republican thinktank superiority

would make an outstanding name for a band.

when ObWi gazes into its navel, does its navel gaze back ?

You know that sometimes that gazing-into thing yields bizarre results?

Turbulence: "Eh, what? What about CAP? Or EPI? Or the Urban Institute? Or the Roosevelt Institute?"

This would be from the late 1990's, but it illustrates the situation - the budget of the Heritage Foundation was greater than the budgets of the top 10 liberal think tanks/foundations/institutes.

Is Hannity or O'Reilly or even Buchanan "more conservative" than Katie Couric, or Maddow or Olbermann? Maybe not as cute or PC, but hardly the nazis vs the resistance. Alright, line up the Fox despots in front of the...virtual firing squad and line up the CBS/NBC/CNN ones next to them. At any rate there's an issue of ...confirmation---quantifying that...media exploitation--which Emerson overlooks.

In other words, it's Emerson's usual PC pathos, padded out with some Deweyesque policy wanking , guaranteed to please soccer mommy liberals

Donald Johnson: Lefties who are into human rights issues have long noticed that there is considerable continuity between Democrats and Republican administrations. Democrats aren't as bad, on average, but that's no reason not to criticize Democrats.

I'm assuming that you place yourself, Donald, among the "Lefties who are into human rights issues." Well, I place myself among them too. And I have not noticed "considerable continuity."

I have noticed that in terms of human rights of American citizens (such as racial minorities and lgbt people), there is a huge divide. I have noticed that in the area of reproductive rights, there is a huge divide. I have noticed that in the area of treatment of prisoners from a foreign battlefield, the Bush administration authorized its own people to engage in activities historically considered by the United States to be torture, drumming up ethically questionable "legal opinions" written by its own appointed hacks to support such activities, whereas the Obama administration banned such treatment, and advocates his policies before the courts. And speaking of the courts, let me notice judges, the people who have the most significant affect of anyone in the government on human rights. Let's see - where's the continuity between Justice Alito and Justice Sotomayor?

But what I've mainly noticed is that most of the criticisms by the "leftist watchdogs" are unfair and misplaced, and that they never have Obama's back on any issue. I mentioned, early in the thread, the New York Times editorial denouncing Obama saying that the Justice Department should "presume" DOMA unconstitutional and not defend it in court. Here the "newspaper of record" bashes the president for not selectively enforcing the law of the land. (Of course, anyone who believes that Presidents should just ignore laws they disagree with would have been very happy with the Bush administration, and will be thrilled when the next Republican president decides not to enforce the Health Care Act.) But who has Obama's back on this? The progressive blogging community is happy to let the NYT convince Americans that Obama is weak on gay rights issues. If you read any gay rights blogs yesterday, all you saw were comments cheering the very wrongheaded article, and denouncing the gross failure that is Obama. The knee-jerk simplemindedness, disloyalty and lack of discipline (or patience to find out the real story) is nauseating.

As someone who is "into human rights," I notice that the wealth disparity in this country leads to many of the abuses that are common. But who's addressing those? I see little continuity between the Democratic and Republican positions on these issues, although unfortunately there has had to be compromise.

Of course each and every example of "human rights" issues can be debated at length (and many are, in the courts). But the pathetic inability of liberals to solidly back their leadership, when there's such a stark difference between the parties, is the reason we're so weak.

Unsurprisingly, "Sal Paradise" is the artist formerly known as 00001001.

Shocker, I know.

Ninester, please say something relevant, or be consigned to the spam-heap. I mean, I think we get it that you don't like John Emerson. Noted. Next?

Think tanks on the right tend to attract right-leaning academics whose work attacks academic consensus and casts that consensus in ideological terms. They aim their output at an audience on the mid-upper edge of popular journalism standards and salt their publications with memorable soundbites.

Left leaning think tanks tend to be more policy-wonky in their work and are more like applied academics in the face of their academic counterparts theoretical orientation. They aim their publications at an audience that is college educated and aim for a more academic presentation.

The media adopts the former more often than the latter because the former understands that its audience is the media professional with a megaphone to the public and not the congressional aid with policy input for legislation.

"I have noticed that in terms of human rights of American citizens (such as racial minorities and lgbt people), there is a huge divide. I have noticed that in the area of reproductive rights, there is a huge divide."

Conceding the the torture discussion following this paragraph, I was wondering if you could point out more than 1 or 2 concrete examples of policy differences over the last forty years between Democratic and Republican administrations in practice, rather than in rhetoric.

"considerable continuity" assumes some differences, I was just wondering what differences defined a "huge divide".

Cool. There's potential for a slugfest between Sapient and me that could divert attention from the one between John and Sapient. It won't happen, but there is potential.

"Considerable continuity" doesn't mean there aren't important areas of difference. I've noticed over the years on some issues that I can't tell much difference between Democratic and Republican administrations on sanctions on Iraq in the 90's or assistance to Indonesia as they slaughter Timorese for a few decades or on the Israel/Palestine issue, just to think of a few. Both parties often stink on human rights and when there is bipartisan consensus they often stink the most. I'm not as impressed by Obama's policies on torture as you.

There are other areas where they are distinct, so you'll have to find someone else to argue with on those.

As for having Obama's or any politician's back, not interested in general. I give support to advocacy groups whose stands on issues I agree with--politicians are a different sort of thing entirely and if you get too wrapped up defending one of them I think it warps your judgment. YMMV.

"between John and Sapient."

I meant John and Turb.

Somewhere up above, Emerson threw a shot in about what one might expect from a blog frequented by academics, a statement for which I have a moderate and self-critical (I coulda been a contenda) amount of sympathy.

So, I thought this was ..... funny:


http://volokh.com/2011/02/15/libertarianism-and-asteroid-defense/

Well, not funny, but along the lines of Emerson's criticism here of the media I now fully expect as the asteroid approaches that we will be treated to weeks (will we have time) of earnest discussion on the tube and the internet about whether to employ all of the government's power and weaponry (hey, commandeeer private resources as well) to shoot down or deflect the asteroid or whether we should await the outcome of the Tea Party's bake sale to see if we might have the privately-raised funds to do the job.

Cokie Roberts would moderate the discussion, as the asteroid grows larger in the backyard telescopes, giving each side equal and deeply sympathetic time. Bland-faced libertarians and conservatives on the bake-sale side would calmly explain the moral pitfalls of allowing the human race to tax itself to save itself (think how they might become dependent on the government for future asteroid destruction), rather than just letting the free market decide how many the asteroid will effing kill.

Meanwhile, Michelle Bachmann and Steve King will successfully shepherd (with right-wing media thundering in their defense) a bill through the House prohibiting the use of Federal dollars and resources for the effort, with the bureaucrat government scientist nearing solution on the problem having his funding zeroed-out.

