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Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Prince and Sri Chinmoy?

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Well...Will Smith got a step closer to getting laid last night. All hope for nookie is not lost. Obama, barring some gigantic cock-up, is the next President. I can't imagine McCain beating him without a huge wild-card. Interesting how McCain constantly plays the "Age Card" in his speeches about Obama's youth and inexperience...but if Barack was to make equivalent comments concerning McCain, he would be roundly criticized (and has been, when referring to McCaine's years of service. In other words, the text was positive, but the assumption is that the subtext is an insult. In McCain's case, the text itself was negative, leaving little room for misinterpretation). But that's all right. That's the game in politics--to take every shot at your opponent while saying "who, me..?"

#

I'm still hoping that Mrs. Clinton's intention is to retire her campaign within the next two days, on her own terms and in her own way. I never wanted these two historic candidates to go head to head. The very real concerns of women and the very real concerns of black Americans were manipulated and pitted against each other, with the hierarchical among us determined to rank one above another. Fair enough. That's not my mind-set, but fair enough. Personally, I would have been perfectly happy for it to have been "Lady's First." Just the way my mother taught me. Or is that being sexist?

#

My take on Prince. I've seen something like him before, and it was, oddly enough, Sri Chinmoy. With Chinmoy, my sense is that he is out of his body, controlling it like a puppeteer. With Prince, I think he is deep, deep, deep within himself, almost as if he is pregnant with his own embryo. There is something so shy and little-boy naughty about him, in contrast to his fabulous wealth, that I'm kinda blown away. I have no idea what people a hundred years from now will think of his music--or even if they will, at all. But I think he's riding the same train that some of the great creative and even spiritual minds of the ages ride. And I think that there is a component of that path that is available to all of us, if we align our hearts minds and physical energy. I am so terribly sorry his son died. I really wonder what kind of father Prince would have been.

##

And the question of the day is: how is everyone feeling about the coming election?

78 comments:

Steven Barnes said...

To Mike--

You felt that my comment about McCain is unfair. If you can point me to a comment by him specifically stating he feels the "playing field" is not level, I'll be happy to retract it. I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that a member of a group, any group, is likely to have a leaning toward that group even to the disadvantage of others. Being bi-racial, I automatically have a tendency to see things more from the middle. I get heat from black people AND white people for my refusal to demonize either side. A white male of his generation and status who waited as long as he did to ratify MLK day...well, I reserve the right to my opinion.

Mike Ralls said...

>You felt that my comment about McCain is unfair.<

Specifically, I said I rejected the notion that "If only conservatives really knew what blacks faced, they'd be liberal." And I do. You can be a conservative and think, "The playing field is not level for blacks and whites, but any attempt by the government to make it level would be counterproductive."

"A white male of his generation and status who waited as long as he did to ratify MLK day...well, I reserve the right to my opinion."

Fair enough. You do know that he adopted a non-white child, right?

Lynn said...

I hope you're right but frankly I'm nervous. I keep thinking McCain could win.

I also hope that it is not a close election. I want Obama to win by a wide enough margin that there is not a moment's doubt about who won and none of this "they stole the election" crap we had the last two times.

Brian Dunbar said...

how is everyone feeling about the coming election?

Is it over yet? No?

Dang.

I'd be happy to vote for Obama. As a person he's no worse than the other guy. He's probably better in some aspects.

I don't feel that his politics are ideal, is all. Too left, the rhetoric too populist.

But - we survived eight years of Clinton, eight years of Bush - we'll survive eight years of President Obama.

Steven Barnes said...

I know that there are Conservatives who feel exactly as you say. Even if they don't, they are on average as good and moral as anyone else--which to me is even more important.

Brian Dunbar said...

d none of this "they stole the election" crap we had the last two times.

The conservative bloggers I read regularly say that 'they' don't whine and bitch when an election goes against them.

We'll see.

Mike Ralls said...

> I can't imagine McCain beating him without a huge wild-card.<

Ah Steve, I'm glad you took the bet, but don't want you to be too disappointed. Do yourself a favor: Look at the electoral math. Look at what States would go to the Republicans or the Democrats no matter what. Look at what states are up for grabs. Look at how McCain polls in those states vs Obama. Look at how Obama's numbers right now compare to McGovern's numbers in the early summer of '72, Mondale's numbers in the early summer of '84, Dukakis' numbers in the early summer of 88, or Gore's numbers in the early summer of '00. Look at how many Americans self-identify as liberal vs how many self-identify as conservative. Look at how many times Democrats have gotten over 51% of the popular vote since 1964 vs how many times Republicans have gotten over 51% of the popular vote.

And remember this; Five months is a very long time in Politics. Five months ago Obama and McCain were both long shots and Clinton was the shoe-in.

> I'm still hoping that Mrs. Clinton's intention is to retire her campaign within the next two days<

"I understand that a lot of people are asking, what does Hillary want? What does she want? I want what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq. I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American. I want … the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, and to no longer be invisible."

My interpretation is that she wants to be co-President / Vice-President, or else. That's me being favorable. Unfavorable is that she wants Obama to lose in '08 as she wnats run against McCain in '12.

> And the question of the day is: how is everyone feeling about the coming election?<

Really good. Five months ago I would have been very happy to hear that Obama and McCain were going to be the two candidates, and I still am.

Greg said...

I'm just hoping like hell if and when Obama and McCain debate the issue of McCain's chickencrap stance on veteran's education comes up, and then Obama eloquently pointing out that McCain himself was a recipient of a FULLY funded taxpayer all-expense paid education at the USMA at Annapolis.

Anonymous said...

How do I about the coming election? Awful!! At this point I am going to have to close my eyes and hold my nose when I go into the booth and pull the lever in November. My last hope is for a third party Clinton-Blomberg ticket and I have never been a big Hilary fan, its just by comparison. By the way this has nothing to do with either candidate personally. They both seem nice enough. I just don't really trust either of them on foreign policy for perhaps opposite reasons and at this point in time I see that as the number one issue.

Marty S

Mark Jones said...

"The very real concerns of women and the very real concerns of black Americans were manipulated and pitted against each other..."

It sounds as if this happened TO them willy-nilly, as if they had nothing to do with it. Is that your perception? It isn't mine. Obama's hands seem cleaner but I think it's obvious that Hilary was doing her best to stir up racists.

As for McCain not having a prayer short of a wild card--I think you're overestimating Obama. He seems to me to be a (Democratic) Chicago politician. Smart, yes. But he could still turn out to be a bit of a hothouse flower whose bag of tricks works great in that environment but won't necessarily carry him to victory nationally.

If he does win I won't be terribly shocked--after eight years of a very unpopular Republican President a Democrat winning wouldn't be all that surprising. But I don't think it's nearly the sure thing you do.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

I feel better about the upcoming election than I do most years.

On Obama's foreign policy, FWIW, the Council on Foreign Relations just put out an article about who his advisors are: http://www.newsweek.com/id/139894.

