Parents of the Year open thread

Bird Dog's picture

• I'm fairly confident in saying that this family isn't in the running, and I don't think that Omaha PD will win the Law Enforcement Agency of the Year award, particularly since they took the child out of the home even though no crime was committed.

• Interesting title: The Poverty Line Was Designed Assuming Every Family Had a Housewife Who Was a 'Skillful Cook'

• I'm in good company, or least bigger company.

• Even though militant Islamists detonated an IED that blew a hole in the wall of the compound, one month later the State Department approved a security waiver when they executed a 1-year lease renewal. Competence!

• How's the Eurozone economy? It sucks, with France leading the way.

• As currently structured, the Medicaid expansion will raises the costs of healthcare.

In 2008, Oregon initiated a limited expansion of a Medicaid program for uninsured, low-income adults, drawing names from a waiting list by lottery. This lottery created a rare opportunity to study the effects of Medicaid coverage using a randomized controlled design. Using the randomization provided by the lottery and emergency-department records from Portland-area hospitals, we study the emergency-department use of about 25,000 lottery participants over approximately 18 months after the lottery. We find that Medicaid coverage significantly increases overall emergency use by 0.41 visits per person, or 40 percent relative to an average of 1.02 visits per person in the control group. We find increases in emergency-department visits across a broad range of types of visits, conditions, and subgroups, including increases in visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings.

h/t Adler.

• The Air Force lied about the seriousness of a fire in B-2 stealth bomber.

• If you think it's tough being a black guy in the U.S., try Spain.

• So much for the green revolution in Germany.

Germany plans to wean itself off CO2-belching coal-fired power stations. But new figures show that coal power output in 2013 reached its highest level in more than 20 years. Researchers blame cheap CO2 emissions permits, and demand urgent reforms.

• So much for new coal-generated electricity plants in the U.S. All of the above!

• Palestinian pictorial. Cool stuff.

• The murder of a former Miss Venezuela and her husband, witnessed by her 5-year old daughter, spotlights the violent crime problem under Payaso Maduro.

Koch versus Maddow.

• Lamar unloads on Douchebag Reid. If McConnell unloads, it's not really newsworthy, but Alexander is one of the more congenial U.S. Senators.

• Jon Stewart unloads on FoxNews.



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Call To Battle For Those With "Jewish Sounding Names"

M Scott Eiland's picture

The next time my alma mater tries to hit me up for a donation, I'll be able to point out "You obviously have more than enough money already if you're paying this clown."

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

"Jewish-sounding names" like, say "Feinstein"?

Jay C's picture

Via The Nation:


Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Intelligence Committee, called the sanctions bill "a march towards war" on Tuesday in a floor speech that was remarkable in detail and force. “I deeply believe that a vote for this legislation will cause negotiations to collapse,” Feinstein said, after thoroughly rebutting many of the claims about the interim deal put forth by the bill’s supporters. “The United States, not Iran, then becomes the party that risks fracturing the international coalition that has enabled our sanctions to succeed in the first place.”


Dianne Feinstein addressed this point more directly than perhaps any other politician so far. “While I recognize and share Israel’s concern, we cannot let Israel determine when and where the US goes to war,” she said. “By stating that the US should provide military support to Israel should it attack Iran, I fear that is exactly what this bill will do.”


AFAICT, the Kirk-Menendez bill is one of the most pernicious and potentially damaging pieces of legislation to come before Congress in a long time: I'm not so hopeful/optimistic as to believe it will be defeated, but hopefully the President's inevitable veto will consign this nonsense to the trash bin it so richly deserves to occupy.


If A Vote On Legislation. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .that the President is promising to veto will cause the negotiations to collapse, the Iranians were never serious about this to begin with. Of course, if they've concluded that Obama lies a lot and that therefore the "inevitable" veto isn't coming, they might have a point.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


brutusettu's picture

If the Senate tries to push "The US is Gonna Bomb Iran War Bill" then some Iranians might see that as a signal that the US isn't all that serious to begin with..........................

Time To Switch To Explosives

M Scott Eiland's picture

Quicker, more painless, no need for a doctor except to say, "Yep--that f***er is really, really dead." Less annoying European pharmaceutical companies to deal with, too. Might want to move the witness seating back a tad, though--and it really sucks if you're on the cleanup crew.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

uh huh


i guess you and kin jong un are of the same mind about these things.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw


M Scott Eiland's picture

Too dependent on aim and the lack of a dud.

Is a disgraced North Korean government official supposed to evoke sympathy as a target for a mortar round, by the way?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

It's not possible to feel repugnance for the act


without feeling sympathy for the victim? Or is it that repugnance implies sympathy? 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

sympathy? who knows?


i just don't think cruel and degrading methods of execution befit a lawful democratic society.


obviously you differ in your opinion, i'm just pointing out the types of places that rely on gruesome methods of  execution are barbaric and not to be admired or imitated. 


i can see that you disagree and would feel comfortable in such a society. i wouldn't.


of course, some people might propose that sort of thing as an exercise in fantasizing about cruel revenge and payback, comic book style. is that the case here? 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

It's My Way. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .of dealing with some of the more disingenuous objections to capital punishment and how they are used to block legitimate capital sentences from being carried out. My proposal cuts the Gordian Knot by eliminating the complained about problems with most methods (prolonged suffering inherent to or because of potential partial failure of the process), eliminates the need for medical personnel (which is actually a fair ethical question to bring up, as it is with assisted suicide), and limits objections to the one legitimate one now that capital punishment has been limited to a narrow fraction of homicide crimes (did the SOB really commit the crime?). If gruesome methods are offensive to the enlightened souls out there, then they should stop obstructing the non-gruesome methods of execution.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).



If gruesome methods are offensive to the enlightened souls out there, then they should stop obstructing the non-gruesome methods of execution.

uh, no.


its the definition of false choice, really. 


what's fascinating about this is the contrast between your rationalization for presenting this option ("My proposal cuts the Gordian Knot") with the evident glee taken in describing the act.


i mean, there are well known methods of execution that resolve all your gordian knot issues without having to think of, and then describe the detonation and cleanup of a person. guillotine for instance.


but then why do you think we don't use *that* method?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw


M Scott Eiland's picture

Or they could admit that their problem really isn't with methods, and we can ignore their BS offered in that area. Either way works for me.

As for the guillotine, just *try* to get one of those suckers past OSHA--we can't even market a two foot stepladder without slapping labels on it that make the ad for "Happy Fun Ball" look sane by comparison. Besides--too French.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

who is "they"


and what arguments are you engaging here exactly?


see, from a bystanders point of view it just looks like idle revenge fantasies in response to phantom arguments.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Reading The Article Helps

M Scott Eiland's picture

Also, I don't feel obligated to reconstruct the entire national argument about capital punishment--or the ones to be found in the Forvm archives--every time I post a link. For those who find the need, Google beckons.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).



i would google your "exploding people to pieces" plan but frankly i'm a little nervous to see what would come up. besides north korean psychopaths, i hope you're the only one to have proposed it.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

There's also the dog's dinner


A rumor from NK that put me in mind of one of BlaiseP's habitual expressions

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

PETA Probably Approved

M Scott Eiland's picture

If the story was true, those dogs were getting better eating than most North Koreans these days.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Time To Fire Up The Akinator (TM) Candidate Defenestrator In VA

M Scott Eiland's picture

Nice of Mother Jones to let the Republicans nuke ol' Dick in the primary rather than have to throw the general election afterwards.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Woo Hoo!

M Scott Eiland's picture

Dodgers sign Clayton Kershaw to seven year, $215 million extension. Strike up the band!!!!

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

GOP so outraged about Benghazi


They cut the budget for embassy security. Because, you know, the children.

They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

It was self defense. Classic stand-your-ground.


I wish to God I were kidding.  

Reeves told Pasco County deputies that Oulson stood and struck him in the face with an unknown object when they were arguing inside a Wesley Chapel movie theater during previews before Lone Survivor. Reeves said he was "in fear of being attacked," an arrest affidavit reads. 

Struck in the face with an unknown object? It's a damn good thing the guy was armed in order to defend himself against.... 

When Reeves returned to the 1:20 p.m. showing, "words were exchanged" and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, an arrest affidavit states. 


"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

In the NRA's ideal world,


In the NRA's ideal world, Oulson would have been packing heat.  That way, when Reeves made a move for his piece, Oulson could have out-drawn him and blown the old man away.  Justice served, ya'll.  Oulson could have said something snappy like "text ya later" or whatever.  We'll hire someone to punch up the script later.


Alternatively, a bystander should have had a gun.  That way, he could have killed Reeves after the bastard shot the father.  The more bullets flying around the better, I always say!


Man, we are just a few more "good men with guns" away from total freedom and absolute consciousness.  These are great days we're living, bros!

As one of the more outspoken gun rights guys here


I've been pretty consistent in stating that the police and citizenry should have gun laws applied to them equally.  Without fail the pushback from the left is some such and such about 'trained professionals'.  So here's one of the trained, albeit retired, professionals and the villain in the room is the NRA?  The most common exemption in gun laws are for cops, to include off-duty and retired police and those exemptions aren't put in there for the NRA's benefit but to get a gun law a favorable nod from police organizations and again the bad guy in the room is the NRA?


