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Wednesday Open Thread

It's that time of the year to organize and close up files and work on the books. If there's something going on in the world today, here's a place to discuss it. In the meantime,

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    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#1)
    by peacrevol on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:04:40 AM EST
    We're having hell with these down here What do yall do in CA when you've got this sort of thing?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:12:37 AM EST
    The TWU and the MTA seem to have come to terms, pending a vote of the union membership. The workers saved their pension, met the MTA half way on their raises, and agreed to start contributing for their health insurance. All in all, I'd call it a win for the union. It's a shame the MTA forced them to strike when all of this could have been agreed to at the bargaining table, if the MTA had negotiated in good faith from the get-go. Could have saved a lot of people a lot of headaches.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#3)
    by Johnny on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:45:24 AM EST
    Just remember kdog-a union is nothing but a greedy money-grubbing commie entity anyways. The wrong-wingers who still think that, even today, the bosses will look out for the workers best interests are deluded. The "re-defining" family story is scary. Where I come from, almost everyone is family, and I really do not care for the thought of some gov't entity telling me who can and cannot live in my house, especially based around what s/he considers family. Where I come from a nephew is as close as a cousin is as close as grandfather is as close as son is as close as mother...

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#4)
    by swingvote on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:54:00 AM EST
    It's a shame the MTA forced them to strike I don't recall anyone at the MTA telling, or forcing, the union to go on strike, Kdog. Had the union come to the table with some realistic expectations, rather than a demand for a 26% pay raise over the next three years and a continuation of their gold-plated benefits package, they may have met with better success. As for this being a win for the union: I suppose that depends on how you choose to look at it. They didn't get their biggest demand, and they agreed to start paying some of their healthcare costs. Sure, they got their pension, but whether that will actually be there for them when they retire is another matter. My father had a union negotiated pension package when he was "retired" and we quickly found out it had less than one-third of what was supposed to be in it. And since the company had gone bankrupt (airlines), there was no one to sue. Not that I'm saying the MTA "won"; only that it takes a certain amount of jaundice to see this as a win for the TWU.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#5)
    by peacrevol on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:07:49 PM EST
    At least one heart warming story from iraq May we all lift up a prayer (or your spiritual equivilant) for this little girl.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#6)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:15:43 PM EST
    Peacrevol, Mom Nature giving us another demonstration of true power. Now THAT's shock and awe. As long as FEMA is not involved, then everything that can be done is being done. Or, as the reactionary maroons would ask: "Why do you continue to live in an area where these types of disasters are inevitable?" Those folks usually live in Tornado Alley, blizzard country, earthquake areas, hurricane paths, or flood plains. In San Diego we had a literal firestorm come through and there was little we could do to stop it. It basically reached freeways and stopped there. The entire county (about the size of Isreal) was blanketed in smoke. Schools closed for days. The firefighters managed to save Julian, a very picturesque retreat up in the local mountains. But a dozen killed, more burned, a couple hundred homes burned. The lawsuits and recovery are still going on 2 years later. Despite chronic budget cuts, there is a pretty good rapid response system in place, but we have fire seasons every year. Your situation seems to happen infrequently, no? The terrain here is much different. I guess you just have to put your "faith" in the firefighters that they are doing what they can. Also, we use a lot of guys from the prisons to man the firelines. They have saved many a home in this area. It sucks that the air drops are on hold.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:35:58 PM EST
    December 28, 2005 Bush's wiretapping stirs constitutional crisis ...
    Bush's NSA policy is neither legal nor necessary. His determination to circumvent FISA is bizarre. The FISA court has granted virtually every warrant ever requested of it, quickly and even retroactively. The court was created to prevent civil liberties abuses by an unchecked executive branch. Last year, Bush defended the Patriot Act by arguing that under law all spying in the U.S. still required a FISA warrant. Alberto Gonzales, asked at confirmation hearings last January whether the president could authorize warrantless searches of Americans, assured the Senate it was illegal. We now know both men were violating the very law upon which they appealed for our trust. George Bush has created a constitutional crisis by insisting on his ''plenary'' power (shades of monarchy) to ignore laws as he sees fit. Yet the Supreme Court put that notion to rest more than 50 years ago. One judge on the FISA court has resigned in protest (a thing unheard of) to make the same point more boldly. The next day, The Washington Post reported the full FISA court plans to confront Bush, and if dissatisfied with his explanation, may even disband itself. The silhouette of impeachment has grown distinct on the horizon.


    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:41:11 PM EST
    jpaul...From what I've read, the biggest stumbling block was the proposed pension changes, not wages or health benefits. The MTA forced the strike when they refused to take the pension changes off the table. Then, after the strike, the pension changes suddenly came off the table. It's logical to conclude that the strike led to the preservation of the existing pension plan. Hence, I view it as a win for the union. Their pension is safe for another 3 years.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#9)
    by swingvote on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:45:47 PM EST
    Kdog, How safe their pension plan is, for the next three years or the next 30 years, will depend on whether it is there when they retire. Any word on whether the workers and the union will have to pay the fines levied against them? If so, they may have lost money on this strike.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:56:40 PM EST
    I'm not sure about the millions of fines against the union, but it seems certain each striking worker will be docked 6 days pay, 2 for each day out. If their pension is there when they retire, it will end up being a bargain.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#11)
    by peacrevol on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:56:57 PM EST
    Yeah...I cant remember anything like this ever happening around here. The winds are really high, so dropping water on the fire doesnt seem to be an option. It's uncharacteristic to be this dry and windy at the same time around here. We generally have about 20 inches more rain annually than we've had this year. In my neck of the woods (east Texas) I think we've declared a disaster situation.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#12)
    by swingvote on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:26:06 PM EST
    Kdog, I don't recall anyone ever suggesting the pension was going to go away for those already employed by the MTA. The issue was how much the workers would have to put in to the fund. There's a huge difference.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:32:54 PM EST
    In the WaPo article about Manassas, I see only two people calling it racist: the ACLU and what I assume is a far-left outfit. I note also that their ordinance isn't that different than what they had before. In other news: Democrats support "securing the border", UAVs