Because, in America, bland-faced nutjobs actually elect certifiably crazy people to run the country who will cheerfully slaughter the human race because the word "asteroid" isn't in the effing Constitution.

Shrug.

At any rate, I hope John Emerson is on the quaint little panel on CNN hosted by Cokie and ends the dialogue with a "go F#ck yourself" and goes across the table at the libertarian/conservative and, yes, kills him or her right then and there.

I'll be happy to help.

Yes, it would be excessively politically correct for Emerson and I (what, we can no longer say "Keep the government out of asteroid destruction"? By God, what will become of free men?) to do so, but sometimes you just have to stand athwart history and tell it to go f#ck itself.

This comment has nothing to do with Turbulence but everything to do with Emerson's criticism of the media.

Stern reprimand to tone down the violent left-wing rhetoric. How many times do you have to tell history to go f#ck itself before it actually does?

Think of what you're saying, man.

I also enjoyed what he had to say, and he also left off commenting here with much the same complaint that you had, that this place was too civil.

This was not Emerson's complaint.

Yokay.

But the idea that violent political rhetoric leads to violence and that political violence might be contagious was pooh-poohed in these pages not too awfully long ago.

Wasn't it? Kind of.

But I agree to tone it down here.

Sarti, first tell me who "Sal Paradise" is. Hint: he's not covered in your fave Krugmannian klassic, or in Al Franken routines.

It was relevant. JE may have a good heart at times but the...media monster's far larger--Viacom-large, weirder, post-Orwellian--. Frat boys don't get it.

As an aside, the media is really becoming less signifciant anyway as it's role has been coopted by Obama's Media Machine: State Run Media 2.0?

There undeniably is "considerable continuity" rather than a "huge divide" between Bush and Obama as far as human rights are concerned, e.g.:

Obama exempts CIA 'torture' staff
Obama and Guantanamo: A chronology of his broken promise
Obama Backs Bush On Bagram Detainees

Just to put some perspective on all of this, here are some things you do not hear discussed as serious options on major market American media.

The elimination of corporate personhood.
Taxing capital gains and earned income at the same rate.
For that matter, taxing capital gains at a higher rate than earned income.
Nationalization of essential industries.
Required representation of labor and/or other non-investor stakeholders in corporate governance.

That's what a moderate lefty agenda looks like. It does not exist in American public discourse.

I had a conversation with a friend recently, in which he referred to the American dream as being starting a business, building it up, then selling it for a lot of money. By "a lot of money", he meant, like, 8 or 9 figures.

That's actually a somewhat common occurence in some of the circles he travels in, so it's not crazy talk. He (and I) personally know folks who have done this.

But I'd like to know how "the American dream" became synonymous with "make more freaking money than you and your family can possible spend or use in a lifetime".

Americans worship money and the things it can buy. It's what we as a society love, it's what our society is arranged to serve.

The difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals think wealthy / comfortably well off people should chip in via public channels so that folks who didn't get the brass ring don't freaking freeze to death and starve, and conservatives don't want the government telling them they have to do that.

There's an inch or so of difference on civil liberties, but not much more than that. There's something more than an inch of difference on social and cultural issues, so that's usually what folks yell at each other about.

But everybody loves money and the things that it can buy.

The media simply reflects all of that.

That's my take.

If folks want it to be any different, you're going to have to work your @sses off to make it so, because you're swimming against the tide.

Sarti, first tell me who "Sal Paradise" is. Hint: he's not covered in your fave Krugmannian klassic, or in Al Franken routines.

Edgy!

As an aside, the media is really becoming less signifciant anyway as it's role has been coopted by Obama's Media Machine: State Run Media 2.0?

LOL

There undeniably is "considerable continuity" rather than a "huge divide" between Bush and Obama as far as human rights are concerned

Agreed.

The only people I see making a big, public, not-on-a-blog stink about human rights are the Ron Paul folks sticking it to Cheney and Rumsfeld at CPAC.

I give them props.

russell,

there is a big couple of lines between

Moderate lefty:

The elimination of corporate personhood. Taxing capital gains and earned income at the same rate. For that matter, taxing capital gains at a higher rate than earned income.

Pretty far left:

Required representation of labor and/or other non-investor stakeholders in corporate governance.


and Way Over There on the Left:

Nationalization of essential industries.

Not that I missed your point. I have heard in every tax debate discussions of how cap gains should be treated.

I am not sure how many people would grasp the whole labor representation in corporate governance discussion. I am not sure why anyone who is doesn't represent management, labor or investors would have a seat at the table.

I am sure that somewhere around 12 people (no cite available) in the US would have a positive reaction to nationalizing key industries.

political football,

Actually, I think that is part of Emerson's complaint. Early on, he wrote

This place just reeks of goddamn civility.

Trying to move that away from ObWi meta, I'd note that this is not simply a problem here. Go to any site that features a more heterogeneous collection of the left, and you will see this argument going on. That oscillation between being civil and taking no prisoners could be called The Liberal Left's burden.

John, don't know if you are still around, but you said

The cause / effect problem is a quibble. It's as unlikely that the Republican thinktank superiority had no influence at on on the media as it is that it was the major cause. I say that there was some degree of cause -- i.e., that conservatives weren't completely wasting their time and money, since influencing the media was one of their goals.

Fair enough, I did say that was one response. But you are also asking us to tell you what we think should be done. That sort of needs an explanation of how we take this problem on.

novakant most hilarious link is his citation to Bush flack (and Laura Bush's press secretary) Andrew Malcom's criticism of Obama's failure to close Guantanamo. See what Media Matters has to say about the quality of Andrew Malcolm's journalism: http://mediamatters.org/search/tag/andrew_malcolm?page=1

But that's okay, because his other links cite a second hand report of a memorandum filed in a court proceeding, and the fact that Obama failed to prosecute CIA employees who were carrying out the Bush administration's torture directives. Let me see - whose human rights would that have helped?

Just wondering how effective Donald Johnson has been with his advocacy groups. Not criticizing, just wondering. Because from my perspective, when change happens (especially in the human rights arena) it's because good judges make humane decisions in individual cases. There's a huge difference in the records of Democratic and Republican appointed judges. Advocacy groups don't appoint judges.

Sapient, you are conflating two people in your comment, novakant and Donald. In my experience, I find that is never going to end well.

Also, I'd note that you have adopted a 3rd person address. While there are times for this, when the people are on the thread, it is more than a bit rude to not simply ask them.

