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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

OTP- August 2012: The Leader Post: New stadium won’t have same appeal, says Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee

“Building a new stadium down the street does not work unless (Ron) Lancaster spilled some DNA in the lot where they’re going to build the new stadium,” he added. “You have to refurbish (Mosaic Stadium). You’ve got to can all new ideas you might have and use the sacred ground. Fenway did that and that is why Fenway is loved. The new Yankee Stadium isn’t the same as it used to be.”

The former Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos pitcher will not be running for the vacant mayor’s position in Regina later this year. With his opinion on the new stadium, he wasn’t sure he would garner many votes anyway. But that is nothing new to the former member of the Rhinoceros Party. Lee ran on the Rhino ticket in 1988 for president of the United States. Not surprisingly, he didn’t make the ballot in a single state. He said one of the high-ranking members within the party gave him a six-pack of Molson Canadian and asked him to run for president.

“I adhered to their funny philosophy,” Lee said. “My campaign slogan was ‘No guns, no butter. They’ll both kill you.’ And I only campaigned in federal prisons where I knew they couldn’t vote, and I only accepted a quarter in campaign contributions.”

With it being an election year in the U.S., Lee said he is all in for the re-election of Barack Obama.

“The only time (Mitt) Romney opens his mouth is when he needs to change feet,” Lee said of the Republican nominee. “If Obama does lose this, which I can’t see happening, then it’s because of a lady in Florida who works for Jeb Bush and Diebold, the voting-machine company. If Obama even comes close to losing this election, it’ll be fraud.”

Guess what, its the new OT politics thread!

Tripon Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:04 AM | 5975 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: boston, politics

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   2101. ASmitty Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4208243)
Flip!
   2102. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4208247)
Missed it. Also, I didn't mean to be indelicate with #2082, ASmitty, just lightly amusing. I realize I may have failed.
   2103. Tripon Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4208250)
Yeah, I mean I know about seasteading and the like, and the plan to make either New Hampshire or Connecticut into a Libertarian stronghold, but there seems to be very few places that try to live up to that sort of ideal. Maybe Hong Kong with its Economic policy. (Politically, of course its another story.)
   2104. ASmitty Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4208251)
Haha! No, you were fine. I just didn't have much to add other than "LOL" and *Married man looks somberly off into the distance with a knowing furrow on his brow*
   2105. zonk Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4208252)

Actually you'll find that in Canada this is (almost) exactly what is argued. And the logic is that if you allow people to jump the queue you'll rapidly end up with a two tier system.

The (almost) is because nobody seriously argues against any form of medical tourism. Every year there are a certain number of went to the US for hip replacement (or other elective surgery) because of wait times stories. And now that I think about it, India has been advertizing cheap and quick elective surgery. IIRC it's been a big growth industry.

But then as I said, Canada's not a great model for these discussions. That's not to say it doesn't work, it's just that it's geared to do emergency well and the rest cheap (and even then, it has absurdly high administrative costs for a single payer system).


There's a lot of medical tourism from the US to Mexico, too -- although, it's mainly confined to dental care, alternative treatments, and plastic surgery.

I have a vague recollection that Texas actually explored allowing insurers and HMOs to operate across the border, essentially allowing them to include Mexican providers in their networks...
   2106. Ron J2 Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4208257)
#2105 Sure. In the US medical tourism is driven by cost or treatments that aren't on offer (a fair amount of medical tourism is for some form of snake oil). In Canada it's driven by wait time. And access to treatments not available (almost always some form of snake oil)
   2107. BurlyBuehrle Posted: August 14, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4208323)
There is absolutely no reason why we should expect the environment not to change. It has always changed. Since, like, forever.

I swear if the environment suddenly didn't change, you people would be screaming like chicken little over that fact.


It is one thing if conservatives/libertarians/Republicans/Paul Ryan want to deny global warming in the face of the evidence to the contrary. Not a lot that can be done there.

What I'm curious about is how the role of science vis-a-vis policymaking is viewed by these folks. It seems to me that when an overwhelming majority of scientists in the relevant field say something (see, e.g., oft-cited IPCC report, etc etc), that should guide policymaking, not the fringes of the field.

To say that there is some science out there that disputes AGW is accurate; to say that such science is anything close to a majority of scientists working in the field is a gross distortion.

So...to make policy decisions that ignore AGW and make no effort at preventing/mitigating the damage it may cause, you must be operating under one of three premises, right -- (a) you do not believe that policymaking should be guided by a near-consensus in the field, but rather, should take a wait-and-see approach as long as there is anyone with even an arguably valid objection to said consensus; or (b) you're just being disingenuous.**

**A follow-on would be to the extent decisions in their own personal lives are informed by an understanding of any scientific issue, do most folks go with the information that represents the majority-view, or do they go with the fringe view?
   2108. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: August 14, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4208328)
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
luckily for me, my book of choice was "the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy", written by noted secular humanist douglas adams.


douglas adams actually had a quote that i feel applies to this thread, and politics in general:
"human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

and related to the environmental discussion on the last page:
“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair”

   2109. Randy Jones Posted: August 14, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4208345)
C'mon, you left out the Douglas Adams quote most applicable to a political discussion:

The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
   2110. Danny Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4208365)
This might be the funniest headline I've ever seen:
Brunette Democrat Comes Out As 'Pansexual'

Why would they use 'Brunette?'
   2111. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4208379)

A federal appeals court on Wednesday said the authorities do not need a probable-cause warrant to track a suspect’s every move via GPS signals from a suspect’s mobile phone.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling 2-1, upheld a 20-year term for a drug courier nabbed with 1,100 pounds of marijuana in a motorhome camper the authorities tracked via his mobile phone pinging cell towers from Arizona to a Texas truck stop.

The decision, a big boost for the government’s surveillance powers, comes as prosecutors are shifting their focus to warrantless cell-tower location tracking of suspects in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling in January sharply limiting the use of GPS vehicle trackers. The Supreme Court found law enforcement should acquire probable-cause warrants from judges to affix GPS devices to vehicles and monitor their every move.

The court of appeals ruling comes a month after a congressional inquiry found that law enforcement made 1.3 million requests for cellphone data last year alone while seeking out subscriber information like text messages, location data and calling records.

Judge John M. Rogers wrote for the majority: (.pdf)

If a tool used to transport contraband gives off a signal that can be tracked for location, certainly the police can track the signal. The law cannot be that a criminal is entitled to rely on the expected untrackability of his tools. Otherwise, dogs could not be used to track a fugitive if the fugitive did not know that the dog hounds had his scent. A getaway car could not be identified and followed based on the license plate number if the driver reasonably thought he had gotten away unseen. The recent nature of cell phone location technology does not change this. If it did, then technology would help criminals but not the police.


The appeals court distinguished this case from a GPS case decided by the Supreme Court. The high court ruled that the physical act of installing a GPS device on a target’s vehicle amounted to a search, which usually necessitates a probable cause warrant under the Fourth Amendment.

“Here, the monitoring of the location of the contraband-carrying vehicle as it crossed the country is no more of a comprehensively invasive search than if instead the car was identified in Arizona and then tracked visually and the search handed off from one local authority to another as the vehicles progressed. That the officers were able to use less expensive and more efficient means to track the vehicles is only to their credit,” Rogers wrote.

Another appeals court, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is also mulling a similar issue, one involving historical cell-site data. And the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2010 that warrants were required to get cell-site location data. Split rulings generally leads the Supreme Court to step in and clear the conflicts.

