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August 5, 2005 4:06 AM   Subscribe

"A Souter in Roberts clothing" was the accusation made by Ann Coulter in one of her recent screeds. Maybe so. In 1995, Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists. His legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation. A ruling Lamda called the "single most important positive ruling in the history of the gay rights movement." In the blistering dissent, Scalia, joined by Rehnquist and Thomas, said "Coloradans are entitled to be hostile toward homosexual conduct." Thanks to John G. Roberts, the U.S. Supreme court decided that no, Coloradans are not so entitled. The National Legal Foundation (supporting the Biblical foundations of America's Laws) called it "the worst decision in the history of the court." Will Robert's nomination now be opposed by the Christian Right? In any case, watching the GOP cat fight will be fun!
posted by three blind mice (139 comments total)

 
More information here, here, and here.
posted by three blind mice at 4:17 AM on August 5, 2005


Some of these links are just photos, while other links are just Google search results.

Do you have a link to the ruling, as well as details about Roberts' involvement?

Given his supposed connections with the Federalist Society I have a hard time believing the story behind this link, especially given Coulter mouths off in indignant rage against anything left-of-Birch.
posted by Rothko at 4:21 AM on August 5, 2005


Please let this be true. Though Rothko's doubts are probably well founded. Nine years is also plenty of time in which to pick up some seriously unpleasant ideas if you fall in with a bad crowd. I do not know enough to say much on this, but I have heard that it is Roberts position on the 'interstate commerce' issue that is most worrying - half remembering some ruling relating to an endangered toad that suggested he wanted a toothless Federal Government. So you *could* end up with basic national laws and regulations on all sorts of things being declared unconstitutional via interstate commerce being narrowed. Or something (I am not a lawyer, sadly).
posted by The Salaryman at 4:36 AM on August 5, 2005


The New York Times says it's true. (Sorry; ran it through the link generator but came up nil.)
Judge Roberts, at the time an appellate lawyer for the Washington firm of Hogan & Hartson, did not write legal briefs or argue the case, lawyers involved said. But they said he did provide invaluable strategic guidance working pro bono to formulate legal theories and coach them in moot court sessions.
posted by Aster at 4:52 AM on August 5, 2005


Lawyers in the Romer case said Thursday that Judge Roberts had not discussed its substance with them, but seemed to approach it more as an intellectual challenge.

This sounds about right. If civil rights are simply elements in a logic puzzle then I want to know how he decides what elements are puzzle-worthy and which are not. So far this "revelation" adds more questions than it answers, despite Coulter's typical fascist tirades.
posted by Rothko at 5:01 AM on August 5, 2005


From the Yahoo cache of the LA Times

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay rights activists as part of his law firm's pro bono work. He did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the high court, but he was instrumental in reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers intimately involved in the case.


NPR also had a segment on this yesterday.

Link to the ruling was provided in the FPP. The photo links were just for fun.
posted by three blind mice at 5:06 AM on August 5, 2005


I wish I could believe this to be good news. I'm sure it's true, but that was nine years ago-- as per The Salaryman, plenty of time to get brainwashed by the company line. And after all, even Hitler made the trains run on time.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:19 AM on August 5, 2005


plenty of time to get brainwashed by the company line. And after all, even Hitler made the trains run on time.
Huh?

1 - John G. Roberts hardly seems to be some sort of easily suggestible dupe to me. Do you have any evidence to the contrary? From where I'm standing, you look to be a lot more suggestible than he does, what with your DU-style shrillness.

2 - If you're going to engage in ridiculous Godwinesque rhetoric, at least take the trouble to get your facts right: it wasn't Hitler who was said to have "made the trains run on time", but Mussolini.

It's amazing to see so much ignorance and political stupidity concentrated in so few comments, all in an effort to put the worst possible spin on an unexpectedly positive report. If Roberts detested homosexuals as much as Scalia evidently seems to, he wouldn't have offered his services to help make the case, much less for free.
posted by Goedel at 5:28 AM on August 5, 2005


I thought that was Mussolini...
posted by voltairemodern at 5:28 AM on August 5, 2005


Damn you, Goedel!
posted by voltairemodern at 5:29 AM on August 5, 2005


Faint of Butt, you're missing the point. Coulter complained that Roberts was not demonstrably neo-conservative enough, not demonstrably anti-gay enough, not demonstrably anti-choice enough, etc. He has said positive things about stare decisis, for God's sake.

The right is angry with Herr Bush for not appointing a more in-your-liberal-face candidate. They want another Robert "I will overturn Roe v. Wade" Bork and they got someone who they are not 100% sure about. This revelation (and the one made by NPR that Roberts also supported WELFARE recipients) is surely to send the religious right into a tizzy.

Those of us who despise Bush have little to look forward to. Watching him get abused by his own hard core suporters is about all the fun there is... and anything that upsets Ann Coulter can't be all bad.
posted by three blind mice at 5:31 AM on August 5, 2005


If Roberts detested homosexuals as much as Scalia evidently seems to, he wouldn't have offered his services to help make the case, much less for free.

Unless he was simply interested in the case on its intellectual grounds, a case which debates libertarian principles that the Federalist Society claims to espouse. This is not a positive development, in the sense that it emphasizes very clearly how little we actually know about this person and his philosophy.
posted by Rothko at 5:36 AM on August 5, 2005


Rothko Yes, it proves nothing about Roberts, but it injects doubt into the minds of Bush supporters.

Bush Sr. appointed that evil liberal David Souter and that is what is in the minds of Bush Jr. supporters. That Roberts gives off a even the faintest whiff of Souter is enough to send Focus on the Family into a nervous jitter.

Enjoy a little schadenfreude.
posted by three blind mice at 5:48 AM on August 5, 2005


We do know way way too little. The NYT is investigating the adoptions of his kids too--there's a lot more here i think.

The line being peddled about Roberts' work on that case is the same one they first used about his help in Florida for Bush-Gore. Then it came out he was much more involved than they had revealed.

I think it would be hysterical tho, if it was the right that sunk the Roberts nomination.
posted by amberglow at 5:49 AM on August 5, 2005


Collegiality among lawyers requires that you help out your colleagues on their important cases (by, for example, mooting their oral arguments) whether or not they're pro bon or for profit and whether or not you agree with the principals at stake.

For example, I guarantee you that when Scalia was teaching law he probably helped colleagues with hundreds of briefs and law review articles which aimed to develop the law in ways he personally opposed. It's the nature of the profession.

Thus, you can't really infer from his actions that Roberts actively supported the outcome of Roemer v. Evans ... you can, however, safely infer that if he opposed the ruling, he didn't oppose it so profoundly that he would have breached the decorum of the profession to the extent required not to help out mooting the arguments.
posted by MattD at 5:54 AM on August 5, 2005


I thought that was Mussolini...

It was. And was also a myth.
posted by anagrama at 6:00 AM on August 5, 2005


but taking on a case pro-bono isn't helping a colleague...it's a highly personal decision with enormous latitude in terms of which one you pick. I've never heard of a bigtime lawyer taking a pro-bono case in which he was opposed to the essential premise.

Roberts married late (in 96), adopted kids, and once did drag on stage--that's more than enough fodder for rumor mills. If there's truth to any of them, we'll see. We know there are tons of closet cases in and around this administration.
posted by amberglow at 6:01 AM on August 5, 2005


Even the fact that Bush and Roberts talked about exercise routines is weird. What is up with all of them?
posted by amberglow at 6:03 AM on August 5, 2005


MattD, you could be writing for Rush Limbaugh.

Sure, Roberts' involvement could well have been for intellectual curiosity, or to help the team, or a result of libertatian leanings, but the fact remains that he was involved with and on the side of the "single most important positive ruling in the history of the gay rights movement."

Wow, what a bunch of negative people for a Friday! Manna falls from heaven and all you can do is complain that the flour isn't organic.
posted by three blind mice at 6:05 AM on August 5, 2005


The best thing for the right is to keep the tension over abortion, gay rights, etc. at a high pitch and unresolved. I don't think Bush, after advisement, would ever appoint anyone who would overturn Roe vs. Wade or on the other side, and more obviously, do anything to ensure gay rights in all states. Angry, single-minded, and crusading evangelicals have been good for them, and that wicked little fury will be sustained not appeased.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 6:10 AM on August 5, 2005


What is up with all of them?

