This news item is a bit outdated, originally appearing in April of 2012, but I came across it recently and it's full of quotes of the too-good-to-pass-up variety.

Recall last year when Florida Gov.

Rick Scott – who totally doesn't own a chain of drug testing clinics, because he transferred his majority stake to his wife in the kind of "share shuffle" that is illegal in nearly every state outside of the former Confederacy – led the charge to drug-test all TANF ("welfare") recipients. Think of the money Florida will save when it can deny benefits to all Those People with their crack and their weed and their bath salts and whatnot!

Stunningly, the state did not end up saving any money. In its first four months the failure rate for benefit applicants was slightly over 2%. Since the state was obligated to reimburse the 98% who did not fail for the cost of their test, the cost to taxpayers far exceeded the amount that would have been paid in benefits to the drug using applicants. In four months, the program was almost $50,000 in the hole. In the grand scheme of a state budget this is not much money.
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The point, however, is that as a vehicle for fiscal responsibility this law is an abject failure. Few applicants failed the drug tests and the number of applicants was essentially unchanged.

The net savings of -$50k means that the law accomplished its real, which is to say unstated, purpose of funneling tax dollars to medical testing companies like the ones Rick Scott totally doesn't own. The problem for pro-testing lawmakers is to find a way to continue the policy now that its stated goal of saving money has been given the lie. Well that's not so hard; if you miss the goal, just move it to wherever the ball landed.

It turns out that they didn't write the law to save money. It was about morality and The Children all along!

Chris Cinquemani, the vice president of the Foundation for Government Accountability, a Florida-based public policy group that advocates drug testing and recently made a presentation in Georgia, said more than saving money was at stake.

"The drug testing law was really meant to make sure that kids were protected," he said, "that our money wasn't going to addicts, that taxpayer generosity was being used on diapers and Wheaties and food and clothing."

Florida's governor, Rick Scott, who supported the measure last year, agreed.

"Governor Scott maintains his position that TANF dollars must be spent on TANF's purposes — protecting children and getting people back to work," said Jackie Schutz, the governor's deputy press secretary.

Here is Ed's free lesson for the day: When an idea is pitched with "making sure that kids are protected" as a primary selling point, run. Run like your ass is on fire.

It's amazing how easy it is to turn a failed law into a success.
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Just redefine "success" on the fly and you can't go wrong. I can't see this type of argument without immediately having Iraq War flashbacks. Remember 2004? What a great year that was. It was the year in which we learned that we invaded Iraq because of al-Qaeda, and if not because of al-Qaeda then because of chemical/nuclear weapons, or human rights abuses, or Bringing the Fight to The Enemy, or establishing a foothold for democracy in the Middle East, or whatever other bullshit excuse seemed plausible at the time. Boy, moving those goalposts sounds exhausting sometimes.

59 thoughts on “MOVING GOALPOSTS”

  • Field Marshal Montgomery once said that Operation Market-Garden had been 90% successful. Upon hearing this, HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands remarked: "My country can never again afford the luxury of another Montgomery success."

  • Politicians, as a general rule, have to avoid declaring goals that can be measured objectively. It was ballsy as hell for Kennedy to declare that we would put a man on the moon because that was a concrete, real world accomplishment that could not be fudged. (Fuck off, CAPRICORN ONE fans.)

    It's why the various Wars on Intangibles (Terror, Capital 'D' Drugs, etc.) have been, from a political perspective, such huge successes. By declaring policies that demand whopping huge budgets and in which 'moral' victories count the same–or more–as numerically or materially verifiable victories, those in office guarantee that they cannot lose, since even failure is evidence of "the severity of the problem," and thus proof that they were right to attempt to slay that dragon in the first place.

    Frankly, goal-posts of any sort are the sign of bush-leaguers. (Obvious pun that I'm walking away from.) I mean, for God's sake, don't declare yourselves to be problem *solvers*–look what happened in post-Katrina New Orleans when you all declared you were going to make things right! Declare yourselves to be problem *alleviaters*–take a tip from weasel words of advertising: We're going to *help* to keep *certain* unworthy individuals from *exploiting* the welfare system.

