Friday, February 27, 2009


This is a true story about a guy who for many years, as law enforcement busied themselves with other things, was allowed to get away with shoving knives into the bellies of literally thousands of people. Many were hospitalized for several days afterward. Some died. And yet, while Bill Clinton was in office, this person ran free. Not only ran free: actually increased the number of people whom he remorselessly cut open, watching coolly as their guts, shockingly often, spilled out of the holes he made. It was public knowledge, yet the entire Clinton administration looked the other way.

Oh wait. That was me. Never mind.

Blissfully unaware of the stench of flop-sweat around them, Republican leaders and their usual enablers are sifting through Obama's proposals, looking for ideas to ridicule. Reduced mostly to making stuff up, they seem to be having a hard time finding actual items. Now, it seems, they've got one, and it's a doozy: tattoo removal. Barack Obama wants us taxpayers to pay for tattoo removal! The bastard.

I know what I see: buncha skinny Hollywood types, fancy boob-jobs, lining up for a freebie, on our dime. Changing tattoos every year like they change their Ferraris. It's outrageous!!

Oh wait. The money is for a program hailed by liberals and conservatives alike. Helping people get out of gangs. Reducing crime. Improving lives, finding jobs. Never mind.

Meanwhile, CPAC meets and Republicans fawn, as they parade to the podium and cheer for people who call for nuking Chicago, and who question Obama's birthplace. Again. This is who they've become; the only ones left.

They say sunlight is cleansing. You'd think, like Bavarian bloodsuckers (taking territorial liberties for alliterative reasons), Republicans like this would prefer the shadows. Yet, under pressure from a President who appeals so broadly, they keep exposing themselves, willingly, in panic. Michael Steele, Michelle Bachmann. Newt, Sean. On it goes. A parade of pathetic and pallid promoters, proudly producing pitiful and pusillanimous pronouncements and putrid punditry, proclaiming pork in purple prose, plainly projecting their party on a perplexingly purposeful path to political poverty.

Really, can't they see how silly they look? As the public rallies around Obama and his agenda in ever-increasing numbers, do Republican leaders actually think it's a winning strategy to oppose him so reflexively, without providing anything positive? Just the same ideas that have been shown to have failed, and have been rejected? To be seen only as nay-sayers, and to do so so laughably?

But, hey, who am I to tell them to wise up? If they want to keep digging, I guess the bipartisan thing is to hand them their shovels.



GDad said...

Dr. Schwab,

You know that there will be one thing in President Obama's plan that will fail (putting him down to merely an A instead of A+), and those people will be pointing to that one failure for the next 50 years as an example of why the Democrats should never be in power ever again, lest the entire world collapse into itself like a black hole.

Anonymous said...

Hey!! the troops are gonna be home in August!!! Yay!!!! oh August 2010, and it won't really be ALL the troops, they'll need some 50,000 to do whatever they'll be doin...

Keep waiting for that SSM Ammendment, if y'all don't get it now, Y'all never will...


Buckeye Surgeon said...

Sid, you're using the antics of the morons on FoxNews and Rush Limbaugh to disparage conservativism. That's disengenuous. (And basically, hackneyed liberal blogger tactics 101). There's a new wave of conservativism coming down the pipe; people me like who have worked hard and done all the right things and we don't care about God or guns or abortion or whether you can pray in school or not and now we're the ones who are going to have to fund this embarassing splatter of crapola that is the 2009 budget. My wife and I send 40% of our income to Washington already. And we donate and charity and do other things. Listen to the rhetoric the emanates from the lips of the Chosen One. "Scale back tax breaks". "Level the playing field". "The welathy are going to have to do a little more". It's pure income redistribution under the guise of "correcting " some ostensible taxation unfairness.

It's a burbling sea of discontent at this point. Just wait and see how it roils a year or two from now when everything has gone to hell.....

You and I probably have a lot in common in terms of our stances on social issues; fiscal conservativism is not mutually exclusive to ignorant blowhards like Sean Hannity. There are plenty of reasons to oppose Obama and this ridiculous spending spree; it's just unfortunate that the designated mouthpiece (for now) are the right wing wack jobs of the GOP.

Sid Schwab said...

Buck, I've tried (may not always have succeeded) to distinguish between conservatism on the one hand, and the current Congressional leaders and spokespeople of the Republican party on the other. I've said in several recent posts that we need a strong and wise opposition party, and I wish we had one. I'm not wild about the extent of the tax cuts in Obama's budget; I'm for balancing budgets. Give credit to whomever you prefer; but during the Clinton years we had a higher tax level and a balanced budget and a roaring economy. Back then I was in the highest bracket; didn't enjoy paying that much but didn't begrudge it, either. Was doing well enough, and so were my investments. And I think we need to spend on certain things that have too long been neglected; including, but not limited to, infrastructure, military support (the troops, not missile defense), and health care.