I think the preverted neo-con sexuality stems from spending so much time working for petroleum industry special interests. Each mighty oil rig apparatus spending the earth's precious fluids in an orgasm of profit. Almost sexual, isn't it?
posted by Rothko at 6:12 AM on August 5, 2005


Judge Roberts did not disclose his role in the case to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which asked about pro bono work in a questionnaire.--from the NYT

He didn't disclose a lot of things--he worked as a lobbyist for the Cosmetics Industry and didn't disclose that either. What's next?
posted by amberglow at 6:13 AM on August 5, 2005


nah, it's just all that free lube
posted by realcountrymusic at 6:18 AM on August 5, 2005


Sure, Roberts' involvement could well have been for intellectual curiosity, or to help the team, or a result of libertatian leanings, but the fact remains that he was involved with and on the side of the "single most important positive ruling in the history of the gay rights movement."

Yeah, but who knows? He could just as easily been on the other end of the table, for all we know. What was his real motivation for doing this work? What about him (and his rulings) has changed since then? We need our journalists to work a little harder, I think.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that right-wingers are all in a tizzy over their own nomination. Just that, if that's as good as good news we get, I'm not optimistic about GLBT rights over the next year or two. Rehnquist won't last another three years.
posted by Rothko at 6:26 AM on August 5, 2005


That's right: Clearly, Judge Roberts is a somewhat crooked but basically nice guy who maybe tries to even the karmic balance by helping out worthy causes.

Also, he is gay.
(wonkette) ; >
posted by amberglow at 6:34 AM on August 5, 2005


I actually think this adds to the good news. I understand that it isn't much, and that it perhaps raises more questions than it answers, but they are optimistic questions. Roberts continues to seem like a pretty decent nominee all things considered, which is who we thought we might get and what they would be vocal supporters of. He certainly isn't anywhere the near someone that I would have chosen, but then, I wasn't consulted.
posted by OmieWise at 6:37 AM on August 5, 2005


If Ann Coulter's against it, I'm for it.

Unless, of course, that's all part of Karl Rove's devious plan. MUHAHAHAHAHAW.
posted by fungible at 6:39 AM on August 5, 2005


Even the fact that Bush and Roberts talked about exercise routines is weird. What is up with all of them?

Duh. Bush wants to nominate someone who will be on the bench for a long, long time. Nothing weird about it, unless you mean that it's weird that W would actually think about the consequences of his decisions. In which case, you may be right.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:43 AM on August 5, 2005


Don't forget that the Bush vetting process sucks enormously--and they rushed this nomination--and Rove was the guy in charge of deciding. I'm guessing there'll be a "nanny problem" soon.
posted by amberglow at 6:43 AM on August 5, 2005


This is something to try and whip conservatives into a frenzy over. This can be a wedge issue, and the left has very few of them. While I don't really support Roberts (too pro-corporate for my tastes), I will be happy to egg on Coulter et al. This is a chance to show how out of touch conservatives are. We should enjoy it.
posted by klangklangston at 6:50 AM on August 5, 2005


Meh. Call me paranoid, but at least part of me can't help but think that this is a finely-tuned attempt to get liberals to support Roberts... Conservatives aren't going anywhere.
posted by clevershark at 7:19 AM on August 5, 2005


it could be, clever, but they've made it crystal clear for years they don't care what we think about anything.
posted by amberglow at 7:22 AM on August 5, 2005


We do know way way too little. The NYT is investigating the adoptions of his kids too--there's a lot more here i think.

Oh my goodness, why? That seems strange, invasive, and pointless to me.
posted by agregoli at 7:23 AM on August 5, 2005


Bush is having a terrible year and DESPERATELY needs to show he can get something, anything done. CAFTA and energy were small. He needs a victory to get some momentum. Roberts flies through and some of the 'lame duckness' goes away.

So he sold out his right wing base [a little] on this one, just like he'll sell out anybody.
posted by brucec at 7:24 AM on August 5, 2005


True, amberglow, but they've also never been this far down in opinion polls before... they need to do something which gives an impression of national unity (no matter how false and contrived) if they want to save face in 2006.

Now, I'm not saying Roberts is a Bork, I just think that Coulter is making way too much of this *on purpose*.
posted by clevershark at 7:27 AM on August 5, 2005


How amazing. A lawyer and lobbyist whores himself out for causes on both sides of the political spectrum. Who'd have thought that would ever happen.
posted by cmdnc0 at 7:38 AM on August 5, 2005


Ann Coulter will go away if people stop paying attention to her satire. Please stop paying attention.
posted by 517 at 7:39 AM on August 5, 2005


He needs a victory to get some momentum.

True enough brucec, but the neo-conservatives want more than victory, they want victory over the scorched earth of liberalism. It is not enough for Bush to just win. Victory has to be unconditional, absolute, total, and non-compromising.

agregoli Adoption is not easy. Even if you want to adopt a child from a third world country there are lots of hurdles. I suspect the NY Times is looking to see if there was any improper use of influence in the adoption process - which seems to me like a perfectly fair and reasonable inquiry.
posted by three blind mice at 7:42 AM on August 5, 2005


He just figures more gay sex will lead to less abortions.
posted by delmoi at 7:44 AM on August 5, 2005


Yeah, I'm not sure how or why Ann Coulter keeps getting into FPPs and in the news. She's got nothing of value to add unless you want shock value.

I would like it very much of Roberts turned out to be a free thinking intellectual. That would be dandy for everyone except the repressionists.
posted by fenriq at 7:47 AM on August 5, 2005


This is a spot of good news for Friday. I do so enjoy seeing the contortions of wing nuts caught up in their own cognitive dissonance. There, I said it. Maybe it's wrong but it's the truth.

What I want to see are ALL the papers of Robert's service to the people of the United States released for study by the Senate. The White House claim of "attorney-client privilege" is pure bunk. The people of the United States ARE the client dammit. Ken Starr, a former boss of Roberts, made it extremely clear on this point that there exists NO such claim under law.
Why the hell does the White House want to hide everything?
What ARE they hiding?
They even go so far as to make a recess appointment of Bolton to avoid releasing papers.
Where are the Cheney energy meeting papers?
Where are the Reagan papers we were supposed to get back in 2001?
I suspect something very dirty and criminal there and these crooks need to be behind bars and the sunshine put on these secret things to disinfect the rat droppings.
posted by nofundy at 7:57 AM on August 5, 2005


See this nomination? I want you to wreck it.

Thank you for not staring at her adam's apple.
posted by warbaby at 7:58 AM on August 5, 2005


How amazing. A lawyer and lobbyist whores himself out for causes on both sides of the political spectrum. Who'd have thought that would ever happen.

Pro Bono means that he did the work for free.
posted by delmoi at 7:58 AM on August 5, 2005


but the neo-conservatives want more than victory, they want victory over the scorched earth of liberalism. It is not enough for Bush to just win. Victory has to be unconditional, absolute, total, and non-compromising.

Well, sure, yeah. that's what they want. But when it starts to get out there that nothing can get done in Washington, their precious policy making steamroller machine will shut down and they risk getting nothing. So Bush trades a teeny bit of ideology for some momentum.
posted by brucec at 8:01 AM on August 5, 2005


fenriq the FPP isn't about Ann Coulter. It just seemed like a good way to lead into the post. She doesn't add value, but I thought the background of neo-conservative displeasure about Roberts did. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea...

Underneaththeirrobes has some interesting observations about the Roberts' adopted children.

... the Associated Press reports that they were "adopted from Latin America." This seems a bit puzzling, in light of the Time magazine report indicating that the children were born in Ireland. Also, their blonde hair and fair skin do not seem conventionally Latin American. Perhaps the children were born in Ireland, but were in Latin America immediately prior to their adoption.

Seems to me that this looks odd enough to merit some investigation.
posted by three blind mice at 8:01 AM on August 5, 2005


Man, if Coulter hates him, that's good enough for me--that man's bum can't hit the SCOTUS bench fast enough. Yay for dark horses!
posted by schroedinger at 8:02 AM on August 5, 2005


By the way, there is no "neo-con" social policy. Neo-Con is basicaly fanatical capitalistic internationalism. Anti-communism back when there were still commies around.

