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Solar system "pretty special"

Prevailing theoretical models attempting to explain the formation of the solar system have assumed it to be average in every way. Now a new study by Northwestern University astronomers, using recent data from the 300 exoplanets discovered orbiting other stars, turns that view on its head.

The solar system, it turns out, is pretty special indeed. The study illustrates that if early conditions had been just slightly different, very unpleasant things could have happened -- like planets being thrown into the sun or jettisoned into deep space.

Gosh. Such perfect, rare conditions couldn't have been - dare I say it? - created or designed, could they? The whole anti-ID/anti-Creation science crowd constantly and falsely bellows, "You don't make any testable predictions!" Yet here is a prediction that is being borne out by their own scientific work! Jinxmchue 19:16, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

One time I was dealt a royal flush in poker, which happens once in every 649,790 hands. Therefore the hand was designed.CarlosMenezes 22:37, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
Cute, but the odds of us being here talking about this are far, far worse than that. So much worse that I don't think anyone can fully comprehend it. Jinxmchue 00:41, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
What are those odds?CarlosMenezes 09:22, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Hate to break it to you Jinxmchue, that was neither a prediction nor a test... Until you actually create a solar system, it won't be considered "testable". And the Bible didn't "predict" the formation of the planets. At best it is a retro-diction (regardless of whether that's the truth or not, talking about something after the fact is not a prediction). ATang 09:35, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
According to here,...
[A] prediction [is] made before the observed effects are known[. A] postdiction [is] made after the observations are known... . A prediction and postdiction are logically equivalent, if each is obtained by valid deductive logic.
Scientists use retroduction when, after observations are known, they infer from an observed effect to a proposed cause by asking a reversed question: These are the observed effects, so what might the cause have been? During retroductive inference, scientists try to find a theory (by selecting an existing theory or inventing a new theory) whose postdictions will match the known data.
Philip J. Rayment 21:30, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
From the article, it sounds like the odds are one in three hundred, based on our current knowledge.--Frey 17:58, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
I would also add that the model could be based on skewed data. A large planet in a close orbit makes a larger “wobble” than one in a larger orbit or a small planet in a close orbit, making it easier to find, so we find that kind of system first. Other systems like the solar system could very well be out there, and we’re just not able to see them yet. At this point, all we really know for sure is that our own system is not as average as we assumed it to be.--Frey 18:07, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Jimxchue is not clear on what prediction he thinks is fulfilled, but I guess one is that, from a creationary point of view, we would expect this solar system to be special. If this was only done after observing the data, then it would be a postdiction, but potentially still just as valid. Have creationists claimed that the solar system was a special place before this discovery? Most certainly yes.

CarlosMenezes' attempt to claim that unlikely events (that he was dealt a particular hand) are therefore actually designed fails when you realise that, given the number of poker hands that are dealt, a royal flush is actually likely to occur. If, instead, the dealer had predicted that he would get a royal flush on the very next hand (someone getting a royal flush is not unlikely; someone correctly predicting that a particular hand will be a royal flush is), and he did, I'm sure that CarlosMenezes would have his suspicions that the dealer arranged it, i.e. that it was designed!

Philip J. Rayment 21:30, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

One of the problems with even estimating how "unique" our planet itself is lies in a systematic sampling bias (I know the article refers to the solar system as a whole, but this is relevant). The extrasolar planets discovered thus far are considerably more massive than Earth because they're easier to find. Of course, "easier" is relative, as we're talking tiny chunks of dark rock an incredible distance away, detected based on tiny disturbances of the parent star. Detecting such planets at all pushes such available technology to its limits. Thus Earth-like planets are generally too small to detect at present. Granted, that doesn't mean that they are actually there, but it's just really hard (if not currently impossible) to find them if they are. Getting back to solar systems, even though others appear different in terms of their known exoplanets, that doesn't mean that they don't also have roughly Earth-mass planets. (Again, to be clear, I'm not saying that they do, just that it's still too early to make confident claims either way.) And regarding chance, the point is moot simply because the other possibilities in the solar system spectrum cannot (we think, anyway) sustain life like that found on this planet. Of course life like ours could only exist on those plants where, for example, liquid water can occur. It's the same reason we're on Earth and not, say, Mercury.
Out of curiosity on a separate line of thought: As a hypothetical, how would you have interpreted it if the other extreme was observed- that all other known solar systems were found to behave very much like ours? :Kallium 23:30, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
I've seen things like this before, you know...
  • Secular scientists find that the solar system is special.
  • Creationists point out that this fulfills one of their predictions.
  • Secularists claim that the original findings are not really worth the paper they are written on.
That said, I agree that there is a sampling bias. However, I would expect the researchers to have taken that into account. And one thing I recall reading is that many of these giant planets have been found to be in orbits that are, compared to our system, very close to their star. That is, even though there is an admitted sampling bias, there is still enough information available to conclude that we appear to be unique.
As far as the reason that we are on Earth and not Mercury is concerned, you are presuming the secular view to be true. I would say the reason that we are on Earth and not Mercury is because it was Earth that was designed and intended for our use, so Earth was made suitable for us.
I think your hypothetical question is too general. I would expect other systems, being created by the same God, to be similar in many respects, although different in some crucial respects also.
Philip J. Rayment 09:33, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
I don't see why the creationist lobby is claiming a victory here. Our star system may well be special; which is why life survived here for long enough to see how lucky it is. When you consider how many other planets could orbit other stars in other galaxies, but weren't lucky enough for life to survive for long enough, it ceases to be amazing at all. We ended up on a planet almost perfect for us, because everywhere else, life could not survive. KarlJaeger 15:54, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
From an evolutionary point of view, it might not be amazing that life only survived in this special system, but that completely glosses over why this system should be so special! The whole point of the evolutionary/alien-life-form argument is that our system is supposedly not special. Philip J. Rayment 02:30, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
We have not looked closely enough at any other systems to make the very strong claim that "life only survived in this special system". There are a few billion stars- and thus other potential systems- in our galaxy alone, among several billion other galaxies. We've only looked for life in this system, and for that matter in only a very small part of it. Why this system "should be" special (which does not mean absolutely unique) is ultimately not an evolutionary question, but an astrophysical one. As for the development of life, all we know is that the conditions on this planet are appropriate for carbon-based life such as ours. We are still discovering new large bodies in this solar system- right in our own neighborhood. We therefore cannot preclude that other systems that may have formed differently than ours contain planets with the "proper" conditions for what we would recognize as life. Please note that I'm not using this to argue that there are such planets, just that it is far too early to make solid claims either way based on such observations. This is true not just because of the very limited data on other systems, but also because of the relatively small sample size. Initial data on 300 systems is far too little to extrapolate with any confidence to a galactic population of billions and billions of potential planetary systems. To the final sentence ("The whole point of the evolutionary/alien-life-form argument is that our system is supposedly not special."), that's just not true. It's actually a different question entirely. It is relevant to how common carbon-based life may be elsewhere, but the evolutionary argument is specifically that it doesn't matter how many unsuitable locations there are- where life as we know it can arise, it will arise, and where it physically cannot, it will not. Like in organic chemistry: that a given reaction will not work well in a dozen different conditions (solvent, temperature, pH, etc.) won't keep it from working in the next one. In fact, most reactions only occur under a narrow range of conditions, and when those conditions are right, they happen spontaneously. The solar argument works the same way. Kallium 11:04, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
If your first point about the claim that "life only survived in this special system" was directed at me (as at least part of your post was), note that I was simply quoting from the previous post.
Why life the solar system should be special, if it is, would be a metaphysical reason, not an astrophysical one, I would think.
"As for the development of life, all we know is that the conditions on this planet are appropriate for carbon-based life such as ours.": So are you talking about the development of life, or its suitability for life? Certainly Earth is suitable for life, but whether it is suitable for the development of life, if that is a reference to evolution, is not something we know, given that goo-to-you evolution doesn't work. At the very least, it's begging the question.
I'm not sure what you're driving at with the last part of your post (about my reference to evolutionary/alien-life-form argument), but what I was referring to is the argument that, given that (a) life evolved here, and (b) the number of other potential places suitable for life in the universe, therefore life would exist elsewhere in the universe. This argument about alien life forms is clearly evolutionary, because of point (a).
Philip J. Rayment 05:56, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
The first point was originally directed at you, however I did not recognize it as originating in the previous post, in which case consider it directed there.
You changed “why this [solar] system “should be” special” (based on your previous post) to “why life should be special”, thus changing the subject and meaning. Note too that “should be” (your words originally) is teleological.
I was referring to the development of life, although to be more accurate I should have said “conditions ... were” rather than “conditions ... are”. Regarding that its suitability is not something we know, well, we’re never going to know exactly what things were like or precisely how things happened, but nonetheless there is an enormous and growing list of small pieces of evidence regarding the mechanism of the origin of life that helps to narrow the possibilities. And it is not a given that “goo-to-you evolution doesn’t work”. If you want to dismiss the collective work of tens of thousands of scientists who spend their lives in an honest and very tedious pursuit of understanding life, it takes a bit more than a gross oversimplification and saying that it “doesn’t work”.
My final point, though long-winded, was that our solar system not being special isn’t the “whole point of the evolutionary/alien-life-form argument” but is instead unrelated to it. The fact that life evolved here says absolutely nothing about how common life is elsewhere as we still know essentially nothing about conditions in other systems, or how likely life-suitable planets are to form (an astrophysical question). Kallium 10:29, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
My change from "solar system" to "life" was accidental. I've fixed it: the point still applies. Yes, it is my term, but one that you commented on, and I was replying to your comment.
There is not really an enormous and growing body of evidence. There's an enormous and growing body of just-so stories and equivocations. That goo-to-you evolution doesn't work is evidenced by (a) the complete absence of indisputable transitional forms, (b) the supposed source of new genetic information—mutations—actually being destroyers of information, (c) the complete lack of any hard evidence that it has occurred, and (d) many other bits of evidence. Yes, it was a gross simplification, because it was not the point under discussion, but the evidence backing up what I said is readily available. As for dismissing the work of those scientists, what about their dismissal of one of the most basic laws of biology: life only comes from life?
Your last point is contradicted by what I previously said and which remains unrefuted: that the standard life-must-exist-elsewhere arguments presume evolution. If you don't presume evolution, the argument has no foundation.
Philip J. Rayment 11:06, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Another suggestion for a news item

A professor at Arizona State University is being investigated by police for taking naked pictures of her two daughters and posting them in what she's calling an art display. It's Professor values in action, and it's sickening! [1] QWest 22:42, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

And another one. The California Supreme court has issued a ruling denying doctors the right to freely decide whether or not to treat a patient.[2] They are requiring that doctors offer fertility services to lesbians. It's like child abuse by proxy. QWest 23:11, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

California Supreme Court Ruling

Okay, let's get this right - the existing law on the books said that doctors and other providing services to the public had to offer those services regardless of race, age or sexual orientation. The doctors who refused to provide medical services because of their own religious beliefs were in violation of the law. Why is it shocking, then, that the court ruled the way it did - they have to rule on the law. Besides, would you want Christians in other countries to be refused treatment because they are not followers of the "official" faith? Physicians take an oath to provide care to those in need, and cherry-picking patients because of their relationship choices is pathetic. -DinsdaleP 09:59, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Isn't there a difference between, looking after an ill patient and artificial insemination? It is not black and white as you think. --EmilyC 10:02, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
The standing law excludes discrimination based on sexual orientation so they were breaking the law, whether the denied treatment was necessary or elective. Also, allowing this kind of discrimination for elective procedures is a slippery slope. Does medical treatment now have to take place on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis? If the person was an atheist or Wiccan would the doctors have been as justified in denying insemination on religious reasons to keep a potential atheist or wiccan from being born? -DinsdaleP 10:09, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
It is interesting to note that the ACLU was on the side of the Christian doctors in this case. --Benp 10:57, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Nope - it was the conservative ACRU (American Civil Rights Union), which sounds like the ACLU but represents conservative positions in these types of matters. The ACLU participated but on behalf of the patient. -- DinsdaleP 11:05, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Ah. My mistake, and what I get for just skimming the article while working on other things. --Benp 13:40, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Whilst it may be understandable that the court upheld the law (I say "may" because courts often find loopholes or other reasons to come to different conclusions), it is shocking that anybody, including a doctor, is required by law to support immorality. Philip J. Rayment 21:38, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

As with many issues of this nature, the problem is in having a common definition of "immoral" to work with. Some things are immoral only to a minority, like consuming alcohol, and others are universally considered immoral, like murder or child abuse. However, homosexuality is in the middle band - offensive and even immoral to many, as interracial dating & marriage was in the U.S. until a few decades ago, but not condemned enough to be illegal. As long as it's not illegal then, it's not right for doctors to deny services based on the personal values of their patients. --DinsdaleP 22:07, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Yes, the problem is to have a definition to work with, but according to Christianity, some things are either immoral or not, whereas to an atheist morality is thought to be relative, but in fact has no firm basis at all. So arguing that homosexuality is "immoral to many" but not all is an atheistic argument, and therefore, as I have just pointed out in another section below, a case of the atheistic worldview being imposed on society, which when done the other way, i.e. the Christian view being imposed, atheists hypocritially condemn as unacceptable. Philip J. Rayment 22:19, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
I think the difference between our views is that rather than being atheistic, I'm just acknowledging the many faiths and perspectives among the 6 billion people on the planet, and that the moral standards of one group are not going to be held by all. Disagreement with some aspects of core Christian morality doesn't make one's viewpoint atheistic - it could come from a Bhuddist, for instance.
By the way, I'm glad you're back, and missed having thoughtful exchanges like this. All the best to your wife and your family. --DinsdaleP 10:38, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
When I say that something is atheistic, I'm not excluding the possibility that other worldviews may have similar views to atheists (and I'm certainly not saying that holding that view means that one is an atheist).
But part of the view of many religions (including atheism) is that their view is correct, the corollary of which is that other views are incorrect (most claim mutually-exclusive things, so can't all be correct, which means that the only way they can all be equal is if all are incorrect). So treating all views as somehow equal is itself anti-Christian (as well as anti-various-other-views). I also acknowledge that there are other "faiths and perspectives", but don't see why we should treat them (the views, that is, not the followers of those views) as equals, when doing so means treating Christianity as incorrect.
Atheism is no different in this regard, except that it uses the word "religion" inappropriately to mean most worldviews other than their own, so treat all "religions" as equal(ly-wrong), but their own worldview as correct, so maintaining a facade of being fair whilst actually being as biased as they accuse others of being.
Thanks for your kind wishes.
Philip J. Rayment 11:07, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
There's a difference between treating different faiths and personal practices as equal to each other (which is not reasonable), and treating people equally regardless of their faith and personal practices. If a woman goes to a fertility center and her sexual orientation does not come up, should she be treated any differently than a woman who shows up with a female partner? Does a doctor have a right to ask a potential patient about their sexual orientation or personal values before treatment so he can decide if their values are compatible enough for them to receive his services? That's the essence of the California ruling - people deserve to receive medical services with equal consideration based on race, creed, and in that state, sexual orientation, because none of those factors objectively makes a person more or less deserving of receiving treatment. --DinsdaleP 11:46, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Agreed that there's a difference between different faiths equally and treating people equally. And their "sexual orientation" should be irrelevant if it has nothing to do with the problem being treated. However, when the "problem" is one that is due entirely to their "orientation", as in this case, that's another matter entirely. The reason that the woman had a problem getting pregnant and wanted fertility treatment is because her "husband" was another woman! That's not a medical problem: that's an attempt to bypass the way God made us. Philip J. Rayment 09:10, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
But what if a woman is married to a man who's sterile, for whatever reason. Wouldn't the woman going for artificial insemination be attempting to bypass the way God made her husband? --Jareddr 09:23, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
And does this principle of bypassing God's will also invalidate the right of straight women to become parents via insemination if they never find a husband? Once we start condoning the right of medical providers to judge the life choices of potential patients, we've opened the door to all kinds of abuse. If a woman walks into a fertility center alone, is she assumed to be single or a lesbian trying to hide the fact? If she arrives with another woman, should it be assumed that they are a lesbian couple instead of one being a relative or friend of the other, who could be married to a man for all one knows? Should a doctor be allowed to ask personal questions unrelated to the requested treatment to make sure the patient's lifestyle doesn't offend his sense of morals first? For these reasons and more, it's simpler, fairer, more ethical and more respectful to offer treatment without the patient's lifestyle being a factor. --DinsdaleP 09:40, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
Jareddr, no, God did design men to be sterile. That is a result of the Fall.
DinsdaleP, God designed childbearing to be the product of marriage, not of singleness. We have to make judgments all the time; the mere fact of making judgments according to standards does not mean that abuse will follow. If a woman walks alone into a fertility clinic, why does she need treatment? That is, is it because she has a problem with her ovaries, or because her husband has a problem with his sperm (for example)? In other words, in order to treat the problem, you need to understand it. So no doctor is going to be treating a woman for infertility without knowing where the problem lies. Thus the last part of your post about not asking unrelated personal questions is moot, because the questions we are concerned with here are not unrelated.
Philip J. Rayment 09:57, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
There will always be appropriate medical questions one needs to ask as a provider in order to offer proper treatment, so the issues here are "What is appropriate to ask?" and "Should the answers affect the eligibility for treatment if not related to the condition?" If a healthy woman comes to a clinic requesting artificial insemination, passes all of the medical criteria and has the means/insurance to pay, does the doctor have a need or right to ask if there's a husband who just happens not to be there? If she came to the clinic with another woman, does the doctor have the need or right to ask if she's a friend, relative or gay spouse? --DinsdaleP 10:13, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
I'm a fan of "fairness in labeling." What would be wrong with a practitioner posting their positions on who they would, and would not treat? It would be useful to know before ever approaching a fertility specialist if they disclosed, in advance and publicly, whether they would, or would not, serve homosexuals. This disclosure could be done by a web site, by an annotated directory entry, in the Yellow Page ads, etc. Those who want a homosexual friendly clinic would know where to go, and those who want to deal with a Christian doctor can choose appropriately. --AdmiralNelson 11:34, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
So a doctor puts a "No Negroes" sign on his office door, he doesn't have to deal with patients he doesn't like, and African-Americans know to go elsewhere, and everyone's happy? Somehow I'm not swallowing that. Fyezall 11:45, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

(unindent) If a healthy woman comes to a clinic requesting artificial insemination, then what's the medical problem that needs solving? None, apparently.

If a doctor is going to discriminate, it should be on valid grounds. We do, of course, discriminate all the time. For example, an employer hiring staff will discriminate against candidates that don't meet the requirements of the job, or even those that do meet them, but not as well as other candidates. But an employee discriminating against someone for a reason that has nothing to do with the job, such as their hair colour (excluding the possibility that this may be relevant, such as in the case of hiring an actor), if discriminating unfairly. Discriminating against someone solely because of their ancestry (e.g. Negro) is clearly unfair discrimination (again, excluding rare cases such as actors playing Caucasian historical figures). Discriminating against an immoral lifestyle (where relevant) is not unfair discrimination.

