take your answer off the air...

  • HorsesAss.Org: the straight poop on WA politics & the press
    progressive brilliance from the guy who pointed out Tim Eyman's nascent horse's-assedness
  • Talker's Magazine
    The quirky talk radio trade mag. Check the Talk Radio Research Project- it's not very scientific, but places on the top 15 talkers list (scroll down to Talk Radio Audiences By Size)) are as hotly contested as Emmys (and mean just about as much).
  • The Advocate
    No, not THAT Advocate... it's the Northwest Progressive Institute's Official Blog.
  • Media Matters
    Documentation of right-wing media in video, audio and text.
  • Orcinus
    home of David Neiwert, freelance investigative journalist and author who writes extensively about far-right hate groups
  • Hominid Views
    "People, politics, science, and whatnot" Darryl is a statistician who fights imperialism with empiricism, gives good links and wry commentary.
  • Jesus' General
    An 11 on the Manly Scale of Absolute Gender, a 12 on the Heavenly Scale of the 10 Commandments and a 6 on the earthly scale of the Immaculately Groomed.
  • Howie in Seattle
    Howie Martin is the Abe Linkin' of progressive Seattle.
  • Streaming Radio Guide
    Hellishly long (5795!) list of radio streaming, steaming on the Internets.
  • The Naked Loon
    News satire -- The Onion in the Seattle petunia patch.
  • Irrational Public Radio
    "informs, challenges, soothes and/or berates, and does so with a pleasing vocal cadence and unmatched enunciation. When you listen to IPR, integrity washes over you like lava, with the pleasing familiarity of a medium-roast coffee and a sensible muffin."
  • The Maddow Blog
    Here's the hyper-interactive La Raych of MSNBC. daily show-vids, freakishly geeky research, and classy graphics.
  • Northwest Broadcasters
    The AM, FM, TV and digital broadcasters of Northwest Washington, USA and Southwest British Columbia, Canada. From Kelso, WA to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, BC - call letters, formats, slogans, networks, technical data, and transmitter maps. Plus "recent" news.
  • News Corpse
    The Internet's chronicle of media decay.
  • The Moderate Voice
    The voice of reason in the age of Obama, and the politics of the far-middle.
  • News Hounds
    Dogged dogging of Fox News by a team who seems to watch every minute of the cable channel so you don't have to.
  • HistoryLink
    Fun to read and free encyclopedia of Washington State history. Founded by the late Walt Crowley, it's an indispensable tool and entertainment source for history wonks and surfers alike.

right-wing blogs we like

  • The Reagan Wing
    Hearin lies the real heart of Washington State Republicans. Doug Parris runs this red-meat social conservative group site which bars no holds when it comes to saying who they are and who they're not; what they believe and what they don't; who their friends are and where the rest of the Republicans can go. Well-written, and flaming.
  • Orbusmax
    inexhaustible Drudgery of NW conservative news
  • The Radio Equalizer
    prolific former Seattle KVI, KIRO talk host speaks authoritatively about radio.
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« Webb trial postponed again | Main | Seattle Babble-on: bitchy, bitchy parentheticals about Republican "celebrities" »

July 19, 2006


Daniel K

Michael - That's got to be one of the best things I read by you - ever! Thank you.

Daniel K

Also, one of the best things I've read by you - ever!


Rove showed his genius once again.

Bush's little posing today with his extended "snowflake" family was all dog and pony show. And it probably lit up the faces of those grand ol' party people who are getting annoyed at him for his sudden turn to so-called diplomacy. They seem to want Armageddon and nothing less. . .

Gee, Federal money for vouchers, a veto on stem cell legislation . . . can't wait to see what's next.

Thanks for writing it.


Michael: Thanks for the respect you show Christians in this post. If other libs would give us that kind of respect, we might listen to them and show some respect to them, and their point of views. We're not idiots, as the saying goes, just forgiven.


Mac, is that "forgiven" or forgiving.

When I've tried to talk to Christians in the context of political conservativism, they've been intractable. My experience is that Christians demand that I change my views to theirs. I only want Christians to let me make moral decisions for myself. I'm not asking to make your decisions for you.

