Max's Dad is on another rant, this time, the object of his ire is the group of millennials surveyed by a Harvard poll. Seems their support for President Obama is way down. Max's Dad is a sort of Don Rickles with an edge, but this time he may have it wrong. The poll may reflect the same levels of insight and shallowness as other age groups. Sorry about that, kids. Still, the rant is funny, as long as it isn't aimed, you know, at my own group.
Jonathan Bernstein, writing for A Plain Blog about Politics, is skeptical of a different part of the same poll, whether millennials will participate in Obamacare, on a more general principle that such polling is not a good predictor of behavior.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, suggests that there is one important reason Republicans may not want to learn how to communicate effectively with women or those men who kind of like the idea of fairness.
Julian Sanchez argues that contraception should not be regarded as part of healthcare because it is more akin to food preference. Or something. This fellow is always worth a read, even though it sometimes kills a few brain cells.
Rumproast brings video of little kids singing in favor of immigration reform outside of Eric Cantor's office. Kind of cute. OH, and also Cantor's office calling for Capitol police to deal with the threat the little one's posed to the Congressman. The kids do look a little scared as they are pushed away.
When we need a study guide understanding of the world, Infidel 753 is becoming a valuable sort of CliffsNotes. This week, Infidel brings us a cogent analysis of unrest in the Ukraine, why it's happening, why it's important.
Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot explores Big Data. He finds a web site where you can get all sorts of weird statistical information. He starts with the world population of 1863 and goes from there. Tim is an amazing intellect.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster sees harm coming from the use by social media of algorithms designed to examine our reading patterns and filter out opinions a user might disagree with. Have a happy, very agreeable, day!
- Conservative James Wigderson has complained about the mishandling of a parade and how some Girl Scouts were mistreated. A public official says he's wrong and so, the entertaining debate is on. An implied side note: it appears to the casual observer (which is to say me) that James is actually complaining about the privatization of the parade, which had previously been run by local government, and is now in the hands of the Chamber of Commerce. If true, James is staking out a lonely conservative position.
Writing about Nelson Mandela has never been difficult. The lessons of life he has made available to us are so stark that parallels can be seen wherever there is a conflict with morality at the core.
As with Martin Luther King or Mohandas Gandhi, all roads within the arc of the moral universe tend to lead in a common direction. Many in the United States were openly contemptuous of early efforts toward democracy in South Africa. They insisted that black people in that country, coming from a tribal tradition, were simply unready. Sub-Saharan Africans were said to lack the institutional tradition, the cultural preparation, for democracy. No republic in that part of that continent could sustain democracy beyond one election. The clever rejoinder to "One person, one vote" was "One man, one vote, one time."
Some of those who had insisted that Africans lacked any tradition respecting democracy now support restrictions on voting rights in the United States. It hasn't been hard to find unintended consistency within that contradiction: The suspicion that what they really fear has not been that a black population is unready for democracy, but rather that democracy that involved too many black voters might reject them, describing such conservatives in 2010 as what they themselves had insisted they had previously feared:
"captives of an ethic that values country less than ideology, that their political party is institutionally unprepared, that they are too culturally backward to sustain a democratically elected government."
Some attempted to block even symbolic efforts to support freedom for Nelson Mandela on the strength of the idea that he, himself, was a terrorist. Behind bars, without a physical presence, he became the focal point of protest. A visiting British song writer wrote a piece that became a sort of national anthem. It was officially banned by the white racist government trying to keep control of South Africa. The song remained as a symbol of defiance, and was adopted internationally. Free Nelson Mandela became the vocal inspiration of a movement that gained international scope.
The history surrounding Nelson Mandela provided another parallel. As tribal loyalties were transcended by an overwhelming majority of South Africa, a strange sort of alliance was formed. The Inkatha Freedom Party was Zulu based, working for the tribal divisions that most South Africans rejected. They were joined by the National Party, the all white segregationist party of Afrikaners.