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:58:42 PM EST
    BB...Sorry to hear that bro. My brother's union has done right by him. My father's best friend is living off his electrician's union pension, and he says joining his union was the smartest thing he ever did. jpaul...I didn't mean to suggest the MTA wanted to abolish the pension, just reduce it and force new employees into a lesser plan.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 02:02:03 PM EST
    Anyone can get their free CD from Sen. Clinton right here.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 02:14:02 PM EST
    machsplanck, Ever thought of calling that blog you keep posting ad links here for "Forging New Dimensions of Socio-Political Irrelevance"?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#18)
    by Johnny on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 02:27:56 PM EST
    Sorry too, to hear of your bad luck with unions BB. I still believe that were it not for unions (or at least the threat of unionization), the bosses would be ramming it to you at every available opurtunity. Of course, that is just opinion, as nowhere and no time in history has a company shafted it's workers ;)

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#19)
    by Johnny on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 02:31:23 PM EST
    The manassas thing is still scary. Note I did not call it "rascist". Imagine! A gov't that not only tells you who you can and cannot marry, can now tell you who is and is not your family! Wow! And if I want 7 people living in a 3 bedroom house, including a close friend, can someone please tell me how in the he!! it is anyone's business? I didn't think so.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#20)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 02:57:46 PM EST
    if I want 7 people living in a 3 bedroom house, including a close friend, can someone please tell me how in the he!! it is anyone's business?
    Johnny, I don't like the ordinance either. But your question actually does have an answer. I don't know of a municipality that doesn't have some sort of zoning restrictions on the uses of land in specific areas. I could take your example a step further and suggest: "Suppose I want to tear down my house and put up a Starbuck's franchise. Why is that anyone's business?" Zoning laws typically restrict some areas to "single-family" dwellings. The problem with this ordinance is that it seems to have a racial motive.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:01:13 PM EST
    The Manassas zoning law certainly wins stupid law of the week. Only of the week because equally assinine legislation passes in localities north, south, east and west all the time. I think my town even has a law limiting the number of cars in front of your house, which is basically the same thing, telling you how to live. I hear you Johnny, I got family that ain't blood.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:21:27 PM EST
    Johnny writes:
    And if I want 7 people living in a 3 bedroom house, including a close friend, can someone please tell me how in the he!! it is anyone's business?
    First, it is the business of the people living next door to you. The more people, the more cars, the more noise, etc. They don't want their property values destroyed by your desire to do what you want. Secondly, it is the business of the city because they need to provide adequate utilities, water, electricty, etc. They also need to provide adequate police protection, schools, and public transportation. They also need to be aware so that they can plan for the number and size of grocery stores, medical clinics, street sizes, traffic lights, etc., etc. All of these things are sensitive to the number of people within a certain area. If you take an area planned for "x" number of people and plug in 3 times x, you are in the process of creating a problem. What we are talking about here is protecting the environment, Johnny. I thought Native Americans were concerned about it. Or at least that's what you claimed a few weeks back. Got a new story?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#23)
    by Sailor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:34:42 PM EST
    I live in a college town. They have similar laws, but none that define nephews as non- family members.
    they can plan for the number and size of grocery stores
    Really!? City planners regulate every type and size of business that goes in to an area? That's just a stupid argument. Ask WalMart;-)
    What we are talking about here is protecting the environment, Johnny. I thought Native Americans were concerned about it.
    Jeebus! Nuthin' but personal attacks and distractions. Why does anyone ever respond to his blatherings?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#24)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:35:21 PM EST
    Johnny and Kdog, Jimica seems to have the good sense on this one. If either of you had ever owned a home, you might have a more realistic understanding of the good sense of these zoning laws. If you had to deal with the reality of home values, and had a neighbor who decided to start repairing junk cars in his front yard, you might have a more realistic understanding of the good sense of these zoning laws. If you ever rented out a home that you owned, and instead of a family of four in a two bedroom house, you found yourself with an extended family of nine, you might have a more realistic understanding of the good sense of these zoning laws. But, until that time, it's easier for you to whine about our fascist government. Also, if some racial group, as a matter of custom, tends to ignore zoning laws, enforcing those laws does not amount to racism. It's kind of predictable at this point, that if some activist group starts shouting racism, they probably have no case. Sorry, didn't mean to sound so confrontational, but it's awfully tedious to see the Left continually stomp all over the middle class in the quest to promote "social justice". www.liberallyspeaking.blogs.com