These people want to invade countries, liberate the oil, and so on. They don't, as a group, care about social policy. There are social liberals who are also neo-cons.

The people you guys are complaining about are from the religious right.
posted by delmoi at 8:02 AM on August 5, 2005


Er, more seriously, what I mean is what would people prefer--a guy the conservatives are worried about passing through, or Bush switching him for a guy people like Coulter think about when they touch themselves at night? We're going to get a Republican on the bench, and you have to ask yourself whether a dark horse or a complete nutter is the lesser of two evils.
posted by schroedinger at 8:04 AM on August 5, 2005


It is not enough for Bush to just win. Victory has to be unconditional, absolute, total, and non-compromising.


So, G-Dubs was pissed because he's won two of the closest elections in recent history (and 2000 was definitely not unconditional)?

Agreed on the many comments regarding a lawyer/politician being duplicitous (this is somehow news to people?).

First post from a long-time lurker (newer member). Thanks for making the workdays easier, folks.
posted by redsnare at 8:05 AM on August 5, 2005


The fact that he capably and zealously fought for his client should not give even the most conservative supporters pause, except the dimwitted ones. This guy is the real deal, a staunch conservative. My only hope is that he will take his responsibilities seriously in interpreting the law and not put conservative ideology ahead of justice.
posted by caddis at 8:08 AM on August 5, 2005


agregoli Adoption is not easy. Even if you want to adopt a child from a third world country there are lots of hurdles. I suspect the NY Times is looking to see if there was any improper use of influence in the adoption process - which seems to me like a perfectly fair and reasonable inquiry.

I'm well aware that adoption is not easy. I have an adopted niece.

I still think it's ridiculous.
posted by agregoli at 8:08 AM on August 5, 2005


redsnare Bush isn't pissed. Some of the people who put him in office are.

On March 18, in the basement of the Capitol, 25 House Republicans met with psychologist James Dobson for some emotional venting. But this was not personal therapy; it concerned the fate of their party. Dobson, long on loyal radio listeners and short on patience, was threatening, in effect, to bring down the GOP unless it made conservative social issues, including abortion, a higher legislative priority. "If I go," he has said, "I will do everything I can to take as many people with me as possible."

posted by three blind mice at 8:13 AM on August 5, 2005


I'll concede that Hitler did not make the trains run on time, and that evidently neither did Mussolini (thanks, anagrama!), but I will assert that John Roberts, like all supporters of the Bush administration, is probably a suggestible dupe, evil, or both. Who knows; maybe he'll turn out to be one of the good guys, but I doubt it. Sure, I like watching the Republicans eat themselves alive just as much as the next right-thinking individual, but my optimism scale is reading pretty low.

(Boy, this kind of arrogance is fun! Just keep repeating whatever it is you want to be true until you control the hegemony. Who would have thought that the PNAC neocons could actually teach us normal, sensible people something useful?)
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:20 AM on August 5, 2005


I think this is another area where Bush fiddles with someting because he was told by the higher-ups that this would advance 'The Cause', but it all ends up blowing apart in his face.
That seems to be a trend with this administration.
posted by Balisong at 8:24 AM on August 5, 2005


three blind mice My apologies, I misread your statement to mean Bush himself felt that way. Thanks for the link to that article (and interesting, albeit one-sided, site as well). Dobson's a nut -- plain and simple -- although, religious fanatacism always rubs me the wrong way. It doesn't seem that he's really making/keeping any friends with his strong anti-Bush statements. Farther down in the article:

But for over two hours, until nearly midnight, House conservatives confronted Dobson about his indiscriminate attacks on the Republican Party, asking credit for achievements he had ignored. At one point the wife of a congressman, in tears, explained how Dobson's broadside had hurt their family, inviting harsh questions from friends. An emotional Dobson, according to one witness, responded, "I'm so sorry I hurt you."


At least he's apoplecticapologetic.
posted by redsnare at 8:43 AM on August 5, 2005


My only hope is that he will take his responsibilities seriously in interpreting the law and not put conservative ideology ahead of justice.

I think the subject of the FPP sheds some light on this candidate and his alignment with this sentiment. You can be conservative and be just -- really you can. From what I have read and know about this man, (I know someone that has clerked for him) this is a surprisingly good choice.

The left should keep its powder dry for the next selection, which I fear will be much more of an idealogue.
posted by mania at 8:51 AM on August 5, 2005


Sorry to derail, but from three blind mice's link:

Many Republicans are taking Dobson's divorce threats very seriously. House Speaker Newt Gingrich has hosted several meetings with other House leaders to discuss Dobson's specific demands, which include defunding Planned Parenthood, requiring parental consent for abortions, and eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts.

I just don't get this desire to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts at all. Every great nation in history has subsidized art work. While a very tiny fraction of the NEA may go to organizations that occasionally sponsor controversial art work, NEA money primarily goes to funding arts groups that are, believe it or not, family friendly.

Lose the NEA, yeah, you lose the occasional Piss Christ, but you also lose symphonies, operas, ballet companies, theatre groups, museums, etc. How is this a good thing?

So little money goes into the NEA and the money that comes to the arts communities from it goes so far. Cutting entirely barely makes a dent in the national debt and hurts a ton of people.

Bah, again, sorry for the derail, but this makes me nuts.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:53 AM on August 5, 2005


but taking on a case pro-bono isn't helping a colleague...it's a highly personal decision with enormous latitude in terms of which one you pick.

RTFA. Roberts didn't personally choose to take on the case; his firm did.

While I'm hopeful that Roberts agreed with his firm's client in this case, I'm not jumping for joy just yet.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:55 AM on August 5, 2005


schroedinger, please don't conjure up the image of Ann Coulter touching herself at night.
posted by oaf at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2005


Dobson's a nut -- plain and simple -- although, religious fanatacism always rubs me the wrong way. It doesn't seem that he's really making/keeping any friends with his strong anti-Bush statements.

redsnare that's the problem. For the Republicans, the religious right is a useful servant, but a dangerous master. Nothing short of reappointing Robert Bork, cloning Scalia, or finding another dim-witted minority to shine Scalia's shoes will satisfy these people. They know they are responsible for the slim Republican majority and they want their propers. The Republican party is a house of cards waiting to fall and the in-fighting over Roberts is just another indication of this. Fortunately for the Republicans their opponent is a Democratic party that could not find an idea, or a candidate, with a map.
posted by three blind mice at 9:05 AM on August 5, 2005


three blind mice: That Dobson quote is from a 7-year-old article.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:06 AM on August 5, 2005


...or a guy people like Coulter think about when they touch themselves at night?

Eewwww.
posted by Scoo at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2005


Joey_Michaels:

I don't get the hate-boner for the NEA either. Well, I get it, but not the logic of it; the amount of money it represents each year is ridiculously tiny (in 2004, after GWB put through the largest NEA funding increase in twenty years, it was a whopping $139.4 million) and represents what, five hours in Iraq based on our current spending levels?

And it's amazing how much good subsidy is actually done with that money--the stuff that people find offensive is a drop in that giant bucket, which is itself a tiny drop in the bucket that is the Federal Deficit Budget. The hate-on just defies all reason--I'm looking for the poll that suggested Americans believe over 10% of the Federal budget goes to subsidy of the arts (a fifteen-thousandfold overestimate!!), but it defies rediscovery at present.
posted by trigonometry at 9:24 AM on August 5, 2005


PS: also sorry for the derail just above.

But re: Roberts, I'm intrigued by the purple prose suddenly turning into anger as it's discovered that, lo, he may actually follow his conscience rather than some doctrinaire line.
posted by trigonometry at 9:26 AM on August 5, 2005


their opponent is a Democratic party that could not find an idea, or a candidate, with a map.

Nail on the head. (Shows you the sad state of affairs in American politics but that's for another discussion).

Artifice_Eternity Doesn't matter. Religious fanatics rarely, if ever, sway from their core beliefs. Literally; he's had the same beliefs for 65 years.
posted by redsnare at 9:30 AM on August 5, 2005


I don't get the hate-boner for the NEA either. Well, I get it, but not the logic of it; the amount of money it represents each year is ridiculously tiny (in 2004, after GWB put through the largest NEA funding increase in twenty years, it was a whopping $139.4 million) and represents what, five hours in Iraq based on our current spending levels?