"Redistribution" is a pretty loaded way of describing it (and hackneyed conservative blogger tactics 101). One could also argue that the trend under Bush, where the richest got enormously richer while the majority barely kept up, or fell behind, while our deficits rose to unsustainable levels as we ignored the reality of his unworkable math, was -- call it what you want -- immoral, unfair, bloated, redistribution of wealth in the opposite direction.

The fact is, every tax change is "income redistribution." The question is where the balance should be. I don't know. But I think, given the big picture, it was closer to ideal under Clinton than under Bush. Not for me or you, maybe, but for the country. It's to that that Obama is returning; with the caveat that for now, of necessity (if you agree government spending is necessary to right the economy) there will be worse deficits for now.

Anonymous said...

So.....90 million kids without health insurance, ERs stuffed to the Gills cause of the dearth of Primary Care Docs, and they wanta spend my Tax $$$ on Tatoo Removals??!!! I like Tats myself, lets me Identify Guys I won't let my daughters date...or Girls I wouldn't marry, and if you'd come down off your Ivory Thrown you'd know its just a ruse to let Gangs infiltrate Proper Society... Tell me this is just a Saturday Night Live Skit...

Spiny Norman said...

Buckeye: you must be one of the kids who managed to slide through my premed courses on rote memorization, but without quantitative skills.

How do I know this? Because if you had quantitative skills you would know that (1) the GOP base is small, and still shrinking; (2) demographic trends do not bode well for the GOP; and (3) what is left of the GOP base is, in the majority, exactly the kind of folks who care most about "God or guns or abortion or whether you can pray in school," coincident with the Limbaugh-to-Buchanan-to-Beck-to-Duke, nativist-to-neo-Nazi gradient.

Sure, there might be some reasonable conservatives, like (ostensibly) you. But the numbers say this: reasonable men and women are a shrinking minority within the GOP.

When you write, "it's just unfortunate that the designated mouthpiece (for now) are the right wing wack jobs of the GOP," it's clear that you don't realize any of this, and that you don't realize it because you don't understand the data. Perhaps you have, after all, found your intellectual home in the modern, know-nothing GOP.

Sid Schwab said...

Norman: for the record, Buckeye Surgeon and I go way back, blogically, and I took no offense to his comments. We are, in fact, pretty much on the same page regarding social issues, which is certainly not true of most conservatives.

Spiny Norman said...

Ah, Sid (& Buckeye) -- if I was intemperate, apologies. But if there's one thing I've learned over my years spent in various medical schools, it's that surgeons have thick skins ;-).

Sid Schwab said...

Spiny Norman: true, indeed. Although there's a peculiar combination of egotism and paranoia, which makes the skin look thicker than it is.

Leigh said...

Ah, in Buckeye Surgeon we have an example of that rara avis, the Country-Club Republican. Don't take offense, Buck; that's just a shorthand for distinguishing what used to be the backbone of the GOP from its current backbone, the Guns-n-Bible crowd, or as we call 'em down here, the crackers.

I was myself a Country-Club Republican, complete with actual country club membership, back in the 80's and early 90's, before the party of fiscal conservatism adn staying out of people's business became the party of God. And I'd quit them long before Bush the Younger came along and conclusively demonstrated that those deficits Reagan (for whom I voted) ran up were no aberration, but a centerpiece of neocon ideology. (It's an interesting contrast: Bush the Elder, classic country-club Republican; Bush the Younger, top examplar of the New Right coalition of neocons and the Religious Right.)

True conservatism has no party home now, unless you folks somehow manage to evict the Bible-thumpers from the GOP. Ain't gonna happen, though, because there's no way for the R's to win elections without them.

And by the way, Buck, it's not just you and your wife funding the federal government. We Democrats are paying our fair share, too. In fact, we're paying the share of those Bible Thumpers, as any analysis of the flow of money from Washington to the states will tell you. Given that the Red states, with their high rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, and other social ills, are net consumers of federal largesse, while the Blue states are net contributors, it's pretty hard to sustain the notion that you folks are footing the bill.

And as Sid has pointed out, under Bush the Elder, we engaged in a massive redistribution of wealth . . . from the middle class to the very rich. All Obama is advocating is that we return to the model we had under Clinton.

Hell, you should be counting your blessings. Under FDR, the highest marginal tax rate was 91%.

I would suggest that you take back your party, but I honestly see no way you can do so. To add insult to injury, it looks like you may have a choice between Obama and Sarah Palin in 2012. You have my sincere sympathy.

Anonymous said...

No sifting needed. The ridiculous part is BO spending trillions and promising that, as soon as that's over, we're going to strict spending discipline. Nice. Just one more binge before AA.


Sid Schwab said...

The difference between Obama and Bush (other than the fact that Bush ran up 5 trillion in deficits, not counting the downstream trillions yet to be spent) is that Obama is being honest with the numbers. Bush never was, and Cheney said "deficits don't matter." I'm sure you were highly offended by that. Obama has made good on his promises so far. In a few years we'll see if he's serious about this one. Most economists agree: massive spending is needed now to undo the damage he inherited. Balance should come later. I think it will. Time will tell.

Leigh said...

