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Sunday, April 16, 2017

OTP 17 April 2017: Baseball, giant American flags, and patriotism

Craig Calcaterra on a ginormous pre-ballgame flag in Atlanta:

While patriotism is a laudable trait — and while I consider myself to be a patriotic American — to suggest that flag-waving is exclusively done by those with noble and pure intent is simply laughable.

Do I think the Braves were making a political point with their giant flag on Friday night? No, not particularly. At least not anything beyond the efforts made by every baseball team which wishes to make its fans feel like going to the ballpark is not merely a commercial experience but a uniquely American one. Especially on Opening Day. And, well, especially when they just made those fans hand over their tax dollars for a new ballpark the team didn’t really need, so hey, let’s make sure we create the impression that this is about more than the Braves’ bottom line.

But let us not pretend for one second that displays of conspicuous patriotism haven’t spiked dramatically in our country over the past 16 years.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: April 16, 2017 at 08:23 PM | 1402 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, politics

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   1101. Ishmael Posted: April 21, 2017 at 10:36 AM (#5439686)
I think any one who understands the development of Western thought appreciates the role that Islamic scholars played, both in terms of contributions to it as well as preserving it.

Greek philosophy in particular in a period when it was unavailable to or viewed with suspicion by Christians.

Aquinas, for example, was hugely influenced by Averroes' commentaries on Aristotle.
   1102. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 10:51 AM (#5439698)
AP Explains: How a single Trump sentence enraged South Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump’s apparently offhand comment after meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping — that “Korea actually used to be a part of China” — has enraged many South Koreans.

The historically inaccurate sentence from a Wall Street Journal interview bumps up against a raft of historical and political sensitivities in a country where many have long feared Chinese designs on the Korean Peninsula. It also feeds neatly into longstanding worries about Seoul’s shrinking role in dealing with its nuclear-armed rival, North Korea.


Sigh.

   1103. zonk Posted: April 21, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5439700)
It's in the Florida Straits.


...you cant tell by which side the buttons are on their shirts.
   1104. Swoboda is freedom Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:01 AM (#5439706)
It's in the Florida Straits.

I use the Kokomo standard in determining the Caribbean. If it is in the lyrics of Kokomo, then it is in the Caribbean. The Florida Keys are clearly in the lyrics. Why would the Beach Boys lead us astray?
   1105. gef the talking mongoose Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5439711)
I was fortunate enough to attend a liberal arts college and participated in a two year seminar series centered on the "Western Cannon" (taught by philosophy and theology faculty).


English faculty evidently should have been called in, too.
   1106. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5439712)
Why would the Beach Boys lead us astray?


Because the song was written post-decline.
   1107. Ishmael Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5439713)
OTP Death penalty referendum UPDATE:

NO - 10
Ishmael
Lassus
Mouse
BDC
6 - 4 – 3
ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick
zonk
bigglou115
BrianBrianson
Misirlou

YES – 1
Swoboda is freedom

I quite like (as a technical feature) the idea of convicted criminals choosing the death penalty for themselves. It might create some perverse incentives, though.

Team Death needs to make a move in the late polling.
   1108. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:06 AM (#5439715)
I use the Kokomo standard in determining the Caribbean. If it is in the lyrics of Kokomo, then it is in the Caribbean. The Florida Keys are clearly in the lyrics. Why would the Beach Boys lead us astray?


In that case, the Caribbean extends into the middle of the North Atlantic, north of 32 degrees latitude.
   1109. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:08 AM (#5439716)
Cameron is home to the highest percentage of people in a county who believe climate change doesn't affect plants or animals, according to a recent Yale University study. Of the 4,500-plus who live here, more than 36% share those views. The county also places in the top 10 when it comes to those who dismiss climate change overall.


Creationists.
   1110. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5439718)
Gee, what could possibly go wrong here?

I.R.S. Enlists Debt Collectors to Recover Overdue Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service is about to start using four private debt-collection companies to chase down overdue payments from hundreds of thousands of people who owe money to the federal government, a job it has handled in house for years.

Unlike I.R.S. agents, who are not usually allowed to call delinquent taxpayers by telephone, the outside debt-collection agencies will have free rein to do so. Consumer watchdogs are fearful that some of the nation’s most vulnerable taxpayers will be harassed and that criminals will take advantage of the system by phoning people and impersonating I.R.S. collectors.

Additionally, one of the four companies that the I.R.S. has hired, Pioneer Credit Recovery, a subsidiary of Navient, was effectively fired two years ago by the Education Department from its contract to collect delinquent debt for misleading borrowers about their loans at what the department called “unacceptably high rates.” ...

“Collecting tax debt that’s due and not in dispute is a matter of fairness to the many taxpayers who pay what they owe,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. “It’s been clear for a long time that the I.R.S. isn’t collecting the debt that these contractors will focus on.”

Twice before, in 1996 and 2006, the I.R.S. has tried to farm out some of its collection duties. Both times, the programs were shut down and deemed failures. The most recent attempt cost millions more than it took in. It also generated thousands of complaints, including one oft-repeated horror story about an older couple who received more than 150 phone calls in less than a month.

Even so, Congress passed a law in 2015 ordering the I.R.S. to once again outsource some of its delinquent debt. The provision was buried in a $305 billion highway funding bill. The agency hired four companies — CBE Group, ConServe, Performant and Pioneer Credit Recovery — and started giving them cases this month.

The companies will work on commission, earning up to 25 percent of the delinquent debt they collect.

The I.R.S. is owed some $138 billion in severely overdue payments on 14 million accounts, according to agency data, and that huge sum drives lawmakers crazy. Enlisting the private sector’s expertise to solve the problem is an idea that comes up again and again.

High-profile lawmakers on both sides of the aisle backed the latest debt-collection plan. In addition to Mr. Grassley, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, has been a proponent of using private collectors for years. Three of the four companies that won the latest I.R.S. contracts are based in the two senators’ states.

Mr. Schumer held a news conference in October to announce the 300 new jobs Pioneer planned to add in upstate New York as a result of the I.R.S. contract. The jobs “will help inject new life into the regional economy,” he said. ...

But Nina E. Olson, whose job at the Internal Revenue Service is to be an advocate on behalf of taxpayers, strongly disagrees.

Outsourcing the collection of federal tax debt is “a bad idea,” she wrote in a letter to Congress. “It disproportionately impacts low-income and other vulnerable taxpayers, and despite two attempts at making it work, the program has lost money both times, undermining the sole rationale for its existence.”

In years past, Ms. Olson said, the outside collectors employed by the government used psychological tricks that may have coerced some debtors into payments they could not afford.

According to a study by the I.R.S.’s Taxpayer Advocate Service, which Ms. Olson runs, the last time the agency used outside collectors — from 2006 to 2009 — the companies collected a net amount of around $86 million while pursuing $1.6 billion in debt.