The alliance of black tribalists with rabid white racists still seems wildly improbable. But it carried with it a certain internal logic. Both were joined by a common view, that racial ties superseded national loyalty. Even together, they were soundly defeated by the unifying message of Mandela's African National Congress.
It was not hard to find a lesson in the excesses of America's post-9/11 reaction, as anti-terrorism morphed, in some cases, into anti-Muslim bigotry:
President Bush, in one of those grown up acts that earned the gratitude of Americans like me, made it clear early on who the enemy was. It was not Islam. It was not even a major division of Islam. We regarded ourselves as at peace with Shiites and Sunnis. Our enemies were the attackers, the terrorists. After his election, President Obama promoted the same vision.
al Qaeda, of course, has a different vision. They are frustrated at the international popularity of the American President. They wish to purify Islam, destroying all Shiites and all but the few Sunnis who share their goal of harsh religious dominion. They envision a global clash of civilizations.
Oddly enough, they are joined by those Americans who want to see just such a clash.
[They will be overcome by] ... a demonstration that all real Americans, regardless of faith, unite against an ideology of hate.
But the greatest parallel may come in the fullness of time, as current injustice becomes a history of obstacles overcome. That lesson is courage in the face of crushing hardship. 27 years in captivity would have been unbearable for most of us. 27 years in retrospect amazes. But 27 years without a clear outcome, decades with no certain end, is unimaginable.
Those who are persecuted might find a source of courage in the example of others. It could be that those living in quiet desperation, struggling on the ragged edge of survival, can find strength as well. What might be more meaningful to those who have escaped the struggle is the message to make our own commitments, to join in healing.
Over those years, Mandela is said to have won over the friendship of those hardened jailers assigned to guard him. He was sustained by faith, and a nineteenth century poem by William Ernest Henley. He began a tradition of sorts, reciting words of strength and courage to fellow prisoners and to those guarding him.
The words, describing an ethic of internal freedom through self mastery, are spoken by Morgan Freeman who portrayed Mandela in film. It is called Invictus.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of fate
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act never stop producing new tricks to undermine the reform's effectiveness. But leave it to California Republicans to reach for the bottom. Their goal appears to be to discredit the act by highlighting its costs and penalties rather than its potential benefits.
The device chosen by the Assembly's GOP caucus is a website at the address coveringhealthcareca.com. If that sounds suspiciously like coveredca.com, which is the real website for the California insurance exchange, it may not be a coincidence. Bogus insurance websites have sprung up all over, aiming to steer consumers away from legitimate enrollment services. Just a couple of weeks ago California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris shut down 10 bogus insurance sites, some of them with names very similar to the real thing. She must have overlooked the GOP's entry.
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CSPAN interview reveals strategy.
Is it easier to fight if adversaries are glowing in the dark?
I think a ground war in Iran with American boots on the ground would be a horrible thing and I think people like to toss around the fact that we have to stop them in some way from gaining this nuclear capability. I don’t think it’s inevitable but I think if you have to hit Iran, you don’t put boots on the ground, you do it with tactical nuclear devices and you set them back a decade or two or three. I think that’s the way to do it with a massive aerial bombardment campaign.
- Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), on CSPAN, December 4, 2013
File this under - Authorities out of their minds
From Rochester Homepage, Rochester, NY
Three Edison students who were charged with disorderly conduct pleaded not guilty in court.
The boys were with about a dozen basketball teammates Wednesday morning on Main Street waiting for a school bus to take them to a scrimmage at Aquinas. There was no school that day and their coach had arranged for a pick-up at a central meeting spot.
An officer asked the boys to disperse and they refused. The young men say they tried to explain to him they were waiting for a school bus. The officer arrested three of the players.
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The great Obamacare debate began with philosophical objections combined with horror-genre fiction. Death panels and a broken economy cross pollinated Constitutional concerns left over from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security debates. What exactly does promoting the General Welfare entail?
Most social advances have had to face down the ridiculous to get to actual issues. The New York State version of the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated by the Phyllis Schlafly generated image of unisex public bathrooms. The debate a hundred years ago about the right of women to vote included discussions about whether they were intelligent enough and whether marriage would be endangered by political discussions in the home.
