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Sunday, March 31, 2013

OTP: April 2013: Daily Caller: Baseball and the GOP: To rebrand the party, think like a sports fan

This week’s GOP autopsy report, commissioned by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, is a great start in the much-needed task of rebranding the Republican Party. As the chairman acknowledged, “the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough” and “we have to be more inclusive.” The report contains 219 recommendations to “connect people to our principles.” To achieve that goal, the party will need a strategic vision of how voters think about politics, which is something that the report lacks. For that, the GOP can learn a lot from another American passion: baseball.

This year, about 75 million Americans will go to the baseball stadium to watch a ballgame, about the same number as those who will vote in next year’s election. We rarely think about why someone becomes a baseball fan, or why they root for a certain team. Nor do we usually think about why someone chooses to vote for a certain political party. But it’s actually a very useful exercise.

When it comes to baseball, fan loyalty has almost nothing to do with the brain, and almost everything to do with the heart. In all of history, there’s never been a baseball fan who rooted for his team because it had the lowest ticket prices, or because it had the most taxpayer-friendly stadium deal, or because its players did the most community service. For the vast majority of Americans, rooting for a baseball team — not to mention, voting for a political party — isn’t really a rational choice; it’s more of a statement of personal identity — a statement telling the world, “This is who I am.” And for most people, defining “who I am” starts with family and community, before branching out into areas like race, age, gender, and class.

Family is pretty straightforward. If your mom and dad are Yankee fans, you’re almost certainly a Yankee fan. The same is true in politics. If your mom and dad are Republicans, you’re almost certainly a Republican.

Community is also pretty straightforward. If you grew up in, say, Philadelphia, chances are pretty great you’re a Phillies fan. Likewise, someone who grew up in Republican territory like, say, suburban Dallas or rural Indiana is much more likely to become a Republican than a nearly identical person from Seattle or Santa Fe.

Cities with more than one baseball team, like New York or Chicago, show revealing breakdowns by race and gender. The racial split in Chicago between Cubs fans on the North Side and White Sox fans on the South Side is well-documented. In New York, there’s an intriguing gender gap between Mets and Yankee fans, with women gravitating a lot more to the Yanks. While there’s a few theories out there trying to explain that, one obvious answer leaps out: Yankees heartthrob Derek Jeter.

In sports, as in politics, people’s convictions can’t be conveniently reduced to who their parents are or what they look like. But those things are an important foundation, upon which more rational sentiments come into being. Once you’re attached to your team on an emotional level — seeing them as a personal reflection of who you are and what you care about most — a rational exterior comes into being through phrases like “the Red Sox are the best team because they have the most heart” or “the Republicans are the best party because they know how to create jobs.”

Tripon Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM | 6544 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   901. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4405118)
nce you take the view that the letter--by itself--can't provide the Rosetta Stone for his innermost thoughts but has to be read in light of his other words and actions, then you have to ask what he meant.


It is obviously impossible to know what someone truly believes, but I think your three points a perhaps a bit too clever/reductive/? not sure the exact word I am looking for. Typically people do things for many reasons, but generally I think one needs to accept what is written until and unless something else directly contradicts it.

I think he was being honest when he wrote about the separation of personal and professional. To a much lesser degree I have delt with that as well and I suspect most people have. I also think he valued the survival of the union over any specific policy (slavery included). His willingness to suspend Habeus Corpus (sp?) and other such acts shows pretty clearly he was operating in "ends justify means" territory, so I don't think it silly to accept that if he saw that the way to save the Union required keeping slavery he would have accepted it (refusing to compromise wasn't really in his nature i think, certainly not to the point of endangering the union) - on the contracy if that was the path he saw he would have taken it and allowed slavery to stand (and probably hated himself for it).

Of course I also think he knew (correctly I believe) that in fact a house divided can not stand. Keeping slavery would not save the union long term. The fact that he clearly states if he had to do X to save the union he would does not change the fact that he believed X would not save the union and so absent a change of some sort (such as huge confederate successes - well more huge I guess, or maybe Union threatening Confederate successes is s batter way of putting it) he wasn't going to accept half slave and half free - but he also was not willing to totally close the door on that either.

EDIT: To try to make myself clearer. Some word salad disease. Sorry, it is still not super clear.
   902. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4405119)
Yes mustard gas cases experienced near term suffering, but most went on to live normal lives; even if their athletics careers were short. I'd much rather be gassed than have my legs blown off.


It's more about the civilians at home than the injured/killed soldiers. The reason gas was out of bounds in WWII wasn't because it did, or did not do horrible things to men in war. It's that they survived and then the folks at home had to see the suffering and hell of war, *brought back home.* That's the no-go. It's okay to kill and maim. It's not okay to let the folks back home know how badly that #### really is.
   903. BDC Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4405121)
You asked for it; you're going to get it

Sure; and at the same time, we're not going to release poison gas onto your cities, even when there's very little chance you could release poison gas onto ours. We're not going to torture the POWs we've captured, even though you have tortured the ones you've captured.

As I've been saying, I've largely been won over to the idea that the dropping of the A-bomb was justifiable strategically and morally, but I can still see the argument that it's a moral line that shouldn't have been crossed. Hence there's residual controversy that probably won't go away soon.
   904. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4405126)
I can't say that I'd have an answer I could have given to the widows and families of any American soldiers whose lives might have been lost in an invasion of Japan. Truman's primary job was to protect American lives and end the war as quickly as possible.

What's your answer to the widows and families of American soldiers lost in Iraq when we could have accomplished our war aims by dropping nuclear weapons instead? That probably sounds rather flip, but it really isn't. There's always a more potent weapon that could be used in lieu of boots on the ground. That doesn't provide a whole lot of moral instruction.

The answer to the hypothetical widows and families in 1945 is what it always is. "Your husband/son served honorably, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and his sacrifice will never be forgotten."
   905. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4405131)
The focus on the slippery-slope "logical flaw" is one of many tiresome points that can be put in the same pot with OMG THE WORD THE WOORRRRRD!!! crap. There are tangible reasons why polygamy is on society's shitlist, none of which applies - or should apply, at least - in the slightest to gay marriage.


Right. The reason polygamy is a different case is because multiple-partner contracts are a different form of contract than two-party contracts. The "but if we let same sex couples marry, why not polygamy, and then why not goats!?" is just a stupid red herring thrown out by the losing side of the argument because they're pissed off they have no actual arguments. There is exactly one structurally sound argument in support of "only heterosexual marriage" and no one outside of inner circle Opus Dei members are willing to even consider taking that stance.

Joe is an idiot. We know this to be the case already. Marriage contracts are not multiple partner contracts because western society has determined multiple partner marriages to be contrary to social ends.

With that said, if future citizenry wanted to modify state sanctioned marriage to include multiple partners, they can. Future people get to determine their own social rules.
   906. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4405135)
It is obviously impossible to know what someone truly believes, but I think your three points a perhaps a bit too clever/reductive/? not sure the exact word I am looking for. Typically people do things for many reasons, but generally I think one needs to accept what is written until and unless something else directly contradicts it.
The key here though is that you can't take one piece of writing as the truth in the absence of looking at the other pieces of writing. Lincoln wrote many thousands of letters. There's no reason to believe he thought this one was particularly revealing--in fact he wrote this specifically for PR since it was released to the newspapers, so there's prima facie evidence that it should be read as a part of a strategy not a cri de coeur. But if you want to make a case that it's a cri de couer, then you have to also ask whether his thousands of other letters were not also cri-s de coeur, and if so how to reconcile differences between this letter and those other letters.

More broadly: Lincoln's position after 1854 was pretty clear: Slavery was wrong; slavery was protected under the Constitution in the states where it existed; slavery was not protected anywhere other than within incorporated states; ending slavery posed massive problems that no one had a good solution to; the best politics could achieve was to put slavery on a slow path to extinction in normal times; war powers though included the right to free an enemy's slaves so Lincoln thought--as all anti-slavery politicians thought following John Q Adams--that if the South went to war, that would end in mass emancipation. Lincoln did change over time; he moved from emancipation to abolition as the war endured (not that he would have abolition beforehand but he didn't see it as possible and had not thought through the implications of relying on wartime measures once peace returned) and he gave up on the idea of colonization once he faced the impossibility of the scale. Beyond that, how he was changing in the Spring of 1865, we'll never know for sure.

