You have such a way with “words.”
At least the drunken monkey from texas will ghave a legacy to call his own. (Not to mention a whole extra paragraph for tonight’s show)
Not that I believe for a moment that the new Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, but if they did, let’s consider: I’ve heard countless times that “abortion rights” exist because the Supreme Court said so. So I would expect these same people to abide by the Court’s new decision. Yeah right.
Just a reminder: the likely next justice to retire is Stevens.
OK, that’s enough for now.
I have no clue why you wouldnt want an issue as important as abortion to be decided democratically. If enough people in any given state want an abortion to be illegal, why should liberal jews from new york have a right to interfere with their democratic process. Why do you hate democracy so?
And if democrats do in fact believe that the court is so important that they should be making all our important decisions for us , why dont you guys try winning an election for once, so you can appoint judges who share your viewpoints.
That’ll be two knitting needles and a bottle of Betadine, thank you. The coat hanger isn’t rusty enough. And to all you ignorant men who think you know halacha. Since when does a Christian court determine Jewish Law, which allows you to take the infant even during birth in order to save the mother’s life?
I do not condone abortion as a form of birth control, but birth control is not the reason to have an abortion. There are other legitimate reasons, not the least of which is having had to ingest drugs for conditions like epilepsy or accidentally being exposed to toxins that cause serious birth defects, not to mention other medical conditions that threaten a mother’s life.
But hey, you guys who think God is a HE and discount the Schechina….the Torah says mothers come first. A jerk who uses the “Bible” and the US Constitution for toilet paper while calling them sacred…well….and to the rest of you who think Roe V. Wade is really about abortion, it isn’t. It’s about PRIVACY.
wow, why don’t “you guys” try not stealing an election for once. and how about–just to be really crazy–we let the decisions about women’s bodies be made by WOMEN–not by state referendums or racist, misogynist activist judges.
That line in the flash video about “science, not Jesus” is pretty offensive to the progressive Christians who are as upset about this as we are….
A few years of increasing abortion issues will do the country good.
1. Drive out the liberal Republicans from that party, force them to vote for Dems.
2. Force mainstream feminists to engage in broader alliance building, beyond thier traditional base.
3. Build a a stronger majority for women’s rights, instead of finessing the issue with courts.
Too bad for all the women injured in back alleys though.
“wow, why donâ€™t â€œyou guysâ€ try not stealing an election for once”
Which election would that be?
” and how aboutâ€“just to be really crazyâ€“we let the decisions about womenâ€™s bodies be made by WOMEN”
But that avoids the entire argument, which is whether a fetus really is part of a woman’s body (it seems that when it comes to criminalizing the killing of a fetus against a woman’s will, or forcing a man to pay child support for a child he doesn’t want, the fetus is a lot more than part of a woman’s body).
“Too bad for all the women injured in back alleys though. ”
Why is it difficult to be honest with your arguments. As of now, only about 12% of counties in the whole country have abortion clinics. In most states where abortion would become illegal, there already is a great deal of traveling involved if someone wants an abortion. Roe v. Wade being overturned will have little impact on the state of abortions in this country, and is definitely no concern to people living in blue states where abortion will remain legal.
“and how aboutâ€“just to be really crazyâ€“we let the decisions about womenâ€™s bodies be made by WOMENâ€“not by state referendums or racist, misogynist activist judges.”
A little lesson: Roe doesnt say that women get to decide issues concerning their bodies. What it does say is that states cannot regulate/ban abortion.
Also, you are aware that there are some states where the majority of women oppose abortion?
To me, this shows (again) the pitfalls of not having a stong fiscal Left (health care, New Energy programs) that can stand up to the Right. The Social Left is a disaster. It spells defeat even against those on the cusp of Fundamentlism.
Anyone else willing to say that the gay marriage thing was a real big mistake to push this past election? Are we happy now?
“Also, you are aware that there are some states where the majority of women oppose abortion? ”
To add to that, polls taken (particularly the NY Times poll about ten years ago) indicate that women are only slightly, if at all, more pro-choice than are men (in the NYT poll, the difference was 1%, less than the margin of error).
“Anyone else willing to say that the gay marriage thing was a real big mistake to push this past election? Are we happy now? ”
The democrats will learn and begin to abandon many liberal issues. Coulter recently pointed out that both the nytimes and washpost had editorials suggesting that the dems distance themselves from roe v. wade and acknowledge that leaving abortion to the states may not be the worst thing. The democrats have previously taken similar actions with regard to welfare and gun control. Gay marriage and abortion is next.
Joe–I was about to respond, but when you quoted Ann Coulter I realized you were beyond help.
But just one thing–saying that there are states where the majority of women oppose abortion–how does that even address the issue? Newsflash–this is about CHOICE.
“But just one thingâ€“saying that there are states where the majority of women oppose abortionâ€“how does that even address the issue? Newsflashâ€“this is about CHOICE. ”
The issue, my friend, is whether abortion is constitutionally protected, or left to the states.
Want ‘you’ want the issue or law to be about is irrelevant.
Also, I quoted coulter because she made a good point, that most would agree with, and I did not want to try to pass it off as my own.
“Newsflashâ€“this is about CHOICE.”
Absolutely. And what could be a bigger denial of choice than to kill a fetus? Let the fetus be born and grow up, and then decide if he/she wants to live or die.
This is about the question “What is a fetus?”
(I do agree about Ann Coulter, though. There’s no excuse for a conservative, who can win arguments on facts and logic, to indulge in sloppiness, fact-fudging and rabble-rousing. Leave those to liberals and Leftists, who have no other choice.)