Philip J. Rayment 22:30, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

And again, Philip, we circle back to the problem of how one defines a lifestyle as "moral" if doctors are allowed to use that standard to deny medical services, whether elective or not. Does a doctor get to ask someone if they're gay or not, when that has nothing to do with the service? What if they consider interracial marriage to be immoral, or if a straight, married atheist couple requests services? MS-Encarta defines discrimination as "the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually", and when medical services are denied for no reason other than a person belonging to a category subjectively considered immoral, then you have injustice. It's also strikes me as a hypocritical stance for a Christian doctor to take, because from what I've read in the Bible Jesus did not apply litmus tests of morality before helping others. --DinsdaleP 11:41, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
"we circle back to the problem of how one defines a lifestyle as "moral"": Which you never did address adequately, did you?
"...when medical services are denied for no reason other than a person belonging to a category subjectively considered immoral...": What makes you think that it's subjectively considered immoral?
"...Jesus did not apply litmus tests of morality before helping others": No, but neither did he help them do something immoral.
Philip J. Rayment 22:51, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

Rayment- In your hypothetical situation, would you advocate for an atheistic doctor, or a non-Christian doctor to refuse medical services to a Christian? What about a doctor who feels that having more than 2 children is not in society's best interest, and thus feels large families are not appropriate. Can that doctor discriminate against the medical needs of large families? Let us switch places, would you accept it if a doctor discriminated against you for whatever reason he chooses? Don't say this is liberal claptrap, it is a perfectly valid question. --AndrasK 12:14, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

The name's "Philip", by the way.
"...would you accept it if a doctor discriminated against you for whatever reason he chooses? Don't say this is liberal claptrap, it is a perfectly valid question.": It's only valid if one first assumes that morality is subjective, a "liberal" position that I reject. See user:Philip J. Rayment/How to debate. Philip J. Rayment 22:51, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
And I repeat. Why can't we just require these doctors to publicize, clearly and blatantly, what their stances are? To do otherwise would be endorsing deception. We avoid the question of CAN a doctor discriminate between Christians, homosexuals, or Moslems, and address the question of allowing the consumer to decide which doctor they will utilize. If they won't do artificial insemination for homosexual couples, for whatever reasons, wouldn't it be useful as a consumer to know where they, the consumer, stands? I say we have explicit and clear questionnaires asking doctors about their stances, including who they will and will not serve on moral grounds (and what services they would perform). Is this any different than clearly labeling that BHT is an ingredient in a product purchased at a supermarket? Let the consumer decide, let THEIR morals guide them. But they need to know which professionals will provide what services. Good Christians will likely patronize those physicians who support their own moral stances. This is wrong, how? --AdmiralNelson 12:24, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
Because publishing one's policy for discriminating against people subjectively doesn't make it acceptable. "I don't treat atheists or Muslims", "I don't treat gays", "I don't treat people not married in a church service", or "I don't treat interracial couples" are examples where stating a subjective policy that has nothing to do with medical eligibility is still not right. My mother was a real estate salesperson in a racist section of Queens, New York, and potential clients often asked her not to show the homes they were selling to "the people we don't want - as a good neighbor, I'm sure you understand". She refused to support racism, and turned down these people at a considerable cost in lost business. So if you're asking me if having a disclosed policy of discrimination doesn't make it wrong, the answer is still "no". --DinsdaleP 13:00, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
Publicising what a doctor will or will or will not do is probably okay in most cases, but allowing a doctor to discriminate based on "race" or etc. is not okay. So a doctor should not be allowed to say that he won't treat people of a certain "race", ethnic background, or etc., but he should be allowed to say that he won't do abortions, plastic surgery, fertility treatment outside a family unit, etc. Philip J. Rayment 22:51, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

Drinking Age

I agree with having a national drinking age limit of 21, having seen not one, but three families I know devastated by the loss of a loved one to a drunk driver. The only exception to this limit should be allowing people in the active military who are between 18 & 21 to drink when off duty. If they're willing to put their lives on the line for this country, then they've earned this right in return. -DinsdaleP 10:04, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

It's probably a good idea to compare other countries too. For example, how does Canada's drunk driving rate compare to the USA's, given that the drinking ages there are 18 or 19? Also, the culture around drinking responsibly is equally important.CarlosMenezes 11:01, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
I definitely think that servicemembers between the ages of 18 and 21 should be allowed to drink. It's mind-boggling to me to see young men and women in an airport coming back from Iraq and know that a lot of them couldn't legally get served a beer. People fighting for us should get full rights. Corry 13:08, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
That type of selective exemption is not good policy however. yes, the soldiers are putting their lives on the line for the country, but that doesn't relegate everyone else to second class citizenship status. If the age is lowered for one group, it should be lowered for all. Jamal Greene 13:34, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
How about "if you're old enough to buy a gun, you're old enough to buy beer."CarlosMenezes 13:37, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, it's tricky. When you're eighteen you can vote, serve in the military, and otherwise act as an adult, but you can't buy beer. I also think it's interesting that states uniformly has a drinking age of twenty one is that the federal government withholds highway funds for not falling in line. Corry 13:45, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
I think the premise here, which is grounded in decades of statistics, is that there's a disproportionate amount of irresponsible drinking done at those ages compared to 21 & above. The consequences of 18-year-olds doing something irresponsible like driving drunk are far more serious than if they vote irresponsibly, so the validity of associating voting and drinking rights just isn't there. On the other hand, 18-year-olds serving in the military have stepped up and accepted serious responsibilities (and life & death consequences) on behalf of their country, and not only do they deserve that beer in the airport - I'd be proud to buy it for them. --DinsdaleP 14:35, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
To Corry, that is just old school politics. It's how the federal government de fatco mandated the drinking age, the speed limit, the labor age and countless other issues that the states weren't falling into line with. As for your point Dinsdale, the trouble is that those surveys don't take other issues into consideration. A lot of students (and I have seen this first hand) are attracted to drinking because of the mystery and rebellion that it brings. However, if the drinking age were lowered and more kids were educated about alchol and the repsonsibilities it brings earlier, it would lose that "cool" appearence. I also find your reasoning faulty. Joining the military in no way increases your ability to make decisions (just look at how many bases are having DUI issues) an 18 year old fresh out of boot camp has no magic trait that makes them any more or less likely to drink irresponsibly than an 18 year old fresh out of high school. As for your point about voting rights, the issue isn't that a bad vote is any more or less dangerous than drinking, the point is that at 18, kids are entrusted with the ability to vote. They have the right to go into the booth and have a say in government. Jamal Greene 14:41, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
You make some good points, Jamal. First off, you're absolutely right that being in the military does not automatically make someone more responsible. In fact, given the number of felony waivers that have been granted in the past few years to meet enlistment quotas, there are a small number of people serving who are of questionable character, but who deserve the chance to better themselves in service to their country. My point was that while 21 makes sense as a minimum drinking age, the risks and sacrifices one takes on in military service should entitle them to a privilege like drinking that is not afforded to civilians 18-20. That does not absolve them of the responsibility to drink responsibly, though. As for the mystery and rebellion of drinking, that would apply to 17-year-olds if the limit was 18 - pick any limit, and the allure is always there for those on the threshold of it. Young drinkers cause disproportionately more accidents than older ones, so it's in the interest of public safety to keep the limit at 21 when there's no compelling reason not to. -DinsdaleP 14:56, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

(unindent)Of course the allure is always there, but we need to take a lesson from European countries such as Italy, where the drinking age is very low. Although the age is low, they have nowhere near the issues steming from underage drinking as we do in America. In fact, in Italy, some kids as young as 12 or 13 have a glass of wine with their families with meals. This exposes them early and takes away the appeal. that, coupled with strong educational stances against irresponsible drinking will do more to curb the issue than simply saying at 21 you can drink legally. Jamal Greene 15:22, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

No argument that in some cultures, drinking with one's family at an early age is the norm. My dad let me have wine with dinner as a teen, too, and beer with him while fishing/camping when I was 17. What one does under the supervision of responsible parents is different than what one does solo, though. I agree with you that more education, started early, and candid about both the pros and cons of drinking, would lead to more responsible behavior once the legal age for drinking is reached.
It's a bit off topic, but what's interesting in re-reading this thread is that conservatives feel just the opposite about teaching sexuality, sex education and birth control to teens. In that case, the perception is that the less one is exposed to the better, and somehow the mystery/allure factor doesn't exist? Ironic indeed. --DinsdaleP 15:43, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
For your first bit, I agree completely (with you agreeing with me?) I still hold that lowering the drinking age would benefit society at large, but understand why people would feel otherwise. I don't think I follow you. Conservative positions seem to be pretty level across the board (except for a few instances, but that's another story) Drinking and Sexual activity are both seen as immoral and bad for society (and a sin for the religious) and children should not be exposed to them in any way. Jamal Greene 15:47, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
I just don't get this. One of the things I admire about the United States is its rejections of the Nanny State. In most states in the union you can get a drink in a nearby bar until 4 o'clock in the morning. Quite right too. In Britain, despite the so-called liberalisation of the licensing laws, almost every bar shuts at 11.00 pm. It's crazy. Once you're old enough to vote you should be allowed to have a drink without the Nanny State poking its prissy nose in your business. KeithJoseph 21:36, 19 August 2008 (GMT)
I'm not sure about that... In my home state, bars close at 2AM... that's usually an issue that takes into account the danger of letting bars out at a certain time... I know very little about British politics, so I can't really comment... I know in America, when questions about keeping bars open later are raised, they are often blocked by religious and right wing groups. Jamal Greene 16:43, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
I don't want to pass for a Liberal!, but in my opinion it should be the families that decide the drinking age for their children and teach them to drink responsibly. When they are 21+, it's already too late to teach them anything. But starting from the late teens, a family should teach them that a glass of wine at dinner goes, a night spent with too much beer and whisky doesn't. Strongly Christian countries such as Italy, Spain, France, where teenagers are gradually introduced to wine at dinner, traditionally have less drunk driving and other drunk accidents, as compared to Northern Europe for instance. Unfortunately, the importance of the family and its Christian education is decading in these countries, and Saturday night car accidents are becoming more common. SilvioB 17:12, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Divine Intervention and Medicine

It's great that people have faith, but it's often a tough call to determine what to do when that faith conflicts with medical opinion. If a family makes a unanimous decision to request life-prolonging treatments in a case that's medically hopeless (i.e. keeping a brain-dead person on life support indefinitely), then they should have the right to get it. However, since this is being done against medical advice, they should sign a waiver absolving the medical professionals of any malpractice liability, and is it fair to expect medical insurers to continue covering the treatments if they are against medical advice? (For example, a woman has a life-threatening pregnancy and is advised to abort by every doctor she consulted. She puts it "in God's hands", and the doctors care for her as best as they can. If she dies as a result, the medical providers needs to be freed of any liability for that outcome). Also, to what degree should deeply religious people be allowed to withhold or refuse medical treatment for a relative because they believe in healing through faith instead? --DinsdaleP 18:12, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Sure, in an ideal world where beds are unlimited and medical procedures have no resource cost, giving everyone what they want is acceptable. In the real world, physicians must make the difficult decision to hold firm in their belief that no medical procedure could reverse a patient's prognosis, and make those resources available for someone who would benefit from them, in their opinion. It's the basic rule of triage. The patient could find other locations that would accept them; I don't think a hospital has the obligation to perform a medical procedure if there is unanimous or majority opposition.
I can cite an anecdotal example where a paramedic responded to a self-inflicted gunshot case, where someone committed suicide via shotgun in the mouth. When they arrived it was evident that the person is dead and no efforts can be made reasonably (except maybe via miracle) to revive the person - brain matter everywhere, etc. The family though, kept asking the paramedics why they aren't doing CPR.
In the case of withholding treatment... That's when it gets messy. Anyone has the right to withhold treatment for themselves for any reason. For children though... If parents are withholding treatment to their child based on the belief in faith healing, the physician could argue that they're non compos mentis and fight for temporary guardianship of the patient - just like they have legal recourse to patients who are themselves non compos mentis, and are endangering others by rejecting treatment (e.g. tuberculosis patient who refuse treatment risk infecting others, and to knowingly do so, intentionally or not, has legal consequences). ATang 11:34, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

Is it just me or does this whole thing seem like a non-issue? I believe that around 90% of Americans believe in an omnipotent God, but it's surprising when 57% believe he can save a dying person, or perform some such miracle? It seems to me those numbers should be higher than that. And I find the "treatment" that three quarters demand confusing. Do people expect to demand the God's intervention from their doctors? How would they even go about doing that? Jaguar 23:15, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

I believe that the type of situation being considered in the survey one like Terri Schiavo's, where medical professionals are in agreement that a patient is brain dead with no hope of recovery, and that prolonging life artificially is pointless and possibly inhumane. This is contrasted by people who believe that where there's life there's a chance for recovery, and that a miraculous recovery, while unlikely, is not impossible. The type of care being requested from doctors is not the cure, then, but the prolongation of life through any medical means possible in the hope for a recovery by other means. --DinsdaleP 11:27, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

Assistant Professor values?

“A professor at Arizona State University is being investigated …”

Betsy Schneider, the faculty member referred to in that Front Page article, in fact is NOT a Professor. According to the University’s web site [3] she is only an Assistant Professor.--Leansleft 09:07, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
Yes, aspiring professors learn quickly to adopt the same values as real professors. I'll add "aspiring" if you insist.--Aschlafly 09:47, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
Regardless of aspiring or not, it should be written "Assistant Professor". If you went for a job and wrote on your resume "Professor" when you were only an "Assistant Professor", the interviewer would not kindly on your "aspirations". --Jareddr 09:53, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
OK, fine, I'll add "assistant" now. Will you now admit that Obama was not even that?--Aschlafly 09:56, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
I didn't realize Obama had anything to do with an assistant professor at ASU. --Jareddr 10:03, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
You're just like a liberal, Jareddr: you won't admit the truth, even after a conservative compromises towards your position.--Aschlafly 10:07, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
You "compromised" to my position? It was clear the person was an assistant professor and not a professor. You've made the point a number of times in the past about overreaching in the use of titles. So how was it a "compromise"? I refuse to answer your question because it has only the barest tangential relation to you calling someone a professor when their title was Assistant Professor. --Jareddr 10:37, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

This is tangential to the argument, perhaps, but it seems that in this case it wasn't Betsy Schneider who called herself a Professor. At least in the article cited in the Front Page piece, it was the East Valley Tribune (a Phoenix newspaper) who called her a professor. I think the important thing to notice is the lower-case "p"; I'm assuming the East Valley Tribune merely meant to refer to a faculty member and not to a real Professor. But I could be wrong. At any rate, I'm sure she does indeed aspire to the rank of Professor. If she gets arrested for her current escapade in poor taste, it would be interesting to listen in on her next Promotion Review Hearing.--Leansleft 10:53, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

John McCain Polling

While there's no question that McCain has cut into Obama's poll lead over the past few weeks, it's good to remember that "Who is leading" often depends on which poll you reference:[4]

From Gallup:
“McCain and Obama have been nearly tied in Gallup Poll Daily tracking for a full week. This sets the stage for a potential shift in the structure of the race resulting from next week’s Democratic National Convention. Even an average “convention bounce” for Obama (a 5-point increase in his support) would give him a significant lead over McCain.”
From George Washington:
“Despite a negative political environment for the Republicans, the presidential horserace is within the margin of error (+ 3.1%). With a tight turnout model, McCain currently tops Obama by 1 point (47%-46%). However, when voters are asked which candidate they think is going to win the election, 51% say Obama, versus 34% who think McCain will prevail.”
From Zogby:
McCain leads Obama by a 46% to 41% margin. And McCain not only enjoys a five-point edge in a two-way race against Obama, but also in a four-way contest including liberal independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr, the poll reveals. In the four-way contest, McCain wins 44% support, Obama 39%, Barr 3% and Nader 2%
From LA Times/Bloomberg:
“In a head-to-head matchup, Obama holds a narrow edge over McCain, 45% to 43%, which falls within the margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. (In June, Obama was ahead by 12 points in the Times/Bloomberg poll, but other surveys at the time showed him with a narrower lead.)”

These numbers are going to swing so wildly over the next few convention weeks that I'd suggest holding off on publishing any of them until we're past the effects of convention "bounces" and have a more realistic measure. --DinsdaleP 17:38, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

And Zogby's sampling method has oft been criticized in the past. In fact, has an article up today entitled, The "Loopy" Zogby Polls, which makes some good points about the wild swing from the 3-point lead Obama had on their Internet survey to the 5-point lead a day later in their telephone survey. The author states, "Zogby has long been known for refusing to use sound methods in designing his samples. The use of only listed telephone numbers, and the self-selected samples of voters in his online surveys, are the two most salient problems." FWIW--Jareddr 20:34, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

The Realclearpolitics map headline should be taken down now, or at least the link. If you follow the link, it shows Obama up 273-265. --Jareddr 19:26, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

Denver Detention Center

One of the reasons people are protesting this detention center is the experience of how protesters were handled during the 2004 Republican party convention in NYC:

"At the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, more than 1,000 people — a reported record for a convention — were detained at Pier 57, a long, concrete pier off the Hudson River that was converted into a detention center for arrestees. The New York Police Department formed an agreement with the Hudson River Park Trust to use the pier as a massive makeshift jail. According to documents obtained by the New York American Civil Liberties Union, police were allowed to use the 140,000-square-foot facility and its parking lot to process and hold arrestees. Razor-wire security fencing around the pier’s parameter was also installed before the convention.
Along with the mass arrests came accusations of civil rights violations from within the detention area, where detainees claimed that long exposure to motor oil and other contaminants from the pier left many arrestees sick."

I don't envy the job of police departments in trying to control large numbers of protesters at events like this, and imagine that there's a similar plan in place for Minneapolis. --DinsdaleP 17:56, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

Update to the story: the temporary detention center will NOT be using barbed wire (or razor wire), according to the Denver Post. --Jareddr 08:44, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the update Jareddr. I made the change here [5] and added your link. --DeanStalk 09:42, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

Release of Obama Service Records

Why is this being presented as if there's a deliberate attempt to suppress the records? Obama is in favor of their release, and so is the University, except that the latter found out that they currently don't have the rights to do so. The donor of the records has concerns that the records involved could contain personal information like names, confidential salary information and even Social Security numbers, and wants to ensure that these are protected or redacted before the release to the public. The University is working on these concerns and is looking to have the privacy-screened records available to the public ASAP.

