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Friday Talking Points [263] -- Professional Edition

[ Posted Friday, June 28th, 2013 – 17:09 PDT ]

Well, we've been away for two weeks, and those two weeks were just chock-full of political news, so we've got a lot to cover. The reason for the interruption in columns was, of course, our attending Netroots Nation, the yearly conclave of bloggers, Progressives, and all and sundry who like hanging out with them. Which brings us to this week's unusual title -- today's Friday Talking Points, for the first time ever, are going to be professionally-produced and focus-group-tested. More on this later.

We've got a lot to cover, so we're going to do it very quickly here, but I have to begin by pointing out, once again, what a helium-brain David Gregory truly is. The moderator of Meet The Press is a journalistic lightweight on his best of days -- even when some interviewee breaks some real news on his show, Gregory can be counted on to not realize such news has been made, at least until someone else informs him of the fact. The man couldn't think his way out of a paper bag, although he does have that boyish grin and good hair going for him -- which is all that really matters to NBC.

Last Sunday, Gregory interviewed Glenn Greenwald (the reporter at the center of the Edward Snowden leak story), and asked him a classic "Have you stopped beating your wife, Senator?" question. Here is what Gregory thought it'd be a good idea to ask Greenwald, without a shred of evidence or fact to back it up:

To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?

Since then, Gregory has gotten nothing but scorn heaped upon him, by the mainstream media, by Salon and the Huffington Post, and even by Fox News. That last one is pretty stunning, because Fox had to choose between what they would normally see as a "liberal mainstream media type" and a "Lefty media type" -- and they actually sided with the Lefty, describing Gregory's question as "absolutely insane" and charging that Gregory was "carrying water" for the White House.

I'm sorry, but this is giving Gregory entirely too much credit. If Gregory was capable of carrying water for anyone, it would be at the rate of a single eyedropper at a time, and not some replay of the sorcerer's apprentice (see: Mickey Mouse, Fantasia). Since so many others have piled on, though, it's enough to merely pose one question of my own to David Gregory:

"To the extent that you are so obviously incapable of asking an intelligent journalistic question, even if your life depended on it, why shouldn't you, Mr. Gregory, be immediately replaced by just about anyone -- down to and including the guy who gets your coffee -- as moderator of Meet The Press?"

Hmmph.

OK, we've got to get these a lot shorter, or we're never going to get through them at all. Snowden, of course, led the world's media on a chase all week, which led to a whole lot of meaningless speculation in the media. If you've been living under a rock for the past week, here's the best wrapup I've seen, mostly because it includes the phrase: "Any man who gets former Vice President Cheney quacking like an indignant duck is on to something." Can't argue with that. Oh, also, some celebrity chef is watching her empire collapse, which also distracted the media's attention notably this week. The media got the news this week that the entire I.R.S. conspiracy theory from Darrell Issa was actually wrong, as the I.R.S. was also using words like "occupy" and "medical marijuana" and "progressive" in its criteria for which groups to scrutinize -- but since reporting this story would have meant admitting wrongfully buying into Issa's story in the first place, the media largely ignored it.

The immigration bill passed the Senate late this week, but the talking points portion of the program will address this subject in full, so I merely mention the win in passing. But the Senate doesn't deserve an unqualified pat on the back, as although it did get the immigration bill done, it was shirking other duties at the same time. A while back, right after the Snowden story broke, the N.S.A. gave a confidential briefing to the entire Senate on the secret programs. Guess what? Because it was after the beginning of their weekend -- noon on Thursday (and no, I am not exaggerating one tiny bit) -- over one-half of the Senate didn't even bother to show up. They were all on flights home for the weekend. On Thursday afternoon. Think about this as you ponder the related news that the Senate is going home for a week off for Independence Day without passing a bill to keep student loan rates low. Student loan rates will double on the first of July, but the Senate couldn't be bothered to fix it. They swear they'll fix it later, really. So chew on that, all you college students filling out loan applications for next year. And, no, don't bother asking -- you will never find a job where you get to start your weekend at noon on Thursday, sorry (unless, of course, you run for Congress).

There was another national security leak story, but since it involved a retired four-star Marine Corps general, I guess we won't get quite the circus that the Snowden story is enjoying. Anyone want to guess if "Hoss" Cartwright will be treated the same as Snowden by either the media or politicians? The safe money is on "no."

But of course the biggest political news this week was the Supreme Court's end-of-session rulings. The Voting Rights Act decision was a major disappointment, but the gay marriage decisions were indeed a positive note. The best commentary all week came from none other than George Takei, famous for portraying "Mr. Sulu" on the original Star Trek television series. Not only does he relate his own personal story, he also takes the time to remind people what prejudice sounded like in the past. Most notably, he quotes a judge upholding an interracial marriage ban -- the "Racial Integrity Act" -- at the start of the Loving v. Virginia case:

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

It's always those who think they can read God's mind who come up with such logic. Which brings us to our final item of the week, before we move on to the awards. In Pennsylvania this week, a state representative was blocked by conservatives from giving his reaction on the statehouse floor to the Supreme Court's gay marriage rulings. Brian Sims is gay, you see. Which means, according to Republican Daryl Metcalfe:

I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God's law.

Got that? If conservative Republicans don't think whatever you've got to say is in keeping with their interpretation of God's law, then tough cookies, you just don't get to speak. Welcome to the Republican vision of theocracy, folks!

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

First, we've got to at least give a nod in the direction of the "Gang of 8" (or the "DC-8" as we prefer to call them) who successfully got their immigration bill through the Senate with a whopping 68 votes (including 14 Republicans). Well done!

Also, an Honorable Mention goes to a man whose victory was absolutely buried in an avalanche of other political news this week. But whether anyone outside the state noticed or not, Ed Markey will be the next senator from Massachusetts, regaining the seat John Kerry gave up when he joined the cabinet. Markey won a special election this week by a solid ten points, thus keeping the current 54-46 Senate split intact.

But there truly can be only one Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week: Texas state senator Wendy Davis (pink shoes and all). Don't ask me why the pink shoes were some sort of enormous deal in the media, because I have no explanation, sorry.

Whatever she had on her feet, though, Davis rode a wave of social media to gain national attention for her filibuster -- a real, old-school, Mr. Smith-style filibuster, mind you -- to block the passage of yet another anti-abortion law in the continuing Republican War On Women. Davis spoke for more than ten hours without bathroom breaks or even being allowed to sit or lean on anything, which is a pretty impressive feat right there.

Ultimately, the victory Wendy Davis scored this week will be crushed, when the Texas senate returns and passes the bill anyway; but the bigger picture shows that Davis has energized Democrats (and women) in Texas more than any single event, at least since a bunch of Texas legislators fled the state to prevent a quorum.

During the debate leading up to Davis' filibuster, Republicans proved once again that they are simply incompetent when it comes to any shred of basic understanding of the medical procedures they are legislating on, when one of them (a woman, no less) stated that a rape kit was essentially the same as getting an abortion. Stay classy (and ill-informed), GOP!

For fighting back against such ignorance, for standing and delivering until the wee hours, for energizing and motivating Texas Democrats and women everywhere (and, yes, for her pink shoes, although this focus still mystifies us), Wendy Davis is hands-down the obvious choice for Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. We can't think of a recent winner of our "Golden Backbone Award" who deserves it more, in fact. Well done, Wendy, and keep up the good work! Texas can indeed change to blue, and it is people like you who will make it happen.

[Congratulate Texas State Senator Wendy Davis on her official contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

The good news this week is that we can't come up with anyone who truly deserves the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award. Jon Corzine was about as close as we could get, but since he's not really a politician anymore and since he's just been charged and not convicted, we can't really see awarding him the MDDOTW award yet.

If anyone has any suggestions for disappointing Democrats we overlooked, please (as always) let us know in the comments. I mean, the whole Senate was disappointing by not doing its job, but it'd be hard to single anyone out on that front (sadly).

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 263 (6/28/13)

Welcome to a rather unique edition of our Friday Talking Points. As even the casual reader of this column knows, for roughly the past 262 weeks, every Friday I sit down to compose the best talking points I can come up with for Democrats to use when speaking about current issues in politics. But readers also know that this has been -- from the very beginning -- an admittedly amateur attempt at "messaging" or "framing." This week, however, we are able to offer up professional talking points for your enjoyment. More on that in a moment.

I began this column out of sheer frustration at the "herding cats" nature of getting Democrats to read from the same page (or, if you're more musically-inclined, to "sing from the same songbook") -- especially professional politicians and officeholders who appear on nationally-televised interviews. To be quite honest, you could call this "conservative messaging envy," because the other team is so darn good at doing this sort of thing. One major conservative makes a statement to the press and for the next two weeks (at a minimum) every single Republican interviewed will repeat the same line, often word-for-word -- even if they aren't ever asked about the subject by the interviewer. That's message discipline, folks. Even without the ready-made platform of Fox News, they communicate the party's thinking in a clear and unambiguous way.

Democrats, on the other hand, usually fail miserably at this sort of thing. Which is why I felt frustrated enough to try to help. My thinking went: "Well, nobody else seems to be doing this, so I guess I should take a crack at it." One argument I've heard repeatedly over the years is that even the concept of "talking points" is somehow evil, Republican, and/or beneath Democrats. I reject that argument completely. Is a hammer an evil tool? Well, it depends what you do with it. If you bash someone over the head and kill them, then you have committed an evil act with it. If you build a house with it, you have done good. The tool itself is not inherently good or bad -- it's what you choose to do with it that can be defined morally. The hammer's just one tool in the toolbox. That is how I see talking points, or messaging, or framing, or creating the perfect soundbite. It's just a tool, and anyone who doubts the effectiveness of the tool must have been in a coma for the past three or four decades (at the least).

But, other than the occasional excerpt from authors such as George Lakoff or Drew Westen, everything in this column has been only my creative attempts to come up with some snappy ways to talk about what Democrats and Progressives should be highlighting. But today we are pleased to bring you some actual, professionally-produced, focus-group-tested talking points. Last week, I attended the Netroots Nation bloggerfest, and caught a presentation given by (as they put it) a collaboration of over 100 advocates from over 50 allied Labor, Progressive and immigration organizations. It was the best seminar I attended during the whole conference, in fact, and had an abundance of data, charts, and advice on crafting language to talk about the subject of immigration. This included basic terminology, such as not using "illegal aliens" or even "undocumented workers" in favor of better terms such as "aspiring citizens" or "new Americans."

This may sound overly nit-picky to some, but it cuts to the core of what messaging is: not just intellectually connecting with the audience, but emotionally connecting as well -- which leads to deeper cognitive connections than by just quoting a bunch of facts and figures. For instance, even saying "pathway to citizenship" brings up the mental image of a path. Animals walk on paths, through the forest. If you say "roadmap to citizenship" you bring up an entirely different image -- one that people can better relate to: driving around in a car.