I think if conservative were in a debate with those of us on the nuanced but fiscal (and not the social), left, they would find they are in for a tougher fight. Much tougher. Which is why they avoid that fight at all costs, and why the Dems are suckers to give them the social fight.
“I think if conservative were in a debate with those of us on the nuanced but fiscal (and not the social), left, they would find they are in for a tougher fight. Much tougher. Which is why they avoid that fight at all costs, and why the Dems are suckers to give them the social fight. ”
You are probably correct about this. There is, however, one other issue you are neglecting. The perception that democrats are anti american/ pro Europe weaklings that has existed since the Vietnam war, and that the current democrats are doing nothing to dispel.
Abortion is not a “social” issue.
You say “Let the fetus be born and grow up, and then decide if he/she wants to live or die.”
Really? Since when have conservative theocrats supported an adult’s right to take his or her own life?
“I think if conservative were in a debate with those of us on the nuanced but fiscal (and not the social), left, they would find they are in for a tougher fight. Much tougher.”
If by “nuanced but fiscal left” you mean liberals-but-not-Leftists who generally agree that Capitalism works most of the time, that private property is vital and that taxation may be necessary but is unfortunate, but that there are more exceptions to the above than Conservatives would allow, then I totally agree. If I think a welfare payment should be $500 and my liberal opponent thinks $600, it’s hard for either of us to establish solid principles for our positions, and we have to admit that we’re making judgment calls.
“Which is why they avoid that fight at all costs,”
At the political level, maybe sometimes. But there’s a wealth of material from conservative think tanks and publications addressing the fiscal issues.
“and why the Dems are suckers to give them the social fight. ”
Not suckers; more like in thrall to special interests that often don’t care about the big picture. The Republicans are less balkanized than the Dems.
In any case, even without social issues, the Dems have another ball and chain attached to them: what I call the McGovern effect. Since McGovern, Democrats either have a shadow of anti-Americanism (and consequent fear and suspicion of American power) hanging over them, or they have to put in huge effort to get rid of that shadow (both, in Kerry’s case). Not every Democrat has this problem personally, maybe most don’t, but having Pelosi and Dean as party leaders sure doesn’t help.
It is a social issue, but regardless of that, there is no need for the Democrats to scream as much about abortion as they do. If they would just SHUT UP about social issues, they wouldn’t have had this one threatened.
Most policy literature I’ve read breaks policy up into social, economic and foreign policy, and abortion goes into the social category.
“Really? Since when have conservative theocrats supported an adultâ€™s right to take his or her own life? ”
Hey, it was a rhetorical point. Or, if you like, it was from a libertarian’s point of view, or a practical one – try prosecuting a successful suicide.
I would argue Carter is more emblematic of a problem than McGovern — McGovern was never elected, and Vietnam was a long time ago, and he was certainly a product of that era.
I mean a Left that says we can change our dependency on oil. I mean a Left that says when you are building mass transit, you need eminent domain, and that’s just the way it goes. I mean a Left that says we need to do something about our lack of Health Care, and we need to do it now. I mean a Left that says race and gender do not increase you qualifications for a job, even if you are a minority or a woman. It’s still unfair. And that means Legacy affirmitive action as well, if they take government funding. And no, J, the Left I envision would not include a pro-welfare position for able bodied people.
“I would argue Carter is more emblematic of a problem than McGovern â€” McGovern was never elected, and Vietnam was a long time ago, and he was certainly a product of that era.”
I share your contempt for Carter, but I still think McGovern is more emblematic of the problem. Carter ran in ’76 as a centrist, and his post-presidential behavior has been so bizarre that it’s hard to attribute his idiosyncracies to an entire party. McGovern, on the other hand, is the classic anti-American Dem. And his blowout loss to the unlovable Nixon also illustrates my point.
As for your list of Left items, it seems that I agree with all of them, except possibly health care (but you didn’t specify what exactly we should do, so I don’t know). Yet I assure you that I am no Leftist. I would describe your views as neo-liberal, or center-liberal, not Leftist. Why are you describing yourself with a term that is not only inaccurate, but tends to scare people away?
The left you envision can never happen because you have far too many competing interest groups on the left whose interests are at odds with each other. From teachers unions to anti war hippies to minorities to middle class america to trial lawyers to senior citizens.
The right has an easier time getting their message across because although there are many different interests, the Christian right isnt at odds with corporate america, states rights, or neocons etc.
Interesting that both Justice Stevens and Coulter are mentioned in the beginning comments, as Coulter called for his assassination over the weekend.
The Alito-abortion issue is a hypocritical joke. A Christian pro-lifer did an article on the increase in abortions during the Bush presidency (surprise! it was ignored by the national media).
The Alito issue of importance is the ‘unitary executive’ one, which smells a lot like fascism — specifically of the nazi variety. It was Carl Schmitt who ‘legalized’ Hitler’s dictatorial powers.
By the way — Halliburton has gotten the contract to build the camps for ‘dissidents’ in the US.
You are right that classifications may not be a good stategy, but these ideas will never be accepted by the Republicans. They are much too concerned with privitization, big business, and maintain a love with the oil industry and a belief in the automobile culture to ever lead the charge.
It is precisely that the Democrats are not unified that they can lead these issue, as it is a more disparate party, and allows for a more diverse set of priorities.
Re oil alternatives, although it’s true that some parts of the Republican Party have not been helpful, what have the Democrats done? (And many conservatives have in fact been in favor of such efforts. I don’t think this is a liberal vs. conservative issue. The problem is more that any big new effort needs a huge push to get off the ground, that economic special interests are opposed, that the status quo is always safer (short-term), and that it isn’t clear exactly where research efforts should go.)
