I Honestly Can’t Tell Which Thing I’m Feeling More…

… complete shock or a huge sense of relief.  I always assumed we’d read something like this someday, but I didn’t think it would be today – or tomorrow, or even this year.  Rush Limbaugh has actually apologized on an issue he was doubling down on just a couple of days ago:

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week.  In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.

Not only an apology, but one that lacks snark, or derision, or anything but – at least on paper – sincerity.  Releasing this must have been more than a little unpleasant for a man that so prides himself on never apologizing for anything.

I have to think that this came not from Rush’s innate desire to mend fences, but from the GOP leadership’s intervention after its realization that its long-standing tactics of ratings-first messaging was starting to do more harm than good.  Maybe that’s a hopeful overreach on my part, but Rush having done such a firm and contrite mea culpa seems no small thing.  I’m not sure I  ever remember seeing him do anything close to this, and he’s said a lot of things that were inappropriate or out of bounds over the years.

If so – if the GOP leadership convinced him to back down and say he was sorry – then this is good news for the Republican party and it’s a good thing for the nation.  Erik spoke on Friday about the way that constantly searching for the next Birtherism outrage or the next Common-poetry-reading non-toversy has been keeping us from actually facing and solving the difficult problems that we face.  I of course agree.  Over the past several months I have been writing – nay, begging – for those that represent a much needed fiscal conservatism to act like grown ups, take their mission seriously, and start concentrating on governing and not media ratings.  I have always assumed that it had to happen eventually; this is the first sign I can think of that’s made me think maybe – maybe – that process has already started.

And so on that note, words I never thought I’d type:

Thank you Rush.

And to whoever it was in the conservative leadership that made this happen, you have my most sincere thanks as well.

(hat tip to Andrew Sullivan & the Dish on the whole mea culpa)

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194 thoughts on “I Honestly Can’t Tell Which Thing I’m Feeling More…

  1. Yeah this is heartwarming and all. But take a look at the second paragraph. Who the hell was talking about recreational sex in front of congress? Did Flake talk about it? Not that i heard. Rush and the people supporting his argument are the ones who have been talking sex. Flake was talking about the use of contraceptives to treat PCOS. Who the hell is asking anybody to pay for people ( okay in this case its all about women) to have sex. That, again, was all Rush and the people making that argument.

    He is making an apology while still getting in his digs at his opponents and passing on false info. His apology is based, at least partly, on outright falsehoods. The argument he nor his side wants to address is contraceptives are medical care, most people get their insurance through their employers ( unfortunately) and why should this one particular type of medical care be singled out for exclusion. A slightly more meta question would be why do some people think getting contraception equals wild and free recreational sex?

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    • It was entirely a “pro-forma” apology.   It had the structure of an apology, and had the word “sorry” in it, but if you really parse it, there was nothing more than an admission of “bad word choice.”

      But he doubles down about the framing:   and did not remotely abandon the underlying framing of “subsidation of recreational sex.”

      I had this boss, once, that used to rage at subordinates, and demean and insult them.   When his boss made him apologize, it would take the form “I’m sorrry that you got bent out of shape at what I said.”   That’s the kind of apology that Limbaugh just issued.

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      • Agreed with Mr. McSnarksnark,  This was a non-apology apology.  Limbaugh manages to reiterate the bullshit points he made in his prior statements, while implying that the only thing wrong was that he didn’t use quite the right words.

        The true apology is a lost art form.

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          • The F apology:

          I’m sorry if anyone who misinterpreted my words was offended.

          • The D apology

          I’m saying this words written by my PR people so haltingly that I’ve obviously never even read them over before.

          • The C apology

          I’m interrupting my self-justification every so often with the word “apology”.

          • The B apology

          I apologize for the incident but go no further.

          • The A apology

          I apologize, take full responsibility, and try to make amends.

           I’ll be generous and give Limbaugh a C+. Here’s an example of an  A.

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        • My old man had a formula for an apology.

          1.  I was wrong.

          2.  Here is what I did.

          3.  I have offended you.

          4.  I repent and won’t do it again.

          5. I am ashamed.  If you can’t forgive me, I will understand.

          Then shut up.

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        • This.

          I was actually prepared to say it was a sincere apology in which the apologizer also just continues the same line of argument (bile in this case) he was on about when he got himself into trouble. Which can be a sincere apology, just also a worthless, self-neaging apology.

          But if you look at it closely, all the apology really says is that in communicating his view that Ms. Fluke is a prostitute and a slut, Limbaugh thinks he was wrong to use the words prostitute and slut.  Really.  Look closely – that’s all it says.  So yeah, that’s not actually an apology for saying that she’s a prostitute and a slut.

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          • In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. 

            Meaning, the analogy stands.  i just should have been more discreet about actually using the words.

            I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

            That right there should DQ this as an apology; it’s completely untenable.  You can’t lie in the course of an apology in a way that insults the person’s ability whom you’ve insulted to discern what’s happening around them using her senses and ability to understand language.  If he wanted to address the attack, the correct phrase is, “I apologize for personally attacking Ms. Fluke.”

            I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.

            Not for the insults, though.  Amazing how the more you complicate it, the more you fish it up.

            I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke. (Let’s be clear: he did not say this.)

            How impressive would that apology have been? Quite.

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  2. I remain cynical; nor do I imagine Republican leadership had much to do with it. I certainly am not about to pronounce a sudden about-face on the culture war from the right.

    Advertisers started pulling from the show. I imagine this whole thing just hit Rush where it really hurt, or threatened to hurt: his wallet.

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    • CC & g’inak –

      This might well be folly on my part, but I’ve had enough foolishness from the one side of the room that I am willing to cross my fingers and have a little faith – if only because I so want it to be true.

      CC, advertisers might well play into it, but I’d argue Rush has been down this road before a lot, and knows that there are always people that fill those holes, and the storm passes quickly enough.

      g’inak, I would point out that baby steps always had to come first.  What’s more, if I am right (fingers crossed) there’s still a generation of pols, staffers and leadership that has has lived & breathed one style for almost 20 years; I have no expectations that everything will reverse, and what good does start to happen will be interspersed amongst a whole lot of… I dunno, Obama is actually running a child porn sign?  (Beats me, after the Briethbart assassination thing, what’s left?)

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    • Mr. Carr–Christopher—Limbaugh is already a footnote.  The frontal assault in the culture wars is the Obama Administration’s here, against the Roman church on contraception.  The state is trying to muscle the church into compliance with its morality, can we really disagree on or deny that?

      This Limbaugh thing is already finished, to the waste of thousands or millions of words here and elsewhere, but the constitutional issue remains.  This is a big deal in my view, and pls know I have no moral objection to The Pill.  If it were Muslims and not Catholics I would argue the same.

      Further—on the vulgar political level, I don’t think we’d even be having this discussion were it Muslims getting muscled.

      Because they wouldn’t be.  Tell me that ain’t so, bro.  There’s something heavy going on here with this thing, CC, much heavier than a talk radio guy calling somebody a slut.

       

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      • It’s not finished, Tom, not remotely.  The Limbaugh thing means that any woman who wants to speak on a political issue of interest to socially conservative Republicans knows that she risks being called a slut and a whore and viciously derided to national audiences.  And I don’t think that’s incidental.  That’s the objective, and Limbaugh trying to paper over his comments to appease advertisers and make himself appear acceptable (he is not and never will be acceptable, and he and anyone who associates with him deserves denunciation from everyone in politics) doesn’t change that a bit.

        I was quite willing to regard this issue as one concerning religious freedom (as well as one that concerns women’s health), but the simple fact of his statements, and the fact that they’ve received any defence or any tepidness in denunciation from Republicans is a powerful indication that this genuinely isn’t about freedom of religion, and is about conservative hatred of female sexuality.  If it wasn’t, those comments (and the “bottle of Aspirin” ones) would never have been made or thought of.

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      • Tom-

        Do you see the irony of you, someone not in the group targetted by Rush’s slurs, insisting that conversation is over while simultaneously insisting that the conversation surrounding relgious liberty, wherein you are one of the people supposedy threatened, continues to need attention?