Dan Moran said...

I feel great about the election. It's Obama's to lose, IMO, and after 8 years of watching our country be bankrupted by conservatives, none too soon.

Republicans can happy talk and hope all they like, but their base is demoralized, Bob Barr is likely to pick up some votes in a 3rd party challenge, their base is demoralized and hates their candidate, Democrats are energized and being flooded with money ... and the Republican base is really demoralized, if I haven't mentioned.

Dems are going to pick up 3-4 Senate seats this year. They're going to pick up another dozen or so House seats -- they already have a lead larger than any enjoyed by Republicans during their 12 years in power, and it's about to get larger: Republicans have now lost three straight special Congressional elections in heavily Republican districts.

How bad is it? They've lost in Mississippi. They didn't just lose in Mississippi, though; they lost in Illinois' 14th District, and in Louisiana's 6th.

Folks, Bush won that Illinois District by 11 points.

He won the Louisiana district by 19 points.

And in Mississippi, ladies and gentlemen, Bush won that district by 25 points.

The Mississippi election was the most recent of the three -- last May. And the Democrat won this +25 district by 8 points.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

I feel happy but nervous about the election.

I'm pleased that Obama got the nomination-- I think he's been running as the smart person's candidate, and that's a relief after "who would you rather have a beer with?".

There are wild cards, and I think the obvious ones are a big terrorist attack on US soil and war with Iran. In either case, would the public say "Only the Republicans can keep us safe" or "They've endangered us again"?

I'm assuming Obama will win, but I don't trust my assumption. I thought the public would be sick enough of Bush in 2004, and I was wrong. I haven't done a state-by-state study, and I bet that even people who have don't really know what's going to happen.

Another piece of my concern is that he's considerably to the left of my politics-- it's just that I'd rather have a president I don't agree (and who I can hope will chance course if he does things that don't work out) than a continuation of the current administration.

Anonymous said...

Lynn: The more organizations like the CFR praise Obama and his advisers the more I get pushed towards McCain as the lesser of two evils. I had a running argument with Dan in another post about a study claiming to show FOX news was misinforming its audience. I claimed the study was designed to get the result it achieved. The chief person in the group who put the phony study together is also a player in the CFR. From my point of view these people are radical lefties as bad as the extreme right.


Marty S

Anonymous said...

The polls favor McCain now, but-
He's a screwup. Burned down the Forrestal, got himself captured, a RINO. The liberals used him to attack Bush when they were still scared to do it themselves. . .
Obama inspires Democrats, McCain discourages Republicans.

Brian Dunbar said...

He's a screwup.

Funny that - in the military I was in officer screwups did get promoted, but rarely advanced past the rank of Major. Then the up or out got them and that's where they retired.

Burned down the Forrestal,

Then LCDR McCain was sitting in a jet that was hit by the rocket that was accidentally launched from an F-4. Which was launched by an electrical surge.

McCain 'burned down' the Forrestal .. how?

got himself captured,

McCain was shot down, broke both arms and a leg ejecting from his aircraft, nearly drowned in a lake, attacked by a crowd.

Nothing in the events of that day suggests the passive voice your phrase suggests. Your attempt to belittle the man in this fashion is pretty high school, don't you think?

Dan Moran said...

"the more I get pushed towards McCain as the lesser of two evils."

Marty, have you ever voted for a Democrat? I haven't had the impression you were open to voting for a Democrat no matter what. Given how poisonous the environment is for Republicans at the moment, I'm guessing you're getting pushed in a direction you were already going ...

"claiming to show FOX news was misinforming its audience."

You're misinterpreting or misrepresenting that study. All that study showed was that Fox viewers were misinformed. It didn't make and didn't try to make a conclusion about why their viewers were misinformed; it merely made the correlation that they were. Could be they're just a dumber-than-usual audience.

phony study

:-) Yeah, they tricked those Fox viewers into getting the questions wrong.

I won't convince Marty, but anyone interested, go look for yourself. This is who the people are who conducted that survey:

http://www.pipa.org/about.html

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

I've always thought of the CFR as part of the mainstream foreign policy establishment, actually.

I don't see any evidence that McCain was a "screw up" as an officer; I just think his foreign policy views are dangerously aggressive. Among other areas of policy disagreement.

Ethiopian Infidel said...

I favor Obama and will vote for him, come November. However, despite her use of various deplorable stratagems discussed here, I also like Hillary Clinton as a person and politician and hope she'll run again in the future. The energy exuded by both Democrat politicos is dynamic and captivating, yet markedly different. Obama presents an exuberant, boundlessly optimistic, Kennedy-esque Youthful Vigor, while Clinton dark, demagogue-esque fire bespeaks unslakable ambition and stop-at-nothing determination. Obama I'd pick to inaugurate the innovative, inclusive American political culture of the New Century, whereas I'd choose Clinton to wage a ruthless War on Muslim Extremism.

Frank said...

Unlike the Democratic nomination process, there are clear, substantive differences in policy approaches between McCain and Obama. There will be clear choices in the Fall.

Of course, we do see that Obama is already beginning to back away from his more naive positions such as negotiating with our enemies without pre-conditions.

He is moving more right for the General, which tells you who has the advantage.

He also has a proven anti-gun record, and I can’t think of any candidate that was as anti-second amendment as he is having actually been elected.

Gore (for instance) wound up losing his home state, a number of swing states, and the Presidency due in large part to his anti-gun positions.

Kerry was also perceived as a gun grabber.

True, Obama may be able to obscure his past record. And he may even do it by selecting the pro-NRA Webb who not only has a concealed carry license but also carries.

The problem is, those of us who are sensitive to second amendment issues won’t be fooled. And those who aren’t probably don’t care what his position is on guns.

There are issues on which I believe Obama is too weak to be President: Foreign Policy, economics, etc. But there are those who see these same positions as strengths.

But the gun issue is usually a killer and it spans these political and economic divides.

Even in Vermont, for a Socialist like Bernie Sanders to get elected he has to be pro-gun. The only time he came close to losing his seat was when he got perilously close to an anti-gun position.

I still say the Obama is unelectable.

But I could be wrong.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Frank, thanks for the information.

I think of opposition to guns as the most dispensable Democratic position, but that doesn't mean they agree with me or are willing to dispense with it.

As for the election, if the Bush administration can be hung around McCain's neck, well, it's the most unpopular administration I've ever seen, and that might override guns.

Frank said...

Nancy

As for the election, if the Bush administration can be hung around McCain's neck

Clearly Obama is trying to do this, as disingenuous as this approach is.

And it doesn't matter whether the gun issue is dispensable or not, Obama has a clear record of being anti-gun. And being in the position of Chief Executive, he has control over the severely distrusted BATF, not to mention the Justice Department.

No one has forgotten Waco and Ruby Ridge.

Believe me on this.

Anonymous said...

