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Replacing Obama in the Senate

Justin Webb | 07:26 UK time, Thursday, 9 July 2009

I see others are beginning to catch on to the news I reported in this blog months ago that Mark Kirk - a socially liberal Republican with impeccable military credentials - is likely to run for Obama's Illiniois Senate seat and (it seems to me) is very well placed to win.

Which is why Obama didn't want an election in the first place - a rather cowardly refusal to do the right thing it always seemed to me. Anyhow Kirk is a strong candidate, though since we were students together (at the LSE) is highly open to blackmail from Brits...Only kidding.

Comments

  • 1. At 07:36am on 09 Jul 2009, TLorenzMG3 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 08:01am on 09 Jul 2009, fearlessLegalEagle wrote:

    What's the going rate for the Illinois Senate Seat thease days??
    Anyone out there know??

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  • 3. At 09:42am on 09 Jul 2009, bfoulkrod1 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 4. At 10:08am on 09 Jul 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    "socially liberal Republican"

    Surely a paradox Mr.Webb?

    "Which is why Obama didn't want an election in the first place - a rather cowardly refusal to do the right thing it always seemed to me"

    Let it not be said forever more that Mr.Webb is an Obama supporter!

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  • 5. At 11:26am on 09 Jul 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    "Anyhow Kirk is a strong candidate, though since we were students together (at the LSE) is..."

    ...likely to cloud your journalistic judgement Justin?

    Interesting blog, you have placed a plate with the scent of a meal before us but it seems to me that somewhere between kitchen and table the plate has been upset and the dog is now a happy pooch!

    Just why would the Obama supporting electorate replace him with a Republican, even if Kirk is a "socially liberal Republican" surely his core values are still going to be like comparing chalk and cheese?

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  • 6. At 12:17pm on 09 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 7. At 12:56pm on 09 Jul 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    This is a little misleading... "Which is why Obama didn't want an election in the first place"...it was not a matter for Obama, and the Illinois statutes would have to be amended by the IL legislature first to have a special election. http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2009/02/illinois-ag-spe.html
    Hard to see how that's got anything to do with 'cowardly'.

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  • 8. At 1:37pm on 09 Jul 2009, OldSouth wrote:

    '...Which is why Obama didn't want an election in the first place - a rather cowardly refusal to do the right thing it always seemed to me.'

    Ah, at last, you are catching on to who Himself truly is! The last thing he wants (like Gordon Brown) is a real election. Why expose Himself to the light of day on the local level? 'Pay-for-Play' works much, much better, as long as one does not get caught red-handed on tape.

    It will be refreshing for the citizens of Illinois to be able to hold a referendum about their opinion of their 'favorite son'. I suspect Mayor Daley won't be able to stuff enough ballot boxes, or vote enough dead people, to overcome the mass of disenchanted voters from outside Cook County.

    Here in Tennessee, which went by unremarked in the EastCoast establishment media, Al Gore's vacant Senate seat was won handily by a Republican, and in 2000, the postal code area in which he now lives sprouted 'Gore-Free Tennessee' signs from every yard. The GOP could not keep the signs in stock. It pays to pay attention to the people who know a politician best...


    And, it would be very, very good to have a Republican in the Senate with an LSE degree. The idiots in charge on both sides of the aisle, and both sides of the pond, would have to at least pretend to listen to him.

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  • 9. At 1:41pm on 09 Jul 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Believe it when I see it, I don't think the Republican base will elect someone like Mr. Kirk. I'm sorry there are too many conservatives who are more concerned about Ideological purity than they are about winning elections. I don't think Kirk will win.

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  • 10. At 1:50pm on 09 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 11. At 3:24pm on 09 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Justin, you could actually run for the Senate yourself! The concept of actually
    having lawmakers with some sort of real training or experience is a novelty;
    perhaps a trend is afoot here.

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  • 12. At 3:47pm on 09 Jul 2009, carolinalady wrote:

    This is Illinois politics we're talking about, y'all -- a regional subvariation that gave us both Abraham Lincoln and Rod Blagojevich and is currently dominated by the Junior Daley, the Democratic machine boss/mayor in Chicago. Whether or not Barack Obama wished to hold an election for his Senate seat upon vacating it, he didn't really have the final say over it. Politics in the Great State of Illinois is somewhere between cagefighting and rugby in physical violence and has always been a blood sport.

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  • 13. At 4:26pm on 09 Jul 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#12 Carolinalady

    Bravo!

    Excellent post and you have described what I know of Illinois politics most graphically!

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  • 14. At 4:40pm on 09 Jul 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    American politics are focued around parties in the older urban centers. Of course appointing someone from your own party is better than an election. Removes all doubt of outcome. Chicago politics have a historic reputation and with the in-fighting and ward-boss structure things can be volatile. Nice try to support old friend as you are going out the door, but doubt your influence will match or cancel out the Presidents come election time.

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  • 15. At 5:02pm on 09 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Moderation: Paradox or oxymoron?

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  • 16. At 5:16pm on 09 Jul 2009, Saint_Omer wrote:

    #8 As much as I love to see you enjoying a good Obama bashing let me break it to you, the state's law doesn't allow special elections unless under extraordinary circunstances.
    So I don't know who is more missinformed you or Mr. Webb, at the end of the day it didn't matter what Obama wanted it was down to the governor to decide who got the post.

    Maybe that is the reason he didn't even comment on the issue.

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  • 17. At 5:37pm on 09 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    Since at #7, frayedcat, brought to our attention this important detail it seems to me that further discussion on the matter of "cowardice" is moot. Frankly I don't think anyone outside Illinois cares about the issue. The incumbent does have the advantage of complexion though.

    #11. gunsandreligion: "Justin, you could actually run for the Senate yourself! The concept of actually having lawmakers with some sort of real training or experience is a novelty"

    Not the Senate because he's a British citizen, but certainly a potential MP. Although whether working for the BBC counts as real life experience is open to question. Glenda Jackson gave up her stellar career to do so, and no doubt Justin would be welcomed with open arms. The pity is that such candidates rarely have lived ordinary lives, clocking/signing in or out, dashing to the supermarket and juggling their finances. Perhaps we should ditch the whole election process and draw members by lots in each area, it could be just as effective.

    Because originally this blog was concerned with all things American, I find it less-than-fortunate that it now focusses solely on American politics rather than life in America, which surely should be a concern of a North American Editor. At the risk of the accusation of being "obsessed" with the Michael Jackson phenomenon, I suggest that Justin might have used the events of the last week or so to illustrate the cultural differences between America and the United Kingdom. Contrast the funerals and memorial services for the good and the great in both countries; can you imagine a service for Princess Diana being held in a stadium in London? The contrast between her funeral (and that of Winston Churchill) with the late entertainer speaks much about American values - for example, consider that coffin! And, it has dominated the news to the exclusion of almost all else, which says a lot about the US media. What a missed opportunity to discuss such differences, but of course, an old college-mate takes precedence over what is really of interest to millions of Americans (especially those younger) and who have little if any interest in the aspirations of Illinois politicians.

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  • 18. At 6:03pm on 09 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    #17: " ... cultural differences between America and the United Kingdom."

    Really? MJ had 50 concerts scheduled in the UK at the time of his demise.

    Billboard

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  • 19. At 6:10pm on 09 Jul 2009, U14062365 wrote:

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  • 20. At 6:27pm on 09 Jul 2009, seanspa wrote:

    #17, DC, I quite agree about the obsession JW has shown with politics. This blog has turned into a democrat vs republican slanging match at times, and we still have 49 days before campaigning starts for the next presidential election. I would see far greater value in comparing american life and values with those of the british (as this is the bbc) and of others. I hope that Mark Mardell has a fresher approach.

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  • 21. At 6:58pm on 09 Jul 2009, Granten wrote:

    Sadly I have to admit that the matter of who holds that seat is important to Democrats and Obama. The Democrats can be forgiven, it is after all their job to play politics. The president on the other hand should have known that at this point it would be best to allow a new election to go forward. Aside from that, if the Democrats really want to keep power in Chicago then they have to force their members to reform the states politics.

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  • 22. At 7:26pm on 09 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #18. Gary_A_Hill: #17: " ... cultural differences between America and the United Kingdom."

    "Really? MJ had 50 concerts scheduled in the UK at the time of his demise."

    How is that connected with culture in general - 50 or 5 concerts is just a passing matter, a commercial venture probably because not that many would have been so interested in his own country. Al Sharpton said "Michael was not a freak" - swallow that if you can! But the eulogies, tributes, mass gatherings &c., &c was the thrust of my post, not a series of performances.

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  • 23. At 7:32pm on 09 Jul 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    #21 - Reform Chicago? But...what about the history, intrigue, drama, romance - The Titan, The Jungle, The Pit, The Untouchables... May as well try to re-district Texas to give democrat communities a voice.

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  • 24. At 7:49pm on 09 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David, I will stipulate that MJ was a "freak." He was rather successful at it, and he proved that the market for bad taste was world-wide, including in the UK.

    I don't get the comparison you draw between the private funeral of an entertainer to those of public figures like the Princess and the former PM of the UK. What do these have to do with one another? A better comparison would be to the funeral for Jade Goody, for which thousands likewise turned out.

    In any case, it is fallacious to draw a sweeping conclusion from a single example.

    That said, if you are saying that American funerals generally tend to be in bad taste compared to those in the UK, you may well be right. See, for example, The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford (an Englishwoman, I think).

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  • 25. At 8:37pm on 09 Jul 2009, Scott0962 wrote:

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  • 26. At 8:48pm on 09 Jul 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    25, 8 - and then the voting undead of Chicago can go visit the never-ending Elvis funeral in Memphis TN

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  • 27. At 8:57pm on 09 Jul 2009, waltonmountain wrote:

    Gary A Hill @ 24
    "See, for example, The American Way of Death"
    Was that written before or because of the American way of Life?
    Liberty, Equality and........
    http://www.populistamerica.com/the_american_way_of_life

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  • 28. At 9:10pm on 09 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    20. At 6:27pm on 09 Jul 2009, seanspa

    49 days? Oh goody. Look forward t it.

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  • 29. At 9:59pm on 09 Jul 2009, Orville Eastland wrote:

    I'm no Obama supporter, but Illinois law is clear. The Governor nominates the replacement. I do say that Kirk will likely do better in his race for the Senate than Alan Keyes did. (Obama would ahve likely won against most Republicans, but Keyes helped give Obama a landslide...and started him on the road to power...)

    And in regards to this comment:
    "It pays to pay attention to the people who know a politician best..."

    I wonder what the guy who said it thinks of Wasilla Republican Zane Henning (who filed the per diem complaint that may have helped bring Palin down) and Wasilla Republican Lyda Green (Former President of the State Senate who cast the deciding vote to start the Troopergate investigation and helped approve the report on Palin's false statements and abuse of power). As far as I know, most national media outlets have pretty much ignored them...

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  • 30. At 00:01am on 10 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    President Obama inherited enough problems from his inept predecessor to worry about whether or not Illinois held a senatorial election or not. Having said that, I would not be surprised if enough voters buy the rhetoric that gave us de-regulation, deficit spending, demonization of government, Iraq, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and the collapse of our capitalist system and the GOP wins a substantial number of seats in 2010.

    Obviously, there are Democratic senators and congressmen who don't deserve to get a job mopping the halls of Congress, if nothing else because of their tendency to roll over and go along with whatever the GOP wants; but the policies that have bankrupted our country and ruined our credibility abroad were championed and influenced by Ronnie Reagan, George W. Bush, and the real "decider" in the Bush Administration: Dick Cheney.

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  • 31. At 00:04am on 10 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

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  • 32. At 00:17am on 10 Jul 2009, NuclearDave wrote:

    #9 Not all conservatives are as narrow minded as you think. We are quite capable of electing a moderate in a state level such as Romney in Massachusetts, Rell in Connecticut and the republican governor of Vermont whose name eludes me at the moment. It just seems that our choices get limited at the National level.

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  • 33. At 00:25am on 10 Jul 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    "Mark Kirk - a socially liberal Republican with impeccable military credentials - is likely to run for Obama's Illinois Senate seat and (it seems to me) is very well placed to win."

    Interesting, Mr. Kirk sounds like a Rockefeller Republican to me, certainly not an oxymoron or a paradox. And given the questionable way Sen. Burris (D-Il) was handed Obama's seat, I'd say Kirk has a shot at winning. The odds are probably as small as Rep. Cao's (R-La) win against Rep. Jefferson (D-La), but they were close enough to give Cao the win in '08. The implication of a win for Kirk in Illinois would be that Senate Democrats would lose the filibuster proof 60 votes they just gained with election of Sen. Franken in Minnesota.

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  • 34. At 02:25am on 10 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #24. Gary_A_Hill: "I don't get the comparison you draw between the private funeral of an entertainer to those of public figures like the Princess and the former PM of the UK. What do these have to do with one another?"

    For a start, the memorial was not private but tickets were given away in a drawing, for which some 1.6 million had applied. It was televised and a commentary was carried on radio. The late Princess was a private person, quite detached from the Royal Family and Churchill had been out-of-office for many years. The very idea of some kind of a lottery for a memorial service is so different from what would have happened in the UK; I'm surprised you take such a myopic and parochial view. There is no comparison with Jade Goody, a talentless, sometime racist, media-made "star" whose funeral was in a small church, not Wembley Stadium. I take the point that "thousands" turned out, but there were no tickets, no arena and no entertainment.