Of course, if you were to say 'Hey Donald, what advocacy groups are you a member of?', you are basically setting off a pissing contest and one reason to adopt the 3rd person address is to avoid actually asking them. Yet, I hope you can see how deeply disrespectful that is. I say all this as a person who has been sympathetic to the point you are trying to make. But the rhetorical strategy you are climbing on is really not a winner.

there is a big couple of lines between....

Noted, and yes I agree my short list of lefty bullet points covers a pretty broad spectrum.

How to handle cap gains does get discussed, but I don't see any kind of actual policy proposals to treat them similarly to earned income. The other stuff is sort of off the map here.

But I appreciate your thoughtful reply. No snark.

The other party I could see at the corp governance table would be communities in which corporate operations occur. They often are asked to encourage business development by providing or enhancing infrastructure, through tax subsidies, etc. Benefits flow to the community from that, but I could also see a place for them at the table.

Long story short, I'm not necessarily advocating anything on my list. Other than the corporate personhood thing, I am clearly in favor of seriously limiting that. Beyond that I'm at most a moderate lefty.

Just wanted to call attention to what the actual spectrum of right to left is.

sapient, as I understand it, officers of the United States government that have engaged in torture have not been brought to justice. It is the position of the current US administration that no employee of the government who has engaged in torture will be brought to justice. No matter how many times a CIA agent might have wired up a car battery to the genitals of completely innocent people, it is the position of the Obama administration that such torturers must never be brought to trial.

Do you disagree with that assessment?

Thanks, LJ. No problem, though, because I'd already decided I wasn't in the mood for a big internet fight to decide once and for all the future of American politics.

On human rights issues I support Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a few more specialized groups. Politicians are objects one votes for or against as the case may be, because they have the sort of power which advocacy groups do not have, but you don't trust them or get emotionally involved with them , because as Teresa Nielsen Hayden said , just because you're on their side doesn't mean they're on your side. (I don't know what the context was for her remark, but it always seemed to me to be a perfect fit for politicians one votes for.)

I have no idea who Andrew Malcolm is and I don't care. I could have pulled thousands of similar articles using a search engine, because the fact of the matter is that Guantanamo is still open, that Obama disregards habeas corpus just like Bush and that he has granted the torturers amnesty - these facts are undeniable and shocking to anybody with the vaguest interest in human rights.

"Turbulence: Fine, that's four names. Liberals and Democrats have been doing a piss-poor job at the think-tank game, and they've been losing overwhelmingly. Those are junior players."

It sort of depends on context I would think. As the think tanks you mention were created to counter the (believed by the think-tank creators, I'm not making any normative judgment about it) perceived liberal biases of high profile universities, you have to at least consider the idea that the think tanks should be compared to say Harvard and Yale. In which case it feels to me like the think tanks come off on the lower side of political relevance.

The interesting thing to me is that most of your post reminds me vividly of the kind of things that conservatives talked about in the mid to late 1980s when talking about media bias. The overton window complaint, the legs/traction concept, the omerta comment all seem like a blast from my high school in church youth group past.

A guess everything really does cycle.

With lj's admonitions in mind, let me just say, Donald, that I respect the work of the groups you support. Still, I'm not sure how effective they are, especially with regard to United States policies. People who are effective are judges, and to a lesser extent lawyers. And again, the caliber of judges is decided politically. The results are very clear.

Turbulence, I too am disappointed that people who tortured have not been brought to justice. But I have spent a great deal of my life reading court decisions, and there are many reasons why it might be unwise to prosecute government employees and contractors for actions they took in order to further the policies of elected officials - foremost, because such prosecutions would likely fail. This is especially true in the sorry state we find ourselves, with our extremely politically polarized (mostly republican) judiciary. Considering how little support Obama has gotten in Congress even for his meager attempts to close Guantanamo, the failure of the Senate to confirm important Justice Department appointees (such as Dawn Johnson) and other initiatives aimed toward "doing the right thing," I find it difficult to believe that he could have pulled off a major prosecution of CIA officials and contractors (not to mention the real culprits - the Bush administration officials who orchestrated the policies). Turbulence, can you point to any prosecuting attorney who has published any suggestion that prosecution of these CIA operatives would have been successful? I've read a lot of pundits, but few lawyers, especially lawyers with prosecutorial experience. It would be interesting to actually read some wisdom from people who know what the practical obstacles would be. Easy to take out the pitchforks; harder to make a legal case.

I don't believe that Obama is a saint and I don't support every decision he's made. But the stronger his support, the more he believes he has "political capital" to do courageous things. The constant backbiting and criticism that he receives can't possibly be inspiring. How much easier is it to do good work when one feels that people have confidence in one's judgment and competence? We liberals (or "people who are into human rights") are in a very tough fight against some people who really aren't in favor of rights for anyone but themselves. Fighters need to march in sync, and with discipline. Until we do this, we will lose.

To return from the dead, it was true at the time they said it. People like Reston were political insiders with special relationships to the Democrats.

One theory is that the media suck up to power.

you have to at least consider the idea that the think tanks should be compared to say Harvard and Yale.

Well said.

And as an aside, if anyone (and apparently there are those who do) wants to know why there aren't more conservatives in academia, it's not least because the money at Cato and Heritage is lots better.

Sebastian,
I can see your point, but the fact that Yale and Harvard and other academic institutions have different internal cultures and strictures undermines the comparison, at least imho. Those internal cultures have things like tenure to protect academic freedom and functional goals of educating students that look a lot different than to get as many eyeballs to look at a page as possible. I admit, some of these are more honored in the breech than in the observance, but they constitute a major obstacle in making the comparison. I would note that while conservatives have (with little success) tried to create their own universities, I would suggest that they have not failed simply because Harvard and Yale got there first, but because the goals they have are in some sense inimical to the goals of the university.

This is proabably a lot sharper than it should be, but I'm between meetings, so I can only dash off this observation.

Great post. Tedious argument between Turb and JE.

JE: please post more.

Sarti, first tell me who "Sal Paradise" is.

More to the point: I know who he isn't.

But I agree to tone it down here.

Just when I'm not serious, people start taking me seriously. I give up.

Irony from the cipher.

I give up, too.

while the hopelessly stupid believe the Earth to be an oblate ellipsoid.

Or an oblate spheroid if they're both hopelessly stupid and anal-retentive about precise use of terminology.

John,

Didn't I warn you back in the day that there's three kinds of fool: the fool, the fool who follows him, and the fool who participates in "reasonable debate" on ObWi?

Well, no I didn't. But I plainly should have.

Great piece, of course, except it's depressing to see that you still have to explain the painfully obvious to the Very Serious.

I would note that while conservatives have (with little success) tried to create their own universities, I would suggest that they have not failed simply because Harvard and Yale got there first, but because the goals they have are in some sense inimical to the goals of the university.