Since everything I've stated came from the sourced article, why is it appropriate for a "Trustworthy Encyclopedia" to spin the headline to read like there's an attempt to withhold the collection from the public, when the reality is just a delay while peoples' privacy is being protected. --DinsdaleP 18:47, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

I find the headline to be an accurate summary of the article. We don't fall for self-serving promises about the future. News is about facts, not about promises, and the headline reports the facts. You haven't suggested a concise alternative wording that captures the essential facts.--Aschlafly 20:40, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
As both the article and my recap above state, the University isn't refusing to release the records to the public - it currently doesn't have the legal right to do so. How about changing the second sentence to "Release of the group's records for public scrutiny has been held up while legal and privacy issues are resolved."? --DinsdaleP 21:27, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
You are taking a self-serving and somewhat far-fetched liberal claim at face value. We don't do that here. The University could quickly redact and release a portion of the records if it wanted to do so. It hasn't done that. It's more accurate simply to report that the University is refusing to release the records.--Aschlafly 21:30, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
As a lawyer, I'm surprised you consider the University's position to be self-serving or far-fetched. One either has the rights of ownership and distribution over material, or one doesn't, and in this case the University can't release one sentence from the records because it doesn't have the rights to do so. The reporting of the story was simple, clear and stuck to the facts - yes, the University is refusing to release the records, because "the donor of the records that document the work of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge has not yet turned over ownership rights to the material." There's no sinister or ulterior motive to this, just a respect for the law. The only University claim that might be suspect is that they are "aggressively" pursuing an agreement with the donor to obtain the necessary rights - let's give them a couple of weeks and see if that's true. --DinsdaleP 22:21, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
It does seem true that, despite whether or not you think they actually will turn them over if/once they get the rights to, it's incorrect to say that they are somehow actively trying to block public scrutiny of the records. Now as I am not a lawyer, I am unable to say whether it would actually be possible to "redact and release a portion of the records". Is it true that they could do so without the ownership rights? JK899 22:45, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
Folks, how about giving the University until after the election to sort things out???? There is much to doubt in the University's own position, such as how a "donor" would still have "ownership rights" in something. Those are contradictory terms.--Aschlafly 22:48, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
Could it possibly mean he/she hasn't given them the authority to show it to other people? I'm seriously asking. We surely have many knowledgeable people in matters of law on this site. Is the University just spouting nonsense? JK899 23:02, 20 August 2008 (EDT)


This is speculation, but sometimes bulk collections of records are donated with the provision that they are to be archived and used for limited-access research, without the rights to reproduce or distribute them. The analogy that comes to mind is that the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts has videos of Broadway productions available for research, but not for reproduction or public distribution. I'm pretty sure these materials were donated with rights for research, but not with blanket rights allowing the Library to sell DVDs of musicals, either. If the Annenberg records contain sensitive personal info like SSNs, then it's reasonable to assume that similar conditions or restrictions applied. I'd also think that the University's statement about the donation rights could be verified immediately, because there should be no problem sharing copies of the legal agreement regarding the initial donation. --DinsdaleP 23:18, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

I'd also like to clarify my reason for commenting on this story. Aschlafly believes that the statement "The university has refused to release records relating to Barack Obama's service as the group's first chairman" to be an accurate summary of the article, but this does not capture the truth of the situation because the context within the article was deliberately left out of the headline.
"Man shoots dog" is a headline, but doesn't explain the context. "Man shoots dog attacking him" explains the context better, clarifying the motivation, and the reader begins to frame an opinion based on it. However, if the next two sentences in the article said "Neighbors describe the man as an animal abuser who frequently beat the dog. Witnesses say the animal had turned on him after being burned with a cigarette, forcing the man to shoot it." the context changes, and so does our opinion.
My point in this is that it's misleading to use the selective suppression of context in these headlines to create a different impression in the mind of the reader than they would have otherwise. The article on this case clearly explained the the University wants to release the records, but doesn't have the rights to do so, and that leaves a very different impression than believing they have the rights and are choosing to withhold the records. --DinsdaleP 13:43, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
That's easily fixed. We can just change the headline to "Animal abuser refuses to let University release records, shoots dog in process" Then in subtitles say "University 'refuses to give into terrorism', says dog 'died a martyr'". Now it's clear. =P ATang 14:20, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

News as the Reporting of Fact

(Hope you don't mind, Nicholas, but I broke this out since it's a departure from the thread regarding the Annenberg records story..) --DinsdaleP 13:10, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

"News is about facts, not about promises, and the headline reports the facts."

In light of this comment I would like a response to my questions and concerns regarding the apparent replacement of facts with speculation involved in the store shooting headline previously discussed.--Nicholas 12:58, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

What do you think was not factually correct about it, and what did you propose as a concise, informative alternative?--Aschlafly 13:56, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

Largest American History Class in the World

Could someone expand a bit on what this might mean? My college American History course, for example, had about 150 other students in it. Am I missing something? KimEide 13:48, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

My apologies, the announcement used to say "pre-college" and the reference to teenagers implied the same. But per your comment, I've added "pre-college" so there is no misunderstanding. Thanks.--Aschlafly 13:55, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
I understand now. Thank you. KimEide 14:03, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Where the in-person aspect of the course is concerned, though, isn't there a point at which bigger isn't better? At some point it becomes impractical to fully discuss issues and answer all the in-class questions on one topic before time runs out and you have move on, which is why a smaller student-to teacher ratio is usually considered better than a larger one. In the course you're planning to teach, what would you consider the cap at which you'd split up the class or consider enrollment closed for the session? --DinsdaleP 14:06, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
More students always means more competition, which is good. More students also means more socializing, which is also good. And more students means more contributions in class; good again.
You're right that teachers' unions advocate more teachers and small classes. But that argument is obviously transparent and self-serving, wouldn't you say?--Aschlafly 15:20, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
I agree that there's an important dynamic to a classroom setting that is beneficial and important, and I'm glad your class offers that component in addition to the online experience. My question wasn't about what teachers' unions think, though - it was simply about what you consider to be the point in your class format where adding any more students dilutes the experience instead of enhancing it. Aside from any capacity limitation with your classroom setting itself, what do you feel is the ideal class size for a pre-college audience, and is there a point beyond that at which you'd close enrollment? --DinsdaleP 15:39, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Actually, universities often promote LOW student-to-teacher ratios. And universities would, by your logic, be for higher student-to-teacher ratios thus keeping low the amount of faculty they need to employ. But they recognize that smaller classes are generally beneficial as it provides more student-teacher interaction, less time spent having to be spent catc and an opportunity for deeper discussion. If you have an hour-long class, with 60 students that each want to say something, they have on average a minute each. If you only have 10, that gives each of them 6 minutes to discuss their opinions. I can't think of any reputable schools that promote HIGH student-to-teacher ratios. --Jareddr 15:26, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Why stop there in illustrating professorial laziness? At most universities, experienced faculty refuse to teach important courses like American History at all. Instead, the faculty often push those courses on inexperienced or overworked adjuncts, many of whom may even have a day job of their own.--Aschlafly 15:53, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

(unindent) Please don't take this as a personal attack, because it's not meant this way... but ASchlafly, you yourself said that you can only grade a few papers before you burn out.... Now, assuming a class size of lets say 20 kids (a made up number) you could get through the entire class in three or four days only having to review five or six papers a day... If the class size is increased to 50, you now either have to grade more papers or spend a total of 8-10 days grading each seperate assignment. At that rate, you would never be able to get much done, as you'd constantly be grading papers (and likely falling behind). Every study in the world has shown that smaller class sizes are more beneficial and claiming that teacher's unions and teachers themselves are simply self serving and lazy makes no sense. Jamal Greene 16:20, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

I'd also like to return to the unanswered question above - agreeing that a right-sized classroom settings has important benefits, what you consider to be the point in your class format where adding any more students dilutes the experience instead of enhancing it. Aside from any capacity limitation with your classroom setting itself, what do you feel is the ideal class size for a pre-college audience, and is there a point beyond that at which you'd close enrollment? --DinsdaleP 16:32, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
I would argue that smaller classes allow the instructor to not only give more detailed and meaningful assignments, but also give more detailed and meaningful feedback. Also, don't adjunct professors by definition have day jobs? I thought that an adjunct is a professor who has a job and teaches a class or two in that field on the side. Corry 17:34, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Bizarre comments above. I don't "burn out" after grading "a few papers." Nor do I buy into the liberal theory that smaller classes are better. They have less competition, less insights, and less socializing, as I explained.
Is there an ideal class size above which more students would be hurtful? Not that I'm aware of. It's not 48 (the current size) or anywhere near that number. Note, however, that I am able to start the class with a prayer, and that sets the tone for the rest of the class. Without that, any number of teenage students might be a burden. But, alas, the above commenters probably oppose classroom prayer.--Aschlafly 19:14, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
That's an interesting perspective, and I appreciate your opinion. None of my K-12 classes had as many students 48, so I have no comparable experience to draw on. On the other hand, JamalG made some very good points about the time that can be dedicated to each student as the size of a class grows. When I went to college, I had a few lecture-style courses taught in an auditorium setting, and while they were great because of interesting content and engaging instructors, it was hard to form connections with them as I did with the instructors in my smaller-sized classes. Even if a class is 2 hours long, the time available to handle questions and debate is divided into smaller slices, and unless grading homework is done with assistants, the time spent reviewing each student's work has to decrease as well.
More important, what I have experienced first-hand is that in smaller classes, the instructor has more of an opportunity to observe and track who is keeping up and who is not, and can do more to engage the latter instead of them getting lost in the crowd and fading. I'm not saying that 48 students is too large for a quality experience, but no upper limit seems unrealistic. I think it's intuitive to say that one instructor will be better able to connect with and adapt to the individuals in a class of 25 than one of 50, and to one of 50 better than one of 100. Also, I have no problem with classroom prayer in a setting like yours private-school classroom where it's expected and endorsed. If that helps you to be a better teacher, more power to you. (Coffee was what worked for me ;-) ) --DinsdaleP 19:45, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
How is class size a liberal or conservative issue? Not every issue falls on this axis. Corry 19:54, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
It really is a poor assignment of left/right values. I think there are many conservative homeschooling parents who chose that option because they want to focus more attention on their kid(s) as individuals. This needs to be balanced against the benefits of group-based learning, but it's certainly not a liberal or conservative preference. After all, why did Christ choose to have 12 disciples instead of 50? --DinsdaleP 20:23, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Watch the Democratic National Convention and hear how many of them are public school teachers, and then realize why they want more of them.--Aschlafly 20:28, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
In response to DinsdaleP above, classroom prayer doesn't make me a better teacher; it makes the students better learners, and that's all that counts.
It's so gracious of DinsdaleP to say he approves what I do on my own time in having classroom prayer, but it appears he still opposes it for public school classrooms even though it would help the students.--Aschlafly 20:28, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
I disagree with your logic making class size a political marker. Public school teachers hold that job because they are liberals and they want smaller classes so we can have more public school teachers who will be Democrats? Isn't that a stretch?
Don't you think it's really matter of finding the best environment in which to teach? My public school teachers were largely Republican, and I remember them preferring the greater student contact with a smaller class size. Corry 20:39, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
(unindent) I will be happy to reply to your points later, but I would like to point out that you said here: American History lecture 5, second bullet point under tips for learning history
Learn history in small pieces. I can’t grade all the papers in this course at one time, or even in one day. After about an hour or two, I burn out. But doing this in 45 minute periods each day, it is very enjoyable
Not to sound too aggressive, but you most certainly did say that you burn out after a few papers. Jamal Greene 20:57, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Your reasoning is not logical. I didn't say I burn out after a few papers, and your quote of "a few papers" is a fabrication. Obviously I couldn't teach 50 students (that's what we're at now) if that were the case. Instead, I was encouraging students to spread their effort out over time, a point apparently lost on you.--Aschlafly 21:09, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
In response to Aschlafly, I certainly agree that classroom prayer would be helpful for students who find inspiration and calm through it, and while it's fine for private schools that embrace it, you're right in my objection to group-led prayer in public schools. However, I'm not opposed because I think prayer is bad, but because faith is a personal matter, and I don't want my children being told by a government institution when, how and to whom they should pray. If a child wants to pray silently to himself that's fine, and he can do it throughout the school day. But if you are an atheist or agnostic, or just feel uncomfortable being compelled to express your personal, spiritual relationship because a school authority told you to, then that's a problem that wouldn't exist if prayer was left private instead of being a group exercise.
Having the chance to "opt out" or sit in silence while others pray out loud isn't an answer either - it's just a way of flagging you as the target of discrimination by others. Children are impressionable, and if they rely on a resource like Conservapedia to tell them what an atheist is, imagine how they'd be inclined to treat a classmate who's just been "outed" as one - "deceitful", "mentally ill", and "morally depraved" come to mind, right off of the Atheism-related articles, and if you think that kids are above namecalling after seeing here on a trusted source, don't bet on it.
As I said, I'm glad it works for your students and helps them, and I'm also glad that instructor-led prayer is not the practice in public schools, but an available option for private classes like yours. --DinsdaleP 21:34, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
DinsdaleP, you're hostile to prayer, and you're censoring it. That takes only 8 words, not hundreds, to say. You oppose classroom prayer in public school even when all the children and teachers want it, as is the case in many schools.--Aschlafly 21:56, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
How did we go from discussing optimal class size to fighting over school prayer? Corry 21:59, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
No, he appears hostile to prayer in government schools and is in favour of censoring it (he's not himself censoring it). See, it takes more words to put it accurately (and in fact you used more words yourself, in the following sentence which put it more accurately). Using fewer words, especially if not carefully chosen, often results in inaccuracies, which then results in further discussion (more words) to sort out and clarify the situation. Philip J. Rayment 22:04, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
"However, I'm not opposed because I think prayer is bad, but because faith is a personal matter...": It is? In the Bible, "faith" was something for the nation of Israel as a whole. Yes, there is an aspect that is personal (everyone has to make their own personal decision on the matter), but it is not something that is done in private and in isolation. The very idea that "faith is a personal matter" is itself an atheistic idea, and one that Christianity rejects. Therefore your argument is based on atheism, and of course Christians don't accept arguments based on atheistic views. Further, when this view is used as a basis for laws, then effectively the atheists are imposing their own religious views on society, something that they vociferously object to when Christians do it. (This just goes to show that one cannot avoid basing laws on worldviews, so the real question is, which worldview (Christian, atheist, etc.) are you going to base your laws on?) Philip J. Rayment 22:01, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
I have to take issue with the idea that there's no Biblical support for prayer being private, Philip. How do you reconcile that with Matthew 6:5-8? --Benp 22:59, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Although we were talking about prayer, PDinsdale based his reasoning on faith being private, and faith, not prayer in particular, is the point that I was responding to. But as for your question, see prayer#Private and Public Prayer. Philip J. Rayment 01:53, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
I'll try to be briefer this time - sorry). To Aschlafly: I am NOT hostile to prayer, and NOT trying to censor it. (12 words). I believe that when government entities like public schools try to implement classroom prayer as if it were a one size fits all, one prayer fits all activity, it's crossing a line past the proper role of government. You focus on the ideal, where everyone is of the same faith and wants to pray in the same way, and I focus on the constitutional freedom of religion - a devout Jew or Muslim should not have to be the outcast in a class of Christians who've voted to say the Lord's Prayer to start each morning. You also sidestepped my point about discrimination. Kids and teachers can pray on their own in silence anytime they want, and that is not censorship.
To Philip: I consider faith personal because the connection between each of us and the divine is a unique thread. These threads of faith may be woven into parishes, communities and nations as thread is woven into strings, ropes and cables, but the strength of the union being greater than the strength of any thread does not make the nature of an individual thread any less unique. I study Karate, and when asked if I think it is better than Judo, Kung Fu or any other art, my answer is that there are many ways up a mountain - the lessons of the journey and arrival at the top can be equally rewarding even if we don't share the same footsteps. So my view isn't atheistic - it's libertarian. The government that governs best governs least, and there is no reason for a civil government to tell students when and how to pray - that is NOT the business of government. --DinsdaleP 23:24, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Dinsdale, you're not fooling anyone here. I can walk across the street and volunteer to teach the same class in a public school as an elective for any students who want to start with a prayer. You would insist on censoring that prayer. In fact, you would insist on censoring classroom prayer at each and every public school in the country, even though 100% of the teachers and students want it and even though the students would clearly benefit from it. In four words, you're hostile to prayer.--Aschlafly 23:30, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Stop putting words in my mouth. Six words - shoot, you win! --DinsdaleP 23:39, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Although Andy was putting words in your mouth, you were effectively doing the same to him. The discussion wasn't about "government [telling] students when and how to pray", but being allowed to pray in class as a group. Now I think Andy carries on too much at times about the classroom prayer issue, as though it was to solution to all problems, but I do agree with him that it should be allowed, and as you said, it is not the business of government to get involved with this. That is, governments should not be mandating that classroom prayer cannot happen. Philip J. Rayment 02:03, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

I checked through what I posted, and I don't believe anything I wrote was putting words in his mouth. What I tried to do was clarify (wordily) why someone like me can be against formal or group-led prayer in public school while being in favor of individuals praying silently anytime they want in the same schools, and that I'm not anti-prayer. I suppose the succinct version would have been that public schools are a place for education, not worship, and personal prayer is fine in them, but having religion become a group activity sponsored by the school itself can lead to discrimination that would not occur if it was left to be a personal or outside activity instead. Some examples of what I'm talking about are in the table in the middle of this. --DinsdaleP 10:16, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Dinsdale, you insist on censoring my starting a class in a public school with a (spoken) classroom prayer, even if everyone in the class wants such speech and even if the class is an elective. No matter how you try to excuse or explain such censorship, there's no denying that it is censorship of (spoken) prayer.--Aschlafly 10:22, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
I'm not out to censor prayer, just talking about policy regarding public schools. Policy has to address more scenarios than the ideal, best-case one you describe above, so unless you want to see arguments nationwide where the students don't all want the same prayer, or maybe not prayer at all, the policy most in line with the constitution is the current one. --DinsdaleP 11:01, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Dinsdale, whether you are "out to censor prayer" or not, you certainly are insisting on censorship of prayer. The more you deny it, the more credibility you lose.--Aschlafly 11:18, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
The readers of my posts can decide for themselves what I'm for or against, but this much is true - this conversation has drifted far past the original topic, and there's nothing more for me to add to it. Thanks for the exchange of ideas, though. --DinsdaleP 11:33, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
So if one child in the public school class was, for instance, Hindu--you'd allow them to say a prayer out loud at the beginning of each class? --Jareddr 10:29, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

(unindent) To DinsdaleP: Perhaps "putting words in his mouth" was not an accurate way of putting it, and for that I apologise. What I meant was that you were arguing against something that he hadn't said (in this discussion at least). Yes, having religion in schools can at times result in discrimination. But that works both ways. At the moment, atheists have their origins myth taught in school as fact, discriminating against the Christian view. And as one of the examples in your link touches on, atheists try and have (sometimes successfully) governments discriminate against Christians having public displays of their Christianity. Claiming that it is not discrimination because they are free to do it in private is ignoring that Christianity is, to a fair extent, a public matter. For example, Christians are required by God to witness to others.

Further, the examples you linked to mainly comprise actions that I'm sure that most other Christians would condemn. That is, they are not what a Christian should do, because they are unbiblical. However, many of the things that atheists do to discriminate against Christians, such as trying to stop nativity scenes or classroom prayer, would be supported by other atheists. In other words, the discrimination the atheists received was, for the most part, not because Christianity overruled, but because people acting in unChristian ways overruled.

Philip J. Rayment 10:36, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Agreed, but the point was that these unChristian people used religion as the focal point for their discrimination and abuse against people they saw as different and deserving of scorn. My other point is that when open minds read articles like the Athiesm one here on CP, and conclude that there's something morally depraved about their atheist classmate, you're not likely to see the classmate treated well. --DinsdaleP 11:28, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Homeschooling and class sizes

Andy, who favours homeschooling, said above that "More students always means more competition, which is good. More students also means more socializing, which is also good. And more students means more contributions in class; good again."

Now I realise that homeschooling in the form that Andy is familiar with includes students being taught in classes from "instructors acting under the direction of a parent or guardian", but how much does this occur? That is, how much of the homeschooling is done in a class situation?

As far as I'm aware here in Oz (Victoria, to be precise), the vast majority of homeschooling is done just within the family, not in classroom-type situations. So Andy's comments above appear to be at odds with what I understand to be homeschooling, even allowing for some classroom instruction. Hence my question about how much in America (or elsewhere for that matter) homeschooling comprises classroom instruction.

Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

Homeschooling is a concept, an approach. Class size or location is irrelevant. I teach teenagers who, like adults, are social people. I'd be astounded if that is any different in Australia.--Aschlafly 22:38, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
How is location irrelevant to homeschooling? Where's the line between homeschooling and running a private school without proper teaching credentials? Corry 23:12, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
Where's the line between homeschooling and running a private school without proper teaching credentials? Good question. Here in the US, it varies by state, depending on how the law is written.
  • In some states, homeschools are legally seen as very very small private schools. This is typically the case when there are few legal requirements for private schools, so it is easy for a homeschooling family to meet them. In this case, there is no line between homeschools and private schools - they are legally the same. In other states, however, rules covering various aspects of the physical school (often with an eye towards fire safety), make acting like a small private school not really workable for homeschooling families.
  • In some states, homeschooling students enroll in a "cover" or "umbrella" school. In this case, the student is considered to be one of the private school's students, and reports to the school (rather than the local school district or the state). Such schools may or may not get involved in the actual education - their requirements vary widely, with some acting as correspondence schools, providing curriculum, testing the students, and so on, and others merely providing a legal way to meet the requirements of the compulsory schooling laws. Some of these schools have an in-person school as well as a homeschooling program (such as the Calvert School in Maryland, which has been serving missionary kids and others for over 100 years; their correspondence program is an offshoot of their regular school); others exist merely to serve their homeschooling students. Again, in this case, there is no line between homeschools and private schools - the homeschooling students are legally considered to be enrolled in a private school. In some states, however, students must not only enroll in a school, they must also attend it for a set number of days a year; in this case cover schools do not fulfill the compulsory attendance laws.
  • In other states, there is a specific law covering homeschooling. Requirements vary widely, from merely reporting that a student is homeschooling, to periodic standardized testing, annual evaluation by a teacher, and/or submitting the student's work to the school district for review. In these situations, homeschoolers are not private school students. (To further confuse the issue, sometimes such homeschoolers take one or more classes at a private school or college - this does not however make them private school students because they would need to take a full load to meet the compulsory attendance laws.)
  • In at least one state, families can get a religious exemption from the compulsory attendance laws. In at least one state, private tutoring by a certified teacher can fulfill the compulsory attendance requirement.
  • Many states have "schools for homeschoolers" which meet two or three times a week, offering a variety of classes. Typically, some instruction is given in class, and students are given a significant amount of work to be done at home under the supervision of their parents. The teacher (who may or may not have any formal teaching credentials or expertise in the subject), chooses the curriculum, plans the course, assigns the reading, and so on, while the parent keeps the student on-track, oversees the work as it is being done, and helps when needed. Tests are often given in sealed envelopes, to be taken at home with a parent proctoring the exam. This looks a lot like regular school! However, because it does not meet for the 180 or so days that private schools are required to provide, attendance at this kind of "school for homeschooler" typically does not meet the compulsory attendance law, thus the students must follow one of the options for homeschoolers, even if they are taking a full load of classes at the school.
  • In many states, there is more than one legal option for homeschoolers to choose from, such as using a cover school vs. reporting to the local school district vs. claiming a religious exemption.
Getting back to your original question, Where's the line between homeschooling and running a private school without proper teaching credentials?:
  • In some states, parents must have a high school diploma or GED to homeschool their children. This is not of course a full teaching credential, but it does set a standard, however low, which parents must meet.
  • It should be noted, though, that typically private school teachers do NOT need any kind of "proper teaching credentials" at all. Many people are surprised to hear this! Private schools fiercely guard their right to hire the teachers they want. This is the case for small, local, inexpensive religious schools as well as large, expensive, prestigious college-prep schools. Private schools may, for example, hire a homeschooling mom whose kids have grown to teach English, a retired physicist to teach science, and so on. A love of the subject and a drive to pass on one's knowledge are often the primary qualifications. Of course, should a teacher prove to be not up to snuff, they can be promptly let go without much fuss. Private schools must deliver what parents are seeking, or their students will go elsewhere.
So the bottom line is that sometimes there is a line between private schools and homeschools, and sometimes there is not. However, generally speaking, neither private schools nor homeschools are required to use teachers with "proper teaching credentials". --Hsmom 20:32, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
Corry, liberals are so overly literal. Read our entry on homeschooling with an open mind. Please.--Aschlafly 23:26, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
How much of the homeschooling is done in a class situation? Quite a sensible question. However, it varies widely. Remember that the homeschooling population is very diverse, and that a wide variety of educational approaches and philosophies are used, which vary not only by family but also by the age of the child. For some families, the stereotypical scenario of mom teaching kids around the kitchen table is quite typical. For other families, this kind of teaching is combined with small groups of kids getting together to do projects or other group learning activities, either under the guidance of one or more of their parents, or perhaps a paid teacher. This can be informal and home-based, or more school-like. For example, they may do an "Ancient Greece" themed group, where they meet once a week at someone's house and play around with Geometry, put on a play of Greek myths, hold their own Olympics, etc. Or they may share the cost of a tutor who gives more formal lessons in math or science, meeting in a home or library or church. Some homeschooled kids take some or all of their classes at a "school for homeschoolers", where they meet 1-3 times a week and are assigned homework to be done under their parents' guidance on the other weekdays. Teachers at these schools may be volunteers, though they are often paid. Small classes are the norm - in my area they may have 3-12 students. As a long-time homeschooling mom, I would be wary of a large class (and what I would consider "large" of course depends on the format of the class, subject, age of the students, etc.). While there are benefits, I would be concerned that individual attention to my student, and opportunities for them to express their views and ask questions in class, would be limited.--Hsmom 13:54, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Thanks, Hsmom. I don't know why Andy needed to get defensive instead of simply answer the question as you did. Philip J. Rayment 22:42, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
You're welcome. --Hsmom 20:34, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Andy, it appears to me that you need to distinguish a bit more between a straightforward question and a criticism. I acknowledge that much of what is said to you is criticism and therefore it's natural for you to assume the worst, but it's not always so.

I asked a simple question, and also mentioned an apparent "contradiction" (for lack of a better word). In return, you have not answered the question, choosing instead to get defensive. I asked how much homeschooling, of the sort that you are familiar with, is done as classroom instruction. Is it, for example, most, about half, just a tiny bit, or what? I simply have no idea, and I figured that you would be the ideal person to expand my knowledge of that.

But getting back to that "apparent contradiction", my point is that here, most homeschooling is done at the family level, not the classroom level, and your comment about bigger groups being better appears to be at odds with that. Now if that's what you believe, then that's your right, but I just wanted to be sure that you were really saying, even though not intentionally perhaps, that homeschooling as practised here is inferior (at least in a small way) to the homeschooling that you are familiar with.

As for Australian teenagers being social people, I never suggested otherwise, so you have no reason to be astounded. But if you were implying that therefore you are astounded that homeschooling here is done mostly at the family level, then you've just learnt something yourself!

Philip J. Rayment 01:48, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Philip J. Rayment all the answers to you question homeschooling. "Learnt" what kind of wrod is that maybe you should been homeschooled. JasonH 09:07, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Can you repeat that? --Jareddr 09:09, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
*Can you repeat that?* JasonH 09:11, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Do you mean that all of Andy's answers to PJR question homeschooling? And what does, "'Learnt' what kind of wrod is that maybe you should been homeschooled" mean? Perhaps you shouldn't be recommending types of schooling to other people. --Jareddr 09:18, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Jaraddr maybe if you read homeschooling with an open mind you see all the answers there but instead as a typical liberal you listen to all the liberal agenda you were taught in school. JasonH 09:21, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Jinxmchue, learnt is the past participle of learned. You can also say learned which, I assume you were referring to, it being the more common usage in the US. --KotomiTHajimemashite! 09:26, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
*learnt is the past participle of learned* Then why is it redlined in my spellchecker? Gee you mouth-breathers are dumb. JasonH 09:29, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
HOW DARE YOU! Who do you think you are to dish out an insult like that, when somebody takes the time to explain something to you? I have no idea what a mouth breather is, but please think twice before insulting fellow editors of this site. It is very likely that it redlines because you have English (US) on your computer.
From,Past+tenses.htm: Learned and learnt are basically the same. They are both used as the past tense form and past participle of "learned".
'learnt' is British English and 'learned' is American English. I can not see why you had to be so rude. Apologise for your actions,please --KotomiTHajimemashite! 09:41, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Exactly "learnt" is an English word this is an American site we use American English, I am now going to have to check you edits to see that you are using the correct kind of English. Also un future use the show preview. JasonH 09:44, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

{undent}Why are you being so hostile, over such a small matter? In addition, I have checked the Commandments and the Guidelines and nowhere does it say that only American English is to be used. In fact the only reference to American English on either page is note 7 of the commandments: "The senseless changing of American to British spellings may result in blocking." Philip Rayment is not American, neither am I and neither are many other editors on this site, so to expect 100% American spelling is idealistic at least. --KotomiTHajimemashite! 09:53, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

That is what we strive for ideals. If you want a mobocracy which allows any kind of spelling, go to wikipedia you will feel more at home there. JasonH 09:55, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
VERY RUDE to nice girl trying to help Mr Jason!--Pakhyongshin 10:00, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Jinx, instead of "checking her edits", you owe Kotomi an apology for your personal insult above - it's a blatant violation of this site's policy, and even if it weren't, a display of extremely poor character. --DinsdaleP 09:57, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

JasonH was impersonating user:Jinxmchue, and obviously trolling, and has now been blocked. Enough of a response, I think. Philip J. Rayment 10:08, 22 August 2008 (EDT) (P.S. Some posts above may seem odd, because JasonH originally signed with Jinxmchue's name, which I've now changed.) P.P.S. As further evidence of trolling, if it is indeed needed, JasonH's IP address showed that he was from a country (not saying which one) where we do use "learnt", so chances are he knew better anyway.

Similar deceit by liberals is occurring now in California, where supporters of same-sex marriage are impersonating opponents of it in order to defeat the traditional marriage amendment. Deceitful bumper stickers are even being circulated by same-sex marriage advocates.--Aschlafly 10:11, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Thank goodness it was a fake. I could not believe what I was reading at times :) Time for a few deep breaths, I think. I might owe the real Jinxmchue an apology by proxy! --KotomiTHajimemashite! 10:13, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Nice catch & fix, Philip. Sorry for being misled, Jinx. --DinsdaleP 10:19, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
DeanS also caught it, and it was he who blocked JasonH moments before I was about to do it myself. (The block log shows him being blocked at 00:01 my time, and when I saw that, my computer's time was showing 12:01 a.m.!) Philip J. Rayment 10:36, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Hmm... Interesting that my computer suddenly and inexplicably goes on the fritz when one of the idiots from the irrational site decides that he's got such a same-sex crush on me that he needs to impersonate me. Jinxmchue 15:49, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Sad how easily people were fooled. A "mouth-breather" insult here, calling those who disagree "liberals", and suddenly editors are calling for your head. --Jareddr 15:53, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Ok- back on my earlier track, how is advocating a smaller class size a liberal position? And I agree that I'm a fairly literal person, but how is that a liberal characteristic? Corry 13:05, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

I wonder the same thing, particularly since many of the homeschooled geniuses of the past who are trumpeted so often here were privately tutored, giving them a class size of one. While there may be less competition and social interaction in small classs, the attention given to the individual students is, in my mind, a much greater benefit. I only took one lecture hall style class in college because without the student/teacher interaction which is difficult in huge classes I didn't feel I was getting much more out of the lectures that I got out of just reading the texts. Competition and socialization actually seem to be arguments for public or private school, where students actively compete for grades and interact with a large variety of people their age. This is mostly absent in at some homeschool environments. If bigger is always better, is there an upper limit? Is a class taught in Shea Stadium better than a private tutor? People who dole out big bucks for tutors would probably not think so. Fyezall 11:58, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

School shooting in Tennessee

Another school shooting :(JPohl 15:42, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

Tasha Danvers-Smith

Her personal and Olympic story is wonderful, but the source that was used for it was not. I googled with many different queries, but could find no reference to any "pressure from the track and field community to abort her baby" or to her being "castigated in the media" as a result of her choice. In all of the interviews and articles I could find, both current and back then, she did describe financial pressures, and that the choice to put her child over her career was made between her and her husband based on their values and faith after also considering an abortion. The author of the article doesn't provide any references for alleged community & media pressure, and it's sad that he felt the need to include this kind of cheap innuendo into a story that stands fine without it. --DinsdaleP 19:26, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

Obama Born In U.S.A.

The politically unaffiliated has posted on their website that Barack Obama was, in fact, Born In The U.S.A.. They stated that staffers for the site have been provided access to the "certification of birth" which contains all the information necessitated by the U.S. State Department to prove U.S. citizenship. They've also posted pictures of the certificate on the site for those who don't believe them. With this, can we now take down the "allegedly" part of his bio, as well as the entire controversy section? --Jareddr 17:13, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

There's a problem I can see. Why, exactly, would his staffers agree to show a good image of the actual certificate to only one unaffiliated political website rather than, say, put it on Obama's site? From what I've read of Factcheck they seem to have enough clout to actually check their stories, but for now, we've got a reasonably good claim that hasn't been officially corroborated by Obama's campaign or, indeed, mentioned by it. Surely there's something more... official to draw upon than a political website. JK899 18:29, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
They didn't show an image of the actual certificate to Factcheck. Their "staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate." As for something more official---not a single election official in any of the 50 states has called into question his citizenship. That's a pretty good confirmation. Also, they put up an earlier copy here on the Obama site. Tell me exactly what would put this controversy to rest? Mail every voter a copy of the birth certificate? They allowed an unaffiliated site known for fact checking political claims to authenticate the certificate in the hopes that this would finally end the ridiculous allegations.--Jareddr 20:39, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
It's not that difficult for Obama to post his real birth certificate. That he refuses to do so raises legitimate doubts.--Aschlafly 21:10, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Andy, did you read the above? It is a link to the birth certificate. Right on the Obama website. JoshuaZ 21:56, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Oh sure ... with the Certificate number blotted out, thereby concealing when it was issued. The Israeli site explained how bogus that "certificate" is.--Aschlafly 23:24, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Did you go to the factchecker site? Because they discuss the certificate number as well. --Jareddr 23:38, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Look at this photo, is this Barack Obama's birth certificate? Visitor 23:44, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
It's interesting that they finally give the, so-called authentic, birth certificate number in this supposedly unfaked photo. It is 151 1961 - 010641. The reason I bring this up, and I think the REAL reason this was masked, is because numerological analysis shows something very disturbing. If you add up the three sets of digits thus:
151 + 1961 + 010641 = 12753
and then add the individual digits of the result thus:
1 + 2 + 7 + 5 + 3 = 18
the final result, 18, is the product of three sixes (3 x 6 = 18). Three sixes, or 666, sort of speaks for itself. I just thought this was interesting. --AdmiralNelson 11:22, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
Oh, please. Any long sequence of numbers can be manipulated to result in anything. Think of how many numbers can be broken down into three sixes- 5 (6-(6/6)), 6 (6/(6/6)), 7 (6 + 6/6), 25 (2^3 + 2^3 + 3^2, since 2*3=6), 30 (6*6-6), 11 (66/6), 0 (6+6-6, (6-6)/6), etc. etc. etc. You could have made the same claim from a wide variety of other "results". And by the way, the product of three sixes is 216- 18 is their sum. Kallium 12:47, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
Identical "numerological analysis" of John McCain's name shows the same disturbing result. If you add the numerical values (A=1, etc.) of his first and last names:
10 + 15 + 8 + 14 = 47
13 + 3 + 3 + 1 + 9 + 14 = 43
and then add the individual digits of the results thus:
4 + 7 + 4 + 3 = 18
the final result, 18, is the sum of three sixes (3 x 6 = 18). Three sixes, or 666, doesn't mean anything at all.Kallium 12:55, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
You might be right. I still found it interesting when you ask yourself why the Hussein Obama people hid the birth certificate number for so long. I'm wondering if they noted the potential numerological implications and thought there would be some negative political fall-out. John McCain isn't hiding the spelling of his name. --AdmiralNelson 13:00, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
Why don't they show his social security number while they're at it? Whatever their reason, appropriate or not, my point it that whether or not you can derive "666" from anything is irrelevant. Do you really think that Obama's campaign poured over everything to make sure nobody could tie him to "666"? They've got other things to worry about. Using the same logic, McCain's campaign must have noticed the disturbing hidden character of his name long ago, but instead of concealing it are advertising it right under our noses- what does that say about his secret agenda? All I'm saying is that searching for hidden codes is meaningless. To demonstrate again using the same methodology, adding the numerical values of "AdmiralNelson" as one word results in 137, the digits of which add to 11, which is equal to 66/6- three sixes. What are you trying to hide? Well, nothing, actually. Kallium 13:27, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
What's wrong with McCain's name? When I hear it the first things that come to mind are John the Apostle and Lucas McCain (The Rifleman). I think both of those associations are rather positive, don't you? If you think Cain is the negative association, you're just ignoring the "Mc" prefix. Besides, according to this McCain Family Crest web site the name "McCain originally appeared in Gaelic as O Cathain or Mac Cathain." --AdmiralNelson 14:11, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
Again, all I'm saying is that you can derive "666" from just about anything, be it Obama's birth certificate number or McCain's name; thus it means nothing either way. I made no reference to the etymology of his name. Kallium 14:26, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
AdmiralNelson do you know what the Mc, Mac, O in front of surnames means? It means son of, McCain is an abbreviation Son of Cain, so his full name is John, the son of Cain. Visitor 20:02, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

Oh my God guys, you know what I just figured out? The name "Barack Hussein Obama" contains 18 letters. Considering that there are 3 words in that name, you divide 18 by 3, and get... 3 sixes! And you know what else? If you take the phrase "Barack Obama for president", you can remove "Rock me Satan" and are left with "Baba for pride", obviously references to Baba Yaga, the famous evil witch of European lore and the Deadly sin of Pride. That felt good. Anyway, are we just gonna ignore the proof of the certificate. If you want, put "Why hasn't he bla bla bla? What is this man hiding?" to help yourself sleep at night. I'm through with this. Good luck to the people actually trying to make this site more than the laughingstock of the internet. JK899 14:50, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

People who use numerology to figure out 666 in everything are completely misunderstanding the passage from Revelation. Jinxmchue 16:53, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

OMG 'Ronald Wilson Reagan', 6 letters in his first, middle, and last name. 666! FernoKlumpLook at this petition! 23:47, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

The "News Reports" on Bayh

The same site that CP uses to announce Bayh is the VP, also contains the headline, "MSNBC: Bayh, Kaine have been informed they are not it..." --Jareddr 20:34, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Jareddr, Thanks for the update. The change has been made. --DeanStalk 20:59, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
Better, but it's still somewhat unreliable as the article states, "NBC News quoted unidentified sources as saying that Bayh and Kaine were informed they were out of the running." In the interests of accuracy, why not just take down the headline and wait until tomorrow morning for the announcement? --Jareddr 21:01, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
No, we report news like everyone else, which means providing all the clues available and has they happen.--Aschlafly 21:09, 22 August 2008 (EDT)--Aschlafly 21:09, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
So are you going to post that Bayh has been chosen VP according to a bumper sticker, and that according to unidentified sources Bayh hasn't been chosen? Because there are "clues available" to both of those stories. --Jareddr 21:24, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Boy, Drudge really nailed that one! --Jareddr 09:02, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

Drudge was citing other news reports, and the false bumper stickers raise questions about whether this was another childish public-relations stunt by the Obama campaign.--Aschlafly 09:20, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
I don't think there is any doubt that this was in fact a childish stunt by the campaign. "Some campaign insiders have said that several versions of campaign materials may have been created because of the late announcement and to preserve the secret." - according to this [[6]] --KLauer 22:13, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