The presentation didn't just include general advice, though, it also included several specific messages that tested very well with a range of audiences. Any political message has to resonate with the base (the people who already agree with you) as well as the "persuadables" in the middle. The following passages have been proven to do just that.

So, with the full approval of the group which produced these messages, today we present a very special Friday Talking Points. Below are slightly-condensed versions of four winning ways to talk about immigration. We present these without the usual introductory sentences, since we feel that the language stands on its own and needs no further comment. While the Senate impressively passed their bill this week, we're going to have a long summer conversation about the subject as the House dawdles, so these will come in handy for months to come.

 

1
   American values

"America is a nation of values, founded on an idea -- that all men and women are created equal. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all people have rights, no matter what they look like or where they came from. So how we treat new immigrants reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans. All Americans who love this country very much deserve a commonsense immigration process, one that includes a roadmap for people who aspire to be citizens."

 

2
   Work together

"America's strength is grounded in our ability to work together. From those who cook the food that we eat to those who create innovative businesses, new immigrants realize the value of working hard and doing your part in exchange for the blessings of liberty. Americans are all the better for having hardworking new immigrants as contributing members of our communities -- shopping in our stores, paying payroll taxes, and giving to local churches and charities. America works best when we all do our part and work together as one nation, indivisible and strong."

 

3
   Roadmap to citizenship

"America deserves a commonsense immigration process, one that includes a roadmap for New Americans who aspire to be citizens. For many of those now striving for citizenship, the current maze of regulations provides no light at the end of the tunnel, because there's often no line to get into for becoming a fully participating American. The essential rights of citizenship should be attainable by taking a test of our history and government, paying an appropriate fee, and pledging allegiance to our country. People move their families here to the land of freedom and opportunity, in order to provide a better life for their children and contribute to our culture in this country."

 

4
   People move

"The same is true today as it has been throughout history: people move to make life better for themselves and their families. It's hard to move -- to pack up everything and go to a new place takes courage -- but you do it in order to put food on the table, to provide for your family, or send your kids to a decent school. Immigrant Americans move here for the promise of freedom and opportunity in this country. One of the values we hold dear to our hearts is a deeply-rooted belief in the freedom to be who you want to be, say what you want to say, and go where you want to go. America is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave -- that's a good thing, so let's keep it that way."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

121 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [263] -- Professional Edition”

  1. [1] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Great column, Chris. As a Canadian who's number one bucket list entry is to do a lengthy driving tour of all the places I've heard so much about all my life (the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite and many other national Parks, Wrigley and Fenway parks, etc.; as a short list); every day I read about some new insanity from some of your political "leaders" I slowly resign myself to becoming too afraid to cross your border and fulfill my death wish goal.
    I've been an active witness to your country's degeneration, even though I haven't been there for 15 years. Previously, in 25 years of MULTIPLE states-side trips; I was always excited about what new things and people I might see. My experience with Americans was much more positive than my average fellow Canadian, I took a fair bit of heat defending you as good people.
    Even though I'm a codger, realistically I suspect things haven't changed so much that I still wouldn't enjoy most of my experiences.
    But the last few years have featured such a barrage of insanity that I've stopped reading a number of sites that I used to enjoy: Think Progress as an example, because the non stop list of Republican lunacy at every level is so depressing and scary.
    Even going back 40 years, though your gun culture scared me and the idea of a health crisis (eg. a car accident) with your 4th world view of health care (every man for himself, hope you're lucky) terrified me; I looked forward to trips to the U.S. as life affirming adventures...and I'd been spoiled by my positive meetings with Americans in Europe over many months of travelling in 1973.
    Sorry I'm being so verbose and boring: my point is, when you're frightening away lifetime admirers of most of your raison d'etre; a self evaluation may be in order.

  2. [2] 
    Kevin wrote:

    P.S.: Climate change, mustn't forget that...although to be fair, it is a global problem and not your specific fault. We've had our own recent dose with the Alberta flooding.
    Since my bucket list plan consists of camping and/or sleeping in my car, that's just one more thing to be paranoid about, drowning or being swept away by a random twister adds another fret for me to worry about...my point being these delusions would never have occured to me 20 years ago.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    The media got the news this week that the entire I.R.S. conspiracy theory from Darrell Issa was actually wrong, as the I.R.S. was also using words like "occupy" and "medical marijuana" and "progressive" in its criteria for which groups to scrutinize -- but since reporting this story would have meant admitting wrongfully buying into Issa's story in the first place, the media largely ignored it.

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Wrong...

    There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE to support this, save the unsubstantiated word of Obama's newest water-carrier...

    It's been widely supported by evidence and facts that this simply did not happen..

    If this DID happen, why didn't ANY progressive/liberal/Lefty groups come forward with their woeful tale of IRS targeting??

    Seeing as this is a really long FTP and I got a LOT of work ahead of me, I am going to have to bail for now..

    But, I do have to say one thing...

    P.S.: Climate change, mustn't forget that...although to be fair, it is a global problem and not your specific fault. We've had our own recent dose with the Alberta flooding.

    Kevin, you are my bestest buddy of the day!!! :D

    Here is my latest response regarding Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling)...

    I'll let the indomitable George Carlin speak for me.. :D

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cjRGee5ipM

    I'll finish up when time permits...

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kevin,

    I think a little perspective may be in order.

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Wrong...

    Sorry, CW... I coulda been just a little more diplomatic with that.. :D

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    We can't think of a recent winner of our "Golden Backbone Award" who deserves it more, in fact. Well

    {{cough}} Rand Paul {{cough}} {{cough}}

    :D

    Once again, we see how the Left is governed by political bigotry..

    The same act. In support of vital Liberal/Progressive foundations..

    When committed by a Republican, it's scoffed at and jeered..

    When committed by a Democrat, it's all glory and balloons and Golden Backbone/MIDOTW awards..

    To be fair, CW did call out kudos and props to Paul for his efforts.. But the "Professional" Left and many Weigantians??

    Thumbs down...

    I'm just sayin'.....

    So how we treat new immigrants reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans.

    Once again, the issue is NOT immigrants..

    The issue is ILLEGAL immigrants..

    Having said that, it has been said that one can tell the civilized nature of a society based on how it treats it's criminals..

    So, I guess there is some truth to PPTP #1 :D

    But let's be perfectly clear.. The issue is NOT immigrants. The issue is ILLEGAL immigrants..

    "America's strength is grounded in our ability to work together.

    One would never know that by how the Left refuses to work with the Right...

    America works best when we all do our part and work together as one nation, indivisible and strong."

    I would say, then that the Left should practice what they preach...

    All these PPTPs are well and good. Lofty and goodwill inspiring..

    Yet, how can anyone reconcile these high and mighty sounding words with the actions of the Left towards their fellow Americans who simply believe in a different political philosophy??

    Where in those lofty words does it say it's OK for the Left to call the Right "terrorists" for simply doing their jobs. Doing what they were hired to do??

    That's the problem with MANY on the Left today. Maybe it's the Obama Syndrome or a side effect of too much Obama Koolaid...

    The Left, by and large, think that Lofty words is all that is needed...

    Hell, our POTUS won the frakin' NOBEL PEACE PRICE simply because of lofty words.. Are you frakin' kidding me!??? Statistics show that Obama has lobbed more cruise missiles and extra-judicially killed more people than all the other Nobel Peace Prize winners combined!!

    "Actions speak louder than words"

    Once again, I'm just sayin'.....

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    TheStig wrote:

    "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

    Equally valid logic:

    If God had meant man to fly he would have given him tickets.

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    You won't catch me disagreeing with you in that..

    But I am constrained to point out that, as illogical as some of their beliefs are, religious people DO the right to feel the way they do...

    That's the whole point that seems to escape many activists on the Left...

    To be fair, on the Right as well...

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Sorry I'm being so verbose and boring: my point is, when you're frightening away lifetime admirers of most of your raison d'etre; a self evaluation may be in order.

    Hey Kevin-

    When I was in Turkey and wandering around the bazaars talking to people, I found that people were very open to talking about politics and answering any questions I had while I tried to do the same.

    One of the things one of the carpet sellers told me struck home to this day. He basically said, we like Americans, we just disagree with your government.

    I found it interesting with all of the "They hate our way of life" rhetoric kicking around here in America that this man's experience with Americans was still that they were good people.

    The reason I bring this up is that I think you'd like everyday Americans. The majority don't sound like the craziness you hear in the news.

    This is why I encourage people to target the sources of the propaganda- right wing think tanks and organizations such as the US Chamber of Commerce- and to separate them from the people who typically have much more good in common than they do the crazy views you see in the media.

    The media just highlights the craziness in disproportion to reality.

    My take anyhoo ...

    -David

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is why I encourage people to target the sources of the propaganda- right wing think tanks and organizations such as the US Chamber of Commerce- and to separate them from the people who typically have much more good in common than they do the crazy views you see in the media.

    What about the LEFT wing think tanks and organizations such as MoveOn and Code Pink and ACORN etc etc??

    Aren't they part and parcel to the problem as well??

    Just curious... :D

    Michale

  11. [11] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Aren't they part and parcel to the problem as well?

    It depends what your problem is.

    -David

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    It depends what your problem is.

    Me?? I have no problem.. :D

    But you were mentioning that the problem is the "craziness"...

    I am just curious as to whether or not you think the Left contributes to that problem...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    In other words, the general consensus around here is that this country would be so much better off if the Right just let the Left do what they want...

    Which is ironic because the gist from the Right is that this country would be so much better off if the LEFT would just let the Right do what THEY want..

    :D

    So, someone who doesn't subscribe to a political ideology is left to wonder..

    Who is right??

    And what makes them right??

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "The truth is not half-way between right and wrong."

    One would be very wise, indeed, to never forget that.

  15. [15] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I am just curious as to whether or not you think the Left contributes to that problem.

    A more interesting problem is corporate America re-writing our nation's laws so that all the benefits of what our country builds go to a very few people at the very top.

    A great recent example is a bill introduced in the House by bank lobbyists. They want to tax credit unions.

    http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20130630/BUSINESS01/306300012/Legislature-considers-taxing-credit-unions

    People have been leaving their banks in not insignificant numbers since 2008.

    How do banks stop this in 2013? You get government to pass some laws against credit unions.

    Any bets on whether or not we start to see credit unions being demonized by the media?

    -David

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    "The truth is not half-way between right and wrong."

    One would be very wise, indeed, to never forget that.

    That's actually a very kewl quote... :D

    Be that as it may, the problem is, is that "truth" is VERY subjective...

    "Their truth is not YOUR truth!!!"
    -Planetship Computer, STAR TREK, For The World Is Hallow And I Have Touched The Sky

    Which is why I prefer to deal in FACTS...

