Who You Calling, “Slut”?

Let’s not kid ourselves, shall we? The only reason — the only reason — Rush Limbaugh has issued what for him counts as an apology to Sandra Fluke, the law student/private citizen he called a “slut” and “a prostitute” is because his “Excellence in Broadcasting” network is shedding an alarming number of sponsors. They are pulling dollars out his bank account as a direct result of his attempt at “using absurdity to attack the absurd”, as he put it.

(And those are the national sponsors we know of. It’d be very interesting to find out how many local sponsors have bailed from his affiliate stations.

Were there no revenue impact, Rush would be re-doubling down on Ms. Fluke’s slutty, liberal, nanny-state femi-nazi character.  Although, having already suggested she record her sexual encounters and post them for him to watch, I don’t know where he could go next. Maybe an invitation to watch in person, from a heavy-duty Barcalounger next to her bed?

So what is different here, in this Sandra Fluke case, than all the other episodes of boorish bad taste in Limbaugh’s 20-year run as The Guiding, Enforcing Voice of the Modern Republican Party?

Is it the fact that in slandering the good name of private citizen — not a Chelsea or Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi — he has not merely exceeded the bounds of his limited good taste but put himself in unequivocal legal, financial jeopardy? The fact that Sandra Fluke testified (eventually) before Congress does not make her a public figure, and there are very clear standards for slandering someone — to a radio audience reputed to reach 20 million “dittoheads” a week — who has no proportionate platform for rebuttal.

I note with great interest, and immense, unfiltered schadenfreude, that several influential women’s groups and legal advocates are strongly urging Fluke to bring a case against Limbaugh.

Go for it.

In the context of media influence I can’t think of anything more overdue in terms of application of justice, more cathartic for everyone seeking a re-balance of decorum versus cloddishness in public dialogue and more invigorating to feminists (of either sex) who have long dreamed of a way to publicly de-pants the playground bully than a high-profile law suit.

Liberals of course are notorious for seeking rational, responsible, reasonable alternatives to a culture war shit fight. But in this case, considering the power Limbaugh wields, not just over his vast audience of high-grievance, low-information voters (who ingest  him as a “truth teller” not a mere absurdist-entertainer) but also cowed and fearful Republican moderates, liberals owe it to the broader public to press their case. If they need money, a call for contributions to The Sandra “The Slut” Fluke Defense Against Limbaugh Boorishness Fund would, I’m quite certain, haul in a staggering sum of cash.

Limbaugh will of course prefer to settle quickly out of court. Limbaugh’s is a hot-house act. His shtick depends on never being exposed to serious, sustained cross-examination, and he sure as hell isn’t going to set a precedent with sworn testimony in open court. But even if it comes down to money alone, the pay-out to Fluke or charities of her choosing, could be both large and delicious.

The larger point here is the tactical need to probe and push for the combination of factors that will hasten the inevitable talk radio/Tea Party implosion. Limbaugh’s influence is a direct result of the former begetting the latter. Few if any of the raging ideologues voted into office in 2010 would be where they are without the 20 year expansion of Limbaugh-style talk radio and its eventual organization into the myriad Tea Party groups. The sweet, sweet pay off for Limbaugh is that he invented a “movement” that has made him even stronger.

As with almost every grievance-driven “populist” revolution, there inevitably comes a moment of gross overreach that is its undoing. Like others, I look at the Republican primary season thus far and see nothing but overreach. Basically, the four remaining candidates are engaged in a contest to see who can out-Limbaugh the other. It is a self-defeating, common sense moderate/independent shedding act that supplies all the divisive, crazy-embracing rhetoric and mechanics of its own demise.

There will of course always be a large, angry, ill-informed minority in every population that responds to theatrical demagoguery. That’s human nature. Plenty of people demand to be taken seriously without doing the work of serious thinking. But cycles of popularity and influence are also a part of human culture. What rises, falls. What once had unchallenged influence weakens and is replaced … sometimes by something worse. (Glenn Beck, anyone)?

The larger tactical point is to exploit a ripe opportunity to hasten the downfall of a prominent adversary in the hope of exploiting the interim between the end of his cycle of power and the rise of the next one.

Rush Limbaugh is a formidable, perhaps the most formidable conservative opponent on the landscape today. (I can’t help but wonder how much even someone like John Boehner would like to be rid of the constant fear of provoking Limbaugh’s wrath.) If you want to “man-up” for a serious, course-changing fight, you want to prove it against a Goliath that has already speared himself through his own tongue.

