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Saturday, February 01, 2014

OTP - Feb 2014: Politics remains a hurdle for immigration reform

Yet Obama might find his best-chance legislative compromise in an issue that lately has seemed to be on life support: an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

Curiously, immigration was an issue the president barely mentioned in this year’s speech. Maybe he does not want to interfere with those Republicans who actually agree with him on the need to bring the nation’s millions of undocumented workers out of the shadows.

Bitter Mouse Posted: February 01, 2014 at 04:01 PM | 3524 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   2501. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:15 AM (#4663933)
So I will ask again. Do you have any metrics to show something that peaked in 1979 and then declined. Anything?

Last time I asked I got this gem:


The primary ones are the various species of nuttery -- religious, gun, economic. Others would include commitment to militarism and war, and commitment to freedom and privacy. Others have been discussed previously, such as quality and resiliency of institutions.



Oh look not a metric in the paragraph. Not a number. Nothing quantifiable. Just a bunch of assertions. And questionable ones at that, commitment to war is not exactly a sign of healthy vigorous society here in the modern world.

What's even weirder is that he's been ranting about "modern liberals" almost from Day One of his BTF existence, and yet the first three examples of nuttery he lists---religious fundamentalism, Guns for Everyone/Everywhere, and Voodoo Economics---are almost the exclusive property of modern conservatives.
   2502. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4663935)
The National Journal Hotline Updated 2014 Senate Race Rankings are out:
Republicans are well positioned to win a Senate majority in 2014. A favorable map, combined with a positive national environment driven by disapproval of the health care law, have put Democrats on the defensive.

Pretty much what I've been saying.
   2503. BrianBrianson Posted: February 28, 2014 at 05:50 AM (#4663949)
a supposed Greenpeace co-founder is not all-in on human-caused climate change, he seemed to be saying.


Idiots say idiotic things. Must've been hard to make out what they were saying over all the mouthbreathing, and hence the hedging, yes?
   2504. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 06:44 AM (#4663954)
What's even weirder is that he's been ranting about "modern liberals" almost from Day One of his BTF existence, and yet the first three examples of nuttery he lists---religious fundamentalism, Guns for Everyone/Everywhere, and Voodoo Economics---are almost the exclusive property of modern conservatives.

How's that "weird"? Modern liberals have ridiculous ideas about race and identity, and that's what I typically "rant" about when we talk about modern liberalism. I've never said, or even hinted, that modern liberalism is solely, or even predominantly, responsible for the decline phase we're obviously in.

Oh look not a metric in the paragraph. Not a number. Nothing quantifiable. Just a bunch of assertions. And questionable ones at that, commitment to war is not exactly a sign of healthy vigorous society here in the modern world.

Virtually everything I've listed is "quantifiable" (though perhaps not reducible to a single, fixed number) -- as is social trust, the decline in which Face has rightly noted. It's not our problem that you guys can't analyze anything more complex than the FBI's numbers on violent crime.

And you misunderstand "commitment to militarism and war." That is an indicator of lower, not higher cultural health, and one clearly better in 1979 than either 1967 or 2014. For a short while, the nation had learned the correct lessons from Vietnam, but then reverted back to militarism and war. The national security state is obviously far stronger and more widely accepted as intractable now than in 1979.
   2505. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:39 AM (#4663965)
What's even weirder is that he's been ranting about "modern liberals" almost from Day One of his BTF existence, and yet the first three examples of nuttery he lists---religious fundamentalism, Guns for Everyone/Everywhere, and Voodoo Economics---are almost the exclusive property of modern conservatives.

How's that "weird"?


It's weird because you spend the vast majority of your time here ranting about "modern liberalism", and yet when it comes down to specifics about the symptoms of our "decline", the first three things you mention are the beloved pets of modern conservatives.

Modern liberals have ridiculous ideas about race and identity, and that's what I typically "rant" about when we talk about modern liberalism. I've never said, or even hinted, that modern liberalism is solely, or even predominantly, responsible for the decline phase we're obviously in.

That would certainly be news to anyone who's read your many hundreds of rants on the subject, but maybe those were all just first drafts that you hadn't intended to publish before you'd revised them.
   2506. BrianBrianson Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4663967)
So I will ask again. Do you have any metrics to show something that peaked in 1979 and then declined. Anything?


The inflation adjusted price of oil peaked in 1979 and then declined, though it re-hit the same-ish peak in 2008
   2507. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4663975)
Virtually everything I've listed is "quantifiable" (though perhaps not reducible to a single, fixed number) -- as is social trust, the decline in which Face has rightly noted. It's not our problem that you guys can't analyze anything more complex than the FBI's numbers on violent crime.


Great! Let's see the numbers. Quantify away. Show me some factors (even social trust) peaking around the semi-magical date of 1979 and then declining. I showed 3 or 4 metrics that have improved since then including income, life expectancy and violent crime decreasing. I bet even more social scientists agree those 3 are signs of improvement than put all their faith social trust.

The inflation adjusted price of oil peaked in 1979 and then declined, though it re-hit the same-ish peak in 2008


Good one. I am willing to spot GF and SBB that one, so long long as they give some hand waving as to why that is a good thing (I am hoping for an environmental reason for humor value).

And you misunderstand "commitment to militarism and war." That is an indicator of lower, not higher cultural health, and one clearly better in 1979 than either 1967 or 2014.


Sorry. You and GF share the whole 1979 peak theory, but clearly you part ways on the joy of military conquest. I don't remember you agreeing with me as I argued that very thing with him (that militarism is a bad sign, not a good one) but hey, sorry. I don't know that the US is more or less militaristic than in 1979, but I don't think we have steadily declined or anything, we have had a couple wars since then (most of which have been disastrous). At any rate the world as a whole has shown signs of decreases in militarism, so surely you agree that is a good sign world wide.
   2508. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4663977)
The inflation adjusted price of oil peaked in 1979


Thanks Carter!

it re-hit the same-ish peak in 2008


Thanks Obama!
   2509. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4663985)
it re-hit the same-ish peak in 2008


Thanks Obama!


You mean "Thanks, W!"
(Obama wasn't president until 2009.)
   2510. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4663990)
   2511. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4664001)
It's weird because you spend the vast majority of your time here ranting about "modern liberalism", and yet when it comes down to specifics about the symptoms of our "decline", the first three things you mention are the beloved pets of modern conservatives.

So? Modern liberal views on race and identity are far more often the topic of discussion around here.

And I've railed on rightists plenty. You simply overlook or don't pay attention to that -- your problem, not mine.

There's nothing "weird" about it. The only thing "weird" is you not paying attention.
   2512. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4664004)
Great! Let's see the numbers.