    Or not, fuck it. Until the electorate actually nails your feet to the planks and refuses to let you go govern until you give us an actual list of promised concrete, enumerated accomplishments, the achievement of which can be verified by independent, non-partisan agencies, you can pretty much just lie and obfuscate, and we'll shrug and click on the remote to see if that spinoff of "Toddlers & Tiaras" has started yet. You fucking suck, and you're exactly what we deserve.

  • @Arslan –
    When talking about bribery and such, you should be careful who you offer as 'the good guy'. Prince Bernhard, a founding father of the Bilderberg Group, not only 'liked' Lockheed a little too much but also reputedly fathered children all over the place.

  • I just fell headlong down the rabbit hole, and read the Florida TANF annual report over breakfast. And then Mississippi's guidance for TANF applicants, because I thought that might be an interesting comparison.

    The mandatory drug testing programme is clearly the cherry on the cake of misdirection, because it beggars belief that anyone would design an intervention for poor children that has the aims that TANF does.

    Apologies if these are familiar to all of you, but they're listed as:

    1. To provide assistance to needy families with children so that they can live in their own home or the homes of relatives;
    2. To end the dependency of needy parents on government benefits through work, job preparation, and marriage;
    3. To reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies; and
    4. To promote the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

    Marriage cannot, of itself, reduce 'dependency'; it can only transfer it from the state to an individual's spouse. The risk in this for women is obvious, and Florida's programme (or an associated programme) contains screening for domestic abuse, and then funding for domestic violence shelters and other interventions. The definition of domestic abuse is quite narrow, though, and only a tiny number of people have been given deferrals from the work eligibility requirements for TANF (200) compared with the number of families who have accessed shelters or counselling (~50,000). Mississippi seems stone faced on domestic abuse: only people who have reported an incident of domestic abuse to law enforcement and a doctor can seek to defer their obligations under TANF.

    Work to support families is extremely valuable, as can be engagement with children on the part of non-custodial parents (although I cringed at the incentives for supervised contact, because there didn't seem to be any line drawn beyond which is was acknowledged that children might be better not seeing that parent). The obsession with marriage is bizarre, though, and Mississippi is particularly guileless about it; all new first marriages bring with them a six-month disregard of the spouse's earnings and assets for TANF eligibility calculations. I also fail to understand why a pregnancy that isn't wanted or planned will be rendered more palatable by being accompanied by a marriage certificate, or why a pregnancy that is wanted and/or planned is worse for not having one?

  • c u n d gulag says:

    "Boy, moving those goalposts sounds exhausting sometimes."

    Not really. Not when the MSM is there to help move them.

    And then, even if some media outlet does begin to cover stupid sh*t like this – "Oh, look – some young white babe is missing!" Or, even better, her kid(s)!!!"
    And off the MSM goes, with half careening down the streets like the Keystone Kops, and the other half clustered around some government office or police station, waiting for a spokesperson to give them an update.

    Works EVERY feckin' time!

  • Americanadian says:

    You overlook one of the benefits of having the law be "for the children" – the first time some TANF recipient does something horrible to their kids while on drugs, that one incident will justify the law forever and ever, and anyone who suggests otherwise can be portrayed as wanting to expose children to the clutches of poor, violent drug abusers.

    Elle: "The obsession with marriage is bizarre, though" – Blaming a change in attitudes towards marriage that is unlikely to be reversed is an easy scapegoat for the decline in relative wealth of the lower and middle classes for the last thirty years. It lets the Charles Murray and David Brooks types blame the poor for their poverty, and gives the religious right something to sermonize about that doesn't involve challenging their well-to-do parishioners. Subsidies and language like the ones you highlighted are cheap and (mostly) meaningless ways of showing just how serious the legislature is about promoting matrimony amongst the great unwashed.

  • I'd like to see drug testing done on all gun owners and gun buyers. You know, for the safety of the children.

    We'll see how quickly the popularity of drug testing dries up among right-wingers when that one gets implemented.

  • In the build up to the Iraq invasion we didn't just move the goalpost – we ran out of the stadium and halfway down the block with it.

    There was nothing, and I mean nothing that Iraq could have done to keep us from invading as of fall 2002 and probably as early as spring 2002. We'd have just kept running with that goalpost so that they never could have satisfied our demands. We wouldn't have taken "yes" for an answer.