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#25)
    by jen on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:35:40 PM EST
    Hispanics work hard, double up families in rental homes until they can buy homes, double or triple up in those until they can afford to send kids off to college, buy other homes, whatever. That is how it works in the Washington dc suburbs and that is what manassas doesn't want. Many parts of NoVa, for that matter. Why an influx of hardworking homeowners starting up small buisinesses and stirring up an whole new robust economy is such a bad thing is something of a mystery to me. But maybe I just LIKE my property values going up.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#26)
    by roy on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:40:21 PM EST
    Jim, and a vague hand-wave at Robert Kessler,
    First, it is the business of the people living next door to you. The more people, the more cars, the more noise, etc. They don't want their property values destroyed by your desire to do what you want.
    There's a big difference between "don't want" and "have a right to meddle". Unless my house is so overcrowded that we and our stuff don't all fit in the property boundary, the neighbors need to butt out. Noise can be addressed by noise ordinances; 55 decibels is 55 decibels regardless of how many people are partying to make it.
    Secondly, it is the business of the city because they need to provide adequate utilities, water, electricty, etc. They also need to provide adequate police protection, schools, and public transportation. They also need to be aware so that they can plan for the number and size of grocery stores, medical clinics, street sizes, traffic lights, etc.
    So I'm not allowed to have 18 roomates because the government won't be able to provide for us all... What happened to personal responsibility? If you're worried about people starving or catching fire, maybe we should try a more flexible system than centralized planning. And is it just me, or is the "leave me signed in" jobbie working a lot better since the bloglift?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#27)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:58:12 PM EST
    It looks like a few commenters who defend this ordinance are confusing separate issues. Crowding isn't the problem. The new ordinance says that X number of people in a house is OK as long as they're all "close" relatives. The same ordinance says that X people (or possibly even 1 or 2 fewer people) in the house next door is a violation because they aren't close relatives. The previous law seemed to work fine until families with last names ending in Z starting moving in.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#28)
    by soccerdad on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:59:09 PM EST
    It looks like to me that the same people who support Bush and his surveillance techniques are also for the government telling us what we can and cannot do in out house. The wrong wingers are trying to put their religion into the public place thereby marginalizing everyone else. Fascism on the march. One brick at a time they are tearing down the institutions of our freedoms. Bring back the old conservativies, please. They believed in individual freedom for the most part. These new big-government conservatives are really scarry.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#29)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 04:11:16 PM EST
    Example: John, age 40 and Helen, age 37 are married. They have two children, Lisa, 16, and George, 13. They rent their basement apartment to a college student, Anne. Total occupancy, five people. In the house next door is Juana, a 53-year-old divorced working woman. She shares her house with her companion, Rita, 45, and Rita's neice, 12. They rent their basement apartment to a college student, Arturo. Total occupancy, five people. Under the ordinance, only one household is legal.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#30)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 04:11:59 PM EST
    Sorry. Second example, total occupancy is four people.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#31)
    by Sailor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 04:59:53 PM EST
    If either of you had ever owned a home, you might have a more realistic understanding of the good sense of these zoning laws.
    I own a home, GFY.
    If you had to deal with the reality of home values, and had a neighbor who decided to start repairing junk cars in his front yard
    That's a business, not a home.
    f you ever rented out a home that you owned, and instead of a family of four in a two bedroom house, you found yourself with an extended family of nine
    You're the landlord, kick them out. No reason for the gov't to be involved.
    Sorry, didn't mean to sound so confrontational, but it's awfully tedious to see the Left continually stomp all over the middle class in the quest to promote "social justice".
    Gee, sorry to be so confrontational, but the left is also 'middle class' and I hate to see you post these stupid, easily refuted points just to advertise your blog.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimcee on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 05:16:54 PM EST
    The Manassas law is less racsist than it is just dumb. I can understand that the town doesn't want overcrowding or warehousing of large numbers of people who by the way are usually immigrants, legal or otherwise. There was a recent case on Long Island that was a prime example of this. If I remember correctly there was some extraordinary number of people living there. Trying to define a household by family relations is just silly. Kdog, I'd have to say that the TWU broke even at best but more likely lost because they will lose about 2% of thier pay because of fines, the local lost 3 million dollars of their member's assets and after their medical contributions it is pretty much a wash. We won't even figure in the ill will it created between the customers and their public servants. Overall the union would have been better off if it had not acted so brash. Toussaint should be relieved of his position for his little hissy-fit that cost the public up to 3 billion dollars. BB,I too have been a union member and agree with you 100%. As far as the IBEW that is more of a guild than a union. A union is more likely to represent (poorly IMHO) unskilled labor. Peacrevol, sorry to hear about those wildfires, that is some serious sh*t. We get blizzards in upstate NY but rarely such severe and dangerous stuff. Hope things work out for you guys down there.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#33)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 05:19:05 PM EST
    Hey there Sailor, Actually, deciding to repair junk cars in your front yard is a hobby, in my example, and you don't invalidate it by simplemendedly calling it a business. Neighbors of actor Robert Blake had exactly this problem when he took your attitude and tried to turn his Sherman Oaks home into a ranch, putting old trucks up on blocks and leaving engines in his driveway. Although I'm sure if a person like this lived next to your parents, you'd tell your folks to just suck it up and stop being fascists. By the way, I assume "GFY" means "great fun, yesterday". Soccerdad, Actually, the old (and new) time conservatism admits obligations along with those rights. Included are the obligations one has towards one's community, to uphold the standards of the community. I'm sure you find this reminiscent of Nazis, but there's quite a difference I assure you. And just for accuracy, the right wingers aren't trying to "put their religion into the public place", it has been there since the creation of this nation. It is the left wingers who are trying to scrub it out. It's interesting that you should put both ideas into the same post; is it just me, or is their some synchronicity between the effort to kick religion out of the public square and the belief in the "right" to tell your neighbors to go to "G- F--- Themselves"? www.liberallyspeaking.blogs.com

