Thursday, March 26

Where's The Beef?! GOP Budget Plan Lacks Details

So, the Republicans were called out by the President on Tuesday for criticizing his budget plan without having an alternative. Today, House Minority Leader John Boehner tried to announce their budget plan. According to The Huffington Post, Rep. Boehner had a hard time backing up the 19-page proposal:

Reporters -- mainstream, liberal and conservative -- greeted the Republican document with a collective scoff.
"Are you going to have any further details on this today?" the first asked.
"On what?" asked Boehner.
"There's no detail in here," noted the reporter.

Answered Boehner: "This is a blueprint for where we're going. Are you asking about some other document?"
A second reporter followed up: "What about some numbers? What about the out-year deficit? What about balancing the budget? How are you going to do it?"
"We'll have the alternative budget details next week," promised Boehner. Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had wisely departed the room after offering his opening remarks. ("Today's Republican road-to-recovery is the latest in a series of GOP initiatives, solutions and plans," he had offered.)
A third reporter asked Boehner about the Republican goal for deficit reduction, noting President Obama aimed to cut it in half in five years. "What's your goal?"
"To do better," said Boehner.
"How? How much?"
"You'll see next week."
"Wait. Why not today? Because he asked you to present a budget."
"Now, hold on," said Boehner. "The president came to Capitol Hill and laid out his blueprint for his budget during the State of the Union. He didn't offer his details until days later."
"In general, where do you see cuts coming?" the Huffington Post asked.
"We'll wait and see next week," he said.
Another reporter reminded Boehner that he has "criticized Democrats for throwing together a stimulus quickly and nobody knew what they were voting on. Are you saying that your budget will be unveiled on the same day that the House is expected to vote on it?"
"No, I expect it'll be out next week," he said, though the House is expected to vote on the budget next week. "But understand that a budget really is a one-page document. It's just a bunch of numbers."
Though not today, of course.

This is our fault, of course. We, the non-politicians, think that a budget plan should have budget details. You know, numbers and dates and whatnot. Silly us. What the republicans did was offer a plan to eventually show us a budget. That was the idea all along, I'm sure. It's nice that they have the time for wordplay. So cute.

Turley Talks To Maddow About War Crimes

Jonathan Turley talks to Rachel Maddow about President Obama's resistance to war crime prosecutions of the Bush Administration.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Here is the transcript of the conversation:

Joining us now is Jonathan Turley, professor of Constitutional Law at George Washington University Law School. Professor Turley, thanks so much for coming on the show tonight.



MADDOW: So President Obama says all the right things to “60 Minutes” about the Bush administration‘s torture policy. And the Obama administration is planning on releasing these torture memos, repudiating the policies, promising to work to change them going forward.

In terms of lining themselves up with the Constitution, how substantive are these moves? Where would you put the Obama administration‘s policies on these issues as we speak tonight?

TURLEY: Quite frankly, I have to put it very, very low. Yes, the fact that he is having a dialogue with Dick Cheney that he finds irritating is understandable. I mean, Vice President Cheney comes off as sort of the cranky uncle you can‘t get rid of at Thanksgiving dinner.

But there is more to it than that. And the reason Obama seems very irritated by it is that he is responsible for the conversation. Because he‘s the one that is blocking a criminal investigation of Vice President Cheney and President Bush and other Bush officials. It is like a bank robber calling up and asking him to debate bank robbery.

President Obama would say, “Listen, fellow. That is a crime.”

But of course, he hasn‘t said that with Dick Cheney. He can‘t say that.

Instead, he says, “How long will it take for us to reconcile our values?”

These are not just our values. They are the law.

He should be saying what you are describing is a crime. And if he would allow an investigation to well-defined war crimes, Dick Cheney would not be making public statements. He would be surrounded by criminal defense counsel.

And yet the president refuses to allow the investigation of war crimes. And we just found out the international Red Cross, also the definitive body on torture, found that this was a real torture program. And yet, the president is having a debate with the guy over whether it was good policy.

MADDOW: In this case, we keep running up against politics versus law, politics versus law. For the legal case here, is all the president needs to do - the only thing he needs to do is get out of the way of prosecutors who would take this as a matter of law regardless of the politics here?

TURLEY: Rachel, let‘s be honest here. It is just as bad to prevent the investigation and prosecution of a war crime as its commission because you become part of it. There‘s no question about a war crime here. There is no need for a truth commission.