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        • Gotta look the timeline, actual facts, etc., BSK.  The original hearings were about the First Amendment implications.  The Flake circus was piggybacked on that—and was irrelevant, since her rap was about student insurance, not employer.

          Catholic educational institutions will simply stop offering insurance if pressed on this matter: they have no choice if they’re to be true to their teaching.  The state is heavily encroaching the church here, but unfortunately, few of us know the history of church and state is a door that swings both ways, not just Theocracy! Theocracy!

          After the Limbaugh flap fades, the serious issues will remain.  No, I can’t declare that discussion over, but it’s a discussion the left is having with itself, high-fives and stoking outrage about the Toy Dept. of talk radio, not the serious issues of the republic.

          I don’t blame them: they have the high ground with Limbaugh, but an indefensible low ground on Obamacare’s crossing the line on church and state.

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          • TVD: “This Limbaugh thing is already finished…”

            TVD: [12 hours later] “No, I can’t declare that discussion over…”

            Interesting.

            There are SEVERAL issues at play here, but you want to focus on one to the exclusion of all others.  No matter how much you want to talk about religious liberty*, the other issues do not go away.  Rush Limbaugh is a man who runs a “Toy Department” that has the most “customers” (15+ million weekly) of all the businesses in the “mall”.  He is a man who has had people such as sitting President George W. Bush (6 times), Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, and Clarence Thomas all appeared on his show over the last decade.  He is also a man who called a woman a “slut” because she testified on the impact that a lack of contraception coverage can have on women.  Regardless of where you stand on issues of religious liberty, government involvement in health insurance, the contraception mandate… there is no denying that Rush remains an influential conservative voice in America and that his comments were deeply offensive and based on a deliberate distortion of the facts.  You might be ready to end that conversation in favor of others, but you must recognize that many people are not, especially in the face of his non-apology-apology. This post is about his statement.  Why you insist that the comment boards on this post focus on religious liberty to the exclusion of Rush, his initial statements on the issue, and the “apology” remain a mystery.  If you can see how deeply offensive and troublesome a piece of legislation that was not directly targeted at your faith but risks requiring its institutions to violate their tenets is, how can you not see how deeply offensive and troublesome Rush’s statements are and understand why this conversation is very far from over?

            * There does exist plenty of room for conversation on religious liberty and I’m already on the record saying that the contraception mandate is concerning to me.  But this is not the place for that conversation.  This post is about Rush.

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              • Or, yunno, you could just admit that Limbaugh was way outa line, apologize for making light of it and suggesting that it was merely a distraction, and stick around to discuss an issue you think is important in the debate.

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                  • And you’ve ignored all of mine.  Ward is a big boy and can stand up for himself.  If he has a problem with my arguments, he is more than capable of putting them forth.  To use my conversation with him as the rationale for your ducking and dodging… well, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

                    You complain about an echo chamber but do your very best to create one only so you can then complain about it.  How… convenient.

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              • “Correction, then: The Limbaugh thing is finished as far as being important or the subject of useful discussion.”

                Says the man who did not have his gender and presumed sexual history called out on the highest rated radio show in America.  Why don’t you just come out and say that you think you know better than women what qualifies as a “subject of useful discussion” in the dialogue surrounding the right’s continued attack on women.

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                • If you–they–“one” wasn’t on the front lines against Schultz, Tiabbi, Olbermann, Maher etc. when the colors were reversed, this is all crocodile tears.

                  I do not “make light” of all this, but neither do I take it seriously—regardless of the color of the flags.

                  “What about President Obama? He has never repudiated Bill Maher for myriad of similar offenses including calling Sarah Palin the C-word and the T-word. Instead of demanding that Bill Maher apologize, Barack Obama accepted a million bucks from him.””

                  http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/02/maher-defends-million-obama-super-pac-donation-115728.html

                  Look me up when we want to get real.  This ain’t it.

                   

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                  • You are just pulling out all the stops.  Playing the “You didn’t get all hot and bothered by person X doing it” card.  Don’t dare to assume what I did or didn’t feel, say, or think during other, similar incidents.  It is crap like this that makes your partisan hackery obvious.  Why don’t you defend Rush’s “joke” a bit more?  I’ll put my denouncement of Rush and supposed (but not actual) silence on the others up against your defense of Rush and whatever else you said about the rest.  Amazing how you are so quick to bring them up while still not ever denouncing Rush’s actions.  Partisan crap… all of it.  Sorry you have no defense for your side here.  The straws your grasping at are just pathetic though.

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                    • BSK, I didn’t care when the lefties did it and I don’t care now.  Geez.  The thoroughly heinous Bill Maher gave an Obama PAC a million bucks, though.

                      Now that’s interesting, because that’s the real world.  Real political $$$, not talk.

                      But y’know, I don’t care much about that either.  The Government punking the Roman church, yeah, I got a bigtime problem with that.

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                    • So you care more about an international, multi-billion-dollar institution being given a special exemption from the health care mandate than you do about major political pundits who have the ears, eyes, hearts, and minds of millions of voting-age Americans calling women “sluts”, “whores”, and whatever other crap these guy spewed?  Good to know where you stand.  Let’s just hope it is not your mother or wife or daughter who ever crosses them.  They’ll have to look elsewhere than your heart for love and support.  How so very Christian….

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                  • If you–they–”one” wasn’t on the front lines against Schultz, Tiabbi, Olbermann, Maher etc. when the colors were reversed, this is all crocodile tears.

                    Sorry, but you don’t get to decide who or what is offensive to women. What Rush said doesn’t get brushed under the rug because others may have said things you thought should cause an uproar. Haven’t you figured out that this type of subject misdirection doesn’t work here?


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                    • Johanna:

                      But you of course do get that authority?  The left didn’t object when Ed Schultz was name calling or all of Teddy K’s misogyny so I’ve not much sympathy for the faux outrage here.

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                    • Nope. I am not buying the “both sides do it ” argument.

                      First off, the people TVD was mentioning said insulting things about large public targets. Rush went after a private person. There is a world of difference.

                      Second, Ed Schultz was suspended for a week.

                      Third, “but Timmy did it last week” is just as childish as it sounds.It sounds like you really want to defend Rush’s statement but need a red herring to obscure the fact.

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                    • The left didn’t object when Ed Schultz was name calling 

                      http://mediamatters.org/blog/201105250043:

                      At Media Matters, we’ve long fought against sexism in the media. Along with conservative hosts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, we’ve also criticized Newsweek and David Shuster.

                      Ed Schultz is an important voice in the progressive community, and no host has done more to stand up for working Americans. However, being progressive means recognizing that Ingraham — no matter how much we disagree with her views — deserves to have her commentary evaluated on its merits and should not be attacked with sexist language.

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                    • Faux outrage?  Thanks, Scott.  You’ve exposed us.

                      Hey everyone… we can stop now.  Scott figured out all of our outrage was really just window dressing.  Let’s pack up shop and wait for the next time we can pretend to be upset about something.

                      Johanna made no claim to have sole authority.  She is not trying to silence conversation as Tom is, a step which assumes sole authority.  “This is finished now…”  Remember that line?

                      Schultz’s comments were disgusting and vile.  Maher is a blowhard who loves to hear himself speak and whose general disrespect for all things not  named Bill Maher is well-known.  The slurs he directed at Palin were gross and misogynistic.  I’ve read some of Taibbi’s books but have not heard him make such comments about women.  If you point me towards them, I’m happy to offer my opinion.  I haven’t watched Olbermann since he left ESPN.  Send me his, too.

                      NOW am I allowed to criticize Rush?

                      This continued defense of Rush (and that is what most of this crap is… a defense of his general worldview, if not the specific language he used) is bordering on pathological and, more to the point, insane.

                       

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                    • <i>The left didn’t object [to]… all of Teddy K’s misogyny so I’ve not much sympathy for the faux outrage here.</i>

                      Wow.   That’s really the best you can do?    Talk about chit-holding.

                      And remember when Joseph McCarthy was making all those wild accusations?   Where’s <i>your</i> apology for that???

                      What you’re doing is polemics, not debate.

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                    • Since we’re getting things off our chest, I’m still vaguely offended by the “Who’s Naylin Paylin?” movie.