Work your way around the dishonest parts of the attacks on Obamacare, get past the inevitable but very brief follow up discussion about Kenya as the Mother of Presidents, and you end up back at the 1960s and Constitutional definitions about eldercare. Is medical treatment an earned right, reserved for the well off? Should the rest of us be concerned when one of us is financially wiped out by an illness that fine print says is not to be covered?
The great undoing anticipated by opponents kept not happening. The death of Edward M. Kennedy and the election in Massachusetts of Scott Brown should have killed it. Filibusters and off year public pressure should have put it in the ground. The Supreme Court, the election of 2012. It was one disappointment after another.
The government shutdown and the default was the last stand. Ted Cruz stood like George Custer surrounded by enough loyal troops to provoke another loss.
You still hear individual shouts, followed by group cheers, as a few rally round the flag of defunding. But here's the thing:
The shouts are less frequent, as leaders focus on the futility of repeal.
The cheers are weaker, as crowds grow smaller.
- The shouts and the cheers include fewer actual office holders.
Those in office are now looking to side issues. The rightward public is less likely to be scared to action by vague images of huge costs and rationing boards. Scare tactics are always aimed at low-information voters, and even bad web news tends to inform.
Stories about the Website of Horror join tales of the independently insured now forced to give up valued coverage in favor of something more comprehensive. But they are no longer about repeal. The accompanying charge is a sort of modified I-told-you-so. The modification is in direction. I-told-you-it-would-be-the-end-of-freedom is mutating to I-told-you-these-folks-are-incompetent.
Actual repeal is becoming a rhetorical improbability. Those who were not able to get insurance before because of lack of means or because of pre-existing conditions will not agree easily to give up what they now have, or shortly will have. And they outnumber those forced to give up junk-coverage by several quantums.
Even if the Marvelously Malfunctioning Enrollment site continues to be an embarrassment, the program itself has acquired a primary constituency of newly insured, and a secondary constituency of those who care about those who are newly insured.
And there is hope in that site. After a reportedly angry White House session with a furious President peppering experts with increasingly specific questions, the revised promise had to do with lower error rates and vanishing percentages of user interface crashes. "Back end" corrections involving the relaying of stored information to insurance providers would be a "next step." Success on the second bounce is easier to claim, and further success is promised as a followup: those back-end repairs are to come next.
Sunday morning gasbags bemoan their discovery that the back-end doesn't work, even though the user interface does. Those critics who understand their own words are a small minority. Those who can communicate anything more to a non-expert audience than techno-babble are extinct before they start.
The main point of attack has been reduced to a fight against particulars. Demands for repeal, for defunding, for a reversal of what Americans are now expecting for themselves or their neighbors, are softly spoken, when mentioned at all. They are now replaced with an accusation.
The President you people made the mistake of re-electing turns out not to have been a good computer programmer.
From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Shannon Renee McNeal was torn from her screaming children by police who were seeking a woman with a similar name — a woman who they should have known had been murdered seven months before. A clerical mistake set up the arrest, sloppy attention to fingerprints put her behind bars and months of indifference to the error cost McNeal her home, $15,000 and, for a while, her job driving a Metro bus.
Yet she may be luckier than scores of others who have been wrongfully arrested and spent weeks, even months, trapped behind bars in a broken St. Louis city justice system.
The Post-Dispatch has identified about 100 people arrested in error over the past seven years.
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Political scientist and author Seth Masket has a history of skepticism about political extremism, mainstreaming, and the effects on voting outcome. A few months ago, he took Republicans Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner to task for suggesting that their party has an urgent need to explore more moderate solutions if they are to find a pathway to electoral victory.
Most academics hesitate about sweeping judgments. The idea that political extremism will affect voters is an ingrained part of conventional wisdom, and Professor Masket has been cautious about countering it.
What we don't see, however, is evidence that this extremism is hurting Republicans electorally, at least not yet. If the economy had been experiencing a recession last year instead of modest growth, Mitt Romney would be president today.