    "Archeology is the search for FACTS. Not truth.. If truth is what you seek, Professor Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall..."
    -Indiana Jones

    A two-fer!! :D

    Regardless, I do like the quote... :D

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    A more interesting problem is corporate America re-writing our nation's laws so that all the benefits of what our country builds go to a very few people at the very top.

    Quit trying to change the subject!! :D

    I'll be happy to explore your question as soon as you answer mine... :D

    How do banks stop this in 2013? You get government to pass some laws against credit unions.

    Would that be a DEMOCRAT government or a REPUBLICAN government?? :D

    If you want to rail against government fine...

    But until you simply IGNORE the distinction between Right/Left then it's all just regular partisan felgercarb....

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    But until you simply IGNORE the distinction between Right/Left then it's all just regular partisan felgercarb....

    In other words, you can't rail against "government" and then praise Obama for the great job he is doing..

    It's against the rules.. :D

    Unless you are on record as doing the same thing when Bush was POTUS... :D

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The truth of the matter is always based on the facts, Michale.

    Otherwise, it's not the truth.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    The truth of the matter is always based on the facts, Michale.

    Not always...

    More often than not, especially in the political arena, truth is based on faith, not facts..

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    DB,

    What you wrote back here...

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2013/06/24/the-long-road-to-societal-change/#comment-39663

    is really fascinating, so I wanted to share that with everyone by bringing it forward.

    I encourage everyone to read DB's comments as it is well thought out and logical..

    And it certainly makes the case, via science... REAL science, that people can not be born gay..

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, in all the hoopla from the Left over their gay marriage and immigration victories, no one seemed to notice that student's had their loan interest rate doubled...

    Apparently, unless you are gay or an illegal alien, Democrats don't give a crap aboutcha.... :^/

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Due to a weird temporal warp, my response to DB's awesome comment from a previous commentary was lost..

    The time gods smiled upon me (and apparently frowned upon ya'all :D) and I was able to find it again..

    Here it is, in all it's (dubious) awesome-ness.. :D

    If one is "born gay" and if the "gay gene" is hereditary and if one views gay people as a different race (a lot of "if"s, I know), then gay people, as a race, are doomed to extinction.

    So this would be a very logical argument AGAINST people being born gay. Evolution (AND religion) has shown that perpetuation of the species, IE self-preservation writ large, is an overriding goal. So whether we evolved naturally (despite Picard's ham-handed interference in the 26th century.. :D) in a pool of primordial goo or we were created in some galactic petri dish, the idea that people are born in such a way as to eliminate the species is ridiculous..

    Put another way, how long do ya'all think the human race would have endured if we could not pro-create??

    Would we be here today discussing the nature vs nurture argument if this race really DID start with Adam and Steve???

    I think the answer is self-evident.

    Further, if people ARE born gay, then a mechanism would have had to evolve naturally that would allow the species to perpetuate. To the best of my knowledge, no such mechanism..

    Since no evidence of a procreation mechanism exists, then it is illogical to postulate that people are born gay.

    So, science... REAL science, would seem to argue against the theory that people are born gay..

    If anyone can point out any fallacy in my logic, that would be awesome...

    "Do I really say 'awesome' a lot??"
    -Dean Winchester, SUPERNATURAL

    Michale

  24. [24] 
    akadjian wrote:

    If you want to rail against government fine.

    The problem is the outside influence of corporate lobbyists on government. This is producing policies that only benefit a wealthy few.

    What we need are policies which benefit more people.

    Student loan example is a great example btw. It's ridiculous that Congress let the rate go up.

    -David

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    The problem is the outside influence of corporate lobbyists on government. This is producing policies that only benefit a wealthy few.

    But that influence is even MORE prevalent under the Obama Administration..

    Which is my point. You can't be against against Corporate Influence in government and turn around and support the current Administration who, for all intents and purposes, have put in an Express Lane for Corporate Influence...

    Student loan example is a great example btw. It's ridiculous that Congress let the rate go up.

    Especially when you consider that Obama and the Republicans are on the same page with this and it's DEMOCRATS who are against it..

    Go figger, eh? :D

    Michale

  26. [26] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But that influence is even MORE prevalent under the Obama Administration.

    No. It isn't.

    Especially when you consider that Obama and the Republicans are on the same page with this and it's DEMOCRATS who are against it.

    Dems want a better bill- a bill to let students refinance or something that isn't a stopgap.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/sherrod-brown-student-loan-refinancing_n_3493851.html

    I'm glad you're against the higher rates though.

    Now get off the sidelines. Contact your Congressman! :)

    I don't care if Republicans or Democrats pass better legislation ... what we should be thinking about is helping the students.

    -David

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    No. It isn't.

    Uh, yes it is. But it's likely one of those "agree to disagree" issues.. :D

    Dems want a better bill- a bill to let students refinance or something that isn't a stopgap.

    Obama opposes that..

    Me, I don't have enough information to know which way is the better way..

    Letting students re-finance sounds good on the surface...

    But letting people re-fi their homes with very loose qualification standards is what brought about the last financial crisis..

    Perhaps Obama's and the GOP's reasoning is why tempt Apropos???? :D

    I'm glad you're against the higher rates though.

    I am against anything that screws over the American people.. Even the kids... :D

    I don't care if Republicans or Democrats pass better legislation ... what we should be thinking about is helping the students.

    Maybe that should have been a bigger priority than gay marriage and illegal immigrants, eh??

    I'm just sayin'.....

    Michale

  28. [28] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I am against anything that screws over the American people.. Even the kids... :D

    Good ... me too!

    Then we at least agree in theory on how to judge legislation and our legislators. Though we're liable to have some differences in opinion on what these things are.

    -David

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Then we at least agree in theory on how to judge legislation and our legislators. Though we're liable to have some differences in opinion on what these things are.

    Abso-frakin'-loutly :D

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    I don't care if Republicans or Democrats pass better legislation ... what we should be thinking about is helping the students.

    Maybe that should have been a bigger priority than gay marriage and illegal immigrants, eh??

    Point being that Democrats are no different than Republicans..

    Their priorities are the Party agenda first and the American people a far and distant second... Or maybe even a third...

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    More often than not, especially in the political arena, truth is based on faith, not facts..

    Well, my friend, therein lies the problem in having a discussion about the truth.

    The truth of any given matter is, most decidedly, NOT based on faith. The truth must always comport with reality and the facts, by definition. Any "truth" based on faith alone and that does not comport with reality and the facts is sheer fantasy.

    Opinions can be, and often are, based on faith. And, similarly, opinions can be right or wrong or found anywhere between right and wrong.

    Furthermore, there is only one overarching truth of any given matter and one set of facts, at any given time. When speaking about the truth of any matter, there is not your "truth" or my "truth"; there is not your set of "facts" or my set of "facts"; there is only the truth as which conforms with the reality and facts of the situation.

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    By the way,

    Happy Canada Day - we're 146 today!

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Furthermore, there is only one overarching truth of any given matter and one set of facts, at any given time. When speaking about the truth of any matter, there is not your "truth" or my "truth"; there is not your set of "facts" or my set of "facts"; there is only the truth as which conforms with the reality and facts of the situation.

    Uhhhh.... What were we talkin bout again??"
    -Chicken Little

    :D

    My point is, "truth" is subjective....

    Facts are not...

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    Happy Canada Day - we're 146 today!

    Happy B-Day! :D

    Michale

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    My point is, "truth" is subjective....Facts are not...

    Very clever use of quotations, Michale.

    But, if your point is that the truth is not related to the facts, then you have no point.

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Happy B-Day! :D

    Thanks very much!

  37. [37] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    So, science... REAL science, would seem to argue against the theory that people are born gay..

    Beyond that your use of "REAL science" is typically as erroneous as your use of the word "fact", "born with" does not always directly equate to "genetic predisposition to". In the case of homosexuality there has been some interesting research recently that it may be the interaction of hormones between mother and child in the womb that predisposes one to being homosexual. In other words it's possible to be "born gay" without a specific genetic marker for homosexuality. Yet it has also been found that homosexuality is known to run in families.

    In another line of research there turns out to be a strong statistical correlation between families with lots of male children and the youngest male child being homosexual. Which turns out to be tough socially, as in this country, large families are more often than not highly religious.

    I expect the real cause of homosexuality is a complex interaction of a whole host of genes, chemical reactions in the womb during pregnancy and/or social factors after birth. In other words, no one definable set path, and no easy, one size fits all "cure".

  38. [38] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But letting people re-fi their homes with very loose qualification standards is what brought about the last financial crisis.

    One small correction. Easy credit to finance homes is part of what brought on the financial crisis. With no risk for the lending institution due to mortgage-backed securities.

    Refinancing isn't a risk to financial institutions because the risk has already been taken. It's simply refinancing at a lower rate.

    Me, I don't have enough information to know which way is the better way..

    Me neither, to be brutally honest. I just don't think letting them go up is a great idea.

    The sad thing is that it's hard to actually learn about the different plans being put forth. Most of what is in the media are talking points and blame.

    I'm continuing to look though and if you find anything good, please post!

    -David

  39. [39] 
    akadjian wrote:
  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks, David!

    Well, as you can see from the photo evidence, I had more than my share of THAT cake! :)

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    Beyond that your use of "REAL science" is typically as erroneous as your use of the word "fact", "born with" does not always directly equate to "genetic predisposition to".

    Oh jeezus!!! Another semantic discussion.. Joy.. :^/

    Yet it has also been found that homosexuality is known to run in families.

    Which would also support the nurture argument..

    I expect the real cause of homosexuality is a complex interaction of a whole host of genes, chemical reactions in the womb during pregnancy and/or social factors after birth. In other words, no one definable set path, and no easy, one size fits all "cure".

    Again, I am a simple knuckle-dragger...

    If it's genetic, it's not a choice..

    If a person can choose to be gay or not to be gay, it's not genetic...

    The problem is that the "it's genetic" argument is so fraught with scientific impossibilities and inconsistencies that they ONLY way that people will even CONSIDER the genetic possibility is with semantic tap-dancing you apparently are so eloquently adept at...

    The simple fact is, if it's genetic and no one has a choice about being gay, then the "gay species" is doomed to extinction...

    One of those facts that you deny...

    But is still a fact nonetheless....

    David,

    Refinancing isn't a risk to financial institutions because the risk has already been taken. It's simply refinancing at a lower rate.

    I refinanced my home when it was valued at $300K...

    It's now valued at a fifth of that, yet I still owe a LOT more..

    No risk???

    Shirley, you jest... :D

    The sad thing is that it's hard to actually learn about the different plans being put forth. Most of what is in the media are talking points and blame.

    Too bad we can't just call up the POTUS and ask, "what this shit is up with this crap, eh!??"

