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Bloggingheads
12-19-2007, 12:02 PM

threep
12-19-2007, 01:10 PM
Hell yeah guys. Stick it to Bob Wright, corporate overlord.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 01:49 PM
In response to Byron's request:

Decimate originally meant kill one in ten, and quickly broadened to mean reduce by one-tenth. Language mavens wring their hands when decimate is used as a synonym for, say, devastate, but they're losing that battle. My father is one such maven, and by coincidence, he recently handed me a clipping. I interpreted this gesture as a plea of nolo contendre, if not an indication of surrender.

Here's the online version of the same article, written by Jan Freeman: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/07/01/when_in_rome/

It's well worth a read, if you like wordplay.

Those familiar with my usual prickliness about language might well wonder where I stand on this one. I would say that, even before reading Freeman's piece, using the word in the extended sense did not bother me nearly as much as, say, hearing differential instead of difference (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2007/01/tinpicking-whats-diff.html). As Freeman points out, there isn't likely to be much occasion to use the word only in its strict sense. So, I don't jump all over people who bandy the word about.

However, since the word did have a precise meaning at one time, and since there are plenty of good alternatives, I don't use decimate in the looser sense.

Except, of course, when I want to piss off my father.

threep
12-19-2007, 02:29 PM
When a unit in the Roman legions disgraced itself, they'd pick at random and kill every tenth soldier. God I love the Romans.

Namazu
12-19-2007, 03:00 PM
It's a fucking disgrace! Paul and Byron are forced to tell us slow children which "Crossfire" seats they're sitting in, while Paul fails to make the most relevant disclosure: his history as a Bill Clinton speechwriter. This seems kinda' relevant when he downplays the Hillary Clinton campaign's attempt to conjure an image of Barack Obama dealing drugs in the 3rd grade of a madrassa to raise money for his eventual presidential campaign and possibly jihad.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 03:10 PM
kidneystones:

Consider Paul's insane suggestion that electing a new face is going to change perceptions of America around the world. Does Paul think the world that naive? Americans are in love with the idea that the individual they elect is recognized around the world as President. Wrong.

I don't agree with you on this one. The president may not be the only thing people around the world think of when they think of the US, but he (or she) is certainly a big part of the image. If this weren't so, presidents wouldn't spend so much time running around to do photo ops in other countries. As a negative example, you have only to look back at the past few years' worth of international newspapers to see a million references to Bush as cowboy. Or worse. As another example, I say to you "Russia" and I bet you think of Putin. I strongly believe Obama would put a good face on America, and this would be non-trivial in effect.

Just as many Americans have always applauded or criticized the president for a myriad of things that were mostly or entirely out of his control, plenty of people around the world think the president is responsible for every last action on the foreign policy front. It's human nature to place a single face on a group, whether that group is a friend or foe.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 03:11 PM
Namazu:

Paul did mention that he was a speechwriter for Bill Clinton in this very diavlog. Are you saying he should have said it in the intro? I thought it was more useful in context, when he did say it.

Namazu
12-19-2007, 03:55 PM
Brendan:
I missed it. Thanks for the catch. I'd still be happier if the bhtv overlords let us figure out how lefty, righty, or othery the guests and their respective magazines are for ourselves.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 04:40 PM
Namazu:

I agree -- that nonsense during the intro was painful, even as I recognized that Paul and Byron were mocking the policy. I hate being spoon-fed, and I don't like pigeon-holing or overly simplistic "left vs. right" debates, either.

Namazu
12-19-2007, 04:45 PM
After the Internet bubble burst, the Fed dramatically lowered rates, inflating the value of real and financial assets. Lower mortgage rates made houses more affordable and upward price momentum fed on itself. At the same time, stable economic conditions and lower bond yields caused fixed-income players across the globe to "reach for yield," compressing risk premiums and creating a vast market for securities derived from subprime mortgages. Several regulatory reforms seem wise and obvious in retrospect, and regulation could have certainly prevented the absurd no-doc/lo-doc/fraudulent mortgages written in 2005-6, but they merely represent the tip of the iceberg, namely a classic speculative bubble abetted by loose monetary policy.

jmcnulty
12-19-2007, 04:56 PM
Consider the following: First, Hillary's internal polling may be showing that Obama is going up and Hillary is going down so much that Edwards may finish second and Hillary third, so whereas it made sense to bring Obama down in favor of Edwards winning, it is not possible to "spin" a third-place finish. The attempts to bring Obama down (the kindergarten "essay,"); his inexperience ("rolling the dice. . ."); even the Muslim card ("You know, he really did go to a madrassa, but that was a GOOD thing.") have not only failed to work but have backfired. If you can't take Obama down, the next best thing is to take Edwards down because (1) the scandal is waiting there, ready to be used; and (2) a third-place will lead to a sting of stories along the lines of "Hillary's Mask of Inevitability Falls." Bill Clinton last week even offered the ridiculous idea that Hillary did even plan to run in Iowa and had to be forced against her will to do so ("Hey, second place is pretty good when you didn't plan to compete there anyway."). Next, who owns "The National Enquirer"? Clinton's friend and business partner, Ron Burkle. Deniability was set up with the Clinton campaign spreading the rumor that Bill and Ron Burkle had had a "falling out." Nothing involving Hillary happens by accident, especially two weeks before the caucuses. This is Hillary preemption and recognition that Obama cannot be beaten there, so the next best thing is to try to take the sheen off his victory. Ergo, if Edwards cannot be promoted to first place, he must be destroyed. The only way Hillary can finish second is to wipe out, if possible, anyone who stands in her way. She is playing for keeps and realizes that is all slipping away. I predict that is she loses the nomination to Obama, she will quickly divorce Bill since he will have outlived his usefulness to her. Meanwhile, I would advise Obama to hire a food taster. Expect to see someone from Indonesia to appear and say that they DID go to a Madrassa and that Obama was ESPECIALLY devout. Thus, he is either a secret Muslim (practicing "taqiyya," or lying to the infidels) or a Muslim apostate, who is now a Christian. Is his election likely to be a "Manchurian Candidate" senario or likely needlessly to outrage the Muslim world? Bob Kerry even mentioned the "Manchurian Candidate" (of course, saying that the situation does NOT apply, but then again, why suggest it to people and get them thinking about it?) Whether the charges can be proved or not is immaterial. The important thing is to get the blogs and internet humming below the media radar screen and to force him to "deny" it, so it appears on the media as a denial and everyone is talking about it. It will not work. The media has decided to "turn the page" and move beyond the fights of the Nineties.

