December 15, 2008

It's me and Jack Balkin on Bloggingheads!

Check it out. Balkin is the Yale lawprof who blogs at Balkinization.

They've titled this one "Qualifications and Disqualifications." We recorded this one on December 11th, so the first segment doesn't go as deeply as I'd like into the subject represented by my tag "Madigan vs. Blagojevich" (which you can click on below), but most of the stuff isn't so time-sensitive, and I'm sure, at the very least, you'll want to play the segment they've called "Ann says we need an atheist President who pretends to be devout."

ADDED: In this really short clip -- 22 seconds -- Balkin is asserting that Bill Clinton is deeply religious -- and a sinner -- and I unwittingly bite my lip Clintonesquely.

72 comments:

Meade said...

I wish someone would add a few more controls to the BHd's player. As it is, I can only "play [the whole thing] at normal speed" or "play 40% faster."

I'd like to be able, for instance, to play the big head on the left 40% faster while at the same time slowing down the stunningly beautiful head on right by at least 80%.

Come on -- it's almost two thousand and nine -- is that really too much to ask.

Tibore said...

Aw, shoot... for a minute there, I thought it said "... me and Jack Black on Bloggingheads!. I had four thoughts flit through my head in the nanosecond I had that false impression:

1. How'd they get Jack Black?
2. Jack Black blogs??
3. How would Professor Althouse get a word in edgewise?
4. In my pre-noon uncaffienated state, will I be able to tolerate Black's hyperactive demonstration of his preternatural (*smirk*) ADD affliction?

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, I'd get my words in -- edgewise and otherwise. I always have to constrain myself and try not to take over and interrupt too much. I'd love to have an irrepressibly hyperactive interlocutor.

Pastafarian said...

I agree with Althouse that there is no way that an openly atheistic candidate could ever be elected President.

And I agree with Althouse that it would be good, every once in a while, to have an atheist President, just as it would be good if other groups were proportionately represented.

But the idea that it's a positive thing to have an atheist President who pretends to be religious -- that part I just can't buy.

I know that it's not a perfect analogy, but it's similar to this: Suppose having some African ancestry still effectively prevented you from ever being elected, as it did in the last century. Would Barack Obama be justified to paint his face white?

And no, it's not a perfect analogy -- actually, pretending to be religious might be worse. There's an element of condescension here toward the religious -- an aspect of playing along with the primitives' rituals to keep them happy -- that shouldn't be a part of the President's character.

So I'm not going to salute President Obama for his probable stealth atheism, since, if he is an atheist, he's also a hypocrite, a liar, a coward, an opportunistic snake-oil salesman, and a condescending prick.

Simon said...

Sure, let's stipulate that the ineligibility clause should be interpreted somewhere else other than a court. That isn't in tension with your observation a minute or so later that laypersons look at a clause and say it should be followed regardless of whether it serves a purpose or not? Even if one thinks it's appropriate for the President in nominating and the Senate in confirming a nominee to be the final arbiter of what the clause means, that doesn't get one off the hook of deciding what it means and holding the political branches to that standard.

Balkin is right, and not only because his post pointed to mine. She is disqualified; it doesn't matter whether the President says it, the Senate says it, or, after she's confirmed, a court says it (several people have told me or implied that they think it's nonjusticiable, but no one can ever explain why it fits into the prevailing model of justiciability per Nixon), but it does matter that she isn't and someone with authority to stop this should say so.

Even Nixon waited until he'd taken his oath of office before he started abusing the public trust. It should not escape notice that the President-elect hasn't even taken the oath of office and he's already promising to violate it. Bush should ask the OLC to provide an advisory memo before January 20th.

Simon said...

And I'm out of time. This was a good diavlog, and there's lots to get into, but I have to go for a while. Rats!

Ann Althouse said...

Pastafarian, did you listen to what I said or are you inferring it from the segment title? I don't have the Prez "pretending" to be religious, I have him using the language of religion for public purposes.

Ann Althouse said...

And also not openly saying that he's not religious.

SteveR said...

"deeply religious " What the hell does that mean? And a "sinner"? Thanks for narrowing that down.

garage mahal said...