- Seth Masket, in Pacific Standard Magazine, February 19, 2013
Legitimate scholars respect evidence, and Seth Masket more recently presents research showing that extremism may have a substantial effect on elections.
Masket quotes a study by (pdf) Harvard graduate student Andrew Hall.
When an extremist (as measured by primary-election campaign receipt patterns) wins a “coin-flip” election over a moderate, the party’s general-election vote share decreases by approximately 12 percentage points, and the probability that the party wins the seat decreases by 38-46 percentage points.
- Andrew Hall, Department of Government, Harvard University (pdf) November 19, 2013
This is a debate that is of some concern in our little universe at FairAndUNbalanced.com. If a journey toward the political edge does tend to reduce the effectiveness of a political party, it supports an essential part of our debate concerning the demise of the Republican Party.
If GOP candidates get few enough votes in enough elections, the party will disappear.
If the GOP grows extreme enough, it will attract fewer voters, thus fulfilling Number 1.
This point is a lynchpin of the entire prediction. If voters are not repelled by extreme political positions, the chain will break at a new and decisive weak link.
If less conservative members continue to leave the party, the party will become increasingly extreme. Thus fulfilling number 2, which makes number 1 a certainty.
If more conservative members of the party continue to believe ideological purity is the key to victory, they will continue to make the GOP a less and less hospitable home for mainstream conservatives. Thus fulfilling number 3, thus making numbers 2 and 1 a certainty.
If extreme conservatives listen to what they are being told by conservative media, they will become increasingly certain that any setbacks are caused by a lack of ideological purity. Thus fulfilling number 4, making number 3, 2, and 1 a certainty.
- If conservative media stop telling extremists they are right, extreme conservatives now have the easy ability to find other more conservative media alternatives. Thus making it all come together in a very happy, yellow-brick-road ending.
So conservative media have a good, profit-oriented, reason for telling extremists they are right, and that election setbacks are caused by a lack of ideological purity. Conservatives believe what they are told, what they want very much to believe, so they make the Republican party hostile for mainstream conservatives. Less extreme conservative members leave the party, which means the party becomes more extreme. Extremism repels more and more voters and the Republican party disappears as a national political force.
If academic research is right, if extremism reduces effectiveness at election time, it does not mean the entire chain of events is locked in. There are other links in the chain. Mainstream conservatives may decide to fight back, stream back to the Republican Party, and reverse the tide. Conservatives may be stung by too many election defeats and decide to change direction. They decide that the comfortable media cocoon is not so comfortable and become open to outside evidence. Money or outside events may change the flow of political history.
Tim McGaha of Tim's Thoughtful Spot poses an excellent question. We can safely predict that conservatism will not wither and die, simply because one entity extinguishes itself. History will not end when the Republican Party disappears.
"Yes," says Tim, "the GOP is going to hit the rocks. But THEN what?"
That is a good question.
9:00 AM, December 1, 2013
St. Mark's United Methodist Church
314 Graham Rd
Florissant, MO 63031
|We look around and see a world crying for light.|
|We pray that Jesus will come soon,|
|that God's mercy will flow as a mighty river,|
|that love will overrun hatred,|
|that the worth of every child of God will be seen.|
|We need a miracle in our world.|
|We look within.|
|We pray that Jesus will come into our hearts,|
|that God's holy spirit will speak to us,|
|that God's perfect love will speak through us,|
|that we might fulfill our part in God's plan.|
|We need a miracle in our lives.|
|We prepare our lives, our hearts, our world.|
|We are the shepherds in the field.|
|We are the travelers in the desert.|
|We see the beginnings of a light in our sky.|
|We pray that we are ready for a star in the night.|
|The miracle of a child is upon us.|
Found on Line:
Children, Go Where I Send Thee
Johnny Cash, June Carter, and guests.