    The sheer vulgarity of the proceedings has no equivalent in the UK - it's not just the funeral but everything surrounding it. That is the contrast between the two countries. I read The American Way of Death when it was first published and, as I recall, it centred on California and its funeral industry. The writer was one of the Mitford "girls" and a famous family in its own right. Her book was, if incidentally, a more factually correct response to Evelyn Waugh's satirical novel The Loved One.

    "it is fallacious to draw a sweeping conclusion from a single example."

    On the contrary, having lived in both countries, I think it is a shining example of the differences between the two. If David Beckham is the most famous and best loved Brit-of-the-moment, do you think there would be the same reaction to his untimely death if it occurred? I just don't see it happening, even though he and Posh cut a fine figure in the red tops. There is a cultural difference between the two and funerals epitomise it - most especially the most recent.

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  • 35. At 03:07am on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#34) "The sheer vulgarity of the proceedings has no equivalent in the UK."

    I don't doubt that, and would add: nor in the US. It was private in the sense that it was the Jackson's event, not a publicly sponsored event, which I thought was obvious. It reflects on the Jackson family, not on the US generally, except as the media have been following it for more than a week. There are a lot of people obsessed with MJ, for reasons I can't understand, and not only in the US.

    I will stipulate that UK funerals are on the whole more tasteful than those in the US, if you like, but not because of the MJ thing, which was a thing unto itself. I haven't been to many for the purpose of comparison, however.

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  • 36. At 06:36am on 10 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #35. At 03:07am on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:
    David (#34) "The sheer vulgarity of the proceedings has no equivalent in the UK."

    "I don't doubt that, and would add: nor in the US . . . I haven't been to many (funerals) for the purpose of comparison, however."

    Then I suggest you pay a visit to your local "funeral parlor" (isn't that a quaint term!) to see the "caskets" displayed and the grandiose floral tributes that are available, things that in Britain are usually only seen on the coffins of dead and famous criminals - think The Krayes. You may care to check a popular site for a list and illustrations of the knockdown prices available! Scroll down for the flowers. The excesses of American funerals are the microcosm of American life whereas the more sober and somber reflect traditional British values. I say traditional because such things do change, using America as a guide - who would have that that cheer-leaders and drum majorettes would become American cultural exports? To digress, since I am in the throes of remodeling a new house, I have just had all the popcorn (acoustical) ceilings removed and was reminded that when I first came to California, people has sparkles thrown into them as well as the stucco on the exterior walls. Such vulgarity extends to more than funerals. This is not an adverse criticism of American life, but an observation of how different are the US and UK in so many respects: the Jackson funeral and hoopla seemed to bring it all into focus - and I thought Justin might have made some pithy comment since it was/is bigger news than an Illinois politician.

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  • 37. At 10:27am on 10 Jul 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    36 David_Cunard

    David, I think you've overstated your case a bit. To take the excesses of the Jackson funeral as representative of the United States does not do the country justice. The vast majority of funerals in this country, even for most public figures, are quiet, private affairs.

    Yes, there are exceptions either ostentatious or what many would call tacky, including the variety of custom coffins to which you refer; in this area they sell them with Steelers regalia. But there has always been an element of tackiness in American culture that, try as we might, we can't ignore- lawn flamingos and reflective balls, leg lamps (a la A Christomas Story,) fuzzy-headed trolls. But these for the most part aren't mainstream or typical.

    As far as the decorated coffins go, in parts of West Africa and the Caribbean they are raised to an art form, costing many times a year's salary.

    I think that the American obsession with celebrities might be at it's root derived from a more primal urge to get in touch with the "bigger than us," the ceremony and the connection with the past. We are by and large a remarkably ahistorical people, and having to reinvent ourselves every generation is very disorienting. We latch on to the myths of America's founding and attack those who question the reality; we build up a near cult of the flag and shallow, vapid "patriotism." I think it's quite possible that people's obsession over celebrities- especially of Michael Jackson's or Elvis' caliber- is related, and a misguided attempt to find meaning in an ever-changing world...

    Regarding Obama's former senate seat, if there are still moderate Republicans not yet driven out of the party, more power to them- there's is the only viable future for their party.

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  • 38. At 11:08am on 10 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Grave thoughts

    • "I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me,
      That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly,
      and my blood is part of the sea...
      There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute, except my mind,
      and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself,
      it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.
      --D H Lawrence"


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  • 39. At 11:14am on 10 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    37. At 10:27am on 10 Jul 2009, Via-Media

    I must admit I'd agree with whoever thought a post about Whacko Jacko would've been better; obviously nobody cares 2 hoots about a mod Republican who went to the LSE.

    But I'm getting a bit lost. "Steelers'? "Leg lamps'? (So you can see your way to the car at night?) 'Lawn flamingoes'? The reflective balls are disco balls, I suppose? You get all these on coffins?

    Actually, people from the Caribbean here aren't very ostentatious, except maybe for liking a horse drawn hearse. (I want one, I've decided. You can have either white or black, with matching horses. But last year someone told me--in all seriousness--they had to be booked a long time in advance, so I decided not to tell my friends just yet.. I thought maybe if I was still around as the day got closer, they might not want to lose the deposit and maybe speed things up a bit. . .)

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  • 40. At 11:59am on 10 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 37, Via-Media

    "To take the excesses of the Jackson funeral as representative of the United States does not do the country justice. The vast majority of funerals in this country, even for most public figures, are quiet, private affairs."

    I think it is also important to mention that most of us are so sick and tired of the Michael Jackson soap opera that we have either stopped watching TV or no longer tune in to the major channels. Alas, in my case I have joined my wife watching HGTV, DIY, and even QVC which is a scary alternative!

    Most of my neighbors, friends and relatives feel the same way and I can't help but wonder what the TV executives are thinking with all this extravaganza about the passing of an entertainer whose life was less than stellar, controversial to say the least, and considered repugnant by the overwhelming majority of Americans.



    I

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  • 41. At 12:11pm on 10 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    I've made a willow coffin, and can only hope that when I perish, it will be deemed not to have, and that said appearance is proved mistaken somewhere halfway down the rocky path to the designated hole. True friends will be the ones ROELOL.

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  • 42. At 1:38pm on 10 Jul 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #40

    The Jackson funeral was a celebrity culture circus. With the usual suspects Jackson and Sharpeton taking advanatage.

    I still think it was wrong for the City to allow this much disruption for a private citizen.

    If I had a business in the affected area, I would have tried legally to block the closure

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  • 43. At 3:07pm on 10 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #37. Via-Media: "To take the excesses of the Jackson funeral as representative of the United States does not do the country justice. The vast majority of funerals in this country, even for most public figures, are quiet, private affairs."

    Like Gary H, you've misread the intent of my reference; to my mind, the Jackson funeral was illustrative of the cultural differences between the two countries and which (in my opinion) that occasion brought into focus. If you looked at the link to CostCo, you will see excess made available to everyone, albeit on a lesser scale. It's not as if vulgarity was anything new - Europeans will recall the American tourist of forty and fifty years ago: loud shirts, Robin Hood hats, cigar chomping characters that clearly defined them as American, just as super-large, highly-chromed cars did. Whether it be funerals or fashion, from where does all the flamboyance come? It's not just a passing phase, it's a permanent part of life in the USA.

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  • 44. At 3:08pm on 10 Jul 2009, justpam wrote:

    In reply to post #2 - Ask the current POTUS, he should have the price list somewhere.

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  • 45. At 5:31pm on 10 Jul 2009, duhbuh wrote:

    Justin, have you seen this article? Journalists who were vicious about Palin, ignored Biden's gaffes, and were loath to comment on the John Edwards scandal. He could be writing about you.

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  • 46. At 6:52pm on 10 Jul 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    duhbuh # 45
    "Justin.....Journalists.......ignored Biden's gaffes ..........He could be writing about you'.
    Aren't you forgetting you made 4 postings about the Biden gaffes yourself when Justin belatedly linked to it February 10th, 2009.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/profile/?userid=11017887&skip=25

    You managed to let us know about most of them then but go ahead, maybe you missed a couple.- Play it again Sam......[May we have the Niel Kinnock plaguerism link this time as well. Believe you missed that one]
    I do love re-runs of old classics.

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  • 47. At 7:30pm on 10 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Justin, before you leave us, would you mind explaining the rationale for removing posts Nr. 25 and 31 on the basis that they were defamatory to state governments, while allowing post Nr. 44 to stand? The inference of the latter is no different from what the other two posts stated.

    This decision reminds me of the bloggers that support military coups when they oust democratically elected leftist Presidents, and voice outrage when right wing zealots abuse protesters. Moderators should practice the same level of consistency and equanimity expected from the rest of us.

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  • 48. At 7:31pm on 10 Jul 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    "impeccable military credentials", I didn't know the Senate had a military. "Socially liberal Republican": the poor are free to live on the other side of the tracks.

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  • 49. At 7:54pm on 10 Jul 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #45

    The difference isn't just Palin.

    Consider the Carolinas:

    John Edwards recieved far more defrence than Mark Sanford
    Chris Dodd sweetheart loan has recieved almost no media coverage as has Patrick Kennedy's susbstance abuse.

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  • 50. At 8:10pm on 10 Jul 2009, Mike wrote:

    Justin, it doesn't take much to write two very short paragraphs filled with unsubstantiated half-truths and dripping moronicisms. It really doesn't matter whether Obama wanted an election to fill the vacant US Senate seat in Illinois, because the Illinois constitution doesn't provide for it. And once he was elected President, it was really hardly within Mr. Obama's purview to suggest solutions to the problem. So if he was asked (you might document this supposed stance by Mr. Obama, since you use it as the basis to call him a coward) it probably follows that the President wanted a new Illinois senator to be selected in accordance with the Illinois state law. Seems rational, doesn't it? And why should anyone care if you went to school with anyone else? This is your dumbest post yet, and you've consistently written some real mind benders.
    -MIKE HARTMAN, Madison, WI

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  • 51. At 8:59pm on 10 Jul 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #49

    To the moderators why are you getting rid of comments that criticize Chris Dodd?

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  • 52. At 9:19pm on 10 Jul 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    If there is really one major difference between the UK and US in culture, it's with 'faith'.

    Want to lose some money? Come to the UK and set up a big glitzy evangalist channel. Then wait in vain for anything like as many subscribers to make it pay.
    Not going to happen.

    This whole industry of mega churches, rather odd types ranting about god, with the accent on attacking others of a different sexual preferences, or who just don't share absolutely the very narrow worldview of the well scrubbed (bad hair optional) 'pastor'.
    And biblical references to 'moneylenders in the temple' expunged from their version of christian faith, along with charity and tolerance.

    Such things are totally alien to most Britons.

    Of course, many, the majority even, of Americans do not subscribe to this either, but there is a market as we can see.
    And they've even subverted and distorted the values of a major US political party.
    Brits also don't care if their Prime Minister believes or not.
    Certainly there are few votes in it if he/she does.

    I guess the reasons start at the fact that many of our puritans left to go to what was then the 'New World'.
    Claiming persecution, (Or rather lack of ability for THEM to persecute others).

    Plus Europe suffered many 'wars of faith' in it's long history.

    I do think the British are, generally, more socially liberal. Abortion is not a major political issue for a start.

    To the late Mr Jackson, we do have a fan base (or cult) here, hence those planned 50 London dates.
    My understanding is had he lived to do them, his actual on stage time per show would have been 15-30 mins over a long show,
    I do think though, the average response to the tawdry touting for more business, that Joe Jackson has inserted into his son's death, is similar both sides of the pond.

    Myself, I was never a fan. I have to say too, I wasn't totally surprised by the allegations that surfaced in 1993.
    And just as innocent people do, he paid off the family of the accusers(!)

    Being secular, I don't believe in either heavenly or Earthly gods, unlike the more 'committed' of Jackson's fans.
    Maybe the more secular nature of the UK leads to some channeling a need for a deity in a superstar like Jackson?

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  • 53. At 9:30pm on 10 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 51, Magic

    Judging by the BBC's decision to allow post Nr. 44 to stand, it seems that only unfounded and defamatory insinuations against President Obama are allowed to remain unchallenged and for all to read.

    This is sort of like I support democracy when I like the results of an election, but declare the winner a terrorist when the elected official or organization is someone who doesn't support our interests or does not embrace our values.

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  • 54. At 9:43pm on 10 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    51. MagicKirin,

    ref #49

    To the moderators why are you getting rid of comments that criticize Chris Dodd?


    Maybe he's one of the moderators.


    47. saintDominick,

    You've been around here long enough to know that Justin doesn't respond to questions put to him in the comments. I doubt that he even reads the comments.


    I guess if I had to sum up Justin's US experience I would conclude that he started off a few years ago reporting (by his own admission) with typical British snobbishness, looking down his nose at Americans, particularly born again ones, with amused contempt - but then gradually grew quite fond of them.

    Unfortunately I would also have to conclude that he started off knowing next to nothing about the US and ended up knowing little more.

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  • 55. At 9:55pm on 10 Jul 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#47 and #53 Saintdominick

    Those are very good comments and questions but I believe that this is a seriously flawed forum. It seems to allow a number of inflammatory comments while censoring and banning rebuttal.

    I would ask this: Is the objective to create a picture of Americans as intolerant, racist, bigots who have no thoughts outside their own selfish pursuits?