After the remaining debt was returned to the I.R.S. for renewed collection attempts, agents brought in another $139 million — 62 percent more than their private counterparts.

With the administrative cost of running the program factored in, the I.R.S. lost $4.4 million, an agency analysis found. ...


If anyone can think of a better combination of mindless ideology, screwball accounting, and pork-barrel politics (see Schumer's comment), I'd like to know what it might be.

   1111. Nasty Nate Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5439719)
The Caribbean Sea (Spanish: Mar Caribe; French: Mer des Caraïbes Dutch: Caraïbische Zee) is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and south west, to the north by the Greater Antilles starting with Cuba, to the east by the Lesser Antilles,
I wonder if that means that the north coasts of some islands (Puerto Rico, etc.) are not Caribbean waters, but the south coasts are.
   1112. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5439720)
I quite like (as a technical feature) the idea of convicted criminals choosing the death penalty for themselves. It might create some perverse incentives, though.


Not me. I have no problem with making convicts suffer by being alive when they want be killed. I do favor allowing assisted suicide in certain circumstances though, so I could be open to that option I suppose.
   1113. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5439721)
I wonder if that means that the north coasts of some islands (Puerto Rico, etc.) are not Caribbean waters, but the south coasts are.


Yes, that's what it means.
   1114. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:17 AM (#5439723)
One of the beauties of The Onion is its complete impartiality. Idiots are just treated like idiots, and let the chips fall as they may.

Berkeley Campus On Lockdown After Loose Pages From ‘Wall Street Journal’ Found On Park Bench

BERKELEY, CA—Advising students to remain in their dormitories and classrooms until the situation was resolved, the University of California, Berkeley declared a campuswide lockdown Thursday after several loose pages from The Wall Street Journal were found on a park bench outside a school building. “At 11:15 this morning, several pages from two separate sections of today’s Wall Street Journal were discovered spread across a bench outside of Eshleman Hall in Lower Sproul Plaza,” read the urgent alert sent to all students and faculty, emphasizing that while campus security and local police had safely disposed of the pages, there was no way of knowing if others were strewn elsewhere on university grounds. “As of now, the perpetrator remains at large, so it is vital that you stay where you are until the all-clear is given. In the meantime, notify police immediately if you have any additional information at all regarding this incident.” At press time, a black-clad group of 50 students were throwing bottles at the bench while chanting, “No Nazis, No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A!”
   1115. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:19 AM (#5439725)
Kelly and Sessions on CNN now defending the continuing need for the travel ban. Kelly: "We need a pause, not a ban, but a pause on immigration from certain countries so that we can get our arms around a better vetting process." This continues to drive me nuts that these jokers keep saying that and no one calls them on it. Today is the 85th day since Trump signed his original EO that called for a 90 day ban in order to ramp up extreme vetting processes. Why in God's name have they not been working on that in the meantime? And why has no one called them on it? Why do they have to wait for a ban to take effect before improving vetting procedures?
   1116. Nasty Nate Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5439726)
I wonder if that means that the north coasts of some islands (Puerto Rico, etc.) are not Caribbean waters, but the south coasts are.

Yes, that's what it means.
I demand a refund on my non-Caribbean vacation!
   1117. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:26 AM (#5439729)
The immediate question with the death penalty isn't how popular it is, here or elsewhere, but whether it is constitutional. Your (or my) not liking something doesn't make it unconstitutional. Capital punishment has been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court, as would be expected since the text authorizes it, requiring due process in its imposition. The effort to end capital punishment originally focused on state legislatures, because at that the me no one thought it could be repealed by judicial fiat. There was some success in that effort, but apparently not enough for those opposed to the death penalty, and since the 1960s there have been virtually continuous efforts to end the practice through anything but legislation, mostly litigation.

The current focus is on making it impossible to obtain the drugs that have been shown to work most effectively, in the hope that alternative formulations will be less effective and more open to challenge. These back door efforts at repeal are aimed at denying the people a voice on the issue through their elected representatives. I take the pro-democracy position.
   1118. zonk Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5439738)
The immediate question with the death penalty isn't how popular it is, here or elsewhere, but whether it is constitutional. Your (or my) not liking something doesn't make it unconstitutional. Capital punishment has been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court, as would be expected since the text authorizes it, requiring due process in its imposition. The effort to end capital punishment originally focused on state legislatures, because at that the me no one thought it could be repealed by judicial fiat. There was some success in that effort, but apparently not enough for those opposed to the death penalty, and since the 1960s there have been virtually continuous efforts to end the practice through anything but legislation, mostly litigation.

The current focus is on making it impossible to obtain the drugs that have been shown to work most effectively, in the hope that alternative formulations will be less effective and more open to challenge. These back door efforts at repeal are aimed at denying the people a voice on the issue through their elected representatives. I take the pro-democracy position.


I find standing on popular opinion regarding bloodlust and vengeance to be a pretty shallow moral pool to wade into... YMMV.
   1119. BrianBrianson Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5439739)
Lethal injection is only the preferred method because it sounds pleasant. It's way horrific. Given the choice, I'd much rather face a firing squad, be hanged, or look up at a guillotine. Lethal inject is down somewhere around torn apart by wild dogs.

   1120. gef the talking mongoose Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:37 AM (#5439740)
His attorney was likely drunk at several points in open Court, failing to call exculpatory witnesses and often replacing meaningful phrases with "blah blah blah." His next lawyer was subsequently suspended for 4 years after concerns his untreated mental health issues were negatively affecting his client. A third attorney was brought up on ethics charges for failing to respond to client communications and missing a filing deadline.


I definitely need to dig into the pleadings. Odds are I know everyone involved from my reporting days. For that matter, I remember editing the stories on at least the first trial.

ETA: I'm pleased to learn, from a friend who's still an editor there, that the paper blew out coverage today & led 1A with it. I didn't realize till earlier today that this was the firswt Ark. execution since 2005, when the former executive editor was still in charge & still insisting that all such events go on page 3B, as I have whined about many times.
   1121. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5439741)
I quite like (as a technical feature) the idea of convicted criminals choosing the death penalty for themselves. It might create some perverse incentives, though.

Hmm... I chose to be fellated to death by women of my choosing until the non-stop pleasure causes a fatal heart attack.
   1122. Ishmael Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5439742)
Yankee Clapper, is that a YES?
   1123. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5439743)
The immediate question with the death penalty isn't how popular it is, here or elsewhere, but whether it is constitutional. Your (or my) not liking something doesn't make it unconstitutional. Capital punishment has been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court, as would be expected since the text authorizes it, requiring due process in its imposition.

