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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

OTP: October 2012-THE RACE: As Candidates Prep, Attention in DC split between politics and baseball

While President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney bone up in Nevada and Colorado for Wednesday’s opening debate, back in the nation’s capital attention is split between the hard-fought presidential race and baseball playoffs.

The Nationals won the first division baseball championship for a Washington team since 1933 by clinching the National League East race Monday night.

Washington, D.C., has the only ballpark where so many Cabinet members, politicians and other luminaries routinely gather and where fans now are openly rooting for a particular president — one who served more than a century ago, Theodore Roosevelt.

“Let Teddy Win” banners and buttons are everywhere. Fans like 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona say it’s time for Roosevelt’s 500-plus losing streak to end.

[...]

“Teddy, you are the victim of a vast left-wing conspiracy by the commie pinko libs in this town,” McCain said in a video played in the stadium Monday night. “But you can overcome that.”

The October 2012 “OT: Politics” thread starts ... now.

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM | 6119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, politics

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   1501. formerly dp Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4261682)
You want me to name some more nutso religions?


More nutso than Catholics? With a bar set that high...
   1502. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4261691)
Where do you hang out, battered women's shelters? You think most divorced women were abused? Really?


No. I said most I know. And abuse takes many forms: physical, verbal, neglect, indifference... I'm surprised you didn't know that.
   1503. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4261700)
You want me to name some more nutso religions?


And what was wrong with the Lollards, aside from bringing the word of God directly to the people instead of thorough the self serving clergy??
   1504. BDC Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4261715)
A really good book by Christine Garwood, Flat Earth, talks about anti- and pseudo-scientific movements (with reference, literally, to flat-earth beliefs) over the past few centuries. In some respect we have such nutters always with us, and the media of the day just reflect and refract them differently.
   1505. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4261719)

And what was wrong with the Lollards, aside from bringing the word of God directly to the people instead of thorough the self serving clergy??


Please, the "Reformers" were every bit as self-serving as the entrenched clergy. There were good and bad men on both sides.

Canonically, what the Lollards, and Wycliffe in particular, did wrong was an unauthorized, and incorrect translation of the Latin Vulgate into English.

Contrary to popular fiction, it was not illegal to translate the Bible, but, any translation needed Church approval. Because of the general lack of literacy in Latin, they couldn't count on the common man spotting a bad translation.

The "Reformers" usually took extreme liberties with the Bible in their translation, to make doctrinal points. e.g. Martin Luther excluding some 10 books b/c they included things he objected to like "faith without works is dead" (James) and prayer for the dead (Maccabees).
   1506. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4261724)
No. I said most I know.
Right; that's why I asked if you hung out at battered women's shelters.
And abuse takes many forms: physical, verbal, neglect, indifference... I'm surprised you didn't know that.
You're surprised I didn't know that you had completely redefined the term "abuse" so that it encompassed lots of things that are clearly different than abuse in order to inflate the statistic in order to make their behavior seem less unreasonable?
   1507. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4261725)
I saw a TED talk video once where they surveyed lottery winners and people who had become paraplegics, and after a given amount of time, the paraplegics, on average, were happier than the lottery winners.


So what you're saying is that there's some scientific evidence for the equation "Mo' Money = Mo' Problems"?
   1508. just plain joe Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4261737)
So what you're saying is that there's some scientific evidence for the equation "Mo' Money = Mo' Problems"?


If someone wants to give me a couple of million dollars, I'm willing to take the risk of being unhappy.
   1509. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4261758)
They believed forgiveness of sins after baptism was impossible. That's a horrific, non-sensical doctrine.


So is the Trinity, but you suck that one down with the big gulp straw. It might be easier if you tried naming not-nutso religions. You can mark any form of Catholicism or its descendants off the list at the start. Actually, pretty much all of the Abrahamic religions are nutso at the core of things. Sky fairies and all that.
   1510. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4261759)
The bad pop etymology... it burns my eyes.


So too would hydrochloric acid!
   1511. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4261761)
The "Reformers" usually took extreme liberties with the Bible in their translation, to make doctrinal points.


As did the Council of Nicea. Next.
   1512. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4261770)
So what you're saying is that there's some scientific evidence for the equation "Mo' Money = Mo' Problems"?


I was going to quote that myself, but I couldn't remember if it was Biggie or Puffy or who. But, pretty much yeah.
   1513. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4261774)
Contrary to popular fiction, it was not illegal to translate the Bible, but, any translation needed Church approval. Because of the general lack of literacy in Latin, they couldn't count on the common man spotting a bad translation.


But starting with the rejection of the Slavonic Bible in 1079 the Church *never* accepted any translation. They might have theoretically been acceptable, but in practice they never were. The rejection of the Slavonic scripture was largely about maintaining control of Slavic Catholicism -- the Great Schism occurred in 1054 and the Papacy wasn't about to allow the Catholic Slavs to separate as well, and this was as the Papacy was fighting tooth and claw to assert itself in the Investiture Controversy.

In England at least Medieval laypeople often depended on singsong, simple language paraphrase description of the priest's actions. Sometimes they would even sing these along with the performance of the Mass. So instead of a flawed version of Scripture they got almost a caricature of it.

So is the Trinity, but you suck that one down with the big gulp straw.


Pure, doctrinal Catharism was really, really nasty. It essentially rejects the possibility of goodness in the physical world. There's a lot I dislike about the Trinity, but I can see that it has positive aspects. Strong dualism on the Cathar model absolutely doesn't. If you're looking for a contemporary group who were treated badly by the Church you should look at the early Waldensians.

Lastly -- FWIW, the OED has a cite for "nuclear family" from 1924.
   1514. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4261782)
Contrary to popular fiction, it was not illegal to translate the Bible, but, any translation needed Church approval.


This is an unusual construction.
   1515. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4261788)
Lastly -- FWIW, the OED has a cite for "nuclear family" from 1924.


I'm aware. The phrase wasn't used in any common sense until the post-War period.
   1516. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4261795)
The "Reformers" usually took extreme liberties with the Bible in their translation, to make doctrinal points.


You mean like the Conservative Bible Project?

Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations. There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning are, in increasing amount:
lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts introduced by Christ
lack of precision in modern language
translation bias, mainly of the liberal kind, in converting the original language to the modern one.


some of my faves:
Utilize Terms which better capture original intent: using powerful new conservative terms to capture better the original intent;[9] Defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words that have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".


let's see, "new" conservative terms will better capture the original intent of something originally written in another language thousands of years ago?

Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning


Yesiree, Jesus was apparently a devotee of Milton Friedman

Exclude Later-Inserted Inauthentic Passages: excluding the interpolated passages that liberals commonly put their own spin on, such as the adulteress story


So, let me see, if its a parable that liberals like, well then, it should be excised as inauthentic.

So how did they change the eye of the needle story?
Matthew:
And I say again to you, that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for an idle miser to enter into the kingdom of God."


And their commentary is priceless:
The "having" of money isn't the problem, so much as coming to depend on that money as a God-substitute. But anyone who has money, might come to trust in it. God wants us to trust Him, money or no.

   1517. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4261800)
But starting with the rejection of the Slavonic Bible in 1079 the Church *never* accepted any translation.


exactly, you wonder if Snapper actually says some of his spiel with a straight face, the old Church didn't want any non-Latin versions of the bible around because they didn't want non-clergy reading the bible and asking inconvenient questions like, "Umm, Father you say X, but right here Jesus says not X"

Edit: The thing is- it's not like Snapper doesn't know this, he's got a ton of info in his head on these topics- but nevertheless he spins things like a paid partisan flack
   1518. JL Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4261811)
The "Reformers" usually took extreme liberties with the Bible in their translation, to make doctrinal points. e.g. Martin Luther excluding some 10 books b/c they included things he objected to like "faith without works is dead" (James) and prayer for the dead (Maccabees).


As opposed to the selection of the "Bible" prior to that, which never excluded any books that included things that the Church leaders did not like.
   1519. JL Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4261815)
It's not overstated. Mainline Protestantism, as well as a lot of Catholics and Reform Judaism, have abandoned religion in favor of general be-excellent-to-each-other pablum and "social justice." And as a result, their membership is stagnating or dwindling.

It is overstated. The description above demonstrates a pretty superficial knowledge in this area, though it does hit the religuous conservative talking points.
   1520. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4261838)
So, let me see, if its a parable that liberals like, well then, it should be excised as inauthentic.


To be fair, the adulteress story isn't original to scripture.
   1521. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4261839)
It's not overstated. Mainline Protestantism, as well as a lot of Catholics and Reform Judaism, have abandoned religion in favor of general be-excellent-to-each-other pablum and "social justice." And as a result, their membership is stagnating or dwindling.


It is overstated. The description above demonstrates a pretty superficial knowledge in this area, though it does hit the religuous conservative talking points.


It's useful, in that David let his mask slip for a minute there.
   1522. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4261841)
I'm aware. The phrase wasn't used in any common sense until the post-War period.


It hits me that this is the perfect opportunity to use a <a >Google Ngram</a> (which strongly supports your point).

EDIT: This is the link:
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=nuclear+family&year_start=1924&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

I did it right above, it just doesn't want to display. Bastard.
   1523. CrosbyBird Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4261843)
I can almost see Ray typing "Once you change the definition to allow marriage between the races, the meaning will be lost to whim, then it is a short step to marriage across genders, and before you know it people will be marrying their pets."

I think it most certainly is a short step to marriage across genders, because it is very challenging to find a defensible principle that acknowledges the unfairness of discriminating against interracial marriage while defending discrimination against homosexual marriage. (We certainly wouldn't accept "interracial marriage needs to be illegal because it violates the tenets of my religion," so we should accept the same logic for homosexual marriage.)

On the other hand, there is a very clear distinction between what we allow consenting adults to do, and what we allow one consenting adult to do with a creature incapable of consent. That is not a small step, but a giant, giant leap. I highly doubt Ray would make such a ridiculous leap.

That some people make ludicrous slippery slope arguments does not mean that all slippery slope arguments are wrong or silly. They're actually very valuable logical tools to test the extension of a given set of assumptions and principles; if we're settling on this rule, where does it logically take us?
   1524. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4261845)
   1525. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4261851)
So this Dave Siegal character is upset because the economy broke from people living beyond their means and he made his money selling time shares? What part of cloud-cuckoo land did this person come from?
   1526. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4261864)
I don't know too much about Siegel, but he was rich long before the real estate bubble. Westgate was started in the early '70s.
   1527. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4261872)
To be fair, the adulteress story isn't original to scripture.


Yes it is, it just got moved around- it likely wasn't originally in the "core" John's Gospel- what happened- was what happened with a lot of these things- you probably had several versions of John's Gospel- one of which would end up forming the predominant part of the current version- that "core" version likely didn't have that story, but others did, or who knows, maybe it was part of one of the non-canonical gospels- and when they were ditched the adultress/first stone passage was cut and pasted into John's Gospel- but the passage is "old" at least as old as everything else in the New Testament- it's not a modern/liberal invention as Conservapedia's hacks seem to claim.

Beside's Conservapedia's real objection is not that it's a later addition, their real complaint is that it portrays a non-judgmental Jesus who did not obsess over sexual morality the way they do.
   1528. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4261884)
Beside's Conservapedia's real objection is not that it's a later addition, their real complaint is that it portrays a non-judgmental Jesus who did not obsess over sexual morality the way they do.


I'm not in the business of defending the morons at "Conservopedia." As far as I'm concerned, there are hungry lions in the world and that's the best possible use of those guys. I was simply pointing out the textual oddity of the adulteress story as it's copy and pasted into John's gospel.
   1529. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4261897)
It is overstated. The description above demonstrates a pretty superficial knowledge in this area, though it does hit the religuous conservative talking points.
Reform Judaism might as well be an arm of the Democratic Party.
   1530. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4261900)
Reform Judaism might as well be an arm of the Democratic Party.


Keep pulling the makeup off. Come out to the world!
   1531. JL Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4261911)
Reform Judaism might as well be an arm of the Democratic Party.

I don't pretend to know anything about Reform Judaism.

I do know that many mainline Protestant churches are neither an arm of any particular party nor are they teaching "everyone is wonderful and we should all just be nice" junk at the expense of Christian teachings.
   1532. BDC Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4261921)
The phrase wasn't used in any common sense until the post-War period

Hence my persistent association of "nuclear family" with "nuclear threat." I always picture Mom, Dad, Sis, and Junior squeezing into a fallout shelter.
   1533. Jay Z Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4261922)
Regarding the conservative versus liberal churches,

I agree that in the past conservative churches have had better luck with retention. I think in recent years other trends have hurt them.

