November 27, 2006

So much for moderation.

After writing a post on Saturday, expressing my dismay at seeing Andrew Sullivan showing disrespect toward Mormons (and denying it), I did another post on Sunday, linking to The Moderate Voice, which, like Sullivan, had printed a photograph of Mormon undergarments and wondered about how people would respond to a Mormon -- Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney -- running for President. (I intend to follow this issue closely in the coming months.)

The author of the post at TMV, Shaun Mullen, chose -- immoderately -- to lash out at me, calling me names, in a way that was just weirdly out of line. (Details below, at "Let me just remind you about how Shaun acted.")

Co-blogger Greg Piper wrote:
Shaun's post on the coming media circus surrounding Mitt Romney's likely run for president as the first serious Mormon (properly speaking, "LDS") candidate is generating some upset comments from the LDS faithful who appear to not like the posting of people in the temple underwear....

But I'd remind those that consider the shot offensive that it indeed illustrates (literally) what is coming in 2008 - if Romney keeps hinting he'll run, a slew of stories for the next 2 years about the LDS church, its history, controversies and role in America and abroad, including its rather secretive leadership structure....

Yes, a bit crude - but the underwear shot gets attention, and is something that a lot of folks like myself never even heard of. Let's also consider the difficulty of describing temple underwear without something visual. If "South Park" can make fun of Latinos selling "Native American" tampons made from their hair to a gullible, progressive audience, and secular and faithful alike can pillory the Christian merchandising trend of the past decade, I don't see how LDS temple underwear is off limits. LDSers could take a page from certain Middle Easterners that self-identify as Muslims (the efforts I make to be PC!) and start killing people that highlight temple underwear, but they're too civilized for that. I happen to agree with the commenter in Shaun's post that implied this was a side issue as long as people were dying over offense.

That said, I found Shaun's three responses to Ann Althouse's criticism to be in poor taste, especially patronizing a serious, intelligent blogger as "Annie Pooh." A public apology from Shaun, many of whose readers at TMV probably didn't see his responses at Althouse's blog, wouldn't be inapt.
Thanks, Greg. And let me add that Shaun's invented nickname for me is sexist. He needs to be called on that. I know there are some folks who seem to think sexism doesn't count when aimed in a rightward direction -- you should see some of the things they said in the comments -- but it does, and I'm keeping score.

Co-blogger Andrew Quinn writes:
In short, I'm shocked.... When I came back to blog here after a recent and extended leave of absence, I quickly and easily noticed a less moderate tone. Every coblogger that posts with any regularity offers an extensively left-wing viewpoint, and (here's the real offense) often stooping to ridiculous levels to claw at the knees of the Republicans....

I'm appalled. This site is too rapidly becoming an echo chamber like those we once were proudly able to sneer down at.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised to see religious bigotry from a new coblogger who wrote on his own blog the following gem of "moderation" :
Just do me a favor: If someone tells you how proud they are to be an American this Thanksgiving, don't bother to get tangled up in some long winded discussion about what The Decider has wrought. Just ask to have the cranberry sauce passed to you and throw it at them.
Well, Shaun, the Moderate Voice once used to stand for civil debate ("long-winded discussion") and not so much for throwing of food. But I guess acting like children is in vogue now - it just doesn't seem so moderate to me.

Okay. Let's post pictures of what others consider sacred for a cheap laugh because "it was coming anyways." Let's be ashamed of being Americans. And let's devolve our debate to the point where we're arguing that the Administration plans for the maximum casualties.

I love this site and what it has stood for. I really do, and that's why it sickens me to see us take this path. Because if we continue along our current trajectory, a name change will be in order....

I'd like to preempt any criticism or calling me a "neocon," a Halliburton puppet or anything similar by saying that I supported Kerry in 2004, supported mostly Republicans in 2006, and that this post was not based on any specific opinions but rather a yearning for the educated and civil debate we used to have here. Not a forum where cobloggers respond to intelligent criticisms of their work by calling respected lawblogger Ann Althouse "Annie Pooh." Is this a joke?
Thanks, Andrew.

Joe Gandelman, the founder of TMV, writes a post, ostensibly for new readers, where he explains his site, what moderation means, and what the co-bloggers are:
We are adding some new cobloggers. Each has a different perspective and style. This weekend passions ran high, even among our cobloggers. I have asked everyone who writes on this site to email their concerns to me in the future about the site and we can discuss it privately.
Nothing specifically about me there. And Joe has a second post, a short one, where he links back to Shaun's original post and to Greg's post, the one that suggests Shaun should apologize to me, but again, Joe says nothing about me.

I think Joe had a nice blog going, one that lived up to its title. Maybe it's not a good idea to have a blog title that makes such a distinct claim, but anyhow, I think Shaun Mullen is hurting Joe's reputation. I don't know why Joe hasn't addressed the way Shaun treated me.

Let me just remind you about how Shaun acted. Here's his first appearance in the comments to my blog:
Hi Annie Pooh:

Thanks for the drive-by-hit hit on The Moderate Voice post. I wrote it. You took it out of context to suit your own ends.

While I'm not surprised, I'm kinda sad. But it is so much easier to flail than think something through.

Your readers can judge for themselves:

Best, Shaun
As several readers immediately pointed out, my post did link to his post. I mistook his comment for private email and wrote back:
What "ends" are you referring to? Preserving civility and opposing
bigotry? Yes, I did. You should be glad I wasn't harsher to you as I
believe was justifiable.

And why are you acting like I didn't link to your post? People can go
over there and see how far you went. You went seriously wrong when you posted the photograph.

You really don't sound too moderate. You sound insulting and
mocking... and unconcerned about religious persecution.
My email prompted Shaun to comment in the post thread again:
Ann has replied to be me privately, but has not posted her response to me in the comments section of her own blog. Or maybe Blogger is acting up again. Oh, well.

Anyhow, my advice for Ann remains the same: Stop flailing.

I discussed some of the issues that Mitt Romney will draw, most of them frivolous and unworthy of discussion, in the context as a preview of Things to Come, not a knock on the Church of Latter Day Saints or their underwear.

Chill, Ann, chill. Go play with that squirrel in your yard.
When I saw that, I added this comment:
Shaun: You really don't come across as moderate at all. As for replying to you privately rather than here, I saw your private email to me first and didn't yet see that it was also a comment here. What I responded privately was:
[Text of email omitted.]
Does Joe know you're screwing up his blog?
Shaun then commented:
Annie Pooh:

I did not send you a private email. Somebody copied me in on your screed.

It is a beautifully sunny day here on the East Coast. I have just come in from a bike ride.

Do you have a bike? If so, I'd suggest you get on it and pedal away your demons.
I commented again to say that I really mistook Shaun's comment for private email. (The comments on the blog come to me as email, allowing me to keep track of things.) I don't think Shaun returned. But what a strange performance! What was it about my original post that even arguably called for his attitude? I think it's truly weird, especially for someone who is given the stage of a blog someone else created and built up under the name "The Moderate Voice."

But Joe's later posts demonstrate that Joe knows Shaun is "screwing up his blog" or has the basis to know that but has drawn a different conclusion. Frankly, Joe's failure to call Shaun on his ridiculous abuse or to reach out to me in any way really says something. I haven't been keeping track of his blog that well, and I really don't know why he's loaded it up with co-bloggers after creating such a distinctive persona for himself. But something is awry.