You really don't get it? It pisses off the fundies because they don't want one dollar of taxes going to something that offends them. It pisses off the small-government types because (regardless of the size of the expenditure) art is pretty far down on the list of things that the government ought to tax for. I don't believe that one could make an honest and straightforward argument that government sponsorship of art is vital to the well-being of its citizenry. It's not analogous at all to building interstate highways or buying vaccines.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:31 AM on August 5, 2005


Let's not forget his wife, here is a website.
posted by hortense at 9:38 AM on August 5, 2005


Artifice_Eternity Doesn't matter.

Actually, redsnare it was a valid point. It sort of proves that the Republicans can continue to soft pedal the agenda of the religious right and - despite their anger - they keep coming back.

Kwantsar, small-government types? Isn't this species extinct?
posted by three blind mice at 9:41 AM on August 5, 2005


redsnare: three blind mice's comment presented the article as if it were current. That was my point. I doubt Dobson's views have changed, but the quote reproduced above without context appeared to be about a recent meeting that Dobson had w/ GOP politicos. Seven years ago, the political context for such a meeting was entirely different.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:42 AM on August 5, 2005


If, and I realize it might be a big if, this all pans out to be somewhat accurate, I have only one comment to add, an echo of something above, BWhahahahahaha. It's funny.

I think the real issue behind Roberts is the complete unknowness of it all. nobody can say for certain what kind of judge he would be. Sounds like he might be an ok guy to talk with, but should he sit on the SCOTUS? Hell knows. Need massive subpoenas of the white house. I thik THAT is the real issue.
posted by edgeways at 9:50 AM on August 5, 2005


It's not analogous at all to building interstate highways or buying vaccines.

Perhaps you don't see the analogy because you don't see an immediate, positive, tangible effect from having a cultural culture, and assume that, because the effect is not immediately tangible, there is no effect, and therefore no analogy.

Perhaps some of us see that art does have a positive effect on a culture, even if the effect is not as dramatic as six-lanes of asphalt running through one's backyard.

To give one tangible example, if you ever visit Philadelphia, take a walk through some of the non-tourist neighborhoods. The city-sponsored wall murals are hardly touched by grafitos and add immensely, if quietly, to the quality of living here. The city-sponsored wall mural policy that requires contributions from businesses to the establishment of murals on commercially-zoned property with bare walls gives character to the neighborhoods, increases property values, gives young artists a creative and productive outlet, and reduces crime, if indirectly.
posted by Rothko at 9:50 AM on August 5, 2005


Oh, and if the rest of the bench can hold out until mid-term elections, about a year away, and the Dems can make grounds Bush may well be a lame duck in the truest sence of politics.

(I await, with amusement, next time a republican minority refuses to vote on a democratic nomination. "Up or down vote, up or down vote... blah blah blah")
posted by edgeways at 9:54 AM on August 5, 2005


For people like Dobson, the hate itself is the message -- it doesn't matter whether the object of hate is significant or worthy of hate, but the sheer energy of the unthinking emotion is what keeps people like Dobson on top. In his mind it literally runs like this -- as long as I can get that flock of sheep to blame all their problems on X, I don't need to worry about my own standing.
posted by clevershark at 9:54 AM on August 5, 2005


warbaby, thanks for the grin, I'd nearly forgotten about that story.
posted by fenriq at 10:04 AM on August 5, 2005


Rothko-- You need roads to get to a job. You need a job so you can eat. If you don't eat, you starve and die.

You need vaccinations so you don't catch a dread disease. If you catch the wrong disease, you die.

And the NEA maybe has a third-order effect of possibly reducing crime. Riiiight. Perhaps I don't see the analogy because it's a piss-poor one. Your sophistry, however, is first-rate.

Also, I'm surprised that a left-liberal like you thinks that rising property values are good. You must be a homeowner. Too bad gainfully employed and hardworking young people can't afford to buy a house.

three blind mice-- Did you catch the Yglesias bit contrasting the Gingrich GOP with the Dubya GOP?

[T]he bloated, corrupt Rightwingery Version 2.0 we have today is less harmful, though more disgusting, than the original item.

In other words, "thank God the small-government types are gone, because these dumbasses are much easier to fight."
posted by Kwantsar at 10:06 AM on August 5, 2005


Also, I'm surprised that a left-liberal like you thinks that rising property values are good. You must be a homeowner. Too bad gainfully employed and hardworking young people can't afford to buy a house.

I'm not a homeowner, I rent. But rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime. While I am gainfully employed and hardworking, I can't yet afford to buy a home, but I will happily pay more rent for lower crime and a higher quality of life until that time comes around.

"In any case, I'm surprised that a right-fascist like you thinks that rising property values are bad. You must be a socialist. etc. etc."
posted by Rothko at 10:12 AM on August 5, 2005


Artifice_Eternity & three blind mice Ok, thanks for the clarification.

religious right...keep coming back

But really, TBM, where else are they going to go?
posted by redsnare at 10:24 AM on August 5, 2005


But rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime.

I think you have perhaps mistaken cause for effect.

Nice smear, BTW, unless you think that fascist and liberal are equally pejorative.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:25 AM on August 5, 2005


But rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime.

That's the single stupidest thing I've read on Metafilter today, and I was reading that P_G hooker thread earlier.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:37 AM on August 5, 2005


rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime - Rothko

Wow, if you can back that up with evidence, that would be great. I mean, even if you're talking about the U.S. alone, I don't see it. Interesting opinion, though.
posted by rush at 10:41 AM on August 5, 2005


[continued Dobson derail.]

Clevershark, I grew up listening to radio broadcast from Dobson's Focus on the Family. I have certainly changed my idealogical views over the years, but I still have respect for the man.

I was really disappointed when Dobson's group began actively lobbying in the political process ~ 8 years ago, instead of just sticking to the family values schtick.

But I don't think it's fair to call him a hater. Who does he hate? I've read countless articles by and about him, yes he is anti-homosexual, anti-choice, anti-stem cell, etc. However, he follows the line of "hate the sin love the sinner." The spongebob thing was blown out of proportion, like so many other issues.

I guess I just have a problem with comments like yours, and to a greater extent, views of people such as Joshua Michael Marshall, who are forever comparing him to Iranian clerics etc. Since when did Dobson ever advocate violence or hate? (and please, let's not get into a corporal punishment debate here.)
posted by Happydaz at 10:42 AM on August 5, 2005


On second thought, I apologize for being disingenuous. I got caught up in the nastiness of the thread.
posted by rush at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2005


Conspiracy theory #131:
What could be better for a bunch of manipulative power-hungry bastards eager to rig the next twenty years of judicial decisions than getting a deeply closeted homo with a whole bunch to lose into the supreme court?
posted by tkchrist at 10:49 AM on August 5, 2005


Happydaz: James Dobson seeks to establish a theocracy. I really don't care what anyone calls him, or how much respect they may have for him, theocrats are my enemy and I will do and say whatever I can to bring them down. For my money advocating theocracy eleminates any and all other good things he may or may not have done.

Obviously I can't speak for the Clevershark, but that's my POV. If calling Dobson a hater contributes to his downfall I will call him a hater every chance I can. The risk of theocracy far outweighs the possibility that calling Dobson a hater is false.

The whole "hate the sin, love the sinner" schtick has always struck me as nothing more than an attempt to justify hating the sinner. Action is not separate from person, if you hate what a person does then you hate that person. Claiming otherwise is BS.
posted by sotonohito at 10:50 AM on August 5, 2005


Also, I'm surprised that a left-liberal like you thinks that rising property values are good.

Huh? Liberals aren't supposed to want property values to rise? Conservatives love to attribute all kinds of crazy beliefs to liberals, but that one is a humdilly of a headscratcher.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:56 AM on August 5, 2005


rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime - Rothko

That's the single stupidest thing I've read on Metafilter today, and I was reading that P_G hooker thread earlier.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:37 PM EST on August 5 [!]

Wow, if you can back that up with evidence, that would be great. I mean, even if you're talking about the U.S. alone, I don't see it. Interesting opinion, though.
posted by rush at 1:41 PM EST on August 5 [!]