I ran across this comment at a NYTimes blog and found it so apt that it's worth quoting here:

"I think the GOP were absolutely true to their core values over the last eight years, and we have our current social and economic chaos to show for their adherence to said “values”. Those values include getting government out of the way of private enterprise so it can run amok, privatizing public responsibilities and functions in order to make the recipients of said privatization contracts obscenely rich at the public expense, and favoring a conservative Christian agenda (see the opening of this article) which disenfranchises everyone that doesn’t believe in Jesus and Satan. These are not the principles on which this country was founded, thank God for that." -- Jim Rosenthal (at

The blog post, by the way, discusses Bobby Jindal's response to President Obama's speech last week. Jindal's experience as an exorcist is also featured.

I'd be interested to know which you prefer, Frank: Sarah and her witches, or Bobby and his demons?

Anonymous said...

Well, let's see. BO's proposal is to spend twice as much, cut taxes, and balance the budget. He'll have three times the deficit of any Republican his first year. And this you call honesty. How will he make this up? With an honest tax increase on those making over $250k? Even if he took all the money of the $250k bunch, it's not enough. His proposal? An "honest" 2% increase. Fat chance.

Your grandkids, and their kids, and probably their kids will be paying off the BO experiment.

Quit whining about the Republicans. Their gone now. Your guy and your team is in charge. And they're already screwing up royally. Check the stock market. Every time BO speaks, it drops. He has already failed in his number one job.


A failed presidency. So soon, so bad.

Sid Schwab said...

Right. Failed to reverse eight years of incompetence in less than eight weeks. The market is reacting to the continuing effects of Bush, including a 6% contraction in the last quarter.

If in your mind the #1 job is to turn around the stock market in a month, it says a lot about your mind. As does your misuse of the word "their."

Who'll be paying off the Bush deficits? Quit whining about the ones who got us here? You wish!

Anonymous said...

Oops--typo. Remind me to grade your posts for grammar.

Apparently, you don't understand the stock market, either. The market is reacting to the future--what they expect to happen. And what are they expecting? More amateur mistakes from the president in training. More of BO talking down the economy. The market has lost something like 40% of its value since it was obvious BO would win. That's all his.

BO's solution for Bush's deficits? Triple the deficits! Induce more fear into the country! Even Bill Clinton had to call him on that.

Real men of genius.

Sid Schwab said...

Grade away.

We can argue this forever. You obviously have the advantage over me, because you know the mind of "the market," whereas I don't. I'd thought, for example, that learning the economy had shrunk 6% in the last quarter would have upset the market, but now you inform me it was Obama. Likewise, the 50% fall before BO was in office must have been in anticipation of his winning. In this, you have a prescience given to few.

"The market," which speaks to you as it does to no one else, changes as much as 500 points in a day, and has been doing so for months. On any given day, in what way has "the market" changed to justify such swings?

Obama, and nearly all economists, have made compelling arguments for why it's necessary to spend more and increast the debt at the moment. As opposed to Bush's reckless running up of debt for no reason, for this there are reasons. It's as if you were to criticize me for operating on a victim of a stab wound: Ha! you'd say. He's dying of a cut and you propose another cut!! How transparently stupid you are, you'd say.

No one knows the perfect solution to our crisis. If you believe there's no crisis, well, fine. If you believe the government (who is now the only entity able to invest) has no role, fine. If you believe, against all evidence, that tax cuts alone will solve the problem (while also driving up debt), fine. If you believe you can judge the outcome of Obama's policies before they've even been put into action, fine. Clearly, you're a better man than I. Silly me, I listen to the arguments, then wait for the evidence. By which I mean what will actually happen, as opposed to the still small voice of "the market" which speaks to you, like Moroni spoke to Jos. Smith.

I envy your ability to know the future. I wish you were my broker.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to help you. The market is betting on the future, not whether they like the present. Obviously, they see the future as bleak. I wonder why?

Maybe it's because BO runs his mouth, trash-talking the future. Every time he speaks, the market drops. Yes, up some days, down some days. Down 40% since his victory was clear. A trend, you think?

Does BO not get this? When he talks, your retirement, someone's pension, someone's savings goes down. Hasn't he noticed? He had Bill Clinton tell him.

Would you tell a bleeding patient, "Calm down, so your heart doesn't pump too fast or you'll bleed out! Do you hear me? You're dying! Calm down! Dying! Death is coming! Only I can save you! You're dying! Calm down!"

Maybe BO could just shut up. It's his economy. He should try to make it better. Not talk it into falling even further.

Sid Schwab said...

Your problem is that you're not used to a leader who tells the truth and who thinks you can handle it. Maybe you didn't listen to his speech to Congress, either. Hardly "bad mouthing." But it takes an adult to understand.

It's not "his" economy until his attempts to fix it have been given a chance. It's Bush's economy; Obama was elected to repair it, and he's doing exactly what he said he'd do. We'll see how it turns out. As we find out more and more about how much worse it is than we'd been told, the market reacts. Meanwhile, 92% of people had a favorable view of Obama after his recent speech. You're in a lonely place, and it shows.

