Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Charles Shaughnessy blog "Here we go again!!!"

Ok, I know you've missed me.....here we go again!!! Its getting into THAT season again, so I figure its time to fire the first salvo.

There was an interesting book being discussed on the radio today: "It's even worse than it looks," by Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. It is about the total breakdown of Congress as able to effect any kind of useful governance. Hardly any surprise. But here's the interesting bit. Even though one of the author's is a "dyed in the wool" Republican, the two of them agreed that after extensive research and analysis it was simply not valid to assign equal blame. They detailed how the established and enforced culture among congressional Republicans was simply to block ANY useful democratic legislation lest Obama should get the credit. They quoted Mitch McConnell, at the beginning of the last session saying that it was the Republicans' DUTY to block any Democratic lawmaking lest " Republican fingerprints lend any credibility to the President." In other words,  we are not here to make effective legislation for the American people, nor help America through these difficult times, but to wage an all-out war against the President and the Democratic Party. ....and this is out of the mouth of a Republican. Now, they did also agree that, in the past, the Democrats have come off none too heroic. They point to the period of sustained Democrat power up to the end of the '40s as one of apathy, carelessness and abuse, but for sheer, obstructive, negative politicking, they agree that this Republican bunch take the biscuit. They stated that to argue that Congress was broken and that BOTH parties were to blame, was both misleading, disempowering to the electorate and dangerously ill-informed.

So, people, don't let this Right Wing tactic of " oh, they're all as bad as each other" fool you. It is possible to have one side do all the damage. There really was just one aggressor at Pearl Harbor, you know. This election, if only for the future of our Constitution at the hands of this activist Supreme Court, is a vital one. If you want to have our government sold to the highest, corporate bidder, as it is through Citizens United, and a return to the "hands-off" de-regulation that plunged our markets, credit and 401Ks off a cliff, then vote Republican and make Romney our President. If you want a serious effort to continue on the road to economic, social and institutional recovery, vote for a Democrat congress and for President Obama. Either way, promise me ONE THING: make sure you get fully informed on the issues this time. Don't settle for sound bites or TV Ads. Research the facts as these two did and make your own conclusions.
Ok, now....let me have it!!!

additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy 30 April, 2012 15:21
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy May 1, 2012 11:35 PM
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy May 2, 2012 11:18 PM 
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy May 3, 2012 09:29 AM
additional comment by  Charles Shaughnessy May 5, 2012 11:45 PM
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy May 5, 2012 11:49 PM

122 comments:

  1. And please.....stay off of that brainwashing FNChannel! It sucks brain cells right out of your head! I work with a Tea Party candidate in our business and I swear I feel light-headed after the 45 minute rants he goes on every time he walks in! I'm captured and can't cut loose! But being from W-World, I'm surrounded! Glad somebody feels the same way.... Guess I'm gonna get it too, CS...

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  2. Charlie, everything you said is absolutely correct. I wanted Obama to be the man to turn this country around. I wanted him to be awesome. I did not vote for him because there are certain standard principles that I do not agree with. I rarely vote democrat for that reason, but every now and then I do. Had Hilary been the democratic candidate, I probably would have because I like Hilary, and I liked Bill! When President Obama was voted into office, I had such high hopes that he was going to do everything he said. He is young and charming, and I knew he could go places as far as our foreign relations and such...areas where we need someone who is a people person...because he is, indeed, a people person! But in every other area, he has disappointed me. Obamacare frightens the life out of me for sure. The national debt is terrifying. And yet, I still want to like him. But when it came to voting for congress, I did vote straight Rep...not because I didn't want him to have any control, but because he was frightening me and I wanted his decisions closely regulated. I agree that the setup we have now is crazy and counter productive. But I would be compromising everything I believe in to vote him back into office. So, what do you do? Go with the devil you know or the one you don't know? I guess that's all I have to say. I can't, "let you have it" cause you are 100% correct...what we are doing now is not working. At all. But I don't believe there is a quick fix that will benefit everyone.

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  3. Mr Shaughnessy, thank you so much for bringing up this exact point. It has baffled me over the past four years just how far Republicans are willing to go in order to not let Obama 'succeed'. I am not American but am eagerly following their politics and it has shocked me a bit how little people are actually ready to work out a solution (thinking of the stalemates that Republicans went into with full intention). I did mostly, but not always agree with Obama's suggestions, however, when you have people openly declare that they are against any of your suggestions for the sake of it (and those people are in congress), I wonder how anyone of them can still pretend they are thinking of the people even for a second. US politics scare me and I've been following in great detail (even though my post is very broad and might sound naive). I will be very interested in your future posts on the upcoming elections.

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  4. Michele McNamara30 April, 2012 11:40

    I agree with what you said 100%. There is no other way to get things straightened around. Deplorable conduct on the right to strike out against the President just because they do not want him to get re-elected. It hurts the very people they are supposed to be representing.

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  5. Let me get this straight—you listened to a book discussion on the radio today, and that prompted the blog. Hey, whatever works—glad to have you back. I am interested in reading what you will have to say after actually reading the book and taking into account the political biases of the authors (by the way, my search for which of the two authors is a “dyed in the wool” Republican hasn’t been successful; generally academics at the left-leaning Brookings Institution are Democrats, and anyone who is an ardent supporter and long-time friend of Al Franken who calls himself a centrist doesn’t really qualify as a Republican). If the radio book discussion is anything like the book discussions I see in class, the discussion often has little to do with the actual content of the book and doesn’t really address the authors’ prejudices and biases (or the sources they used in writing their book). I know the Washington Post published an editorial related to the book last week, but I have never considered it to be an unbiased newspaper (just like Fox News and MSNBC each have their biases).

    Now, about the book’s argument (again, I haven’t read the book and am just responding to what you wrote about it; right now I don’t have time to read anything that doesn’t involve grading, with the exception of your blog). First, what Mitch McConnell was saying about it being the Republicans’ duty to block Democratic lawmaking—do the authors say anything about why Harry Reid and the Democrats are preventing legislation from reaching the floor of the Senate? Do they address why the jobs bill that Obama pushed for last fall was not immediately passed in the Senate? The House Republicans passed the bill Obama requested, but the Senate Democrats refused to bring it to the floor for a vote for the longest time. Do they say anything about why the Super Committee was a dismal failure (or even acknowledge that the Republicans did compromise on the issue of raising taxes, but the Democrats refused to consider any cuts in expenditures)? Do they say anything about how the Democratic-controlled Senate (and previously Democratic-controlled House) have failed to pass a government budget since Obama has taken office, even though it is required by law? The Republicans cannot be blamed for the Democrats in Washington failing to act responsibly. As someone whose state has both a Democrat and a Republican in the Senate (and one of the senators served on the Super Committee), I understand the need for bipartisanship, and I appreciate that both senators work together despite their party differences. Unfortunately, it appears that not all senators know that they are supposed to do what is best for the nation, not what is best for themselves. Somehow, when the Republicans do it, it’s evil and they are out to destroy the government. When the Democrats do the exact same thing—it’s okay. The Democrats used the same obstructionist tactics during the Bush administration (and, if we want to go back to the 1930s, they did the same between 1931-1933 to ensure that Herbert Hoover could not respond to the Great Depression and would not be reelected). Their express intent in the early 1930s was to elect a Democrat as President (just as it was in the 2000s), even if it meant prolonging the economic downturn two more years (only after it was clear that Hoover would not be reelected did they pass programs that would begin the recovery). So saying that the Republicans are the evil ones is overlooking history—and, incidentally, the Republicans now aren’t doing anything different from what the Democrats did during the Bush administration. It’s the Democrats who effectively forced the “60 votes” issue during the Bush administration; this wasn’t a Republican creation.

    (end of part 1...more to come)

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  6. (part 2...continued)

    Second, you make reference to this election being important “for the future of our Constitution at the hands of this activist Supreme Court”—are you referring to the same Supreme Court that is currently ruling on the constitutionality of what is commonly called Obamacare and how it violates the 10th amendment? Are you referring to the same Supreme Court who President Obama has stated does not have the power to overturn legislation passed by Congress? Incidentally, the latter is astonishing, since even my students know that the Supreme Court has had this authority since 1803 (the ruling by the Marshall Court in Marbury v. Madison gave the Supreme Court the right of judicial review). If you are referring to the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, again SCOTUS upheld a ruling made in 1886 (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad) in which corporations were given the rights of people—and, if you actually read the Citizens United decision, labor unions now also have that right (which means they, too, can have the same influence on political elections as do corporations). The Citizens United expanded the definition; it wasn’t something new (like many liberals choose to believe).

    Finally, the de-regulation that you refer to that plunged our markets into disarray—that began during the last years of the Clinton administration. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (aka the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999) repealed part of the Glass-Steagal Act that regulated banks, securities, and insurance companies—and, in the process, contributed to the budget “surplus” during the last two years of Clinton’s presidency. It also, unfortunately, led to the inevitable economic freefall that began in 2007, and George W. Bush had the misfortune of being president when everything collapsed (it would have happened regardless of who was president; it’s not like Al Gore or John Kerry would have prevented it). The economy still hasn’t recovered, mainly because the stimulus package artificially propped up the economy (just like the New Deal programs provided a bit of a stimulus, but the economy didn’t fully recover until World War II). Of course, maybe that’s why President Obama has sent troops to Africa—to distract us from how the economy really isn’t better now than it was four years ago. In a way, it’s a bit ironic that a president who received a Nobel Peace Prize has become more active militarily throughout the globe than any of his predecessors.

    Also, about researching the facts—why don’t you start by explaining to me why I should vote to reelect a president who has admitted that he hasn’t done what he was elected to do, who has expanded U.S. military presence around the globe, who has overseen an unprecedented increase in government spending, who has not demonstrated an ability to work “across the aisle” (unlike his predecessor), etc. In many ways, this reminds me of the presidential election in 1980, the first one in which I was old enough to be able to vote. The issue then, just as it is now, is whether the nation is better off now than it was four years ago. Honestly, I can’t say that it is—not that Barack Obama is the only person who shoulders the blame, but, as Harry Truman said, the buck stops at the Oval Office. Jimmy Carter, while probably the best ex-president this nation has had, was completely incapable of the dealing with the challenges he faced, and his administration was an economic, diplomatic, and political nightmare. As someone who voted for Obama in 2008, I honestly can’t see myself casting a ballot for him this fall. I’m not all that enamored with Mitt Romney, either (in fact, I didn’t vote for him in the Republican primary last week--and, before you panic, I didn't vote for Gingrich or Santorum, either), but perhaps it’s time we have a businessman and former governor who has a proven track record of reducing a deficit and balancing a budget as president.

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  7. Charlie,

    You are so right as usual. (Sorry to use the "right word.") Let's hope that with Bill Clinton working with Obama this time, this nation will do the right thing.

    I can't think of anything worse than a Romney presidency in which Russia becomes an enemy again.

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  8. Charles,
    I, for one, do believe one side has become as bad as the other. I stand behind no party because there is hardly a soul in the bunch that stands for the values behind the establishment of this country.
    The USA started falling from the sky way back with the creation of the Federal Reserve and has reached a point of a full tailspin in my view. Republican is another name for Capitalist, and to a great degree - Democrat is a close parallel to socialist. I know an extreme liberal who when I pointed out one of his Golden Boys (Clinton) signed NAFTA - he claimed the Republicans more or less made him do it. I don't recall a hostage taking and standoff in the White House, until that Bill was signed, back then- do you? My job is now being performed in Russia and I, an American, had to face financial hardship as well as many others I knew then, and as those facing the same things today. As a dedicated leader of a country, when is it ever right to sell out your own people? We're being broken down financially across this country because it serves BOTH parties' agendas. The money hungry ones actually running the show - the well-known trilateral - are getting richer in our "one world government", and the democratic leaders are benefiting financially as well as getting their little socialistic environment set up.
    I honestly think there is hardly a source out there from which you will ever find the truth or the facts. The best facts to believe are the ones we are living each day as matters deteriorate at a very rapid rate here in this country. If people would just observe - the baby boomers are the ones that have to do so as the subsequent generations have never known this country any other way, and unfortunately the WWI & WWII'ers are leaving us. Look at where we are today - all divided socially, breakdown of family structure, manufacturing - one of the things that made us so powerful - disappearing, political correctness which amounts to taking away freedom of speech and independent thought, debt up to our mountain tops to countries we would never even consider dealing with because of their Communist standings. (And we're making those countries wealthier and more powerful than ourselves everyday that passes!) This did NOT all happen because of one party.
    Maybe the part that bothers me the most is the fact that people fell into all of this very willingly and as a generation of "anti-establishment" anti-war protesters, the baby boomers have turned out to be the worst establishment this nation has ever seen!!

