STARTING TOMOROW: "Bring us together!"

MONDAY, APRIL 24, 2023

The person who died in jail: "Bring us together," a teenaged girl once said.

Her statement ended up being famous. First, though, Billy Budd!

According to Herman Melville's reporting, Billy Budd was "a seaman impressed into service aboard HMS Bellipotent in the year 1797 when the Royal Navy was reeling from two major mutinies."

The story proceeds from there. We're going to let the leading authority thumbnail the story as shown:

Billy, a foundling from Bristol, has an innocence, good looks and a natural charisma that make him popular with the crew. He has a stutter, which becomes more noticeable when under intense emotion. He arouses the antagonism of the ship's master-at-arms, John Claggart. Claggart, while not unattractive, seems somehow "defective or abnormal in the constitution", possessing a "natural depravity." Envy is Claggart's explicitly stated emotion toward Budd, foremost because of his "significant personal beauty," and also for his innocence and general popularity...

This leads Claggart to falsely charge Billy with conspiracy to mutiny. When the captain, Edward Fairfax "Starry" Vere, is presented with Claggart's charges, he summons Claggart and Billy to his cabin for a private meeting. Claggart makes his case and Billy, astounded, is unable to respond, due to his stutter. In his extreme frustration he strikes out at Claggart, killing him instantly.

When falsely accused, the astounded Budd was unable to speak. Instead, he lashed out at his accuser, killing him instantly. Or at least, so we're told.

The story is reminiscent of the greatest statement of anthropology of which major experts are aware. We refer to the statement attributed to Gene Brabender, the hard-throwing right-hander, in Jim Bouton's iconic 1970 book, Ball Four.

(For assessments of the book, see below.)

Gene Brabender was no one's sophisticate. In Bouton's telling, the right-hander spoke at a moment of high frustration during a discussion concerning a nuanced matter:

"Where I come from, we just talk for a little while," the frustrated Brabender angrily said. "After that, we start to hit."

After that, we start to hit! So it has been, within our failing nation, over the past several decades as partisanship and polarization have given way to parochialism and the politics of "tribalism"—to a type of political Babel.

"Bring us together," the teenaged girl once said, speaking to one of our 46 greatest presidents. That president failed to accomplish that task, but former president Bill Clinton says we should continue to try.

As part of a longer exploration concerning peace in Northern Ireland. Clinton's interview with Joe Scarborough will air tonight on MSNBC at 8 o'clock Eastern. On Saturday, we posted part of what Clinton said in his recent colloquy the Morning Joe host. 

In the passage shown below, Clinton responds to a question about the culture of guns. To watch the exchange, click here:

SCARBOROUGH: You were president when Columbine happened. And at the time, obviously we were all horrified, but almost thought of that as a one-off. It's now become a regular occurrence.

You and I grew up in a culture where everybody we went to church with, everybody that was in our neighborhood, they all went out hunting. You've talked about shotguns growing up? Same here.

But it's gotten so extreme. What do we do?

CLINTON: Well, one thing that's pretty clear is, whatever we do, we need to do it more together. And I think we need to start talking across this divide.

I remember when Jack Brooks, who was a congressman from Texas and enjoyed the support of the NRA in every election he was ever in, and Tom Foley, the Speaker of the House from Washington, they both told me that when the Senate put in the assault weapons ban into the crime bill, which I wanted, that if I signed it, we would lose the House. 

And we did! And they lost their seats, because of the ability of the NRA to terrify people, but also because we were beginning to lose touch with each other across cultural divides that had always existed but hadn't been barriers you couldn't breach.

"What do we do?" Joe Scarborough said. He was asking an excellent question.

We've highlighted past of Clinton's response:

Whatever we do, we need to do it more together. And I think we need to start talking across this divide.

Clinton went on to say much more about the nation's current state of affairs. We may post more of what he said as the week proceeds.

That said:

As we  ackowledged on Saturday, early commenters instantly said that Clinton is basically nuts. Despondent experts have told us this:

Where those commenters live, we humans only talk so long. After that, we start to hit!

Given the current state of our polity, did Clinton's advice make sense? Once again, we'll state our overall view, as we first stated it years ago:

We're not sure that there's a way to get "back out of all this." It seems to us that the nation has entered an unspoken state of tribal war—and it's very hard to find a way back out of such situations.

At times of war, our human groups tend to behave in ways which experts say are hard-wired. We tend to see the perfidy being expressed by The Others. But we tend to have a very hard time seeing the shortcomings of our own angry tribe.

At this site, we're a lifelong member of the blue tribe. That said, we regard the vast majority of those in the red tribe as our fellow citizens, neighbors and friends.

In our assessment, respect for Others qualifies as an immutable bottom line.

Over Here, within our blue tribe, we can't wave a magic wand and make members of the red tribe magically change their outlooks, viewpoints, understanding and beliefs. Absent the use of that magic wand, we need to use the tools of persuasion where the two tribes disagree.

We've long doubted the idea that there's really any way to avoid the onrushing war. We're also disinclined to believe that there is any actual way to win some such tribal war.

