quote of the day


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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60 Responses

  1. “People’s seat” may be the line of the decade. Well, at least so far….Report

      • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        ok ED, if Scott wins what do you think that portends for the libruls?Report

        • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          I think it’s bad news, but more importantly I think it’s bad news for the RINO-hunters and the whole myth that conservatives need to fall into some magical zone of pure conservatism. Brown is conservative, no doubt, but he has some moderate positions that could easily brand him as a RINO.Report

          • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            In Taxechewsetts he’s a radical right-winger!
            ;What if the “rino-hunters” are elated at a Scot Brown in Mass. because a paleo is outta the question.
            I’m thinkin’ if he wins, the policy objectives of the radical left, represented by the president, are toast and will pull down in most districts anything with Democrat attached to it.
            The American people reflexively despise “socialized medicine,” and I can not understand Democrat politicans willing to jump off the cliff for the Big O.
            You might want to speak to the upcoming election in terms of Dems, GOP and the effect of the tpers on it!Report

          • Avatar Tina_EllieP in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            As Newt pointed out, it’s the RINOs of metropolitan areas that enabled success in ’94. If we pare down the GOP platform it’s bound to grow the basket of people who can agree and vote for it.Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      I just looked that up. That was Sorkin-esque right there.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kyle says:

        I thn\ink it was a rather banal line frankly, though well-placed. Remember though, it was in response to David Gergen, not Martha Coakley. And it’s entirely customary to refer to a Congressional seat vacated when an incumbent dies in office as that incumbent’s ‘seat’ through the duration of the natural term.Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Of course the placement and context make the quote, right? “ask not what your country….” would seem banal and frankly expected if it were coming from a D.I. Likewise most of history’s major quotes.

          I’m not saying that Brown is Churchill…but it was well put and well timed with an alacrity and wit that really is Sorkin-esque.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kyle says:

            No. “Ask not…” is a great quote wherever it would have originated. You could argue the venue made it a bit greater or lesser, depending how much you value spontaneity over a well-thought out phrasde in a speech. But its literary value is apparent. “It’s the people’s seat,” on the other hand is an obvious set-piece without much literary merit on its own at all. It’s pretty much just sanctimonious snark, though obviously and fairly music to the ears of those who resent dynastic politics. And it’s credulous to believe that it was spontaneous — candidates are primed to get that type of barb in.

            And a reminder: it was delivered in response to David Gergen, not Martha Coakley.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

              (P.S. – I don’t know what “D.I.” refers to. But “Ask not” is quite obviously a more substantive, more positive, and more artful quote than “It’s the people’s seat.”)Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Drill Instructor.

                I saw the full clip, yeah it was directed at Gergen, though mostly at the premise. Also, it’s great that the Coakley campaign loves it so much they all but stole it.

                I’m not asserting that “People’s seat” and “Ask not” are equivalently awesome, merely that all really good quote as re “well-placed.” So the idea that the quality of such lines transcends context strikes me as well unimaginative.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kyle says:

                I mean, it would have to be well-timed just to qualify for “best” quote of the decade so far, wouldn’t it? Clearly, if the political effectiveness given by a well-timed delivery is the standard we are using for “best,” (particularly in the 2010’s), then “ask not” doesn’t have much going for it. So it should go without saying that since “best” is a very general plaudit, and since that is the one that was used, my point is to interrogate and expand the meaning of the term that we ought to accept.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                And again — the claim was ‘of the decade’; obviously “ask not” has nothing to do with Mark’s (at this point hideously abused) nomination. I concede that few potential competitors spring quickly to mind. But that only shows that to stand for such an honor, the line really wouldn’t have to be all that “good” in the first place, which I am contending that it is not.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

              Also, lest I be accused of ideological bias, another example of a great quote is “Extremism in defense of Liberty is no vice.”Report

  2. Avatar alkali says:

    Scott Brown understands that rapists give their victims the gift of life.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to alkali says:

      That’s an awfully stupid thing to say. Here’s Scott Brown on abortion:

      While this decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor, I believe we need to reduce the number of abortions in America. I believe government has the responsibility to regulate in this area and I support parental consent and notification requirements and I oppose partial birth abortion. I also believe there are people of good will on both sides of the issue and we ought to work together to support and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.