The NRA approach wouldn't have prevented this shooting but then again neither would have the approaches routinely advocated by the gun controllers. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Yes, the bad guy is the NRA.


Yes, the bad guy is the NRA.  They are interested in expanding gun/ammo/accessories purchases -- period.  They don't give a whit about safety, freedom, or promoting a destructive fear-based wild-west culture.  Look at the Sandy Hook aftermath.  Their solution was a centralized national database of people with mental illnesses.  Way to protect our freedom from the government, guys.


As to your other point -- the fact that he was a trained professional underlines how dangerous the maximalist "more  guns is always better" policy of the NRA.  It is a numbers game.  You can mandate every single able bodied American receive a concealed permit, a pistol, and 100 hours of training (but not if you've ever admitted a bout of depression to your doctor!).  How many similar murders do you think we'll have PER HOUR?


I'm not really sure how exemptions for retired police have much to do with what happened.

The Rosie O' Argument For Why She's Not A Hypocrite

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Trained professionals" are able to use guns responsibly, therefore she's not a hypocrite for hiring heavily armed bodyguards when she's trying to confiscate firearms belonging to the hoi polloi. Except that the guy who blew away the douchey texter who didn't have a gun was one of those trained professionals (unless we're arguing that people magically lose their qualifications and training once they retire--shall we apply that argument to doctors or other professionals?).

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Drawing sweeping conclusions


off of a single incident is ridiculous. Of course some trained professionals will misuse firearms either accidently or deliberately. The question is what impact the training has when applied to a large group of people. And fortunately we have some very good data on that subject when we look at hunting accident rates. States that implemented rigorous training and testing as a requirement for obtaining a hunting license saw huge drops in their accident rates.

Hang on. training <> training.


Hunting training is training on how to hunt safely without shooting people. Police firearms training is how to kill people quickly and with minimum risk to yourself. 


Sure, all that gun safety, don't leave it lying around loaded, there's a safety for a reason, stuff is comon to both, but people tend to connect the object with how theywere trained to use it.


There's a very tangentially connected statistic on professional race car drivers. They are much more skilled at driving than Joe Soap but their accident rates on public roads are significantly higher than the general populace.


I tink the real problem is your national obsession with self defence with guns [or fear in general as Bowling for Columbine had it]. If you train to that you'll just end up with more acceptance of the notion that the average person should walk around witha gun and be ready to shoot people.

Bowling for Columbine didn't express it


very clearly, but it's the highest-profile piece of social criticism ever to bring attention to the topic. The real problem is a pervasive irrational fear of ethnic minorities: fear of home invasion, fear of mugging, fear of rape, fear of assault, fear of conmen, fear of corruption through drugs and popular music. Irrational fear turns very quickly into irrational aggression, and that's why you don't see people signing their children up for the Marines to go and fight the Timothy McVeighs of the world. You don't see impassioned, violent tirades in the news against highway fatalities, even though auto accidents have killed and will kill orders of magnitude more people than swarthy-skinned terrorists ever will.  


Race phobia explains why we lock up 1 out of every 100 adults (but 1 out of every 9 black male youths), a level of incarceration that would have George Orwell fleeing to the Soviet Union. It explains the open secret of the War on Drugs: despite the flimsy rhetoric used to justify draconian drug laws, their real purpose, at least in the States, has always been to create an ever widening dragnet in minority communities

in 1999 in the United States blacks were far more likely to be targeted by law enforcement for drug crimes, and received much stiffer penalties and sentences than whites. A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union determined that a black person in the United States was 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though both races have similar rates of marijuana use. Iowa had the highest racial disparity of the fifty states. Black people in Iowa were arrested for marijuana possession at a rate 8.4 times higher than white people.


In 1998 there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-Americans, who only comprised 13% of regular drug users, made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes. Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than white men, even though they only comprise 13% of regular drug users.


In the late 1990s, black and white women had similar levels of drug use during pregnancy. In spite of this, black women were 10 times as likely as white women to be reported to a child welfare agency for prenatal drug use. 

I believe we're going to look back at the period beginning with the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Reagan-era War on Drugs as the start of a new racial holocaust in this country. And once we've finally relaxed the grip of drug-related incarcerations (which account for some 35% of all incarcerations) and moved on to some new mode for expressing ethnophobic terror, we will all study the War on Drugs period in school as yet another appalling and flagrant injustice the US has inflicted on its own ethnic minority citizens. We'll flap our hands and shake our heads and feel real, real bad, meanwhile doing nothing about whatever racist horror du jour we happen to be committing at that time. 


The question is why. Why has America always been terrified of its own non-Anglo population? Why has it systematically and violently repressed them via an evolving legal scheme throughout its history? My theory is that it starts with run-of-the-mill xenophobia, which you can find in any country, particularly one undergoing economic, social & demographic change. But that basic xenophobia here seems to me to be progressively intensified by the ever-growing awareness of past injustices. In other words, America has a conscience...the disparity between the high ideals of the Constitution and the realities of chattel slavery, racial apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and now mass incarceration on a pretext leaves the entire country in a state of cognitive dissonance that makes some of us even more paranoid and violent than we would be in a culture that unselfconsciously accepts ethnic caste divisions. While many Americans are partially aware of the disparity, many more live in a dangerous state of denial, and that denial appears to add fuel to the xenophobic fire indirectly. Anyway, that's as far as I've gotten with the amateur sociology. Alternate explanations welcome.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Isn't it more of a class thing than a race thing?

mmghosh's picture

IIRC, African slaves were imported into the USA because lower class Anglo-Saxons were regarded as being the greater potential troublemakers than African slaves.  


After all, Britain exported/incarcerated/exiled its potentially trouble-making lower classes to the colonies for centuries.  These days one cannot really export the rabble so it makes more sense to incarcerate/defund healthcare and so forth.  


Highly interesting thesis though.  We have had 4000 years of similar class divides - after 2000 odd years, the system started to ossify around classes, and about 500-1000 years ago our caste system reached its formal classificatory apotheosis.


You just need to give it some more time.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Not really. Americans tend to ignore class divisions


and pretend they don't exist... we are a nation of temporarily embarrassed millionaires, like Steinbeck says. Events like the Great Recession or the Great Depression wear through the layers of denial a bit, but that tends to be temporary. We'll be back to gleefully forking our money over to telecoms, health insurers, banks and our own employers before you know it. 


Race is where the highly charged emotion is. You can see it in people's fear of being murdered. People buy handguns, home alarms, car alarms, etc. to protect themselves against strangers (especially in "bad" neighborhoods), when all the statistics show that we are all far more likely to be murdered by a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, friend or acquaintance. People we know, regardless of their class or financial circumstances, are far more dangerous than people we don't know. Our xenophobia is entirely unjustified, and yet it is the focus of most of our fear and hysteria over violent crime. I realize xenophobia doesn't track entirely with racial anxiety, but it certainly doesn't track (in this country) with social class, unless the person in question is obviously a criminal or drug addict. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I don't think the statistical comparison


is valid.   I agree that buying handguns and alarm bling is not very efficient or effective,  because the chances are just very low in absolute terms that you'll be victim in the first place,  and the gun/bling is only going to help in a fraction of the cases that do occur.


However, while your statistics on who commits murders are correct,  statistics are only used to make decisions when you don't have better information specific to the case at hand.   I'm not going to be killed by a randomly sampled statistically average spouse,  I'm going to be killed by my own spouse.  Direct observation of her temperament and cool appraisal of how provocative my own behavior has been are far more accurate indicators than the US rates of spousal homicide per 100,000. 


Also, the fact that one type of misfortune is far more likely than another,  does not in general mean one ought to neglect the less common one.   If that were true,  I could tell you to just forget about gun violence,  since you're much, much more likely to die from a heart attack.


So, while I agree with your conclusion,  I don't agree with the reasoning. 

I wonder how many of the 713 spouses killed in 2010


had a pretty good idea that they were going to be killed. Some of them, surely. But all of them? My guess would be that a good number of them were far more worried about getting killed by strangers. Then about 5 times as many people are killed by a friend, acquaintance, boyfriend, etc. I imagine many of those people as well lived blissfully unaware of their danger until the fatal moment came. I think my reasoning is pretty good: people you know are a much greater threat than people you don't. Sleep tight! :)

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I'd guess a large majority


at least knew the spouse wasn't happy.  But the real surprise to me is 713.  That's utterly negligible,  only about ten times as dangerous as lightning.


Don't get me wrong,  I understand that very few murders are random encounters of the blissfully innocent with the indiscriminately violent.  For that matter,  relatively few murders are completely unprovoked,  they just aren't sufficiently provoked.


But....handguns are just as effective (or ineffective) against husbands, co-workers, debtors, etc as they are against strangers. It could be that many of the purchasers didn't buy the gun with strangers in mind, and gave it more thought than you credit them with.