                      This strikes me as a fairly offensive attack on a public figure (probably the worst one I can think of from the modern era). This is one of those things that I always expected to hear someone other than the crazies complain about… and not even all of them showed up to complain.

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                    • Lib60, it’s a shame we can’t examine this.  For the record, Ms. Flake made the particulars of her private life a public matter.  Well, actually, she didn’t, but her phrasing was misleading.

                      “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships

                      Bold face mine, of course.

                      If it makes any difference to anybody, I did examine her testimony, and she did attempt to separate herself from the women who found their contraception unaffordable, and attempted to present herself as their advocate, not their fellow “victim. ”

                      [Flake’s exaggerated $1000/yr figure being a separate impeachment of her testimony and actually what started all this.]

                      Ms. Flake did walk a rhetorical tightrope, perhaps successfully, if we really want to get sophistic about it.  I haven’t seen this anywhere else, but I did read the transcript closely, and it was clear she was attempting to speak for other women not herself.

                      Sort of.  She screwed up with

                      “For a lot of students who, like me…”

                      In this way, Limbaugh is thoroughly guilty of not reading closely, but I doubt that even Ms. Flake’s supporters caught the subtle distinction that she wasn’t exactly talking about herself.

                      So, she was there as an advocate, not 23-yr-old living hand to mouth unable to afford contraception, but a 30-year-old who was

                      past president of Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

                      another mouthpiece for a cause, not an actual witness.  Does Ms. Flake claim to be an actual victim of the system, making her private [sex] life public, or is she merely their advocate?

                      Who cares?  We should not get ourselves confused with the facts and trying to sort them out.  Rush Limbaugh in the house and he said slut.

                      I enter these things into the record here LoOG, BTW, having taken the time to look them up.  I find the actual facts behind the facts interesting.

                       

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                    • Tom-
                      You think you are the only one who can read? I’ve explained several times, on this thread and others, sometimes speaking directly to you, that Fluke was there to illustrate the realities that women with limited access to contraception face. Had Rush or the other morons taken more than 5 seconds to read or listen to her comments, they would have seen this. But instead, he/they got their panties in a bunch because a woman had the gall to challenege the Republican position. At which point they lost their credibility on this particular situation. Just like you did when you defended his “joke”?

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                    • Yeah, I guess it’s silly of me to think that anyone important or anything would have condemned it.

                      Anyway, allow me to condemn Rush. He was completely out of line and lowered the level of discourse (even for him). I’m honestly surprised that he still holds half the influence he wields.

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                    • I think, JB, that those things are reserved for slights performed by people that are perceived to be on a particular side.  Since porn stars aren’t associated with either side, there was no real need to care.

                      Palin herself, on the other hand, might have not ever had her camp mention it for entirely different reasons.  Some things are insulting and degrading and don’t actually reflect badly on you, but you’d still rather not call attention to them.

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                    • JB-

                      How many people really knew about it and saw it? I heard it mentioned but assumed it was a joke (as in, never actually made).

                      This is a meaningful part of the conversation. Believable or not, Rush reaches 15 million listeners a week. Do you think 1/10th of that number has seen the Palin porn in the 4 years it has been out? We don’t write blog posts when our neighbor Joe mutters something sexist. It is still wrong, but the level of influence impacts the level, breadth, and intensity of outrage. Which is why Rush generates millions of words and others generate far less. Couple that with his “shock jock” approach, which is explicitly intended to generate heat, and we really aren’t making apples-to-apples comparisons of the situations as a whole, even if the language or ideas offered are of equal offense and vileness.

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                    • If a Democratic or liberal organization had condemned it, that would have been seen as a thinly-veiled way of publicizing its existence, I guarantee you.

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                    • Gratified you agree with my careful analysis of her comments, BSK.  When we do the same for each other here LoOG, it’s a wonderful wonderful world.

                      Everybody’s up to something here man, every one of them is dealing from the bottom of the deck.  The only question is whether we’re going to let “them” set us at each other’s throats.

                      Me & you, a subject two.  When I say peace, brother, it’s not a dismissal or a cop out, it’s everything but.  It’s not a bland “agree to disagree,” it’s let’s pick this up in a cooler and calmer time and place.

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                    • Jo I’ll just place you with silent Katherine who like you apparently isn’t bothered by left wing comments saying heinous things because YOU get to decide what’s offensive? I call bullsh’t. Same challenge I threw down to her applies,prove you had equally righteous indignation and I’ll apologize. Something tells me it ain’t going to happen.

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                    • Cheap, Mr. Drew.  Further, the relevancy of her comments fades when applied to employees; to claim they lack the necessary $20/mo in discretionary income for their contraception when they actually have a job doesn’t fly.

                      Unless you really really want to believe it, then anything flies.

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          • The Flake circus was piggybacked on that—and was irrelevant, since her rap was about student insurance, not employer.

            Astounding!  It’s already been pointed out to Van Dyke on his earlier claim about this that his own source that he linked to has recanted the claim that student insurance isn’t at stake here. But he wants to try to fool people into continuing to believe this line. But, hey, what’s a little bare-faced dishonesty between blog-buddies, eh?

             

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            • I haven’t been following this mess hour to hour, having some level of real life.  Dr. Hanley is correct, and I withdraw that objection to the level that’s appropriate:

              http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/292508/mea-culpa-hhs-contraceptive-mandate-and-students-ed-whelan

              My improved (but perhaps still inexact) understanding of things is that the relatively small number of universities that provide self-insured plans to their students won’t be covered by the HHS contraceptive mandate but that student plans at universities (including Catholic universities) that arrange for outside insurance will be subject to the HHS contraceptive mandate.

               

               

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                • That’s not relevant to our presumably adult discussion, BSK.  Don’t play that.  And no I haven’t been following this mess hour to hour and yes I do withdraw the relevant portion of my objection to Ms. Fluke’s testimony.

                  We still have the state coercing the church, her figure of $1000/yr remains exaggerated, and when applied to employees instead of students, the $20/mo of discretionary income it takes to buy one’s own contraception doesn’t hold up very well as a violation of “rights,” abstract or real.

                  Whereas forcing the churches to do the government’s bidding on contraception is a very real violation of the First Amendment, certainly its spirit and very likely one that would be condemned by the courts as well.

                  And there you have it, friend BSK.  Pls be kind behind my sleeping back and try not to pile on, and should you or anybody address these arguments, that would be adult discussion and welcomed, because that’s my view and it’s not an unreasonable one.

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                    • Then let me repeat, BSK:  Her testimony is somewhat relevant but not completely, for reasons I gave above that I will repeat:

                      We still have the state coercing the church, her figure of $1000/yr remains exaggerated, and when applied to employees instead of students, the $20/mo of discretionary income it takes to buy one’s own contraception doesn’t hold up very well as a violation of “rights,” abstract or real.

                      Whereas forcing the churches to do the government’s bidding on contraception is a very real violation of the First Amendment, certainly its spirit and very likely one that would be condemned by the courts as well.

                      The rest of yr reply is not substantive and

                      You continue to carry on this farce of being an “adult”, a “gentlemen”, or “civil”. Yet you act like a petulant child.

                      is pure personal attack.  Pls leave me alone, sir.  You have not earned the courtesy of any further reply.

                       

                       

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  3. “Illustrated the absurd with absurdity.” Really, Rush? You sounded like a pretty serious, out-of-touch, angry- establishment-white-guy to me, not a satirist. This doesn’t sound like an apology to me, so much as an attempt to deploy the lame, “it was only a joke” type of excuse people pull out when they realize they’ve spoken their mind a bit too readily.

    At best, Limbaugh can be considered a skilled rabble-rouser who knows just which card to play in order to stoke the anger of his audience. I go back and forth on whether he can seriously believe the kind of drivel he spouts on the radio. This is not an apology, it’s his inner businessman trying to stem the flow of advertising dollars from his program on the rare occasion when someone decided to hold him accountable for his dreadful comments.

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  4. Yeah, number me among the “this is what you call an apology” crowd.

    That he was compelled to issue a statement is great.

    That this “apology” is even being regarded as an apology given its non-apologetic, spin the debate nature, is not.

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  5. “I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.”

    Complete, utter and total horse-Hockey.  Tell me, Mr Limbaugh, in what universe, your comments would be anything BUT a personal attack.