Dan: I've voted twice for democrats for president, in fact I was one of the few who voted for George McGovern. In that election too it was not that I liked McGovern more or because I was antiwar which I wasn't, but that I liked Nixon less. As for the study. The study blames FOX news for people not getting questions correct about certain beliefs, when the tendency in the group would be to get them wrong whether or not they watched FOX news. I could ask a series of historical questions that older people would tend to get right and younger people get wrong and ask on the questionnaire do you listen to rap music. Then blame rap music for making people stupid. This would be the equivalent of what that study did with FOX news. Oh and Clinton would have been my third over McCain.

Lynn: I never heard of the CFR till I started researching the guy who headed up the study Dan referred to. Then I looked it up in Wikapedia, so my information on the CFR only comes from those two internet sources, but between the two I have the impression that it is pretty far left.

Marty S

Lynn S said...

Ethiopian Infidel - I just looked at your profile. I really wish you had a blog. I bet it would be interesting. :-)

Pagan Topologist said...

OK, I am going to weigh in here. For my taste, Obama is too conservative, but maybe that is necessary to get elected. I agree with strong second amendment supporters, but mostly because I am a strong supporter of all of the first ten amendments. Personally, I think the first and fourth amendmants are more threatened than the second.

I will almost certainly vote for Obama, since McCain is completely unacceptable to my mind. If I am sure that Obama will carry Delaware, I will consider voting for the Green Party candidate, since I think both major parties have become the parties of big business. (To caricaturize: We will save a lot of money if we don't bother shielding these new nuclear reactors. The few million people who will die of radiation poisoning are an acceptable cost.)

One example: It has become clear that airlines will never be profitable, yet they are necessary for our world to function. I learned just yesterday, on NPR, I think, that during the last thirty years the airlines, worldwide, have lost money. Nationalization would preserve them and maintain smooth commerce in other areas. If they all go out of business except for one or two first class only carriers and one or two bare bones economy carriers, if that many, all of us will suffer.

Dramatically increasing Amtrak's subsidy would also be useful, although as air travel becomes more expensive, this may take care of itself, since train travel is, in principle so much more energy efficient.

Pagan Topologist said...

Ethiopian infidel, I second what Lynn S wrote.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Frank, in regards to gun control seeming dispensable to me, I was just musing about how odd it is that the Democrats are so attached to it when (at least to me) it doesn't seem central to their ideas.

Pagan topologist, a while ago, I asked why there were so many give-back deals for airline pilots. I couldn't think of any other line of work where that sort of thing happened. Why do professionals put up with that? Why do airlines seem to have such poor judgement about what they can afford?

The answer I got was that a lot of people think airplanes are Really Cool. So they put up with weird employment conditions and they start companies that don't make sense. It's like publishing, only ever so much more so.

I don't have the foggiest about whether airlines are necessary for our society to function, nor how nationalized airlines would be likely to work out. Do any first world countries limit themselves to nationalized airlines?

If the problem is that people think air flight is Really Cool, only letting the government do it isn't going to solve things.

Brian Dunbar said...

Pagan Topologist

(Love the handle)

To caricaturize: We will save a lot of money if we don't bother shielding these new nuclear reactors. The few million people who will die of radiation poisoning are an acceptable cost.

Well that's silly. Forget about the local yokels outside the plant - if you don't shield the plants, you irradiate your workers.

Ask HR - the biggest cost of any operation is staff. If you have to get new nuclear engineers every few years the costs are going to scream upwards like a skyrocket.

So - Big Nuclear will shield the plants because if they don't it's going to get really expensive.

Pagan Topologist said...

Of course, caricatures are intended to be silly. I think that my point that large corporations need to be prevented from doing serious harm is valid. I am certainly pro-nuclear, so the nuclear industry was probably a bad choice of topic to use for a caricature. I have little doubt that chemical companies would gladly dump toxic waste in my yard if they could get away with it.

On the other hand, based on your analysis, it would be cheaper to shield only a control room to protect employees, not the whole reactor.

Pagan Topologist is a pretty good description of who I am, at least as a caricature.

Frank said...

Nancy

I was just musing about how odd it is that the Democrats are so attached to it when (at least to me) it doesn't seem central to their ideas.

I think it is quite central to their ideas: Federal Government control of as many things as possible.

From my point of view, Democrats are all about "The Federal Political Class knows what's best for you."

This is precisely why arrogant upper class individuals seem to appeal to the Democrat primary voters.

One of the reasons Bill Clinton won is precisely because he was never arrogant. Kerry and Gore defined the word.

Steven Barnes said...

Frank--
Where did Obama ever say he'd negotiate without preconditions? The only comment I ever saw was that he would "meet with" or "talk to" without preconditions. It feels to me that this has been constantly twisted--can you provide a contrary quote? Thanks!
##
Mike--I took the bet not because I think he'll win by 60% (I'd be perfectly happy with 55%) but because your price tickled me. My confidence in Obama's smarts has to be tempered by understanding of his relative inexperience. I don't see more Obama fans considering him a Messiah than, say, Reagan fans seemed to consider HIM one...but the enthusiasm can be amusing. Nice to see people getting emotional when the emotions are positive.

Anonymous said...

pagan topologist: Without big business and its economies of scale most of our lives would be a lot less enjoyable. I'm sure Steve and the others on this blog who are into meditation and martial arts would agree that balance is very important in life. With no regulation at all many big businesses would become monopolies, prices would go up and we the consumer would loses the economic benefits of scale. So it is clear that some regulation of big business is necessary. But over regulation of industries can destroy them and hurt our economy. This balance is also necessary with respect environmental restrictions on industry. IMO every environmental regulation should be evaluated for the economic cost, which can include human suffering through job loss against environmental losses. What we need in Washington are people from either party who are willing to look at both sides of the issue and make rational decisions.


Marty S

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Frank, if Democrats wanted the Federal Government (I'm not sure what you mean by the Federal Government Class) to control as much as possible, they wouldn't be as in favor of sexual freedom and freedom of speech as they are.

Dan Moran said...

"As for the election, if the Bush administration can be hung around McCain's neck

Clearly Obama is trying to do this, as disingenuous as this approach is."

http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/X/e/1/mccain_bush_brokeback.jpg

I admit ... this is McCain hanging around Bush's neck. :-)

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Frank and Pagan Topologist, what you've been saying reminds me of something I wonder about-- I call it residual decency. You'd think that companies would be as rapacious as possible and governments would be as dictatorial as possible, but they usually aren't. What's stopping them?

Brian Dunbar said...

Pagan

On the other hand, based on your analysis, it would be cheaper to shield only a control room to protect employees, not the whole reactor.

I was playing with the idea as well. But you can't just shield the control room - you gotta think about the office space and the rest of the guys working at the plant.

You can get forklift drivers cheap but if you keep hiring new ones and the old ones loose their hair and start glowing .. people are going to talk.


You know the expression that goes '10% of a group will give the rest a bad name'? I think it holds true in business as well.

That is - there will be rotten scoundrels who will dump crap in your backyard - but most companies won't.