(Example: See Professor Richardson's well-regarded 2020 book. "How the South Won the Civil War.")

In our view, it's may be too late for President Clinton's advice to help. But if we want to avoid the wages of war, our own blue tribe must heal itself—must refine its own methods.

At the start of the film Gone With the Wind, some silly Southern boys are happily looking ahead to waging war on "the Yankees." An hour later, the camera draws back from downtown Atlanta, showing many acres filled with the bodies of the dying and the dead.

Whichever side you start out on, wars can be hard to "win." Clinton said we should reach out to Others. Along the way this week, we'll be looking at some of the ways our tribe may be failing to win.

Unable to respond to Claggart, Billy Budd lashed out. 

According to Melville, the story ended badly for Budd.  Are we sure that our current approach will turn out well for us?

Tomorrow: The person who died in jail?

Concerning Ball Four: In 1995, the New York Public Library included Ball Four as the only sports book among 159 titles in its exhibit “Books of the Century.” 

In 2011, Time magazine listed it as one of the 100 greatest non-fiction books written since 1923, the year when Time magazine first appeared.

We're not saying those assessments were correct. We're saying they were made.

That said, Brabender's comment lives forever. According to major anthropologists, it may be the single greatest description of our imperfect human race!


  1. This post presents a coherent and logical argument, with the author making clear connections between the literary work of Herman Melville, the statement by Gene Brabender, and contemporary politics. The post raises thought-provoking questions about the challenges of addressing societal issues and the possibility of achieving unity.

    1. Thanks. I needed the laugh.

    2. This business of "borrowing" other people's nyms and pretending they have made comments they didn't make is against Blogspot terms of use. It isn't cute or funny.

    3. Somerby loves to quote Dr Bandy Lee, interestingly enough, in a recent interview Dr Bandy Lee said that Republicans are suffering from a Trump contagion. Lee was referring not to just Republican politicians but to all Republicans.

      She said this Republican Trump contagion was leading our country into a death spiral.

      She said Republicans suffer from a pathology that traps them in survival mode and that rational persuasion has no effect on them.

      Somerby, a supposed fan of Dr Lee, would do well to incorporate how she views Trump and the Republicans into his own world view, it may help get it a little less warped.

  2. Clinton said: "Whatever we do, we need to do it more together. And I think we need to start talking across this divide."

    But where does this say that "we must reach out" as Somerby quotes him? For that matter, where is the evidence that "we" have not been reaching out? Obama was criticized for reaching out too much, compromising before it was even necessary. His efforts were rebuffed.

    Did Trump reach out to Democrats in 2016? Not so much. His term was about undoing whatever Obama (with the Republicans) had done before him. Biden has reached out and again been rebuffed by Republicans.

    How then is Somerby pressing us to reach out to Republicans in order to breach this divide? Why is he not taking to them and urging them to stop rebuffing efforts to compromise?

    Somerby never did address those comments to Clinton's remarks. They all said that reaching out isn't the answer because the right rejects such efforts, and because they are insincere (using Hitler's response in WWII as an example). He said we need to "peel off" votes on the right. But have we ever rejected a single crossover voter in our history? Have we said that those right wingers who are against Trump cannot vote for us if they choose?

    Somerby appears to be working up to supporting the third-way centrists, the no-labels folks. These are people (funded by Clarence Thomas's billionaire friend Crow) who offer an alternative that will pull votes away from the Democrats just when it is essential that Trump not win another term. To the extent that Somerby supports bothsiderists, he will do the same thing, splitting the vote on our side of the aisle, not peeling off Republicans.

    Suggestions to cross the divide and break through the gap may seem reasonable on their face, but they represent the right wing effort to peel off Democrats and put extremists candidates back into office. Calling for compromise is calling for surrender, given today's circumstances and is as dangerous as appeasing Hitler was, given that the right has no intention of moving an inch in our direction.

    Republicans who truly care about our country have only one option. Vote Democratic.

    1. This response contains several inaccuracies in its thought process and analytical reasoning.

    2. The claim that there is a Republican voter who cares about something other than bigotry and white supremacy is what they call "facts not in evidence" in the courts.

  3. The second amendment is evil.

  4. "We're also disinclined to believe that there is any actual way to win some such tribal war.

    (Example: See Professor Richardson's well-regarded 2020 book. "How the South Won the Civil War.")"

    Somerby pretends that Dr. Cox-Richardson agrees with him that there is no solution, but that is not her position:

    "The broader question is vital: does American democracy somehow require the subjugation and subordination of others? Richardson eloquently and passionately accounts why that principle is so dangerous and damaging.

    Refuting it – precisely by asking America to extend the benefits of the founding to everyone – is the principal task for Americans today. She concludes that “for the second time, we are called to defend the principle of democracy” – something that can be done only by expanding its definition in practice to match the ideal. Only in that way can the American paradox be resolved.

    Or, as Joe Biden recently said in fewer words: “Democracy is on the ballot.”"