The challenge with saying Lincoln put Union above anti-slavery is 1) he didn't see the two as contradictory; he thought that anti-slavery could only be maintained by having a strong federal government over the US (or else you'd get a bunch of small slave republics that couldn't be defeated) and this was a standard Whig position even among the moderate Whigs like Webster ("Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable") and 2) it did not require guesswork to identify people who valued Union over anti-slavery in the North. They were called Democrats. Their idol was Stephen Douglas. Lincoln of course spent his key years arguing against Douglas over exactly this question; Douglas said he disliked slavery but put the Union first. Lincoln argued that couldn't work; the Union could only be maintained by constraining slavery within constitutional limits. People in 1858 and 1860 saw the distinction because they talked and wrote endlessly about it.
   907. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4405136)
From Steve's link:

As Rush Limbaugh recently put it, "By definition, same-sex people cannot be married." You had the feeling that that "by definition" was really a stand-in for "by God."


Actually, no, you didn't.

I had to do a little mental stutter-step the first couple of times I heard a gay friend talking about his husband. Until I realized, "Oh, I see — it's just the guy in a marriage, the same as it ever was."


This makes no sense. There are two "guys" in that marriage, so one of them is not "the guy" in the marriage.
   908. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4405140)
I can't say that I'd have an answer I could have given to the widows and families of any American soldiers whose lives might have been lost in an invasion of Japan. Truman's primary job was to protect American lives and end the war as quickly as possible.

What's your answer to the widows and families of American soldiers lost in Iraq when we could have accomplished our war aims by dropping nuclear weapons instead? That probably sounds rather flip, but it really isn't. There's always a more potent weapon that could be used in lieu of boots on the ground. That doesn't provide a whole lot of moral instruction.


Of course one distinction is pretty obvious: Unlike Iraq, World War II was not a war of choice.

Another answer is to consider the political fallout of dropping a nuclear weapon on Iraq, not to mention the cost in lives to unprotected American civilians who happened to be in exposed positions both abroad and at home. I'll let you do the math on that, impossible a task as it would be to calculate.

The answer to the hypothetical widows and families in 1945 is what it always is. "Your husband/son served honorably, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and his sacrifice will never be forgotten."

Good luck selling that one to the American population in 1945.

   909. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4405142)
The challenge with saying Lincoln put Union above anti-slavery is 1) he didn't see the two as contradictory; he thought that anti-slavery could only be maintained by having a strong federal government over the US (or else you'd get a bunch of small slave republics that couldn't be defeated) and this was a standard Whig position even among the moderate Whigs like Webster ("Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable") and 2) it did not require guesswork to identify people who valued Union over anti-slavery in the North. They were called Democrats. Their idol was Stephen Douglas. Lincoln of course spent his key years arguing against Douglas over exactly this question; Douglas said he disliked slavery but put the Union first. Lincoln argued that couldn't work; the Union could only be maintained by constraining slavery within constitutional limits. People in 1858 and 1860 saw the distinction because they talked and wrote endlessly about it.


Who cares if Lincoln really valued the Union over abolition, or vice versa? Lincoln ended slavery and saved the Union. Actions matter. He could have believed he was serving galactic overlords for all the damned difference it makes.
   910. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4405143)
There are two "guys" in that marriage, so one of them is not "the guy" in the marriage.


Both of them are husbands. See how easy that is?
   911. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4405144)
#847 helps to prove that the definition of "marriage" is being changed. Otherwise, aside from the phrase "gay marriage" being redundant, what is or has been stopping gays from getting married if same-sex marriage already fits neatly within the established meaning of "marriage"?


Yeah, #847 was silly. The commentator admitted that the word "was being used in a new way" and that he did a "mental stutter step" upon hearing a gay friend of his refer to "my husband." Then he argues, "Yep! Same as it ever was!"

Not surprisingly, Steve cited to the commentator with nodding approval, seemingly unaware that the commentator made no sense. It's like Steve didn't even bother to actually comprehend what he was reading because the commentator arrived at the Appropriate, Non-Bigoted Conclusion.
   912. BDC Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4405146)
This makes no sense. There are two "guys" in that marriage, so one of them is not "the guy" in the marriage

It makes no sense if you think of the two men as husband and wife, and thus envision the husband wearing the pants, and such stereotypes. But it makes good sense if you think of it as "a guy" in a marriage, and each man as the other's husband. (I'm predicting you'll agree, but am ready for anything :)

Edit Coke to Sam
   913. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4405148)
Of course one distinction is pretty obvious: Unlike Iraq, World War II was not a war of choice.

Joe Kennedy, who lost a son and almost a second in WWII, would differ -- as would millions of his contemporaries. I'd cast it more as a war we were provoked into, but 9/11 was also a provocation to war and a justifiable casus belli.

More to the point, I don't see that distinction as impacting the human rights of the civilian citizens of dictatorships, like the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or their rights as noncombatants not to be the victims of war crimes. And I'm surprised to see your admirable love of equality of all peoples so abruptly end at America's shores.
   914. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4405149)
It makes no sense if you think of the two men as husband and wife, and thus envision the husband wearing the pants, and such stereotypes. But it makes good sense if you think of it as "a guy" in a marriage, and each man as the other's husband. (I'm predicting you'll agree, but am ready for anything :)

Gay men need to come up with terms that correspond to lesbians' time-tested Butch and Queen. It might clarify some of the confusion, even if it might not be a great idea to put those terms on a marriage certificate. (smile)
   915. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4405150)
Who cares if Lincoln really valued the Union over abolition, or vice versa? Lincoln ended slavery and saved the Union. Actions matter. He could have believed he was serving galactic overlords for all the damned difference it makes.
This is basically what I believe also. Actions not intentions are the best way to judge. But the idea that Lincoln didn't care about slavery or put the Union first pops up all the time and in ways that make the Civil War literally impossible to understand.
   916. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4405154)
But it makes good sense if you think of it as "a guy" in a marriage, and each man as the other's husband. (I'm predicting you'll agree, but am ready for anything :)


But the commentator didn't say "a guy." He said "the guy":

I had to do a little mental stutter-step the first couple of times I heard a gay friend talking about his husband. Until I realized, "Oh, I see — it's just the guy in a marriage, the same as it ever was."


...Which, as I said, makes no sense as applied to a "marriage" having two men. It makes perfect sense as applied to a marriage having a man and a woman, because then the man certainly is "the guy" in that marriage.
   917. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4405158)
The key here though is that you can't take one piece of writing as the truth in the absence of looking at the other pieces of writing.


IO don't think we are that far apart actually, but this subject started when someone asked somethign to the effect "do you believe Lincoln was willing to keep slavery if it meant saving the union" (I could look at the exact bit but that is so last page), and i think quoting Lincoln saying pretty much exactly that is a pretty good defense.

It is much harder to suggest the opposite, that he never would have allowed slavery, when (again) he wrote clearly and explicitly the opposite. Sure it did not turn out that way (and actions matter) and no one is suggesting anythign but he was anti-slavery, but it is not a stretch to suggest he would sacrifice one of his principles to save the union especially since he wrote exactly that and in other instances sacrificed his prinicples when he thought it justified for the larger end.
   918. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4405159)
As Joe says, if nothing was being changed or redefined, same-sex couples could have simply waltzed up to the county clerk and gotten a marriage license and gotten married. They weren't able to do that, because laws needed to be changed, definitions needed to be revised, the word needed to be redefined.

All of that may be a good thing, but the claim that the word is not being redefined is simply a lie. Clearly it needed to be redefined, or there would have been no !@#$%^& issue.
   919. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4405162)
Sure; and at the same time, we're not going to release poison gas onto your cities, even when there's very little chance you could release poison gas onto ours. We're not going to torture the POWs we've captured, even though you have tortured the ones you've captured.


There are reasons we took the high ground. It's interesting, and more than a little surprising at first, to see and consider why some people and groups of people at specific times are better than others, even if only to a relative degree.

First, we could afford to, and, second, it was to our benefit to be seen as generous and good. It was a good strategy.

Third, it, for the most part, seemed to come naturally to us. But it wasn’t natural. That we did act very much better on the whole also speaks to the power of instituting and reinforcing particular cultural values over time.