A Democrat deeply religious? Hahahaha.

Meade said...

Put me down with garage and SteveR on that.

Nowadays, I'm suspicious -- not deeply suspicious but suspicious nonetheless -- of anyone who uses the overused adverb "deeply" about anything.

I'd be just plain grateful if people would be honest and say, for instance, "I'm shallowly religious. I only voted for him -- I don't actually worship the guy"

Pastafarian said...

Professor -- Yes, I watched that segement of the video. It took me a while to find it, since the numbers didn't match up.

And I don't see a difference between pretending to be religious, and "using the language of religion", while remaining secretly an atheist. What would be the point to using religious flourishes in speeches, if not to give those rubes back home the idea that you actually meant it? What would be the point to keeping your atheism a secret, if not to allow people to assume, with all your religious language, that you're as religious as them?

You're splitting hairs like a lawyer, finding a difference between "lying" and "not telling the truth".

But I suppose this makes the white-paint analogy more apt: Suppose Obama had painted his face white, used more a more "white" voice and pronunciation, and just never brought up the issue of his race, and allowed everyone to assume that he was white?

He's not pretending to be white; he's just using a really aggressive sun block. Or he's using the visual representation of whiteness for public purposes.

Would that be a good thing?

Or would it be better for him to have openly confronted racist attitudes (had he run at a time when those attitudes would have led to his defeat), even if this confrontation did result in his defeat?

ricpic said...

Yup, Clinton's religious alright. It's called the religion of poontang.

Pastafarian said...

And the notion that a politician could get away with simply "not openly saying that he's not religious" is absurd. At some point, he will be asked precisely how religious he is, and at that point, he can either admit his lack of faith, or lie.

I'm saying that it would be better for him to tell the truth, admit his lack of faith, and lose the election, than it would for him to lie, just to get elected, betraying his principles as well as his supporters, and "going along to get along" in a corrupt system.

But I think that we all know which choice Obama would make there -- "go along to get along" seems to have been his personal motto.

I've thought all along that Obama wasn't really very religious, and that he sat in that church listening to those sermons like an anthropologist watching natives dancing around a fire. I consider that to be assholish beyond all measure.

Palladian said...

"I've thought all along that Obama wasn't really very religious, and that he sat in that church listening to those sermons like an anthropologist watching natives dancing around a fire."

I think he sat in Rev. Wright's church all those years and, to paraphrase the old saying "closed his eyes and thought of his political future in Chicago".

Ann Althouse said...

"since the numbers didn't match up"

The numbers only represent the length of the segments. But you can click on the segment titles over there to get where you want to go.

Ann Althouse said...

"At some point, he will be asked precisely how religious he is, and at that point, he can either admit his lack of faith, or lie."

No, he can say something like: "I think personal religious faith, for many of us, is a private matter. Indeed, it is for God to know whether a person has truly lived up to the demands of religions. Publicly, I try to be a good and ethical person, and I hope I live up to what I owe the American people for trusting me with the responsibility of the presidency. I think that part of being a good President is to respect and honor all of the many rich religious traditions in the United States, and I hope and trust that all Americans will join me in this endeavor, which is fundamental to our long tradition of religious liberty."

Ann Althouse said...

I suppose you think that's a crock. I don't!

Trooper York said...

It one of the worst times of year for relegious people. Not the wonderful time of Advent in preparation for the birth of the Baby Jesus.

But it is that time of year when the mooks who never go to church sit in your pew and you have to sit on the side. I mean you are supposed to be happy that they are coming back to the church but they are sitting in my seat.

Ann Althouse said...

I think Pastafarian's question could be compared to the question "Do you think America is the greatest country in the history of the world?"

Some Presidents will say yes, but I don't think they have to say no if their answer is no and I wouldn't recommend it.

Lem said...

I'd like to give a shout-out to all the religion gat clingers out there.

Matt Eckert said...

On a related note, Sarah Palin's church was burned in an arson attack that occured while there were people in the church including two children. But that's not really important is it?

At least this should make people like Andrew Sullivan, Michael, Alpha Liberal and Loafing Oaf very happy.