This probably isn't much comfort if you find ooze in your backyard, I agree.

Why they won't is a good question.

For example, I wouldn't because it's immoral, ugly and I do believe that what you do comes back at you, three-fold.

I see laws like 'don't dump in Pagan's backyard' in the same way that I see laws against murder.

Most people don't go around killing other people. When they do, the laws are there to clean up after the fact and punish the wrong-doer.

AF1 said...

Obama will lose because he's anti-gun?

That would be a shame if true, since there are so many more pressing issues than gun control.

But looks like the Republicans are going to their tried and true "God and guns" card.

And the American people will be saps if they fall for it again.

Frank said...

Steve

Where did Obama ever say he'd negotiate without preconditions? The only comment I ever saw was that he would "meet with" or "talk to" without preconditions.

You are absolutely right. He did not say "negotiate". He said "meet with". Of course I'm not sure what that means if there is no negotiating going on. I suppose they could have tea. Or I suppose Obama could go to see Ahmadinejad and tell him not to build nuclear weapons or else, but I don't see the point. That has already been made abundantly clear.

But I will grant you that he said "meet" not "negotiate".

But he is backing away from that position as well.

He said the military option is "on the table" for dealing with Iran's nuclear program, and in stark contrast to earlier statements, he said he would meet with Iranian leaders "if and only if it can advance the interest of the United States."

Now the interesting thing about that is if "meeting" is so innocuous, why would he need to back away from his clearly unqualified position of the past.

But when he says "if and only if it can advance the interest of the United States.", that sounds like there is a negotiation going on that Obama felt would be advantageous to his country.

Now I'm not say that you're parsing the definition of "is" but...

Well, on second thought, maybe I am.

Frank said...

Nancy

Frank, if Democrats wanted the Federal Government (I'm not sure what you mean by the Federal Government Class)

Federal Political Class. i.e. Federal Level politicians as opposed to State Level politicians. It is no secret that Democrats are not fans of Federalism and take power from the States whenever an opportunity arises.

to control as much as possible, they wouldn't be as in favor of sexual freedom and freedom of speech as they are.

Yeah, well, Communist China is in favor of "sexual freedom" too, so what? Are you saying that because of this they empower the individual over the State?

Look at what is being proposed: Nationalizing the Oil Industry

Nationalizing the Health Care industry.

Increasing the Welfare State.

"Hate crimes" aka thought control

In this very forum it was proposed to Nationalize the airline industry.

That is control from the top: The ultimate goal of which is a planned economy.

And an armed society is always and ever a threat to centralized government.

Frank said...

AF1

But looks like the Republicans are going to their tried and true "God and guns" card.

You clearly missed my point: God and guns is not exclusive to Republicans. And Democrats who forget that lose elections.

I live in Vermont, arguably one of the most "liberal" states in the Union. We have no gun laws (other than those mandated by the Federal Government)

We have elected a Socialist to congress for decades. But that Socialist, Bernie Sanders, almost lost an election once for coming too close to supporting anti-gun legislation.

He has since learned to leave that issue alone. And as a result, Vermont happily continues to send him back to Congress.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

"Yeah, well, Communist China is in favor of "sexual freedom" too, so what?"

They are? That's news to me. Actually, they seem rather restrictive when it comes to reproductive decisions.

Ethiopian Infidel said...

Lynn, Pagan_Topologist,

Thanks for your interest and kind words. Keeping a Blog right now would be somewhat challenging, since I'm still recovering from writing my dissertation. In partial lieu of such, see the link to my YouTube channel, which should reveal more about my interests and outlook.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Hottides

Further observations concerning Obama and Clinton. Frank's charge that Gore and Kerry presented themselves arrogantly possibly indicates how Obama can actually use race to his advantage. Northern Establishment Democrats are unfortunately typecast into the Harvard stereotype, i.e. arrogant elitists. Arrogant or no, once Gore and (esp.) Kerry open their mouths and let fly the immaculate diction, large sections of the Heartland masses reflexively dismiss them as Blue-Blooded Kennedy-Buckley types. I recall a Nation article where a White Midwestern lady said of Kerry and Bush, respectively: "He's just another millionaire", "I could have a drink with him". Obama can assault McCain with full battery of his brilliance and avoid the Harvard Trap, since the stereotype concerns White Males.

Brian Dunbar said...

Arrogant or no, once Gore and (esp.) Kerry open their mouths and let fly the immaculate diction, large sections of the Heartland masses reflexively dismiss them as Blue-Blooded Kennedy-Buckley types.

I live in the heartland. Raised in Oklahoma, lived in Texas and now reside in Wisconsin. From my perspective it's not the diction that irks me about guys like Kerry but the attempts to look like average Joes when they ain't.

Frank said...

Lynn

"Yeah, well, Communist China is in favor of "sexual freedom" too, so what?"

They are? That's news to me.


China not only has abortion on demand, the abortions are provided free by the State.

China does have a "one child" policy, but that only means that the first child is provided for by the State. All other children must be provided for by the parents.

This has lead to some unintended consequences: a dirth of females. Since Chinese families prefer boys, they abort females.

Two researchers say comprehensive new data shows that traditional family patterns in China, combined with tough population-control measures, have resulted in ``female infanticide on a grand scale'' -- close to 800,000 baby girls abandoned or killed in a single region between 1971-80 alone.

That's what you get when you combine a welfare state with Central control.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

More to Frank:

"to control as much as possible, they wouldn't be as in favor of sexual freedom and freedom of speech as they are.

Yeah, well, Communist China is in favor of "sexual freedom" too, so what? Are you saying that because of this they empower the individual over the State?"

There's no reason to think Communist China supports sexual freedom (or at least I can't think of any--what do you have in mind?), and yes, sexual freedom does empower the individual over the state, or at least having a lot of laws about sex disempowers individuals.

People on the left are utter nags about how everyone ought to be involved in politics. Getting involved in politics is at least as effective a way of empowering people as gun ownership. That is to say, not very reliably, but I'd say that in a reasonably free country, political involvement is more likely to get you what you want.

"There are four boxes to influence the government: Soap, ballot, jury, and bullet. Use them in that order."

Seriously, I think of guns rights as being much more about the right to be free from arbitrary harassment than they are about resistance to the government. Resistance takes much more firepower than you can get from commonly available weapons, and a lot of organization.

Steven Barnes said...

Frank--

We can talk to people in an attempt to advance understanding without trading chips. The president has time to meet with cub scout troups, and have bar-b-ques. It is reasonable that, were he to wish to look in a man's eyes when he lies, or get an impression of his body language, or be certain that a point of policy or philosophy is understood dead-on with no waffling...God, I can't even think of the number of valuable things I've gleaned from speaking directly to people, especially since intermediaries play "telephone" with facts. The only reason not to meet with an adversary is fear. The fact that I have heard his statement missquoted by EVERYONE on the Right suggests that they know damned well that there's a difference, and are distorting for political gain. He "clarifies" for political expediency, knowing that his words are being misquoted. Simple.