Races and ethnicities are not different species. No people are. Some of us have acted almost as badly as the Germans and Japanese at times and places. The South wrt Blacks; those moving west wrt to Native Americans. And those people come from a stock that in their turn has acted the same way wrt groups outside of them. Let’s not kid ourselves. We are not essentially different. Our growth over time in a context and the way we come to terms with it led to, and lead to, a national philosophical way of strategic accommodation, and that can make a real difference. But, just as it is built up by nurturing (as it began with Japan beginning with its defeat and occupation), it can be degrading to such at extent that it isn’t that hard to tear down or simply give up on (see Nazi Germany), usually through an extended period. It’s hard work to be better than someone else—to be truly good on the whole and as a matter of principle is even harder. This is all stating the obvious, but we do need to be reminded. Otherwise we get to thinking we’re the chosen people. No people are. You have to continually act in a way that entitles you to be in the running.
   920. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4405163)
Of course one distinction is pretty obvious: Unlike Iraq, World War II was not a war of choice.

Joe Kennedy, who lost a son and almost a second in WWII, would differ -- as would millions of his contemporaries fellow isolationists and Hitler apologists.

FIFY

I'd cast it more as a war we were provoked into, but 9/11 was also a provocation to war and a justifiable casus belli.

But Iraq was a war that wasn't directed at the aggressor of 9/11, which is the point of distinction.

More to the point, I don't see that distinction as impacting the human rights of the civilian citizens of dictatorships, like the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of course in practice this isn't an easy question to answer, but one where you have to consider the particular circumstances in each case. Calculating the human costs in the case of the Atomic bombings is something that can lead to honest differences of opinion, but based on what I've read on all sides about the costs of not acting as he did, I can't condemn Truman's actions in hindsight from the standpoint of anything other than a context-free sense of general horror.

And I'm surprised to see your admirable love of equality of all peoples so abruptly end at America's shores.

No country's leader is going to be quite that disinterested in his calculations. Perhaps when nations are done away with.
   921. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4405164)
This is basically what I believe also. Actions not intentions are the best way to judge. But the idea that Lincoln didn't care about slavery or put the Union first pops up all the time and in ways that make the Civil War literally impossible to understand.


No one is suggesting actrions are less important than anythign else, but if one bnrings in a "what if" or "what about" you have to look beyond what actually happened to what is said and other factors.
   922. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4405166)
All of that may be a good thing, but the claim that the word is not being redefined is simply a lie. Clearly it needed to be redefined, or there would have been no !@#$%^& issue.

You and Joe are confusing "redefined" and "properly interpreted." A nice parallel is the reserve clause prior to 1976. That, too, was misread and misinterpreted for decades until an arbitrator finally sat down, focused, and read it the right way.
   923. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4405169)
IO don't think we are that far apart actually, but this subject started when someone asked somethign to the effect "do you believe Lincoln was willing to keep slavery if it meant saving the union" (I could look at the exact bit but that is so last page), and i think quoting Lincoln saying pretty much exactly that is a pretty good defense.

It is much harder to suggest the opposite, that he never would have allowed slavery, when (again) he wrote clearly and explicitly the opposite. Sure it did not turn out that way (and actions matter) and no one is suggesting anythign but he was anti-slavery, but it is not a stretch to suggest he would sacrifice one of his principles to save the union especially since he wrote exactly that and in other instances sacrificed his prinicples when he thought it justified for the larger end.
I agree we're not that far apart. A lot lies in what you mean by "keep." Would he have kept slavery where it existed in 1861? Of course. By 1862, of course, his stance had changed, and he had been a part of that change; by the time, he wrote the public letter in response to Greeley, he had left that idea well behind. If by "keep," one means keep allowing slavery to expand and thrive, then the answer is different, since he chose limiting slavery over the Union in the winter of 1860-1861, and clearly said that he would fight rather than let slavery expand.

If the question is would he have allowed slavery, he would not have understood that question since he never understood the president to have the power to allow or disallow property rights in peacetime. He thought constraining slavery and filling the West with free states would put slavery on a path to extinction, and in peacetime he saw no other way to legally end slavery. So he both "allowed" slavery to exist, but also refused any compromise that would help slavery could continue to expand since he thought expansion was central to slavery's endurance, and he valued blocking that expansion over keeping the Union together.

He was as you say a pragmatist, and he was highly interested in arguments about the best time in a sequence of events in which to act--he had no faith that right prevailed on its own without careful strategizing. But I would not say he put sacrificed his principles; I would say more that he had a hierarchy of principles, and he sacrificed lower principles (to him, or better perhaps, preferences) for higher ones all the time. Of course he preferred to keep habeas corpus, but he never said it was a higher principle than the others. He preferred constitutionalism and tried to work within it, but always said that the ultimate premise of the Constitution was national survival, democratic process (which he thought slavery and esp secession thwarted), and the presumption of freedom (which is why only established states could make slaves, since where national power existed, freedom was or should be the presumption, as it was within the borders of England under English law.)
   924. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4405170)
As Joe says, if nothing was being changed or redefined, same-sex couples could have simply waltzed up to the county clerk and gotten a marriage license and gotten married. They weren't able to do that, because laws needed to be changed, definitions needed to be revised, the word needed to be redefined.

All of that may be a good thing, but the claim that the word is not being redefined is simply a lie. Clearly it needed to be redefined, or there would have been no !@#$%^& issue.


Wait a minute, why are we conflating the legal definition of marriage with the meaning of the word marriage? Are you suggesting the word meaning is totally linked to the legal definition? If so who cares if the word is being redefined, every law or change to a law redefines the dictionary under that circumstance. If they are no so linked then your paragraph is senseless.

Basically I am not sure what the hangup is on the whole "definition of marriage" subthread and think it is a really pointless discussion. Words and meanings change. Laws change. So what? But for some reason there is this weird "gothcha" thing going on here.
   925. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4405173)
As Joe says, if nothing was being changed or redefined, same-sex couples could have simply waltzed up to the county clerk and gotten a marriage license and gotten married. They weren't able to do that, because laws needed to be changed, definitions needed to be revised, the word needed to be redefined.


You're solid up until that last clause. Yes, laws needed to be changed. But definitions didn't need to be revised, because definitions and words don't work that way. Words mean whatever the hell people use them to mean. They "change definitions" all the time. For example, when it was originally coined and put into the public dialogue, the phrase "close enough for government work" actually meant "this is as good as this work can possibly done, so much so that it would meet the most stringent standards imaginable; it would even pass muster for government contracting, which is the most difficult standard to meet." Over the course of history, the government's reputation for being the most demanding contractor on the planet faded, and the phrase "close enough for government work" has slowly come to mean "meh; it's not perfect by any means, but it'll do well enough."

Words and language do that all the time. Marriage has already shifted (again) in the public consciousness. The only question at hand is if the legally stipulated contract, guaranteed by the state, is equally applied to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. And that is rather quickly taking shape in the affirmative.

Everything else is pedantry or bigotry.
   926. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4405174)
You and Joe are confusing "redefined" and "properly interpreted." A nice parallel is the reserve clause prior to 1976. That, too, was misread and misinterpreted for decades until an arbitrator finally sat down, focused, and read it the right way.


No, SugarBear. The definition "between a man and a woman" cannot be "interpreted" to include two men or two women. The definition has to be changed to include the latter.
   927. BDC Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4405175)
Excellent points, Morty. Lots of problems arise when a nation or regime or military begins to excuse immoral behavior on the grounds of "We're good so whatever we do is good" or "This isn't saintly, but it's at least better than the enemy." I'm thinking obviously of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, waterboarding, assassinations, drones … each one possibly with its limited and ad hoc justifying arguments, but overall not a set of events that make one proud of being American.
   928. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4405176)
I am on board with much of what you said, but I am blanking on what you mean by

since he chose limiting slavery over the Union in the winter of 1860-1861, and clearly said that he would fight rather than let slavery expand


When did he have a choice between limiting slavery versus the union? (Forgive me if I am forgetting something obvious).
   929. Howie Menckel Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4405177)
I respect the varying opinions about WW II here, but I do get the feeling that I may be starting from a different vantahe point in that father flew in a B-17 on 35 missions over Germany. Meaning, that takes it a little closer to home.

This was late in the war (Dec 1944-Feb 1945), so the primary danger at that point was anti-aircraft weapons from the ground. Dad once told me that on a cloudy day, "We could get as close as we wanted, do what we had to do, and fly right away."

But on a clear day, he said, it was treacherous. The co-pilot was killed on one mission and the engineer was wounded, while the rest prayed that their plane could limp all the way back to England.

I guess my typing is a spoiler alert, isn't it? Anyway, they still have a public tribute standing in the British village that was their "home base."