12,000 and change killed by acquaintances or relatives


isn't negligible. I'm sure a meaningful chunk of those that were handgun homicides were carried out by people who bought a gun knowing in advance who they might wind up shooting. They only point to take from this is that far more victims of violent crime are victimized by people they know than people they don't. I don't think "they knew it was coming" applies to most of those cases.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Interesting health news


Discussed above that being killed by your spouse is many times more likely than being killed by lightning - it turns out that's only because the death rate from lightning dropped by a factor of more than 10 over the 20th century:

Any idea what percentage


of the 12,000 were "business" relationships,  in lines of work where buyers and sellers traditionally come armed?

Sounds Like. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .the way to go would be to add optional firearms training to the public school curriculum, in the same way that driver education/training is. The NRA and other similar organizations would probably be thrilled to help with the process and thereby make it cheaper and more focused than it would be otherwise. Providing further funding at the junior college level would allow for young adults whose parents didn't want to grant permission in high school, or for those who didn't feel comfortable taking the training at a younger age.

*Scott glances at his watch and waits for predictable, tedious responses*

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

You're out of touch MSE


It's been a long time since the NRA focused on gun safety. Back when I was a member that was important. I left some time ago when I saw the direction it was going. It's full of whackjobs now who are cleverly manipulated by the manufacturers. Ask Jim Metcalf what happens to long time gun columnists who suggest that requiring some training is not an infringement.


M Scott Eiland's picture

But I'd suggest that they'd be more receptive to an effort directed through secondary education, as opposed to adults being asked to do it on their own dime--and I suspect that any objections from the pro-gun side to such a system would be drowned out by the gun-grabbers complaining about anything that might make guns seem less icky from the "official" point of view.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

We could call it the Sandy Hook Sharpshooters Seminar


Too soon? How about the Columbine Sniper Curriculum? No? 


Public funding for gun education is a great idea. I think people taking the courses should be old enough to purchase a firearm, though. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


M Scott Eiland's picture

Fifteen and sixteen year olds can't buy cars without parental permission generally (due to contract law issues for minors if not otherwise)--why should guns be different?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

We don't want to throw away tax dollars on


wasteful, expensive programs, do we? That wouldn't be very fiscally conservative.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

"X Is Not Very Conservative"

M Scott Eiland's picture

*Scott checks that tedious, predictable response off the "sophistry" category on the list and goes back to looking at his watch*

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

All righty then, how about "public school kids


are inadequately motivated and gun safety would not improve." Then there's "what about would-be gun buyers who are long since out of high school, shall we infringe their rights?" Followed by that tired old chestnut "why spend more money for poorer results when you can spend less money with better results by focusing on gun-owners/buyers and their families?"

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

In Order

M Scott Eiland's picture

--"begging the question";

--easier to do once a larger training infrastructure is in place;

--"begging the question, second verse same as the first."

Thanks--some of those checkboxes were looking lonely.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Since neither of those is an example


of begging the question, maybe you should just stick with "nuh uhh". Why build an infrastructure that is several times larger than what's required to serve the actual need, unless what you have in mind is a boondoggle to funnel money to the NEA and AFT?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The First Is An Example Of It Twice Over

M Scott Eiland's picture

The other one assumes the first is a proven matter, and therefore actually qualifies as *bootstrapped* begging the question.

*Scott checks off "Sniper Grandma argument" on the list*

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Moving right along,


installing shooting ranges in public schools and/or transporting public school students and teachers to shooting ranges would represent an ongoing safety hazard, not to mention a serious liability issue for school districts. It would be politically objectionable to many parents, given the spate of horrific school shootings in recent years. The optics, no pun intended, would be terrible. The fact that such courses would be "optional" as you say mean that they wouldn't be mandatory for gun owners/purchasers, and therefore they would have little effect on careless or clueless individuals likely to leave loaded guns within their toddler's reach: the very people safety training most needs to impact. Optional training would be ineffective where it is most needed: irresponsible gun owners. Logistically, would schools be required to liaise with gun stores and dealers in their districts in order to provide training to their clients? The recordkeeping requirements to pull that off seem far clunkier and more expensive than simply extending current private safety courses. Finally, there's ample evidence that firearm safety, familiarity and training does not always reduce the likelihood of accidental shootings: the main significant correlation for accidental shootings is the availability of firearms (a fact which ties back to the public school district liability issue). 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

There's an analogy here


to sex education.   Politically objectionable to many parents?  Check.    Doesn't educate people already out of school who need it most?  Check.   Training not required prior to engaging in activity?  Check.


But most significant,  the trade-off:  one side of the debate believes teaching guns/sex in school destroys useful inhibition in kids who might otherwise have abstained;  the other side believes they are going to do these things anyway and therefore it's important to get them some information.


I think if you wanted to reduce the total number of gun accidents,  and were powerless to decide anything except whether or not to teach gun safety in schools,  it depends on the region.   Regions with long-standing social disapproval of guns might do better without the training,  regions with saturation gun ownership might do better with it.


Of course you could point out that there's a difference in moral value between gun ownership and healthy sex,  but that's a different argument than the practical arguments you're making.

In addition to nilsey's excellent points,


there's also the fact that teenagers on average are far more likely to have sex than they are to have or use a firearm. They're far more likely to have sex with people they go to school with. So the school is a logical location to do sex ed.


Kids who need firearms safety training would be better served by getting it through an organization better qualified to provide it: local military, ROTC, scouting, police departments, private gun ranges, etc. Organizations that have established business reasons for taking on the liability of firearms training. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Is your fact really a fact?


Looks like most parts of the mountain west have 60%+/- households with guns.   National median age at first intercourse is 17.4 years.


So....15-16 year olds in those areas are more likely to have a gun in the house than to have sex.   17-18,  about equal probability.


Note 1 - I don't actually want to add gun education to public schools,  there are already too many distractions from the 3Rs,  and in general I'm against putting anything in that doesn't have wide (e.g. 90%) consensus in favor.    But I believe the real problem y'all have with it is that it would help legitimize gun ownership.   I doubt training run in schools would be much more dangerous than football or driver's ed;  and I doubt it would be any less or more effective than the other types of training we give in schools.


Note 2 - IIRC you now live in the wildly hedonistic yet mostly unarmed Northeast.  Your fact might be more of a fact there.

I think there are big regional differences


Also as a rule, the lower the population density of a state/county, the more households probably have guns. Of course teen pregnancy in those areas tends to be off the charts too....


I think adding gun safety courses to public schools would add significantly to total idea whether there would be fewer or more injuries than in football or driver's ed, but it would add to the total, which is hard to justify. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Neither of us is


a hardcore utilitarian,  but if we were,  the measure would be whether the number of unintentional shootings (or just shootings) prevented by the training outnumbers the number of accidents that occur during the training.   One or two largish states trying it for 5 years or so would produce enough data. 


I suspect the debate would then turn to whether a resulting increase in stand-your-ground / home-defense / attempted-rapist shootings should count for or against the program.  There's basic disagreement whether one is justified in shooting someone who is about to commit violence when it's not clear whether acquiescence would be fatal.  For example,  he's probably just planning to slam my head on the pavement until I black out,  but might be planning to continue until the brains spill out.  Should I shoot him while I'm still conscious? 



No, They're WAGs And Policy Preferences

M Scott Eiland's picture

Sort of like how Obamaspin isn't actually objective reality.

Also, while teenagers aren't all having sex, a lot more of them will be driving--and that would be a good model for firearms training (optional, but students who don't take the training will need to gain the knowledge somewhere to pass the knowledge/usage tests to buy firearms, and might have to wait longer than someone who gets the training).

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

If the courses are optional, then they aren't mandatory.


I would think that would be obvious but hey. If they aren't mandatory then they aren't likely to make much impact on gun safety: selection bias would see to it that safety-conscious students would take the courses while yahoos who get drunk and go shooting on the weekends (of whom I have been one) likely wouldn't bother.  


If on the other hand you make the courses mandatory for gun owners/purchasers, then you have public schools getting involved in recordkeeping of private firearms purchases in quite an odd way. And finally if you make them mandatory for all students, the staffing and underwriting costs become astronomical in return for little benefit to the vast majority of students and hence little payoff in gun safety. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Driver Training Is Optional In High School

M Scott Eiland's picture

But--assuming a state's laws work like CA's did when I was in high school--a kid who doesn't take it won't be able to drive until they turn eighteen, and even then they'll need to get a permit and get enough behind the wheel training to pass the road test. I see no reason that gun training couldn't be handled similarly.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Driver's ed hasn't been handled by high schools since the 70s.


There are still a few exceptions, but by and large private driving schools have taken over.  


The issue I raised has to do with the fact that you need a driver's license to drive a car. Not to purchase, not to own, but to drive. It's an ongoing requirement, whereas a gun purchase is a one-time requirement.


It would be easy enough to require gun safety certification for new gun purchases... but for whom? The kids aren't old enough to buy handguns until they're 21 or long guns until they're 18, and I have a feeling their parents are making the purchase in the vast majority of cases. In which case, what, send the parents to high school for cert.? That doesn't seem convenient in the slightest. 