So, what am I missing here?


Liberals asserting that the sanctity of life begins at birth is no less arbitrary then conservatives choosing conception. Neither side has the balls to admit the truth, that murder is desirable sometimes.

Conservatives like to assume the role of God and put criminals to death, depriving the Good Lord of his chance to do with them what he would have otherwise done, and liberals want to qualify murder based on where a person happens to be at the moment they are intentionaly killed. Does life begin when the top of the baby's head pokes out or when then last toe exits the mother? Or how many weeks old does a fetus have to be before it's magicly endowed with human rights?

Pro choicers can't expect to convert anyone if their argument is no better that a pro lifer's argument. It's time to take the first step and call it something like "planned termination" so the debate will be about wether it's OK to terminate certain people rather than how far out of the birth canal a person has to be before killing them becomes murder.


Oh that conservatives would have as much concern and compassion for the born as they have for the "pre-born". "Right to Life" should be renamed " Right to Birth" because after that, those kidlets are on their own..health care? adequate funding for education or a livable minimum wage for mom and dad? Noooo, thats too expensive, too socialist, too liberal.

Im going out to enjoy the sunshine today, and I will let the rest of you argue over this. Enjoy!


Michael, I disagree, and further, your dialog, while a nice vent, does not provide a meaningful contribution to the subject.

This week, we’ve heard that 70% of the population supports embryonic stem cell research and therefore embryonic stem cell research is good. OK, it’s a nice soundbite but in reality, it’s just a classic “Argumentum ad Populum.” Just because it’s a popular opinion, doesn’t make it true.

Then there is the “we’ll be able to cure heartbreaking diseases” argument. Again, a logical fallacy, this time Argumentum ad Consequentiam.

(Belief in) p leads to good consequences.
(Where the good consequences are irrelevant to the truth of p.)
Therefore, p is true.

Have you tried to prove the logic of your position? Does it hold up? For example, test it against one of these…..

Situation #1

Imagine that I am the parent of a 6 year old boy who just lost his eyesight on the 4th of July due to a fireworks accident. Now imagine that the doctors have told me that I can spare my son a lifetime of blindness thru a new miracle medical technology involving corneal transplants. This new technology requires an almost perfect genetic match to succeed and to accomplish the necessary degree of genetic matching the doctors have proposed that my wife and I conceive a child, carry it to term and a week before it's due date we surgically harvest the corneas from the 39 week old fetus. We have the option of aborting the fetus at that time or allow it to live minus any chance of sight.

Is it moral to save my 6 year old son from a lifetime of blindness thru the proposed procedure? Is it more or less morally acceptable to abort the fetus or allow it to grow up blind? If it’s not morally acceptable at 39 weeks, how about 38, 37, 36…….???

Situation #2

Here's another more hypothetical example at the other end of timeline for the fetus. Imagine that some cosmetic company has decided that there is a huge market among aging baby boomers for a product that reduces the effects of aging on the complexion. Imagine that they have found that, by cloning blatocysts, they can produce a skin conditioner rich in stem cells that rejuvenates tired old faces. Is it morally acceptable to clone human blatocysts for the purpose of manufacturing a skin conditioner, since they are “dumpster bound” anyway??

If we are ever going to arrive at an answer, the dialog has to be respectful and mature. This is where I depart from the progressives because I have yet to see anything but ad hominems and it’s embarrassing to see the sorry state of reasoning from the people I support the other 99% of the time. (I welcome a reasoned response, but please skip flaming me in response to this, it would just confirm my position about the ad hominems)

Edmonds Dan


Health care: ever been turned down for health care? Ever been refused treatment?

Education: How much is enough, if $7,000 per student (that's just what the state spends, not including local taxes above that) is not enough. How much more is needed?

Minimum wage: $7.62 in the state of Washington. Can you live in Seattle on that? No, but you can't really live in Seattle on 3 times that... You can live in many other parts of the state on that amount. Not to mention we have the highest minimum wage in the nation...

So, if "conservatives" are doing things wrong, what's the solution?

Free healthcare for all?

Double spending per student?