Medistem correction

The headline regarding Medistem's endometrial regenerative cells (ERCs) is incorrect in stating that they were used to "regenerate blood vessels in someone's leg". The study [7] was a preliminary experiment using human ERCs to treat critical limb ischemia in a mouse model. In fact, the article cited in the headline quotes that ERCs: "preserved leg function and viability in animals induced to mimic the human condition of critical limb ischemia." This was only the very first step towards clinical use; as such it has not yet been applied in people. While very encouraging, it has yet to be shown that such cells will be of clinical value. Hopefully they will be, but it is also important to point out that the other potential treatments (in Phase III clinical trials) are also adult stem-cell based, so there appears to be hope for this condition whether or not ERCs themselves work out. Furthermore, this trial only focused on a single condition; other possibilities have yet to be explored. As a more general observation, the public should keep in mind that getting cells to become one type or another in a dish, while very exciting, doesn't instantly make them a magic bullet that can simply be injected for an instant cure. This goes for embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells alike. My point here is that while ERCs and other cutting-edge treatments being developed may eventually work wonders, and I certainly hope they will (and certainly think they might), it's important not to let expectations run too far ahead of research, i.e. be cautiously optimistic but don't pin all your hopes on them. I'm not saying that the headline implies such a miraculous outcome- I don't think it does- but it's my experience that people tend to overestimate the efficacy of a potential treatment before it is well understood or even approved for use, which can quickly lead to disappointment (though hopefully not!). Kallium 22:57, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

To reiterate, the main page blurb continues to contain a factual error that should be corrected: "Recently they showed that they could regenerate blood vessels in someone's leg, thus sparing him amputation." The experiment was performed on rats, not a human. The experiment demonstrated less tissue necrosis in the experimental group compared to the control group. There was no angiographic or histological evidence to support a claim that blood vessels were 'regenerated'. It is interesting that the experimenters used ERCs from human menstrual blood in their rat subjects - a cross-species transplant of sorts.--Brossa 11:21, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

Well, the problem is still not corrected. Either no one who are capable of fixing it actually cares, or they're intent on keeping the factually incorrect and intentionally biased statement on the headlines. Now... Exaggerating results to push a certain point across... Seems like common practice here nowadays. ATang 13:30, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
It's been four days, and this still has not been corrected or even addressed. If Conservapedia wants to be a credible source of information, especially on medical-type matters, we have to get it right. Can someone who has such powers please deal with this? Recently they showed that they could regenerate blood vessels in someone's leg, thus sparing him amputation. is different from In the peer reviewed publication, a collaborative team supported by Medistem reported that administration of ERC preserved leg function and viability IN ANIMALS induced to MIMIC the human condition of critical limb ischemia. (caps mine)[1] If someone's leg was really spared from amputation, could we get a primary source for that? If not, can the blurb be corrected? --Hsmom 22:04, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
Numerous complaints are made above, but without suggested improvements. As we've repeatedly said, headlines are concise summaries of articles, and if someone has a complaint about a headline, then suggest a concise improvement.
Most likely FDA approval is required to do this experiment on humans, and the FDA is intolerant of and hostile towards adult stem cells. So the best experiment that would be allowed was done, and it showed that something similar "could" be done in humans. I didn't write this headline but I don't see merit to the complaints above, which don't even bother suggesting an improvement.--Aschlafly 22:40, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
There's no point in my suggesting an improvement here when I can change it myself, so I have done that. The item was clearly misleading, so the complaints had merit. As to the FDA being hostile towards adult stem cells, I'd be very surprised if they were. I could accept that they might show more enthusiasm for embryonic stem cells, but the fact is that, whilst embryonic stem cells have been getting lots of publicity, adult stem cells have been scoring results, which indicates that the FDA (assuming this research is done in America) is allowing such research. Often experimentation is done on animals before humans, which would be why this research was done on animals. Philip J. Rayment 23:12, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
The edited headline is improved and appreciated, but still inaccurate. I suggest: "A study funded by Medistem reported that following surgically-induced limb ischemia, rats treated with human ERCs had less tissue necrosis that rats that received no treatment." The authors of the study themselves make no claims regarding regeneration of blood vessels. ERCs have also not yet undergone safety testing in humans, much less demonstrated therapeutic benefit. --Brossa 23:39, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

Missing Iowa professor

The headline includes the phrase: "police abandon a search after wasting thousands of dollars looking for him." It was hardly a waste for the police to search for a potentially suicidal man in a public park. Especially since he had recently purchased a high-powered rifle and had attempted to obtain a handgun permit after he was under investigation. Witnesses saw him carrying a wrapped object, probably the rifle, into the park and an opened box of ammunition was found in the trunk of his car. Do you honestly think that the police shouldn't have searched for him? Iowa City recently had a case of a bank vice-president, Steve Sueppel, who had been indicted on charges of embezzlement and subsequently beat his wife and four children to death before committing suicide. I'm quite sure that that event was weighing on the minds of the Iowa City police while they were conducting the search for Miller. --Brossa 11:17, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

We aren't criticizing the police. We're criticizing the professor values that lead to so many examples like this one.--Aschlafly 13:13, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
His body was just found in a park, and he's another victim of professor values. "He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound."[8] —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Aschlafly (talk)
Just to chime in, but Jerry Wolff, a St. Cloud State University biology professor appeared to kill himself in the wilderness of Utah. (Victim of professor values?) Also, PZ Myers claims to have been invited to a screening of Expelled, no Intelligence allowed, but it is clear that he was gaming the RSVP system. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kia (talk)

Is there some reason some user talk pages aren't working?

Noticed this for Andy and Ed's talks. Jinxmchue 16:25, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

Fixed. Thanks.--Aschlafly 10:20, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Newsbusters Wikipedia story

The author of the Newsbusters article has retracted the accusation that Biden's quote on McCain was removed. He admitted he didn't read the article and didn't notice it was simply moved to a different section. The article now centers on how the section on Biden's 2004 Presidential campaign was removed, but since Biden didn't run in 2004 that's really not much of a story. Seems it should be removed from the news section. Fyezall 17:40, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

The Power of Headlines

Hey, look, I got your attention! And how did I get your attention? With a dedicated headline. While the NewsBusters article could have been more to the point, there is no denying that the issue is most definitely not non-news. This is a subtle form of bias - moving undesirable information in other paragraphs where people are less likely to look unless they actually read the entire article from start to finish or know what to look for (and use fulltext search). If you're looking for information about Biden's involvement in the 2004 Presidential race, you will notice the "Presidential campaigns" headline, and then you will freeze in your tracks because there is no entry for 2004. Instead, the information you're looking for just became a footnote in the intro of the parent section, where it arguably doesn't belong. I think Wikipedia sacrificed clarity and usability for an overly literal approach ("He technically had no dedicated campaign, so let's remove the section header and stuff the information into some other section"). --DirkB 19:05, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

Considering the information under the heading "2004" was not removed, and was in fact moved to the introduction to the "Presidential campaigns" section (which to me seems more prominent), your claim that it was "buried in the footnotes" rings hollow. The fact is, he did not run a campaign in 2004, so having a heading indicating he did is misleading, and its removal was appropriate. The cite you added to his article does not indicate there was any such campaign, and it also includes alongside him: Tom Daschle, Christopher Dodd, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton, none of whom ran that year. I'm not sure why CNN included them all on that list (it seems they wanted to include everyone who it was speculated might run, which was a poor choice), but it takes more than a list of people who aren;t in the running or the Presidency to indicate he ever ran any sort of campaign, particularly when the same article says that he announced him non-candidacy in August of 2003, many months before the first primary and nearly 16 months before the election. If you could find a cite indicating he formed an exploratory committee you'd have a semblance of an argument that he campaigned, but even that would not be a strong one. So he did not run a campaign that year, and played no very significant role in the Democratic campaign that year, nor in 2000, 1996, nor 1992, so there are no subsections in the article for those years. Particularly in light of McCain's candidacy this year and Biden's as opposing VP, his 2004 quote on McCain is notable, and if it had been removed or buried, Newsbusters would have had a point. But the removal of a misleading heading is not a "whitewash", and in seems insincere for Conservapedia to call it that. Fyezall 19:35, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
About noticing things in parent sections: I guess it's a subjective thing. Personally, whenever I see a section that has sub-sections, I assume that the part before the first sub-section is merely an intro for the sub-sections. You know, like "Over the years, Biden participated in several Presidential campaigns. (etc etc)". And when the sub-sections are about specific years, I certainly wouldn't expect info about a specific year in the intro section just because it was "disqualified" from a dedicated section because of semantics. But I will readily acknowledge that there are other valid views about what goes where in such cases. Do we have a MoS ruling about these things?
And I'm not saying he had a campaign. If you look closely, I mentioned in my own article edit that he considered it but then changed his mind. So we agree there: it would be wrong to say that he had a campaign or that he actually was a candidate. However, moving just a little bit beyond the overly literal level, you surely admit that he played a role in the campaign/race on the side of of the Democrats. Not in an own, dedicated campaign, but in the larger picture. --DirkB 20:14, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
My main gripe is with the Newsbusters author, who wrote an article about a Wikiepdia article when he admitted he did not read it, and made an assumption based on a quick scan of some edits to it (furthermore, in his discussion in the comments, he seemed aghast at the suggestion that he had any obligation to read the whole thing before writing his piece, even though it would have taken him a few minutes). Then, when called on his error, he reluctantly admitted he made a mistake, but pretended it did nothing to diminish his point, even though it completely destroyed it. You can make an argument that moving the quote made it slightly more or slightly less prominent in the article, but no matter what, it's minor enough to certainly not be a news story, unless Conservapedia wants to chronicle every minor reorganization of a Wikipedia article. Now, I don't know if Biden played any role in the 2004 campaign, but voicing his opinion on VP choices isn't much of a role. By those standards, he probably played a role in every campaign since the 70s, and I hardly think any article warrants coverage for each election year. If you're looking for that quote specifically, you might scan for a "2004" heading, but if you're looking for it, you already know it. For the uninformed, a section intro is a prominent place, and it is certainly not buried. There's really just no story here. Fyezall 20:52, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
I think there is a story here (and I agree with the basic point raised by the NewsBusters article) but it's not just about Biden, but rather about general bias. Biden's case is just another piece of the puzzle, so to speak. Noteworthy, but not quite worth the long article on NewsBusters. Still, I think Conservapedia should point out such pieces because they provide glimpses at the methods used to potentially induce bias (whether or not this was consciously intended by the specific Wikipedia editors is another question I won't speculate about).
I fully agree that it's quite... ah... unfortunate that Blumer rushed into this issue without properly checking what had actually happened. It was counterproductive because it makes a valid point look somewhat foolish and overblown. So it's not wrong or bad to criticize the method and style, but we also shouldn't overlook the key message.
And while it's possible that Biden had something to say about any Presidential campaign (as well as about... flowers, cars and whether or not we should build a Moon colony :P), the 2004 comment stands out because it also touches McCain, who happens to be the Republican Presidential candidate in this year. It gives the matter an important context in the light of the current events than other. --DirkB 21:13, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

Kennedy reference in the News headline

The reference should probably be changed from "just from recovering" to "just back from recovering", or something along that line. --DinsdaleP 09:21, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

James Maxwell

I was wondering why the talk page for the James Maxwell article is locked. The article itself is unlocked so the locking of the talk page seems unusual. --Horace39 20:08, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

Restoring article histories

I've asked this of a number of times, specifically to Ed Poor and Jinxmchue. Can someone who has the administrative powers to do so please restore the Natural Logarithm and Radioactivity pages? That way, people will have a good start at fixing them. I know that sysops have the power to do this, as in their restoration of DinsdaleP's pages. SamHB 23:17, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

Understanding "Conservapedia" in terms of In-Person Instruction

Is the news item stating "Conservapedia has the world's largest pre-college American History class, with enrollment at 51 teenagers." simply an association of Andrew Schlafly with the online encyclopedia project he founded, or is Conservapedia, as an entity, expanding into offering in-person instruction in courses taught by Mr. Schlafly (and potentially others)? If it's the latter, I'd be interested in hearing more about the strategic vision for the project. --DinsdaleP 11:21, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Conservapedia started as an offshoot of one of the classes,[9] the earliest users here were part of that class. --Interiot 13:59, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
I'm familiar with that part of the site's history already, but part of why I asked the question is that I'm looking to understand the educational framework it belongs to. "Conservapedia" is an online encyclopedia that was created as an offshoot of the classes taught by Andrew Schlafly, so in that sense it's a "child" of an educational program that existed before it did.
I was asking about the "parent" program (where classes are taught in person to groups of students on a paid basis), since it's being referred to as a "Conservapedia class" but I can't find any details on the in-person program here. Is this program a solo venture managed by Mr. Schlafly, or is he one of several instructors who contribute to a larger program? Also, where can one find the registration info with the location, class times and cost for parents interested in enrolling their kids in the in-person component? Thanks. --DinsdaleP 14:49, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
Part of Eagle Forum, yes? The mother runs it and I think he is a teacher there in America, maybe New York.--Pakhyongshin 18:08, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
I don't believe so. Aschlafly has stated on multiple occasions that Eagle Forum is not the official sponsor of Conservapedia, and that his contributions to E.F. are independent of his work as head of Conservapedia. His in-person classes are taught in New Jersey, but I don't know what town or facility they take place in, or how parents can enroll their kids in them (which led to the question above). --DinsdaleP 18:22, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
I teach the class in person, and it has nothing to do with Eagle Forum. My user page has long explained my teaching, and you can post comments on my talk page if you seriously have an interest in joining the in-person class.--Aschlafly 18:37, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
I wasn't looking to register for the in-person history class myself (being in my mid-40's, some of my sneakers have more history than the target audience you teach). I'm also not looking to provoke or mock, but to ask an straightforward question respectfully. To be honest, I didn't understand why you promote the growth of the in-person class attendance and welcome more to join, but don't provide info on Conservapedia regarding where the class is taught or how to enroll. If it's because you are wary of people showing up to disrupt the class I can understand, and respect your preference to have interested parents email you for the details instead. That said, could I ask a more generic question? Are these in-person classes marketed and operated by you personally, or are they a subset of courses offered by an organization which provides group instruction to homeschoolers? --DinsdaleP 20:11, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
My classes are no secret, as I've explained them for over a year on my user page. They are operated solely by me and are not part of any other organization. I don't spend time promoting them to the public but all are welcome.--Aschlafly 23:21, 27 August 2008 (EDT) calls for alzheimers test for McCain

This is so sleazy, I felt sick reading it:

McCain Owes America An Alzheimer's Test

It's garbage like that that will drive moderates to McCain in a hurry. Jinxmchue 16:27, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

I fail to see how the facts reported in that article would drive anybody to the McCain camp - maybe you could tell us how you think moderates would be encouraged to vote for a candidate with that sort of baggage? AliceBG 16:38, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
It doesn't appear that has any official affiliation with the Democratic Party, so basically it's just another website making another claim. Hardly more likely to send moderates to McCain than those "Obama=Osama" wackos will throw moderates to Obama. If you look hard enough on the internet, you can find someone advocating anything. Nothing to make a fuss over. Fyezall 16:59, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Sure, McCain has provided 76 boxes of medical records and Obama has a one page summery of his medical records. Democrats "McCain needs more med tests". Why doesn't Obama release information, complete basic stuff, ever? -- 50 star flag.png jp 17:30, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Eh. If you want to discuss with whoever runs, you should confront them on their site. It's not like they're representative of the party. About releasing detailed records: I don't really think I need to know detailed medical information about the future leader of the US, so what's the big fuss about who releases what to the public? I'd rather have them talk about politics than about their blood sugar levels or whatever.
And while I agree that this level of activism displayed by these people is silly, this is a serious case of chucking stones in glass houses: Put the spotlight on a stupid Obama fan, and someone just as easily puts a spotlight on a stupid McCain fan. So I'm in full agreement with Fyezall: Nothing to make a fuss over, don't give troll posts the attention they crave. --DirkB 17:41, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

How much should we know about the future leader of the free world? AIDS tests, IQ scores, SAT's and ACT's, birth certificates, citizenship tests, religious affiliations? What? Someone is going to fraudulently claim to be John McCain on a credit card application if they have his SSN? I think all of this information is relevant. I think the entire process should be transparent and anyone who wants to be President of the United States should disclose EVERYTHING about themselves as possible. Are we supposed to find out that something is "wrong" about our candidates after we elect them? I'm for full financial discolosure (no execeptions for anything), full health disclosure (ALL medical records), full disclosure of all academic records (tests, papers, grades, evaluations), full disclosure of all FBI files, all medical files, all legal documents. Everything. Why not? We're not hiring a shop foreman, we're hiring the President of the United States of America. This would be stupid for me and you, but NOT for the highest office in the land, let alone the planet. And if they've got nothing to hide, what's the big deal? --AdmiralNelson 18:12, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

A part of me is cheering you on, actually. I mean, in times when we give up more and more privacy in the name of security, requesting full and public disclosure of every aspect of all Presidential candidates is satisfyingly ironic.
However, the flip side of this should be obvious: These people have certain rights. They don't stop being human beings just because they run for office. There are also quite a few security concerns - although I freely admit that the implied "security through obscurity" issue is an interesting discussion topic. And lastly, who says we should stop there? Sure, "President" is an important job, but doctors, scientists, managers and other politicians are also doing important work. My boss thinks he should know all about me, so maybe he should have unlimited access to my entire life? Where should we draw the line? Can we draw a line at all? I think this is a Pandora's Box - the moment we ask for this, we leave ourselves extremely vulnerable. --DirkB 17:28, 28 August 2008 (EDT) has nothing to do with Democrats? Are you serious? Next thing you'll be saying has nothing to do with Sears. Liberal denial at its best! -Mike LaTorres
Kindly note that next time you put words into my mouth and then accuse me of "liberal denial", I will report you.
I didn't say that "has nothing to do" with the Democrats. I said that they're not representative of the party because this appears to be a site that is not officially affiliated with the party or any of its key members. Just like has something to do with John McCain, but whatever is on that site is not representative of John McCain. If you're looking for the site of the Democrats, you should go to - not .com! --DirkB 17:12, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Eric Cantor's Qualifications to be President

Cantor has a voting record in the House that would please any conservative, but considering all of the attacks on Obama over his lack of experience and qualifications, how is Cantor any different? His only experience prior to being in Congress was as a lawyer fighting for tobacco companies and telemarketers, and while he's on the Ways & Means Committee, his only other activity has been to vote and serve as a deputy whip. Given McCain's age, any VP choice has to be ready to step into the Presidency, and it seems that Cantor's only qualifications are a lack of scandal, a conservative voting record, and good follow-through in making sure other Republicans vote conservative, too. I'm willing to be convinced, though, if someone can explain why someone with so little experience is qualified where Obama is not. --DinsdaleP 09:53, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

I imagine Cantor is given a significant boost because his home state of Virginia is s complete dead heat now, and a large prize with 13 electoral votes. If he were from Alabama I doubt he'd be as serious a candidate. EugeneO 11:16, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
I'd like to think such a serious choice wasn't being made for the sake of 13 electoral votes, but I've seen worse. --DinsdaleP 11:53, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
Apparently, he's also Jewish. Maybe it's Florida votes that the choice would bring, in addition to Virginian. It would be an interesting choice, for sure.--Frey 14:12, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

The above criticisms of Cantor's experience are probably why Romney, with his strong experience, now appears to be the pick.--Aschlafly 14:33, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Well, this is either a sign, or if it turns out not to be true, proof that deceit is not exclusive to one party... --DinsdaleP 16:14, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

NYPD ejects athiest troublemaker from Yankee Stadium

In my opinion, this man was attempting to start a conflict and should be thankful that he was only ejected from the game. In order to send a liberal message to the audience, he announces that he'd rather use the washroom than show respect to God Bless America. That's pretty much equivalent to burning an American flag right there in the stadium. The athiest should be thankful towards the officers because who knows what an unruly fan may have done if the officers weren't there to safely escort him out of the stadium. According to sources the man was "standing on his seat, cursing, using inappropriate language and acting in a disorderly manner while reeking of alcohol, and officers decided to eject him rather than subject others to his offensive behavior." It's obvious the athiest wished to provoke someone into committing a physical assault against him so that he could sue them. I commend the NYPD officers for not giving him what he wanted. However, the man will undoubtably attempt to pass his ejection off as a physical assault and file a lawsuit against the officers who were only doing their jobs. Why am I not suprised to see these tactics employed by Liberals? -- Jose83

Good news, impressing too!