   930. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4405181)
Basically I am not sure what the hangup is on the whole "definition of marriage" subthread and think it is a really pointless discussion. Words and meanings change. Laws change. So what? But for some reason there is this weird "gothcha" thing going on here.


You say above that "Words and meanings change." And I agree completely: the meaning of the word "marriage" has changed/is changing. That is my entire point. It's our liberal friends who don't agree with this point - not me.
   931. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4405184)
No country's leader is going to be quite that disinterested in his calculations. Perhaps when nations are done away with.

So if we got into a war with Mexico during the W Administration, he would have been justified in rounding up the Mexican illegals within our borders and lining up Arpaio to slit 100 throats a day to get the Mexicans to surrender without more US soldiers being killed?

Which is to say, the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were people first. They happened, by accident of time and place, to have been trapped within the borders of a combatant nation. It's hard to see how that makes them morally acceptable recipients of a nuclear blast.
   932. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4405185)
When did he have a choice between limiting slavery versus the union? (Forgive me if I am forgetting something obvious).
I am sure I'm not being clear. Sorry for that. What I meant was that Lincoln rejected the Crittenden Compromise, which many Southern senators thought would forestall further secession if Republicans would agree to allow the expansion of slavery across the west below the Missouri Compromise line (along with some provisions that would have made the Constitution not-amendable). (Since California--free--and Texas--slave--were already states they would not have been affected but the territories would have been.) Lincoln hated this, was willing to watch the Southerners secede over accepting this, and told Republicans to kill it in Congress.

Lincoln was willing in that winter to accede to Republicans voting for the proposed 13th Amendment protecting slavery in the states since he thought that was already written in the constitution, so he didn't oppose it though he didn't support it either. I think his phrase was he had no objection.

But he did object to any protection of expansion, and watched the Southern states secede after the compromise failed. So he had a choice of Union over expansion of slavery in that winter before his inauguration, and he pretty firmly chose to block the expansion of slavery over maintaining the Union.
   933. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4405190)
No, SugarBear. The definition "between a man and a woman" cannot be "interpreted" to include two men or two women. The definition has to be changed to include the latter.

That's what some states put in their statute books, but not really what it was in practice, which was a rather banal arrangement between two people that become recogized as a single unit entitled to certain rights and subject to certain obligations.

That's the substance of what a "marriage" actually is from the state'e perspective. Saying it's not "open" to people of the same gender is fundamentally at odds with that reality, since there isn't a thing about that reality so limiting it.
   934. The District Attorney Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4405194)
I can definitely buy that Lincoln could essentially say those things because it wasn't gonna happen -- if the South was going to be in the Union at that point, it was going to be without its slaves. But if the admittedly counter-factual situation he described had in fact come to pass, I do think he would have followed through on his word. (#901 points out that he did do some other morally shaky things that he thought were necessary to the larger goal.) Our war Presidents have been devoted to the goal of winning the war and minimizing American casualties, often to a fault. snapper mentioned the Allies not taking action against the concentration camps, and although I think he was unduly harsh in the sense that I think they cared about the Holocaust, it's the same basic idea. Since it wasn't going to directly help winning the war, they didn't do it.

And yeah, that's how Presidents think, and everyone was sick by 1945 of WWII, and the Axis was run by homicidal madmen, and it was to an extent (although not much of an extent IMHO) a different era, and so forth. But, although all of that makes the decision more understandable, none of it necessarily makes it right. (Speaking of slavery, that is of course an obvious example of how "mores of the time" only gets you so far.)

Again, and repeatedly, I'm not saying the Allies should have valued an Axis life equivalent to an Allied life; I'm saying it wasn't 'Nam, there were rules ;-) And I'm not saying that the bomb should have been set on the shelf in favor of a land invasion of Japan; that would be crazy. And to be perfectly clear, I'm not at all sure that killing time -- and thousands of American soldiers -- for a few more months while we got enough bombs to "waste" one on a demo was the right thing to do. That is such a deep question, and although I want to just punt and say it's above my pay grade, I don't want to wimp out either... but damn, it's difficult. The one thing I do know is that it's something to think about, more so IMHO than our Presidents normally do.

One perhaps final point I wanna make about this: One nice thing about being rational in the face of an irrational enemy is that not only are you acting more morally, but precisely because the enemy is irrational, you usually still get the end result you want. If we had publicly demonstrated the A-bomb, Japan probably still wouldn't have surrendered. If we had set a goal of bringing bin Laden to trial¹, he probably would have died resisting anyway. So whether you're means-oriented or ends-oriented, there is something to be said for the approach ;-)

¹ I believe the official line is that OBL would in fact have been brought to trial had he surrendered... and I don't believe for a second that when the SEAL saw OBL, what happened was that he yelled "Hands up!"
   935. BDC Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4405203)
I wonder how many marriage laws have been written, over the centuries, in gender-neutral ways: that is, taking it so much for granted that the parties would be different-sex that the law did not mention male and female. It's truly an open question. I do know that there were times and places, before the 19th Amendment, when voting laws were written in gender-neutral ways, and women now and again registered and voted because there was no way to prevent them (even though the drafters of such laws took it for granted that voters would all be male). Sometimes laws were revised to exclude women, as famously in New Jersey in the early Federal period. And in fact one could argue that the 14th and 15th Amendments, by not specifying gender, implicitly recognize women's voting rights even without the 19th. And so with marriage rights, perhaps, though Ray is certainly right that if an existing law specifies one of each sex, that law needs redefinition to permit gay marriage.
   936. Ron J2 Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4405204)
#923 A very good example of the way his mind worked was the whole West Virginia saga. In the end he was not persuaded by the clever rationalizations that some people came up with. The best he could come up with was that it wasn't unambiguously unconstitutional and was a good idea in terms of helping to achieve a military victory.
   937. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4405205)
I believe the official line is that OBL would in fact have been brought to trial had he surrendered... and I don't believe for a second that when the SEAL saw OBL, what happened was that he yelled "Hands up!"

OBL was a combatant. He wasn't owed anything, much less a trial.

   938. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4405206)
I wonder how many marriage laws have been written, over the centuries, in gender-neutral ways: that is, taking it so much for granted that the parties would be different-sex that the law did not mention male and female. It's truly an open question. I do know that there were times and places, before the 19th Amendment, when voting laws were written in gender-neutral ways, and women now and again registered and voted because there was no way to prevent them (even though the drafters of such laws took it for granted that voters would all be male). Sometimes laws were revised to exclude women, as famously in New Jersey in the early Federal period. And in fact one could argue that the 14th and 15th Amendments, by not specifying gender, implicitly recognize women's voting rights even without the 19th. And so with marriage rights, perhaps, though Ray is certainly right that if an existing law specifies one of each sex, that law needs redefinition to permit gay marriage.

Very good point, and I actually took a stab at finding marriage statutes predating the onset of the gay marriage era, but ran out of time.

In any event, "marriage" isn't being redefined, any more than "voting" was, by opening it up to people of all genders. A marriage is a union of two people, with attendant rights and obligations. It was that in 1913 and it is that in 2013. It's availability is being "redefined," but that doesn't redefine the thing itself.
   939. spike Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4405209)
Of course one distinction is pretty obvious: Unlike Iraq, World War II was not a war of choice.

9/11 was also a provocation to war and a justifiable casus belli.

Against Iraq? How?
   940. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4405213)
OBL was a combatant. He wasn't owed anything, much less a trial.

You need to add "non-uniformed" in front of combatant, and your point is 100% correct.

Uniformed combatants have clear right. You still don't have to accept their surrender, but if you do, they then have rights as POWs.

Non-uniformed combatants have no rights. They can be summarily executed, detained, whatever.
   941. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4405215)
#923 A very good example of the way his mind worked was the whole West Virginia saga. In the end he was not persuaded by the clever rationalizations that some people came up with. The best he could come up with was that it wasn't unambiguously unconstitutional and was a good idea in terms of helping to achieve a military victory.
And in the context of the Union with slavery question, it's notable that Congressional Republicans were willing to risk losing West Virginia over slavery, as they sent back the original constitution (that would have made WV a loyal slave state like Kentucky) and demanded that they write a constitution that ended slavery if they wanted in the Union.
   942. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4405216)
It's more about the civilians at home than the injured/killed soldiers. The reason gas was out of bounds in WWII wasn't because it did, or did not do horrible things to men in war. It's that they survived and then the folks at home had to see the suffering and hell of war, *brought back home.* That's the no-go. It's okay to kill and maim. It's not okay to let the folks back home know how badly that #### really is.