OK, with 2014 being a 10 in all categories, 1979 and the years leading up to 1979 would be about a:

3 in the influence and propagation of economic nuttery
5 in the influence and propagation of gun nuttery
2 in the influence and propagation of religious nuttery
6 in commitment to militarism and war
2 in structural ineffectiveness of societal institutions
2 in poorness of economic balance
2 in structural inability of the economic framework to generate full employment.



   2513. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4664006)
LOL WUT
   2514. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4664011)
It's weird because you spend the vast majority of your time here ranting about "modern liberalism", and yet when it comes down to specifics about the symptoms of our "decline", the first three things you mention are the beloved pets of modern conservatives.

So? Modern liberal views on race and identity are far more often the topic of discussion around here.


That's mainly because you keep dwelling on the subject with language and reasoning that's indistinguishable from that of people you don't like to be compared to. But it's nice to know that at least you're not blaming "modern liberals" for our current 35 year plunge into the dark ages.

And I've railed on rightists plenty. You simply overlook or don't pay attention to that -- your problem, not mine.

We've read your complaints about conservatives, but when you spend the great majority of your posting time whining about "modern liberals", it's easy for those secondary rants to get lost in the storm.
   2515. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4664027)
OK, with 2014 being a 10 in all categories, 1979 and the years leading up to 1979 would be about a:


So your "numbers" come from the same place* that your opinions do, and amazingly enough your "numbers" agree very well with your opinions. That is wonderful. But see I think the numbers are totally switched. Perfectly so**. Which means we have been steadily improving.

Care to reference an actual source, or do you just want to make up numbers and have me make up oppositional numbers? Because made up numbers do not make a metric, no matter how you might wish it.

* The exact location of the source is left up to the imagination of the reader. It is not my fault you went where you did. I blame your dirty mind.
** Actually my numbers are better because they go to ELEVEN, but I did not want to show up SBB.
   2516. The Good Face Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4664035)
Sorry. You and GF share the whole 1979 peak theory,


Leave me out of this, that could not be more incorrect. I don't have a set date for when civilization "peaked" (I'm more interested in looking at why and how civilization is ###### up right now) but it would be at least a hundred year before then (probably more).

And then there's folks like you, who seem to think its quantifiable. Unless someone asks you to do so, at which point it's totally so obvious you'd never have to explain it.


Of course it's quantifiable; to a point. Not much different from scouting a baseball player. You've got a RHP; how tall is he? What sort of build does he have? Does he throw hard? With movement? Does he have a breaking pitch? How good is it? Does he tire easily? Get rattled when he gets hit? Etc. None of those things guarantee a guy will be a successful major league pitcher, but would you rather bet on the short, fat guy, whose fastball is flat and tops out at 85 MPH, has no breaking pitch, and gets winded after throwing 20 pitches? Or would you rather bet on the 6'5 guy built like Roger Clemens who has an explosive fastball, nasty breaking pitch, and is tireless on the mound?

Sexual marketplace value is not much different; everybody has their tools (heh), some of which are inherent to our genetics, some of which we can control. Height, weight, personality, income, facial features, hair, dress, etc. etc. etc.
   2517. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4664039)
So your "numbers" come from the same place* that your opinions do, and amazingly enough your "numbers" agree very well with your opinions. That is wonderful. But see I think the numbers are totally switched. Perfectly so**. Which means we have been steadily improving.

But you're wrong and/or deluded if you think there hasn't been decline in the factors I listed. America in 2014 isn't more warlike and militaristic than in 1979? Really? We have a greater commitment to personal privacy and freedom today than in 1979? Please. You're embarrassing yourself.

You can only think in terms of numbers, so I gave you numbers. Ask and ye shall receive. I'm not to blame for your hangups and limitations.
   2518. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4664047)
But you're wrong and/or deluded if you think there hasn't been decline in the factors I listed. America in 2014 isn't more warlike and militaristic than in 1979? Really? We have a greater commitment to personal privacy and freedom today than in 1979? Please. You're embarrassing yourself.


And your evidence for all these assertions is handwaving and made up numbers.

What I would like is a source of actual empirical facts about the state of the world. I have said repeatedly that the improvement in the world has not been uniform. In some things we are better and in some worse, but in net we are better. And then I provided significant areas in which we are better - income, life expectancy, reductions in violent crime - to back it up.

You have solid arguments like "But you're wrong and/or deluded" and "Please. You're embarrassing yourself."

I have high hopes that someday you will have an epiphany and realize that those sorts of assertions are not actual evidence.
   2519. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4664051)
Leave me out of this, that could not be more incorrect. I don't have a set date for when civilization "peaked"


Sorry. I did not mean to drag you into it in an unwanted fashion. My bad. As I have said before my memory for who said what exactly is often fuzzy.
   2520. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4664056)
Pretty much what I've been saying.


YC, we have ALL been saying the GOP has a strong edge in 2014, especially the Senate races. Of course most of us also think that 2016 looks awful for the GOP in both the Senate and the White House. The real races to watch are Governor races in 2014 and 2016, the House in 2016, and all the various state legislature races leading up to 2020 (when census and apportionment come around again).

Sure the rest of it is all fun, and I will enjoy talking races of whatever stripe, but for 2014 Senate races the only real question is does the GOP get control or do they again shoot themselves in the foot and only gain a few seats?
   2521. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4664058)
What I would like is a source of actual empirical facts about the state of the world.

And, as oft-noted in the sabermetric baseball arguments, there are different and superior ways of understanding the world than mere empiricism.

That said, there is plenty of empirical evidence for the things I've noted.(*) If you're truly interested in falsifying the claims, you'll find it and analyze it.

(*) Economic balance is easily measured; the structural ability of the economy to generate full employment is easily measured, etc. Some of the criteria are a little tricky to "measure," but they can be measured. There's simply no question, e.g., that the influence and reach and rhetoric of religious nuttery is far more expansive now than in 1979. There are more adherents to religious nuttery, religious nuttery makes up a greater percentage of public rhetoric, there are more churches of religious nuttery, and on and on. Same with economic nuttery. Same with gun nuttery. There are more gun nuts now, gun nuttery makes up a greater percentage of public rhetoric, and there are clearly more mass killings in places like schools now than then (and likely more overall). And to make things worse, wide swaths of our educated classes (we see some around here) are adherents to gun nuttery.

As noted before, economic growth is supposed to dampen nuttery, not heighten and enable it. A society dedicated to economic growth above all, where that growth is accompanied not by rationalism and intellectual progress, but instead kookery and excess, is a society adrift and in decline.
   2522. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4664061)
But you're wrong and/or deluded if you think there hasn't been decline in the factors I listed.