      I’m serious, we usually have pretty excellent comments at this blog. That was a really smashing attempt to lower the bar.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        but what does the quote refer to then? There has been a push for medical providers to not have to provide services they find morally objectionable, which does privilege the providers belief over the patients. That issue has come up with abortion and rape victims. There are places where if a woman is raped and wants to get the “abortion pill” the provider will decide based on his beliefs what the woman will get. that sounds a bit like religious freedom for me, but not for thee.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

          Hey, if you don’t like slavery, don’t own one.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

            ummm yeah , i understand that?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

              Do you honestly feel that a doctor ought to be forced to provide services they find morally objectionable?

              Are you serious?

              Do you feel that soldiers ought follow orders they feel are unlawful?

              Is there any limit to things that you think that people should be able to be ordered to do?Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think the only time that a doctor should do something that they find morally objectionable is if not doing so would lead to the death of the patient. Even there, of course, depending on the circumstances, if the action might just as easily lead to loss of life then it becomes much murkier, so it’s hard to say. Forcing doctors to perform operations, fill out prescriptions, and so forth that they are morally opposed to is simply ludicrous. Saying that people with such morals should thus not practice medicine is equally absurd.Report

              • Avatar alkali in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                Forcing doctors to perform operations, fill out prescriptions, and so forth that they are morally opposed to is simply ludicrous. Saying that people with such morals should thus not practice medicine is equally absurd.

                Actually, what Coakley explicitly said is that doctors with religious objections to routine procedures shouldn’t be practicing in the emergency room. Do you disagree?Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to alkali says:

                Are you saying that you think Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to work in emergency rooms in the United States?

                You can take that up with the ACLU.Report

              • Avatar alkali in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                If they refuse to perform some categories of medical services, yes, I actually do think they shouldn’t serve in emergency rooms.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain says:


              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to alkali says:

                Has there been an outbreak of problems related to emergency room doctors refusing services for moral reasons?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                it is a concern raised by pro-choice groups. i don’t have stats on how often it may happen, allthough i assume you are aware how hard it is to find reproductive services in many rural areas.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                This is, once again, where we have oh-so-very different fundamental assumptions.

                I see “medical care” as something provided by a person. This person has a right, more or less, to live pretty much wherever he wants. The city, the country, the suburbs.

                If he wants to not live in Iowa, I’m okay with that.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                okay i’ll play that game. Do you feel a rape victim should be denied care they ask for based on other people’s beliefs? What if she can’t get that care anyplace she can get to? What if that means she cant’ get any abortion she wants, so she has to carry a baby of a rapist? Wow that has really advanced the conversation, we can each posture moralistically.

                I think this is not the easy slam dunk you and Eric are presenting it as. No I don’t think a doc should be forced to provide a service they find objectionable. But I also think a patient should not have their care decided by the beliefs of the doc. A patient should get the care they choose not what is chosen for them. In cities that is not that big a deal usually, although if I was a rape victim asking for the morning after pill at 3am and was told sorry go find yourself someplace else, I might not be to happy about it. But in rural parts of the country there may not be many providers and if I didn’t have much money, then going someplace else might not actually be a possibility. That could leave the doc deciding care based on his beliefs for me.

                This is the kind of messy reality that a lot of self-righteous hollering about liberty and rights misses. In some places what you and Eric are saying would lead directly to the beliefs of docs deciding what happens to women’s bodies. The rights of the doc would trump the woman’s. I don’t want to trample either persons rights. Of course I could propose a solution but that might involve spending money but is also evil so that can’t be done. The practical application of laws and rights is often a bit messier then we would like.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                This is where we get into truly sticky questions of liberty.

                Should a woman be allowed to purchase Plan B? Should a woman be allowed to purchase RU-486? Should a woman be allowed to purchase RU-486 from the local Citgo station?

                For the record, I believe that she should be able to do so. Hell, get rid of the FDA! Pharmacies should be like comic book stores… you go there for a rare specific thing or for lots of associated common things but if you just want one exceptionally common thing, you can run down to the 7-11.

                But, for the record, no. I don’t believe that a doctor should be forced to perform an abortion. Even if the woman who wants an abortion has been raped. I do believe that doctors ought be obligated to provide referrals… but that’s a different kind of thing entirely, isn’t it?

                What would you do? A doctor says “no, I won’t perform this procedure, I, er, haven’t been trained in it”. Would you hold a gun to his head? Remove his credentials? Throw him in jail?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Actually i would say the state should make sure people get important types of medical care. So if a doc doesn’t want to do an abortion they should not be forced. However the woman should still get the care she wants so she should be transported to a doc that will give her the services she wants. But then i know some people will complain their money is being spent on something they don’t approve of. I don’t see any solution that allows everybody to get all of what they want. Life is messy that way sometimes. But I’m for firing up the chopper and get the woman the treatment she asks for.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                After a high-profile case or two, the chopper will likely become a program to purchase bus or train tickets.Report

              • Avatar Jonathan in reply to greginak says:

                Why does the hypothetical victim need a doctor to give her Plan B? In Ontario (if not the rest of Canada), it is widely available without the approval of some dude in a lab coat.