In all of the cases, including the 5th Circuit case, the Obama administration maintains that Americans have no expectation of privacy in cell-site records because they are “in the possession of a third party” — the mobile phone companies. What’s more, the authorities maintain that the cell site data is not as precise as GPS tracking and “there is no trespass or physical intrusion on a customer’s cellphone when the government obtains historical cell-site records from a provider.”

...

Wednesday’s ruling wasn’t unanimous on all counts, however.

Judge Bernice Donald upheld the conviction, based on the police’s “good faith’ exemption” to the warrant requirement. But Donald wrote that the majority was wrong in its theory of the case.


I would not characterize the question before us as whether society is prepared to recognize a legitimate expectation of privacy in the GPS data emitted from a cell phone used to effectuate drug trafficking. Rather, in keeping with the principle that the law affords the same constitutional protections to criminals and law-abiding citizens alike, the question is simply whether society is prepared to recognize a legitimate expectation of privacy in the GPS data emitted from any cell phone. Because I would answer this question in the affirmative, I cannot join Part II.A of the majority opinion.




No expectation of privacy sure is a tune getting called a lot these days ...
   2112. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4208392)
So...to make policy decisions that ignore AGW and make no effort at preventing/mitigating the damage it may cause, you must be operating under one of three premises, right -- (a) you do not believe that policymaking should be guided by a near-consensus in the field, but rather, should take a wait-and-see approach as long as there is anyone with even an arguably valid objection to said consensus; or (b) you're just being disingenuous.**


This assessment is severely naive. For example, it doesn't recognize the perfectly valid determination that the cost of trying to prevent/mitigate the damage may be worse than the damage itself.
   2113. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4208397)
For example, it doesn't recognize the perfectly valid determination that the cost to me of trying to prevent/mitigate the damage may be worse than the damage itself.
   2114. SteveF Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4208398)
Frankly, I would rather people take a more active hand in protecting their privacy rights when talking on a cell phone. Some of the personal conversations I've overheard at the grocery store, in line at the bank, or while on the subway cannot ever be unheard.

That said, it's an interesting question. Most people probably don't think about all the information they are handing over to third parties when they use technology like cell phones and web browsers, which is precisely how the cell phone companies, Apple and Googlebook like it. Does the fact that they are oblivious grant them an expectation of privacy protected by the Constitution?

I'm not a real big fan of reading privacy rights expansively in the Constitution, though I am a fan of privacy rights. People are all giddy when the 5th and 14th amendment are read expansively but are horrified when the same treatment is applied to the 2nd amendment (e.g. US v. Miller). Personally, I'd rather see more latitude given to Congress (or better yet, state legislatures) to pass the legislation they want passed. Legislators are significantly more accountable to the average voter than is a Supreme Court justice.
   2115. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:42 PM (#4208400)
For example, it doesn't recognize the perfectly valid determination that the cost to me of trying to prevent/mitigate the damage I have helped cause may be more than the cost to me of the damage itself.
   2116. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4208405)
For example, it doesn't recognize the perfectly valid determination that the cost to me of trying to prevent/mitigate the damage may be worse than the damage itself.


What does this mean? And what does #2115 mean?

   2117. asdf1234 Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4208411)
For example, it doesn't recognize the perfectly valid determination that the cost to me of trying to prevent/mitigate the damage may be worse than the damage itself.


No, the cost. If preventing AGW entailed sacrificing ten million children to Cthulhu, I doubt society would view that as a reasonable trade-off. Even if all the children were French.

And given the events of the day, when do we start talking about how Joe Biden is a heartbeat away from being the leader of the free-ish world?
   2118. Spahn Insane Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4208413)
Brunette Democrat Comes Out As 'Pansexual'

Why would they use 'Brunette?'


Because the thousands of Dems who'd previously come out as "pansexual" were all blondes. C'mon, don't you know anything?
   2119. SteveF Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4208419)
And given the events of the day, when do we start talking about how Joe Biden is a heartbeat away from being the leader of the free-ish world?


I contemplated spiking this home, but I was worried it would be interpreted as racist.
   2120. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4208424)
No, the cost. If preventing AGW entailed sacrificing ten million children to Cthulhu, I doubt society would view that as a reasonable trade-off. Even if all the children were French.


Yes. And I'm curious: Would any liberal here order the execution of a person chosen randomly in the phonebook if it would Stop Global Warming? Let's pretend that society granted such power to a liberal, and the liberal was permitted to legally use it -- such as a judge sentencing a convicted murderer to death. All the liberal would have to do would be to have the named unlucky person brought before him and push the button.

Would any liberal do it?
   2121. Tripon Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4208430)
Such an odd situation, we have a president who has order multiple attack drones to kill targets, with little care for the collateral damage. And ray thinks he's one of the most likely liberal. The men in power already can decide if random people need to die in order to protect the the rest of society.
   2122. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4208435)
Would any liberal here order the execution of a person chosen randomly in the phonebook if it would Stop Global Warming?

That is a false choice because the way it is structured. There is a classic example to show how people think. A train is running out of control. There are five people on the track who will be killed by the train. You can throw a switch, to move the train onto a siding, but there is 1 person on the siding, who will be killed. Do you throw the switch? Of course you do.

Same example, but you are on a bridge over the train. You can throw a person on the track to derail it. Do you do it? No.

This is how people think, across cultures. You will not actively kill someone.

   2123. asdf1234 Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:27 PM (#4208437)
I contemplated spiking this home, but I was worried it would be interpreted as racist.


My far-left friends must've had to still their beating hearts when Biden inferred that Romney (member of a persecuted Xian sect) and Ryan (papist raised in the heartland) are slavers who are insensitive to the concerns of minorities. Biden casually tossed out the American equivalent of blood libel.

Such an odd situation, we have a president who has order multiple attack drones to kill targets, with little care for the collateral damage. And ray thinks he's one of the most likely liberal. The men in power already can decide if random people need to die in order to protect the the rest of society.


Assuming that the 5th Amendment hasn't been struck from the books, no, they can't. That Republican members of Congress have permitted Obama to continue his secret drone war (even targeting American citizens who've been denied due process) without impeachment proceedings speaks volumes to how far this nation has fallen under Bush/Obama and how little either party cares for the natural rights of the citizenry whose consent empowers it.
   2124. Danny Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4208443)
My far-left friends must've had to still their beating hearts when Biden inferred that Romney (member of a persecuted Xian sect) and Ryan (papist raised in the heartland) are slavers who are insensitive to the concerns of minorities.

Yeah, Mormons have always loved black people; a Mormon could never be racist!

Not that Biden's remarks were necessarily racial...
   2125. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4208447)
Not that Biden's remarks were necessarily racial...
C'mon. No politician can use those words and not know they're shooting off flares left and right (so to speak).
   2126. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:23 PM (#4208452)
I kept looking up "Xian" because it sounded kind of awesome. Why can't people be bothered to write "Christian"?
   2127. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:26 PM (#4208453)
What's jmac's opinion on this matter?
   2128. BurlyBuehrle Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4208454)
This assessment is severely naive. For example, it doesn't recognize the perfectly valid determination that the cost of trying to prevent/mitigate the damage may be worse than the damage itself.


No, because you're not understanding what I'm saying. To **DENY** AGW wholesale is not even to engage in the debate. Of course we need to analyze the cost/benefit of any policy choice -- including what we do about AGW.

But to get to the cost/benefit of doing something about AGW, we first would have to accept that AGW is real.* As in, have our policymaking be guided by the majority scientific view.