So we were advancing up to the Golden Year of 1979, and we've been declining ever since. I think it's fair to conclude that this is what you've been saying.

So if that's the case, then what year have we now regressed to? Have we slid back to the LBJ or JFK years? What about the years of the Korean War? World War II? 1927? 1913?

These are only random suggestions, and feel free to choose a year of your own. We're looking forward to your reasoning along with your patented set of metrics.
   2523. spike Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4664066)
If you're truly interested in falsifying the claims, you'll find it and analyze it.

The classic Burden Of Proof logical fallacy.
   2524. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4664072)
That said, there is plenty of empirical evidence for the things I've noted.(*) If you're truly interested in falsifying the claims, you'll find it and analyze it.


OK, let's take one part of your argument, "religious nuttery". You claim we are worse on this "metric" than in 1979. Even if true (and honestly I would need some sort of definition and then metrics or even a convincing "just so" story to believe it) you are still only part way there.

Even if religious nuttery has gotten worse since 1979 you still have some dots to connect. Because you also claim that 1979 was the peak. To show this you should detail how 1979 was decreasing up to then, before it turned around. Because perhaps religious nuttery has been growing worse (whatever that means) since the Great Awakening. Which hurts your narrative more than a little. You should also connect how religious nuttery is a better indicator as to a society's health than income, life expectancy and violent crime.

Right now you have something very ill defined - religious nuttery - with no metrics around it, have declared it has gotten worse since 1979 and declared victory. There is much more to it than that, even if you happen to be right that religious nuttery has grown (as opposed to just becoming more visible or more concentrated in one of the political parties).
   2525. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4664091)
Some more about the "growth" in religious nuttery.

Let's see some empirical evidence...

The survey finds that the number of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith today (16.1%) is more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with any particular religion as children. Among Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.

The Landscape Survey confirms that the United States is on the verge of becoming a minority Protestant country; the number of Americans who report that they are members of Protestant denominations now stands at barely 51%. Moreover, the Protestant population is characterized by significant internal diversity and fragmentation, encompassing hundreds of different denominations loosely grouped around three fairly distinct religious traditions - evangelical Protestant churches (26.3% of the overall adult population), mainline Protestant churches (18.1%) and historically black Protestant churches (6.9%).


If you look at the trend lines you will see that America is becoming more secular. A big chunk of the desperation of religious groups is realizing that the evils of secularism are overcoming them. So really your growth in "religious nuttery" is largely illusory (like most of your argument).
   2526. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4664105)
If you look at the trend lines you will see that America is becoming more secular. A big chunk of the desperation of religious groups is realizing that the evils of secularism are overcoming them. So really your growth in "religious nuttery" is largely illusory (like most of your argument).

Does that compare 2014 with 1979?

It's impossible to argue that Christianism and Islamism and nutball nondenominational "evangelical Protestant" churches, and the public rhetoric spewed forth by each, aren't more pronounced today than in 1979. It's not even close. No serious person could argue otherwise.(*)

The issue is more complex than simply measuring the "number of Americans who go to church each week" or reading the latest Gallup Poll, or somesuch.

(*) And thus, without concluding that this is so, it could be possible for more citizens to be "secular" while at the same time, overall societal religious nuttery has increased.
   2527. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4664116)
Does that compare 2014 with 1979?


Not in that link. The numbers of the unaffiliated (seculars) is growing, and is larger than it was in 1979. Really. Look it up if you doubt me.

more pronounced today than in 1979


Sure but ...

The issue is more complex than simply measuring ...

Christianism and Islamism and nutball nondenominational "evangelical Protestant" churches, and the public rhetoric spewed forth by each


I presented some evidence, actual numbers, which suggest the population is becoming more secular. And a "just so" story about how what you see as a gain in religious nuttery is just the concentration of the desperate religious (who had power before) into one party and that desperation regarding their loss in demographics has made them thrash about, in their death throes if you will. See the "War on Christmas!" for a classic example.

Thus your increasing religious nuttery is a temporary and largely rhetorical phenomena and not a societal driver. In fact the societal driver is the demographic shift of more and more seculars and more diversity in the religious that remain, thus marginalizing each individual remaining religion.

And see in the last few posts I have presented more solid evidence rebutting one pillar of your argument then you have given in support of your entire argument.

But I look forward to more assertions from you using words like "Obvious", "You must be kidding" and "Making a fool of yourself", once again without actual numbers.
   2528. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4664122)
If you look at the trend lines you will see that America is becoming more secular. A big chunk of the desperation of religious groups is realizing that the evils of secularism are overcoming them. So really your growth in "religious nuttery" is largely illusory (like most of your argument).

But here I think that you can make the case that while secularism is rising across the country as a whole, the political influence of a particular strain of religious nuttery in a dwindling number of states is far greater than it was 35 years ago, when it didn't have one of our two major parties licking out of the palm of its hand.**

Of course all this may mean is that we're witnessing the dying gasps of an increasingly marginalized group of people who are forever at war with the parts of the "modern world" that they feel left out of.*** But even some of their cynical political allies like Romney and Jan Brewer are beginning to hedge their bets on investing their political futures in that subsegment of society.

**You often see stats on the increase in membership in evangelical churches, but that in itself means little without the addition of its fanatical political component. And while the rise of evangelicalism may still seem like evidence of "religious nuttery" to a secular outsider, it's hardly a symptom of any national "decline".

***Groups of people who rather ironically would likely be the first to high five the "decline of society" lament of our resident Spengler.

   2529. Greg K Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4664125)
It's impossible to argue that Christianism and Islamism and nutball nondenominational "evangelical Protestant" churches, and the public rhetoric spewed forth by each, aren't more pronounced today than in 1979. It's not even close. No serious person could argue otherwise.(*)

This could be a methodological issue, changing media and technology allow for a wider range of society to have a national voice. Of course, one could also argue it doesn't matter why there are more ideological divisive voices out there, the fact that they are able to be heard is a problem.

I really don't know, I know next to nothing about 1970s America, as I wasn't alive then, and I'm coming to realize I don't know that much about 21st century America either. So I really don't know how to approach the question.
   2530. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4664127)
So, you just dropped in to say you must be going? :>)
   2531. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4664128)
Of course all this may mean is that we're witnessing the dying gasps of an increasingly marginalized group of people who are forever at war with the parts of the "modern world" that they feel left out of.***

But we need to remember that the "modern world" is also the one that no longer gives them steady, reliable jobs and quality wages and lives -- another marker of decline. So in that sense, I wouldn't expect it to be a trend that dies out; indeed, there's really no reason to expect the post-1979 trend to recede any time soon.