Couple of issues facing the church I grew up in, which was and is large and conservative. The church has an attached school. Over the years the school has faced support issues. It was free to members when I attended, now there is tuition which has lowered enrollment. Recently there have been further staffing cuts. In general I think the school is less supported by the congregation at large than it once was. People without kids are more likely to shop for a nearby church without a school so they aren't hit up to support the school all the time. I think this is more common than it used to be.

I think you also have the bowling alone and apple falling further from the tree issues. Even for conservatives, the kids are more likely to marry someone from a different church or relatively unchurched. Then the new family doesn't want to deal with the heavier doctrines, so they go nondenominational or don't go at all. There is an opportunity for a welcoming liberal church to recruit these people because they tend to emphasize heavy doctrine less.

My home church has another issue with style of service. The church has been stodgy for years, though recently they have tried to jazz things up a bit. The church also runs a contemporary service which is held in the school gym. The contemporary service is the best attended service. Now there are tensions between the pastor running the contemporary service and the main pastor, probably because the people attending the contemporary service feel like second class members when they are the plurality. But the contemporary service, which is conservative by what I've seen, is a split from what they used to do and what many of the older members may be comfortable with. Again, the more liberal church I now attend may be better suited in welcoming a wider variety of service styles.
   1534. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4261966)

Keep pulling the makeup off. Come out to the world!


Sounds like the screenplay to the Tammy Faye Baker story.
   1535. Jay Z Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4261973)
I believe the thinking is the same. However I think there is a case to be made that the influence of that thinking is magnified by the communication age. The anti-vaccine nuts for example. People (stupid ones I grant you) are not having their children vaccinated because of things (nutjob conspriacies) they hear about in the echo chamber. Back in the day their Doctor said get your child vaccinated and they did. Now they hear about the "medical theory" from a random former porn star and don't vaccinate their kids.


The conservatism then was more institutional. 50+ years ago was a far better time if you cared about censoring music or movies, or wanted to yell at someone to get a haircut. Or wanted to discriminate in general. To those people the right wing nutters were just another group of deviants. As institutional conservatism has declined, nutterism has grown. Few people care what you do with your life anymore.
   1536. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4261975)
Hence my persistent association of "nuclear family" with "nuclear threat." I always picture Mom, Dad, Sis, and Junior squeezing into a fallout shelter.


Right. You may have gotten an occasional egghead using the "nuclear" analogy for a family unit back into the 1920s, but atomic theory wasn't ingrained into western culture until Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That is the point where using the analogy of atomic structure begins to make sense at all, because that's the point where the non-academic population at large actually starts thinking in terms of "nuclear" elements. The common folk just didn't sit around talking about atomic shells and electron orbits in the 1930's.

From the ngram linked above, the phrase really took off in the late 70's and early 80's, which is to say, the point where most people started talking about the "nuclear family" was right about the time that "Greatest Gen" and Boomers started hitting peak nostalgia.
   1537. GregD Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4261978)
So this Dave Siegal character is upset because the economy broke from people living beyond their means and he made his money selling time shares? What part of cloud-cuckoo land did this person come from?
And he lived insanely beyond his means and had all his properties mortgaged to the hilt, which is why he had to stop construction on his Versailles and faced foreclosure/short sale.
   1538. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4262021)
Having grown up in the early nuclear age when we had air raid drills in elementary schools**, I honestly can't remember a single time I heard the expression "nuclear family" until sometime in the 70's, and even though its use coincides with the nuclear age, I've never thought of any connection between nuclear families and nuclear weapons.

**FTR we mostly viewed those drills as a good excuse to avoid class for a few minutes. The idea that any significant number of kids were terrorized by the thought of nuclear warfare in the United States before the Cuban missile crisis is a complete fiction, and my school was only a few miles from the White House.
   1539. Lassus Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4262028)
What all y'all's churches need to do is hire more singers.
   1540. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4262050)
What all y'all's churches need to do is hire more singers.


I love a majority of religious music. Choral pieces are especially wonderful. A few years back a group did Handel's Messiah at the Cathedral in St. Paul. It was really cool.
   1541. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4262055)
   1542. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4262057)
So they can afford nice hair?
   1543. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4262059)
So I'm going to add gasoline to the fire - is there any reason why those activists who want to end affirmative action have never used/found an Asian-American plaintiff?
   1544. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4262064)
Having grown up in the early nuclear age when we had air raid drills in elementary schools**, I honestly can't remember a single time I heard the expression "nuclear family" until sometime in the 70's, and even though its use coincides with the nuclear age, I've never thought of any connection between nuclear families and nuclear weapons.


That's not what I'm saying. (The failure of communication is clearly with the audience.)

I'm not saying "nuclear family" was associated with "nuclear war." I'm saying that prior to the detonation of the A-bombs, nuclear physics and atomic theory just wasn't widely known. No one talked about "nuclear families" because the volk had no idea what the nucleus of an atom was, much less how the analogy of the atomic nucleus with layers of electron shells around it* made sense in describing the "family."

*Intentionally using the old model of electrons and such, because quantum models don't really apply here.
   1545. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4262065)
And he lived insanely beyond his means and had all his properties mortgaged to the hilt, which is why he had to stop construction on his Versailles and faced foreclosure/short sale.

Not only was it stimulus, but a shovel-ready job. David Siegel sounds like a great American.

***
Having grown up in the early nuclear age when we had air raid drills in elementary schools**, I honestly can't remember a single time I heard the expression "nuclear family" until sometime in the 70's, and even though its use coincides with the nuclear age, I've never thought of any connection between nuclear families and nuclear weapons.

We didn't need terms like "nuclear family" when the word "family" sufficed. The huge increases in divorce and single-parent homes are what drove the need for more descriptive terms like "nuclear family."
   1546. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4262081)
In other news, Romney is up to +1.0 in the RCP, and that's with some pre-debate polls still included.
   1547. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4262156)
is there any reason why those activists who want to end affirmative action have never used/found an Asian-American plaintiff?


false premise, there have been Asian-American plaintiffs in "Reverse discrimination" suits.
   1548. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4262172)
Oh ok I had no idea - it just seems that it would be "easier" if the plaintiff was not white.
   1549. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4262175)
In other news, Romney is up to +1.0 in the RCP, and that's with some pre-debate polls still included.