You know, some people say, what do you need, a film? We actually had films of us torturing people. So this would be the shortest investigation in history. You have Bush officials who have said that we tortured people. We have interrogators who have said we tortured people. The Red Cross has said it. A host of international organizations have said it.

What is President Obama waiting for? And I‘m afraid the answer is a convenient moment. The fact is he has been told by his adviser that it would be grossly unpopular to investigate and prosecute Bush officials. Well, that is a perfectly horrible reason not to follow principle.

When we talk about values, the most important one is that the president has to enforce the laws. He can‘t pick and choose who would be popular to prosecute.

Should he be appointing a special prosecutor? What should he be doing?

TURLEY: He should be appointing a special prosecutor. There is no question about that. This is the most well-defined and publicly known crime I have seen in my lifetime. There is no debate about it. There is no ambiguity. It is well known.

You‘ve got people involved who have basically admitted the elements of a war crime that we are committed to prosecuting. We don‘t need a truth and reconciliation commission because we are already reconciled to the rule of law. There is nothing to reconcile to.

What the people have to reconcile are the people who broke the law. They need to reconcile with the law. And he happens to be having a debate with one of those people as if they are talking about some quaint notion of policy.

MADDOW: I wonder, ultimately, if the fact that Dick Cheney continues to talk about this issue and continues to promote it as if it is a solution and something the Obama administration ought to feel ashamed for not having continued will ultimately be the thing that creates the political room the Obama administration feels that they need in order to proceed legally. They may just need to get that mad.

TURLEY: Rachel, I wish that were true. But you know, it is sort of like every great villain in every bad movie, dialoguing to prevent something happening. You know, Cheney is dialoguing. He‘s trying - the more he talks in public, the more he makes this look like a policy and not a legal issue which is exactly what he wants.

And the reason that the Obama administration is now pulling back on the truth commission is because they have finally realized that if the truth commission actually investigates, it will be the shortest investigation in history. There is no question there is a war crime.

And at the end, people are going to wonder how and why did you block this? It is like a live torpedo in the water and it is going to come back and hit him. And that is why President Obama is beginning to pull back.

The easiest thing to do is get out of the way, say, “You know what, this is not about values. This is about the law. I took an oath to God to enforce the law. And you know what, fellow? You are going to be a target of an investigation. And maybe you are not guilty. Maybe you are. But it is not for me to decide it. It‘s for a special prosecutor.”

MADDOW: Jonathan Turley, professor of Constitutional Law at George Washington Law School, thank you for joining us tonight.

TURLEY: Thank you, Rachel.

Thursday, March 19

HuffPo: NY AG Cuomo Details AIG Bonuses

This made me angry all over again:

• The top recipient received more than $6.4 million;
• The top seven bonus recipients received more than $4 million each;
• The top ten bonus recipients received a combined $42 million;
• 22 individuals received bonuses of $2 million or more, and combined they received more than $72 million;
• 73 individuals received bonuses of $1 million or more; and
• Eleven of the individuals who received "retention" bonuses of $1 million or more are no longer working at AIG, including one who received $4.6 million;
Again, these payments were all made to individuals in the subsidiary whose performance led to crushing losses and the near failure of AIG. Thus, last week, AIG made more than 73 millionaires in the unit which lost so much money that it brought the firm to its knees, forcing taxpayer bailout. Something is deeply wrong with this outcome. I hope the Committee will address it head on.
We have also now obtained the contracts under which AIG decided to make these payments. The contracts shockingly contain a provision that required most individuals' bonuses to be 100% of their 2007 bonuses. Thus, in the Spring of last year, AIG chose to lock in bonuses for 2008 at 2007 levels despite obvious signs that 2008 performance would be disastrous in comparison to the year before. My Office has thus begun to closely examine the circumstances under which the plan was created.

My first job was in 1991. I worked in an office with my mom. Since then I have been without work for a combined total of about 2 years off and on in my life. My point? I still have not made $1 million. Also, any pay raises I receive are based off of a job well done - not profit-losing idiocy and greed. Furthermore, I have friends who have taken lieu days and pay decreases despite how hard they work everyday. But AIG executives - working or not - get bonuses for bringing down the financial system. Disgusting.