Dear Ms. Fluke: Sue his fat ass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

88 Responses

  1. I agree wholeheartedly! Great post, Brian.

  2. It would be interesting to see him try to maintain under cross examination that his personal attack wasn’t a personal attack.

    I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall as somebody with adequate clout explained to him that he had to pretend to be sorry; given his ego, that must have been a interesting conversation. And he finally mumbled that he was just joking.

    Well, she’s a third year law student at a tier one law school, so she probably knows some pretty good lawyers, some of whom would probably take the case pro bono–maybe make it class project.

    It’s interesting that Limbaugh’s only real defender is Bill O’Reilly, who after being sued for sexual harassment, counter sued, and when they settled, the terms were not disclosed, but the woman bought a $900k residence in Manhattan.

  3. Love it, Lambert.

  4. While not a public figure for purposes of NYT v Sullivan, she MAY be a limited purpose public figure, where the standard is somewhere between NYT and Gertz. Either way, I’d think a top-flight litigator like David Boies would love to handle her case. Spending a few days making that fat f*** squirm in a deposition would be a career highlight for any god-fearing lawyer!

    • What is the down-side to suing? Will Rush re-attack? His minions and wanna-bes might … but they’ll be a bit careful until there is some kind of decision. This one seems like very easy money, at the least. Great legal minds will have to explain how an apology mitigates the damage done.

      • And the biggest advantage of suing is that it gives this story legs, to increase the likelihood that the reputation damage sticks.

      • The downsides are:

        1. The plaintiff’s lawyer would bill by the hour as opposed to contingency.

        2. There is no case here, which makes pt 1 an exercise in taking a pile of perfectly good money and setting fire to it.

        She was speaking in the public arena. She wasn’t damaged. Limbaugh was being more hyperbolic than literal.

        This more of a Gloria Allred case. Its most certainly not a David Boies case.

  5. Yeah, even George Will is making fun of GOP leaders for being afraid of Rush:

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/george-will-mocks-depressing-gop-response-to-rush?ref=fpb

    • It is common knowledge, despite what Mike wants to believe (below) that the GOP regards Limbaugh as a force to whom they must pay serious respect. Like Grover Norquist, Limbaugh can, and has, brought a wrath of vox populi and diminished money to Republicans who strayed off his approved message. Almost all quickly came scurrying back, voicing apologies. To which you have to ask: I’m going to support a “revolutionary movement” that lives in fear of … a radio jockey?

  6. Oh Good Lord. I knew it was coming….”Rush is the Republican Party” liberal line…as predictable as snow in March. I vote Republican fairly regularly and have never listened to Rush, nor do the people I know. But then liberals never let facts get in the way of hysteria. It’s why I bailed out more than 20 years ago.

    Why should leading members of the Republican Party comment one way or the other? Rush is all entertainment, like the old AWA or WWF. They might as well comment on Hulk Hogan. Rush himself is a character…El Rushbo I think. This is so much liberal hand wringing. Who really cares what Rush says? I think Ms. Fluke should try to sue, but I think she would have a hard time winning. Rush would settle, no doubt before it got that far. I couldn’t care less, either way. There are much bigger issues before us.

    • Here is what George Will had to say on this, Mike:

      “It would’ve been nice if they had shared that with the larger public, the Republican leaders,” Will said on ABC’s This Week. “Instead, Mr. Boehner comes out and says, Rush’s language was inappropriate. Using a salad fork for your entree, that’s inappropriate. Not this stuff. I mean, and Rick Santorum says well, what he says was absurd, but an entertainer is allowed to be absurd. No. It is the responsibility of conservatives to police the right in its excesses, just as the liberals unfailingly fail to police the excesses in their own side. And it was depressing, because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”

    • Good luck with making that stick, Mike.

  7. Ms. Powers seems to have quite a chip on her shoulder. But basically, i agree. The whole angry, more-venomous-than-thou shtick has also grown old. i like Lawrence O’Donnell’s show, but I roll my eyes every time he gets back into his Donald Trump obsession. But — key points — Trump and congresswomen are public figures. Sandra Fluke is not. Also, much as they may dream Olbermann and Schultz have nothing close to Limbaugh’s influence over the their preferred party.

    • “Ms. Powers seems to have quite a chip on her shoulder”
      Sounds like another wrtier (or “satrist”) who carpetbagged his way into the DFL..