I suppose I should say something like: These people who call themselves moderates are usually playing some game. They really are partisan -- otherwise why are they writing about politics? -- and they're just posing under the label "moderate" to try to pull you in and put one over on you. Be very suspicious.

But then that's what people keep saying about me.


MadisonMan said...

Is Annie Poo really sexist? What would Davey Poo be, then? It seems just extremely juvenile to me. Not really a moderate voice.

Re: LDS Underwear. I blame Clinton (seriously!) for answering that Boxers or Briefs question way back when. The answer should have been "None of your own business". I'm not sure I see a difference between wearing LDS underwear and, say, a crucifix or Rosary Beads.

Brian Doyle said...

Gee, Ann, you think you've adequately addressed this Shaun issue? Get over it already.

KCFleming said...

1. "Annie-Pooh" is certainly childish. Its use here was meant to cut broad and deep, so the sexism is likely, but since done by a denizen of the left, it gives the author plausible deniability. Moreover, it permits the offender to act shock shocked when offense is take, and he gets to say chill and lighten up. Typical leftism nonsense.

2. I'll repeat:
I suspect the only thing moderate about Shaun Mullen is his fiber intake.

Brian Doyle said...

Didn't Ann object to UW's "Think. Respect." campaign on the grounds that it stifled the kind of full-blown antagonism that political debate called for? Now she's the blogosphere's most delicate flower.

Hypocrisy is fairly far down the list of Ann's flaws as a commentator, but it's on there.

goesh said...

It is condescending and juvenile for anyone credentialed to be called "pooh".

Ann Althouse said...

Doyle: Supporting free speech, including brutal speech and disrespectful speech, is not any sort of a commitment that it is good or that it shouldn't be opposed! The position is that the solution is not censorship or sanction but more speech. I am providing more speech. Really, you're making one of the most basic mistakes here. Ironically, you're trying to say I shouldn't speak back to insults. Ridiculous and completely wrong-headed.

Ann Althouse said...

Zeb: If you go around in the business word aiming patronizing nicknames at women, how do you think that will go? Think you might be accused of sexual harassment?

A male patronizing a female like that comes across as sexist. I'll grant you that maybe he's only a jackass, but it's a bad idea to go out in the world talking to women like that. And do you really think he'd talk to a man like that ... except to put down a man by making him seem like womanish?

Mark Daniels said...

Wall-to-wall, this entire "discussion," as it's unfolded on Sullivan's site, at TMV, and here, reminds me of the complicated "I'm offended" rituals that led past generations to duels. Like those feuds, this exchange also seems mostly ridiculous.

I'm a mainline Christian--a Lutheran--with an evangelical theology and an intense dislike for the Religious Right. (The latter group being one which Mitt Romney is assiduously cultivating these days, by the way.)

And though I don't believe that Mormons are Christians, I see no inherent reason why a Mormon couldn't serve as President of the United States. If a potential president has a track record suggesting that she or he can fulfill the commitment made in the presidential oath of office, there is no reason for a person to be eliminated for consideration because of their religion. In the months to come, it will be interesting to explore Romney's world view. His faith is part of that, I assume, and so that's legitimate fare.

But Mormon underwear? The decision of both Andrew Sullivan and Shaun Mullen to print photographs of a man and a woman in the attire was probably inflammatory.

An observation, though: I didn't read Mullen's post until a few minutes ago. It's been shorn of the picture and without it, its written content seems tame and unobjectionable. Had Mullen only published his written observations, I doubt that any of this subsequent discussion would be happening.

It seems legitimate to me that Althouse called Mullen (and Sullivan) to the carpet for an apparent attempt to dismiss Romney as ridiculous with their pictures.

But that's when the whole discussion seems to have taken an even more bizarre turn. Mullen was obviously angered by Althouse's post going after him. His response was insulting and over-the-top. But is his address of her as "Annie Pooh," simply disdainful or is it sexist? Although I may not have as much right to venture an opinion--because I'm a man, I'm inclined to agree with MadisonMan, who asks if someone being called "Davey Pooh" would also be the victim of sexism?

Perhaps all of this is calculated to engender reader interest during the Thanksgiving-period when blog traffic is slow. We bloggers can sometimes be a bit like radio shock jocks, after all, not above stirring a little controversy. Anything for a little attention. But it all strikes me as a bit silly, the sort of tempest in the blogosphere that makes us look as ridiculous as the politicians to whom we bloggers righteously claim to be superior.

The discussion may engender interest. But will it have proved?


Mark Daniels said...

Should have ended: "But will it have proved?"

El Presidente said...

I thought we had this whole "Powerful Mormon" thing settled when Harry Reid became Majority Leader of the Senate.

Bruce Hayden said...

I concur that "Annie Poo" came across as sexist to me. It is a childish name, presumably picked to portray the recipient as childish - which is one typical way to put women down: consider them childish, and therefore not competent to operate in a man's world without masculine direction and help...

WV: PRLAW - probably almost a real legal specialty. Appropriate in a blog run by a law school prof.

Brian Doyle said...

You're free to respond to insults, at length if you wish, but it doesn't make for interesting reading.

Also, your "support" of brutal and disrespectful speech hasn't stopped you from censoring me in the past.

Ann Althouse said...

"I can see why Mullen thought your initial post mislabeled him."

The only label was calling TMV "the so-called Moderate Voice." So... what are you saying that Mullen was pissed because he really is moderate? I expresse dismay that even the people who label themselves moderate go ahead and invite mockery for a whole religion. You think his response made sense? I think his response demonstrated that I was right: he's not a moderate.

Maxine Weiss said...

Ok, whatever...

So, when does the Althouse Blog switch to full Christmas Mode?

Are the decorations up yet?

I can only imagine what kind of Christmas it's gonna be around here.

Mel Gibson, Kramer, Andrew Sullivan--who's Andrew Sullivan---is this guy supposed to be famous, a celebrity of some sort? We are all supposed to know who this guy is....considering the frequency with which Althouse posts on him.

Anyway, I'm finding the Holiday Festivities around the Althouse residence to be woefully inadequate.

When is the annual Althouse Christmas Party?

The same as the annual Summer picnic, I guess.

Peace, Maxine

Joe Giles said...

1. I suspect that long discussions of faith and personal religious beliefs helps Republicans. If Romney's presence keeps the left talking about underwear, it's probably a big plus for the GOP.

2. The problem in these discussions isn't that people don't have faith. It's that they don't have good faith.

Ann Althouse said...

Doyle: As for "censoring" you, I am not the government, so I cannot violate your rights. This is a private site and I allow comments as they comport with my policies. I don't have to let trolls destroy the community here. You have a crude understanding of free speech. And as for what makes my site interesting to read... you never like what I write anyway, so your opinion means zilch.

I wrote this post because I'm following the Romney issue, which is one of my core subjects -- politics and religion, and because I have long followed the subject of blogging, especially the partisanship of political bloggers and the idea of political moderation.

KCFleming said...

Doyle finds hypocrisy in every statement he disagrees with.

Hypocrisy is pretty much the only sin remaining on the left, so it's rigidly enforced, and, being the only sin (aside from disagreeing weith The Party), it's applied too widely. Hence, it's become rather meaningless when hauled out (which is early and often).