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  9. Last time I checked. Karen, The American Enterprise Institute was a pretty well-established Conservative think tank. Just sayin........

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  10. Angie Lynn, I loved your comment(though I did/do not have the same high expectations and excitement about him. You are correct...what we are doing now is not working, and there is no "quick fix".

    Charlie, if I'm going to "let you have it", it's disappointment that you will continue to believe that Obama is anything more than a bought-and-paid-for political prostitute, working in a cat-house with a bunch of other prostitutes. I read Huffington Post every morning, to see what the topics are and the read the comments from people who share YOUR ideology...and they are furious. He has done nothing that he said he would do, and in almost all cases has done the exact opposite of what he promised(not that I wanted him to do those things). He has kept all of the Bush policies and even added to them. Gitmo, the Patriot Act(and the new NDAA!), sweetheart deals for banks with slaps on the wrist for bad behavior. All the things I hear liberals complaining about, Obama has done. And they have somehow bought the lie that the "right" wants them to breathe dirty air, drink poison water, take their birth control pills away, return to the days of Jim Crow and before women's rights. But *we" need to stop being brainwashed by Fox? Pot meet kettle.
    As for the Republican obstruction..I'm not a Republican any more, so I will leave that to those who are still members of the Party. I'm not happy with the way they are behaving either, though for different reasons. BUT...were you asleep from 2008-2010? The American people "gave" the Dems just what they wanted..the White House and both Houses of Congress! I can vividly remember Nancy Pelosi saying "Now we can pass all of those programs, and the Republicans can't stop us!!". Joke's on her, because it was the DEMOCRATS who wouldn't sign on the dotted line! And after back room deals with insurance and pharm. lobbyists, the public option vaporized, and a monstrosity written, they had to bribe and threaten enough Dems to pass Obamacare. And Pelosi(again) said "We have to pass it to know what's in it". THAT'S what you're telling me is the only thing that can save our country? Didn't you notice that the first election cycle, the voters spoke...and got rid of the Dem majority? We're not buying it.
    I will begrudgingly vote for Romney, for the same reason you cite...the Supreme Court. One man's activist judge is another man's voice of reason(and vice versa). I'm very discouraged, because I naively believed that the PEOPLE of this nation would band together and defeat the political corruption. There is a small band of puppeteers, who run BOTH parties, and get their way no matter who wins. They have successfully pitted us against each other, on 2 enemy teams, once again. I was hopeful that enough people would be "on to them", and could change the course. David Vidal and I always said we should put Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich in a room, and see what they can come up with. But that makes too much sense.

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  11. Rochelle, you said
    "Let's hope that with Bill Clinton working with Obama this time, this nation will do the right thing."

    Of course he's helping...in exchange for $250 million in campaign debt resolution for Hillary. As always in politics, follow the money.

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    1. Unfortunately, I have to agree that "follow the money" is part of politics. I only wish all of the candidates would support cutting back. However, I disagree with some of the posts above that say that Obama has done nothing that he promised. The economy is recovering. We are out of Iraq. We are staying out of the identity crisis in the mideast. Having traveled to several countries in the past years, such as Egypt, UAE, Bahrain, and Jordan, I am very grateful that we have not sent troops into any of these areas. Who said that we have more troops anywhere?? I don't remember which post said that. I voted for Obama in 2008 and I will full-heartedly vote for him again in the next election. Rochelle

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    2. Rochelle--Obama sent about 100 combat troops to central Africa back in October 2011 to help fight the Lord's Resistance Army (aka Joseph Kony's army). The people who "promoted" (for lack of a better word) KONY 2012 kind of omitted this little tidbit--along with the fact that one of the reasons why troops were sent was to maintain economic stability in a region with huge oil deposits. There was an article in the 29 April 2012 issue of the Washington Post providing an update on the challenges the army is facing while searching and fighting in the remote jungles of Africa.

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    3. A rabbit hole from Karen's comment...that KONY2012 had me shaking my head in disbelief. Oil is discovered in the region in late 2011 and "suddenly" we are sending troops to stop the LAR and Joseph Kony. Then...quelle surprise...in March a video goes viral telling about Kony!! Send money, buy a bracelet, stop this monster!!! The video was 8 yrs old, and Kony had been run out of Uganda 6 yrs ago and has not been seen since. The current regime is, wait for it, a raping, murdering, child-soldier-making despot(but hey, he's OUR despot, for now anyway).
      If the "Right" had been the one to support that video, talking about caring for the children...the Left would have(justifiably) blown a gasket. Charlie would have written a blog about how oil has been found there, the video is old, Kony isn't even active, etc etc...vilifying the "right" for going into another region with soldiers, on false pretenses. Instead, it's a "good thing" if it saves one person? Well then...I guess going to Iraq and capturing a man who used his own people for target practice was good too?
      More proof(to me anyway) that the 2 parties are actually ONE big leviathan, doing the same things. On a sick and twisted level, at least the "right" is honest about their support for businesses. The "left" vilifies them, then takes their money and gives them perks. I just can't wrap my head around the left's denial of Obama's corporatism and his relationships with the EXACT SAME entities he vilifies. The answer to our problem with "big bad health insurance companies" is to force us to BUY THEIR PRODUCT?? Seriously???

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  12. I so agree with you Charlie. It seems to me that in recent years, a lot of the Republicans in the Congress vote against anything President Obama supports, purely because he and the Democrats support it, whether or not it would be good for the country. You can even hear it in their speeches. The main goal is to get Obama out, and not what is best for the country. That seems to be of little importance anymore! I am not a huge Obama fan, but I do believe he is trying his best to get the country moving in the right direction, and I certainly believe he is way better than any of the Republican candidates!
    So good to have you Blogging again! I missed reading them!!

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  14. Charlie--Yes, I know it's a conservative think tank (I did my research--how else do you think I know that Norman Ornstein is a long-time friend and supporter of Al Franken?). But not everyone who works there is a conservative; certainly no "dyed in the wool" Republican would support Al Franken, one of the more liberal members of the Senate. Not all of the actors in Hollywood, for instance, are liberals (although that is the perception). Supposedly higher education is full of loopy doopy liberals who are out of touch with the real world; I can testify that's not the case (and, in fact, one of the Political Science profs who was an ardent supporter of Obama in 2008 probably won't vote for him this year because he hasn't done what he promised--and he blames Obama, not the Republicans, for that).

    Jo—Thanks for bringing up NDAA. Somehow, most liberals are overlooking the suspension of the 4th amendment, something even the detested Bush 43 never did. Oh, well, I guess unreasonable search and seizure and imprisonment without charges aren’t really a problem if the Democrats are in charge (oh, wait, the ACLU is irate about it).

    Sharon—Republicans not compromising? Take a look at the Senate. Watch and see how often Harry Reid cooperates with the Republicans (or with Democrats who don’t fall in line—yes, there are a few). Go look at the activity of the Super Committee and see which party was willing to compromise and which wasn’t. It wasn’t the Democrats who were willing to give in; they refused to budge on the issue of reducing spending while the Republicans proposed raising taxes. Yet the Republicans are vilified for not bending over backwards and automatically approving everything the president proposes (oh, wait, they’re the ones who proposed the jobs bill that finally passed Congress after Democratic stonewalling because they didn’t want the Republicans to look good).

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  15. I agree with you Charles. There is no way, that I would even consider voting for Romeny. I usually base my vote on who's veiws I agree with, be it Democrat or Republican.
    I would be really interested in your thoughts and views about the welfare system in your blog sometime. I am currently working on writing my own thoughts and veiws about the welfare system myself. When I'm finished I could send it to you if you'd like.

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  16. Wow, what passion from everyone. I feel embarrassed that my two cents won't seem like much. I don't know who to vote for either. The lesser of two evils? Oh, to be able to just start over, and be united as one nation.. (In another time dimension, on a perfect world.) As a hard working blue collar, I feel the pressure on either side, but as an American citizen it is suppose to be an honor to vote. I feel tears coming right now because I want to be, but I'm not, very passionate about where this country is at, or where it is going. All I know right now is that I work hard, every day, to provide for my family. while people with a higher jurisdiction decide my fate for years to come. Sure my ballot goes into the pot, but sometimes it really doesn't seem to matter. My soul aches for what is happening. Whoever takes office, there is too much that is irreparable, and it will continue. Both sides seems to be justified in pointing fingers at where this has gone, but they don't work together to fix it. -- 2 cents (first time ever blogging)

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  17. Woo boy, it's been a long time since my quantitative reasoning and theory of argument class plus I'm trying to hold a squirming infant as I type this so forgive any bizarre typos - my son probably sat on the keyboard.

    But I have to disagree with the notion that one party can be blamed for the ineffectiveness of our government today. I believe that history has shaped our current Legislature from every possible political angle, and I find it difficult to trust any research or study that can point the finger at one particular cog in the political machine and say "this is the reason the machine is broken."

    (Without having read the book) I have a hard time believing that whatever evidence the writers have to support this can honestly be quantified or made qualitative in any kind of reasonable, indisputable form.

    Politics is many things but mostly it is the pursuit of power. People in politics seek power - no matter what their party. Dem, GOP, Green, Socialist, etc. It is about who controls the game - and to some people, that's all it is, a game. There are party players that live and work for nothing more than advancing their party's objectives. Then there are people who honestly do care about the wants and welfare of their constituents. Unfortunately, those particular players don't make headlines unless they get caught in some kind of scandal (which also happens to both sides.)

    I won't vote for Romney, but in all honesty I probably won't vote for Obama either. Neither of them have impressed me with their records or their rhetoric, but more so - I feel both of them have really had little regard for the Midwest - particularly the State of Iowa (my home) - unless it suits their purposes.

    Yes, President Obama was recently in Iowa CIty to deliver an address, but quite frankly, I would have rather seen or heard from him last summer when half of western Iowa and a horrific portion of the Midwest was drowning underneath a swollen Missouri River. Millions of people from the Canadian border to the deep south were affected by this. Homes were lost, millions of acres of vital farmland was decimated and when the people here needed something ANYTHING from their Commander-in-Chief, he was disappointingly absent. It was hard to see the devastation and feel like Washington was apathetic.

    Actions speak louder than words, and in that case, so many elected officials on BOTH sides failed miserably to convince voters here of their re-election worthiness, but I digress.

    I recently saw something on Facebook that was both crude but funny, and I found to be a pretty accurate example of the level of discontent a lot of people have with Washington as a whole. It was a picture of a sign outside a closed business that read "Politicians & Diapers: Both need to be changed often and for the same reason."

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    1. What a wonderful reply, Courtney!!

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  18. Couldn't resist chiming in! This blog makes me smile! Yes, betting you were missed. And well said: most important to study up on the issues before voting! Great comments here as well. Maybe be adding my two cents later. Especially if someones comment rubs me wrong. Later yall!

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  19. I do believe that it is time to stop pointing fingers at each other, like a bunch of kids in grad school and start acting. How is it possible for Obama to have started this whole disaster, when he wasn't in office at the time it started. Give the man a chance, he had so much to deal with going into office and though it might seem like he is taking baby steps, he had to start somewhere.