That's pretty much true, but there was a brief period between 1972 and 1976 when the Supreme Court effectively outlawed the death penalty. I remember that period because I had a pool room acquaintance who was sentenced to death by Judge Sirica, no less, for a 1971 contract killing, and was facing execution at the time that Furman v Georgia was decided, but on the appeal that was decided after Furman, his sentence was voided. (Link to the decision.) After he was spared the chair, he eventually got paroled, and the last I heard of him, about 10 years ago, he was back playing pool. The ironic thing about him was that within the setting of the many pool rooms I'd played him in, he was always a perfect gentleman, but then that's often what people say about murderers they've only interacted with in a limited context.
   1124. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:47 AM (#5439746)
Yankee Clapper, is that a YES?


lol, good luck with this
   1125. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:51 AM (#5439748)
Your (or my) not liking something doesn't make it unconstitutional.

There are a far number of people whose jurisprudence essentially boiled down to whether they like something or not. Some have even served on the SCOTUS.
   1126. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5439751)
Your (or my) not liking something doesn't make it unconstitutional.


This is nearly completely irrelevant to the question. There are many actions the government could take which are perfectly constitutional, which however the government doesn't do because of how popular (or unpopular) that action might be.

If the Death Penalty was wildly unpopular nation wide, on the level it appears to be here (based on responses thus far) then the government would likely halt executions even if they remained constitutional.

But nice dodge to avoid answering the question asked AND to bizarrely try to smear those answering as somehow being anti-Democracy.
   1127. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:02 PM (#5439754)
So, there's a play coming out about the 2016 presidential debates, only with the candidates portrayed as the opposite gender - a male Clinton, and a female Trump. But for the preview audiences, it's not working out the way they thought it would:
Opening April 26 for an open-ended run at the Theater Center, the off-Broadway play sees actress Rachel Tuggle Whorton playing the blustery female politician while actor Daryl Embry takes on Clinton's fussier persona. They reenact memorable back-and-forth moments between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, complete with every hand gesture, seemingly personable inflection, aggressive interruption, forced smile and loud sniffle. The 35-minute set piece has already been messing with people's heads in previews.

“The public has had decades of exposure to these two candidates,” says director Joe Salvatore, an NYU theater professor who created the show with Maria Guadalupe, an economics and political science professor at INSEAD. “We’re experiencing the words, gestures and movements of these two people replayed verbatim, but we see them without the biases we have toward Trump or Clinton, or men and women altogether.”

The two creators are admittedly liberal and expected the project to reinforce the shock they experienced on election night — “I was struck by the aggressive body language that Trump was using and thought it would never be tolerated by a woman,” recalls Guadalupe of the debates — but found themselves understanding how the outspoken businessman and reality TV star won the presidency. After each performance, Salvatore conducts a discussion with the audience, who generally dislike the male Clinton character’s mansplained fact flood and “all the nodding and smiling that a woman needs to do to be listened to,” says Guadalupe, and favor the female Trump character’s visible passion and clear messaging [emphasis added]

This blog has some further discussion of the play, and more importantly a clip originally shown on MSNBC with part of the play and a discussion with the actors and director.

****** TRIGGER WARNING ****** There are reports that some Hillary followers find the experience painful. Watch at your own risk.
   1128. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5439756)
I think that capital punishment is entirely justified for some. Dylann Roof is a current example. The only argument against the death penalty that strikes me as even minimally compelling is the innocence one. There are many cases where that isn't at issue (including Roof) and I support execution in those cases. But, the current process is broken, in that there are years or decades of legal maneuvering that have nothing to do with innocence, combined with a bunch of frivolous eleventh hour (and fifty-ninth minute) claims of innocence. And -- in significant part because of those frivolous claims -- some/many jurisdictions create massive hurdles to raising post-trial claims of innocence.


ETA: And yes, while I understand that the question wasn't about the constitutionality, I think the arguments against its constitutionality are about as bogus as possible.
   1129. BrianBrianson Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5439757)
Sure, the death penalty is implicitly constitutional (how could you possibly write "Can't deprive someone of life without due process" unless you can deprive them of life with due process. But it's not mandatory.
   1130. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5439764)
AP Explains: How a single Trump sentence enraged South Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump’s apparently offhand comment after meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping — that “Korea actually used to be a part of China” — has enraged many South Koreans.

The historically inaccurate sentence from a Wall Street Journal interview bumps up against a raft of historical and political sensitivities in a country where many have long feared Chinese designs on the Korean Peninsula. It also feeds neatly into longstanding worries about Seoul’s shrinking role in dealing with its nuclear-armed rival, North Korea.


Sigh.


People are under no obligation to adjust their language to the utter lunacies of potential hearers -- particularly when uttering a banal truth. Indeed, it is the lunatic that must adjust his lunacies to the far more important principle of free and unfettered speech.
   1131. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5439767)
People are under no obligation to adjust their language to the utter lunacies of potential hearers -- particularly when uttering a banal truth. Indeed, it is the lunatic that must adjust his lunacies to the far more important principle of free and unfettered speech.


And no doubt you'd hold the exact same opinion had Hillary brushed off provocative Russian military flights near Alaska by uttering the banal truth that "Alaska actually used to be part of Russia."
   1132. Morty Causa Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:33 PM (#5439769)
Cameron is home to the highest percentage of people in a county who believe climate change doesn't affect plants or animals, according to a recent Yale University study. Of the 4,500-plus who live here, more than 36% share those views. The county also places in the top 10 when it comes to those who dismiss climate change overall.

One word in this piece brings its entire credibility into question. What is it?
   1133. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:37 PM (#5439773)
One word in this piece brings its entire credibility into question. What is it?


I assume you are objecting to the use of the word county instead of parish. Why does that make you doubt the credibility of the study?
   1134. madvillain Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:37 PM (#5439774)
People are under no obligation to adjust their language to the utter lunacies of potential hearers -- particularly when uttering a banal truth. Indeed, it is the lunatic that must adjust his lunacies to the far more important principle of free and unfettered speech.


Hey, I hear they are hiring at State! You'd be a natural diplomat.
   1135. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:37 PM (#5439775)
People are under no obligation to adjust their language to the utter lunacies of potential hearers -- particularly when uttering a banal truth. Indeed, it is the lunatic that must adjust his lunacies to the far more important principle of free and unfettered speech.

The issue isn't really whether Korea was once a part of China (it wasn't, but that's beside the point). Rather, the primary issue is whether it's in the US interests to antagonize a key ally by repeating an argument that originates from ultra-nationalists of a geopolitical rival. Moreover, it's very concerning that we have a POTUS whose understanding of the dynamics major conflict comes from a 10 minute meeting with the leader of that geopolitical rival.