hans gruber
12-19-2007, 06:54 PM
Among devout Muslims, isn't being a convert from Islam worse than being a Christian (or other infidiel) from birth? This is my understanding. The Muslim world is more likely to see Obama more as a traitor than as a friend.

It's also sort of strange for a liberal to pimp Obama's "Muslim background" as a positive when the official talking point is that all that Muslim talk is a rightwing smear. Well, which is it?

TwinSwords
12-19-2007, 07:05 PM
the official talking point is that all that Muslim talk is a rightwing smear.
I think you probably don't need me to tell you that this is a gross mischaracterization. Has anyone actually said that all Muslim talk is a right-wing smear? Can you cite something for that?

I think what you mean is that it's unfair that liberals can speak positively about Obama's distant and tangential connection to Islam, but conservatives are criticized when they try to speak negatively about the same.

It reminds me, in a way, of the right-wing complaint that white are victims of an unfair double-standard because blacks can use the N word, but whites cannot. My first question in that case would be, "why do you want to call black people the N word?"

And my question for you is similar: What is it you wanted to say about Islam, or Obama, that you feel you cannot without being accussed of smearing him? Can you be specific about how the liberal double-standard or hypocrisy has limited your own (or conservatives') freedom to express themselves?

TwinSwords
12-19-2007, 07:10 PM
In response to Byron's request:

Decimate originally meant kill one in ten, and quickly broadened to mean reduce by one-tenth. Language mavens wring their hands when decimate is used as a synonym for, say, devastate, but they're losing that battle. My father is one such maven, and by coincidence, he recently handed me a clipping. I interpreted this gesture as a plea of nolo contendre, if not an indication of surrender.

Here's the online version of the same article, written by Jan Freeman: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/07/01/when_in_rome/

It's well worth a read, if you like wordplay.

Those familiar with my usual prickliness about language might well wonder where I stand on this one. I would say that, even before reading Freeman's piece, using the word in the extended sense did not bother me nearly as much as, say, hearing differential instead of difference (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2007/01/tinpicking-whats-diff.html). As Freeman points out, there isn't likely to be much occasion to use the word only in its strict sense. So, I don't jump all over people who bandy the word about.

However, since the word did have a precise meaning at one time, and since there are plenty of good alternatives, I don't use decimate in the looser sense.

Except, of course, when I want to piss off my father.
Interesting conversation. One that has always bugged me is people who say "usage" instead of "use." The engineering world seems heavily populated with such types.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 08:07 PM
kidneystone:

Well argued.

Still, I'd point out that Obama offers other things besides being black. He's clearly a new face, for one -- not part of the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton dynasty. He's on the record as opposing the war, unambiguously, from before its start, for another. He's an inspiring speaker and has been putting forth a message of inclusiveness since he hit public life. He's likable both on stage and in close encounters, from almost all accounts.

You're right that it will take a lot more than just his image to bring about meaningful change. But I maintain that his image is not nothing, and it'd be a great first step.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 08:15 PM
jmcnulty:

Wow. Clinton-hatred at its finest, but also some decent reasoning.

Thanks for issuing clear predictions. It'll be fun to see how many pan out.

For the record: I don't think HRC will divorce Bill. Even if their marriage is nothing more than political expediency for her (something I don't believe), I'd think she'd see tomorrow as another day; e.g., running for president in 2012 or 2016 and going for Senate Majority Leader would remain open options.

I also think you're wrong about your Obama/Muslim predictions. I don't doubt that some on the right fringe will chant "Barack HUSSEIN Osama, oops, Obama" up till the election, and past it, should he win. But they tried this once already, and it really appeared to annoy everyone except a few who wouldn't vote Democratic in any case. And sure, some in the Muslim world will see him as an apostate, but again, I think this will be restricted to the radical fringe. I think mainstream Muslims will be just fine with him to start, just by virtue of him not being Bush or Bush-like, and I'm betting his policies will make them like him better.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 08:18 PM
Twin:

One that has always bugged me is people who say "usage" instead of "use." The engineering world seems heavily populated with such types.

As a noun, yes. As a verb, my pet peeve is utilize.

I agree, from my own experience, that there are some engineers who like to ramp up the pomposity with their word choices, but I think the sales and management types are more often guilty of this tendency.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 08:22 PM
Twin:

Very well said.

Hans's thoughts remind me of the Francisco Nava kerfuffle, especially the way right-wing bloviators hastened to make similar accusations. That whitewing victim mode is soooo old.

hans gruber
12-19-2007, 08:39 PM
I think you probably don't need me to tell you that this is a gross mischaracterization. Has anyone actually said that all Muslim talk is a right-wing smear? Can you cite something for that?