More broadly what about kids whose parents already own guns? Do you require licensing in that case? And if so, how do you know which kids require training and which don't? How do you know which adults require training and which don't? 


So a driver's license is a bad analogy. Unless you want to make safety certification mandatory in order to use a gun, much like a license is required to drive legally; and there again public schools seem ill-equipped to make those determinations. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

These arguments prove too much


No new public school education program,  on any subject,  addresses those who are already out of school and not going back.  Education is a long term project and it takes 2-3 decades to get a majority of the population covered,  regardless of whether it's safe sex or defensive driving or guns. 


As I understand MSE's proposal,  it's simply to shave a few years off the legal purchase age for people who undergo the training, as a relatively mild incentive*.  Sure,  irresponsible parents could give their underage untrained kids guns,  just like they could give them a beer, a cigarette, the car keys, or even take them to a brothel.  That's hardly a reason not to try on any of those things.


*I'm surprised how many kids now delay getting a driver's by declining to take the driver's ed course that lets them get it early.  Back in the old days the DL was equivalent to manhood and everyone took the training in 10th grade and went for a "solo" license on the morning of their sixteenth birthday, if that day was open.  I'm sure some failed but they were too ashamed to tell anyone.

I Graduated From High School In 1984

M Scott Eiland's picture

In California. So I don't feel too out of line suggesting that your assertion in that area doesn't tend to fit my experience. Private driving schools existed (and indeed I used one because I chose not to start driving until well after I graduated), but the high school definitely offered the training, without cost.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).



presumably sex education does not include practicing having sex. i'm not sure, but i don't think gun training is a "lets learn the theory of this without actually training with guns" activity.


edit:  also, this isn't too common in sex ed classes:

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

What kind of backwards


substandard school district did you go to?   No lab component for the "Health" class?   


Our "Health" class in the mid-1970's was entirely about the diseases you could get.  No pictures but verbal descriptions that were unpleasant enough,  and the only sure protections were absolute monogamy or abstinence.    I suppose you could do something similar with guns.


However,  I don't buy the safety argument from any school that has a football team.

On that note

mmghosh's picture

Schools in Gaza are providing military training to teenage boys in a programme that a human rights organisation says is encouraging a culture of armed resistance and a new generation of fighters.
The school curriculum includes weekly classes in which boys are familiarised with the use of Kalashnikov assault rifles and other weapons. Instructors from the interior ministry's national security arm also teach first aid, firefighting and the values of "discipline and responsibility".

Admirable emphasis on discipline and responsibility.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Israel has basically all their kids wait until their late teens

brutusettu's picture

for all that stuff.  I believe they're trained in the use of assault rifles, explosives, military tactics etc. And they even pay, feed, and supply housing for these teenagers during that training.

+1. nt

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency




“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

That Represents Quite A Commitment

M Scott Eiland's picture

They probably have to take out at least a quarter of the time they were using to have the kids memorize "The Protocols of the Elders Of Zion" to get all that training in.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I don't think so

HankP's picture

in the NRA's ideal world EVERYONE would have been carrying. That way they could have a free for all shoot out, because everyone knows only bad guys get killed in the crossfire.


I blame it all on the Internet

Even better than that, Hank, if everyone packed heat


including infants, and furthermore everybody knew that everybody was packing heat, then it would only be the criminals who have to live in fear. It would be a big role reversal. You see because ordinary citizens would be more dangerous/homicidal than the criminals, so the end result would be an era of calm, manly tranquility and the acrid, faintly floral scent of gun oil. No one would have to fear getting shot because everyone would live in fear of getting shot. Just like the wild west.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

You know

HankP's picture

I know we all are making fun of this, but it really does expose a really sick and depraved part of the American psyche that there's even a question about this guy being locked up for the rest of his days. History is not going to look kindly on us.


I blame it all on the Internet

c'mon hank


don't take our gallows humor away.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Some of that popcorn could have not popped yet

brutusettu's picture

And who knows what other things the man had lying around to throw.  A hat?  A shoe?  Throwing knives?  Cell?


How many objects does a man need to be hit with before he fears for his life?





--Anyway, the father that was fatally shot looked kind of tall in a picture, not rail thin, but far from huge, a fairly physically imposing, albeit not even remotely as imposing as a man armed with a .38 and training.  It might be a good idea to try and not act as if every other movie goer is at Busch Gardens where the shooter worked security.



--Unless that theater was tiny, how many open seats/rows did someone ignore to sit right in front or behind?

--Was there a reason that the killer didn't move up a few rows during the previews?

--What was the demeanor of the man that was killed and the killer?

--Was the dead man actively engaged in jumping the rows between the 2?  None of the stories seem to imply that was even close to the case.


The Popcorn Kills It

M Scott Eiland's picture

He can't even make the "furtive movement" argument because he'd already been struck by the object and (presumably) wasn't harmed by it.

*Scott looks at his watch and waits for the inevitable "the guy will only be convicted because his victim was white" arguments to come from MSNBC and other moonbat collectives*

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

It would be interesting if the gentleman who did the shooting

mmghosh's picture

was in fact from a minority.  I'm not sure why the furtive movement argument wouldn't work - presumably it all happened in a rush, and in the dark, so how could a jury be sure?  And it might even be true.


Even more interesting to speculate how minority stereotypes  be "expected" to respond to popcorn thrown on the face...Asians - karate etc. 

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Frankly, I see this as an


Frankly, I see this as an astute move by the retired cop.  If the recent past is a guide, he is just lining up for that sweet, sweet winger gravy train.  It works like this -


1.  Kill someone in cold blood over the thinnest pretense but in a state where one can claim "self defense".  Currently, this only works in Florida but there are expansion efforts afoot.  Check your local laws often.


2.  Sit back and watch the resulting media storm.  There will be people defending you ("clearly texting during the previews is a death sentence") and people attacking you ("when everyone has a gun and can carry them everywhere they choose, simple disagreements easily devolve into shootings").  


3.  This is the key part -- pro gun control advocates MUST use your example of poor judgment and lack of self-control (ha! jokes on them!) to show how more guns doesn't mean a safer society.


4.  Morons with money will rush to wire you bags of cash just for pi$$ing off the right people!  I know, right?  Maybe there is an association with having a basement full of thousands of dollars worth of mostly useless guns/ammo and making stupid decisions with money.  In any case, you know the next step --




Of course, once you are acquitted or given a slap on the wrist for cold-blooded murder, you can make the rounds on winger radio/tv.  Maybe do some blog posts.  Slap your face on some crap camo'd merch.  The revenue streams are limitless in this environment!



and this whole time i thought it was just a ploy to lower his life insurance rates relative to inappropriate texters.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw


M Scott Eiland's picture

I suspect that a lot of life insurance companies are going to add the following underwriting question to their lists: "Do you text or otherwise use your cell phone in movie theaters or other places where people around you will find it f***ing annoying?" Shooting people for such behavior is a tad harsh--though Darwin might have approved--but giving them a swift kick in the financial junk might do wonders for eliminating that particular form of antisocial behavior.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

They do it much simpler and more on point

HankP's picture

they charge higher premiums for gun owners, and if you don't do what you say you'll do (secure the gun, make sure it's stored and handled properly) they'll deny coverage in case of a claim.


I blame it all on the Internet


M Scott Eiland's picture

But what does that have to do with the guy who is decreasing his life expectancy by texting/using his cell phone at inappropriate moments? As eeyn points out, it's not just irritating other people--a lot of people are being distracted in ways that directly endanger their lives by doing that sort of thing, even when no one else is around to annoy or endanger.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Have you really thought through

HankP's picture

this whole "being annoying" thing?


I blame it all on the Internet

Yes, I Have

M Scott Eiland's picture

But I've found that typing "posting rules" is a more constructive way of dealing with my daily encounters with it than (I suspect) destroying their cell phone would be, so I can't imagine needing to take another approach.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

So PRV Tourette's does have a function nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

Classic mscott!  Well done!


Classic mscott!  Well done!





"here's a totally rube goldberg mechanism that will stop people from being annoying in theaters: JACK UP THEIR LIFE INSURANCE RATES!" 



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Well, I thought the detour


Well, I thought the detour into "annoying things people do and the awful but satisfying thoughts we have about them" was the genius part.  Maybe that's the beauty -- it is all things to all people.  Truly a master class.

Actually not unreasonable


Leaving aside getting shot in theaters,  people who text in grossly inappropriate situations clearly can't control themselves and thus are likely to text when driving, bicycling, rock climbing, operating wood chippers and ditching machines,  etc.

Why is texting in a movie hall a bad thing? It not like he was

mmghosh's picture

making an actual call, or talking in the theatre and so forth.  Presumably the texting was in silent mode.  So why the annoyance?  Point light source?  Lit up face?


They don't allow texting here but that is more because the phone could be used as a remote for a bomb detonator, but that is not an issue in the US, surely.


Texting while rock climbing is always bad, too?  There are times when you are on the rope and not necessarily scrambling for handholds.  