As for the Dem’s disunity, I think it insures that they’ll always have too many priorities, and so won’t be able to accomplish any that are difficult.
Miriam wins Godwin of the Week for this- “The Alito issue of importance is the â€˜unitary executiveâ€™ one, which smells a lot like fascism â€” specifically of the nazi variety. It was Carl Schmitt who â€˜legalizedâ€™ Hitlerâ€™s dictatorial powers.”
Not “like” fascism, Miriam – fascism itself. No, worse than fascism. Worse than Hitler! (With so many people worse than Hitler, you wonder how bad Hitler was.) Gee, how that Coulter gets carried away.
While I don’t believe there is one and only one thing that could or should be done to help with the energy crisis, I certainly think mass transit needs to be radically increased. The Repulicans are traditionally even more hostile to such an idea than are the Democrats, because of a lack of interest in focusing on urban centers. Additionally, mass transit is “socialism,” which I don’t think is very popular with them. Kucinich would have been my choice of Energy Czar (not president) and he might have been able to help get people to think quite differently. I do think there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans, but I agree there is not a difference in focus on these issues.
I support Alito being nominated.
If you want to get a coat-hanger abortion, then don’t have sex.
BTW: The constitution says NOTHING about abortion. It should be left to the states.
What, is ‘never again!’ just a slogan to you, J, or words solely for purposes of mourning? Or, does ‘never again!’ mean exactly what it says?
(By the way — one of the senate staffers I spoke with yesterday told me I have a good nose.)
“What, is â€˜never again!â€™ just a slogan to you, J, or words solely for purposes of mourning? Or, does â€˜never again!â€™ mean exactly what it says?”
It means nothing to me. I support Alito, so obviously I either deny the Holocaust or regret having been born too late to perpetrate it. Obviously.
(By the way â€” one of the senate staffers I spoke with yesterday told me I have a good nose.)
More like a brown one.
J, you seem to think you’re a wit.
Well, you’re half right.
More then 200 Million guns within; over 500 Billion dollars spent waging wars oustside; spying on its own citizens; courts that will decide if a woman has the rights for her own body (in a country with the highest teenage pregnancy in the world); actors for governors and buffoons for presidents; â€˜Super-size meâ€™ culture that makes one sick with cheap and bad food but unaffordable healthcare etc. etc.
Boiling Frog Syndrome, anyone?
Forgive my ignorance as I’m wading in to a recognisably complex argument here from the UK, but as I understand it, Roe v Wade interpreted a law regarding privacy rights which in turn permitted abortion. This ‘permission’ was granted at a Federal level because the laws at the State level required interpretation.
Now, seems to me that if you wish to have abortion rights, you wouldn’t push the matter to interpretation at a Federal level by the Supreme Court you would legislate at the State level. Can someone please explain why this hasn’t happened, or am I missing something? The stregnth of a federal system is in a State’s rights, or so I’m told. If you agree with abortion, you ensure that you live in a state which legislates your right to choose this. If you don’t agree with abortion, you consider moving to a state which doesn’t legislate for it.
Roe v. Wade was about Constitutional rights. Federal, state, and local governments can legislate, but the Constitution trumps everything else.
The problem with this argument of just moving to another state that allows it is that 1) people don’t really have that kind of mobility- especially those who are in greatest need of protection. Young and poor women who can’t afford to move or travel for the durationof the recovery period, can’t really afford the cost of the surgery, happen to also be the ones who really can’t afford to raise a child. And have the least access to birth control- don’t let me forget that one. I’m pushing 30 and with all the hoops I have to jump through to get my prescription and get it filled on time (freakin insurance) AND then to have condoms LOCKED at the pharmacy counter in my stupid urban CVS, thus creating a de facto requirement that a pharmacist provide the condoms… Grr. I have several friends who work in areas involving reproductive rights and they have horror stories about the disappearance of access to family planning and even information about family planning. Our government is pressing abstinence and eliminating alternatives.
And 2 is that we’re a democracy (to the degree we aren’t just run by special interests), but with certain minimum guarantees of individual liberty. I think there are a lot of towns, and possibly a number of states, that if allowed to vote on the issue would be all-Christian, all-white, etc. You might think they should be allowed to do so, but the US of A is based on a system that guarantees a place for all Americans anywhere in the nation with a certain degree of freedom and protection. Roe v. Wade recognized a Constitutional privacy right that includes a woman’s right to an abortion. Similar privacy rights have been recognized in the context of allowing marriage (especially interracial marriage, which was illegal in some states until the late ’60s) and disallowing laws barring “sodomy” between consenting adults in the privacy of their homes.
The problem is that the Constitution doesn’t contain the word “privacy” anywhere in it. The understanding of privacy rights is based on the provisions it does contain regarding free speech and assembly, searches and seizures, and due process.
But Constitutional interpretation is a bit like Biblical interpretation. Interpretation parallels agenda. And even the most literal of modern folks recognizes portions that no longer have application or feasibility.
Its like this. Prior to roe, abortion was decided by the legislator at the state level. Roe basically ruled that abortion was a right protected by the u.s. constitution, and therefore states can no longer restrict it.
Many misinterpret an overturning of roe to mean that abortion would become illegal, when in fact, all that would happen is that states will decide the matter (its a little thing we like to call “democracy”).
Liberals dont like what the democratic process will yield, so they try to by bypass the process by having it decided by courts that oftentimes share similar views.
Why aren’t my comments appearing?
Aren’t the majority of the Justices there via nomination of Bush I and Bush II?