My sense is that a lot of lefty blogger types thought any accusation of a Muslim association was both false and a smear. I mean, look at the hysteria over the Madrassa story, which from what I can gather is more or less true--he attended a Muslim school. The left's spin was that it was just a school like any other, but that isn't really true. In his own book he wrote about making faces during "Koranic studies."

I think what you mean is that it's unfair that liberals can speak positively about Obama's distant and tangential connection to Islam, but conservatives are criticized when they try to speak negatively about the same.

No, I am saying some on the left appear to be changing the facts to fit their spin. Minimizing his connections when they are scared it will scare away voters, while highlighting them when they think they can benefit from them. Which I suppose is to be expected but it's dishonest. That's the point.

And my question for you is similar: What is it you wanted to say about Islam, or Obama, that you feel you cannot without being accussed of smearing him? Can you be specific about how the liberal double-standard or hypocrisy has limited your own (or conservatives') freedom to express themselves?

I do not feel constrained or cowed at all. I dislike Islam as theology and would be reluctant to vote for a believer of its tenets. I don't think Obama is Muslim or ever considered himself a believer, but I don't think it's a smear or a stretch to suggest he was for a brief time raised as a Muslim. I do not hold that against him in the least, but it's legitimate news. Of more concern is his mentor as an adult, the radical Christian minister, Reverend Wright.

hans gruber
12-19-2007, 08:49 PM
"Hans's thoughts remind me of the Francisco Nava kerfuffle, especially the way right-wing bloviators hastened to make similar accusations. That whitewing victim mode is soooo old."

It's not about being a victim, nothing in my post implied anything of the sort. It's about being dishonest about the underlying facts.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 09:19 PM
Hans:

... I am saying some on the left appear to be changing the facts to fit their spin. Minimizing his connections when they are scared it will scare away voters, while highlighting them when they think they can benefit from them. Which I suppose is to be expected but it's dishonest. That's the point.

All right, I can accept that.

Welcome to politics in the real world.

When I have a spare thousand hours, I'll make a list of issues where some on the right employ a little selective emphasis (which may even creep into the realm of -- gasp -- dishonesty) for their own purposes.

TwinSwords
12-19-2007, 09:44 PM
I agree, from my own experience, that there are some engineers who like to ramp up the pomposity with their word choices
LOL, that is exactly the right term for it. Ramp up the pomposity. I'm laughing out loud, for real.



I think the sales and management types are more often guilty of this tendency.
Oh my God, I would have to agree. You just described one of the central features of my life. I manage a number of websites at a large, image-conscious corporation that has a very large Communications Department, and I do battle regularly with them about the kind of overblown, ultra-promotional marketing language they attempt to insert into every last page on the intranet.

They have NO IDEA how that kind of language drives away users. If they had their way, they'd turn the world into a brouchure.

TwinSwords
12-19-2007, 10:04 PM
My sense is that a lot of lefty blogger types thought any accusation of a Muslim association was both false and a smear. I mean, look at the hysteria over the Madrassa story, which from what I can gather is more or less true--he attended a Muslim school. The left's spin was that it was just a school like any other, but that isn't really true. In his own book he wrote about making faces during "Koranic studies."

No, I am saying some on the left appear to be changing the facts to fit their spin. Minimizing his connections when they are scared it will scare away voters, while highlighting them when they think they can benefit from them. Which I suppose is to be expected but it's dishonest. That's the point.

I do not feel constrained or cowed at all. I dislike Islam as theology and would be reluctant to vote for a believer of its tenets. I don't think Obama is Muslim or ever considered himself a believer, but I don't think it's a smear or a stretch to suggest he was for a brief time raised as a Muslim. I do not hold that against him in the least, but it's legitimate news. Of more concern is his mentor as an adult, the radical Christian minister, Reverend Wright.

Hans,
That's a good post; you make a number of good points. Some of them I disagree with, but you make them well and in a rational way.

But let me ask you a question: Do you think the Drudge/Fox News/Washington Times story from January, 2007, was a legitimate and fair piece of journalism? Or a clear attack piece filled with distortions, if not outright lies, and intended to generate fears from the Republican base and, to whatever extent possible, the population at large?

The argument you presented in 3 pararaphs above is level headed and reasonable. But I fear you can't retain such esteemed tones while denying that this is a political hit job:

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/01/19/fox-obama-madrassa/

Be sure to watch the video. Know that I am dying to hear your response.



.

TwinSwords
12-19-2007, 10:25 PM
Minimizing his connections when they are scared it will scare away voters, while highlighting them when they think they can benefit from them. Which I suppose is to be expected but it's dishonest.
Are you suggesting that there are rational fears of Obama's Muslim connections? I should think that any "fears" of Obama's "connections" are irrational at their root. How can it be dishonest of Democrats to refrain from promoting irrational fears of Obama's "connections" to the Muslim world?

I think you need to be specific:

— What are the specific examples of Democrats or the left minimizing his connections when they are scared it will scare away voters?

— What are the specific examples of Democrats or the left highlighting them when they think they can benefit from them?




I don't think it's a smear or a stretch to suggest he was for a brief time raised as a Muslim.
But you do know that the rumors being circulated in the fever swamps go far beyond that, right?


far /fɑr/ Pronunciation[fahr] adverb, adjective, far·ther or fur·ther, far·thest or fur·thest.
–adverb
1. at or to a great distance; a long way off; at or to a remote point: We sailed far ahead of the fleet.
3. at or to a great, advanced, or definite point of progress, or degree: Having come this far, we might as well continue.
–adjective
5. being at a great distance; remote in time or place: a far country; the far future.
6. extending to a great distance: the far frontiers of empire.