      “Also, much as they may dream Olbermann and Schultz have nothing close to Limbaugh’s influence over the their preferred party”
      There really is no scientific evidence that Limbaugh really has this grand influence over the party. Regardless Olbermann (does he still have a show?) and the Republican turned ultra liberal Schultz would sure love to have influence over the party….

      Finally, I am not going to defend Rush Limbaugh’s comments, however I think that the burden is going to be tougher for Ms Fluke in a hypothetical lawsuit to prove she is not a public figure. She was not required to testifiy to congresss, she stepped into the spot light by her own free will. Defamation lawsuits are not black and white.

      • I maintain that one appearance before a committee hearing does not a public figure make. More to the point: Fluke’s standing, in terms of having a platform for rebuttal and defending herself, pales in comparison to Limbaugh’s, even though there’s never been a good reason to believe that “20 million” number that his marketing guy invented.

      • Just in case you were wondering who listens to Rush….

        http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-study/101319/who-earth-listens-rush-limbaugh-anyway

        “Who are the 15 million people who listen to this guy?

        Data from the Pew Research Center offers some insight. A 2008 survey found that 80 percent of Limbaugh’s listeners identified themselves as “conservative,” compared to 35 percent of the total U.S. population. About three-quarters of his listeners are NRA supporters, compared to 40 percent of all Americans. The same proportion identify themselves as Tea Partiers and Christian Conservatives. Why do they listen to Limbaugh? In one survey, 37 percent said they tune in for opinion, but another 28 percent say they enjoy the blend of news, opinion, and entertainment. Among Republicans, 13 percent say they tune in to Limbaugh “regularly.” There’s one more interesting number to keep in mind, and after the events of this week, it will hardly come as a surprise: According to a 2009 survey, only 28 percent of Limbaugh’s audience is female—a smaller proportion than any other news source included in the questionnaire.

      • And then there’s this … http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/rush-limbaugh-ratings_b_1320144.html

        “How many listeners does Rush Limbaugh have? Well, in the press there are only two numbers you’ll ever see — 20 million or 15 million. Those are large numbers, so that is why Limbaugh is taken seriously and is believed to be influential.

        I’ve got news for you — those numbers are a total fabrication. They’re made up out of whole cloth. You want to know where the 20 million number came from? It was first printed in Billboard magazine back in 1993. Here is the quote:

        “Limbaugh’s show is now heard on 610 stations and reaches approximately 20 million listeners, according to [Kit] Carson.”

        So who is Kit Carson? A guy known as Rush Limbaugh’s “chief of staff.” In other words, Rush’s team simply made up the 20 million number and everyone believed it. He has never, ever presented any evidence to that effect.

        The 15 million number comes from Michael Harrison of Talkers magazine. He is considered the leading expert on the talk radio industry. He is a good man and fights hard for his industry. You want to know where he came up with the number? Pretty much pulled it out of the sky. When Tommy Christopher of AOL News (at the time, he is now with Mediate) asked him how he arrived at the figure, here is what Harrison said:

        They are only our thumbnail estimates based upon our contacts in the field, tracking of Arbitron estimates and understanding of the business. We make no claims as to “scientific” accuracy… [T]hey are not “ratings” per se.

        [LAMBERT] … I was forever amazed, when I covered the radio industry, how any adult took the Arbitron diaries seriously, much less agreed to fees based on what they showed. Liker the piece here, though, I’d love someone to come up with a precise figure of Limbaugh’s audience post-People Meter. there is a reason why, locally, the right-wing talk acts have been shuffled off to AM oblivion.

      • These studies over the years about Limbaugh’s audience often come up with flattering attributes. In the Pew study, Limbaugh’s audience is more knowledgeable than the Daily Show of Colbert Report.

      • Meanwhile, the TNR blog post chooses to highlight the contrast between NRA support within Limbaugh’s audience (75%) vs support in the population at large, which is 40%… with support being an indicator of retrograde conservatism I suppose. HELLO, 40% support among the population at large might as well be unanimous support. The other 60%, who are shall we say either literally or figuratively ‘chicks’, are not exactly in opposition. METRIC FAIL.

      • Fromm the Pew report:

        Testing Knowledge

        Limbaugh’s audience fared relatively well on the news quiz that was included on last year’s news consumption survey: 36% of his regular listeners answered all three political knowledge questions correctly. Respondents were asked to name the political party that had a majority in the House of Representatives (Democratic Party); the U.S. secretary of State (Condoleezza Rice); and the British prime minister (Gordon Brown).