It's the same reason that the conservative answer to The Daily Show was The 1/2 Hour News Hour: their idea of both persuasion and humor is preaching to the choir with a sledgehammer.

Or an oblate spheroid if they're both hopelessly stupid and anal-retentive about precise use of terminology.

A spheroid is an ellipsoid. It's just a particular kind of ellipsoid.

Not to forget that science is for losers. Cons go into finance.
Only half in jest. Iirc we had that discussion here once that conservatives are underrepresented in the classical sciences because that's not where the money is and the rich (by tendency conservative) send their brats into moneymaking careers. And the 'other' type of conservative mistrusts science per se. What's left finds a cosy place at 'Liberty' etc.

Posting Rules:

Be reasonably civil.

No profanity. For the record, 'hell', 'damn' and 'pissed' are not considered 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule; also for the record, the more offensive racial slurs and epithets will be deemed to 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule

Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.

I'm not in a postion at present to even read the rest of this thread right now, let alone comment.

But, yes, John, I did mention the posting rules to you several times, and I didn't think it necessary to give the exact link, and the exact words, and for everyone's benefit, I'm now doing so, part-way through the thread.

Everyone has to adhere to them, including front-pagers. No exceptions.

Additionally (and I'm working on a codification of these into one coherent piece, which has been waiting since 1/19/2007):

[...] just a reminder that Left and Right have very broad definitions and that people are going to take it personally if you inform them that of course all Xs eat babies, should they themselves be Xs (or Ys trying to keep things cool).

[...]

Calls for the assassination of any politician will be subject to immediate banning. An exception is made for legitimate military targets in time of war; due to the unique nature of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, members of the Palestinian Authority are to be considered 'politicians' for the purpose of this rule.

The above should be explicitly not read as being a prohibition on (but is not limited to) criticism, vituperation, espousal of conspiracy theories, disagreement, speculation on personal habits and/or motivations, expressions of contempt, unfavorable extrapolations of past behavior in order to guess future behavior, mild cursing or any other traditional method of expressing disapproval with a politician's policy positions or personality, provided of course that such behavior does not violate another of the Posting Rules.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE (7/23/2006): Calls for the assassination of any person will be subject to immediate banning. Exceptions are made for legitimate military targets in time of war, being put to death after being convicted of a capital crime, etc. -- basically, the things that make a killing not 'assassination' to begin with. As before, this is not a prohibition on criticism, vituperation, and all those other good things; just a recognition that there's all the difference in the world between passionately disagreeing with someone and calling for that person's death.

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE (1/19/2007): If a commenter feels that another commenter has violated the posting rules and would like to request a temporary or permanent ban of that person, please send a request via email.
AND ANOTHER UPDATE: We have no desire to censor people whose views we disagree with. However, there is a difference between stating and defending an unpopular position on the one hand, and repeated drive-by insults on the other, and the fact that we welcome the first does not mean that we must accept the second. We therefore reserve the right to warn and, if necessary, ban commenters who show a consistent pattern of blatant disrespect toward groups of people (e.g., people of a given race, military status, sexual orientation, or religion), when that disrespect is coupled with an apparent lack of interest in providing evidence for one's views or engaging in reasoned argument about them.

Again, that absolutely crucial email link is under the kitty, upper left, under "EMAIL ME" and is: [email protected]

The Banning Rules, which I'm also working on updating, since you'll notice a problematic part, due to, again, NOT HAVING BEEN UPDATED since January 26, 2005:

# Any ObWi author can recommend that a commenter be banned and should do so via email to the all other authors.
# One writer (but only one) from the other side of the fence must agree to the ban for it to move forward (Von can vote as either side of the fence as he wishes). For the record, currently Charles Bird, Andrew, and Sebastian Holsclaw are on the right; Von is in the center; and Hilzoy is on the left.;-) Yes, that's unbalanced...we're working on it.*
Yes, I realize this makes no sense whatever, but we've had some internal problems finding agreement on fixing this, but seem to at least have found agreement that I'll be submitting a new draft, and since I'm writing it, mine obviously throw that entire paragraph out. The rest:
# To avoid the delay our busy lives can cause in moving quickly when a commenter is disrupting an ongoing thread, any writer can implement an immediate temporary ban (and declare it as such) until a banning request is resolved behind the scenes. Should the ban not be agreed to by someone on the other side of the fence, the temporary ban will be lifted. (The temporary ban will hopefully be a useful way to let folks calm down when a thread gets too heated. At the very least it will allow a derailed thread to get back on track.)
# If one author from the other side of the fence agrees to a recommendation, the banning goes into effect immediately and is permanent unless overturned on appeal initiated by the commenter.
# Any appeal by a commenter to a banning should be done via email. Commenters should not move to another computer to make their case on the blog. All appeals will be considered after tempers have cooled. Appeals will be decided via a vote of all writers, majority deciding. Commenters banned under the old policy can also appeal their banning now. We will not make public any appeal or its results unless the authors vote to reverse a standing ban.
For now, ignore all that stuff about "the fence" and simply consider that bannings will be appeallable through that ABSOLUTELY VITAL EMAIL ADDRESS: [email protected], and will be dealt with by the person answering it, namely, me, and then I'll bring it to the attention of the others, and... whoever of the front pagers happens to be willing to discuss it will have it discussed with, and it'll be dealt with at whatever pace we can manage.

Don't expect fast answers, I'm afraid; we're all busy, and we have several bottlenecks, including that I'm the only one reading mail, and if I'm in hospital, or otherwise indisposed, apparently nothing will happen, and frankly, at this point, given... other problems, all I can say is that it'll be dealt with when we can.

For now there are... communication issues among the front pagers. I'll leave it at that.

But this remains operative:

Any appeal by a commenter to a banning should be done via email. Commenters should not move to another computer to make their case on the blog. All appeals will be considered after tempers have cooled. Appeals will be decided via a vote of all writers, majority deciding. Commenters banned under the old policy can also appeal their banning now. We will not make public any appeal or its results unless the authors vote to reverse a standing ban.
And this:
Although pointing out when a commenter is violating the posting rules in an ongoing thread is every participant's best tool to help bring civility back to a discussion, if commenters wish to recommend a banning, per se, we ask that they do so via email. That helps take it offline and makes the roles of the authors in the banning process clearer to everyone.

We now we return to our regularly scheduled squabbling.

UPDATE: An appeal to a banning should cover 1) why the banning was uncalled for and 2) what the commenter will do to help prevent a similar situation from arising moving forward.

Thanks for your help and understanding and patience.

Since we have a lot of new front pagers, let me remind everyone that THESE ARE THE ONLY RULES WE HAVE.