Not really. The long-lasting effects of mustard gas are mostly respiratory injuries. The skin burns heal, and are no worse than burns from HE. The physical maiming from HE casualties is just as disturbing as a mustard gas case.
   943. zenbitz Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4405217)
You don't endure the suffering of a WWII to negotiate a surrender with the regimes that started it


What suffering did the USA endure again?? A some last-war boats sunk? 400,000 casualties is <2% of the worldwide total. And only 1,700 civilian casulties. Compare to Japan - 2M military deaths and ca. 750,000 civillian. So they are the ones that need to suffer more? They need to be STOPPED. And they need to be stopped with the MINIMUM FUTURE SUFFERING to all peoples. That's the only relevant moral calculus. (Which to back off - was quite possibly "drop 2 atomic bombs")

If the Russians demanded UnC.S., they probably had a point. However they weren't even fighting Japan. Do you think CHINA was demanding unconditional surrender? Or just "please go back to your rocky island".

I am not saying that the world is a better place if the Allies _don't_ demand UnC.S. But it's at least a possibility.
   944. Mefisto Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4405221)
Greg has done a great job of explicating Lincoln's position. Let me add a little bit of parsing to the discussion. Lincoln was a great and very careful lawyer, and his public statements are very carefully constructed. Here's the key passage:

"(1) If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. (2) If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. (3) My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. (4) If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

(1) Sentence 1 states the position of Lincoln's opponents, including the secessionists. There's no doubt that he disagrees with them.

(2) Sentence 2 leaves open the issue of priorities. There are 3 options: save the Union and destroy slavery; save the Union and not destroy slavery; let the Union disolve over slavery. What he's saying here is that saving the Union need not be the highest priority, but it remains a priority. He's preferring options 1 and 2 over option 3.

(3) Sentence 3 expresses the point I just made about sentence 2.

(4) This is the key sentence. What's important about it is the power of the "if" clause. "If" I could do X... But of course, Lincoln didn't believe he could both save the Union and preserve slavery. That was the whole point of his House Divided speech. It was also the point of the Emancipation Proclamation, which he had already drafted when he wrote the letter. Eliminating slavery was a necessary condition for preserving the Union. As a purely logical matter, there might be circumstances in which the Union could be preserved with slavery, but that was not the case in the actual world he saw.

"If" clauses are very powerful.
   945. spike Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4405222)
What suffering did the USA endure again??

You may recall our allies, the British and the French, and most of Europe. Curiously, we gave some consideration to their war aims as part of that alliance, among them non-separate peace negotiations and unconditional surrender. And post D-Day, American casualty rates began to skyrocket. We suffered plenty, nearly half a million war dead, same as England. How much greater did it need to have been to meet your idea of true suffering?
   946. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4405223)
What I meant was that Lincoln rejected the Crittenden Compromise, which many Southern senators thought would forestall further secession if Republicans would agree to allow the expansion of slavery across the west below the Missouri Compromise line (along with some provisions that would have made the Constitution not-amendable). (Since California--free--and Texas--slave--were already states they would not have been affected but the territories would have been.) Lincoln hated this, was willing to watch the Southerners secede over accepting this, and told Republicans to kill it in Congress.


Thanks. I think there is room between rejecting the CC and "keeping slavery" (which I think you basically said posts ago), but since i had not known (had forgotton) about CC your larger point stands very well. He did have a choice to make then and made it just as you said. Of course he wasn't President yet and to an extent I think that job really does change a person and your priorities (I think it was easier to reject it as elect than it would have been as President, but I could be wrong).

Anyway the CC clearly supports your case. Thanks for explaining.
   947. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4405224)

avens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was released by Baltimore this offseason, and on the heels of comments earlier this week where he suggested that he was cut in part because of his outspoken stance on gay rights and equality issues, Ayanbadejo clarified himself to the Baltimore Sun on Friday. During an hour-long interview he made it clear that he harbors no resentment for the Ravens, and respects them for the support they offered him throughout his career both on and off the field. But that's not all.

When the conversation turned to his work with gay rights and the question of when we might see an openly gay player in the NFL, Ayanbadejo had this to say:

"I think it will happen sooner than you think," Ayanbadejo said. "We're in talks with a handful of players who are considering it. There are up to four players being talked to right now and they're trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together. It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy. It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out."

   948. zenbitz Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4405226)
The point was made, at least once and probably more and then ignored just as many times that polygamy frequently pushes and then rather often completely ignores consent, both for the adults and the minors forced into it.


This argument against polygamy is akin to arguing that all hetero-marriage should be illegal because it encourages lack of consent.
Are arranged marriages illegal? Only sort of! (you can't legally force your son or daughter to marry x, but you can heavily pressure them).

It's not the POLYGAMY itself that's the problems, it's the bastards who ruin it for the rest of us!

WRT to gay marriage - yes, polygamy is a different kind of contract N:N instead of 1:1. So legally speaking the slope is not that slippery. I frankly don't care about polygamy being legal or not so I reject the criticism wholesale.
   949. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4405228)
It's our liberal friends who don't agree with this point - not me.


From what I can see is there are folks on both sides that think it is redefining and folks on both side that think it isn't (I think it is a bit of trivia* not worth spending time on, but hey it is not my time so have at).

* The argument about the definition changing or not is pretty trivial in my mind, the subject matter of allowing gays to officially and legally marry is not (to be clear).
   950. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4405229)
What suffering did the USA endure again??

Americans have a way of removing their suffering from any context, and exalting it beyond any context. The same thing happened with 9/11. Terrorist atrocities had been successfully aimed at almost every other Western nation, yet only the United States deemed it sufficient to start bombing and killing and warring and torturing almost without aim.

This tendency has to seem utterly insufferable to citizens of other nations.

   951. zenbitz Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4405231)
Also, poison gas is not a very effective battlefield weapon. The wind can blow it backwards and it's much easier to carry a gas mask than be flak proof.
Works good on civilian uprisings though!

Biologics are even harder to control.
   952. zenbitz Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4405234)
Oh, and Ray is correct - gay marriage IS a re-definition of "marriage" by almost all standards of the word "definition". So what? It's a BETTER FRAKKIN DEFINITION.

   953. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4405235)
avens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was released by Baltimore this offseason, and on the heels of comments earlier this week where he suggested that he was cut in part because of his outspoken stance on gay rights and equality issues


Quite unlikely.

When the conversation turned to his work with gay rights and the question of when we might see an openly gay player in the NFL, Ayanbadejo had this to say:

"I think it will happen sooner than you think," Ayanbadejo said. "We're in talks with a handful of players who are considering it. There are up to four players being talked to right now and they're trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together. It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy. It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out."


Newsflash: Nobody cares about this other than people who are bizarrely obsessed with the issue.
   954. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4405236)
No country's leader is going to be quite that disinterested in his calculations. Perhaps when nations are done away with.

So if we got into a war with Mexico during the W Administration, he would have been justified in rounding up the Mexican illegals within our borders and lining up Arpaio to slit 100 throats a day to get the Mexicans to surrender without more US soldiers being killed?


How many Mexican "illegals" could there have been at a time when there were no quotas for Mexican immigration? I suppose you could revise your hypothetical to say resident alien Germans, Italians, and/or Japanese during WWII, but in all of these hypothetical cases, there's not a snowball's chance in hell that those throat slittings would have shortened the war by even a minute, and there's an almost certain chance it would have meant retaliation against all American POWs held in enemy camps.



   955. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4405238)
Thanks. I think there is room between rejecting the CC and "keeping slavery" (which I think you basically said posts ago), but since i had not known (had forgotton) about CC your larger point stands very well. He did have a choice to make then and made it just as you said. Of course he wasn't President yet and to an extent I think that job really does change a person and your priorities (I think it was easier to reject it as elect than it would have been as President, but I could be wrong).

Definitely a difference between blocking the expansion of slavery and "keeping slavery." Lincoln did not believe abolition in existing states was possible, either constitutionally (or for the present) politically. Blocking slavery's expansion was meant to change that second part in the long run by creating an overwhelming number of prosperous, populated free states that made slavery weak and put it on the path to extinction, but that would take a long time.

Even when the war began, he was doubtful about abolition. (He knew, as all Republicans knew and as John Q Adams had said from the 1830s that there would be personal emancipations during wartime, since slaves would run and would be free upon arriving inside U.S. lines.)