  5. This comment is biased and flawed. These flaws weaken its credibility and persuasiveness.

  6. Somerby really likes Gene Brabender's phrase about hitting. He returns to it over and over here at his blog. Why is the idea of resolving disputes using violence so compelling for Somerby? Adults learn not to hit. In fact, the purpose of an umpire in baseball is to prevent such conflict. The only sports that allow hitting are boxing and hockey (where brawling is punished by off-the-ice penalties that often result in the other side scoring during a power play).

    But Somerby perhaps doesn't believe in umpires any more than he believes in trying people for their crimes in real life. Billy Budd hit and look what happened to him. Or is Somerby misguidedly urging the left not to hit when we are not the ones committing violence? Or maybe Somerby has joined the right in thinking that the left is dangerous because the trans people are armed and coming for them? Too much Fox News for Somerby and now he believes the same garbage that is peddled on the right to motivate them to buy guns and kill their enemies.

    It might be better if Somerby were to come out strongly against hitting, instead of his coy hinting about baseball and Billy Budd. Hitting is wrong and it needs to stop, especially when it takes the form of gun violence.

    1. And by “hitting” I hope Bob means lashing out when attached. I know Bob is bored with Jan 6th but the other Tribe can fairly be seen as the violent ones. For a blue “tribe” hitting, see Somerby on Nichole Wallace or Rachel Maddow.

    2. 11:35,

      Bob doesn't use the Brabender hitting quote to endorse violence, but to highlight the short-tempered, intolerant nature of our political discourse.

      You've read him exactly backward.

    3. He incorrectly uses it to falsely accuse the blue tribe of something that not only the blue tribe doesn’t do, but is routinely committed by the red tribe.

    4. Somerby says that the tendency to hit is innate to the human species and he wants to ascribe it to both parties, but the stats don't support that.

      Toddlers hit if they are not taught otherwise by their parents and caregivers. Right wingers have been given permission to hit whoever upsets them. Not even toddlers do that after the age of about 2.

    5. Hector, you cannot argue that a quote that is about hitting when words fail is about verbally attacking people. The quote explicitly says that hitting comes after the words, not that people are hitting with words.

      Right wingers hit in various ways. They call the cops on black people for doing everyday things. They yell the n-word at them and slap and verbally abuse service staff in fast food places, for being black and telling them they are out of pepperoni or some such frustration. They shoot at people and they kill them using weapons such as guns and trucks, they lynch them using rope or dragging them behind trucks, and they engage in 3/4 of the mass shootings in recent years. They get in fist-fights and brawls with people outside Trump rallies. And look what they did with their military style militias and crowd enthusiasm on 1/6. They brought weapons to the Capitol Building to disrupt proceedings.

      Even BLM rallies were nothing like this in terms of being armed, being violent, or having the same scale. Counter-protesters at right-wing rallies don't behave like their right wing counterparts. Yet the police is more aggressive in suppressing them than they are with the right, another sign of right wing permissiveness of violence. The police let Kyle Rittenhouse go past their lines carrying a gun, after shooting three people!

      The death threats, bomb threats, hate, and terrorizing of public officials, voting and poll workers, nurses and hospital workers, librarians, teachers, school board members, anyone targeted by Trump, come from the right, not the left.

      Democrats don't create campaign photos of their families (including young children) holding automatic weapons. That is a right wing tradition.

    6. "you cannot argue that a quote that is about hitting when words fail is about verbally attacking people."

      What a statement is 'about' can be very different from what a statement is saying.

      If I say, 'I hate war', have I endorsed either hatred or war?

  7. Tucker Carlson leaves Fox News.

    1. "Fox News has announced that it has parted ways with Tucker Carlson, the network's highest-rated prime time host. “Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” the network said in a statement. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor."

      Yay yay yay yay yay!

    2. Somerby will have to find a new Fox friend. Did Hannity’s mom walk out when he was 9?

    3. anon 11:42, your comment shows how stupid it gets here. TDH has excoriated Carlson over and over. Yet, because he had the nerve to say that in the midst of all Carlson's crap, Carlson sometimes makes a valid point, Carlson is TDH's "Fox friend."

    4. Overall, AC, Bob let’s Fox run wild, his current work on Tucker is about the lone exception. Even Bob’s fans here finally admitted he is only really interested in critiquing, if you want to call it that, left media.

    5. Somerby was relatively effusive with praise for Tucker all the way until Tucker came out as “detesting” Trump, funding Trump a “demonic force” and a “destroyer”.

    6. Excoriated??? I don't read it that way. He keeps telling me to watch Tucker.

    7. Somerby has criticized Carlson about as much as he has criticized Trump. He has mainly excused both men's behavior by claiming they are psychologically disturbed.

    8. Oh, I’m sorry to hear this news. I’m going to miss Carlson’s input and perspective.

    9. Which perspective, 2:55? “Trump is da bomb” (public view) or “Trump is a demonic force” (private view)? Apparently you like two-faced liars.

    10. On the contrary, I like people who are real. There has been many a day that Trump has made me want to bean him. My husband and I have cussed him out a million times from the vantage point of our furniture. As we have many politicians and talking heads.

