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Mitt Romney is an idiot or, even worse, is pretending to be one. His tantrum of a response on Thursday to the Supreme Court’s health care decision was pure playground: As president I will own the ball, and the game will be played by rules that leave me a winner.

That game has already been called in a decision written by the top-ranking conservative jurist, and shorn of the constitutional objection; Barack Obama’s health care plan now will be judged by its practical outcomes. Romney’s promise that “I will act to repeal Obamacare” from “my first day as president of the United States” is a prescription of destructive gridlock for a program already well under way.

We like to believe that a few bad apples spoil the virtuous bunch. But research shows that everyone cheats a little—right up to the point where they lose their sense of integrity.


 

Comments

I don't get it. Why would Romney repeal his own health care plan?

From Tom Tomorrow:

Individual Mandate: Market-driven plan first proposed by conservative Heritage Foundation and first implemented by Mitt Romney.

Socialism: Term used by GOP to describe Heritage plan after adoption by Obama.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/02/1079148/-Health-care-glossary

And Romney isn't the only "flip-flopper." Obama was against the individual mandate before he was for it:

http://youtu.be/FknJLMc84bo

Obamacare Wins, We Lose

"Obamacare and its corporate mandate were born on the Right (as in Heritage Foundation) as a way to destroy the political prospects of any single payer system that would cover all Americans with a tax-funded system of guaranteed medical care. This is the way all other industrial societies protect the right to health care, by taking it out of the hands of the giant insurance industry. The right to health care is like the right to not be enslaved – there are no half measures, and the insurance industry is the slave master."

Re: "child abuse"

Many secularist campaigners are cock-a-hoop about the ruling. They believe their description of circumcision as “child abuse”, as a cruel operation that ignores the UN-guaranteed “rights of the child”, is radical and caring. But in truth it echoes centuries’ worth of nasty anti-circumcision posturing by people who hate certain religious faiths. In Medieval Europe, as pointed out in the book The Covenant of Circumcision, Jew-baiters often depicted circumcision as “cruel and grotesque”.

Hey, Hitler liked puppies. We like puppies too!

The modern atheist’s description of circumcision as “child abuse”, though used to attack both Jewish and Muslim communities, is only an updated, more PC version of the old anti-Semites' description of it as “cruel and grotesque”.

Dude. Eff you.

This article is ridiculous. Not even the religious nuts have thought of making these comparisons, and they've had plenty of time. Dawkins has been saying this stuff for years.

It seems the guy also writes his own intro, has the same self-aggrandizing, I'm-above-both-sides douchenozzle kind of style:

Brendan O'Neill is the editor of spiked, an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.

^That said, I (and many so-called New Atheists) also don't agree with Dawkins 100%. "Child abuse"? Maybe, but Dawkins goes to the lengths of comparing it with sexual abuse. That's insulting. Worst thing is that he relies on anecdote(s). Someone told him that it was worse for her to be raised with the fear of hell than having been sexually molested. Dawkins has had several problems now of being oblivious about certain feminist causes, the most recent was his awful "Dear Muslima" comment at Pharyngula. AFAIK he never responded, though he said he would, and at least has learned to keep quiet on such matters.

I agreed with Dawkins on that "Dear Muslima" thing. Rebecca what's-her-butt was being a ridiculous drama queen by equating an invitation to coffee with sexual assault. And she turbocharged the ridiculousness by calling for a boycott of Dawkins' books.

Were you there when Dawkins first made the comment? I was, and that "Rebecca was being a drama queen" is certainly not true, that's a, um, false meme that's been spreading for some reason.

If you saw that first thread at Pharyngula that opened that whole can of worms, it would be clear that Rebecca only told her story and just said "guys, don't do that". She didn't say the guy was a potential rapist or anything else people say she said. I think most would agree that it was at least a creepy move (following someone by herself from the bar to the elevator, in which he asked for coffee in a hotel room), but some men wouldn't even want to acknowledge that. No one really thought he was an actual rapist, but people confused that with the "Schroedinger's rapist" analogy, that it's safer for a woman to "act as if". It's not the same as saying the particular guy's a rapist or even a potential one, it's just saying that women should be overcautious.

The vast majority of guys there were raising straw men, putting words into her mouth, and since then very nasty stuff has happened. The feminist bloggers have received threats (even rape threats), which has prompted event organizers to up security and put in place strict harassment policies.

Re: the Dawkins response per se, it was beside the point. It was the old "there are worse problems in the world, so why do you care about this?" canard, and worse, it was said in a condescending, mocking, dickish, sarcastic way. It could not be worse, coming from him. And the quality of those commenters who quickly sided with him, you can judge for yourself (if you look up the thread, search for e.g. Justicar's posts, that guy's a real piece of work.)

Andyo,

You are every female's dream of a man.

I've seen the thread -- several times, in fact, because the topic has come up a number of times in other threads.