Double the minimum wage?

What's your solution?


Edmonds Dan,

That's an easy one that the Christian fundamentalists will, ironically, fail to embrace. You'll find it in 2 Corinthians 8:13-14

13For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality--

14at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;



You overlook those of the "seamless garment" philosopy.


And for my fellow prolife Democrats (I know, sounds like some kind of oxymoron) you'll find fellow travellers at:



I have a very tidy solution to othis problem of stem cell research:

Since you think it's immoral, don't have any of the treatments it produces.

If, for example, you have Parkinson's disease and there's a treatment derived from stem cell research, refuse it and just suffer. Make your relatives suffer too, since, of course, you want to deprive them of the fruit of the poisoned tree.

I, on the other hand, will enthusiastically avail myself of the treatment derived from little bundles of cells that were destined for the trash heap and were instead put to humanitarian use.

Problem solved!



I don't believe that "theft" is immoral. I need a new car. I will enthusiastically avail myself of your car.


What in the hell are you talking about Mike? "Spiritual matters aren't matters of the intellect, but rather of the heart." BULL FUCKING SHIT. Most Evangelicals believe things like, "Jona lived in the belly of a whale for three days" and "Noah built a really big boat and put a pair of every animal on earth in it and then the earth flooded". Believing that shit and countless other Buybull myths isn't a matter of the heart, it's a matter of being fucking psychotic. Don't kiss these peoples asses so they'll listen to you. Tell them the truth, tell them they're mentally fucking ill. I like to call them Christ Psychotics because that's what they are. Tell me how they're different than a schizophrenic who believes their fantasies are reality? Have you ever talked to a Schizophrenic or a Temperal Lobe Epilepsy patient? Try it sometime and tell me how they're different than a Christ Psychotic.

Our society locks up people that have imaginary friends,people that hear voices that others cannot hear and people that believe others are plotting against them and reading their thoughts. How is that much different than the Godiots who hear Jesus talking to them or people that are preparing for the RAPTURE!?!?!? These freaks think God is watching their every move and that they're going to be judged on it when they die.

Delusions are beliefs held despite obvious evidence that they are not real. For some reason people have decided to call delusions, "Faith". Faith is believing in something despite the lack of logical proof or material evidence.


Who was talking about theft?



I was talking about theft. I applied your logic to a different issue in life. Your logic doesn't work.

We don't live in isolation, we can't each apply our own personal morality as you suggested with your "tidy solution to stem cells" remarks. We have to have an informed, mature, sincere, respectful discussion and your flippant remarks about "problem solved" don't rise to the level of discourse we need.

By the way, what kind of car will I be acquiring in this world you would have us live in???


Thank you, John. Thank you for reminding why I'm not a liberal. The hate and intolerance in your heart is depressing. Liberals like to point fingers at Christians and Republicans as being the intolerant one's, but your post is the epitome of hate. And you're the party of diversity? haha.

Armand Tanzarian

Great post, Michael.

With regards to fundamentalist Christians, I've given much thought to this, and have come to the following conclusions: The faith of a fundamentalist provides comfort, and in exchange for that comfort he/she will seek ways to prove their devotion. Fundamentalist leaders are anointed by God and their moral philosophies are generally accepted as an expression of God's will. Christian congregations receive from each other strength from a shared moral philosophy and self-righteous faith.

In other words, the flock is spiritually and personally invested in their moral positions. I do not believe fundamentalist Christians can question their moral philosophies without questioning their personal faith. I do not believe these people are stupid. I believe they are weak.


Maybe athiests and agnostics need better marketing, like fancy costumes and a mascot. Christians have their bearded hero friend and all those cute silly outfits and lavish houses of worship. Maybe if athiests were better at the theatrics the religious folk might not be so frightened of them and we could convince them to try counting past three.


Arthur Caplan, M.D. :

"An administration that has shown itself over and over again to have trouble telling the truth is now telling Americans in wheelchairs, those with damaged hearts, babies who are diabetic and those left immobile by Parkinsonism not to worry. The president, whose grasp of science left him unable to identify creationism as a fundamentally religious idea, and his trusty sidekick Karl Rove, rarely seen in a white lab coat but who knows something about rats, having been in Washington for some time now, claim to know best which medical research is most likely to benefit diseased Americans in the future."