Pro-life protesters enter Guiness Book of World Records (although the record isn't officially accepted yet) with the world's largest protest sign: [10] Etc 17:09, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Etc. This great story has been posted. --DeanStalk 18:55, 28 August 2008 (EDT)


Not sure this is the appropriate place, and maybe I just haven't been paying attention, but are there plans for another contest anytime soon? -DrSandstone 17:56, 28 August 2008 (EDT)


You might want to correct that. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Chippeterson (talk)

Tonight (U.S. time) has been changed to August 28th for our worldwide audience. --DeanStalk 20:45, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Please fix plural vs. possessive

  • Kennedy's is the possessive, such as in "Ted Kennedy's boat".
  • Kennedys is the plural, such as in "There are lots of Kennedys in this boat."
  • If the boat belongs to several Kennedys, it is "the Kennedys' boat".

--Hsmom 20:57, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for the nice grammar lesson. I made the change. --DeanStalk 21:08, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
You're welcome. --Hsmom 21:39, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

VP Speculation

Looks like it won't be Pawlenty and won't be Romney, but may be a lesser known female governor.--Jareddr 08:38, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

I heard Palin's name bandied about a lot, but now that information has come out about her staff trying to get a state trooper fired, one who just happened to be her ex-brother-in-law and involved ina custody battle with Palin's sister, I don't think she has much chance.
It would also dilute the GOP's meme of "too inexperienced, too lightweight". Boomcoach 08:53, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Might I suggest that the older, "speculative" McCain VP news items be removed from the front page? Human 15:41, 29 August 2008 (EDT)


Delaware Senator and Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden gave a much anticipated speech, he did not stick to the beliefs he had just a year ago, when he said about Obama, "I think he can be ready but right now, I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training." This is a run-on sentence. A more correct version would have a period after "speech". A semi-colon would also be correct, but I think the period is better as the second part of the sentence is quite long. You would of course have to capitalize "he".

Biden also criticized Republican candidate John McCain. Although this was probably difficult, since he once said, "John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off." The second sentence here is not a complete sentence. It needs to become part of the first sentence, by replacing the period after "McCain" with a comma and un-capitalizing "although". --Hsmom 09:17, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for the grammar suggestions. The changes have been made here. --DeanStalk 17:49, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Obama's Acceptance Speech

I just checked the transcript of Obama's speech, and the headline quote "fundamentally weak" appears nowhere in it. He also criticized the current leadership of the United States, but I'm at a loss to see where he was "mostly talking down about the United States". Can you correct me if I'm wrong, Chippeterson? If not, then this should be re-edited to remove the false and misleading statements. --DinsdaleP 09:42, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

I read from a blog that Obama said that. I used the wrong resource. I've done news items here before and have written over 50 articles, and this is the first time that this has happened. I made a mistake which proves I'm human. By all means, take that line out. Chippeterson 29 August 2008

Thanks to DinsdaleP and Chippeterson for resolving this issue. I made the change. --DeanStalk 15:23, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

William Ayers and Tony Rezko are two Obama's "most influential mentors"? That's news to me.--Frey 11:32, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Perhaps instead we could add in that over 38 million people watched the acceptance speech according to the Nielsen ratings. That's more viewers than the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremonies, the Academy Awards, or the American Idol finale. And those ratings don't include PBS and C-Span viewers. As a side note, anyone want to take a guess at how many people will be watching John McCain's acceptance speech? --Jareddr 14:54, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't have to guess Jareddr. McCain received more viewers then Barack Obama last night. Chippeterson 5 September 2008

Please don't make statements without a proper source. --AndrasK 20:22, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

The source is write on the front page of this site. Chippeterson 5 September 2008

My mistake --AndrasK 20:27, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Redundant Headlines

Should the two different headlines about economic growth be combined? They seem redundant. --DinsdaleP 09:53, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Fixed. Thanks for the alert. --DeanStalk 18:07, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

McCain Picks Palin as VP

Here's the story on CNN: [11] This should be interesting, because she's known for being stongly ethical, but has very little experience. She's only in her first term as Governor of Alaska, and before that she was the mayor and council member of a small Alaskan town. That will not match up well against Biden's record. Given McCain's age, has he truly picked the most qualified person to take over the Presidency if needed, and doesn't this choice remove the validity of any criticism of Obama over experience? --DinsdaleP 11:08, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

This is a disaster. She's the youngest governor of Alaska, she's had fewer years in elected office than Obama, her positions on everything are unknown (except abortion and spending). Hopefully she will appeal to the disenfranchised Clinton crowd. McCain has spent the last year talking about experience but is willing to leave the nation with this woman if he (heaven forbid) passes away? And she's 42 and looks even younger than that. McCain will look so old next to her. Ugh. It shouldn't matter, but you know liberals will love pointing it out. Why not Kay Bailey Hutchison? I personally thought he would go for KBH. I LOVE Palin's economic background, but I can't help but feel McCain has shot himself in the foot looking for a woman who is strong on the economy. The low-taxes crowd as well as the pro-life crowd already support McCain, so what does he gain from this? I am very inexperienced with politics, and if someone wants to come correct my ignorance, please do so. --Countryforchrist 11:16, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
She will help the President to finally get that Alaskan oil, won't she? --AdamE 11:20, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Alaska was already leaning Republican, wasn't it? Having an Alaskan governor in office won't help McCain with offshore drilling. Besides, no one cares about ANWR these days, they all want to see the OCS open for drilling. She's inexperienced, she's not from a swing state, ugh. Can McCain change his nominee before the convention? --Countryforchrist 11:24, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Is anyone else embarrassed that the headline refers to her as a "former Alaska beauty queen" instead of "Alaska Governor". Talk about misogyny. --DinsdaleP 11:37, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
One of the news stories linked to said Alaska was in contention this year, but I don't know where they got that from. Last time they voted for a Democrat was in 1964, when Goldwater got trounced by Johnson. It's an interesting pick, but I'm not convinced it's a great one. Less experience than Obama, none in foreign policy (at least Obama is on the Foreign Relations committee), and of no advantage geographically (Pawlenty, if he could put Minnesota in McCain's column, would have made it very hard for Obama to win; Minnesota has the longest unbroken record for voting for Democrats in Presidential races). However, he's the only one in the race from outside the Senate, and her executive experience might be beneficial, but it's pretty thin. I suspect this is largely an attempt to pick up disgruntled Hillary supporters. JohnA 11:45, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
That's just liberal media, Dinsdale. They know that women are less likely to support someone they perceive is out of touch (like a beauty queen) over someone they can more easily empathize with. Don't get me wrong, I don't have any philosophical problems with Palin, but I can't help but get over this knot in my stomach that McCain just threw the election. --Countryforchrist 11:56, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
I'm sorry, did you just call worldnetdaily liberal media? JohnA 11:58, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
WorldNetDaily is a conservative news source, CFC, one of the ones approved as a reference for articles on Conservapedia. --DinsdaleP 11:59, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, in the heat of the discussion, I didn't read that through. I need some sleep. I'll be back later tonight when there are people way smarter than me who have produced way better analyses. I'm pretty much running off personal research. --Countryforchrist 12:01, 29 August 2008 (EDT)


I believe McCain chose her because she's got a reformer's record to help him show he's serious about changing the Bush legacy, and she's conservative (pro-life & pro-NRA) without any serious negative baggage. Her lack of baggage is due to a lack of experience, though, and this hampers any attack on Obama on experience. It also sets up a potentially devastating debate between her & Biden, who completely outclasses her on experience, foreign policy and readiness to step into the #1 spot if necessary. In the end, it's making McCain look like he prioritized playing it safe and going for image (young, female, independent) over balancing his own weaknesses (economy, economy, economy), and I think it'll backfire quickly. Instead of the next few days being a Republican celebration of a power ticket in the run-up to their convention, it's going to be series of "what was he thinking" discussions like this one, where his judgment will be questioned instead. --DinsdaleP 12:00, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

One thing it accomplished, the choice definitely took the focus off of Obama's speech. It could backfire on McCain, but she's got a little over two months to convince the voters that she's up to the task. From what I've read of her, she might just be able to do that.
Just an aside, I'll bet Hillary Clinton's feeling pretty good about herself right now. Her and those 18 million cracks helped make history already!--Frey 12:09, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Should I point out the obvious? Come on guys. If her lack of experience is a problem for a VICE PRESIDENT, then isn't it for Obama who is actually running for PRESIDENT? McCain just balanced most of the attacks against him. He has a young, female candidate -- the first ever for a Republican ticket and the first in 24 years, even longer ago than Joe Biden's plagarism speech. Obama blew off Hillary, a woman, in favor of a long term male Washington insider. McCain, by choosing a woman, appeals to Hillary's supporters who were upset she was passed over. Now if McCain hadn't aired that ad making Hillary so upset that she actually gave a rousing speech for Obama, then he'd be in much better shape, but it was still a strong pick to shake off stereotypes placed upon the Republican party. Learn together 12:12, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
I like Palin as a person, but choosing her just because she's younger and a woman makes it sound like she's a --gasp-- "Affirmative Action VP". Experience matters - this is the person who's next in line to take over, and while it happens rarely the consequences are serious. If the new president died in early 2009, which VP choice is better equipped to wind down the war in Iraq, manage Afghanistan as the Pakistani government collapses, and deal with the current challenges in Russia/Georgia, Iran, China, etc. Obama's experience is light, as is hers, but at least it's been more involved in working on national and global issues (Senate Foreign Relations Committee, etc.), while hers has been focused on the issues and needs of one state, and not a mainstream one at that. --DinsdaleP 12:17, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Oh please, Obama didn't do squat for on the Senate Foreign Relations committee. He's the Presidential candidate with the least experience going back longer than I can trace. So do people really vote for the inexperienced guy for President because if McCain dies then we'd have an inexperienced President? Boy I wish they had smiley faces on this. Learn together 12:23, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
I don't expect any conservative here to vote for Obama over McCain - the question was whether McCain's choice of Palin helps or hurts his ticket, and I've yet to see anything substantive to explain how this choice is a "Conservative triumph". --DinsdaleP 12:39, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Another person with similar experience to Obama's: Abraham Lincoln. A couple of terms as state senator, and then two years in the House before he became President.--Pakhyongshin 12:53, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

(unindent)LearnTogether, I think the concern from conservative corners, re: Palin's inexperience, runs as follows - Obama's inexperience is a key argument against him -> an important factor in choosing a VP is their capacity to be President should the need arise -> Democrats can now respond "what's wrong with Obama's experience? You clearly think Palin has enough experience or you wouldn't have selected her as President-in-waiting."

Please don't respond to this question, at least not to me. I'm explaining the argument, not advancing the argument. Aziraphale 13:13, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't know. I have some problems with a woman in an executive position. Women are supposed to be subordinate to men, how can I take one seriously as a Vice President? QWest 19:17, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Notwithstanding their common gender, I find it hard to believe anyone who was seriously wanting to elect someone as liberal as Hilary Clinton as president would see someone as conservative as Palin as a good alternative. In fact I think it's a little demeaning to the women of America to think they would basically vote for one of their own regardless of her political position. That's not to say her youthfulness, femininity, conservatism and charisma are not good foils to some of McCain's perceived shortcomings (as previously documented in his CP article), but I don't think it is Clinton fanatics that she will appeal to. -- Ferret Nice old chat 19:24, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

For those who find such things interesting, McCain's odds have shortened to 7/4 (they were about 3/1 not so long ago). Not that I want to promote gambling, but the odds can sometimes give an interesting perspective to complement the polls. -- Ferret Nice old chat 19:30, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

It's not surprising that McCain's odds have improved. His audacious pick of Palin is another plus.
You may be right - I will let you know what happens over the next day or two as this news sinks in. -- Ferret Nice old chat 21:48, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
I will track the odds here -- Ferret Nice old chat 22:25, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
I doubt one can win the presidency of any country simply by repeating "Change". People who really wanted change would leave. Instead, the world is trying to get into the U.S., not out.--Aschlafly 20:52, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
If Obama wins (which it still appears he might), would you consider that to be because he has done more than repeat "Change", because he has hoodwinked the American people, or some other reason? -- Ferret Nice old chat 21:48, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
People who love their country and want it to change don't leave - they roll up their sleeves and work to make their ideals a reality. The opportunity and ability to effect change in their lives through bold vision and hard work is why people come here, and why they stay here. I'll agree that McCain's pick was audacious - whether it was an inspired strategy or a desperate one will play out in the coming 11 weeks. This is about as compelling a campaign of firsts as we're likely to see for years to come, and I'm telling my kids to watch, because for a change this is truly history in the making. --DinsdaleP 22:37, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
I bet the real "change" will be in Obama's message, but at this late stage he'll be inviting criticism when he does change his theme.
As for "truly history in the making," I guess anyone who emphasizes race and gender would say so, no matter which side wins.--Aschlafly 22:18, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
It's true that it's historic no matter which side wins, and I'll take a pass on responding to the insinuation that I'm emphasizing race and gender, since those were your words and not mine. So now that McCain's selected Palin, what change in Obama's message are you expecting it to trigger? It's certainly changed McCain's message on the importance of experience. --DinsdaleP 22:37, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
His camp has already said she, a mere heartbeat from the Presidency, does not have the experience to lead... Isn't that like McCain saying that someone is too old? Learn together 22:43, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

As a Conservative I can not endorse Mrs Palin. The Bible teaches us that women are to be subservient to and follow the instructions of their husbands(Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:4-5,1 Peter 3:1-7). It would be easier and simpler to give Mr Palin the job. Shamas 11:36, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

Shamas, you're not fooling anyone here. Show us how conservative you are now by contributing some insights. I doubt we'll be impressed. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 11:40, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
The American tradition is that men are breadwinners and women are homemakers. Pandering Liberal feminism is not what Conservatives should be doing. Can we really trust McCain's judgment? For insights see here Shamas 12:02, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

Info box

I think it would be great if there were info boxes for Governors, Senators and Representatives. They make the article's look much more professional. Chippeterson 29 August 2008

Drug use deaths

  • In the interest of accuracy, I would like to make the following observations:
  • The data on which the article is based concerns all drug poisoning deaths, not just those involving illegal drugs.
  • Deaths related to drug poisoning actually decreased among females from 2006-2007.
The actual report can be found here; select "Health Statistics Quarterly 39 Autumn 2008." The report begins on page 82.
-CSGuy 20:17, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

We need to be very careful about quoting statistics. Generally, unless you can convince me you've read and understood Darrell Huff's little book, I'm not going to accept any statistics from you without a lot of double-checking. It's too easy to "lie with statistics"; figures don't lie, but liars often figure.

I'm going to teach math again this semester, so please feel free to consult me with any questions you have on statistics - or any other aspect of high school math. --Ed Poor Talk 20:23, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

"figures don't lie"
Which is why I linked to the figures themselves.
Unless you weren't talking to me, in which case never mind. -CSGuy 20:25, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

My remarks were general advice, and they apply to you. --Ed Poor Talk 20:38, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Ed, I love that little book! It's a classic! --Hsmom 22:24, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Minor Grammar Quibble

The first sentence of the Korean Airlines 007 article is very long! While I think it's more-or-less gramatically correct, it would read better if it was divided. I suggest "Korean Airlines Flight 007 was a scheduled passenger flight from New York City to Seoul, South Korea between August 31-September 1, August 31 and September 1, 1983 when it 1983. It was attacked and shot down by fighter aircraft of the Soviet Union after straying into Soviet airspace near the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island." --Hsmom 22:41, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

I agree. Since the article isn't protected, go ahead and make the change. --DeanStalk 10:48, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

UK/US class names

In light of the outstanding, and no doubt well deserved, sucess of the pre college American History course, can someone give me some info? The UK secondary school classes are generally called "First form/year" those age 11, "second form/year" for those age 12 etc up to "sixth form/year" then finally "upper sixth", taking the pupils up to age 18 when they would then move on to college, universtity or work. Can someone tell fill me in on the US equivalent? I've no doubt it's straighforward but I can't get my head round what the US "grades" mean in UK terms.

Ta muchly.Malakker 11:23, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't recall using US "grades", and it seems every motivated student from about UK "third form" through "upper sixth" would qualify as "pre-college" for the courses here.
By way of background, the US grades are 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 corresponding, respectively, to your UK first through sixth form, as best I can tell.--Aschlafly 11:58, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
We've stopped using 1st to 5th forms now. Well I haven't but that just means that teachers have to translate into "old money" when talking to me! We now have "Year One" to "Year Six" in junior school, years seven to ten in secondary school and then go back to "Lower" and "Upper" sixth form. --Toffeeman 12:06, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

Evangelicals energized by McCain-Palin ticket

Maybe some evangelicals on CP can explain this to me. As someone else mentioned earlier, and as I understand it, evangelicals believe that man and woman are best in their traditional roles; it's just a case of what each gender is best suited for. Isn't President of the United States a traditionally male role? If McCain is elected, there is a possibility that he will die in office, in which case a woman would be the leader of the free world. Are evangelical voters cool with that?--Frey 16:14, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

Rest assured that evangelicals care more about values than about gender or race, in contrast with liberals.--Aschlafly 16:20, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, values from any kind of evangelical standpoint are the just the degree to which one falls in line with or rejects dictations from God - er, religious figures, I suppose would be more accurate. Race and gender are actual creations, physical differences, and it's the interplay among them and the way values (such as equality, justice) that we have here in America affect/are affected by that which is the focal point of liberal causes like affirmative action and such. Oh, and before you can say it, let me say it: Typical liberal (insert synonym for drivel here). OtherSide 09:40, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
"Race" is no longer recognised by biologists. There are more genetic differences within a so-called race than there are between so-called races. Philip J. Rayment 11:20, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Thank you for the helpful tip, Philip. I must however question, then, why such a learned individual as Mr. Schlafly would use an outdated term such as "race". If you want to give me a wrist-slap, finger-wag, whatever for continuing to use it, well, I can accept that. And if it's perfectly fine for him to partake in such outdated vernacular, then I'm going to suggest that you get banned for introducing scientific liberalganda into this discussion. Thanks. OtherSide 11:55, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Beside the biological aspect, people also use "race" to refer to ethnicity or nationality; although I prefer to avoid that, perhaps that is the way that Andy was using it. Your use, referring as you did to it and gender being "actual creations, physical differences", was using the term in the (incorrect) biological sense, not the ethnic or similar sense. And there's nothing "liberal" about this; on the contrary, if anything. "Conservatives" tend to be Bible-believers, and the Bible makes no biological distinction. Instead, it teaches that we are all closely related, though Adam and Eve and later Noah and his family. It is the "liberal" (read: evolutionary) view that encouraged and strengthened the idea of biological "races".[12] It's just that in more recent decades the (mostly "liberal") biologists have caught up with what the Bible has always taught. Philip J. Rayment 22:43, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Another interesting note is that the Bible never refers to race, only tribes. Learn together 02:58, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Typical liberal fact-checking. OtherSide 09:40, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