"old" news (meaning that was out this morning)

OTOH their electoral college map still has Obama ahead (narrowly)


IMHO, longterm (i.e, next 200 years) the best thing that can come from this election, (considering that shorterm I think we're screwed no matter who wins) would be the abolishment of the electoral college- I think the Dems getting screwed (2000) followed by the Repubs getting screwed (2012) is pretty much the only thing that could do the trick.
   1550. CrosbyBird Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4262189)
The idea of the Daddy-Mommy-children single unit family - the "nuclear family" - evolved in post-War America. It's called "nuclear family" because the idea of the thing developed in the "nuclear age" - post atom bomb and all that.

Not really. The term "nuclear family" is meant to distinguish a particular type of family from the "extended family." Much like the nucleus is the center of the atom, a married couple and their offspring are the center of the larger family.
   1551. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4262190)
In other news, Romney is up to +1.0 in the RCP, and that's with some pre-debate polls still included.


Is the Joke quoting those terrible, no-good, very bad polls now? Of course he is.
   1552. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4262222)
Is the Joke quoting those terrible, no-good, very bad polls now? Of course he is.


Some polling oddities:

Romney debate bounce

1: If you just look at Ras you don't really see one, Ras has had the race meandering within 1-2 points for over a month now
2: Gallup doesn't show a bounce either- what they did was apply their "likely voter screen"- if you adjust for that, they actually show no debate bounce
3: Rand's "tracking" shows a very small bounce- about a point (not in RCP's average)

So where is Romney's poll surge coming from you ask?
PEW and IBB

Pew has released two polls the past month- one as JoeK so helpfully informed us, used a sample that was more Democratic than 2008 - their latest shows an electorate more Republican than 2010- I;'ll say this for PEW, their inconsistency is consistent :-)

IBB shows an electorate that 80-81% white- which doesn't seem unreasonable util you realize the electorate hasn't been that white in a couple of Presidential cycles (or maybe they assume voter suppression will be successful)...

Now that I've channeled my inner Joe :-)
I'll say that in any event it now seems the media now has the horse race it wants- and let's see how the narrative will shift AGAIN- the media will trumpet the next Pro-Obama poll

   1553. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4262236)
Whether those polls are accurate, biased, or whatever, I sure as hell hope that the Democrats are taking them seriously. Or even more to the point, I hope Obama gets the message and starts listening to someone other than Valerie Jarrett.

Of course I don't have many fears in that first regard, considering that I'm up to about 15 or 20 panic-stricken fundraising appeals a day in my inbox, sometimes several within just an hour. But it's going to take more than fundraising to win this election.
   1554. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4262238)
1: If you just look at Ras you don't really see one, Ras has had the race meandering within 1-2 points for over a month now

In Rasmussen's national tracker, but there was a clear ~5-point bounce in his swing-state tracker.

2: Gallup doesn't show a bounce either- what they did was apply their "likely voter screen"- if you adjust for that, they actually show no debate bounce

This isn't true. The LV screen generally reduces the Dem by 2.5 points and adds 2.5 to the Republican, but Romney made gains beyond that. Gallup's RV went from 50-45 Obama while its LV was 49-47 Romney yesterday. It closed to a 48-48 tie today, but that reflects a possibly receding bounce, not the lack of a bounce.
   1555. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4262239)
Obama is up 4 points in Ohio according to a CNN poll.

In the day just after the debate, Mr. Romney led in five of six polls between the top nine “tipping-point states,” but Mr. Obama has led in 10 of 14 such polls since then.


Job approval up to 53% in the most recent Gallup tracking poll.
   1556. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4262261)
Romney vs Romney
Literally nobody cares. Romney could kill and eat a newborn baby at this point, and all that'll matter is whether or not he looks presidential doing it. We're past the point of positions. We're in the swimsuit competition now.
   1557. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4262273)
Looks like another big bank got hit with a fraud lawsuit. This time it is Wells Fargo.


Feds hit Wells Fargo with mortgage fraud
   1558. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4262305)
Job approval up to 53% in the most recent Gallup tracking poll.


Obama's job approval bottomed out in July, except for a dip in early September it's been trending up since then- a trend not seemingly affected by the Debate

RCP's generic Congressional has been pretty stable, Ras' latest is Dems + 1, their last few had the Repub's up


So It seems that Romney's debate bounce has not reduced Obama's approval rating, nor has it helped the Repub's in general - it seems to be an honest to goodness surge in enthusiasm FOR Romney
   1559. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4262311)
Looks like another big bank got hit with a fraud lawsuit. This time it is Wells Fargo.

I'd be a lot more impressed with these cases if they started putting some people in prison (after fair trials, of course). The idea that billions of dollars in fraud occurred without any underlying criminality at the individual level is absurd.
   1560. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4262315)
Literally nobody cares. Romney could kill and eat a newborn baby at this point, and all that'll matter is whether or not he looks presidential doing it.


The lobby of my building has 3 flatscreens, earier today, I was walking past and Romney was on screen being interviewed- and he was BEEMING- dude really thinks he's in the driver's seat now, a middle aged black woman was talking to someone- and I heard her say,

"Look at that Romney, that boy is on Viagra for sure"
   1561. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4262326)
Literally nobody cares. Romney could kill and eat a newborn baby at this point, and all that'll matter is whether or not he looks presidential doing it. We're past the point of positions. We're in the swimsuit competition now.


Sad but true. Then again, if someone haven't made up their mind by now, I can't expect them to come to a rational decision now.

Buzz Bissinger vs Romney though is something else.
   1562. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4262362)

After getting pummeled in the polls for videotaped remarks in which he said that 47 percent of Americans view themselves as "victims" and want government handouts, Mitt Romney decided last week to distance himself from that sentiment, calling his previous statements "completely wrong."

He seems to have succeeded in getting the word out—perhaps even more than he intended. To the amusement of his critics, a Google image search for the term "completely wrong" now returns a page full of Romney images.

On a scale of one to Santorum, this is hardly the worst Google bomb a politician has faced. At first blush, it's a little reminiscent of the one in which a search for "miserable failure" returned George W. Bush's official White House biography as the top result.