Sen. Tom Harken:

I say Mr. President, you are not our moral ayatollah. You don't have that right and you don't have that power. Oh, you can veto legislation, you can veto it...He vetoed it because he said it was immoral...tantamount to murder. No, I'm sorry but it is hyprocisy at the extreme for the President to take that position.

So I ask, if using discarded embryos to extract stem cells is murder, isn't it then immoral to allow federal research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells as the current administration's policy permits? Murder is murder, Mr. President.

And why isn't the President prosecuting the many thousands of American men and women who use these IVF clinics? If their attempts to have children results in leftover embryos and these embryos eventually get discarded, aren't they complicit in murder? Under the President's narrow, moral logic, and I'd hate to call it logic, the President's narrow, moral view, any man or woman who allows their embryo to be discarded, something that happens everyday, is authorizing murder. Why is the President standing idly by? Why isn't he putting all these men and women in jail?



I'd happily tolerate Christians if they could mind their own fucking business. Go ahead and worship your friendly sky god, I don't give a rats ass. Just stay the fuck out of my life. Don't fucking try to stop women from abortions or gays from getting married. Don't try and stop me from having a doctor help me commit suicide. Don't try and stop me from burning the flag. Don't try and push your religious fucking shit into our government. Leave your god shit out of our public buildings, out of the pledge and out of our fucking schools. I've "tolerated" this shit for way too long.

Thanks to you ignorant -shit eating- dumb fucks, we've got a retarded monkey for a president that thinks god talks to him. Now he's gone and vetoed the stem cell bill because of his stupid fucking religious beliefs.

Guess what Einstein, you're the intolerant one, not me. Maybe you should try pulling your head out of your fucking ass and try doing a little research into your religion. Maybe then you'd see what a crock of fucking shit it all is. Maybe then you wouldn't vote for a born again Christian who doesn't know his ass from a hole in the wall.

Tolerant people like me have sat back while your cult has overrun this country. The last straw was this stem cell veto. Now I'm fucking pissed. I'm going to everything in my power to make sure you stupid fucking pieces of shit don't fuck this country up any more than you already have.

Fuck you.


Well said, fundalmentalism is a tatic, not a religion and these bootlickers will follow Bush and Co. over the cliff if need be.




"Even little kids are pissed at Bush"

Click on the video stream of your choice

Edmonds Dan

Ron posted:

That's an easy one that the Christian fundamentalists will, ironically, fail to embrace. You'll find it in 2 Corinthians 8:13-14

13For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality--

14at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;

Ah yes, Paul's letter to the churches in Macedonia about cheeful giving. If we are to follow this, then the giving should be direct from the people and churches, not through government.

Additionally, you should rejoice! For evangelicals actually give at a rate roughly 4X that of the general population (HOp. cit., Willmer, Wesley K. "Evangelicals: Linking Fervency of Faith and Generosity of Giving." Hamilton, Charles H. and Warren F. Ilchman. Cultures of Giving: How Region and Religion Influence Philanthropy.). So it seems the dreaded evangelicals are actually following through on those verses...

Of course, the original questions still stand!

1. What's the solution to health care?

2. How much money should the government spend on education?

3. What should be the minimum wage?

Not just generalities like "free for all, more, and more" but some hard numbers. Where should we go to satisfy what the liberal side would like to see?

And what happens if we get there, and we still have people not getting medical treatment, still have functional illiterates graduating, and still have working poor?


I agree, Bla'M, this is one of your finest pieces of op ed writing!
Ron, your logic is not consistent with science. I find that many fundamentalists refuse to suppot their beliefs with scientific inquiry, even though it is available to them. (No ad hominem intended.) Corneal transplants are amazingly common....no genetic matching required. I can't think of an appropriate disease to use in your example, because stem cell research is in its own embryonic stage. But if you could find a more viable situtaion, we will ponder the ethical dilemma.