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 06:04:41 PM EST
    et al - Actually I was just trying to explain why we have zoning laws, not be the explicit expert on the subject. I should have known this bunch would swoop in with a determined objective of picking the fly sh*t out of the pepper... And gee Sailor, at least you didn't claim I was trying to change the topic. Dearest Charlie... A clear logical statement.... Who could have known? I am stunned. You have hit a home run... ;-)

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#36)
    by Sailor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 06:25:48 PM EST
    jim, what part about 'open thread' don't you understand? RK, try reading TL's policy on links and figure out another way to promote your site.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#37)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 09:45:42 PM EST
    The new ordinance doesn't change the number of people who can live in a house. Do some of you need to see it again? The new ordinance doesn't change the number of people who can live in a house. House A: Woman, age 68 Man, age 42 Woman, age 38 Children, ages 15, 12, and 8 House B: Woman, age 72 Man, age 43 Woman, age 40 Children, ages 14, 13, and 7 One house is legal, the other isn't. Why? Because of the genetic relationships among the family members. No, really, why? Because one family speaks Spanish.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#38)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 09:48:37 PM EST
    Charliedontsurf's comments are insightful. Additional thought here: The willingness to set different occupancy rates for families and roomates seems to have some obvious merits. It seems quite admirable for the State to leave greater allowance for an immediate family, as it likely seeks to avoid being prejudicial towards families with large numbers of children. Couldn't we all agree that it's quite different to talk about the impact of a family with 5 children, as opposed to 7 college roomates? This has nothing to do with race, obviously. But again, those who have no argument, or strive to enfold themselves in the blanket of victimization, will resort to the accusation of racism and the name-calling of "racist, racist, racist" as standard operating procedure. Johnny may claim that culturally, anyone he wants can be called family, but of course that idea is nonsense. So, his only resort is to accuse others of being racists. It's a nice, neat, mindless catch-all response, about on the same level as the ubiquitous "whatever". But of course, it is Johnny who is the racist, in that he feels that his ethnic backgound makes him culturally superior, and above the norms of community expectations. Ironic, isn't it? www.liberallyspeaking.blogs.com

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#39)
    by Johnny on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 10:14:08 PM EST
    Actually Kessler, those who usually downplay rascism are those who have never been victimized by it. In your case, calling me a rascist is a hoot. Especially when you make the assumption that I claim my cultural background is superior. Nowhere have I made that ludicrous statement. The statement I have made is that men like PPJ are convinced they know the one right way to live and they are wrong for that. In your case, you ignore certain aspects of the legislation. You do not address the state taking the power of deciding who is family and who is not family. (Also, had you read some of Jim's osts about my ancestry, you will see his rascism plain as day. Thinking less of someone due to cultural accomplishments is nothing if not rascism, is it not?). The fact remains that the state has determined that a nephew is not relative enough. For a culture that prides itself on family... blah blah blah... Seriously kessler... get a clue.
    Johnny may claim that culturally, anyone he wants can be called family, but of course that idea is nonsense.
    So to throw a wrench into your argument... Foster homes? Adoptees? Refugees? How and what determines the appropriate number of people that can be considered family? Can you answer questions such as: "My dead wifes parents live with me. I am not related by blood. They put me over the limit imposed by the state. What do I do?" or... "My nephew came to live with me while he goes to school. He is not close enough to qualify as relation, where is he going to live?" or... "I have this nice 3 bedroom house. I sleep in one room, and rent the other two out to two couples. How close am I to exceeding the limits?" or... "I am a moderately successful white suburbanite with a 2 bedroom home. Brown people moved in next door. How do I ensure that a minimum number of brown children are present?" Having been subjected to a constant barrage since I was born about the inferiority of native culture and how much better off we all are since being nearly annihilated and culturally suppressed,(not to mention those idiots that claim I should be happy about it!) I feel that most, if not all, white men and women in this country have no friggen idea what they are talking about.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#40)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 10:44:01 PM EST
    Johnny, You seem like a nice kid. I'm really sorry that you feel victimized. The America I live in has, over the last two generations, bent over backwards to take responsibility for the mistakes of the past, and has worked diligintly to afford special priveledges to Native Americans based on their race. Additionally, our society has actually been bombarded with racial propoganda concerning the notion that Native Americans were particularly spiritual and civilized people, contrasted with the barbarian white man. Historically, that is bunch of hoakum. However, there is a culture of victimization that plays upon the worst tendencies in some people to immerse themselves in a world of percieved oppression. For some, it is essential to their self-image that they see themselves as noble victims of a racist world; it animates them, and gives them a sense of comfort that any personal failings are actually due to the racist world out there. For an alternate and far more empowering viewpoint, you might spend a little time studying the works of Dr. David Yeagley, a Comanche descendent of Bad Eagle, and a professor of Humanities at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Yeagley is an authentic Native American voice, quite unlike our curent phoney Indian de jeur "Dr." Ward Churchill. As far as your question, the first three examples are simple zoning ordinance issues. The fourth example is a strawman argument, created to imply your thesis that anyone concerned about zoning laws is a de facto racist. The fact is that the vast majority of Americans of both parties support the protection of the rights of all people to have as many children as they are capable of supporting. www.liberallyspeaking.blogs.com