Kinda what I was saying. But good job hijacking the discussion into some ludicrous hypothetical of whether liberals want to randomly execute children.

*Edit: for purposes of policymaking. I'm not interested in how many scientists can be identified that question AGW's existence; I'm interested in the way we want our leaders making policy -- based on the majority view, or based on the fringe view.
   2129. Jay Z Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:46 PM (#4208460)
I think that, within a couple generations, the true Libertarian society would look pretty similar to normal society.

What I'm curious about is what the Libertarians think would happen if America just all of a sudden went FULL LIBERTARIAN.

edit > What would the death throes of the welfare state look like? How long before things were stable again, and then, how long before a new level of prosperity is achieved?


I don't know, the libertarians themselves are too divided for one thing.

I think libertarianism is the inverse of the saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. The reverse would be that there should be plenty of atheists in pleasant places. If we had a really crappy government, I think I'd be more worried about feeding myself and keeping from getting shot that writing some manifesto.
   2130. zonk Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:46 PM (#4208461)
And given the events of the day, when do we start talking about how Joe Biden is a heartbeat away from being the leader of the free-ish world?



I contemplated spiking this home, but I was worried it would be interpreted as racist.


Hehehehe... See, I have no proof - and Joe Biden is certainly no stranger to falling in love with his quiptastic side, sometimes to a gaffian extent - but it wouldn't at all surprise me if this was planted to draw a camp Romney response.

Why?

Several reasons...

1) First, the Romney team has proved amazingly inept at rapid response. Sometimes they flail, sometimes they overrespond, but they never seem to COUNTERPUNCH! So what do you do? Why, you keep punching -- jabs, roundhouses, etc.

2) It really doesn't work when Eric Fehrnstrom, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or anyone else from Romney's staff complains about 'racial insensitivity' -- they couldn't locate JC Watts or Ken Blackwell (that about covers it, right)?

3) Who in the electorate is going to care about whether a remark is racially insensitive or not besides people already voting for Obama (i.e., liberals)? Is a single persuadable voter hearing or caring about this? On the other hand, might there be a few 'working class whites' in the rust belt who say "Oh geez, now Romney is the PC police"? Maybe.

4) Whether it was an intentional gaffe or an accidental gaffe -- the preface to the specific phrase was Joe Biden bringing up Mitt Romney's desire to "unchain Wall Street". I don't know if people outside of Wall Street are aware of it or not, but "Wall Street" isn't particularly popular at the moment and I think "unchaining them" is the opposite of what most middle class, persuadable voters prefer... so how does this play in the news? Well -- they play Biden's remarks (where he specifically mentions Mitt Romney's desire to "unchain Wall Street"), they play Romney camp's "demand for an apology", and then they read the Obama campaign's statement which says in the first sentence that "Vice President Biden was simply referring to Mitt Romney's often stated desire to "unchain Wall Street".

So what comes out in the end?

Mitt Romney demanding an apology and Team Obama getting to have their attack line of the day "Mitt Romney wants to 'unchain Wall Street'" multiple times. Is there any way that's a good 24 hour cycle for Romney?

Whether it was a clever feint or real gaffe -- I doubt Team Obama is unhappy with this news cycle.

If I were on Mitt's rapid response team, the last thing I'd do at this point would be to demand any sort of apology -- I'd have pivoted immediately into something like "I'd rather unchain American free enterprise than shackle America in socialism" or something like that.

Yeah, yeah - I'm biased,... and yeah, yeah - this is political kabuki... but man, it's just awful, awful rapid response by Team Romney yet again.

I honestly don't remember a Democratic campaign I've enjoyed watching this much, strictly from a politics perspective.
   2131. zonk Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4208467)
Oh - and BTW - for the record, yeah... to my ear, Biden (again, assuming this wasn't a wink and smile jab meant to draw the response) was using what I would call 'racially insensitive' language. But then, I'm white so whether I consider something 'racially insensitive' is pretty moot.

Besides, I already know who I'm voting for - and Biden's remarks haven't changed that.
   2132. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:59 PM (#4208506)
I will be in the City tomorrow night. Probably Manhattan somewhere near Chealsea/Meatpacking/Garment. No solid idea really, just know that the team is taking the train in from Princeton for a night on the town. Email me if you want to possibly meet somewhere for drinks, boys.

Oh; @2123 - Mormons aren't a Christina sect. Everyone good Christian knows that.
   2133. asdf1234 Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4208513)

Yeah, Mormons have always loved black people; a Mormon could never be racist!


You seem like you're trying to say something of import, but you're not quite able to squeeze it out. Go ahead and say whatever's on your mind; we're all friends here.

I kept looking up "Xian" because it sounded kind of awesome. Why can't people be bothered to write "Christian"?


Chi was used to abbreviate Christ in the olden days, and the practice was as symbolic as it was practical; latter-day Christians who take offense to references to "x-mas" might take note that the letter-substitution is significantly older than whatever theology they ascribe to. Frankly, I'm surprised that this board's spiritual leader hasn't done a better job of educating the rest of us about the history of Christianity, though I'm sure he was too busy explaining why single-payer healthcare increases freedom of choice among the citizenry and why municipal water supplies are privately owned and operated.
   2134. RollingWave Posted: August 14, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4208532)
A mormon + catholic must really blew the minds of alot of southern evagelical though.
   2135. zonk Posted: August 14, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4208533)
A mormon + catholic must really blew the minds of alot of southern evagelical though.


They're kind of screwed though - it might be dawning on them that the GOP likes their votes, but feels its the strict tax/spend/debt Tea Party types that they need to satiate.

Some socon groups are fundraising off the GOP largely ignoring them.

   2136. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 15, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4208566)
There is a classic example to show how people think. A train is running out of control. There are five people on the track who will be killed by the train. You can throw a switch, to move the train onto a siding, but there is 1 person on the siding, who will be killed. Do you throw the switch? Of course you do.

Same example, but you are on a bridge over the train. You can throw a person on the track to derail it. Do you do it? No.

This is how people think, across cultures. You will not actively kill someone.

I like to think I'd jump on the tracks instead of throwing somebody else on there.
   2137. CrosbyBird Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:46 AM (#4208573)
There is a classic example to show how people think. A train is running out of control. There are five people on the track who will be killed by the train. You can throw a switch, to move the train onto a siding, but there is 1 person on the siding, who will be killed. Do you throw the switch? Of course you do.

I don't think I would throw the switch. I see that as an active choice to kill one innocent person. The situation is (to me) morally identical to throwing a person on the track to derail it. I can imagine that there's some point at which the numbers get big enough that I'd have to consider it, but five isn't it (at least not five strangers).

Things get more complicated if you attach a personal element. I don't know if I'm noble enough to let a loved one die even if it saved a thousand strangers. Your mother/wife/child, or a billion Chinese people you've never met?
   2138. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:04 AM (#4208574)
Yes. And I'm curious: Would any liberal here order the execution of a person chosen randomly in the phonebook if it would Stop Global Warming? Let's pretend that society granted such power to a liberal, and the liberal was permitted to legally use it -- such as a judge sentencing a convicted murderer to death. All the liberal would have to do would be to have the named unlucky person brought before him and push the button.

Would any liberal do it?

does anyone else get the impression that ray's view of an ideal society would be very similar to the one in shirley jackson's "the lottery"?
That is a false choice because the way it is structured. There is a classic example to show how people think. A train is running out of control. There are five people on the track who will be killed by the train. You can throw a switch, to move the train onto a siding, but there is 1 person on the siding, who will be killed. Do you throw the switch? Of course you do.