I’m no expert on mass transit issues, and there are probably numerous specific cases wherein you could convince me that mass transit should be instituted or upgraded, but I seriously doubt that a very significant percentage of our energy consumption is made up of people currently driving who could be reasonably accomodated through mass transit. Of course, we might not agree on what “reasonably” means. Also, I don’t agree that mass transit is “socialism” to Republicans; what looks bad to Republicans are efforts to push people into using mass transit against their wishes (say, by artificially raising the cost of driving through gas taxes or tolls). I don’t think you’d find as much opposition if mass transit was simply made available.
I can’t agree about Kucinich. The costs (to your causes, my causes, and to our country) of putting loons in office far exceed any benefits we might get.
The trick is to respond to the other person’s post. Anyone can throw around pre-packaged insults.
The issue is this. The US Constitution specifically enumerates the responsibilities of the Federal government (unsurprisingly, the bulk of these involve foreign relations, military, finance and other areas where one central governmental entity is necessary). The Constitution also explicitly states that all areas of governance not granted to the Federal government are reserved by the states.
The Constitution makes no mention of abortion (or of privacy), and from the time the Constitution went into effect (1789) through the 1970’s, each state made its own laws regarding abortion.
Suddenly in 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court made some shocking discoveries. First, the Constitution (in the Bill of Rights – the first ten amendments) contained a right to privacy. No, the word didn’t actually appear in the text; it was a “penumbra” of the text. (I should have asked the Court to find my missing socks in a “penumbra”.) Second, this “right” of privacy included the right to an abortion (?) Third, because the Constitution guaranteed the “right” to abort (at least in the earlier stages of pregnancy), the states could not legislate against this right. Quite a discovery, after nearly 200 years. (The decision actually goes on to discuss “trimesters” and to decide what rights the states have to restrict later-term abortions. All this from a “penumbra”.) If this all seems like a fraud to you, you’re in good company.
The reason pro-choice advocates favored this route is because if allowed, some of the states would restrict abortion.
I would recommend reviewing the Constitution – it’s only a dozen pages long.
In return, to be fair, I’ll read the UK Constitution 🙂
BTW, if anyone’s interested, there’s a great book annotating and explaining the Constitution- “Words We Live By”. Around 200 pages, entertaining, accurate, explains the debates, and evenhanded (very admirable, considering the author seems to be a liberal). And has quotes from Ted Nugent.
J, Muffti doesn’t really understand the idea of deciding abortion rights by popular opinion. If the issue is whether or not the Fetus is a person, why should that be decided by popular vote anymore than whether or not pi is rational or irrational should be decided by the elected representatives (as they tried to do in Indiana, late 1800s)? The constitution grants various rights to people. Why should voters get to decide what counts as a person?
“Arenâ€™t the majority of the Justices there via nomination of Bush I and Bush II?”
Many times justices switch (or reveal their true) political leanings once appointed on the bench. Souter is a perfect example of this, as is warren who was probably one of the most liberal justices ever. Eisenhower described his warren appointment as his greatest mistake.
This is why conservatives are now extra cautious with regard to appointing judges
Effective Mass transit means rail, and yes, that takes money. But the alternatives to not having mass transit are far worse. Pollution and more omnimous, the destruction of the earth, are very real, and oil is the worst culprit, not the lack of recycling efforts.
“I seriously doubt that a very significant percentage of our energy consumption is made up of people currently driving who could be reasonably accomodated through mass transit.”
Well, it depends. I think that if all major metroplitan areas had a metro system that serviced them 24 hours and ALL their suburban areas, it might make a significant difference. I would declare a state of emergency to expedite these in areas such as Los Angeles. I would do the same elsewhere. And 24/7.
“I donâ€™t think youâ€™d find as much opposition if mass transit was simply made available.”
There we agree, perhaps.
The problem is that the question of the status of the fetus is a metaphysical question, and none of the answers (even mine, sad to say) come close to mathematical certainty. In the meantime, we have to make laws concerning abortion, one way or the other(s). As I wrote above, I don’t think the Constitution adresses the issue at all, meaning that the states are responsible. Who should make these decisions besides the people (through their elected representatives)?
You’re probably right about LA, but I have my doubts about whether many suburban areas could be cost-effectively served by mass transit.
As for pollution, it’s been drastically reduced by technology over the last 30 years, and there’s no guarantee that the best oil substitute will be any better. The best reasons to get off oil, I think, are 1) that the oil will run out at some point; 2) that dependency on ANY foreign country is trouble and 3) that dependency on the scummy foreign countries that produce most of the oil is even worse.
Did you catch the State of the Union? Looks like W. is your man.
He (finally) recognizes the problem, but did not emphasize mass transit as part the solution.
If you look at how much people pay on their own car, families on two cars, I think that a case can definitely be made that mass transit is cost effective. If 24/7, with shuttles to suburban developments.
Thanks for the very thorough analysis, and you raise some very interesting points. I may take up your recommendation of reading ‘Words We Live By’, although I wouldn’t profess to being a huge fan of ‘Sweaty Teddy’ as he has made some remarks in the past that cut a bit too close to anti-semitism for me. But that’s just my interpretation, he may actually be a decent bloke.
As regards reading the US constitution, it may surprise you that indeed I already have. Several times. I’m an ardent supporter of democracy in it’s many forms, and have studied US democracy to a great extent. I’m not sure if you were attempting to be cheeky with your offer to read the British constitution (and if you were, well bravo for striking some ironic humour into this whole argument) but you would have a difficult time reading something that doesn’t exist. The UK is not a republic but a constitutional monarchy (more ironic humour for you…a constitutional monarchy with no constitution! it’s little wonder why monty python is so representative of our humour) and categorically different in structure to the US.