2008 Chargers Season Inspires Possible Rule Changes

Do you remember the call by Ed Hochuli during the Chargers/Broncos game last season that caused alot of uproar? It turns out, the NFL might change the rules to make sure that never happens again. (H/T)

During Week 2 of the 2008 season, referee Ed Hochuli admittedly made a bad call that cost the Chargers a win, ruling that Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler threw an incomplete pass on a play that should have been called a fumble.
Under current instant-replay rules, Hochuli's call was not reviewable because of a line of thinking that players stop playing when a play is whistled dead, which makes it difficult to tell which team would have recovered the ball.
The Broncos went on to win that game, nearly costing the Chargers their AFC West crown. The league's competition committee will consider the change ---- allowing instant replay to determine whether a quarterback fumbles or throws an incomplete pass ---- among other proposals and league matters at the NFL annual meetings beginning Sunday in Dana Point. The meetings conclude Wednesday.

As a Charger fan, that call was devastating. I remember feeling angry when Hochuli announced that the Broncos could keep the ball. Then nauseous when they scored the touchdown. Hochuli apologized profusely and even answered angry emails personally, but the situation was horrible.

Another proposed change involves the draft:

The Chargers, who won their division with an 8-8 record and advanced to the AFC divisional round by beating Indianapolis, will draft well ahead of the Colts based on their regular-season record. The Chargers own the No. 16 slot in the draft, while the Colts, who finished 12-4, will pick 27th.
That circumstance won't happen beginning in 2010 if the proposed draft bylaw is passed. The new proposal, which will not affect this year's draft, states that the top 20 slots of non-playoff teams will be determined by regular-season record. Playoff teams, however, will be reseeded in slots No. 21-32 based on postseason performance.

Seems fair. However, I am glad it will not affect the upcoming draft. Selfish? Yes. Biased? Absolutely. Go Chargers!

Tuesday, March 17

Reich: Real Scandal of AIG

Robert Reich explains on his blog the true reason so many of us feel angry and betrayed about the AIG bonuses.

The real scandal of AIG isn't just that American taxpayers have so far committed $170 billion to the giant insurer because it is thought to be too big to fail -- the most money ever funneled to a single company by a government since the dawn of capitalism -- nor even that AIG's notoriously failing executives, at the very unit responsible for the catastrophic credit-default swaps at the very center of the debacle, are planning to give themselves over $100 million in bonuses. The scandal is that even at this late date, even in a new administration dedicated to doing it all differently, Americans still have so little say over what is happening with our money.
The administration is said to have been outraged when it heard of the bonus plan last week. Apparently Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner told AIG's chairman, Edward Liddy (who was installed at the insistence of the Treasury, in the first place) that the bonuses should not be paid. But it turns out that most will be paid anyway, because, according to AIG, the firm is legally obligated to pay them. The bonuses are part of employee contracts negotiated before the bailouts. And, in any event, Liddy explained, AIG needs to be able to retain talent.
AIG's arguments are absurd on their face. Had AIG gone into chapter 11 bankruptcy or been liquidated, as it would have without government aid, no bonuses would ever be paid (they would have had a lower priority under bankruptcy law that AIG's debts to other creditors); indeed, AIG's executives would have long ago been on the street. And any mention of the word "talent" in the same sentence as "AIG" or "credit default swaps" would be laughable if laughing weren't already so expensive.
This sordid story of government helplessness in the face of massive taxpayer commitments illustrates better than anything to date why the government should take over any institution that's "too big to fail" and which has cost taxpayers dearly. Such institutions are no longer within the capitalist system because they are no longer accountable to the market. To whom should they be accountable? As long as taxpayers effectively own a large portion of them, they should be accountable to the government.
But if our very own Secretary of the Treasury doesn't even learn of the bonuses until months after AIG has decided to pay them, and cannot make stick his decision that they should not be paid, AIG is not even accountable to the government. That means AIG's executives -- using $170 billion of our money, so far -- are accountable to no one.

Saturday, March 14

Happy Pi Day!

Rachel Maddow shows her awesome geekness.

Friday, March 13

Random Movie Post

Unlike most people I know, I am not a huge fan of watching new movies. For example, when the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out, it was the first movie I had seen in a theater in two years. The next movie I saw after that: Star Wars III. Which by the way is the last one so far. Some people might find that odd. It's not like a hate the medium; I do occasionally watch movies on DVD.
Recently, I came across a guy's website that is all about movies and it got me thinking-do I even have any favorite movies? The answer is yes and to my surprise, quite a few of them. I can even put them into weird categories which I will attempt to do presently.