Same example, but you are on a bridge over the train. You can throw a person on the track to derail it. Do you do it? No.
can i get bonus points if i throw two people in front of the train?
   2139. Greg K Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:22 AM (#4208579)
I think the crux of the scenario is that there's no action you can take that lets you sleep easy at night.* Any philosophical approach that lets you do that is either flawed or incomplete.

*Except perhaps as noted, throwing yourself over.
   2140. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2012 at 08:16 AM (#4208593)
Frankly, I'm surprised that this board's spiritual leader hasn't done a better job of educating the rest of us about the history of Christianity
Is this a reference to me? I think it might be.

As (perhaps) the spiritual leader of the mass leftist hordes, I would like to direct everyone's attention to a piece of reporting that I think overstates the case for Republican panic! at the Ryan disco, but nonetheless was terribly fun for me to read this morning. I'm going to be spending the day working on a syllabus on the history of Christianity rather than hobnobbing with y'all, so this is just throwing chum into the water like an ass. Enjoy.

Burns, Haberman, and Martin: GOP pros fret over Ryan:
In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives — old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike — the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election.

It is not that the public professions of excitement about the Ryan selection are totally insincere. It is that many of the most optimistic Republican operatives will privately acknowledge that their views are being shaped more by fingers-crossed hope than by a hard-headed appraisal of what’s most likely to happen.

And the more pessimistic strategists don’t even feign good cheer: They think the Ryan pick is a disaster for the GOP. Many of these people don’t care that much about Romney — they always felt he faced an improbable path to victory — but are worried that Ryan’s vocal views about overhauling Medicare will be a millstone for other GOP candidates in critical House and Senate races.
   2141. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4208595)
I stopped using the "Xian" notation after a student complained about the professor's use of it in a class I was TA'ing. Its absolutely true that "Xian" actually does make some sense as a shorthand based on the Greek, but I've also found that some Christians don't like it, and I never saw much need to save the writing of five letters. I don't like writing on the board anyways.
   2142. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2012 at 08:31 AM (#4208599)
#2133 - Your high horse history lesson when you feel like being a pufferfish seems slightly incomplete. I doubt the CHI was often used alone in "olden times" without the RO to symbolize Christ or Christianity; but I absolutely could be wrong, I admit.

How far off am I, spiritual leader?
   2143. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4208601)
I don't think I've seen X (chi) alone used as a nomina sacra. It's typically chi-sigma in texts. I've seen chi-rho-sigma, but that's much less common. You also see iota-sigma, for "Jesus".

"Xian" as shorthand isn't a direct copying of a common ancient naming practice, but it's close enough (Chi for Christ, X sort of looks like a cross) that it makes sense. But as I said, some folks don't like it, so it's no real hassle for me not to use it. No reason to have an argument with students you don't need to have.

EDIT: For material evidence, Lassus is right that the Chi-Rho is a common symbol, though there is little pre-Constantinian evidence of the Chi-Rho. You do see early staurograms (a cross / tau with a rho), and you see quite early fish symbolism and I-X (the first two letters in ichthus, the Greek word for fish, and the initials of Jesus Christ). It appears that as early as the second century, Christians were using fish symbolism based both on Gospel stories ("I will make you fishers of men") and on the acrostic I-CH-TH-U-S (Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior - iesous christos theou uios soter).

Though I doubt it would go over terribly well in class if I used the abbreviation "Fishian". It's historically accurate!
   2144. Jay Z Posted: August 15, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4208603)
Wow, looks like Romney is really going to go with Ryancare (vouchers.)

How? Why?

1) Most people have never heard of Ryancare

2) Trying to sell a big, specific, controversial change in 3 months

2) The ones that have don't like it

3) Steps all over repeal Obamacare, becasue you're proposing another big controversial change in its place

4) Steps all over Medicare cuts message, because Ryan's plan has that in too, even though Romney says he won't somehow

5) Makes Romney look even more weak and craven on the issue for ditching his own specific plan for his veep's


6) Here's one - Suppose that Romney was elected, Obamacare is repealed. Ryancare is unpopular and is not passed. This is probably what the base wants more than Ryancare, but it is not what you are campaigning on! (Somone needs to coin a name for that manuever.)

People in Wisconsin are complaining about negative press about Ryan. What do you expect? He has way too specific a record for the role, and he provides very little balance. I thought Romney was supposed to be the smart one. Palin was a far better pick from a political standpoint, she certainly could have worked out better than she did. It smacks of Romney just not getting politics, which is entirely possible. I can see wanting to have Ryan on your team if you're a Republican, but that's just the wrong role.
   2145. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4208604)
Better: Fishtianity.

Ok, that's all for me.
   2146. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4208606)
Thanks, Matt.
   2147. UCCF Posted: August 15, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4208620)
I stopped using the "Xian" notation after a student complained about the professor's use of it in a class I was TA'ing. Its absolutely true that "Xian" actually does make some sense as a shorthand based on the Greek, but I've also found that some Christians don't like it, and I never saw much need to save the writing of five letters. I don't like writing on the board anyways.

I got sent to the principal's office in 10th grade for abbreviating Christmas as "Xmas" on an English grammar in-class worksheet (note that this was an in-class exercise, which we were not going to hand in, but she was walking around the room looking at people's work, and she looked over my shoulder and saw what I had written). Our teacher was a hardcore Christian (this was Arkansas, so she was not exactly a rarity), and she was so offended by my abbreviation that she marched me down and asked the principal to punish me for... whatever sin it is to use an X like that.

He looked horribly embarrassed by the whole thing, and after she left he kind of tried to laugh it off and let me spend the rest of the period just hanging out in study hall. I think he was afraid I'd sue the school or something. The funny thing was, I just did it to save time and ink - we were diagramming sentences, and I had drawn a short little line, and rather than trying to squeeze "Christmas" onto the line, I wrote "Xmas", thinking nothing of it. I had no idea it was offensive to Christians to abbreviate with the X like that.
   2148. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: August 15, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4208623)
I was raised to believe that using terms like "Xmas" were part of a broad "plan" (well, movement) to secularize the holiday and our culture. Even now, though I'm certainly not offended or anything, I feel slightly weirded out when I see that substitution (or when *I* do it myself).
   2149. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 15, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4208630)
I had no idea it was offensive to Christians to abbreviate with the X like that.

People who like to be offended can get "offended" by just about anything. I always spell out "Christmas" because "Xmas" seems like a first cousin to one of those stupid phonetic spelling crusades, but "offended" by a simple shorthand spelling? Get real.
   2150. Dan Szymborski Posted: August 15, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4208636)
I don't like Xmas. Because it probably should be pronounced "ZMAWS" which is just weird.
   2151. zonk Posted: August 15, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4208650)
People who like to be offended can get "offended" by just about anything. I always spell out "Christmas" because "Xmas" seems like a first cousin to one of those stupid phonetic spelling crusades, but "offended" by a simple shorthand spelling? Get real.


Heh... another grandmother anecdote...

My grandmother is a devout Catholic - church every Sunday and generally a time or two additional every week, president of the Rosary Club (church ladies who decorate the church around holidays, etc), etc. Shopping last xmas with my aunt/her daughter-in-law and her -- the salesperson wished us "happy holidays" as we left. My aunt is markedly less devout, at least, so far as going to church, etc. However - she pitched a fit and started lecturing the poor girl about the 'war on christmas', etc. My grandmother interrupted her mid-harangue and said "You haven't been to church in so long, maybe she thought you converted..." and when my culture warrior aunt tried to stammer a protest, "bullshit, you just want to be offended and start fights."