Anonymous said...

I just used the same logic and approach that Dan's study group on media misrepresentation used to condemn FOX news to evaluate the Democratic position of universal health care versus our current system. The criteria I used was one of Steve's favorites life expectancy.
Life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.06 years. Life expectancy in the world for people covered by universal health care is 74.38 years. So based upon world wide data for those under universal health care systems I conclude that if the Democrats succeed in passing universal health care we can expect the average life span of U.S. citizens to drop by 3.68 years.
Boo to big government.


Marty S

Dan Moran said...

Marty,

You appear to be missing the part where you publish your work. :-)

Dan Moran said...

Frank,

"And an armed society is always and ever a threat to centralized government."

This is simply not the case. Gun ownership in Iraq was widespread and didn't do a thing to protect people there from Hussein.

The survivalist fantasy of going up against the government is just that. Take every well-trained gun owner in the U.S., put them up against the 1st Infantry ... you have a slaughter, not a battle. You'd need to permit individuals to own missiles, automatic weapons, hand grenades ... the tools to run an insurgency ... to mount a meaningful struggle against the government, and even then, to succeed, elements within the military itself would need to be on your side.

I'm not personally willing to go the route of permitting individual ownership of stinger missiles. (And sure, the second Amendment says not one word about the right to keep and bear "small arms," so by any reasonable reading of the second, people should be permitted to own whatever they like ... which simply means the second is broken.)

Frank said...

Nancy

There's no reason to think Communist China supports sexual freedom (or at least I can't think of any--what do you have in mind?)

See my above response to Lynn.

I'm beginning to think I don't know what you folks mean by "sexual freedom". To me, this has always been a code phrase for abortion on demand, which China clearly supports. For free.

But maybe you mean something else?

Seriously, I think of guns rights as being much more about the right to be free from arbitrary harassment than they are about resistance to the government. Resistance takes much more firepower than you can get from commonly available weapons, and a lot of organization.

Tell that to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto circa 1943.

Hitler didn't allow people to own guns. He banned them in 1938. In 1939 he began to send Jews to the camps.Looking at the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, you can see what fits a few old guns gave the Nazi's. And just imagine how history might have changed had the Jews of Nazi Germany had more guns.

In a politically free environment, I agree that the first thought is with regards to personal safety. As I pointed out, Self Defense is a right of all free peoples. It was typical, back in the day, that when a slave was freed they handed him a sword.

Slaves are disarmed.

And since we're talking about China, the Chinese Government banned guns in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents were exterminated.

Self defense is a primary concern today. But never forget that the first thing totalitarians do is disarm the population.

Frank said...

Steve

The only reason not to meet with an adversary is fear.

Do you remember the result of Kennedy's meeting with Krushchev?

But Kennedy's one presidential meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, suggests that there are legitimate reasons to fear negotiating with one's adversaries. Although Kennedy was keenly aware of some of the risks of such meetings - his Harvard thesis was titled "Appeasement at Munich" - he embarked on a summit meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961, a move that would be recorded as one of the more self-destructive American actions of the Cold War, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.

Senior American statesmen like George Kennan advised Kennedy not to rush into a high-level meeting, arguing that Khrushchev had engaged in anti-American propaganda and that the issues at hand could as well be addressed by lower-level diplomats. Kennedy's own secretary of state, Dean Rusk, had argued much the same in a Foreign Affairs article the previous year: "Is it wise to gamble so heavily? Are not these two men who should be kept apart until others have found a sure meeting ground of accommodation between them?"

But Kennedy went ahead, and for two days he was pummeled by the Soviet leader. Despite his eloquence, Kennedy was no match as a sparring partner, and offered only token resistance as Khrushchev lectured him on the hypocrisy of American foreign policy, cautioned America against supporting "old, moribund, reactionary regimes" and asserted that the United States, which had valiantly risen against the British, now stood "against other peoples following its suit." Khrushchev used the opportunity of a face-to-face meeting to warn Kennedy that his country could not be intimidated and that it was "very unwise" for the United States to surround the Soviet Union with military bases.



...Kennedy's assessment of his own performance was no less severe.

Only a few minutes after parting with Khrushchev, Kennedy, a World War II veteran, told James Reston of The New York Times that the summit meeting had been the "roughest thing in my life." Kennedy went on: "He just beat the hell out of me. I've got a terrible problem if he thinks I'm inexperienced and have no guts. Until we remove those ideas we won't get anywhere with him."

A little more than two months later, Khrushchev gave the go-ahead to begin erecting what would become the Berlin Wall. Kennedy had resigned himself to it, telling his aides in private that "a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war." The following spring, Khrushchev made plans to "throw a hedgehog at Uncle Sam's pants": nuclear missiles in Cuba. And while there were many factors that led to the missile crisis, it is no exaggeration to say that the impression Khrushchev formed at Vienna - of Kennedy as ineffective - was among them.


This turned out not to be such a good idea

The fact that I have heard his statement missquoted by EVERYONE on the Right suggests that they know damned well that there's a difference, and are distorting for political gain. He "clarifies" for political expediency, knowing that his words are being misquoted. Simple.

Or it could be that Obama is smart enough to learn from his mistakes and try to correct them early on.

You never want to show weakness to an enemy.

I also believe that if he somehow does get elected, his Foreign Policy will not be as dramatic a departure from the current Administration as many would like to think.

And I think this because I believe Obama to be rational, and when faced with the choices and decisions for real, he will choose what is best for the Country.

Immediate withdrawal from Iraq is not in the USs best interests.

Negotiating with Iran before they end their nuke program is not in the best interest of America either.

You think he his changing his rhetoric but not changing his mind?

I think he is changing his mind and his rhetoric both.

And you will see further reversal on Iraq as well.

Steve Perry said...

Dan and Nan --

The idea of resistance doesn't require equal or higher technology. I point you to Vietnam, and the Vietnam of the sands, Iraq, the latter of which the U.S. military "won" the war but has been losing the peace since.

In a stand-up fight, the gun owners get their asses handed to them by the U.S. Army -- well, the National Guard, since the Army isn't supposed to shoot up the locals.

In a guerilla action over years, however, the gun nuts could inflict a lot of damage and kill a lot of soldiers, especially if they have a dusty copy of Chairman Mao's book on the subject.

IF'n the fast-hand gunslinger comes to town and calls you out at noon tomorrow for a showdown, the smart guy shoots him in the back while he's having supper the night before.

Yeah, you need a Stinger to take out a tank, your Grandfather's .22 won't do the trick. But if you drop a bottle full of homemade napalm down the open hatch -- you can get the formula off the internet if you don't already know it -- you can pick off the flambe guys as they bail out of the cook pot with the old squirrel rifle just fine.

I'm a big supporter of the Second Amendment, but I'm also not a one-issue voter. I'd rather vote for Obama and take my changes that he'll try to disarm me than vote for McCain and run the risk that I'll need to to use my gun to get to the supermarket every day, once we get *everybody* in the world pissed off at us ...