Which is part of the reason I say we're declining -- the trends show no real sign of abating and aren't merely cyclical. They're instead a reflection of secular changes in the country.
   2532. Greg K Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4664135)
So, you just dropped in to say you must be going? :>)

Assuming this is directed at me...

More or less! I actually find the discussion of "The American Decline: Yes or No?" kind of a fascinating discussion, or at least, it has the potential to be if some of the ideas under discussion are drawn out a bit more. Which leaves me in the awkward position of enjoying following a discussion, without really having much to contribute to it (which I suppose describes all these OTP threads until they veer towards 19th century diplomacy, or 17th century politics or gender).

Just my attempt to poke a conversation I'm not really qualified to participate in, towards a direction I'd find enlightening - ie. the methodological process of answer a question like this. Where do you look for evidence? Not just of what American life in the 1970s was like, but what American life is like in 2014. How do you deal with the strengths of weaknesses of the sources you're using?
   2533. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4664136)
Of course all this [rise in "religious nuttery"] may mean is that we're witnessing the dying gasps of an increasingly marginalized group of people who are forever at war with the parts of the "modern world" that they feel left out of.***

But we need to remember that the "modern world" is also the one that no longer gives them steady, reliable jobs and quality wages and lives -- another marker of decline. So in that sense, I wouldn't expect it to be a trend that dies out; indeed, there's really no reason to expect the post-1979 trend to recede any time soon.


I don't think that there's much question that the American strain of "religious nuttery" is on its way out the door as a disruptive political influence. It may take a few more election cycles for this to be clear to its sponsors, but the symptoms are all around us, with Governor Brewer's veto of that moronic "religious freedom" bill being only the latest one.

As for reliable jobs, quality wages, etc., that's a much stronger point, but that began its decline phase for working class people a full decade before your starting point. If you adjusted your dates, recognized that it's not a straight line downward, and dropped most of your subjective cultural points, you'd find a lot more receptivity to your thesis. You've already said that this "decline" isn't the fault of "modern liberals", so in that case whose fault is it? Is it the fault of people, of ideology, or simply impersonal economic forces?
   2534. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4664139)
But here I think that you can make the case that while secularism is rising across the country as a whole, the political influence of a particular strain of religious nuttery in a dwindling number of states is far greater than it was 35 years ago, when it didn't have one of our two major parties licking out of the palm of its hand.**


OK make the case. I will make the opposite case. The religious nuts (apologies to them, not my choice of words) clearly favors several issues. They have had some success on abortion rights, but a huge amount of the decrease in abortions has come from greater education and access to prophylactics.

The religious are clearly losing (and badly) on gay rights, to the point pretty much everyone acknowledges they have lost the war. They are losing the War on Christmas! (just ask them). Much of their rhetoric is all around how besieged they are, to the point they certainly don't feel they are winning.

So where exactly is their strength manifesting? I agree they are louder and more desperate. But in large part they are losing. The demographic trend lines are against them and the policy choices are moving against them. They have a much larger voice in one of the political parties, but a relatively smaller in the other party, and it has not resulted in net in much (if any) gain politically or culturally.

EDIT: Basically before they were the quiet majority. As they have felt their majority slip away they have gotten louder, but don't confuse louder with more powerful, and certainly not more powerful in a durable sense.
   2535. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4664145)
But we need to remember that the "modern world" is also the one that no longer gives them steady, reliable jobs and quality wages and lives -- another marker of decline. So in that sense, I wouldn't expect it to be a trend that dies out; indeed, there's really no reason to expect the post-1979 trend to recede any time soon.


I'm sure that if we killed 3 billion people and returned to the 4 billion person planet from the 1970s more people would find work.
   2536. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4664152)
Where do you look for evidence? Not just of what American life in the 1970s was like, but what American life is like in 2014. How do you deal with the strengths of weaknesses of the sources you're using?


IMO you have to start with some assumptions. First of all you can't mistake change for either decline or ascension. Change just happens, will always happen, and is intrinsically neither good nor evil. Secondly you have to define whether you are talking absolute or relative. IMO the US is absolutely better off than in the 1970s, but relative to the rest of the world it is worse off, because the rest of the world has increased faster than we have. Finally you have to acknowledge that these things are not complete, all moving together. Some things get better, some worse, and some just change. And also values change as well, as I mentioned before it appears that privacy is becoming less valued. The younger generations do not seem to put the same value on privacy or have the same expectations as previous cohorts do. Failure to recognize this can lead to really dumb conclusions.

Once that is out of the way now you need to decide what do you mean by better off? As should be obvious I prefer hard metrics. What they lose in nuance I think they make up for in objectivity. I am less impressed by happiness and other satisfaction driven metrics because they are very subjective and vary widely depending on the exact questions asked and the moment in time it is asked.

From there you go forth and crunch numbers. But all the while you need to recognize that much of the gains you are seeing are independent of the political/economy. The value I capture from the internet, the gain I get from it over what existed in 1979 is substantial, but has almost nothing to do with factors of religious nuttery or how warlike the US is, and instead is owed to the inexorable march of technology.

So in that sense it is kind of an unfair question to ask, because even if every other part of society is declining, it is possible that technology is more than making up for the gap, thus hiding the decay. I have been expecting that argument for years now, but the Decline yesterday, decline today, decline tomorrow group can't get past their preconceptions to make that sort of nuanced argument.
   2537. villageidiom Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4664154)
It's impossible to argue that Christianism and Islamism and nutball nondenominational "evangelical Protestant" churches, and the public rhetoric spewed forth by each, aren't more pronounced today than in 1979. It's not even close. No serious person could argue otherwise.(*)
It's unclear that the public rhetoric spewed forth is any greater or lesser than in the past. What is clear is that the public has greater access to it than ever before. Hell, set aside religion for the moment, a huge portion of the world this week read an ill-advised LinkedIn rejection letter someone sent. In the past, the audience for such a thing would have been limited to the recipient of the letter, and maybe her best friend. Now the audience is billions of people, because the effort to make it easily accessible is minimal, and the ability for a small audience to amplify it is immense.

Nutjob invective is still a portion of the total communication, but it can find an audience far easier because of the increasingly free flow of information. The latter is a clear advancement for society; the former is a price we pay for that advancement.