Movies I Loved as a Kid and Still Love Today

1. The Princess Bride - Modern classic if there ever was one. This movie has so many memorable lines that parts of the script will be randomly inserted into everyday conversation. As a matter of fact, I can't think of one person who has seen this movie who did not like it. That would be inconceivable!
2. The Neverending Story - Another movie with a plot line surrounding one of my favorite pastimes: reading. Great fantasy story, terrific characters, and I will still feel weepy at the end when the princess screams "Call my name!" Pathetic, yes, but I don't care.
3. The Secret of NIMH - My favorite cartoon film. Based on the book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. A clutzy crow, a cat named Dragon, Nicodemus, and a momma just trying to keep her sick kid safe. This reminds me - I think my VHS copy is still at my grandparents house. I will have to look for it the next time I visit. Along with my copy of...
4. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - As an adult, the songs can be a bit pushy at times but all in all, still an entertaining film. The remake, on the other hand, was downright disturbing.
5. Star Wars IV-VI - I saw Star Wars: The New Hope 30 times before I was 10 years old. I still remember watching Return of the Jedi in the theater with ten of my closest daycare fans. But I absolutely loved The Empire Strikes Back. I still do.

Old Classics That Rule

1. The Godfather I and II - Never ceases to amaze me how fascinating these films are. If they come on television, it never occurs to me to try to find something better because most likely, there isn't anything better on at any given time. I think I like Part I the best although you learn so much from Part II that it is too hard to choose. Having said that, Part III was horrid and I will never watch it again.
2. The Manchurian Candidate - This movie got me interested in learning about spies. It is because of this movie that I found The Sandbaggers series and for that, I am eternally thankful.
3. 12 Angry Men - Genius. Great actors, brilliant script, simple set with a complicated undertone of hostility and confusion. Just genius.
4. Annie - Yes, that Annie. I know it's weird but I do consider it an old classic and it's a great flick. Maybe it's because I'm a huge Carol Burnett fan. Or I can relate to having a big curly afro. Or maybe I'm just a dork. Yep, that's it. I'm a dork.
5. Dog Day Afternoon - Al Pacino as a bank robber who really sucks at it. There's a transvestite, a media circus, and the fact that it was based on a true story. Funny without being a comedy.

Movies That Are Just Plain Good

1. Kingdom of Heaven - Beautiful in both cinematography and story. I could watch it over and over. And I have.
2. Almost Famous - A movie about a kid who genuinely loves genuine music. He travels with a band to write an article for Rolling Stone, falls in love with a groupie and falls out of love with the whole "musicians as heroes" crap. Great soundtrack also. The Who, Elton John, and more.
3. Primary Colors - Based on a book anonymously written about the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. John Travolta was surprisingly excellent as Jack Stanton. Emma Thompson played his wife. Kathy Bates plays his strategist. Stanton cheats every chance he gets, eats everything he can, and generally relies on others to make him look good. Great movie.
4. Thirteen Days - JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I loved this movie because it helped me better understand the constant strategy necessary to do the right thing in government. And do it while fighting your own military brass who have other ideas of what is right. Complicated situation conveniently narrowed down to three hours. I did a lot of extra research after seeing this movie, but I loved it.
5. Natural Born Killers - I saw this in the theater, then bought the director's cut on VHS. Great film. What happens to abused children when they grow up. What happens when the media becomes the story? What happens when the two meet? Oliver Stone's twisted take on the answers caused a lot of ruckus if I remember correctly. It was great.

The 80s

1. Stand By Me - I am a huge River Phoenix fan and have been since I saw the movie Explorers (Which I have on DVD by the way). Not much needs to be said about this one.
2. The Breakfast Club - If you could relate to one of the characters, you liked it. If you couldn't, you didn't. If you related to a little bit of each, you loved it. Simply brilliant.
3. Some Kind of Wonderful - Rich kids versus poor kids. Privilege versus angst. Fancy cars and special treatment versus tomboys in boxers and working in a car shop. Love, drums, and T-bills at 7%.
4. Weird Science - Two geeks use a computer to create a perfect woman. Like Frankenstein. Because in the 80s, that's what we thought computers could do if you hook into the right modem and use the right floppy disk, right? Yeah, silly in it's context but an entertaining flick I must have seen a dozen times. Plus, how could you go wrong with Kelly LeBrock in lace and a denim jacket. With a popped collar no less.
5. The Secret of My Success - Michael J. Fox moves from Kansas to NYC to make it in the business world. His aunt falls for him, he falls for his uncle's mistress, and pretends to be an executive while simultaneously working in the mailroom. Fox's charisma carries the film but it's enough to make it a hit in my book. Plus, the elevator scenes are great.