      Grow up.

    11. ‘Grow up” says the commenter pretending to be a woman. That’s rich! Somerby is clearly off his rocker, who could hate right wingers when they provide so much amusement.

    12. Dear Anonymouse 3:54, you’ve championed pretenders to womanhood to heck and back. I don’t know about hate, but there must be some hard feelings on your part.

    13. @4:38 No one has accused you of claiming to be trans. You are using a false nym to portray yourself as female and that is deceptive, not an identity issue.

      Your phrase "pretenders to womanhood" reflects your hateful attitude toward transwomen (who are arguably not pretending to be anything). That's why your adoption of a female nym is offensive, not to mention trolling.

    14. Anonymouse 4:56pm, here we go…more theater. You’re pretending to be outraged over a deception on my part that you’ve manufactured.

    15. Technically speaking, you are the one who has manufactured a deception. No one here told you to call yourself Cecelia.

    16. You’re absolutely right. No one ever told me to call myself Cecelia.

    17. Frankly, it was a dumb and goofy conceit from the get go, but it might suggest you are down with the notion that a woman is whoever identifies as a woman, if so, kudos to you, welcome to becoming a human being!

    18. Anonymouse 11:31pm, oh, you’re what passes as a logician in anonymouse world.

  8. If only all it took to be right was to call others wrong!

  9. It works for Republicans.

  10. Clinton’s “advice” is correct, but it’s obvious, and it’s merely aspirational.

    It’s quite easy to admonish people to bridge the divide. Duh.

    The problem is coming up with a specific plan or course of action that will accomplish this.

    How do you do it? How about … School kids in Tennessee descending on the state capital, urging republican legislators to show some compassion at their plight, which is that they risk their lives every time they sit in a classroom and some maniac with an AR15 comes and blows them all away?

    What was the result of that protest in Nashville? The Republicans mocked and shut out those kids and proceeded with their plans to loosen gun laws to the point of nonexistence.

    How did Republicans respond to the pleas of the kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

    It goes on and on.

    It is unfortunately true that the Democratic Party is quite weak in states like Tennessee or my home state Arkansas. It is an asymmetrical fight, though. When Republicans have power, even by a bare minimum, they move to exclude public debate and shut out opposition voices. It’s happening in state after state.

    So, specific suggestions from Clinton or Somerby would be more helpful than Hallmark card platitudes.

    1. A specific suggestion would be to regard the vast majority of those in the red tribe as our fellow citizens, neighbors and friends.

    2. mh, the children also risk their lives every time they are driven in a car on the freeway or cross the street. I'm not trying to belittle the ghastliness of the psychotic mass shootings, but the risk of being shot while sitting in class isn't very big.

    3. So, you take the Republican position, AC, which is YOU KIDS ARE OVERREACTING, and we will not only not regulate guns but make it as easy as possible to own one, including AR15’s, the weapon of choice of mass murderers.

      “Firearms recently became the number one cause of death for children and teens in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle deaths and those caused by other injuries. …

      We find that the United States is alone among peer nations in the number of child and teen firearm deaths. In no other similarly large or wealthy country are firearm deaths in the top 4 causes of mortality let alone the number 1 cause of death among children and teens.”

    4. Well, sadly AC, you accomplish what you say you are not trying to do. Can we hang that driving fatality cliche out to dry for once and for all?


    5. Don't worry, dear mh, WWIII will put an end to this unfortunate situation.

      ...and please rest assured knowing that whoever survives (if anyone) will be committing their mass-murders using stones and sticks...

    6. Right wingers are not just treated as neighbors and friends, they have attained a dramatically outsized share of power relative to their numbers, in no small part due to Dems bending over backwards to accommodate the right wing’s fascist and corporatist urges. Indeed blue states fund red states, and generally Republicans make a mess of our society and then the blue tribe comes in and cleans up the mess.

    7. 1:57

      Your passage contains logical issues, including sweeping generalizations, ad hominem fallacy, false dichotomy, confirmation bias, and an unsupported assertion about blue states funding red states. Please consider providing evidence and avoiding broad generalizations when making political claims.

    8. It's essential to remember that both getting hit by a car and being involved in a mass shooting incident are serious and potentially life-threatening events. However, statistically speaking, the chances of getting hit by a car are significantly higher than being involved in a mass shooting incident.

    9. To play this game, keep asking yourself if you like truth more than you dislike your enemies, antagonists, or people on the other side.

    10. @2:06 go away

    11. 2:21 make basic logical sense.

    12. Blue states fund red state:

      Dems clean up Repubs mess:

      Statistically speaking the chances of a child dying from gun violence is higher than any other cause.

      Furthermore, a) getting hit by a car is an accident, not an intentional act like shootings are (except for those cases of right wingers plowing vehicles into those they perceive as The Other), b) cars and streets are highly regulated to avoid injuries, c) getting hit by a car is significantly higher than most things so it’s not an apt comparison, and d) since regulations were instituted, car related deaths and injuries have dramatically decreased.

    13. @2:10, it is not true that kids are more likely to die in a car accident.

