A Bloggy Puttanesca

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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55 Responses

  1. BSK says:

    Perhaps not exactly what you are talking about, but in education circles, we describe the final thing as perspective taking, an important developmental step for the ages I teach.  I don’t know if that works any better or really captures what you mean.Report

  2. Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    This was a wise post.

    I nominate you to be our official Yoda.Report

  3. Mike says:

    I would say that your discussion of the “contraception controversy” is a pretty good summary of the discussion, however if you’ve followed the media discussion of the issue, both sides are talking past each other.  I watched most of the Sunday talking head shows today and the question is being framed still as, “Why do you Republicans want to prohibit women from getting birth control?”  Pretty obviously, there isn’t a serious consideration of the religious liberty issue in all of this.  That’s just the media being the media, but it’s indicative to me as to why each year our politics seems to become more intractable; we don’t understand the other side’s argument and substitute the “argument in our head” for the argument our opponent is actually trying to make.  Or, and just as bad, regardless of our opponent’s argument we question his motives, no matter what he says.

    I’m not trying to put this all on the left and the mainstream media, since the right does it too.  Rush’s comments about having the taxpayer fund law students exorbitant birth control expenses are a good example of that.  But I’m glad you’ve at  least recognized  that there is an issue in framing our opponents arguments and intentions.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike says:

      Fair enough, but read Fluke’s actual testimony. She makes the point that, because contraception isn’t covered per se, the same drugs can be difficult or impossible to get coverage for when they’re medically required for other conditions.  That point may not be dispositive, but it’s important and needs to be part of the discussion. It wasn’t brought up by the Issa committee, which decided that patients and doctors are irrelevant to a medical discussion.Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

    As I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic.it’s at best a C+ apology, but, sure, that’s a passing grade.Report

    • Michelle in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Personally, I thought it was a D apology myself. But I’m willing to go along with the more generous grade as Limbaugh did actually attempt (however lamely) to offer something resembling an apology.Report

  5. gschu says:

    “but it’s not a religious rights issue.”

    I think it is worth pointing out that this statement is close to accurate in certain respects. By that I don’t mean that this is not a religious issue, or that there is not room for a lively debate about the proper application of government power when it affects the religious among us.

    Rather, there is no legally cognizable free exercise right that was implicated by Obama’s original proposal. We don’t have, and I think shouldn’t have, a right to not conform with generally applicable legislation when we deal with the public. Also, notice that I said close to accurate, because the above issues are surely worthy of debate.


    • DensityDuck in reply to gschu says:

      “We don’t have, and I think shouldn’t have, a right to not conform with generally applicable legislation when we deal with the public.”

      Glad to know you support regulations banning hijab.  Because, after all, the entire face and head must be uncovered to ensure positive identification on security cameras.Report

      • Jeff in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Glad to know you support regulations banning hijab.  Because, after all, the entire face and head must be uncovered to ensure positive identification on security cameras.

        Depends on the circumstance.  One could make a case for banning hajib in a bank.  I don’t think one could make a case for banning them in a public area.Report

  6. Michael Drew says:

    Just want to say that I think you were right to put up a post noting and welcoming the apology. I think people just thought you praised it a little too highly for its unrestrained sincerity and contriteness.  But however short it fell in making amends for what was said, you were right that it’s better than nothing and more than we might realistically have expected.Report

  7. Mary Green says:

    OK, all the new buttons in the comment box are freaking me out. Performance anxiety. I’ll just pretend they aren’t there.

    I liked the shorter format with several thoughts in one shorter post. Some of you Gentlemen do seem to go on and on at times.

    Nice posts, Tod, both today and yesterday. Though I don’t quite agree with the “both sides do it too” thing. I find the freedom of religion argument in this situation more than a little disingenuous. Georgetown offers insurance that covers contraception to its faculty and staff; why didn’t they argue with that when it was instated in 2000, though I can’t find a link that confirms the date?  Twenty-eight states require that conception be covered, and Catholic institutions have complied without complaint; why is the religious objection just coming up now? Can it possibly have more of a political objective, as in causing Obamacare to fail?