Any chance Rome has of me ever returning to the flock - it owes to my grandmother...
   2152. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4208665)
I was wondering why a sect from a central Chinese city was being discussed.
   2153. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4208675)
I was wondering why a sect from a central Chinese city was being discussed.

Which - if it was something Romney was part of - would be way more interesting.
   2154. Greg K Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4208705)
Which - if it was something Romney was part of - would be way more interesting.

I don't think they ever controlled Xian, but the Heavenly Kingdom of the Taiping Rebellion would make an interesting Christian sect for Romney to be associated with.
   2155. Tripon Posted: August 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4208739)
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — As a rising star in Hungary's far-right Jobbik Party, Csanad Szegedi was notorious for his incendiary comments on Jews: He accused them of "buying up" the country, railed about the "Jewishness" of the political elite and claimed Jews were desecrating national symbols.
Then came a revelation that knocked him off his perch as ultra-nationalist standard-bearer: Szegedi himself is a Jew.
Following weeks of Internet rumors, Szegedi acknowledged in June that his grandparents on his mother's side were Jews — making him one too under Jewish law, even though he doesn't practice the faith. His grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandfather a veteran of forced labor camps.
Since then, the 30-year-old has become a pariah in Jobbik and his political career is on the brink of collapse. He declined to be interviewed for this story.


The best part is that his grandmother is still alive and all he had to do was ask her.
   2156. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: August 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4208742)
"All this time I thought I was an anti-Semite. Turns out I'm just a self hating Jew."
   2157. Steve Treder Posted: August 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4208761)
I was raised to believe that using terms like "Xmas" were part of a broad "plan" (well, movement) to secularize the holiday and our culture.

Drat! They're on to us!
   2158. Greg K Posted: August 15, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4208765)
I was raised to believe that using terms like "Xmas" were part of a broad "plan" (well, movement) to secularize the holiday and our culture.

I was just raised to believe that abbreviations in general were part of a broad plan to implant laziness in the masses.

YMMV.
   2159. Danny Posted: August 15, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4208787)
You seem like you're trying to say something of import, but you're not quite able to squeeze it out. Go ahead and say whatever's on your mind; we're all friends here.

Are you really having difficulty here? You strongly implied that Romney could not be "insensitive to the concerns of minorities" because he's Mormon ("member of a persecuted Xian sect"). This is hilarious given the rampant historical racism of the Mormon church, which was openly racist until 1978 (when Mitt was in his 30s).

In his office, religion professor Randy Bott explains a possible theological underpinning of the ban. According to Mormon scriptures, the descendants of Cain, who killed his brother, Abel, “were black.” One of Cain’s descendants was Egyptus, a woman Mormons believe was the namesake of Egypt. She married Ham, whose descendants were themselves cursed and, in the view of many Mormons, barred from the priesthood by his father, Noah. Bott points to the Mormon holy text the Book of Abraham as suggesting that all of the descendants of Ham and Egyptus were thus black and barred from the priesthood.

It’s not clear whether Joseph Smith, the religion’s founder, who ordained at least one black priest, supported the ban. But his successor, Brigham Young, enforced it enthusiastically as the word of God, supporting slavery in Utah and decreeing that the “mark” on Cain was “the flat nose and black skin.” Young subsequently urged immediate death to any participant in mixing of the races. As recently as 1949, church leaders suggested that the ban on blacks resulted from the consequences of the “conduct of spirits in the pre-mortal existence.” As a result, many Mormons believed that blacks were less valiant in the pre-Earth life, or fence sitters in the war between God and Satan. That view has fallen out of favor in recent decades.

“God has always been discriminatory” when it comes to whom he grants the authority of the priesthood, says Bott, the BYU theologian. He quotes Mormon scripture that states that the Lord gives to people “all that he seeth fit.” Bott compares blacks with a young child prematurely asking for the keys to her father’s car, and explains that similarly until 1978, the Lord determined that blacks were not yet ready for the priesthood.

“What is discrimination?” Bott asks. “I think that is keeping something from somebody that would be a benefit for them, right? But what if it wouldn’t have been a benefit to them?” Bott says that the denial of the priesthood to blacks on Earth — although not in the afterlife — protected them from the lowest rungs of hell reserved for people who abuse their priesthood powers. “You couldn’t fall off the top of the ladder, because you weren’t on the top of the ladder. So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing God could give them.”

Romney's not responsible for his church's long history of overt racism, but the idea that a Mormon is more likely to be concerned about other minorities who have been discriminated against is ridiculous. Do you think Mormons are "insensitive to the concerns" of gays?
   2160. zonk Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4208830)
Romney's not responsible for his church's long history of overt racism, but the idea that a Mormon is more likely to be concerned about other minorities who have been discriminated against is ridiculous. Do you think Mormons are "insensitive to the concerns" of gays?


Personally, I consider any hint of dogmatism to any religion to be a minus, while any politician who was sort of 'raised X and still nominally part of X' a non-issue.

As much as I loathe to make any sort of issue around Romney's Mormonism - one interesting item... Romney had previously affirmed that he had taken part of in the "baptisms" that the Mormon Church does of non-mormons who have passed away. While this wouldn't really offend me personally, I know that Israel and specifically holocaust survivors were pretty outraged about this (while I don't care if they baptize me or not, I also tend to let people define what it is that outrages them). It hasn't been in the news much, and I both suspect/hope that it's not something the Obama campaign would make a targeted issue in certain areas... you really have to wonder if it would ever come up - via a super-PAC running ads in south Florida, or what.
   2161. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4208834)
Mormons have more than likely truly experienced different cultures. Spending two years in another culture would make some people more sensitive to people who are different, while hardening the views of others. Whether or not it makes Mormons more concerned about minorities in this country is a different story but its not like the Mormon church is devoid of minorities. Granted Romney spent his mission in France (maybe that's why he pissed off the Brits) so its not like he spent his time proselytizing to poor people in Asia or Africa.
   2162. McCoy Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4208839)
Re 2155:

Well, at least he can now say the line, "I us-ed them down" whenever he bargains for something.
   2163. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4208842)
As much as I loathe to make any sort of issue around Romney's Mormonism -

Who are you trying to kid? The left has been trying to make an issue of Romney's religion for the entire campaign. They just haven't found a way to do so without looking like bigots themselves. Neither has zonk.
   2164. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4208848)
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."

I knew a girl that was training to be a Christian missionary on some tiny island in the South Pacific. She was taking linguistics classes to facilitate her language acquisition skills. She looked like a cute little hippy. The whole thing was fascinating to me.
   2165. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4208849)
Clapper,
Many right-wing evangelicals believe the LDS church is a cult. Are they bigoted?
   2166. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4208855)
Many right-wing evangelicals believe the LDS church is a cult. Are they bigoted?
Yes. The Democrats are right now either (a) being bigoted themselves, or (b) trying to appeal to that sector of right-wing bigots as an electoral strategy. Either way, they're not covering themselves with glory.
   2167. Steve Treder Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4208857)
The left has been trying to make an issue of Romney's religion for the entire campaign.

Evidence for this?