    Sorry, Tod, if you can’t vote for a centrist simply because he has a (D) after his name (in which case I ask why not?), you’re going to be left with a vile, evil enemy of the people (I include Romney in that group), or no vote at all. The GOP has declared war on women, to go along with their war on brown and poor people (and woe to the brown, poor people).

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    •  The GOP has declared war on women, to go along with their war on brown and poor people (and woe to the brown, poor people).

      Thank you.  It’s nice to see someone demonstrate an understanding of the situation as it exists.  This wasn’t a slip of the tongue.  It was a declaration of war on half of humanity by the Right.  (As a member of half of that humanity, I feel no obligation to be civil in responding to those who wage that war.)

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  6. I don’t consider that a sincere apology.  He knew what he was doing those three days and his apology is carefully crafted to fool some people and irritate others.  I do not discount the middle paragraph, which was misleading.  This guy is a skilled polemicist.  He’s done this before.  Offended.  Backtracked.  And then later – sometimes much later – dismissed whatever he said to quell the furor at the time.

    The guy has real problems with women.  rom his show one year ago, about the protests in Wisconsin:

    It’s just a bunch of rabble-rousers and so forth, plus union thugs join together in creating a pigsty — and we know that they create pigsties, especially compared to Tea Party rallies. You look at any public grounds where these people have been: The trash is littered everywhere, trash cans are overturned, beer cans, bong pipes. Hell, it’s all over there. The Tea Party people, you don’t find anything. Not even a discarded tissue. Hell, these leftist protesters, leave Kotex! Used Kotex, everything is littering the sidewalks and the streets. It doesn’t matter. It’s the height of pigsty-ism.

    He’s like the weirdo who keeps a notebook filled with the repeated line, “All women are unclean”.

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  7. No, that’s not an apology, and it’s sure as hell not sincere.  He didn’t “choose the wrong words”, he engaged in a lengthy and deliberate screed intended to show any woman who voiced a political opinion with which the Right disagreed the kind of personal attack they could expect.  It was and is an endeavour to exclude women from political discussion.  And if you think he meant one word of that “apology”, you’re deluded.

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  8. This is an apology?  Really?

    – “My choice of conversational technique was not the best, and in an attempt to open a dialogue with Mr. Rodney King, I created a stir”  (police officer)

    – “My choice of words was not the best, and in an attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir” (Jimmy the Greek”)

    – “My choice of targets was not the best, and in an attempt to let off steam, I created a stir” (Puppy and Kitten Kicker)

    You know, this stuff just writes itself.  Anyone else?

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  9. Rush was wrong for calling Ms. Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute because there’s no evidence she exchanged sex for money, that I’m aware of, and everyone’s definition of ‘slut’ is different. Because we have no idea how many people she’s having sex with or even if she’s engaged in ‘recreational sex (I thought all sex was some form of recreation (?)) it would be unfair to label her a ‘slut.’

    However, because she wants the American taxpayer to pay for her birth control regime, might we not suggest that she is seeking to create another class of social parasite, e.g. rich/middle class college babes that want the taxpayers to take responsibility for their sex lives?

    Had the Rushbo stuck with ‘parasite’ or ‘deadbeat’ he wouldn’t have had to apologize. I do hope he learned a lesson.

    Also, Ms. Fluke is a rather typical librul. A flaming feminazi in the classroom, or whining before a congressional committee but totally helpless and in need of gummint support as she makes her way in life.

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      • Katherine,

        As a reader/commenter (and not a League member) I sympathize with your point.  But I think the alternative–which is for the League member(s) taking a closer look at the message of each contributor or selected contributors whose comments raise red flags–might incur at least two costs:

        First, the process would be arbitrary.  Some trolls would get banned and others tolerated because some League members would be more zealous and consistent than others in enforcing against trollery.  Second, the line would get drawn somewhere below where it is now, resulting in some sincere commenters being banned (a wider net catching more fish than intended).  Are those arguably bad things a good cost to suffer for not having the likes of Mr. Cheeks around?  Maybe, but they do represent a cost.

        I acknowledge that it’s possible some contributors/League members might operate in a fashion similar to a troll, right-wing or otherwise.  And whether they should be tolerated is a different ballgame.  As it is, I try not to engage any trolls, although sometimes I succumb to temptation.

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      • “Troll?”

        Me? Kathy, I’ve been here longer than you. I’m loved here! I’m here only to hep!

        You on the other hand are uptight, a confused librul, and pathologically derailed. You’re the type I’m here to hep!

        You’re a librul so where’s the love? I love you…in God’s way!

        Seriously Kathy, it’s people like you who will cost us our liberty!

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            • Mark, Mark, thank you for straightening out my error!

              Who’da thunk it? I have taken so little notice of the lady’s remarks that I thought she was new to the site.

              FORMAL APOLOGY ALERT:

              So, like the Rushbo, please allow me to APOLOGIZE for saying that I had seniority on you here, Kathrine, and allow me to call to the attention of all the publicans here, that you are older then I am (on this site). I’m pretty sure, that even though Ms. Kathrine is angry, she’ll be very civil and gregarious and accept my APOLOGY in the spirit in which it was offered. Hands across the waters, ebony and ivory, ying and yang.

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                • SMSS, thanks for the warning. I thought libruls were all about peace and love? I think, however, it’s difficult for Ms. Kathrine to consider that there are those who find her particular ideological pathologies deeply offensive in terms of liberty and freedom.

                  Mark, I am of the opinion that Rush’s “feminazi” was singularly appropriate in this context. But, hey, that’s what the site all about; differences of opinion.

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          • “Librul” also seems to be trolly.  Just because he says it ALL THE DAMN TIME doesn’t make it any better.

            As JB implored us to do when working with Tom, we ought to consider how we’d respond to his comments if he were a first-time-long-time.  Well, if some newbie started posting all kinds of nonsense about “libruls” and Comie-socialist-whatever, they’d rightly be chastised.  Why does Bob get a pass on the rules that the rest of us are expected to follow?

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            • BSK, I get a pass because I’m admired and loved here, particularly by a secret someone on the editorial board who constantly thwarts these puerile efforts to ban-the-Bob! My guess is, I’ll be here to remind younz guys just how silly and dangerous your derailed, statist, thinking really is for a long time.

              But, my critique is always rendered with love and the hope of drawing confused libruls from the abyss.

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              • If Bob is telling the truth here, that his presence is protected because of his relationship with a LoOG member, that has grave implications for this community.

                If he is lying, then this becomes Exhibit Z in the case for cracking down on his nonsense.

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                • BSK, I’ve said for a while now that Bob is in a unique position, not because someone “on the editorial board” loves him, but because to ban Bob would be to ban his world view, since his world view is little more than a profound and all-consuming ressentiment that manifests itself in the form of a constant stream of insults of those with whom he disagrees. Without those insults, there is no Bob Cheeks. Ban those insults, and that entire world view becomes off limits on the League. I don’t think that would be fair, even if it would make things more pleasant. Bob is, in a way, a guy whose entire world-view is yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

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                    • Hey Bob, it’s Jason who says you’re performance art. I think you’re serious, which is why I actually stand up for you any time someone talks about banning you. If you were just performance art, I’d be all for tossing you out the door.

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                  • Speaking only for myself, this is a good chunk of why I give Bob a bit more leeway than I might perhaps prefer. That, or he’s the site jester (in which case, I’ll deem him bannable the second I start taking him seriously); in my head, most of his writings invoke the response of “oh, grandpa, the things you say!”

                    And no, there is no “member of the editorial board” secretly protecting Bobbo.

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                  • If Bob’s position can only be articulated with slurs and insults OR if Bob himself is only capabale of articulating it in such a manner, that might be the most damning criticism of his shtick yet.

                    Man up, Bob. Put on your sane pants and engage in conversation like the rest of the adults. If you can’t, your weak. If your viewpoint can be expressed otherwise, it too is weak. There are a lot of things I would call you, Bob, but “weak” is not on I would have thought of. Looking at you now, it is clearly the most apt term. You are a weak little man with weak ideas who can only get his voice heard by kicking people in the shins and who seeks out the smallest ideas amongst this robut and brilliant crowd to kick. Pathetic.