    Perhaps this site will improve once a new mentor takes the helm. Otherwise it seems hardly worth posting. I will say that you have been doing outstanding work as a voice of reason and balance here.

    Ubuntu!

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  • 56. At 9:55pm on 10 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    There have been at least two occasions that I have seen where Justin made reference to comments in a previous thread, including the posters' names. One of those was gunsandreligion; I don't remember who the other one was.

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  • 57. At 9:56pm on 10 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    53. saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 51, Magic

    Judging by the BBC's decision to allow post Nr. 44 to stand, it seems that only unfounded and defamatory insinuations against President Obama are allowed to remain unchallenged and for all to read.


    That wasn't my experience during the election campaign when many of my criticisms of Obama over his past associates, such as the reverend Wright and members of the Weather Underground, were promptly removed.

    Do try to be a little less petulant. You had a comment removed? Big deal.

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  • 58. At 9:59pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    I think these accusations that the moderators suppress posts because they put forward a particular political point of view are all bunk. More likely, it is a consequence of details in how the point of view is expressed which the moderators have found defamatory or excessively offensive. My observation is that all points of view are represented here, but that some contributors routinely push the boundaries of civilized discourse. Perhaps they are sometimes go further than necessary in controlling posts, but it's their forum and they can do what they like with it, as far as I am concerned.

    My suggestion to avoid moderation is first to study the house rules, then to write posts which are civil and informative, and if critical then accurate and fair.

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  • 59. At 10:17pm on 10 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    53. At 9:30pm on 10 Jul 2009, saintDominic

    Ah, another potential recruit to the MAS. (Moderators' Appreciation Society.)


    (Actually, the 'A' stands for something else, also beginning with A and ending in N, of 13 letters: suggestive of the acolytes of an old man high up a mountain . Can't spell it out, or they'll turn me into a U-boat.)

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  • 60. At 10:21pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    aquarizongal (#55), there is nobody who posts here who can fairly be called a "racist," in my opinion, although there are certainly a few who like to trot out that epithet when they think it suits their purpose.

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  • 61. At 10:23pm on 10 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    58. Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    My suggestion to avoid moderation is first to study the house rules, then to write posts which are civil and informative, and if critical then accurate and fair.

    That's not always a guarantee that your comment wont be removed.

    Then of course there is the unfortunate fact of comments being referred, i.e. temporarily removed, through the "complain about this comment" facility. No ordinary contributor to a blog should have that power since a referred comment will often stay referred for days, effectively being censored as the debate moves on. This is a major flaw in these BBC blogs. I would like to see a system that enables people to complain about a comment, if they feel they really have to, simply to bring it to the attention of the moderators - without the power to temporarily remove it.


    56. bere54,

    Well, I haven't been glued to this site, so I accept your reference to Justin's references.

    I think it's fair to say though, that Justin keeps a considerable distance between himself and the comments.

    (Unless perhaps he's secretly a part time moderator.)

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  • 62. At 10:24pm on 10 Jul 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#58 Garyahill

    I would take some issue with this. Moderation seems to be somewhat arbitrary and many posts that have involved name calling and very discourteous and inflammatory rhetoric have been allowed to post.

    It also seems that some have been banned for trying to call this out.
    I will repeat that this seems far from an open forum.

    I would like to have foreign readers who may visit here have a better idea of the scope and soul of America than what I have seen of those who try to dominate this blog, especially recently.

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  • 63. At 10:26pm on 10 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    58 -

    Perhaps you have not had the experience of a perfectly benign, on topic comment not making it past the moderators. Many of us have had that experience. The moderation is arbitrary at best. To assume, despite the many statements declaring otherwise, that all removed comments in some way broke the house rules is to imply that all those who say otherwise are either stupid or lying. Once again, because something has not happened to you personally you believe it does not happen at all. That's an odd attitude.

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  • 64. At 10:27pm on 10 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    58. At 9:59pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill

    "My suggestion to avoid moderation is first to study the house rules"

    I have.

    If, professionally, I did not have a pretty good grasp of what is defamatory, libellous, or offensive, I would by now either be in jail or bankrupt, but it seems the moderators do not, so the 'House Rules' as they are currently applied are irrelevant for all practical purposes.


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  • 65. At 10:34pm on 10 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    60 -

    That is an astonishing statement. I wonder if we are reading different blogs somehow.

    61 -

    Or maybe Justin is secretly making comments here.

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  • 66. At 10:36pm on 10 Jul 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#60 Garyahill

    That post has brought me to tears whether of laughter or despair, I know not!

    I am finished here!

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  • 67. At 10:37pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    squirrelist (#64), the moderators no doubt are using the British standard of libel, which is more conservative than that of the US. In any case, I am certainly not implying that anyone is "stupid or lying." Such epithets are not my style, whether express or implied.

    I have had a couple of posts moderated for reasons I did not understand. It's not a big deal, as TT wrote.

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  • 68. At 10:42pm on 10 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    62. aquarizonagal wrote:

    Moderation seems to be somewhat arbitrary and many posts that have involved name calling and very discourteous and inflammatory rhetoric have been allowed to post.

    There certainly is a lot of that. Often comments that are nothing but insulting and add nothing at all to the debate are allowed through. When I see what is allowed through here, I wouldn't like to see the censored comments.

    It also seems that some have been banned for trying to call this out.

    We have no way of knowing that. I suspect that people get banned through continually pushing the boundaries of what the moderators will accept. I doubt that the moderators lightly ban people. And it's probably the case that only a senor member of the team has the power to ban anyone.

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  • 69. At 10:54pm on 10 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    Er, I meant senior member, in post 68.

    67. Gary_A_Hill,

    I find the moderators here generally quite indulgent.

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  • 70. At 10:54pm on 10 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    67. At 10:37pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    squirrelist (#64), the moderators no doubt are using the British standard of libel, which is more conservative than that of the US

    I am British, by the way.

    In some cases, they most certainly are not.. And comments are allowed to be posted which, while not falling unambiguously under the provisions of the Race Relations Act are still nonetheless deliberately phrased to be offensive to ethic, racial, and religious groupings while equally clearly evading those provisions. Please don't be disingenous.

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  • 71. At 10:59pm on 10 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    68 - We have no way of knowing that.

    A court of law allows an assumption based on circumstantial evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt." Those on a blog do not have to meet even that standard, and some here think the circumstantial evidence confirms aquarizonagal's statement.

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  • 72. At 11:02pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    TrueToo (#68) "We have no way of knowing that. I suspect that people get banned through continually pushing the boundaries of what the moderators will accept."

    Mostly, it was one person who was banned some time ago for good reason, then who kept returning under various aliases and getting banned under the new names. I don't know if the case in this thread was an example of that, because the poster came and went so fast I didn't have a chance to read the posts, but it doesn't matter. There haven't been very many individuals banned.

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  • 73. At 11:04pm on 10 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    67. At 10:37pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote


    squirrelist (#64) [. . .] In any case, I am certainly not implying that anyone is "stupid or lying."

    Do not attribute to me within quotation marks, nor impute, what I have not written. Please inform yourself of my post 64 again.

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  • 74. At 11:06pm on 10 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    70. squirrelist,

    What's disengenous? And what's an ethic grouping?

    Forgive the pedantry.

    I think you are seeing disingenuous behaviour where there is none.

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  • 75. At 11:07pm on 10 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    I see that TrueToo's #833 on the Iran Dilemma thread has been removed. I wonder if it was because it was repetitive. I think the House Rules call that "spam." (I did not complain about it though.)

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  • 76. At 11:11pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    squirrelist (#70) "Please don't be disingenous."

    I don't believe I was. In any case, it would suit me if the moderation were stricter on the matter of offensive posts, but I would note that the fact that some people take offensive is not, I believe, the proper standard for whether a remark is proper discourse or not. Some people, for example, are inclined to take offense and use the epithet "anti-semitic" when someone criticizes the policies of the state of Israel. There are other examples of a similar nature, but I won't belabor the point.

    I forgot you were British. Should that be "belabour"?

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  • 77. At 11:12pm on 10 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    69. At 10:54pm on 10 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:


    I find the moderators here generally quite indulgent.


    As regards some contributors I can only agree with you, and that is precisely the problem.

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  • 78. At 11:14pm on 10 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 57, TrueToo

    "Do try to be a little less petulant. You had a comment removed? Big deal."

    I had posts removed before, and I didn't have a problem then - and do not have a problem with my recent post being removed either. What I do have a problem with is the fact that comments that insinuate President Obama may have a price list for senatorial posts in Illinois or those that refer to him as a "black Bush" are allowed to stand.

    If people have a problem with the policies or statements of a President, say so and voice your alternatives, but they should refrain from suggesting a President - or anyone else for that matter - has participated or is engaged in illegal activities and should not characterize the actions of the leader of a nation by his ethnicity. How would you like people calling your PM the pale face Brown or Israel's the big nose Netanyahu?

    The assertion that there are no racists in this blog, and that racism is a thing of the past, can only be answered with absolute certainty by the victims of prejudice; and when it comes to political bias, it is part of our nature and it is not going to go away any time soon. I simply expected more from the BBC, a news organization I have respected since I was a very young man.

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  • 79. At 11:23pm on 10 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    I won't give up
    politician politician politician
    moderation moderation moderation
    ammunition ammunition ammunition
    some of them say they dread lock out
    while some live and others die

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  • 80. At 11:23pm on 10 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    squirrelist (#73), no need to get excited. It was bere54 who said that. I realized after posting that I should have attributed it properly to avoid confusion, but there is no way to edit posts, once made. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

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  • 81. At 11:31pm on 10 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    78. At 11:14pm on 10 Jul 2009, saintDominick

    Agreed.

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  • 82. At 11:32pm on 10 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    73, Squirrelist -

    I was going to demand a royalty payment for that.

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  • 83. At 11:38pm on 10 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    Background Sounds while you wait and wait for the slow moderations without any objections

    Fort Augustus

    Tichen (Politician)

    Warrior No Tarry Ya


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  • 84. At 11:41pm on 10 Jul 2009, Reuben wrote:

    Ref 78, SaintDominic:

    Don't you remenber when Gov Blagovich (now former Gov) got caught trying to sell Obama's seat in the Senate? The post (2) can't impune Obama because he had nothing to do with the appointment of his successor.
    I think FearlessLegalEagle was refering to the general culture of political corruption that has been the status quo in Chicago for the past century or so.

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  • 85. At 11:45pm on 10 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    Now We've Seen The Light
    We Are Going To Stand Up For Our Right
    Why Can't We
    Live In Harmony

    BIG YOUTH - Get Up Stand Up

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  • 86. At 11:59pm on 10 Jul 2009, Reuben wrote:

    There's a difference between policital bias and partisan rhetoric.

    A political opinion that seems incorrect but intelligently defended is the product of political bias. There's a lot of that here.

    But a political opionion a lie so outragious and offnesive that cannont be supported or defended, that is partisan rhetoric. There's a little bit of that here but not much.

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  • 87. At 00:01am on 11 Jul 2009, Reuben wrote:

    Kiki: Is that Bob Marley?

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  • 88. At 00:04am on 11 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 84, Grey

    "I think FearlessLegalEagle was refering to the general culture of political corruption that has been the status quo in Chicago for the past century or so."

    Indeed, whether they deserve it or not Chicago has been perceived as being beset by political corruption since long before Blago was born. I don't have a problem with the original post on this subject, and my retort which cited a state with a similarly dubious political reputation being removed. Both violated house rules. What baffles me is that statements that are borderline libelous, or as a minimum deeply offensive, are allowed to stand.

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  • 89. At 00:29am on 11 Jul 2009, Reuben wrote:

    The only thing I know about the moderators is that they really didn't like my Micheal Jackson joke.

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  • 90. At 00:32am on 11 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 91. At 00:49am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    84. At 11:41pm on 10 Jul 2009, GreySquirrel1867 wrote:

    Don't you remenber when Gov Blagovich (now former Gov) got caught trying to sell Obama's seat in the Senate? The post (2) can't impune Obama because he had nothing to do with the appointment of his successor.>

    Wrong one. Look at post 44.

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  • 92. At 00:54am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    89. At 00:29am on 11 Jul 2009, GreySquirrel1867 wrote:

    "The only thing I know about the moderators is that they really didn't like my Micheal Jackson joke."

    Was that the one about . . .oh. Maybe not.


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  • 93. At 01:05am on 11 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Gary 72

    • "but it doesn't matter. There haven't been very many individuals banned."
    Why? Because you weren't one of them? I know personally of at least five discrete individuals who have been banned.

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  • 94. At 01:12am on 11 Jul 2009, Reuben wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 95. At 01:15am on 11 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Thanks Kiki, Good sounds and welcome.
    St Dom & Sciurus, Seconded with Respect.

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  • 96. At 01:23am on 11 Jul 2009, Reuben wrote:

    It has been confirmed: the moderators still don't like my Michael Jackson joke.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 01:28am on 11 Jul 2009, Reuben wrote:

    I saw the Rev. Al Sharpton on TV defending MJ, he said:
    "A Jury said 'Michael Jackson's not a child molester' are you going to say those twelve Jurists were wrong?"