    We don't move 150,000 troops and all the logistics for an invasion halfway around the world as a "show of force" or "to send a message". It's much too expensive. A show of force is a couple carrier battle groups and a detachment of bombers.

    When we start moving the heavy stuff, you know there's going to be a war.

  • Americanadian says:

    "I'd like to see drug testing done on all gun owners and gun buyers. You know, for the safety of the children."

    That might actually prevent a few shootings. It would also probably help limit sales to cartel members or their gun-buying patsies down along the border.

  • freeportguy says:

    Good one, Sarah!

    In my view, any authority that shoots down and tries to repeal any ENVIRONMENTAL regulation impliciWAIVES any right to invoke "the children", for we ALREADY know they do NOT care for children and that such reference is PURE BS solely used to justify whatever stupid thing they're doing.

  • Middle Seaman says:

    May be it isn't too late to split the Union. Our tax dollars will not go from North to South and from East and West to Center. The earth will stop being flat, climate change will exist and Darwin will be dancing in the streets.

    Gov Scott is an accomplished criminal with a record of 1MBytes.

  • @Sarah: interesting isn't it. Not sure about the States yet, but here we have Random Breath Testing (RBT) for drivers. The cops just close off a lane of traffic, and pull drivers over and breathalyse them. They're trying to work on a non-invasive test for other controlled substances. Imagine the howls you'd get if the cops could RBT Concealed Carries, for the children of course.

    @Mjr: in the months *prior* to Iraq invading Kuwait, I'd noticed numerous convoys of troops on 205 in Portland. Never had I seen that large amount of troop movement, and it registered as very odd. Then in August Kuwait was invaded, and it started to become more clear.

  • In theory there are supposed to be three branches of government that counter each others improprieties, but that system has fallen apart. The public isn't exactly riding herd on these politicians either, although blogs like this are trying to do something.

  • I'm not smart enough statistics wise to say this with any kind of certainty but the figure represented by the dirty tests (2%) has got to be insignificant, no?

    On the other hand, how many sitting politicians use cocaine or other drugs right now, while in office? I'd place more than a gentleman's bet that the results would be higher than 2%.

  • As Dryden said, things like this will never get better until the people start demanding actual answers to policy questions. The for-profit infotainment industry (they are not news media, and have not been for a very long time) does not have any financial incentive to actually require that questions get answered in political infomercials (there called 'interviews'). Some of them have the guts to ask "What, specifically, do you plan to do about X", but the answer is always "We'll tell you later", and it's accepted at face value every time.

    We get all the government we deserve.

  • I think we forgot one reason for drug-testing benefit recipients: the fact that non-benefit recipients LOVE the idea.

    I can't tell you how many stupid forwards I've gotten from friends, co-workers, and relatives (especially the in-laws) advocating for drug testing using language that basically boils down to euphamisms for "We good law-abiding white people have to be subjected to government oversight like laws and taxes and corporate control in the workplace, so those goddamn lazy poor black and brown people getting something for nothing should damn well have to be humiliated by peeing in cups in front of the authorities if they want to eat!"

    Couple it with drug-testing profits, and it's a political win-win for the right!

  • Why do you hate capitalism Ed? Funneling money from taxpayers to corporations is WHAT THE PRODUCERS DO!

    Ayn Rand would be proud.

  • While measurable goals are the best kind (as my HR department took the time to tell me in a clever powerpoint presentation involving the acronym SMART), it's understandable that a politician would avoid them. After all, when tackling a complex problem like poverty (drugs, violence, etc.), it's going to be tough to hit on the solution on the first try, and even incremental success can be laudable. However, the simple-minded electorate wants Results and they want Results that can be explained in 30 seconds on Fox News. So this lack of measurable goals is not entirely the fault of the elected officials.

    That said, the stated goal should be the same as the actual goal ("Raise money for the companies I totally don't own"). This is where the moving goalposts becomes a problem: as Ed points out, the actual goalpost didn't move an inch -they just moved the public goalpost around.

    @Sarah: Great suggestion!

  • Rick Massimo says:

    You're all overlooking the obvious "solution" to this problem: Don't reimburse recipients who pass the drug tests.

    Tell me no one's gonna propose it.