It's not the first time that Trump's lack of basic understanding of geopolitical affairs has hurt relations with key allies and it probably won't be the last.
   1136. dlf Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:39 PM (#5439776)
I'm guessing that many of you read Ask Bill at the BJOL, but since the death penalty has come up in both places, this was Bill's response recently:

 
Recently in Massachusetts about 2,000 drug cases were dismissed because of Annie Dookhan and her work in the crime lab.  
 
As a writer about crime, how much faith do you have in the criminal justice system to get things right?  
 
For me at the very least, they shouldn't be allowed to kill anyone.  
 
Not that people don't need killing, but I don't trust their judgment.


Well. . .not IMMENSE faith.   I couldn't say with confidence whether the percentage of people who are convicted of murder, let us say, who are actually guilty of that murder. . .I couldn't say with confidence whether that was 90% or 98%, but I know that it isn't 100%.   One assumes that as we move toward lesser crimes, the protections get less and the error rate goes up.   
 
I am opposed to the death penalty, not EXACTLY for the reason you state, but close.   While there are certainly people who have earned a nice bullet in the head, people who truly deserve the death penalty, I personally would not choose to kill them.   The state is acting, in a sense, on my behalf.   Don't kill anybody on my behalf.   There are people who deserve it, yes, but then, these people would also deserve to have acid poured on their eyeballs, and we choose, as a society, not to do those kind of things--not because the criminals don't deserve it, but because it lessens us, as a people, if we do.   
 
There is also a problem, as you mention, of execution being a 100% penalty, while convictions are not 100% certain.   But THAT problem, actually, could be ameliorated if we could make the justice system question its own convictions.   If we had a free-standing system which asked, about every felony conviction, "How certain are we that this person is actually guilty of the crime of which he was convicted?", then some crimes would score at 100%, and those cases would be free of that concern.   
 
But you can't actually construct such a system, because the lawyers would get involved in it and would immediately corrupt it so that it became a rubber stamp of the jury system, which is a flawed system.   You'd have to create a system which looked at the EVIDENCE in the case, not at the legal processes.   And you'd have to ban the prosecutors in the case from getting involved in it, because the prosecutors are always going to insist that they haven't made a mistake, and they will distort the evidence to force the system toward that conclusion.  


Edit: there are a couple of other exchanges between Bill and readers at the publicly available part of the site.
   1137. zonk Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:39 PM (#5439777)
It's not the first time that Trump's lack of basic understanding of


...recurring themes.
   1138. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:39 PM (#5439779)
I assume you are objecting to the use of the word county instead of parish. Why does that make you doubt the credibility of the study?


I think he doesn't like Cameron Parish folk being described as 'people'.
   1139. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:42 PM (#5439782)
The issue isn't really whether Korea was once a part of China (it wasn't, but that's beside the point).


Well, it was part of the Mongol lead Yuan Dynasty. That's sort of, kind of, being part of China.
   1140. BDC Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:43 PM (#5439784)
Your (or my) not liking something doesn't make it unconstitutional

Yes, but we were asked whether we liked it.

As to its constitutionality, plenty of 18th-century punishments were considered cruel and unusual even by the 19th. Prison conditions that would have been unremarkable in the 19th century are unconstitutional now. Capital punishment may some day go their way, but even then might someday be revived, as those famous standards of decency keep evolving and devolving. Some Constitutional language is deliberately relative rather than absolute.

   1141. Morty Causa Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:44 PM (#5439785)
The prevailing principle in the West for a long time was that we had free will, there was good and evil in some absolute metaphysical sense, and it was entirely within our capability to choose one of the other. If this is a fiction, how would that compromise that view? Is it nonetheless a necessary fiction? But, even that, it seems to me would serve to erode the intellectual bulwark to the traditional longstanding, unthinking philosophical edifice. It's not enough to pretend to believe for a greater good. If Western rationalism has done one thing, it's rendered that an empty suit.
   1142. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:45 PM (#5439786)
One word in this piece brings its entire credibility into question. What is it?
"Yale."
   1143. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:47 PM (#5439787)
I'm against the death penalty in most situations. Exceptions would be political criminals like Sadam Hussein or leaders of organizations who can still create terror from behind bars like Osama Bin Laden. But for lone wolf murderers, no.
   1144. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:47 PM (#5439789)
"county"

"Yale."



"Live." Can we honestly call that "living"?
   1145. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:48 PM (#5439790)
But for lone wolf murderers, no.
What about Jeffrey Maier?
   1146. Morty Causa Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:48 PM (#5439791)
I assume you are objecting to the use of the word county instead of parish. Why does that make you doubt the credibility of the study?

It's a low-level basic. If you don't care enough to maintain the distinction with something so elementary, then exactly what do you know and why should I believe you? Without qualification or explanation, it makes it seem the writer(s) don't know or don't care. It's like someone who would continually refer to the States of the US as "provinces".
   1147. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:53 PM (#5439795)
And no doubt you'd hold the exact same opinion had Hillary brushed off provocative Russian military flights near Alaska by uttering the banal truth that "Alaska actually used to be part of Russia."


You added and invented the "brushed off provocative ... military flights" part. So, ultimately, non-responsive.
   1148. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:55 PM (#5439796)
The issue isn't really whether Korea was once a part of China (it wasn't, but that's beside the point).


The issue is the degree to which rhetoric has to adjust itself for lunacy in the ears of some listeners.
   1149. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:58 PM (#5439798)
It's a low-level basic. If you don't care enough to maintain the distinction with something so elementary, then exactly what do you know and why should I believe you? Without qualification or explanation, it makes it seem the writer(s) don't know or don't care. It's like someone who would continually refer to the States of the US as "provinces".
It's not even a bit like that, as no states are provinces. It's more like saying that the state with the ugliest people is Pennsylvania, and having some pedant argue that Pennsylvania is actually a commonwealth rather than a state.

It's not as if Louisiana's parishes are distinct concepts from what 48 other states call counties; they're just a different label used in Louisiana. How would one write a non-awkward sentence to address that non-issue? "Cameron is home to the highest percentage of people in a county, Louisiana parish, or Alaska borough who believe..."
   1150. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:59 PM (#5439800)
Well, it was part of the Mongol lead Yuan Dynasty. That's sort of, kind of, being part of China.

I think that it's more accurate to say that the Mongolians successfully conquered both China and (perhaps--see below) Korea. That Kublai Khan declared himself a Chinese Emperor doesn't change the fact that he was Mongolian and prevailed militarily over the Jin Dynasty.

Also, the exact status of Goryeo (what's now Korea) during the Yuan Dynasty is a matter of debate (this is the primary issue of disagreement between some Chinese and Korean historians). It may have been a client-state, but it was autonomous. But regardless, it doesn't change the fact that they were conquered (or brought to heel) by Mongolians, not Chinese.