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#41)
    by Johnny on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 12:14:57 AM EST
    No kessler... You are simply telling me how happy I should be that my culture has been all but eradicated. I am not, nor have I ever, claimed that my ancestors were some mythical peaceful people. We waged war. We made peace. What you can never understand is that no native denies the violence we lived with. The "noble savage" is an invention of the white man. What we had was a way of life that worked for us. what we had were phenomenally low rates of suicide, addiction, murder, you name it... What worked for us (primarily nomadic hunter/gatherer) did not work for the tribes in the east or Mexico or New Guinea. They each had their own way, their own wars, their own culture. Enter Europe. cannot stand the seemingly meaningless violence. Bring the concept of "why can't they settle their differences and live in peace?". Bring the concept of "Look at all this material wealth, why are they such losers that they do not realize the wealth they could realize if only they lived like we do?". Bring the concept of "Look at these dirt worshipers, when are they going to realize that seeking christ will ensure their eternal bliss?"... to save us from barabrism you nearly wiped us out as a people, and you did wipe us out as a distinct culture. The wars we waged were about balance. Not conquering. The Cheyenne tribe I am a member of were sworn enemies of the Snake. Since we remember, we were at "war" with them... Neither the Snake or the Cheyenne would ever even consider wiping the other off the face of the world. We fought to keep balance, not to enforce a way of life. Go study some anthropology texts. Hell, read some of your own propaganda from the 19th century. Your comment about the spirituality of my ancestors being untrue is wrong. You will never understand the depth of our spirituality, enamoured as you are of the concept of religion as taught by europeans. That is ok. The overtures made by the United States are not unwelcome, just wrong. What we want, you are not willing or even able to give. We want to live on the plains again. We want to worship in the Black Hills without being assaulted by distasteful trinket stands and mountains dedicated to white men. We want the buffalo back. We want our wars with the Snake people back. You cannot give us these things because you have completely and utterly destroyed them. Because you knew the one right way... But now you bring up the nice concept of us nurturing the sense of victimhood... That we should somehow feel guilty for wanting it back. You really do not understand it at all. So save me the "we have tried so hard to make amends... why are you still whining about it?" line of BS. See, one of the fundamental differences between the cultures is that the white man thought giving us money after taking our life was enough. That is something the white man will never, ever understand. *zoning the amount of people I will obviously have to live with. Zoning the type and relation is simply wrong.*

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#42)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 05:12:40 AM EST
    Johnny, I am a white man. Rather I should say I am a man. By accident of birth or by "intention" of the world, universe, god, spirit, or myself (take your pick, to me they are all they same thing) I was born a man. Right away the culture and society I was born among started in wrapping me in its memes (religion and right/wrong valuation being two of the most fundamental) ... calling it teaching me, raising me, educating me, training me, programming me... they are all words for the same thing. It was neither right nor wrong for the society to do this. It was necessary that they do this for me to be able to function in the society I was born into, and for the society to be able to function around me. From the moment of my birth in these ways a description of the "world" was drilled into me and became my being, and that description in me became the world I live in. For a long time that world was all I new, and those memes underpinned and determined every thought and and viewpoint and I had, and every measurement of others that I made. Everything and everyone I met was compared to those initial memes, judged right if it fit, and judged wrong if it didn't. But I was very, very lucky. Luckier I think than most. I had been born to a mother who also encouraged me constantly to explore the world, not just the physical world and nature, but the world of books and ideas and thinking, considering, experimenting and reevealuating. Eventually a time came when I began to notice clues and have suspicions that there was more to the world than I had been taught. Not just a little more but much, much more, complete and entire worlds more. Other sets of memes had been taught to some of the people I ran across by their cultures and societies. This was one of the most astounding, frightening, and earth shattering ideas I had ever run across. It turned my world upside down, and forced me to reevealuate not only things in my world, but to reevaluate my entire world view, description, meme set, itself. And to eventually realize that my description of the world was only one possible one, out of endless possibilities. Neither right nor wrong in itself, but only by contrast with and in terms of other worldviews. I had been much more lucky than I had dreamed. Incredibly lucky, I think. Most, if not nearly all, people are, I've concluded, never so lucky. They are born, are taught and learn only one world description. And that's it. That's all there is for them. And everything else and all other peoples are measured against it. So small, so limiting, and so sad. But that's the way it is. You said above:
    What we want, you are not willing or even able to give. You cannot give us these things because you have completely and utterly destroyed them. Because you knew the one right way...
    The Kesslers of the world can never do these things. Not because they don't want to. Whether they are right or wrong has no bearing on it, I think. And that they may not want to is not the reason they can't. You said it yourself, my friend - they are not able to. They can't because... they can't...