Maguro said...

Some Presidents will say yes, but I don't think they have to say no if their answer is no and I wouldn't recommend it.

I wouldn't recommend an evasive non-answer like the one you posted at 12:52PM either. Straightforward patriotism is absolutely mandatory for any politician with national ambitions. Pols can't nuance their way around God or American greatness.

There's a reason Obama decided to wear that flag pin after all.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Unbelievable, how some of our founding fathers used the language of religion for public purposes despite their private, um, skepticism.

siyeh pass said...

Well, I would agree with you, Althouse, that faith is a private matter. And I would add, that it’s the word ‘religious’ that throws off the conversation in these matters. One can have a faith practice and have a very deep, personal relationship with God, without religion. And it’s my own belief that God does not require a religion for this relationship - we (I believe) are only asked to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly. To respect and honor all of the many rich religious traditions in the United States is to walk humbly.

jdeeripper said...

Ann Althouse said...I always have to constrain myself and try not to take over and interrupt too much. I'd love to have an irrepressibly hyperactive interlocutor.

Yes, the Balkin is a very staid, placid breed.

reader_iam said...

Trooper York: It's the ongoing living-out of the parable of the prodigal son, no?

Trooper York said...

It's true reader. I mean I am glad they want to come back to church but they show no respect to the church or the people. One hoople parked her giant double wide stroller that costs more than a car in the aisle so the little old bent over Italian ladies who go to church every day couldn't get to communion. I mean show a little consideration. Sit in the back with rest of the moms with strollers. There’s a parking area which you would know about if you came more than three weeks a freakin' year.

This Sunday the gospel was about John the Baptist. I wonder what he would have done with monster yuppie strollers blocking the aisle.

SteveR said...

Reader, not to go totally OT here but I came to a realization one Sunday morning listening to someone read the Prodigal Son (or possibly the Parable of the Lost Sheep), that as much as I wanted to be the good son who statyed home or the 99 sheep who didn't stray, I was lost and needed finding. So if I go every Sunday, I don't really "belong".

I'm kind of dense sometimes, because I always thought Jesus was talking about my cousin or my neighbor.

reader_iam said...

I find the stories of the prodigal son and the lost sheep endearing precisely because they are so dead-on with regard to human nature. Another one like that is the story of Martha and Mary, but that's the one I personally struggle with, because I really do identify with Martha and sort of resent the heck out of Mary. So telling!--I have no problem with the prodigals and lost sheep, but those Marys, darn it!

LOL, entirely at myself and my own human nature.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Love what you are wearing. Black is so good on you. The contrast between your hair and black is divine as in religious.

Many politicians of all stripes use religion as a way to reach out to some voters.

I am not religious. I wouldn't call myself agnostic or atheist though. I was raised catholic and my parents go every Sunday and my mom goes a couple of times during the week. But I wouldn't call them very religious.

How is everyone today, that's good.

Troop sorry about those Giants.

Lem said...

Jack, this is the Governor

Back away from the f*c&#g camera Jack ;)

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

I was doing some research on what to do while home and I dug up Mineral Point.

A cute little town southwest of Madison that has a nice little art community and diverse restaurant scene. I want to see Shackrag Alley.

Have you been to Mineral Point Althouse?

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

The title of this should read "It's Jack Balkin and me on Bloggingheads". I am a stickler for proper language and writing skills.

chickenlittle said...

That's Shakerag Alley Titus. :)

Trooper York said...

Isn't Jack Balkin the guy on 24?

You would think he would have shot somebody during this tape.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Shakerag Alley-yes correct. I am a stickler for proper language and spelling and stuff.

Sorry about Giants Troop. You must be devastated.

Patriots won again even without their amazingly hot starting quarterback.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Does everyone know why they shaked their rags?

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Shakerag Alley was named after young women who were on the rag.

They would shake their bloody rags in order to attract possible husband candidates.

It is now known as Shakerag Alley and is a famous tourist site in Wisconsin.

Trooper York said...