Over the war, he maintained his prior commitment to valuing the expansion of slavery over the maintenance of Union and eventually added a commitment to abolition over maintenance of the Union. After 1862, he never wavered or listened to peace offerings, and in the winter of 1864-1865, he explicitly rejected peace terms from Confed VP Alexander Stephens that would have brought Southern states back with slavery intact where it still existed. So by then, he ran the risks of ongoing war in order to uphold his developing commitment to abolition. Of course by then he knew the U.S. was going to win.

#944 captures it well; he saw the Union and the curtailment (though not at first the elimination) of slavery as mutually dependent, so he didn't see it as a choice of one over the other. And he did not accept the Union's dissolution, of course; he rejected Scott's advice to just let the South go. (If only!) So he valued the preservation of the Union immensely but thought to be preserved slavery had to be restrained. Whenever offered compromises that would allow slavery to continue to expand (or after 1862 to exist) he always choice to fight rather than to recreate the Union on those terms.

   956. zenbitz Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4405242)
see @950, spike. And didn't someone up thread proclaim that *Churchill* wasn't wholly on board with unconditional surrender? And we are talking Japan here, not Germany... Germany was not nuked. (Although it was firebombed extensively as discussed above, this did not result in any surrender or even weakening of the political will... and in 1944 Germany produced more war material than 1939-1943). And no matter what FDR and Churchill decide, it ain't stoppin Stalin from rolling forward anyway.

But the French??? Really? Their suffering (at the hands of Japan) justified the wholesale slaughter of Japanese civilians? Because they lost their Indochina colony to the yellow peril?

   957. Ron J2 Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4405247)
#943 The rationale for unconditional surrender was primarily the belief that they were at war again because Germany never truly accepted that they'd been defeated in 1918. (Pershing -- among others -- predicted another war. One senior French general called it to within a year, saying they'd be back at war in 20 years if they didn't take the war all the way to Berlin)

This time there were going to be no "stabbed in the back" myths. All of the Axis powers were going to unambiguously accept they were beaten.
   958. Lassus Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4405254)
Newsflash: Nobody cares about this other than people who are bizarrely obsessed with the issue.

I.e., homosexuals. Nobody important, like Ray.
   959. Swedish Chef Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4405256)
and in 1944 Germany produced more war material than 1939-1943

But thanks to bombing of oilfields and transportation systems the Germans lacked the fuel to make use of much of it.
   960. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4405257)
Newsflash: Nobody cares about this other than people who are bizarrely obsessed with the issue.
Newsflash: Straight white male declares his indifference to identity politics.
   961. spike Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4405258)
see @950, spike.

I did. It's an assertion.

And didn't someone up thread proclaim that *Churchill* wasn't wholly on board with unconditional surrender?

Snapper, who also has a long history of assertions. The idea and attributed Churchill quotes came years after the fact, and contradicts the statements of the time. But even assuming it's true, so what? The point was to keep the Soviets engaged and prevent them from making a separate peace. It accomplished both of those goals, and a war where the Soviets make a side deal with Hitler to stop before the Allies do lasts a lot longer.

But the French??? Really? Their suffering (at the hands of Japan) justified the wholesale slaughter of Japanese civilians? Because they lost their Indochina colony to the yellow peril?

oh, I didn't realize it had to be Japanese specific suffering to demand unconditional surrender from the Germans. Because after the Franco-Prussian war, WWI, and WWII, I think they qualify as "sufferers". Or not - you apparently have some standard that must be met, but are being awful coy about what it is.
   962. Swedish Chef Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4405260)
But the Japanese didn't surrender unconditionally, they got guarantees about the emperor's position.
   963. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4405265)

Also, poison gas is not a very effective battlefield weapon. The wind can blow it backwards and it's much easier to carry a gas mask than be flak proof.


By 1918 the use of gas was much less haphazard than earlier in the war, and new chemicals had been developed (like mustard gas) that didn't require inhalation to incapacitate an opponent.
   964. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4405271)
Newsflash: Nobody cares about this other than people who are bizarrely obsessed with the issue.

I.e., homosexuals. Nobody important, like Ray.


So, then, what percentage of homosexuals spend their time obsessing over this?

Another newsflash: The tide has changed on this issue in America. The sea change has come and gone. American society by and large does not care anymore about this issue, does not care who is gay, does not care whether a professional athlete comes out, does not care that same-sex marriage is becoming the norm. All that is left is for the states which do not currently allow same-sex marriage to get with the program, which virtually all of them will soon enough. This is a process that takes time.

You have won, Lassus.

   965. Ron J2 Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4405277)
#962 Sure. But in a way that served to make the defeat unambiguous (which was the goal after all). It was the Emperor's words ("accept the unacceptable, endure the unendurable") that persuaded even the hardest liners to surrender.

Unconditional surrender was a means to an end. It was a simple way of saying to the folks at home, we get your outrage and the bastards are going to pay. It helped keep the alliance together in a way that a more nuanced position would not. (At least, there would have been a lot more tensions -- a lot more worries about separate peace negotiations)

And it did work in terms of making sure the Axis powers accepted that they were beaten. In terms of Japan, preserving the Emperor but in a clearly symbolic, clearly subordinate position helped in the post-war period.
   966. Lassus Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4405280)
So, then, what percentage of homosexuals spend their time obsessing over this?

I know it's hard to parse, Ray, but caring about something important to you isn't the same as obsessing over it.


You have won, Lassus.

Woohoo! Flemish renaissance choral music for everyone! And you'll like it, or the beatings will continue.
   967. Lassus Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4405294)
American society by and large does not care anymore about this issue, does not care who is gay

Wait, the declaration of victory distracted me. This is dumb, Ray, and utterly Manhattan of you. Get your head out of your Avenue, for god's sake.
   968. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4405299)
American society by and large does not care anymore about this issue, does not care who is gay, does not care whether a professional athlete comes out,
A straight white male living in an affluent neighborhood of New York City is surely in an excellent position to comment authoritatively on this issue. You don't have to drive too far up 87 to get a different view of attitudes toward homosexuality.

Edit: Coke and a high five to Lassus.

If no one cared that pro athletes were gay, then more (any) of them would have proudly exited the closet by now. Are you saying that you're in a better position than they are to know how warm a reception they'll receive?
   969. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4405303)
Are you saying that you're in a better position than they are to know how warm a reception they'll receive?


If they are under the illusion that they won't get a warm reception by society? Yes. Obviously.
   970. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4405307)
Woohoo! Flemish renaissance choral music for everyone! And you'll like it, or the beatings will continue


you forgot the high fives all around, preferably over Ray's head.
   971. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4405314)
If they are under the illusion that they won't get a warm reception by society? Yes. Obviously.
Ah, that homogenous mass known as "society"-- by which you mean trees you see around you in the forest that is NYC. The pertinent "society" in this case is pro athletes, coaches, and fans. Not know to be the most progressively-minded demographic.

Again, why you think you have any insight at all on this issue is beyond me. But humility's never been your strong suit.
   972. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4405319)
Are you saying that you're in a better position than they are to know how warm a reception they'll receive?

I'll second what Ray said and say yes. Obviously.

The reason for their confusion is obvious -- the relentless efforts of identity politics types to craft a narrative of victimhood and an unwelcoming majority to every single solitary issue surrounding "minority" identity. People like Ray and me, understanding this, are thus in a better postition to accurately judge the likely reception.

Did the rugby player who came out in England get a mean reception? Did the MLS player who came out recently? Did the retired NFL players? Did ex-NBAer John Ameche?

If it's at all possible, think rationally for a second -- the reason gay marriage liberalization is sweeping the country is because the majority of people are perfectly ok with it. If they weren't, politicians, up to and including Barack Obama, woudln't support it.