I'm more of an optimist when it comes to these things, so I like to believe that exposing nutjobbery as nutjobbery is indeed a path to societal advancement. It will have bumps in the short run, because not all nutjobs will acquiesce. Some will react poorly to marginalization and find cause to lash out in some undesirable way. I see that as a fever, a symptom that signals a war against infection that will eventually be won. I don't see it as a terminal illness.
   2538. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4664159)
But here I think that you can make the case that while secularism is rising across the country as a whole, the political influence of a particular strain of religious nuttery in a dwindling number of states is far greater than it was 35 years ago, when it didn't have one of our two major parties licking out of the palm of its hand.**

OK make the case. I will make the opposite case. The religious nuts (apologies to them, not my choice of words) clearly favors several issues. They have had some success on abortion rights, but a huge amount of the decrease in abortions has come from greater education and access to prophylactics.

The religious are clearly losing (and badly) on gay rights, to the point pretty much everyone acknowledges they have lost the war. They are losing the War on Christmas! (just ask them). Much of their rhetoric is all around how besieged they are, to the point they certainly don't feel they are winning.

So where exactly is their strength manifesting? I agree they are louder and more desperate. But in large part they are losing. The demographic trend lines are against them and the policy choices are moving against them. They have a much larger voice in one of the political parties, but a relatively smaller in the other party, and it has not resulted in net in much (if any) gain politically or culturally.

EDIT: Basically before they were the quiet majority. As they have felt their majority slip away they have gotten louder, but don't confuse louder with more powerful, and certainly not more powerful in a durable sense.


Maybe I'm missing something, but didn't I address all of that when I wrote this in #2533?

I don't think that there's much question that the American strain of "religious nuttery" is on its way out the door as a disruptive political influence. It may take a few more election cycles for this to be clear to its sponsors, but the symptoms are all around us, with Governor Brewer's veto of that moronic "religious freedom" bill being only the latest one.

How is the substance of that any different from the point you just made? You might also re-read what I said in the post you quoted, where I said that "while secularism is rising across the country as a whole, the political influence of a particular strain of religious nuttery in a dwindling number of states is far greater than it was 35 years ago."

Bottom line is that while the "religious nutters" have more political influence within the GOP now than they did in 1979, I think within a few more election cycles we'll look back and see that in 2014 that influence had already started to show signs of having shot its wad.
   2539. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4664161)
In 1979, the height of world civilization, radical Islam took over an entire nation state.
   2540. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4664165)
In 1979, the height of world civilization, radical Islam took over an entire nation state.

Exactly -- that's why it's the peak. That takeover and, more importantly, the trend toward religious nuttery it signaled and amplified, was the beginning of the decline.

1979 was also the year the Soviets invaded Afghanistan (after Afg. became far less secular than it had been a mere few years before) which ultimately begetted ... OBL and al-Qaeda. And what and who are they? Yep, religious nuts.

See? Now we're getting somewhere.
   2541. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4664166)
It's impossible to argue that Christianism and Islamism and nutball nondenominational "evangelical Protestant" churches, and the public rhetoric spewed forth by each, aren't more pronounced today than in 1979. It's not even close. No serious person could argue otherwise.(*)


As I pointed out the last time you claimed this, 1979 was the year that James Falwell founded the Moral Majority. It's the year of Pat Robertson's "Christian Action Plan to Heal Our Land". It's just two years after Oral Roberts claimed to have seen a 900-foot Jesus. The 700 Club started being explicitly political in 1978. You're talking about the absolute pinnacle of the influence and visibility of televangelists here.
   2542. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4664167)
As I pointed out the last time you claimed this, 1979 was the year that James Falwell founded the Moral Majority. It's the year of Pat Robertson's "Christian Action Plan to Heal Our Land". It's just two years after Oral Roberts claimed to have seen a 900-foot Jesus. The 700 Club started being explicitly political in 1978. You're talking about the absolute pinnacle of the influence and visibility of televangelists here.

That was when they were just getting started. They have many more followers and much more influence now.

Falwell could have founded the MM and it could have petered out, like a million other movements and ideas and organizations do ... but it didn't. The fact that it didn't evidences the decline.

   2543. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4664171)
Falwell could have founded the MM and it could have petered out, like a million other movements and ideas and organizations do ... but it didn't. The fact that it didn't evidences the decline.

And so now with the homophobes in full force retreat in all three branches of government outside a few small state legislatures, and with the younger generations' greater acceptance of gays amplifying that trend, are you going to view the decline of religious nuttery's political influence as a sign of even further decline, because the opposition to said nuttery has been primarily led by modern liberals?
   2544. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4664179)
I'm not convinced the retreat of public homophobia signals a retreat in religious nuttery. In fact, I don't think it does.

Maybe it will, we'll see.

And more broadly, if the rapid economic growth and virtually full employment between 1980 and the mid-2000s wasn't accompanied by a retreat in nuttery, but instead by a big increase, it's hard to imagine how the new jobless, unbalanced economy will engender a bright new age of rationalism.

   2545. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4664180)
Maybe I'm missing something, but didn't I address all of that when I wrote this in #2533?


I was making the opposite case of your hypothetical, not directly rebutting what you wrote. Basically I was using what you wrote as a springboard. Sorry if I was unclear.

1979 was also the year the Soviets invaded Afghanistan (after Afg. became far less secular than it had been a mere few years before) which ultimately begetted ... OBL and al-Qaeda. And what and who are they? Yep, religious nuts.


Wait a minute. For a while you were talking just about the US. As you talking about a US decline or a world wide decline?

But in either case you have no metrics (real ones to counteract the positive metrics at any rate) that back up your decline story, not because it is too hard for me to grasp, not because it is just "obvious", but because we are not declining.
   2546. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4664181)
I'm not convinced the retreat of public homophobia signals a retreat in religious nuttery. In fact, I don't think it does.


So, since religious wingnuttery has gained so very much power, what victories have they won? Where is the evidence that they are more powerful and not just louder and more obnoxious?
   2547. GregD Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4664182)
That was when they were just getting started. They have many more followers and much more influence now.
Narrowly Moral Majority's peak year almost certainly was 80 or 81 or 82--they don't release precise numbers I've seen. They were in membership collapse by 87 and dissolved in 89.

   2548. BDC Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4664184)
1979: last time the Pirates won the World Series. QED.
   2549. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4664188)
Wait a minute. For a while you were talking just about the US. As you talking about a US decline or a world wide decline?

US, but the decline has been impacted by trends that are global in scope.
   2550. zonk Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4664189)
That was when they were just getting started. They have many more followers and much more influence now.

Falwell could have founded the MM and it could have petered out, like a million other movements and ideas and organizations do ... but it didn't. The fact that it didn't evidences the decline.


It's an interesting discussion I think -- and personally, I see the point where religion becomes less a 'religion' and more just a self-sustaining sort of "social Amway"...