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    1. Karen--Every president has had issues to deal with when he took office (even Washington, the first president under the Constitution). By year 4, they either have figured out how to solve the problems, or they realize that they aren't capable of solving them. Depending on which disaster you are referring to, it started when Clinton was president (the economic issues) or Carter (the Middle East--although if Clinton had been more proactive after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 there is a strong likelihood that 9/11 would not have occurred, which prompted the latest foray into the Middle East). Remember, Obama voted to fund troops to go overseas, so he is just as responsible for them being there as Bush was (if not more so, because the president doesn't have the authority to deploy troops without the consent of Congress).

      And I hope you meant grade school and not grad school...

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  20. One week ago, I came across an iblog by a man named Charles Shaughnessy. I didn't know anything about him. His topic of 'Ethics and Morales' hit such a chord, that I knew I wanted to learn more about what he had to say.
    Well,.. now I'm a bit intimidated by who you are, yet awestruck that you take the time out of your busy life to hob nob with regular people online. I can feel my face blush, because I have never been motivated to blog anything, yet today I took the leap. I've read thru many of your older posts and the topics you choose to talk about, kick up such passion in people. You are very deep with your convictions, as are many of your followers, and I do get lost amongst the intellects.
    What impresses me the most is that you encourage people to blog no matter their opinion.
    I hope you don't mind that I've decided to join in and occasionally say something even though I don't believe I'm as clever as some of the other bloggers. I'm a great listener though, and hope to learn more from what everyone has to say.

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    1. Couldn't have said it any better. We are so happy to have you here! PS I get lost sometimes in the intellect too but enjoy learning from them.

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    2. Thank you Roxy, I'm startled to have a reply. I am terrified to speak in public, so this is outside my comfort zone. Of course Mr. Shaughnessy has been an inspiration for me to say something and be heard, as it seems he is for many people.
      I adore the simple things in life and when I came across his video blog of him at the stoplight, taking a few moments to say hello to the public, he finally had me.
      (I can't find that now, I know I saw it a few days ago.)

      But I felt strongly that it was time to join the masses, and take the opportunity to be a part of something special. This website is making it possible. Thank you Mr. Shaughnessy for giving me courage to participate.

      I've decided to have my name with my 2 cents. It is more personalizing. (my first post was anonymous)

      (6 cents in 2 days, I must be quiet now so I can read and learn about other have to say)

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  21. I could not agree with you more. I am older and have seen a lot of elections. I feel that I have the wisdom to see through what the Republicans are all about. God Willing others will see this before Nov.

    As I was once told if a Democrat ran against a Republican Dog the dog would win. How narrow we are in our thinking.

    Thanks for writing this Blog.

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  22. Welcome, Nan, nice to have you here. Feel free to pitch in any time. No one's voice or opinion is any more, or less, valuable than anyone else's......oh, OK.....and that includes mine !

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    1. (gasp) Now my face is red! I'm trying to quickly think if something to say... um... sorry,.. still abashed (I had to look that word up).

      Thank you very much though, for helping me want discover something inside myself that I didn't know was there.

      My husband keeps giving me funny looks when I start up discussions of politics, religion, or ethics & morals (which, by the way, I believe Christ taught both--Ethics with words and Morals by his example. Perhaps you meant immorality has lead us astray)).

      P.S. I signed up with facebook yesterday. Geez, I'm.. uh... 29, and you'd think I'd have already been savvy enough to do that. (I had to look up that word also).

      P.S.S. Thank you mostly for taking time out to just be an average Joe. That's the person I like.

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    2. Nan, I'm so glad you're here!! Your writing is GREAT...very articulate and well-spoken. So what if you have to look up a word or two(over the 7 yrs, I've had to look up several of the words Charlie has used...even Fran Fine had to tell him to speak English!). We all have gifts that will add to the group, and I'd love to hear your opinions. Looking forward to reading what's in your heart.

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    4. Nan I also have to look words up also. You should not be embarrassed by it. I know I'm not. I look at it as a learning experience. I feel everyday we all learn something new.

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  23. I have watched and enjoyed you as an actor for many years and I am happy to see you again on Days. I also completely disagree with your political preferences.

    Philosophically, I do not feel human nature can be improved upon by central government planners. To me, the politics of happiness keeps people unenlightened and poorer longer.

    I do agree we all have a collective responsibility to our country to be aware of the critical issues facing America today. ‘If you want to wake the world, wake thyself’.

    My husband has never voted for a Republican President and this year may be no different. Oh, well. His political beliefs compliment him well even when I am in complete disagreement with his logic. I almost have him convinced he is more Libertarian than Democrat so not all hope is lost.

    I believe power is not given lightly and must be awarded to an individual who is willing to carry the responsibility in a balanced way which brings me to the best political joke I have heard so far.

    'A liberal, a moderate and a conservative walk into a bar. The bartender yells, Hey Mitt!

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  24. To Nan (and the rest of the new folks on the blog):
    As one of those "intellects" who might intimidate you--don't be afraid to join in the conversation. In my case, I've been trained to support an argument with facts, many of which might seem like a history lesson. Every one is equal on the blog (even Charlie, as he stated above), and, even though he might not have the time to reply personally to the questions we ask or to our comments, we know he does read them and appreciates the time we take to participate his blog.

    PS--If the change in profile works, you should be able to tell the difference between me and any other Karen who chimes in without looking at the picture.

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    1. I enjoy your blogs very much, you are way out of my league as far a deep conversation. (same goes for Mr. Shaughnessy, you both use words that I have to look up in the dictionary). But the thing I'm enjoying about this type of interaction is that it gives me a chance to read over the blogs a couple of times then my mind can process something I may want to say.

      10 cents now, boy this is adding up faster than I realized it would.

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    2. Nan--Don't feel bad; I have to look up words, too (and sometimes literary allusions). And believe it or not, Charlie's blogs have given me a place (and the courage) to articulate my thoughts without being ridiculed like would happen at work, which is why I enjoy the interaction (let's just say "conservative academic" isn't something that it expected (or respected) on a public college campus).

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  25. Charlie: I think you overlook a critical reason why Congress has become more and more gridlocked. It's not just that members of Congress have become more intolerant, it is that redistricting (or gerrymandering) has allowed so many members of the House to be obstructionist without fear of being voted out of office.

    Unlike Senators, who must win the majority vote for their entire state, Representatives need only win the majority of voters in their district. In the past 20 years, more and more states have redistricted House districts on ideological lines. Barring major demographic shifts, these have become "safe" Republican and "safe" Democrat seats. For instance, if the Republicans control the state legislature and want to ensure more members of Congress from that state, they might create five "safe" Democrat districts with 98% Democrat voters and create 10 "safe" Republican districts, each with 70% Republican voters. The state may not be overwhelming Republican, but that type of redistricting dilutes the strength of the Democrats and makes the state more strongly red.

    The side-effect of that kind of redistricting is that the general elections for the House are rarely in dispute. Instead, the winner of the House seat is often determined by the primary of the party that dominates the district. The winner in those districts rarely has to appeal to swing voters, let alone voters from the other party. Instead, they need only win the majority of voters in their own parties' primary. That has resulted in more and more candidates who represent the ideological fringes of the parties.

    It, therefore, is not surprising that many members of the House are not judged on what they accomplish in terms of legislation, but on their popular appeal to the party base. As a result, we lack the consensus-builders of the past who, despite being "liberal" or "conservative," understood that they had to work with the opposing party to pass legislation that they could then trumpet to their constituents.

    Having said that, the abuses of gerrymandering have been a largely one-sided affair. In states were Republicans have managed to win both legislative houses and the governorship, they have pushed through radical gerrymandering measures. Texas is most notable. Whereas, redistricting is usually done after the census at the beginning of the decade, Texas Republicans pushed through radical redistricting outside the census period.

    Meanwhile, the Republicans have engaged in substantial efforts to block Democrats from retaliating. California, for instance, was the most likely state to redistrict in a way that heavily favored Democrats, but right-wing forces forced out Gray Davis and then pushed for passage of an initiate to take redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature and give it to an appointed panel that is balanced between the parties, but not reflective of the overwhelming Democratic majorities in the California Legislature. With this commission, it is likely that California may end up with more swing districts where candidates have to appeal beyond their own parties' ideological base.

    So what we can look forward to is a significant group of Republican members of Congress who are far-right and appeal to the Tea Party and religious conservatives that form the Republican base, a few moderate Republicans who have won swing districts, similarly situated moderate Democrats, and a group of far-left Democrats who come from "safe" districts. That is not a good recipe for bipartisan cooperation.

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    1. Bravo jwsel! The county where I lived as a child and while in graduate school used to have one Congressman; after the 2000 census, it was divided into four gerrymandered districts (and in some places people living next door to each other have different representatives). I remember a decade ago when the Pennsylvania legislature deliberately combined two incumbent Congressmen into one district (one a long-time Republican, the other a relatively new Democrat) with the express purpose of forcing the Democrat out of office--and, surprisingly, the Democrat won in the general election. Of course, it turns out he was a blue dog Democrat who voted against Obamacare and was recently defeated in the primary by a more liberal Democrat, but their efforts to redistrict him out of office backfired--and, even though I'm a registered Republican, I loved that it did.

      Fortunately, it is possible for citizens to challenge redistricting through the courts (and sometimes these challenges have succeeded). And it still is possible for House seats to be contested; I know that my current Congressman (who became my Congressman after redistricting following the 2010 census) is in his first term, defeating the incumbent Democrat in 2010. First term Congressmen are vulnerable, especially in a presidential election year. If Obama wins the popular vote in Pennsylvania, there is a strong likelihood I will have a Democratic congressman for the first time since I moved to Pennsylvania in 1998 (I live in a rural county that I don't think has ever voted for a Democrat for president).

      And really--is it a bad thing if candidates have to appeal beyond their own party's ideological base? After all, if they are elected to represent the entire district, and not just the Republicans or Democrats in their district, then perhaps they will realize that they do need to look beyond party lines when debating, discussing, and voting on legislation. As I see it, the problem is that too many members of Congress (both in the House and the Senate) don't look beyond party lines and vote based on what party leaders want and not what is in the best interest of the nation overall. In many ways, James Madison was right when he warned about the dangers of political factions in Federalist #10. The divisiveness is destroying the country--and both parties are equally responsible. Blaming just one (in Charlie's case, the Republicans) does not solve the problem; it only exacerbates it.

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    2. Jwsels...first of all "welcome" and you gave a wonderful description of the gerrymandering process! However...it's a bipartisan thing. I googled "do both parties use gerrymandering?" and the result was a resounding "yes". They BOTH do it, as a matter of fact quite a few of the google results were talking about Chicago...not exactly a hotbed of conservatism. And we let them do it, without holding the whole lot of them accountable. Instead we start fighting over which side is worse? It's like asking do you want lethal injection or the electric chair? It's the same end result. They do what they do, because we ALLOW it. And as a previous poster mentioned...you can't look at a big, broken machine that's been malfunctioning for decades, and figure out which cog is the problem.

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    3. wellcome to the "Club" and I hope to hear your opinion many times in the futute on this and the blogs to come.
      As a non American I´m afraid I´m not knowledgelable enough on this matter,but I do enjoy all the comments and yours was an eye opener.I shall google and find out more!In fact through Charlie´s blogs I have learned a lot about America, positive and negative.

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  26. Ralph Ellison is no longer the lone Invisible Man. The voice of America's populace has itself become invisible, forced into hibernation time and time again by today's politicians. It is muted, deemed insignificant and even ignorant until called upon during elections. Those working in Washington do not care about the needs and wants of their consituents. They care about preserving their status and protecting their own interests. For far too long they have been successful because they pit Americans against one another in an US AGAINST THEM battle. What ever happened to compromise? What ever happened to doing what is right simply because it IS RIGHT? As long as we remain common enemies, politicians will use their power to subdue, stifle and even conquer. Forget party lines. Forget left versus right. Forget religion, race, ethnicity and gender. Do what's right for the sake of what's right.