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

People Do Find It Annoying. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and theaters have been making announcements for quite a while now asking people not to use their cell phones in any manner while the show is on. As for other situations, there are at least two major train crashes in the US that I am aware of in the last few years that apparently resulted from the driver (or whatever you call the guy who runs a modern train) engaging in texting. As much fun as heet and nilsey are having with this, given that cell phone usage can get you a ticket in a lot of places and life insurance companies run MVRs anyway, it really wouldn't be too hard for them to ask this question and rate for it, just as they do smoking and other lifestyle habits.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

hey, this is quite fun!


Question 324(i-iv)

Please answer YES or NO.

i. Do you use a cell phone for text messaging?

ii. Do you use it in a theater?

iii. Do you use it in a car?

iv. Do you use it while "driving" a train full of people?


But seriously.  


what makes you think that an uptick in life insurance rates is going to be a driver of societal norms of behavior? has it been *in any other case*?



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Its a trbute to the basic honesty of American people

mmghosh's picture

that insurance companies could ask a lifestyle question like this and expect honest answers.


Over here, OTOH, I expect people would always reply "no" if being quizzed about being habitual texters, and even more so if they knew their insurance premiums would go up.  


Its not like texting can be picked up on a medical exam and tests like smoking and alcohol intake can be.  Unilke the US, people have even been known to deny pre-existing illnesses while filling out insurance forms. Kudos to you guys.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

oh, manish.


you have the driest sense of humor of anyone around here. my hat is off to you.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Actually its a plug for eeyn's nightmare

mmghosh's picture

womb-to-tomb single payer universal healthcare paid for by a national insurance scheme.  


With all its perceived inefficiencies, it is superior in catching freeloaders.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency



their point is not to lay out all the places one should and shouldn't text, it is to let the magic of the market determine optimal text messaging propriety, via... life insurance. as an alternative to allowing people to simply shoot texters, which is sub optimal.


(i'm not making this up.)

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

oh god.


did the real worl turn into the onion recently?


i mean i get it (i hope) -- you guys are just chuckling at the small indignities to which the modern world subjects us. 


but this is from the the "reliably liberal new york times"(tm):


"The killing underscored increased debate about when to use smartphones in public."

yeah, that's right. thats the debate.





“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw



The shooting?  Yeah,  we're joking.

The insurance premiums?  There probably really is a small correlation between texting and life expectancy,  but it might go the other way.   People who text in theaters might be more likely to look out for their own skins in ways that increase everyone else's risk; e.g. buying a large SUV with the idea that they are going to out-momentum the other guy in a collision,  while simultaneously blocking other people's vision at intersections and burning a disproportionate amount of carbon. 

Of course all of this is based on my stereotypes of how a$$holes behave. No doubt the insurance companies could look at it more scientifically.

Well. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .it's not like we need to discuss the concept of "murdering people because they're being f***ing annoying is bad"--most people agree on that already. To that degree, the only reason it's significant as a national news story is the fact that this is part of a list of incidents of people getting really, really mad at people for rudely insisting on using a cell phone in a way that keeps people from enjoying their evening. I won't go so far as to say "if it keeps one douche from bothering a theater full of people by using a cellphone in a theater it's worth it," but I'd be willing to bet that the occurrence of this sort of behavior will spike heavily downward for at least the next month or two. I wonder if a philosophy graduate student could get a master's thesis or even a dissertation out of the utilitarian implications of this?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


M Scott Eiland's picture

Guess he didn't want to pay for the guy's cell phone.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Hey brut


1.  The previews are important.  They might be, for example, my only chance to see a piece of a movie my wife wouldn't let me go to.

2.  If a guy is texting during the previews, how can we be sure he won't continue into the opening credits of the main feature?  That would be almost as bad as deliberately closing lanes on a bridge.  You expect us to just sit there and take the risk?


M Scott Eiland's picture

If Democrats thought that the whole "vindictive politicians" meme was going to cut in favor of Democrats after Christie's recent crank/golf shoes juxtaposition, they are in for a rude awakening. The "Nixonian" label has been attached to Lady MacBubba before--this will just be a reason to dig up all the old stories to remind us of what we already knew. On the bright side, I'm pretty sure that the dead ones on the list are immune to Clinton vengeance at this point (pro tip: stay off of the hit lists of Lord Voldemort, Dark Willow, and anyone else into necromancy--the whole "off the hook after death" thing is non-operative).

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Makes her seem badass.


Hillary: you don't want to be on her list.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Amazingly. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .that--ironic usage or not--is by far *not* the most tone-deaf reaction to that accusation I've seen today, as the moonbat scum at MSNBC are always up for new heights of despicable takes:

Sure, because Nixon had ovaries--and Christie has a pair, too.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

What's being claimed to have been done with the list?

brutusettu's picture


It Exists

M Scott Eiland's picture

Which was enough for people to condemn Nixon for his, since they apparently didn't bother to go after the people on it, according to the Congressional investigation on the subject. Having one just adds to the sense we saw plenty of evidence of here and elsewhere in 2008 that a lot of Democrats--never mind Republicans--think HRC is a vindictive soul, and--as the list tends to demonstrate--literally Nixonian in at least some of her tendencies.*

*--again, unless you can exhume Nixon and show me he had ovaries I don't want to hear any whining about sexism on that point.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


HankP's picture

Nixon's list was compiled as part of a project called “Political Enemies Project” by the people doing the compiling (mostly that sneaky little sh!t Charles Colson). And the only reason that the people on the list weren't audited is because the Commissioner of the IRS was asked to audit them and he refused. As John Dean stated


This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration; stated a bit more bluntly—how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.


By your definition any list of anyone is an "enemies list". You're going to have to do much better than that if you want to be taken seriously.


You do want to be taken seriously, right?


I blame it all on the Internet

Posting Rules -nt-

M Scott Eiland's picture


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Look, I'm no fan of Hillary either


but there were a lot of superdelegates.  It's natural to not want to do favors to someone who has burned you by endorsing your opponent in the closest fought primary for the most powerful position in the world.  Favor-trading among the professional political class is the often the only way to coordinate large-scale campaigns.


I'd wager every national campaign compiled lists of supporters and opponents (or "enemies).  It's what you do with such a list that matters.  Intergenerational hypocrisy hunting on this kind of matter is pointless.


M Scott Eiland's picture

Justices don't seem to be buying Obama's take on recess appointments.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Justices don't seem to be buying Obama's


and Abraham Lincoln's, Warren G. Harding's, Andrew Johnson's, Calvin Coolidge's, Franklin D. Roosevelt's (who appointed Dwight D. Eisenhower as permanent major general during a 1943 intrasession recess), Harry S. Truman's, George H.W. Bush's and the United States Senate's take on intrasession recess and the Recess clause.  

"Since the 1860s, at least 14 presidents have made more than 600 civilian appointments and thousands of military appointments during intrasession recesses of the Senate." 

-- SG General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning

George W. Bush made 141 intrasession recess appointments. One of his in*ter*session appointments was for Eugene Scalia, son of a certain Supreme Court justice, was was appointed for a vacancy that did not occur during recess, therefore violating the DC court's ruling. This was business as usual: now it's a constitutional calamity.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

"Everyone does it"


isn't a legal argument,  at least not one binding on the Supreme Court.   Otherwise we'd never have got schools desegregated.   And I don't know about you, but for me "W did it 141 times" counts against its legitimacy,  not in favor.


The constitution is (like in many other cases) written vaguely with the expectation that people would interpret the text and use the powers granted reasonably.  The number 600 isn't particularly important.  It could be that the vast majority of those were cases where the Senate would obviously want the position filled and the choice of person wasn't contentious.   The cases that count are where the clear intent was to get someone appointed that the Senate wouldn't want,  or the Senate had made a decision to sit on nominations and leave the position vacant - which they are entitled to do. 

Actually it is... stare decisis and common practice


of the two other branches both carry a great deal of weight with the court... unless the justices feel like ignoring all of that in order to obtain an outcome they like. (More respectfully, unless they judge a compelling interest to change the law survives strict scrutiny.)


The DC Circuit's interpretation: that Presidents can make temporary appointments only during intersession recess (which these days tends to last hours or a few days) and not during intrasession recess (which often last weeks or months), and only for vacancies that occur during the recess, would make the recess appointments clause meaningless. It would also tie the President's hands legally and rather absurdly if, for example, Congress recessed for Thanksgiving one year and then Washington burned down leaving them out of session for months. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I think it's the other way around


Intrasession recesses are the short ones,  and the DC circuit disallowed such appointments.  Intersession are the long ones,  which the DC circuit allowed, assuming the vacancy occurred during the recess.


It makes sense to me.  Breaks to go for lunch, sleep for a few hours,  or even a weekend/holiday shouldn't be an opportunity for the President to avoid the advice and consent requirement.    The President also shouldn't be allowed to deliberately avoid nominating anyone until the Senate goes on a long break.  That's especially the case if one is making the ohmigod-vacancy-emergency! argument.