Christmas Special, 1977
Mad Mike's America takes us to Texas. The fact that the state purchases textbooks in a mostly unified bulk buy gives extremists who dominate the process a huge national influence. Publishers usually try to avoid one text for the Texas right wing and another for more rational parts of the country. The issue now is creation "science"..
Conservative Julian Sanchez doesn't much care for the NSA practice of looking into sexually oriented online searches by radicalizing Muslims. Thought seems to be that this information can be used to discredit them. It does seem similar to practices by a blackmailing FBI director from a few decades ago, doesn't it?
This seems never to end. Conservatives are outraged that President Obama has closed the US embassy to the Vatican in retaliation to Catholic concerns about Obamacare. Rumproast looks into the outrage and a few facts conservatives overlook. Like, the embassy wasn't closed, just moved. And the Vatican had no problem with it. And the entire plan was begun during the Bush administration.
Democrats put out a few brief facts that anyone can use when some drunken Fox viewing relative launches a Thanksgiving dinner rant about Obamacare. So, naturally, conservative James Wigderson rants about countering rants. Seems the administration is imposing healthcare discussions onto Thanksgiving. My own practiced response to such discussions is along the lines of "I've given this a great deal of thought and my opinion is we ought to talk about something else." Here is one reason, although the context is different.
Fox News is also irritated at Democratic efforts to impose on Thanksgiving. So News Corpse does a little homework and discovers that Fox itself has been promoting ways to verbally assault liberal relatives around the dinner table. Difference is Fox encourages a less civil approach.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite finds a dozen folks who can be thankful for Obamacare this season, and suggests they are far, far, far more numerous than over-reported folks who lose their coverage. Tommy has also taken on the tiresome task of actually researching those who say they lost coverage, since mainstream reporting seems to come up a little short on due diligence.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, tears into yet another conservative who thinks the presentation of slavery in history books is unbalanced. Popular opinion doesn't take into account the good points of slavery.
- Infidel 753 educates us in lay terms about the Iran nuclear deal. My reaction to one major opposition point is here. Elections have consequences - in Iran.
Sent by an alert reader:
This past Sunday a Morman bishop in Utah had a makeup artist turn him into an unrecognizable ugly looking homeless man to see how his congregation would react when he walked into the church. At least 5 of them asked him to leave. Lots of guilty feeling people when they found out who the homeless man really was. The bishop said he turned himself into a modern day parable. All I can say is "Jesus wept".
Found on line from Associated Press via Minneapolis Star Tribune:
TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Members of a Mormon congregation in a Salt Lake City suburb encountered someone they thought was a homeless man at church on Sunday. What they did not know was the man was a bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
At least five people asked David Musselman to leave the church property in Taylorsville, some gave him money and most were indifferent.
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My twenty years or so in computer programming may make me an elderly nerd. It doesn't make me an expert on all things IT. I lost count a long time ago of the number of folks who have asked me about one computer issue or another. I couldn't help them.
For one thing, information technology covers a lot of territory. I know somewhat less than nothing about what actually makes a computer operate. Very few programmers would be able to tell you much about the inner workings of hardware. I usually refer those whose PCs have been enveloped in some trauma to my loved one, who is A-Plus certified and a bit of a hardware genius.
Beyond that, the number of computer languages is a Tower of Babel, likely to fall on anyone who thinks they know even a fraction of everything.
Once, I was assigned to make some needed adjustments to a voice response system for a client company. Calls were not being routed fast enough to the right person. Menus were inadequate and callers were not being offered a quick way to an operator if they couldn't find their way through. I was warned that an unpleasant sales employee, a self-styled expert, liked to harass computer techs. I was promised there would be no problem if I was rude to the fellow, since everyone there considered him a bit of a jerk.
Sure enough, a guy swaggered on over while I was untangling previous work so I could solve whatever ailed their system. He began loudly berating my company, their choice of system platforms, the languages they used, the dumb technical people - like me - they would send to make adjustments. For a while, I just kept working. But he kept getting louder. People looked up from their desks at the commotion.