Moreover, it's the left's primary weapon against religious belief. Since all humans fail, the left gets to paint all failures as hypocrisy and thus even point to religion itself as hypocritical. And since the left hates all rituals (and their accoutrement) but their own, so it feels obliged to mock them (ha ha! Funny underwear! Funny hats!). But only the rituals whites perform are mocked. "Cultural diversity", "Think. Respect," and multiculturalism is the patronizing pat on the head leftists give lesser races too stupid to have divested themselves of God.

And the left, never having to abide by any standards, cannot fail to keep them. Their only rule is that they must always drive in the left lane. One can't be a hypocrite when one has no standards.

goesh said...

- with 6.8 million 'hits', you must be doing something right...

The partisan moderate said...

Ann says, "These people who call themselves moderates are usually playing some game. They really are partisan -- otherwise why are they writing about politics? -- and they're just posing under the label "moderate" to try to pull you in and put one over on you. Be very suspicious."

While I agree with you that some of the responses to you were completely inappropriate, I don't agree with your conclusion that being moderate and partisan are mutually exclusive (hence my moniker).

Being one in many cases has little to do with the other. There are many moderate Republicans who are more partisan than their conservative counterparts and there are many moderate Democrats that are more partisan than their liberal counterparts.

Good examples of this would be: Giuliani who is more partisan than McCain although his opinions are more in the middle of the political spectrum and Rahm Emanuel (a hyper-partisan) who is considerably closer to the middle of the political spectrum than Russ Feingold, who while considerably liberal is not that partisan.

KCFleming said...

You're right. By "the left", I mean "leftists", not the entire liberal wing. They used to be Reds, then Socialists, then Lefties, then Radicals, then Greens, now Progressives.

Every time people figure out they are simply Marxists, they change their name.

On the other hand, the folks at "The Moderate Voice", or at least Shaun Mullen, seem to think they are "centrists." If that is true, then my brush was not broad at all.

Balfegor said...

Re: Dave

You say:

Pogo--your blanket statements can be similarly--and inaccurately--applied to the right, no?

But Pogo says:

Hypocrisy is pretty much the only sin remaining on the left, so it's rigidly enforced, and, being the only sin (aside from disagreeing weith The Party), it's applied too widely.

Whether this is true or not, it certainly can't be applied to the Right -- that doesn't pass the laugh test. My recollection is that Jonah Goldberg (from National Review) has come out repeatedly in favour of a bit of light hypocrisy. And the general attitude of the Right is, as far as I can see, that "hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue," as the saying goes. No?

Politicians on the Right (e.g. Foley, for icky emails; that one Christian fellow, for homosexuality; Rush Limbaugh for drugs, I think; and what's his name for compulsive gambling) don't get punished for the hypocrisy -- they get punished for doing things that are actually considered naughty. A certain amount of public outrage probably comes from the hypocrisy involved, but condemnation on the right has not, as far as I know, come primarily from "hypocrisy," per se, as opposed to "yielding to your appetites." There's a certain amount of condemnation for the hypocrisy, of course. But it's not front and centre.

Brian Doyle said...

This is a private site and I allow comments as they comport with my policies.

Fine, but admit that those policies include a restriction on brutal and disrespectful comments. Mine wasn’t even vulgar. I just called something you wrote (not you personally) “shockingly stupid.”

The community should be able to sustain, if not always appreciate, criticism of you.

altoids1306 said...

I think it's interesting to find that almost everyone who defended Kramer in some way is now condemning what is, at best, a possibly or marginally sexist comment. And vice-versa.

Shawn Mullen is an idiot, and the Moderate Voice is not moderate, agreed. But there's no need to sacrifice consistency to jump on Mullen for sexism - there's plenty of other things to laugh at him for - so why play the offended/sensitive card? Who gives a damn about idiots spewing idiotic blather?

Hecla Ma said...

Sullivan keeps saying "I mean no disrespect," and says of printing the pics of undergarments "it's largely irrelevent..." but he keeps going. Something amiss.

Maxine Weiss said...

- with 6.8 million 'hits', you must be doing something right..."--Goesh

...or burning daylight.

The 6.8 million is an approximate, and a very wide approximate and big margin of error. There's absolutely no way to verify that. It sounds good, and I'm sure someone's visiting, in any case.

People are coming here, but they're dissatisfied.

The political stuff ended on November 3rd.

It's now Christmas, and the Yuletide celebration is in full swing.

You have to give people what they want (even if they didn't know they wanted it)....when they want it.

Timing is everything. Quantity without timing = out-of-sync

The fact that huge crowds come here and mull around, unsatisfied....says something.

Once you've got the crowds...what do you do with them?

Through a party, for God's sake. Haul out the Holly...

The question isn't how many's were these people transformed ???

I don't find this Blog to be a magical, transcendant/transforming experience.

Dynamic, magical, and transforming: This Andrew Sullivan dude (whoever he is) doesn't quite fit the bill.

Peace, Maxine

Balfegor said...

Wikipedia says yes, George Romney was a Mormon. But Wikipedia could be full of lies for all I know.

Balfegor said...

On the other hand, also re:

Here's something I sincerely don't get, and haven't seen addressed to date...Mitt Romney is the son of George Romney, who was Governor of Michigan and once a Republican candidate for President. Was George Romney a Mormon and, if so, was this an issue in his Presidential run (or runs)? Hard to believe it wouldn't have been an even more controversial issue in 1968. And if Dad wasn't a Mormon, then evidently Mitt must have converted, or conciously chosen to accept the Mormon faith and all its associated beliefs. That would make this issue a little more interesting, if true.

George Romney seems to have run in 1968. Yes, generalised bias against people not from the mainline Christian sects is likely to have been greater then, but at the same time, 1968 comes a decade or so before the (Christian) religious revival that transformed evangelicals into a political force, created the modern "Religious Right," etc. It's entirely possible that increased modern attention to theological issues, particularly within the Republican party, could hit Mitt Romney harder than it did his father.

Ann Althouse said...

CB: "Althouse is a top-shelf blog and is therefore criticized by middling bloggers in an effort to increase their own traffic and status."

I appreciate that advice and follow it more than 90% of the time. I'm currently ignoring some really vicious attacks, I'll have you know. The reason I am taking on The Moderate Voice is that it actually meant something to me. The first post was expressing dismay that even TMV was behaving badly over the issue of Romney's religion (by flaunting the photograph). When I got hit back at so weirdly, I chose to analyze it in some depth. Maybe it wasn't worth doing.

The partisan moderate said...

LarryK, the issue was adressed on the previous thread. George Romney was a mormon and is Mitt Romney's father and no his religion did not significantly adversely affect his campaign. And yes, it is surprising that we have regressed to a point where his son's religion is now an issue.

Ann Althouse said...

Justin: Joe should have called Shaun out or reached out to me in some way. He didn't. That means something. A blog I had viewed in a very positive way crashed for me over the weekend. Your answer seems to be, well, it's a group blog. But banding together as a group should make you stronger, and you're all part of that brand, which was supposed to mean something. If I brought in a co-blogger and that person screwed up the brand I had built up, I would rush to do damage control. Joe posted on the subject, so he clearly thought it through. That means something!