Now with that said, if you identity types insist on the standard for majority "acceptance" being the end of every last cracker tweet saying anything mean about gay people then no, there will never be acceptance.
   973. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4405336)
Unconditional surrender was a means to an end. It was a simple way of saying to the folks at home, we get your outrage and the bastards are going to pay. It helped keep the alliance together in a way that a more nuanced position would not. (At least, there would have been a lot more tensions -- a lot more worries about separate peace negotiations)


The bolded part is the most important. The statement was all about keeping Stalin in the game. With the decision made at Casablanca that the next Anglo-American move would be against Italy in the Med, the promised 1943 cross channel invasion would have to be postponed until 1944. There was a very real fear that Stalin would thus be inclined to make a separate peace. UC was meant to be a very public statement, and one that was hard to go back on, that there would be no separate peace, that the Americans and British were in it until the end. I also think what Jeremy Kemp (as general Armin von Roon) said in War and Remembrance is apt. "Roosevelt is a better propagandist than Goebbles. In one short statement, he has told the world than Germany is losing the war."
   974. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4405341)
It's not the POLYGAMY itself that's the problems,


Actually, the practice of polygamy is probably a problem in and of itself, in that it tends to create a social structure where rich and powerful men "horde" all of the available women in large multiple marriage households (and treats women as commodities to be horded), creating an extremely volatile, angry, underclass of younger/poorer/less powerful men who are *extremely* frustrated with their positions in life and far more willing to do crazy things like strap a bomb to themselves in service of a harem of "virgins" in heaven.
   975. Lassus Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4405343)
Ray, if you (and SBB apparently) are going to say that a warm media reception for NFL players coming out translates to a warm public reception for a public school teacher anywhere in America being openly gay, you're horribly sheltered. And if it's that perceived equality where you get your NO ONE CARES WHO'S GAY stance, that's sad.

Acceptance is incontrovertably on the rise, though. Given and granted.
   976. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4405345)
It's more about the civilians at home than the injured/killed soldiers. The reason gas was out of bounds in WWII wasn't because it did, or did not do horrible things to men in war.


It wasn't exactly "out of bounds"
It wasn't used against anyone who had the ability to respond in kind

The Italians in Ethiopia had no qualms about gassing the Ethiopians when things weren't progressing as smoothly as hoped

The Japanese in China had no qualms about trying out biological agents on Chinese peasants/guerrilla fighters- but only those Chinese in the NW- cut off from any foreign assistance

and The Germans had no qualms about gassing a huge number of people who were in no position to fight back at all, let alone fight back in kind.

We and the Brits had stockpiled the stuff and moved it near war zones, but weren't going to use it unless it was used on us first, it wasn't and so we didn't.

So why didn't Germany use them?
Simple answer- deterrence- they didn't use chemical weapons militarily because they knew that we (or the Soviets) would retaliate in kind - and Hitler was personally terrified of the possibility of getting gassed AGAIN (he'd been gassed and nearly blinded in WWI)- Hitler's personal fear was very beneficial for all sides- because otherwise he was no someone for whom deterrence would work, as a general rule the possibility of retaliation in kind did not deter him one bit.
   977. Lassus Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4405352)
People like Ray and me, understanding this, are thus in a better postition to accurately judge the likely reception.

This is beyond sublime.
   978. Poulanc Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4405356)
People like Ray and me, understanding this, are thus in a better postition to accurately judge the likely reception.


Are you seriously claiming that you and Ray are in a better position to judge how a player would be accepted by his teammates and peers than that actual player?
   979. Steve Treder Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4405361)
This is beyond sublime.

It is a note so pure that it not only shatters crystal, it causes puppies to meow and kittens to bark.
   980. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4405362)
Are you seriously claiming that you and Ray are in a better position to judge how a player would be accepted by his teammates and peers than that actual player?

I love how you guys changed society to "teammates and peers." No, I'm not in a better position to know whether there's a group of committed homophobes in, say, the Indianapolis Colt locker room than an Indianapolis Colt is.
   981. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4405363)
The reason for their confusion is obvious -- the relentless efforts of identity politics types to craft a narrative of victimhood and an unwelcoming majority to every single solitary issue surrounding "minority" identity
You're so cute when you're blaming liberals for everything!! Obviously, you and Ray are in a better position to comment on what it's like to be homosexual in 2013 America than *actual* homosexuals, who inhabit that identity on a daily basis. The arrogance is stunningly awesome and unreflexive. But I'd expect nothing less.
the reason gay marriage liberalization is sweeping the country is because the majority of people are perfectly ok with it.
This shows a complete misunderstanding of what those numbers mean for the daily lives of people who perform that identity. We're at, what, still under 60% support nationally? There's a lot of straight-up bigotry out there, especially once you leave the major population centers. It would be awesome if it were as you say it is, but I suspect a minor leaguer who comes out of the closet while playing for Huntsville will have a lot of slurs directed their way, both by fans and by teammates.

I love how you guys changed society to "teammates and peers."
'Society' as a blanket term doesn't work too well here. Ray said 'society'-- who does that mean in this context? CNN and ESPN? No doubt, they will be accepted. But identity politics are far more localized than that.
   982. Ron J2 Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4405365)
#956 Don't know about Churchill. I do know Eisenhower wasn't a fan -- though he never expressed his doubts publicly.
   983. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4405369)
If they are under the illusion that they won't get a warm reception by society? Yes. Obviously.


Ah, that homogenous mass known as "society"-- by which you mean trees you see around you in the forest that is NYC. The pertinent "society" in this case is pro athletes, coaches, and fans. Not know to be the most progressively-minded demographic.


No; "society" means the American public at large. I don't claim to know whether there are any asshats in their locker rooms or in management above them who will act like asshats towards them.
   984. Jay Z Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4405373)
What hurts the marriage between a man and a woman argument is that socially and legally all distinctions between a man and a woman in a marriage are being swept away. The remnant ones, like alimony and preferential treatment for women in custody cases, are being argued against as being unfair.

There used to be plenty of LEGAL AND SOCIAL distinctions in marriage between men and women. Such that in many jobs a man would get a raise if he got married, and a woman would get fired if she married. This has all gone away or is going away. No one cares if people sleep together, live together, get married, get divorced, etc. etc. etc. Doesn't matter who's doing it, if they're hetero or homo. Well there are people that care, but they have no political voice.

Except for this one law where we require one man and one woman, then we go on not caring at all other times. Laws and customs require other similar laws and customs for support. Man-woman marriage only has lost its support structure.
   985. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4405374)
This is beyond sublime.

It is a note so pure that it not only shatters crystal, it causes puppies to meow and kittens to bark.


So, fainting couches, then?
   986. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4405375)
Obviously, you and Ray are in a better position to comment on what it's like to be homosexual in 2013 America than *actual* homosexuals, who inhabit that identity on a daily basis. The arrogance is stunningly awesome and unreflexive. But I'd expect nothing less.

You're changing the facts again. No one said we know better what it's like to be homosexual. I'm every bit as able to judge the likely reaction of society of an NFLer coming out as a homosexual would be, likely more so than many of them, for the reasons previously stated.

It would be awesome if it were as you say it is, but I suspect a minor leaguer who comes out of the closet will have a lot of slurs directed their way, both by fans and by teammates.

I don't know if that's true, and neither do you. What I do know is that you have an interest in overstating its likelihood, given your deep psychic committment, generally impervious to evidence, to the narrative of minority victimhood and majority vicitimizing.
   987. Lassus Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4405377)
So, fainting couches, then?

Your line previous was indeed better.
   988. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4405382)
What hurts the marriage between a man and a woman argument is that socially and legally all distinctions between a man and a woman in a marriage are being swept away. The remnant ones, like alimony and preferential treatment for women in custody cases, are being argued against as being unfair.

There used to be plenty of LEGAL AND SOCIAL distinctions in marriage between men and women. Such that in many jobs a man would get a raise if he got married, and a woman would get fired if she married. This has all gone away or is going away. No one cares if people sleep together, live together, get married, get divorced, etc. etc. etc. Doesn't matter who's doing it, if they're hetero or homo. Well there are people that care, but they have no political voice.

Except for this one law where we require one man and one woman, then we go on not caring at all other times. Laws and customs require other similar laws and customs for support. Man-woman marriage only has lost its support structure.
This is very helpful. When you have a law of coverture, then you have to define who is the woman and who is the man because the purpose of the marriage is to unite property under one person, the man. When you have separate divorce laws, where men can divorce women for infidelity but women can only divorce men for abandonment, then of course you have to determine who is the man and who is the woman. And this was as true for infertile (or aged) couples as for breeders; they all got categorized the same, not based upon their reproduction but because their gender was central to defining their legal status within a marriage. In that context gay marriage would create legal nightmares.