You'll just have to toughen up for a while. Like all of us, you've lived for the last eight years with a president who said we could have it all and pay no price, that everything was fine, that "deficits don't matter," as his puppet master said. It seems that unlike me, you bought it. Now you're having to relearn what is truth and how to deal with it.

I sympathize. LIving in reality is hard; but you might find it to your liking if you give it a try. In the long run, it's better. Come back when you do.

Anonymous said...

BO is the one saying he can spend it all and balance the budget. Do you believe him? HHe's spending a lot. Where will the money come from?

Whatever Bush did/didn't do, BO says this now. Do you believe him? Wall Street does not. There goes your IRA, tanking on BO's speeches.

Sid Schwab said...

Really? When did he say that? You must be thinking of Ronald Reagan. Or George Bush.Or does cut it in half mean balance to you? It seems like it did to Bush, even though he never got close. I guess you never read this. Predictable much?

You just keep making stuff up. It's all you have left. Here's the thing: we know what happened when Bush enacted his policies: it brought us down to where we are. We have no idea where'll we'll be when Obama's are enacted, but in four years we'll have a pretty good idea. Until then, you're just raving and repeating yourself. And parroting Rush.

You're adding nothing at this point; therefore, I declare your participation in this thread is over. Come back again on another one, if you wish. Especially if you have something new or interesting to say.

Sid Schwab said...

Oh, and one more thing. If you claim Obama said he planned to balance the budget, and try to support the claim with links that show, as I pointed out, that he said he'd cut the deficit in half, you look a little, well, (fill in nicer word than "stupid.")

(Note to other readers: yeah, that's what he did in an unpublished comment.)

SeaSpray said...

Spiny Norman said:"God or guns or abortion or whether you can pray in school," coincident with the Limbaugh-to-Buchanan-to-Beck-to-Duke, nativist-to-neo-Nazi gradient.

You can not seriously equate these talking heads with being racist. ??? That is a very serious and inflammatory thing to suggest!

You may not agree with them. But they are certainly not racist.

Leigh said: "Don't take offense, Buck; that's just a shorthand for distinguishing what used to be the backbone of the GOP from its current backbone, the Guns-n-Bible crowd, or as we call 'em down here, the crackers."

"We Democrats are paying our fair share, too. In fact, we're paying the share of those Bible Thumpers, as any analysis of the flow of money from Washington to the states will tell you. Given that the Red states, with their high rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, and other social ills, are net consumers of federal largesse, while the Blue states are net contributors, it's pretty hard to sustain the notion that you folks are footing the bill."

Also quoted by Leigh:"favoring a conservative Christian agenda (see the opening of this article) which disenfranchises everyone that doesn’t believe in Jesus and Satan. These are not the principles on which this country was founded, thank God for that." -- Jim Rosenthal"

I don't know any people of faith that think if you don't believe in "Jesus or Satan" you should be thought any less of. ??? That statement is so ludicrous!

And yes..our forefathers had a STRONG belief in their creator.. and so did Lincoln. And president Obama himself stated he is a believer..a man of faith in God. But using the logic of anti-religion... that equated him with the other faith believing mental midgets of our society. *I don't think that of him.* But you can't have it both ways. Maybe he is a cracker neo -nazi too because he believes in God. ?

And what about all the highly educated people who do believe in the existence of God? How do you reconcile their belief systems with their education..particularly those educated as physicians and scientists?

I first want to address the financial demographics statement. I am surprised no one addressed that from either political perspective.

Leigh's comment is one FLAWED argument.

I live in a BLUE state....New Jersey..the most densely populated state in the country.

Specifically... I live in Sussex County..the northern most county in the state..bordering NY and PA. It had always been quite rural. We still have a lot of farms..although many have been sold off and GAZILLION CONDOS and town houses have been built. Some areas of the county are more rural then others but it is still a rural county. Very pretty actually. :)

While NJ votes blue..Sussex county votes RED. We are more conservative up here... although I do wonder with the influx of people from the more urban areas if it will remain so in the years to come.

I do wonder what stats Leigh used to prove her point about the red states. ? "Given that the Red states, with their high rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, and other social ills, are net consumers of federal largesse, while the Blue states are net contributors, it's pretty hard to sustain the notion that you folks are footing the bill."

I worked with one of our county emergency rooms for twenty years.(registration) I guarantee you...our EDs up here do not fill up with GSWs from gang wars and other violence found in the urban areas -Newark,etc.. (city hospitals), mvcs caused by runaway car thieves crashing into innocent people/cars,injuries induced by other crime and violence,drug addicts,patients with STDS, unwanted pregnancies, babies to be delivered, etc. and many in these urban populations don't have insurance..or they have MDCD and charity care.

This is such a financial problem to inner city hospitals... that they are beginning to close..which then puts more of a financial and physical burden on the remaining inner city hospitals. Even our UMDNJ has been concerned about having to close it's doors!!

Hospitals..even in rural areas are struggling. They also have their share of self pays(no pay),MDCD,and charity care. But is the urban areas that suck up the financial resources.