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#43)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 06:30:41 AM EST
    Johnny - If you would please, go back to the thread you refer to and show me a racist comment. You won't, because you can't. Calling someone a racist is a nifty way to run some people off and shut them up, but it doesn't work for me because I am not a racist and have nothing to hide. And no, disagreeing with you and your beliefs doesn't make anyone a racist. In the previous thread I readily admitted that the Europeans who came here were nasty, ill tempered, greedy people who promptly captured, took over, killed... in other words "displaced" the NA's. Another point was that the NA peoples themselves, through war, migration, etc., displaced each other. They also had some terrible religious practices... ripping out hearts of virgins.. skinning people alive... taking slaves...forcing old people out..., etc. They were, in fact, people. No better, or worse, than the hunter/gather tribes of the ME during the Stone Age. The tough part for them was that they ran into a culture that was more advanced in the art of war, which means it had better organization and technology. It also had people with a vision of being free on their own land. The outcome of the conflict was a foregone conclusion. Your side lost. My main point was that none of that was done by me, so I feel no sense of shame or responsibility. You can't help that, Johnny. You can't change that, Johnny. So my advice is to tell those who are whispering nonsense in your ear, and in the process insuring you a bad future, to take a hike. Get an education and join the world. It may not be to our liking, but it is the only one we have. The one true fact is that you can’t go back to the Plains anymore than I can return to the Highlands. Quit crying over it. No one cares. Yours in hope.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#44)
    by Dadler on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 06:45:28 AM EST
    Johhny Good post. But I'd advise against claiming to know ANYTHING about how a tribe hundreds of years ago operated. We ALL think we have a glorious history. None of us do. There were Native tribes who were exceedingly violent and awful people, there were tribes who were peaceful and nice. Just like us. That European settlement destroyed that native way of life is certainly true. But I don't think you'll find many people who would deny that, or that our civilization is violent. Also, the intellect you display here would NEVER have been cultivated in a tribal setting. We all gotta choose. There are many peopl scattered around living subsistence lifestyles in this country, on communes, etc. Nothing stopping you from starting a powerful trend. Someone has to. Why NOT you? Peace, bro.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 07:07:02 AM EST
    If either of you had ever owned a home, you might have a more realistic understanding of the good sense of these zoning laws.
    I understand your point Robert, property values before people. I just disagree. My sympathies lie with the people living 8 or 9 to a house to get by, not with their neighbor's property values.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#46)
    by swingvote on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 07:32:34 AM EST
    Kdog, A question: If a certain ethnic group had a habit of living in large groupings, and those members of that group living such also had a habit of being involved in violent crime, would this law make sense to you as part of a broader effort to deal with the crime problem?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#47)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 08:20:22 AM EST
    No it would not jp. Punish the criminal activity, not the housing practices. Your analogy is too similar to criminalizing all drug use because some drug users commit violent crimes. That's kindergarten nonsense. FWIW, I live next door to Salvadorian immigrants, I'd guess there are about 8-9 adults living in a 3 bedroom house. They are good neighbors, I'd hate to see them evicted over a stupid ordinance. If they make too much noise, I knock on their door and ask them to keep it down. Problem solved. A little civility, compassion, and understanding goes a long way...no need to involve the authorities. Personally, I couldn't live with myself if I got some people evicted in order to increase/maintain my property values. That's obscene.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#48)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 08:23:04 AM EST
    If a certain ethnic group had a habit
    Justifying discrimination?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#49)
    by swingvote on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 08:25:15 AM EST
    Kdog, I asked because I suspect that is at least part of the underlying "logic" of this ordinance. The latino gangs have gotten quite bad in N.Va. and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that someone on the city council or the mayor thought might be a good way to encourage these people to continue their movement into Maryland, which is already happening. Just wondered how that would stand with you. Thanks

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#51)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 09:21:09 AM EST
    Johnny, Your post is, quite honestly, a textbook example of racist thinking. What if I were to say to you; "Native Americans can never appreciate the depth of White culture and spirituality. Native Americans can never appreciate the complexities and intricacies of White political and eonomic thought. Native Americans can never understand the commitment of Western Civilization to the ideals of the Enlightenment." Of course, you would call me a racist. And excuse me, but though I find your comments almost poetic in their iteration, I don't buy your claim that you would welcome the opportunity to go live in a tent in the middle of Kansas and crap in the bushes for the rest of your life. Several generations of Native Americans have been given the opportunity to avail themselves of free public education and the chance to become doctors, lawyers and engineers. Unfortunately, a small percentage have condemned themselves to a life of poverty on the "Rez" in order to satisfy the fantasies of people like yourself that they remain "authentically Native". It's a self-imposed gulag and it's shameful. With all due respect, before continuing to make statments like "We want this" and "We want that", at least admit that there is a diversity of opinions on this subject among Native Americans, and there IS no universal "We". I gave you a link to Dr. Yeagley's website. Would it hurt to read some different perspectives, or do you prefer to stay locked in your own echo chamber? www.liberallyspeaking.blogs.com

