This week, let’s overthrow the Taliban


Let this man’s face serve as a reminder to all my American friends, to haul your respective asses to your respective polling places with no excuses accepted. Keep in mind that this year the Democratic voting day is Tuesday November 7th, while the Republican voting day is Wednesday November 8th.

(Me? I couldn’t find a precinct station in Waterloo for some strange reason, so I mailed an absentee ballot back to New Hope, PA.)

37 Responses to “This week, let’s overthrow the Taliban”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=santorum

  2. mick Says:

    Damn Scott, you mean you didn’t get to use an electronic Republican vote creater?

  3. wolfgang Says:

    Will US politicians use SmartVote technology?

  4. Scott Says:

    Will US politicians use SmartVote technology?

    That’s hilarious; I’m sure they’d love to. (I don’t know what my precinct uses now; at least in 2004 it was still using lever machines.)

    Look: judging from past experience, it’s almost certain that some of the elections will be stolen — if not by newfangled e-rigging, then by the tried-and-true methods.

    However, as long as the system still has a constant inner product with a functioning democracy, one still has a moral responsibility to vote.

  5. Joseph Says:

    I understand that in Chicago elections make enough noise to wake the dead.

  6. Nelson Lethargic Says:

    If you want to influence the U.S. election, become a U.S. citizen and vote. Otherwise, mind your own business.

  7. Johan Richter Says:

    Nelsson, when your greenhouse gases and your military stayes* within your borders your argument might look a tiny bit less stupid than it does now.

    *Which is not to say that all of these invasions have been wrong.

  8. Scott Says:

    If you want to influence the U.S. election, become a U.S. citizen and vote. Otherwise, mind your own business.

    Who the hell are you addressing? I am a US citizen, and I did vote. Or are you attacking random griping commenters for trying to “influence the election”? Sheesh! Griping is a universal human right.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    If republicans are unhappy with the results of the elections in the original united states, they can always move to the new and improved model they set up in Iraq (no death tax, no separation of church and state, coalition administrators vetted for their opinions on Roe vs. Wade).

  10. Joseph Says:

    The theory that the rest of the world are stakeholders in U.S. politics and should have some say isn’t as absurd as it looks. There is a precedent. Under similar circumstances during the Roman Republic, Rome’s “allies” tried revolting against Roman unilateralism. The revolt was stopped by giving them the right to vote in Roman elections … which soon became more useless than ever.

    We can test the same idea on a small scale. Since New York and Silicon Valley are disproportionately influential within the U.S., clearly they should let the rest of the U.S. vote in their elections.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Scott, does your exhortation to vote apply to those of your friends and readers who are Republican supporters? :-)

  12. Scott Says:

    Scott, does your exhortation to vote apply to those of your friends and readers who are Republican supporters? :-)

    Absolutely! The more people have a say, the stronger our democracy is. So come Wednesday November 8th, I want you to drive your SUV’s and pickups to the nearest polling station and VOTE!

  13. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Anonymous, I would put it this way. At least on economic issues and foreign policy, I understand conservative principles. I like capitalism, and I like a strong (but prudent) America. I was once mostly libertarian and I was never happy with Berkeley politics. I was also a cold warrior, which I don’t regret to this day. I was never happy with the leftist side of Harvard politics either. So I can wear the conservative hat, of a kind. (I also think that the gross-out Santorum link is over the top.)

    In my view, there could hardly be less reason for thinking conservatives to vote Republican right now. The war in Iraq and the federal budget are both real betrayals of conservative principle, not just criticisms from the other side. They are political equivalents of cold fusion.

    On the other hand, I do have a lot of trouble wearing the hat of social conservatism. The specific conduct of the war on terrorism doesn’t look very Christian to me. One could also argue that some Republicans have developed a sacrilegious mixture of religion and politics, as in the scene in “Jesus Camp” in which the children pray to a cut-out of George Bush.

    But otherwise, if you think that separation of church and state has been taken to an unfair extreme, then it may still make sense to vote Republican for that reason. (I strongly believe in separation of church and state, but as I said, I have trouble wearing the other hat.)

  14. Scott Says:

    I also think that the gross-out Santorum link is over the top.

    Greg, this is my Senator, and I will not have outside agitators refusing to compare him to sexual byproducts…

  15. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Greg, this is my Senator, and I will not have outside agitators refusing to compare him to sexual byproducts…

    I have the feeling that you’re going to like the Borat movie, if you didn’t already see it at the Toronto preview.

  16. Scott Says:

    I have that feeling too! Kelly and I tried to see Borat yesterday, but it was sold out for the entire day, so we saw Marie Antoinette instead. Yawn! Kirsten Dunst didn’t even get guillotined. I want my $10 back.