This astounds me, "Given that the Red states, with their high rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, and other social ills, "

What about the densely populated urban areas where it is a known much so that prominent black leaders have addressed the problem...urging the black youth to behave more responsibly because the fathers aren't sticking around and it's like a badge of honor to father the children but without any contribution to support? Instead they Mom and kids go on public welfare.

I am not intentionally singling out black people or urban people. My own (white father) abandoned me and didn't send support.

DEADBEAT dads know *NO socioeconomic* boundaries!

But it is a fact that inner city populations have this problem en masse.

You pick the social ill..and it will be more predominant statistically in the urban areas. Basic math.

Sex is a powerful instinct. knows no socioeconomic boundaries. Common sense would suggest that even our most intelligent adults as well as youth have been caught with their pants down with unprotected sex resulting in unwanted pregnancies and stds and abortions... because when that strong biological urge is set into motion... things happen. So the "Crackers" as you refer to them have those occurrences but are statistically outnumbered in the urban areas.

Oh wait.. maybe not as high a divorce rate..because they don't even get married before they father many children and don't stick around to raise them or pay support. Child after child pops out by how many fathers? Oh and how bout those 13 yr old mothers? Again..happens in rural areas too..but demographically... it is the densely populated blue states that are way more of a drain on our economy. What about all the illegals that have migrated to the the densely populated urban areas that don't have insurance and deliver their babies here and run up health costs?

Obviously people have unmarried, unprotected sex well as resulting pregnancies. Red states, blue states... all of them. But if Leigh is talking who costs the government is NOT the conservatives in the red states.

Regarding what these commentators have said about comparing conservatives to "neo-nazis" and "crackers".

I don't own a gun..but don't have a problem with anyone that does. I believe in God and I am pro-life. That hardly warrants labeling me with such insults.

I know and am friends with conservatives (some don't believe in any God), liberals, agnostics and atheists. Some highly educated and some average. Some of my friends are quite liberal. My wonderful d-i-l is extremely liberal. I personally don't know any conservative who fits what conservatives have erroneously been defined as in these comments and others.

And I don't like it when conservatives resort to name calling either.

Your arguments lose any voice of reason once I see that.

I am astounded at how people are so willing to lump everyone into one category. Pure logic would conclude that generalizing this way is not accurate.

And my liberal friends.. I may vehemently disagree with them... but I RESPECT them. I see the good things about them and am certainly not willing to castigate them to appease my need for my view of political justice, thus thrusting them into the liberal equivalent of the "cracker neo-nazi" ilk.

It's one thing to condemn a behavior, but entirely another when you condemn the person.

Name calling serves no good purpose other than to perpetuate bad feeling.

Bible thumping, neo nazi crackers..indeed!

SeaSpray said...

I would add that when you are personally derogatory toward people who have differing political are guilty of the very things you accuse your opposition of.

I am sorry.. but the inane and cruel name calling really irritates me... and hurts.

Obviously..I am not a thick skinned surgeon.

Leigh said...

Seaspray, next time don't conflate posts from different people.

I'm the "cracker, Bible-Thumper" poster.

I am NOT the "racist neo-nazi" poster. (Godwin's Law, BTW)

And also, by-the-by, there's no reason to debate religion with me. I'm a devout Christian.

You say, "I don't know any people of faith that think if you don't believe in 'Jesus or Satan you should be thought any less of. ??? That statement is so ludicrous!"

Don't get out much, do you? Maybe folks in New Jersey are just way more tolerant, but here in Texas, I know a boatload of exactly such people.

Furthermore, you can find their opinion scattered all over the internet. Let's consult the big pooh-bahs of the Religious Right for their take on the matter:

Pat Robertson:
"The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that's what's been happening."
[on the 700 Club, December 30, 1981] (cited here, but you can google it and get 1000 hits)

D. James Kennedy:
“Modern secularists and agnostics do not want to admit that the Christian religion is true, because that would mean that they are sinners; and they have no intention of giving up their right to sin.” (in his 1994 book, linked here)

Or perhaps we should simply review a few posters on websites:

"Yes Atheism is a religion. It's [sic] dogma incudes there is no salvation, there is no right and wrong only situational ethics to name a few." WorldNutDaily poster

"With no God, there is no devil -- ergo, there is no wrong. Do what you want when you want to whomever you want. That becomes situational ethics which is a corrupt, immoral lifestyle." (another WorldNutDaily poster)

Meh. I've been wading around in this muck, off and on, for more than an hour. Unfortunately, there are too damn many examples I could use here, and I'm sick to death of reading them. The country is chock-full of Christians who openly state that only Christians can be moral. Oh, and they get to decide who's Christian enough to count.

Next up: the data that supports my assertion that Blue America subsidizes Red America, and the data on social ills in Red America.

Leigh said...

And what's wrong with "cracker"? Hell, I'm a cracker myself, though my fellow and consanguineous crackers look askance because I'm so librul and all.