As far as I can tell, neither the Obama campaign or anyone notable on "the left" has invested any energy concerning Romney's religion. They've got far too much low-hanging fruit around to bother.
   2168. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4208858)
There was something about Mormonism in the New Yorker last week that mentioned that Joseph Smith got in trouble with the law for pretending to find lost treasure, prior to the founding of the new religion. It made me think about L. Ron Hubbard. I wonder how many of the other major religions were also founded by men that were, at the time, pretty obviously just hucksters.
   2169. Randy Jones Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4208879)
There was something about Mormonism in the New Yorker last week that mentioned that Joseph Smith got in trouble with the law for pretending to find lost treasure, prior to the founding of the new religion. It made me think about L. Ron Hubbard. I wonder how many of the other major religions were also founded by men that were, at the time, pretty obviously just hucksters.

Saw this on another site, in a discussion about Scientology, in response to the question: What is the difference between a cult and a religion?
In a cult, there is a guy at the top who knows it's all bullshit. In a religion, that guy is dead.
   2170. zonk Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4208881)
As much as I loathe to make any sort of issue around Romney's Mormonism -


Who are you trying to kid? The left has been trying to make an issue of Romney's religion for the entire campaign. They just haven't found a way to do so without looking like bigots themselves. Neither has zonk.


???

The baptisms are simple fact - here's an article in USA Today titled "Elie Wiesel to Romney, Mormons: Don't baptize dead Jews" from back in primary season.

As I said, I really couldn't care less if they were to baptize me or not without my consent, but clearly -- there are people who are upset about it. We have Mitt Romney on record in 2007 saying that he had participated in the practice... not that he had attended a church where the practice was conducted, not that he had been a member of a church conducting such practices, not that he had been parishioner at a church where the priest/reverend/bishop where it had been conducted, he was a bishop and had participated in the practice.

Since the admission in 2007 - Romney has basically no commented on the few occasions it has come up.

Now, personally - if Mitt explained why the Mormon church does this, presented an understanding that it doesn't sit right with some people, etc... most people would accept that.

But he hasn't.

He had previously given his supposed 'religion' speech, but it didn't really say anything. Kennedy gave his Catholic speech and made crystal clear that he would NOT be turning to sect's leadership for decision making regarding the country.

I don't care if Romney is Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, or Protestant. I'm not voting for him anyway, but what if I WERE up for grabs, I do think it's a legitimate question to ask to what extent his faith's doctrine will impact his decision making as President. I don't expect there will Mormon baptism ceremonies in the WH basement, but you know what? I do enjoy a beer or cocktail now and again, while I wouldn't expect to see the Volstad Act return, I think I do have a right to know if say... the "A" in ATF would get a greater emphasis, for example.
   2171. Tripon Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4208882)
Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games for testosterone.

Amy K. Nelson ?@AmyKNelson
MLB just sent out release saying Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games for testing positive for testosterone. Effective immediately.
Ken Rosenthal ?@Ken_Rosenthal
Just announced by #MLB: #SFGiants’ Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games without pay after testing positive for testosterone.
   2172. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4208883)
Saw this on another site, in a discussion about Scientology, in response to the question: What is the difference between a cult and a religion?

In a cult, there is a guy at the top who knows it's all ########. In a religion, that guy is dead..


I am totally stealing that (even if it is wrong on a technical level).
   2173. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4208888)
I think plenty of cults have absolute believers leading them. But the alive/dead part is pretty accurate, I'd think.


As far as Melky, maybe I'm old, but this tweeting thing still seems useless for non-emergency news.
   2174. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4208894)
Simpler:

A cult is a religion that I don't like.
   2175. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4208904)
Many right-wing evangelicals believe the LDS church is a cult. Are they bigoted?

Lots of people who disagree with Romney as to their religious preference are still going to vote for him; some may disagree more strongly than others, and there are probably a small number of people for whom it is a deal breaker. However, I don't know any provision of the Mormon religion that is incompatible with one of it's members being elected to federal office. Doesn't seem to be that much of a problem for Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader. Yet, we have these ultra-partisan concern trolls suggesting that this group or that group will have a problem with Romney because of his religion. I don't see that getting any traction, and those making the argument are pretty transparent, IMHO.
   2176. SteveF Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4208906)
I do enjoy a beer or cocktail now and again, while I wouldn't expect to see the Volstad Act return, I think I do have a right to know if say... the "A" in ATF would get a greater emphasis, for example.


On the plus side, at least you know he'd never show up to the situation room drunk.
   2177. Booey Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4208909)
Quick question; if there was ever an openly atheist presidential candidate, and lots of people thought they couldn't be a good president because of that and weren't going to consider voting for him/her for that reason alone, would it bother you? Would you consider those people bigots?
   2178. Booey Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4208911)
#2174 - Exactly.
   2179. Danny Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4208920)
Quick question; if there was ever an openly atheist presidential candidate, and lots of people thought they couldn't be a good president because of that and weren't going to consider voting for him/her for that reason alone, would it bother you? Would you consider those people bigots?

Those people are, finally, a minority. Republicans think atheists are as scary as Muslims, while Democrats think atheists are even scarier than Muslims (though they're not as scared of either as Republicans are).
   2180. SteveF Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4208925)
Well, I suppose the question is whether someone's religious views are as irrelevant to the job of being president as skin color. It seems to me they'd be more relevant -- insofar as skin color is completely irrelevant. The relevance will normally pale in comparison to the candidate's views on issues, though. So if people are using religion as a reason to vote for one candidate over another, they probably aren't getting the information they need to make an informed decision.

I'm an atheist, but I have a generally positive view of the impact religion has on society and people's lives.
   2181. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4208926)
I don't care if Romney is Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, or Protestant. I'm not voting for him anyway, but what if I WERE up for grabs, I do think it's a legitimate question to ask to what extent his faith's doctrine will impact his decision making as President. I don't expect there will Mormon baptism ceremonies in the WH basement, but you know what? I do enjoy a beer or cocktail now and again, while I wouldn't expect to see the Volstad Act return, I think I do have a right to know if say... the "A" in ATF would get a greater emphasis, for example.

I just don't see this as an issue. It reminds me a bit too much of the phony "concern" about Jeremiah Wright's "influence" over Obama, and it's every bit as bogus. Wright was a nutcase and Mormonism is equally strange in many of its beliefs and practices, but nobody running for president is going to be overly influenced by the fringe elements of his religion. By now it's pretty damn obvious that Romney's major influences are his Tea Party base voters and his billionaire backers. There may be a certain amount of overlap, but if and when there's a conflict between his ostensible religious values and the values of his base and his billionaire backers, the Mormons are going to be given the Seamus seat while his real influences are riding shotgun. And as Steve says, there's just too much low-hanging fruit surrounding Romney and Ryan for the Democrats ever to start raising the non-issue of Romney's Mormonism.
   2182. zonk Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4208938)
Lots of people who disagree with Romney as to their religious preference are still going to vote for him; some may disagree more strongly than others, and there are probably a small number of people for whom it is a deal breaker. However, I don't know any provision of the Mormon religion that is incompatible with one of it's members being elected to federal office. Doesn't seem to be that much of a problem for Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader. Yet, we have these ultra-partisan concern trolls suggesting that this group or that group will have a problem with Romney because of his religion. I don't see that getting any traction, and those making the argument are pretty transparent, IMHO.


Sure there are... and the exact same can be said of ANY religion. The fact that those religious doctrines exist alone does not make a member incompatible with federal office - but I do think adherence to some of those tenets is a legitimate question.

I am, at least nominally, a Catholic. I was baptized, received communion, was confirmed, and still occasionally attend mass. The doctrines of the Catholic church are legitimate questions to me as a candidate to the extent that I will incorporate those tenets in my SECULAR duties as a federal official.

My views on gay marriage are legitimate questions, and I would respond that I reject Catholic dogma on homosexuality.