The Giants will be fine Titus. I half didn't watch the game as I was busy with my tribute to hot brunette TV women of the seventies and eighties. This game in the real world was not a big deal.

For the Cowboys this was their Super Bowl.

For the Giants, The Super Bowl will be the Super Bowl.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

The shaking of the rags did cease though because it started to attract male whitetail deers who were horny. These whitetail deers could create havoc in the town. They would bust down any miners cottage in order to mount one of the rag shakers. The whitetail deer did have some success. The children from these visits produced a plethora of circus show freaks. P.T. Barnum wrote about how much money Mineral Point made him in his autobiography.

You never want to cross a horny white tail deer with a nice rack.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

The truth is I like the Giants.

If New England doesn't win then I want the Jets or Giants and then Packers to win.

My least favorite team is the Cowboys because I hate Dallas.

Lem said...

"It's Jack Balkin and me on Bloggingheads"

Jack Balks Althouse metal jax challenge.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Dallas is gross.

reader_iam said...

Well, Titus, folklore does have it that the word came from Cornish wives calling their miner husbands to dinner by waving rags, and the mineral rush around the area of Mineral Point is what attracted the Cornish miners to settle in the area in the early 19th century. I sorta doubt that the rags were the type to which you refer, however.


By the way, there are Shake Rags in various places in this country, and that "Shake Rag" was also used as a title for a book about Elvis Presley, in whose hometown of Tupelo, Miss., there was a slum called "Shake Rag."

The stuff you pick up on these here intarnets.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Every year Mineral Point celebrates their history by sacrificing a virgin to a well endowed whitetail deer. The virgin is picked by a lottery of all of the towns virgins.

The tickets for this event get sold faster than you can imagine. They do not allow any cameras at the event because they do not want this to get out on the internets.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Reader it sounds like you are trying to revisit history.

I know for sure that they were "soiled" rags. It is a sordid past that Mineral Point at times celebrates but at other times denies. It is a very tangled web they weave there in Mineral Point.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Also Mineral Point is where "on the rag" originated from.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

I am going to confront one of those pretend Cornish ragshakers with the truth when I go on a tour during the holidays.

chickenlittle said...

Titus,

Be sure to stop at the "Cave of the Mounds" on your way to Mineral Point. I've long thought their logo was suggestive.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Don't even get me started with Cave of the Mounds Chickenlittle.

They have a sordid story all their own that I don't even want to drudge up here but I will if I have to.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

And then there is Mt Horeb and all their little elves. A very very sad sadistic story.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

And Monroe and their "Cheese Days".

You don't even want to know where some of that "rare" cheese comes from. There is a reason it smells so bad.

reader_iam said...

Moral of Titus' Tales: Make sure to pick up a couple of cases at New Glarus before and after a visit Mineral Point or Mt. Horeb (mmmm ... mustard).

knox said...

Althouse are you wearing a stole?? chic!

chickenlittle said...

You might go to Belmont and see Wisconsin's first state Capitol, before Jim Doty got filthy rich moving it to Madison.

chickenlittle said...

Also Mineral Point is where "on the rag" originated from.

Really, I always heard it was at the Lysistrata Bookstore in Madison. :)

m00se said...

Wow!

Ann! Good Cruella Deville imitation!

(And I haven't even watched the recording!)

Ann Althouse said...

Titusisveryrelaxed said "Love what you are wearing. Black is so good on you. The contrast between your hair and black is divine as in religious."

It's actually a very dark purple.

"Have you been to Mineral Point Althouse?"

Yes, many times. Once to the historic Shakerag Alley, but mostly to walk around and take photographs. Lots of antique shops and old buildings. Here'san old post with photos from Mineral Point.

"The title of this should read "It's Jack Balkin and me on Bloggingheads". I am a stickler for proper language and writing skills."

I think you're referring to etiquette, but I have reasons for rejecting the etiquette in this case.

knox said..."Althouse are you wearing a stole?? chic!"

It's a sweater with a big collar that's knitted into a kind of ruffle shape that makes it stand up like a big fur collar. Bought at Emporio Armani when I was in LA last August.