    Last but not least, here is a real apology (Ed Schultz to Laura Ingraham) to compare and contrast with Rush’s:

    “On my radio show yesterday, I used vile and inappropriate language when talking about talk show host Laura Ingraham. I am deeply sorry, and I apologize. It was wrong, uncalled for and I recognize the severity of what I said. I apologize to you, Laura and ask for your forgiveness. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were. It doesn’t matter that it was on radio and I was ad libbing. none of that matters. none of that matters. What matters is what I said was terribly vile and not of the standards that I or any other person should adhere to. I want all of you to know tonight that I did call Laura Ingraham today and did not make contact with her and I will apologize to her as i did in the message that I left her today. I also met with management here at MSNBC, and understanding the severity of the situation and what I said on the radio and how it reflected terribly on this company, I have offered to take myself off the air for an indefinite period of time with no pay. I want to apologize to Laura Ingraham. I want to apologize to my family, my wife. I have embarrassed my family. I have embarrassed this company. And I have been in this business since 1978, and I have made a lot of mistakes. This is the lowest of low for me. I stand before you tonight in front of this camera in this studio in an environment that I absolutely love. I love working here. I love communicating with all of you on the radio and the communication that I have with you when I go out and do town hall meetings and meet the people that actually watch. I stand before you tonight to take full responsibility for what I said and how I said it, and I am deeply sorry,”


    • Tod Kelly in reply to Mary Green says:

      Yeah, we are a wordy bunch – and I’m probably the worst.  But thanks.

      And you make a pretty great point about the Schultz/Ingram thing.  I’ll point out this comment in the other thread by Pat, just in case you hadn’t seen it, because it was a fairly magnificent take down of that same argument you noted.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I have mixed feelings about the wordiness thing. I’ll try to keep it short! On one hand, it’s annoying now that we have a full roster of writers when I want to read every post and a bunch of them are long. On the other hand, I still like that we buck the trend wherein blog posts are getting shorter and shorter and, as a result, blunter and triter. Actually, that was one of the primary objectives here at first- letting people really chew over a subject in depth. But, again, it gets a bit harder to keep up with when you have four times as many people doing it.Report

        • Mary Green in reply to Rufus F. says:

          I didn’t mean that you should never write long posts; it’s one of the things I like about the League. It is nice to have some variety, though.Report

          • Rufus F. in reply to Mary Green says:

            Oh, I know- I was just sort of thinking aloud. I think it’s a good idea for us to do some posts like this one that collect crisper and more concise pointsJason’s done the same thing and I’ve really enjoyed it. I don’t know if I could pull it off, but I’ve tried a few times. They seem to be a bit more adept.Report

            • RTod in reply to Rufus F. says:

              One of the things I’ve been considering is to keep doing one or two essay length posts a week, but do a lot more short one/two paragraph stuff.

              Of course, that just make the “top much to read” problem worse.Report

      • wardsmith in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Tod you had shut off the comments in the other thread before I could respond to Pat. He has a massive advantage on me because he’s a front-pager and can link dozens of sites without languishing in moderated purgatory. My larger point was lost in the rebuttal, wherein I asked women who expressed outrage at Rush’s comments whether they had PERSONALLY expressed similar umbrage when OTHER women (women with whom they clearly are not aligned politically) were attacked. I didn’t say no one on the left defended these women (although it is still a fact that damn few did) but I DID say, please show me ladies where YOU defended your enemies, because you are sisters after all. As Mark pointed out (IIRC) Katherine has been posting /here/ longer than Bob, she has had ample opportunity /here/ to have condemned any of those unwarranted attacks against her sisters of the chromosomal variety.

        I simply haven’t had the time to devote to putting my thoughts online in a coherent manner here. My comments lately have been too abrupt at times I’m certain, because I’d rather have another minute or so to word craft them and make sure my thoughts are leading rather than emotions. If any are offended at my brusqueness, my apologies. Sometime soon I hope to have put away the real world issues facing me and have the time to devote to expressing my thoughts as a gentleman.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to wardsmith says:

          Ward, I knew exactly what you meant in that question, and I would have liked to reply to it – except the comments were closed. I also had a question from Bob Cheeks that needed responding to, as well as a challenge from Scott. And of course, there was other good discussion there as well. maybe the moment’s passed, but I’d like to see comments open up on the thread again so we can finish some very good discussions.