EDIT: And let's not kid ourselves by pretending that Trump has anything approaching a thoughtful, well-informed opinion on 13th century Asian political history. He probably would flunk a high school multiple choice exam on 20th century Asian political history.
   1151. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:00 PM (#5439802)
It's a low-level basic. If you don't care enough to maintain the distinction with something so elementary, then exactly what do you know and why should I believe you? Without qualification or explanation, it makes it seem the writer(s) don't know or don't care. It's like someone who would continually refer to the States of the US as "provinces".


Oh please. Spare me your outrage. FTA:

He's been shrimping in Cameron Parish...

Cameron Parish and the surrounding Chenier Plain...

But in this parish ...



It's quite clear the writer knows the technical term. One irrelevant typo concerning Louisiana's idiosyncratic word for county does not call the Yale study into question.
   1152. Morty Causa Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:04 PM (#5439809)
Oh please. Spare me your outrage. FTA:

Outrage? What makes you think I'm outraged?

One irrelevant typo concerning Louisiana's idiosyncratic word for county does not call the Yale study into question.

It was more than one, and I didn't say it called the study into question.
   1153. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5439812)
The issue is the degree to which rhetoric has to adjust itself for lunacy in the ears of some listeners.
There is no "lunacy" here other than yours, and the degree to which rhetoric has to adjust itself in diplomatic situations is high; that’s the entire concept of diplomacy.
   1154. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5439813)
There is no "lunacy" here other than yours, and the degree to which rhetoric has to adjust itself in diplomatic situations is high; that’s the entire concept of diplomacy.


In SBBs fevered imagination, diplomatic language is no different than message board rhetoric, and should be held to the same (non) standard.
   1155. zonk Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:08 PM (#5439814)
The issue isn't really whether Korea was once a part of China (it wasn't, but that's beside the point).

The issue is the degree to which rhetoric has to adjust itself for lunacy in the ears of some listeners.


Koreans are famous for their lunacy ears.
   1156. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:12 PM (#5439818)
In SBBs fevered imagination, diplomatic language is no different than message board rhetoric, and should be held to the same (non) standard.

Which is entirely consistent with supporting an internet troll for president.
   1157. zonk Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:34 PM (#5439825)
In SBBs fevered imagination, diplomatic language is no different than message board rhetoric, and should be held to the same (non) standard.

Which is entirely consistent with supporting an internet troll for president.


He's got his eye on being appointed as Ambassador the nation of Orientals.
   1158. Sleepy's still holding up that little wild bouquet Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:38 PM (#5439828)
The issue is the degree to which rhetoric has to adjust itself for lunacy in the ears of some listeners.
What does this even mean? "rhetoric has to adjust itself"? Is this like when Hip Hop decided to homogenize itself?

BTW, though I normally vote contrarian, I'm against the death penalty.
   1159. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5439831)
The United States of America has had it up to here with kneejerk Pyongyang Correctness. Donald Trump is merely giving voice to the seething contempt all of us have for early Korean history.
   1160. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:47 PM (#5439833)
OTP Death penalty referendum UPDATE:


You can mark me down as a "no" as well.
   1161. zonk Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5439834)
EDIT: And let's not kid ourselves by pretending that Trump has anything approaching a thoughtful, well-informed opinion on 13th century Asian political history. He probably would flunk a high school multiple choice exam on 20th century Asian political history.


In fairness, it was a hard test -- one of the false answers to the question what was the Boxer Rebellion was "That time Mike Tyson was at Wrestlemania"....
   1162. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 21, 2017 at 02:08 PM (#5439842)
"Personally I don't believe Bill O'Reilly raped Nanking, he's a good person who wouldn't do that."
   1163. Greg K Posted: April 21, 2017 at 02:22 PM (#5439847)
The issue is the degree to which rhetoric has to adjust itself for lunacy in the ears of some listeners.

Who are the lunatics though? South Koreans? Or domestic anti-Trumpers?

If the argument is that anti-Trump Americans are just using this as the latest pretext to criticize him, fair enough. Freedom of speech and all that...but as President his comments on Korea are obviously going to be read quite closely by all involved. I think it's a fair question to ask - is he signaling a change in US policy/attitude? Is he just randomly saying things without really thinking about their implications? I'm not entirely comfortable with a scenario where South Korea is supposed to try and interpret that.
   1164. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5439848)
is he signaling a change in US policy/attitude?

No.

Is he just randomly saying things without really thinking about their implications?

Yes.
   1165. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: April 21, 2017 at 02:38 PM (#5439851)
I'm not entirely comfortable with a scenario where South Korea is supposed to try and interpret that.


Be fair and think about it from a different perspective, though - what if you were a troll?
   1166. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 21, 2017 at 02:44 PM (#5439854)
Who are the lunatics though? South Koreans?


Yes. Principle: Utterly disproportionate hissy fits to banal truths = lunacy.
   1167. Swoboda is freedom Posted: April 21, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5439857)
He's got his eye on being appointed as Ambassador the nation of Orientals.

He doesn't have a Chinaman's chance.
   1168. Greg K Posted: April 21, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5439861)
Yes. Principle: Utterly disproportionate hissy fits to banal truths = lunacy.

I don't know if "banal" is right here (even setting aside the whole issue of "truth"). There are all sorts of implications that could follow if the US believes Korea was once a part of China. I mean, when Putin points out the long history of inter-connections between Russia and Ukraine, and that Kiev is the mother of all Russian cities - he may be speaking truth (certainly the origins of the Russian people run through the Kievan Rus). But I don't think it's a banal truth. A Ukrainian hears that quite differently than he/she would hear a statement like "The Battle of Austerlitz took place in 1805". Kiev is the site of Russian origins is a statement that have a tremendous amount of meaning for 21st century events.

Similarly, Korea as historically part of China, is a truth (again, for the sake of argument taking that for granted) with all sorts of implications behind it. I don't think it's unreasonable to be troubled by your most important ally in a nation-defining struggle all of a sudden saying the same things as your rival on a pretty meaningful point.
   1169. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:05 PM (#5439866)
Utterly disproportionate hissy fits to banal truths = lunacy


Well except it was not truth, and you don't get to decide what is important (or banal) for the Koreans. So yeah, SBB, still a Trumpkin Troll/idiot.
   1170. Morty Causa Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:06 PM (#5439867)
   1171. Ishmael Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:18 PM (#5439875)
Similarly, Korea as historically part of China, is a truth (again, for the sake of argument taking that for granted) with all sorts of implications behind it. I don't think it's unreasonable to be troubled by your most important ally in a nation-defining struggle all of a sudden saying the same things as your rival on a pretty meaningful point.

I think the difficulty is that clarity of expression is important in diplomacy. And even when speaking in euphemism, you expect people to speak for a purpose.