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                    • BSK, it is pretty damning. It must suck, though, to have one’s entire world defined negatively, as a reaction to others. So while we have to deal with Bob, just be glad that we don’t have to be him.

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                    • BSK, as I said, “anal retentive,” but to be precise, “..anal retentive bureaucrat.” A life well spent, licking the boots of one’s superiors.

                      Bp, …beats librium.

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                  • Mister Ernest Hemingway
                    Halts his slaughter of the kudu
                    To remind you that you may
                    Risk his sacerdotal hoodoo
                    If you go on day by day
                    Talking priggishly as you

                    Speak up man! Be bravely heard
                    Bawling that four-letter word
                    And wear your mind decollete
                    Like Mister Ernest Hemingway

                    — Sinclair Lewis

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      • Katherine:

        Personally I think the degree to which those like yourself that engage in childish personal attacks are tolerated really reduces the quality of discussion here for anyone who doesn’t engage in personal attacks but you are still here.

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    • “However, because she wants the American taxpayer to pay for her birth control regime, might we not suggest that she is seeking to create another class of social parasite, e.g. rich/middle class college babes that want the taxpayers to take responsibility for their sex lives?”

      Please share one shred of evidence that Ms. Fluke “wants the American taxpayer to pay for her birth control regime?” I eagerly await your response.

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    • Bob, Fluke’s argument wasn’t intended to “create another class of social parasite, e.g. rich/middle class college babes that want the taxpayers to take responsibility for their sex lives.” I think her argument is a variation on the larger argument against restrictions on contraception generally. I’ll cut-and-paste an earlier comment I made (with some slight editing) outlining two arguments responding to conservatives.

      The first is viewing birth control as an aspect of health maintenance. Personally, I don’t think contraception coverage is a right and conservatives are correct to point that out. But I do think that excluding (or prohibiting) birth control from insurance coverage violates a woman’s right to equal access to procedures and services necessary for the maintenance of her over-all biological health, one of which is having control over if and when she gets pregnant. So in that sense, I think the burden falls the other way – on the person arguing that pregnancy isn’t at least in part a biological health issue. And because of this, I think the default position ought to be that government has a legitimate role to play in ensuring that women aren’t discriminated against wrt access to these services and procedures.

      Second, the responds to the conservative argument that preventing the natural consequences of voluntary sexual activity isn’t something other people ought to have to pay for. I think that’s wrong. There’s a difference between the two sexes with respect to those consequences – women, as an inarguable matter of fact, bear a disproportionate (and often exclusive) burden of those consequences. So if the natural consequences of sexual behavior is morally relevant issue in this debate, and women bear a disproportionate amount of that burden, then women in principle experience greater harms then men do from voluntary (and involuntary as well) sexual activity. And if so, then government has a role to play in ameliorating those harms.

      And to just stave off an obvious objection in advance, I don’t think this second argument requires that voluntary sexual activity be viewed as a right or liberty. It only requires a difference between the sexes in the consequences resulting from engaging in it.

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        • Thanks Snarky. There’s two issues in play in the debate right now, and I’d hate for conservatives to think liberals are attacking Rush only because they can’t answer his substantive point. This is one of the most basic and very dishonest strategies in their playbook, it seems to me: advocate a contentious policy view in deliberately inflammatory language and then smugly accuse liberals of attacking the messenger because they can’t answer the argument.

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          • BSK, our friend Tod said, “Fluke gave testimony, arguing (obviously) in favor of the inclusion of contraception in federal healthcare plans.” Someone’s going to have to pay for this ‘inclusion’ even though Ms. Fluke and other libruls may consider it ‘free.’ Who’s going to pay for Ms. Fluke’s ‘inclusion’ should she be successful?

            Stillwater, thanks for the excellent analysis. What role, do you believe, gummint should play in healthcare? I should like to read your analysis of socialized medicine/Obamacare. Do you support the idea of repealing Obamacare? ..if so, why? …if not, why?

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            • If “Obamacare” is socialized medicine, then I’m QE2. Do we still have for-profit health insurance companies under “Obamacare”? Heck yes. Where’s your socialized medicine, then? And from a relatively bad speller, please learn to spell GOVERNMENT properly, I know you’re a good speller, this “gummint” quirk is so freaking old already. You’re not five years old, Bob, no need to act like one.

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              • sonmi, dude, relax…gummint’s gummint, I’ma phenomic speller!
                “We can’t know what’s in Obamacommiecare until we vote for it,” Ms. Pelosi once famously said. Now it appears we won’t know what’s in it until you’ve tried it out over the next decade or two.

                DEath panels, dude, death panels. My guess is the commie-dems will turn on you and your clogged artieries and that’s it….soylent green!

                Join the resistance!

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            • Cheeks-

              Please provide evidence that moneys for the contraception coverage offered by Catholic institutions under the proposed agreement/exception will come from the federal government and/or taxpayers.

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              • No.

                If there’s any agreement re: contraception between the regime and the Roman Catholic Church, there is, in effect, no more Roman Catholic Church.

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                • I ask for evidence.  You say, “No.”  While I could easily take that, by itself, as a full concession, I will offer my own evidence to further repudiate your claims.

                  First:

                  “Under the new plan, administration officials believe insurers will comply for free because the coverage may not actually cost them anything. Evidence suggests that providing birth control coverage reduces overall costs for health plans because birth control is much cheaper than pregnancy, according to administration officials and some health industry analysts.”  So, it does not look like there is going to be publicly funded contraception or whatever else you wrongly insist Fluke was asking for.

                  Second:

                  “But the president appeared to have made progress, winning over the Catholic hospital association and Catholic Charities – although not the nation’s bishops – and reassuring wavering Democrats while keeping the support of groups such as Planned Parenthood.”

                  Here is where things get tricky.  Obama has support of the hospitals and charities, but not the bishops.  If you are going to argue that the bishops are the church and, without their approval, no compromise has been reached… then you can’t ALSO argue that the charities and hospitals are part of the church.  Either they are a part of the church and have the right to decide what does or does not violate the tenets of their faith OR they are not a party to the compromise and, as such, do not retain the exceptions that the compromise is intended to address.

                  Whoops.

                   

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              • Here’s how this goes down. The insurance companies are NOT allowed to operate in these United States unless they received a pass from said gov’t. They have been ORDERED to provide FREE contraceptive coverage (doesn’t help self-insured archdioceses, whoops) or lose their ability to stay in business. In a word they have been coerced in a classic example of regulatory capture of the obscene kind. All the rationalizing in the world doesn’t make the fact they are being forced to do something go away and the “logic” that claims they are actually spending money to save it only works on the feeble minded folks who can barely afford their credit card payments after all the money they’ve “saved” buying things they don’t need on sale.

                Facts are hard to swallow sometimes, but facts are still facts.

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                • Do you know how many different businesses are FORCED to do certain things in order to stay in legal operation?

                  Here, I’ll make it easy for you.  The answer is: All of them.  Every single goddamn one of them.

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                    • ROFL!   Can the faux outrage, Ward and all this bullshit about FREE anything.   We’re talking about something covered by an insurance policy, paid for with good solid American currency.

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                    • Okay, let’s break out the details.

                      First off, they were not FORCED to do this.  They agreed to it.  Without their cooperation, there would not have been a compromise.  Now, is it possible that there was some backroom coercion?  Sure.  But neither you or I know that, unless you are privy to more information than I, in which case I’m all ears.

                      Second, it certainly matters that offering contraception is a financially wise decision, per my first point.  They voluntarily agreed to it because they realized that they would save money by doing so.  So, rather than being forced, they were properly incentivized and make the fiscally sound decision.

                      Third, if we are playing fast and loose with words like “free”, then I would argue that, again, EVERY company is forced to give away money for free to its employees through minimum wage laws.

                      FWIW, I feel this little exchange here is becoming more fiery than I care for, something I am probably primarily responsible for with my somewhat flippant initial response.  I would like to carry on this dialogue and hope to do so a bit more civilly.  You and I don’t always agree, but I generally find you to be a respectable debate partner and hope to keep it that way.  My apologies.

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                    • The thing that bugs me is that there never seems to be an “enough”.