    "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." - Alexander Pope

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  27. WOW! Welcome "jwsel" to our ongoing "chatterbox!" Seldom have I read anything on here as informed, informative and gosh-darned interesting as your piece on gerrymandering. I had never thought of that particular perspective and I think you may be right. Thanks for such stimulating input all of you.

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    1. Okay, here comes the history lesson. The term “gerrymandering” developed when Democratic-Republican (sort of modern-day Democrat) Congressman Elbridge Gerry's friends in Massachusetts drew up a legislative district shaped like a salamander to ensure his reelection in a predominantly Federalist state. In other words, Democrats created the process to ensure their reelection, and now Republicans have adapted it for the same purpose. But when the Republicans do it, it's evil and the end of democracy as we know it; when the Democrats do it, it's the best way to ensure all groups are represented fairly. You would think the Democrats would be flattered that their opposition has adapted some of their political strategies…but no, they whine when they are used against them.

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    2. Thank you for the kind welcome.

      I really believe you hit the nail on the head by pointing out the false equivalencies used to distort the reality of Republican obstructionism.

      Also, gerrymandering could be coupled with another effort by Republican to manipulate the system. There already have been some efforts to change how the electoral college delegates are apportioned between presidential candidates. Last year, Republicans in Pennsylvania -- a key swing state -- pushed to have most delegates apportioned according to congressional districts, instead of by winner-take-all. Because the districts are heavily gerrymandered, with Democrat voters concentrated in urban areas, if this passed, a Democrat could actually win the state vote, but wind up with fewer electoral votes than his Republican opponent.

      A similar proposal was raised as a potential initiative in California. It did not qualify, but don't be surprised if it is raised again. Not surprisingly, the initiative was proposed by one of the leading proponents of the Gray Davis recall.

      No similar efforts are being taken in solid red states. And why would they? If the Republicans can keep winner-take-all in states that favor them, but dilute the electoral college impact of losses in large states that are more likely to support Democrats, the Republicans gain a tremendous advantage in the federal election.

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  28. I should have said what jwsel said. (wink).
    Actually I had my husband translate jwsel's blog for me. He even knew what gerrymandering meant without batting an eye! I really take him for granted,. (which, by the way... Mister.. you better be treating your wife something special! She deserves it, considering some of the roles you've had to play. (blush).
    Politics are not my forte (dictionary) so I don't know how much longer I can hang onto this coat tail. I promise though, this fall at the election I won't feel as despaired as I have in the past. I promise to be more educated and have more faith that my ballot does make a difference.

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  29. It always amuses me that whenever I point out the devious, political opportunism of the Republican party, someone dredges up some false equivalency ( as jwsel puts it,) to make things appear "fair" or equally unfair. Usually this takes the form of finding some similar action on the part of a historical figure "back in the day" when the political identities were much different than now and congressmen were shooting at each other with pistols to prove a point!! Can anyone give me an example where the Republican Party has recently supported legislation that runs contrary to it's own self-interest, but for the good of the country? As some are quick to point out whenever I talk about Republican billionaires, there are plenty of Democrat billionaires, yet they are fervently in favor of being taxed against their own self-interest for the good of the country. Yes, even those god-forsaken, immoral, Hollywood types!!

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    1. Charlie--Okay, even though you did not specifically mention me by name, I know that your comment about "congressmen were shooting at each other with pistols" is directed toward me (there really weren't any duels on the floor of Congress, although fist fights and canings did occur in the House and Senate during the 1850s--blasted Democrats physically assaulting Republicans). Throwing your question back at you--how do you define recently? Within the past year? Within the past few months? Try the jobs bill that Obama requested last fall--passed by the Republican-controlled House (a bill that received bipartisan support) and stuck in the Senate for weeks while Senate Democrats twiddled their thumbs trying to make the Republicans look bad (meanwhile, unemployment was rising and small businesses were closing). Finally, when they realized how childish they were behaving, Harry Reid and the gang decided to allow the bill to come to the floor of the Senate for a vote, and it passed.

      By the way--I'm making the offer again. If you want me to stay away and not include historical references in my comments, just say the word (because we both know that I’m going to do it if I have the opportunity). Nothing is forcing me to participate in your blogs. This time of the semester, I certainly have better things to do than to read and comment, even if I find it a pleasant diversion. My point (even if it sometimes takes me a while to get there) is that in order to understand what is going on now, you have to know the historical context. And since you apparently don’t think it is important to consider that, perhaps I should stop submitting comments.

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    2. You beat me to it. The "back in the day" Democrat Karen described was Elbridge Gerry, who pushed through his redistricting plan in 1811. The Democratic Party of that time was nothing like it is today. It also is worth noting that Gerry was voted out of office in 1812, largely because voters rejected his redistricting efforts.

      This is a perfect example of the type of false equivalency or "they're just as bad" example that you alluded to in your original blog.

      Karen nonetheless is right that both parties have engaged in gerrymandering. However, historically, Democratic redistricting efforts have been less craven and, in the south, were largely about entrenching white Democrats and diluting minority votes. Those efforts were sometimes thwarted by Voting Rights Act cases, plus alliances between Southern Republicans and black Democrats. I also would say that the southern Democrats of the 1970s and 1980s bear little resemblance to today’s Democratic Party.

      In any event, since 2000, two major shifts have occurred. First, beginning in Texas, Republicans broke the long-standing rule that redistricting would take place only after each decennial census. Instead, they opened the floor to gerrymandering immediately upon a shift in the state legislature. At the same time, they pushed for efforts to prevent Democrats from retaliating in states like California by pushing for measures to place redistricting in supposedly non-partisan hands. Yet, Republicans do nothing of the sort in states where they already control redistricting.

      The second major shfit is that modern technology has changed redistricting. In the past, lawmakers lacked the computers and readily available demographic data like we have today. That kind of technology makes it far easier to model future outcomes of elections, so gerrymandering is far more effective at creating “safe” seats and diluting opponents’ political power.

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    3. Karen:

      What jobs bill are you talking about? The fall 2011 bill proposed by the Obama admniistration was the American Jobs Act? It is never passed the House and an almost exclusively Republican block in the Senate prevented it from ever coming to a vote in the Senate.

      How about looking at the history? Obama proposed the bill in September. That was H. Doc. 112-53. The House then introduced H.R. 12. It was sent to committee and never voted upon. On October 3, Eric Cantor said the bill was "dead" and said the House would only pass parts of the bill.

      Meanwhile, the Senate took the bill (S. 1549) and added a provision that the bill would be funded by an increased tax on millionaires. On October 11, the bill failed to get the 60 votes necessary for cloture in the Senate. The vote on cloture was 50-48, with 46 of the nay votes coming from Republicans.

      In response, President Obama's proposed bill was broken up into several smaller bills. And what happened to them?

      The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act of 2011, S. 1723 -- failed cloture vote on 10/20/11

      The Rebuild America Jobs Act, S. 1769 -- failed cloture vote on 11/3/11

      H.R.674, which amended the tax code to repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain government payments was passed, but efforts to include provisions encouraging the hiring of veterans were rejected.

      So where was this grand bipartison support in the House for the Obama jobs bill? Or, for that matter, when did that bill garner any significant Republican support?

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    4. jwsel--Although Gerry was voted out of office (i.e. not reelected governor) in 1812, he was elected vice president that year (not a bad consolation prize if you think about it, even if he did die in office and nobody really noticed any difference in governmental operations). He certainly was a quirky politician who probably would have been thrilled to know that people are still talking about his legacy 200 years later, no matter how distasteful that legacy is.

      And Texas was notorious for its creative redistricting even before 2000. Following the 1990 census, the Democrats created a "Hispanic" district outside of Houston (just like they created the "Black" district whose representatives have included Barbara Jordan and Sheila Jackson Lee). Honestly, when I saw that district's boundaries (I lived in Houston then), I thought someone spilled ink on the newspaper when they printed the map, it was so odd-looking (even worse than Gerry's salamander). The post-1990 gerrymandering for the Latino district backfired a bit, though, as the voters in the 29th district elected a white male (who still holds that seat) instead of any of the Latino candidates, although they were able to keep that seat in Democratic hands.

      Incidentally, Maine and Nebraska already have their electoral votes split in that each congressional district has one elector, and the winner of the popular vote gets the two electoral votes allotted for each senator (in Nebraska, the congressional district around Omaha/Lincoln went for Obama, and the rest of the state voted for McCain--so Nebraska's electoral votes were split 4-1 in 2008). What Pennsylvania's assembly proposed to do was to fit with that model, one which would make the electoral college more reflective of the voters' intent than the winner-take-all model. They aren't proposing something that isn't already in place in other states.

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    5. Karen:

      If every state used the same model for apportioning delegates, we would be having a far different discussion. But that is not the case. The fact is that Republicans are pushing to have two different models: (1) allocation by congressional district in key swing or blue states; and (2) winner-take-all in red states.

      While Nebraska and Maine do apportion their delegates according to congressional district, those states are so small as to be virtually inconsequential in affecting the outcome of the presidential election. However, when large swing states or Democratic-leaning states like Pennsylvania or California do the same, while Republican-leaning states do not, there is a much greater chance of the difference in how delegates are apportioned making the difference in the outcome of an election.

      To illustrate, let's use 2000 as an example and flip the states and parties in question. Notwithstanding Florida, Bush won the electoral college vote 271 to 266. Ohio was a swing state that Bush won by 3.51%. That victory gave Bush 21 electoral votes. Now let’s say Ohio divided votes by congressional district. In that election, Ohio’s congressional seats split 11-8. (In most of the plans to divvy electoral votes by congressional district, where there are more electoral votes than congressional districts, the remaining electoral votes go to the victor of the statewide popular vote.) So instead of winning 21 votes, Bush would have only won 13 and Gore would have won 8. In that scenario, the electoral college outcome would be 274 for Gore and 263 for Bush. The fact that Ohio apportioned its electoral college votes changed the outcome of the election.

      Don’t tell me that Republicans would not have been up in arms about the disparity in apportionment. Not when a winner-take-all state like California would have counter-balanced Ohio. It gave all 55 electoral votes to Gore, but apportionment according to the hypothetical Ohio model would have given Bush 20 of those 55 delegates instead.

      While states have wide latitude to decide how they will apportion their delegates, you must admit that Republican efforts to seek apportionment according to congressional district in swing states or Democratic-leaning states smacks of political opportunism. If there were some overriding principle involved, red states like Texas would have already adopted such plans.

      In fact, after Obama's successful strategy of targeting Omaha in 2008, Republicans in Nebraska tried to change back to a winner-take-all system. Although the bill died in committee, the state Republican party has made it a major litmus test for party support for state legislators. Now, any state senator who fails to support changing back to winner-takes-all will be refused party support.

      Personally, I’m in favor of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, in which all states give their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote. Isn’t the fairest way of determining who should lead the entire country be to make the winner the person who wins the most votes of the entire country? How funny is it that the only states that have endorsed that proposal are blue states – Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, California and District of Columbia. Since Republicans seem so intent on “fixing” the electoral college, why haven't they supported a proposal that makes the winner of the popular vote the winner of the Presidency?

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    6. jwsel--Seems we have quite a conversation going on here. Honestly--I think we need to amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College, an archaic system imposed on us by the Founding Fathers who didn't think the common man was smart enough to make a reasonable decision. Democrats do like it because they can effectively "win" a state by just carrying a few cities (in Pennsylvania, whoever wins the vote in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh effectively wins the state, regardless of how the people in the rest of the state vote), just like a candidate can be elected president by winning about 20% of the states if he/she wins the states that have the most electoral votes (which I know is unlikely these days, since Texas has become staunchly Republican and California and New York are staunchly Democratic).