I mean, the foundation of most western religions - Christianity, Islam, Judaism - once you weed through a bunch of niche issue interpretations is basically loving/helping/not causing harm to one's neighbor and humility before a monotheistic deity. I think the majority of deep thinkers, scholars, priests, etc from all three would say that if you follow those two rules, you're 90% (or more) there already in getting right the almighty.

The MM has basically latched onto these niche issues because they harness fear and distrust -- and fear and distrust are and have always been really, really good marketing vehicles.
   2551. spike Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4664190)
Violent crime in the US at it's peak in 1979
Abortions were near peak in 1979
Interest rates were near record highs in 1979
Inflation at near record high
Le Freak and I Will Survive are #1 hits. Breakfast In America plays on the radio constantly.

I lived through 1979. Height of Western Civilization my ass.

   2552. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4664193)
That was when they were just getting started. They have many more followers and much more influence now.


I don't think they do. The 700 Club is a joke now compared to what it was like at the height of its power...in 1979.

Falwell could have founded the MM and it could have petered out, like a million other movements and ideas and organizations do ... but it didn't. The fact that it didn't evidences the decline.


I think the fact that it didn't evidences that 1979 was the perfect time for Jerry Falwell (then very close to his peak in influence) to found the Moral Majority. According to Wikipedia, "The group is credited with delivering two thirds of the white, evangelical Christian vote to Ronald Reagan during the 1980 presidential election." That shows how prevalent that brand of rhetoric-spouting nondenominational religion was at exactly the time you're claiming was a "2" for religious nuttery. In 1980, the Rex Humbard programs had the widest reach (in terms of channels that carried them) of any televangelist program ever. They weren't much lower than that in 1979.
   2553. spike Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4664196)
Oh, 5 killed by Klansmen in Greensboro NC in 1979 - all-white juries acquitted all defendants at their criminal trials.
   2554. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4664199)
I don't think they do. The 700 Club is a joke now compared to what it was like at the height of its power...in 1979.


What SBB is identifying is the zenith of religious hegemony in the US. What he's claiming as a gain in power or following in the years since 1979 is more properly understood to be the death throes of it's dominance. Death scenes are, of course, louder and chew up more scenery than empowered hegemony. Much like white supremacists got louder and more shrill as they began to lose the civil rights wars, so too have religious nutters gotten louder and more shrill as they lose battle after battle in their precious "culture war." Only the side that is losing resorts to blow-yourself-up-in-a-marketplace tactics.
   2555. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4664202)
What SBB is identifying is the zenith of religious hegemony in the US. What he's claiming as a gain in power or following in the years since 1979 is more properly understood to be the death throes of it's dominance. Death scenes are, of course, louder and chew up more scenery than empowered hegemony. Much like white supremacists got louder and more shrill as they began to lose the civil rights wars, so too have religious nutters gotten louder and more shrill as they lose battle after battle in their precious "culture war." Only the side that is losing resorts to blow-yourself-up-in-a-marketplace tactics.

Even if that's true -- which it's not -- your narrative that the post-79 years are the death throes years would also have to be true. Which is to say, the trend would have to be dissipating on the way to reversing. There's no real reason to think that's true. Certainly economic growth, typically seen as an instigator of progress -- until it became clearly not that -- won't be driving the reverse in trend.

It would also have to be true that the nuttery that now expresses itself in "religion" would have to convert to rationality, as oppposed to finding expression in some different species of nuttery. Unfortunately, the new normal that people will come to realize is permanently upon us will likely spawn all sorts of new crazy; hell, you might find computer/machine destruction/hackery grow immensely as the once dystopian vision of machines stealing everyone's jobs, privacy, souls, etc., becomes quite real. Technology's conquest has arrived and will only continue and grow.
   2556. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4664207)
Pretty much what I've been saying.

YC, we have ALL been saying the GOP has a strong edge in 2014, especially the Senate races. . . . but for 2014 Senate races the only real question is does the GOP get control or do they again shoot themselves in the foot and only gain a few seats?

I don't believe we have all been saying the same thing. I've said the odds favor Republicans capturing the Senate in 2014, and offered evidence in support of that position, but many here have predicted the GOP will fall short. Some have equivocated.
   2557. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4664209)
What SBB is identifying is the zenith of religious hegemony in the US. What he's claiming as a gain in power or following in the years since 1979 is more properly understood to be the death throes of it's dominance. Death scenes are, of course, louder and chew up more scenery than empowered hegemony. Much like white supremacists got louder and more shrill as they began to lose the civil rights wars, so too have religious nutters gotten louder and more shrill as they lose battle after battle in their precious "culture war." Only the side that is losing resorts to blow-yourself-up-in-a-marketplace tactics.

That's a very good point. KKK membership rose to a 40 year high in 1964, and white violence against civil rights workers and blacks in general peaked in the same year, which was when the civil rights bill was passed. There were 16 recorded bombings of black churches and homes in Pike County (MS) over the stretch of just a few weeks in 1964. The bombings occurred on such a regular basis that the county seat of McComb** became known as "McBomb". It got to the point where white supremacists even bombed the home of the arch-segregationist mayor of Natchez, whom they felt was insufficiently anti-Negro.

And yet the civil rights bill still passed, at least partially in revulsion to all the hate that was being manifested in opposition to the civil rights movement. So was the net result of all this violence a sign of "decline"?

**whose white population back then was all of about 7500
   2558. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4664214)
Even if that's true -- which it's not -- your narrative that the post-79 years are the death throes years would also have to be true. Which is to say, the trend would have to be dissipating on the way to reversing. There's no real reason to think that's true. Certainly economic growth, typically seen as an instigator of progress -- until it became clearly not that -- won't be driving the reverse in trend.


There is no universal trend, up nor down, economically, for the time period you're describing. Unless you're pinning the entire shebang on workers' wages, which is fine, but that's the only metric (a stand in for inequality) you can point to to suggest economic trending over the course of all 30+ of those years. Of course, you're also begging the question that "progress" and "economic growth" are identical, which is specious assumption at best. It's perfectly reasonable to have a stagnant "economy" and have a progressive improvement in the quality of life in the nation due to other causes (such as, for example, gay people not having to live in fear of being beaten to death for no reason.)

It would also have to be true that the nuttery that now expresses itself in "religion" would have to convert to rationality, as oppposed to finding expression in some different species of nuttery.


So it can only be progress if they replace their religious "nuttery" with your religious "rationality." Convenient for you.

Unfortunately, the new normal that people will come to realize is permanently upon us will likely spawn all sorts of new crazy; hell, you might find computer/machine destruction/hackery grow immensely as the once dystopian vision of machines stealing everyone's jobs, privacy, souls, etc., becomes quite real. Technology's conquest has arrived and will only continue and grow.