Now that there are not gender-based legal statuses within marriage, gay marriage doesn't create any legal issues at all, and I'm sure you're right--and hadn't thought of it before--that this is central to why it has gathered such momentum. It doesn't require additional amendments or reworkings of law; it simplifies the law rather than makes it more complicated.
   989. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4405384)
No; "society" means the American public at large


And this is where you lose the thread of reality, my man. Yes, gays and lesbians and gay marriage is embraced by "society" in New York. And statistically, gays and lesbians and gay marriage is embraced by "society" as dominated by the huge population centers of New York, LA, Chicago, etc. But to Lassus rather clear and obvious point, that doesn't translate into "American public at large," because there are huge swathes of the American public at large that would still beat the #### out of a gay player or fire a lesbian teacher for being who they are. Flyover country still exists.
   990. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4405387)
As Joe says, if nothing was being changed or redefined, same-sex couples could have simply waltzed up to the county clerk and gotten a marriage license and gotten married. They weren't able to do that, because laws needed to be changed, definitions needed to be revised, the word needed to be redefined.

All of that may be a good thing, but the claim that the word is not being redefined is simply a lie. Clearly it needed to be redefined, or there would have been no !@#$%^& issue.


You are confusing legal recognition with the definition of the word. Obviously the law needs to change or we wouldn't be having this conversation. But the law doesn't definitively determine how people use and interpret words, and in this case, the word has already *been* redefined. When two men or two women say they are "married", we all know what they mean.
   991. Steve Treder Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4405396)
the law doesn't definitively determine how people use and interpret words, and in this case, the word has already *been* redefined. When two men or two women say they are "married", we all know what they mean.

Which was Nunberg's point in #847, which -- who could've guessed? -- was far too nuanced for Ray's comprehension.
   992. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4405406)
No one said we know better what it's like to be homosexual. I'm every bit as able to judge the likely reaction of society of an NFLer coming out as a homosexual would be, likely more so than many of them, for the reasons previously stated.
No, you're not, and it's ####### moronic and arrogant to suggest otherwise. That NFLer has a team of people pouring over demographic data and focus group studies. The sea change on gay marriage did not come about on its own-- it was the result of activists recrafting and rebranding homosexuality in a manner more palatable to the American public. If what Ayanbadejo says is true, then these are precisely the sorts of questions they're asking strategizing on as we speak, because society "at large's" reaction does not matter as much to the person who comes out as the reactions of the team's fans, other players, coaches, and even the owners. You can wish all of these factors away and pretend that national statistics on attitudes toward gay marriage and the popularity of Modern family tell you something useful, but Ray's initial claim that "it's not a big deal" just minimizes the effort that went into (and still goes into) marketing the homosexual identity. If you don't think there's this sort of analysis and calculation going on, or that it doesn't matter, you're just being willfully naive.
What I do know is that you have an interest in overstating its likelihood, given your deep psychic committment, generally impervious to evidence, to the narrative of minority victimhood and majority vicitimizing.
In my state, less than 30% of the population supports gay marriage, as of December 2012.
   993. robinred Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4405407)
Here is what Merriam-Webster on-line has as the defintion of marriage:

a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>


People have picked up on a key thing here--there are different kinds of definitions: legal, dictionary, societal, emotional, religious, etc. The thing some people seem to missing out on, though, if they want to keep arguing with RDP about this, is that he has stated on many occasions that he endorses the position that the redefinition of marriage harms the institution--but has also said that "he doesn't care" about that. I personally think the harm argument is more of an issue than the redefinition issue.
And I mostly endorse what fdp, Lassus and Sam have said here, with the caveat that "flyover country" in this context doesn't just mean Foamtomahawk, GA--it also can mean places like Inland Empire CA and as fdp said, Upstate NY. In my own experience, there are also some generational issues with homosexuality, in that it seems that more and more people under 25, regardless of what else is their demographic profile, are in the "Hey, love is love and if it makes people happy" camp. But that is strictly personal and anecdotal; I don't know if it is a general trend.
   994. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4405408)
For what it's worth, one of my close friends is openly gay. His uncle is the coach of an American professional sports team and as far as I know they've had a great relationship as long as I've known him (which is over a decade). It's hard to imagine his uncle tolerating any bigotry on the team if a player did come out.

That's certainly not universal, and pro sports are very macho environments, but they are also relatively young workplaces. I suspect that over time more and more players and coaches will have a gay relative or close friend, and acceptance of a gay teammate will not be as hard as people think.
   995. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4405417)
No, you're not, and it's ####### moronic and arrogant to suggest otherwise.

Yes, I am and it's neither moronic or arrogant to suggest otherwise. The fact that I'm not a homosexual means I have no personal stake in the matter and can therefore judge it more dispassionately. (Much as I did when counseling my sister on the likely reaction of our parents when the time came to tell them that her boyfriend (now husband) was black. She thought all kinds of feathers would fly. I didn't. No feathers flew. I suppose it can be argued that the episode made me overly Pollyannaish about the broader issue, but I don't think that's true.)
   996. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4405419)
That's certainly not universal, and pro sports are very macho environments, but they are also relatively young workplaces. I suspect that over time more and more players and coaches will have a gay relative or close friend, and acceptance of a gay teammate will not be as hard as people think.
This rings true. Sports may be behind other workplaces, but that doesn't mean it's impervious to change, even if it is changing more slowly. Right out of college I worked at a painfully liberal private school in a red state where a couple of the teachers were obviously gay but would never say anything that was a tipoff or bring partners to school functions. Now there are gay clubs for students and teachers are openly gay. I'd be surprised if sports isn't moving slowly in that direction.
   997. Steve Treder Posted: April 05, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4405422)
Here is what Merriam-Webster on-line has as the defintion of marriage:

a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>


Here's Nunberg's take on that:

Lexicographers know they're on the hot seat as they confront the changing uses of the word. When Merriam-Webster revised its definition a few years ago, it went with a two-state solution. It kept an older definition for "marriage" as "the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex," but it added a second definition as "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of traditional marriage." Not surprisingly, that triggered headlines like "Webster's Redefines Marriage" on conservative websites.

Merriam's insisted that it had no political agenda; it was just describing the language as it was actually being used. But the entry is a train wreck, which is what's apt to happen when you try to move forward while looking over both shoulders at the same time. That second definition doesn't describe the way anybody uses the word. Gays and lesbians aren't claiming the right to a recognized relationship "like traditional marriage." They're talking about marriage without an asterisk, which is one reason why public opinion has shifted so rapidly in their favor. And the cultural right isn't about to sanction any use of the M-word for same-sex couples. The one thing both sides agree on is that whatever definition you give to "marriage," there had better be just one of them.
   998. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4405433)
pro sports are very macho environments, but they are also relatively young workplaces. I suspect that over time more and more players and coaches will have a gay relative or close friend, and acceptance of a gay teammate will not be as hard as people think.

Pro sports also have one big advantage in being the subject of intense public scrutiny, in the traditional media and even more in the social media. To the extent that any pro athlete coming out gets stigmatized by any teammate or opponent, the second that abusive teammate or opponent is identified by name, his future in pro sports is going to be a lot less pleasant than it formerly was before his bigotry was outed. And his ability to obtain major product endorsements would likely be eliminated almost overnight. The locker room culture can be powerful and oppressive in many ways, but it's not powerful enough to resist society's overall judgment that bigotry is unacceptable---not with all that money on the line.
   999. robinred Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4405434)
(Much as I did when counseling my sister on the likely reaction of our parents when the time came to tell them that her boyfriend (now husband) was black. She thought all kinds of feathers would fly. I didn't. No feathers flew. I suppose it can be argued that the episode made me overly Pollyannaish about the broader issue, but I don't think that's true.)


You may have been able to read that situation because you knew your parents, had inside information on them, dealt with them all the time, could read their non-verbal communication signals, etc. A high school baseball player, say, who is 16 and gay and thinking of coming out would be around his coaches and teammates all the time, and would be reading those same kinds of signals, albeit in a different context, in making his judgment. So, while he would be emotionally invested and that might cloud his objectivity, he would also have a lot of infornation about the immediate environment and the people in it that you, as an outsider, would not.

But WRT homosexuality, you appear to be claiming that being on the oustide of it makes you and Ray better able to analyze probable reactions of groups and individuals.
   1000. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4405439)
Yes, I am and it's neither moronic or arrogant to suggest otherwise.
Of course it is. You're reading tea leaves based on what, precisely? The people who are advising the NFLers have far more accurate data available to them, that drills down far more specifically on the attitudes of the pertinent populations.
(Much as I did when counseling my sister on the likely reaction of our parents when the time came to tell them that her boyfriend (now husband) was black.
I will grant that you have a very good knowledge of how your parents would react to your sister's boyfriend. I hope you can see how these two situations are different.
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