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  • 98. At 01:29am on 11 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #54. TrueToo: "if I had to sum up Justin's US experience I would conclude that he started off a few years ago reporting (by his own admission) with typical British snobbishness, looking down his nose at Americans"

    What a pathetic generalisation, "typical British snobbishness" indeed. What do you know of sixty million Britons? Pretty well nothing it would seem. If you are suggesting that Justin wrote that he is a snob, kindly reference it. I know very few Britons, whether English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish (Ulstermen) who look down their noses at Americans. There are however a number of American posters who do so at their European counterparts.

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  • 99. At 01:41am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    96. At 01:23am on 11 Jul 2009, GreySquirrel1867 wrote:
    It has been confirmed: the moderators still don't like my Michael Jackson joke.

    Must be the way you tell 'em.

    :-D

    Anyway, there hasn't been time for them to have a sense of humour transplant.

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  • 100. At 01:48am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    96. At 01:23am on 11 Jul 2009, GreySquirrel1867

    Let me see. Wasn't anything to do with, umm, a proprietary system of plastic building blocks? Plastic shopping bags? The -- got to think about this carefully -- the eponymous river of a middle eastern country?

    (I'm merely trying to get an insight into the system, here.)

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  • 101. At 01:50am on 11 Jul 2009, Reuben wrote:

    Squirelist:

    the word 'transplant' suggests they have something to replace.
    perhaps 'implant' would make the phrase more concise.

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  • 102. At 02:04am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    101. At 01:50am on 11 Jul 2009, GreySquirrel1867

    Sometimes I don't mind a spot of pedantry. I get your point. Careless of me.

    Would health insurance cover it if they're in the US? If they're here, I'd have thought it'd count as an emergency, now I think about it.

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  • 103. At 02:19am on 11 Jul 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    39 Squirrelist
    Sorry for the cryptic cultural references. These were all examples of American kitsch (not all tied to coffins)at its worst/best/most stereotypical:

    Steelers= Pittsburgh Steelers, 2009 National Football League Superbowl champions. Some are such rabid fans that they've ordered caskets decorated in the team colors and logo.

    Leg Lamps: in the now-almost-classic 1980s movie "A Christmas Story," the protagonist's father received a desk lamp, the upright of which was a cheap model of a woman's leg in a fishnet stocking. Classic 1950s tackiness.

    Lawn Flamingos: the incredibly cheap and tacky but somehow iconic plastic pink lawn ornaments that were a bit of a rage (for some) in the 1960s-1970s. The reflective lawn balls were a notch or two above.

    43 David_Cunard
    Yes, I did get your point. I was just arguing for a more subtle interpretation of American culture- even all of this tackiness is only just one facet of this country. Why it exists, I don't know, but many of us wince when we see it; the latest trend has been the giant inflatable Christmas lawn decorations, powered by an attached electric fan. An 8-10' snowman or St. Nick certainly catches the eye, but...

    But the best caricature of this unfortunate element of American life I think was in the various Rodney Dangerfield characters on the big screen- all really the same character, loud, boorish, iconoclastic, fond of money, tacky clothes and tastes...

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  • 104. At 02:21am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    A propos earlier posts:

    I see that the first prosecution for 'inciting racial hatred' has succeeded in the UK, and has resulted in prison sentences.

    The defence that the material emanated from the US and the defendants (who had fled to the USA) were somehow protected by the First Amendment was dismissed.

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  • 105. At 02:37am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    103. At 02:19am on 11 Jul 2009, Via-Media

    "giant inflatable Christmas lawn decorations, powered by an attached electric fan"

    ????
    Why do they need an electric fan? Can't you just blow them up like car tyres and leave them? No wonder Americans use 4 times as much energy as us.

    (Sorry, I must have a trivial mind.)

    (Ooops. Looks around nervously. I'll be made to suffer for that,)

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  • 106. At 02:58am on 11 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 100, Squirrellist

    (I'm merely trying to get an insight into the system, here.)

    If you really want to get some insight into Washington political life try to find information about the pseudo "church" in C Street where self-prescribed members of the Christian mafia energize themselves lauding the virtues of Adolf Hitler,talking about family values, and discussing ways to silence their mistresses.

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  • 107. At 04:11am on 11 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    #93: "I know personally of at least five discrete individuals who have been banned."

    I doubt if it's that many since I've been coming here, but if Hesiodos is in a position to "know," I am not in a position to dispute it.

    One or two have returned and changed their behavior sufficiently so as to satisfy the moderators, which is fair, I think.

    As I have said, the mods can do what they please, but I am glad that they have ignored the few who from time to time lobby to have contributors banned who have committed no offense other than to express an objectional opinion.

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  • 108. At 04:16am on 11 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    squirrelist (#104), that's an interesting item. These are the sort of people (new-Nazis) I reserve the term "racist" for, not people who make statements which we in the US call "politically incorrect."

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  • 109. At 04:31am on 11 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #105. At 02:37am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist: "giant inflatable Christmas lawn decorations, powered by an attached electric fan"

    "Why do they need an electric fan? Can't you just blow them up like car tyres and leave them?"

    To recirculate the artificial snow that "falls" all the time, as shown here and, without snow, here. No house should be without one in the Festive Season! I think there are even inflatable Nativity scenes and, to keep the PC faithful happy, a Menorah. If they're not available in Britain then they will be!

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  • 110. At 04:32am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    Since it's been a topic here, I've just discovered a link to an official British government website I tried to refer someone to was removed as 'unsuitable'.

    This is sheer madness, considering some of the links I've clicked on in posts here. What is going on?

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  • 111. At 04:59am on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    109. At 04:31am on 11 Jul 2009, David_Cunard

    Totally gross. And nearly 3m high? And as round? I'll take a flock of pink plastic flamingoes any time. Even gnomes with fishing rods. Even inflatable gnomes.

    (Sorry, I'm in shock, I think.)

    Oh, and please don't show me any inflatable gnomes, with or without flying toadstools. Mushrooms. Goldfish. Sharks. Whatever.

    (Umm. Not until I've patented that idea, come to think of it. I could be rich!)

    (Not to say reviled.)

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  • 112. At 05:32am on 11 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Actually, America is the "high tack" civilization, although the peak was
    in the 70s with the invention of the lava lamp.

    What would you poor Brits do without lava lamps, posters that glow under
    ultraviolet light, velcro, and Eastman 910 adhesive ("Krazy Glue.") You
    probably wouldn't even be able to stick together without velcro, so you
    have us Yanks to thank for your social cohesiveness.

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  • 113. At 06:27am on 11 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #112. gunsandreligion: "Actually, America is the "high tack" civilization, although the peak was in the 70s with the invention of the lava lamp."

    Actually - and I hate to admit this - the invention of said lamp was (heaven help us!) British. But American sales techniques and ingenuity made it popular, so much so that it is mistakenly thought of as American in origin. I believe that the patent is still valid so perhaps some royalties flow back to the UK. Retro fans can find them quite readily, at least here in Los Angeles. But I think those equally tacky moving "waves" which rolled back and forth in glass boxes and tubes were American, along with acid-based light shows which used slides (remember those?) to simulate a "trip". Now that California is on the verge of considering the legalising and taxation of maryjane (or "cannabis" as the UK delicately puts it) perhaps light shows will have a revival.

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  • 114. At 07:00am on 11 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    And so, another British "invasion" has surreptitiously occurred! We have you
    to thank! Perhaps it shall, indeed, make a comeback, or at least provide
    a visual representation of the human mind on hallucinogenic drugs.

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  • 115. At 09:00am on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    75. bere54,

    When I last looked that comment had been referred and not removed. Referral could have been, I suppose, by a moderator but was more likely to have been a complaint. It wasn't repetitive spam since it was the first comment I'd posted there in weeks.


    77. squirrelist,

    Moderator indulgence appears to be across the board and not limited to specific contributors.


    78. saintDominick,

    You are being a little too idealistic and sensitive here. You can't control what people say and how they say it. "Black Bush" may be insulting but it is a pretty clear and concise expression of the disillusionment some find now that they see Obama is not quite the revolutionary they were hoping he was. You might also like to note that blacks are generally not as sensitive about being called "black" as people have been led to believe by those who make careers out of manipulating white guilt.

    You yourself have made some wildly inaccurate comments regarding Israel here, saying something like, "It is the worst of rogue nations." I strongly disagree with your very obvious anti-Israel obsession but I would not want your comments censored.


    98. David_Cunard,

    I don't have the time right now to go hunting for Justin's reference, but since you feel so strongly about it, do give it a shot. Referring to the negative impressions, he said something like: "This is the idea that people have of Americans and I have helped to make it so." That's a startling admission and the article from which it is plucked makes for an interesting read. But as I say, he has changed. Re the BBC's anti-Americanism, even Tony Blair commented on it.

    For general evidence of the British snobbishness I refer to, have a look at the Empire. For more specific evidence have a look at some of the Britons on this very site. Observe how they turn their noses up at mere mortals with contrary opinions and refuse to debate with them. You yourself frequently have your nose skyward.

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  • 116. At 10:05am on 11 Jul 2009, GeorgetteHardy wrote:

    I have to say (and I know that, in expressing this, I am breaking the rule just this once!) that I wish this forum had in its House Rules one that I have observed on some other forums: 'Don't speak about the boards on the boards'. If people had to keep to the topic of America, rather than being allowed to comment on fellow posters, it might help, perhaps?
    On tackiness, we do have a few people that have inflatable Christmas figures (Santa ready to go down the chimney seems a favourite, a few snowmen etc.) in the UK but they are not so lavish as to have falling snow! They are by no means the norm though.
    One of my friends, when he was younger, used to organise a Tack Drive the week before Christmas- the object was to drive around, gaining points for various monstrous sights including inflatables, tacky lights and fake snow.

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  • 117. At 11:44am on 11 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 115, TrueToo

    "It is the worst of rogue nations"

    Would you mind showing me where and when I made such statement? If I ever did, I apologize for my hyperbole, which does not reflect my feelings towards Israel or the Jewish people. My objections and criticisms of Israel are focused on the actions and policies of the Zionists, their expansionist goals, and the plight of the Palestinians.

    Regarding the "Black Bush" comment, I simply don't believe it is necessary to emphasize the ethnicity of a leader, or anyone else for that matter, when criticizing someone or voicing our disappointment.
    I have expressed my dismay on this blog with many of the decisions made by President Obama who on issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo has all but embraced the policies of his predecessor or succumbed to pressure from the GOP, who continues to act as if they were the majority party. President Obama seems to have forgotten that he was elected because many of us thought he was going to take our country in a new direction, instead most of "the change we can believe in" is nothing more than a rehash of the past.

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  • 118. At 12:10pm on 11 Jul 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    David # 109 ,
    Thanks for the inflatable lawn decoration explanation.
    I think we are being unfair that tackiness is just reserved for the American mind set, though the Christmas competition of lights and general air pump vulgarity and burial accessories would appear extreme.
    From the English pottery gnome with or without fishing rod, sitting by a pond or his associated wheelbarrow occasionally filled with flowers, many have moved further toward a modern day plastic gnome approach. Although capable of more artistic poses, I believe the plastic bit says it all. { Would have commented on "plastic shamans" on the thread, but gave up on linking to it}
    The Germans have taken the pottery gnome one step even further showing "flashing" gnomes for their little piece of garden and here the flashing does not refer to lights. The exhibitionist gnome with open macintosh is nearly always covered with an appropriate fig leaf or psychedelic underwear and does cause me to smile.
    What would a typical Dutch front garden for those lucky enough to have them be, without their windmill and clogs ranging in size, with clogs going up to that of a small boat and the windmills capable of being electricity generators.
    Surprisingly for a 95% catholic country, Portugal has many extremes of garden art ranging from lifesize horses, cows, bulls, pigs and sheep, the former hitched to the genuine antique cart if you can afford to buy them, stone Grecian figures to pottery copulating couples.
    The giant Swiss wooden cowbells, Belgian pottery potatoe chips and Manneken Pis statues, Austrian garden clocks with cuckoos the size of eagles etc etc
    Class or nouveau riche? Culture or the lack of it? The seriousness of religion or the absence of it, or a general celebration of life, myth and humerous artifacts expressing our individuality? Is the one any better or worse than the other?
    Was Michael J obsessed with taking a little bit of his wealth with him? A la Tutenkhamon, he and his family were planning for another world ahead? Should we take anything with us when we depart this world just in case? Perhaps gold loose change we can believe in!
    Would be interested to hear what unmissables Justin and family are taking back, on the mental, spiritual and artifact front when they have finished filling the container.

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  • 119. At 12:40pm on 11 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    • "#93: "I know personally of at least five discrete individuals who have been banned."

      I doubt if it's that many since I've been coming here, but if Hesiodos is in a position to "know," I am not in a position to dispute it."
    Correct.
    • "I am glad that they have ignored the few who from time to time lobby to have contributors banned who have committed no offense other than to express an objectional opinion."
    As opposed to those who sneak around to accomplish the same end?

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  • 120. At 12:53pm on 11 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    • "Re the BBC's anti-Americanism, even Tony Blair commented on it."
    Then it must be true.

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  • 121. At 1:07pm on 11 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Georgette,

    • "'Don't speak about the boards on the boards'. If people had to keep to the topic of America, rather than being allowed to comment on fellow posters, it might help, perhaps?"
    Spoilsport!