I do not hold that against him in the least, but it's legitimate news. Of more concern is his mentor as an adult, the radical Christian minister, Reverend Wright.
Hoo-boy. I haven't heard about this one. Care to fill me in on the nefarious Reverend Wright? Complete with examples of his influence over Mr. Obama?




.

Bloggin' Noggin
12-19-2007, 11:28 PM
Byron tries to correct Paul, but he is clearly wrong in this. It originally meant killing one in ten or reducing by 1/10, as Paul says. Very naturally, as Brendan's article points out, it grew to mean "seriously reduce" or "destroy a lot of", but Byron is definitely wrong to think that it doesn't even encompass its original meaning. He has the original story about the legions backwards. So score one for the liberals.

bjkeefe
12-19-2007, 11:44 PM
BN:

So score one for the liberals.

(*Cackles appreciatively*)

Incompetence Dodger
12-20-2007, 12:22 AM
BN:



(*Cackles appreciatively*)

Unfortunately, Paul got the baseball metaphor exactly wrong, so we're back to even. As entertaining as lefty-righty matchups are on bloggingheads, in baseball a pitcher has on balance an advantage over a same-handed batter.

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 12:34 AM
ID:

Did I let that one get by me? I could have sworn he said it properly.

Not that it really applies as much as it used to -- in this day and age of variously tailing splitters, the advantage isn't as uniform as it used to be in the past. Plus, any competent ballclub has a statistician on staff who can print out all match-up possibilities for the benefit of the manager.

Still cacklin', however.

Namazu
12-20-2007, 12:52 AM
Race or color has no part to play in any normal selection process.
We should live by these words and stop trying to game our image in the world. If we do the right thing and be patient, people will like and respect us for the right reasons. The notion that having Obama as a front man can give us a shortcut baffles me. Is our problem that the world thinks we're racists? That our political system is perceived to be closed? Who exactly is going to be won over by a President Obama's superficial characteristics? Muslims? Europeans? The whole thing smacks of projection: the only countries likely to even relate to our obsession with electing a first black President are in Africa, where we're already wildly popular these days (favorable ratings as high as low 80s in some countries). I would think that reading Bob's books, let alone writing them, would be an antidote to such provincial thinking.

Baltimoron
12-20-2007, 05:27 AM
1. Kudos to Paul and Byron on the Afghanistan hypothetical. More, more...

2. Another good discussion about "Army junior officers make like trees". I guess both are just too polite to mention how low on the casualty-exposure index both civilians and army officers are getting. There's thunder in the distance as the RMA looms and pundits like Robert Kaplan talk about reducing the Army to Special Forces. Someone needs to talk about how DoD's budgetary responsibilities might affect military reform, too. How long does DoD want to provide health care and pensions for health care? As long as GM? Dare I say it: the Army is not an institution for families.

Again, who, is the leftist and the conservative? I forgot..perhaps they should update their credentials every segment. And, preface every argument with their angle. Like "I'm a leftist, so..." Or, "Now, because you're a knuckle-dragger, I have to disagree...!"

I also think ties should be mandatory, but only conservative patterns or plain. Women must wear skirts, too. Maybe we can have a bhTV uniform? Or, just a name tag that's color-coded. But, Byron has to cut his hair!

Please, Mr. Wright, stop the madness!

hans gruber
12-20-2007, 05:48 AM
That's a good post; you make a number of good points. Some of them I disagree with, but you make them well and in a rational way.

But let me ask you a question: Do you think the Drudge/Fox News/Washington Times story from January, 2007, was a legitimate and fair piece of journalism? Or a clear attack piece filled with distortions, if not outright lies, and intended to generate fears from the Republican base and, to whatever extent possible, the population at large?

You'd have to link to some other material, because the Fox bit you provided doesn't really provide enough info. It appears to have gotten one thing wrong, stating that his father raised him as Muslim until he was 10. As I understand it, his biological father was an atheist (but raised a Muslim?), and that it was his stepfather who he spent time in Indonesia with. A brief search seems to indicate that news stories around Jan of 2007 get these facts right, whereas the Fox anchors erred slightly by labeling his stepfather as his "father." The Fox clip also shows them speculating that Wahabism was part of the curriculum. I wouldn't be suprised if that was wrong, but then again I wouldn't be suprised if that was right. What particulars are wrong? I remember that a lot of people claimed this story was totally false, I also remember looking into it and finding it on balance correct, minus a couple particulars.

edit: I found the old CNN "debunking" of the story on youtube. It's obvious that the term "Madrassa" was inapproriate insofar as the school doesn't resemble the sort of radical Wahabi schools to which the West associates the term. From what I can tell, Obama was registered as a Muslim at the school (so he learned about the Koran each week), and occasionally attended Islamic religious activities. So I'd have to say that the gist of the story is correct--Obama was raised a Muslim for at least part of his life before the age of 10, but a lot of the speculation around the initial story--that he attended the sort of radical school we typically think of as "Madrassa" is quite wrong.

hans gruber
12-20-2007, 06:04 AM
Hoo-boy. I haven't heard about this one. Care to fill me in on the nefarious Reverend Wright? Complete with examples of his influence over Mr. Obama?