There are NO provisions allowing ANY front pager to make up ANY other rules for their own threads. NONE. PERIOD.

If any front pager ignorantly announces that such and such is forbidden on their threads, then you may complain to the kitty, and if necessary, the front pager will be banned from the blog for violating the posting rules. This includes making up ANY RULES WHATEVER that are not included above.

At ObWi, all is permitted that is not banned in these rules. Period, end of story. If a front pager tells you otherwise, they haven't been around here long enough, haven't been instructed in the rules, and that should be brought to the attention of the kitty, and if necessary, the front pager WILL be banned for violating the rules.

Commenters, contrary to any claims CANNOT HAVE COMMENTS DELETED save for violating these rules. Length limits CANNOT be imposed, or suggested.

Front pagers CANNOT imply that they have personal rules for their threads. Period.

NO RULES WHATEVER exist at ObWi save necessary work arounds of the fact that, obviously, appeals to Charles Bird, Andrew, and Sebastian Holsclaw, Von, and Hilzoy, won't get you very far, and common-sense interpretation of the above.

(Spambots are already noted; insane off-topic screeds will be considered a violation of the rules.)

Front pagers, I repeat, are subject to these rules, and those who violate them WILL BE BANNED, just as they always have been, MANY TIMES.

A codification of what banning consists of will also happen.

I hope.

I'm hoping we'll agree to clear and fixed terms, with specifics to be chosen, for the sake of simple consistency and justice and fairness, so there's no arbitrariness involved, but generally along the lines of:
1) Warning
2) Short banning
3) Somewhat longer banning
4) Much longer banning
5) Extremely long banning.

I'm thinking something along the lines of "1-3 days," then "week to two weeks," then "1-3 months," then a year or two, but we'll see.

Meanwhile, these are more or less the current rules until we post new ones.

Meanwhile, I'll stress this part:

[...] when a commenter is violating the posting rules in an ongoing thread is every participant's best tool to help bring civility back to a discussion [....]
This is called "community," and we hope everyone will take part, and in the spirit of the thing, everyone should please act as if the others are acting in good faith, try to be civil, try to avoid paranoia and taking things personally, and if you find yourself feeling emotional about any of this, then get up, walk away from your computer, and go smell some flowers, play some music, hug your loved ones, and do whatever it takes to Go To Your Happy Place.

Thank you, all.

I'd like to get this done as soon as possible, but in all honesty, my health isn't good, and I'm rushing to do this right now, because right now odds seem reasonable that I may yet again be back at the emergency room soon -- with luck, my Current Thing is merely a passing thing, and no such thing will happen until my next scheduled hospital visit, but meanwhile, you've all now just been reminded.

Please remember that the links to these rules are in the upper left sidebar, clearly labeled, and may be referred to at any time, and anyone can so remind others, though I also ask that "rules lawyering" not be engaged in, that the rules not be whipped out as a club to beat anyone with, that we've always taken a, cough, liberal view of these, that, yes, they've been applied very inconsistently at best (and not at all for the TWO YEARS that the mail wasn't even read), so please don't misuse the rules either.

Just try to play nice, talk to... this is purely a personal opinion, as a commenter, taking off my Official Hat, but I suggest that discussions with Slart, as the person who otherwise does the most work on the blog, and with Russell, who is also among the most long-term and sensible of the front pagers, both of whom are most apt to be reading the comments, are good people to approach, but keep in mind that NONE of us reads all the blog, some, ah, much less than others, and it's all just a bunch of humans trying to get along, and that right now we have some particular problems with the amount of turnover that's been going on, particularly since publius left.

Do good, avoid evil, throw a room party.

Now, back to your normal squabbling, but no profanity, a rule which is there SOLELY BECAUSE OFFICE SOFTWARE WILL BAN ACCESS, not because anyone is particularly offended or gives a sh*t, though the rule does help keep the heat down a little. That's the ONLY REASON that rule exists.

(And, frankly, I find it questionable, but meanwhile, it's there.)

Incidentally, when you have a problem posting, try just REFRESHING THE PAGE. That cures most problems.

Failing that, try closing your browswer, reopening it, and trying again.

Failing that, try waiting ten minutes, and repeating the above.

Failing that, try some more, including another means of signing in and out.

In short, Typepad has idiosyncracies and gives no warnings.

Among them: it will time you out if you delay posting for more than perhaps half an hour, possibly less. Refreshing the page will cure that.

If you cut and paste, you may need to add a single additional fresh typed letter, then delete it.

Only after trying these methods need you conclude there's a problem, and time is still the answer.

Use of more than 4 links in a post may also be problematic, but Typepad seems to be completely erratic about this these days.

We DO hope, or at least I do, to add the widgets to allow posters to add links, italics, bold, and other tags, with a single click, and this has, I recognize, absurdly been delayed SINCE 2005, but all I can say is that we have certain behind the scenes problems for that long that have delayed implementation, even though if we didn't have these problems, it would take about ten minutes work to fix this.

The problems for now are not technical, but internal communications. And that's all I can say, save that when we can get past those problems, we will. Thanks for your understanding.

I should add that liberal japonicus has also been around the blog about as long as anyone besides myself and Sebastian, is much more present than Sebastian, who is in semi-retirement, practically speaking, and that LJ is wise, level-headed, and that despite having just been added to the front page, should be, in my view, considered to be as senior as any "senior" member of the front pagers, and has full authority, and is also another good person to approach on the basis of having experienced several regimes, and therefore is inapt to be confused by some of the more recent... confusions taking place due to... some circumstances presently in existence.

So talk, also, to LJ.

All front-pagers are, of course, authorized to speak to the blog, but due to... certain circumstances, some are MUCH less familiar with ObWi customs and practices than others, and basically, if you've not been regularly reading the blog for four or more years, you may not have context to understand either standard ObWi custom and practices, which are NOT THOSE OF OTHER BLOGS OR SITES, and you may not fully understand what's going on.

And all of us are busy, lack time, and have Issues, for various reasons, be they work, health, family, combinations of, or even unknown between ourselves, since some of us are more communicative than others.

Thus my emphasis on taking guidance from those who have actually been reading the blog, and commenting, for many years, over more "formal" "seniority," with no disrespect intended in any way to those front pagers who are fine writers, but not really up on the continuity of ObWi since 2003, or at least since 2005, and in descending order since then, as readers/commenters, rather than as front-pagers.

This is all obviously my own personal opinion, and obviously I can't be speaking officially for the blog about this.

Lastly, this is all written while under tremendous physical pain and distress, and medication, so if any of it comes out with errors, oddly, or otherwise problematically, I ask you that you please take that into account.

Thanks, I can barely see straight to type this.