I'm sure I missed a few but this is my list of favorite movies. What's yours?

Tuesday, March 10

GCFL: Astronomers Declare February No Longer A Month

This is a funny piece by Michael Haber:

Emboldened by their success in declaring Pluto not a planet, the International Astronomical Union determined this week by a close vote that February is too short to be considered a true month. It has, however, been granted the newly created status of "dwarf month." It shares this dubious distinction with several other calendar time spans, including Labor Day Weekend, Christmas Vacation, and the Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did.
"It only seems fair," said IAU President Ron Eckers. "February reaches a peak size of 29 days, averaging only 28 days for 75 percent of the time. Recent research has shown that other periods, such as the Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did, often exceed this meager time frame. In fact, this erratic behavior only strengthens our case that February does not belong in the same classification as the eleven 'true' months."
Eckers also warned that the crop of 30-day "so-called" months should be careful to maintain their number of days. "They're already cutting it pretty close in my book."

Monday, March 9

Earmark Education

It turns out I never truly understood the earmark debate. I thought I did but I just read a piece by Stan Collender that schooled me (for which I am thankful). h/t Matthew Yglesias

Second, the talk that you can reduce federal spending by eliminating earmarks is flat wrong.For years, lawyers and analysts have tried and failed to come up with a standard definition for “earmark.” But there is no dispute about one thing: All an earmark does is allocate part of the funds being appropriated. That means that eliminating an earmark only eliminates the allocation and not the spending. The appropriation, the law that actually provides the funds for the government to spend stays at the original level regardless of whether the earmark stays in place. The only thing that changes is that the decision about how and where to spend the funds shifts from Congress to the executive branch agency that administers the funds. And that, rather than lower spending, is what the earmark debate really is about. Regardless of what is said about “fiscal responsibility” and spending the people’s money wisely, the issue is not about how much to spend. The dispute is over who gets to make the decision.


Third, eliminating earmarks doesn’t automatically mean that the decisions about how and where to spend the funds will be any less political or more objective. The notion that executive branch departments and agencies make spending decisions solely by applying rigid criteria about which projects are more worthwhile than others is naive.


It makes no sense to think that a bureaucracy headed by an appointee who was selected to implement the president’s agenda will do something different than what the administration wants ... or that the White House would allow it. The decision about how and where the funds will be spent will be just as political as if it was made for an individual Member of Congress. Fourth, the ultimate irony of the earmark debate is that the fiscal conservatives who are the biggest supporters of eliminating earmarks are also the ones who typically express the greatest dissatisfaction with the federal bureaucracy. But the bureaucracy making the decisions would be the result if the campaign to end earmarks were successful. Federal departments and agencies would end up having the sole power to decide how to allocate the funds included in appropriations, and the decisions would be every bit as political as the ones made with earmarks.

I wish I knew all of this during the campaign. I wish others knew about it as well. Especially you-know-who.

Open Left Calls Out Rep. Eric Massa

Chris Bowers at Open Left has a post about Democratic Congressman Eric Massa (NY-29) and his vote against the recent housing bill. Here is his statement on why he voted against it:

"I campaigned on a platform of standing as an independent voice and voting in the interests of my constituents, not a political party. Today I did just that because I didn't think the Housing bill delivered a proportionally fair amount of relief to the families of my district," said Congressman Massa moments after the vote. "With this in mind, I could not rationalize further deficit spending in the face of minimal assistance to the working families in our district. While there are a number of things that I did like in this bill, the projections in it demonstrated that it was largely targeted to States like California, Nevada and Florida where the housing crisis has hit the hardest, not Western New York. I support helping families refinance their adjustable rate mortgages to stay in their homes, but compared to many other states, Western New Yorkers would not benefit enough to warrant my vote."