[True story: at our family Thanksgiving gathering (just the immediate family, all 75+ of us), one of my first-cousin-once-removed-in-laws (or as we say in my family, my nephew) saw our "Christians for Obama" sticker on the mamamobile and said, "There is no such thing as a Christian for Obama!" Unsaid was "He's a Muslim", but it was making the rounds in our family emails.

Also true story: A few weeks later, one of my cousins pulled me aside to assure me that family trumps politics, and he wanted to make sure I knew that. I love my big cracker family a hell of a lot more than I love politics.]

Cracker just means non-patrician white Southerners. Would you prefer "redneck"?

I'll give you "Bible-thumper", however. It's derogatory, and by God that's how I meant it. I see a lot of this stuff up close and personal, and I know very well that most folks of this persuasion are good people, but they're real unclear on the relationship between America, the Constitution, and the Bible. THAT is a bad, bad thing, easily manipulated by unscrupulous politicians.

SeaSpray said...

Leigh, you said: "Next up: the data that supports my assertion that Blue America subsidizes Red America, and the data on social ills in Red America."

I am interested to read this data.

Leigh-I apologize for mixing spiny Norman"s statement in with yours' I thought since I also quoted him at the top of the post that it was self evident it was still part of his comment.

I would prefer that no derogatory labels were used.(I have never called anyone a redneck in my life-won't even send those stupid insulting..ostensibly funny e-mails.) Name calling helps no one and fans the flames.

We are people..not the labels assigned to us. We people need to rise above our labels. Labels are divisive.

I don't appreciate the negative generalizations and name calling. It is neither fair nor accurate.

I don't care how many boat loads of people *you* know that are as you call them and yourself *crackers* (btw-most people would take that as a derogatory comment and you meant it as such in your original comment to Buckeye Surgeon), there are many fine, intelligent, compassionate, kind conservatives, etc.

Like Buckeye Surgeon... you do not have to be supportive of religious right, etc.. to be a fiscal conservative or embrace other conservative values.

I am 53 years old. I grew up in an America where there was no shame to admit to having faith in God. And I am not ashamed. I am in good company. It was respectful and even sacred to be a person of faith. You *respected* that people practiced their faith and never thought they had lower I.Q.'s, etc., And believe me.. I am hardly an example of the perfect believer what ever that is. I am as flawed as the next person. I am not aware of anyone thinking less of me because I embraced faith in a creator.. for me Christianity. I never thought less of my Jewish friends or nonbelievers. I never felt my intelligence or reasoning processes challenged because I was a conservative Christian until I began seriously following politics.

People of faith also know no socioeconomic barriers.

* Not all conservative people of faith can be fairly associated with the abortion clinic bombers and all the psychwack things that go on. (I know you didn't say that Leigh) And I am not articulating this well now... but I get extremely insulted when I see how people of faith are unfairly portrayed -hooked up with the nut jobs to get a political agenda through. And even worse...people that blindly listen to the disengenuous rhetoric and vote accordingly.

I am of the latter group ("fine, intelligent, compassionate, kind conservatives, etc.")and I refuse to conform or accept the erroneous assertion that conservatives are crackers,(no matter how "affectionately" it was intended), morons or any other derogatory comment that is tossed our way.

And do you think there aren't conservative democrats that aren't concerned about family values, etc.?

I don't care how many people you quote that have a voice to be heard throughout the voting public, that does not mean the conservative voting public are a bunch of "crackers" Or "neo-nazis racists" and saying that is only perpetuating lies and fostering racism, thus creating division.

*I know you didn't label anyone a neo-nazi.

But what about how people on the liberal left who called Bush a Hitler (they should walk through a concentration camp or watch Shindler's List), a fascist or hope he died of cancer etc.?

Should I then condemn all liberals because of the few bad seeds in the party? Should I label all liberals as irrelevant and assume they will never have an important issue /concern worthy of discussion and consideration..or voting for just because they they have lunatic fringe on the left? Or...God ...forbid...don't believe in God?

Should I really become that closed minded?

No..I refuse to generalize and label people.

This shouldn't even be a discussion. We should be discussing the issues.

Leigh said...

Seaspray: "And do you think there aren't conservative democrats that aren't concerned about family values, etc.?"

Well, sure, since I'm one of them. As long as we amend your statement to, "conservative and liberal democrats", that is.

You'd rather not be associated with the Religious Right. I don't blame you. But the unavoidable fact is that the GOP made a decision back in the eighties to get in bed with Robertson, Falwell, and Dobson.

You might be surprised to find that I agree with you about a lot of this. I think the country would be in much better health if we had a conservative party that offered constructive debate about issues. I myself used to BE a conservative, before that meant you had to cozy up to the Religious Right and Rush Limbaugh.

Nonetheless, in our current reality, the R's have identified more and more with their rural, uneducated, and racist "base". (Yes, I'll provide evidence, but be patient. Opinion is easy; evidence takes time I'd don't have at the moment. I've got the references, but I have to assemble them into a coherent argument.)

My advice to you is the same as I gave to Buckeye Surgeon: take back your party. Believe me, I'll be delighted if you can do so.