Mortgage lending up, crime down.

And before you say it's just an opinion piece, it was based on research done by Charis E. Kubrin and Gregory D. Squires in "The Impact of Capital on Crime: Does Access to Home Mortgage Money Reduce Crime Rates?"

"The findings show that increased mortgage lending is significantly associated with lower crime levels and that the relationship is even stronger for lending by CRA-covered institutions"

Thanks for playing, jackasses.
posted by Rothko at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2005


That article you linked to talks about mortgage lending, and access to capital, not "rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime".

The gist of the article is thus - If you own a home, or have access to a loan to get the money to buy a home, you are less likely to commit crime. I didn't see anything (while skimming) that talked about crime being lowered because housing values are going up.

That's silly, specious reasoning, and you're wrong.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:12 AM on August 5, 2005


Happydaz writes "But I don't think it's fair to call him a hater."

Whether he hates or not himself is irrelevant. His following is basically one large malleable hate group, and what he does at this point is steer it in a direction or another. One of the most important criteria as to where to direct this hate train is, that it must be something which is "obvious" or easy to explain. In the case of the NEA, the "poster boy" of the hate campaign has for the longest time been Andre Serrano's Piss Christ. No explanation even necessary there -- it's a picture.

"I guess I just have a problem with comments like yours"

Well you need to reread that comment, because it was quite clear in my mind what I meant.
posted by clevershark at 11:13 AM on August 5, 2005


tkchrist writes "What could be better for a bunch of manipulative power-hungry bastards eager to rig the next twenty years of judicial decisions than getting a deeply closeted homo with a whole bunch to lose into the supreme court?"

Actually once someone is on the Supreme Court he's literally appointed for life, so what would he have to lose?
posted by clevershark at 11:16 AM on August 5, 2005


"The findings show that increased mortgage lending is significantly associated with lower crime levels and that the relationship is even stronger for lending by CRA-covered institutions"

Before you start calling everyone jackasses, maybe you can explain how exactly increased mortgage lending is related to rising property values? It seems to me that, to the extent rising property values limit the pool of potential buyers (and thus lenders), this would directly contradict what you said. But I could be wrong.

Sincerely,
     A. Jaqass.

posted by me & my monkey at 11:23 AM on August 5, 2005


But rising property values means people take care of their property

"Rising property values leading to reduced crime" is a known phenomenon, and that makes sense.

"Rising property values means people take care of their property" is completely unfounded and discounts all the real reasons for exploding property values. Take a look at the Japanes housing boom, and crash, during the 80s and 90s as an example of rising and falling property values.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:24 AM on August 5, 2005


Perhaps you don't see the analogy because you don't see an immediate, positive, tangible effect from having a cultural culture, and assume that, because the effect is not immediately tangible, there is no effect, and therefore no analogy.

Perhaps some of us see that art does have a positive effect on a culture, even if the effect is not as dramatic as six-lanes of asphalt running through one's backyard.


I have no doubt that art can have a positive effect on a culture. I do, however, have doubts about whether the state should take my property to create that positive effect; I have fewer doubts about the state building highways simply because I see that as something unlikely to be done efficiently within the private sphere.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:27 AM on August 5, 2005


Liberals aren't supposed to want property values to rise?

"Affordable housing" is a shibboleth of the left, no? Now, it's possible that liberals want property values to both rise, and be affordable, but that usually winds up being a bit of a contradiction.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:31 AM on August 5, 2005


At least he's apoplecticapologetic.

very good one, redsnare--and welcome! : >
posted by amberglow at 11:32 AM on August 5, 2005


"Rising property values leading to reduced crime" is a known phenomenon, and that makes sense.

I thought it was a known phenomenon that rising property values displace crime to poorer areas. If I renovate a strip of brownstone and jack up the rents, crime goes down because criminals can't afford to live in the neighborhood. I'd wager that these criminals do their feloning elsewhere, since I doubt that neighborhood gentrification causes the criminal element to find God.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2005


Actually once someone is on the Supreme Court he's literally appointed for life, so what would he have to lose?

Your kidding? Millions in a divorce settlement first off. And second: keeping those pictures of himself, Karl Rove, and the three underage shirtless Laotian house boys dancing to C&C Music Company off the front page of the New York Post.
posted by tkchrist at 11:39 AM on August 5, 2005


the preverted neo-con sexuality

that Roberts was not demonstrably neo-conservative enough, not demonstrably anti-gay enough, not demonstrably anti-choice enough, etc.


Please do not use words or phrases if you do not know what they mean. So-called "neo-conservatives" where social Liberals, who were anti-communists and foreign policy hawks. That is, they were men of the Left, who sided with Conservatives on foreign policy.

Your constant misuse of this term shows how ill-informed you are.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:39 AM on August 5, 2005


The gist of the article is thus - If you own a home, or have access to a loan to get the money to buy a home, you are less likely to commit crime. I didn't see anything (while skimming) that talked about crime being lowered because housing values are going up.

That's silly, specious reasoning, and you're wrong.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:12 PM EST on August 5 [!]


Now you're just being intellectually dishonest and I'm calling bullshit on you. Increased borrowing rates — in the context of the paper discussing low income neighborhoods; we're not talking suburbanites taking out home equity loans here — is the same as increased ownership rates, which results in rising property costs, which is a trend that anyone who pays rent in a developing urban neighborhood can follow. Increased borrowing has been established above with decreased crime rates.

That's the single stupidest thing I've read on Metafilter today, and I was reading that P_G hooker thread earlier.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:37 PM EST on August 5 [!]


Your comment was foolish — and wrong. Thanks for your time.
posted by Rothko at 11:41 AM on August 5, 2005


Steve_at_Linnwood writes "So-called "neo-conservatives" where [sic] social Liberals, who were anti-communists and foreign policy hawks. That is, they were men of the Left, who sided with Conservatives on foreign policy."

Don't confuse "are" and "were", young jedi.

Neocons and religious extremists -- be they Xians or Muslims BTW -- are the ultimate codependent clique, and they know it. Thus what the extremists want, the neocons are all-too-eager to get for them, as the extremists keep the neocons in power. You can keep blathering on about now-irrelevant historical platitudes, but that does not change today's realities.
posted by clevershark at 11:56 AM on August 5, 2005


Now you're just being intellectually dishonest and I'm calling bullshit on you. Increased borrowing rates — in the context of the paper discussing low income neighborhoods; we're not talking suburbanites taking out home equity loans here — is the same as increased ownership rates, which results in rising property costs, which is a trend that anyone who pays rent in a developing urban neighborhood can follow.

Can I call bullshit on your bullshit call? It's one thing to say that increased borrowing rates cause a decrease in crime. It's another thing to say that increased borrowing rates cause rising property costs (although I'm not sure if that's correct anyway.) But that doesn't get you to the point where you can say that rising property costs cause a decrease in crime - they're both just results of increased borrowing rates, if both of your premises are correct. I don't think the second one is correct, for what it's worth.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:59 AM on August 5, 2005


Please do not use words or phrases if you do not know what they mean. So-called "neo-conservatives" where social Liberals, who were anti-communists and foreign policy hawks. That is, they were men of the Left, who sided with Conservatives on foreign policy.

Yes, Liberal Hawks like Richard Perl, Paul Wolfwitz, Dick Cheney, Bruce Jackson, William Kristol and all the other guys at PNAC, right?

Now you're just being intellectually dishonest and I'm calling bullshit on you. Increased borrowing rates — in the context of the paper discussing low income neighborhoods; we're not talking suburbanites taking out home equity loans here — is the same as increased ownership rates, which results in rising property costs, which is a trend that anyone who pays rent in a developing urban neighborhood can follow. Increased borrowing has been established above with decreased crime rates.

Well, that's nice, but it isn't what you said.

It is not my job to disprove your theory there, Alex (hard to disprove a falsehood), but to simply poke a few holes in it. You said "rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime", and you still have no evidence to back this up.

"Taking care of property", or ie physically taking care of the maintaince of your property, which is what you're alluding to by all accounts, has no direct impact on the crime rate of a neighborhood, and means very little in the long run. You're trying to back out of it now because so many people have jumped down your throat on it, but I'm not being intellectually dishonest at all.