Anonymous said...

Dan: the data I used is from charts on Wikapedia and if you want to see the calculations I can email you my spreadsheet. But I'll give you the one data point that says it all. China has universal health care. The Chinese population represents 53.9% of the worlds universal health care population and the average life expectancy is 73 years. So as soon as I included China I had the result I was looking for. There is an old saying. "there are liars, there are damn liars and there statisticians." Its an entirely accurate saying. I can prove almost anything I want with numbers if I set my mind to it. Thats why I won't buy arguments based on studies published on the internet unless I damn well know the author had no axe to grind and there's enough information to determine that no serious flaw in the analysis exists. I'm sure if I wrote my argument up and submitted to a conservative website I could get it published on the web. It wouldn't make the conclusion any less slanted.

Marty S

Dan Moran said...

Marty,

Sure, you can prove most anything you want with stats. No argument. And you and I aren't going to agree on the PIPA study, and I'm skeptical anyone else on this blog cares, so I'll move on.

Dan Moran said...

Steve Perry,

Sure, a man with a gun can cause considerable damage, sure. But the failure of the U.S. Army in Iraq and in Viet Nam was a failure of political will, not military capability. In neither case was the United States' survival ever in question. Had it been, the U.S. would have done to both countries what it did to Germany and Japan. Were the United States' survival at stake, we'd have half a million boots on the ground in Iraq, or a million ... not a surge force that peaked at around 150K.

If the U.S. government were fighting for its survival on its home ground, you'd see a response the world hasn't seen in 60 years. And handguns and rifles and shotguns wouldn't stop it.

Ethiopian Infidel said...

Regarding Gun Control: The concept of armed private citizens checking federal power is anachronistic in the Nuclear Age. For the foreseeable future, the Feds have unmatched power by virtue of nuclear arms and other high-priced, high yield weapons and can vaporize would-be Green Mountain Boys. I do grant that private gun ownership provides a great source of psychological empowerment, however illusory the military actuality. Who wouldn't feel empowered hefting lethal steel and grated a literal license to kill? Does sharing lethal power establish a symbolic Blood Compact compact between Citizen and State that bespeaks trust inviolable by creeping encroachments and corruption?

Regarding talking with adversaries. The main faux problem here, that Steve's alluded to, is that popular psych has equated talking with reconciliation (relatedly, Christianity's conflated understanding with sympathy). A statesperson or general advocate with rhetorical skill and psychological insight can adeptly craft conversation for their purpose, to conciliate, heal or destroy as necessity demands. To choose among scores of examples: Recall how Hitler mollified, duped and blindsided his would-be negotiators, softening them for the attack and probably inflicting humiliation and damage psychologically that in some cases surpassed that inflicted militarily. Since we've corrected to the popular misconception regarding talking, I say, by all means, be prepared to meet with and talk to adversaries of whatever nature and danger. Figuratively be willing to enter Bin Laden's cave and chat with him around the fire. He'll probably think you're come to appease, whereas you're really playing the Siren, dashing his mad dreams upon the rocks.

Steve Perry said...

"If the U.S. government were fighting for its survival on its home ground, you'd see a response the world hasn't seen in 60 years. And handguns and rifles and shotguns wouldn't stop it."

I think this would depend on how much support/opposition that government had from its citizenry. Getting the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force to open up on Billy-Bob and the gun-toting survivalists down in the swamps by Bogalusa is one thing: Wholesale slaughter of children and grannies might be harder to manage, and there isn't enough military to occupy a country the size of the U.S. Can't be done.

If the Posse Commitatus boys try to storm the White House, sure, they get vaporized. If a two-man Army patrol wanders too far away from support, they can easily be knocked over. If there were a half a million U.S. soldiers in Iraq, there'd just be more targets for IED's. You can't win against religious fanatics who think being a martyr gets them a good seat next to their god. They don't care if you kill them, and if they can take a few of you with them to hold open the gate to Paradise, so much the the better.

Organized resistance doesn't need to take the field like British troops in lock-step formation

And against the mountain boys, the Brits had superior firepower, better troops and supplies -- if lousier strategy and tactics.

The North won against the South, but lost twice as many men doing it, and were outfought most of the way by smaller numbers who were less well-armed and supplied. (There were a couple crux points where it might gone the other way, even so.)

Failure of political will works as well as military victory if you are on the winning side ...

If the Chinese Army comes over the hill, my handgun isn't going to be enough. If the U.S. Army comes into town with tanks and pocket nukes, it won't, either, but that's a science fiction scenario and unlikely. Partially because the kind of people who enacted the 2nd, and who grew up in Cowboyland comprise the military, the government, and the vox populi. Our Zeitgiest at the moment doesn't want to let go of that rugged individualist self-image. In that regard, I think that Americans are as fanatic as any culture. We see ourselves as Rocky (the first movie), and never-say-die is bred to the bone.

If ever another civil war arises here, all those troops who have all those big guns? Some of them are going to take their hardware and turn it around anyhow. You know that tribe triumphs country.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

I'm beginning to think I don't know what you folks mean by "sexual freedom". To me, this has always been a code phrase for abortion on demand, which China clearly supports. For free.

Wow. It never occurred to me to translate "sexual freedom" as a code phrase for "abortion on demand." Even when it comes to abortion alone, I don't see why having a government that wants you to get that abortion would be freer than having a government that wants you not to get that abortion.

I'd see "sexual freedom" as having two meanings.

1) The ability of consenting adults to make their own decisions on a wide range of sexual and reproductive choices without government interference. Examples:

a) Sodomy laws = less sexual freedom. No sodomy laws = more sexual freedom. (Similar for laws against fornication, unmarried cohabitation, and the like.)

b) Being able to read Lady Chatterley's Lover = more sexual freedom. Having the book censored = less sexual freedom.

c) Having access to birth control = more sexual freedom. Being sterilized without your consent = less sexual freedom.

2) The ability of consenting adults to make a wide range of sexual choices without people shaming them.

a) Purity balls = less sexual freedom.

b) Gay men feeling obliged to be closeted = less sexual freedom.

c) Disapproval of one night stands = less sexual freedom.

and the whole range in between.

Now, though "freedom" sounds good, I don't find the concept of "sexual freedom" completely unproblematic, particularly in sense 2) - get too attached to the idea that people have a right, darn it, to have whatever sort of sex they please without anyone judging them, and you can undercut values that are pretty important to me, such as the one that says fathers should stand by their children. If the sex life you're actually having is resulting in your walking away from your children, you deserve to be shamed for it. Still, I do tend to think that the government should leave people alone here as much as possible, and that such influencing as people's sexual decisions need is best left to the judgment of people who actually know them.

In neither sense of the word does China strike me as an unusually sexually free country. Homosexuality, for example, was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, sodomy wasn't decriminalized till 1997, the heavy Internet filtering includes filtering out of sexual content (and also, of course, of a whole lot else), HIV patients have been detained by police for trying to talk to a government official (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/18/china.aids), etc.