His title to his most recent book, The Audacity of Hope, was taken from one of his sermons. He was the head of the church Obama attended (and still attends) in Chicago. Here's an article on their relationship and its problems for Obama:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/06/us/politics/06obama.html

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 07:10 AM
Baltimoron:

..perhaps they should update their credentials every segment. And, preface every argument with their angle. Like "I'm a leftist, so..." Or, "Now, because you're a knuckle-dragger, I have to disagree...!"

Nice.

jmcnulty
12-20-2007, 08:54 AM
Note to Bjkeefe:

Look, neither I nor the "right wing" have said anything about Obama being a Muslim, although I think his Muslim roots should not be off-limits to RATIONAL inquiry. I think you would find that conservatives, rightly or wrongly, are more positively disposed to Obama than to Hillary, which perhaps explains the current coonservative schadenfreude over her current plight. Perhaps this is an example of being better disposed to the Devil you do not know that the Devil you do know. I disagree with this, because I think that Hillary is more likely to be a "cast-iron bitch" on foreign policy (the iron fist in the velvet glove) than the feckless Obama. So far, the only responsible person who has raised this Obama/Muslim issue, even mentioning a "Manchurian Candidate" senario, which ordinarily would be dismissed with the Bildeburger conspiracy theorists, is (guess who?) former Sen. Bob Kerrey, who, the last time I checked, was still a Democrat and a Hillary supporter. By the way, Obama is an apostate Muslim (and thus deserving of death) under all varieties of Muslim law. I doubt that this would be completely overlooked if he bacame head of the American infidel regime. Would a devout Muslim even shake his hand? The fact that he is named Obama and is black would be considered less important that that he is not only an enemy of Islam like Bush, but an apostate of Islam and thus a traitor to the faith of Allah. Some people take religion more seriously that it is taken in the Bob Wright world of Bloggingheads.tv.

ohcomeon
12-20-2007, 09:11 AM
While everyone is discussing words that irritate them, I want to say that the word "tits" in reference to Senator Clinton's breasts is offensive and unecessary.

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 09:15 AM
ohc:

I agree. Who has said that? Besides Ann Althouse, I mean.

garbagecowboy
12-20-2007, 09:23 AM
Let's say that Obama wins. What happens? Obama's race (and HRC's tits, for that matter) are a novelty only in America. Pakistan, India, Israel and the UK have all had female leaders. Chile and Germany are both currently governed by women. The world's reaction to announcements that HRC is a woman will be met with: 'so what'? Ditto Obama. The world can see he's black. And his skin tone isn't going to mean a damn thing to anyone. And his name? You're surely not going to argue that anyone's name carries valency of any kind, are you?

In my previous life I was a snitch.

hans gruber
12-20-2007, 09:43 AM
"Look, neither I nor the "right wing" have said anything about Obama being a Muslim, although I think his Muslim roots should not be off-limits to RATIONAL inquiry. I think you would find that conservatives, rightly or wrongly, are more positively disposed to Obama than to Hillary, which perhaps explains the current coonservative schadenfreude over her current plight. Perhaps this is an example of being better disposed to the Devil you do not know that the Devil you do know. I disagree with this, because I think that Hillary is more likely to be a "cast-iron bitch" on foreign policy (the iron fist in the velvet glove) than the feckless Obama."

I like and even respect Obama as a person (though he isn't charming, nor is he a very good speaker*). Yet I would rather have Hillary as president for the reasons you have cited, even though I dislike her and think she lacks integrity (much like her hubby).

*The praise of Obama puzzles me. I do think he is quite intelligent and capable, but neither his speaking skills nor his peronal charm impress me. In fact, I'd rate him below the average politician on both scores. Every time I hear him speak I think to myself: Why do so many describe him as an exceptional speaker when he's so dry and uninspiring?

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 10:06 AM
jmcnulty:

First off, I wish you would reply to the appropriate post, rather than just clicking "post a comment" from the video page, or however it is that you're doing. Or at least quote something from my post to which you're replying.

Moving on, you said:

Look, neither I nor the "right wing" have said anything about Obama being a Muslim, although I think his Muslim roots should not be off-limits to RATIONAL inquiry.

Oh, please. Maybe you haven't, but the yappers on Fox and AM radio rarely fail to work this in. Moreover, it's often done by sly insinuation. And what is this "RATIONAL inquiry" of which you speak? He went to a Muslim school for a while when he was a kid. End of story. Don't tell me that you have Manchurian Candidate paranoia.

As for Muslims considering Obama to be an apostate, I've replied to this idea elsewhere, but to repeat: I'm sure there are some extremists who would take this view, but I am inclined to believe the mainstream will find him easier to take than GWB. By far.

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 10:12 AM
kidneystones:

Thanks for 'fessing up. I must have read right over it. Evidently, I'm inured to the term.

I'll defend to the death your right to say "tits," but since another frequent commenter has stated that she finds the term offensive, at least in that context, if it were I who had written what you did, I would avoid using it in the future. Doesn't seem like too much to ask.

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 10:51 AM
kidneystones:

I've stated clearly that the term carries no malicious or denigrating value from my end.

Up to you, but remember the first rule of public speaking: Consider your audience. How people hear things can be quite different from your intent, as I'm sure you know.

I myself would rather my own arguments not be less well-heard, which tends to be the case when offensive (to others) terms are included. But if you'd rather stand on principle, I'll say no more about it.

Just don't come crying to me when ohc whups your butt.

jmcnulty
12-20-2007, 10:53 AM
I am not sure what I should be clicking to reply to a certain post.