Wow. That is an amazingly obnoxious and ignorant point of view. I have no problem with politicians who vote against their party leadership. If you genuinely feel that doing that helps your constituents and gives them what they need, so be it. As a matter of fact, Rep. Cao of Louisiana would have done well to go against his Republican leaders on the stimulus bill. However, Massa knows the bill would help his constituents. He voted against it because in his view, other districts get a better deal than his. He admits that these districts were hit harder and could use the help but that doesn't matter to Massa. This guy voted no because he feels his district is in need of more help than offered. Seriously.

Here is Chris's take:

Someone who thinks like this should not be in Congress. Members of the legislative branch should not only vote for legislation that disproportionately benefits their own districts. If you say that a piece of legislation will help people, but you oppose that piece of legislation because your corner of the country does not disproportionately benefit from it, then you have displayed not only an abusive relationship to members of your own district, but a rather shocking level of antipathy toward the residents of the other 434 congressional districts. Does Eric Massa actively dislike the people who live outside of his district? Given that he said that the housing bill will help them, but that he voted against it anyway, it is hard to conclude otherwise...It is more than a little hypocritical for someone who raised $386K from Act Blue, and $554K from PACs to be so willing to give people outside his district the middle finger. If even 5% of that money came from the NY-29, it would be a shock.

Great point. It will be interesting to see how well his future fundraising efforts go. In the meantime, Rep. Massa proves that hypocrites are not only on one side of the political aisle.

Friday, March 6

Democratic vs. Democrat

Nate Silver wrote a piece recently about Republicans' use of the term "Democrat Party" instead of the appropriate term "Democratic Party". It's a great post with video of former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer whining about current Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, it has a chart explaining the media usage of the two variations, and a very succinct analysis regarding the supposed purpose.

The intent seems to be twofold: First, it seems to be an attempt at branding/labeling/controlling the way language sounds in an audience’s ears. Democrat apparently sounds "worse" than Democratic, and it's also an attempt to separate the Democratic Party from small-d democratic, a popular American concept. If such a tactic nets votes, it’s objectively justifiable. Second, it’s designed to get under the skins of Democrats. From a Republican perspective, both seem to be independently important reasons to standardize the epithet. As to the first goal, it’s unclear whether this could work, or whether, if it did, there would be any meaningful result that would ostensibly help further Republican fortunes at the ballot box. I’m open to hearing what this might be.


As for the second goal, the non-tactical, end-in-itself enjoyment of antagonizing Democrats, to use Fleischer’s term, is pure, uncut childishness. Moreover, it’s just boring. Newsflash – human beings have figured out a lot of ways to antagonize other human beings with pejoratives. It’s like Palin-as-hockey agitator, no great skill involved (and of course "Democrat Party" is a Palin staple). It’s literally the most basic childhood taunt – taking someone’s real name, and calling them something else to provoke a reaction. It's the single-celled amoeba of verbal harassment. It’s unmistakable that much of the term’s use involves an attempt at agitation. Again, objectively, there’s nothing wrong with Republicans methodically doing this – refusing the basic respect of allowing the Democratic Party its own name. They can elect their own behavior all they want; it’s a free country. Democrats may choose a reflexive reaction, but nobody "makes" you react, you have responsibility for how you react.

Great analysis. Seriously, I could not figure it out myself. I just didn't understand what the point was; couldn't wrap my mind around it. However, it is Nate's personal feelings regarding this subject that I want to highlight because it articulates exactly how I feel about it.

On the flip side of the coin, denying another person or group basic respect means that once the epithet escapes a Republican’s lips, he or she can’t complain when no respect is returned. Some Democrats aren’t bothered. Their perspective is that the very nature of such a tiny, repetitive jab, like a sibling flicking you on the shoulder, is that it pales in comparison with the constellation of behaviors that create actual wounds. However, some Democrats find it to be a threshold issue in a conversation. It's irrelevant whether it wounds; it's a communication signal. If your behavior choice is a playground tactic, why should my behavior choice be to listen to what you say in whatever else is coming out of your mouth? You won’t agree to my name. I am supposed to take anything you say seriously? Couples therapists know a thing or two about this one. Respect is a threshold condition for listening. If Republicans genuinely want Democrats to listen to their policy ideas, they shouldn't use the term because it's counterproductive. For example, when I hear the term, nothing else matters that comes out of that person's mouth. That Republican has failed the threshold bad faith test, and who cares what they say?