  • About that "we get the government we deserve" thing…

    Imagine our society as a siamese twin, one of the twins being a huge, fat, puddling-like tumor controlled by a small hideous parasite that sucks all nourishment to itself. Just how did the other twin deserve to be attached to something like that?

  • I think we forgot one reason for drug-testing benefit recipients: the fact that non-benefit recipients LOVE the idea.

    I find this attitude entirely bizarre. How awful a person do you have to be to begrudge someone a joint to ease the shittiness of a day of juggling pennies, and working at a job in which you are almost certainly treated like a recalcitrant child?

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Arslan: When I first visited the Netherlands, I was shocked to learn that there's a street in Eindhoven named after Montgomery. I suspect that Arnhem does not have such a street.

  • The goalposts are in Lake Michigan where a bunch of Northwestern fans from the seventies threw it in there after breaking that long football losing streak. The Republicans are really good at improvising and getting suckers to buy their bill of goods. They have Family Values to fall back on at pretty much any juncture. The Democrats have jack shit to fall back on.

  • I suspect that Arnhem does not have such a street.

    Can't say with certainty that there isn't a Montgomerystraat in Arnhem–pretty sure not. Also not one in Nijmegen. But there are TONS of memorials to the American, British and Canadian soldiers who fought in Operation Market Garden all over the area–and a museum about Operation Market Garden in Arnhem.

  • There's also a Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt Street in most major French cities.

  • Davis X. Machina says:

    How awful a person do you have to be to begrudge someone a joint to ease the shittiness of a day of juggling pennies, and working at a job in which you are almost certainly treated like a recalcitrant child?

    You don't have to be awful, you just have to be human. In any policy debate, take the fundamental depravity of mankind, and the points. The fundamental depravity of mankind doesn't always win, but it always covers the spread. Bucking Augustine, and Calvin, and the Vegas bookies, is a good way to go broke.

  • @Davis

    yeah but, Libs believe that people are basically good (except right of center people) and there is no such thing as a 'sin nature' and all that other religious claptrap.

    That's a blind spot that is not likely to be healed anytime soon…


  • I would not say that all liberals / progressives believe that "people are basically good." I don't. I would rather say something like each person has a great capacity for both good and evil and will manifest both of these to varying degrees depending on many factors both internal and external.

  • In any policy debate, take the fundamental depravity of mankind, and the points.

    Except that social attitudes, and attitudes to specific policy solutions, vary between countries and regions. I don't think that Americans are intrinsically awful. I think that you can do better in formulating policy than trying to work out what sounds most like kicking the person below you on the ladder in the face.

  • "Sin nature"? What are the further implications of this doctrine, I wonder?

    I'm not carrying water for Pelagius, here, but social policies based on a theory of human depravity are unappealing to me.

  • Davis X. Machina says:

    I think that you can do better in formulating policy than trying to work out what sounds most like kicking the person below you on the ladder in the face.

    The art consists in being able to craft policy that will feel like kicking the person below you on the ladder in the face, or like putting one over on the person below you on the ladder, or some such, to the person voting for you, without actually doing it. (You don't actually need the last bit to succeed in politics, you only need it to succeed in governance.

    Show me someone accounted a political genius, or a successful political machine, and I'll show you someone, or some group of people appealing, if not to the worst in people, to their baser instincts. The class struggle is not predicated solely on the proletariat seeking self-actualization.

    Niehbur is right. Prophets and saints don't get past the primaries.

  • (You don't actually need the last bit to succeed in politics, you only need it to succeed in governance.

    I think that depends how you define success in governance. Outside the PoliSci seminar room, TANF is actually kicking people in the face. It would be terrific if someone could get on that.

  • @Elle: "The obsession with marriage is bizarre, though"

    Not really – anybody who's been paying attention knows that all policies in Dixie need to pass the "don't make Baby Jeebus cry" test, and nothing does that more than harlots (ahem, "single mothers").

    Any negative side-effects (spousal abuse, etc) are clearly the baby-aquarium's fault for opening her legs. ;)

  • Phoenix_rising says:

    to ease the shittiness of a day of juggling pennies, and working at a job in which you are almost certainly treated like a recalcitrant child?

    What kind of person would begrudge a joint to the above? A person with the same problems whose $8 an hour workplace subjects her to the same conditions.