You just can't admit you said something that stupid.

Your comment was foolish — and wrong. Thanks for your time.

It's a slow friday - I've got all day to hit softballs, guy.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:00 PM on August 5, 2005


If A results directly or indirectly from B, one can say B is the direct or indirect cause of A. They are semantically equivalent terms.
posted by Rothko at 12:03 PM on August 5, 2005


Paul Wolfwitz, Dick Cheney, William Kristol, etc are not neo-Conservatives.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:04 PM on August 5, 2005


That is, they were men of the Left, who sided with Conservatives on foreign policy.

Wrong. The school you want to call "Conservative" is the most radical, confiscatory, and anti-individual group to take power yet.

Don't be shy about self-identifying with the paranoid imperialists, Steve, but be honest about their ideology and plans.

They are not conservative in any conventional sense of the word.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:04 PM on August 5, 2005


"Taking care of property", or ie physically taking care of the maintaince of your property, which is what you're alluding to by all accounts, has no direct impact on the crime rate of a neighborhood, and means very little in the long run. You're trying to back out of it now because so many people have jumped down your throat on it, but I'm not being intellectually dishonest at all.

You clearly didn't read the paper I linked to. Check out the part about "stabilizing neighborhoods".

You just can't admit you said something that stupid.

You can't stand to admit you got owned. So be quiet already while the adults talk.
posted by Rothko at 12:06 PM on August 5, 2005


If A results directly or indirectly from B, one can say B is the direct or indirect cause of A. They are semantically equivalent terms.

Well, ok, but that has damn all with what you said.

A = increased borrowing rates
B = rising property costs
C = decrease in crime

Premise 1: A causes B
Premise 2: A causes C
Conclusion: B causes C

That is simply incorrect, regardless of the truth value of the first two premises. I dispute the truth value of the first premise, but it really doesn't matter. Like they say in Logic 101, correlation does not imply causation.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:12 PM on August 5, 2005


You can't stand to admit you got owned. So be quiet already while the adults talk.

In my experience, the adults don't talk about things like "getting owned." They're not big into saying things like "thanks for playing, jackasses." At least, the adults I know.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:15 PM on August 5, 2005


Paul Wolfwitz, Dick Cheney, William Kristol, etc are not neo-Conservatives.

Are we talking the "classical" neo-conservative of the 60s here? If so, your original point would be valid, but disingenuous (For example, what's the difference between a 1931 liberal and a 1981 liberal?). If we're talking about the modern definition of neo-conservative, the past 15 years or so, you're completely wrong. PNAC was self-described as "neo-conservative" until the word took a beating post-Sept 11th.

You clearly didn't read the paper I linked to. Check out the part about "stabilizing neighborhoods".

Christ-on-a-fucking-stick, you're dim. You said something stupid, got called on it, posted two links that didn't respond to what people called you out on, proceeded to muddle the whole thing by attempting to argue a new point unrelated to the initial one, and refute the whole thing by telling me "I didn't read the paper".

Learn to argue for yourself. If you expect everyone you argue with to read a 30 page paper because you lack the ability to distill the facts down in a coherent manor, you'll lose every time.

And besides, I did read most of the article, and it still says nothing about your trans-stupid statement above.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:23 PM on August 5, 2005


A classic MeFi derail.

Guys, why don't you take it into the street and finish it?

I'll put five on SweetJesus. The "Christ-on-a-fucking-stick comment" will be hard to beat.
posted by three blind mice at 12:33 PM on August 5, 2005


I'm just amused that SweetJesus said "Christ-on-a-fucking-stick."
posted by oaf at 12:38 PM on August 5, 2005


Learn to argue for yourself. If you expect everyone you argue with to read a 30 page paper because you lack the ability to distill the facts down in a coherent manor, you'll lose every time.

Kiddo, it's not my job to read something to you just because you're too much of a lazy mouthbreather to do it for yourself. Next time, learn to read, or at least learn how to lie convincingly about reading what someone cites to you.
posted by Rothko at 12:50 PM on August 5, 2005


That is simply incorrect, regardless of the truth value of the first two premises.

You're starting with the wrong premises.

A = increased borrowing rates
B = increased ownership
C = rising property costs
D = strengthened neighborhoods
E = decrease in crime

A => (B and C) => D => E

The truth value of this relationship is taken from the paper I cited as well as what is taken as common knowledge about a real estate bubble connecting increased ownership (neighborhood development) and rising property costs. I took an excerpt of this relationship, and you're free to nitpick the phrasing, but I stand by its demonstrated truth.
posted by Rothko at 1:09 PM on August 5, 2005


This is what I'd like to see: a Justice in favor of more rights for gays; and stricter control of abortion. In fact, this would be fun: find gay marriage a constitutional right; and abortion a States' issue, throwing out Roe v. Wade.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:13 PM on August 5, 2005


Kiddo, it's not my job to read something to you just because you're too much of a lazy mouthbreather to do it for yourself. Next time, learn to read, or at least learn how to lie convincingly about reading what someone cites to you.

It's now my job to prove your point for you? Fine, I will illustrate my point in the hopes that what I'm saying will somehow osmosize through your thick skull, champ1.

Firstly, citations usually involve, I don't know, a page number or a quote. It does not involve spewing forth a bunch of links in the hopes that you can beat people to death with complex information, betting they wont be able to separate out the signal from the noise.

Secondly, if there is such a obvious correlation between rising home values, the care people put into these homes, and a lower crime rate, find me any study that says this (Again, it's not my fucking job to prove your point). One study from Seattle, which has merely a tangential relationship to your original argument2, does not prove anything.

Thirdly, I would think someone with a history of dramatic flameouts in the grey over ad-hominem attacks would refrain from using them. Not saying I give a shit, I just find it interesting.

Lastly, I'm done with this for the day. Feel free to keep digging your hole if you want to.

1- I love those little, condescending terms of endearment. I've got a whole list!
2- Your original argument being, and I quote, "rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime"
posted by SweetJesus at 1:28 PM on August 5, 2005


Sorry, last derail from me about arts funding.

I understand the taxation arguments regarding arts funding (though the same arguments can be made regarding many other parts of the federal government and, of course, the NEA money is largely going to pay people's salaries - thus creating jobs) but I don't think that is Dobson's beef.

At least in three blind mice's linked article, the NEA is linked with Planned Parenthood and abortion. Now, this may be an authorial choice as opposed to Dobson's choice, but this makes it sound like Dobson's beef is moral as opposed to economic.

Which gets me back to my problem understanding why the NEA, which primarily goes to funding organizations that benefit whole communities and only very rarely goes to something controversial, would be his target. Doesn't he ever taken the family on a trip to, say, a local museum that receives NEA funds? A community theatre production of "South Pacific" partially funded with NEA money? A classical music concert in the park?

Indeed, it seems to me that without the NEA, the only entertainment options open to Dobson would very likely be Hollywood movies and TV shows - or, I suppose, Dobson's radio broadcast. It seems to me that the NEA funds much more family friendly stuff than the open market does. Ergo, a family group like Dobson's should be actively supporting the NEA as an alternative to, for example, The Lingerie Bowl.

All right, all right, if I am going to derail anymore I will just link to my journal. Sorry.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:29 PM on August 5, 2005


The truth value of this relationship is taken from the paper I cited as well as what is taken as common knowledge about a real estate bubble connecting increased ownership (neighborhood development) and rising property costs.

You shouldn't rely on common knowledge - it's rarely as common as you might think and may not even be knowledge, but just belief.

A real estate bubble doesn't have anything to do with increased ownership. It simply has to do with rising property values coupled with increased real estate purchases. However, those purchases may not provide a net ownership increase, since most of them are people selling their current properties in order to buy a better and more expensive new property.

The thesis of the paper you cited - or at least, my interpretation of that thesis - is that providing mortgage services to lower-income people causes a reduction in crime within their neighborhoods. I think that sounds perfectly reasonable to expect, although I don't know if it causes a net reduction in crime altogether. I suspect that it's a lot like gentrification - there aren't many criminals in my neighborhood anymore, since they can't afford to live here. (Neither can I, for that matter.)