Intrasession recesses are often longer than intercession


ones. There's a long-standing "longer than three days" de minimis rule for appointments, but Congress often disappears for weeks on end. That's one reason intrasession appts. became more common after WWII.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


M Scott Eiland's picture

Because constitutional language never becomes meaningless due to changed circumstances that render the reasons that it was included obsolete. Helpful hint: Google "20th Amendment" and "airplane."

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The Third is not quite meaningless


It still makes an appearance now and then.


If the SC had seen fit to properly equip the Third with suitable penumbras and emanations it could have evolved into a useful ban on commandeering resources.


M Scott Eiland's picture

But, as I have good reason to know due to my own interest in that area, the Third Amendment was busy enough justifying the penumbras and emanations that led to the mess that is the right to privacy without dragging other stuff into it.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yes but that works both ways in this case. -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Some Things Do

M Scott Eiland's picture

Like the fact that it was the Democrats in the Senate who started holding pro forma sessions in order to technically keep it in session during breaks (and thereby prevent recess appointments), because they were still cheesed off over John Bolton. The Justices are quite familiar with the concept of "hoisted by their own petard," even if they decline to do what probably should have been done decades ago and put a halt to gameplaying with recess appointments.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

All true


Honestly, I doubt Obama cares about the outcome now that the Senate has gone nuclear.


Of course, we're also talking about circumventing filibusters designed to prevent agencies from functioning at all, vs the filibuster of an inflammatory, ignorant bully on record stating he'd like to decimate the organization he was nominated for.


Obama's tactical error was not urging the nuclear option the minute Senate Rs made it clear they would oppose any nominee to the CFPB.  The average voter will be equally outraged by Obama's circumvention of the recess appointment clause as he/she was about the Senate rule change, i.e. not at all.

It's in the Constitution.


As far as I can tell, if the Senate's in recess, appointments should be fair game. There's basically no way to if and or but it judicially in a way that doesn't essentially write the clause out of the Constitution. You might argue the modern world doesn't need a Recess clause, but that wouldn't be very originalist now would it?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Problem is,

Bird Dog's picture

Obama isn't the one to decide whether the Senate is in the session or not. Obama's actions were a clear infringement on the powers accorded to the Senate, and a majority of Justices appear to agree.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

True, but can a pro forma session perform the


"advise and consent" function of the full Senate? If not, then the purpose of the Recess clause appears to be violated.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Doesn't matter

Bird Dog's picture

And the Supremes appear to agree that it doesn't matter.

Solicitor General Verrilli’s suggestion that the Senate has to be engaging in business to deny the president the recess-appointments power didn’t seem to satisfy anyone. As Justice Kagan put it, any such test can be easily evaded by a clever Senate (that could name post offices by unanimous consent, for example, or, in Chief Justice Roberts’s example, note in the Senate Journal for “pro forma” sessions that “no business is anticipated to be [rather than will be] conducted”). Justice Kennedy said that he was “in search of a limiting principle” to the government’s position—so as not to simply give the president sole discretion to determine when the Senate is or isn’t in recess. Justice Kagan was left asking both sides how the Court should rule given that the presidential practice—whose history prior to the Truman administration the parties dispute—seemed to so clearly contradict the constitutional text and structure.

The bottom line is that a person who is not a Senator is inserting himself into Senate business by deciding whether or not the Senate is in session. It's a basic separation of powers argument, where the president in this case is attempting to wrest a degree of power from the Senate.

The whole Recess Clause is antiquated, written at a time when the primary mode of travel was by horse.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

There's a huge difference between those valid issues,


and the DC court's ruling that the President can recess appoint only during intersessions and only vacancies that occurred during that intersession. That ruling would invalidate the Recess clause entirely in an age where intersession recesses are typically days rather than weeks or months long. To me that decision is clearly unconstitutional, given that it makes the President completely unable to act during the long periods of time where the Senate is unavailable or unable to advise and consent.


It would also make illegal temporary appointments during emergency recesses. There are a lot of good reasons not to abandon the Recess clause.  


Here's how I would rule: if the Senate itself declares that "no business will be conducted" during a pro forma session, then the Senate itself has declared a recess by another name. If the Senate wants to stay in business 365 days a year in order to block nominations, it is free to do so. The business of the government, however, should not be bound or limited by the Senate's schedule, particularly for appointments the Senate is fully within its rights to review during its next session.


I think the "until next session" interpretation needs to be curbed, since it ties the current Senate's hands. That's a fairly idiotic reading of the law. 


In other words, I would define Recess as "Senate unavailable to conduct advise and consent" and define "next session" as "the next Senate meeting in which it is available to advise and consent." I think that would already limit the Recess appointment power considerably.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Also, a quote from


Elena Kagan,  responding to the Solicitor General's attempt to define when the Senate is in session:

Because if you are going to rely on history and on the development of an equilibrium with respect to what “happens” means, and if you are going to do that again with respect to whether intra-session recesses are included, then it seems to me you also have to look to history and the development of an equilibrium with respect to Congress’s definition of its own power to determine whether they are in recess or not.

In other words, your third argument about pro forma sessions, the history is entirely on the Senate’s side, not on your side. And if we’re going to take a kind of continuing practice and the development of equilibrium seriously, you might win on questions 1 and 2 and then lose on question 3.



I agree with her, but pro forma sessions


represent an unforeseen Constitutional conflict between the letter and the clear intent of the law, which was to fill vacancies in vital functions temporarily when the Senate isn't available to review nominations.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Considering that the House


forced the Senate* to hold PFSs for the specific purpose of preventing recess appointments,  it appears there is a difference of opinion on how vital the positions were.  At least some of our elected representatives thought the nation would survive the vacancies.


*As I understand the case, the Senate (D controlled) wasn't holding the sessions to prevent recess appointments - they were holding them to satisfy constitutional requirements, because the House would not give them consent to adjourn for more than three days.  Republican senators asked the House to deny consent.



That isn't the point. If the Senate is unavailable,


whether against its own wishes or not, then there needs to be a constitutional workaround. I think it's important to remember we're talking about temporary appointments. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

With the "nuclear" attitude going


around,  we could end up with temporary appointments to the Supreme Court,  where a temp could have some very long term effects.


I agree temporary executive branch appointments aren't that important.  With a few exceptions those people are taking actions the president could take himself anyway.   But for that same reason,  it's no big emergency if they don't get filled - just more workload spread around among the top level officials.

Would you say the gov't has been working just fine


since 2010? I suppose if your idea of good government is one half of one branch paralyzing all the others and spending tens of billions doing it, then perhaps so.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

"Unavailable and unable" is different


from "unwilling".  


Surely you wouldn't argue that if the Senate is physically present but sets up a schedule that says "this week we are doing budget and we won't have time to look at nominations"  then the President can appoint anyone he wants.   So how do you distinguish that from "this week we are going to do resolutions praising motherhood and veterans (proxy voting allowed!)  and we won't have time to look at nominations" ?


"If the Senate wants to stay in business 365 days a year in order to block nominations" - this is the kind of overreach that the SC is not going to let go.  You are suggesting that the advice and consent clause is meaningless unless Senators stay awake 24-7-365,  eat at their desks, and urinate into buckets.  And not only that, they have to be conducting business that the president believes is important enough to be considered "really" in session.  The more-than-three day rule had some merit and tie back to the constitutional text,  but President Obama's decision to appoint during a recess of three days  is precisely what triggered this lawsuit.


"The business of the government, however, should not be bound or limited by the Senate's schedule," - this sentiment is a sign of late-stage dying democracy.  Executive worship has reached the point where instead of expecting the President to carry out the laws and orders of Congress,  we believe that the President is the government and he has priorities too important to bound by trivialities like representative democracy.   I'll concede that Congress has brought this lack of respect upon itself; nevertheless,  elective dictatorship is not a stable form of government in the long term.





The Senate has every right to refuse


to do its job whether it's in session or not in session. But there are times when it is unable to do its job, namely when there's no quorum. A pro forma session consists of one member of each house showing up every three days, banging a gavel, and then going home. Senator Byrd set the record in 1989, presiding over a session lasting less than a second.  


If the Senate considers itself in session, but the session consists of one Senator from Arlington showing up every three days and flipping the lights on and off, then that isn't a session. The Senate is not available to advise the President or conduct any other business of government.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Except That The Senate Said It Was In Session

M Scott Eiland's picture

And the whole separation of powers thing is about as originalist as things get. The argument that you're beating into the ground (and still, amusingly, possibly losing among a majority of the Supremes) is just a matter of spiking the ball after the touchdown is scored.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Can a pro forma session advise and consent?