I can’t really weigh in on the morality pro or con of abortion, but I can tell you that I remember living in the Republic of Ireland where abortion is not legal and they have ‘abortion ships’ which sit off the coast in international waters so women from Ireland can choose to have an abortion. It seems to me that there must be a happy medium between the judicial fudge of the Supreme Court of the US in 1973 and ‘abortion ships’, and the sooner we can remove the rhetoric both right and left from this issue and let democracy decide the better.
Bu that’s just my two pence worth.
“He (finally) recognizes the problem, but did not emphasize mass transit as part the solution.”
There’s only so much you can expect from a single speech that dealt with numerous topics. But I’ll be on the lookout for followup position material.
Re the cars, I think that you’re not recognizing that the vast majority of people in the suburbs (and even the cities) are not going to give up their cars no matter how convenient the mass transit is. Mass transit is good (for some) for commuting to work, and maybe weekend visits to a very concentrated urban center (like Manhattan). But what about heavy shopping? People with more than one child (much easier to deal with little kids in a car than on the subway)? People who travel to places other than the nearest urban center? Women who travel at night? People who just like to drive? Busy people with lots of chores at different locations?
Since these cars are going to be bought anyway, we now run the risk of double -paying (ie for both cars and, through taxes, for mass transit).
We could make it so that people/families in the suburbs at least don’t need 2 cars. That is so doable! Additionally, it is more cost effective to have vans that service many people in suburban areas. This could be done for shopping in the bigger supermarkets.
Immediately, we could extend lines and make them 24/7, and have greater shuttle service at least to the metro from nearby areas.
“although I wouldnâ€™t profess to being a huge fan of â€˜Sweaty Teddyâ€™ as he has made some remarks in the past that cut a bit too close to anti-semitism for me.”
I wasn’t aware of such remarks. I only mentioned the Nuge for his entertainment value (well, he entertains me!). Well, the book also has material from George F. Will (one of my major political Rebbes). I wish Jews thought as highly of Jews as Will does.
“As regards reading the US constitution, it may surprise you that indeed I already have. Several times.”
I’m not surprised. I hope I didn’t come off as condescending. My point was that it’s important for everyone to actually read the document in order to form an opinion on Constitutional issues. (It’s shocking how often I hear people opine on such issues without ever having read the Constitution.)
“Iâ€™m not sure if you were attempting to be cheeky with your offer to read the British constitution (and if you were, well bravo for striking some ironic humour into this whole argument) but you would have a difficult time reading something that doesnâ€™t exist.”
Yes. That’s why I added the 🙂 thing. And let me tell you: as an American, as a Jew, and as a lawyer, I am in a constant state of disbelief that the UK functions at all, let alone as well as it does, without a written Constitution. Now, your turn: Could you recommend a basic book (with or without insane rock stars) describing your invisible Constitution?
“It seems to me that there must be a happy medium between the judicial fudge of the Supreme Court of the US in 1973 and â€˜abortion shipsâ€™, and the sooner we can remove the rhetoric both right and left from this issue and let democracy decide the better.”
That’s what’s been argued in the US since ’73. Some say that issues like abortion become most divisive when one side is frustrated in being able to present its views to the voters. If a vote is allowed, even if such a side loses, the animosities tend to subside, because the side realizes it had a fair chance.
“Additionally, it is more cost effective to have vans that service many people in suburban areas. This could be done for shopping in the bigger supermarkets.”
I don’t think that would come anywhere near cars for convenience. Gotta call for the van. Wait for the van. Whoops, little Joey (just turned three)needs the bathroom. Wait for the next van. After shopping, wait for the van. Wait for seven other people to be dropped off. Guard the twenty bags of groceries while Joey runs around the van annoying the other passengers. Get home an hour later than if you’d just taken the car. Not good.
I’m sure I could agree with you about expanding mass transit in various places, but I think you’re overestimating its feasibility on a nationwide basis.
I think we should start in the denser areas, but I know plenty of people in the City who love not having a car, or the payments, or the gas, or the insurance payments, and bet there would e others in at least the urban cetners and surrounding burbs (granted, perhaps, the more high denisty burbs) who would love that option as well.
I might have involved myself in this thread, but I am trying out linux distros, in hope of finding a replacement for 98.
Humourous, yes. Condescending, no. I’m also a fan of George F. Will and share your sentiments. I’ve also taken a liking to Christopher Hitchens and Boris Johnson as well.
As regards understanding our invisible constitution here in the UK, I would say that Simon Shama’s ‘History of Britain’ series is an excellent place to start, and ‘Consitutional History of the UK’ by Ann Lyon is a more in depth study.
“And let me tell you: as an American, as a Jew, and as a lawyer, I am in a constant state of disbelief that the UK functions at all, let alone as well as it does, without a written Constitution.”
Hmm, well what I can tell you is that the monarch is supposed to be here to guarantee our rights. In the event that Parliament would seek to significantly remove individual freedoms and rights, Her Majesty would have the right to dissolve Parliament. Or so the theory goes. I don’t necessarily have a problem with not having a written constitution (Judaism doesn’t have one, so we have the Talmud and, arguably, all of the interdenominational fighting comes from varied interpretation of this…sound familiar?), but in the absence of a written constitution you always run the risk of a) reliance on the good graces of a monarch to protect you, and b) the EU trying to create a constitution in the vaccum created. If you’re ever really really bored (or suffer insomnia for a few years) try reading the tripe put together by Valery d’Estaing and his chums…a better than 200 page ‘constitution’ for the EU which was voted down by France and the Netherlands and now seems thankfully dead.