Finally, I looked up. "Come on over," I said. "Let me show you something." He sauntered over to the work station. I pointed to the screen. "This blinking light is what we call ..." I slowed down and slowly enunciated, "... the cursor." I explained that the cursor told us where in the system of files we were looking. I began to explain what files were and how directories were organized.
He got fidgety and finally could stand it no longer. He interrupted me. "You don't need to tell me all that! I happen to be kind of an expert in computers." The number of onlookers had multiplied by then. Some of them looked a little uncomfortable at the behavior of the loudmouth.
I feigned embarrassment. "On gosh, I'm sorry. I hope you realize there's absolutely nothing you've said that would have led me to believe that." The office broke into cheers.
There is still some internet related programming I haven't forgotten. But I know more back end data related stuff.
I have to confess I was kind of surprised at the initial debacle of Obamacare. The website was, apparently, ill-constructed. The volume was greater than expected, not so much because of the instant popularity of the program, but because of the number of states, governed by Republicans, that turned down incentives for setting up their own enrollment systems. Stress testing on the federal system was apparently inadequate.
From what I have read, the geniuses who ran the information systems providing strategic data to the 2012 Obama campaign - I do wish I had been part of THAT - were kept from participating in setting up Obamacare. Appearance of impropriety was the fear, I'd guess.
Too bad. Those who are willing to think Obama is a hybrid of Bozo the Clown and Attila the Hun don't hesitate to accuse Bozo the Hun of corruption, with evidence they themselves pretty much invent.
The newest CNN poll seems to indicate that Obamacare is very unpopular, unless you look more closely. About 40 percent like the new law just fine. 58 percent are opposed to Obamacare. So that's bad for Obamacare, right?
But 14 percent who say they don't like it also say it's because it doesn't go far enough. Grouping those who hate Obamacare in with those who say there isn't enough Obamacare in Obamacare seems a little off base. If you do the right thing and add those who say it should do more with those who like it the way it is, you're at 54 percent. By some coincidence, that 54 percent happens to match the number who think the technical problems will eventually get worked out.
Younger, more technologically experienced people are the most optimistic about the web problems. Just 25 percent of younger voters have doubts about the technology.
For me, the real news is the debate itself. Various myths about Obamacare have begun fading. Death panels are widely ridiculed. Those who care enough about deficits to pay attention know that the program improves health care while reducing costs. Budget deficits will be lowered by the law.
In the good old days, Republicans opposed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for largely philosophical reasons. The debate was about the legitimate role of government in ensuring reasonable care for the common good. Heady stuff.
After getting past the silly interpretations we've been hearing since President Obama adopted Mitt Romney's program from Massachusetts, we have now arrived at the end point.
Scandals surrounding Benghazi, IRS, and various bureaucratic inevitabilities have been examined and exhausted and appear to be Republican contrivances. Investigations into Obamacare are conducted by people who blink with non-comprehension at the news that comment lines exist.
Republicans are pinning all of their hopes on the continuing failure of a website. Their latest accusation is that President Obama is inadequately technical.
Let's begin with Rush Limbaugh, because ... why not?
Let’s say, let’s take 10 people in a room and they’re a group. And the room is made up of six men and four women. OK? The group has a rule that the men cannot rape the women. The group also has a rule that says any rule that will be changed must require six votes, of the 10, to change the rule.
- Rush Limbaugh, November 22, 2013
Well, that was interesting.
Actually, Rush was making a point. His thought experiment had to do with the recent change to the filibuster rule of the United States Senate. That was the rule that used to be invoked whenever a few Senators felt so strongly about an issue, where the majority was against them, that they were willing to keep any vote from happening.
Mostly, in the past, that happened whenever the topic was some law against segregation, or even against the custom in some sections of the country of decorating tree limbs with black folks who might want to do something outrageous, like vote - or drink from the wrong water fountain.
The rule allowed any Senator to talk endlessly, holding up Senate business, unless a lot more than a majority of Senators voted to end debate and vote on whatever it was. Well, that's what it used to mean. A while back, Senators decided on a couple of changes.