The difference is that this doesn't seem to be the work of a prankster or political foe. As far as I can tell, Romney's association with "completely wrong" is a natural product of Google's search algorithms in action. So many news outlets picked up his retraction of the "47 percent" comments that those articles simply dominate the top results. In other words, this is entirely self-inflicted. And it's not likely to go away anytime soon: A quirk of these types of Google problems is that they tend to be self-reinforcing as more people search the phrase to see the results for themselves
...
Update, 3:11 p.m.: A Google spokesman confirms that this is not an intentional "Google bomb." The search results for "completely wrong" are the natural result of a flurry of recent news articles associating Romney with the phrase. How long this will persist, then, simply depends on how long the quote stays in the news—and, to a lesser extent, how many bloggers write posts like this one, which have the effect of perpetuating the association. Sorry Mitt.


From Slate.
   1563. BDC Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4262389)
Romney could kill and eat a newborn baby

But if he ate it with arugula and Chardonnay, it might lose him some down-home votes.
   1564. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4262399)
If he deep fried the baby like a Snickers bar, he would carry the South for sure.
   1565. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4262410)
Literally nobody cares. Romney could kill and eat a newborn baby at this point, and all that'll matter is whether or not he looks presidential doing it. We're past the point of positions. We're in the swimsuit competition now.

This is a funny complaint coming from someone whose preferred candidate offered very little beyond "swimsuit competition" appeal. All these years later, I'm still waiting for the list of accomplishments that made Obama a non-laughable presidential candidate.

***

For people who need a laugh, this video of affirmative-action supporters is funny.
   1566. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4262435)
Funny, considering he ran against a candidate who chose someone who actually took part in swimsuit competition as a running mate.
   1567. Morty Causa Posted: October 10, 2012 at 08:00 PM (#4262468)
Why can't I get the image of Woody Allen as Miss America (PEACE TO ALL NATIONS OF THE WORLD, BE IT BLACK, BE THEY WHITE...) out of my mind?
   1568. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4262472)
RCP up again for Romney, now at +1.5, while Obama's net approval is down to +4.3.

Romney has gained 18.2 percentage points in Nate's model since Oct. 3.
   1569. GregD Posted: October 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4262623)
Whew, for one more day Joe K gets to believe in the validity of polling.
   1570. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 10, 2012 at 09:59 PM (#4262635)
This is a funny complaint coming from someone whose preferred candidate offered very little beyond "swimsuit competition" appeal.
It's not a complaint, it's just what it is. I haven't heard one conservative defend Romney's pivots in the debate, because nobody cares and everybody knows it.

Romney has gained 18.2 percentage points in Nate's model since Oct. 3.
I've been told that Nate's model isn't trustworthy.
   1571. Lassus Posted: October 10, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4262777)
This is a funny complaint coming from...

This absolutely has to be Joe's favorite response.
   1572. bunyon Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4262823)
I'm getting some cool stuff about a ring on my facebook feed. Anyone else seeing that?


Can we just vote already?
   1573. billyshears Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4262965)
Can we just vote already?


You know, I consider myself thankful that it took until yesterday for me to reach Mach 10 levels of anxiety about this election. In March, I figured that I would be basically catatonic from August 1 on.
   1574. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:36 AM (#4263240)
OT: Black Death

The Black Death changed Europe and the world, and as I said earilier I think is one of the main contributors to how we are today. I'll try to be brief, which means the post is very high level and somewhat abstracted (as well as very limited in scope). Let's talk economics.

Economically the Black Death actually resulted in a large income increase in the survivors and laid the seeds for a change in the economics of Europe. Back in the day wealth was primarily tied to land. More land = more wealth, with human capital a distant second. When a big chunk Europe died, suddenly there was more land per person. In order to extract the most value from the land you needed people, and so human capital became more important.

In other words a major route to gain income increases went from "get more land" to "better exploit the land I have" since there was now more land per person. Better exploit the land however is hard when you have fewer workers. What you need to happen, what you try to get under those circumstances is higher productivity per worker.

Pre Black Death productivity gains happened, but sporadically and in a scattered fashion. After the Black Death it was very much a priority to get those productivity gains. Empty fields, grain rotting in silos, none of that helps anyone. While land was still a huge measure of wealth relative to human capital (and to this day Land is a big factor), still we start to see a shift where the importance of human capital grows relative to land. (Aside - it took 150 years for Europe to get back the population lost to the Black Death).

It is hard to have a modern economy where land is the dominant factor. It is a static resource (by and large) and tends to be passed down in a very static fasion. A land based economy will not be nearly as dynamic as one where human capital (and other factors) are more important. You can increase human capital by training and education. People become valued resources and not (as much) interchagable serfs.

Obviously there is much more to it, including the impact of the weakening of social institutions caused by the Black Death along with the accompanying social disruption that allowed economic and social change to happen (that normally would have been halted or reduced by the status quo desiring dominant social institutions of the day).

So there is one small part of why I think the Black Death is a critical (perhaps necessary but not sufficient) part in the formation of the modern world.
   1575. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4263263)
I've been told that Nate's model isn't trustworthy.


Nate was on NPR's "Fresh Air" yesterday. Link Click on "Signal and Noise" to listen.
   1576. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4263271)
Speaking of Nate his latest article agrees with Joe K, in so much as both think I am wrong. I plan on giving it a few days, but it seems like I both underestimated the impact of the debate (or mysterious other thing that happened at the same time) and am wrong about the length and amount of the Romney resurgence.

Such is life. I take solace in predicting the when of the surge if not the other factors. I still think this is a Romney high point and Obama is still a 65/35 favorite (Nate's model and I do agree on that, for now), but as I said before even if he is the favorite things can happen. But I am still not impressed with the Romney campaign, though unlike other bounces they had (like in the primaries) they have resisted the urge to shoot themselves in the foot right after someting good for them happened.
   1577. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4263276)
Economically the Black Death actually resulted in a large income increase in the survivors and laid the seeds for a change in the economics of Europe. Back in the day wealth was primarily tied to land. More land = more wealth, with human capital a distant second. When a big chunk Europe died, suddenly there was more land per person. In order to extract the most value from the land you needed people, and so human capital became more important.