Civil rights violations in Minnesota

Is anyone else furious about the civil rights violations happening in Minnesota in preparation for the convention? Cops with machine guns going into random hippies homes, cuffing them, slamming them to the floor and being told not to move while the cops confiscate computers and cardboard (!). This is shameful. DLerner 23:11, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

Did you here what they have been confiscating? Not just computers and cardboard. HenryS 23:14, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
Sure glass bottles too, they can be used for making incendiary devices. Problem is, EVERY HOUSE HAS CARDBOARD, RAGS AND GLASS BOTTLES! Not to mention the cheating they must be doing to procure the warrants (Though USAPATRIOT act must be of great help to these monsters). DLerner 23:22, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
A gun, throwing knives, a bow and arrows, flammable liquids, paint, slingshots, rocks and buckets of urine. Yeah, every house has buckets of urine. Authorities had informants in these groups also. HenryS 23:25, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
Am I furious?
  1. Materials to create "sleeping dragons" (PVC pipe, chicken wire, duct tape), which is when protesters lock themselves together
  2. Large amounts of urine, including three to five gallon buckets of urine
  3. Wrist rockets (high-powered slingshots)
  4. A machete, hatchet and several throwing knives
  5. a gas mask and filter
  6. Empty glass bottles
  7. Rags
  8. Flammable liquids
  9. Homemade caltrops (devises used to disable buses in roads)
  10. Metal pipes
  11. Axes
  12. Bolt cutters
  13. Sledge hammers
  14. Rapelling equipment
  15. Kryptonite locks
  16. Empty plastic buckets cut and made into shields
  17. Material for protective padding
  18. An Army helmet.
No, I'm not. Jinxmchue 23:27, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
I heard there were multiple gas masks. Every home has a couple of those, right? HenryS 23:30, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
Sure. Nothing unusual about that. If this were the 1950s! Jinxmchue 10:06, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

The trouble is that they're using this as an excuse to intimidate the peaceful demonstrators or just random college kids houses. They're confiscating computers and cellphones of random hippies -a clear violation of civil rights. If you go into most houses you will find most of the above list. (Bottles, rags, flamable liquids, (BBQ), locks (bikes) etc.) As for the gas masks, judging from the past, I'd say protesters would be moronic not to have something to protect them from the teargas the fascist police will inevitably throw into the crowds DLerner 23:38, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

Oy... Jinxmchue 10:06, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
I thought the whole point of the pageantry surrounding the election was to celebrate the freedom of choice and democracy that we have in this country. Jinx, are you honestly saying that getting arrested for having an Army helmet doesn't scare you? Or that someone having rags in their house and getting called a dissident for it means that everything's fine? What about anything Jefferson ever said on the subject of a healthy democracy? Silent endorsement of this kind of crap isn't American in the slightest. It's a safe, convenient, self-sustaining form of completely, wholly anti-Christian action. God forbid the long-hairs of today start resisting the political-financial complexes of today, or that would mean everyone has the power to confront and transcend what they find horrifying! But then who will log on to Conservapedia??? OtherSide 12:07, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
I love how you people boil down these incidents to a couple of common household items. What a straw man! Jinxmchue 12:17, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Isn't the point of boiling to remove contaminants and prepare something for consumption by others?'re saying I helped? OtherSide 15:51, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
You boiled down the list of items to an army helmet and some rags, completely ignoring the rather more alarming items of stored urine, weapons, and caltrops. So, yeah, you're helping them by playing up this false guise of innocence. See my new section below about these people attacking buses. Jinxmchue 18:48, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Oh, little things like this make me chuckle. OtherSide 19:03, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

[undent] Out of curiosity, how many of these items do we each have in our homes right now? Materials to create "sleeping dragons" (PVC pipe, chicken wire, duct tape), which is when protesters lock themselves together

PVC pipe, yes. Chicken wire, yes. Duct tape, yes.

Large amounts of urine, including three to five gallon buckets of urine

Uhh, no.

Wrist rockets (high-powered slingshots)


A machete, hatchet and several throwing knives

Machete, no. Hatchet, yes. Knives, yes, although none specifically designed for throwing

a gas mask and filter

Yes. Rudimentary, but workable.

Empty glass bottles




Flammable liquids


Homemade caltrops (devises used to disable buses in roads)


Metal pipes



One axe

Bolt cutters


Sledge hammers

One sledge hammer

Rapelling equipment


Kryptonite locks

Not specifically Kryptonite (Superman can relax), but I have locks.

Empty plastic buckets cut and made into shields

I have plastic buckets, though none cut up into shields

Material for protective padding


An Army helmet.

I have helmets, though not specifically from the army

Anyone else? Eoinc 19:24, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

And how many of you had informants in your anarchist groups that confirmed to the police that you were planning violence? HenryS 19:27, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

Well, that's a different matter. Planning violence is wrong, and the police have a duty to prevent such plans being carried out. I found it curious that the discussion here was centered on the items confiscated rather than the plans of the people who possessed them, hence my post above. Eoinc 19:40, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
It seems to me that a surprising number of people don't seem to care about the violent intent of these anarchists. HenryS 19:42, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
A surprising number of anarchists would say that a surprising number of people don't seem to care about the violent intent of their governments. OtherSide 10:45, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Hurricane Gustav

It looks like New Orleans might get devastated again by a hurricane so I was surprised that on the main page there is no call to pray for it to be spared. My cousin lives in NO and I have been praying for days. Won't others please join in? --User:ClintS 08:12, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

Good suggestion. I'll join in your prayers.--Aschlafly 09:01, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Most certainly. --Benp 13:28, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

Convention delays

Was it John McCain who called for the convention activities to be "put on hold"? Weren't most of the speakers, and thus the day's main events, called off by the speakers themselves (as they were Mr. and Mrs. Bush, Cheney, among others)? While I'm sure John McCain certainly did "call" (quite literally) for the events to be postponed, wouldn't the official decision-makers (whether they simply be the speakers, or the RNC committee?) be more informative, and show the broad support for putting "principles over politics", rather than subtly trying to paint McCain as a nice guy here? (For the record, I absolutely do not want people to devote energy or dwindling time to that last sentence, but rather my initial suggestion). OtherSide 09:25, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

Removal of gossip

While I'm not about to undo the removal, I'd be interested to see some discussion of the removal of this material from this page. Surely this does not count as gossip? Doesn't the pregnancy of a young woman who has been brought up in a culture of abstinence education have something to say about the success or not of that policy? Especially when her mother is running for a very senior position in the nation? Wouldn't the matter be discussed if a Democrat's child had succumbed to a drug addiction, say? EngelUmpocker 13:38, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

It is a private family matter with no public significance. Discussion of it therefore counts as gossip, in violation of CP Commandment 3. Bugler 13:40, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Bugler is exactly right. It's gossip and we've always excluded junk like that from the beginning of this site. The teenager is not running for any public office or asking for any publicity. As to your alleged "culture of abstinence education," that's precisely the kind of falsehoods that gossip encourages. Public schools do not teach abstinence in any meaningful way.--Aschlafly 13:43, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
I notice I was blocked for even raising the topic above - interesting. Nevertheless, ASchlafly, I never mentioned her school - I simply imagined that her parents would have brought her up in an 'abstinence education' mindset? I could be wrong, but I'd be surprised if they were teaching her to use contraceptives? EngelUmpocker 19:11, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

But you guys gossiped a lot about John Edwards' love affair? I saw links to news articles about National Enquirer reports, even a whimsical "'enquiring minds' would like to know" quote on the Breaking News front page referencing to the National Enquirer article. Where is the standard set? (Eligus 15:19, 1 September 2008 (EDT))

Edwards was seeking to run our country. Yes, candidates for president should be honest with the public, and when they lie their credibility also becomes an issue.--Aschlafly 15:21, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
The liberals who attempt to use this as an attack on Sarah Palin are seriously misguided. However, I'm seriously disappointed that Palin has not more publicly criticized her daughter's stupidity. Her daughter has exposed herself to the risk of STD's, could possibly have herpes and all the rest of it, and frankly has probably ruined her life by now having to marry some stupid youth from her High School. He's almost certainly not likely to be a lifelong partner and who knows how she will do having shown such low self-respect. I think her mother - while understandably being supportive - should have been resoundingly critical of her behaviour. It is not an example I would like High School children to look up to, and it should be discussed not only by Palin but also in the classrooms of the nation and used as an example of a young person making a completely WRONG choice. RobCross 15:45, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
That's a ridiculous attitude RobCross. In the modern world - not the unrealistic world you seem to wish us to live in - young people have sex and sometimes unfortunately have babies as a result. It's normal, it's OK and we need to move on from these petty issues. I'm sure young Ms.Palin will be well able to cope, and I'm sure she'll have a perfectly fine life and maybe be very happy indeed. It's normal, and in some ways even healthy - teens are curious about sex, and neither abstinence education nor sex education will stop them. There's no reason for Gov. Palin to criticize her own child for this. BenHur 17:00, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
That's 'Thin End Of The Wedge-ism' of the highest order, and that kind of attitude is what got our youth into this trouble in the first place. Your relativist liberal attitudes do nothing to protect the young from their own worst desires - this child's unfortunate situation should at the very least be denounced by her mother, especially since she is running for office, to make an example of her. It will be painful, but she must denounce her own child's choices publicly. RobCross 17:29, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
The horse has bolted, there is no use locking the stable door. The girl is pregnant and nothing will be gained for the girl by denouncing her publicly. There may be gain for others, but tough: that we may find it useful does not over-ride our obligation to afford her privacy.--Toffeeman 17:35, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
When CP ran the story, John Edwards' campaign was over. At best, he was a potential VP pick. I'd prefer to give Mrs. Palin the benefit of the doubt, but if she's not being honest, yes, it's relevant.--Frey 16:55, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
It might be relevant but (and this is an awful turn of phrase) we don't "own" the information. Neither do we "own" the use of the girl as an example to others. Someone standing for election puts themselves in the frame and is, to some small extent, the "public property". The girl hasn't put herself up for election, she hasn't waived her right to privacy and that right isn't waived by her mother. Can we not just wish her, and her future husband well? Wouldn't the best thing to happen be not for her to be hung out to dry but for all to go well with the birth, her beau to "come good" and for them to live happy and productive lives? Bugler was right when he called me "the incorrigible Liberal", but there is such a thing as common decency. Politics is a dirty business and we can all be dirty to those involved, but the girl isn't involved and shouldn't be involved. --Toffeeman 17:14, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Who "owns" the information is irrelevant at this point; this press release by her parents wisely sought to defer the unfortunate but inevitable finger wagging from the leftist quarter.
I think the press release was a shrewd move since the muckrakers would have seized on this in any event: by mentioning it first the charge of "hiding" or "covering-up" cannot be bantied about; by expressing "We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents, " the Palins' come across as a classy, stoic family that "proud[ly]" loves their daughter and supports her decision to bear her child.
I think we should pray for the Palins during this time, that God would use this all to His glory and for the good of Senator McCain's and Govenor Palin's campaign for their respective offices. Marge 17:41, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
That's as may be MargeryCampbell, but to me, that press release reads like an endorsement of the child's actions. All I see is "We're proud of this and proud of that". I see nothing but whitewashing of her actions, and, frankly, I don't believe a word of her mother's press release, because I doubt very much indeed that her mother thinks it was "classy" behavior either. RobCross 17:52, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Count me in with those who feel that this should be left alone as a family matter, since Governor Palin's daughter is a minor, and not the one running for office. What I would add, though, is that this is most likely a case of a pregnancy that would not have occurred if the daughter had access to birth control and instruction in its correct and safe use. What is fair to ask, then, are questions to Governor Palin herself about her views on whether government should be supporting the teaching of contraception to teens as a complement to stressing abstinence. --DinsdaleP 20:46, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Exactly, DinsdaleP - it has nothing to do with the daughter. But it certainly raises an important question as to whether her mother would support policies of proper sex education in school. That's an important political point, and a question she can respectfully be asked when the debates come up. BenHur 21:14, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
She told the Eagle Forum Alaska in a 2006 questionnaire that she is for abstinence-only education in schools. --Jareddr 21:27, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Which is the driver for my point. Without getting into the specifics of her family's private situation, it's entirely appropriate to ask Governor Palin, if given her own, recent personal experience, she still agrees with her prior stance on that issue. --DinsdaleP 21:39, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
Also, for what it's worth I have the best wishes for Governor Palin and her family in my thoughts. I disagree with more than a few of her positions, but I can empathize with her as a parent, and appreciate how hard it is to try and balance the unexpected challenges of her youngest son and now her daughter with a career that's just become exponentially more demanding as well. I can only hope that the remainder of the campaign focuses on issues of substance, instead of sidebars into the personal (pregnant daughters or half-brothers in Africa) or the nonsensical (lapel pins and allegedly missing birth certificates). --DinsdaleP 21:48, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
All of this equivocating and wishy-washy moral relativism is very all very nice, but I am surprised that I have yet to hear from anyone else who thinks this behavior is not OK, and behavior that public representatives should be doing something to curb. As a values voter, I expect those we elect to stand clearly for certain types of behavior and against others - I would have expected a much clearer statement from the mother than we have received, and I'm disappointed by her lack of backbone. Obviously it's very complex given that it's her own family, nevertheless the issues of values are clear and most important. What kind of message is Palin now sending to other youth by being so relativist about this? End of conversation. RobCross 22:04, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm not saying it's ok, I'm saying it's none of our business. Your accusation of "lack of backbone" on the part of the mother seems to boil down to "lack of public backbone". She has a duty to guide her daughter, she has a duty to make a stand. She also has a duty to do that privately. On the subject of message Palin has issued a very clear message "It happened. This is going to happen. I'm standing by her. Now butt out". There are plenty of other opportunities for Ma Palin to make a public stand on teenage sex were she wont be dragging a named individual into the public sphere.
I would love for you to reject the Republican ticket and think there are plenty of very good reasons to do so: but this isn't one of them. --Toffeeman 08:30, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Oh, yeah - these were innocent, peace-loving hippies, alright

Expect this to hit the news soon:

Later when the GOP busses started to take delegates from Minneapolis to St. Paul the anarchists started throwing sandbags and cement bags at the busses.

The bus I was riding was hit with cement bags that the anarchists were throwing off the overpasses down on the interstate. The anarchists missed the bus in front of us and nailed our bus with a direct hit.

The police had us slow down and then sent us under the interstate overpass when we were attacked.
There were several women and senior citizens on the bus.

They obviously went to plan 'B' when their urine and caltrops were confiscated. Jinxmchue 17:55, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

I can just hear the cries: "Curse those fascist police! Don't they understand, its okay to terrorize Republicans! That right is protected in the constitution! Those fascists! God d*** America!" HenryS 18:37, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

Katrina Headline

Setting aside the idea that anyone "allowed" 1,000 people to die, the headline should read "giving a pass", not "given a pass" --Jareddr 19:51, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

"Under God"

The link provided to defend Governor Palin's comment on the pledge is a reach at best, and not a very good one. The referenced source points out that Washington used in the phrase "under God" on several occasions, so that's not in dispute. The line of reasoning falls apart with the assertion that because Washington was a founding father, and he used the phrase "under God", that this was adopted as a tenet by the founding fathers (plural) in general. The constitution does not mention the word "God", so the founders had no intention of applying their personal faith to the nation as an institution. It was only added to the pledge of Allegiance in the 1950's. I think this was a simple mistake by Palin, and while it shows some ignorance of history, as John McCain's recent references to "Czechoslovakia" shows some ignorance of geography, it's being blown out of proportion. It's a shame that some here don't show equal balance, and try to make more of Obama's "57 states" comment than the simple verbal slip it was. --DinsdaleP 22:16, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

Actually, the link says that the phrase comes from Weems' biography of Washington, not from Washington himself. In other words, Parson Weems used the phrase "under God" in talking about Washington; Washington didn't say it. Weems' biography has inspired countless Americans over the years, including Lincoln, but most historians, including conservative historians, consider it apocryphal. Although that does not detract from the biography's inspirational value, it does mean that there isn't evidence that the phrase "under God" actually came from a Founding Father. It seems to me that we should credit it to Lincoln instead.--Leansleft
Please reread the article in the link again, "Leansleft", until you understand it. Washington did use the phrase, and then his biographer copied it, and then Lincoln copied it.--Aschlafly 08:53, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
I stand corrected. Washington used the phrase in his General Orders. Weems used it to refer to the great influence Washington had over the American people.--Leansleft 15:11, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

D, you're rapidly using up your debate space here. If you want to start a debate about whether the founding fathers had any religious purpose, go start one. But not here. You go too far. --Ed Poor Talk 08:45, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

I think that the criticism of Governor Palin comes from the fact that she seems to think that the Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, when in fact it was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Darkmind 09:20, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
The criticism "comes from the fact" that liberals don't like Palin's conservative values. The real "fact" is that the question-and-answer focuses on the phrase "under God," not the overall Pledge.--Aschlafly 09:26, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm sorry, you've lost me there. The question was specifically linked to the Pledge of Allegiance. Here's the full question and answer: 11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not? SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance. She seems to link the two. Admittedly it's a short answer. Darkmind 09:49, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Parse the sentence, Darkmind. In its simplest form, it is "Does the phrase "under God" offend you?" The reference to the Pledge is a descriptive prepositional phrase. "It" in her answer references the subject of the question--namely, the phrase "under God." --Benp 16:48, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Benp, that's absolutely false. Another grammatical term for a prepositional phrase is a modifier; in other words, the prepositional phrase in this sentence, "in the Pledge of Allegiance," modifies the rest of the sentence, therefore, changing its meaning entirely.

Your "parsing" is just plain obfuscation. You're taking it to mean what you want it to mean.


Do you condemn violence? vs. Do you condemn violence in self defence?