But you're jumping from that, to the statement that rising property costs decrease crime. You're throwing in a comment about a "real estate bubble," which, like any bubble, is essentially a temporary violation of normal market forces. Every bubble bursts eventually, you know. You can't really use that to describe how things generally work.

I took an excerpt of this relationship, and you're free to nitpick the phrasing, but I stand by its demonstrated truth.

If you think my complaint is nitpicky, I don't know what to tell you. I see it as pointing out a flaw which renders your argument completely incorrect and worthless. Again, you've done nothing to demonstrate that rising property costs are a necessary condition of increased borrowing rates, and even if you did, it would be completely incorrect to say that rising property costs alone would be sufficient to cause a decrease in crime. There are plenty of other conditions that would cause rising property costs, and for your argument to be useful in any way, those same conditions would ALWAYS have to cause a comparable decrease in crime. Good luck with that! You know, "demonstrated truth" just ain't what it used to be.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:48 PM on August 5, 2005


Guys, guys, we've gone down the wrong track. The assertion was that publicly subsidized art could have a measurable salutary effect on society. The examples cited led some of you to nitpick the examples in order to discredit the overall assertion, which is a nifty debating tactic, but rarely of any intellectual use. It has degenerated to the point that one of you called taxes "the state tak[ing] my property," which is right-wing lunacy (ya see, we're a democracy, and we elect people to run a government that is funded by taxes to our common good, and...well, y'all know this). You could make the same stupid argument about roads (hey, you guys can buy $30,000 cars, just pool some more of your money and fund the roads you need; meanwhile, I'll just use this publicly funded train!). Now, imagine that your house had no art, all the furniture was stark without ornamentation, and you had no music or television to play or watch. Would this affect your domestic life adversely? For most of us it would. The analogy is our public life unadorned by these things. Of course, the "true conservative" wants all this controlled by the guys with money, because the market place can make the best decisions about everything. Fine. Let 'em pay for the war, for the trade subsidies, for the highways, for the ballparks, for the airports, etc. Have a nice weekend.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:51 PM on August 5, 2005


This is what I'd like to see: a Justice in favor of more rights for gays; and stricter control of abortion. In fact, this would be fun: find gay marriage a constitutional right; and abortion a States' issue, throwing out Roe v. Wade.

I don't think this is very likely, since gay rights and reproductive rights rely on many of the same arguments, such as dominion over one's own body and privacy. I would be happy with a judge with a coherent judicial philosophy, who wouldn't rely on states' rights when it suits him and interstate commerce when it doesn't.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:52 PM on August 5, 2005


In my experience, the adults don't talk about things like "getting owned." They're not big into saying things like "thanks for playing, jackasses." At least, the adults I know.

So much for the nickname change ushering in a new, kinder, gentler attitude.

And Mental Wimp, you've set up so many straw men and false conclusions that I can't even begin to try to refute them.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:04 PM on August 5, 2005


It has degenerated to the point that one of you called taxes "the state tak[ing] my property," which is right-wing lunacy (ya see, we're a democracy, and we elect people to run a government that is funded by taxes to our common good, and...well, y'all know this). You could make the same stupid argument about roads (hey, you guys can buy $30,000 cars, just pool some more of your money and fund the roads you need; meanwhile, I'll just use this publicly funded train!).

Hey, that's me! Only on MeFi could I be taken for a right-wing lunatic.

Taxes ARE the state taking my property. I don't see what's wrong with acknowledging that. Personally, I'm fine with that - I'm happy to give the state some of my property, in exchange for all the nice services I get. Personally, I think that we should consider increasing taxes, especially when we feel that we need more services.

But you shouldn't for a minute forget that taxation is exactly what I said it is - the state taking from you to give to me (or vice-versa.) There's a reason that John Marshall said "The power to tax involves the power to destroy."

There are some things that only the state can effectively do - the interstate highway system is a good example. But is the state the only one who can effectively fund artists? However did we have art before it was funded by the state? I think that there are plenty of things that the private sector does better than the state; I'm not sure whether art is one of these or not, but it's certainly not as clear-cut as you make it out to be.

Now, imagine that your house had no art, all the furniture was stark without ornamentation, and you had no music or television to play or watch. Would this affect your domestic life adversely? For most of us it would. The analogy is our public life unadorned by these things.

I think that's a very poor analogy. Perhaps a better analogy would involve having the state figure out and pay for the ornamentation it thinks we should all have in our houses, and then charge us for it.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:13 PM on August 5, 2005


So much for the nickname change ushering in a new, kinder, gentler attitude.

I'm not the one who picked the fight. Sorry to disappoint you, Kwantsar.
posted by Rothko at 3:20 PM on August 5, 2005


Ummmmm, what the hell is this thread about again?
posted by brain_drain at 3:37 PM on August 5, 2005


Firstly, citations usually involve, I don't know, a page number or a quote. It does not involve spewing forth a bunch of links in the hopes that you can beat people to death with complex information, betting they wont be able to separate out the signal from the noise.

I quoted the paper twice, which you conveniently ignored. I guess that just flew right past you, but if you're not going to bother reading the study directly then I guess I can't expect you to read what I cite from it either.

I wouldn't call scientific research from two sociologists from GWU who do this work for a living "noise" but that's just me, I suppose.

So do you have any legitimate complaint about their study, conflicting data or study, or something — anything — with some semblance of substance, or are you just flapping your mouth again like the jackass you've been so far?

Thirdly, I would think someone with a history of dramatic flameouts in the grey over ad-hominem attacks would refrain from using them. Not saying I give a shit, I just find it interesting.

How ironic, since you were the one who started with an unprovoked insult. I fired back with — get this, an actual scientific study — and all you have is "wrong, wrong, wrong."

Lastly, I'm done with this for the day.

Of course. You get told, you shoot off your mouth because you don't have anything of substance to counter with, then you run away. Sounds just about right, chump.
posted by Rothko at 3:40 PM on August 5, 2005


I quoted the paper twice, which you conveniently ignored. I guess that just flew right past you, but if you're not going to bother reading the study directly then I guess I can't expect you to read what I cite from it either.

I wouldn't call scientific research from two sociologists from GWU who do this work for a living "noise" but that's just me, I suppose.


Being an atheist, I can't speak for SweetJesus, but my complaint isn't with the study itself. My complaint is with the conclusions you're drawing from it, which I think are completely unwarranted and unjustifiable.

Within the PDF you're so generously hosting in your own web space, there's one mention of property values. Here it is:
Where mortgage loans are more
available and homeownership rates are higher, property values tend to be higher as well,
including that of homes owned by longstanding residents.
Nothing there about how higher property values, by themselves, reduce crime. Now, here's what you said in response to Kwansar:
But rising property values means people take care of their property, which means low crime. While I am gainfully employed and hardworking, I can't yet afford to buy a home, but I will happily pay more rent for lower crime and a higher quality of life until that time comes around.
Again, the study does not say that. The study is careful to avoid trying to explain exactly why increased mortgage lending results in lower crime rates, because the authors of the study don't know why, beyond a generalized "neighborhood effect!" This is a perfectly reasonable position for them to take, I think. But it's not the position you have taken.

As for you and your rent, if property values rise, your landlord may decide to convert to condos, and you will not be able to afford to purchase one. Paying more rent, by itself, will do nothing but line your landlord's pockets.

I live in a recently gentrified neighborhood. Where I live, almost everyone owns their home or a condo. Or, more accurately, the bank owns them. Rising property values have pushed the poorer people from the neighborhood to a few blocks east, where they'll remain until that neighborhood is also gentrified. Oh, and crime is way down! Woohoo!

How ironic, since you were the one who started with an unprovoked insult.

Really? Are you sure? Mr. Jesus called your comment stupid. He didn't call you stupid. Your response - "thanks for playing, jackasses."
posted by me & my monkey at 4:10 PM on August 5, 2005


Within the PDF you're so generously hosting in your own web space

I don't know what your insinuation is here (I faked this study, now? Is that the kind of baseless insinuation you have to resort to?) I want to make sure anyone who disagrees can read the paper for him or herself, without any excuses.

Again, the study does not say that. The study is careful to avoid trying to explain exactly why increased mortgage lending results in lower crime rates, because the authors of the study don't know why, beyond a generalized "neighborhood effect!" This is a perfectly reasonable position for them to take, I think. But it's not the position you have taken.