    :D

    Michale

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    But, if your point is that the truth is not related to the facts, then you have no point.

    No, my point is fact is always truth...

    But truth is not always fact...

    It depends greatly on one's point of view...

    "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view"
    -Obi Wan Kenobi

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I refinanced my home when it was valued at $300K... It's now valued at a fifth of that, yet I still owe a LOT more.. No risk?

    There may be a risk to you. Or a risk to a single bank.

    But there is no risk of causing a financial crisis because you are not creating new risk in the system. You're simply refinancing a risk already taken.

    And ... it's more likely that the loan will actually be paid.

    So you're actually reducing the risk with refinancing. Which is exactly what the government has done by keeping rates low.

    And student loans don't appreciate or depreciate in the same way as houses by the way.

    -David

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    There may be a risk to you. Or a risk to a single bank.

    But there is no risk of causing a financial crisis because you are not creating new risk in the system. You're simply refinancing a risk already taken.

    But, by taking the risk, it's compounds the first risk...

    And yes.. It's just one homeowner and one bank.. Or mortgage company..

    But one bad loan started and cascaded into a huge financial meltdown.....

    Whether or not the loan is a first loan or a re-fi loan, the basics still apply..

    People being given credit that can't afford it..

    That's what happened in the first crisis..

    And the same factors are present in the here and now...

    And student loans don't appreciate or depreciate in the same way as houses by the way.

    True.... Which is why I like to stay out of high finance.. :D

    Michale

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    I expect the real cause of homosexuality is a complex interaction of a whole host of genes, chemical reactions in the womb during pregnancy and/or social factors after birth.

    I find your "you are born gay but nurture factors come into play after birth" to be a very convenient line of reasoning..

    It's like the christian belief that suicide means you can't go to heaven..

    Postulate a scenario where the priests and the Church, during the dark ages, wanted to give the people hope amidst all the despair..

    So, they concocted a religious fable that said "when you die, you go to a heavenly paradise where you never want for anything."

    But then some priests said, "Wait a tic.. If we tell people that there is a heavenly paradise when they die, then we'll have mass suicides because people will want to get to their heavenly paradise. We can't have that!! Who will pay taxes!!??"

    So, some Madison Ave type priest said, "Here's what we'll do! We'll tell people all about the heavenly paradise.. BUT... But we'll tell them that, if they commit suicide, they won't go to that heavenly paradise!! They will go to a tortuous hellish place! THAT will keep them in line, eh!??"

    You see the point???

    When you die, you go to heaven... But if you die by your own hand to get to heaven, you DON'T get to go to heaven.. You go to hell instead!

    How convenient, eh??

    That's how your explanation re: nature v nurture sounds...

    You are born gay but THEN, magically, your environment gives you a CHOICE to be gay or not!!

    It's magically convenient...

    Not logical or rational, of course...

    But certainly convenient...

    And you REALLY call that "science"???

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But, by taking the risk, it's compounds the first risk.

    If it were another loan ... yes.

    If you refinance an existing loan, the sum total of loans is 1.

    You're not adding a new loan with additional risk to the system.

    The risk from that loan is the same (or less if the refinance is at a lower rate). Whether it's from the initial loan or the refinance. Either way the loan is out there with the same or lower risk.

    This is why the overall risk to the system doesn't change (or, if anything it's less because you're less likely to have defaults).

    (Not trying to be a dick here. Just trying to help explain risk and why there isn't additional risk from refinancing.)

    -David

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    My brain hurts... :D

    I know that I am the LAST person who should be arguing high finance..

    But, strictly speaking from a position of common sense, here is what it looks like to me.

    Using myself as an example..

    I bought by house for $52K and took out a mortgage for that amount (give or take)..

    That was loan #1...

    Now, in several years, the house appreciated in value considerably..

    So, I RE-FINANCED the house at the larger value..

    In essence, I took out a NEW loan based on the new value of the house..

    That is the SECOND loan and the risk is STILL on the second loan, even MORE so than it was on the first, because the value AND the loan amount is much higher..

    Now, if my house were to appreciate even more (doubtful in this climate, but go with me) then I would re-finance for even MORE money which would, in fact, become a THIRD loan for even MORE money and even higher risk...

    Now, I grant you, this has little to nothing to do with the student loan issue, as that is comparing apples and Eskimos...

    But, since we got off on this housing/mortgage tangent, isn't what I am thinking rational, logical and common sense??

    Michale

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like our enemy Russia is welcoming Snowden with open arms...

    And our National Security Advisor Designate Susan Rice said that Snowden's actions have NO EFFECT on the status of this country..

    Now, call me stoopid...

    But having someone so utterly and completely CLUELESS as that as our NSA???

    What good can come of that???

    Michale

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Not trying to be a dick here.

    That goes without saying.. I know you wouldn't intrude on my domain here, eh?? :D

    hehehehehehe

    Michale

  50. [50] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Heheheh. Sorry, Michale.

    Here's a few quick numbers that might make clearer (if it makes your head hurt, I'll shut up ... promise).

    Say your original loan was for $300k at 6%.

    The house appreciates in value to $500k. This doesn't matter. Your loan is still for $300k.

    The most you would refinance for is $300k assuming you've paid none of it off.

    Now let's say you refinance the $300k at 4%. Your chances of defaulting actually decrease because your payments are going to be much less per month.

    And ... it's going to work similarly for student loans. If you have $100k in loans at 6% and refinance at 4%, the risk of default decreases.

    Hope this helps!

    -David

  51. [51] 
    TheStig wrote:

    RE comment 8

    Without some form of a common logical framework, facts cease to matter and argument is pointless.

    The problem with extrapolating God's intent is the God Works in Mysterious Ways Principle outlined in the Book of Job and elsewhere. If you take natural history as an example of God's Intent, than He seems to engage in a lot of overly complex engineering to solve fairly simple problems. To be fair, so do German auto engineers.

    Problem: Keep races from mixing.

    Complex, ineffective engineering solution. Put 'em on separate continents. Design flaws: free will, apples free trade and boats.

    Simple highly effective engineering solution:

    Speciation. Make mixed race offspring nonviable or infertile. Proven concept, highly effective, problem solved, at least until one of the human species acquires advanced genetic engineering skills -roughly 10,000 to 4 million years according to how you read or refuse to read the geological record.

    Is somebody perhaps attributing things to God that God never actually said? Gene flow has never respected human notions of race. Maybe God intended that. Certainly fits the known facts. God made bigots also fits the facts.

  52. [52] 
    akadjian wrote:

    p.s. You're right that if you're taking out new loans or loans for additional money (like a 2nd mortgage) it would add risk to the system

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    And if god doesn't exist??

    What does that do to your logic?? :D

    David,

    I guess the discontinuity was in our definition of re-finance..

    For instance, I would likely do the re-fi to obtain more money..

    So, the initial 30K odd amount I financed in year xxxx became a couple hundred K in year xxxx+4....

    That's what I was saying the risk became greater because the amount became greater and the default risk became greater..

    Again, this is not comparable to the student loan situation so I concede THAT argument.. :D

    Just trying to understand the current iteration..

    Michale

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    p.s. You're right that if you're taking out new loans or loans for additional money (like a 2nd mortgage) it would add risk to the system

    Ahhhhhh OK...

    NOW we're on the same page...

    Michale

  55. [55] 
    akadjian wrote:

    For instance, I would likely do the re-fi to obtain more money.

    Ah, gotcha. That was what I didn't understand until you 'splained.

    -David

  56. [56] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Oh jeezus!!! Another semantic discussion.. Joy.. :^/

    Nope, just basic science. There is really a difference between genes and hormones...

    Which would also support the nurture argument..

    The opposite actually. "Runs in families" is generally an indicator that there might me a genetic component.

    The problem is that the "it's genetic" argument is so fraught with scientific impossibilities and inconsistencies that they ONLY way that people will even CONSIDER the genetic possibility is with semantic tap-dancing you apparently are so eloquently adept at...

    Again, genes - sections of DNA or RNA that contain the data that control all the functions in the organism. Hormones - chemicals released by cells that regulate processes in the organism. No semantics, just basic biology...

    The simple fact is, if it's genetic and no one has a choice about being gay, then the "gay species" is doomed to extinction...

    One of those facts that you deny...

    But is still a fact nonetheless....

    The only fact here is you have little clue as to how genetics or evolutionary biology work. A family genetic predisposition is a chance that an offspring will have a trait not a guarantee all children will have that trait...

    That's how your explanation re: nature v nurture sounds...

    Or rather how you read it. I'm saying it is likely that there are many complex paths to homosexuality. Some include all these factors, some only a subset.

    You are born gay but THEN, magically, your environment gives you a CHOICE to be gay or not!!

    Not really. More that someone has a biological predisposition then certain early childhood experiences push them in to that direction. Choice is only sometimes a factor.

    You want it all neat and simple but how everything works is anything but. Personally I find that makes it interesting rather than bothersome.

  57. [57] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    You are born gay but THEN, magically, your environment gives you a CHOICE to be gay or not!!

    the operative word here is "be."

    depending on the context, that could mean "behave," or it could mean "feel toward others," or "identify oneself as." those are three different questions, and they're all interrelated.

    a cognitive psychologist by the name of albert bandura came up with a concept called reciprocal determinism. what it means in a nutshell is that human thoughts, behaviors and natural drives all have a causal effect on each other. it has been tested in relation to all sorts of human behavior.

    when we say somebody is "born gay" we're only talking about a third of the process - genetic and in utero - what instinctual drives make them attracted to somebody else's smell, touch, taste, etc. but within the scope of one's range of natural attractions, there's the ability to develop more refined preferences, more complex thoughts and beliefs associated with those natural drives. there's always been huge genetic variation - my guess would be that a large percentage of humans are born with the capacity to be attracted to either sex, but those capacities are not equal. as we map the human genome and learn about prenatal hormones, we may find out what those approximate capacities are, and how they work.

    when we say that there is a "choice," that's only true inasmuch as a person can choose between the thoughts and behaviors that are within his or her natural drives and experiences. gay identity is a fairly new phenomenon, but homosexual behavior has been around about as long as human beings have existed. why? because most societies didn't have a separate name and identity for same-sex preference, it just "was."

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    The opposite actually. "Runs in families" is generally an indicator that there might me a genetic component.

    Being a farmer or a cop or a fireman "runs in families"...

    No one has ever tried to make the case that it's genetic/hereditary....

    Well, until now anyways.. :D

    I'll get to the rest in the morning...

    Michale

  59. [59] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Being a farmer or a cop or a fireman "runs in families"...

    No one has ever tried to make the case that it's genetic/hereditary....

    strangely enough, that particular facet actually has been studied, and significant evidence found. since 1932. but i digress.