***

I'm enjoying all the rag talk. I've often wondered if the expression "ragging on" someone was a reference to the bad mood that is supposed to take over women when they are "on the rag."

reader_iam said...

These whitetail deers could create havoc in the town. They would bust down any miners cottage in order to mount one of the rag shakers.

What a rag-tag bunch.

Tibore said...

"Ann Althouse said...
Oh, I'd get my words in -- edgewise and otherwise. I always have to constrain myself and try not to take over and interrupt too much. I'd love to have an irrepressibly hyperactive interlocutor."


Seriously? Wow... we're worlds apart on that score. Such a person would drive me nuts. Jack Black is entertaining as an entertainer, and I can watch his stuff all day long. But actually being in a two way conversation, or worse yet, a debate with such a personality I feel would be painfully wearying.

Meade said...

It IS sort of funny - the expression "on the rag" must have been invented by menstrualphobic adolescent boys haplessly trying to understand the mood shifts of girls.

chickenlittle said...

...the bad mood that is supposed to take over women when they are 'on the rag.'

you mean like rags-to-Ritchie Madonna?

Pogo said...

"ragging on" = "on the rag"

Aunt Flo says, Damn right!

Pastafarian said...

Professor -- No, I don't think that your 12:52 comment is a "crock" -- it's a very eloquently written collection of true and noble statements.

But it's still evasive; and when you're running for president, I'm not sure that you have the right to be evasive like that. If someone is a Satan worshiper or a Moonie or a Scientologist, I think that we'd all like to know about that and weigh it in our evaluation of that person's character, sanity, and qualifications.

Does that make me bigoted against Scientologists? I suppose so. I don't think that all religions, or their adherents, are equally irrational. And while there are very rational and reasonable Baptists, and batshit-crazy Baptists, there are only batshit-crazy Scientologists.

But beyond the practical value of knowing the answer to the question, the thing that gets me is the cowardice of the evasion.

Althouse said: "I think Pastafarian's question could be compared to the question "Do you think America is the greatest country in the history of the world?""

I don't think so. If someone needs to hedge or evade on this question, then they're an idiot. I suppose that you could ask what is meant by "greatest", but by any reasonable measure of the word, what country would they consider greater? I know that it sounds jingoistic, and doesn't score you any cool points in the campus coffee house, but there's only one clearly right answer to that question, unless you're mentally disabled.

Seriously, what nation has done more for humanity than the US?

Am I missing something here?

The only way that they could answer this question with a non-US answer would be if they're

a) Communists, and they prefer either the Soviet Union or China;

b) Hockey fans who have never heard of the Detroit Redwings, and think that Canada is still pre-eminent in that sport;

c) Self-flagellating shit-for-brains who think that the Indian wars and slavery negate everything that we've done to liberate people all over the world from oppression, disease, and poverty.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Althouse, thanks so much for linking to the pics from Mineral Point. It looks so cute. I can't wait to go. My mom will love it. Hopefully it won't be as cold as it is there now.

It was 65 here today. People were in shorts and tankeys-I totally disagree with making that kind of statement at this time of the year. Yea, you have amazing biceps but it is December and it is called appropriate.

But I will have to speak up to the town elders regarding the rag shaking history of this quaint hamlet.

chickenlittle said...

[voice="Butthead"]

*laughs*

Pastafarian said "RedWings."

[/voice="Butthead"].

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Then a very dark purple is very good for you.

Dark colors work very well for you.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

I didn't know the term "Cornish" referred to Cornwell, England but now I do.

I am just getting up to date on my Mineral Point history. I think it is important to be an informed guest when you visit new locales.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

The phrase “on the rag” originated sometime during the late 19th to early 20th century in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. When a woman was menstruating, she was “on the rag,” a phrase that literally described the way women of the day protected themselves from accidents during menstruation. Each woman had a supply of rags for specific use during menstruation. Women would layer rags together until they were sufficiently thick, then use pins to attach the rags to their panties. After each use, the women would wash the rags and hang them out to dry. Each woman had a special place (usually a bag in her underwear drawer) where she kept her rags for the next time she menstruated

reader_iam said...

LOL, Titus. Touché.