        Limbaugh’s regular audience did not do as well as the regular Hannity & Colmes audience (42% all three correct). But Limbaugh listeners did better than regular O’Reilly viewers (28%). Notably, both the Limbaugh and Hannity & Colmes audiences did relatively well on the quiz despite being not particularly well-educated. Just 31% of people who said they regularly watched Hannity & Colmes are college graduates, as were 33% of regular Limbaugh listeners. A somewhat greater share of regular O’Reilly viewers are college graduates (38%).

      • Thats the one. Knowledgable news audiences is the bottom grid on the right. Knowledge among Daily Show and Colbert Report viewers is much inferior to that of Hannity and Colmes viewers as well.

  8. Say, Bri, the agrieved Ms. Fluke turns out to be 30 year old “womens rights” advocate.

    I do recall, as I am sure you do despite leaving it out of your screed, that Ed Schultz, of Air America “fame” called Laura Ingraham the same thing last summer on the air, with far less evidentiary justification.

    To date, I do not believe Barry the Fraud has phoned Laura.

    Huh.

    • The impression one got from Ed Shultz’s intemperate outburst directed at Ms. Ingraham, that got him suspended from the cable BTW, was that he meant it, not in the literal and graphic sense Rush Limbaugh used it, but in the same sense that people are now using the metaphor for Mr. Limbaugh and his carnival geek-like willingness to say anything to gather a crowd.

      Can you grasp that distinction, Brian?

    • Bertram, my perpetually aggrieved good man … Laura Ingraham is, most definitely, a public figure. There is a difference.

  9. More good commentary on this affair by a conservative thinker (which appelation Rush certainly would not qualify for):

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/03/why-does-rush-limbaugh-get-away-with-calling-a-young-woman-a-slut/253903/

  10. Episodes like this are acid test moments for political partisans. If you can’t rouse what should be a reflexive instinct to say — simply SAY — “that’s disgusting”, you are by your inaction an apologist, and a craven one at that. You are abetting a system/a style of public interaction that has no boundaries for civility. Obviously, civility has never been qualifier for talk radio success. Much the opposite. The angrier, louder and more vulgar you ratchet it up, the higher the likelihood of ratings success. But this “slut” moment becomes one where apologists risk their own reputation.

    • Lambo, two questions.

      Does self awareness diminish with age? And.. what venues are going to be open to your musings once this era of civility begins?

    • It’s worth looking at what Ed did and did not do compared to Rush. Ed called Laura Ingraham, apparently in a non-literal sense, a “slut” once, apologized profusely, and took a week’s suspension. Unlike Rush he did not spend three days repeating the charge in a literal sense; he did not ask who bought her condoms when she was in the 6th grade and he did not demand the right to have sex tapes of her.

      Although no one has provided a comparative test, I suspect that Ed, unlike Rush, knows how female birth control and health care insurance work. There’s nothing to be saved out of Rush’s performance: It’s disgusting, ignorant and illogical.

      • And if you want to know what Ed thinks about the subject, you should check his show on MSNBC tonight.

  11. So, just to put all of this in some perspective……..

    the original “slut” line.

  12. This reminds me of my favorite Rush Limbaugh joke. What’s the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg? One is a flaming Nazi gasbag. The other is a dirigible.

    • Don’t blow your wad right away big fella. We’re relying on you for the Marxist deconstruction as well.

  13. So by all this logic about public figure and private figure having different rights and protections, are you telling me that you wouldn’t go completely insane if he called Nancy Pelosi a “C*&t, or a TW**” on the air? Mmmmm…… Don’t think so, that’s Bill Maher’s job and he gets praised for it with Steinem sitting right next to him. Take a look at yourself and try to be honest. I dare you.

    • Are you sure Maher hasn’t called Pelosi something like that on air? As far as I can figure out Maher’s political views, he a left libertarian, which means he probably has as much in common with Ron Paul as Obama.

      • That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. That’s like saying Limbaugh is a left of center moderate. Please get real. Maher is just 150 lbs away from Michael Moore.

      • Tony: Maher is now defending Rush–sort of:

        Bill Maher

        @billmaher
        Hate to defend #RushLimbaugh but he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting. Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout
        6 Mar 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

        Do you think better of Maher now? Did Rush ever defend a liberal’s right to freedom of speech? (I don’t know–just wondering…)

    • I don’t do “insane”. I get show biz. But vulgar is vulgar. And there is a fairness factor to this one. What you’ve chosen to ignore is the difference between a public figure with ample opportunity to rebut and defend themselves and a private citizen with virtually none.