    ~joshua

  60. [60] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    Again, genes - sections of DNA or RNA that contain the data that control all the functions in the organism. Hormones - chemicals released by cells that regulate processes in the organism. No semantics, just basic biology...

    DNA and RNA are basic biology..

    The idea that something in the DNA/RNA that makes someone maybe/maybe not gay is what ya'all tapdance around. :D

    The only fact here is you have little clue as to how genetics or evolutionary biology work.

    Exactly!

    So, the idea that people are born gay MIGHT be wrong...

    Agreed??

    THAT has been my point the entire time..

    A family genetic predisposition is a chance that an offspring will have a trait not a guarantee all children will have that trait...

    True.. You will recall I had a lot of "if"s in my postulation..

    My beef with your "runs in families" claim is that it is NOT solely attributed to genetics, as you said. A lot of things "run in families" that have nothing to do with genetics..

    Occupation, for one..

    Unless you are making the claim that occupation is genetics. That people are BORN farmers or BORN cops...

    I would love to see your data on THAT claim.. :D

    Or rather how you read it. I'm saying it is likely that there are many complex paths to homosexuality. Some include all these factors, some only a subset.

    So, you are saying that CHOICE is one of those factors??

    That if people have the "gay gene" then they can still CHOOSE not to be gay??

    Not really. More that someone has a biological predisposition then certain early childhood experiences push them in to that direction. Choice is only sometimes a factor.

    So, like I said. You claim that people can be "born gay" but still have a choice NOT to be gay...

    So, it's NATURE *AND* it's NURTURE..

    And you don't think that it tap-dancing?? :D

    You want it all neat and simple but how everything works is anything but.

    No, I want it all logical and rational without ANY hint of political tap-dancing..

    I would agree with you that how everything works here in Weigantia is anything but.. :D

    As long as you concede that you may be wrong about it, that's common ground right there...

    In turn, I concede that you might be right...

    Hopefully we will know the facts in our lifetimes.. :D

    I would hate to miss the chance to say "told ya so!" :D

    Joshua,

    A great comment...

    But it's all unproven theory...

    There is NO comprehensive and definitive evidence that homosexuality is established in the womb..

    There are indications, sure..

    But, as Bashi points out, we don't know enough to even guess at what we don't even know...

    You might be right.. There is evidence to support this..

    But..

    You also might be wrong.. There is evidence to support this as well..

    That's all I am saying...

    But the political component of the nature vs nurture theory is well substantiated..

    People who are gay MUST be born that way..

    Because, if they are not, then the entire gay activist agenda falls apart..

    Michale

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    strangely enough, that particular facet actually has been studied, and significant evidence found. since 1932. but i digress.

    I think someone has taken BRAVE NEW WORLD too seriously... :D

    Michale

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    I stand corrected..

    Bashi didn't claim that WE know very little about Biology.. Even though he should have..

    My mistake.. :D

    Michale

  63. [63] 
    akadjian wrote:

    My issue with the Nature vs. Nurture argument is the agenda behind it.

    The religious nuts believe that homosexuality can somehow be prevented or corrected.

    Though its been around since people have been around.

    Now they can believe whatever they want to believe. I could give a crap.

    But they can't leave well enough alone.

    They want to "change" people. And they want to do it through law and government rather than through choice.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wish these people would just leave well enough alone. Why don't they worry about themselves for a change? Instead of trying to inflict their religion on everyone else.

    This is why it's a good thing there's separation of church and state.

    -David

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    My issue with the Nature vs. Nurture argument is the agenda behind it.

    EXACTLY!!

    We are in complete agreement on that, albeit for different reasons. :D

    They want to "change" people.

    A perfect example..

    I view it as it's the Left and the gay activists who want to "change" people..

    They want to force people to accept the lifestyle...

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wish these people would just leave well enough alone.

    Again, I am in complete agreement...

    And they want to do it through law and government rather than through choice.

    And the gay activists do the exact same thing...

    That can't force the Church and religious people to accept them and their lifestyle so they are attempting to legislate the acceptance..

    It's uncanny. With very minor adjustments your argument is MY argument...

    Or my argument is YOUR argument! :D

    Michale

  65. [65] 
    akadjian wrote:

    That can't force the Church and religious people to accept them and their lifestyle so they are attempting to legislate the acceptance.

    How are they trying to legislate acceptance?

    Show me where gay people have introduced legislation saying "You have to like gay people"

    Now it is possible to legislate discrimination. You simply introduce legislation defining marriage to be between the people you want to include. And exclude others.

    -David

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    How are they trying to legislate acceptance?

    By wrestling the definition of marriage away from the church..

    Show me where gay people have introduced legislation saying "You have to like gay people"

    They aren't.. They are trying to introduce legislation that says, "You have to allow gay people into the religious institution of marriage"

    Joshua came up with a great comment about this...

    It's right here...

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2013/06/26/marriage-equalitys-giant-leap-forward/#comment-39599

    Now it is possible to legislate discrimination.

    Yes it is.. It's called AFFIRMATIVE ACTION :D

    Michale

  67. [67] 
    akadjian wrote:

    if someone doesn't want to accept you into their homes and hearts, that's their business and can't be legislated. but if they don't want to accept that you have the same rights they do, that's a problem.

    Yes.

    Exactly.

    You can't legislate accepting someone into a home or heart.

    You can legislate equal rights.

    Which doesn't take any freedoms away from anyone religious. They can still hate all they want to hate. It just makes sure everyone has the same and equal rights under the law.

    -David

    Yes it is.. It's called AFFIRMATIVE ACTION :D

    Heheh ... no changing the subject!!! :)

  68. [68] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Now if gay people were saying ...

    Marriage can ONLY be between a man and another man.

    Things would be different. But they're not. They seem perfectly able to accept straight people for all our foibles and idiosyncrasies.

    -David

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    Marriage can ONLY be between a man and another man.

    Like it or not, marriage is a religious institution...

    It's only moronic "luck" that governments intertwined marriage with laws...

    But first and foremost, marriage is religious...

    So, the ONLY way that gay activists will get the equality they *claim* to want is by creating a separate institution that has absolutely NO religious connection whatsoever but carries all the same legal status, rights and benefits that are afforded people who are joined in a marriage..

    It's that simple...

    Michale

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    Put it another way, David..

    Say you want to call yourself a muslim...

    But you want to pig out on bacon and sausage every morning. You want to drink a case of beer every day..

    And you want to polish off a fifth of Jack every night...

    But you STILL want to call your religion "muslim"..

    But you can't...

    Because your lifestyle is incompatible with that of a true muslim...

    It's the same concept and context with a religious marriage..

    The gay lifestyle is incompatible with the religious aspects of marriage..

    So, the ONLY solution is to create a new definition that has all the rights and benefits of marriage w/o any of the religious issues.

    Just like YOUR solution to your wanting to be a muslim is to create a new designation that let's you be a muslim, but lets you do all the things you (allegedly) love to do.. :D

    Michale

  71. [71] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Kevin,

    You'll find that the majority of people in the US are actually just as progressive as in Canada. Just because there is one (VERY) loud minority party full of crazy lunatics does not mean the country is this way - they aren't even close to representing the USA.

    If you look past the noise (and look at the polls) you will see that the policies of this loud crazy lunatic party - from gay marriage, abortion, gun control, healthcare, global warming, Corporate support, minimum wage, money in politics, immigration and taxation (etc) - pretty much every major political issue - are in the minority right across the country. Just as they would be in Canada too.

    The only problem in the US, compared to other Western countries, is getting politicians to do what the majority of people actually want. Sometimes the lunatic party manages to block progress on these issues at the national level (eg. gun control), sometimes their attempts to block progress fail (eg. healthcare), sometimes they block some but not all of what people want (eg. taxation). But in the end they won't stop the people and the country itself (even though they will try as hard as they can, by stopping them from voting for example). When you travel it is these people across the country that you'll see - this is what I see and love when I travel to the US.

  72. [72] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Marriage is not a religious institution in the slightest. I can start a 'Fuck Jesus Love The Devil' religion and go and get married in America anywhere I want - as long as it's to a woman.

    Marriage is as simple an issue as Global Warming: 2 consenting adults should be allowed to marry each other. That's it. Simple.

  73. [73] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Sorry Michale ...

    Equal rights is equal rights.

    It's independent of religion. That is, one religion shouldn't get different rights just because ... well, they want them.

    But I do recognize we've about hit the point where we're rehashing so Ima gonna bow out.

    -David

  74. [74] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The only problem in the US, compared to other Western countries, is getting politicians to do what the majority of people actually want.

    Here, here, michty!

    Even when I talk with people who call themselves conservative, when you point out some of the things being done by their representatives, they tend to disagree.

    -David

  75. [75] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Say you want to call yourself a muslim...

    But you want to pig out on bacon and sausage every morning. You want to drink a case of beer every day..

    "Jews for Jesus" are essentially a strategy by evangelical christians to create converts. they are considered by all four major branches of judaism not to be real Jews. however, we can't legislate against their right to call themselves that, regardless of how insulting we all may find the organization's mission and indeed their very existence. i don't have to like or agree with the fact that they call themselves jews, but it's not within my rights to tell them they can't. isn't marriage equality the same?

    but putting the word marriage aside for a moment, there are very soon going to be some cases in the vein of sweatt v. painter and mclaurin v. oklahoma, establishing legally whether a civil union can practically be afforded all thousand plus legal rights of marriage. if any of those cases comes back negative, there will be no choice but to include any two individuals in civil marriage.

    on the other hand, the supreme court may rule as you've suggested, that any union between two people must be treated as legally identical to "marriage," regardless of which word is used by states to name it. perhaps even the name itself makes it substantively unequal. personally i think there's a difference between legal and social acceptance. society doesn't have to socially accept gays' equal rights to marriage if they choose not to, but we all do need to accept it legally.

    ~joshua

  76. [76] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michty,

    Marriage is not a religious institution in the slightest.

    Yea, right..

    That is why the vast majority get married in a church and "god" and "lord" are peppered throughout the ceremony...

    Yea michty.. Not a religious institution in the slightest.. :D

    Marriage is as simple an issue as Global Warming: 2 consenting adults should be allowed to marry each other. That's it. Simple.

    Why only 2?? Why not 4?? or 6?? or 10???

    You see the slippery slope??

    David,

    Equal rights is equal rights.

    Fine.. I want to use the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader shower facilities..

    I mean, Equal rights is equal rights.. So if they can shower in there, then so can I!

    Joshua,

    society doesn't have to socially accept gays' equal rights to marriage if they choose not to, but we all do need to accept it legally.

    Exactly..

    That's why we take the religious marriage out of the equation..

    Make it a Union..

    I mean, seriously!?? Is the LABEL really that important??

    I guess, to gay activists, it IS..

    Which is why I say the evidence shows that it's not equality that the gay activists want..