What is the purpose of saying that Korea was once part of China? Even if it's true (and I don't agree that it's a banal truth) why say it?

The problem with Trump is that it is difficult for people to tell whether he is speaking for a purpose or simply rambling. There is also the ever present possibility that his statements are simply the product of ignorance.
   1172. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:30 PM (#5439884)
Similarly, Korea as historically part of China, is a truth (again, for the sake of argument taking that for granted) with all sorts of implications behind it.


And if those "implications" ever become anything tangible, they can be discussed. As of now, Trump simply uttered a banal historical truth, and barely even that, since all he was really doing was channeling and interpreting a conversation he had with someone else.

I much prefer reasoned and sober deliberation to emotional hissy fittery.(*) YMMV.

(*) And Trump Derangement Syndrome is replete with emotional hissy fittery.
   1173. SteveF Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:32 PM (#5439885)
What is the purpose of saying that Korea was once part of China? Even if it's true (and I don't agree that it's a banal truth) why say it?

I think Trump was trying to play up the idea of Chinese influence over North Korea by pointing to historical ties (whether factual or fictional).
   1174. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:35 PM (#5439887)
re: the definition of Caribbean, my father is a semi-retired geographer so on my lunch break I called to ask him where the Caribbean is. To him the Caribbean Sea is that sea bounded by Venezuela, Central America, the Yucatan, and the "Caribbean Islands", while the "Caribbean Islands" are those islands that are in the Carribean Sea. What he means is that a place is in the Caribbean if most people think that it's in the Caribbean. (He defines a hill as something "larger than a mountain", while a mountain is something "smaller than a hill", on the same sort of principle -- if people think it's a mountain then it's a mountain.)

He added that a good way to start a (low-key, nerdy) fight at a geography convention might be to announce, "The Bahamas aren't in the Caribbean." The definition that sets the northern boundary of the sea as Cuba would require that. He also suggested that you could argue that most of the Florida Keys, and certainly Key West, aren't in the Caribbean because they're too far west -- if you see the Caribbean as bounded by the east coast of Florida, say a line drawn due south from Miami, then the Keys are west of that and so in the Gulf of Mexico. That however also keeps Havana out of the Caribbean, if you were being strict about it.

He thinks the Beach Boys / "Kokomo" definition of the Caribbean is a good one.
   1175. Sleepy's still holding up that little wild bouquet Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:36 PM (#5439888)
Utterly disproportionate hissy fits to banal truths = lunacy
Repeatedly stating that something is "true" that is false == lunacy (among other things)

I wonder if Xi's staffers bet amongst themselves about what the dumbest thing would be that Xi could get Trump to do/say following his visit.
   1176. Greg K Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:39 PM (#5439890)
(He defines a hill as something "larger than a mountain", while a mountain is something "smaller than a hill", on the same sort of principle -- if people think it's a mountain then it's a mountain.)

He sounds like he might like the Hugh Grant picture The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain.

Welsh villagers combat snooty English cartographers who designate a local landmark a "hill" rather than a "mountain".

   1177. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5439892)
He also suggested that you could argue that most of the Florida Keys, and certainly Key West, aren't in the Caribbean because they're too far west -- if you see the Caribbean as bounded by the east coast of Florida, say a line drawn due south from Miami, then the Keys are west of that and so in the Gulf of Mexico. That however also keeps Havana out of the Caribbean, if you were being strict about it.


I live in the Florida Keys. Have for 21 years. No one here, except maybe the Tourist Development Council, refers to them as Caribbean Islands. No one calls any of the salt water at our shores The Caribbean Sea. On the East/South East shore it's the Atlantic Ocean. On the West/Northwest it's Florida Bay in the upper Keys, and the Gulf of Mexico in the lower Keys.

The Bahamas aren't in the Caribbean either.

He thinks the Beach Boys / "Kokomo" definition of the Caribbean is a good one.


That would put Bermuda, due east of North Carolina, in the Caribbean.
   1178. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5439896)
I wonder if Xi's staffers bet amongst themselves about what the dumbest thing would be that Xi could get Trump to do/say following his visit.

If that was an actual strategy by the Chinese, then they should have tried to goad Trump into saying ill-advised about Taiwan (who knows, maybe they did but the best they could get was for Trump to reveal his complete ignorance on Sino-Korean relations).
   1179. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:56 PM (#5439901)
Here's the most reassuring news of the day: With Trump in the White House, we're in a post-nuclear environment!

Where is Trump’s ‘armada’? Apparently, wherever Fox News says it is.

There has been much speculation about Trump’s nonsense talk about his “armada.” Administration officials suggested a miscommunication between the Pentagon and the White House. Others suspected deliberate psy-ops against North Korea and China.

I put the question to my former colleague Tom Ricks, military writer and national security specialist at the New America Foundation. Ricks’s hypothesis: Trump didn’t have any idea where his armada was. “He probably saw it on TV.”

Trump, who tends to eschew security briefings, spends much of his day watching Fox News, often tweeting about what he sees. And Fox News was beating the drums of war in the days and hours before Trump spoke of his armada:

“The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, which had been previously scheduled in port in Australia, has turned around and will be proceeding out to the Korean Peninsula.”

“The president ordered the aircraft carrier group to reverse course.”

“The super aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is now steaming toward the waters off the Korean Peninsula.”

“He was sending a powerful message to North Korea, deploying an aircraft carrier group.”


The U.S. Pacific Command had indeed said on April 8 that the Vinson would sail north, attaching the move to rising tensions with North Korea. But there wasn’t any rush. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson encouraged people not to read too much into “routine” movements, saying there was “no particular objective.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said “she’s just on her way up there because that’s where we thought it was most prudent.”

Trump’s version sounded more like Fox News’s.

This would appear to be another disturbing case of life imitating cable news. I’ve argued before that Trump’s many falsehoods aren’t necessarily lies; he seems not to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction, believing that whatever he says is true.

Ricks, author of the forthcoming history “Churchill & Orwell,” argues that Trump’s tendency to speak nonsense isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to national security. Mattis and his generals are running foreign policy while the president, in over his head, hangs out in the White House watching TV and getting a nudge from the first lady when it’s time to put his hand over his heart for the national anthem at the Easter Egg Roll.

“We’re now experiencing what a decapitation strike would be against the U.S. government,” he said. “You can have nobody, effectively, at the White House and still run the country. It’s a post-nuclear environment.” Trump may have no clue, but his national security team is “solid,” Ricks argues. “The less the White House knows these days, the better.”


And allies — notably Germany’s Angela Merkel, whose hand Trump was reluctant to shake after a tense meeting — are coming to discount Trump because they recognize he is out of his depth. “Foreigners understand that you can’t stand by anything Trump says,” Ricks argues. Instead, the world is learning to “watch what he does, not what he says — and watch what his underlings do.”