      • As I say, this one is so easy it’s an acid test … of values.

      • So MSNBC and elected officials calling huge groups of “private figures” tea baggers I’m sure is inconsequential to you then? Thought so. Selective outrage is oh so prevalent amongst that crowd. I will say unequivocally that what Limbaugh did was gastly. That said, I don’t see 1% of the outrage when non-conservatives do something even worse. You can rationalize with yourself all night long but that just shows the dishonesty of your views. Can you ever take off the blinders and admit that there is a double standard? Probably not, but I’m rooting for you to sit down by yourself and give it an honest assessment someday and privately acknowledge what’s going on and has been going on for the last 50 years. By the way, “Tea-Bagger” is MUCH more vulgar than slut, and was thrown at thousands of people, not just one person on capitol hill.

      • Fluke’s status as a private figure is only meaningful in terms of a lawsuit. The lawsuit notion itself has the exact same civic and intellectual weight as the desire say that John Yoo or Dick Cheney be “show-trialed.” Point being, these are trivialities to glommed onto or bandied about.

        Fluke / Limbaugh as a cultural moment is part of the larger culture / civility war. The vulgarities of Maher, Schultz, Lambo and their enabler fans are perfectly germane within the larger civility discussion.

        So he’s perfectly correct about Maher. That’s his job. He gets paid to call Sarah Palin names, and that money comes from people gratified by that sort of thing but too timid themselves to wear that vulgarity. Also a good acid test.

  14. Tony, don’t know about you, but the “Tea Bagger” appellation always struck me as a send up of the early clueless use of the term by unworldly Tea Party members, not a literal accusation, as was Limbaugh’s tirade.

    Hardly a meaningful comparison with Limbaugh’s focused, sustained and literal-minded attack on Ms. Fluke.

  15. I think Jim has this one nailed–tea bagger was an appelation chosen by the Tea partiers themselves! Taxed Enough Already, and the Boston Tea party were used as rallying cries.

    The fact that there was another meaning to the term was lost on them.

    • Thanks Jimmy, for pointing out the fact that for me and a lot of others who used “teabaggers” to describe the woefully ill-informed and perpetually angry Tea Party crowd that … they had self-described themselves as such.

      I fully understand your humor deficit and most of your grievances against rational thinking. But to some people — who are stunned at how little this crowd knows about how their bread is buttered — it was ironic humor on aimed at the worthiest of targets … namely, people making monumental fools of themselves with inchoate anger. (That said, the first time I ever heard the phrase was on a “:Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode). More to the point, our perpetually aggrieved trolls continue to prefer to brush aside the other fact, namely that there is … just a small … difference in characterizing a movement of people (who clearly don’t understand the basic fundamentals of finance and government) and a single, private person (who quite obviously understands far more about both the medical uses and the payment structure of contraceptives) than the childless, four-times married “entertainer” who makes millions inspiring “teabaggers” to their sustained rage.

      • “Perpetually aggreived, perpetually angry, sustained rage….” I see a theme emerging here, Bri.

        Everyone on the right is just “angry”, right?

        Never has anger, a normal human emotion, been used as inaccurately to paint an entire (mostly correct in intent and accurate in nature) human point-of-view – that from the right.

        When you’re getting the short end, watching your country dissolve into Marxism around you, anger is usually least of the concern, but usually the most visible.

        Wat say we convene around St. Pat’s and toast our demise?

      • As the “angry guy” out drinking, I’m a little concerned. How many pieces will you be packing? The shotgun in the truck? Check. A Glock on each hip? Check. A Lugar in the shoulder holster? Check. But what about the derringers in your murse and on your ankle? It’s dangerous in deeper inner St. Paul.

        • Just don’t bring a weedwhacker to a gunfight.

          Its spelled Luger, after the Prussian guy.

          Bertram Jr. prefers small lightweight revolver in .357 for his St. Paul adventuring…..concealed small of the back.

      • Brian–it is “luger”.
        (I won’t be packing any)

      • I’m not a gun guy. i have yet to to even be in a situation that suggested I should have a gun, much less as i go about my daily business. Of course, St.Patty’s in St. Paul might be a free fire zone.