&rew said: "Maybe if athiests were better at the theatrics the religious folk might not be so frightened of them and we could convince them to try counting past three." I think you've come through the badk door and made a great point! Atheism has its fundamenta;lists, too. We all know about the theatrics of Madalyn Murray-O'Hair, and she, unfortunately will always be associated with American atheism. But atheists like Michael Newdow, who is pursuing his religious beliefs through the Courts, have given respectability to atheism.
I thought I had reached my limit of outrage-ability with previous Bush proclamations, but the stem cell research denial is UNCONSCIONABLE!
Glad to see you came in from the Sun, Sparkler....older people are at higher risk of sun damage.


That was hillarous, Bush looked retarded standing around kids that were not his own for a prop, plus he got the bird from someone who is much more enlightened than he. God Bless that kid for showing what the rest of Amurica thinks of him.


Sparks and Joans: CONGRATULATIONS!


Armand: " I do not believe these people are stupid. I believe they are weak."

Interesting take on it. That certainly fits the "strict father" notion of governance. And the degree to which church leaders (Swigart, Falwell, Reed, etc.) can be immoral, amoral and downright corrupt and still bleed their followers of money seems to support that view.

You sure have opened a can of worms here, Michael. I don't think I've seen so many unrelated and even irrelevant arguments on any post in a long, long time.

Perhaps we need all those little blastulas to survive so we can send them over to the MIddle East to fight our religious wars for us.

Oh, Dave is talking about this right now . . .


ExDan, this is not about education, the minimum wage or any other attempt to divert the topic. Actually, I'm enjoying reading this because it is enlightening to see the different perceptions generated by the notion of stem-cell research.

stodge charger

James Dobson was beaten as a child by his mama's stiff, undergarments. They must have been stiff, right?


Ron: I want to tackle the "theft" example.

When you steal my car, I respond with moral outrage and call the police. You have taken away my mode of transportation. You've perpetrated a concrete violation against me by taking my property.

The use of stem cells for research triggers moral outrage in you - for what? What have you lost or how have you been concretely affected by the use of stem cells in a lab, hospital or other research space? How are you personally affected?


Sparks, you did the Webhead thing! Congratulations! The previous congrats was a NYT article about public schools being equal to or surpassing private schools...off-topic, but who cares? God? His blastocysts?


Frem't, I saw the article. While I'm glad for any good pr these days, I'm tired of every little comparison and petty complaint about education. There's good and bad in everything . . . lawyers, oil companies (maybe?), doctors, software developers, blogs, etc., etc., etc.

And regarding $7000 a student, get real. Lakeside does not educate students at $7000 per kid. You get what you pay for.

Reagan is talking stem cells.


Joans to Ron: "The use of stem cells for research triggers moral outrage in you - for what? What have you lost or how have you been concretely affected by the use of stem cells in a lab, hospital or other research space? How are you personally affected?" And how is a pharmacist personally affected by filling a prescription for Plan B? Is it ethical to refuse? Why doesn't the pharmacist agree to halt the growth of stem cells in the first place?


Joanie wrote: When you steal my car, I respond with moral outrage and call the police. You have taken away my mode of transportation. You've perpetrated a concrete violation against me by taking my property. The use of stem cells for research triggers moral outrage in you - for what? What have you lost or how have you been concretely affected by the use of stem cells in a lab, hospital or other research space? How are you personally affected?

Joanie, I am 100% in favor of federally funded stem cell research, am pro-choice, and all that good stuff. But your and Dana's argument isn't the proper one to make. If Joe murders Jack, no concrete violation has been perpetrated against me. Yet I still feel comfortable in being morally outraged, no? The fundamental point in question is at what point does destruction of human cells constitute "murder." If you believe life starts at conception, abortion is murder, stem cell research is murder, and you are actually morally bankrupt if you just turn a blind eye to it. So "don't like abortions? Don't have one" and "don't like stem cell research? don't do it/don't benefit from it" just doesn't work as a reasonable argument. Pro-choicers and pro-stem cell researchers like me need better arguments than the above if we're ever to convince the other side.