    14. 3:01 I am writing to provide you with examples of instances where Republican states have funded Democratic states. While political affiliations can be fluid, these examples highlight how states can work together to provide support and resources during times of crisis, as well as invest in programs and initiatives that benefit all citizens, regardless of political party.

      Here are a few examples:

      1. Hurricane Sandy Relief: In 2012, Republican-leaning states such as Texas and Louisiana provided significant funding and support to aid in the recovery efforts of Democratic-leaning states New York and New Jersey.

      2. COVID-19 Relief: During the COVID-19 pandemic, several Republican-led states provided funding and resources to Democratic-led states to help with their response efforts. For example, Texas sent medical supplies to New York to help with their overwhelmed healthcare system.

      3. Education Funding: In 2013, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, announced a $2 million grant to support early childhood education in New York City, led by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.

      4. Federal Funding: States receive significant amounts of federal funding, regardless of their political affiliations. This funding often goes towards programs and initiatives that benefit all citizens, regardless of political party.

      5. Wildfire Relief: In 2017, Republican-led states including Montana, Texas, and Utah provided resources and support to help California, a Democratic-leaning state, with the firefighting efforts during devastating wildfires.

      6. Bridge Repair: In 2014, Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan signed a bill providing $194.8 million in funding for the repair of a bridge that connects Detroit, a predominantly Democratic city, to Canada.

      7. Infrastructure Projects: In 2019, Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia announced a $100 million investment in the deepening of the Savannah Harbor, which would benefit the economy of Georgia as well as neighboring Democratic states like South Carolina.

      I hope these examples demonstrate how states can work together for the betterment of all citizens, regardless of political affiliations.

    15. According to statistics, children are more likely to die in a car accident than in a mass shooting.

      Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for children in the United States. In 2020, there were approximately 1,550 motor vehicle deaths among children under the age of 15, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

      On the other hand, while mass shootings are a serious issue that can have a devastating impact on families and communities, they are still relatively rare events. According to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks mass shootings in the United States, there were 611 mass shootings in 2021, resulting in 609 deaths and 2,515 injuries. While any loss of life is tragic, the number of deaths in mass shootings is much smaller than the number of deaths caused by car accidents.

      It's important to note that both car accidents and mass shootings are preventable tragedies. By taking proper precautions such as using car seats and seat belts, obeying traffic laws, and practicing gun safety, we can reduce the risk of these events occurring.

    16. The statement that "statistically speaking the chances of a child dying from gun violence is higher than any other cause" is not accurate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of death for children aged 1-14 in the United States are:

      Unintentional injuries (including accidents)
      Congenital anomalies (birth defects)
      Heart disease
      While gun violence is a significant concern and a leading cause of death for children in some communities, it is not the overall leading cause of death for children in the United States.

    17. 3:14

      1, 2, 3, and 5 are all varying levels of false or misleading.

      4 is not a counterpoint.

      6 and 7 were intra state funding and thus self serving, and Georgia does not have any Democratic neighboring states.

      You’ve elevated bs from a walk to a gallop.

    18. 3:36 the cdc says the leading cause of death for children, ages 1-18, is gun violence, you are ghoulishly trying to cherry pick by selecting a subset age group.

    19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of death for children ages 1-18 in the United States is unintentional injuries, such as car accidents, drowning, and falls. In 2019, unintentional injuries accounted for approximately 12,000 deaths in this age group. Other causes of death for children include cancer, homicide, suicide, and congenital anomalies.

      Here is the source for the information:

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 19). Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2019. CDC National Center for Health Statistics.

    20. @3:24 -- A child who practices gun safety is not going to be spared because of that during a mass shooting.

    21. @3:14 Meanwhile, Trump was denying CA federal aid to help with massive wildfires because CA is a blue state, much as he denied aid to Puerto Rico after their hurricane. Beyond that, several of your examples are during Obama's term. We are not arguing that Democrats are unwilling to help red states or vice versa. The Republican party has arguably gotten worse by using political power to coerce its political enemies, and Trump set a bad example for them.

      Note that Trump is claiming that he will institute a new civil service test nationwide because he dislikes having his dranconian measures undermined by people working in the various agencies of government, for whom the kind of cooperation you describe would be natural. Use of the government agencies and resources to hurt political enemies may have gotten worse under Trump, but I didn't hear the Republicans decrying his behavior.

      If the nation did not send resources to wherever they are needed, we could not be responsive to major disasters. Democrats know this -- do Republican still understand it? I didn't see evidence of that during covid despite your suggestion that Texas helped out the NY hospitals. How does it help to ship immigrant asylum seekers to the blue states without proper clothing or information about what was happening to them?

    22. According to the CDC firearms are the leading cause of death for children:

      1. Firearms 4357
      2. Motor vehicles 4112

      Not only do we lead the world in killing our kids with guns, the difference is massive, as our closest “competitor” peer country only had 48 firearm deaths for kids.

      Where are these gun deaths happening for kids? Turns out, mostly in red states:

    23. It's time then for you to retract your false claim "blue states fund red states".

      Once you do I would be glad to address your moved goal posts.