      By the way, getting back to 2000--yes, I know that if Ohio had split their electoral votes that Gore would have won the election (although I doubt that the Republicans would have been as irate in 2000 as you seem to think, since Gore did win the popular vote; it would have been a bigger issue in 2004 if Kerry had carried Ohio because of that change since Bush won the popular vote). I also know that if the people of Tennessee (Gore's home state) had voted for him instead of Bush, nobody would have cared what happened in Florida.

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    7. Charlie...If I may interrupt the dueling history lessons, I'd like to comment on the other things you said in your reply. What I'm seeing here, is that the comments from 'the right' all say "the whole system is corrupt, they are not representing our interests, they are all taking money from lobbyists, corporations and unions. It's an epidemic in Washington and it's both sides of the aisle". I can only speak for myself, but I'm not trying to say "so, your side did it too, neener neener" but instead say "Don't you see that they ALL do it?" You asked us to research...and when I went to check if gerrymandering was a Republican phenomenon, I found both sides complaining about the other side doing it! Perhaps, this cycle the Reps are doing it more(I don't know), but it isn't a new thing they invented to screw the Democrats. There's a list of "political machinations" that they both pick from as needed.
      As for the Democrat billionaires...nothing is stopping them from writing a check to the IRS, not taking deductions etc. If they REALLY believed that they needed to give more money to the government, they would. They have accountants who will make sure not a penny more than required is paid, but because they "said" they are ok with higher taxes, the liberals leave them alone.
      And I don't think the Hollywood types of ungodly and immoral...just hypocritical! Of course, I'm not speaking about you and your wife. They live in mansions with gates and guards, they have multiple luxury homes, take expensive vacations, etc etc...and give money to candidates who give them lip service. Meanwhile, I've been to Beverly Hills several times...have yet to see a section 8 housing project. They can live a life where things are more "fair"..and give the bulk of their money to the causes they think are worthy. Build and staff a free clinic or a school, put up Secton 8 housing for the homeless, etc. The actions aren't matching the words.
      Why would you even WANT to give the government more money? They have squandered what they've already taken, are not fiscally responsible, there is much waste. They've proven they're not worthy or capable of being good stewards. The answer to bloated, corrupted, dishonest government programs and agencies isn't to throw more money at them, IMHO.
      I'm not defending the Republicans, as you know, I left the party after the last election. Perhaps that's why I can look at the 2 parties and the politicians, and see a pile of dog poop and a pile of horse poop...and not argue over which smells worse. They're both pretty gross.

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    8. As one of those participating in the dueling history lessons...see you guys next week. As much as I am enjoying the debate (especially the contributions from the new participants), the stack of papers to grade seems to be breeding, and I haven't quite figured out how they can grade themselves (and, contrary to popular belief, college professors don't just toss them down the staircase to see where they land--besides, I don't have a staircase at home).

      Just a couple of parting thoughts...nobody is holding a gun to the heads of either Republican or Democratic businessmen/the rich forcing them to itemize when filing their taxes instead of taking the standardized deduction. I know that sort of "tax reform" will never happen, but it's a dream. So the idea that one side wants to raise taxes and the other doesn't...give it up. Nobody is stopping Warren Buffett from paying more in taxes.

      Also, I agree with JoAnn in that I'm not that happy with either party right now; just because I'm a registered Republican doesn't mean that I fully support the party's policies and politics. It also doesn't mean that I will necessarily vote for Mitt Romney; I have cast write-in ballots in the past and may do so this fall, since it's highly unlikely that my vote will matter anyway (the election in my state is pretty much determined by the popular vote totals in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which means effectively everyone outside the two main cities is pretty much screwed--just like my colleagues who live in upstate New York, where the electoral votes are determined by the voters in New York City). In fact, the thought of writing in Bernie Sanders has crossed my mind, because I know he can't be bought or sold. However, I can assure everyone that Barack Obama hasn't demonstrated to me that he has earned my support for his reelection, and honestly--nobody who has commented on this blog in favor of the Democratic Party has shown me why he should be reelected. Just saying the Republicans are evil, they are trying to ruin the country, if a Republican wins we're going to hell in a hand basket, etc. doesn't cut it with me. I want to see a strong case telling me why I should vote for four more years of what I have seen the past 3+ years. And don't tell me he hasn't accomplished much because the Republicans are obstructing him, that it's Bush's fault, or that he killed bin Laden (we all know he personally didn't pull the trigger; he merely authorized the completion of a mission that had begun before he even was elected to the Senate). Don't tell me I shouldn't vote for Romney because he strapped a dog carrier on top of his car (as if the dog would have been any safer roaming loose in the back of a station wagon). Provide me with a reasonable argument, and I'll listen. Blaming one party for what's wrong with the government doesn't cut it with me; it just shows me that you really don't know why he should be reelected, but that he should be reelected because he's not a Republican (as if his party affiliation is a good enough reason).

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  30. Mr. Shaughnessy, I have to let you know, I don't think you are Immoral or God-forsaken!
    (I hope you know I was being candid w/my earlier remark).
    If you took offense, please accept my apology.
    (remember, I'm still new at getting to know of you).

    I do have a lot of respect for you.

    As far as the 'Hollywood type' goes, you have to make a living, so I can't disagree with that.
    But here on this blog you are a real person, like the rest of us. You seem very genuine to me, about your dedication to the public (and your family) and we are all very fond of you.
    Well, I can't really speak for everyone out there, but I will speak for myself.

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  31. jwsel--The law I'm referring to is the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (aka JOBS Act). Passed by House 390-23 (obviously with bipartisan support, although all nay votes were cast by Democrats), 8 March 2012. Passed by Senate 73-26 (with amendments related to regulation and the SEC; all nay votes were either Democrat or Independent/Socialist), 22 March 2012. Passed again by House (380-41) on 27 March 2012 (again, all nay votes were cast by Democrats). Signed into law by President Obama, 5 April 2012. So--since both parties overwhelmingly supported passage of the law, then it would not be a logical leap to presume that it had bipartisan support (even if it didn't have bipartisan opposition). Plus, since no Republican voted nay--again, it could be presumed that the Republicans supported the passage of the JOBS Act (and that a minority of Democrats did not). In this case, the Democrats were the obstructionists in the Senate, not the Republicans--and the delay in bringing the bill to a vote in the Senate was because the Democratic leadership wanted to make sure they had a 60 vote majority for a cloture vote, yet the Republicans wouldn't have opposed voting on the bill, since they unanimously supported it.

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    1. Karen, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups ("JOBS") Act was not the bill that Obama proposed in the fall. That was the American Jobs Act ("AJA"), which, as I discussed previously, was blocked by Republicans.

      The JOBS Act was introduced in December 2011, not in the fall, as you claimed. Nor was it proposed by Obama directly. It came out of Obama's early 2011 Startup America Initiative, but was introduced by Representatives Fincher and Lee and progressed through the House. It was reported by the committee on March 1, 2012 and passed the House on March 8, 2012. A Senate version was introduced a week later and passed on March 22, 2012, with an amendment. The House then agreed to the amended act on March 27, 2012.

      So when was that bill "stuck in the Senate for weeks"? And how did Senate Democrats "twiddle their thumbs trying to make the Republicans look bad" in connection with the JOBS Act, which they passed two weeks after the House did? The JOBS bill spent a lot more time pending in the House than the Senate.

      Further, despite its title, the JOBS Act is not a stimulus bill like the American Jobs Act. It largely is designed to relax regulations on small corporations by exempting them from previously applicable SEC requirements.

      While the net effect of the JOBS Act may make small companies more successful, so they can hire more people, it is not a jobs bill in the way the AJA was. Among other things, the AJA provided funding for back-to-work programs; money to keep teachers, police officers, and firefighters employed; money for infrastructure projects and school modernization (which would employ construction workers); and create a new wireless network for public safety. So while the JOBS Act helps small businesses and reduces regulatory hurdles, which, as a side effect, may lead to more jobs, the AJA would have put large numebrs of people directly back to work. That bill was blocked by Republicans who objected to paying for it by taxing millionaires.

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  32. Hi everyone on the blog and welcome to all the new people! This is Barrington Puppy, you know that I am Uncle Charlie's well, marketing and social networking director helper ;-) Some of you know he has been blogging on the internet for many, many years & he has some rules. Since there are a few new folks & boy we are excited about that!! we decided it was a good time to post the original rules for blogging here again that Uncle Charlie wrote all those years ago! (slightly updated by me for Blogger!) Thanks everyone! B & his mama

    So here are the rules for blogging from Uncle Charlie

    Welcome to THE OFFICIAL CHARLES SHAUGHNESSY ONLY CONNECT BLOG

    Please practice proper 'netiquette' and DO NOT USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for your entire post as that implies that you are shouting at everyone.

    REMEMBER - These are YOUR thoughts. Do NOT send a bunch of quotes of other people in your blog replies. I am very interested in what YOU think and have to say. Don't send articles written by someone else. We aren't going to put those up. Don't link to other websites or articles.

    All blogs and comments written by me are actually written by me, Charles Shaughnessy. Your comments all get sent to me via email and yes I do read all of them. I do NOT however do the administrative approvals and upkeep. (Barrington's mama does that!)

    Please be respectful of each other. Make sure you have said what you really want to say before you hit that 'Send" button! We cannot edit your replies and wouldn't even if we could.

    If you disagree with someone else's WORDS or thoughts, PLEASE do NOT call them out by name. No personal attacks & no calling someone out by name unless it is me, Charlie. You don't know how that might affect someone else and it just isn't necessary to criticize someone else just because their opinion differs from yours.

    Again, I can't emphasize enough - These are YOUR thoughts and words. I am very interested in THAT! Please don't put a bunch of someone else's words and thoughts in your replies, a quote now and then is ok if you keep them to a minimum & if you disagree with someone, make YOUR point, don't denigrate someone else or call them out by name. Just tell me in your words, what you are thinking! If you are mentioning someone in a positive way (like when you are welcoming someone) that's ok.

    We have opened the blog up for anyone to comment without signing in to Blogger as it seems to STILL be too confusing for some & I want to hear all of your opinions and thoughts, HOWEVER, if you are posting without signing in to Blogger, PLEASE tell people who you are anyway by signing your posts with your name. It gives your words a lot more credibility than "ANONYMOUS"

    This is a blog website & sometimes a place for marketing/social networking to pass on information about my career. I am inviting everyone to participate, regardless of whether you agree with me or not, just follow these simple guidelines, and hopefully every one will be happy.

    Thanks to all of you for participating and don't let ANYONE intimidate you and keep you from participating. I welcome, read & look forward to ALL of your thoughts and value each and every one of these interactions from all of you, from all over the world! I can't answer all of the comments, as you know, but will occasionally chime in with an additional comment or thought.

    I love this blog & hope you will all continue to participate & encourage others to. We are all equal here. No one's voice or opinion is any more, or less, valuable than anyone else's......oh, OK.....and that includes mine !

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    1. My apologies. I did overstep and will be more mindful of the guidelines in the future. It just was a very interesting discussion.

      Going back to your original post, I am interested in your comment about the activist Supreme Court. Although in so many other respects the notion that "both sides do it" is the popular refrain, "judicial activism" is still largely used only to describe liberal judges. Meanwhile, conservatives still claim that judges like Scalia and Thomas are just "applying" the Constitution when they and the conservative block on the Supreme Court issue decisions like Citizens United and Bush v. Gore. Those opinions are just as activist as anything the liberal courts of the 1960s and 1970s issued.

      So why is it that the left has been unable to defend its judges with the same "both sides do it" argument? More importantly, how does the left change that meme in the future?

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    2. Barrington...I've had a few confused blog people asking me about this quote this morning:
      "
      If you disagree with someone else's WORDS or thoughts, PLEASE do NOT call them out by name. No personal attacks & no calling someone out by name unless it is me, Charlie. You don't know how that might affect someone else and it just isn't necessary to criticize someone else just because their opinion differs from yours."