John Emerson:

For the record, I find Turbulences's snotty, heavy-handed sarcasm far more offensive than a nice simple "f*ck you". But he sets the rules around here.
John, this is nonsense; Turbulence doesn't set any rules around here any more than you do. Where you're getting this sort of thing from, I don't know, but it's coming from inside your head, not from the only rules we have.

Moreover, you have to stick within the rules, or you'll be banned. They're not hard rules to follow: stick a g*ddammed asterisk in one of the words that sets off software blockage, don't abuse people personally, and that's it. It's not hard, and it's got nothing to do with anything else.

Otherwise, courtesy in life is a nice thing if you don't like punches in the face.

Turbulence: please try turning it down a few notches, consider that John is new around here, you don't have to give him a hard time, and ease up somewhat.

I realize this is all out of date, but I have no idea when or if I'll be able to catch up, or I would't necessarily be asking guest posters by in the first place.

I'm interested in the idea that, because right-wing think tanks were started to counter the liberal influence of elite universities, they should be compared to those universities rather than with left-wing think tanks. If we're talking about media influence today, and it's effects on current popular political perceptions, I'd say they beat the universities a long time ago. (No, I don't have a cite and am open to someone changing my mind about that.)

Keep in mind that I'm not suggesting that media influence and swaying popular opinion constitute the whole of political influence, or that right-wing think tanks have total control in those areas. But I think that the reasons for starting right-wing think tanks are not necessarily relevant to the argument that, in recent decades, the left hasn't been able to match the gains of the right in influencing media and popular opinion because the left hasn't done as well on those particular fronts (rather than, say, quality of research) by way of their think tanks.

Turbulence is still playing dumb.
Please: no mind-reading. No speculations on the motivations of others unless you can produce proof that you are able to read other people's minds.

We respond to each other's words. Deciding what their motivations are is purely speculative, and doesn't advance conversation; it's simply disruptive and causes acrimony.

Ditto that you have the same right to object to the same.

"the left hasn't been able to match the gains of the right in influencing media and popular opinion because the left hasn't done as well on those particular fronts (rather than, say, quality of research) by way of their think tanks."

There are a lot of open terms here which can push the argument either way depending on how you think of them.

Gains: this could be a China growth thing, lots of gains because they were starting so far behind. A huge rate of change doesn't suggest that they caught up.

Media: are we just talking news media? Or are we counting Hollywood?

Popular Opinion: are we talking voters, or everyone?

Think tanks: are we for some reason including Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck? From where I sit they are much more of what you want to complain about than CATO or whatever.

Right-Wing Think Tanks: I had been presuming that we're aware that CATO and Heritage and Reason end up having very different views on quite a few important issues. But if you weren't, they do. So I'm not sure how easy it is to measure media influence or what have you when they advocate very different things (see for example immigration).

An interesting measure of their influence might be something that they all agree on, but that liberal think tanks pretty much don't agree on. All the right-wing think tanks that I see mentioned above think the drug war is ridiculous and should be stopped. Yet we all know that isn't the actual policy OR talking points on the radio.

I suspect that the legitimate gripe has little/nothing to do with the think tanks and much more to do with Rush Limbaugh and Beck.

No speculations on the motivations of others unless you can produce proof that you are able to read other people's minds.

Gary, you were thinking about sex on at least one occasion yesterday. Am I right?

QED

A spheroid is an ellipsoid. It's just a particular kind of ellipsoid.

One with two axes of the same size. Without that, "oblate" doesn't apply.

I suspect that the legitimate gripe has little/nothing to do with the think tanks and much more to do with Rush Limbaugh and Beck.

I suppose the question regarding this becomes, at least in part, how the output of right-wing think tanks filters down to Limbaugh and Beck. That's beyond what I can claim to know, or even suspect with great confidence. I'd also say that it's been demonstrated that more mainstream media sources (yes, news media) more often cite those think tanks that are generally classified as being conservative, even if those think tanks don't always agree on everything, and even of not every position they advocate becomes policy, or is seriously considered for such. I don't think their influence is in dispute, rather the (demonstrable) reasons for that influence.

(And whether it's a gripe or simply an observation depends on your point of view.)

"and even if not every"

not "and even of not every"

Thanks for the civility, asshole.
Oh, dear god, John, this isn't helping. Hold your temper. If you can't, get up, walk away from the computer, and come back when you're feeling less thin-skinned.
Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.
Don't do that. Don't be abusive.
This is the astonishing sentence which has driven the ever-so-civil Turbulence into a screaming rage.
A) No one is "screaming" unless you have activated their webcams. B) You're again speculating on other people's emotional states; this is not helpful. C) you're being personal; this is also not helpful. Try blanking out people's names, and responding simply to the words, not who you imagine people are, since that's all you're doing: imagining; none of us knows each other, none of us knows the internal conditions of anyone else's mind, nor what external situations put them in a state when they're typing. Declarations of knowledge that one can't possibly have undermines credibility.
We have now spent the majority of the thread talking about 21 words of a 2000 word piece, words hardly necessary to my argument,
No one forced you to respond. If you don't want to, don't. If you do, complaining about the fact that people keep responding to what you respond to is simply complaining about yourself. So if you don't want to argue: stop.
And the problem apparently isn't that what I said isn't true, but that it might not be true, that it is not proven, and that there might be a different explanation of the data.
Exactly. None of us is omniscent, and subjective declarations of what we believe are pointless; we all believe different things. Anecdotes and assertions aren't arguments. If you want to be persuasive, cite facts, and use cites. There are usually different explanations of data, in which case cite the ones you consider convincing. If you think it's inarguable, give the cite that so convinces you. If something is so inarguable, giving a cite is trivial. If giving a cite is difficult, it's obviously arguable.

This is simple logic. We like logic, we don't like the fallacy of argument-by-assertion, and then getting abusive because someone points out fallacious reasoning.

[...] I am still writing comments here because the thread is interesting when you're not on it.
So fricking ignore Turbulence if you don't want to read what he says: what's the problem here?
[...] But, probably by inveterate habit, one individual (and thankfully only one) searched through the whole thing to find one secondary point to quibble about.
PLEASE stop making this personal.

If you want to blame anyone for the whole "give cites and prove your case" meme being on ObWi, blame ME; so far as I can tell, I'm the one who imported it from Usenet, and specifically from Panix and panix.chat, circa 1995 to here, circa 2003-2004, but it's also the way I've been all my life. Everyone has an opinion: so freaking what? Either opinions can be supported by logic and fact, or they can't. If they can't, they're worthless. That's all there is to it.

It's the difference between argument and assertion, and abusive assertion is particularly destructive of productive conversation.