At home as well as abroad, people are coming to recognize this emperor’s state of undress. Gallup this week reported that only 45 percent of Americans think Trump keeps his promises, down from 62 percent in February.

The Carl Vinson’s peregrinations show why. On April 11, White House press secretary Sean Spicer proclaimed that it was “a huge deterrence” to “see a carrier group steaming into an area like that.” Eight days later, he argued that his previous hogwash had become true: “We have an armada going towards the peninsula. That’s a fact.”

Yes, it’s a good thing people don’t believe this White House.


I eagerly await for anyone here to dispute Ricks' description of our current "environment".
   1180. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:58 PM (#5439903)
As of now, Trump simply uttered a banal historical truth, and barely even that, since all he was really doing was channeling and interpreting a conversation he had with someone else.


The fake Korea claim is probably one of the 30,000 things that "people" always "come up and tell" Trump "everywhere he goes." It's not credible... no, wait, it's incredible.
   1181. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:59 PM (#5439904)
That would put Bermuda, due east of North Carolina, in the Caribbean.
My dad's knowledge of pop music ends with the Big Bopper, so I suspect that he would have revised his opinion if he'd known that Bermuda made their list. That said, if people in the Keys don't think they're in the Caribbean then that's probably good enough.
   1182. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 04:33 PM (#5439916)
I eagerly await for anyone here to dispute Ricks' description of our current "environment".

I think that it's probably accurate, but I'm not at all convinced that it's a good thing that the military is essentially running the foreign policy of this country.

Trump needed a strong Secretary of State, and it's been clear for a while that Tillerson is not the person. Right now, majors decisions are effectively being made by Mattis (recent retired general), McMaster (current three-star general), and the joint chiefs. Not only do we not have civilian control of the military, we don't have civilian control of the decision making apparatus for foreign policy.

This level of domination by the military is unprecedented in our history. For example, prior to entering and during WWII FDR (who, unlike Trump, had a clue about foreign affairs himself) relied heavily on men who had never served in the military, such as Henry Stimson and Harry Hopkins, to help formulate and execute his foreign policy. And he didn't always follow the advice of his military commanders, almost certainly to the benefit of the US. For example, had FDR blindly followed his generals, the US probably would have almost certainly attempted an invasion across the English Channel in 1942 (note Stimson was in favor of this). But FDR favored Operation Torch (invasion of North Africa in Fall 1942) over Operation Sledgehammer (invasion of France in Fall 1942). And, with the benefit of hindsight, it's obvious that the strategy of first winning in North Africa, then the Mediterranean, and only then France was the right strategy; had FDR gone with his generals (and against Churchill), then the Allies might have not prevailed in Europe.

EDIT: Which is not to say that there shouldn't be influence from the military. McMaster's book (based on his PhD dissertation) explains very clearly the perils of having civilians completely discount the advice of senior military commanders as what happened with Johnson/McNamara's handling of Vietnam. But there needs to be a balance, and there needs to be a commander-in-chief who has the capacity to listen to his civilian advisers as well as his military advisers and make an informed decision. We don't have that right now, and that scares the #### out of me.
   1183. bigglou115 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 04:37 PM (#5439924)

I definitely need to dig into the pleadings. Odds are I know everyone involved from my reporting days. For that matter, I remember editing the stories on at least the first trial.

ETA: I'm pleased to learn, from a friend who's still an editor there, that the paper blew out coverage today & led 1A with it. I didn't realize till earlier today that this was the firswt Ark. execution since 2005, when the former executive editor was still in charge & still insisting that all such events go on page 3B, as I have whined about many times.


The coverage has been very well done from all angles in Little Rock, every attempt has been made to show the lunacy of the process while maintaining respect for the victims and knowledge of the crimes. What's been scary is the number of people flocking to social media to express glee at the thought of 8 people doing as well as bloodlust for more and even disregard for the notion the death penalty shouldn't be cruel. These are people, some of them state legislators with stupid high approval, making comments along the lines of, "he didn't show his victims mercy, why should we show him any?" It never once occurs to anyone that we might endeavor to be better than the men accused of the worst crimes.

Which touches on the reason I don't think you can carve out exceptions fit the very worst people. If you allow the death penalty for anyone, then give said there's a value judgement here, a line that can be moved as is seen fit. Given the number of people in Arkansas who clearly want to throw the Constitution of the window when it comes to the death penalty I don't know how anybody in the state could be comfortable letting society make these decisions, and the easiest way to take them out of the calculus is to end the death penalty.

   1184. zenbitz Posted: April 21, 2017 at 04:40 PM (#5439927)
I am a NO. The shortest answer is that the death penalty is irreversible and unnecessary given a functioning bureaucracy.

   1185. zenbitz Posted: April 21, 2017 at 04:54 PM (#5439937)
Not that it's relevant, but the peoples of the Korean peninsula were under Chinese/Manchurian/Mongolian "imperial" control for about 800 years ending in 1392. Does that make them "part of China, historically". Kinda.

I give this a 2/10 on the Trump False-o-Meter which means it's about as close to True as anything he ever says.

Kind of like calling a Carrier Group an Armada (which was Spicer not the Big D but similar rules)
   1186. Omineca Greg Posted: April 21, 2017 at 04:56 PM (#5439940)
нет!
   1187. zenbitz Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:00 PM (#5439942)
Which touches on the reason I don't think you can carve out exceptions fit the very worst people.


This is a very strong point as well (not the only one in this thread, but the closest). ARBITRARY "justice" is the worst kind. I think it's more moral to just say "life for a life"... but I am an outlier on criminal "intent" anyway.
   1188. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:07 PM (#5439950)
Kind of like calling a Carrier Group an Armada (which was Spicer not the Big D but similar rules)


No, that was The Donald.

“We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you. And we have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this. He is doing the wrong thing. He is doing the wrong thing.”
   1189. Greg K Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:10 PM (#5439952)
ARBITRARY "justice" is the worst kind.

An old prof of mine used to say that the modern world has latched onto "absolute" rule as the chief complaint of the 17th century agitators that gave birth to liberal democracy, but the word used far more often at the time was "arbitrary" rule.

Not strictly relevant here, but I like thinking of that old fellow. He moonlighted as a choir leader, so his lectures on the Church were often peppered with spontaneous, yet illustrative, song.
   1190. bigglou115 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:16 PM (#5439958)

This is a very strong point as well (not the only one in this thread, but the closest). ARBITRARY "justice" is the worst kind. I think it's more moral to just say "life for a life"... but I am an outlier on criminal "intent" anyway.