Ann Althouse said...

Freder: I wouldn't mind if a blog dished out ridicule for all religions.

Eli Blake said...

Ironically this post was posted on Sunday, when most of us 'mormons' were in Church. In fact, as a political blogger I generally don't even discuss my religious tendencies though I have a link to 'LDS blogs' on my homepage.

Anyway, there is much to address here.

First as a member of the L.D.S. Church (though an 'active mormon Democrat,' a relatively rare bird) I would like to say that while I personally find posting pictures annoying, and I respect temple garments enough so that I would never post the pictures, it is a fact that they are out there and getting tied up in knots over it achieves nothing. I still treat my own temple garments with respect(which is how we refer to them, not as 'underwear'-- technically wearing them doesn't preclude also wearing underwear, such as people who might work in colder climates and wear long johns over them.)

On Romney, I probably will continue to disagree with him on issues. Obviously he convinced a lot of liberals to vote for him when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts (one of the two or three most liberal states in America) so I'd be interested to hear what he has to say because obviously it has some appeal to liberals. Doesn't mean I will vote for him though-- I joined the church in 1985, since which time I've voted for Dukakis, Clinton, Clinton, Gore and Kerry, and am presently a Democratic precinct committeeman.

As far as names like, 'Annie Poo,' yes, it is sexist. Unfortunately one of the risks of blogging is opening up an angle for personal attacks. Name calling was immature by the third grade, apparently the poster never matured that far.

SWBarns said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SWBarns said...


Go ahead and make fun of anyone you like. Just don't expect us to take you seriously as a political commentator if you lead with pictures of religious 'foundation garments'.

Maxine Weiss said...

How about some posts a little more accessible and approachable?

Something that doesn't require extensive knowledge of "Shaun" "Joe" Andrew---whoever...and all these superficial entangling involvements, and backstory psychodrama.

I know there are people here on the edge of their seats, with all of this but still..

Why not write about people we know, say Clark Gable, and Marilyn Monroe.

Peace, Maxine

Richard Dolan said...

Something is happening in the blogosphere that coarsens any attempt at civil discourse whenever politics and religion become the topic of discussion. It's quite amazing that the latest kerfuffle providing further evidence, if any were needed, of that phenomenon has to do with the posting of a picture of special undergarments used liturgically by the LDS Church.

Knowing almost nothing about the LDS, I don't know where they derived that practice. But there are plenty of antecedents in the OT where the Torah requires the wearing of special undergarments for liturgical purposes. In the book of Exodus, the Torah goes on at length specifying the garments to be worn by the priests serving at the Temple, how those garments are to be made, etc. In Leviticus, ch. 16, the Lord speaks to Moses about the day of Atonement, and gives instructions about how Aaron shall conduct himself: "Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and shall have the linen undergarments next to his body, fasten the linen sash, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy vestments. He shall bathe his body in water, and then put them on." I wonder if those trying to use similar Mormon practices have the same problem with these passages in the OT. Because of the attention the subject gets in the OT, I doubt that any biblically literate person would get all that excited about LDS underwear.

Some commentators suggest that the Biblical regulation of the garments to be worn by priests in the Temple explains the prohibition against the wearing of shatnes (a blend of linen and wool) -- because that material is specified for use at the Temple, any other use would be profane. Whether that was the origin of thr prohibition against wearing shatnes, even today strictly orthodox Jews observe these commands, and for that reason clothing (like food) is sometimes certified as "kosher." See, e.g., Berman v. Shatnes Laboratory, 43 AD2d 736, 350 NYS2d 703 (2d Dep't 1973).

While many Christian churches retain the use of special liturgical garments, most of the detailed OT regulation on the subject got left behind by early Christianity, in part because the Temple was destroyed even before the Gospels were written, and in part because of Pauline teaching that the law was fulfilled and thus ended with the coming of the Messiah. But, not to be outdone, there remain some oddball practices in mainline Christian churches. Pope Paul VI, for example, was said to wear a cilice (a device worn around the thigh and intended to cause discomfort) on occasion, and Catholics have long regarded the stigmata as a sign of special favor. Those practices seem at least as oddball, and likely to generate religious prejudice, as the LDS underwear at issue here.

From Ann's posts on the subject, it seems that the objection to the posting of the pictures of the LDS undergarments was that it was all in an effort to create an animus against Romney because of religious practices that mainline folks might find a bit weird. There is nothing new in trying to conjure up religious prejudice for partisan purposes against an oddball practice by a minority sect, using a nasty combination of ignorance and insinuation. For all the reasons that Ann offers, it is objectionable both in the form offered by Andrew Sullivan and in that from Shaun Mullen and The Moderate Voice (neither of which I had ever heard of until this exchange).

Mullen's non-response -- complete with childish name calling -- when being caught on this is also, unfortunately, now quite typical in the blogosphere. Because it is so typical, it would have been entirely understandable if Ann had dismissed it all with a quick swat. But there is considerable benefit in her calling attention to the problem, particularly since it is beginning to overwhelm the threads even on this generally quite civil site.

tjl said...

Freder says,
"Find any election for any position anywhere in this country where a candidate advocated nationalizing any private industry or confiscating private property and converting to public use. Report back to me on how badly he lost."

Bernie Sanders was elected Senator from Vermont by a comfortable margin. Sanders self-identifies as a Socialist.

Al Maviva said...

I like Gandelman's blog generally, though I can't speak for his guest bloggers. He's also been kind to me in the past, so I really can't throw stones here. I can comment on how blogs go south though. Several places I used to frequent are just packed with objectionable commenters. Kevin Drum is an example of a guy on the left who writes pretty intelligently, but whose commenters soured me on hanging out there. John Cole is a guy who used to be on the right, many of whose commenters are really acidic. He's also picked up a few guest bloggers recently who sound a lot like the commenters. Basically, it's not fun or interesting to talk to them, because anybody who disagrees must be stupid, evil, or evilly stupid, or some combination thereof. I've been known to be snotty on occasion, but at least I try to self-censor a bit, and have (along with co-bloggers) tolerated some really far out opinions as long as the commenters try to engage in a civilized dialogue. Sure, shout once in a while, but keep it in perspective and when you recover your head, fess up to having been a jerk, and then make nice. Where it goes south is when people don't feel the need to maintain civility and they just start heaping abuse on each other. It seems to have destroyed a lot of otherwise decent blogs. I'll note that some blogs have a good troll banning policy that really helps with that. It appears that early & often is a better policy for dealing with the trolls, since an infestation of several trolls lasting a few weeks seems to pretty much destroy a comments section.

Brian Doyle said...

The trends in political discourse appear to be favoring inflammatory, accusatory language - especially on the Left.

Give me a f---ing break. The right wing has called critics of the Bush administration traitors and terrorist sympathizers/enablers. And not just obscure right wing figures either. Cheney, Rush, Hannity, Malkin, Glenn "Prove to me, Rep. Ellison, that you're not with the terrorists" Beck, among others, frequently make this accusation, and it's about as inflammatory as it gets.