Sid Schwab said...

Leigh: exactly! I don't have a problem with conservatism, in fact I share some of their values (or, at least, the ones they used to claim.) Our system works best with two strong and reasonable parties, and I said as much here. In most of my rants I've made a distinction between conservatives and the current crop of Congressional Republicans and their on-air hacks. What's reprehensible is how few (ie, pretty much none of them) conservatives speak out against it, as you've said. Watching the bits of the CPAC convention that I could stand to watch, one sees a party cheering itself to irrelevance, as most people thirst for meaningful dialogue and cooperative problem-solving.

Rather than speaking out, most so-called conservatives simply hail the language and style of Rush and Sean and Bill and Ann and Laura and Michael. So when they cry foul, it sounds a little weak.

SeaSpray said...

Agreed.. the extremists on both sides need to be toned down.

But I am a faith believing voter and so I don't have a problem reconciling God with voting issues.

I am only saying that because I am not denying the role of importance Judeao-Christian ethics have/do play in our legal system/society.

To me..they are intermingled.

But I am not the crazy fanatic.

Dr S -"Rather than speaking out, most so-called conservatives simply hail the language and style of Rush and Sean and Bill and Ann and Laura and Michael. So when they cry foul, it sounds a little weak."

That argument could be made when I listen to the prominent voices I hear on the left.

In the end...I think it depends what ears we are hearing with.

But it is important for all of us to try to overcome our biases... and we do have them.
This is off topic and maybe I shouldn't mention it here because I have a feeling you guys are going to be irritated with me even more.

Well it is exciting to me.. but then as I looked at it I felt extreme sadness.

My d-i-l just had a 4D ultrasound done on Saturday. She is 27 weeks. I will probably put one of the pics up in my blog soon.

I was amazed at how clearly we can see the baby. A baby girl. Her nose looks like my son's and my nose. It is that clear! It is 3D but I saw it said 4D on the pic. I don't know what the difference is.

Other pics had her sucking her thumb, the tiny foot, etc. It is so exciting to see! She will be born in May. :)

The sad moment came when I realized that this is the time period that saline abortions are being done. And while I know it happens...looking at this pic just brought it home to me..that yes...they would be killing a baby.

I worked with an ER doc who was Jewish,but a professed atheist who went to temple but was just going through the motions for his family.

One night we got into a huge discussion about abortion. My opinion was but a baby is being killed. His opinion was that the fetus is NOT a baby until it is actually born and therefore had no problem with even partial birth abortion. We had to agree to disagree.

But I am telling you the truth... with all my heart and intellect...I don't understand how anyone can deny that is killing a baby. And I don't doctors who took the Hippocratic oath can support this. To me it seems as barbaric as what the Nazis did.

This doctor has always been one of my favorite ED docs of all time to work with. I missed working with him when he moved on to another hospital system.

So..I am not meaning to sound judgmental... but I am sincerely perplexed about this. I know life is complicated. One nurse told me "My body, my choice." And I get that. I really do. I would not want to be told what to do with my body. I can't help but think we should protect that little life.

And while I do believe life begins at conception... I would go along with 1st trimester abortion... but after that...especially after seeing these pictures... I don't understand doing them later.

I know this is a hot topic and off track. But that picture moved me profoundly.

Leigh said...

Seaspray, this is something we have in common. My first grandchild is due at the beginning of May. Her name is Susanna Elaine. And may I just say, preemptively, "Welcome to the world, baby girls!"

I am pro-choice. But like you, I believe that a fetus of 27 weeks gestational age is a baby.

But you do realize, I hope, that the number of abortions done at that age is vanishingly small. According to Guttmacher, approximately .04% are performed in the third trimester, and .08% after 20 weeks. This amounts to perhaps 400-700 per year past viability; the reporting agencies don't include that as a category. (Guttmacher report here)

It is possible these numbers are underreported, as Guttmacher notes. Our data is not conclusive. But given that post-viability abortion is legally limited in 36 states, I personally doubt it.

The idea that someone would abort a healthy 27-week-old fetus is personally repugnant to me. I would be more concerned about it, however, if I had any real concern that the very small number of late-term abortions being performed in this country were for any reason other than extreme maternal risk or major defects in the fetus.

If you have data that contradicts my assumption, I would be glad to see it.

Leigh said...

[red-faced note: Apparently, to me, "data" is now singular. I can't be a Grammar Nazi anymore, now that I seem to have exorcised my own inner pedant.]

In an earlier post, I said: "Given that the Red states, with their high rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, and other social ills, are net consumers of federal largesse, while the Blue states are net contributors, it's pretty hard to sustain the notion that you folks are footing the bill."

I had the reference at hand, but I've spent the evening looking for some other sites, because this one quite frankly is both confrontational and snarky. (Do try to remember that it was published right after the Bush/Kerry election, and we Dems were still licking our wounds.)

It is, however, the most concise and dramatic presentation of the evidence I've seen.