Brian Dunbar said...

Dan Moran
I'm not personally willing to go the route of permitting individual ownership of stinger missiles.

Some people will take away all the fun. I need my anti-air missile system to hunt ducks. Granted there isn't much left _to_ the duck but that's not the point.

But seriously - if you can trust me not to take my rifle out to the playground and start potting at children, you can trust that I won't take my anti-air missile to the airport and shoot at airplanes.

Ethiopian Infidel said...

Hurray for Abortion on Demand, which should be enshrined as a inviolable Human Right! I'm a Feminist in the classic political sense. If men had wombs, State intrusion in their management, in EITHER the Fundamentalist Christian or Chinese Communist sense, would be regarded as tantamount to slavery and recognized as just cause for war!

Dan Moran said...

Brian,

Nobody likes me on the gun control stuff. Pretty much everyone would rather have the status quo, no matter how nasty, rather than risk change they might not like.

No: I don't trust "you" -- that's most people -- with a rifle because, on average, rifle owners have not been trained to use their weapons safely and accurately under stress. Ditto handgun owners. Ditto most weapons owners. Seriously, I'd take most people's guns away: I Am A Gun Grabber.

And yet ... there are plenty of people I'd trust with more firepower we presently permit. (For example, almost all of the people in the military who actually have those weapons ...) All I'd want is that they have something approaching the same sorts of checks and balances put upon them that are currently put upon members of law enforcement or the military.

A bare minimum would be the sort of training police officers are required to undergo before being handed a weapon. The LAPD teaches the following:

The Firearms Training Sections teaches the following blocks of instruction:

▪ Academy Training Program (formerly CPA)
▪ 37 mm less lethal munitions
▪ 870 Transition
▪ Body Armor
▪ CEDP VIII
▪ Chemical Agents
▪ Handgun Instructor Training School
▪ Glock Instructor School
▪ Glock Transition School
▪ Lateral Officers
▪ Less-lethal (beanbag) Shotgun
▪ Motor Officer Handgun Training
▪ Motor Officer Shotgun Training
▪ Recruit Basic Course
▪ Reserve Level I
▪ Reserve Level II
▪ Reserve Level III
▪ Reserve Level III, firearms enhancement
▪ In-service remediations
▪ Restorations
▪ Reintegrations
▪ Rifle Instructor Training School
▪ Shotgun Instructor Training School
▪ Tactical Shotgun School
▪ Tactical Shotgun Day Re-certification
▪ Tactical Shotgun Night Re-certification
▪ Urban Police Rifle School
▪ Urban Police Rifle Day Re-certification
▪ Urban Police Rifle Night Re-certification

In addition ... I'd be willing to let the NRA offer the courses ... subject to the NRA instructors being trained and approved by the LAPD or similarly (or more) competent LE, the instructors to be regularly recertified.

I'm OK with citizens having SWAT gear. But they better be able to pass the SWAT tests and stay on top of their training and recertification. Most people wouldn't.

This is a "compromise" that has horrified both my NRA friends and my abolish handgun friends. "Let people have machine guns?!!?" "Take away the average person's guns?!!?" And yet I'm pretty sure it would work out better for everyone than the current circumstances.

Some while back the NRA had a campaign going here in California telling kids that if they found a gun, to leave it there and call an adult -- for most kids, that's the adult who left it there. It was part of a campaign to prove how socially responsible the NRA was. So I posed this question to an NRA friend:

How about, instead of "call an adult," we substitute "call 911." Almost all kids past the age of 5 or 6 can pick up a phone and call 911 in a pinch. Of course, this results in the negligent gun-owning adult going to jail ...

NRA friend didn't like that idea. So much for the safety of children....

Pagan Topologist said...

I have often said more or less the same thing as you, Dan, wrt guns. The only difficulty I see with it is that the training might, over time become less and less demanding until it was pro-forma, much like driving tests are today. But, on balance, I think that is the best possible arrangement.

Of course, I would not be able to afford a surplus F4 Phantom for my personal arsenal, but that is the way it goes, sometimes.

Brian Dunbar said...

Dan,

Very interesting position on gun control. Thanks for sharing.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian Dunbar-
You are right, I was wrong to say McCain started the fire on the Forrestal. When I was in the Navy I heard some guy named McCain launched a missile and his Admiral daddy got it called a freak electrical accident. Sea story, I should have checked.
On wikipedia, McCain may or may not (wiki not sure) have been in a plane HIT BY by the missile. McCain's service record is a LOT more honorable than mine.
Still think he's a screwup: RINO, immigration, and there ARE better proofs of military merit than getting captured.
But: you right, me wrong.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Frank, I'm very glad I asked you what you meant by sexual freedom. Now I'm wondering where you got the impression it only means abortion on demand.

For what it's worth, I asked on my livejournal whether anyone had seen "sexual freedom" used that way, and no one was sure they had.

As for armed population vs. the government, drug dealers have plenty of guns, and they haven't used them to get freedom to sell drugs. Lack of initiative, or a good estimate of the likely outcome? I bet on the latter.

In an effort to see whether I was right that in the early days of America, private people were allowed to own ships with cannon, I found this. It looks as though the reason the second amendment doesn't make sense is that it was a political compromise between one side which wanted to limit weapons to militia and another which wanted gun ownership as an individual right.

Obama got an Illinois law passed requiring video-taping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases, and he's solidly anti-torture. I value that attitude more than gun rights, though I hope gun rights remain intact.

I suspect common gun ownership has a small threshold effect against tyranny, in the same sense that people would much rather collect butterflies than wasps, and I think this would hold even if wasps were prettier.

Pagan Topologist, there's another failure mode for education requirements for gun ownership-- that the education required would be so expensive or otherwise difficult to get that it would be much harder for people to get permission to have a gun.

Frank said...

I want to deal with a few related comments first.

Dan says:

In neither case was the United States' survival ever in question. Had it been, the U.S. would have done to both countries what it did to Germany and Japan.

And Ethiopian Infidel said

Regarding Gun Control: The concept of armed private citizens checking federal power is anachronistic in the Nuclear Age. For the foreseeable future, the Feds have unmatched power by virtue of nuclear arms and other high-priced, high yield weapons and can vaporize would-be Green Mountain Boys.

First these solutions are true IF and only IF you want to vaporize the enemy. If someone was trying to put down an insurgency say, in New York City, doing this would be the definition of a Pyrrhic victory.

What good is a country if you completely destroy the infrastructure? If you can isolate your insurgents in some remote countryside then yeah, you might be able to consider carpet bombing or some sort of nuclear option.

Two things are being conflated in my mind: One is that the US has spent a lot of time and money, more than any other country, in developing weapons that get the job done while minimizing collateral damage for the specific purpose on not having a country in complete rubble when you are done as was Germany after WWII.

And this is because we feel responsible for the aftermath, something also unique in history.