When wingnuts start whining about "hyper-partisanship" I'm just happy they're the ones feeling defensive for once.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Justin Gardner said:

"Justin Gardner here, co-blogger at The Moderate Voice (TMV) and editor of Donklephant. bla bla bla"

Donklephant!!!! Are you kidding me? Pick a side- or are you too intellectually lazy? Have an opinion for God's sake. Why not call your site the "fighting-like quakers" or the "vegetarian tigers"??

Jeez , just go away and don't come back until you grow a set. And that means you have to shitcan your website that basically says we are too wussy to have a real opinion. Maybe "justin ass" would work.

Brian Doyle said...

Race you to the bottom!

You've already won. That's what makes Cedarford's comment so ridiculous.

Mark Daniels said...

Knemon wrote: "'Was George Romney a Mormon and, if so, was this an issue in his Presidential run (or runs)? '

"1) Yes, he was.

"2) No, it wasn't."

Knemon is right on both counts. George Romney was considered a frontrunner when his 1968 presidential campaign imploded over his "brainwashing" comments.

I don't believe that Mormonism will ultimately prove decisive in what happens to Mitt Romney's to candidacy either.

I would think that the Massachusetts governor's handlers would be far more concerned with two other matters:

(1) Romney's robotic and staged demeanor, which may stem from concern that he not make the same mistake as his dad;

(2) His rather mixed record as the one-term governor.

I also wonder if Romney's decision to attack John McCain and Rudy Giuliani one-plus year before the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses doesn't represent a disturbing tone deafness on his part; he appears not to understand the yearning for civility expressed by voters in the 2006 midterm elections.

It's concerns like these and how Romney and his campaign address them that will ultimately mean more to his presidential prospects than his religious affiliation.

Mark Daniels

Brian Doyle said...

Donklephant!!!! Are you kidding me?

It doesn't happen often, but I completely agree with AJ on this one.

KCFleming said...

Re: "Find any election for any position anywhere in this country where a candidate advocated nationalizing any private industry or confiscating private property and converting to public use. Report back to me on how badly he lost."

Bill Clinton won in 1996. He advocated Universal Health Care in 1994.

In September, Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation (SB 840) passed by the California Assembly that would have created a state-run, single-payer health system. None of the signers were defeated. No opposing party challenges to incumbents were successful on either side and thus, there were no changes to the party balance.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich launched the Congressional National Health Insurance Caucus in the House; Reps. Kucinich, Lee, D-Calif., and McDermott, D-Wash., co-chair. The caucus will conduct briefings, unofficial hearings, and seminars on single-payer health care.

The difference between Marxism and socialism is laughably small.

Eli Blake said...

2. The trends in political discourse appear to be favoring inflammatory, accusatory language - especially on the Left.

I was going to address this but I see Doyle already got there. If anything the current hard edge of partisanship was well honed on the right, back in the days when Newt Gingrich and his allies would make speeches to an empty house chamber on C-SPAN, 'daring a single person from that side of the aisle to dispute my claim that their program is to move the U.S. towards communism.'

Of course, language like this has always been par for the course in political campaigns. If you don't believe me, look up some of the things that were said during the 19th century in political campaigns (though politicians then were much better masters of deflecting it-- Lincoln once responded to an opponent who had called him, 'two-faced' "I ask you, if I had two faces, would I wear this one?"

In fact, now we have groups like '' which are more apt to call people out if they lie about their opponents. And a number of politicians have been sued for libel for telling lies in their campaigns (one of them is my current Congressman, Rick Renzi, who was sued after the 2002 campaign by his opponent George Cordova. Renzi claimed in campaign ads that Cordova had embezzled money from a business he was a partner in and wired the money to an uncle in Mexico. Of course if that were true then Cordova would have gone to prison for a long time, but it was all a lie (though also a slick way to play the race card and let people know that Cordova had an uncle in Mexico). After Renzi won the election, Cordova sued Renzi and settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.)

Balfegor said...

Re: Dave:

These are two different beasts, socialism having been developed by Lenin, partly in reaction to Marx & Engels' economic theories, but as applied to the political structure as well as the economic structure of a country.

I think your history is a little off there. The American Socialist party was founded in 1901 and there were predecessor parties in the late 19th century. In Europe, the German Social Democratic Party was founded as early as 1863, and played an important role in the early politics of the German Empire -- you could even blame Bismarckian aristocratic socialism on them.

Re: Pogo:

The difference between Marxism and socialism is laughably small.

Well, not really -- Marxism as a theory (that is, the original Marx-Engels theory, not the campus/academic Marxism that one usually encounters nowadays, where the whole economic edifice has been transformed into nothing more than a vehicle for complaints about supposed oppressions and class in all their forms) has all that rot about abolition of private property, abolition of currency, etc.

But you're right that Marxism in practice is essentially socialism, since Marxism is so loony it falls apart immediately unless you leaven it with a bit of socialism and tyranny.

Eli Blake said...


Well, if people vote for people who propose single payor health care then maybe it is conservatives who need to get the message.

After the 1994 proposal lost, we got the Republican alternative, 'managed care,' the system we have now.

It has been a disaster. People have been forced to switch doctors because their health plan changes, people have had to wait for many hours in ER waiting rooms, people have had to wait months for treatment (try calling your dentist now and set up an unscheduled appointment), and bean counters who are not even doctors at the HMO's have made decisions about what gets covered based on cost rather than concern for the patient. Costs have increased at a double digit rate, to where we now spend a higher percentage of our GDP on health care than any other country in the world. We have an expensive turkey that is in effect a 'Cadillac health care' system, which people with 'Chevrolet budgets' can't afford.

Maybe people vote for politicians who advocate some form of national health care plan because what we have now has failed so utterly.

KCFleming said...

Re: "Marxism in practice..."

Other single payer supporters who have been elected/re-elected:
John Kerry
Ted Kennedy
Dennis Kucinich
Hillary Clinton

Eli: that's another debate. I was responding to Freder's goofy claim that no one who supported a single payer socialist health care plan would get elected, and he was very, very wrong.

Balfegor said...

Re: Eli Blake:

If anything the current hard edge of partisanship was well honed on the right, back in the days when Newt Gingrich and his allies would make speeches to an empty house chamber on C-SPAN, 'daring a single person from that side of the aisle to dispute my claim that their program is to move the U.S. towards communism.'

Yes, or Clinton blaming his political opponents for the Oklahoma city bombing. There was all that rot about "purveyors of hate and division." And hyperventillation about right-wingers engaging in rhetoric that promoted terrorism, etc. No, it is nothing new; it's only that the sides have changed, and the paranoiacs are (by and large) now on the Left side of the political spectrum. It will switch back when we have a Democratic president again.

AllenS said...

Last Dec., I had a terrible tooth ache, called the dentist that put the cap on the tooth (5 years prior) seen the dentist 1 hour later, he referred me to another dentist, and had a root canal the next morning. I have no insurance, if that matters. Seeing a doctor is just as easy.

Joe said...


Managed care is not a Republican solution, it is a free market solution. HMOs came about as a response to demands by businesses to control their health care costs. In practice, they actually work quite well, though some HMOs are definitely better than others.

I am bemused by the claims that HMOs have made health insurance a nightmare; does everyone forget just how bad Blue Cross and traditional health insurance could get? HMOs weren't just some craven power grab, they were responding to a real and growing problem in health care.