      Since we are having a discussion here, with back and forth debate..and there is a place to reply directly to each other's comments, how do we not "call each other out"? Most of us, when we hit the reply button after a post, use the person's name out of politeness(such as how I used your name in this post). I'm assuming that is NOT what you're speaking of...that it is still ok to debate amongst ourselves? That saying "Guinevere, where the heck do you get your facockte ideas?" is wrong, but replying "G, I disagree with your comment" is ok?

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    3. jwsel--Right! FDR complained during his first term that the Supreme Court wasn't activist enough when it declared New Deal legislation unconstitutional--which means that if SCOTUS rules that Obamacare is unconstitutional, it definitely isn't activist. Meanwhile, how can a court that doesn't overrule a previous Supreme Court decision (such as the ruling in the Citizens United case, which upheld the decision in the Santa Clara case I mentioned previously), be considered activist? Certainly the Warren Court was activist when it overturned Plessy v. Ferguson with the Brown v. Board of Education decision (see, Republicans can be activists, too). I would think that if you maintain status quo (and, in the case of the conservatives, apply a strict interpretation of the Constitution), the last thing you would be considered is to be activist, but apparently the liberal media (and Charlie) don't realize or accept that. They just see "activist" as "opposing what we think is or should be right."

      Off to the last class of the semester, where I get to discuss judicial activism and politics in the 20th century...

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    4. Wow, re-posting the rules has caused all KINDS of "interaction." These are the same rules that Charlie has posted on every blog ever since he started blogging, at least back to the year 2000. Occasionally we repost them, because new people come along all the time.

      All we mean is don't call someone out in a negative way. Use common sense.

      Debates on the blog between people is perfectly acceptable. Charlie has always encouraged it. Just do it in kindness. We didn't say anyone was NOT. Just reposted the rules as we tend to do occasionally for those that may not have seen them. Jwsel you did not overstep.

      You can only reply to Charlie or you can interact with someone else. Your choice. These rules are just common courtesy & common sense for a public blog.

      Barrington & his mama

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    5. Yes Jo Ann - PLEASE debate and talk amongst yourselves as much as you want. If you would politely like to put someone's name first, as you did, obviously, that is fine. I changed this blog to the way that you COULD reply directly to a particular comment. People have been asking for that option for a long time. As soon as I saw that option became available i implemented it.

      Now if I had said, Seriously JoAnn, OR, Let me get this straight JoAnn, what were you thinking? That is the dumbest thing I ever heard any human being on the planet say" (and you know i would NEVER say that publicly) THAT would be inappropriate social blog behaviour, right?

      I hope people will go back to enjoying participating on the blog again & if you want to join in, please do. B

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  33. I got lost today, my husband isn't here to help. But I think I could related to what Joann and Karen said the most. Especially about the poop.. can we say that on the blog?.. if we aren't suppose to,.. then. sorry about that.

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    1. Honey, that whole jobs bill discussion had my eyes glazing over! Join the club...just hang in there. You'll learn some new stuff, and can jump in when you have something to say. Google is invaluable in this. I'm soooooo glad you're here!

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    2. I´m with you JoAnn This is too much for me also all this historical stuff. It´s the now I want know about and to reply to the original blog as far as I´m concerned no party at present is better than the other, only corrupt in different ways and feeding the lobbies.I´m disappointed in Obama as when he came into office I was hoping all this security stuff as far as foreigners are concerned will ease a bit. No way in fact each traveller now has to give credit card ,bank connection and more information. Sounds more like the FBI is ruling the US and all this security crap on travellers hasn´t brought any results.I´ve had my spats with those TSA people believe me!!
      Also Obama wanted to get rid of Gitmo and he hasn´t yet ? He had time before the Reps took over Congress to do this!
      As I said before I´m not able to comment on any of the inland issues at present being discussed but I do see if there isn´t a little co-operation between the DEms & Reps in the things that really matter, the US will become a split country and then no one will know who to vote!
      I am looking at this Administration as an outsider and those are the issues mentioned above that I´m furious about.However if Romney is a better candidate is not for me to say, I really know too little about him.

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  34. It would have been nice to have the rules posted back when I was blogging here. There were bloggers putting me on the spot several times because they didn't like what I had to say. It certainly wasn't fair to be singled out like that. Defending myself became exhausting. One thing that didn't help was the "click" that there is on this blog. (A certain group of women banding together to stick it to some of us for being opinionated with CS). While there is no control over "clicks," a herd of people ganging up on one can be very intimidating indeed. I can't see leaving my name under those circumstances and most likely never will again. It is unfortunate for me that you think it will effect my credibility. Just saying . . .

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    1. Being asked to defend your ideas and beliefs is not the same as a personal attack. I'm sorry if you felt that you were being hit from all sides, but there is no clique of girls on the blog. There *is* a group of us who are very close friends in real life and travel together, but we are very diverse in our political and religious beliefs. I think you have imagined a conspiracy that isn't there.
      I suspect that part of the problem is the (very necessary) moderation of comments. They all appear at once, and I can see how this would feel like an ambush, when really it's just that everyone replied not realizing that others were saying the same thing at the same time.
      Only once can I recall someone being "attacked" in the many years of blogging, and it was a girl who made a very disparaging comment about black people. Other posters from all across the political spectrum told her what they thought of THAT idea. Anything else is just a heated debate.

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    2. If one of those attackers included me. I apologize. Agree with JoAnn! There is no clique of girls here but some of us are friends outside the blog. But we have different views and have agreed to disagree so we could maintain an acquaintance or friendship. This is mostly because some of us have been blogging on this site a long time and sort of know some of the other bloggers. As for defending Charlie = guilty. Agree with him like 90% of the time. I will take you point to heart and try not to single out or talk ugly to anyone. Meant to attack the issue or idea and not the person who posted it. Don't wish to run off anyone. Hope some day you will feel safer to return if you would like.

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  35. @Anoynmous I´m afraid I need to comment here.I´m not attacking you ,but in my day anything things sent anonymous or commented on was thrown into the rubbish.Why answer at all if one doesn´t want ones name to be published. There is always the possibillity of an alias. Having a name to answer to is much nicer
    I think that is what blogs are for, to be controversial and sometimes not to ones liking . Ican´t remember you to be honest because of beeing anonymous , and I don´t think that there are certain groups here as you mentioned which band together.We all just have different opinions and sometimes they just "group" by chance that´s all.

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  37. nan: I was speaking about disagreeing with him. Believe me, in the past there have been people on this blog whose only contribution has been to attack certain bloggers who have taken strong opposition to CS's views. I am not making this up. I thought we were suppose to give our honest opinions. At least that is how I blog on each site I'm on.

    Liane: I am only mentioning you by name because you directly addressed me. In this age of the internet, it simply does not matter that much about a name. My blogging name is not even my real name - it is my nickname because it is easier for people to remember. Instead of "anonymous," I could call myself Mary, Lisa or Minnie Mouse and you would not even know the difference. Actually, calling myself "anonymous" is honest in itself because I'm being honest by letting you know that is not my real name. Does that make sense? Also, if it is so bad, why did CS give us the option?

    I am all for having a controversial discussion. That was the problem. Instead of addressing the issue whether it be politics or whatever, certain bloggers would come after me for being direct and to the point with CS. Here is the clincher, it was always the same people.

    I respectfully disagree with you about the banding together issue. Going by experience on this blog, it was obvious to me shortly after I started blogging on this site. I am not alone in my opinion here either. I also have to say that CS has not helped with this. I think the way he has conducted the blog with these certain individuals has given them a sense of entitlement. It was even suggested to me that in order to get his full attention on an issue, purchasing a ticket to one of his plays might help. Now I'm not saying I agree with that but some people would and do see it that way. This is not my blog and I am also fully aware that I don't have to blog here if I don't want to.

    I am glad this was discussed. Maybe it will make it easier for people like nan and the other newcomers. In the meantime, I will continue to blog anonymously or I could use a bogus name so it will sound nicer.

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    1. Ok Anonymous I see your point although I still don´t agree with you and seing you addressed me again I shall answer.
      Now I must say I find your comment about having to buy a ticket to a show CS is in quite inapropiate!! This is certainly not the case and Charlie treats all bloggers with the same respect and I find the statement unfair towards him. Yes he knows some of us because we have blogged for some years first on MS and myself even on his Soapbox on his website.I think you probably got that opinion because maybe the same people respond more than others.
      If alledgedly some people you know think this, why don´t they come into the open then ? If newcomers mention they feel "lost" about something , there is always someone that replies with reasurance as you well may have noticed. Now I think we should end this discussion and get back to blogging.

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  39. Karen: I think you may be construing the term "activist" too narrowly. Judicial activism is code for results-oriented decision-making. Whether a court relies on social science, employs a strained textual analysis of the Federalist Papers, conveniently ignores relevant precedent, or simply makes up a basis for the decision, it is judicial activism.

    If the Supreme Court strikes down the ACHA as unconstitutional, it will probably have to depart from decades of Commerce Clause authority. And the oral argument in the cases suggested that some of the conservative justices refused to acknowledge basic facts about health insurance (most notably, that uninsured people affect the rates of the insured, which is unlike the example of burial insurance raised by Justice Alito).

    I could see your point about Citizens United not being activist because it follows precedent on the notion that corporations have speech and Buckley v. Valeo's holding that financial contributions to elections are a form of speech. I would agree with you that justices who follow that precedent are not activist except for the fact that the Citizens United majority opinion expressly repudiated precedent that distinguished between individual and corporate political contributions. The second paragraph of that opinion specifically states that the court will not follow the precedent of Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a 1990 decision of the court, which held that complete restrictions on corporate speech survived constitutional challenge.

    And the majority opinion utterly distorts other precedent. It claims that "No case before Austin had held that Congress could prohibit independent expenditures for political speech based on the speaker’s corporate identity," even though that issue had been addressed in several previous decisions, including California Medical Assn. v. FEC and FEC v. National Right to Work Committee. The latter is particularly interesting because a ruling in favor of the corporation would have struck down laws restricting unions' ability to solicit fund from non-members for political activities. In that opinion, Rehnquist wrote that the corporation's First Amendment right of association, which is closely related to political speech, was overridden by Congress' interest in preventing political corruption. The court stated "[t]he statute reflects a legislative judgment that the special characteristics of the corporate structure require particularly careful regulation." It also repeated language from California Medical Center that the "differing structures and purposes" of different entities "may require different forms of regulation in order to protect the integrity of the electoral process."

    In other words, there was a lot of precedent to support the restrictions on corporate speech. By choosing to reject that precedent directly or distort it, Citizens United was an activist decision.

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  40. With all do respect to everyone. If i may say so: Seems although we are trying not to hurt feelings peoples feelings are getting hurt. Tempers flaring now and then. Good to refresh the rules now and again. We must remember this is a debate and debates are not meant to be personal. I think us women have a soft heart and we let things get to us. We should try to take criticism with a grain of salt now and then i reckon. No matter what race, creed, political party, religion, or etc anyone here is. I may go off on someone but i enjoy Everyone's comment here on Only-connect. At the end of the day we are all the same - just people. YES! Even Charlie. ;-) Missed out a lot on this blog. Have been recovering from a car wreck. So VERY happy to finally chime in.

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  41. Just gotta say...jwsel, you rock!! Even I must stand back in awe and let you speak truth to power. I'm not saying Democrats and the President are without their faults, nor are they exemplary of what politics SHOULD be, but it so refreshing to have someone with the knowledge and clarity of reason to point out some of these gross myths, doublespeak and plain misrepresentations that spew out of the Republican machine. To hear Romney degrade Jimmy Carter, who took the chance on a gutsy call to action in the desert of Iran only to be let down by a botched military operation, while he, Romney, himself said categorically that he "wouldn't spend a dime chasing Bin Laden," was just one more example of his craven unsuitability to the highest office.