Seems like one question the court will have to answer. Or, you know, fudge, before tossing the appointments.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

It Can Acknowledge, Then Review Later

M Scott Eiland's picture

It's a phony issue, given that confirmation hearings aren't simultaneous with notification--it's also one that a Democratic administration is ill-suited to raise, given that Democrats in the Senate originated the tactic to keep GWB from making recess appointments. Of course, ignoring inconvenient provisions of the law is pretty much routine for this Administration, even for laws they orchestrated themselves.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

In other words "no." Pro forma sessions


adhere to the letter of the law while directly contradicting its obvious purpose. "Review later" is exactly what happens to recess appointments in any case, although I'm fully willing to admit that the "next session" interpretation creates a perverse incentive that obviously wasn't intended (an intrasession appt. can lead to a tenure nearly twice as long as an intersession appt.). That part should be clarified, and I'm pretty sure the FFs intended for the Senate to review upon its next meeting, not its next elected session. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The Senate could eliminate this


problem by eliminating the distinction between recess and adjournment.   Every time they break up,  even thirty minute lunch breaks,  is an adjournment,  and thus the end of a session.  The President can appoint someone during the lunch break,  but the person's term expires at the end of the next session,  e.g. the dinner break.  


The person could theoretically be recess-reappointed over and over,  but there's a law prohibiting reappointed officials from drawing a salary, so they'd spend their lives taking the oath of office after breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday for no pay.

This guy Verrilli


seems to specialize in making arguments so overreaching that they pi$$ off even the liberal justices,  in this case,  Kagan.


On the other side of the case is Miguel Estrada,  who never got a Senate vote on his nomination to a federal judgeship,  essentially arguing that the Senate had a right to do that to him.



Austerity's green shoots



With 5 yrs. of austerity you too can climb 20% of the way back out of your hole. In 40 short yrs., you'll be back to your pre-recession peak! If you're an economist, call this situation green shoots and then never mention it again.


(Tyler Cowen on July 1, 2010: "As for how the policy fares in absolute terms, 2-3 years is a good window for judging")

Here's what bugs me about the Austerians:




In other words, what good reason do they have for strangling the hard-hit recession economies of dozens of countries? I don't mean the eye-twitchingly asinine reasons they've given publicly (like conflating public and private debt). I mean real reasons. Is it about killing entitlements? Preventing inflation at all costs? Could it really be base superstition, like we've been bad and now we need to punish ourselves? 


It bothers me that I can't work out a motive. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

spitballing here, but...


could it be about

  • keeping any stimulus flowing in the correct direction (i.e. monetary vs fiscal, because it more directly benefits the elite stakeholders)?
  • similarly, keeping powerful creditor class in the money, thru
    • making sure they;re not getting haircuts
    • privileging the repayment of debt as the top political priority and also
    • paradoxically extending and creating new debt burdens because austerity just doesnt really work?

just some thoughts....

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Mz Catholic bones really want to go with Jordan's


Base superstition. We have sinned, we must suffer to attain redemption, but having lived through the Irish boom and bust I'd have to say that, though Base Superstition might explain why it's so easy to sell to the proles your theoretical framework acts as a great predictive tool. The ECB's actions were all about locking in the Irish taxpayers to making bondholders, who should've lost their shirts, whole.


The shareholders of the banks did get decimated though. I'm not sure if that's a counterargument or evidence that a certain type of person doesn't get burned when a bank's shares go from EUR20 to 2 cents.


From what I understand Spain followed the Irish model of backing bank bonds with the taxpayers money.


I don't know how things worked out in Greece and Cyprus, except that the depositors got scorched.

NFL: Day of Triumph or Ignominy

HankP's picture

Getting ready for the Seahawks game, very swirly - windy - rainy today which can make games flukey. I think the Hawks will take this game, but oh my god the tears and recriminations if they go down. Recent history isn't very kind to #1 seeds in the NFL (but very good to #1 seeds in the NFC). Also looking forward to the 49ers - Panthers game tomorrow, the 2nd and 3rd best defenses in what looks to be a low scoring grinder of a game.


Any other football fans watching today? Tell me why your team is great and the other team sucks.




I blame it all on the Internet

Seahawks are off to a start


Seahawks are off to a start of some kind...  Saints offense looks tougher than prior meetings.  Pretty crap weather we have here though, eh?

Get used to it newbie

HankP's picture

this is a typical NW late fall/winter day. We're lucky we live downtown, when I lived in Woodinville this was the kind of day you pull out the generator when you get up in the morning.


You may be interested to know I have to go in for surgery in a week and a half, I have a 9.1 mm kidney stone lodged in my ureter. Good times.


I blame it all on the Internet

Technically, I think that qualifies as a kidney boulder.



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 



You're typing with that?  And they're making you wait a week and a half?

It doesn't hurt

HankP's picture

since it got stuck and stopped moving. Apparently this happens to a lot of people.


Thanks, Obama. No really, thanks because my new ACA approved insurance is not only cheaper than my last plan but has better coverage and less bureaucracy to deal with.


I blame it all on the Internet

Hey!  Newbie?  This is my 5th


Hey!  Newbie?  This is my 5th year here!  The wind and "thunderstorms" are pretty unusual, though.


Good luck with the stone procedure.  That's a jumbo sized calc, well done.  You probably have some nice opiates on board to potentiate any drinking today.  Don't operate anything more complicated or dangerous than a MIG welder!

Just kidding

HankP's picture

but 5 years isn't enough to have the full soul destroying affect of the NW winters take full effect. It takes 10 years to get the full dead eyed look.


I'm not actually in any pain since it got stuck, I just feel puffy.


Hell of a game today. Seahawks just iced it, I heard the fireworks before they ran the play.


I blame it all on the Internet

That Was Close

M Scott Eiland's picture

Every single Green Bay fan in existence would have yelled KARMA, M********KER!!!! if Golden Tate's fumble had let the Saints tie the game. The volume involved probably would have set off the supervolcano under Yellowstone and killed us all.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

What a bizarre ending.


What a bizarre ending.

Colts Fan


This lurker has got his lucky, old Colts shirt on. Colts are great because of their momentum and luck. If their defense can make some big plays early, they have a chance! It's supposed to be rainy tonight up in Foxborough.


Looking forward to the games this weekend.


Good luck

HankP's picture

no pun intended. I do have to wonder how many miracle comebacks the guy can pull off.


I don't think they get this one, but nothing would please me more than to see Belichick's press conference if they do.


I blame it all on the Internet

Death of the "warrior"

mmghosh's picture

or "warmonger" more accurately, maybe.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

CGI fired

Bird Dog's picture

But the administrators in charge are still employed.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

How Totally Unforeseeable!

M Scott Eiland's picture

Who ever would have thought that this company would be utterly incompetent at setting up the framework for a "progressive" government enterprise?

Oh, right.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Not much to cheerlead about

Bird Dog's picture

Ezra Klein's interview with Bob Laszewski.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009


Bird Dog's picture

That Reid is a douchebag, unfit for the job he has.

Mr. Reid’s brutish style matters beyond the marbled chamber of the Senate. Senate legislation has increasingly turned into a battle over amendments and Mr. Reid’s uncompromising control over the process. The six Republicans who voted to take up the unemployment bill on Tuesday expected at least to be allowed votes on their amendments to shape the legislation.

Instead, Mr. Reid dismissed all Republican proposals as unacceptable and then proposed his own new unemployment deal. Under it, benefits would be extended until mid-November of this year, and paid for largely by extending a 2 percent cut to Medicare health providers in 2024.

Moderate Democrats are also getting the short end.

The unemployment bill is only the most recent example of legislation that has become stuck in a procedural quagmire, affecting senators in both parties. A long-awaited showdown between two Democratic senators, Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, over the military’s approach to sexual assault fizzled late last year when they were denied any votes on an annual military policy bill that usually is shaped over weeks on the Senate floor. A bipartisan bill on Iran sanctions has yet to receive floor consideration. And Democrats, eager to replace a tax on medical devices that helps pay for the Affordable Care Act, have been denied a vote.

“I would like to take one of the bipartisan bills and allow for a more open amendment process,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota and a primary sponsor of the medical device tax repeal. “I think that would be a good way to do it and more forward.”

By alienating the most moderate Republicans and Democrats, he is ensuring that nothing will get done in the Senate this year.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Arsonists complaining about


how warm its getting. Pretty rich.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs


Bird Dog's picture

...moderate Republicans and Democrats are now "arsonists"?

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Better term than "moderate"



You have got to be kidding me.


Years of unprecedented Senate gridlock, and *Reid* is the problem? Republicans since 2010 have tried to shut down the government in pretty much every way imaginable -- through filibusters, procedural holds, endless poison pill amendments, etc. And they have largely succeeded.  


Complaints that Reid won't let Republicans turn the amendment process into the new filibuster are, well, hard to sympathize with.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Not the point

Bird Dog's picture

He's not even working with moderates in either party. The way he's going, he'll go down as one of the worst majority/minority leaders in American history, and it's not just conservatives saying it.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

That is wishful thinking of


That is wishful thinking of the highest degree.  When the history of Congress during Obama's tenure is written, the overarching theme won't be Reid's unwillingness to work with moderates.  Bank on it.


When the obstructionists openly describe their obstruction strategy, they don't have much room to complain about when things grind to a halt.

Who the hell is msopine? Dams1986's reply


sums up the fact-based rejoinder to liberal frustration with Harry Reid:  

he managed to get every single Democratic Senator to vote for health reform.  All 60, including Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman.  He then passed improvements to the law, in the form of increased subsidies along with education reform that cut out subsidies for student bank loans in favour of pell grants for the poor.  He also managed to pass a massive (albeit not big enough!) stimulus with a record investment in clean energy, with Republican votes.  He passed new financial regulations with a consumer financial protection bureau.  And then he repealed DADT during a lame duck.  