(For the record, I believe every American should have access to basic medical treatment; I am fully in favor of a multi-tiered system. That when unemployed, I hesitate to take my son to get his foot xrayed after a playground accident since it will cost over $200 is insane. Even if it meant waiting in line to see a resident or nurse practitioner for a token co-pay, it would be worth it. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how we could set such a system up without the far left screaming about fairness and suing to have the best doctors and everything covered.)

I'm Full of Soup said...


I favor a system that breaks the link between the employer and the employee. Essentially, every employer would pay a tax (let's say 5% of his payroll) and the guvmint would give EVERYONE (whether working, not working, between jobs, perennial lazy bum brother-in-laws)a voucher to be used to buy their own health insurance.

Some of us would buy the cadillac plan and have to pay some of the premium out of his own pocket and some would elect basic/less costly coverage. Henceforth, no one would worry about frigging Cobra, employers coud do away with big, expensive benefit departments and neighborhood healthcare providers would (I suspect) try to get everyone from the same neighborhood into their plan. Hell, maybe the old-town doctor would come back to life.

One's insurance would no longer be an issue when you change jobs. My plan does not call for a single payer- it maintains one's ability to choose our healthcare provider.

So tell me what you don't like about my plan.

And yes, my plan takes some tweaking to address the "pre-existing condition" bull but it's way better than anything else I hear from nuanced pols that get paid to come up with this stuff.

And I agree you are wrong about managed care, it was not a republican scheme.

KCFleming said...

Re: "No, it was your claim that half the country was Marxists I was disputing."
No need. I clarified that before you posted that I referred only to "leftists", who do not represent half the country.

"Supporting a single payer health care system is not "socialist" or "Marxist"
Yes, it is. In advocating the dominance of government allocation over market principles in the organization of the US health system, any single payer plan is by definition a socialist endeavor.

"Marxism really isn't even a political philosphy. Marx never even really set out what kind of government he envisioned, just that the workers would unite and control the means of production."
I agree. Marx was a complete idiot, and some writers at the time knew his efforts would, if implemented, end in tears and death.

Anonymous said...

Do you people (bloggers, Althousian acolytes, etc.) hear yourselves? Have you matured beyond junior high school? It doesn't look like it.

reader_iam said...

Donklephant!!!! Are you kidding me? Pick a side- or are you too intellectually lazy? Have an opinion for God's sake. Why not call your site the "fighting-like quakers" or the "vegetarian tigers"??

Jeez , just go away and don't come back until you grow a set. And that means you have to shitcan your website that basically says we are too wussy to have a real opinion. Maybe "justin ass" would work.

Well, jeez. That seems a little over the top.

As I understand it, the idea for Donklephant was that it was to present sides from people from different parts of the spectrum and party affiliations. That would explain the name, it seems to me. And the people there do have opinions. In fact, there are a number of thoughtful, fine bloggers who cross-post (for example, Amba, Sean Aqui, and Alan Stewart Carl).

I say this as someone who has had a couple of run-ins over at Donklephant, and whose blogpartner used to blog there quite a bit at one time (he's still listed there). Trust me, no one would accuse Callimachus of a) not having opinions and b) not expressing his opinions strongly.

I believe he and Justin had run-ins a few times, precisely due to disagreeing over issues about which each felt strongly.

Only sayin' ... in the interest of fairness ....

Ann Althouse said...

Justin Gardner said..."However, if you'd respond to my questions about what is "ugly" and explain your assertions about why TMV isn't moderate, that would be appreciated."

Well, I have already talked about all that. Basically I think it is ugly to hold up members of a religious group to mockery for no good reason. If you want to say that some voters might hold it against Romney that he is a Mormon, you can do that, but the way you choose to do that counts. Posting photos of the undergarments is a nasty way to go about it. And if you want to know what position I took about the Muhammad cartoons, you can read my old posts, like this one. I did not support reprinting the cartoons, though I did support the right to print them.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Reader Iam said:
"Only sayin' ... in the interest of fairness ...."

I read that blog and don't see any evidence of elephants there and elephants are hard to miss unless their head has been stuffed into the ass of a donkey (see Arlen Specter for a real-life example).

So my point is why should Justin or anyone else be ashamed of his opinions (if he has one) and then he tries to disguise it behind a lame, misleading, cutesy blog name that shouts "I am a moderate" .

And I think that has been the point of the discussion here for the last 36 hours. Don't pretend to be something you are not. And if you do pretend, why ?

I'm Full of Soup said...

Mohave Joe asked:

"Do you people (bloggers, Althousian acolytes, etc.) hear yourselves? Have you matured beyond junior high school? It doesn't look like it. "

What fun would that be? The slogan here should be "Althouse...makes me feel like a kid again (and I don't mean the blog)"

Fatmouse said...

I'm late to the party, but wanted to say that Shaun's "Do you have a bike? If so, I'd suggest you get on it and pedal away your demons" followed by doyle's "Get over it already" remind me of how much commentary from left boils down simply to:

"Shut up."

Stop posting. Stop talking. Stop thinking. Your thoughts are wrong, worthless and don't need to be considered any more than a baby's babble. The debate is over. Just listen to me. Etc.

That and their infinite ability to pull out the tu quoque but I've bitched about that before.

paul a'barge said...

Gandelman (TMV) is a fraud.

So are his co-bloggers, especially those who are trying to peddle the veneer of being moderate but continue to stick around and contribute to TMV.

Those who peddle themselves as moderate invariably are not. They are of akin with the DHIMMIcRATs who put forth pathetic victims to support their arguments in order to immunize themselves from criticism.

KCFleming said...

Cedarford, I'll have to disagree with you here. I have seen the future of single payer systems, and wrote about it extensively here (What to Expect from a Single-Payer Health Care System).

If you think the US health care system is a free market, you're wrong.
If you think I am suggesting we go for a Randian no-government solution, you're wrong.
If you think I favor the current system, you're wrong.
If you think a single payer system is nirvana, or even marginally better than what we have now, you're wrong.
If you think you're a "non-socialist", but you prefer a single-payer system, you're wrong. You are a socialist.

(And BTW, what is it about socialism that is so bad that writers tend to to distance themselves from it?)

And my apologies to Althouse for participating in the thread highjack.

Charles Giacometti said...

I find it precious that "Althouse" (or Professor Althouse, not sure which one) calls Glenn Greenwald a "moron" and an "idiot" in one post and then sheds crocodile tears in another because someone referred to her as "Annie Pooh."

Freud would have a field day with this person.

hdhouse said...

Mojave Joe said...
Do you people (bloggers, Althousian acolytes, etc.) hear yourselves? Have you matured beyond junior high school? It doesn't look like it."

now this is something.

1. i've read the entire thread and have no idea what is happening so...
2. i went back and read ann's post that spawned this thread and i have no idea what this is about.

my observation is that

1. i rarely agree with ann and a lot of the neo-something lemmings who ready-fire-aim on here but it is in good fun and sometimes the ilk of seven machos have valid points, disagreeable as they are...there is a certain amount of consistency to the ideas and consistency somehow translates to a philosophy, right/wrong/indifferent, that one must at least acknowledge.