Joanie: "strict father"--been reading Lakoff? :)


Lu'be, IS there any convincing argument for the other side...those who belive that life begins at conception? We can argue the definition of "conception", but it is a faith based, not science based belief, isn't it?


I'm left wondering if the cons think it is moral that the unused zygotes get incinerated, which is what happens to them if there are "leftovers."


Joanie Im the one who brought up education, etc. to illustrate a point that most, not all but most, prolifers are adamant that all embryos be brought forward to birth, but consistantly vote for programs and for politicians that get rid of or severely cut programs that help children AFTER they are born.

I am focusing on people's reactions to it all, not trying to bring anyone over to my point of view. I would rather give a cat a bath.

Fremont...I use sunscreen!!


Oh, and Joanie,,,I am still HTML retarded. I just copy and past the template you sent me..heh


Fremont, your pharmacist example is interesting because he is a conduit to the event . . . so, not sure how to consider it. Of course, in my mind, he is despensing a service and that is all. I see no concrete offense against him. But, it is arguable.

Lukobe, I absolutely agree that most of us are "morally outraged" by many things and we should be. I disagree with your example of murder because the concrete event of the murder removes from society a person who pays taxes, may have children to support, purchases goods and services, loved ones who have bonded physically and emotionally with them and has friends with whom he/she has bonded, served, owes, loves, etc.

The murder or death even of a developed fetus is also concrete in that you will find little graves for them everywhere. My mother has four of them in Mt. Vernon.

I agree with you that the crux of the matter is the belief about when human beings become human beings or when the "stuff of life" becomes a living (so tempted to say "breathing" here) organism that would be considered not just human but a human being - a viable human being. As we know, most blastulas are cast off naturally. They don't stick to the uterine wall. They are not viable. So, how do you factor that into your argument.

Where I disagree with you is your making "moral outrage" the core of my argument. It isn't. The core of my argument is the personal concreteness of the situation. I am morally outraged when anyone steals a car. But, the law does not primarily address my moral outrage; it primarily addresses, I think, the act perpetrated on the victim - that of taking property.

I defy you to find a gravesite for a blastula. Do we have a victim when blastulas are taken for research? Do we have a potential victim?

Perhaps I'm not understanding the gist of your argument . . . I found it confusing.

I hope you can make some sense of what I've written here!

Yeah, reading Lakoff . . . but also, applying some observational skills. Yes?


Sparky: You're not retarded! You're efficient!

Also, about the education thing . . . I knew that you had and I agreed with your post. Your post was responding to a notion relevant to the discussion of Christian ethics . . . I think . . . which is part of this whole debate.

ExDan tried to turn it into a discussion of health care, wages, and educations outside the Michael's commentary.

At least, that was my take on it.


BTW, glad you're back Lukobe. I always enjoy your posts.


One more thing . . . Reagan brought up the use of eggs that are not fertilized and contain only one set of dna but are tricked into becoming blastulas by chemically altering them. These will work for stem cell research.

How should we consider these? Would they provide an acceptable substitute for fertilized eggs?


Back to Michael's column and final question:

Will this veto work to bring out the base and do they trust this administration?



That was really stupid.

It's tirades like yours that convince me that the prochoice side has no valid argument or they would certainly have offered it in lieu of your nonsense.

If you can craft an argument in support of embryonic stem cell research, I eagerly await hearing it.


Thanks Joanie, I know I've been gone for a while.

I don't think the reason murder is illegal is because it removes a taxpayer from the rolls, though. Plenty of things are illegal because of moral reasons--now, whether or not you agree with those morals is another question.



Sorry, I'm confused when you say "your logic is not consistent with science."

I offered the textbook defintion of several logical fallacies, and demonstrated how several common arguments in support of embryonic research can be described as examples of these classic logic fallacies.

I then posed several hypothetical situations for others to test their logic against. The corneal transplant was not intended to represent the actual state of modern day occular medicine, it was just a hypothetical example against which you could test the logic of your argument.

So, hypothetically, would it be moral to conceive a child for the purpose of harvesting the corneas to save the sight of my hypothetical 6 year old son?

Is it morally acceptable to market the, hypothetical, skin rejuvinator?

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