                      A corporation donates $X dollars to a charity. Why not $2X? Look at their profit numbers!

                      A lawyer donates 40 hours a year to pro bono cases. Why not 48? Surely another *DAY* wouldn’t be so awful, given all of the poor people out there who have to work 48 hours a week at two different jobs so they don’t get overtime.

                      A workplace provides an HMO option in its healthcare coverage. Why not an HMO and a PPO? Why not a PPO with an 80-20 option and another one with a 90-10 option?

                      Hey, it’s only a marginal change, right?

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                    • Ok, to put this on a purely debate footing, here are the rebuttals to your points.

                      1) Forced

                      Recognize the many Catholic organizations are self-insured. I’m going to have to ask you for evidence that the insurers agreed in advance to this. Yes they are under HHS guidelines, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy with every one of them, so forced still works.

                      2) Costs

                      3) Free? Really, paying an employee is now giving them something “free”? You really want to hang your hat on that argument? Tell you what I’ll give you a mulligan and you can give me a better example down below so we’re not trapped in this tiny area.

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                    • Ward-

                      Self-insured companies certainly change the equation.  I do not know enough about what it means to be “self-insured” to weigh in on those companies.  Any info you have would be appreciated.  For now, I’d prefer to talk about companies that insure through third-parties.  This is not meant to dodge the legitimate question of the self-insured; it is just not a conversation I can offer much to.  With this in mind, I have to ask whether your “forced” comment is in regards to insurance companies offering the coverage or on faith-based-institutions?  It seems as if your earlier comment was about the former but this most recent comment (and link) are about the latter.

                      Regarding costs, the “survey” in question involved “[f]ifteen pharmacy directors”.  Unless I am woefully ignorant was to what a “pharmacy director” is, that does not strike me as a particularly robust survey.  And titling the article with the term “Insurers” when the survey was of “pharmacy directors” is incredibly misleading.

                      And, yes, I am going to stick with that analogy.  You said that insurance companies are being required to offer free contraception coverage or risk being in violation of laws required to remain in business.  Minimum wage functions the same way.  Pay your employees at least $X or you are in violation of the law.  It doesn’t matter if you’d rather pay your employees less than $X or if they’d happily work for less than $X.  You have to pay them at least $X.  If there exists a number lower than $X which the company can find someone willing to work, than the difference between that number and minimum wage is money they are required to give away for free.

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                    • As far as I can tell, insurance companies will still charge premiums to cover the cost of their insurance, plus overhead and profit.

                      So what is being offered for “free” here?

                      Everything being exchanged is being exchanged for money.

                      It’s like saying that since the gummint forces GM to offer cars with seatbelts, the seatbelts are somehow “free”.

                      And then a radio clown says that the taxpayers are subsidizing my wild reckless driving.

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                • BSK, please pay attention to what Ward has written for you. To follow the logic another step, once the federalis have FORCED the insurance companies to pay for the FREE contraceptive services, the insurance companies will pass that cost along to their customers. Now follow this BSK: the insurance companies customers are taxpayers, more precisely, productive members of our society who will be, once again, FORCED to carry the deadbeats like Ms. Fluke.

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                  • But isn’t the answer here that not including contraception in insurance coverage constitutes unfair discrimination against women, given that it’s part of a woman’s general health? Now, I’m not saying that getting pregnant is a sickness, but access to contraception is surely part of preventative care in some sense of that word, no? If so, then it’s not different than any other medically-based service that insurance covers as a matter of course, and the cost is born and distrubuted and justified in exactly the same way.

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                    • Stillwater:

                      So Fluke sould get what she wants b/c otherwise it would be unfair?  I know unfair is the word that liberals hate worse than almost anything but get real.  There are lots of things that insurance doens’t pay for and often times when they do pay for somehting, they don’t pay for as much of it as folks would like.

                      Fluke could buy condoms but she prefers that the gov’t force her insurance corp to make her life easier even if it costs more for everyone else. Maybe the gov’t should force insurance corps to cover everything and as much of it as folks want?

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                    • Stillwater,

                      I hope you might render an opinion on central state healthcare and your support of or opposition to it. As, I’m opposed to Obamacommiecare on a political and moral level the Flake case only provides an example of one of the myriad of problems: the inclination of bureaucrats, the state, and its synchophants  to constantly expand their bureaucracies, and as a result, the oppressive power of the general gummint.

                      Of course, common sense informs us that Ms. Flake’s birth control regime is her business. If she’s so poor that she can’t have the frequency of coitus she wants/needs it shouldn’t be the problem of the general gummint. As I inferred earlier, I believe the American taxpayer is no more obligated to supply Ms. Flake’s birth control then they are to supply her toilet paper, although I do hate to give the commie-dems ideas.

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                  • Plus we know not yet whether it will actually increase costs. There is speculation both ways but it is just that… Speculation. And Fluke didn’t argue on behalf of the compromise. If the faith-based groups played ball like everyone else, then employees and/or the company would assume the premium increases, if any. The church groups wouldn’t and agreed to the compromise; it is they who passed the buck. Not Fluke. Fluke never once said anything about government subsidized contraception. She never talked about sex. She only talked about the very real threats women face when they can’t access contraception. Read the transcript.

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                    • This idiot isn’t going to read the transcript or rebut anyone’s points, he’s just going to beat his dead-horse talking points (like “deadbeat has the nerve to advocate for FREE benefits” (from a system she pays into, which is conveniently ignored) over and over and over again, like he always has.

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            • Who’s going to pay for Ms. Fluke’s ‘inclusion’ should she be successful?

              Ms Fluke, among others.  That’s how pooled resources work.  If that makes her a “deadbeat” “parasite” in your view, what do you make of you and I, who drive on public streets paid for mostly by other people, or worse, come on someone else’s blog to publish our opinions on their dime?

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      • I give you a +1 as well.

        I would add this point I read on another blog to what you said:

        once you are insuring against catastrophic costs it makes sense to factor in preventative measures. It’s not only in the interest of the insured, it’s in the interests of the insurer…

        What this produces is health insurances policies that look like they include lots of things that aren’t, properly speaking, things that involve insurance. Understanding of secondary effects, though, makes it clear that they are covering things that are important to insurance as risk avoidance. All of it ties together.


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  10. Everyone!!  Sing along!

    “Oh, you gotta know when to hold ’em,  Know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run…”

    This is absotively, posolutely the best we’re going to get from Rush.  I number myself among those who question how truly sincere this was, but it seems a moot point.  I’m certainly not going to hold my breath waiting for the moment when Rush seems truly contrite.

    What matters is we’ve finally located at least one edge of the political rhetoric map (which probably changes shape in off-election years).  Calling a woman a term of sexual degradation because she had the temerity to testify before Congress and take a position contrary to your is, mirabile dictu, apparently “here be dragons” territory.

    And for anyone who’d like to engage in preposterous hand-wringing about the First Amendment and poor Rush’s rights being abrogated, or some such malarky, let’s note that he didn’t get fined or thrown in jail or put under house arrest.  Nobody knocked on his door in the middle of the night and dragged him to an undisclosed location.  He was condemned in the court of public opinion for saying something loathsome.  The First Amendment doesn’t protect anyone from the contempt their words might earn, just from government control thereof.

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    •  I number myself among those who question how truly sincere this was, but it seems a moot point.  I’m certainly not going to hold my breath waiting for the moment when Rush seems truly contrite.

      While I know that, there’s a difference between understanding that fact and treating this as an actual apology.  It shouldn’t be treated as one.  There’s no reason to lay down our arms in a fight the Republicans started simply because Rush has had enough and says uncle.

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        • Just being touchy.  The “know when to fold ’em” seemed to suggest we drop the matter now that he’s given a fake apology, and I don’t feel that people should stop going after him for his comments.

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          • I suppose it was a bit vague.  (I just wanted an excuse to quote that song.  I love that song.)  What I meant specifically is that it probably doesn’t make sense to wait for Rush to actually feel sorry.  What we got is as good as he’s capable of giving.

            I do think our efforts are more productively spent making sure that contraception is covered under employer-provided insurance.  That’s the issue that sparked this whole brouhaha in the first place, and the one where actual policy is at stake.