Msopine's complaints center around 2 things: not supporting liberal enough candidates/legislation, and not getting things done in the Senate. Blame for the second complaint falls straight at the feet of the most obstructionist and destructive Republican Congress in all of American history. Blame for the first goes to the fact that we live in a much less liberal country than liberals would like to believe.  


And of course the diary you link to is May 2013, before filibuster reform and back when everyone was still saying Reid didn't have the spine to go nuclear. Evidently he managed to find a few vertebrae somewhere....


"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I know you are but what am I?

HankP's picture

the current state of conservative discourse.


I blame it all on the Internet


Bird Dog's picture

I recall the title of a recent diary.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

"Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act" Has 56 Co-Sponsors

M Scott Eiland's picture

Looks like a substantial bipartisan majority of the Senate doesn't want to play the "Peace for our time!" game with Iran over nukes. Go figure. Looks like The Chosen One will have to veto this if it comes to him without being able to pretend that only Republicans (and Netanyahu) think it's a bad idea.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

So, You Want A War?


Because the option to Chamberlain was war. There is no middle option. There is no we throw some bombs and go home option.


If you want a war with Iran, say so. Before you do, I suggest you work out in your head how it would really play out, not the videogame version.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I Want Three Things

M Scott Eiland's picture

1. Iran ceasing all activities that would let them move towards being able to construct fission weapons;
2. Enforceable verification procedures to confirm compliance with said agreement to cease;
3. Draconian punishments for violations of said agreement that will leave them *worse* off than they would have been if existing sanctions were left in place and they had never signed the agreement.

If that makes them walk away from the table, they aren't serious in the first place--and at that point sanctions should be tightened further and weapons readied in case they react violently. It's up to them if they want a war--I'm quite willing to see them contained and slowly drained into impotence.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

#3 Certainly Isn't

M Scott Eiland's picture

And #1 is still subject to the dodgy language that doesn't nail down that Iran is forswearing future weapons grade refinement. #2 doesn't seem to cover all the ways they could make preparations to "hit the ground running" should they decide to abrogate. Shouting "AIPAC!" in a scolding tone is all well and good, but the Senators seem to have a point that this deal isn't good enough to justify taking our foot off of Iran's neck.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

More likely they'd just find ways to pursue the bomb. -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

But these three points are already part of the deal. nt

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

"If certain members of Congress want military action


they should be up front with the American public and say so."  

The Obama administration is calling the bluff of the Republican and handful of Democrat senators who are pushing an AIPAC-sponsored bill to impose new sanctions against Iran that seems almost designed to blow up the negotiations and leave no non-military options for stopping Iran's nuclear program.  


Iran's foreign minister says flat out that new sanctions or new threats would pretty much torpedo any chance of a negotiated resolution:  

The entire deal is dead. We do not like to negotiate under duress. And if Congress adopts sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States. I know the domestic complications and various issues inside the United States, but for me that is no justification. I have a parliament. My parliament can also adopt various legislation that can go into effect if negotiations fail. But if we start doing that, I don’t think that we will be getting anywhere. Now we have tried to ask our members of parliament to avoid that. We may not succeed. The U.S. government may not succeed. If we don’t try, then we can’t expect the other side to accept that we are serious about the process. 

My trigger-happy cop and bloodthirsty neighbor analogy seems to hold up pretty well.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Doesn't seem likely to help negotiations.


Much as a hostage negotiator has little use for the angry neighbor and the SWAT commander who thinks he's Jesse James shouting "we're gonna kick your f---in teeth in!" trying to talk a crazed gunman into releasing his wife and two daughters, Israel and senators who think they represent Israel seem more likely to derail progress than anything else.  


I'm fully aware that efforts to negotiate with this particular crazed gunman in past administrations have resulted in little more than diplomatic gang rape. But the question here is very simple: can Iran be bribed into forgoing the bomb, or not?  


Since you've already Godwinized that question, I have to assume your overused Chamberlain slur means you believe all-out war with Iran and its Shia allies in Iraq and Lebanon are inevitable. Have you actually war-gamed the whole thing out in your head yet? Does it have a happy outcome?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

"Koch versus Maddow"

brutusettu's picture

I was reading through that.


I got to the FGA part, I read it as saying Maddow claiming the FGA was getting funded by the Kochs.  Then opened up  "Rachel Maddow Deliberately Misrepresents the Facts then Refuses to Admit It" and the Kochs saying the weren't directly involved and Maddow.  thou Kochs do protest too much.

That group that the Koch's got nothin' to do with

brutusettu's picture

that group is on the short list of approved groups to send Koch paid interns.

If Rodman knows any Korean, odds are, here it is.

brutusettu's picture

소주 주세요 - romanized: soju jusaeyo (Please giving me soju)



"Dennis Rodman apologizes for North Korea outburst, says he'd been drinking"

If They Made A Drinking Game Out Of Rodman. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .saying stupid things because he was drunk/stoned/just nuts, the world would be as dry as the Bonneville Salt Flats within an hour.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Justice picks an Obama donor to investigate the IRS scandal

Bird Dog's picture

I think we already know what Barbara Kay Bosserman will say. I'm guessing that she already knows, too.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009


M Scott Eiland's picture

Even Al Sharpton probably paused and muttered to himself, "Getting a bit overboard with this race huckster crap, Coates."

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Not sure where to start

brutusettu's picture

considering I read those TNC post 1st.


Sometime in the future on the Enterprise-E, Captain Picard reading through TNC post before the date of David's post referencing TNC, and then read through David Harsanyi post, Picard will give his 1st recorded face palm, after reading some more and followed shortly by visiting Number One, both will shortly make for the 1st double face palm in Starfleet history.



I half-think David read different pieces, but he links to the ones I read.


So, 3 things seem to be the only options in play.


  • David has never read TNC before.


  • David has vary sparingly read TNC


  • David has thoroughly read enough TNC to get some back history and did a shameless job of libel via omissions.


Probably the 1st option, maybe the 2nd, only Breitbart spawn would do the 3rd.


TNC repeatedly admitted that his francais est tres tres mauvais (+ a longer back story),  one of Davids references to the article was a tell that he almost certainly jumped into the situation in the middle of things, among the other times David put words in TNC's mouth and



I can't wait for David's NFL playoff write-up if he's forced to type one out and if he didn't know much about sports that last 20 years.


(David who doesn't pay attention to football or sports anymore,  sees one play of Manning during the Super Bowl throwing a pick to a Saints, David goes to laptop, types up how the Broncos are in for an ugly time in the playoffs after learning Manning is QB for the Broncos)



Also, bonus questions from a TNC reader:



How do I apply for the TNC public intellectual prize? Does it ever go to Jews? Does it ever not go to Jews? 



Re-Transmit, Please

M Scott Eiland's picture

My Uhura-co Universal Translator is in the shop from my last attempt to feed the lyrics of "Walking On The Sun" through it. I should have read the warranty.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

David read what he wanted to read instead of what was written

brutusettu's picture

And some things went way over his head and he ran with *he speaks french* running gag.


There's stuff David missed that would require David to do more than show up in the middle of the movie, watch 41 seconds, and then tell all the readers the entire plot of the movie according to him.

Adding on David and Dylan's weird and wrong guess implying that TNC was stating his opinion was a fact.

The Ultimate Crime

M Scott Eiland's picture

By agreeing to vote in accordance to a poll of readers at, Dan Le Batard demonstrated that the readership of a tabloid website is profoundly more competent to vote for the MLB Hall of Fame than dozens, if not hundreds, of members of the voting BBWAA membership--thus the Powers That Be of that revered organization felt compelled to punish Le Batard for exposing what utter tools they are.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

He got advice from Deadspin voters, and got axed by the BWAA?

brutusettu's picture

Granted Le Batard didn't have to go back on his word to Deadspin because they voted for high quality candidates, but he wasn't obligated to go with their votes but they bailed him out by voting for legit candidates as far as I can tell.



The BBWAA said in a statement that it "regards Hall of Fame voting as the ultimate privilege, and any abuse of that privilege is unacceptable."

actually voting for crappy players is an abuse imo.


having impute from fans that vote for legit candidates is not abuse imo.

Le Batard said he made two mistakes

Bird Dog's picture

One, for releasing his ballot too soon, which overshadowed the recognition of the just-inducted players. Two, for not submitting his article to his employer, ESPN. He does not apologize for exposing this nonsense, nor should he. The BBWAA embarrassed themselves, showing their pettiness for all.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The First Was No Big Deal

M Scott Eiland's picture

The three inductees are getting plenty of love from the media, particularly Maddux. The second would be the thing I would regret if I did something like this--it's not really cool to drag your employer into this sort of thing without giving them a heads up. That being said, ESPN has nothing to be embarrassed about, either--it's a more useful thing than their run of the mill stuff anyway.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).