Stef McGraw pretty much summed up my view of the incident:

My concern is that she takes issue with a man showing interest in her. What’s wrong with that? How on earth does that justify him as creepy? Are we not sexual beings? Let’s review, it’s not as if he touched her or made an unsolicited sexual comment; he merely asked if she’d like to come back to his room. She easily could have said (and I’m assuming did say), "No thanks, I’m tired and would like to go to my room to sleep."

Watson's retort was that "approaching a single woman in an elevator to invite her back to your hotel room is the definition of 'unsolicited sexual comment.'"

Saying "I enjoyed our discussion. Would you like to come back to my room for coffee so we can chat some more" is "unsolicited sexual comment"? How, then, does anyone ever ask anyone out? How did Watson's dad meet Watson's mom? And for that matter, we don't even know the guy had sexual intentions. Maybe he just wanted to chat. The sex part is Watson's presumption.

My mom and dad met whilst waiting for a streetcar in Chicago. Neither one of them ever described to me the exact dialog, but I'll bet it was something like "Hello. What's your name? Do you live around here?" And so forth. Is that also "unsolicited sexual comment"? And even if it is, how are two people supposed to get together?

The very fact that Watson interprets this very, very, very commonplace occurrence as "unsolicited sexual comment," not to mention feeling the need to post a video blog about it, is the very definition of "drama queen." And calling for a boycott of Dawkins' books simply because he called her on it capitalizes the D and the Q.

I agree with your earlier point that Dawkins' comparison of religion with sexual abuse is a little over the top. But he hit the nail on the head with this dopey Watson kerfuffle and Watson whiffed by a mile.

BigDaddyMalcontent,

You are not every female's dream of a man.

Saying "I enjoyed our discussion. Would you like to come back to my room for coffee so we can chat some more" is "unsolicited sexual comment"? How, then, does anyone ever ask anyone out?

How about asking her out at the bar, and better, not to his room?

And for that matter, we don't even know the guy had sexual intentions. Maybe he just wanted to chat. The sex part is Watson's presumption.

Watson's and pretty much everyone else who is not being intentionally obtuse or astoundingly naive? They'd just come from a public place (a bar IIRC), it was 4am. Never mind "coffee", how do you ask anyone who is a stranger to your hotel room and not have them expect, or at least suspect, it's about sex?

How about asking her out at the bar, and better, not to his room?

Maybe he was too shy to ask her to his room in front of a roomful of people. Maybe he didn't follow her to the elevator but just happened to be on the elevator at the same time as Watson. Or maybe Watson is an unapproachable prig who will never be satisfied with any dating approach, no matter how chivalrous. Only someone who's being intentionally obtuse -- or a drama queen -- would fail to consider these possibilities.

Jeebus, what happened with being too shy to ask a stranger in an elevator at 4am in a foreign country, to your room, period? Kids these days!

You're giving a lot of "maybes" to that guy. Rebecca is and was a well-known member of the community. She had just given a speech.

But even if all the "maybes" are valid (which I don't think they are), why do you side with the guy who did a creepy thing and choose to make her a "prig" and "drama queen"? She didn't make much of the incident at that point. The Dawkins comment came, and was outrageous given the context, not only what he said, but how he said it. And his response made it worse. A third comment from him promised to rectify if a good case was made (IIRC—NatGeo hasn't restored Pharyngula comments yet), but he was never heard of again.

why do you side with the guy who did a creepy thing and choose to make her a "prig" and "drama queen"?

Well, first of all, I'm siding with Dawkins, not that guy, whoever he is. Secondly, according to Watson's account, the guy said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?"

To which, in her video blog post, she commented, "Guys, don't do that."

Do what? Express a desire to spend time with someone he finds "very interesting"?

The incident simply isn't blog-worthy, unless, of course, you think attraction (sexual or otherwise) is inherently bad (prig) and you feel compelled to highlight such a minor incident in a public forum (drama queen).

oops, replied on the wrong comment (thanks for the comment above!)

That's because I prefer rational common sense to blind emotion.

The "dream man," evidently, is supposed to mollycoddle the woman-child by enabling her emotional response rather than treating her like an adult who can calmly and rationally overcome her initial emotion.

The proper response from Watson would've been to go, "Whoa. That was a little creepy. Oh, but wait. It just caught me off guard. No harm, no foul."

Instead, she stopped at "Whoa. That was a little creepy" and then blogged about it whilst skipping the calm, rational part.

In your view, I guess, the "dream man" should simply commiserate with the emotion and make no effort to find a rational explanation for the incident.

Could you point to that reaction of hers to that first incident, before the shitstorm with Dawkins started? I'm not being sarcastic, if I missed it, I wanna know.

If you were a young female alone in an elevator at 4:00 am in a foreign country, might you be a bit wary of some guy who followed you into that elevator? Might you feel a tad frightened if said guy asked you to come up to his room, and might you, therefore, be upset and worried?