Just remember that Manhattan is a unique place re attitudes toward, and necessity of, cars. I’m from Brooklyn, certainly a high-density area by general standards, and nearly everyone has or wants a car. Suburbs, kal v’chomer…
Thanks for the recommendations. I have a feeling that when I’m done I’ll still be amazed that the system works. Having the royals guarantee freedoms? I’m not sure these people are even capable of filling their ceremonial positions adequately.
I always thought of Tanach and the Talmud as the Constitution of Judaism. Obviously the parallels are not exact, but just because there’s ambiguity and debate within and about these books doesn’t mean they don’t comprise a Constitution. (There’s plenty of debate and commentary on the US Constitution, and its aims (setting up a Federal government) are modest compared to those of a religion, which provides an entire worldview and way of life.)
Totally agree on the EU. I couldn’t imagine being stifled by those humorless bureaucrats, and I hope the UK can avoid it.
Here is actual polling on support for public transportation.
Public transportation has become increasingly important to Americans as commutes have gotten longer and traffic congestion has increased. A national study was conducted among 1,003 adults 18 years of age and older living in the continental United States.
Wirthlin Worldwide conducted the interviews over the telephone between February 12th and 16th, 2003. Here are the findings.
” Public transportation remains a favorite of Americans and a plurality link increased investment in public transportation to enhanced quality of life. Fully, four-in-five (81%) agree that increased public investment in public transportation would strengthen the economy, create jobs, reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, and save energy. Recognition of public transportation quality of life benefits is consistent across locales.
” Almost three-quarters (72 %) support the use of public funds for the expansion and improvement of public transportation.
” A majority of the population expresses support for candidates supporting public transportation and 64% said they would be more likely to support a candidate for Congress who supports improving public transportation options.
” Traffic congestion is an important issue and most adults (56%) say that the need to reduce traffic congestion and the time it takes to get to work has become more important in the past five years.
” Most Americans, even those living in rural areas of the country, agree that their community needs more public transportation options.
” Regardless of locale, residents voice support for public transportation options and funding in their communities — urban (64%), suburban (59%), rural (51%) and small town (55%).
It appears there is more support for it than is commonly believed. But as DK pointed out the Democrats show their actual support for the issue by how they prioritize, and it is a darn low priority with them.
Two points. First, as I mentioned above, mass transit can be very effective in dense urban areas for commuting purposes (and let’s add to the benefits the shortened commute times for working people, good in itself and good for productivity, which warms my conservative heart). But it’s not so good for other purposes, as I outlined above (shopping, children, etc.).
Second, I doubt these polls say as much as you think. People love benefits, when there’s no apparent cost to them. Any benefits. Health, education, you name it. The real question would be “how much (so to speak) mass transit would you want if it cost you, personally, $x? How about $y?” And so on. You’d see much more cautious answers.
In any case, the Dems are way too busy with their demagoguery on Iraq to bother with this.
Very few democrats opposed Iraq or oppose it now other than Finegold and Murtha. So I don’t know what your talking about unless it is how many of them have attacked Bush from the right, like Billary.
Pardon me butting in at such a late stage, but it seems you are missing the entire point in the necessity for public transport â€“ resources.
Inconvenience has been a huge dictator of lifestyle decisions in the US (and the rest of the developed world), but it is a short-sighted â€˜driverâ€™ for sound judgement and sustainable lifestyle.
The auto and oil lobbies in the US are immensely powerful (hmmm, letâ€™s think what other recent decisions have been influenced by theseâ€¦) and the drive-in culture â€“ not to mention the drive-by shootings – are well entrenched. The awareness for the looming threat, and future costs, of course is, well, penumbral (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8650) â€“ not because it is uncertain, not even because it is of a lesser importance, at least to the rest of the world (e.g. Kyoto). But because the decision makers (therefore media, i.e. public knowledge, i.e. popular culture) have an interest in promoting an agenda which has none of the publicâ€™s welfare, and all of their pocketsâ€™ largesse, interest.
Incidentally, that is also why the likes of Alito are NOT a great choice, if one is to think the Supreme Court the last defence in big government taking over. The first amendment might have a penumbra for privacy, but if I am not mistaken spying on citizens in US has de-facto crept in through the back-door. Why should I trust a nominee from the same maker, to hold up democracy when it comes to the subjects of personal rights?
My guess is that Tom Hartmann is not your favourite columnist, but he makes a pretty strong case for the dangers to democracy. In his recent article he quotes:
â€¦as George W. Bush told his biographer in 1999:
“One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as commander in chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”
Seems your Dear Leader has managed to do just that.
I think your example of Brooklyn is good and appropriate, the perfect one to bring, and yet not fair. Ues, all trains in Brooklyn go to the City, but much of the commute that people do by cars is lateral, within Brooklyn, which is not adequately serviced by trains, but should have been, and should still be. Tragically, only the G train is dedicated to a lateral commute at all.
I think if you put the infrastructure there, you will see that many commuters are happy to change their riding patterns. I know I sure was.
I agree with you that the issue is allocation of scarce resources, not just if something has a good benefit or not. But I think that mass transit may be the most needed domestic program right now, and that’s where I would put the priority in terms of resources. Let me be clear — I would raise the age for social security benefits and relocate (over time, with vacancy) low-income housing projects in desirable areas (significantly increasing tax and property tax revenue) in order to afford mass transit, if that’s what it takes. I am willing to make tough choices for this to happen. The benefits won’t just be cleaner air and saving the earth (though they will help with that) but also saved wealth for those who don’t use a car, or families that have one, not two. The cost of deliveries on occasion is far cheaper than the total cost of a reliable automobile and its maintenance. Additionally, those who still drive in areas with mass transit will have less traffic, so they will benefit as well.