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  • 122. At 1:08pm on 11 Jul 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Re 118 -At least 2 faults spotted.
    Mis-spelling , in fact a mix of two words. Hope nobody found any arm in it.
    Justin. There was no intention in my last sentence, however small, of alluding to ill wishes upon you [or your family], with the container remark immediatly following the Tutenkhamon burial remark. It might be just me, but I believe it could be taken as having a negative meaning.
    I promise I look forward to solely hearing and seeing you on various boxes rather than in them. Unfortunately my double-dutch struck again.
    wma

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  • 123. At 1:38pm on 11 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 124. At 2:00pm on 11 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 125. At 2:38pm on 11 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    Re: 123 and 124 M o d e r a t i o n
    It's Not An Easy Road
    Many see the glamour and the glitter
    And think it's a bed of rose

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  • 126. At 3:01pm on 11 Jul 2009, bbrenner46 wrote:

    As a lifelong resident of the congressional district that Mark Kirk represents and a supporter of his opponent in the past two elections I can state uncategorically that he has gotten reelected solely because of his support for Israel and its consequent cosupport from the high concentration of pro israel supporters who reside in our district. Whether this will carry him to the Senate remains doubtful. To do this he must garner a crossover vote from the democratic voting block of hispanics and african-americans. Alsso, he must get the ok from the Daley administrationin Chicago. Both remain unlikely. Personally, I find Kirk to be detestable.

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  • 127. At 4:01pm on 11 Jul 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    115. At 09:00am on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    "You yourself frequently have your nose skyward. "

    And you aften haved yours in the gutter, particularly when talking about the Palestinians who you openly state deserve continual enslavement and oppresion.

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  • 128. At 4:59pm on 11 Jul 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #106

    Are you refering to that piece that was on "Fresh Air" a few weeks ago.

    I heard part of it before I the PBS station went out of range.

    They seem to be a monor fringe group who no more reflect christian or Conservatives than La Raza or Lewis Farakhan represent Latin Americans and African Americans respectfully.

    The group other than the KKK and other racial supremacists groups is ACORN who subverts election laws.

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  • 129. At 5:06pm on 11 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #115. TrueToo: "I don't have the time right now to go hunting for Justin's reference, but since you feel so strongly about it, do give it a shot."

    What gall! Why should I look for a reference which likely doesn't exist when you are the one who "quoted" it. Surely you can find the article you mention, if it exists: you quote, you link.

    "For general evidence of the British snobbishness I refer to, have a look at the Empire."

    You're living in the past; there hasn't been an Empire since 1948 which, from the way you write, would not be in your lifetime. Perhaps you've been watching too many TCM with films starring George Sanders, Dame May Whitty, Sir Cedric Harwicke and other staples of MGM in the Thirties. We've moved on since then, but apparently you're stuck in another century.

    "You yourself frequently have your nose skyward."

    Ah - but then, like Quentin Crisp, I am a very special person and I can look down my nose at those like yourself with equanimity. Fortunately, I understand that you do not represent Americans in general, or I would have departed long ago. Your posts do your nation a great disservice, but I know better than to believe you. However, from my lofty perch I do find some amusing, in the same way as watching Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity, both modern court jesters but whom you possibly take seriously.

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  • 130. At 5:55pm on 11 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #118. watermanaquarius: "I think we are being unfair that tackiness is just reserved for the American mind set, though the Christmas competition of lights and general air pump vulgarity and burial accessories would appear extreme."

    But my point was that these (and other examples - the cars, the sparkles &c.) are not considered extreme or eccentric, they're seen and available from sea to shining sea. I believe that even the word tacky originated in America!

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  • 131. At 5:57pm on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    On the topic of people being banned from the site, as I said, I don't believe these tolerant moderators would ban anyone lightly or recommend their banning if they hadn't pushed the boundaries time and time again. I also don't believe anyone bears any responsibility for their banning other than the banned themselves. I don't personally have any evidence of people being banned here but I guess that can only be the reason for them being absent from the site a while and then returning under a different guise. Jacksforge and Xie_Ming did this several times and each time their new disguise was painfully obvious because of their distinctive styles. I find such behaviour devious and I would not try to return incognito to a place once it had been made clear by the hosts that I was unwelcome.

    Seems like the others were British-ish and eightypercent. Or at least they no longer post here under those names. I have no idea why they were banned, if they were banned.

    117. saintDominick,

    It was at least a few months back. You used the term "rogue" in connection with Israel and I brought up the example of actual rogue nations such as Sudan in rebuttal - which distinction I believe you failed to appreciation. I can't be more specific, but I don't have the time to search for it right now.

    127. Simon21,

    At last a short, readable comment from you. But pure rubbish, of course. I've never said anything like that about the Palestinians since I don't believe it.

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  • 132. At 6:21pm on 11 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    129, David Canard -

    TrueToo is not American; at least he has said he does not live in the States and gets most of his information about this country from Christian talk radio. There are many Christian stations on shortwave.

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  • 133. At 6:58pm on 11 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #132. bere54: "TrueToo is not American . . ."

    If so, that's something to give thanks for. But perhaps he will provide a definitive response to the question of his nationality and place of residence. So TooTrue, what citizenship do you hold and in which country (or continent) do you reside? That would give us some insight to your opinions. And by the way, rubbish is never pure.

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  • 134. At 7:10pm on 11 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    Re: my 132 - Sorry, David_Cunard, for getting your name wrong.

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  • 135. At 7:12pm on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    131. At 5:57pm on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo:

    Making a lot of assumptions aren't you; and accusing people of being devious? When you 'quote' a contributor and then say you haven't the time to find out whether he really wrote it or not, and has already said he did not?

    As for 'returning icognito', you're incognito aren't you? Want to publish your Facebook entry or MSN or email address so we can google the real you?

    It's not a crime.


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  • 136. At 7:15pm on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    129. At 5:06pm on 11 Jul 2009, David_Cunard

    Oh, I thought he meant the Hackney Empire. No wonder I didn't get it.

    (TT; Is that supercilious, sarcastic or superior? Or can I score all three?)

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  • 137. At 7:25pm on 11 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 131, TrueToo

    "You used the term "rogue" in connection with Israel..."

    I did, indeed, use the term "rogue" nation once to describe Israel, not because I believe the Jewish people deserve to be labeled as such (I happen to respect them the same way I respect everyone else, and I admire their history and accomplishments), but because the Zionists that have hijacked Israeli policies during the past six decades have ignored UN resolutions, international law, and carried out horrible atrocities against the Palestinian people that are inconsistent with the behavior expected from a civilized nation.

    My objection to your original claim was because I don't recall ever using the word "worst" rogue nation, and I would not use it now either.

    If your comment was a bait to start another Israeli-Palestinian tirade, count me out. I have better things to do than waste my time repeating the same litany of charges and counter charges. We all know where we stand, and while I disagree with your opinion and the contempt you show towards the Palestinians, I respect your right to say whatever you want on that subject.


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  • 138. At 7:37pm on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    131. At 5:57pm on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo

    I also don't believe anyone bears any responsibility for their banning other than the banned themselves. I don't personally have any evidence of people being banned here but I guess that can only be the reason for them being absent from the site a while and then returning under a different guise. . . .

    I find such behaviour devious and I would not try to return incognito to a place once it had been made clear by the hosts that I was unwelcome.

    Seems like the others were British-ish and eightypercent.


    Looks like casting nasturtiums to me, but that ain't nothing new. What did Brit-ish-ish do to upset ypu? You seem to like the idea of him being banned? Just curious.




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  • 139. At 7:44pm on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    137. At 7:25pm on 11 Jul 2009, saintDominickwrote:

    " If your comment was a bait to start another Israeli-Palestinian tirade. . ."

    Oh, do you think that's what it was? Very devious I must say.

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  • 140. At 7:46pm on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    129. David_Cunard,

    Don't accuse me of lying. Here's what he said:

    America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge.

    I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture, and that picture is in many respects a true one.


    OK, here's a reference containing the above quote, though it's not the one I was looking for:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/4400865.stm

    This newer one shows the degree to which Justin Webb has moderated his original stance on America:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jan/07/bbc.uselections2008

    Yes, he has changed and I think for the better. He's spent a number of years among the most generous, warm-hearted and accomplished people on the planet. And he's come to realise how utterly mistaken he was about them.

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  • 141. At 7:51pm on 11 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    If it is true the British-ish was banned, I think that was a bizarre and unwarranted decision. I always found his/her commentaries very objective and respectful of the opinion of others.

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  • 142. At 8:20pm on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    132. bere54,

    Thanks for the chuckle. Yes, I have listened to a couple of Christian talk radio stations, but not lately. I happen to like American Christians. But I get my information from a lot of other sources. Actually there's quite an impressive black guy named Terry Andersen who has a talk show somewhere near or in LA and is waging a campaign against illegal immigration from Mexico. His slogan is:

    If you ain't mad, you ain't payin' attention.


    133. David_Cunard,

    You've brought this up a few times now. Sorry, I prefer not to get too chit-chatty here. It's not what I'm here for.


    135. squirrelist,

    Have a look at SaintDominick's 137.


    137. SaintDominick,

    Well fine, we can agree to disagree. I'm not baiting anyone. Please feel free to scroll past my comments.


    138. squirrelist,

    British-ish did nothing to "upset" me and I'm not sure where you get the idea that I'm happy he was banned - if he was in fact banned. People do move on on their own steam. And I believe in freedom of speech.

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  • 143. At 8:28pm on 11 Jul 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    Snobbery eh?
    Well who seems to get their view of my country from Hollywood then?

    Two kinds of snobbery, there is also the 'inverted kind'.
    The one where leading politicos from very wealthy backgrounds, call those from much more modest ones,'elitist'.
    Didn't work last year though did it?

    I think I prefer the traditional snobbery, as much as it exists in reality now.

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  • 144. At 9:13pm on 11 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    142, TrueToo

    I'm curious as to why you felt it necessary to specify the race of the impressive talk show host. Is it perhaps because you find it out of the ordinary for a black person to be impressive? Had this person been white, would you have mentioned his race?

    I agree with David Cunard that it's curious that while you are willing to admit to not being an American, you feel it is necessary to hide your nationality. That's unusual on these blogs, where a person's nationality can reveal why they hold the opinions they do. Divulging nationality or place of residence is not idle chit-chat. Your secretiveness leads one to suspect you are a paid propagandist.

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  • 145. At 9:16pm on 11 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #136. squirrelist: "Oh, I thought (TT) meant the Hackney Empire."

    I don't suppose he knows what or where it is.

    #140. TrueToo: "Don't accuse me of lying."

    Which I did not. Even with the quotation, you could have provided the link in the first place, even by copying and pasting it into the text. You might note the last phrase, "I have done my bit to paint that picture, and that picture is in many respects a true one." And it is, isn't it?

    "(Justin's) spent a number of years among the most generous, warm-hearted and accomplished people on the planet."

    An MAII doppelganger! Possibly an identical twin, but certainly of the same opinions. You can't simply dismiss the rest of the world - had you inserted "some of" following "among" I would have agreed with you, but to impute that no-one else compares is, to use a favourite word of yours, rubbish.

    #133. "You've brought (citizenship, place of residence) up a few times now. Sorry, I prefer not to get too chit-chatty here."

    What's "chit-chatty" about telling us something about yourself? It gives further insight to your opinions. I freely admit to where I live and where I'm from, as do others. Possibly you have something to hide? Inquiring minds want to know!

    "It's not what I'm here for."

    Then what are you here for? Like a mosquito or ingrown hair, just an irritation?

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  • 146. At 9:20pm on 11 Jul 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    To all
    .Although I realise I am not the only one who feels offended by the tirade and the rest so eloquently described by St.D # 137, I have for the sake of peace ignored offensive remarks directed my way, having no desire to enter any tit for tat argument that others enjoy, and getting people banned that occurred in the past.
    Maybe I am mistaken, and must trawl through the blog to read previous comment both mine and responding parties.[I will comb through and repost "offensive" remarks I have made, and their replies.] Most of my attempts I believe were to pour oil on troubled waters where the threads were being highjacked.
    Could the poster be correct?
    I am labeled antiS*****c and anti I****l without any references, with an airy-fairy claim that we corresponded in the past.. Why he did not include them or accusations that I am also antichristian, antibody, antifreeze, antiknock, antiparticle, antilepton etc etc escapes me.
    If only I could be antibiotic, antivirus, antiseptic,antidote and antifungal then a lot of the germs virusses fungus and bacteria present here, destroying Justin's and shortly Mark's site would be neutralised.
    Posters have been banned for trivialities, and despite returning in a much subdued form noticeable to all, a certain few hold it against them and appear to deem it necessary to continue a personal vindictive vendetta.
    There would appear to be an MRSA situation here that does not require any microscopic examination to reveal it's source or why this patient, the blog, is dying a slow death..
    wma

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  • 147. At 10:06pm on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    144. bere54,

    You really are making me chuckle today. Your post is a textbook example of PC paralysis and paranoia. I mentioned he was black to emphasize the point that it is not an unforgivable sin and neither is it insulting to call a black man "black" rather than the PC "African-American." You really should try to get over this preciousness of yours.

    I guess we'll soon have white people insisting on being called "Caucasian-American" or whatever. Can you see how ridiculous this gets?

    ...a person's nationality can reveal why they hold the opinions they do.

    Careful now. One of your colleagues on the left will accuse you of prejudice based on nationality. And we can't have that. The left is without prejudice of any sort, isn't it?

    Your secretiveness leads one to suspect you are a paid propagandist.

    Allmymarbles also said that. You've both been watching too many movies.