    24. 4:04 that is not a CDC source.

    25. 4:03 your sentiment is appreciated but 3:14’s examples are mostly completely false.

    26. 4:06 Blue states do fund red states, see above.

      4:04 the source is the CDC, the link is a report from the Kaiser Foundation using CDC data to compare our gun deaths to peer countries. It clearly states the report’s source.

      Until you have a valid counterpoint, and until you correct your falsehoods, your comments have no credibility, as you operate in bad faith.

    27. 4:21 please provide a source from the CDC that backs up your claim.

    28. See 4:04 above.

    29. 4:51 neither of those sources back up the claim with CDC data.

    30. The Kff organization includes 19 year olds in their statistics about "children". That was the only way they could make the claim "CDC says firearms are the leading cause of death for children:"

      The CDC never said that though.

    31. I guess that organization thinks of 19-year-olds as children.

    32. So, according to the CDC handgun deaths are the leading cause of death among children for people who believe that 19-year-olds are children.

    33. Are you seriously arguing that it is OK for 19 year olds to be dying gun deaths. They are mostly still in school. Most adult do think of them as kids. You want to exclude them to lower some number (like Trump didn’t want to count covid cases) but these numbers are too high no matter what cutoff is used.

    34. No, I'm arguing that 19-year-olds are not children.

    35. I'm not the one that made the false claim that the number one cause of children's deaths is handguns. The only way to make that statistics true is by believing that 19-year-olds are children. Which apparently you do. And that's fine. But it's strange and inaccurate.

    36. mh, most of these pyscho mass shooting don't take place in schools. They can take place anywhere. Are you living in fear that you will be a victim of one of these horrific instances? Me, I don't lose any sleep over whether that might be my fate, given that the odds against it happening are quite high. By the way, I think the degree the right and the NRA fight any gun control is on the lunatic level - but any realistically possible compromise on any national law to restrict gun ownership (e.g., ban assault rifles, which actually once was done) wouldn't bring about a utopia (there all these other major, intractable problems) but could save some indeterminate number of lives.

    37. The definition is in the report.

    38. AC/MA There was one at the univ of Oklahoma today.

      Indeterminate means the number of saved lives cannot be determined, but we can look at the reduction after the assault weapon ban for an estimate. Why are these lives worth so little to you?

    39. 6:13
      The CDC provides data that others can then compile and report. There are many variables so compiling the data is an involved task. Your link is just to a press release and it’s a dead link, but that’s a compilation of deaths from 2019 that does not even disaggregate for firearms. Honestly you are a hopeless case.

      Researchers use age groups, age group 1-19 is called children and adolescents. Adolescents are not adults.

      According to CDC data:

      In 2020, for the first time, firearms were the leading cause of death for children, age group 1-19.

      In 2021 for ages 1-18 firearm deaths were nearly 3600 compared to nearly 3500 deaths from motor vehicle. So not only were guns the leading cause of death for ages 1-19, but also 1-18. But wait, there’s more, even if you look at ages 1-17 in 2021, guns are still the leading cause of death.

      Maybe that sends a tingle up your thigh. You must be on the edge of your seat - for 2022 will motor vehicles win out, or will the trend of guns being the leading cause of death of children continue? You sound like a psychopath. Regardless, you are wrong on the data, as well all your other nonsense, all wrong.

    40. Someone had made the claim before that guns were the leading cause of death among children.

      It's only true if you think 19 year olds are children. Or if you move the goal posts as you have here and say the figure includes children and adolescents. 19-year-old adolescents. The main issue here is we have an organization that took CDC data and fudged their press release to make a claim about "children" that wasn't really true, and you are here repeating it for them, never once using your critical thinking skills.

    41. Starting in 2020 guns are the leading cause of death for children, ages 1-19 and possibly for 1-18 - nobody has posted that data so who knows, but for 2021 it is confirmed that guns are the leading cause of death for 1-19, 1-18, and 1-17.

      No one is moving any goal posts or fudging, you are the only one that is playing moronic semantic games, pretending it makes a difference whether the age group is 1-19 or 1-18, and of course it doesn’t for 2021. Kaiser was using that age group because they were making comparisons with other countries, which happen to use that age group.

      You lost the argument and instead of showing some personal integrity and responsibility, you’re trying to make some misguided technical point that doesn’t even work. Ya got bested, get over it and move on with your life.

    42. If you think 19 year olds ... are children, I did lose the argument. If you don't, I didn't.

      I don't think children are 19 years old. I think the Kaiser group made an overstatement in their headline that you are quixotically defending for partisan and ego reasons. That's cool.

    43. You think someone lost an argument because the 19 year olds being shot are too old?

    44. You're the one who made the distinction between children and adolescents. But now adolescents are children? 19-year-old children.

    45. Libertarians are children.

    46. The US census doesn't consider 19-year-olds to be children
      Do they?

  11. 11:38 I would be glad to furnish you with details and quoted sources.