Mass transit is unusual that way in that it directly positively affects those in the area who don’t take advantage of the services offered. Less traffic is less time in a commute, and time is money. I would expect that you, as a conservative, would prefer a program that helps more rather than less people, and helps those of various classes, not just the poor at the expense of the rich.
In fact, I sometimes suspect that the problem of getting people excited about Mass Transit is the problem that it doesn’t pit people against each other. If only I could find a convincing way to claim that the lack of mass transit is specifically environmental racism instrad of an unmitigated envirnomental disaster for everyone, I would find more interest for these programs.
That’s the problem, J. It isn’t that mass transit doesn’t benefit people enough, it’s that it benefits everyone. So the Democrats and the Republicans can’t be bothered to even fight about it. Better to scream about flag burning and abortion. Much more exciting, and a lot less graphs to look over.
“Incidentally, that is also why the likes of Alito are NOT a great choice, if one is to think the Supreme Court the last defence in big government taking over. The first amendment might have a penumbra for privacy, but if I am not mistaken spying on citizens in US has de-facto crept in through the back-door. Why should I trust a nominee from the same maker, to hold up democracy when it comes to the subjects of personal rights?”
There is so much wrong with the paragraph, I dont know where to start.
First, its is the liberal judges who support bigger government, and broader government authority. See the recent Kelo decision for further reference.
Second, spying on citizens isnt a first amendment issue or a penumbra of privacy issue (which deals with private sexual or family issues). It has more to do with search and seizure and executive powers (although not exclusively).
Last, if youre interested in “holding up democracy” why would you want our most important issues decided by 9 un-elected judges? Wouldnt you prefer issues like abortion be decided democratically by elected legislators? Roe v. Wade stands out among legal academics as one of the most anti-democratic activists rulings in the courts history. So much so that now liberal scholars are now working on alternative legal arguments for protecting abortion.
I have no legal skills or training, and would be foolish to argue the intricacies of this domain. However, I enclose a comment or two from observation of people, and social processes, for which though no expert, I hope I have as much sense and grasp as the next fellow human being.
Point made with regards to Alito, is that your current chief of puff has nominated someone who will further his agenda, a move obviously grounded in the process of American democracy, and also understandably human, if maybe not very humane (i.e. Bush saying â€œIâ€™m going to have everything passed that I want get passedâ€). However, these are times where your government have taken justifying extreme and illegal measures further then ever before (in your own history) â€“ not by the strength (or weakness) of individual decisions, but by the combination of the industrial (and yes â€“ military) might that has become an integral driving factor in your politics. As such, it seems to me (in my utmost limited understanding) that by the fact people can appeal and be heard, the Supreme court still enjoys a modicum of power to debate, and indeed assert, the rights of folk with no real power in your social arena. Even if the decisions are not as clearly defined in favour of the underdog, the public exposure and interest that this institute carries by default has democratic benefits.
That is hopefully will not change with the likes of Alito, but the counterweight that the court could have carried as your democracy leaves skid marks on the slippery slope of big brotherhood, is diminishing with every judge who thinks in similar fashion to these powers and indeed actively pursuing to strengthen their status. If the court is so skewed and thus conservatively fixated , then obviously people who disagree with these tenets have little elsewhere to turn to, and though might still appeal in the hope of being heard, no important social gain will follow.
One could argue that if the court was tilted in favour of the more socially or liberally concerned, that would have been just as untenable democratic remedy, and one would have been right of government was still â€˜by the people, for the peopleâ€™. But it is not. The fact more than half of Americans now think it was a mistake to invade a country 85% of them cannot even find on the map, because of a decision based on deliberately false information, is an example why so. Democracy might still work in the US on State level, but on the Federal violins the music of free speech is highly Wagnerian.
In Keloâ€™s case, what is interesting to me is the fact that Oâ€™connor and Thomas ended up on the same side in such a David Vs. Goliath drama. I would personally tend to agree with them also, but you could note that the decision was made in favour of the greater public good, and that the â€˜little peopleâ€™ were allocated more then a Million dollars each in compensation. That is hardly a symptom of exploitation by big government. I live in a country where the army shoots people who refuse to give them land if they so wish to settle, and where the courts do what the â€˜bossâ€™. That is hardly the case with the US, but you are closer to that point than ever before, and I personally would find it disturbing. ending on social issues.
In any case, I suspect we are arguing semantics here, because I think big government mean corporate/big brother/ erosion of individual rights, and you mean government says.
The real act of discovery is not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes. (Marcel Proust)
oops, – last paragrapgh should read:
In any case, I suspect we are arguing semantics here, because I think big government mean corporate/big brother/ erosion of individual rights, and you mean government spending.
The whole slippery slope argument you are making is silly. Going into last election, everyone was well aware of the criticisms of bush’s policies, the war, the patriot act, and still reelected him. This is democracy at work. You may not like the result because you buy into the whole “stifling free speech argument”, but many, including myself, do not and see it as nothing more than partisan attacks.
Democrats werent complaining about agendas from the bench during the warren era, which served as a liberal legislative branch.
If democrats want their ideas implemented, they should win an election. That is democracy.
Bush/Cheney were selected, not elected, in 2000. In 2004, they restole the White House through fraud (again, in Jebbie’s FLA), and massive voter suppression in Ohio (Ohioan Sec. of State Blackwell going to the state Supreme Ct to have about 100,000 new registrants thrown off the voting list, is just a peek at the savagery in OH).
Nonetheless, too many Americans did vote for these madmen. For an in-depth psych eval of such folk, see ‘Bush on the Couch,’ by Justin Frank, M.D.