    It's acceptance. They want to be accepted into the religion "club"....

    And that is simply NOT going to happen any time soon...

    Personally, I give less of a rat's ass for the label as I do for religion in general..

    But the facts are the facts..

    And reality is reality..

    Michale

  77. [77] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    My beef with your "runs in families" claim is that it is NOT solely attributed to genetics, as you said. A lot of things "run in families" that have nothing to do with genetics..

    Occupation, for one..

    Are you trolling me or is your science knowledge really at the sub high school level?

    So, you are saying that CHOICE is one of those factors??

    That if people have the "gay gene" then they can still CHOOSE not to be gay??

    No. That is not what I'm saying. I am saying, for the umpteenth time, there are probably many paths to homosexuality, SOME include choice. Trying to twist that to all paths include choice is more of a reading comprehension problem or are you just being disingenuous?

    Bashi didn't claim that WE know very little about Biology.. Even though he should have..

    Keep the "we" bit to your self bub. I have studied quite a bit of biology in college and do understand this stuff...

    But first and foremost, marriage is religious...

    Really? I was under the impression that I could go to any court house and get married. When did they take the ability to perform marriage ceremonies from judges?

    Say you want to call yourself a muslim...

    But you want to pig out on bacon and sausage every morning. You want to drink a case of beer every day..

    And you want to polish off a fifth of Jack every night...

    But you STILL want to call your religion "muslim"..

    But you can't...

    Of course you can, at least in this country. Other Muslims are unlikely to accept you and I would recommend not making a pilgrimage to Mecca, but legally you can be a church of one and call yourself a Muslim even with those variations...

  78. [78] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Except you can't legislate acceptance.

    And I always confuse 'except' and 'accept' :)

    -David

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    Except you can't legislate acceptance.

    Exactly..

    Which is why I say that the gay activists are fighting a losing battle... :D

    Michale

  80. [80] 
    Michale wrote:

    Are you trolling me or is your science knowledge really at the sub high school level?

    So, you are saying that a person CAN be "born a cop" or "born a farmer"...

    Would LOVE to see your evidence to support this..

    No. That is not what I'm saying. I am saying, for the umpteenth time, there are probably many paths to homosexuality, SOME include choice.

    "probably"???

    How scientific.. :D

    Really? I was under the impression that I could go to any court house and get married. When did they take the ability to perform marriage ceremonies from judges?

    THESE days you can...

    But marriage roots are with the church.

    No way around that fact...

    Marriage is first and foremost, a religious institution...

    Of course you can, at least in this country. Other Muslims are unlikely to accept you and I would recommend not making a pilgrimage to Mecca, but legally you can be a church of one and call yourself a Muslim even with those variations...

    Fine.. Then gay people can have a union and CALL it a marriage if they wish..

    They can call it a Ball And Chain for all I care...

    But they can't have the church accept it as a marriage...

    And that just pisses the gay activists off to no end...

    No matter how much the gay activists may want it, you simply CAN NOT legislate acceptance..

    And, the sooner that is realized, the happier they will be...

    Michale

  81. [81] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    So, you are saying that a person CAN be "born a cop" or "born a farmer"...

    Would LOVE to see your evidence to support this..

    Ah, so you are trolling me. Noted.

    THESE days you can...

    But marriage roots are with the church.

    No way around that fact...

    Marriage is first and foremost, a religious institution...

    So, atheists are not allowed to be married? Things change and have for quite some time in this country. Marriage in this country is somewhat separated from religion. Or have you not noticed that to get married you need a marriage license given by the state and not the church? Or if you want to get divorced, a court and not your local priest?

    But they can't have the church accept it as a marriage...

    Which church? Some will, most won't. Your generalization is not reflected in reality...

  82. [82] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Hahahah ...

    So either they're fighting an unwinnable battle ...

    Or ... perhaps they're not fighting that battle at all.

    -David

  83. [83] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ah, so you are trolling me. Noted.

    If, by "trolling", you mean asking for you to back up claims with evidence....

    Then yea.. I guess I am "trolling" you..

    But, but that definition, ya'all have been "trolling" me for half a dozen years.. :D

    Marriage in this country is somewhat separated from religion.

    It CAN be...

    But that doesn't change that fact that, at it's heart, marriage is a religious institution..

    These are the facts that no amount of political correctness can change...

    David,

    Or ... perhaps they're not fighting that battle at all.

    If they weren't fighting that battle, then they would be happy with a union that had all the same rights and benefits as a religious marriage..

    They AREN'T happy with that, so the acceptance battle is what they appear to be fighting..

    It's really that simple...

    Michale

  84. [84] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But that doesn't change that fact that, at it's heart, marriage is a religious institution..

    These are the facts that no amount of political correctness can change...

    that may be the case. however, as long as that institution retains a unique, official, government-sanctioned status, the religions that don't approve of said status being conferred to two people of the same gender can't have it both ways.
    if religious communities don't want gays having legal marriages, they need to lobby their congress-critters to take all marriages out of government hands.

    either it's a religious institution and churches can privately engage in whatever discrimination they wish;

    or it's a government institution, and no discrimination is permitted.

    it can't be both.

  85. [85] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    If, by "trolling", you mean asking for you to back up claims with evidence....

    Then yea.. I guess I am "trolling" you..

    No. You either don't know what "runs in families" means in a scientific conversation or are being intentionally obtuse. A high school science student would know exactly what I am talking about and be able to respond intelligently.

    But just for fun here are traits and diseases that typically run in families:

    hair color
    eye color
    skin traits (color, ease of tan/burn, freckles, ect)
    Alzheimer's disease/dementia
    arthritis
    asthma
    blood clots
    cancer
    depression
    diabetes
    heart disease
    high cholesterol
    high blood pressure
    pregnancy losses and birth defects
    stroke

    I'm not going to being you up to speed on basic science. Google will get you there just fine if you are actually interested...

    So, you are saying that a person CAN be "born a cop" or "born a farmer"...

    Would LOVE to see your evidence to support this..

    This has nothing to do with what I am talking about and is, as far as I can see, being intentionally obtuse. A.K.A., trolling...

    But that doesn't change that fact that, at it's heart, marriage is a religious institution..

    These are the facts that no amount of political correctness can change...

    In your opinion and, as usual, completely removed from fact.

  86. [86] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I'm not going to being you up to speed on basic science.

    *bring...

  87. [87] 
    Michale wrote:

    if religious communities don't want gays having legal marriages, they need to lobby their congress-critters to take all marriages out of government hands.

    Ding ding ding ding!!!

    We have a winner!! :D

    either it's a religious institution and churches can privately engage in whatever discrimination they wish;

    or it's a government institution, and no discrimination is permitted.

    it can't be both.

    But we, as a society, CAN have both..

    We can have a religious marriage with all the associative religious claptrap..

    OR

    We can have a Union that has all of the benefits and rights and privileges of the religious marriage w/o all the religious claptrap.

    And THAT is what gay activists SHOULD be fighting for.. The creation of an institution that is equal in every legal way...

    THAT's what they would be fighting for if equality is the goal...

    But the activists aren't fighting for that. They are fighting to force the church to recognize their marriage..

    And, as petty and as unfair as I think that is (and I do..) the simple fact is, it's NOT going to happen..

    Bashi,

    But just for fun here are traits and diseases that typically run in families:

    And I don't see an occupation in there whatsoever..

    So, when you said, "Are you trolling me or is your science knowledge really at the sub high school level?" in response to the question as to whether occupation is genetic, you were what??

    Just being silly??

    Let me make it easy for you..

    Is occupation genetic??

    No, of course it's not..

    Do occupations "run in families"???

    Why yes they do..

    Ergo, the "run in families" claim is NOT a claim that is exclusive to the discussion of genetics..

    So, when you make a claim about something that "runs in families" you MIGHT be talking about genetics...

    Or.. You might NOT be...

    Is that basic enough?? :D

    This has nothing to do with what I am talking about

    It was way back up in comment #57 where you said,
    " 'Runs in families' is generally an indicator that there might me a genetic component.

    So, you were the one who brought up the question of "run in families" not I... :D

    In your opinion and, as usual, completely removed from fact.

    So, you claim that there is NOTHING religious about marriage..

    And your evidence for this is....????

    {{hint}} this is where you accuse me of trolling and refuse to provide any evidence.. :D

    Michale

  88. [88] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "probably"???

    probably is the best science can do, because it is not a method that deals in absolutes. science can observe that DNA mathematically accounts for 53% of people's choice of profession, or 36% of their job satisfaction (those are actual figures, feel free to look them up). what science can't tell you is how much any particular contributing factor contributed to the outcome of any single individual. the variation between and within individuals is too great.

    estimating genetic or social influences is like guessing who contributed most to winning a ball game. we know there are many contributors, but the game is too complex to say for sure that one player absolutely must have decided everything. there are many paths to the same outcome. when we say people are born gay, that doesn't mean having sex with same-gendered people and self-identifying as gay are their only options, just the ones in this society that are most likely to prevent them from being miserable.

    probably.

  89. [89] 
    akadjian wrote:

    or it's a government institution, and no discrimination is permitted.

    I think we should go the route of civil unions. Civil unions for everyone!

    Churches can have their own weddings but they won't be recognized by the government until they get a civil union.

    And I'd like to advocate for a 'civil union test' based on some of the people I've seen getting married :)

    -David

  90. [90] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    We can have a religious marriage with all the associative religious claptrap..

    OR

    We can have a Union that has all of the benefits and rights and privileges of the religious marriage w/o all the religious claptrap.

    Actually, how it is set up in the united states it can be either. I can have a religious wedding in a church with all the trimmings or I can get married without ever getting near religion at all. Gays just want in to that system.

    Ergo, the "run in families" claim is NOT a claim that is exclusive to the discussion of genetics..

    In a scientific context, it is. When you bring up nature vs nurture, I am assuming you are bringing this up in a scientific context. Out of scientific context it can have other meanings. Since I was referring to scientific research it would be the former and not the later...

    It was way back up in comment #57 where you said,

    Are you talking to me or nypoet22?

    So, you claim that there is NOTHING religious about marriage..

    No. I did not say that.

    I said marriage does not have to be religious in the here and now. Sure it has it's roots in religion but no longer needs to be related to it...

  91. [91] 
    Michale wrote:

    probably is the best science can do, because it is not a method that deals in absolutes. science can observe that DNA mathematically accounts for 53% of people's choice of profession, or 36% of their job satisfaction (those are actual figures, feel free to look them up). what science can't tell you is how much any particular contributing factor contributed to the outcome of any single individual. the variation between and within individuals is too great.

    So, it's just as accurate to say that you are "probably" right as it is to say that I am "probably" right.. :D

    This has all been fascinating discussion.. I really mean that..