    145. David_Cunard,

    I have told you a few times what I am here for. I can't help it if you haven't been paying attention. What are you here for?


    146. watermanaquarius wrote:

    You're easily "offended." Do you realise how offensive it is to talk about someone in the third person when they are standing right in front of you? If you're talking about me, I have never called you "anti-Semitic." But anti-Israel, you certainly are. I'm not sure why you can't see that about yourself. Try to gain some self-knowledge.

    Posters have been banned for trivialities.

    That's an absurd comment and you probably know it. You have no way of knowing what people have been banned for - unless you have the ability to read removed comments - or believe the stories that these banned people tell you.


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  • 148. At 10:13pm on 11 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    I dedicate this song to the general mood of this blog

    We're Through song

    Misery Strikes Back

    OUR LOVE HAS DIED

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  • 149. At 10:47pm on 11 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    147, TrueToo -

    I asked you why you felt it necessary to refer to his race at all, and you have replied with a disingenuous remark about what is or is not the appropriate term for that race (which was not an aspect of my post). I have noticed that you always claim to be "chuckling" over uncomfortable questions. Interesting way of side-stepping. And of course paid propagandists would pretend to be ignorant that such employment exists (this is common knowledge). You are not fooling anyone. The chuckling is being done at your expense because you are probably the only one who can't see how transparent you are. They should dock your pay.

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  • 150. At 10:56pm on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    148. At 10:13pm on 11 Jul 2009, kiki_riddim

    Only in some.

    @>->-

    :-*

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  • 151. At 11:02pm on 11 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    147: "Do you realise how offensive it is to talk about someone in the third person when they are standing right in front of you? "

    Don't see how he can be, really. Unless the Beeb's rolled out the VR version of this blog.

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  • 152. At 11:06pm on 11 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #147. TrueToo: "I mentioned he was black to emphasize the point that it is not an unforgivable sin and neither is it insulting to call a black man "black" rather than the PC "African-American."

    African-American just happens to be the preferred term to describe those whose heritage is from the continent of Africa, not ""PC". Earlier it was "Afro-American" and before that "Black", still used but, as shown, capitalised. And before that, Negro, which became an unusable and insulting word in contemporary society.

    "I have told you a few times what I am here for."

    Then why not refresh our memories since, had the reason been sufficient, I and others would have remembered it. Almost all that I can see is that you support Israel, hell or high water.

    "What are you here for?"

    To inject some opinions from one who has maintained a home on both sides of the Atlantic, which gives me a more rounded view than that of yourself. After all, I am British but living in California, which gives me a rather different perspective. Regrettably, we know nothing about you, other than the prejudices you frequently express.

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  • 153. At 11:19pm on 11 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    Watermanaquarius is one of the least offensive persons on this blog, perhaps second only to aquarizonagal in a quest for peace and harmony among humans. Only someone with a deep-set inferiority complex would see his comments as offensive.

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  • 154. At 00:05am on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    TT 68

    • "It also seems that some have been banned for trying to call this out.

      We have no way of knowing that. I suspect that people get banned through continually pushing the boundaries of what the moderators will accept."

    Actually, I do have a way of knowing, since I have contact with several of the individuals who have been banned. The following is excerpted from the email sent to one, who sent it to me for my information:
    • "Dear BBC Blog contributor,

      Thank you for contributing to a BBC Blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your content below

      This is because we have reason to believe that you are - or are posting on behalf of - a user that has previously been banned from one or more BBC messageboards and community sites.

      You are not permitted to return with another account once banned.
      "
    NOTE: "we have reason to believe..." No proof, just innuendo.
    RIP
    Jacksforge
    WanderingAngus
    Eightypercent,
    Ed Iglehart
    kikidredd
    daisydiety
    and others

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  • 155. At 00:43am on 12 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    what ed? is trying to say is we are fed up and
    have nothing to say on have your say
    except 2true who is saying lots but not saying anything
    (except for snitching like an israeli spy?)
    and should be banned but not die
    because we arent anti-semites true

    ban2true

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  • 156. At 00:55am on 12 Jul 2009, KRITGuy wrote:

    You said "Anyhow Kirk is a strong candidate"..

    It's not fair Justin...

    ...you can say funny things in your blog, but anything posted that might be witty in any manner whatsoever (in the regular HYS forums) by the rest of us mere plebs, always gets rejected by the moderators.

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  • 157. At 01:09am on 12 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    154, Hesiodos -

    You don't mention British-ish. Does anyone know if he's been banned? And what happened to that joepinapples? Why was he turned into a U number? Has he been banned also?

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  • 158. At 01:41am on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    Strange skins with many fins.
    Dangerous waters !
    I'm off.

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  • 159. At 01:45am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    156. At 00:55am on 12 Jul 2009, KRITGuy

    See above (99-102). Don't try Michael Jackson jokes here either.

    In a distant time
    A few of us found
    A way of getting free
    In just one bound
    By putting it in rhyme,
    So take a hint from me.

    (It doesn't have to be great poetry, though some have been criticised for not being up to Paradise Lost standards, or even Hiawatha, and I suppose it won't be long before "Complain about . . . this poem" makes an appearance.)




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  • 160. At 01:54am on 12 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    You are not permitted to return with another account once banned.

    Sounds just like a school monitor, doesn't it! How can they tell and what are they going to do? Put them in the corner or on the naughty step? With regret, there is in Britain a growing body of those who would regulate everything - from dropping a potato crisp to what is in a rubbish bin to the presentation of legitimate opinion. Since "New" Labour arrived, Britain appears to be more highly regulated than ever before and "little tin Hitlers" have sprung up like toadstools. Not a day goes by but there is a report of a minor functionary handing out a "Fixed Penalty" or some poor soul who has received an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) for conduct which may well include mental illness.

    In my limited experience of being 'referred' or removed, there has never been a truly good reason provided for the either. The catch-all "causing offence" seems to be a favourite, but almost anything written today can cause offence to someone. I find it offensive that MAII continually denigrates Europe and it citizens, but has he been banned? Since he has not appeared on this thread, quite possibly, but I doubt it. Comments by others in favour of Israel or Palestine may likewise be found offensive by the opposite party, yet they and the posters are permitted to stand. Obviously I have lived in the United States far too long to be able to accept the control of free speech which the Moderators of this blog do so frequently. I may not agree with everyone and everything posted here, but the principle of denying publication smacks of the destruction of books in prewar Germany or Fahrenheit 451: too many Captains Beatty.

    I note that my post at #152 has been "referred" - and I can guess why, for providing the historical names given to those whose origin was in Africa, but which did not include the most offensive, albeit that it used by rappers and others. It is political correctness gone mad; very soon no opinions will be permitted unless they are in synch with some Whitehall mandarin. The steps may well be firm for now, but it looks as if they are beginning to crumble under the feet of so many who know what's best. One day they too will be removed by others who know yet better.

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  • 161. At 02:12am on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVX0sVMGCAo&feature=channel

    Does this add to the debate?

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  • 162. At 02:33am on 12 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    160, David_Cunard -

    No doubt Gary A Hill will arrive soon to remind us all once again that the BBC owns the blog and therefore can do anything they like with it. What is not addressed is why they bother to have a blog at all when they limit it so, seemingly arbitrarily. Isn't free expression the point of a blog? I don't think it was set up to be a forum for professional propaganda but it seems to be turning into that, with the full acquiescence of the moderators. The amateurs ought to have at least as much say as the professionals.

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  • 163. At 02:35am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    160. At 01:54am on 12 Jul 2009, David_Cunard

    I don't think it's that. It smacks (to me) of software that is badly designed and merely picks up pre-defined phrases and words, does not recognise a context but flags posts regardless, and people who have been poorly briefed, 'trained' (for five minutes) in some call centre, and whose only working keys on their keyboards are 'Delete' and F1 and F2 for sending the standard emails, and F3 for cancelling memberships.

    It seems we can only write 'open letters' like this, since if there is someone responsible for general oversight, I for one haven't yet found out who it is.

    To be perfectly blunt, I doubt if anyone cares, on the grounds the traffic stays relatively high anyway, no matter how many become disgruntled and leave, the numbers still look good, so what does it matter? The Beeb is still being 'open' to its audience. "Quality? What's that got to do with anything? Just feel the width."

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  • 164. At 02:38am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    161: 'Fraid not. "This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions."

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  • 165. At 02:47am on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    dweedle dum and dweedle dee please come sit next down too me.
    Let's open a book and take a look
    and see who is the real crook

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  • 166. At 03:03am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    163

    I should have added that there is a notion in some quarters that 'controversy' is good. A 'controverisal' post gets others writing and more involved, even if after a while they die of either frustration or apoplexy. Keeps the numbers up. Draws more people in. Who cares if that's because they're angry, insulted, or offended rather than wanting to genuinely express their views. Just as long as it's not actionable so the Beeb doesn't get landed in the High Court.

    Does that throw a little light on anything?

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  • 167. At 03:06am on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    164 quite rightly so.

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  • 168. At 03:59am on 12 Jul 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #147

    LOL.

    I was intrigued to see a small time local black commentator named as Terry Andersen, just because that name is Scandinavian to the point of the man not being black. I was reassured that he is in fact Terry Anderson that he could be Afridan American, black, or whatever.

    Then your post really got funny 'I guess we'll soon have white people insisting on being called "Caucasian-American" or whatever. Can you see how ridiculous this gets?'

    As Steve Biko once observed 'Why do you call yourselves white? You are more pink than white.'

    Having lived in the UK, S Africa and the US, I would merely observe that you observations on race are completely valid. If you have never lived here. If you have they are misinformed to the point of endangering your health.

    The complexity of the history and feelings in the US on this subject cannot be understood from the cozy history of the British Empire. While condescending, it rarely reached the depths of our treatment of blacks in the US after emancipation. Brits are far more subserviant than Americans and follow the spirit of the law, Americans seek loopholes especially at the state and local level. Jim Crow was the most disgusting example of that.

    Nationality does impact your perception of race. Come to NY and I will happily drop you off at the Lennox Lounge up on 125th street. The Jazz is awesome, and your political opinions would be wonderfully refreshing to the customers. Feel free to share.

    Mellow Sam




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  • 169. At 04:13am on 12 Jul 2009, Pass Torian wrote:

    Strange fellows live and rule Illinois. To what degree the Democratic cabal can accomodate a promising Republican is still to be seen. While the Republican prosecutor played prescribed by the cabal tune in unseating Blago with blatant disregard for the due process afforded the accused, I hardly can believe that the cabal will dilute their hold on power by reciprocating and sharing it with ANY outsider. Daley, Quinn, Madigan, and the smaller political fish that sing tunes that their Democratic leaders like to hear, tried hard to remove Harris and replace him with their own candidate. They failed in that effort simply because harassing Harris was not "politically correct". Nevertheless, as we know, they eventually forced Harris to release the statement in which he promises not to run again when his current term as senator expires. Mark Kirk, the senator of Illinois? I think I will be a saint first.

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  • 170. At 04:26am on 12 Jul 2009, junkmonkey wrote:

    What Universe are you living in? The state of Illinois is largely a Democratic state. Which is why it is so corrupt. Republicans of any stripe just don't get elected to the Senate from Illinois. I think the last Republican senator was elected sometime in the late 1960's.

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  • 171. At 04:37am on 12 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #164. squirrelist: "161: 'Fraid not. "This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions."
    #67. doctorcalledu: "164 quite rightly so."

    Why "quite rightly? I would have thought that Universal (which owns Interscope) would have relished the exposure, the credits of which state:
    "Music video by M.I.A. performing Bucky Done Gun with Lou Miguel [Video Producer], Anthony Mandler [Video Director] (C) 2005 XL Recordings Ltd. Under Exclusive License to Interscope Records in the USA.

    There are thousands of sites which show the piece, so anyone with the slightest interest can probably find the same video elsewhere, although (having seen it) why anyone would want to is quite beyond me. But this too is symptomatic of petty regulation; if the music (?) is so wonderfu,l then anyone can record it and send it on a disc, tape or cylinder to all parts of the world. If UK Public Domain material of living artists can be sold openly in any country, why this concern for a copyright restriction to an act no-one will remember in months to come?

    #168. SamTyler1969: "Brits are far more subserviant than Americans "

    Which may account for La vice Anglais!

    "Nationality does impact your perception of race."

    I don't think so - upbringing might well do so, but not nationality. I'm wondering how you became so mellow this evening - from one of nature's little helpers? It appears to have affected your usually impeccable logic.

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  • 172. At 06:42am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    171. At 04:37am on 12 Jul 2009, David_Cunard

    "Under Exclusive License to Interscope Records in the USA."

    Well there you are. Presumably whoever owns the copyright doesn't want it shown in any other country. Or Interscope wanted a monopoly on it. Nothing unusual in that. Happens all the time.

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  • 173. At 06:58am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    168. At 03:59am on 12 Jul 2009, SamTyler1969

    A summary of Mr Anderson's views which you may be interested in.
    (Which, incidentally may give some hint to TT's own.):

    "He speaks about the ongoing illegal alien invasion, now totaling over 20 million, facing all Americans. These law breaking foreigners from all over the globe devastate every community in America. Their major impact, however, crushes Black America by undercutting jobs and stealing community services from Americas working poor.

    One in every four African-Americans is out of work. Two of four are out of work in New York City. Illegal Mexicans, Chinese, Russians, South Americans, Africans and dozens of other nationalities steal and undercut jobs from Black Americans."