My views on a woman's right to choose are legitimate questions, and I would respond that I honestly do not know whether or not "life" begins at conception and while I'm not certain about the philosophical answer, my answer regarding abortion is that it's a personal decision left to a woman and her doctor. I would further say that under no circumstances am I comfortable with a male dominated hierarchy - be it the Vatican or the federal government - taking any manner of control over that decision.

My views on pre-marital sex are legitimate questions, and I would respond that I reject the church's view that the only 'moral' sex is between a married man and a married woman. I would absolutely not support abstinence-only programs, I believe in safe sex, and I think government's only role in such matters to respect and protect the choices of individuals to enjoy the act as they see fit.

Again, I don't have a problem with Romney being a Mormon - I only have a problem with what extent his religion will influence the performance of his duties as President. He has never answered THAT question - the closest he has come is saying that he is a "full" member of his religion and not a 'cafeteria Mormon'.

As far as I'm concerned, the minute he makes clear where that line is between his personal religious views and the performance and manner of influence on his professional duties - 'Mormonism' ceases to be an issue in of itself, so long as he can explain where doctrine stops and the recognition that he would be President of a nation with many non-Mormons start.

   2183. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4208944)
Republicans think atheists are as scary as Muslims, while Democrats think atheists are even scarier than Muslims (though they're not as scared of either as Republicans are).

The only thing that scares most Democrats about atheists is that a Democratic candidate's atheism would prove to be one of those inane side issues that they'd have to waste weeks or months derailing, possibly with no success.

----------------------------------------------

I'm an atheist, but I have a generally positive view of the impact religion has on society and people's lives.

I'm an agnostic, and I think the answer to that question varies wildly with time and place. AFAIC religion has a lot in common with Homer Simpson's alcohol: Throughout the ages it's been both the cause of and the solution to a whole laundry list of the world's problems.
   2184. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4208946)
Again, I don't have a problem with Romney being a Mormon - I only have a problem with what extent his religion will influence the performance of his duties as President. He has never answered THAT question - the closest he has come is saying that he is a "full" member of his religion and not a 'cafeteria Mormon'.


A question that seems to me to be a good one is this: "What issues exist in which you believe that public policy should go against the tenets of your religion?"
   2185. Booey Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4208949)
Interesting link, Danny. Thanks!

Those damn senior citizens getting in the way of progress... :)
   2186. SteveF Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4208951)
I'm an agnostic, and I think the answer to that question varies wildly with time and place. AFAIC religion has a lot in common with Homer Simpson's alcohol: Throughout the ages it's been both the cause of and the solution to a whole laundry list of the world's problems.


Hence why I said generally positive. It's not like you should expect that I'm a big fan of the Spanish Inquisition, because well, nobody expects...

   2187. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4208957)
...the closest he has come is saying that he is a "full" member of his religion and not a 'cafeteria Mormon'.

Worst. Cafeteria food. Ever.
   2188. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4208960)
If someone wants to vote for or against Romney, or anyone else, because of his stance on gay marriage or any other issue, fine. I don't see that it is particularly relevant as to whether Romney's stance on any issue is the same as the Mormon church or a majority of its members. What is offensive, and bigoted, is the suggestion that somehow the Mormon Church would dictate policy to Romney. This is much the same as the charge that John Kennedy would take orders from the Vatican, and it deserves to be dismissed in the same manner.
   2189. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4208962)
If someone wants to vote for or against Romney, or anyone else, because of his stance on gay marriage or any other issue, fine. I don't see that it is particularly relevant as to whether Romney's stance on any issue is the same as the Mormon church or a majority of it's members. What is offensive, and bigoted, is the suggestion that somehow the Mormon Church would dictate policy to Romney. This is much the same as the charge that John Kennedy would take orders from the Vatican, and it deserves to be dismissed in the same manner.


I agree with all of this, for the record.
   2190. zonk Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4208964)

I just don't see this as an issue. It reminds me a bit too much of the phony "concern" about Jeremiah Wright's "influence" over Obama, and it's every bit as bogus. Wright was a nutcase and Mormonism is equally strange in many of its beliefs and practices, but nobody running for president is going to be overly influenced by the fringe elements of his religion. By now it's pretty damn obvious that Romney's major influences are his Tea Party base voters and his billionaire backers. There may be a certain amount of overlap, but if and when there's a conflict between his ostensible religious values and the values of his base and his billionaire backers, the Mormons are going to be given the Seamus seat while his real influences are riding shotgun. And as Steve says, there's just too much low-hanging fruit surrounding Romney and Ryan for the Democrats ever to start raising the non-issue of Romney's Mormonism.


I would say two things --

First, Wright and Trinity weren't a denomination, they are part of the United Church of Christ. Individual congregation leaders are different than larger church doctrine.

Second, I actually think once Wright went broadband (and TUCC is a pretty big Chicago institution, and Wright himself a relatively well-known player in Chicago political circles), Obama did have a responsibility to answer... and he did:

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

* * *
Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.


In other words, asked and answered.

In 2182, I said I would still consider myself a nominal Catholic. If the question is: Why are you a Catholic if you disagree with so many of its doctrines, I would say that there are also doctrines and ideas that I hold dear... I believe in the concept of confession, penance, and absolution. I believe the Gospel's urging that our duty is 'cloth the naked, feed the hungry,' etc.

I would never reject ANY candidate based on his or her religion - but I would a reject a candidate based on his or her dogmatic adherence to certain doctrines of any religion.

This is not a question of which religions are good, bad, or whatever -- solely a matter of what precepts of those religions a practicing candidate of said religion holds dear (and all religions have precepts that I would wholeheartedly endorse), and which he or she rejects.

If you consider yourself a practicing member in good standing of your faith - you owe those us who are not answers to those questions... I'll even promise to take all the answers at face value, but you have to give those answers!
   2191. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4208971)
zonk, if Romney had to choose between his religious faith and the interests of the 1%, do you think it would take him 5 seconds or 5 minutes before he canoodled up to the latter? Is there any issue he's addressed where the tenets of Mormonism, either "full" or "cafeteria", have overridden either the interests of billionaires or the bees in the Tea Party's bonnet?

Of course it's entirely possible that Mormonism is inherently so in bed with the interests of those two groups that it renders moot any questions of conflict of interest. But though that's a tempting answer, and though the majority of Mormons these days seem to vote that way, there are also plenty of Mormons, including George Romney and the Massachusetts Mitt Romney, who weren't as tethered to the extreme right wing as Mitt Romney is today. Which is why I think that Romney's religion, weird as it may seem to outsiders, is essentially a flyspeck on the much broader picture of his overall influences and worldview.
   2192. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4208972)
What is offensive, and bigoted, is the suggestion that somehow the Mormon Church would dictate policy to Romney. This is much the same as the charge that John Kennedy would take orders from the Vatican, and it deserves to be dismissed in the same manner.

I'm an idiot, or brainwashed, or both, but is this the charge you have levied against the bell-curve of "the left" in #2163?
   2193. Danny Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4208975)
The only thing that scares most Democrats about atheists is that a Democratic candidate's atheism would prove to be one of those inane side issues that they'd have to waste weeks or months derailing, possibly with no success.

Uh, no. The question Gallup asked was "If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be an [atheist], would you vote for that person?" Only 58% of Democrats and 48% of Republicans said yes.