In other words a major route to gain income increases went from "get more land" to "better exploit the land I have" since there was now more land per person. Better exploit the land however is hard when you have fewer workers. What you need to happen, what you try to get under those circumstances is higher productivity per worker.
This seems totally wrong to me. I know of very little late medieval evidence of "improvement" as an ideology or significant continental agrarian productivity gains. The big jump in productivity happens in England in the early modern period, and it is not matched by any changes on the continent until later. The jump in productivity is a function of the development of capitalism, not a cause.
   1578. bunyon Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4263278)
BM: I think the next Obama/Romney debate is important. If Obama handles himself well in it, I think a lot of people will chalk the earlier one up to a bad day. If he repeats his last performance, I think he loses the election. It isn't just that he looked bad, he looked bad in precisely the way Republicans say he is bad. Pretty much everyone I've talked to (in person) about it has moved toward the negative on Obama because of the debate. Most didn't see a vote change but those favoring Obama are less anxious he might lose and/or enthusiastic that he'll win while those leaning Romney see it as confirmation. Given an overwhelming consensus on the president's performance, I don't think it's surprising that those whose vote might be swung did, in fact, swing.
   1579. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4263281)
It's always been my understanding that the Black Death's major contribution to modern society was it hastened the end of fuedalism. For the first time, peasant labor had hand. They were able to sell their services to the highest bidder, and landlords bid accordingly. Wages rose about 100%, and despite the monarchy and noble's attempts to roll that back and return to the old ways, often using very repressive means, the genie was out of the bottle and there was no going back.
   1580. Morty Causa Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4263297)
And what forced capitalism to develop? Just a question, not a rhetorical gambit. Seems, too, it's the outcome of a particular outgrowth of capitalism--technology--to meet and anticipate social and economic cataclysms brought about by things like the wholesale ravages of disease.

Actually, this had to have an incalculably profound effect on who we are (the human race), but that's probably going back too far.
   1581. Jay Z Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4263308)
BM: I think the next Obama/Romney debate is important. If Obama handles himself well in it, I think a lot of people will chalk the earlier one up to a bad day. If he repeats his last performance, I think he loses the election. It isn't just that he looked bad, he looked bad in precisely the way Republicans say he is bad. Pretty much everyone I've talked to (in person) about it has moved toward the negative on Obama because of the debate. Most didn't see a vote change but those favoring Obama are less anxious he might lose and/or enthusiastic that he'll win while those leaning Romney see it as confirmation. Given an overwhelming consensus on the president's performance, I don't think it's surprising that those whose vote might be swung did, in fact, swing.


Historically, sitting presidents have usually done poorly in the first debate. President hasn't debated in a while, the challenger can attack on specifics while being vague about his own ideas. Challenger has also debated more recently, many times in the primaries. The only one I don't remember struggling was Clinton, and Bill Clinton's favorite thing to do is talk for two minutes about any political issue.

Otherwise, do better, stick to basics, attack Romney's flip-flopping on seemingly every issue.
   1582. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4263310)
Toba is almost certainly the most important event in the evolution of modern humanity. It is probably the driving force behind why "competition" is considered primary to "cooperation" by many of us.
   1583. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4263321)
I know of very little late medieval evidence of "improvement" as an ideology or significant continental agrarian productivity gains. The big jump in productivity happens in England in the early modern period, and it is not matched by any changes on the continent until later. The jump in productivity is a function of the development of capitalism, not a cause.


This is what happens when I abstract things - darn it. I was not trying to speak specifically about agricultural gains (though it did talk about productivity and a huge percent of any productivity gains from then will have to be agricultural to be relevent). However the thrust of what I was (ineffectually) trying to get at was much more the focus and mindset change which set the stage for actual improvements, not actual improvements setting the stage for a mindset change (if that makes sense). Basically by weakening the hold of social institutions and altering things like the relative dominance of land regarding income (as different from wealth) it helped spark a mind set shift which resulted eventually in the changes you are speaking of and (at great remove) the modern world.

Please remember the changes I am speaking to are very slow and gradual. When we think of change in the modern world we think of things like the Wright Brothers to Space Flight in just a few generations (or the changes from the introduction of "The Pill"). When I am talking change in that medival times we are talking very small changes over a very long time, and the available metrics from that time are very sparse (to be generous). Even figuring out death tolls from the Black Death is very hard because of the lack of solid data.

EDIT: Also this is more a thought/hunch/speculation/hobby and not some entrenched belief. Feel free to poke all the holes, advance alternates and such. I am not at all wed to my own theories on this. I make no claims as to expertise in this area.
   1584. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4263330)
However the thrust of what I was (ineffectually) trying to get at was much more the focus and mindset change which set the stage for actual improvements, not actual improvements setting the stage for a mindset change (if that makes sense). Basically by weakening the hold of social institutions and altering things like the relative dominance of land regarding income (as different from wealth) it helped spark a mind set shift which resulted eventually in the changes you are speaking of and (at great remove) the modern world.
Ok. I can, sort of, see the point. The problem here is that I'm a quarter of the way into teaching myself economic history for a new project,*** and I've grown very annoyed with the way that capitalism gets naturalized in so much of the literature. The idea that once feudalism "weakened", then the natural human capitalist tendencies could be freed. The notion that a population shock like the Black Death produced the oppportunity for proto-capitalist improvement first struck me that way, though it doesn't have to be taken that way. I overreacted because suddenly people were talking about an obscure things I've developed strong feelings about, sorry.

Nonetheless, I'm highly convinced by the argument that early modern England was peculiarly the birthplace of capitalism. It seems like arguments about broad changes, centuries earlier, centered mostly on the continent, can't have too much explanatory power.

***Early Christian responses to the mass shift away from a slave economy in late antiquity, reading up on the origins of capitalism as an economy turning point that is better documented and studied. For what little it's worth.
   1585. GregD Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4263340)
That sounds like a great project, MCA. I know much more about the 18th-19th century shift, and the age-old debate about why slavery declined during that era, but nothing about the earlier period.
   1586. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4263346)
And what forced capitalism to develop? Just a question, not a rhetorical gambit. Seems, too, it's the outcome of a particular outgrowth of capitalism--technology--to meet and anticipate social and economic cataclysms brought about by things like the wholesale ravages of disease.

Actually, this had to have an incalculably profound effect on who we are (the human race), but that's probably going back too far.


Toba is almost certainly the most important event in the evolution of modern humanity. It is probably the driving force behind why "competition" is considered primary to "cooperation" by many of us.