Reply to Bjkeefe:

I never said that I was fearful of a "Manchurian Candidate" senario with regards to Obama; Bub Kerrey brought it up. This is a technique of the Clintons: bring up something nobody is thinking of and then deny it. Let's see how many times we can say "cocaine" while primly denying that we are raisaing Obama's admitted youthful cocaine use as an issue, Are you attempting to compare the influence of Rush Limbaugh (who has nas never said "Manchurian Candidate" to my knowledge) with that of former Sen. Bob Kerrey, who is President of the New School in New York and a member of the 9/11 Commission (and maybe Secretary of Defense in a Hillary administration)? Name a Republican who has suggested the Obama is a "stealth Muslim." Whether Obama is an apostate or not is a matter of theology. You may say it is unimportant to the majority of Muslims. This is like the "moderate" Muslim. Yes, there are "moderate" Muslims; we see them all around us everyday. But there is no "moderate" Islam. Most Muslims would not think of flying airplanes into buildings; but there is a minority who believes that this will achieve "martyrdom," entitle them to 72 "wide-eyed virgins" in Paradise, and entitle them to get 70 relatives out of Hell. Is this what Muslims believe? I don't know, but this is what the Qur'an and the Hadiths teach. Muslims are "moderate" to the extent that they are willling to disregard what their religion teaches. Read Ayman Al-Zawahiri. He writes theological tracts arguing that Islam is inextricable from "jihad." Don't expect any "reformation" in Islam. It has already occured. It is called Whabbism, returning to the pure Islam of the Prophet and his companions.

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 11:02 AM
jmcnulty:

I am not sure what I should be clicking to reply to a certain post.

If you go to the forum and view the post you want to reply to, and then click that post's "Reply" button, things will stay nicely connected. The posts you haven't read in the form will have a bright green icon to help you pick out them out, if the subject line and username are too hard to find. If you haven't already done so, changing from linear view to the threaded view may also help -- I find the ongoing back-and-forths jump right out in this view.

I never said that I was fearful of a "Manchurian Candidate" senario with regards to Obama ...

I didn't say you did. However, in asking for "rational inquiry" into Obama's past affiliation with Islam, you're sure sounding like that's your worry. And you ducked the question: what else do you think needs to be asked and answered in this area?

But there is no "moderate" Islam.

We've had this argument before. Obviously, we disagree, and I'm not interested in repeating it.

ohcomeon
12-20-2007, 11:09 AM
Thanks for trying, bj. Around here the word tit is used in several ways. Tittybar is the common term for a nightclub where women remove their clothing for the sexual gratification of men. On Fat Tuesday the phrase show me your tits is frequently heard. It is also used when describing body parts on a pig or a dog. No one refers, in polite conversation where women are present, to their mother's breasts as tits. No one calls their daughter's breasts tits either. I notice that in this forum President Bill Clinton has a "male appendage" while Senator Hillary Clinton has "tits".

I'm with you, though. I'll defend to the death his right to say it. And I'll defend the conclusions I draw from his desire to continue to offend me.

yamascuma
12-20-2007, 11:18 AM
Talk of "ramping up the pomposity" reminded me of an old book of academic comedy by Paul Fussell (best known for The Great War and Modern Memory). He published Class in 1983, and there's a chapter on the way that language signals class status in the United States. The key conceit is that the unnecessary multiplication of syllables characterizes middle-class speech, beset by status anxiety. (What "proles" call a limo, the middle-class feels sophisticated in naming a "limousine", while the real upper class just says car, etc.) Usage and utilize instead of use have already been mentioned in comments. Sales and marketing (merchandising instead of selling) are full of this nonsense; Fussell says that airlines are among the worst offenders: "flotation device", "beverages", "we'll be taking off momentarily," "smoking is not permitted in the lavatories", that sort of thing.

Fussell also borrows from Hugh Rawson, who says that the basic principle is "The longer the euphemism the better. As a rule, ... euphemisms are longer than the words they replace. They have more letters, they have more syllables, and frequently, two or more words will be deployed in place of a single one. This is partly because the tabooed Anglo-Saxon words tend to be short and partly because it almost always takes more words to evade an idea than to state it directly and honestly." [page 160]

Rawson has a "Fog of Pomposity Index" which you can use to calculate this. The exact method (not methodology, thanks) of calculating the FOP Index is apparently complex, but it seems you get an approximate measure by dividing the number of syllables of the long version by the number of syllables in the short alternative. Funny stuff if you don't take it too seriously; certainly sharp enough to make me self conscious about my own writing.

jmcnulty
12-20-2007, 11:36 AM
Reply to Bjkeefe:

I do not know what the nature of Obama"s early religious training was. I have heard that he attended a "madrassa." CNN says no, it was a secular school in Indonesia. But Bob Kerry says that it was a "secular madrassa." What is that? Was he a practicing Muslim as a child? His mother apparently was some sort of New Ager and his step-father was a Muslim. All that I am asking for is the facts and to feel that the whole issue is not tinged with "racism" and therefore off-limits.

I am also concerned, not with who Hillary is sleeping with, but that her closest assistant is a glamorous Muslim woman who grew up in Saudi Arabia (Bin Laden's hometown of Jeddah). Is that, along with the 10% of the cost of the Clinton Presidential Library given by the Saudis, something of reaosonable concern? If we are worried about the Dubai ports deal, shouldn't we also inquire into who will be advising her in the Oral Office?

With regard to Islam, you can believe what you want. There is a high quotient of wishful thinking in the West. I have only said what the Qur'an and the Hadith say. You are free to disagree, expecially if you believe all religion is just "lies agrees upon." You will be left hoping that all Muslims consider their religion to be stictly "personal" and not inherently supremacist.