    [Frosty Wooldridge, Newswithviews.com]

    I didn't check out the Anderson website. since Google issues a virus warning about it. I'm not going to spend ages disinfecting my computer as well as my mind, thank you very much.

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  • 174. At 07:24am on 12 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #172. squirrelist:
    "Under Exclusive License to Interscope Records in the USA."

    "Well there you are. Presumably whoever owns the copyright doesn't want it shown in any other country. Or Interscope wanted a monopoly on it. Nothing unusual in that. Happens all the time."

    Because it happens all the time doesn't make it right, more like a restriction of trade. International copyright laws need an overhaul to make them the same worldwide. In teh UK, material over 50 years old can be used with impunity by legalised but piratical outfits which never paid a dime for the recording and then exported to the USA where in fact the copyright still exists. To the shame of the Labour Government (another nail in their coffin) it permitted a change which allows recordings of, say , Vera Lynn and Julie Andrews, who are very much alive, to be reproduced and sold without one red cent going to the performer. The songwriters still get their cut, but not those who made the material famous. This "happens all the time" but it'sstill a rip-off. In this case however, I can understand why Universal/Interscope would want no one else to hear or see it.

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  • 175. At 07:32am on 12 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    At this late hour (11:32 PST) I am pleased to say that my post at #152, a rebuttal to TrueToo, has been reinstated. This may be of interest to those other than the original poster who no doubt will ignore it.

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  • 176. At 08:08am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    175. At 07:32am on 12 Jul 2009, David_Cunard

    As so often, I am better informed, but none the wiser. (As far as moderation is concerned, and what triggers it, anyway.) Was it the 'N' word, or the 'h' word that did it? Either way, it shows how ridiculous and inadequate the whole thing is.

    It is a curious thing, but looking through TT's archived posts (and there is an astonishing number) I was struck by how few contributors who have crossed swords with him are still with us.

    Thanks for reminding me how that started. I have something else to say about that.

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  • 177. At 08:34am on 12 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #176. squirrelist: "Was it the 'N' word, or the 'h' word that did it?"

    The former I think, although the "genuine" N-word did not appear. I can hardly imagine that the place of brimstone and fire, which I assume is the h-word you mention, would merit a referral. This is 2009, not 1909!

    In #160, I mentioned the use of ASBOs as being part of the systematic petty authority reported daily, this BBC report illustrates it so well. Only in Britain!

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  • 178. At 08:35am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    142. At 8:20pm on 11 Jul 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    "I get my information from a lot of other sources. Actually there's quite an impressive black guy named Terry Andersen who has a talk show somewhere near or in LA and is waging a campaign against illegal immigration from Mexico."

    Now that is only half true. (Have you thought of adopting a more 'truthful' pseudonym?)
    I've been looking around. See 173 for just one example.

    I wonder what it is you find so 'impressive' about this broadcaster? Your wide variety of sources all seem to have more of a single common denominator than any of the many you accuse of merely writing a party line.

    (Like I said, I've been looking around. I like to know a little about the people I'm dealing with. You wouldn't happen to live in either the North West or Yorkhire and Humber Euro constituencies, by any chance? )

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  • 179. At 08:48am on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    177

    Could try it out, I suppose, but perhaps it's little experiments like that that get you transformed into a U-boat. Or worse.

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  • 180. At 10:11am on 12 Jul 2009, TheFirstRalph wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 181. At 10:54am on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    • "157. At 01:09am on 12 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:
      154, Hesiodos -

      You don't mention British-ish...."

    My list is far from comprehensive. I might have mentioned Xie-Ming, Zenads, Brit-ish, and others, only some of whom I have direct confirmation of banning.

    Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean "they" aren't out to get you.


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  • 182. At 11:04am on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Doctor, Doctor,


    gives the following response here:
    • "This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions. "
    Oh well,...

    Thanks for your input.
    ;-)

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  • 183. At 11:14am on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    dAVID 177,

    • "I can hardly imagine that the place of brimstone and fire, which I assume is the h-word you mention, would merit a referral."
    But might not the one implying a resemblance to the sound of a Horn?

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  • 184. At 1:32pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    The topic of moderation, censorship, and secrecy takes a new dimension when the subject matter involves the latest revelations about VP Cheney, allegedly, asking the CIA not to inform the Congressional Intelligence Committee of the existence of a post 9/11 national security program, and President Bush's insistence to persuade AG Ashcroft to sign a version of the Patriot's Act that included domestic spying while Mr. Ashcroft was still in hospital, sedated, after having surgery. Looks like when Mrs. Ashcroft objected to the untimely intrusion, the President insisted and eventually, with the advice and support of his legal counsel, the wondruous Alberto Gonzalez, signed en Executive Order to put the plan into effect. I wonder how many of our comments on this blog were scrutinized, and how many of us were investigated...

    While the need for secrecy is understandable, and often necessary, Congress has been informed and consulted under much more difficult circumstances including two world wars, and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

    The reluctance of the Democratic majority to pursue these issuea suggest either collusion or fear that the inevitable consequence of an investigation will lead to public hearings or criminal charges against a former President and VP, something that the American public may be reluctant to consider and, therefore, politically risky.

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  • 185. At 1:42pm on 12 Jul 2009, lochraven wrote:

    Which is why Obama didn't want an election in the first place - a rather cowardly refusal to do the right thing it always seemed to me. Justin Webb

    Justin, you certainly have a right to your opinions, but you must realize that you risk alienating a large segment of your readership. So, why now? Could it be that because you're going back to the mother-land you decided to let it all hang out and burn your bridges behind you? Now, that's what I call cowardly.

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  • 186. At 1:48pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    184 st dom
    If you are referring to the biggest crime to mankind since slavery, apartheid, segregation, genocide, holocaust, illegal covert wars, overthrowing sovereign states etc then there should be an open investigation for peace of mind. I always wondered why 9/11 was never looked at as an official mass murder criminal investigation, but went straight to the war scenario with military censorship.

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  • 187. At 1:59pm on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Lochraven,

    • "Justin, you certainly have a right to your opinions, but you must realize that you risk alienating a large segment of your readership"
    He has Considerable 'form'

    ;-)

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  • 188. At 3:15pm on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Giggle webb expatriot justin

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  • 189. At 3:21pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 186, Kiki

    "...then there should be an open investigation for peace of mind"

    I agree, but if my understanding of what Eric Holder is proposing is correct the investigation is limited to events that took place outside the guidelines established by the Justice Department. Since the Ashcroft/Gonzalez JD made "enhanced interrogations" legal, that automatically leaves the big boys out of the picture. In other words, we are likely to end up with another Abu Ghraib or Oliver North conclusion where some low level official is found guilty and the ones responsible for the policy enjoy the weather and attend fundraisers...

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  • 190. At 3:36pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    dweedle dum and tweedle dee
    I see you wont sit next to me.

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  • 191. At 3:40pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    184 St dom.
    You may know the biblical"remove the plank from your eye before trying to take the speck out of an others"

    Chain gang for Cheney. agreed.
    But this discussion will not happen, here or there.

    Here it will be turned into defence of america etc.

    Until the plank is removed from the site.

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  • 192. At 3:50pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    David Cunard
    I see your point.
    The performing arts have a lot more rights than other artists.

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  • 193. At 4:04pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 191, Dr

    "Here it will be turned into defence of america etc."

    You are absolutely right, and that is the reason the Democrats are so reluctant to dig too deep into what took place the last 8 years. The Dems know that the ones that will suffer the consequences if evidence of criminal activity emerge as a result of an investigation championed by Democrats into activities undertaken "to keep America safe" are not the ones that broke the law or obstructed justice but the ones that uncover the wrongdoings.

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  • 194. At 4:25pm on 12 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Another aspect of the Dems' is that they are also implicated. Lately, they
    have put all of the blame on the CIA, but all it would take is one memo
    to bring down Pelosi and others.

    So, they'll try to do damage control, but that could also bring them down.

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  • 195. At 5:34pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    193. I was talking closer to home.
    You see I have a bone.
    Not with you,
    but with one of "our" own.

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  • 196. At 6:41pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 194, G&R

    "...but all it would take is one memo to bring down Pelosi and others"

    I think the damage to the Democrats involves their inability or unwillingness to stand up to the Bush Administration and rolling over whenever President Bush said he wanted something done which, in a way, could be interpreted as complicity.

    What has been emerging on the latest CIA scandal suggests that Pelosi may have been right when she claimed Congress had been intentionally kept in the dark.

    Her statements and insinuations were cumbersome, but anyone who has held a high security clearance knows you can't speak freely or divulge classified information. Obviously, she is not an innocent little girl fooled by nefarious decisions, when it was evident that we were going to invade Iraq regardless of what the evidence said and the images emerging from Gitmo were disturbing, to put it mildly, but I understand her reluctance or inability to be more specific.

    And in the midst of the CIA scandal, the proposed AG investigation into violations of established guidelines, Palin, Ensign, Sanford, President Bush's Patriot Act affair, President Obama's visual distractions and fly killing techniques, healthcare reform needed to mitigate the cost of the most expensive system in the world and make it accessible to all Americans is now in Intensive Care because we can not afford changes!

    I think President Obama made a strategic mistake when he pushed for healthcare and energy reform at a time when we are still losing over 300,000 jobs a month, our budget deficits are at record highs, the stock market continues to drop, the real estate market is as moribund as it was a year ago, and evidence of an economic turnaround is tenuous at best.

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  • 197. At 7:10pm on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    St Dom,

    But without comprehensive Health Care reform and energy reform, we are doomed anyway. The old paradigm is unsustainability incarnate.

    Glad to be old.

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  • 198. At 7:19pm on 12 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    I think the worst mistake is not to push for single-payer at a time when so many people are finding out how precarious employment-based health insurance is, and that COBRA is unaffordable for many.

    Hesiodos, you're right. Glad I don't have grandchildren.

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  • 199. At 7:22pm on 12 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    St. D, I agree that health care situation is really one of our core problems.
    The mistake that I believe that the Democrats are making is that they are
    simultaneously trying to drive down costs and expand coverage.

    If we could find a way to bring down health care costs across the board to
    the level of all of the other countries in the G8, then we could probably
    use some of the savings to expand coverage, but we just can't do both at the
    same time in the current economic downturn, which will probably turn out
    to be the worst of the post-war recessions; we'll be lucky if it doesn't
    turn into a depression.



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  • 200. At 7:30pm on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 201. At 7:33pm on 12 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Guns,

    • "we'll be lucky if it doesn't
      turn into a depression."
    I reckon it alread is. A classic for future history books (if there are to be any)


    ;-(

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  • 202. At 7:36pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    GnR I see your worries.
    I would say that after 20 years of saying NO the republicans could start saying YES.
    That would help. Because defensive battles make no progress.

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  • 203. At 7:40pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    Oh why are we waiting
    This place 's suffocating
    Oh why are we waiiting to see them GO.

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  • 204. At 7:41pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    I see debate has lost it's appeal.
    I suppose the truth was too much to deal.
    With

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  • 205. At 7:45pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14066905 wrote:

    St dominick you like to debate but you see there is too much hate.
    there are times when lots of rhymes are the only way to pitch ones dimes.
    Or too cents

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  • 206. At 7:50pm on 12 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Good doctor, our lawmakers from both sides of the aisle suffer from
    intellectual deficits. The Democrats are every bit as incompetent as
    the Republicans, they just sit on the other side of the pivot on the
    see-saw.

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  • 207. At 8:28pm on 12 Jul 2009, U14065984 wrote:

    Sorry, I may be missing the point, but shouldn't there be a distinction in identifying between criminal, and non-criminal, alleged activities in an impartial investigation or is it politically dependent on the way the wind blows.

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  • 208. At 8:31pm on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    I see the competition for the "Thomas Rymer Award for Best Blog Poem on the BBC: is hotting up.

    However, a propos of 194/196, I read yesterday the CIA admitted they had had another secret programme of some kind going. Except that it was excused as now having been stopped, and anyway it wasn't really important because it was 'never fully implemented".

    No-one seemed to have had the common sense to realise that "never fully implemented" doesn't mean they weren't up to something dodgy. It means they were, but didn't get around to doing somethiing really dodgy.

    It would have rung alarm bells for me. But no-one seems to want to rock the boat. And so, the next time? Probably the next CIA boss will just keep it a better secret.

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  • 209. At 8:45pm on 12 Jul 2009, bere54 wrote:

    206, gunsandreligion -

    I have to agree with you there (though you may have noticed I disagree with you vehemently about health care reform). Most Congressmen of both parties seem to be either clueless or corrupt or both.

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  • 210. At 9:00pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 199, G&R

    "If we could find a way to bring down health care costs across the board to the level of all of the other countries in the G8..."

    The biggest hurdles we are facing are ideological, many Americans reject the "socialist" programs that exist in most industrialized nations, and the fact that many of our politicians are influenced by the powerful private insurance industry because of the political donations they make or because of the certainty that their unlimited financial resources will allow them to persuade the country that limited and expensive healthcare is preferable to the evils of a socialist program.

    I simply reject the suggestion that we lack the intelligence or are incapable of developing a system that is as efficient and affordable as those in Western Europe, Japan, Australia, or Canada.