Toba's impact upon human populations is significantly disputed and the weight of the evidence is AGAINST it having a major impact on humanity. This cannot be overstated enough. The papers arguing for a Toba bottleneck get a lot of play because of "sex appeal", but there's no there there. I don't doubt that our ancestors in SE Asia, if any, at that time had a rough go of it, but the argument for significant effects in Africa or the Levant are much more tenuous.

Just because there's a genetic bottleneck some time from 50ka to 100ka doesn't mean the big eruption at 77ka caused the bottleneck. Correlation (and a weak one, at that) does not equal causation. Especially with all the other stuff going on in that interval - inter alia, the giant ####### ice sheets mowing their way through North America and Europe.
   1587. Morty Causa Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4263354)
Toba is almost certainly the most important event in the evolution of modern humanity. It is probably the driving force behind why "competition" is considered primary to "cooperation" by many of us.


? I'm not sure I see that. I would think that it has to have had a strong bearing on why we, homo sapiens, are such social animals. We are as a group very closely related.
   1588. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4263366)
Nonetheless, I'm highly convinced by the argument that early modern England was peculiarly the birthplace of capitalism. It seems like arguments about broad changes, centuries earlier, centered mostly on the continent, can't have too much explanatory power.


I see part of the issue we are having (I think). I am not explicitly talking about capitalism. I am more generically talking about the shift to the modern world (modernity) and I started with a discussion of the economic impact of the Black Death, but I was not trying to lead directly to Capitalism (though I can see how it would look that way).

Speaking of modern thought and England, I think a pretty good argument could be made that the watershed, the culmination of the trends towards modern thought, can be argued to be with Isaac Newton (sure others should be included). The Theory of Gravity and the Calculus are in some ways the first time in Europe that something was created that clearly and unambiguously surpassed the Ancient Greeks. For a long time the thinkers of Europe (rightly or wrongly) labored under the very long shadow of the titans of Ancient Greece. Newton (and others) really broke through that perception.
   1589. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4263367)
That sounds like a great project, MCA. I know much more about the 18th-19th century shift, and the age-old debate about why slavery declined during that era, but nothing about the earlier period.
Yeah, it's interesting. It's hard, in my opinion, to account for the decline of slavery in the modern period without considering the force of moral opinion and moral discourse. (Kwame Anthony Appiah is really good on this, and the story of slavery in England.) In antiquity, though, it really seems like it wasn't part of the story at all. The decline of the slave economy enables some truly impressive and moving critiques of the slave system - see Gregory of Nyssa, Fourth Homily on Ecclesiastes. But these critiques seem to have been enabled by the decline of the system rather than a cause. Scholars mostly seem to suggest that the dispersion of power from Rome to the provinces and to local potentates made the localized system of quasi-feudalism and the tying of labor to land a more useful way of extracting surplus. The causes are a bit boring - though as I keep reading, it's hard to be confident that ancient economic historians have a strong hold on the causation - but the responses to it are diverse and fascinating. (I think, for instance, that the development of monastic life seems to occur in parallel to the decline of the slave economy. I'm still very much at an early stage in this project, but it's a lot of fun to be working on something new.)
   1590. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4263374)
I see part of the issue we are having (I think). I am not explicitly talking about capitalism. I am more generically talking about the shift to the modern world (modernity) and I started with a discussion of the economic impact of the Black Death, but I was not trying to lead directly to Capitalism (though I can see how it would look that way).
Well, to me, the ideology of "improvement" and the drive to productivity gains is the best marker the emergence of capitalism. That's what capitalism is, the incessant pressures to extract more and better surplus, the drive to efficiency and productivity gains produced by the powers of the market. Modernity is much more than capitalism, but that one aspect of modernity is capitalist through and through.
   1591. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4263387)
Toba's impact upon human populations is significantly disputed and the weight of the evidence is AGAINST it having a major impact on humanity. This cannot be overstated enough. The papers arguing for a Toba bottleneck get a lot of play because of "sex appeal", but there's no there there. I don't doubt that our ancestors in SE Asia, if any, at that time had a rough go of it, but the argument for significant effects in Africa or the Levant are much more tenuous.

Just because there's a genetic bottleneck some time from 50ka to 100ka doesn't mean the big eruption at 77ka caused the bottleneck. Correlation (and a weak one, at that) does not equal causation. Especially with all the other stuff going on in that interval - inter alia, the giant ####### ice sheets mowing their way through North America and Europe.


Huh.

Please expound.
   1592. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4263392)
More clearly, I am talking more about the Renaissance, which is (I think) a clear precursor to where we are (and of course Capitalism). I am not trying to say there is a bright line between the Black Death and Capitalism, but there are connections between the Black Death, the Rennaisance and Capitalism. In fact the thrust of it (what I started with) is that the Black Death is a critical and often overlooked component of what happened and was very possibly in net a positive, because we may not have ended up in as good a place without it.

A conterfactual could be constructed where we end up inthe same place without it (and it is obvisouly difficult to prove in any event), but it is my opinion (this may be too strong a word) that modern society was not in any sense inevitable. Progress and change were perhaps destined, but I think the "modern world" is qualitiatively different from those from the medival times and before. We would have ended up somewhere (things never stop) but I am not convinved we get here (or somewhere like it) without a series of events (like the Black Death).

And yes it is all completely speculative and fairly OT.

BTW - Your project does sound interesting.
   1593. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4263394)
The decline of the slave economy enables some truly impressive and moving critiques of the slave system - see Gregory of Nyssa, Fourth Homily on Ecclesiastes. But these critiques seem to have been enabled by the decline of the system rather than a cause. Scholars mostly seem to suggest that the dispersion of power from Rome to the provinces and to local potentates made the localized system of quasi-feudalism and the tying of labor to land a more useful way of extracting surplus. The causes are a bit boring - though as I keep reading, it's hard to be confident that ancient economic historians have a strong hold on the causation - but the responses to it are diverse and fascinating.


What impact does the Death have on the slave economy? Is there a sudden shock in the status quo system of slavery driven by the sudden mass-deaths in Europe?

Do morals concerning slavery evolve due to the weakening of Europe and thus turning it into a more likely slave-provider than slave-buyer state? (I.e. is the moral change driven by the fact that Europeans were suddenly somewhat terrified of being taken as slaves by the ascendant Muslim states?)