  17. Luca Says:

    Joseph, you say

    We can test the same idea on a small scale. Since New York and Silicon Valley are disproportionately influential within the U.S., clearly they should let the rest of the U.S. vote in their elections.

    But it would be a good start if New York and California, the most popolous states in the Union, had any role in national politics and presidential elections. As it is, not being “swing states,” they are completely taken for granted, while we endlessly talk about the issues of importance to Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and so on. If we didn’t have the electoral college, we would hear a lot more about the concerns of Californians and New Yorkers.

    And, as an added bonus, we probably would have sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks (because corn production would not be so subsidised).

  18. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:

    11 06 06

    Ouch! What is so wrong with him that he is likened to such vulgarity? I am a CA voter, and I don’t get his offenses.

  19. Seymour Hershibar Says:

    Ms. Rigmaiden, there is nothing wrong with him. There have always been people who would prefer to side with a violent enemy rather than fight. You are reading the messages of such people, compounded by their adolescent, anti-authoritative, short-sighted opinions. The vulgarity is merely part of the adolescent mentality.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Re: Greg’s hat:

    I’ve seen him wear it at the Cassonfest, and
    it sure looked like a red-state hat to me.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Seymour Hershibar, please tell us, how are YOU fighting the violent enemy? Are you a soldier in the war against Iraq? If not, you should not despise the adolescents that vulgar people like you send to war, in your stead, to die for your self-interested, conceited whims

    rrtucci

  22. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:

    11 07 06

    Well I suppose the comments are just fun and games. I was actually serious in my question though because I am an Independent and am on the fence about a few issues. I don’t know very much about Santorum because I have been focusing on the Governor race and some local politics.

    Does Mr. Santorum not support science or something? I will research this myself. I was simply curious as to what motivated the vitriolic and adolescent description.

  23. Scott Says:

    There have always been people who would prefer to side with a violent enemy rather than fight.

    Indeed, that is precisely what motivates me (and I assume the other adolescents here as well). The reason I don’t want the US to turn into a Christian theocracy is that I’d much rather it turn into an Islamic theocracy. Your analysis of the situation couldn’t possibly be more on target. DEATH TO INFIDELS! ALLAHU AKBAR!

  24. Scott Says:

    Well, one thing Santorum became famous for was comparing homosexuality to “man-on-dog” relationships, and stating that a right to privacy doesn’t exist in the Constitution.

  25. Luca Says:

    Mahndisa, I think it all started with this interview where Santorum, among other egregious statements (especially the infamous “man on dog” one) says

    And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.

    So there it goes. Consensual sex in Scott’s home undermines the fabric of our society. I hope he is happy now!

  26. Luca Says:

    Ah, 38 seconds too late

  27. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    I’ve seen him wear it at the Cassonfest, and it sure looked like a red-state hat to me.

    That’s true, it was a Stetson!

    See, like I said, I can wear that hat. :-)

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Santorum has taken an enormous amount of flack for his comments. Some of it is legitimate disagreement, but quite a lot seems to be based on either accidental or deliberate mischaracterization of what he said.

    Santorum is making four claims:
    1) The Constitution does not contain a right to privacy.

    On a very strict reading, it clearly does not. Santorum refers to the famous Griswold v. Connecticut case, in which the Supreme Court held that “the First Amendment has a penumbra where privacy is protected from government intrusion.” The idea of such penumbras is controversial, and while I do like the idea of a Constitutionally-protected right to privacy, it’s a bit of a stretch to claim such a broad right actually exists in the Bill of Rights or elsewhere in the Constitution. If we want an enumerated right to privacy, we should amend the Constitution. We shouldn’t rely on the courts to divine the will of the people.

    2) If one consensual sexual act conducted in one’s home is protected by the right of privacy, then all private consensual acts are protected.

    It would be hard to argue otherwise in a consistent fashion.

    3) Some private consensual sexual acts degrade the fabric of society.

    Here Santorum lumps homosexual acts in with adultery and polygamy. I disagree with him on specifics, in that I think homosexual acts are not harmful, whereas adultery often is, but I agree with the general idea that some acts, although consensual and taking place inside one’s home, are nonetheless harmful to society. For example, adultery often leads to divorce, which is frequently harmful to children.

    4) The state should regulate such activities which are harmful to the fabric of society.

    Here I have a more difficult time with Santorum’s argument. Even if we accept the previous points that some acts are 1) not Constitutionally protected, and 3) harmful to the fabric of society, it doesn’t necessarily follow that government should regulate those acts, or that it would even be beneficial to do so. It’s quite possible that such regulation would spill over into other areas and do more harm than good. It’s also true that the Constitution is not meant to be a positive enumeration of all the rights of the people; rather, it is a negative set of restrictions on government’s power to take away rights.