Well, it is the position I have taken, but it is just that you have chosen to ignore that — even though I have explained why repeatedly — so that you can keep disagreeing with me for disagreement's sake. Thanks for your time.
posted by Rothko at 4:25 PM on August 5, 2005


Really? Are you sure? Mr. Jesus called your comment stupid.

Mr. Jesus was picking a fight.
posted by Rothko at 4:30 PM on August 5, 2005


could we get back to the scurrilous (or not) gossip now?
posted by amberglow at 5:38 PM on August 5, 2005


I don't know what your insinuation is here (I faked this study, now? Is that the kind of baseless insinuation you have to resort to?) I want to make sure anyone who disagrees can read the paper for him or herself, without any excuses.

Presumably, the document exists elsewhere, since you didn't write it? Why link to your own space when you could link to a more authoritative space? That's the extent of my baseless insinuation. Most people point out self-links just like they point out anything else which may provide the appearance of impropriety. I'm very sure you didn't fake it, though. If you had, you could at least have written something that's logically consistent with your argument. This study ain't it.

Well, it is the position I have taken, but it is just that you have chosen to ignore that — even though I have explained why repeatedly — so that you can keep disagreeing with me for disagreement's sake. Thanks for your time.

I'm not disagreeing with you for disagreement's sake, I'm disagreeing with you because you're saying something that, as far as I can tell, is completely and utterly wrong. You said one thing, your precious paper said another, and you're pointing to said paper as your justification. You said repeatedly that higher property values result in lower crime. Your paper does not, as far as I can see. If I'm wrong, could you please, for the love of all that's holy, point me to the line of the document that says higher property values cause a decrease in crime? Please? Is that too much to ask? Because, in the document I downloaded and read, I can't find that for the life of me.

And what's with the "thanks for your time" crap? Is anyone this obnoxious in real life? Would it be possible for you to write one single sentence without a snide comment?

Mr. Jesus was picking a fight.

Calling an argument stupid is picking a fight? No wonder you're at war with the world.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:06 PM on August 5, 2005


"I don't think this is very likely, since gay rights and reproductive rights rely on many of the same arguments, such as dominion over one's own body and privacy."

You can look at the two issues in a completely coherent manner: consenting homosexual adults have the same right as heterosexual adults under the law; fetuses are human beings, and are helpless, and thus need protection. There's nothing newcessarily inconsistent with these positions; just like there's nothing necessarily inconsistent with being against abortion and for capital punishment.

Of course, I brought this up because the entertainment value of the nomination process of such a proposed Supreme Court Judge would be first-rate--might even make me buy a television!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:13 PM on August 5, 2005


You can look at the two issues in a completely coherent manner: consenting homosexual adults have the same right as heterosexual adults under the law; fetuses are human beings, and are helpless, and thus need protection. There's nothing newcessarily inconsistent with these positions; just like there's nothing necessarily inconsistent with being against abortion and for capital punishment.

No, they're not inconsistent, but deciding that one should be the domain of the federal government while the other should be decided by each state would be inconsistent. If you believe that the Constitution implicitly grants dominion over one's own body and therefore trumps the rights of states to make their own decisions, you're likely to do so whether the issue at hand is abortion or homosexuality.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:26 PM on August 5, 2005


Good point, M&MM.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:38 PM on August 5, 2005


Why link to your own space when you could link to a more authoritative space?

(What's "authoritative"? Did you just pull that term out of your ass or what?) Because I wrote my comments from a machine within an academic domain, and that gets me access to papers that people outside an academic domain can't always get access to without registration, subscription, or some way to access though a library service.

Now that I'm at home, apparently it's still available from somewhere else. I don't know if that link is still "authoritative" enough for you, so sorry. I'm afraid you'll just have to cope.

If I'm wrong, could you please, for the love of all that's holy, point me to the line of the document that says higher property values cause a decrease in crime? Please? Is that too much to ask? Because, in the document I downloaded and read, I can't find that for the life of me.

Your premises were wrong and I summarized it here. The "precious paper" demonstrates the causality of A, B, D and E, and I explained C as happening along with B.

Calling an argument stupid is picking a fight?

Calling an argument stupid, and in the insulting manner Mr. Jesus did it, with no basis of fact to back up his personal opinion was picking a fight.
posted by Rothko at 12:04 AM on August 6, 2005


What's "authoritative"? Did you just pull that term out of your ass or what?

No, I'm pretty sure it's a common English word. I'm equally sure that a reasonable person would understand its meaning in this context. But again, this is irrelevant since I believe the document is genuine.

Your premises were wrong and I summarized it here. The "precious paper" demonstrates the causality of A, B, D and E, and I explained C as happening along with B.

"Happening along" is irrelevant. Again, you have mistaken correlation for causation. There are plenty of demonstrable cases in which rising property values would not be expected to cause a decrease in crime, and rising property values need not go hand-in-hand with increased mortgage lending.

But I find this very tiring, as I expect you do also, so if you disagree, I'll agree to disagree. I find this as futile as talking to a religious fanatic.

Calling an argument stupid, and in the insulting manner Mr. Jesus did it, with no basis of fact to back up his personal opinion was picking a fight.

Whatever. Life is too short to get bent out of shape over such petty crap. You're going to find what you're looking for, I guess.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:11 PM on August 6, 2005


Rothko-- You need roads to get to a job. You need a job so you can eat. If you don't eat, you starve and die.

The last premise is correct, but the first two are definitely not. Government-funded art is just as important, no actually more important than government-funded roads.

Taxes ARE the state taking my property. I don't see what's wrong with acknowledging that.

Taxes are NOT the state taking your property. I propose that your payment of taxes ALLOWS you to own property. Without the state, you would have no RIGHT to own property (aside from any DIVINE rights you can dream up). Also, without the state's protection, anyone could shoot you in the head and simply claim your property as his/hers. Unless, of course, you killed them first.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:18 AM on August 7, 2005


Government-funded art is just as important, no actually more important than government-funded roads.

Really? Can you back that up with, well, anything?

Taxes are NOT the state taking your property. I propose that your payment of taxes ALLOWS you to own property. Without the state, you would have no RIGHT to own property (aside from any DIVINE rights you can dream up). Also, without the state's protection, anyone could shoot you in the head and simply claim your property as his/hers. Unless, of course, you killed them first.

You may propose what you like, but that doesn't make it so. Do you really believe that rights don't exist but for the state? Do you mean to tell me that, were it not for the state, it would be ok for me to kill you because you have no right to live? I'm too lazy to do more but refer you to John Locke's theories of property ownership - pretty influential in the creation of our current government - and point out that if rights don't exist beyond the state's say-so, then you can't complain about the state being unjust. For example, I wouldn't be able to argue that the state should allow gay marriage, because the word "should" would be meaningless if the state defines what is right and wrong.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:44 AM on August 7, 2005


I propose that your payment of taxes ALLOWS you to own property.

Yikes. Remind me not to vote for you.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:18 PM on August 7, 2005


Bastards, trying to hide his bigotry: A file folder containing papers from Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s work on affirmative action more than 20 years ago disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library after its review by two lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department in July, according to officials at the library and the National Archives and Records Administration. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:10 AM on August 17, 2005


RudePundit: Young John Roberts, fresh, clean, Ivy-League anus scrubbed and tight, seems to have had a problem with women's rights, across the board, while he worked under Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese. ... This is the ever-focusing picture of John Roberts: a man who gives his pro bono time to support gays, who wrote brief after memo aggressively shooting down women's rights, who didn't marry until he was in his forties, who played Peppermint Patty in the school play. All that and he looks like Jeffrey Dahmer on Prozac. C'mon, this is a guy with skulls in his freezer and maybe a Gannon in his closet. And if they're found, the women-hating, gay-bashing right will teeter like an earthquake's hit it.

Is this a baseless pseudo-accusation? Is it a stretch of the facts to fit a predetermined enmity towards John Roberts? Fuckin' a, yeah, it is. And it's no worse than what the right is doing to Cindy Sheehan. And she ain't up for a lifetime appointment that'll affect us all for the rest of our lives.

posted by amberglow at 6:40 PM on August 19, 2005


and Body and Soul has a great thing up too
posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on August 19, 2005


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