Re Brooklyn, it probably would be a good idea to create some new lines running a Brooklyn-Queens route, but beyond that – just look at the map. There’s way too much ground to cover. It just can’t be done by train. You might succeed in reducing slightly the number of car trips, but you won’t get rid of the cars.
“I would expect that you, as a conservative, would prefer a program that helps more rather than less people, and helps those of various classes, not just the poor at the expense of the rich. ”
Sure. There are even times I’m willing to help the poor at the expense of others, though probably less often than you might be. (If the “help” in question is an item that enables the poor to escape poverty, I’m much more excited about it.
But this brings us to a question we haven’t really looked at. Are your proposals revenue-neutral (in other words, would the fares pay entirely for the system)? Are there subsidies? If there are subsidies, are they limited to offsets of the amounts that non-users of the system benefit (emptier highways, environmental benefits), or are your proposals serving as yet another government program that transfers wealth? If the latter, then you understand why there would be resistance. If the former, the cost-benefit analysis we seem to agree on would prohibit, I think, many proposed projects.
“In fact, I sometimes suspect that the problem of getting people excited about Mass Transit is the problem that it doesnâ€™t pit people against each other. If only I could find a convincing way to claim that the lack of mass transit is specifically environmental racism instrad of an unmitigated envirnomental disaster for everyone, I would find more interest for these programs.”
Yup. The sexiness deficit is a problem. Maybe you could convince Al Sharpton to turn it into a racial issue 🙂 Personally, I think abortion IS a very important and legitimate issue (though obviously from the pro-life side), but I agree that priorities are often neglected because some issues are less sexy than others.
“In 2004, they restole the White House through fraud (again, in Jebbieâ€™s FLA), and massive voter suppression in Ohio (Ohioan Sec. of State Blackwell going to the state Supreme Ct to have about 100,000 new registrants thrown off the voting list, is just a peek at the savagery in OH).”
Ooh, fraud and (eek!) savagery. Of course, I’m sure there’s evidence to back these claims up. But just to be safe, let’s see it.
These bizarre theories always seem familiar. For so many years, people didn’t like the Jews, so they made up all kinds of stories about them (often involving fraud and savagery, come to think of it).
Even if someone doesn’t like Bush and Cheney, you would think Jewish history would make that person wary of conspiracy theorizing.
“Nonetheless, too many Americans did vote for these madmen. ”
Madmen? What, were they promoting conspiracy theories?
“For an in-depth psych eval of such folk, see â€˜Bush on the Couch,â€™ by Justin Frank, M.D. ”
An “in-depth” evaluation from a shrink who never had Bush as a patient, who never even met him? I think it would be charitable to call it “speculation”.
On the other hand, there have been many studies about the psyches of people who bend and fabricate the facts they perceive in order to have those facts fit their emotional preference.
On the W. thing, and I don’t really know where you stand on him, but I would say he is an awful president compared to say, most of the other recent Republican presidents. I certainly don’t think Eisenhower would have made these mistakes, as he would have forseen many of the problems because of his vast military experience and talents. Not to controversial an assertion, right? So too, I don’t think Nixon would have though this war would be easy, nor would he have been fooled by Chalabi’s charisma or Neocon fantasies. Additionally, W’s father certainly was not so naively bold to promote a radical agenda for the middle east.
I would say W is a very bad president not just by liberal, Democratic standards, but by Republican ones. And I think that is the stronger question on W.
â€œThe whole slippery slope argument you are making is silly. Going into last election, everyone was well aware of the criticisms of bushâ€™s policies, the war, the patriot act, and still reelected him. This is democracy at work. You may not like the result because you buy into the whole â€œstifling free speech argumentâ€, but many, including myself, do not and see it as nothing more than partisan attacks. â€œ
Where exactly, with your opiate-like-media benchmarking the lowest common denominator do you think people get â€˜well-informedâ€™. Almost 9 out of 10 Americans cannot point where Iraq is on the map (and 15%, for that matter, cannot locate the US either). In this way, I sadly find there is little difference between the majority of Israelis and Americans: both have national medias which hardly ever dare question the comfortable consensus, and whenever they do happen to come across these, both listen to any different opinions from within a solid and fortified position of righteous conviction there are only Good people and Bad people. The world is black and white; there are no nuances; the complexity of human suffering, their reasoning, therefore motives, is a liberal plot anyway – â€˜you are either with us, or against usâ€™. Period.
Maybe I do â€˜buy intoâ€™ partisan arguments (though personally, I donâ€™t think there is much difference between the two nowadays). And you know what? For the sake of future times I hope I am wrong. US democracy has been strong enough to see itself through McArtism and still celebrate the social and cultural shifts of the 60s. I just somehow have the feeling that the kind of winds blowing from your Capitol Hill will affect many aspects of your life – and mine – for years to come and it will not be the kind of changes you dismantle by voting out the government (hence Alito, Supreme Court etc.). America is becoming more alienated, more bullish, more uni-lateral than ever before, and in a century where every other human with a little bit of grey matter between their ears is waking up to interconnectedness and the fact we cannot survive collectively if we will not work it out together, your country is displaying all the symptoms of heading backwards into the dark ages. It is legitimate that you donâ€™t like me saying it, and dismiss it as nothing more than an opinionated attack. But I am not attacking, and this kind of defensive thinking is what brought the US into its international isolation. People can, and do, disagree your foreign policies, or dislike your televised banalities, or shudder at your fast food culture and still be interested and concerned with the well-being of your people, the erosion of your civil-liberties, or the fact your government is so enmeshed with oil and armament interests it cannot see straight and justifies all the measures it has taken in the name of national security to spy and lie as it sees fit. I would mention the Boiling Frog Syndrome again, but what is the use in doing so for someone who splashes with delight while the water gets hotter.
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