                Granted, this perhaps shifts the problems to drug stores, but it seems that if we’re worried about restricting access, we should be worried about all restrictions.Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

                “No I don’t think a doc should be forced to provide a service they find objectionable. But I also think a patient should not have their care decided by the beliefs of the doc.”

                These are contradictory.

                “A patient should get the care they choose not what is chosen for them.” How does this work? We have financial limits, technical limits, personnel limits, etc… Patients never get the care they might ideally choose but they can get the best given their circumstances (financial, geographic, time).

                I get that the context sucks for people who don’t have the best circumstances but there are limits – and in this case – appropriate limits exist and not all can be overcome with mandates and policy.

                If you force rural doctors to choose between practicing medicine and their religion…what do you think will happen? They’ll choose Uncle Sam over an all-knowing, all-powerful god? This seems like an area where getting what you want becomes another feather in the pro-choice hat but at a cost of real medical services to real people.Report

              • Avatar Sam M in reply to greginak says:

                “A patient should get the care they choose not what is chosen for them. ”

                It is my understanding that many, many plastic surgeons… the ones you and I would probably consider “the good ones”… regularly refuse to do reconstructive surgery on people they do not feel are doing ot for “the right reasons.” Or who think their patient is too young for it.

                What about a sex change operation?

                People get refused that operation all the time. Even though they would choose to have it.

                Is this a moral outrage? Clearly, doctors are not performing the procedures that these patients demand. Should society force them too?

                Also, in the entire thread, I am have not yet encountered an “emergency” procedure that someone is failing to perform. In very few cases does someone need an abortion RIGHT NOW.

                But I guess we might be able to come up with a scenario in which a doctor refuses to perform a routine procedure. For instance, some religions are against drug transfusions. So you really wouldn’t want one of those people as the only doctor working in an emergency room on a given night. In which case it would be impendent on the hospital to make sure other doctors are present. Or just not hire such people altogether. Those people might sue, but I think they would be wrong.

                But when it comes down to a local pharmacy run by some guy, I have no probkem with him refusing to sell cigarettes. Refusing to sell Playboy. Refusing to sell any drugs tested on animals. Refusing to sell aspirin because he doesn’t like how the word sounds. Refusing to sell condoms because he hates sex. Etc.

                His store. His choice.

                So it’s in a rural area where people won’t have access? Well, so? Know what else you can’t do in a rural area? Get a heart transplant. Get a kidney transplant. Get Indian food. Go to the theater. Etc.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:

                Here is my problem with that particular scenario, though.

                A pharmacist has a license to sell X. (Wait, let’s not use “X”. Let’s say “Drug D”.)

                A pharmacist has a license to sell Drug D. Drug D is only available with a perscription (“ask your doctor!”).

                This entails the following: People who sell Drug D without a license will be arrested and go to jail. People who sell Drug D with a license to people without a prescription will be arrested and go to jail. People who buy Drug D from people with a license but without having a prescription will be arrested and go to jail. And people who try to buy Drug D without a prescription from people without a license to sell Drug D will certainly go to jail, along with the guy without a license.

                So when a guy comes along and says “I have a prescription to buy this here Drug D” and the pharmacist says “sorry, we’re Christian Scientists. We only sell bottled water”, that’s a perfect opportunity to open a pharmacy of your own, right? WRONG! The number of licenses handed out by the government is kept artificially low by established pharmacists!

                (Want evidence? Look at the back of your local independent weekly and count the number of “licensed caretakers” for weed. Then count the number the following week. Wait a month, then count again.)

                Anyway, the pharmacists and the government collude to keep the number of licenses artificially low so when a pharmacist says “sorry, I don’t feel like selling Drug D”, it’s fair to point to the license he has that prevents me from buying Drug D at the local 7-11 and will, indeed, throw me in jail if I try to.

                That said, thanks for joining the fight for liberty. I hope you didn’t strain anything in your haste to get here.Report

              • Avatar Sam M in reply to Jaybird says:

                I am not sure that “pharmacists” conspire with the government to keep the licenses at a minimum. I know a guy who owns the pharmacy in towns. He’s as fed up with the regulations as anybody. And as far as I know he does not have a personal lobbyist. Does he benefit from the reduced competition? Sure. But it’s hard to consider him culpable for the entire system.