    Drug testing for welfare recipients is a very popular policy among my unscientific anecdotal collection of working-class white relatives who always, always, always vote for the reactionary Republican on the grounds that everyone should be mistreated by the Man as badly as they are.

    They love the idea, because they too are shuffling for the change in the couch at month's end and made to submit to random, meaningless dehumanizing policies designed to strip them of their dignity and will to fight back by the end of the split shift. Their argument is, Why should someone on welfare have it better than I do?

    And that right there is the problem.

    …well, no, the problem is that Rick Scott is profiting from this idiotic and expensive policy. But that's why no one is going to change the policy. Voters like it.

  • i especially love the "Sin" bb alludes too. kind of reinforces the idea or concept that we are inherently bad. lol. and that we have to accept their version of "Jesus" or else we are forever depraved and unworthy.

    such healthy and valuable judgments we must take on "faith." their faith and without question.

    same idea when it comes to the lesser amongst us. never admit they are human either. it is so obvious, these "Losers" are contagious and inherently "sinful."
    If they are called "losers" then they are really losers.
    just because X, Y or Z says so. no matter what they do. too much trouble to judge people by their deeds.

    life is black and white in this way of non thinking, with no grey areas. much simpler that way too.

    and to think all this while i have heard said somewhere in their Christian Bible/thought that Jesus loves all the children of the world, red, yellow, black and white, jesus loves the little children of the world. all are precious in his sight.

    i forget that those " sinfull" ones are not so precious and deserve all the "less than" tests the Righteous dump on them to defend how "better" the Righteous claim to be. either accept redemption, their version, or else. such christian love and tolerance. just by defintion, their definition.

    boy,oh, boy, actions speak so much louder than all those wonderful words. only thing that matters is keeping those "less fortunate" away so they don't contaminate our world or steal from the rest of us.

    after all we, the Right, have standards/know the Truth, as God means it to be, and those "people" don't.

    separation of church and state. not in America though, good idea. too bad not a reality.

    why don't those poor losers just move to Somalia and America can return to be the great white hope it was before those damn Liberals destroyed it.
    after all, Liberals hate America. there can be no doubt about that. i hear the Right say it all the time, over and over ad infinitum. must be true, for the Right claim it to be so. the Media says, the Governors says it. everyone says, never hear Liberals deny it either. LOL.

    ergo, it must be true that LIberals hate America

  • @Bernard

    You are taking a simple concept and spinning it into the your own personal Christian horror show. Fine…have a nice life.

    Perhaps there is a non-theological term the pointy heads in the social sciences have come up with that truly does describe the fact that we humans are bent. We have the TENDENCY to do the wrong thing that can't be totally accounted for by stupidity or ignorance. Not every single action or thought is necessarily evil.

    This has been observed for nigh on thousands of years all across the earth. We can leave Jesus out of this for now and that doesn't change the fundamental point that was made earlier. by Davis X Machina

    "The fundamental depravity of mankind doesn't always win, but it always covers the spread. Bucking Augustine, and Calvin (see also others in various religions and philosophies – bb), and the Vegas bookies, is a good way to go broke."


  • @bb

    The reason "secularists" and even liberal Christians like myself tend to get a little defensive when this sort of thing comes up is that people like Pat Robertson use it as proof that they (and ONLY they!) are fit to run the country.

    You know, the "No morality without religion (and by that I mean MY religion)" argument.

  • @bb

    I think you can say almost nothing about the behaviour of humans as a group, and it's inherently problematic to talk about 'goodness' and 'badness' because they are constructs.

    Humans, whatever their own take on 'goodness' and 'badness' are capable of incomprehensible pettiness, extraordinary acts of courage and selflessness, and considerable malevolence.

    I find it ironic that you buttress your argument for some kind of global truth about human nature on Davis X Machina's somewhat cynical, and very specific, observation about the heartlessness of Americans towards the poverty of their neighbour.

  • @Elle: "I think you can say almost nothing about the behaviour of humans as a group, and it's inherently problematic to talk about 'goodness' and 'badness' because they are constructs."

    So extrapolating that: a man can now grab any woman and have sex w her whether she wants to or not, because the act is neither good nor bad as the judgement of the act is a constructed argument? Really??