  12. Republicans should support statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

    1. Many of us here agree with you about this. The reason they will not do this is the same as mh's point above -- they don't want more voices in the discussion, especially not ones who might disagree with them. This is part of shutting people out of the political process.

    2. republicans don't even want a lot of Americans to vote;

      Top Republican lawyer tells donors conservatives should work to limit voting on college campuses. A top Republican lawyer told donors at a Republican National Committee (RNC) retreat last weekend that conservatives should work to limit voting on college campuses.

  13. @12:01 If you could have done that, why didn't you do it in the first place.

  14. 11:30 , and your counter argument is devastating in its objective persuasiveness!!

  15. Anyone want to weigh in on the homosexual interpretation of Claggart as seen on a wonderful “Sopranos” scene? Have to confess, I’ve never read the book.

  16. First we have to note, there may be others demanding a consolatory tone from the Left, and Bob had chosen to site the least likely person who either side ( rightly or wrongly) will take notice of.

  17. The argument is biased and contains several flaws, including:

    Generalizing that all Republicans are violent and responsible for hate crimes and politically motivated mass shootings.

    Ignoring instances of violence and hate crimes from other political groups.

    Oversimplifying the Republican viewpoint by suggesting that they believe it is okay to engage in violence against others.

    Using emotional language and personal opinions rather than objective evidence and logical reasoning.

    Failing to consider alternative viewpoints or counterarguments.

    Arguing against a strawman by misrepresenting the Republican viewpoint.

    Assuming that a single factor, such as political affiliation, is the sole cause of societal issues.

    It is not productive or accurate to generalize that all Republicans are violent or that they are solely responsible for hate crimes and politically motivated mass shootings. This overlooks instances of violence and extremism from other political groups and individuals.

    Furthermore, it is important to recognize that not all Republicans hold the same beliefs or attitudes towards violence. It is unfair to assume that all Republicans believe it is acceptable to engage in violence against others.

    The focus should be on addressing and condemning violence and extremism from any individual or group, rather than making broad and divisive statements that do not encourage constructive dialogue or problem-solving.

    It is also important to acknowledge that both parties have a responsibility to come together and work towards solutions for urgent issues such as climate change. Blaming and demonizing one side is not a productive or effective approach to promoting cooperation and progress.

  18. Here are specific examples for each of the listed biases and flaws in the argument:

    Generalizing that all Republicans are violent and responsible for hate crimes and politically motivated mass shootings:
    The argument states, "Who is hitting these days -- the Republicans, not the Democrats. Even the BLM marches were 95% non-violent whereas the right wing thinks it is OK to drive trucks into groups of protesters, they are committing increasing numbers of hate crimes and politically motivated mass shootings, and they have lost any concern for other people's rights or even civility." This statement is a sweeping generalization that implies that all Republicans are violent and responsible for hate crimes and politically motivated mass shootings. This is not a fair or accurate representation of the diverse views and behaviors of individuals who identify as Republicans.

    Ignoring instances of violence and hate crimes from other political groups:
    The argument focuses solely on instances of violence and hate crimes committed by individuals who identify as Republicans, ignoring similar actions carried out by other political groups. This bias is demonstrated by the statement, "That's why these kids are getting shot -- not because the poor Republicans are victims of nameless threats to their well-being." This ignores the fact that violence and hate crimes are committed by individuals from all political affiliations and backgrounds.

    Oversimplifying the Republican viewpoint by suggesting that they believe it is okay to engage in violence against others:
    The argument oversimplifies the Republican viewpoint by suggesting that they believe it is okay to engage in violence against others. This is demonstrated by the statement, "They have guns and they believe they have the right to use them, and they don't consider other people to be equal to themselves." This is an unfair and inaccurate representation of the diverse range of opinions held by individuals who identify as Republicans.

    Using emotional language and personal opinions rather than objective evidence and logical reasoning:
    The argument relies heavily on emotional language and personal opinions, rather than objective evidence and logical reasoning. This is demonstrated by the statement, "When I read it back in high school, I thought it was a stupid story and I still think so." This statement does not contribute to a logical or evidence-based argument.

    Failing to consider alternative viewpoints or counterarguments:
    The argument does not consider alternative viewpoints or counterarguments, instead focusing solely on its own perspective. This is demonstrated by the statement, "And Somerby tells US that WE should be reaching out to them. No, the ball is in their court." This ignores the possibility of productive dialogue and negotiation between individuals with differing viewpoints.

    Arguing against a strawman by misrepresenting the Republican viewpoint:
    The argument misrepresents the Republican viewpoint, creating a strawman argument that is easier to argue against. This is demonstrated by the statement, "You cannot feed people the toxic stew on the right and then expect them to negotiate in good faith." This misrepresents the Republican viewpoint by suggesting that their beliefs are inherently toxic and that they are unable to engage in productive dialogue.

    Assuming that a single factor, such as political affiliation, is the sole cause of societal issues:
    The argument assumes that a single factor, such as political affiliation, is the sole cause of societal issues. This is demonstrated by the statement, "Republicans have doomed our country to more suffering than would otherwise have occurred, just as they did during covid." This ignores the complex and multifaceted nature of societal issues, which are influenced by a variety of factors beyond political affiliation.