    Of course, we need to step back and consider the broader context of Santorum’s comments. Santorum was in part trying to argue that the court has no business second-guessing the legislature about the state’s sodomy laws if the laws are constitutional. The court can’t void laws passed by the legislature simply because they’re stupid or antiquated–the correct solution is for the legislature to fix their own mistake. Santorum makes it clear he thinks the legislature has the right to legalize things he disagrees with (abortion, for instance), but that the court has no business getting involved unless there’s a genuine violation of the Constitution.

    I happen to remember the column by Dan Savage in which he started the whole “Spreading Santorum” campaign. Savage claimed that Santorum had likened homosexuality to bestiality. If you read the USA Today article, Santorum explicitly says he’s not likening homosexuality to bestiality. It seems to me the whole thing is based on a mischaracterization of Santorum’s comments.

    Is it really appropriate to liken a Senator to frothy fecal matter because you disagree with him about whether homosexuality is dangerous? Wouldn’t a constructive, educational approach be more useful?

  29. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Luca: As it is, not being “swing states,” they are completely taken for granted, while we endlessly talk about the issues of importance to Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and so on.

    Actually, just because no one talks about you, it does not mean that you have no influence. There may be nothing to say about your position if the government capitulates to it.

    It is in fact true that California and New York do not have federal influence in proportion to their populations, but it is for a more complicated reason than that they are not swing states. Wyoming also isn’t a swing state, and it has too much influence.

    Does Mr. Santorum not support science or something?

    He does believe that God buried all of those fossils to test our faith. But the gay-baiting is worse, in the view of most liberal Americans. (And maybe by now in the view of most Americans.)

    stating that a right to privacy doesn’t exist in the Constitution.

    Technically speaking, it doesn’t. The Constitution, for all of its positive features, is also a fossil. You have to see a lot between the lines in order to have a functioning government. No one has any practical intention of reading it with either “strict construction” or “original intent”, least of all most of the people who claim to espouse those doctrines.

    To its credit, the EU charter of human rights does list an explicit right to privacy.

  30. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Santorum was in part trying to argue that the court has no business second-guessing the legislature about the state’s sodomy laws if the laws are constitutional.

    Except that if it truly were important to stick to what is written in the Constitution, then the Supreme Court would have no business second-guessing any legislature whether or not its laws are constitutional. The Supreme Court’s right to constitutional review is just as implicit as the personal right to privacy.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    There have always been people who would prefer to side with a violent enemy rather than fight.

    Ah, here we are again: anyone who isn’t a hard-line Republican loon must, by process of elimination, be an Islamic terrorist loon.

    There seems to be a confusion of quantifiers here. We are being asked to adopt the Republican loon ideology because there exists an ideology that’s worse — Islamic terrorism. Normally, however, one argues for a certain viewpoint V by attempting to show that for every alternative viewpoint W, W is worse than V. It seems that we have been given an NP proof for a coNP problem.

    What does one do when one sees this quantifier error? Well, I have adopted a policy of trying to point it out whenever I see it used. Unfortunately, this mistake seems to pop up so often these days that pointing it out over and over again gets dull. One way to spice it up is to think of nerdy and amusing ways of pointing it out. Another way, which I also like, is to scream, “DEATH TO INFIDELS!” :P

    Gus

  32. Luca Says:

    Anonymous two posts above: if I were to say that voting Republican is not as bad as having intercourse with dogs, I suppose that many people would say that I would, in fact, be comparing voting Republican to bestiality and that I would be, in fact, beyond the confines of civilized discourse.

  33. Anonymous Says:

    Santorum was in part trying to argue that the court has no business second-guessing the legislature about the state’s sodomy laws if the laws are constitutional.

    Nice to know Santorum is such a staunch defender of states’ rights. Does this mean he opposed the ban on partial birth abortions, and the “defence of marriage” amendment.

  34. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:

    11 07 06

    Hello there:
    Thanks for the response. While, there is no specific enumerated privacy right in the Constitution, I do find his comparisons to be simply WRONG! It always bothers me that there is no distinction between sexual behaviors of consenting ADULTS and the raping of children or animals in his brand of rhetoric. I am sure this will assist me in my voting decisions. Take Care:)

  35. Anonymous Says:

    Looks like Santorum is out.

    Good riddance!

  36. Scott Says:

    Woohoo!

  37. Anonymous Says:

    http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/2817/bgsantorumru4.jpg