2. there are a number of new faces on here who don't get it...this isn't a shouting match nor should it be. a blog, by definition, should contain coherent thought that you can either embrace or piss on, but it is fair thought..right or wrong...

sooo hijackers or interlopers or whatever, get with the program. think. don't write/think but think/write. try and make sense. listen to others. some of us have IQs that are in positive numbers and others believe deeply - something just as valuable.

ohhhh and don't write tripe.

MadisonMan said...

hdhouse, your Shift key is broken.

reader_iam said...


Well, since I'm not a huge fan of the site for other reasons (I now follow those bloggers I like at their own sites, primarily), it's not worth spending much time on this. But there is a Republican or two over there, even non-Specterlike.

(Of course, I've always thought Specter was suspect ever since it turned out he'd been all buddy-ish with Ira Einhorn, erstwhile New Age-y Futurist Guru, before he turned into a murderer. Never could get past that bit of lunacy.)

But whatever.

Laura Reynolds said...

... some of my best friends are moderates..

I'm Full of Soup said...

Reader Iam said:

"But whatver".

I heartily agree - no big deal- for some reason, I am wound up today. Hope you did not take offense as "my ready-fire-aim" volleys were meant for the likes of hdhouse and donkelphant.

LoafingOaf said...

I don't like this idea that it's bad to not respect Mormonism. Skimming through the various Wikipedia entries related to Mormons, the religion is objectively insane and absurd, and I refuse to respect that!

But I don't single out Mormonism/LDS from other religions for that disrespect.

I also try and judge a candidate by his/her record, not their religion, just as I try and treat everyone I meet as a unique individual. Every candidate I've ever voted for has subscribed to a religion I think is crazy. I don't think they should act so offended. If they truly believe they are right in their faith, aren't they supposed to just feel sorry for those who haven't found their God yet? Yeah, there's real concern about religious persecution. But Mormons are allowed to run for high office in the USA; atheists apparently are not.

A lot of people subscribe to certain faiths simply because it's what they were raised on, and their crazy religion doesn't mean they would be crazy in office. But Mormonism is crazy, and that shouldn't be just brushed under the rug as if no one's allowed to notice.

Prophet Muhammad was, as Oriana Fallaci once said, a perverted tyrant and warmonger. Sorry, but that's my belief, and I'll keep saying it. I won't treat a Muslim person differently because I believe that, but they're still gonna call me a "bigot" or a "racist" because I think that. It's tiring when beliefs that are called "religions" get treated as if they can't be attacked.

LoafingOaf said...

As for Sullivan, I'm disappointed that he didn't engage with Althouse. Instead he puts up a Greenwald quote and acts like Althouse was "hysterical." (I also noticed he carefully avoided linking to Althouse, for example when he acted like he was first correcected about the word "sacrilege" by an "emailer.") Why does it always seem like Sullivan won't have a healthy back and forth with others?

And while I don't think he has to respect Mormonism, I agree that he was phoney in acting like he was showing no disrepect. I also think it would be just as easy to make fun of aspects of his Catholicism if someone were so inclined.

David Schraub said...

Also from a TMV co-blogger....

Joe should have called Shaun out or reached out to me in some way. He didn't. That means something. A blog I had viewed in a very positive way crashed for me over the weekend.

I'm not speaking directly for Joe, but in general I've noticed that he does not publicly comment on the merits of posts by his co-bloggers. He feels a very strong obligation that he not weigh down on us, or make us feel that we have to constrain ourselves to our host's wishes. Joe knows that we abide by most requests that he makes, so he feels a special obligation to make them only very, very rarely. Moreover, he is particularly unanamored of diving into interblog disputes, making the conflict between Shaun and yourself one that lies at an intersection of two sectors Joe almost never will post upon.

Maybe a bit too constrained? For my tastes, perhaps (but then, I'm one of the more argumentative of the crew). But in any event, silence in this case does not (and, to be fair, does not not) equal consent. It's a product of how Joe feels he has to run the blog to preserve its independence from him.

John Stodder said...

It's entirely possible that increased modern attention to theological issues, particularly within the Republican party, could hit Mitt Romney harder than it did his father.

This is the surprising thing to me, as someone with little direct contact with evangelicals -- their hostility to Mormonism. The Mormons began a PR campaign many years ago to associate their church with Christianity -- kind of a "the other white meat" strategy. Perhaps this has backfired, inasmuch as it has caused fundamentalist Christians to draw a line in the sand that they otherwise might not have done.

So that might be what's different about Mitt '08 vs. George '68.

All religions are partly crazy. Evidently, we humans don't trust ourselves enough to observe basic moral principles without resorting to some kind of supernatural explanation of those principles' origin. We also have inarticulate longings for spiritual transcendance -- probably something in our brain chemistry that we evolved for some purpose. It's possible that people who believe in God are favored via natural selection so that trait has lingered into our era.

Anyway -- for a believer in one religion to call another religion "crazy," strikes me as delusional. A religion's merit should be judged based solely on how many people are unnecessarily murdered in its name. Wacky as they might be, the Mormons and Scientologists have a better record on this than Christians, although Christians have improved significantly in the past few hundred years. Islam should be on double-secret probation. And secularism is probably the bloodiest religion of them all, at least since 1914.

Ann Althouse said...

David Schraub: How about the "or reached out to me" part? If that's his moderation, giving lots of other people the run of his blog and saying nothing... well, he's going to have the problem of alienating people. Jeez, there are so many bloggers over there. I hadn't even noticed it. I really just don't get it.

Eli Blake said...

A.J. Lynch (2:42)

So tell me what you don't like about my plan.

I don't have a problem with it. It's like what they have in Japan. In Japan, they have universal coverage. It is provided by an insurance company in a three way agreement between the insured, the insurer and the government, which subsidizes the plan (some plans more than others.) Which leaves Toyota, Sony, Hitachi, etc. completely out of the picture. And which helps explain why their manufacturers have been offering better quality goods at more value than our manufacturers for over two decades, and therefore kicking our manufacturer's tails.

I suggest you re-read my post:

Maybe people vote for politicians who advocate some form of national health care plan because what we have now has failed so utterly.

Yes, most of those politicians advocate single payer, but it's not all that's out there in the world.

But only in America do we 1) pay taxes in order for the Government to cover two of the highest risk groups of people-- the elderly and the indigent-- via medicare and medicaid, 2) then leave other people completely uncovered so that people have to pay their own costs even while already paying taxes to provide coverage for other people, as described above , 3) expect employers to shield the employees from the real bill for this farce by putting the cost on to the employers (who of course do pass it on, via lower wages and/or higher prices), and 4) people who are paying taxes for other people's health care, are getting lower wages from their own employers and paying higher prices for stuff they buy, and are still getting hit with double digit increases in their own premiums, copays and deductibles-- still think they are getting a 'bargain' with 'free market health care,' and vote for people who will give us more of it.

Well, as P.T. Barnum said...

Balfegor said...

Re: Eli Blake:

I don't have a problem with it. It's like what they have in Japan. In Japan, they have universal coverage. It is provided by an insurance company in a three way agreement between the insured, the insurer and the government, which subsidizes the plan (some plans more than others.) Which leaves Toyota, Sony, Hitachi, etc. completely out of the picture. And which helps explain why their manufacturers have been offering better quality goods at more value than our manufacturers for over two decades, and therefore kicking our manufacturer's tails.