Does it even make sense to refer to the slave systems as an "economy" given how loaded that term is with regards to modernity and capitalism?
   1594. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4263405)
Well, to me, the ideology of "improvement" and the drive to productivity gains is the best marker the emergence of capitalism.


I agree to a point. I am not convinced capitalism (other than in its most generic definition) is necessarily how modernity had to be expressed, though it is clearly one way it was. I see it from the perspective that the Black Death led to many changes and those changes enabled the emergence of Capitalism. To use an analogy a foundation was build from the wreckage of the Black Death which was conducive to the energence of capitalism. I don't know if Capitalism would have happened (expressed as it is today) without that foundation.
   1595. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4263409)
Does it even make sense to refer to the slave systems as an "economy" given how loaded that term is with regards to modernity and capitalism?
This is a fair question. The separation of economic and political power is a peculiarly capitalist thing (not that it's actually anything like fully achieved, but the extent of the split is much greater), and there's a risk in talking about "economies" that people will think you're not talking about political power, or that you'll start thinking in capitalist terms yourself. I think the benefit, though, of reinforcing the interconnection of political and economic power outweighs the risks. Plus when I'm talking about the ways in which agricultural surplusese were extractced by ancient producers, I mean, I am talking about economics, it would feel awkward not to use the word.
Do morals concerning slavery evolve due to the weakening of Europe and thus turning it into a more likely slave-provider than slave-buyer state? (I.e. is the moral change driven by the fact that Europeans were suddenly somewhat terrified of being taken as slaves by the ascendant Muslim states?)
The moral change seems to precede the ascendance of the Muslim empires. And I really don't mean to oversell the moral change - there were no more than sporadic critiques here and there, but no one turned their critiques on the semi-slavery of serfdom, and the critiques don't seem to have effected practice so much as been enabled by changed in practices.
   1596. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4263425)
? I'm not sure I see that. I would think that it has to have had a strong bearing on why we, homo sapiens, are such social animals. We are as a group very closely related.


We were social animals before Toba and after Toba, our ancestors and close relatives were/are all social animals.

As a "species" modern Homo Sapiens has a distinct lack of genetic diversity as compared to other extant primates, scientists have proposed that some time 50-100,000 years ago we went through some winnowing event (bottleneck) - Toba is the biggest single event in that time frame so people hang their hat on it-

the problem was/is that Home Sapiens had already geographically disbursed (to pretty much everywhere except the Western Hemisphere) BEFORE Toba- and we almost certainly geographically disbursed AFTER the bottleneck
   1597. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4263436)
As a "species" modern Homo Sapiens has a distinct lack of genetic diversity as compared to other extant primates, scientists have proposed that some time 50-100,000 years ago we went through some winnowing event (bottleneck) - Toba is the biggest single event in that time frame so people hang their hat on it


It's important to remember that a near-extinction is not required for a genetic bottleneck. And Toba wasn't the single biggest event in that timeframe, it's just the biggest volcanic eruption in that time frame. You don't need a catastrophic event to stress a human population to the point of extinction (see the history of pre-Columbian Americas) and rapid, massive ex-Toba climate change is a perfectly good explanation for population stress, if any.
   1598. GregD Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4263442)
Does it even make sense to refer to the slave systems as an "economy" given how loaded that term is with regards to modernity and capitalism?
Doesn't that just suggest we need a broader definition of economy? Maoist China had an economy, as did the Khmer Rouge. Production/consumption/exchange all exist long, long before capitalism.

Slavery was not antithetical to capitalism. There's a long debate about the emergence of modern slavery, but the debate is between people who think that modern large-scale slavery emerged through a system of expanding global commerce that then helped feed the development of capitalism (so slavery is part of but not central to or constructed within capitalism), and those who think see modern slavery and modern capitalism as inextricably bound together. In part that's an argument about when you define modern capitalism's beginning.

But in terms of ideology, slave plantations were often bastions of efficiency obsession and micro-management for improved productivity. Handbooks from overseers are full of efforts to quantify and maximize production. (That doesn't mean slavery was as efficient as free labor--a question that turns on particular challenges of hiring people for particular types of crop production--just that slaveowners were obsessed with maximizing efficiency.)

It is possible to argue that slavery was the site of the production of much that we see as distinctive about modern capitalism. Specialization of tasks in large organizations, minute monitoring of activities and outputs, purchase of shares of distant enterprises, etc. I suspect these developments are coterminous, flooding through plantations and through early factories at the same time, but it's not a slam dunk. But it's not really possible anymore to argue that modern slavery was a refuge against capitalism; it had a strange relation to capitalism because, on the one hand, there were huge restraints on consumption and, on the other, none of the necessary restraints on sale. (Slavery is an excess of commodification, not its absence, after all.)
   1599. Morty Causa Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4263450)
Related and social are connected. Yes, we were social animals before, but the degree of our relatedness has a bearing on that. In fact, it's pretty basic. So, the argument is that if something happens that as a group makes us more related, then that would encourage our being social. I believe that's how the thinking goes.

Despite our geographic diversity, we're still closely related--although, of course, we're more related to some sub-groups than others. We're not as related as some animals, though. I believe it is the cheetah that is so closely related that they are practically clones. A graft of tissue from one cheetah to another doesn't even activate an immune system response. We're not there, but still there are many organs transplants that take.
   1600. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4263455)
It is possible to argue that slavery was the site of the production of much that we see as distinctive about modern capitalism. Specialization of tasks in large organizations, minute monitoring of activities and outputs, purchase of shares of distant enterprises, etc. I suspect these developments are coterminous, flooding through plantations and through early factories at the same time, but it's not a slam dunk. But it's not really possible anymore to argue that modern slavery was a refuge against capitalism; it had a strange relation to capitalism because, on the one hand, there were huge restraints on consumption and, on the other, none of the necessary restraints on sale. (Slavery is an excess of commodification, not its absence, after all.)
This is very well said. The peculiarity of capitalist slavery as opposed to pre-capitalist slavery seems to be this focus of efficiency and productivity, which produced a form of slavery even more awful than all the awful forms that preceded it.

The issue with calling the slave system of the ancient world an "economy", as I see it, is that economic power and political power were two parts of entirely the same thing in antiquity, while in a capitalist system they can be analytically distinguished far more easily. I think that doesn't mean we can't use the word "economy" to describe non-capitalist systems, but it does require some carefulness and precision.
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