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 11:53 AM
yamascuma:

Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds like something I'd love to read.

ohcomeon
12-20-2007, 12:45 PM
I am not fainting, blushing, or running for my Bible. I am an atheist. You do not need my permission to use the word tits. You also do not need my permission to use the words cunt, bitch, slut, dick, cock, fag, etc. Have at it........
I was only trying to let you know that, without realizing it, you may be offending people. When you compliment your friend on his mother's great tits he might not see it the way you do. Good luck.

Joel_Cairo
12-20-2007, 03:08 PM
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7507?in=00:57:10&out=00:57:24

Byron: how exactly is people being afraid the same thing as an actual ticking time-bomb? By your logic, so long as there is enough fear in the atmosphere, any interrogation measures under the sun are fair game. Seems to me the ticking timebomb clause is set-up precisely to prevent this from happening.

Byron is deploying a crazy circular, dissembling logic, and offering a similar rationalization to that which Julian described (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7492?in=00:36:33)president Bush using in response to the NIE. Here Byron is saying "if we were waterboarding, the bomb must have been ticking. If there was no bomb, waterboarding succeeded"... it's the old "absence of evidence" thing all over again.

Forget the "what is and is not really "torture" debate, we need to get clear on the definition of a ticking time-bomb. Byron keeps making reference to it, but I don't think it means what he thinks it means.

Joel_Cairo
12-20-2007, 05:53 PM
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7507?in=00:51:05&out=00:51:43

Who exactly is "shamelessly politicizing" the issue, when Byron is the one saying that that "similarly alarming" numbers are leaving the military now as ten years ago. Numerically, this may be correct. Thing is, the numbers weren't "alarming" at all ten years ago, they were exactly what the military wanted, so the comparison is totally invalid.

Telling Paul "shame on you" (or, to be more accurate: condescendingly "warning him against" his lack of shame) while pulling this kind of maneuver is exactly why you, Byron, are my least favorite blogginghead.

hans gruber
12-20-2007, 06:48 PM
I didn't say you did. However, in asking for "rational inquiry" into Obama's past affiliation with Islam, you're sure sounding like that's your worry. And you ducked the question: what else do you think needs to be asked and answered in this area?

One can be negatively affected by affinity to or indentification with an idealogy without being an actual closet adherent. To some, Obama's Muslim past is a positive. To others it's a negative. To still others, it doesn't matter. I don't see anything irrational with any of those reactions.

After reviewing the stories from almost one year ago a couple things are apparent. Obama wasn't very open about his Muslim upbringing in his books, nor did he apparently discuss it in other contexts. The initial Insight report grossly mischaracterized the school as a Whahabi Madrassa. Still, he was registered as a Muslim at the school and he did learn about Islam once a week as well as occasionally attend religious events. That was new information as far as I can tell, and the late arrival of these facts is at least partly responsible for any fears people may have.

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 09:14 PM
The laddy doth protest too much, methinks.

bjkeefe
12-20-2007, 09:24 PM
Hans:

Not having read his books, I can't speak to his openness about the issue. But still, we're talking about something that happened when he was a kid. Should he also be held to task for papers he wrote in kindergarten?

There's little chance of arguing some people out of their fears, but still, I fail to see how any of this is rational, and more to my original point: what is the "rational inquiry" that jmcnulty spoke of? It seems to me that the question has been asked and answered about his religious affiliation. Either you take him at his word that he converted to whatever flavor of Christianity he claims or you don't.

Personally, I find belief in one brand of God just as off-putting as the next, but it's not a deal-breaker for me if it doesn't seem to be the dominant characteristic to the candidate's thinking.

hans gruber
12-20-2007, 11:57 PM
Not having read his books, I can't speak to his openness about the issue. But still, we're talking about something that happened when he was a kid. Should he also be held to task for papers he wrote in kindergarten?

One of those books was an autobiography of sorts, so yes, leaving out that you were once more or less raised as a Muslim (if a not a particularly religious one) as a youngster is sort of a big omission. Hard to believe it wasn't intentional.

There's little chance of arguing some people out of their fears, but still, I fail to see how any of this is rational, and more to my original point: what is the "rational inquiry" that jmcnulty spoke of? It seems to me that the question has been asked and answered about his religious affiliation. Either you take him at his word that he converted to whatever flavor of Christianity he claims or you don't.

Listen, I don't hold it against him but I'd prefer (and I think things would be easier on him now) if he had been more straight forward in his earlier work and comments. And, as I said, it isn't really a matter of "taking him at his word" about his conversion. One could be concerned he would go softer on Islamic terrorism because he was raised as a Muslim for part of his childhood. Conversely, one could view it as a positive, that he will identify more with Muslims (and they with him) and therefore be less belligerent to terrorist states or Islam in general. I don't think these are necessarily irrational expectations, it just depends on which policies one favors. If one favors a less militaristic stance on terrorism and a friendly face to the Islamic world, then this bias could absolutely be viewed as a positive. If one favors a stronger response against terror one could be inclined to believe his previous experiences would lead him to be softer on Islamic terror. We do this sort of thing all the time. Find biases and select which biases favor our own. It isn't crazy to think his experiences in this regard would tend to make him more sympathetic to, say, Palestians than he otherwise would be.

Personally, I find belief in one brand of God just as off-putting as the next, but it's not a deal-breaker for me if it doesn't seem to be the dominant characteristic to the candidate's thinking.