If you could codify a moral calculus with enough strength (say a constitutional amendment) and somehow guarantee 100% success in determining guy in who it would be applied to, I'm not sure I would argue the death penalty in the face of overwhelming support from the people, even if I didn't still agree with it personally.

But I've stood in front of enough Arkansas juries, and I've seen plenty of ones I didn't argue in front of, to be able to say I don't need the demographics on the death penalty to know that whether or not it is levied depends almost entirely on the attitudes they bring in. The fact is most juries have at least some number of "if you were arrested then your probably guilty" leaning members. It gets worse in death penalty cases, voir dire isn't gonna fix that. I can't think of anything more arbitrary than counting on the jury to like you enough to not kill you, or the fact that a determination of guilt or innocence in these cases comes down to how well both sides pick juries, especially given the edge the prosecutor has. There's a saying in Arkansas Court that boils down to "if there's a body then they'll find guilty."
   1191. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:16 PM (#5439959)
Not strictly relevant here, but I like thinking of that old fellow. He moonlighted as a choir leader, so his lectures on the Church were often peppered with spontaneous, yet illustrative, song.
I had an old Medievalist prof who would do the same thing, belting out some plainchant or whatever when necessary (or unnecessary, didn't matter). He also referred to Thomas Aquinas as "the Mark McGwire of the Dominican Order, in both impact and appearance".
   1192. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:21 PM (#5439962)
He also referred to Thomas Aquinas as "the Mark McGwire of the Dominican Order, in both impact and appearance".

Does that make Augustine ("Oh lord make me chaste, but not yet!") Babe Ruth?
   1193. Greg K Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:28 PM (#5439971)
A friend of mine was telling me the other day that "Plato" was actually a nickname from the philosopher's wrestling days, which I thought was kinda fun.

I'm sure this will expose my ignorance by either:
A] Demonstrating that I'm learning something at 33 that I should have known for years
or
B] Demonstrating that I am naïve to put my trust in anecdotes told over a beer
   1194. Ishmael Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:35 PM (#5439976)
A friend of mine was telling me the other day that "Plato" was actually a nickname from the philosopher's wrestling days

Well, either that or 'big head' or maybe 'fatty.'
   1195. Sleepy's still holding up that little wild bouquet Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:38 PM (#5439978)
I'm sure this will expose my ignorance by either:
A] Demonstrating that I'm learning something at 33 that I should have known for years
A appears to be true, assuming the NYT isn't peddling alternate facts:
Plato was an athlete, particularly skilled as a wrestler. His given name was Aristocles, after his grandfather, but the coach under whom he trained is said to have called him “Plato” — from the Greek for broad, platon, on account of his broad-shouldered frame. It stuck.

So good a wrestler was Plato that he reportedly competed at the Isthmian Games (comparable to the Olympics), and continued wrestling into adulthood. Ensconced at the academy, he spoke strongly on behalf of the virtues of physical education. He felt that one should balance physical training with “cultivating the mind,” exercising “the intellect in study.” The goal “is to bring the two elements into tune with one another by adjusting the tension of each to the right pitch.” Equal parts thought and sweat, so to speak.
   1196. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 21, 2017 at 05:58 PM (#5439985)
I eagerly await for anyone here to dispute Ricks' description of our current "environment".

I think that it's probably accurate, but I'm not at all convinced that it's a good thing that the military is essentially running the foreign policy of this country.


In general, of course it isn't, but given the current alternative of a twitter-addicted lunatic calling the shots, it may be about the best we can hope for until sanity returns among a critical mass of the electorate. Meanwhile, let's just keep our fingers crossed that the French don't make things even worse.

EDIT: Which is not to say that there shouldn't be influence from the military. McMaster's book (based on his PhD dissertation) explains very clearly the perils of having civilians completely discount the advice of senior military commanders as what happened with Johnson/McNamara's handling of Vietnam. But there needs to be a balance, and there needs to be a commander-in-chief who has the capacity to listen to his civilian advisers as well as his military advisers and make an informed decision. We don't have that right now, and that scares the #### out of me.

You and me both, and I agree with everything you say here.
   1197. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 06:12 PM (#5439993)
In general, of course it isn't, but given the current alternative of a twitter-addicted lunatic calling the shots, it may be about the best we can hope for until sanity returns among a critical mass of the electorate.

Yeah, I agree. Given the choice between Mattis/McMaster setting policy versus Trump doing stuff on his own, there's no question that the former is better. And it's light years better Trump relying on Flynn/Bannon, which seemed to be Plan A back in January.

But it's still not a good situation, IMHO (and that's not a specific concern about Mattis/McMaster, just my general feeling is that foreign policy decisions are best made by diverse policy viewpoints).
   1198. Kiko Sakata Posted: April 21, 2017 at 06:44 PM (#5440008)
Right now, majors decisions are effectively being made by Mattis (recent retired general), McMaster (current three-star general), and the joint chiefs. Not only do we not have civilian control of the military, we don't have civilian control of the decision making apparatus for foreign policy.

This level of domination by the military is unprecedented in our history.


I'm sure everybody knows this, but there's a law that the SecDef can't have been military within X years, where X is longer than Mattis has been retired, so Congress had to pass a special law basically granting him a waiver from this. At the time, I found it very odd how nonchalantly this was done. Either there's a reason for this law - which I think would basically get at 6-4-3's observation / concern here, in which case, it's not at all clear to me why Mattis would be a special case deserving of exemption. Or, this is a silly law that serves no useful purpose, in which case, I don't understand why the law exists at all.

But I never understood why the general law would be proper but an exemption for Mattis would also be appropriate, nor did I understand why nobody else seemed bothered by this: the view seemed to be "well, obviously, this is an important law to have, and equally obviously, it's important to let the President pick his own SecDef, so we should allow exemptions to this law whenever the President wants one". What sense does that make?
   1199. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 21, 2017 at 07:03 PM (#5440016)
re: 1198, Mattis appears to be held in exceptionally high regard by just about all who have served with him or worked with him. That seemed good enough for the Congress. The Senate passed the waiver legislation 81-17; it was a little closer in the House.
   1200. Kiko Sakata Posted: April 21, 2017 at 07:07 PM (#5440018)
Mattis appears to be held in exceptionally high regard by just about all who have served with him or worked with him.


I'm not saying Mattis was a bad choice for SecDef at all. From what I heard at the time and from what I've seen so far, he seems fine - probably well above average for Trump picks. But then what's the point of the law? The SecDef requires Senate approval, which provides a mechanism for rejecting a shitty military guy. Either there's a good reason why we don't want the SecDef to be recently-retired military or there isn't. I'm not arguing that Mattis was a bad choice. I'm arguing that, if Mattis was an acceptable choice as SecDef, then the law not allowing him to serve is stupid and should be abolished. If the law makes sense, it makes no sense to grant waivers.
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