  16. At least Rush didn’t drown any women, shag any interns, or rape any campaign volunteers.

    Thank God we have liberals to be our guardians against offensive speech and misogynistic conduct. Where would we be without their consistent and fair application of outrage?

    Credibility? Not your strong suit.

  17. Should Ed Schultz be sued for calling conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a slut? I guess the first amendment is null and void now?
    What about his “fat ass” Brian?

  18. Bri, your “concern about how, when and where I may or may not choose to legally arm myself is in itsef evidence of the overbearing folly of the left.

    I’s none of your damn business!

    • … until you panic and start spraying the area with bullets.

      • Last summer my idiot neighbor complained that somebody stole his .380 out of the glove box of his unlocked pickup. He thought I should feel sorry for him, but all I could think of was that a fairly powerful hand gun was now in the possession of someone who was at the very least a thief and who might very likely sell it to somebody worse.

        The statistics are that if there is a gun in the house and it is used to shoot someone, that someone will be a member of the household. The other likelihood is, as with my neighbor, a burglar will get the gun and put it on the street.

      • I agree, you’re neighbor is an idiot. But your statistics are bullshit and every liberal here at SRC is a low information voter when it comes to guns. Completely unequipped (Freudian!) to discuss the subject. Add to that, it’s a dead issue and we won. I don’t know why we would be talking about guns except that it’s symptomatic of this vulgar liberal bigotry that we’re all supposed to pretend is not analogous because we’re limiting the scope of discussion to Fluke and Limbaugh.

      • Gotta’ say, Eric, I never get the impression from the 2nd Amendment fetishists that they’ve “won;” rather, I get the distinct impression that, despite Obama’s utterly benign policies re: gun ownership, that they believe themselves to be all about to have their guns and gun ownership rights taken away at any moment by some imagined Obama fiat.

        It’s delusional. But you’re the first I’ve read declaring a victory. The NRA is currently apoplectic over Dayton’s veto of the gratuitous “castle” law. You really should be a featured speaker at gun shows.

      • Of course I know the type. But yes, we won and probably secured our basic position for some generations. The President knows this in the electoral sense, but he’s not benign or powerless, and he does posture. Thus you never stop making and expanding your argument, expanding the scope of your rights. You know, kind of like the initiative to make sure contraceptives are provided free to every child bearing age woman in America at someone else’s expense.

        Proposed castle law wasn’t gratuitous in much / any sense at all. What’s to find gratuitous about it?

      • Eric, the woman’s insured. She just wants to be served fairly by that insurance regardless of the religious beliefs of the organization co-paying for the insurance. There could very well be RC nuns being prescribed the pill to address issues unrelated to birth control. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is as much a disease spectrum as erectile dysfunction.

        As for the “castle” bill, it strikes me as gratuitous in that it doesn’t seem to me to address any meaningful problem. In what way am I less safe for its having been vetoed? Maybe I’m sitting here at home at added risk for its absence from the statute books and don’t know it.

        Enlighten me.

      • I assume that no argument for freedom of conscious – however merit worthy, detailed, and principled – is going to be accepted here.
        Moving on, I am bewildered how this woman’s anecdotes have passed as descriptions of hardship or tragedy.

        Really now, the sensible assumption is that for an elderly nun covered by a religious organization’s plan, a PA for insurer payment would be approved for bc pill therapy… if a PA is even needed for such a case. We’ve been provided no anecdotes to indicate otherwise. The nun story has struck me as a very weak hypothetical, but I can be moved with compelling examples.

        As for the young Georgetown law students who are perplexed by the cost and availability of birth control… I’m not sure why it would be necessary for me to detail what should be the plainly evident absurdities of this. Except that no one on the left will acknowledge the absurdities. The discipline is pretty amazing.

        They are affluent and capable enough to conquer this on their own. Now I’m mindful how advocacy for bootstrap / DIY ethic can be an absurd caricature itself. Especially from a guy like me, now enjoying the privileges of middle age white guy ness… But I went through this over a period 25 – 12 years ago when I dated extensively and was shacked up with the missus for 4 years. I know for a fact that their various logistics problems are surmountable with a little elbow grease. The conscious exemption does not have to be sacrificed to accommodate them.

      • Over a period of several years with Castle / Stand Ground law it’s doubtful there’d be a statistically correlatable increase in shootings. And when I say it’s doubtful, what I mean is the gun guys are the factually credible party here in the same way they were when they wanted to pass carry law and the anti’s claimed blood would run in the streets / wild west / OK corral / road rage. There is no mechanism in the bill that excuses cavalier gun play.