I get that you're scared of the future. I don't accept your fear as a rational stand-in for "cultural decline."
   2559. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4664215)
Technology's conquest has arrived and will only continue and grow.


I agree with that. Technological nuttery is certainly on the rise. Way more than in 1979, possibly because there's only so nutty you can get on a TRS-80.

Well, I guess there were more car nuts in 1979, but that's only to be expected. Do CB radios count as technology?
   2560. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4664222)
Technological nuttery is certainly on the rise.


What does this mean? What is "technological nuttery" in this usage? Tech is more common and easier to acquire. There are more people in the world to use it. I don't know that this means anything with regard to nuttery? I don't see a lot of growth in techno-cults or the like, the on-going iWatch watch notwithstanding.

Hell, I'm not sure there's a spike in religious nuttery today than there was in '79, either. I think there's a spike in how vocal any given nut can be due to tech advancement, and there's a spike in the volume of potential nutters on the planet (human population growth.) But to get a true measure of growth in "religious nuttery" we'd need a rate stat.
   2561. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4664235)
What does this mean? What is "technological nuttery" in this usage?


Bitcoin (and dogecoin), government surveillance, and people buying gadgets they don't even use.
   2562. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4664237)
Bitcoin (and dogecoin), government surveillance, and people buying gadgets they don't even use.


Bitcoin: in the 1600s the world went mad for tulips. #### happens.
Surveillance: tech makes it easier to do what states have always wanted and tried to do
Gadgets: people have been buying pointless gadgets since they fell out of the canopy
   2563. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4664243)
Bitcoin: in the 1600s the world went mad for tulips. #### happens.


Sure, but that was floral nuttery. Whole different category.

Surveillance: tech makes it easier to do what states have always wanted and tried to do


Agreed. That's what I'm saying: due to technology, there is more surveillance now. There would have been this much all along, but people didn't carry around devices that were connected to a worldwide network 24/7 in 1950.

Gadgets: people have been buying pointless gadgets since they fell out of the canopy


And they are doing so even more now that there are more consumer gadgets.
   2564. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4664245)
Breakfast In America plays on the radio constantly.


And now you have gone too far, too far I say. My first album. And my first CD. My favorite for years. I still like it. So sue me.

But yeah how anyone alive in 1979 can claim it is the zenith of anything positive is a mystery to me. I mean I was about to embark on perhaps the best four years of my life (High school), but still that just means I had a perverse and extremely enjoyable high school experience, not that the rest of the world was at any kind of high point or anything.
   2565. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4664246)
Sure, but that was floral nuttery. Whole different category.


Asset bubble nuttery is asset bubble nuttery.

There would have been this much all along, but people didn't carry around devices that were connected to a worldwide network 24/7 in 1950.


And they had to memorize phone numbers and no one but librarians had access to encyclopedias at a twitch. You give, you get. Ooblahdi, ooblahdah.
   2566. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4664249)
. . . I was about to embark on perhaps the best four years of my life (High school). . .

You're doing it [life] wrong.
   2567. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4664251)
And yet the civil rights bill still passed, at least partially in revulsion to all the hate that was being manifested in opposition to the civil rights movement. So was the net result of all this violence a sign of "decline"?

No, just as Watergate and the protests of the 60s and 70s weren't signs of "decline" -- as you and others have asserted. They're blips in an otherwise ascending culture/society with strong foundations.

Of course, you're also begging the question that "progress" and "economic growth" are identical, which is specious assumption at best. It's perfectly reasonable to have a stagnant "economy" and have a progressive improvement in the quality of life in the nation due to other causes (such as, for example, gay people not having to live in fear of being beaten to death for no reason.)


Not exactly. My assertion is that economic growth is typically averred as a positive good because it will tend to also generate progress in other areas. (And the sometimes distasteful means by which economic growth is generated are also often justified by pointing to the progress they will engender.) That supposed relationship -- which makes some intuitive sense, and which was actually true for awhile -- has broken down, as evidenced by the post-peak retreat to nuttery.

Your second sentence is correct. Economic growth is not a prerequisite for progress. America typically hasn't seen it that way, though, which means there's really no reason for optimism about how it will react when it realizes the new normal is the new normal. It's not an exactly identical circumstance, but the reaction to 9/11 is cause for pessimism in this regard.
   2568. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4664254)
So it can only be progress if they replace their religious "nuttery" with your religious "rationality."

No, non-religious rationality.

Yes, non-religious rationality is a superior cultural form to religious nuttery.
   2569. spike Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4664268)
how anyone alive in 1979 can claim it is the zenith of anything positive is a mystery to me.

Probably the high water mark of original punk/new wave (manifesto, look sharp, london calling, armed forces, Cool for cats, frenzy, Pretenders, labour of lust, repeat when necessary, B-52's, regatta de blanc, one step beyond and lots more) but other than that...
   2570. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4664292)
You're doing it [life] wrong.


Hey my life is really great now, but high school was fantastic start to finish. I know that is unusual, but I went to an unusual high school with some really cool people.
   2571. spike Posted: February 28, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4664295)
Ken Cuccinelli has turned to selling Stand Your Ground legal defense insurance. advance retainer options.

   2572. philphan Posted: February 28, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4664319)
Spike, you beat me to it. Between Gang of Four (
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ibmNGpqU_Q 
), PiL (
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIAZ8unRm2c 
), Au Pairs (
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMtWo-Kn0Xg 
), Mission of Burma (
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQVZaeEmkOA 
), etc., 1978-1982 was the apex of a particular kind of music. Everything has gone downhill since.

[Edit]: Well, that didn't work very well, did it? Darned if I know how to make those links work. Guess I'm too old for this....
   2573. spike Posted: February 28, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4664324)
Use the <a> button, and it should prompt you for the URL and text.
   2574. philphan Posted: February 28, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4664325)
Thanks, Spike. Because I'm stubborn...

Spike, you beat me to it. Between Gang of Four, PiL, Au Pairs, Mission of Burma, etc., 1978-1982 was the apex of a particular kind of music. Everything has gone downhill since.
   2575. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: February 28, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4664328)
no, no, dear god, no

Chris Cotillo ?@ChrisCotillo
Prominent agent told me that speculation among league insiders is that Torre, Dave Dombrowski, GW Bush are leading commissioner candidates.
   2576. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 28, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4664329)
A Gang of Four link that isn't to one of the first 4 songs on Entertainment! -- best such opening sequence ever? -- is invalid.

Ditto for an Au Pairs link that isn't to "It's Obvious."
   2577. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4664335)
Another data point - GOP Candidate Is Ahead By 20 Percent In South Dakota. Granted, it's South Dakota, but it's a Democratic seat.
   2578. Greg K Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:20 PM (#4664340)
Prominent agent told me that speculation among league insiders is that Torre, Dave Dombrowski, GW Bush are leading commissioner candidates.