                And despite the limits, I don’t know of many places where lack of pharmacies is a pressing issues. I live in a town of 4,000, and we have, I think, three or four pharmacies in town. From large corporate to mom-and-pop. There are at least 15 pharmacies I can think of within a half hour drive. So in its form, I go back to your question: Is there really a rash of reports of doctors refusing to provide emergency care? No. Is there a rash of reports indicating a severe lack of pharmacies in America? Not that I know of.

                In the meantime, it’s also true that the gobernment regulates hair dressers in my state. And guess what? None of the hair dressers in my town perform ALL of the services or sell ALL of the products that they have a right to perform and sell. I am not aware of any convention that says someone who has a license to sell a range of goods is required to sell all of those goods.

                So, let’s say I want to get my hair in a weave like I see on TV. Of course, not anyone can provide this weave. I can’t just go to a 7-11. Because the guy who owns it doesn’t have a hair-dressing license. The lady at the downtown Hair Port has a license, but does not provide a weave service.

                Should I be permitted to sue to make he do weaves?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                No, not at all.

                But one cannot help but notice that “freedom of conscience” tends only one way: To the guy with the license given him by the state to sell stuff.

                When we talk about allowing pretty much anybody to buy/sell a product, everybody gets up in arms. They only start talking about “liberty” when we start talking about people who refuse to sell something that someone without a license would go to prison if they sold it.Report

      • Avatar alkali in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Try again. The context for the Coakley quote is not abortion.Report

        • Avatar Sam M in reply to alkali says:

          No. It was emergency contraception. Which is prescribed up to five days after unprotected sex.

          Five days.Report

          • Avatar Tina_EllieP in reply to Sam M says:

            I’m sorry if this seems naive, but emergency contraception is not necessarily administered in the emergency room by a single health care worker, no? Aren’t the odds fairly high that even in the case of rape there would be another available prescribing entity? (Disclaimer: most abortion objectors support the choice in the case of rape.)Report

  3. Avatar Scott says:

    The real question is if Scott wins, how long will the Dems in Mass keep him from taking office.Report

  4. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Here’s a fun one:

    Coakley is ending the campaign on a high note of condescension. William Jacobson highlights a classic quote from a Boston Globe feature on Coakley’s campaign. In an election with such high stakes, with so little time left in the campaign, the Globe wondered if she was being too passive.

    “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?” she fired back, in an obvious reference to a Brown video of him doing just that at the Winter Classic hockey game played at Fenway.


  5. Avatar Tina_EllieP says:

    Oh dear. How long before that list includes the classroom, laboratory, courtroom and halls of government?

    Go, Senator Brown, Go!Report

    • Avatar perrie in reply to Tina_EllieP says:

      Turn that around, and say an atheist doesn’t want to swear on a Bible? Do they have to?
      I find these matters troublesome, because somewhere along the line, someone gets offended.Report

      • Avatar Tina_EllieP in reply to perrie says:

        Hey, Perrie, actually they do not have to be sworn in exclusively on a
        Bible, as far as I know.

        From an atheist ethicist:

        [quote]The question that comes to my mind, as I said at the top of this article, is, “What book would I use if I were to be sworn in as a representative of Congress?”

        The answer of ‘no book’ has its problems.

        Swearing-in ceremonies are substantially symbolic. They are a lot like language in that they use symbols to communicate ideas and to fix attitudes. Just as the choice of words that I pick in writing this post is fixed, to some degree, by the ideas that I wish to communicate, the choice of symbols that I bring to a swearing-in ceremony is fixed by the symbols that I wish to communicate.[/quote]


        (ED, if I botch the formatting, please do delete…the conversation is only tangentially related to Coakley’s comment anyway.)Report

  6. Avatar Kyle says:

    “If they refuse to perform some categories of medical services, yes, I actually do think they shouldn’t serve in emergency rooms.”

    This is what I don’t understand, presumably this objection is to get religious obstructionism out of the provision of health care, because the provision of health care is a desirable good thing. However, if religious doctors are asked not to work in emergency rooms, doesn’t it seem far, far more likely that the result will not be happy, go lucky, anything goes emergency rooms, but understaffed ones that will provide less health care and probably a lower quality of it?

    So you’re arguing for a new status quo that would result in less access to emergency medical services for those who need it the most, to make a point about religion?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Kyle says:

      unless your assumption that it would lead to less accsess to emergency care is faulty. for the records it seems faulty to me.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        If there are fewer doctors, how does that not result in less access?Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

        Work me through why you think it’s faulty?