    For someone who thinks "goodness" and "badness" are constructs and subjective you waste a large amount of ink on the subject of gender equality. You're usually the first to take offense when a commenter calls another a "girl" or variant.

    So there comes a point where we have to declare absolutes, that in the market place of ideas some ideas aren't ideas but lies dressed up as such. It's why the US is such a mess right now, because no one is allowed to say, "What is wrong with you! Declaring "Second Amendment remedies" isn't an opinion it's wrong no matter how you slice it!!" So no, "goodness" and "badness" aren't constructs but a recognised necessary building blocks for society. Either that, or accept that there's nothing inherently wrong with spousal abuse. I'm leaning towards ending spousal abuse myself.

    So why do you think \bb can't say anything about human behaviour? So Christians aren't allowed to look at the world we live in and think something's gone skew-if with it? The Bible certainly does nail down a lot of what is wrong with the world. That word is sin, if you don't like the word sin then fine we'll call it something else… how about Henry? Is that more palatable?

    Whatever you call it, it's what causes the abuse in the first place. Henry is the root of gender inequality. It's the selfishness that surrounds Henry that drives a man to rape someone. Henry is what carves out holes in one's being that leads to substance abuse. Henry effectively has wrought untold suffering upon millions by crashing the economy.

  • So why the obsession with marriage? In theory it's to create a stable environment for children to be nurtured in. Allowing for one parent to stay home and one to put food on the table. Codifying it was to help ensure people stayed together, that one party couldn't just up and leave, leaving the weaker partner in a vulnerable position with even more vulnerable children. I've noticed a trend in couples who've lived together for yonks, suddenly want to get married. Why? Why the sudden change? Now they're trying for children. There you go.

    Why are so many children in poverty? Single parent households. When all relationships are casual what do you expect? Whilst many of the reasons you've mentioned are good ones for someone to run like buggery, that doesn't explain the majority of single parent households. Usually it's the guy dumping and running so to speak.

    You mentioned Driscoll a few weeks ago. Driscoll's harshest words are reserved for men, and their need to step up and be responsible. Effectively he says men need to earn the opportunity to have sex, and he is brutal on calling men out on this — btw if he finds out that a man is abusing his wife or kids he gets a personal invitation to meet the pastor… in the boxing ring.
    In a nutshell his message to women is that they need to be a lot more discerning about who they'll spread 'em for.

    The other reason for the obsession w sex should be obvious. Sex is the only sin that's "obvious" read binary. You're either married or you're not. Greedy? I'm bringing glory and honour to the Lord! I'm using the gifts and skills the Lord has bestowed upon me. To not utilise them to the fullest extent would be dishonouring God. Obviously I am bringing Him glory as he is blessing me so richly. I'm certainly not covetous, I'm aspirational. At least I'm not sleeping around, and I'm providing for my wife and children who I never see…

    So gays can't get married so what they're doing is sin. A woman gets knocked up by a guy who may desire to stick around, but can't get a job to support three mouths so skips town. As they weren't married that's the wages of their sin, they shouldn't have done it in the first place. This final para is for illustration rather than a statement of belief.

  • So extrapolating that: a man can now grab any woman and have sex w her whether she wants to or not, because the act is neither good nor bad as the judgement of the act is a constructed argument? Really??

    Extrapolating my point properly would lead to you: 'men do not rape because they are intrinsically evil.'

  • @Xynzee

    Your definition of marriage has really only existed since the Industrial Revolution, and even in modern times was probably more a creation of post WII pop-culture than the reality.

    For much of history, one person going off to be the "bread winner" while one stayed home was pretty rare.

  • Effectively he says men need to earn the opportunity to have sex

    Surely this is one of the more chilling sentences in the English language? I thought I was maxed out on sympathy for Grace Driscoll after hearing the haircut story, but apparently not.

    From a secular perspective, Mark Driscoll is the leader of an enterprise that grew too fast for his capabilities. (I appreciate that from the perspective of some believers, this is not an appropriate or meaningful description, although I read a lot of Christian women (and some men) who find Driscoll's teaching profoundly concerning.) When I hear descriptions of his teaching, or read excerpts of things he's written, I feel a smidgen of pity for him, but mostly very sad at the impact of his words on people's lives and relationships. I don't understand how any couple can have a fulfilling sex life while perceiving sex as a transaction, and a thing that one person does to another.