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            • To me health insurance isn’t necessarily the primary issue at stake (I actually had somewhat divided feelings on that policy issue).  Another big problem is that when a woman can be called a slut and a whore and told to post sex tapes simply for voicing her political opinions in public, it really discourages other women from publicly participating in politics.  How many people want to risk the kind of vicious bile Ms. Fluke faced?  If Rush’s acolytes haven’t been emulating him by going after her personally, I’d be very surprised.

              The big issue to me here isn’t policy.  It’s that nobody should be able to say those kinds of things about women and have any sort of credence or acknowledgement from or involvement in any political party thereafter.  If the Republican Party doesn’t like his statements reflecting on them, they should stop letting him have any influence within their party.  It needs to made blinding obvious that, with or without a subsequent faux-apology, this kind of thing is utterly unacceptable in political discourse.

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              • Part of the problem is that Rush’s influence is pretty much bottom-up.

                The only reason he has influence is because he has listeners… and the reason he has listeners is because he’s pretty good at keeping his finger on the pulse of what they want to hear.

                One thing that may be interesting is to speculate on whether Rush would have apologized if his inbox was full of people screaming “RIGHT ON!!!”… and what it means that he did apologize (and not with a “if anyone was offended” suffix).

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                • One of the most troubling things of this whole incident is that Rush does and will continue to have listeners, in spite of or because of crap like this.  This isn’t one crackpot spinning off into oblivion and being roundly dismissed or ignored.  As you said, JB, he knew what his listeners wanted to hear and at least some segment of this almost assuredly is thinking, “Right on!”  This issue is larger than Rush has to do with the way we treat and perceive women who have the temerity to defy the narrow, restrictive gender roles our society has constructed for them.  This is not simply a D vs R issue, as their is complicity in such a pervasive mindset in many circles.  Look back at the way Hillary and Bachman were treated during their respective campaigns, look at the response to Jan Brewer’s finger-in-the-face (which I think was highly disrespectful but much of the commentary was tinged with gender-specific criticisms), go all the way back to Romney’s initial campaign for governor of MA when he called out his female opponent (I don’t remember her name now) as unbecoming because she went on the attack against him.

                  We have made it passively okay to go after women as women who do not act in accordance with our views of how women SHOULD act.  Couple this with the self-victimization of white males promoted in many conservative circles, and you have not only acceptance for this time of a language, but people who see it as NECESSARY, to set these “feminazis” straight.

                   

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                  • +1000, expecially for that last paragraph.

                    I feel guilty for not managing to muster more of an outrage about this, but … it’s Rush Limbaugh. This is the guy who compared 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton to a dog for no reason whatsoever other than he hated the Clintons. Did he receive a lot of pushbacks then? He did continue to have his listeners after that incident, maybe even attracting a lot more. It feels so freaking pointless after a while, this guy is untouchable. Even the non-apology apology will probably rebound to his benefit – hey, he apologized, what more do you feminazis and the PC crowd want? Yes, Rush is part of a disturbing trend of trying to silence women in the public sphere by shaming them, but he is also a law unto himself.

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                • I think the only reason Rush apologized is that my house is like many houses in America.  My wife spent a couple spent a couple of hours last night emailing Rush’s sponsers telling them what she thought of his statements and emailing her friends asking them to do the same.

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                    • Depends on how you define “efficient”.

                      I expect that boycotts on things that trigger serious outrage will be more effective.  Boycotts on things that trigger just some outrage probably won’t.  David’s “small top, teeny middle, fat bottom” observation about technology’s impact on filmmaking is somewhat generalizable.

                      The spontaneously, non-organized bottom up boycott phenomena is something about which companies are just now starting to learn.  There’s going to be a whole new slew of research papers in the crisis management field regarding twitter indices and facebook negativity functions and what not.

                      Times like these are when I *really* wish I could get my hands on Facebook’s back end.  This is the nefariousness of Facebook.

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      • Where was your indignation Katherine, when the following things happened to women of the RIGHT?

        If you can’t point me to posts you made at that time, then I am calling you out as a partisan hypocrite right now. If you CAN show me posts you made at the time when Shultz called Ingraham a “right wing slut” then you can and will have my abject apology. Otherwise go fish.

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    • And for anyone who’d like to engage in preposterous hand-wringing about the First Amendment and poor Rush’s rights being abrogated, or some such malarky, let’s note that he didn’t get fined or thrown in jail or put under house arrest.  Nobody knocked on his door in the middle of the night and dragged him to an undisclosed location.  He was condemned in the court of public opinion for saying something loathsome.  The First Amendment doesn’t protect anyone from the contempt their words might earn, just from government control thereof.

      Yup. It’s the free market, and, yes, the market can turn against Mr. Limbaugh.

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  11. Thank you Rush.

    I have a hard time stipulating that what Rush said counts as an apology.  “My choice of words was not the best”….would it have been any different if he had called her “a call girl,”  “an escort,” or “a woman with much experience”?

    But even assuming that it does count as an apology, I’m not inclined to thank him for doing what he ought to have done in the first place.  We might as well thank everybody who doesn’t smear a woman as a “sl**” when they disagree with her.

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    • It is not JUST his choice of words that were shameful, but the way in which he manipulated the situation to take and defend an abhorrent position. Rush put forth an argument predicated on ignorance (the need for contraception is solely based on recreational sex; the cost of contraception is related to the frequency of recreational sense), mysogony (women who have sex are something to look down upon), and mischaracterization (Fluke wants free contraception paid for by the governemt). Walking back the language while continuing to put forth this perverse line of reasoning does not amount to much of an apology. Read in its entirety, the message of his statement seems to be, “Girls who want contraception coverage are parasitic, sex-crazed slut-leaches but calling them out as such is uncouth. They’re still parasitic and sex-crazed though.”

      How low is the bar that we are offering gratitude for that?

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        • Here is the catch-22:

          Rush supporters will stand up and say: He apologized! What more do you want? Anything else you demand is an attack on free speech/PC demagogy/fascist.
          Reasonable response: His statement only qualifies as an apology when judged against the remarkably low bar he has set for himself.
          RS: You take that back!

          If we are going to accept this as an apology, we have to also properly discard Rush to the bin of silliness of which little to nothing is expected. If his supporters are going to continue to follow his lead and empower him as a major factor in our national debates, then we must reject it. We mustn’t allow him and his supporters to have it both ways.

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          • I’ve previously said the BlaiseP Corollary to Archimedes’ Lever is “Give me a fulcrum of sufficient political divisiveness and I shall use Archimedes’ Lever to move the world.”

            Heretofore, Rush Limbaugh, a man who couldn’t get elected to dogcatcher, whose pilonidal cyst got him exempted from military service, had dominated the right wing’s message for many years.   The GOP put up with his shit because they dared not incur his wrath.   That has now changed.   If Rush still has his supporters, and he does, they are now on the wrong side of the lever, reduced to making the argument you’ve put in their mouths.

            Once enough of a gap has appeared between Rush Limbaugh and the common decency of the ordinary Conservative, he’ll become irrelevant.   They’ll turn on him as the French Revolution turned on Robespierre and it won’t be a pretty picture.

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            • This is just so much hopeful thinking.  Maybe it’ll happen like that, maybe it won’t.  I kind of think it won’t.  On the other hand, the dude could drop walking dead outside his house any old day, as we’ve just found out.  I’m kind of amused people are treating this like a major disturbance in The Force.

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              • Poor Andy Breitbart.   I was horrified to realise he’d died so suddenly.   He’s got small children.   All Breitbart ever wanted was a good tussle, the best sort of entertainment for the thinking man.   Throw a good idea into the cage, turn it loose on its opponents, see if it can survive on its own.

                I so wanted to say nasty things about Breitbart.   I want to say horrible things about Rush Limbaugh, too.   But what’s the point?   The only way a guy like Rush will ever lose is when his own followers abandon him, when his own words choke him, when some better pundit emerges to give him a run for his money.   Won’t be me, I contradict myself constantly.   I’m out here, furiously backpedaling, trying to refactor my old assumptions and assertions in the face of a changing world.   All my heroes are dead.  The Libertarians preach a terribly compelling sermon.   I think I have something to say in response.