The US is most definitely being threatened, but the way to resolve the issue is not to lay waste to the many to get the few. The answer, at least Bush's answer, is to promote an alternative ideology: Liberal representative government and economic freedom. And you can't do that by just killing everyone. You have to go after the infiltrated bad guys and be seen to be protecting the good guys. i.e. winning hearts and minds.

So too, if a similar situation occurred here, no matter how evil the central government became, it would be counter-productive to destroy all of the economic centers that feed the government. So a scorched-earth policy could not be a real choice. Armed citizens can be a real pain in the establishment's ass. Re: the American Revolution.

And you are all forgetting that an armed population is also useful in a Red Dawn scenario where it is an invading force we are fighting against.

Frank said...

Steve Perry

If ever another civil war arises here, all those troops who have all those big guns? Some of them are going to take their hardware and turn it around anyhow. You know that tribe triumphs country.

This would be necessary if they were following Mao's little book.

Ultimately you have to turn the "insurgency" in to an Army: Something al Qaida has failed to do, but something Hizbollah is working on.

And making progress towards...

Dan Moran

And yet ... there are plenty of people I'd trust with more firepower we presently permit. (For example, almost all of the people in the military who actually have those weapons ...) All I'd want is that they have something approaching the same sorts of checks and balances put upon them that are currently put upon members of law enforcement or the military.

I have no problem with that. But in exchange I would like a license that is good in all 50 states like a drivers license is.

And BTW, I know a firearms instructor whose experience is that most citizens are better with their guns than most law enforcement personnel.

I know I'm pretty good with my pistol. I practice at least once a week because the skills are perishable. Most law enforcement qualifies once a year.

Military is another story.

In addition ... I'd be willing to let the NRA offer the courses ... subject to the NRA instructors being trained and approved by the LAPD or similarly (or more) competent LE, the instructors to be regularly recertified.

Law Enforment instructors are often NRA qualified instructors.

And many Law Enforcement people go to civilian-run training. Places like Thunder Ranch. I have a co-worker who carries who has been to Thunder Rance on a number of occasions.

In my experience, people who have the desire to get a Concealed Carry permit usually also are serious about acquiring and maintaining their combat skills.

Frank said...

Nancy

Frank, I'm very glad I asked you what you meant by sexual freedom. Now I'm wondering where you got the impression it only means abortion on demand.

Because generally when I hear people use this in context they are talking about female reproductive rights: Abortion and birth control.

So if you mean that "sexual freedom" is the freedom to screw whoever you want, it seems China fulfills your requirement there as well. At least according to Wikipedia

Since the policy of Reform and Opening Up in 1979, the Communist Party has been loosening its control over this kind of behavior. But the practice of homosexuality is still labeled as a "moldering life style of capitalism".

Which I find amusing in the context of our discussion. Continuing

during the late 1990s and early 2000s, when sodomy was decriminalized in 1997, and the new Chinese Classification and Diagnostic Criteria of Mental Disorders removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses on April 20, 2001.[3] The situation has continued to evolve; magazine "Menbox" [4] is a gay magazine.

So I guess China is interested in sexual freedom in the way you mean it too.

Frank said...

Dan Moran

▪ Glock Instructor School
▪ Glock Transition School


Oh, and BTW, I don't like Glocks.

I've selected the Smith and Wesson M&P Compact in .40 SW for my regular carry gun and the Ruger SR9, 9 mm parabellum for my backup.

Steven Barnes said...

Steve--
Your Kennedy quote qent IMMEDIATELY to "negotiate" while all Obama proposed was "talking." Everyone seems to make that mistake, and I find it fascinating.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Frank,

So if you mean that "sexual freedom" is the freedom to screw whoever you want,

In the same sense that freedom of the press means the right to spew whatever you want, yes.

Or to put it in a less inflammatory way, why use such dismissive language for people wanting to do things they like in peace?

Anonymous said...

Steve: It doesn't matter whether Obama said "talk" or whether he said "meet with" or what he actually meant when he made the statement. For many if not most of those who heard the statement it translated into his being willing to negotiate. On the world stage perception is as important or more important than truth. The closest we have come to nuclear war was the Cuban missile crisis. If that occurred because of the perception Khrushchev had of Kennedy as weak then we see the value of being perceived as strong. For another example look at the Iranian hostage crisis. Peace loving Nobel Peace prize winning Jimmy Carter could do nothing to get our hostages released. But just the entrance of warmongering tough talking Reagan into the presidency was enough to get them home.
When I say that I fear an Obama presidency, because of foreign policy a major part of that is what other counties may do based upon their evaluation of him. I could see a nuclear war between Israel and Iran as result of Iranian aggression promoted by Obama's perceived unwillingness to use the full power of the U.S. to back Israel.

Marty S

Frank said...

Nancy

Or to put it in a less inflammatory way, why use such dismissive language for people wanting to do things they like in peace?

I guess I think think I was being dismissive. I, generally speaking, couldn't care less how or with whom people have sex with.

Ethiopian Infidel said...

"Obama got an Illinois law passed requiring video-taping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases, and he's solidly anti-torture."

Until recently, torture was essentially standard practice during Illinois interrogations, and was routinely used to force confessions from Blacks and, in some cases, Whites. So pervasive was the use of torture-extracted confessions to construct capital cases that former Governor George Ryan commuted all death sentences to prison terms and granted pardons where physical coercion was proven to be the impetus coercing confession.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2649125.stm

Obama presumably attempted to redress this horrid situation through his above-mentioned legal efforts.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Ethiopian Infidel, I'm sorry-- I should have phrased it better. I do understand that the treatment of enemy combatants wasn't some side effect of the shock of 9/11. America has had a wide pro-torture streak for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Ethiopian Infidel: I'm interested in some links that actually say anything, and can backup that in Illinois "torture was standard practice". Your link didn't give any such indication and googling the subject all I could find with respect evidence of torture was that one police detective, John Budge, who was fired may have used torture in some cases.

Marty S

Ethiopian Infidel said...

Marty,

It was doubtless hyperboly to torture was "standard practice" during Illinois interrogations, since the phrase suggests across-the-board usage and de jure status. However, we can accurately say that physical coercion to force confession was used with enough frequency among indigent and Black defendants to constitute standard police practice when attempting to establish guilt and motive. Certainly the enormous numbers of commutations (the entirety of Illinois Death Row!) and exonerations Ryan issued attests to the pervasiveness and enormity of the problem!

Anonymous said...

Ethiopian Infidel: I don't think the governor's decision to commute every death penalty case attests to the widespread use of coercion by the police. From the articles I read the the commutations were more motivated by the 13 cases of innocent people being convicted. That being said I would not be at all surprised if coercion short of torture was more widespread. However, I would also be curious about to learn more about the cases of the 13 innocent people. In particular I wonder how many were actually proved innocent versus how many had their convictions thrown out and were declared innocent on th basis of legal technicalities.


Marty S