    But, the simple fact is, there is real "science" on both sides of the issue.

    And that has been my only point..

    I think we should go the route of civil unions. Civil unions for everyone!

    Churches can have their own weddings but they won't be recognized by the government until they get a civil union.

    Don't have a problem with that at all..

    But gay activists will.. Because they want acceptance..

    Actually, how it is set up in the united states it can be either. I can have a religious wedding in a church with all the trimmings or I can get married without ever getting near religion at all. Gays just want in to that system.

    But since religious weddings = church, they can't have it..

    So, they have to settle for the equal alternative...

    That's been my whole point..

    In a scientific context, it is. When you bring up nature vs nurture, I am assuming you are bringing this up in a scientific context. Out of scientific context it can have other meanings. Since I was referring to scientific research it would be the former and not the later...

    Once again, I marvel at your tap dancing. :D

    At least we agree that occupation is not genetic...

    We DO agree, right?? :D

    It was way back up in comment #57 where you said,

    Are you talking to me or nypoet22?

    My bust.. Comment #56...

    No. I did not say that.

    Michty did. And, since you didn't correct him (as you correct me) I assumed you agreed with him.. :D

    I said marriage does not have to be religious in the here and now. Sure it has it's roots in religion but no longer needs to be related to it...

    Then all you have to do is convince society of that...

    But, in the here and now, marriage is more a religious institution than not...

    So it seems to me that the EASIEST way to solve the gay dilemma is to have an institution that ANYONE can partake in regardless of any religious claptrap..

    Marriage ain't going to be it as long as society is the way society is...

    Michale

  92. [92] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    At least we agree that occupation is not genetic...

    We DO agree, right?? :D

    Yes, but what does that have to do with the discussion at hand? The sky is also blue and water wet but both are meaningless points in the current discussion...

    But since religious weddings = church, they can't have it..

    So, they have to settle for the equal alternative...

    That's been my whole point..

    Then your whole point is wrong. Some churches that will do same sex marriages:

    United Church of Christ
    Reform Judaism
    Quaker (some but not all, varies by meetinghouse)
    Metropolitan Community Church
    Unitarian Universalist
    Unity Church

    As well as others. In many cases it is up to and will depend on the particular local church or pastor.

  93. [93] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Don't have a problem with that at all..But gay activists will.

    Now if you really want to see some people with a problem, try proposing a civil union as the only legal form of wedlock.

    Watch the Christians go nuts!

    I mean they can't even handle people saying "Happy Holidays!" How do you think they're going to feel about civil unions?

    My guess: Batshit!!!!!!!!!

    So it seems to me that the EASIEST way to solve the gay dilemma is to have an institution that ANYONE can partake in regardless of any religious claptrap.

    At least here in Weigantia, we could all vote for a single institution: the civil union!

    -David

  94. [94] 
    Michale wrote:

    The sky is also blue and water wet but both are meaningless points in the current discussion...

    "The sky is blue, water is wet, women have secrets."
    -Bruce Willis, THE LAST BOYSCOUT

    :D

    Some churches that will do same sex marriages:

    They have that choice.. Just as those who oppose gay marriage ALSO have a choice..

    THAT's the point..

    Now if you really want to see some people with a problem, try proposing a civil union as the only legal form of wedlock.

    Watch the Christians go nuts!

    If that's what the American people want, then the Christians can like it or lump it...

    At least here in Weigantia, we could all vote for a single institution: the civil union!

    I am all for it..

    But, in the real world you have gay people saying, "I didn't ask her to 'civil union' me.."

    All of this heartache and hard feelings over a frakin' label...

    It's ridiculous...

    Michale

  95. [95] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    They have that choice.. Just as those who oppose gay marriage ALSO have a choice..

    THAT's the point..

    Has any legislation been proposed to change that? I don't see this as much of a point, nor have I seen any main stream gay rights groups pushing it. I would also expect any law outside of a constitutional amendment that tried to force unwilling churches to perform same sex marriages to be shot down pretty quick by the supreme Court on first amendment grounds...

  96. [96] 
    Michale wrote:

    nor have I seen any main stream gay rights groups pushing it.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/ohio-church-gets-heat-from-gay-marriage-supporters-after-celebrating-biblical-marriage-with-chick-fil-a-gift-cards-96352/

    That's the result of a 5-second search...

    I am sure if I really researched it, I could find dozens, hundreds of incidents where pro-gay-marriage groups targeted churches...

    The simple fact is there is a political agenda at work..

    Not science whatsoever, but political correctness out of control..

    That is what I am railing against...

    Michale

  97. [97] 
    akadjian wrote:

    A few more details on the student loan issue which seemed to be nowhere over the weekend:

    - The rate hike only applies to newly issued loans. Right now, not many loans are being issued so the real date is September.

    - Here's a link to a post about all of the different plans on the table

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/13/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-student-loan-rate-hike/

    What I think would be best for students is either a fixed rate or a plan with caps on variable rates.

    It's still confusing as to what each would cost students, but this helped.

    -David

  98. [98] 
    Michale wrote:

    What I think would be best for students is either a fixed rate or a plan with caps on variable rates.

    What do you think of Obama's (and the GOP's) plan to tie SL interest rates to the market??

    Michale

  99. [99] 
    akadjian wrote:

    What do you think of Obama's (and the GOP's) plan to tie SL interest rates to the market?

    The best comparison I've seen of costs to students is in that article I sent:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2013/06/studentloan_reform_comparison.png

    If accurate, all of the proposals on the table would lower the interest rate from it's current level (this is a good thing!).

    However, projections from tying it to the market (from the GAO) say that the rate is liable to rise.

    This is why I'd prefer a plan that has a fixed rate. Otherwise, it seems like a sneaky way to raise the rate (remember variable APRs? know anyone who had one when the rates went up? this was another one of the causes of the housing crash).

    If they can't fix the rate, the plan should at least have a cap on how high the rate can rise.

    Using these criteria, I'm more of a fan of the Warren plan which doesn't tie the rate to the market.

    My two cents anyways. Trying to be as objective about this as possible. That's why it bugs me that there aren't more articles like this which show you as much info as possible and compare the plans.

    -David

  100. [100] 
    akadjian wrote:

    BTW ... here's one more thing I'm looking for but can't find.

    What is the benefit to the students of tying the rate to the treasury rate?

    I don't see anyone writing about that.

    What I do see are projections for how this will reduce the deficit.

    What does that mean?

    That likely means these loans will bring in more money and cost students more.

    The CBO estimates that the Republican plan would reduce the deficit by $3.7 billion over 10 years. The Obama plan is deficit neutral. The bipartisan Senate compromise would reduce the deficit by $1 billion over 10 years.

    Any plan that says "reduce the deficit" is saying that this will generate more money from students.

    I don't believe reducing the deficit by charging students more is the right way to go.

    If you can find a better answer to the question: Why tie the rate to the market?

    I'd be curious. It looks like a stealth tax to me though.

    -David

  101. [101] 
    Michale wrote:

    I was with you right up to the point where it said...akadjian wrote:

    After that, my eyes just kind of glazed over.. :D

    I'll take your word for it..

    Bad Congress!!! BAD!!! Go lay down!!! BAD Congress!!!

    :D

    Michale

  102. [102] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I was with you right up to the point where it said...akadjian wrote

    Hahahahahah ... I know, right?!!!

    That's kind of how I felt trying to sort through all this crap.

    That's where I wish we had better media. More people in the media to net it out.

    Not say ... here's the Dem talking points and here's the Republican talking points.

    But who's it going to benefit and who's it going to hurt. Really. Because I would bet the farm that the people designing these bills know.

    You're dead on when you say there's a lot going on in the background while everyone celebrates or gets mad about gay marriage.

    -David

  103. [103] 
    db wrote:

    Michale,

    Again, I can get here only intermittently.

    I appreciate you stating that my comment was awesome. But I think you missed my point.

    A "gay gene" should follow Mendelian rules.
    A "gay gene" should, to some extent, not advantage the individual for transmitting the gene to the next generation. i.e. Gays don't have as many children.
    "Gayness" has been with us for at least ~2500 years.
    "Gays" currently represent ~10% of the population.

    I can't make Mendelian math work to get all those statements true.

    I dismiss BashiBazook's comment that I have it wrong & he can't be bothered to explain it to me. Michale, if you launched a statement so lame, the rest of us would rightly snigger & titter and laugh at you.

    CW, you ask if we could choose to be gay. I'd submit that if our societal norms required gay sex, if our churches promoted gay sex, if gay sex was defined as wholesome & heterosexual contact defined as perverted, I'd bet we'd get around to it.

    But I've been told, when you're a Sociologist, everything looks like a problem of societal norms.

  104. [104] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I dismiss BashiBazook's comment that I have it wrong & he can't be bothered to explain it to me.

    Hard to respond when this is your first post in this thread, so I don't see how I am "bothered" in regards to you one way or the other. That said...

    My argument was that current research is finding many paths to homosexuality. It is known to run in families which gives a good chance but not an absolute one for a genetic cause. It is known that the youngest son in a family with a large number of male offspring has a higher chance to be gay than in the general population which would likely lead to social or instinctual. There is some research that hormone interaction in the womb between mother and child might be a cause. Which would be chemical with much more vague genetic underpinnings. Then of course there are those that will have sex with anything that moves and many things that don't and some of them will gravitate to promiscuous gay communities where there is just much more opportunity for sex than in most heterosexual communities. Homosexuality is far from unique with humans. Many animal species have examples of homosexuality and some of those populations will have an increased rate when overpopulated.

    Would multiple paths to the same effect clear up much your Mendelian math problems? Because that is the gist of my argument. Well that and it is possible to be "born" with a trait and not have a specific genetic marker for it...

  105. [105] 
    Michale wrote:

    DB,

    But I think you missed my point.

    I do that occasionally.. :D

    But what I am trying to say is that your point, using science (math is a science, right?? :D ) is evidence that the theory that people are born gay is not accurate.

    But, because that evidence doesn't support the pre-ordained conclusion, it is ignored..

    Michale, if you launched a statement so lame, the rest of us would rightly snigger & titter and laugh at you.

    Troo dat!! :D

    Bashi,

    Many animal species have examples of homosexuality

    Many animal species lick their own genitals and throw poop at each other.. The fact that animals have this or that or do this or that is really not any kind of indicator as it applies to humans. At least not in the context of behavioral studies.

    Sure, one can observe animals and make some gross generality comparisons.. Animals breathe air, animals sleep, etc etc...

    But to compare such specific traits and make the claim that, because some animals are born gay, humans MUST be born gay too is ridiculous..

    Further, how EXACTLY does a scientist determine that an animal is or is not "gay"???

    You are a man of science. You have made that abundantly clear.