This is a very common fallacy among the unreligious. All religions are not equally good. Religion is idealogy. Not idealogies are the same, are they?

garbagecowboy
12-21-2007, 01:43 AM
Compliment or insult? Who knows?


Perhaps gc will translate for you. ( I rather doubt he can, but who knows.)

I would just like to weigh in and say that I love titties. On days when I get to play with some it is usually the high point.

bjkeefe
12-21-2007, 02:08 AM
kidneystones:

I'll do you the courtesy you refuse to show me and address you directly.

Sorry if you felt that I didn't. If you use the threaded (or hybrid) view, you'll see that my one-liner was a direct reply to your previous post. Also, your choice to use the linear view means you're replying in a different sub-thread. I'm not sure why you resist the option to see how posts are logically arranged, but that's what happened.

First, you're in no position to refer to me as 'lad', considering I'm both a parent and almost certainly older than you by a decade or so.

1. Now who's getting offended by word choices?

2. Would you rather I had reproduced the quote correctly, and called you a "lady?"

3. Your claim of parenthood doesn't impress me; it merely indicates you've attained puberty, not maturity.

4. Thanks for thinking of me as a young 'un, even if you're wrong about this, too.

Second, despite your smug confidence in your own reading skills ...

No idea where you got that from. Because I know one line of Shakespeare?

... you miss the main point. You avoid addressing the key arguments in my post. And you're clearly unwilling or unable to contextualize my position or respond to any of the specific references in the text calling out to informed readers.

I tried to end this a couple of iterations ago, when I said (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=66949&postcount=3), "But if you'd rather stand on principle, I'll say no more about it." Since you apparently didn't catch that, I'll restate my position: I am not interested in debating you over such a minor point. As I said earlier (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=66942&postcount=9), you have every right to say what you want. I just suggested that you might rethink exercising this right, since someone else found your word choice offensive.

The fact that you keep going on and on about this is also up to you, but you're wasting your time if you think I care about your justifications or if I'm even going to evaluate them. Reject my suggestion for decorum and consideration for others if you like, and continue using the word to your heart's content for all I care, but you're sounding like a crank for obsessing over this triviality. I remind you that you're the one who noted (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=66958&postcount=13) that there are more important things to worry about.

I'll say so long now.

I can only hope, regarding this topic. I usually enjoy reading what you have to say on other matters.

bjkeefe
12-21-2007, 02:09 AM
ohc:

You're welcome. Not sure that it did any good; in fact, I seem to have aggravated the situation. But thanks for acknowledging my well-meaning effort.

Excellent point on the appendage, by the way.

bjkeefe
12-21-2007, 02:35 AM
Hans:

One could be concerned he would go softer on Islamic terrorism because he was raised as a Muslim for part of his childhood. Conversely, one could view it as a positive, that he will identify more with Muslims (and they with him) and therefore be less belligerent to terrorist states or Islam in general. I don't think these are necessarily irrational expectations, it just depends on which policies one favors.

Well put. That's the sort of rational inquiry I was asking for.

Personally, I find belief in one brand of God just as off-putting as the next, but it's not a deal-breaker for me if it doesn't seem to be the dominant characteristic to the candidate's thinking.This is a very common fallacy among the unreligious. All religions are not equally good. Religion is idealogy. Not idealogies are the same, are they?

Of course you think your religious beliefs are better. Otherwise you would have converted to another set, or gone my route, and rejected them all.

Since you ask, no, I don't think all ideologies are the same. However, I don't see any difference in goodness of any religion, especially if I restrict the consideration to the major monotheistic brands. They all have their zealots who are happy to use violence, and they all also suffer guilt by association with people who justify their violence in terms of that religion. They all also have plenty of perfectly tolerable people among their adherents.

More importantly to me, all the major monotheistic religions claim exclusive access to The Truth, and all view themselves as superior to the rest. Talk about your fallacies: logically, at minimum, all but one are wrong.

Even more importantly to me, none of the religions are based on any evidence that I can see. Since they all are nonsense from my point of view, I don't see how any one could be better than another.

donroberto
12-21-2007, 03:08 AM
Although Paul did a good job explaining the wrongness of torture as a policy, I'd like to respond to Byron's question here:
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7507?in=01:03:42&out=01:04:05

If a particular torture session did yield helpful information that saved lives or helped us defeat those who would harm us or otherwise manifestly served the interest of our common good, then you might say that the torture was, in that instance and on balance, a good thing. But that could only be said in retrospect in any given circumstance of torture. You never know beforehand if it will yield good intelligence and of course the overwhelming consensus of authorities on the matter is that it usually does not.

We could even stipulate that there have been instances where torture has worked. But those rare instances are not enough on which to base a general policy of such degrading, cruel and inhumane behavior. Imagine a serial murder case where the police had a dozen suspects, but couldn't determine which of the twelve was the actual murderer. So they round up all the suspects and lock them in prison. The murders suddenly stop and never happen again. In fact, after a number of years, one of them finally confesses. Authorities then claim they saved lives and that mass incarceration was a justifiable and acceptable law enforcement technique.

scted
12-24-2007, 07:17 PM
In order to complete the record I'd like to also point out that the word "decimate" has been co-opted by the digital signal processing community as well. When a signal is oversampled, it is often sent to a "decimation filter" whose job is to "decimate" that signal down to the needed sample rate.

For example, an audio signal might be sampled 192000 times per second. A 4 to 1 decimation would throw away 3 out of every 4 samples, resulting in a signal that has 48000 samples per second.

bjkeefe
12-24-2007, 08:18 PM
scted:

Thanks for the input.

Any idea why the word "downsample" wasn't good enough?