Ipse-dixitism

An ipse-dixitism or bare assertion is an unsupported or dogmatic assertion; it is a term sometimes used to point out a missing argument.

Someone guilty of perpetrating an ipse-dixitism does not explicitly define it as an axiom, and certainly not as a premise, but often appears presented in syllogistic form, as: "The economy needs more scientists, so expansion of science education will boost the future economy". The proposition rests on an ipse-dixitism unless the speaker gives reasons why "the economy needs more scientists".

Read the rest.

Proof by assertion:

Proof by assertion, sometimes informally referred to as proof by repeated assertion, is a logical fallacy in which a proposition is repeatedly restated regardless of contradiction. Sometimes this may be repeated until challenges dry up, at which point it is asserted as fact due to its not being contradicted (argumentum ad nauseam). In other cases its repetition may be cited as evidence of its truth, in a variant of the appeal to authority or appeal to belief fallacies.

This logical fallacy is sometimes used as a form of rhetoric by politicians, or during a debate as a filibuster. In its extreme form, it can also be a form of brainwashing. Modern politics contains many examples of proof by assertions. This practice can be observed in the use of political slogans, and the distribution of "talking points", which are collections of short phrases that are issued to members of modern political parties for recitation to achieve maximum message repetition. The technique is also sometimes used in advertising.[citation needed]

The technique is described in a saying, often incorrectly attributed to Lenin without citation as "A lie told often enough becomes the truth",[1] although the user may not be intentionally promoting a lie and may just believe an illogical or faulty proposition.

Engaging in fallacious arguments convinces no one but the speaker.

Which itself is begging the question:

Begging the Question is a fallacy in which the premises include the claim that the conclusion is true or (directly or indirectly) assume that the conclusion is true. This sort of "reasoning" typically has the following form.

1. Premises in which the truth of the conclusion is claimed or the truth of the conclusion is assumed (either directly or indirectly).
2. Claim C (the conclusion) is true.

This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because simply assuming that the conclusion is true (directly or indirectly) in the premises does not constitute evidence for that conclusion. Obviously, simply assuming a claim is true does not serve as evidence for that claim. This is especially clear in particularly blatant cases: "X is true. The evidence for this claim is that X is true."

Some cases of question begging are fairly blatant, while others can be extremely subtle.
Examples of Begging the Question

1. Bill: "God must exist."
Jill: "How do you know."
Bill: "Because the Bible says so."
Jill: "Why should I believe the Bible?"
Bill: "Because the Bible was written by God."

2. "If such actions were not illegal, then they would not be prohibited by the law."

3. "The belief in God is universal. After all, everyone believes in God."

4. Interviewer: "Your resume looks impressive but I need another reference."
Bill: "Jill can give me a good reference."
Interviewer: "Good. But how do I know that Jill is trustworthy?"
Bill: "Certainly. I can vouch for her."

You can't cite your own views as obviously true. It's a logical fallacy.

I really wanted the topic to be the thing that I was talking about (the media) and not the thing that I wrote.
No one cares what anyone else "wants." You don't care what Turbulence wants. That's why we talk about what's written, and don't pretend to mind-read, and don't arrogate to ourselves false omniscence about what other people think, why they're saying things, or what they want. We can't do that to you, none of us can do it to others, we just respond to arguments, logic, and facts, as much as possible.

Granted, this is an ideal, and people regularly roundly kick each other's asses, but we do try to discourage conversation that leads to nothing but aggravation for all concerned. Whomever is being aggravated, or causing aggravation.

God knows I do my share of being aggravating at times, and I'm rightfully called on it.

Russell:

[...] Lots of folks here have personal styles that rub other folks here the wrong way. Over time we've kinda learned to deal. Or, folks just decide to pack it up and go do something else.

Hope you decide to stick around, I think you will actually find it congenial in the long term.

As usual: what Russell said.

One with two axes of the same size. Without that, "oblate" doesn't apply.

That being the case, though, the Earth is not a spheroid of any kind.

Except by approximation. Other approximations might have it be an ellipsoid or even a more complex shape at some given moment in time, but that shape would be different the next moment.

Maybe "round" is the best descriptor, after all, if brevity is of any value.

I've beaten that to death, I think. But my original comment was more of a lark than anything I'd expect to be taken seriously. You can argue about nearly everything, because lots of what you think is true is wrong for one reason or another.

Like those parabolic trajectories you (I, anyhow) learned in high school Calc. Those were pure fiction.

"I suppose the question regarding this becomes, at least in part, how the output of right-wing think tanks filters down to Limbaugh and Beck."

Doesn't it seem just as likely that Limbaugh and Beck refer to CATO when they feel like it, and ignore CATO when they don't? It sounds like CATO isn't really involved in setting the agenda, and that Limbaugh and Beck are the ones with influence.


"I'd also say that it's been demonstrated that more mainstream media sources (yes, news media) more often cite those think tanks that are generally classified as being conservative".

You seem to be thinking of something like CATO as a singular unit, while you think of something like Harvard as a bunch of different professors. CATO is significantly less monolithic, and Harvard is a least a touch less atomistic. But however you choose tho think about it, you should consider the idea that they are at least in the same zone in the monolithic--atomistic continuum. So it isn't clear that cites to people with CATO should be counted as one thing, while cites to professors at Harvard should be counted as dozens of different things if you are trying to measure political influence.

"even if those think tanks don't always agree on everything, and even of not every position they advocate becomes policy, or is seriously considered for such. I don't think their influence is in dispute, rather the (demonstrable) reasons for that influence."

I think that the influence of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck is pretty big. I don't see similar evidence for CATO or Heritage *such that we should think they are much more (if at all) influential than liberal universities or think tanks*.

I think that the influence of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck is pretty big. I don't see similar evidence for CATO or Heritage *such that we should think they are much more (if at all) influential than liberal universities or think tanks*.

Again, if we're discussing news media political influence, rather than total influence, political or otherwise, the number of cites of conservative think tanks in mainstream media is greater than that of cites of liberal think tanks. That's an apples-to-apples comparison at whatever level of atomization think tanks operate at. Perhaps universities are more influencial and are cited more often if you count every single professor who's quoted. But, if we're talking about politics, it's not the raison d'etre for universities, and much of the information they put out is not political in nature, and it not relevant to political influence in the mainstream news media. (Feel free to suss that all out.)