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    1. Charlie—I’m appalled at your lack of sensitivity and ignorance. First, I find it a bit amusing that you can praise (multiple times, in fact), the one person on the blog who agrees with you, yet you effectively ignore those of us who have different views, provide evidence to support our arguments, and ask questions that go unanswered (and in a way ridicule us and call us ignorant because we don’t share your liberal ideology). Second, you are doing a great job of taking quotes out of context in order to make your point.

      For example: Romney and Carter—Romney’s point was that even Jimmy Carter (now known as a humanitarian) would have authorized the hunt for bin Laden (after all, he did authorized the failed mission to rescue the hostages in Iran). It’s not degrading Carter; it’s an opinion based on fact. Only the liberal media (and liberals) see Romney’s statement as something attacking Carter.

      Romney and “wouldn’t spend a dime chasing bin Laden”—again, another fine example of taking a quotation out of context. Did you even bother to research when Romney said that—and what Romney specifically said? I went to Google this morning, typed in the phrase, and this is what I found: “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” The context: Why are we spending all of this money seeking one person, when it could be used for other purposes? NOT “I wouldn’t spend a dime looking for him.” The idea that Romney wouldn’t spend a dime—that’s the phrasing from Obama’s campaign, not the words spoken by Mitt Romney. Of course, to you this probably doesn’t matter, since he said it way back in 2007, which makes it history (and, according to what you wrote on May 3, history is irrelevant, we should only talk about the present situation). Also—note when he said it. Obama wasn’t president; Bush was. So Romney was attacking the policies of Obama’s predecessor, not saying that he was wasting taxpayer money. By the way, the actual quote you included in your comment—the Google search could not find it.

      And yes, I know that I’ve become a bit of a hypocrite by saying I would be staying out until after I have finished grading. But I am so incensed by what you wrote that I’m afraid I would take out my anger on my students when grading their research papers and exams if I didn’t submit a reply now. And that NEVER happens, because I'm never this angry at the end of the semester. Don't be surprised if I don't come back to the blog ever again, because it is becoming clear to me that you really don't value the opinions of people whose views are different from yours.

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    2. WOW. Charlie, do you REALLY think that what you said is going to encourage all of the lurkers to come on to the blog and comment?! I can fully understand how excited you are to see JWsels on the blog and I am too, it's nice to have a debate like we did in the 'olden days'. I vividly remember what it was like to be the lone "voice of reason" in a sea of opposition. I can even remember being told by a blogger that I lied about my IQ because no one that smart could be so stupid!!!
      As Barrington's Mama can tell you, I am somehow the "go to" person for people who are afraid to ask you a question...and boy did I get an earful this morning on Facebook. There are lots of fans who read your blog(and agree with my views) but are too afraid to post for fear that they'll look stupid, that you will think less of them, or that they'll make a mistake. They were already upset that you said you'd never seen someone so knowledgeable or informed about the issues, and now to hear that you're thrilled to see someone with reason? They're upset for those of us who plod along, doing our research, finding out facts...and now they're more afraid to come on here!! Is that what you wanted?
      It's a little disheartening to those of us who have stuck with you thru all the blog changes(just where ARE all of those people who were so gung-ho for Obama in 2007? They didn't even bother to follow you to a new blog). And it's upsetting to the lurkers who see the brave ones "insulted". It may not be what you meant, but it's how EVERYONE is taking it. You ask us to research..and when we do, we find things that disagree with you..and not just from the dreaded "Fox News". We checked out Norman Ornstein, only to discover that he was the token liberal(self-described)at a conservative think tank, so you're whole premise that an "educated conservative" said that the Republicans bear 100% of the blame is shot down right there. And we can go on and on about the Democrat crap too. Have you seen "The Life of Julia"? Seriously?!
      I think you've pushed a lot of buttons today, Charlie..and that may have been your intent. And as I said...I can FULLY understand why you're excited to have an ally on the blog! JWsels' replies are GREAT and it's fun to read an alternate view of the issues.

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    3. Sorry Charlie I must say your last statement hurt me. It makes me feel unknowledgeable , and also your rule states we must not get personal which you did in answering personally to jwsel who I´m not doubting really knows what she is saying and it´s refreshing . I always felt "wellcome " in your blogs even if my answers at times were "schrott"(trash)as in some issues I know I´m not competent,but this time it hurt.Maybe as I get older I become more sensitive and having met you and knowing you a little it hurt all the more.

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    5. Hello, I hope I am not coming in too late and that some of you will see this post.

      Charles, I do not know if you remember me or not but when I blogged here last February, I (and some others) took issue with the subject of our comments being ignored if we do not agree with you or if we prove you incorrect. Not to mention the frustration of having you present quotes (or newspaper/magazine articles) which serve your purpose, yet lack real factual basis. When I called you out on that, your response was something to the effect that you did not have time to keep up with all of us, and, therefore, could not give us answers to our questions or back-up your findings. In the end you became upset and pretty much told us to, I think, "take a walk" or something to that effect.

      Charles, the fact is I have seen you take more of an active role on this one particular blog than you have in the last ten months that I have been blogging here. And, yes, the ladies are correct, most of your enthusiasm has been directed to one of the new bloggers who you appear to agree with a great deal. Charles, that is not a debate but that is you patting someone on the back continuously for having your beliefs. What about those who challenge you? Trust me, I know how they feel. It just makes for hurt feelings - mine included and I was not even participating on this blog.

      Jwsel sounds like a nice informative lady and I believe sincere in her statements. Karen is at the top of her game, always presents facts, tries to give both sides of the story and, from what I understand, has been a very loyal blogger for a long time. Oh, and she is a history professor.

      I believe you care about your fans and believe you do not realize how your actions are effecting some people. Please try to take some time and think about that.

      Take care.

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  42. P.S. Sorry to hear about your wreck, Roxy. Hope you are healing fast. Good to have you back.

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    1. Thanks so much! Feeling even better now! Getting staples out soon.

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  43. Well, I don't know beans about Politics (my husband is helping me though). This topic is far too strong for me, and many emotions are flying. Everyone is vying for attention.. and upset when they don't get it.

    My personality is very shy, and my face goes red, when 'anyone' replies to my posts.
    I've wanted to talk about other things, as these posts have become too heated for me. But the blog topic hasn't been changed. Mr. Shaughnessy is the only one that can do that.

    I did not join this blog because of the topic, but because I saw a very sweet person behind the curtain of OZ, and I believe in his promise that he is interested in the people. So if anyone wants to argue with me, my heart will be feint, but I will stand my ground.

    Where he stands in the public, he has a lot of power to do good and he does, 'No Matter' his beliefs. I'm embarrassed to reveal, that there are many things I don't agree with him on. (not just politics) But, I don't wish to argue with him about it.
    What I do agree with, is he is a dedicated husband, and father. A generous giver of charities. A person who is kind enough to say hello to a stranger. Standards that I love...
    I saw the iblog about the 'RFK Children's Action Corps -transforming self esteem and trust' and I was crying before it was over. (Darn you Mr. S., you have me by my heartstrings.)

    Today when he posted to Roxy, and asked how she was feeling, THAT, is the person I care about,.. that is why I'm here..
    -- Roxy, I thought of doing that last night when I read your blog, but was still too shy.. I apologize that my courage to meet new people is still very small.

    My heart is racing and my cursor has been on the publish button for a long time... here goes..

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    1. Yes, I agree! That was really sweet of him! Made my week for sure! No doubt he is a sweetie and does a lot for some wonderful charities that are close to the heart! He does get upset once in a blue moon but justifiably. I think many of us get upset on this blog. Me for sure! It can get to you but is fun too! As far as politics goes, am right there with you. Except my husband isn't much help.. Lucky there! When it comes to expressing your ideas and opinions folks can get pretty caught up in it. Thank you all the same! I am shy in person too but enjoy writing. Reckon socializing is not a strength here. My sons are on the autistic spectrum so thinking possibly hereditary. Luckily they are only mildly affected. Anyway don't sweat it, you'll do fine.

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    2. I know you all care about him and have known of him much longer than I.. But you shouldn't be so angry with him when he is delighted by someone that brought something new to the table. Someone that agrees more with his point of view. There hasn't been too many in this thread...

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  44. Although I have not been commenting on this particular blog, I have been reading with interest. I understand that it is easy to have feelings hurt, especially when one is involved in such an emotionally charged debate on any subject to do with politics. It made me wonder how well any of us really listen to one another—not just here on the blog, but in the climate that exists in this country as a whole. Charlie has been criticized for having facts presented to him but still being unwilling to accept them and refusing to alter his opinion, but how many of you have changed your opinions with the information jwsel has provided? I do not mean this critically whatsoever. I just feel that as human beings we are all guilty of hearing only what we want to hear. Even when we try to look at both sides fairly, we cannot seem to free ourselves completely from our own personal bias—we simply hear what we want to hear. How many come to this blog really expecting to hear arguments that will change their mind? I don’t think that any of us do. We are here to express our thoughts and our feelings. We may occasionally give a little extra thought to something someone else said, but for the most part none of us are changing our opinion. Why do we expect more from Charlie than we do from ourselves? He is just like the rest of us. He is sticking with his opinion!

    There are those participating on this blog who are definitely intelligent people, much more so than I. Each has their own personal experiences and their own personal areas of expertise. Furthermore, one doesn’t have to be educated or an expert to have an opinion or contribute in positive ways. It appears to me, however, that perhaps jwsel is some sort of expert in this particular field. With that in mind, he/she has brought some valuable information to the table. I can understand why Charlie feels the way he does. Of course, if I am right and jwsel is an expert in the field, he still comes to his own conclusion on how to interpret the facts that he gathers. None of you are obliged to come to those same conclusions; however, Charlie HAS come to those same conclusions and therefore is ecstatic to have one as jwsel to offer such great supporting evidence to his opinions. It is my opinion, that in praising jwsel, Charlie did not in anyway mean to insult anyone here. He just simply has a different perspective on politics than most of those participating.

    Even if facts are presented, I really doubt that Charlie ever changes his opinion. Why? Because we all know that regardless of ‘facts’ contradicting his case, there are equally as many to support it. Jo is right! There is good and bad in both the Republican and Democrat parties; it’s just that Charlie and jwsel happens to relate more to the voice of the Democrat Party, as do I. And, I don’t expect any of you to commend me for my words or opinions. I do, however, respect each of your views and absolutely understand that everyone has their own individual reasons for their particular beliefs. I personally believe that the issues we face as a nation are very difficult with no easy answers. It is because there are no easy answers that we have debate in this country. If there were easy answers we all would jump on that train. With that in mind, let’s give one another a break. Yes, even Charlie!

    P.S. jwsel are you there?

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    1. Very nicely said.. is there a LIKE button to click?

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  45. Well, I think this was all one big "misunderstanding". It is so hard to convey things on the internet, and so many times we end up saying "No! Wait! That's not what I meant!!" I can fully understand how excited Charlie is to have JWsels join in here, I am too!!! We all love to learn and love a good debate, and for me it's fun to see the same subject through the eyes of someone on the 'other side'. And as we get to 'know' each other on the blogs, we find we have more in common than we do different. I suspect we all agree on the PROBLEMS, just disagree on the solutions. And at this point, even if we have good ideas about the solutions, the politicians don't do those things either.
    I feel badly for JWsels...I do hope you don't think we're attacking YOU. It may be silly, and as I re-read Charlie's 2 comments to you, I know that *I* read things that may not have been the intent "Seldom have I read anything on here as informed, informative and gosh-darned interesting as your piece on gerrymandering"...was heard to quite a few people as "I've never seen anything so well-researched on these blogs!!", which of course felt like "what am I, chopped liver?". Now that I re-read it without the emotion, I see he said "seldom have I....". And the latest comment..emotions were already raw so we *heard* "Finally!! Someone with reason is here!". I can only speak for myself, but I truly can see how the words could be taken 2 ways...I guess I'm just surprised that so many read it and were hurt. Maybe it makes me feel better to know it wasn't "just me".
    I'm sorry for my part in making ANY mishegas here, and it was a good lesson in how difficult it is to convey emotion on the blog. I can clearly remember how I felt the first time someone came on to Charlie's MySpace blog and said "I agree with JoAnn!", so I can understand how excited Charlie was to see someone really explaining HIS side of the story.
    Love to all, and I do really enjoy these blogs! Even if I do have to drink Maalox sometimes and once even said to Charlie "Well, now that the nitroglycerine pills have taken effect.....". Thank you Charlie for putting up with us!! As Deidre says(where IS she anyway?)...Mud Wrestling for Intellectuals.