        It barely… barely… makes drawing your piece and shooting more appealing. What remains is that if you make a bad decision you are going to get prosecuted and probably go to prison.

        What it addresses is that prosecutors have prosecutorial discretion, and more often than not they choose to… prosecute. There are in every state some easily cited examples of legitimate self-defense cases being prosecuted egregiously. Thus the law is supposed to gives prosecutors more basis to not prosecute in legitimate self defense cases.

        This hypothetical trick or treaters getting shot was complete crap. Lies.

      • Eric, I don’t feel the least bit enlightened by that pedantic ramble. But at least you tried.

        I did a story in Portland, OR many years ago about an old man who left the safety of his home armed with a shotgun to intervene on a 14-year-old boy stealing loose change from parked cars in front of the old man’s home.

        Not surprisingly, faced with an angry elderly man armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, the boy fled. Sadly, he ran into the old man’s backyard that was surrounded by a high privacy fence. As the panicked kid came running back out of the dead end, the old man shot the boy dead.

        The old man was not indicted. But he got to live out the rest of his retirement knowing he’d killed a 14-year-old boy over some loose change.

        I don’t understand that mentality.

      • Erik:

        the problem with freedom of conscious arguments is where do you stop, and still have a single unified society. Do some get exemptions from drug laws because of religious beliefs (peyote and ganja)? What about Quakers/pacifists and defense spending? what about Christian Scientists and all health care? What about Islam and women? How would we go about discriminating between all of these various claims? Which would we accept? Can just anyone start up a religion–say, Mormonism, or Dianetics/Scientology, etc.? What is the difference between cult and religion?

        Bottom line is that if you want a society, then you need a certain amount of unity–the rules apply to all members of that society. Too many exemptions and you gut your society, it becomes so fractured and fragmented that it ceases to be a society at all.

        The First amendment addressed this by creating freedom FROM religion– it is designed to prevent the establishment of an official religion (an Anglican Church), and its imposition on the entire country. It is not a carte blanche for any religion to do whatever it wants to do, not even the Catholic Church. Bottom line is that religion and government are supposed to be separate, different spheres. Of course, that is an ideal, and we are constantly negotiating just what and where the boundaries are, which is what is happening here, in this debate on contraception.

        The religious freedom argument is a red herring–religions are not free from government interference in this country, and they never have been. Human sacrifice is not allowed, no matter what religious sanction you might wish. There are no religious courts with legal jurisdiction in this country (priests actually can get married here–I know a bishop who did).

      • It’s a problem if you believe the government gets to define minimum plan benefits. There’s no reason that goes without saying, and it’s perfectly reasonable to reject that premise even if the discussion assumes assumes universal coverage of some sort. Which is to say, don’t mistake me for a libertarian here.

        No minimum plan benefits, no need for conscious exemption.

      • Jim – He should have been. Bad prosecutor. That’s one relevant point among a couple. They are enormously fallible. They are elected, and their decision to prosecute is often determined by whether the perp or victim is more superficially sympathetic.

        That’s a major rationale for codifying better evaluation criteria into the law.

      • Eric– Well, a grand jury returned a “no bill.” They chose to believe his claim to feeling in danger when they kid ran at him after finding himself cornered in the backyard. They also chose to ignore the fact that he left the safety of his home to engage a petty thief with a shotgun instead of just calling the police, or, yelling out the front door and scaring the kid off.

        As I understand the “castle” bill, it would have strengthened the word of just this sort of shooter and thus made it harder to prosecute someone just like this trigger-happy geezer.

        You cannot write a law that removes the subjectivity of prosecutors, judges and juries. Flawed as they may be, I’ve a good deal more faith in the judgment of prosecutors than some addled civilian heading into the night with a gun to mete out justice.

        I’ve no illusions about gun control. But I do not have any compunctions about holding people strictly accountable for what they do with their guns. Apologies for straying so far off topic…

  19. John: Your point is of course valid:

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199208133270705

    and http://www.lcav.org/statistics-polling/gun_violence_statistics.asp

    after finishing Steven Pinker’s latest book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature” and a recent study that showed that while gun ownership has actually decreased in the United States in recent years, the number of guns owned by certain individuals has increased. In other words a gun for every imagined threat. Many of them, I’m guessing, ginned up by their intellectual heroes … Rush, etc.