  • It's hip! It's cool! It's Libertarianism!

    "When a Red like me wants to argue for something like universal health care or free college tuition, we can point to dozens of wealthy democratic societies doing just that. The Stalinist left is nothing more than a faint memory. But where are the libertarian Utopias?"

    (Great article.)

  • @elle: sorry if I edited down several concepts to a point where the intent was lost on you. My post was way to long as it was. I also caught an error in my thinking as I'd initially used the word 'right'. We can all agree that *no* man has a right to a woman's body, yes. I got that from you. See, I'm paying attention :)

    So to unpack it: what it means is a man shouldn't think that because he has a dick he can have sex with whomever, whenever, however he wants to. With sex comes huge amounts of responsibility. At the very least do you have condoms? What happens if you get her pregnant? Are you in a financial position to assist in raising a kid?

    Well Bucky, sitting around playing X-Box, living in your mum's basement and doing 1 or 2 shifts a week at the Gas-N-Go to buy a case of Keystone Light and an ounce ain't going to cut it.

    Is a man developing qualities that'll make him a good partner and father or is she coming home to a beer drinking 3yo and the kids playing in filth because he's sat in front of the telly whilst she was working her arse off at the diner? Dude, at least have the house clean and dinner on the table ready for her if she's the principle bread winner. Does he have some of his issues under control, or does he have a short fuse?

    In other words is the guy a "good" (used broadly) man or is he being a drop kick?

    The idea though shouldn't be "what ifs", then responding/reacting to the situation when it arises. It shouldn't be Holy Crap!! Pregnancy!! Emergency! Emergency! Damage control! Now what do we do??
    The man should have already thought through his actions before he went and stuck it in someone. The Bible is big on closing the gate in the first instance. If men actually gave it proper consideration in the first instance, and took responsibility for their actions then abortion and single parent households would be far less of a concern. Both of which are the symptom not the cause.

    Does that clarify what I meant by "earning" it? It's more about a man proving himself. Women need to be far more discerning about hooking up with guys who're primarily focussed on a can of Jack and WoW scores.

  • @Mjr: obviously you're not proposing going back to a dowry system. We're also no longer living on communal family farms with extended families to watch over the children. So yes I'm aware of the societal changes over the last 200yrs. That agrarian concept was why children would be down the pit w their parents. They used to work along side their parents on the farm, so why not in the factory? Again something moved beyond.

    Ironically, what we're usually lamenting on this forum is the demise of that 1950s world where only one parent had to work. Prior to that, as soon as a kid was weaned they had them doing something and it was all hands to the pumps. "Childhood" is only 200yrs old.

  • @E* I nearly choked when I read this:

    (as my HR department took the time to tell me in a clever powerpoint presentation involving the acronym SMART)

    I'll never forget being educated in the ways SMART as young 20-something at my first VERY IMPORTANT JOB. Good times.

  • In other words is the guy a "good" (used broadly) man or is he being a drop kick?

    I think we can all agree that 'don't be a dick' is a useful motto to live by. I also agree that people who have children should spend some time and energy on caring for them. I just balk at seeing sex as some kind of reward for being a grown-up; doled out by women on the occasion of their partner filling up a row on his notional refrigerator chores star chart.

    Driscoll's advice to husbands in his congregation on being an Ephesians 5 husband is unobjectionable in some of the detail. If his congregation need reminders not to beat, rape, and torment their wives, then I am glad he is at hand to provide it. The problem is, as he acknowledges, that the complementarian model of relationship he suggests as optimal, contains an intrinsic power imbalance. He teaches that the Bible prescribes a specific type of marriage relationship, which evidence tells us is more likely to be abusive.

  • Xynzee, even the conservative-beloved 1950s were only that for a limited subset of people. Leave it to Beaver was a documentary only of a tiny minority of white people; other white people and many non-white people lived lives of both parents working and Kitten and Princess and Budd working just as soon as they hit their pre-teens. Anecdatally, my white first-generation parents (their parents immigrated) grew up working in the family store and family business practically from the time they could walk, and to hear them tell it, they weren't the only such families on their block.