This is a partial idealisation of the Japanese system, and probably an oversimplification of the reasons underlying Japanese success over the past three decades or so. First off, Japanese health care is respectable, but I don't think the average American would opt for the actual care the Japanese seem to get -- it's good, sure, and better than most other places. It also seems to be widely and immediately accessible (when I was in Mitaka, in Tokyo, and later in Ikebukuro, also in Tokyo, there were small clinics everywhere) in a way that American health care isn't. But the actual quality of care does not seem to be nearly as good as ours.

Additionally, the Japanese success at developing superior/cheaper products, most visibly in the automotive area, probably has little to nothing to do with reduced costs due to government management of healthcare obligations. In the case of the automotive industry, the conventional wisdom is that the Japanese manufacturers adopted a factory system (kaizen) in which improvements and innovations were transmitted effectively from every level right down to the factory floor, while the top-down American system (hamstrung by unions, to boot) failed to take advantage of those more mundane sources of knowledge/creativity/praxis, etc. Freeing up additional resources to devote to innovation (largely by adding to Japan's already staggering national debt) does help, probably, but I don't think it helps enough to be a deciding factor.

In other areas (e.g. the revolutionary Sony Walkman), it's just that the Japanese companies were paying closer attention to the kinds of products people might like to buy.

The Japanese domestic market also seems, just from my impressions of Tokyo, much more receptive to gaudy new technology than the US -- they buy a lot of it, at least in the urban areas, and they pay rather more for it than we do, once it comes out over here. Just recently, for example, I bought the (overpriced but super-fun) Sony Reader product. It's an e-book reader using that new e-ink technology, so one can take it into the sunlight. The Japanese domestic market appears to have sustained multiple e-ink e-book readers (the Sony Librie and at least one other) for about 2 years now, but the prices of those readers were about $100 higher than here in the US (although they've probably come down a bit since). And their US product is still likely to fail. A lot of technophiles bought up their initial stock, but that happened with the previous crop of e-book readers, and they still failed anyway, more or less. I think it's the same way with a lot of other high-technology products.

Ann Althouse said...

California Dog: If you go back to the old posts on the subject, you'll see I was defending feminist values and objecting to the sexualized depiction of women on her blog. There are people out there who like to lie about me. Why not look into what really happened, sharpen your mind, and think for yourself. You're welcome to disagree with me, but I've already explained my position and stand by it.

The Exalted said...


you're always good for a laugh.

Anonymous said...

This thread bores me, but Annie Pooh is sexist. And not very creative.

LoafingOaf said...

But suggesting that Ann Althouse is "increasingly hysterical" is in itself hysterical (because it's not calm and it's so far divorced from the reality of what Ann wrote--even if you disagree with her post, you must agree that Ann comes across as calm and reasoned)... go figure.

Sullivan probably used that Greenwald quote more to tweak Reynolds, who's called Sullivan hysterical in the past.

It's pretty annoying the way Sullivan doesn't respond to people directly, but rather through emails from third party onlookers and the like. He did it again to respond to those suggesting he's engaging in bigotry. Rather than linking to the blogs and responding to what, exactly, they said, he sifts through his email to find something easier to reply to. This way he doesn't have to link to blogs that are attacking him, and he doesn't have to engage with people who might be able to beat him in a debate.

Anonymous said...

Sullivan coined the term "Christianist" and has every interest in perpetuating its use. The easiest way to have that term stick is by getting right-wing bloggers like Glenn Reynolds to denigrate the word.

I can't imagine that Sullivan is upset by this. He's eating it up.

KCFleming said...

Good for a laugh? Glad I could oblige.

Say, didja ever hear the one about how Marx, Mao, Castro, and Stalin all walk into a bar....

David Schraub said...

Ann: Yes, our co-blogger list has ballooned in the past few months. Shaun himself just joined a few days ago. I think we've just ended our expansion, but it probably will take a little more time for things to settle down and everyone to find their sweet spot.

As for reaching out to you, I think Joe fears that would qualify as jumping in the middle of blogwar fray, something which I know he is loathe to do. Maybe a bad tactical decision, but I doubt it symbolizes anything more than that. Undoubtedly when you have as many people as we are with as many opinions that we do, some people will be alienated. All we can ask is that you look at our site as a whole, and just agree to glaze over certain readers with who you find distasteful (I do the same thing with Daily Kos and The VC everyday).

Of course, if you find our whole site distasteful, that's another problem entirely....

Balfegor said...

Re: Daryl Herbert:

If you tell a white person he has ape-like facial features, you're probably not being racist (even if you're being a boor).

Well . . . unless he's Irish. I'm pretty sure the Irish have historically been mocked as half-evolved monkey men. At least, the old cartoons of Irishmen certainly make it look that way. Sort of the predecessor to the modern "degenerate Appalachian hick" stereotype of horror movies and suchlike -- it's mostly Irish out in those parts anyhow, no?

I believe there's similar stereotypes about the Germans, although the German stereotypes are (I think) of somewhat more recent vintage, and no longer current, now that the Hun is no longer trying to grind Europe beneath his shiny black boot.

Anyhow, there's plenty of chances to be awfully racist when saying a White looks simian. Racism against Whites generally doesnt "count," as it were, in society, but it's still racism all the same.

hdhouse said...

while some of you gallop towards the cliff at the edge of the flat earth...

The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

All this silliness of defining racism by individualized and personal slights while the definition of racism is clear as a bell.

As the old saying goes: "If it isn't that, it is clearly something else" and so it goes for this discussion. For crying out loud, use the word correctly and if what you are describing isn't the definition of that "word", then find the right one.

Move on.

paul a'barge said...

David Schraub writes I think Joe fears that would qualify as jumping....

In other words, Gandelman is a coward, in addition to being a liar about his assertion that he and his merry band of sycophants are moderates.

How pathetic.

OhioAnne said...

While I probably have at some point read a column by Joe Gandleman, my only memories of his writings come from reading his comments on Moderate Voices as a result of these threads.

Based on those posts, I have learned that Joe thinks that the way to discuss a potential Presidential candidates issue positions is to focus on what he wears under his clothing.

(Think for a moment - after all this uproar, what, if anything has been learned about Romney himself or what type of President he would be IF he chooses to run?)

I've learned that because Joe thinks that it is possible the campaign against Romney MAY get ugly, it justifies him printing anything he wants because SOMEONE will do it eventually and he is absolved of any responsibility in contributing to that inevitable (in his opinion) ugliness as a result.

And, truly was hysterical, was his response to criticism by a poster on his site which said that the criticism was unfair because historically he took a boatload of criticism. (It didn't make much sense to me either.)

Joe Gandleman MAY have had a great blog and MAY have been the voice of moderates in the past, but, as someone introduced to his writings over this issue, I don't see it.

Steve Donohue said...

I know that I'm late to this party, byt, FWIW:

Joe Gandelman really is one of the nicest guys in the blogosphere, and was the first semi-prominent blogger to ever take the time to check out my site. Gandelman really is a moderate, much like Althouse, who has to fight off people from both sides claiming them to be heretic. However, I did feel that he started to devolve too much power to others, many of whom were leftist, and the more conservative posters simply stopped posting. I eventually stopped visiting, because the site as a whole wasn't as interesting as it was. But Gandelman is a good guy- maybe too nice to publicly tell his co-blogger off,