    • So how does Pinker’s findings for optimism and diminishing violence support a case for gun control when gun control in fact played no part in diminishing the violence?

      You can post endless links to abstracts and bibliographies BL. You’ve always demonstrated a complete inability to articulate ideas about guns and public policy. By your own prior admission you are proudly ignorant of them, which essentially means relying on fellow travelers for ideological guidance. So you can “guess”, but you’d assuredly be wrong almost every time.

      Lord knows I’m aware how compelling it is when a gun guy recites various esotericas to a glassy eyed audience, and I’d be happy to oblige, but guns remain a complete irrelevancy to the topic at hand. The only reason they are broached now is so that you can trade in dick jokes and other cheap bigotries.

      • Here’s why I worry that guys like BJ and that racist kook in Fla. traipse around with a gun in their pants: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/20/us-usa-florida-shooting-science-idUSBRE82J1BU20120320

      • I’ve had 2 strong drinks this eve, this may not come out cogent.

        My children are in elementary school. So when I see a picture of a fresh faced young kid like this, I have almost debilitating anxiety attacks. This thing is Florida is a shame.

        Still… the body of evidence re crime and use of force/ self defense over the last 20 years weighs in favor of the carry people. They have been responsible. Society probably benefits from shall issue carry laws. Without having looked it up, I would assert that the level of malfeasance among the carry people is less than that of the police.

        And this is basically the rub (for me and some other high minded gun dorks). The police and the prosecutorial complex do not credibly apply the law such that they are worthy of their own set of rights and discretionary powers re guns, use of force, whatever.

        I was doing my thing tonight, and heard on the radio this Florida case will go to a grand jury. Again I am struck by how county prosecutors are interested in their own sinecures first and justice second. This FL guy can be charged by the prosecutor, if the prosecutor had balls. The perp is obviously mentally ill by the way, so I don’t know how it is that an accurate analogy is drawn to “responsible” gun owners and carry people. We might as well be drawing an analogy to John Hinckley Jr. The point is, he’s nuts. And everybody knows it.

        That having been said, I’m conflating the ideas of shall issue and castle doctrine a bit. I acknowledge this as an honest broker.

        Anecdote time: I am not a carry person per se. I haven’t had a carry permit yet, since the MN law made it possible in 2005. My interests have not been in modern tactical weapons. So I don’t carry. And ya know, with the intellect, and being a bad ass 5’ 10 170 pound 43 year old, there’s no need to ,right? Other dudes are sufficiently intimidated just affixing their gaze on me.

        But… I do have a toe-hold in the sporting goods industry, and I can credibly assert by anecdote that the carry people diligently practice their discipline both physically and mentally, and that you pinko commie libs can generally trust their judgment. The statistics have born this out.

    • I say pinko commie libs with nothing but affection, by the way.

      • Have a few coffees and read the Reuters story, Erik. All I know about gun toters is that they have guns on their person. And they think about using them. That’s all you know, as well.

  20. I believe Bri and Jimmy have deep seated “gun” issues.

    That said, I’d look forward to a St. Paddys day hoisting of the Jameson, or similiar.

  21. Must see TV.

  22. Limbaugh is finally getting what he deserves, but…..is this what we really want?

    I’m not so sure.

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/03/slippery-slope-rush-limbaugh-boycott

  23. “It is time for the great silent majority of Americans to stand up and be counted.”
    Richard M. Nixon

  24. Doesn’t look like the “threat to religious liberty” is taking hold.

    It is a war on contraception, not a war on religion.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/16/poll-majority-don-t-see-loss-of-liberty-in-obama-contraception-rules.html

  25. In the New York Times Stanley Fish rejects the notion of a public person / private person distinction. Instead, he argues there’s no double standard re Maher v. Limbaugh because liberals are good people and conservatives are bad people.

    http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/two-cheers-for-double-standards/

    I’ve been telling you guys this for years. You don’t have to be a good soldier and try to argue awkward details with a straight face. Just go immediately to the post-modern “No moral equivalence” trump card”.

    This guy is a big time academic. He says its OK.

  26. Enough.

    A national anti-war rally will be held April 28..the anti-war against women rally. Every state in the nation is involved.

    I urge all of the enlightened men who read and write for this blog to join us, as well. To me, this is a human rights issue.

    http://www.wearewomenmarch.net/groups/minnesota-we-are-women-march/

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