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September 16, 2008

Sometimes, as I go through the news, I bookmark stories and blog entries. Think About This, I tell myself. But, it's boring to think alone.

If you cast your mind 'way back to the Republican Convention--how long ago that seems now--you might remember reading about the police state of Minneapolis-St Paul.

I bitched about excessive police presence in Denver, but we had nothing compared to that. I mean, even the arrest of men threatening to kill Mr. Obama didn't get that kind of reaction. Even though they were armed and dangerously motivated by racism, they were dismissed as Mostly Harmless. Because meth is famous for producing a mellow high.

These would-be assassins won't be charged with planning first-degree murder.

I'm just saying. If four meth-heads had been found cradling an arsenal and threatening McCain? They'd never have seen the light of day again, except through bars.

Moving on, people who dismiss church and state apologies for past crimes? Are missing the point.

Why bother?" the scientist's great-great-grandson Andrew Darwin was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail newspaper. "When an apology is made after 200 years, it's not so much to right a wrong, but to make the person or organization making the apology feel better."

No, it's not. It's because people today are militant in defense of a 200 year-old incorrect position the church assumed. The church's announcement is a necessary step toward making people let go of outdated and incorrect beliefs. They aren't doing it for themselves. They aren't doing it for Darwin. They're doing it for his great-great-great grandchildren, and all the generations to come. (And, yes, a little bit for themselves. Because if churches and congregations refuse to admit to the truth of things demonstrably true, civilization will continue to polarize around these issues. (Removed: A short but heated rant around the idea of people who insist upon the existence of a 'god' but who also insist upon defining their deity with human limitations. You're welcome.)

Before we leave the neighborhood of good and evil, I see that McCain had no need of ParanoidPalin** as a running mate. He's got a firm grasp on morality. (For those disinclined to wade through the article, McCain thinks you create a "moral hazard" by bailing out major employers and players in the financial markets because doing so encourages risk-taking. To be honest, I couldn't decide which bit to rant about--McCain's assumption that a corporation has some kind of morality to hazard, or his blithe disregard of how the financial industry got to this point. So, I'm leaving it up to you.)

Moving on to money issues.

$407,000,000,000. Four hundred and seven billion makes a lot of digits. And a lot of deficit.

127,000,000,000. One hundred and twenty-seven billion. That was the projected budget surplus when Clinton left office.

$554,548,000,000. Five hundred fifty-four billion, five hundred forty eight million dollars. That's an estimate of what it's cost us, so far, to kill people in Iraq*.

The deficit plus Clinton's projected surplus--five hundred and thirty four billion. Which, not at all coincidentally, is just about what we've spent in Iraq so far. Give or take twenty billion.

And, speaking of record-breaking deficits:

Deficit up by $246 billion in a year. Federal agency cites 'substantial increase in spending' and 'halt' in tax revenue growth.

Those wacky Republicans. They've got the idea of "no tax revenue to support Big Government" down to a T, but they can't seem to get the hang of not spending money.

Poking around in bookmarks. That seems to be everything I had marked so far.

Oh! Last but certainly not least, this is why I had to wipe coffee off my monitor this morning.

Sarah Palin knows a little something about God’s will, knowing God quite well, from their work together on that natural-gas pipeline, and what God wills is: Country First. And not just any country! There was a slight error on our signage. Other countries, such as that one they have in France, reading our slogan, if they can even read real words, might be all, like, “Hey, bonjour, they are saying we can put our country, France, first!” Non, non, non, France! What we are saying is, you’d better put our country first, you merde-heads, or soon there will be so much lipstick on your pit bulls it will make your berets spin!

Put down your beverage and go read the entire thing.


* Well, and enrich a lot of anonymous beneficiaries of the government's generosity in handing out large sums of cash with no receipt required. And enrich the people who sold their noisy neighbors, old girlfriend's new boyfriends, business rivals, and other "enemies" to the US government for cash payments.

** Note the photo of ShiftySarah (I love making up rude nicknames) on the article. If anyone was in doubt, this is proof positive that the media's love for her has waned. This is the first unflattering picture I've seen any media outlet publish of her--and it's an ugly one. Many publications and opinioneers*** are probably going to be following suit--exposing their shame and promising to reform.

(And, shouting the Obama campaign made me do it! isn't going to fool anyone. You fell for loud rhetoric over substance. You always do. Obama had nothing to do with it, beyond being a speaker who disappointed you by not needing to use volume to disguise lack of content.)


*** It's a good word, no? Yes, I got it from "Mousketeers"**** and it seems appropriate to me. Because much of the time, the professional opinioneers strike me as being just about that serious about what they do.


**** If you had to Google that? Never. Speak. To. Me. Again. I do not converse with infants.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:16 AM


I'm more impressed with posthumous apologies/pardons/proclamations when they come with some kind of policy attached, or a specific repudiation of the policies which lead to the "error."

This one is awfully fuzzy: " The Church of England said Brown's statement reflected its position on Darwin but did not constitute an official apology.
The Church of England did not take an official stance against Darwin's theories, but many senior Anglicans reacted with hostility to his ideas, arguing against them at public debates."

So are they going to posthumously chastise Wilberforce, or repudiate him? When they do, call me.

In other news, after clicking through to the Palin picture, I noticed something in the "top stories" list: Dilbert speaks and he's serious.

Posted by: Ahistoricality at September 16, 2008 01:08 PM

Jonathan - I got a little trigger-happy with deleting commment spam, but I did get to read your remarks about "moral hazard."

I don't like to be rude (really!), but "libertarian" is just another word for "nitwit." Anyone who has paid any attention at all to markets and market forces knows that an unregulated system is a recipe for disaster.

OTOH, McCain making re-regulation noises strikes me as just lip service to the idea that government should have a role in the country's economic health.

Posted by: Anne at September 16, 2008 03:44 PM

P.S. I read the Dilbert thing. I was amused.

As far as the Official Apologies thing goes, I'm happy to see any progress on that front.

Posted by: Anne at September 16, 2008 03:45 PM

Well, the concept of "moral hazard" isn't limited to libertarians by any means. It explains why insurance policies have deductables, for example.

Posted by: Ahistoricality at September 16, 2008 09:01 PM

Okay, I can see I need to spend some time on Google myself. :) Although, now that I actually take a minute to think about it, the meaning and sense of the phrase are pretty clear.


Posted by: Anne at September 17, 2008 08:15 AM

The folks at Crooked Timber are some of the better non-libertarian social/economic scientists out there, and I know they've done some posts about similar topics recently.

Posted by: Ahistoricality at September 17, 2008 11:44 AM