  19. 1. I do not believe it is only some Republicans who are violent when the rest of their party either condones or permits the rest to behave as they do.
    2. There are not other violent groups that need to be considered. This is a Republican phenomenon. This would be a false equivalency to consider.
    3. I do not believe I am oversimplifying.
    4. Opinions are valid in discussions. This is not a formal debate. It is a comments section. So are emotional responses.
    5. I do not need to consider other viewpoints. As I said, this is my opinion, not a formal debate.
    6. I never said anything was a sole cause of anything else.

    Your critique is unhelpful and doesn't belong here with human beings who are talking.

  20. Being specific about your objections is not the same as offering specific examples from the comment about what you find objectionable.

  21. 12:35 literally every aspect of your Gish gallop is wrong.

    Just as one example, political violence is in fact almost exclusively committed by right wingers, even according to the FBI, the ultra conservative institution.

    Most of your other qualms are related to misunderstanding informal speech, and misunderstanding what leads to a happy and healthy society.

    Furthermore, and this is not a minor point, you often complain about assertions made without evidence, fair enough, yet ALL of your nonsense claims are unfounded and put forth with zero evidence to substantiate them.

  22. Don Lemon has been fired, too.

    1. When I was about 8 I told my parents that The Lemon Song was my favorite song because I loved lemons so much. They laughed and laughed and ever since, never let me live it down.

    2. Funny story, I laughed hard until the juice ran down my leg!

  23. 2:15 If only all it took to be right was to call others wrong!

  24. "In 1995, the New York Public Library included Ball Four as the only sports book among 159 titles in its exhibit “Books of the Century.”

    This is a testament to how bad sports books are, generally.

    1. I read Ball Four when I was twelve and frankly this is the level of the material in the book.

      If you’re a grown up reading Ball Four, your maturity being age appropriate is suspect.

    2. Ball Four was funny and irreverent back in the day. Bouton also edited an amusing collection about Baseball managers. That it still sticks so hard to Bob just suggests he hasn’t read too many books, just like he goes back to the same record albums over and over.

    3. A Good Walk Spoiled, by John Feinstein has been regarded as the best sports book ever written.

  25. Bringing people together, just for the sake of togetherness, is not a worthwhile goal if we are all rushing down the wrong path.

    1. Somerby pretends to struggle with this obvious notion you have adroitly laid out.

      Following Somerby’s logic, we would still have slaves and no Jews, ie a right winger’s fantasy world.

  26. 2:08 Your counter argument is devastating in its objective persuasiveness!! ;)

  27. These bot trolls are a waste of time.

  28. Sucks to be called out on your logic free rantings!

  29. Certainly Jan 6 was a violent riot, encouraged if not created by Donald Trump. The loss of support he suffered in its aftermath seems almost invisible. This can fairly be viewed as an endorsement of political violence emanating from the Party as a whole. It’s also why the intellectually dishonest Bob Somerby could never stand to reflect of Jan 6th.

  30. Some might be a little young for the “bring us together” thing. That was Nixon, often quoted mordantly, as he was a gleefully divisive fellow.

  31. The left is insisting that the right be held accountable for its actions. This was reported today by Rawstory:

    "The attorney [Lowell, representing Hunter Biden] listed several statements and allegations Greene has made against Biden that were false and easily debunked, and Lowell said her conduct reflected poorly on the House and went far beyond her legislative duties.

    "Since her election to Congress in 2020 (and before), Representative Greene has engaged in steady, dogged verbal and defamatory attacks against Mr. Biden, and members of his family," Lowell wrote. "Her online statements and public appearances are neither legislative drafting, nor oversight, nor real congressional business — they are a spray of shotgun pellets of personal vitriol that are the definition of conduct that does not reflect 'creditably on the House.' Her actions are not merely the expression of political views or private 'free speech' because she uses her official position to disseminate them and often expresses them in official proceedings."

    "Perhaps Representative Greene is beyond conducting herself properly. Many have so concluded," Lowell added. "However, the House has a duty to make loud and clear that it does not endorse, condone, or agree with her outrageous, undignified rhetoric and brazen violations of the standards of official conduct that do not reflect creditably on the House of Representatives."

    Lowell's letter was addressed to the Office of Congressional Ethics:

    ""We write to request the Office of Congressional Ethics initiate a review of and take appropriate action as a result of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA 14th C.D.) suspected violations of House Ethics rules and standards of official conduct," Lowell wrote. "Representative Greene’s unethical conduct arises from her continuous verbal attacks, defamatory statements, publication of personal photos and data, and promotion of conspiracy theories about and against Robert Hunter Biden. None of these could possibly be deemed to be part of any legitimate legislative activity, as is clear from both the content of her statements and actions, and the forums she uses to spew her often unhinged rhetoric."

    I am happy to see the Democrats finally fighting back instead of taking the so-called high road, which seems only to give Republicans license to misbehave.

  32. Right wing extremism is the biggest domestic threat in the US.

    on and on…