Either way, the point was that liberal think tanks aren't keeping up with conservative think tanks in popular news media in terms of shaping the political discussion. It's not a novel idea. Some of the URLs below are for very recent articles, and some go back several years.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3211.htm

http://motherjones.com/environment/2011/02/koch-brothers-media-beck-greenpeace#

http://www.suite101.com/content/top-think-tanks-cited-by-the-us-media-changes-a-shifting-bias-a274577

http://www.completecampaigns.com/article.asp?articleid=88

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/thinktanks-take-oil-money-and-use-it-to-fund-climate-deniers-1891747.html

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

Gary, you were thinking about sex on at least one occasion yesterday. Am I right?
Normally you'd be correct, but yesterday I was too tired.

I don't know anything about this source, but here's something that speaks to the influence of think tanks on Rush et al. When considering think-tank political media influence, it doesn't really make sense to take the influence of some segment of the political media and compare it to that of think tanks. Influence on the media flows through to affect the influence of the media.

http://agendaproject.org/History_of_the_Conservative_Movement.pdf (emphasis mine)

The network of conservative message makers, advocates, elite journals, professional networks and legal/media monitors enjoy a combined annual operating budget of around $400 million.34 Together, these elements constitute a value chain that develops, promotes and distributes conservative public policy. Ideas formulated by think tanks are disseminated first to elite journals such as the Weekly Standard, National Review and American Spectator.35 These ideas cover the policy landscape, with some of the “top hits” including:

· “Blueprint for America”
· Less government/lower taxes
· De-regulation
· “Defund the Left”
· Chilling The “Liberal” Media
· “Contract With America”
· Welfare Reform
· “Death” Tax
· “Compassionate Conservatism”
· School Vouchers
· Social Security Privatization
· Military “Preemption” Doctrine

After gaining traction in the elite journals, ideas then flow to those mass media outlets that form part of the conservative infrastructure, including Fox Television News, Scarborough Country MSNBC, The Rush Limbaugh Show, Radio America, The Wall Street Journal editorial page, The Washington Times and websites such as Townhall.com and AnnCoulter.org.

I've beaten that to death, I think.

Me too. I thought "anal-retentive" was a clue that I was being silly, but apparently not a sufficient one.

"When considering think-tank political media influence, it doesn't really make sense to take the influence of some segment of the political media and compare it to that of think tanks. Influence on the media flows through to affect the influence of the media."

I don't see this as obvious or true. It seems to me much more likely that large media figures choose what they want to take from the think tanks and shape it from there than that the think tanks are doing much to shape the discourse. So Limbaugh and Beck decide what they want to talk about, and if the think tank agrees with them, they get cited, if not, they don't. I'm sure lots of us intellectuals like think that means that the think tanks are doing much to influence Limbaugh and Beck, but frankly I doubt it.

If it were really think tank -----> Limbaugh we wouldn't have so much focus on immigration, we would have a different view on the drug war, we wouldn't have a resurgence of protectionist rhetoric, we would see Rush arguing for expanding the earned income tax credit, and all sorts of other things.

I think your only strong case is maybe school vouchers. There are lots of ideas floating around think tanks. The real movers choose what they want and discard most of it.

"Normally, you'd be correct, but yesterday I was too tired."

Gary, the excuse of weariness and a headache is to be respected in every relationship, of course, but I'd put-out to yourself once in a while, even if you don't enjoy it.

Grin and bear it.

If you don't, your eyes will begin to stray and pretty soon there will be a triangle of three Gary Farbers.

Keeping the whole thing secret won't be easy.

You'll eventually find out and all of you will be hurt.

An interesting measure of their influence might be something that they all agree on, but that liberal think tanks pretty much don't agree on.

Free markets and limiting the scope of government.

Also just wanted to say that I will be looking for any and all opportunities to drop "ipse-dixitism" into casual conversation.

If it were really think tank -----> Limbaugh

This is an overly simplistic graphic, I think. I'd say it's a strawman to suggest that I've said think tanks have some sort of absolute control over the likes of Limbaugh. It's a matter of influence, and relative influence at that. Do you think liberal think tanks have more influence over Rush Limbaugh than conservative ones? That would be a relevant question, I think.

If it were really think tank ----> Limbaugh

Yes, overly simplistic.

Especially if you are David Frum or Bruce Bartlett.

Another mostly a stranger to the OW commenting threads vote that the original post was interesting, I'd be interested in seeing more of the author, and Trubulence's replies were by my standards uncivil. And though I realize that lengh is not to be imposed on anyone at all, according to the rules, also another vote for not being able to deal with comments that are very very long and repetitive.

It is the position of the current US administration that no employee of the government who has engaged in torture will be brought to justice.

Adding to this, the issue here is not merely punishment, but also possibly compensation of victims. See Maher Ahar and the contrast with the Canadian government in that case.

Length limits CANNOT be imposed, or suggested.

Says who? Overly long comments can be as disruptive to a civilized discussion as other rhetorical offenses. While I wouldn't want to regulate them via posting rules, I would welcome a gentleman's agreement to try to keep them reasonably brief (say 5 standard paragraphs or something like that).

Pretty far left:

Required representation of labor and/or other non-investor stakeholders in corporate governance.

Count me as "pretty far left," then. That's pretty mild stuff. Why should the people who do the work not get a say in how their workplace is run? Why should it be an autocracy based purely on money, with labor having no say? What kind of notion of human rights is that?

Is the United States government "pretty far left" given that we have the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)?

The freaking Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) was created under well-known communist President Dwight D. Eisenhower! If this is "pretty far left" it's from the standpoint of the John Birch Society!

What's so "pretty far left" about any of this?

What's so far left about labor corporate governance?

I don't get it.

Basically, the model for labor not having a say in management is called "feudalism."

I thought we were against that these days, but YMMV.

I agree with Sebastian's February 16, 2011 at 10:39 AM.

These aren't monolithic groups, and acting as if they are is simply ignorant.

It's one of those things I hate about the whole simplistic dualistic "us/them" approach to anything in life. "Your" side is always full of nuance and distinctions but "they" are all a homogenous bunch of loons.

That's not the way humans work. They're individuals, who find common cause in some areas, not in others.

Go into any office, and everyone has their own agendas and loyalties. Same in every university, every organization, and most families.

That is how human beings work. It's an incredibly obvious observation.

Yet so many people look at people they don't understand and perceive them as homogenous Other.

That's just stupid.

And as soon as you start looking a little closely at these groups of other, you'll notice that they're full of divides, differences of opinion, and so on. Heritage and Cato are very different.

So is, say, Change to Win Federation from AFL-CIO.

If these groups weren't different, they wouldn't be separate groups.

Really, how hard is that to understand?

Gary, the excuse of weariness and a headache is to be respected in every relationship, of course, but I'd put-out to yourself once in a while, even if you don't enjoy it.
I write online and link to myself instead.

It gives me hairy palms, but I've learned that if I don't do it for myself, pressures build up.

The comments to this entry are closed.