    You are right, Hesiodos, there are some benefits to being old, but I can't help worrying about the challenges that my children and grandchildren are going to face. Comparing our current situation to the Great Depression may be an exaggeration, but this is the worse economic downturn since WWII and I wonder if the new generations are prepared or willing to make the sacrifices that pulled us out of similar circumstances decades ago.

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  • 211. At 9:13pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 208, Squirrellist

    "But no-one seems to want to rock the boat. And so, the next time? Probably the next CIA boss will just keep it a better secret."

    I find the fact that it took the new CIA director five months to uncover a program in his own organization very revealing...and disturbing. The unprecedented influence of the former VP on certain CIA officials, the willingness of that Administration and some CIA officials to ignore and intentionally circumvent the Constitution and our laws is scary.

    I simply don't buy the 9/11 excuse, our country has faced greater challenges and threats than a group of fanatics living in caves and, to the best of my knowledge, we never resorted to the extremes we have seen in recent years. I wonder what would have happened if Bush's popularity had not plummeted during the last 2 years of his tenure...

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  • 212. At 9:23pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 198, Bere

    "I think the worst mistake is not to push for single-payer at a time when so many people are finding out how precarious employment-based health insurance is, and that COBRA is unaffordable for many."

    You are right, my youngest son is among them and in his case he is going to have to pay $350 a month for COBRA coverage, his former employer, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, will pay the same.

    Unfortunately, the unemployed - like the poor and the lower middle class - don't have powerful lobbies pushing for legislation to mitigate the difficulties they are facing. They become news when events such as Katrina highlight inconvenient truths for the entire world to see. As a result, their problems are nothing more than a statistic considered by budgetary and political strategy purposes, instead of being highlighted as what it is: a human tragedy in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

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  • 213. At 10:16pm on 12 Jul 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #211

    I hope people are not just taking the Dems word that Cheney and the CIA kept information from them.

    A former official says congress was fully briefed.

    This is to protect Nancy Pelosi from the lies she has already been caught in.

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  • 214. At 10:19pm on 12 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    212. At 9:23pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick

    That makes all the arguments I read about how expensive 'socialised' care would cost the US taxpayers quite incredible. If I paid that in income tax and our National Insurance together, I'd be earning enough to be reasonably happy I think, though I never could do these sorts of sums backwards as it were.

    I hardly spend that much on food and things.

    To pay that much, and then presumably have to pay more on top as well if you get ill, is just crazy.

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  • 215. At 10:49pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 213, Magic

    "I hope people are not just taking the Dems word that Cheney and the CIA kept information from them."

    The leak did not come from Democrats in Congress or the Administration, the comments were, allegedly, made by unnamed CIA officials and were tacitly acknowledged by the new CIA Director when he became aware of the program in question and the orders that were purportedly issued by Mr. Cheney.

    Obviously, it is premature to draw conclusions and point fingers at anyone until credible information and evidence is produced, but it woould not surprise me in the least if this turns out to be accurate and the much maligned Nancy Pelosi was telling the truth...within the constraints of what can be disclosed when classified information is involved.

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  • 216. At 10:59pm on 12 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 214, Squirrelist

    "If I paid that in income tax and our National Insurance together, I'd be earning enough to be reasonably happy I think"

    Bear in mind that the high COBRA premium is being borne by unemployed people, and that in addition to those premiums they also have to cover co-pays and deal with the typical insurance restriction and additional costs if they have to go to the doctor or, Heavens forbid, to a hospital. When I had surgery a few months ago, I had to pay $150 a day for a semi-private room, and some of the medications I take cost me $40 a month.

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  • 217. At 11:04pm on 12 Jul 2009, toughdirtyjoe wrote:

    Via
    "Regarding Obama's former senate seat, if there are still moderate Republicans not yet driven out of the party, more power to them- there's is the only viable future for their party."

    I contend that it is the Democratic party that has moved far left. Carbon taxes and Gay issues over the economy. Closing Gitmo with no plan (to appease the ACLU)

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  • 218. At 01:01am on 13 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    • "A former official says congress was fully briefed."
    Well, that's allright then.

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  • 219. At 01:04am on 13 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Tough Joe,

    So you reckon The Economy can't afford to save The Environment?

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  • 220. At 01:17am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Squirrelist, St.D, while it is true that we don't have much of a safety net,
    I contend that inflation in the health care system is the first problem which
    must be tackled, and only then can coverage be extended.

    If new entitlements are added without any substantive measures for cost-control,
    then the result will be economic stagnation and a further decline in
    out standard of living.

    The Democrats seem to have failed with the stimulus package because they
    placed too much emphasis on government spending. Most of that money is
    still tied up in red tape because government bureaucracy is too sluggish
    to expedite expenditures efficiently.

    I notice that they are just now coming up with a bill which would provide
    tax credits for people who trade in old gas guzzlers for more efficient
    new cars. That should have been part of the original stimulus plan.

    Unfortunately, it's typical of the Democrats to instinctively hand over
    more power to the federal government, and away from individuals. They've
    already blown it, and will lose seats in the next election.

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  • 221. At 02:21am on 13 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 220, G&R

    "...will lose seats in the next election..."

    They probably will, the party in power often loses seats during midterm elections following a sweep. However, I would not count the Democrats out, anymore than we should not discount the chances of the GOP in upcoming elections.

    The fact that the stimulus package has not produced the desired results yet should not surprise anyone; the President and his advisors indicated from the outset that a recovery will likely take place in the fall or early next year. The severity and scope of the economic damage done by years of deregulation, deficit spending, debt accumulation, borrowing, and financing crusades requires more than 5 months to correct. I would be happy if job losses are eliminated by the end of the year and we manage to recover sometime next year.

    Out of control increases in the cost of healthcare are, indeed, a major factor in the healthcare crisis we have, and it should be a major consideration when making a decision on the need for healthcare reform.


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  • 222. At 03:13am on 13 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    For those who haven't noticed, there's a positive feedback loop involved in the case of health care (and in many other trouble areas).

    Despite the name, positive feedback loops almost always have negative consequences. It works like this:

    1. A system has outputs and inputs
    2. One of its inputs is "fed back" as a input
    3. This can have three possible outcomes:
    .....a. A decrease in the original output
    .....b. An increase in the original output
    .....c. No effect on the original input (other things may (or not) be affected
    3a) describes a Negative feedback loop (which generally have a "positive" outcome. All things called "--stat" have negative feedback at their heart.
    3b) describes a positive feedback loop such as a "downhill snowball effect" (the bigger it is, the faster it grows) or when you put the microphone in front of the speaker, in other words, a "vicious circle"

    Drug companies get high prices which enable them to lobby for yet more protection....

    Insurance companies get high premiums which enable them to pay stupidly high drug prices and doctors' charges, and the scale of these cots justifies even higher premiums.

    There are a very large number of such feedback loops in "The Economy" and one of the most fundamental and insidious is the idea of continuous Growth

    What happens eventually to the snowball and the amplifier is also the destiny of the present economic paradigm.

    It's hard to have hope, and it gets harder as you get old.

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peace

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  • 223. At 04:01am on 13 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    • "2. One of its inputs is "fed back" as a input"

    should read:2. One of its outputs is "fed back" as a input

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  • 224. At 04:26am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Weren't the drug companies supposed to have had their hands slapped by now?
    That's what I heard during the campaign by both McCain & Obama.

    As far as lobbyists go, they must have the best.

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  • 225. At 05:36am on 13 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    220. At 01:17am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion

    The whole thing was flawed anyway, like what Congress seems to be doing now. You can blame bureaucracy, but only a third of it was ever going to be available to be used this year anyway. I never understood why that was never picked up.

    But of course, Goldman Sachs is going to make record profits this half year. Now I wonder how they managed to do that?

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  • 226. At 05:40am on 13 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    224. At 04:26am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    "As far as lobbyists go, they must have the best."

    And, by the look of it, truckloads of money being delivered round the back. Shrink wrapped, on pallets.


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  • 227. At 06:06am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    squirrel, sometimes I believe that I am in the wrong business, but then,
    achieving success without selling one's soul is the real prize.

    I still have faith in the Republic, but it's going to take time to sort
    things out. Until then, foolishness continues.

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  • 228. At 06:11am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #225, Squirrel, it was never picked up because the press didn't want to
    pick it up. They're in on the con. How much do you want to bet that the
    MSM takes a big hit when the public figures it out?

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  • 229. At 06:41am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Here's what Roubini, the "prophet of doom" (I love that phrase) has to say
    about the current recession. Not exactly the Great Depression II, but more
    like a bad case of the flu.

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  • 230. At 06:54am on 13 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    229. At 06:41am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion

    You might be interested (as might SaintDominick) in this.

    The Times has a piece too, but the headline is (as one expects from a Murdoch paper) somewhat misleading.

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  • 231. At 07:00am on 13 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    227. At 06:06am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion

    "Every man has his price. It's just that no-one's come near mine yet."

    (I've advertised, but nobody wanted to buy me. Sad, innit?)

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  • 232. At 07:02am on 13 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    229. At 06:41am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    The "prophet of doom" (I love that phrase)

    "We're all doomed. Doomed, I tell ye."

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  • 233. At 07:19am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Squirrel, I just checked and the same news is coming out here. Nobody
    knows how many doses will be required, but the feds have allocated money
    for it.

    I hate needles, but I also hate the flu...

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  • 234. At 08:06am on 13 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    233. At 07:19am on 13 Jul 2009, gunsandreligion

    "I hate needles, but I also hate the flu..."

    It's alright, it doesn't hurt. No worse than breaking a limb, really. It's just the size of the needle that frightens people.

    (I get my flu jabs every year now -- free, because I'm "vulnerable", makes me feel really inadequate that --so apparently I'll get the anti-piggy one in September or October.)

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  • 235. At 09:01am on 13 Jul 2009, rickinindai wrote:

    You seem to be making assumptions on behave of President Obama. The Illonois constitution specifies the procedure not Barak Obama -- please get your facts right if nothing else!!

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  • 236. At 09:02am on 13 Jul 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #229. gunsandreligion: "Not exactly the Great Depression II, but more like a bad case of the flu."

    Would that be the Asian variety?

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  • 237. At 4:09pm on 13 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Now that the "off topic rule" has apparently fallen into disfavour, other excuses for censorship must be contrived:


    judge for yourselves

    • Subject:
      Replacing Obama in the Senate

      Posting:
      Sadly, our best hope may lie in total economic collapse, although it isn't likely to be [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]painless or easy

      Saaaalllllaaaaami

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  • 238. At 6:13pm on 13 Jul 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    237,

    • " [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]"

    My apologies to the moderators.

    It seems I inadvertently left off the ".html" suffix

    Mea Culpa!
    ;-(

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  • 239. At 8:22pm on 13 Jul 2009, mary gravitt wrote:

    After 8 years of Republican respectibility, I want to see the back of every last one of those cadeveras. Republicans along with Blue Dog Democrats don't want to see change. They want the same old cercumstance which got US and the world into this financial mess.

    Read William D. Cohan's House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street (2009), and you will see what the Republicans are trying to protect. You would think the Europeans would tire of US for getting them into this Second Great Depression, instead of recommending that we Play it Again with more Republicans in charge.

    The Dem that took Obama's place just wanted a last harrah. What's wrong with that. Having him in there for such a short time will not mean yeah or nay, just an interlude. But having a Republican in that seat will mean no progress and a return to the bad ole days.

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  • 240. At 11:51pm on 13 Jul 2009, toughdirtyjoe wrote:

    Marygrav dont worry Acorn will fix the election.

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  • 241. At 02:59am on 14 Jul 2009, tomexpat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 242. At 2:59pm on 14 Jul 2009, RickMcDaniel wrote:

    Whoever wins the seat in Illinois, will be a breath of fresh air, after the corruption of placing Burris in the Senate.

    It is hard to fathom how America got to the point of such corruption in filling a political office.

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  • 243. At 6:35pm on 14 Jul 2009, U14069953 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 244. At 12:33pm on 18 Jul 2009, sean33z wrote:

    Voters in Illinois will easily fill the senate seat with a liberal. A serious question is who replaces an Obama arch-nemesis, Ed Rendell. He may not run for re-election next year. The Commonwealth should select a candidate for governor with better economics credentials. Republicans eliminate Rendell's pork barrel politics. Barack Obama must consider how much Rendell mis-spends federal funds given to Harrisburg. A federal prosecutor could indict Ed for favoritism, graft, and mismanagement. A few years in federal prison would improve his attitude.

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  • 245. At 11:35pm on 21 Jul 2009, robertenora wrote:

    Obama's preferences don't govern how a former Senate seat will be filled. Instead, the 17th amendment to the United States Constitution and Illinois statutes provide the procedures to be followed. Suggesting cowardice is completely baseless.

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  • 246. At 2:29pm on 23 Jul 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    One of the most cynical arguments advanced by opponents of healthcare reform is that we will no longer be able to choose a doctor or hospital. I got news for those hypocrites, most of us can not choose the doctors or hospitals we wish we could go to, we must adhere to the choices given to us by insurance our company and if we go "out of network" we are, literally, out of luck.

    It is also worthwhile to point out that even though seniors are covered by MEDICARE, we must get supplemental insurance to cover 20% of the total bill, and even after that we still have to pay co-pays. In my case, I had to pay $150 a day in hospital costs, which makes you wonder how much hospitals charge or, perhaps, how much do the insurance companies actually cover.

    Somebody is making an awful lot of money, and they are not going to give it up easily...

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