A modifying prepositional phrase changes everything.--Claypool 18:51, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

To Ed Poor: I wasn't trying to start any kind of debate here, but I read your email and will take you up on your suggestion. The only thing I wanted to state above is that there is no reference to God in the Constitution itself. Many of the founding fathers were men of faith, but when they created the blueprint for this country's government in the form of the Constitution, they deliberately chose not to assert that this nation was founded "under God", that's all. Why they chose that is debatable, but I agree that this thread is not about that debate. --DinsdaleP 13:08, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Palin made a simple error in her response. She clearly suppored "under God" in the PoA because having it there "was good enough for the Founding Fathers". The fact remains, the PoA had nothing to do with the Founding Fathers (who were, undeniably, religious) and Palin's answer was in error. KarlJaeger 15:58, 4 September 2008 (EDT)

Governor Palin as VP candidate

This is probably better suited for a debate page, but this posting gave me pause. It's turning out that the McCain team actually did little or no vetting of Palin prior to her selection, and the revelations of the past few days are not just making her look less appealing as a running mate, but raising valid questions about John McCain's judgment and suitability for the top job. If it was determined that she's hurting the GOP ticket more than helping it, it's possible that Palin could withdraw "to be there for her daughter" and "ensure her new baby and marriage stated off on a good footing". This lets her leave on a positive, family-values note, and allows McCain to pick someone who's more carefully vetted, more experienced, and able to help the ticket win without as much controversy. Does this scenario seem likely, and if so, would it be better to happen during the convention or after it? --DinsdaleP 23:31, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

If you're just debating, then as suggested please go to a debate page.
But while we're here, you could be wrong about "little or no vetting"; if you knew you were right, you'd have cited a news article; apparently you are just guessing.
You are also judging Gov. Palin by a double standard. I guess it's okay to support an unwed mother if you're a liberal and she's your daughter, but no one else is allowed to support their daughters? They tried the same thing with VP Cheney's lesbian daughter, but he shut them up pretty quick; that dog just wouldn't hunt.
The "experience" issue is another red herring. Whenever politicians want to win defeat an opponent without mentioning issues, they like to talk about "qualifications". But holding high office is not a "skills" matter like flying an airliner, as much as it is an "issues" matter.
The fact is, liberals oppose Palin because of her conservative views. And voters will choose the ticket which comes closer to their views. It's two arch-liberal senators (one black) vs. two conservatives (one a woman).
And one more thing, don't create section headings using a liberal slogan; headings should introduce a topic. --Ed Poor Talk 08:42, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
There's a difference Ed. i) Dick Cheney's daughter was not subject to "don't become a gay" education, if you'll pardon the absurdity of such a concept. The issue is NOT about the daughter - it's about whether or not Sarah Palin, were she to be elected, can credibly continue to support abstinence-only sex education, which is a publicly-declared position of hers. That's all. ii) If, as you say, holding high office is not a "skills" matter but rather an "issues" matter (or "talent" matter), then the continuous barracking of Obama (excuse pun) for the same deficit of experience is also irrelevant. BenHur 11:38, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
"can credibly continue to support abstinence-only sex education". Why in the world would her daughter's teen pregnacy change her view? When you side with the correct premise, a personal setback (human nature) does not break the will of believers. The strong tend to try harder than give-up.-- 50 star flag.png jp 12:55, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
As a politician chosen specifically to 'bring in' socially conservative members of the Republican Party, she was specifically picked for her values positions - and quite understandably, she's very solid on those, and the teen pregnancy certainly strongly validates her right-to-life position. However, she has been crippled by being unable to stand over a different one of the many legs of values voters - it would be impossible for her to now advance an agenda of abstinence-only education in the public sphere, as it is clear that abstinence didn't work in the case of her child, and contraception would have prevented the pregnancy. The only positions she can take now are tortuous and convoluted arguments that either "kids have sex, and accidents happen", which which is values- and morals-weak, or that bringing a child into the world is a good thing, regardless of the mother's age, which is a very slippery and dangerous slope. This is politics, and there is now no credibility to her stance on the abstinence position - that means she is weakened as a values candidate. Once a candidate is weakened, other questions begin to be asked, and the steady spiral of life in the full glare of the public spotlight takes its toll. Do you honestly think that Gov. Palin would not reconsider her position on teen contraception now? It would be tautological for her not to, and whether one likes her or not, she's clearly an intelligent woman. Any other response is illogical and betrays weak decision making abilities. BenHur 13:14, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Your rebuttal is illogical. Your stand is trying to falsely nail her down on hypocrisy. Nobody was born perfect but Jesus.-- 50 star flag.png jp 13:47, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
No no, you misunderstand me. I'm not saying she's hypocritical, not at all. But from here on out, if she is asked publicly what her position on abstinence-only education is (and you can be guaranteed she now will be), she will appear politically weak if her answer fails to acknowledge the experience of her own family. It's just politics. BenHur 13:54, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
No no, I understand you all to well. "I'm not saying she's hypocritical" but I am saying she reeks of hypocrisy because "her position on abstinence-only education is". Nice try. -- 50 star flag.png jp 14:09, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, but no - I never mentioned her being hypocritical once, and I'm not saying that. Im saying it's politically difficult for her, that's all. Also, I'd have to mention that if "nobody was born perfect but Jesus", then the majority of attacks on Obama are also redundant. But politics doesn't work that way. She's a damaged candidate, and it will be difficult for her to continue to stand clearly as a values candidate after this. Not hypocritical. BenHur 17:12, 2 September 2008 (EDT)


I'll be more careful in the future to keep postings on this page about the articles here, and not related speculation. I wasn't guessing at the issues with the Palin vetting process - there were so many stories about it I didn't think it necessary to add links. Fortunately, this NY Times article provides a concise recap of most of the vetting issues, which occurred because Palin was considered only at the last minute due to objections to Joe Lieberman, McCain's preferred choice. Key items:

-A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice. The campaign was still calling Republican operatives as late as Sunday night asking them to go to Alaska to deal with the unexpected candidacy of Ms. Palin.
-McCain had his first face-to-face interview with her on Thursday and offered her the job moments later. Advisers to Mr. Pawlenty and another of the finalists on Mr. McCain’s list described an intensive vetting process for those candidates that lasted one to two months.
-Although The Washington Post quoted advisers to Mr. McCain on Sunday as saying Ms. Palin had been subjected to an F.B.I. background check, an F.B.I. official said Monday the bureau did not vet potential candidates and had not known of her selection until it was made public.
-While it's hard to balance a thorough background check and keep a potential VP pick a secret, no one from the McCain team was making inquiries before last Thursday to key Republicans or business leaders in Alaska.
-No attempt was made to check the newspaper archives of the Valley Frontiersman, Palin's hometown newspaper, for detailed stories about her tenure as Mayor until democrats did following Thursday's announcement. Most of the paper's archives are not online, and can only be researched in person.[13]
  • I'm not judging Palin by any double-standard. I'm a father of three, and stated my respect for her parental support of her daughter in a different thread above. True leaders learn from experiences and adapt their policies in response to changes around them. I don't expect Palin to think abstinence education is suddenly meaningless and ineffective, but it's fair to ask if her experience has made her more receptive to teaching it alongside contraception, since many children are not as fortunate or supported as hers.
  • Experience is either valid, or it's not. Palin may have "executive" experience, but much of it has been as the mayor of a small town in Alaska, and she's only been Governor two months longer than Obama's been a candidate. If her experience is good enough to be a heartbeat away from world leadership, then that's fine, but it makes all the criticisms of Obama's experience look hypocritical.
  • Finally, I don't care if Obama's black or Palin's a woman - why is it necessary to keep qualifying them by those characteristics when comparing the tickets? --DinsdaleP 14:02, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
How long has Alaska been teaching abstinence only education?
Palin was a council member for two terms and a mayor for two terms. She then bucked the system and became governor. She has passed legislation that was for the good of the state against the wishes of the establishment, and, horrors, her own party. What has Obama done that is comparable? How many budgets has he had to balance? Like it or not 28 of the last 32 years of the Presidency has been governors, so there appears to be a small amount of precedent for Presidents who have shown an ability to govern without real foreign policy experience wouldn't you say? Learn together 02:55, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Glad to have someone talk about issues for a change. Has Obama led a state as an executive? No, but he's represented a state of 12.8 million instead of one with a few hundred thousand, and issues which are correspondingly more complex. He's been a presence on the national level twice as long as Palin has been Governor, and has forged relationships with domestic and foreign leaders that would help him be effective on Day One. Palin is an savvy and decisive leader who could probably handle the Presidency with the help of a good team of advisers, but frankly, that's what they said about George W. Bush. The more I read about her track record, her handling of people who disagree with her and her policies, the less inclined I am to see her as someone I want leading the country. She deserves a chance to make a case for herself, though, so I'm going to be watching her speech tonight with an open mind. --DinsdaleP 21:46, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Obama deemed himself worthy to be President after he had been a senator for as long as Palin has been governor, and he didn't have the previous two terms experience as a mayor. The fact is he has never been in charge of anything. He hasn't been the final authority that a city or state rests upon. And no amount of spin will change that. Learn together 02:26, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
Actually, since you bring that up LT, McCain has no experience as the final authority of a city or state either. "And no amount of spin will change that." --Jareddr 08:21, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

BenHur wrote, " would be impossible for [Palin] to now advance an agenda of abstinence-only education in the public sphere, as it is clear that abstinence didn't work in the case of her child, and contraception would have prevented the pregnancy.": What utter rubbish. Yes, it's true that contraception would have prevented the pregnancy. So would have abstinence! Neither abstinence education nor contraception education is going to have a 100% success rate (although abstinence itself does have a 100% success rate (barring rapes), whereas contraception itself has less than a 100% success rate), so the fact that abstinence education didn't work in this case is no reason whatsoever to argue that Palin can no longer "advance an agenda of abstinence-only education". Philip J. Rayment 10:25, 4 September 2008 (EDT)

Spellcheck Mainpage

Can the posting sysops please preview their headlines before posting them? Republican is spelled wrong, it should be "protests"--plural, and clearly is spelled wrong as well.--Jareddr 08:46, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

"Why don't anti-Democrat protests ever turn violent?"

Who wrote that? He/she must never have taken a US history course - or skipped class the day they covered the DNC in Chicago in 1968. AliceBG 10:27, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

68? How about the 50+ people arrested in Denver last week? NateE 11:21, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Who were Democrats... Jinxmchue 11:23, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Not really, the majority of those arrested for violence in Denver were Anarchists, who fall outside the realm of the normal political spectrum. The recreate 68 people mainly failed to materialize NateE 11:48, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Anarchists. Mm-hmm. The majority of those people will be voting for Obama in November. Jinxmchue 11:59, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Jinx, you're clueless. The vast majority of these people won't be voting at all in November. AliceBG 12:09, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

These are the sort of people who wear pins that say "Don't vote: it only encourages them". Considering how few young people vote these days, do you think the exception will be those who open profess their disdain for voting? Now, as far as anti-Democrat violence, ever hear of the Peekskill Riots? Not anti-Democratic Party exactly, but right wing violence against left wingers. MichaelR 12:12, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

I have to disagree with you Jinxmchue, Anarchists want no government whatsoever. One does not vote for a candidate when you advocate eliminating government. Much like the old SNL weekend update joke regarding Communists in Russia who gathered to demand a return to the system, the punch line was "but since many in the crowd were communists themselves, they immediately rounded themselves up and threw themselves in jail for demonstrating against the government." Anarchists are no more likely to vote for Obama than they are for McCain. NateE 12:45, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Yeah, sure. These people aren't true anarchists. They just puff themselves up as such so they can "rage against the machine" and create havoc. I guarantee that if you could follow all of these people on Election Day, you'd find them voting and voting for Democrats. Jinxmchue 13:00, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

MichaelR (and this comment applies to Alice too), we are not a blog. MichaelR, you've done nothing but talk here, without even substantiating your claims. If you assert that the Peekskill Riots were "right wing" against "left wingers," then you should post an entry on that topic to substantiate your claim, and we'll see if it withstands scrutiny. Otherwise, your claim is just another baseless liberal rant.--Aschlafly 13:02, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

There, I wrote Peekskill Riots. Let the revisionism begin. As for unsubstantiated claims, what about Jinxmchue's claim that these self-avowed anarchists are secretly Obama supporters? I suppose next he'll be saying they're operatives for the Democratic Party. And just look at the excessive damage done to those buses by huge bags of cement: [14]. Wait, did a pigeon just poop on the windshield? MichaelR 14:31, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Thanks, I'll check out your new entry. Maybe I'll learn something ... and maybe you will too. As to the protesters being likely Obama supporters, I don't see any plausible denial of that! They certainly aren't supporting McCain-Palin.--Aschlafly 14:53, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
If A and B are enemies, being an enemy of A does not make you a friend of B. Unless these deranged people are carrying around Obama banners we have no way of knowing if they support him or not. As they claim to be anarchists, that takes them completely out of the political spectrum. The PS measures your feelings on what is the best form of government (going from communism to facism left to right) Anarchy supports no government of any kind which takes them out of the spectrum. NateE 15:00, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
[Edit conflict] Of course they're not supporting McCain. No one is suggesting that they are. They call themselves anarchists, the media calls them anarchists, conservative bloggers call them anarchists, so we have no reason to doubt they're anarchists (even if only superficial ones). Anarchists don't vote. If they were to vote (and they wouldn't) they'd vote for some fringe third party guy (maybe Nader). Maybe there's a way to settle this. The names of some of those arrested were released. Is there a way to check voter registries in Minneapolis? If they're registered Democrats, I'll concede, if they're not registered, we agree they're not voting for anyone, if they're registered Republicans, I'll eat my hat, if they're registered but not to any party or a third party then we'll have to say we don't know if they're voting or who for (except that it is not McCain). I don't suppose it's easy, if possible at all, to check this, but it's all I can think of, absent some statement from some of them that about who they support. MichaelR 15:03, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
You're in denial. See Anarchists for Obama.--Aschlafly 15:12, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
The heading looks convincing, but the only thing it says about it is "But to Hush and others like him, a forecast tidal wave of Democratic momentum this year threatens to subsume Green Party politics, unless it appeals to its natural constituencies and builds a movement from the ground up. 'A lot of people call themselves Green but vote Democratic,' Hush says. 'I meet anarchists who want to talk about Hillary and Obama.'" There's no "Anarchists for Obama" group. That doesn't say much, and has nothing to do with the people in Minneapolis. The rest basically confirms what I stated, those that are involved in party politics tend to favor the Greens. Real anarchists don't support political parties in elections; certainly not mainstream ones. Sure, some people may call themselves anarchists, and who really knows what they mean when they say it? But the ones rioting at the convention are obviously the more radical types, and therefore the ones most likely to adhere to their anti-government stance. I can't say for sure what their actual political leanings are, but I'm not the one calling them Obama supporters based solely on the fact that they're anti-McCain. MichaelR 15:30, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
(Ed Conflict)I dispute your accusation that I'm in denial, and I would counter accuse that you are so blinded by partisan and ideological differences that you will latch onto anything negative involving an opponent to score cheap points. Just because one labels themselves does not mean they are what they say. You are one of the quickest to call out others on their "pseudo-Christian" beliefs (my words, not yours) and you say that their personal claims mean nothing if their actions don't back it up. However, here you have a group that calls themselves anarchists, meaning they should be advocating removal and destruction of all government, not endorsing a candidate in that same system. This is very similar to the "Jew for Jesus" group. If you believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, you are no longer Jewish, you are a Christian. In the same vein, if you're endorsing a candidate for president, you are endorsing the government system and are not an anarchist. NateE 15:33, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Your view of anarchists is too cartoonish. I'm sure many anarchists have voted, and also tried to support their cause in other ways. And I doubt all the protesters were true anarchists anyway, or could even explain what anarchy means.--Aschlafly 15:44, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
"Jew" is both a religious and an ethnic term. "Christian Jew" is not a contradiction. Philip J. Rayment 10:26, 4 September 2008 (EDT)

(unindent) So A, you really think people that resort to physical violence are going to suddenly change their tune and peacefully vote in November and B, once again you are deciding who belongs in what category with nothing other than your word to back this up. You say that the Anarchists are all Obama supporters. When asked why, you say that their not for McCain and that show their for Obama, when we point out the logical fallacy, you claim we're in denial and bring us to an Anarchists for Obama article. We then point out that just because they label themselves Anarchists, that doesn't mean they are and in reply, you simply brush it away. NateE 15:50, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

These people chant "Love! Peace! Justice!" during their attacks. Jinxmchue 16:40, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
What does that mean? They're certainly not hippies (who were well known pacifists) If I stage a riot chanting Jesus is peace, that wouldn't make me a Christian, as my behavior would be in opposition to my words. NateE 16:45, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Lowest of the low: protesters attack Boy Scouts

I wish this were a joke or a lie, but it's not.

A little later, a busload of Cub Scouts were en route to the convention, where they were to present the colors to open the convention. A group of protesters--liberals, Obama supporters, or whatever--blocked the road, surrounded the bus, and attacked it, rocking the bus back and forth, denting and scratching the sides, and generally terrifying the children trapped inside. The left-wing protesters attacked a number of buses in the same way, but there is something especially despicable about attacking a group of Cub Scouts.

I have no more sympathy left for these people getting the tar beat out of them by the police. It's better than they deserve. Jinxmchue 11:18, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

There's a bit of a problem with the headline. "Probable Obama supporters"? Anarchists as a general rule do not support any politicians. That's sort of why they're anarchists. "Leftists" might work, depending on where on the political spectrum one thinks anarchists go. MichaelR 11:54, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Who says they're liberals or Obama supporters? In the headline right below it the headline states that protesters at the RNC are Democrats. Wouldn't protesters at an Obama event then be labeled as Republicans? That would follow the same logic, right? Considering that we haven't spoken to these people nor do we have a full sample of their political ideology. (Eligus 16:18, 2 September 2008 (EDT))

I can't imagine any politician or party wanting these slimeballs as supporters. If Obama and his staff have half a brain between them, they'll call for the book to be thrown at these twits. --Benp 16:42, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Um, no. The protesters at the DNC in Denver were Democrats by their own admission who were protesting against their own side. That's how truly messed up the party has come to be after nearly 8 years of nothing but seething hatred of President Bush, VP Cheney, Karl Rove, and everyone else involved in the Bush Administration, as well as Republicans. Jinxmchue 16:44, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Phyllis Schlafly Angered By Palin's Dismissal of Pro-Life Event

Here's the story from ABC News:

"I think this is clearly somebody in the McCain campaign who doesn't understand where the votes are coming from," Schlafly told ABC News.

Liberal Eco-Extremists

Liberals valuing the life of a tree over the life of a human. "Earth First". -- Jose83

Who really cares? If they want to mourn the loss of nature, let them. I personally also mourn that we, as humans, have done so much to destroy the planet. Granted I do not express it in such a vocal way, but is their crying over the destruction of parts of nature really relevant to your, or anyone's life? --AndrasK 22:33, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Crowd for McCain/Paulin?

I understand that this site has obvious leanings, but how is 22,000 coming out for McCain/Paulin really that impressive? Especially considering that over 85,000 came for Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field (I would know, I was one of them) as well as 200,000+ for his speech in Germany. I would think that if such news items were to be run, at least acknowledge the turnout for all candidates. --AndrasK 22:29, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

New York Times does front-page smear linking Palin with secessionist group, then buries the retraction

The original front-page story and the retraction buried in an online blog. Typical. Jinxmchue 01:40, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

If that's the original story, then I think someone got it wrong. I couldn't find a single mention of the Alaska Independence Party.--Frey 09:02, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

Just for clarification. In paragraph 3 of the original article as linked above:
Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede;
In the retraction it does add:
She said Ms. Palin attended the party’s 1994 and 2006 conventions and provided a video-taped address as governor to the 2008 convention. Ms. Clark said that Ms. Palin’s husband, Todd, was a former member of the party.
--AdmiralNelson 09:20, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Which is all really irrelevant. Todd is not running for office. Jinxmchue 10:21, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
So, jinx, you're also against the outcry when Michelle Obama said "For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I'm Really Proud of My Country"? --Jareddr 10:34, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Against it? I was neither for nor against her statement or the outcry. It was a rather stupid faux pas, but that's something I've come to expect from the Obamessiah campaign. Jinxmchue 11:23, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Sorry. The facts may be "irrelevant" but clarifying what is being referenced with actual text, from what is referenced (the article, and the retraction) seems to me to be particularly relevant. My intention was to point out that (as protested by the original post in this thread) that the NY TImes DID say she was erroneously a member of the AIP. I take mild umbrage at such clarification and correction of a false claim (she WAS a member of the AIP when she wasn't) being labeled "irrelevant." I report (what the NY Times actually says), you decide. Does anybody here actually click on the links and read anything? --AdmiralNelson 19:51, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

Sorry 'bout that. Must have spelled "Independence" wrong when I ran the search.--Frey 11:38, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

"Sarah Palin gives a stirring talk"

"Stirring talk?" Understatement of the year! It was a knock-out punch! Jinxmchue 00:10, 4 September 2008 (EDT)

Giuliani's Keynote

Not to suggest Andy didn't actually watch the keynote speech, but the quote provided was from the advanced text, and not the actual phrase Giuliani used. He said, "...not the left-wing media, not Hollywood celebrities, not anyone else.” Rudy twists knife --Jareddr 09:13, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
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