    But a man of science, TRUE science, does not start with a conclusion and then recognize only the science that supports that conclusion and ignores the science that disputes the conclusion..

    So it is with many faux-science issues that are actually political issues. Nature v Nurture.. Human Caused Global Warming (Yet The Planet Is Cooling).. Both very good examples of faux-science issues that are, at their base, political issues.

    If you can tell me that there is NO science that indicates being gay is a product of environment then you would have a point.

    But you can't, so you don't.....

    It is the DUTY of all REAL scientists to examine and acknowledge ALL the science.

    Not just the science that supports the desired conclusion..

    Isn't that a fact??

    Michale

  106. [106] 
    Michale wrote:

    My science teacher told me, some 40 odd years ago (I am quoting from memory, so be gentle.. :D):

    "The purpose of science is to confirm a hypothesis"

    In this issue, we have two hypothesis.

    1. Being gay is a social/lifestyle choice that is the results of factors within our environment.

    2. Being gay is a result of genetics and biology.

    Science doesn't exist to make sure one hypothesis takes precedence over the other.

    THAT's called politics...

    Michale

  107. [107] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Sure, one can observe animals and make some gross generality comparisons.. Animals breathe air, animals sleep, etc etc...

    But to compare such specific traits and make the claim that, because some animals are born gay, humans MUST be born gay too is ridiculous..

    Yes, it is ridiculous. Good thing I never said such a thing. On the other hand, change "MUST" to "might" and it goes from ridiculous to science.

    But a man of science, TRUE science, does not start with a conclusion and then recognize only the science that supports that conclusion and ignores the science that disputes the conclusion..

    And yet that is exactly what you do on both this and global warming. Guess you are more of a political animal than a scientific one. Though, personally, I think you go beyond politics and deep in to religion on such matters...

    Further, how EXACTLY does a scientist determine that an animal is or is not "gay"???

    Male animal is consistently seen mounting another male animal when there are uncoupled females in heat around.

    If you can tell me that there is NO science that indicates being gay is a product of environment then you would have a point.

    Actually, I gave a few examples of homosexuality being a product of environment, so I am not sure what you are talking about beyond a lack of reading comprehension. Please explain.

    It is the DUTY of all REAL scientists to examine and acknowledge ALL the science.

    ---

    Science doesn't exist to make sure one hypothesis takes precedence over the other.

    Could you do us all a favor and follow your own advice? Please?

  108. [108] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yes, it is ridiculous. Good thing I never said such a thing. On the other hand, change "MUST" to "might" and it goes from ridiculous to science.

    "Might" is not very scientific.. I "might" be always right and you "might" be always wrong..

    Does that "might" signify any degree of accuracy? :D

    And yet that is exactly what you do on both this and global warming.

    Actually, that is exactly what I *DON'T* do on either of the issues..

    You will note, if you read back thru every discussion we have ever had, I make, re-make and then make it again, a point to state that I am not saying ya'all are wrong and I am right..

    All I *ever* say is that ya'all COULD be wrong.. That there IS evidence to support BOTH sides of either issue..

    It's ya'all (with a few notable exceptions) who claim absolutely that human kind is responsible for climate change and, absolutely that gay people are born that way..

    I ALWAYS say (gladly) that I could be wrong..

    No one here is capable of the same. Again, with the few notable exceptions..

    Male animal is consistently seen mounting another male animal when there are uncoupled females in heat around.

    And that means "gay"???

    Couldn't it mean just horny???

    Maybe someone is not looking for Mr/Mrs RIGHT, but is just looking for Mr/Mrs RIGHT NOW??

    I mean, isn't that another possible interpretation??

    Actually, I gave a few examples of homosexuality being a product of environment

    So, you are conceding that it's possible that being gay could be totally and completely a product of environment w/o ANY biological/genetic factors whatsoever..

    You are conceding the possibility??

    Could you do us all a favor and follow your own advice? Please?

    I *ALWAYS* do.. In these discussions that are faux-science political issues I *ALWAYS* claim that there is science, good and real science that supports a multitude of possibilities..

    Not just the ones that are, for ya'all, politically correct...

    If you can find me one instance where I have not done this, by all means.. Point it out.. :D

    Michale

  109. [109] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    So, you are conceding that it's possible that being gay could be totally and completely a product of environment w/o ANY biological/genetic factors whatsoever.

    science must concede all possibilities, no matter how remote, but that one ranks right up there with being caused by magic unicorns. any sort of human behavior is always an INTERACTION between variables, which includes BOTH genetics AND environment. if we're to use other types of behavior as a guide (employment for example), sexual behavior might factor out to being about 50% genetic, 40% environment, and 10% chance/luck.

    So, it's just as accurate to say that you are "probably" right as it is to say that I am "probably" right.. :D

    nope, the probability that i'm right is much, much higher. heh.

    "Because you're an idiot. No, no, don't look like that, practically everyone is."
    ~Sherlock

    ;p
    ~joshua

  110. [110] 
    Michale wrote:

    if we're to use other types of behavior as a guide (employment for example), sexual behavior might factor out to being about 50% genetic, 40% environment, and 10% chance/luck.

    And yet, what of the psychological science??

    Wait a tic.. Forgive me for being dense, but are you saying that employment (occupation) is 50% genetic??

    Based on what??

    Michale

  111. [111] 
    Michale wrote:

    nope, the probability that i'm right is much, much higher. heh.

    The term "probably" is very subjective hence, not very scientific.. :D


    "Because you're an idiot. No, no, don't look like that, practically everyone is."
    ~Sherlock

    Was that from the Robert Downey version?? I have to admit I haven't seen either of them...

    But kudos on the quote anyways.. :D

    Michale

  112. [112] 
    Michale wrote:

    I *ALWAYS* do.. In these discussions that are faux-science political issues I *ALWAYS* claim that there is science, good and real science that supports a multitude of possibilities..

    Which is likely why I am so frustrating for ya'all..

    In those faux-science political issues, I never argue that I am right and you are wrong..

    I simply argue that you MIGHT be wrong..

    And there is no defense for such an argument.. :D

    "I was playing for a standoff, a draw. While Kolrami was dedicated to winning, I was able to pass up obvious avenues of advancement, then settle for a balance. Theoretically, I should be able to challenge him indefinitely.
    In the strictest sense, I did not win.
    I busted him up."

    -Lt Commander Data, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

    :D

    Michale

  113. [113] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Wait a tic.. Forgive me for being dense, but are you saying that employment (occupation) is 50% genetic??

    yes, and you're forgiven. the contributions have been measured in numerous studies over the course of the last 80+ years. i'm not going to go searching right now, but these are real studies i've read; i think i've earned the benefit of the doubt in that respect.

    i'll try this in language you're more familiar with: the relationship between nature and nurture vis-a-vis behavior is in some respects like the relationship between hardware and software. think of the DNA as the guts of the computer, prenatal hormones as the BIOS, early childhood experience as the OS, and later experiences as applications and user preferences.

    some people are built to do certain behaviors at the hardware level, but there's huge variation in the way the machine is used, and how well it is suited for the functions it it used for. apply that to the discussion of employment, sexuality, what have you. it's not a perfect analogy, but hopefully it will get you out of the mode of thinking of nature and nurture as "competing theories"

  114. [114] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Was that from the Robert Downey version?? I have to admit I haven't seen either of them...

    no, the BBC series.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1475582/

  115. [115] 
    Michale wrote:

    some people are built to do certain behaviors at the hardware level, but there's huge variation in the way the machine is used, and how well it is suited for the functions it it used for. apply that to the discussion of employment, sexuality, what have you. it's not a perfect analogy, but hopefully it will get you out of the mode of thinking of nature and nurture as "competing theories"

    While I don't doubt what you are saying, it smacks too much of "destiny" for my tastes...

    Take me for example.. I have absolutely no LEOs in my family. My father and uncle were Navy (dad enlisted, uncle fighter pilot) but I have wanted to be a cop since I was 5... Mostly due to environment (embarrassed to say, TV :D)...

    Two and a half decades in the career field and now I can disassemble and reassemble laptops and tablets blindfolded..

    NO WHERE in my genetic/DNA history is there a HINT of any of that...

    To say that what I have become is 50% (or more) pre-determined???

    "All right, but what if we can and then, and then the arch thing doesn't work? What then? Hell? Fuck that."
    -Loki, DOGMA

    :D

    Like I said, I don't doubt your claim that science supports your claim..

    I just know that, from personal experiences, there's something more...

    Michale

  116. [116] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hinkle: Commit any felonies lately?
    http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/our-opinion/columnists-blogs/bart-hinkle/hinkle-commit-any-felonies-lately/article_58344fc1-7d4f-584a-8d16-36a1b1f2cdc0.html

    Ya know, I kinda feel sorry for the Left these days..

    Reports like these are the Left's bread and butter. Their raison d'etre

    It must be really REALLY hard for them to bite their tongues so as not to cast disrepute on The One and his Holy Court....... :D

    One must admire the political loyalty...

    Michale

  117. [117] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    NO WHERE in my genetic/DNA history is there a HINT of any of that...

    software will come out next year that is brand new and compatible with MS-Windows, even though it's never been run on Windows before.

    your OS runs "cop" and it also runs "computer repair" - those programs may not run on other individuals.

    JL

  118. [118] 
    Michale wrote:

    software will come out next year that is brand new and compatible with MS-Windows, even though it's never been run on Windows before.

    But rarely does "new" software come out...

    Look at Windows. The basics haven't changed since Windows 3.33

    Hell, Windows is simply a rip-off of AMIGA OS

    Ahhhh the memories.. :D

    But it's one of those things that we still don't know enough to know what we even don't know..

    New things are being learned everyday that shows this...

    Michale

  119. [119] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    While I don't doubt what you are saying, it smacks too much of "destiny" for my tastes...

    we all get to make choices, but our DNA and early development set parameters for those choices, and play a large part in determining how well those choices work out for us. that's not destiny, it's just our hardware, BIOS and OS. just because one program runs well, one barely runs, and one crashes the machine, doesn't necessarily take away our right to "choose" between them. i could choose to be a police officer and you could choose to teach seventh grade, but i somehow doubt we'd be equally happy or effective.

    JL

  120. [120] 
    Michale wrote:

    i could choose to be a police officer and you could choose to teach seventh grade, but i somehow doubt we'd be equally happy or effective.

    Oh I dunno. I bet you can do a mean choke-hold.. :D

    I see what you are saying.. But, even as you concede, CHOICE is a factor...

    It may not be THE factor, but it is definitely a factor...

    So, where do we draw the line between excusing behavior and forcing people to accept responsibility for their choices??

    Michale

  121. [121] 
    Michale wrote:

    Batten down the hatches, Joshua!!!

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/tropical-atlantic-trying-to-co/15010525

    Here we go again!! :D

    Michale

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