          Also, I agree with you about Patrick. He’s got an unfair advantage on me as well. In my case, it’s cuz he’s a lot smarter.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to wardsmith says:

          Ward – Sorry to hear there are real world issues, man.  Hope you sail through them ok.

          FWIW, I’m not really pointing any fingers at anyone about the other thread.  But when I got up this morning and was reading me emails, I see the conversations in reverse, and after going through 10 emailed comments that had more to do with being pissed off than discussions, it just felt best to shut it down.  If you want to pick up the thread with Pat here I’m cool with that.

          I wasn’t going for a silencing everyone so much as a “let’s go sleep it off and regroup later” kind of vibe.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Tod, that’s entirely reasonable. Part of my beef with the closure is that when people let loose, you really get to see the place they’re arguing from. And that can be valuable.Report

        • Jeff in reply to wardsmith says:

          I asked women who expressed outrage at Rush’s comments whether they had PERSONALLY expressed similar umbrage when OTHER women (women with whom they clearly are not aligned politically) were attacked. I didn’t say no one on the leftdefended these women (although it is still a fact that damn few did) but I DID say, please show me ladies where YOU defended your enemies, because you are sisters after all.

          My Google-fu has failed me, but I’ve seen MANY instances where liberals will take umbrage at “fellow-travelers” using sexist language.  We all hate Ann Coulter (and you should hate her more) butt any time a commenter referred to her gender, they were rebuked — on Crooks and Liars, Balloon Juice, Slacktivist — all the blogs I follow.

          So, sorry, the Left does not excuse its miscreants.  Not the way that the Right does.Report

  8. Sam says:

    I question the sanity of any man who puts black olives in anything.Report

  9. Plinko says:

    I keep thinking it and not saying it, but I might as well. I find it exceedingly weird that y’all keep discussing comment policy enforcement and bans and such so publicly. Maybe I’m old school (or maybe corporate-ism has really taken over my poor little brain), but I always expect that those conversations happen behind closed doors.


    • Tod Kelly in reply to Plinko says:

      Though I want to again say that what I wrote above should not be construed as League policy, I will say this:

      Transparency is always good – even in the corporate world.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Plinko says:

      The problem with conversations that take place behind closed doors is that you can never be sure whether they actually took place at all.

      Like the 9/11 troofers, I’d rather there be an evil conspiracy in charge than that nobody at all be in chargeReport

    • Jon H in reply to Plinko says:

      ” but I always expect that those conversations happen behind closed doors.”

      The closed-door discussions are reserved for the black bag jobs and wet work.Report

  10. DensityDuck says:

    “What I mean is the ability to be able to put yourself in someone else’s place of vision and both intellectually and emotionally understand where they are coming from.”

    Except when it’s, like, fun to feel the righteous and the burning, flames on the side of my face, etcetera.


  11. Robert Cheeks says:

    Tod, I’m sorry but I get the sense that we’ve grown a bit wobbly between the first blog and this one, re: Rush’s comments about Ms. Flake? If so, does it pertain to the overwhelming criticism the Rushbo got and your apparent desire to run with the big dogs, even if at the back of the pack?

    It’s a lot more fun to defend your principles against all odds, rather like the olde Confederates at Sayler’s Creek, than be a bootlick for the chatter nabobs.Report

    • Sam in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

      I’d love to be smart enough to understand what you’re writing here, but I’m not.Report

    • Bob, after having shut down the comments to the last post, let me just ask you to ask yourself something in the privacy of you’re own head:

      When you were engaging as you did, were you trying to make a clear argument, or persuade anyone of a point of view, or attempting to communicate in any bilateral way whatsoever?  Or were you looking to push buttons and piss people off for the fun of it?  Because I have to tell you, for a man of God you looked quite Mephistopheles-esque.

      Again, no need to answer here, that’s just a question for you and your head.  But if you’re looking to egg people on into a food fight just to see if you can here, move along to someone else’s thread.

      I’m just trying to hep.Report

  12. Robert Cheeks says:

    Tod, you don’t really want me to leave? Say it ain’t so!