Call me crazy, but I'm not sure Bush wouldn't make a pretty good commissioner. I recall at the first Washington Nationals home opener he came in the broadcast booth for a while and was quite possibly the best guest to a broadcast booth ever (I know, low bar). He actually seemed more interested in the game going on than the interview, and he'd clearly been keeping up with the game and knew even obscure minor leaguers. Not sure if any of that qualifiers him for commissioner, but I think you can do worse than someone who is knowledgeable and passionate about the game.
   2579. SteveF Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:33 PM (#4664346)
A Gang of Four link that isn't to one of the first 4 songs on Entertainment!

I didn't know whether to be happy or sad when XBOX used Natural's Not in It in that commercial. I suppose happy. I doubt those dudes made much cash in their day, unfortunately. Entertainment! is easily in my personal top 10 of all time, and I suspect I'm not alone.
   2580. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4664350)
Prominent agent told me that speculation among league insiders is that Torre, Dave Dombrowski, GW Bush are leading commissioner candidates.

Although there was a time [pre-Selig] when Bush was interested in the Commissioner's job, I suspect that time has long passed. People drop his name because it is plausible and gets your attention.
   2581. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:47 PM (#4664352)
Prominent agent told me that speculation among league insiders is that Torre, Dave Dombrowski, GW Bush are leading commissioner candidates.

Call me crazy, but I'm not sure Bush wouldn't make a pretty good commissioner.
I've said it before here and I'll say it again: W would be a freaking fantastic choice for commissioner. He knows the game on the field, he's known it from the owner's box, he's got pull, his resume demands instant respect, and he just seems like an all-around pleasant guy. He was against the wild card system when Selig pushed that, so that's a big thumbs-up stance from me. Baseball won't present him with any catastrophes that might overwhelm him the way his presidency was overwhelmed.
   2582. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4664353)
Prominent agent told me that speculation among league insiders is that Torre (age 73), Dave Dombrowski (age 56), GW Bush (age 67) are leading commissioner candidates.

Any one of those three would make a fine commissioner, but I think I know which one of them I'd want if I were thinking more than five years ahead.
   2583. GregD Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:00 PM (#4664355)
No way the owners put in a commissioner who has the personal power to tell them to #### off. No matter how much Bush thinkers like an owner and will naturally follow their will, they couldn't risk having anyone with his potential for independence.
   2584. Mefisto Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:03 PM (#4664356)
Call me crazy, but I'm not sure Bush wouldn't make a pretty good commissioner.


I'll enter a dissenting note and say you're crazy. Bush has demonstrated incompetence at every job he's ever held. All he'd do is continue Selig's determined push to increase the power of the owners.
   2585. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4664366)
Bush made money for himself & his partners when they owned the Rangers; he defeated an incumbent to be elected Governor of Texas; was re-elected by an even larger margin; he won the Presidency; and was subsequently re-elected. He may not be everyone's favorite politician, but "misunderestimating" him has been his detractors biggest mistake.
   2586. greenback calls it soccer Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4664367)
I'll enter a dissenting note and say you're crazy. Bush has demonstrated incompetence at every job he's ever held. All he'd do is continue Selig's determined push to increase the power of the owners.

Wouldn't that imply he'll be an inadvertently good commissioner?
   2587. dr. scott Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:45 PM (#4664368)
I'll enter a dissenting note and say you're crazy. Bush has demonstrated incompetence at every job he's ever held. All he'd do is continue Selig's determined push to increase the power of the owners.


Yea, but at least he wont do it well....
   2588. Publius Publicola Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:43 PM (#4664380)
YC, in that long list, you could not come up with one accomplishment of Bush II. All you came up with we're a bunch of high profile jobs he held.

He's a thoroughly unaccomplished human being.
   2589. tshipman Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:47 PM (#4664389)
YC, in that long list, you could not come up with one accomplishment of Bush II. All you came up with we're a bunch of high profile jobs he held.

He's a thoroughly unaccomplished human being.


Bush probably has accomplished more for Sub-Saharan HIV/Aids than just about anyone.

I think Bush has almost no interest in being commissioner.
   2590. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 01, 2014 at 12:14 AM (#4664397)
Getting elected, and governing so as to get re-elected, is most certainly an accomplishment for any politician. I'm not going to spend time trying to change anyone's mind, especially not someone as "accomplished" as Kevin 2.0, but he's making a weak argument.
   2591. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 01, 2014 at 12:29 AM (#4664399)
Getting elected, and governing so as to get re-elected, is most certainly an accomplishment for any politician.


I agree with that. If getting elected were easy, anyone could do it. It's the main goal of every politician.. I may take refuge in the belief that Bush's Presidential election victories were by very slim margins, but they were victories.
   2592. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:57 AM (#4664410)
As we wait to see whether a president's son and other president's brother can win the nomination and take on a president's wife, I look forward to further discussion of incredible life achievements. When does Malia turn 35?
   2593. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 06:13 AM (#4664411)
his resume demands instant respect,


I don't think that word means what you think it means.
   2594. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 01, 2014 at 06:59 AM (#4664413)
Bush's biggest accomplishment is getting born on third base and not getting picked off. No arrests, no drug problems, no extra-marital stuff. Basically he was put in a perfect position to succeed and he generally did. Obviously he was completely over matched as a President, but really, most would be. It's the electorate (and the Dems for not doing better than Gore and Kerry) that is to blame for giving the big doofus the keys to the kingdom. It's not like we were all shocked when his presidency turned out to be a dumpster fire.
   2595. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 01, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4664427)
Life imitates Sid Meier's Civilization:

Putin "asks" Russian Senate to allow him to use military force in Ukraine.

It's real.
   2596. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4664429)
Yup.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament for approval to use the country's military in Ukraine, the Kremlin said in a statement Saturday.

Putin said the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine's strategic region of Crimea.


Real and shitty.
   2597. SteveF Posted: March 01, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4664430)
Fortunately the US hasn't entered into any treaties with the Ukraine which might compel them to intervene should Russian troops begin threatening Ukraine's sovereignty.
   2598. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 01, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4664431)
We made Ukraine give up its nukes and now they're going to get dismembered. I believe that treaty contemplated the US, UK and others (probably Russia, too) guaranteeing Ukraine's territorial integrity -- without necessarily committing any of them to any particular action, i.e., the use of force.
   2599. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 01, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4664432)
Request approved unanimously, extending anywhere within Ukraine.

Around a half hour after being submitted.

Because Russia.
   2600. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4664444)
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