So here's the data, all neatly compiled by Ilir Topalli, who is a neuroscientist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in, where else, New Yawk City. The data is from 2004, but I have no reason to believe that things have dramatically changed since then.

Dr. Topalli's analysis is here. It was widely picked up across the blogosphere.

I did run across one comment on his analysis that really resonates with me, especially in light of Seaspray's anecdotes:

"These two maps reveal that this is actually quite an evenly split nation -- coastal urbanites versus heartland rural/suburbanites." (post "Popular Vote, Population Density" at the blog Essays and Effluvia, here)


Seaspray, if you're still reading after seeing that website, I've been thinking about the word "cracker". This may be a situation very analogous to African-American use of the n-word; you absolutely can't use it if you're not black, but if you are, you use it with impunity, even with affection. Nonethless several influential African-Americans have argued that those who use it are complicent in their own oppression.

So, on balance, I think that maybe I'll drop using it. Maybe if my name were Lurlene it would be obvious it's my own ethnic group; but then again, if my name were Lurlene I'd probably be using "SuperDemGal" or something for my online identity.

SeaSpray said...

Congratulations Leigh! You will fall in love with her. :)

""Welcome to the world, baby girls!"

Awe how sweet! :)

She is our 2nd grandchild. Her sister (also a May birthday) is will be 8 in May and actually..the baby is due on Devan's birthday... the 24th.

Interestingly... our older son is 8 years older than our younger son and now the two girls will be 8 years apart.

I don't have any stats about abortions. Never cared to look them up because I am just across the board against them. I mean I would make exception for maternal health or rape and birth defects.

I personally could not choose to abort even under those circumstances. I didn't always believe that way. I became pro-life at 22. I remember reading a Glamour magazine article that was touting amniocentesis. I thought it was a great idea until a catholic, devout Catholic neighbor explained the concept life at beginning of conception. I didn't buy into it right away..although she did get my attention.

But once I read up on it more and realized what was happening to the babies... I knew I could never do that. Then later my spiritual journey began and as my faith and understanding grew.. I understood what my neighbor had been talking about.

And I am all for birth control. Actually..abstinence ..obviously is best and should be taught as an option... but has to be backed up with birth control! And of course the STD factor.

And I was horrified at the idea that their were "people of faith?" bombing abortion clinics or shooting doctors. Aside from the fact it was murder, etc.. what was also sad about that is I think they were associated with being religious. I don't recall the denominations. But then people quickly cast all religious right in with those sick, hateful nut jobs. UGH! I don't for a second understand how they could justify committing such evil except that they had to be off their rocker.

About statistics.... It seems I have heard about many more abortions being performed unless it is within the first trimester?

One thing about maternal risk. Sometimes there are ways around diagnoses that can be a means to an end. (No pun was intended there)And that could cause skewed statistics of abortions based on need.

But I do know that they have to have all little body parts laid out so they can be sure they got the entire baby out. And I believe that is a significant number. I vaguely recall a documentary on TV where a former abortion doctor and nurse discussed what they did and the numbers.. but it was so long ago.

I just think taking a life is not the answer. I do think though that there should be community support, unwed mother homes, adoption, and programs to help the young mother get on her feet. And families should pitch in.
Different topic.

Hope it's ok Dr S.

One night at dinner in the cafeteria..the head of respiratory and I got into a big discussion about capital punishment. He was against it..I was for it. he knew my pro-life position and he told me "You CAN'T have it both ways"

"You can't be for saving life on one end and talking it on the other."

But to me it was perfectly logical.

The babies didn't hurt anyone and they need protection.

But the murderer. decided to murder someone. I felt capital punishment was a deterrent. He said it isn't. I don't know the stats on that either. Just seemed logical to me..barring nut jobs who don't think of consequences.

But now..I do wonder if it is a deterrent because this population... probably isn't thinking about consequences in the 1st place.

I have mixed feelings about it now. But if someone has been horribly evil with murders (Ted Bundy, Dalmer and those creeps).. I am sorry.. I still think capital punishment is the way to go.

Leigh said...

"But the murderer. decided to murder someone. I felt capital punishment was a deterrent. He said it isn't. I don't know the stats on that either. Just seemed logical to me..barring nut jobs who don't think of consequences."

I used to think this way too. But I live in Texas, execution capital of the free world, and what I'm seeing here is a wildly disproportionate number of black and hispanic convicts getting executed. We also have a huge number of old convictions being overturned because of DNA evidence.

In addition to the fact that obviously we as a society aren't wise enough to execute the right people for the right reasons, your doctor friend was right in asserting there's no evidence to support the idea of deterrence. A good resource for the latest information is

What I've seen, and what I've learned about the death penalty, have led me to strongly oppose it. But I will admit that my gut reaction to some of these cases, like Timothy McVeigh's, is "fry the bastard".

Anonymous said...

why worry so much, most of these issues will never be resolved anyway. We all have our own views, but honestly these debates will go on forever, so why worry so much about it. War, economy, natural disasters,poor, death, murder, this world will continue on its own path, regardless of overwhelming census. self destruction inevedible. Enjoy the ride.

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