Would you follow a young woman into an elevator at 4:00 am and invite here into your hotel room?

She may have overstated the danger, and Dawkins make have overstated his reaction. In the end, though, I hope that at least some men may realize that inviting a female, a total stranger, up to your hotel room at 4:00 am is not a good idea for either the male or the female. Particularly when said female previously declared that she was tired and wanted simply to go to sleep.

You cannot compare this to males meeting women under other circumstances (such as at a train station with people all around during the day... that's different... get it??

What does being in a foreign country have to do with anything? That's another thing Watson said in her effort to heighten the drama. They were in Dublin, not Mogadishu. And we don't know he followed her onto the elevator. Maybe he just happened to be on the elevator at the same time. And "total stranger"? It sounds like he was a conference attendee who had been part of the conversation at the bar, which is a little different than a total stranger.

I'd be surprised if some of the other conference attendees didn't wind up in other people's beds that night. Only for Rebecca Watson was this worthy of a video blog.

Here's what happened: Some guy thought Rebecca Watson was smart and attractive. That's it.

Having not read the original comment let me go ahead and risk being stupid.

So, yes, asking someone that question in an elevator is awkward and no doubt was uncomfortable, and potentially uses the confined space to push for an answer...

That said, it could easily be explained by intoxication, the late hour, or maybe he found her departure an invitation to follow and only thought he had to ask after ending up in an elevator.

Also, the use of the phrase "unsolicited sexual comment," is clearly absurd. How does one solicit a sexual comment without using a sexual comment? Probably 50% of all sexual comments must be unsolicited. It was clearly unwanted, but that cannot always be determined before the point. I think the real question is, was it inappropriate? and the obvious answer is No. At 4am, after drinking at a bar, with someone you have no professional association, it is not inappropriate to ask them up for a nightcap. Was the delivery a little creepy, yeah. Was it a big deal? At the time I am sure it was icky.

That said, switch the genders of the two and see if you still think its that creepy.

You've completely missed the context but you do get it. Rebecca had just given a speech. She's married, and she'd just said she was tired and going to bed. It was 4am and she was alone there.

The other context you're missing is the shitstorm that happened after. A lot of people were pissed at her for making a big deal out of it (she didn't), and were saying exactly the opposite of what you're saying. That it's not creepy, it's not pushy, it shouldn't have been uncomfortable, etc... and worse, they were calling her stupid sexist names (I think it was Abbie Smith who came up with Rebecca Twatson, but worse was said). Then Dawkins "chimed in", whose comment you can see in the link I posted above, and it really hit the fan.

But your comment is contradictory,

So, yes, asking someone that question in an elevator is awkward and no doubt was uncomfortable, and potentially uses the confined space to push for an answer...

This is inappropriate, isn't it?

That said, it could easily be explained by intoxication, the late hour, or maybe he found her departure an invitation to follow and only thought he had to ask after ending up in an elevator.

Does this excuse the previous comment?

I think the real question is, was it inappropriate? and the obvious answer is No. At 4am, after drinking at a bar, with someone you have no professional association, it is not inappropriate to ask them up for a nightcap. Was the delivery a little creepy, yeah. Was it a big deal? At the time I am sure it was icky.

Well the "creepiness" of the delivery has to do with when and where the invitation was made. How is it "not inappropriate" to do something that you yourself count as a bit creepy and icky?

I don't think she's married anymore, at least that's what her Wikipedia entry says.

That said, switch the genders of the two and see if you still think its that creepy.

I would never whilst in an elevator with a guy in Dublin at 4:00 a.m. invite him to come up to my hotel room. That would be creepy and inappropriate, and I'd never ever do that. If said guy was a speaker at a conference I had just attended, I'd be respectful and allow him his privacy.

It's clear that different people have different ideas of boundaries and what is and what is not appropriate.

I'm guessing that Andyo has better luck with the ladies than the men who don't understand all of this. And not getting it, they just end thinking some women are prigs, and leave it at that. Sigh...

Also, the "switch the genders" thing doesn't work, really. How about "switch the races"? Louis CK has a great bit on white male privilege that explains why pretty well.

It was the old "there are worse problems in the world, so why do you care about this?" canard...

I remember reading Dear Abby one time (or maybe it was Ann Landers), and a woman had written in to ask what she should do about her neighbor's wind chimes, which she found annoying. To my pleasant surprise, Abby (or Landers) responded by saying some people aren't getting enough to eat or are getting evicted from their homes or suffering other tragedies and privations, and that the way to deal with her neighbor's wind chimes was to thank her lucky stars that she wasn't suffering something much, much worse as so many of her fellow humans were.

I guess a person's biggest problem is a person's biggest problem, as the saying goes. But sometimes it helps to keep in mind that your neighbor's wind chimes or being awkwardly propositioned on an elevator don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy woild.

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