Gallup has been asking this question since 1958, and this is the first time the majority of Americans have answered yes.
   2194. zonk Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4208982)
If someone wants to vote for or against Romney, or anyone else, because of his stance on gay marriage or any other issue, fine. I don't see that it is particularly relevant as to whether Romney's stance on any issue is the same as the Mormon church or a majority of its members. What is offensive, and bigoted, is the suggestion that somehow the Mormon Church would dictate policy to Romney. This is much the same as the charge that John Kennedy would take orders from the Vatican, and it deserves to be dismissed in the same manner.


It's not a question of any church dictating policy -- it a matter of that member of a church separating personal adherence from performance of public duties and to what extent the philosophies of any church would impact decisions. I think we've -- fortunately - long-passed the days where any church could dictate policies to secular government.

Regarding the dismissal of JFK's Catholicism, again -- it was JFK himself who dismissed it by answering the fundamental question:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

* * *
I ask you tonight to follow in that tradition, to judge me on the basis of my record of 14 years in Congress, on my declared stands against an ambassador to the Vatican, against unconstitutional aid to parochial schools, and against any boycott of the public schools (which I have attended myself)— instead of judging me on the basis of these pamphlets and publications we all have seen that carefully select quotations out of context from the statements of Catholic church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries, and always omitting, of course, the statement of the American Bishops in 1948, which strongly endorsed church-state separation, and which more nearly reflects the views of almost every American Catholic.

* * *
Whatever issue may come before me as president — on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject — I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.


Again, asked and answered.
   2195. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4208997)
I'm an idiot, or brainwashed, or both, but has this been suggested somewhere?

Well, in this very thread, it has been suggested that Romney has some burden of proving that the Mormon Church wouldn't influence the performance of his duties:
Again, I don't have a problem with Romney being a Mormon - I only have a problem with what extent his religion will influence the performance of his duties as President. He has never answered THAT question - the closest he has come is saying that he is a "full" member of his religion and not a 'cafeteria Mormon'.

Does one go around asking Catholics to what degree will their religion influence the performance of their duties? Observant Jews? Muslims? Seems to me one shouldn't be asking those questions, when all you have to do is ask where the candidate stands on this issue or that issue.
   2196. CrosbyBird Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4208998)
Quick question; if there was ever an openly atheist presidential candidate, and lots of people thought they couldn't be a good president because of that and weren't going to consider voting for him/her for that reason alone, would it bother you? Would you consider those people bigots?

It does bother me. Yes, we've gotten down to below half of the country feeling this way, but it's still pretty disturbing.

I'm not sure if bigotry is the right word. Narrow-minded is probably more appropriate. All things being equal, I would certainly gravitate toward an outspoken atheist candidate, but I would rather vote for a fundamentalist preacher that is politically aligned with my interests than an atheist who is opposed on most of the issues.

I'm pretty strongly anti-religion, mind you. I find belief in the supernatural to be entirely without evidence and irrational by the standards we set for every other sort of belief, and I also think religion is dangerous and a significant net evil. That doesn't mean that a particular religious person can't be a force for good in the world, and none of us are completely rational beings anyway.
   2197. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4208999)
I would say two things --

First, Wright and Trinity weren't a denomination, they are part of the United Church of Christ. Individual congregation leaders are different than larger church doctrine.


Point taken, but that didn't stop the usual suspects from keeping the "issue" alive for many months.

Second, I actually think once Wright went broadband (and TUCC is a pretty big Chicago institution, and Wright himself a relatively well-known player in Chicago political circles), Obama did have a responsibility to answer... and he did:

I agree with that, since Obama was a longstanding member of Wright's congregation, and on the surface there was a legitimate question about influence---which of course Obama addressed most eloquently, and to the satisfaction of all sane people.

But it takes two to tango, and to my knowledge, no mainstream Democrat has even raised the issue of Romney's Mormonism, so why should Romney have to go out of his way to address it? Do you think that Obama would have, or should have, issued a unilateral statement outlining his many differences with Jeremiah Wright, if those YouTube videos hadn't made it into a political necessity? Seems to me that neither Romney nor his opponents have any real interest in staging a repeat of that Wright farce.

And again, what horrors are contained in Mormon doctrine that (a) Romney is likely to incorporate in his actions; and that (b) aren't already incorporated into his Tea Party / One Percenter's agenda?
   2198. zonk Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4209000)
zonk, if Romney had to choose between his religious faith and the interests of the 1%, do you think it would take him 5 seconds or 5 minutes before he canoodled up to the latter? Is there any issue he's addressed where the tenets of Mormonism, either "full" or "cafeteria", have overridden either the interests of billionaires or the bees in the Tea Party's bonnet?


When and how would they come in conflict? Other than the sort 'prosperity gospel' types, of whom, most seem to be single-church, unaffiliated 'megachurches' - I don't think there's anything in LDS (or Catholic or Islamic or Jewish or whatever) doctrine that come into conflict, except maybe by proxy.

Of course it's entirely possible that Mormonism is inherently so in bed with the interests of those two groups that it renders moot any questions of conflict of interest. But though that's a tempting answer, and though the majority of Mormons these days seem to vote that way, there are also plenty of Mormons, including George Romney and the Massachusetts Mitt Romney, who weren't as tethered to the extreme right wing as Mitt Romney is today. Which is why I think that Romney's religion, weird as it may seem to outsiders, is essentially a flyspeck on the much broader picture of his overall influences and worldview.


Again, it's not Mormonism that I have any issue with. I've pretty much already decided (via inaction, I guess) that I'm not a Mormon and have no desire to become a Mormon. However, Mormons are welcome to whatever tenets they hold dear and so long as practice of those tenets don't bleed into my life - have at it.

I don't believe any serious candidate or any party of any religion would actually be looking to 'convert the nation' - but again, where those doctrines are at odds with existing law, I think it's legitimate to ask to what extent would church doctrine influence a decision. I don't even expect the answer to be NONE in every case - in some instances, I would hope that the concepts of mercy that are present in virtually every religion would come into play, for example.

If you run as a 'man of faith' -- and both Obama and Romney have at times made that claim -- yes, they both owe us some specific answers and its not at all unreasonable to ask for them.

   2199. ASmitty Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4209001)
Does one go around asking Catholics to what degree will their religion will influence the performance of their duties? Observant Jews? Muslims?


Um, I would. Religion is, at least allegedly, the central part of a human being's world view. Religious politicians have been happy to play up their faith when talking with their fellow followers, should they not have to discuss their faith with people who hold different, possibly conflicting faiths? Or who find religion to be utterly ludicrous?

   2200. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 15, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4209009)
The only thing that scares most Democrats about atheists is that a Democratic candidate's atheism would prove to be one of those inane side issues that they'd have to waste weeks or months derailing, possibly with no success.

Uh, no. The question Gallup asked was "If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be an [atheist], would you vote for that person?" Only 58% of Democrats and 48% of Republicans said yes.

Gallup has been asking this question since 1958, and this is the first time the majority of Americans have answered yes.


With all due respect, I don't think that the Democrats are likely to be nominating too many candidates who would be rejected by that big a percentage of the population merely on the basis of their non-religious opinions. Maybe in another generation or two when our war against religion has been fully implemented and the priests and such are all in rehab camps. (smile)

---------------------------------------------------------

All things being equal, I would certainly gravitate toward an outspoken atheist candidate, but I would rather vote for a fundamentalist preacher that is politically aligned with my interests than an atheist who is opposed on most of the issues.

Ah, if only the race were between Martin Luther King and Ayn Rand, instead of merely a pair of their disciples, then we'd see how much religious values influence the choices of those anti-religous Democratic bigots and those pious Christian Republicans.
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