    I’ve oft confessed to having my jape here with libruls, bitch slapping them around with their own defomed ideological pathologlies, or having the audacity to actually disagree with their perverse thought. That’s all, nothing mean, hell, not even personal. I kinda like the ones that go after me more than those who remain silent.

    I’ve also confessed to being a flawed Christian offering hep to those who can’t seem to shake the demons they embrace.

    My critique was not about your writing style. I think your writing style is sufficient and you might even sell a piece or two should you try. I’d ask Jason about that. It’s one thing to blog, its another to sell your stuff.  My critique was about the content of your writing which, in this instance, seemed hesitant to defend the theme that the beloved Rushbo had kissed the librul ass sufficient to move on, which was implied in your first offering. My disappointment had much more to do with your mettle and nothing to do with construct. My interpretation of these two blogs is that of a writer who appears equivocal, unsure of himself, a man who adheres to the E.D. school of political philosophy. My advice, which I’m aware is unrequested, is to grow a pair, and act like you stand for something. Hell, even an effete librul is capable of presenting a strong facade.Report

    • I want to respond, but am unsure where to begin without clarification, so (even though I know I will regret it) I’ll ask… what did you see the point of my first post as being, and what did you see the point of my second post?

      And to be clear, I don’t actually have a problem with you making your own case here.  I do have a problem with you trying to piss people off just for the fun of it, which is what it looked like you were doing earlier.  As Burt says, when we write these posts it’s like asking people into our living rooms; it is therefore important that people we invite to come in be treated as they would a guest in my home.  If all you’re trying to do is ruin someone’s evening, then like I said earlier – plenty of other people writing posts out there.  Go do it to their guests.

      Seriously, I thought you Southerners were known for your good manners and hospitality.Report

      • I want to respond

        I do not entirely understand that impulse.Report

      • Robert Cheeks in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Tod, I see that Ward, Stillwater, and perhaps others had comments they wanted to make on the other thread and YOU shut it down, in a moment of pique, and blamed me. Bullpucky, your the one wimping out here. If you wanna be one of the boys on the masthead then act like it and engage in the argument, debate, etc and stop shutting down threads that hurt your feelings. Stop whining.Report

        • Do you have a particular thing you are looking for me to do, Bob?  If not, I’ll let you get the last word in here.Report

          • Robert Cheeks in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            It seems to me the best thing for you to do is allow Ward and Stillwater and Scott to make their comments. My goodness closing down the thread was a silly thing to do and casts a doubt on your personal integrity. Don’t you see that?

            I don’t need the last word.Report

            • They’ve all been told they can continue.  If there’s any confusion, then I’ll say it clearly:

              Scott, Still, Ward, if you war win the middle of a conversation with someone you want to continue, go ahead.Report

  13. Scott says:


    Since you feel the need to get such weighty matters off your chest, I feel that I need to respond since for all intents and purposes you called me out.  I would and have told folks to their face (and have had the same done to me) to get their big boy/girl panties on or to get their panties un-knotted.  It is sad to see how thin skinned folks have gotten these days, God forbid anyone speak harshly to another lest their feels be hurt and their poor fragile self esteem be lowered.  Some of the exchanges I’ve heard b/t judges and lawyers, lawyers and lawyers and partners and associates were harsh but few broke down into blubbering heaps. Not to mention that some folks here do say things that could be incendiary but the mark of an adult is to ignore them instead of responding.  What I find really sad and emblematic of your mistaken priorities is that you spend so much time focusing on what  Bob and I said but you ignore blatant personal attacks by Katherine. To top things off you close a thread to stop the discussion and then start other threads on the same subject to continue the discussion so you can shape the discussion to your own ends. I guess the thread wasn’t going the way you wanted. So much for open discussion here when a thread is shut down for seemingly little or no reason.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Scott says:

      Scott, this was posted yesterday morning.  I closed the other thread today, and it had nothing to do you or any of your comments.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Yes, I appreciated that, Tod, and it rather harkens to my recent reply to you. The letters to the editor at my local LATimes is often ugly and one-sided as well; I wrote columnist Jim Rainey in reply to one of his high-horse denunciations of “hate-radio” one day, and asked him to look at the letters they printed in that day’s paper.  I don’t recall being assuaged by his reply.Report