                I’m genuinely excited by the prospect of some follow-on to Cato Institute.   If I had fifty million dollars, I’d start up an institute called the Scipio Institute, for Scipio was Cato’s greatest enemy, a man of deepest respect and fairness, a thoroughgoing scholar of Greek.   Scipio never lost a battle, even his enemies thought him a superb human being.

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  12. Rush apologised because his advertisers quit buying time on his Excrement in Broadcasting network.   Let’s not ascribe this to any other force.

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        • We’ll see if the GOP distances itself from Limbaugh, I’ll believe it when I see it last for more than a week.

          BTW: ‘flabulous’ is not an insult, it’s a compliment; I’d call the buttocks in question ‘flatulous.’  On second thought, I’d prefer to avoid the man’s buttocks altogether.

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          • They will, mark my words.  Rush has disgraced himself before but never quite like this episode.   Political movements evolve beyond their prophets with startling speed, especially when those prophets alienate voters and especially advertisers.

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          • As for the etymology of flabulent, it arises from Debra Kadabra:

            Turn it to Channel 13
            And make me watch the rubber tongue
            When it comes out
            Of the puffed & flabulent Mexican rubber-goods mask
            Next time they show the Brnokka

            Make me buy The Flosser
            Make me grow braniac fingers
            (But with more hair)
            Make me kiss your turquoise jewelry
            Emboss me
            Rub the hot front part of my head
            With rented unguents
            Give me bas relief!

            Cast your dancing spell my way
            I promise to go under it

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            • Hey, you wrote ‘flablous’ not ‘flabulent’!  If that’s not ‘moving the goalpost’, I don’t know what.

              But back to Limbaugh — it just occurs to me that he’s probably getting Establishment grief for his anti-Romneying; throw that into the mix and see if he softens anything up for the summer.  I’m still skeptical (and hope to be right — I want Rush’s worst behavior this electoral season).

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  13. Tod, I think I have to agree with the earlier commenters who wrote that Rush isn’t really offering an apology since he never directly apologizes to Fluke specifically for his earlier comments and that his non-apology included the same self-serving mis-characterization of her argument that initially led to him calling her a slut.

    That said, I can see how a hopeful pragmatic like yourself would view this gesture as a step in the right direction.

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        • Ya think?    The Japanese have this little proverb, a kotowaza; he wo hitte, shiri tsubome, clenching yer butt cheeks after you’ve farted. Kinda like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

          It really is time for Rush to get his comeuppance.

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            • I have more sympathy for his Percodan addiction than some.   Anyone can become addicted, it’s a problem for anyone in pain.  Rush had back surgery and was in pain.  He got addicted.   Happened to Betty Ford, too.   Happens to lots of people, good and bad, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to scrape my finger at Rush over this particular issue.   It’s just not humane.   By all accounts, he’s clean now.

              We kinda have to separate the Famous Person from the flesh and blood human being behind that mask of fame.   If Rush learns something from this, all to the good.   We learn nothing from success and everything from failure, at least I do.    I know a few famous people, they’re all prisoners of their own success.   Their greatest fear, at some turns, is to be told how wonderful they are.  Who’s going to tell them otherwise?

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              • Yeah, I really wish people don’t bring his addiction and weight into it. The guy says outrageous, crazy and yes, even evil stuff all the time. There are more than enough ammunitions.

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                • Ultimately, what’s the point of condemnation?   Isn’t it to tell the offender he’s out of line and how to get back on that line?   He who’s all hot ‘n bothered enough to condemn someone ought to be satisfied when the offender repents and gets back on the high road of decent conduct.

                  Anything else just makes the accuser look ridiculous.   Worse, such accusations only enrage the offender’s followers, who point to the accuser’s palpable unfairness, deflecting any merit in the accuser’s case.

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              • I didn’t care about his addiction as much as I cared about his advocacy for drug policies that made his addiction likely to be representative of addictions all over the country.

                It’s like Newt’s three wives. I can’t believe that people take him seriously.

                Not because I don’t think that people should get divorced (though, yeah, they probably shouldn’t in a lot of cases) but because they shouldn’t get divorced three times and then have a platfrom from which to cast aspersions on marriages like mine.

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                • Look, I write here a lot now.  By my estimate, about three of five of my posts are any good.   Lots of them are really awful.   I’ve pissed off a fair number of people here.   I suppose some people might take me seriously but I’m enough of a realist to know I’m not a particularly good exemplar of my own beliefs.

                  That said, why shouldn’t I view Rush Limbaugh through the same lenses?   At my very worst, I’m taking offense where none was offered.  Rush Limbaugh has risen through the ranks of punditdom on the strength of never tolerating any meaningful dissent and disrespecting anyone who dares to differ from him.   It’s a one-way street with him.

                  People enjoy outrageous behaviour, it’s entertainment.   The Romans used to enjoy nothing better than to listen to some bloviator raging in the public arena.   They raised it to an art form.  Cato’s vicious eloquence rings down the ages and was once taught to every schoolboy.   Never mind how stupidly he governed or the cruelty with which he ran his own household, it’s Cato’s words which remain.   People will forgive the ranter, projecting their own reasonableness onto his naysaying preachments, as long as his own excesses match their own inner viciousness and pettiness.

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                • It is the hypocrisy that is indeed most bothersome. I dn’t think his drug history should be off-limits (weight probably should) in and of itself, but it is but one small data point. Combined with the multitude of data points surrounding his efforts to promote the war on drugs, it very much is open and on the table.

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                  • With farts and arson, the guy who complains the loudest is the guy who did it.   Rush was in denial about his own drug addiction and got cornered, as is the case with many other addicts.   He went into rehab and hopefully he’s cleaned up.   This particular data point is a human failing, and no matter how much anyone else wants to see it as part of a trend, it’s not to anyone’s benefit to combine it into the rest.   It only weakens the case against a powerful and dangerous demagogue.

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                    • True. I did not mean to say that the drug use is relevant to THIS particular conversation; it has no bearing on the validity (or lackthereof) of his statement, unless he was on drugs when he made it, in which case we’ve got a whole new ballgame. Fr the record, I have no reason to think that is the case.

                      If we are evaluating him as a man and a pundit, I do think it is a data point worth considering, with people free to apply their own weight to it.

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                    • That seems reasonable.   Every so often, a pundit ought to kinda do a level reset, admit his own prejudices, in short, behave as if his opponents weren’t his enemies.    Tell you who does a pretty good job on this front, Ann Coulter.    She knows her schtick is for the rubes, she’s friends with many a disgusting Liberal, hangs out with ’em, a rather nice person by all accounts.   Andrew Breitbart and Arianna Huffington were good friends.   Breitbart, for all his goofy ranting, just loved a good fight.

                      Not Rush, though.   Something about Rush is awfully defensive, deeply insecure, affecting this false bravado.   He’s wrong a lot:  he needs better fact checkers.  He’s incapable of genuine debate.   Doesn’t speak well for him as a pundit.

                       

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      • <i>I believe Fluke has now retained legal counsel and may attempt to sue Rush.</i>

        I think such a case would hinge on whether she made herself a public figure by testifying before Congress, and whether Limbaugh’s comments can be plausibly passed off as satirical (i.e, if a rational person would have taken them as satire, and not believed she actually engaged in prostitution).

        As vile as Limbaugh’s comments were, if a lawsuit comes to pass his lawyer’s probably going to have an easier job than Fluke’s lawyer.

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        • I hope she can manage to sue him.  The “public figure” bar shouldn’t be set so low that anyone who voices a political opinion in public can be considered subject to vile abuse.

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          • And if so… Point to Rush. How unfortunate that would be. “Testify in front of Congress if you must, but trade in your dignity* at the door. And ohbytheway, we have some choice words if you happen to be a woman.”

            *Of course, the behavior of our politicians implies that this is the norm, since they so wilingly throw their dignity away. But we ought not require private citizens to do what pols are all too happy to.

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  14. Aaaaaand, we’re done here.

    You know what would really make this thread even better? A few more rounds of “You’re a poop-head!”, “No, You’re a poop-head!”

    Honestly, the thing that gets me is that I’m not shutting this down because of wing nut driver-bys, but site regulars.  I feel like my mom.

    “Don’t make me turn this car around!!!!”

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