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 09:55:52 AM EST
    No problem jp...I respect your opinion no matter how much we disagree. Whatever the reasoning of the local Manassas officials in this case...I believe they are wrong to interfere in the living arrangements of others who have a different definition of family.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 10:46:16 AM EST
    kdog writes:
    No it would not jp. Punish the criminal activity, not the housing practices.
    As Charley and Robert have pointed out, it is when you start to overload the system that problems start to happen. Freedom is fine, but your right to have as many people as you want living in a too small house in a neighborhood not designed for that is secondary to the common good and the property rights of others. And make no mistake. You can't be free unless your property is protected. It is (probably psycho babble) has been said that you can tell the difference between city folk and those who live in the burbs and country by observing them standing in a line. The city folk stand closer together, and readily move closer when asked to close up the line. The country folks are not close and resist the call to "close it up." The theory is something about "expected" private space and how your normal environment defines same.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 10:52:20 AM EST
    You can't be free unless your property is protected.
    Wouldn't the protection of property rights include the right to decide who lives on your property?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#55)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 12:40:37 PM EST
    If Manassas passed something recent, it’s because they perceive a problem. In most towns.... ordinances are passed to alleviate issues/problems. Most of us don’t like it, especially when it involves us, but that as they say is life! I have just completed a two year plus battle with my town to put up a garage. My “A”-hole neighbor (it only takes one) decided to tell everyone that I was going to open a business. He fought me tooth & nail and it has taken me all this time to convince everyone that I wasn’t. I do in fact collect & restore antique cars…but they are for me (IE – hobby). The ordinance concerning ‘garages’ was kinda vague so the battle was on. (of course it isn't too vague anymore) My garage was going to block his ‘view’. His view was of my back yard, which I had previously made nice for his viewing pleasure. It all sucked and I eventually won, but I had to move it, cut down on the size and side it with cedar to match my house (all at more expense to me). Bottom line…. The good of the many outweigh the good of the one. And until I could convince the rest of my neighbors & the city of what my true intentions were, they weren't about to let me build it. So, if you want more freedom to do what you want on your land, you must get farther away from the populace.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#56)
    by soccerdad on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:00:07 PM EST
    As Charley and Robert have pointed out, it is when you start to overload the system that problems start to happen.
    So I assume all building is stopped then if its an overload on resources problem.
    but your right to have as many people as you want living in a too small house in a neighborhood not designed for that
    Who decides if the house is too small? Does that mean you are going to throw out a family with 6 kids living in a 3br house? The house is up how is the neighborhood not designed for that? Assuming its keep up, clean etc how does that impact neighbor's rights?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#57)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:31:27 PM EST
    Edgar, What an interesting journey you've been on. Glad to have you. What you may not realize, however, is that your journey is not yet over. Realizing that the "memes" you've been taught are just one of many possibilities, and coming to the understanding that there are unlimited worlds beyond worlds, is really just a first step. What you may experience, if you are open to it, is that one ultimately has the pleasure of choosing what type of world one wishes to inhabit. Some people choose a world of oppression and racism and lost opportunities and self-centered fixation, others choose a world of beauty and opportunity and adventure and community. Johnny is actively creating his own world, and it's unfortunately pretty dark. That's fine as long as it's only him who has to inhabit it. But his world apparently produces in him an attitude of entitlement and selfishness, by which any sense of obligation is erased and replaced with a sociopathic view of his neighbors as racists, unworthy of his respect. I prefer to live in a world where people go out of their way to be considerate of others, and have a willingness to balance their own desires with responsibility toward their community. I understand that that is one choice on my part out of many possible choices. Do you?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#58)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:37:42 PM EST
    KDog, I'm a little mystified by your comment "I understand your point Robert, property values before people. I just disagree." Property values are ABOUT people; the people who own homes in the neighborhod. You and Johnny have just decided that the people being hurt by a degredation of their neighborhood are less important than the interest group YOU support. I'm curious...if a group of twenty Nazi skinheads crowded into a house next to YOU, would you be championing their right to dsignate themselves a family?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#59)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:45:00 PM EST
    RK: My journey not only is not yet over, after 50 years it has just barely begun. And the choices, and the number of possible worlds, infinite.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#61)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:11:56 PM EST
    Johnny is actively creating his own world, and it's unfortunately pretty dark. What an extraordinary comment on a world with so much light in it. I suggest a closer look.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#62)
    by soccerdad on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:27:13 PM EST
    The America I live in has, over the last two generations, bent over backwards to take responsibility for the mistakes of the past, and has worked diligintly to afford special priveledges to Native Americans based on their race.
    Typical condescending attitude. In fact, as anyone who reads up on the issue knows the treatment of Indians even in this century has been plagued by broken promises, rampant corruption at the Department of Indian Affairs [regardless of party in power] and the like. We take their land when anything good is found on it, probably cheat them out of millions if not billions of dollars and then throw some schools and health clinics at them as a way of easing our consciences. See we made up for everything!
    Additionally, our society has actually been bombarded with racial propoganda concerning the notion that Native Americans were particularly spiritual and civilized people, contrasted with the barbarian white man.