The first was the number of Senators needed to end a filibuster was reduced. For a long, long time it was 67 votes. But in 1975, a proposal to change the rule to 60 votes was introduced. Naturally, it was filibustered.
Nelson Rockefeller was Vice President in 1975. He kept refusing to recognize Senators who wanted to filibuster against changing the filibuster rule. When he was challenged on it, he read from the Senate rules. "It says right here in the precedents of the Senate, 'The Chair may decline to respond; the chair may decline to answer a parliamentary inquiry.'" So Senators brought up points of order and motions to table other motions to table. It was a horrible tangle.
Finally, a deal was reached. A filibuster could be stopped by 60 votes. Yay! In return, Vice President Rockefeller apologized to the Senate for being such a jerk as to violate hallowed customs in order to make it easier to pass civil rights laws. Sorry about that.
Senators also did something they thought was brilliant. If a Senator wanted to filibuster, they would move on to the next item, bypassing any actual talking. That way, other Senate business could be conducted without waiting for obstructing Senators to get tired of standing.
That also made it really convenient to conduct a filibuster. Think of it as a sort of microwave of obstruction. Saves everyone from having to perform all that institutional cooking. "I announce my intention to talk endlessly for many hours about this bill that the majority wants to pass." - "No need for all that, Senator. We'll just move on to something else." - "Okay. In that case, I'll sit around and enjoy a cigar."
When President Obama took office, Republicans met just after the Inaugural Address to decide how to destroy him. No kidding. That's what they did.
They began filibustering pretty much everything more important than naming Post Offices. Democrats retaliated with harsh looks and furtive gestures. Amazingly, Republicans were undeterred.
So Democrats got tough. They threatened to "go nuclear" and end the filibuster. Republicans said that was scary and promised only to filibuster if they ever got really really mad. So Democrats, impressed by this new, reasonable approach, said okay and told everyone that Senate tradition had been preserved. They did briefly wonder why Republicans were giggling joyfully and highfiving.
Then, Republicans announced they would refuse to confirm any judges to one of the District Courts no matter who was nominated. Just because.
They explained that they were not breaking their word, because they had had their fingers crossed plus they were really really mad about pretty much everything.
So Democrats decided, at long last, to end the filibuster. HaHaHa, just kidding.
They would end the filibuster for any and all administrative judicial appointments. HaHaHa, got you again.
They didn't end filibusters for ALL judicial appointments. Only those not having to do with the Supreme Court. Pretty tough, these Democrats.
So conservatives are hopping mad. . . Okay, that part is pretty much same as before. They remain hopping mad.
Rush does have a recurring obsession with all things sexual: calling individual women sluts, suggesting that those who use birth control (except for aspirin) are prostitutes, apparently thinking that contraceptive prescriptions must be increased with more sexual activity, wondering if there is a Planned Parenthood conspiracy to reduce effectiveness of morning-after pills for women wearing more than size 2 clothes. That sort of thing.
If you can get past that, he does have a point about majoritarianism. Some things should be opposed regardless of whether a majority is in favor. Things about basic rights.
For example, voting rights should be safeguarded, even if most folks are okay with making it harder for minorities to vote. Gay rights should not be circumvented, even in locations where most people are anti-gay. If a majority of voters in my neighborhood decide that everyone must contribute to religion, I would be opposed, even if the funding would flow to the house of worship I attend. A Nevada assemblyman kicked up some dust by telling supporters that he would vote for slavery if his constituents wanted it.
Point is, or should be, that basic rights are inalienable. The rights can be abridged. They can be voted down, shouted down, put down by majority vote, or oppressed by the sheer force of bigotry. But they are still rights, even as they are violated.
"You know what? We're going to change the rule. Now all we need is five." And well, "you can't do that." "Yes we are. We're the majority. We're changing the rule."
- Rush Limbaugh, November 22, 2013
Freedom from rape is a basic right. Obstructing pretty much everything that requires Senate action is not.
Now, if Rush Limbaugh could find it in his heart to apply his anti-majoritarian logic to gay rights, we might get somewhere.