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    1. Very much 'LIKE' what is here also.

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    2. Yes! How many time have i spouted out stuff in a panic without hardly thinking about how i came across? Then calm down and realize i hurt folks feelings because i over did it or it got taken wrongly, And you guys always forgave me. It is difficult to convey emotion while typing. Things can become misconstrued and we bleeding heart women wear our hearts on our sleeve sometimes (okay most of the time). "Mud Wrestling for Intellectuals!" I like that Diedre. Yes, let's forgive Charlie and let him off the hook! He is after all entitled to be excited. Sides enjoying him too much on DOOL right now to have time to be upset.

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  46. Hi Everybody

    I'm a new frenchy here, and i just love the way that charlie takes care of his fans . I think its very generous of him to participate to charities. I've read all posts that you guys made. We all love Charlie but we can't blame him to be agreed with somebody, He just expresses what he thinks.I'm sure he doesn't want hurt anyone

    Roxy : For your wreck - Even if I don't know you , I wish you a speedy recovery. I know Maalox, it's so discusting. Courage !

    PS : Sorry if I made some mistakes , but my english is not quite perfect

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    2. Thank you! And Welcome! And i believe you are right: don't think he meant to hurt anyone. Your English is great. Maalox moment for sure..

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  47. Something further I would like to address here. Charles, at the beginning of this article, you point out it was a discussion you heard on the radio and then based your entire blog on that. O.K. However, at the end of your blog, you talk about us being fully informed, not to base our decisions on sound bites or TV ads and to do our research. I am sure you can see the contradiction here.

    Everyone here knows you have an opinion and are enthusiastic about politics and that is great. The problem is the way you come about your information and how you turn away from facts or points brought up by opposing views.

    Also, I feel bad for Jwsel. First time out on this blog and all of this attention! Yikes!

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    1. Feeling bad for Jwsel too! All this is definitely not his or her fault! I hope he/she returns. Politically Informed is always a good thing especially with an election coming up!

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    2. Thank you for the welcome, I really appreciate that. you're more nicer than French people.

      Politics does not interest me that much but for a few days, I had to read and watch TV about it, because in France, the election was this week-end and we changed of President. So, on November 6 for you. You still have six months to decide who will be the next president who will lead your country

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    3. Wow! I"ll bet that was exciting! Thx for letting us know about that election. Yes, six more months. And you are so welcome!

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  48. I wonder if it's not time for everyone to stop and take a breath--and does anyone else think it just might be a good idea to put a limit on the length
    and number of words in any one reply--come on gals, I just logged in and having not been on the blog for a couple of days, I'm experiencing severe eye strain just reading all the long and numerous replies. I've skipped through so many because of their length,that had they been shorter, I most probably would have read them entirely and probably really learned something instead of being overcome by the lenght. Just saying--

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  49. Please don't feel sorry for me. I'm still here and am sure I'll respond to future posts if I feel like I have something to add.

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad!! You didn't do anything wrong and your posts are wonderful. It's great to have someone from 'the left side of the aisle" who joins in and explains WHY you believe what you do. I hope Jeannie will continue also, as it makes for a much more informative and educational blog. I could be wrong, but I think most of us can "see" where the other side is coming from even if we may disagree. I may not agree with Democrat ideology(though sometimes I do...Charlie should start a blog about gay marriage),but I completely understand how and why they believe as they do.
      I'm so very thankful that you are going to continue to join us.

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    2. Yeehaw! Good news here!

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  51. It's been quiet on the home front.. has the debate ended? I keep feeling bad that Karen is upset.. I'm new and I'm not sure how appropriate it is to say,. that maybe,. by however means, Mr. Shaughnessy should let Karen know he does respect others opinions, at least it seems that he does.. I don't know... People shouldn't get angry just because they see things differently. I happens too much in the world... Agree to disagree.. Hope you guys can work this out.

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    1. I think they probably will in time! Wow! This one was great blog!! (just got around to catch up on reading it all) Great with the few exceptions of some hurt feelings. Admire Karen and Joann for hanging in there for long haul. And Charlie did comment earlier that we had ALL give stimulating input! Hope we can all move forward with our wounded prides and look forward to the next one.
      P. S. My head is healing well. And thank goodness no permanent damage seeing in how would need it to blog among countless other things.

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  52. Okay, I’m back after the joy of grading exams…sorry, Charlie, but I decided I’m not through tormenting you.

    Jwsel: First, thank you for joining in the blog. My intent in responding to you has never been to attack, but just to find out more about a perspective that appears to be different from my own (although we’re probably more alike than we both realize). I do appreciate your efforts to explain the liberal perspective, which I often find lacking on this blog. About the definition of “activist”—according to Webster’s dictionary, it means a vigorous supporter of a cause (which means it applies to both ultra-conservatives--which I suspect is the way Charlie is interpreting it--and ultra-liberals, which I think was the way FDR defined it). According to Black’s Law Dictionary, judicial activism implies that judges are making decisions based on personal opinion and not on law. If SCOTUS overturns Obamacare, liberals will cry out that the conservative judges are activist, when, in actuality, they could have decided that the expansion of Medicaid will violate the 10th amendment (it’s not just the question of whether the mandate would violate the commerce clause, which also is one of the issues). They would be interpreting the constitutionality of the law, viewing the Constitution strictly (rather than loosely, as Obama would prefer).

    About Citizens United—I find it a bit amusing that the liberals are irate about the changes to how SCOTUS defined the rights of corporations to make political contributions yet forget that SCOTUS also extended those same rights to labor unions, which in the past also have attempted to influence elections. As a union member, I know that this fall I will get the notice from my union telling me which candidates they “endorse,” with the expectation that I blindly vote for those candidates because they union tells me to do so—and the union will now be able to contribute funds toward the campaigns of candidates it supports because of the Citizens United ruling.

    Also—about those jobs bills that never got out of the House. Again, look at how they would be funded—by raising taxes on the rich. Name one time when raising taxes has led to job creation. Typically, the opposite happens—taxes are raised, and unemployment increases. Why couldn’t the jobs bill also include a stipulation that funds would be transferred from unemployment compensation to the jobs bill (in addition to raising taxes)? After all, if the intent was to put people to work, why would we need to continue funding unemployment compensation at the same level when it won’t be needed as much?


    Charlie—I’m still a bit miffed at what you wrote, but upon reflection I don’t think you realized at the time how your comments could be perceived to be a bit insensitive. After having spent the past 1½ weeks grading student exams, research papers, etc., I realized that even if I (and others) interpreted what you wrote that way, that probably wasn’t your intent (and please, correct me if I’m wrong and you truly meant to say what you wrote). Working with the answers for one set of exams particularly helped me understand a bit about how what you say can be misunderstood (and yet, at the same time, can be memorable). However, I’m still waiting for an explanation on how you could misinterpret Mitt Romney’s quote from 2007 about funding the war in the Middle East to mean that he wouldn’t spend a dime chasing bin Laden (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if at the time you shared his views about the idiocy of the war’s cost). You tell us to do the research, and we prove you wrong—or prove that you developed an opinion based on media sound bytes instead of finding out the context of the statement before reacting.

    By the way—thanks to everyone who stuck up for me. I’ve learned not to expect Charlie to respond when I ask him questions, but it did feel good to know that I’m not the only person who interpreted Charlie’s comments the way I did.

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    1. @Karen G. I think part of the problem with the term "judicial activism" is that it has no accepted meaning. As Eugene Volokh says, the term is used when a decision either appears to create new law or overturn old law and the critic doesn't like the result. Whether the decision is based on “personal opinion” or "the law" depends on the critic’s own view what "the law" is.

      Take gay marriage. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all people equal protection under the law. The supporter argues that scientific evidence shows that genetics are a major component in sexual orientation, so it is not a choice. As an immutable characteristic, it deserves equal protection like race and gender.

      If a judge agrees, is it "judicial activism"? The decision is based on "the law" -- the Equal Protection Clause – and consistent with precedent. In fact, Justice Scalia said Lawrence v. Texas would authorize same-sex marriage. But conservatives would condemn the decision as "judicial activism," claiming the judge "made law" instead of "strictly construing” the Constitution.

      The fundamental flaw in that claim is that it ignores what judges actually do. The Constitution may establish principles, but it does not speak to every fact pattern that arises. Judges interpret the Constitution and statutes and apply them to individual cases as best they can, relying on the text, legislative history, and evidence to reach a decision. But they must pick and choose among precedent and legislative history statements, and they must weigh evidence. Those actions are influenced by the judge's perspective, and it happens regardless of whether the judge is liberal or conservative.

      For that reason, I find the more sensible definition of "judicial activism" to be that it occurs when a judge first selects a desired result and then picks and chooses authority and evidence to support a predetermined result. That is "activist" because it is not principled decision-making, but advocacy. And conservatives like Scalia and Thomas are just as guilty of doing that as Ginsberg and Kagan.

      I've gone on longer than I had planned, so I will make a couple of quick points. Regarding Citizens' United, I already pointed out how the decision directly overruled precedent. That it prevents restrictions on union funding of campaign activities is largely irrelevant to most liberals. Even if the ability of unions to fund campaigns was remotely comparable to those of corporations (which they re not), the point is that the Supreme Court issued a results-oriented decision that dramatically increases corporate power to influence elections and allows them to do so without transparency. The Supreme Court had ample constitutional basis and overwhelming precedent to uphold McCain-Feingold, but it chose to twist the precedent to reach a result that keeps ordinary citizens marginalized by the political process and members of Congress beholden to corporate interests.

      As for ACA, the Tenth Amendment is a reservation of rights to states. It says that any powers not given to the federal government are reserved by the states. But that is not a limit on federal power. If other provisions of the Constitution give Congress power to enact the ACA, the Tenth Amendment, by definition, would not preclude the exercise of that power. If the Supreme Court uses the Tenth Amendment to strike down the ACA, it would turn the Constitution on its head (and will also require finding that the Commerce Clause does not authorize the ACA).

      Finally, your question about how the jobs bill would have been funded is really irrelevant. You cited that bill as an example of the Republicans acting against self- interest for the good of the country, but, as I showed, the Republicans blocked that bill. The bill that you later identified, the JOBS Act, did not actually create jobs, but decreased regulations on certain businesses, which hardly goes against Republican self-interest.

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  53. I have one thing to say. Washington D.C. = 'District of Criminals'.

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  54. Hello Mr. Shaughnessy, I've been checking the blog for awhile now and the banter has died down.. so.. I hope it's not inappropriate for me to ask you. Would you mind doing another Photo Connect or something with pictures? Like you did in 2010. I'm a picture person and love seeing what people can come up with. Pic's can say a 1000 words. Think of a new theme if you want, I'm sure many will enjoy participating.

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  55. Hi

    I was checking too and I'm also sad that this topic doesn't work anymore. A new theme will be welcome, or maybe a new video Iblog or even a photo connect as nan said. It would be great. I'm sure too that everyone will love it. But that only depends on you

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    1. (blushing) I was worried what people would think of my comment, now I know that I'm not the only one waiting to hear about new stuff from you...

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