        We know that emergency rooms are dangerously understaffed as it is. The speaker I quoted is fully supporting a policy/regulation that would alienate or bar practicing doctors whose religious beliefs would preclude certain procedures.

        So you’re taking an understaffed position and actively discouraging people who might be interested from doing that work.

        It doesn’t seem like my assumptions or logic are false. Generally speaking, when you make it harder for someone to work someplace, fewer people work there.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Kyle says:

          well i haven’t seen any evidence that there would be some massive loss of ER docs that would cause a problem.

          You haven’t mentioned the rights of the patient to get the treatment they want. in many rural areas there are few or only one option for a hospital. Do patients have rights also? What does it mean for freedom and religious freedom if a person can only get what their doctor will give them based on the docs religion.

          Possible scenario: a gay person who is refused any medical care is a small rural community either wont’ get care or will be burdened to travel a long distance.

          I gather Jay’s answer is well don’t live there then. which leads to the criticism of libertarianism that the only oppression they are against is that be the gov, everybody else can oppress and dominate to their hearts content.

          I don’t think i have a complete answer about what should be done, but i’m not seeing that you are looking at all the angles in this, just the one that suits your argument.Report

          • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:


            wrt the link I posted, I think it’s quite clear that the nation can’t afford to turn doctors away from emergency rooms who might otherwise go there.

            “What does it mean for freedom and religious freedom if a person can only get what their doctor will give them based on the docs religion.” It means there are limits to what you can demand of other people.

            Becoming a medical professional should not mean enslavement to the desires and wishes of the patient. Frankly, asking or even requiring doctors to set aside their religious and ethical concerns (not just on the basis of religion) is a deeply personal invasion of free exercise and IMO the 13th amendment. Now, I think it’s perfectly fine for a hospital to require their doctors to perform certain actions as a condition of employment, it is not fine for all doctors to be denied the choice to not have to violate their beliefs.

            That very notion is what this nation is founded upon. It’s why the puritans came here, not for a vacation, but so government could not compel them to behave in a manner contrary to what they believed god commanded. It doesn’t take a religious nut to recognize and respect how deeply personal a commitment that is and comprehend the depth of the violation you’re asking.

            I’m seeing the same angles you are, gregniak, what I do not see is what we stand to gain by requiring people who save lives for a profession to violate their faith and ethical core to do so. If we’ll allow people to not serve in the military for religious reasons, my goodness we shouldn’t bar people from the ER for the same.

            What you are saying is that the deepest, most personal conviction one may have is less important than the needs of the community and the rights/prerogatives of other people. Incidentally enough, that’s the same core argument of the anti-gay marriage crowd. I don’t believe in the righteousness of their cause any more than I do yours. What I think I see that you don’t, is “what about the rights of the patients” is philosophically identical to “what about the rights of the victim” (regarding 5th amendment protections, and conversational privilege). It’s always difficult to resolve competing rights, but in this case, restrictions on “the rights of the patient” matter and are not unreasonable.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Kyle says:

              Kyle- I’ve said i don’t know what best answer is and i don’t want to force docs to perform procedures they disagree with. but i do think the rights of the patient matter and i think there should be some sort of solution so docs don’t have to do what they object to but patients get what they need.

              In fact on possible solution is if a doc refuses to perform a procedure that is a serious medical condition( botox and boob jobs don’t count) and it would be a hardship for the person to go someplace( something like traveling more then 100 miles, not have transportation, etc) then the hospital should foot the bill for getting the patient treatment. That way the doc doesn’t have to perform something then find objectionable and the patient gets the care they need without having to be unduly burdened by somebody else’s beliefs. Yes then hospitals whine, but they were ones who hired a doc who didn’t want to do certain things. then other people whine because they don’t anything to do with funding a procedure they don’t like.

              I never said we should bar people from serving in ER’s. I could only see barring them if their religious objections got to the point where they couldn’t do there job.

              Nice genuflection towards the freedom loving purtians. they want’ freedom for themselves, yes very true, but they did not believe in it for others.Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

                Well gregniak, that’s fine…to backup for a second, my comment was a challenge to alkali’s more extreme premise. I really don’t want to assign views to you that you don’t have, I just assumed you completely agreed with that lead.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Kyle says:

      Excellent point, Kyle.Report

  7. Avatar Aaron says:

    Wow, could the Democrats have picked a worse candidate? Overconfident much? Even if Brown loses, I hope this encourages the Republican party to pick more moderate candidates… it certainly would be good for the health of the party.Report