  • BB, Christianity aint my choice for a religion, but it's the one used in the country i live in. i didn't choose for the laws to be written by Christians fundies. they seem to write them though. especially in the South, and now the Acitivist Judges in the Supreme Court, thanks to the Right.

    just pointing out the stupidity and bigotry inherent when some fundie uses their Christianity/lack thereof and forces their beliefs down my throat.

    and the way the Right uses their False Christianity on the rest of us is what the real problem is. being a minority just proves that. and if you are a white straight male, you are blessed, in America, by birth.

    just amazes me the way Religion damns people for just being people. and the only reason we are here on Earth is to beget, the next generation if we are lucky. and yes gays can beget children. kind of like loose women, lol, to use a familiar comparison. something which drives the Christian fundies up the wall, and unleashed their hate and envy filled sense of jealousy.

    to think God made us the same, if you believe in God, and lesser humans use Religion to divide us into sin and sinners. what a waste, what hatred and what a shame on those that feel so "less than" for shaming others, whether Muslim, Christian, Jew, or whatever Religion you use to hate those different.

    Can't we all get along? Obviously not, according the the Christian Fundies/Right Wingers. Either obey Christianity in America or you are a Liberal who hates America. lol, we have our own Christian Sharia law, we don't need no stinking Muslim Sharia law, thank you very much.

  • Schrader Fan says:

    I'm coming late to this and haven't read all previous comments, so my apologies to anyone I'm copying. I doubt that Governor Scott's income is the reason for this law. Does he really care that much about 50 thousand smackers? Isn't he rich? Another possible explanation for the law is to harass, humiliate, and frighten TANF recipients. If so it would be similar to the many laws intended to harass, humiliate, and frighten women who seek reproductive health care. The governor's profits would be a pleasant side effect, as educational testing companies' profits were a pleasant side effect of the "No Child Left Behind" law, which aimed to cripple public education and increase the advantages of those who could afford private schools. Given the central role that sadism plays in American reaction, I mean "conservatism", that seems like at least a plausible hypothesis.

  • i suppose i could revert to the Weimar Germany stereotypes and replace Jews with whatever the " bad" people are today and the stark similarities would shine for those who choose to "see."

    Problem is we are so divided into "us and them" nowadays, excuses are not even required/needed.

    getting back to a point of communication/conversation between all the various "people" in America today seems almost "stupid and a waste of time."

    we have devolved into a "my side or else" society to such a degree, i wonder what would or could take us back to a point of being able to talk to the "other."

    i know i don't trust the Right wing at all. their lies have permeated/perverted my country for the last 40 years/St. Ronnie's realm. the Propganda machine from the Right is so effective, especially with all the destruction of personal rights of the individual , the destruction of a civil, common society and the rise of the Corporate State. Taxes are a no no, Government is now completely owned by Business, and War is the only Game left for America/the only economy we have. Business sold us to the highest bidder/lowest wage slave.

    talk about terrified as the Right further encroaches upn the "Other". just read how we must believe this or that way, because the Bible says so! no choices but those already approved by the Powers that be.

    frightening and very effectively squashing dissent.
    1984 was just a pipedream. Minority Report and Kafka's The Trial are our reality today.

    Guns,"Their" God and the "Right" Way! it really is frightening to have the Thought Police also be the man with the AK 47!

    Weimar Germany led to WW2, what does Corporate/Fascist America lead to?

  • I'm surprised no one's mentioned the obvious success of the program–because the recipients knew they'd be tested, they all stopped using drugs! Clearly the program is a gigantic success, and a great victory in the War on Drugs. Someone send Rick Scott some more money.

  • @elle: Ah! Gotcha. Sorry if I confused you when I tried to edit my post down. I was only addressing one side of the topic. As for sex leading to "spiritual" connection between two people, it's there in Christianity. Not so overtly in Calvinist theology — Calvin has a lot to answer for — but it's there. Most are appalling at explaining things in spiritual terms. It's because of that spiritual connection — becoming one flesh — that occurs with sex is why it's such a serious subject.

    I hear what you're saying about Eph 5. Sadly the historical record on how those verses have been interpreted and worked out in practice is far closer to the horror you describe. It certainly does lead to Krog the caveman behaviour — though I'm sure Krog treated his partner(s) better than Bubba does.

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