    This is yet another possibly purposeful mis-statement. He has actually tried to turn the tables here. The spirituality of the Native Americans has been celebrated in their love of the land and economy of its use. Of course the issue here is that the supposedly much more civilized White people were the ones that slaughtered the Indians who were demonized at the time and even through much of this century as being savages. The popular proposition has never been that the Indians were civilized and the whites were not. Mr Kesseler is a very good writer but at the end of the day what he is really doing is absolving himself of any responsibility for the Indians situtation or more ironically to helping them. Yeah we're sorry, here's some scraps now you are on your own, and who gives a damn about your heritage. His arguments re property values are similar to those made by people who have tried keeping black people out of neighborhoods, i.e majority rules. And of course I would support enforcement of reasonable noise ordinances, animal ordinaces, multiple use ordinaces etc. In a nutshell Mr Kessler resolves himself and the white people for any responsibility and then tries to cover this up with blaming the ones in hardship with a victim complex. The majority rules, keep "those" people out as opposed to dealing with any violations in existing and non-discriminatory laws on a case by case basis. BTW I would favor empowerment also but understand that people can use some help [not throwing money at them] on that path. If the skin head family moved in next to me, and never disturbed me, never broke the law, kept the yard clean etc, i.e. those things I would expect of any neighbor than what right do i have of keeping them from that house. People say there is no racism in the US, the fact is that it has become more sophisticated in its approach. As a backbone of this approach is the constant reliance on arguing the rights of the majority. racism, prejudice is directed by the majority at the minority and the law has been formed in part on the prmise that the minority do need to be protected from a majority if that majority is simply discriminating against them based on race, religion, etc. Yes I fully acknowledge there have been many gains. But there are racists and many hide behind more obtuse ways of stating it, but their intent becomes clear when you read their material long enough and look hard at the underlying assumptions.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#63)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:37:23 PM EST
    if a group of twenty Nazi skinheads crowded into a house next to YOU
    The new ordinance doesn't change occupancy. The new ordinance doesn't change occupancy. It doesn't.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#64)
    by Johnny on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:45:18 PM EST
    There is no use telling any of you of the appreciable diferences between our cultures. Jim, you are still an idiot. Kessler, ditto. Dadler, sorry man, as much as I agree with you politically, you are still convinced you know the one right way for people to live. Jim, kessler... If you understood that there is no one right way for people to live you would understand why we fought so hard, why some of us still fight today. But since you guys are convinced that "civilization" is the one right way (and I find that laughable coming from a culture with increibly high murder rates, suicide rates, drug addiction rates, obesity, 50 hour workweeks, a constant state of submissive warfare). Dadler, I know exactly how my tribe behaved hundreds of years ago. We have stories to tell, and we tell them. Jim, the difference between you going back to the highlands and me going back to the plains is that you would go right back to the exact same culture you are in now. Kessler, equating plumbing with content in the culture is asinine at best. Since you obviously think that the price you pay for creature comforts (gang wars, suicides, corrupt gov't, a lifetime of working 3x as many hours as any of my tribe ever did, unbelievable warfare levels) is worth all of that, there is no need trying to explain to you the benefits we enjoyed while crapping int he bushes. Or living in tents. (Which is not that bad actually. Much nicer than the square box I have to live in today.) Ultimately, it comes down to the cultural tendency of civilized people to force un-civilized people to live their way. That is the fundamental difference my friends. Kessler, Jim, you guys are both still rascists. Thinking less of someone due to cultural affiliation is rascism. Kessler, Jim-your culture would work fine on a small scale, now that it is worldwide, the world is almost ready to heave humans off like a bad habit. If you want something to read (not that I think you would ever read anything that would invalidate your cultural drive) try "A Language Older Than Words" by Derrick Jenssen. Or anything by Daniel Quinn. They are white men, but they are very well read and accomplished thinkers in the history of civilization. Or just pick up a goddam book or four on anthropology and draw your own conclusions. All I have is a history of a tribe that has NOT been better off since being civilized.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#65)
    by swingvote on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:47:16 PM EST
    Kdog, Thanks, I think, but I guess I wasn't clear. I'm not saying I would find such a policy acceptable on those grounds, only that I wouldn't be surprised if that was at least part of a justification offered. The gang problem is getting bad around here and there are some who may well think that way. As it happens, I think you could do more just stopping hot-rod honda accords at random, since that seems to be the vehicle of choice for many of the gang bangers, at least in PG County Maryland. Doing so might even pass snuff, as that particular vehicle is popular with other ethnic groups as well so the policy would not appear to be race oriented. I just wondered what you would think of such a stance because you sem to have your head screwed on better than most of the "civil libertarians" around here. Thanks again.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#66)
    by desertswine on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 03:39:37 PM EST
    Ultimately, it comes down to the cultural tendency of civilized people to force un-civilized people to live their way.
    An interesting discussion coming, as it does, on the anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890). The beloved L. Frank Baum, who later wrote "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," wrote in his paper The Aberdeen Pioneer at the time:
    The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies future safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.
    Ouch.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#67)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 03:52:51 PM EST
    jp...I don't doubt gangs are a problem in VA, we have our problems here with MS13 and the like. I'd say housing ordinances such as this would have a minimal, if any, effect on gangs. It would lead to a new homeless/housing shortage problem...or best case scenario move the gang problems to neighboring areas. The best way to deal w/ gangs, in my opinion, is to catch them when they commit real crimes. Not very pro-active, I'll admit, but it doesn't have all the messy side effects and innocent victims related to housing ordinances such as this. Good people will be out on the street and forced out of town to find an affordable place to live. Not cool in my book.

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#68)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 04:15:12 PM EST
    desertswine:
    Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. Ouch.
    Ouch, indeed. Kill whomever or destroy whatever they refuse to understand. Easier than seeing with new eyes?

    Re: Wednesday Open Thread (none / 0) (#69)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Dec 30, 2005 at 06:31:11 AM EST
    JMM at TPM has been channelling PPJ apparently:
    Bush tumbles from 42% approval in last week's CNN/USAToday poll to 41% in new CNN poll out today! What? Can't I make a big deal about meaningless statistical blips too?
    Link