Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Mr Adler with some advice for the GOP.
  2. On IQ.
  3. The Church is not full of good people … it is full of people like me.
  4. Locating the not-so-good arguments on one side of the Catholic-Protestant debate, of which I’ll admit to being on the sidelines (HT: Michele McGinty)
  5. City tracker.
  6. From St. Gregory, some imaginative (daring?) words.
  7. A game of pigs and men.
  8. Not having recursion doesn’t make programming easier, why is it assumed that language is different?
  9. Mr Spector it seems, has a race problem.
  10. Doing the deed.
  11. A question posed.
  12. The Samaritan impulse.
  13. Spring and the hearts of men (and women).
  14. From the Ms Palin expensive clothing file.
  15. “Take that cup from me”  … said a Washington lawyer.
  16. Hmmm.
  17. An interpretation of declining Christian demographics.

23 Responses to Monday Highlights

  1. From the Ms Palin expensive clothing file.

    Considering that Mrs. Obama has/had an income of over $200K I’m not surprised she has $500 sneakers. Considering that sneakers now comfortably hover between $150-$200 (and by that I mean it is not shocking to walk into a middle American mall and see name brand sneakers sold for that amount in a regular shoe shop), $500 is basically very high end sneakers but we aren’t talking about anything crazy here.

    But when you said from the Palin clothing file, I thought we could finally close the file! We were told months ago that the $150K in clothes were going to be auctioned off for charity. To date, I haven’t heard anything about such an auction. April 16th has come and gone, if the clothes are still with Mrs. Palin they should be taxable income for 2008. Has she reported it as such?

  2. Boonton,
    I didn’t object to her clothing purchase. You (and the left) on the other hand did. Yet you do not object to $300k flyovers for photo-ops or $500 sneakers worn to homeless shelters. I’m just pointing out inconsistencies on your side of the aisle.

  3. I’m sorry, was the ‘Mission Accomplished’ photo op by Bush without cost? And no I didn’t object to that photo op….I just kind of wish it was an accurate photo op. So I don’t see the inconsistency.

    And the objection wasn’t to the massive clothing budget for Mrs Palin but the fact that she apparantly got away with swiping it for her own personal use. I could understand if this was an outfit or two but it appears part of the reason the budget was so massive was at the behest of Palin herself. You’ve accused other people of tax fraud with a lot less substance.

  4. Mark:

    ??????

    Palin was criticized because she used CAMPAIGN FUNDS for her expensive clothing, not because she wore expensive clothing. LOL.

  5. Mark:

    ??????

    Palin was criticized because she used CAMPAIGN FUNDS for her expensive clothing, not because she wore expensive clothing. LOL.

    Mr Spector it seems, has a race problem.

    Oh come on.

  6. Mr Spector and race

    It’s doubly ironic since Thomas is on the court because of Spector’s vigerous defense of him. The right should take note. Treating allies crappily is one of the reasons why the GOP is shedding members left and right.

  7. JA,
    Ah, well that is a good way to key on a distinction without a difference. Campaign funds used for wardrobe items purchased for use during a campaigning … problem. Wearing $500 sneakers to a soup kitchen completely different because the wearer is a democrat. Gotcha. Thanks for confirming that.

  8. Palin never visited a charity during the campaign? When she did, did she wear a $30 Wal-Mart outfit of jeans and a t-shirt?

    I agree it is bad taste to flaunt wealth when visiting a soup kitchen. If Mrs. Obama showed up decked out in diamonds and pearls I’d see your argument. But she showed up in sneakers, which is perfectly acceptable for a volunteer event. Maybe she only has one pair of sneakers? Who really organizes their sneakers based on price anyway?

    It is kind of interesting from a sociological point of view that we no longer flash wealth with our clothes. 70 years ago if someone wore a $500 pair of shoes you’d know it. Only today can is it possible to spend a fortune on dressing down. But that’s another topic. Quite frankly this seems like silly nitpicking to try ginny up yet more manufactured victimhood for Palin.

    Campaign funds used for wardrobe items purchased for use during a campaigning … problem.

    Problem campaign’s been over for months now, where are the clothes?

    Problem even during the campaign the purchases appeared both extravagent and motivated more for personal use than for the campaign. Unless you want to tell me Mr. Palin appeared at a campaign event in nothing but silk boxers.

  9. Mark,

    The whole complaint about Palin’s wardrobe was that it was a misuse of campaign donations. How a person spends her own money is a completely different issue. If you’re looking for an analogous situation, you might compare Michelle Obama’s shoes to McCain’s $500 shoes which some liberals mocked because he presented himself like some kind of regular guy. *That* would be a fair comparison.

  10. Boonton,
    Golly, a Democrat (once the populist party) offers an apologetic for Marie-Antoinette (who perhaps I’ll allow was maligned in her use of the phrase).

    You like that term, “victim-hood”, but you’re overusing it here. I’m not offering that Ms Palin was a victim, but that the accusation was partisan hypocrisy.

    You seem to care a lot about those clothes, you keep bringing that question up. Why don’t you find out?

    You continually make the claim that $500 sneakers are not an extravagance. You’ve noted the $200k salary range, which is very close to the (combined) salary of our other commenter JA and his intended. How many pairs of $500 sneakers to they own … and for what occasions might they wear them? Just asking.

    For disclosure, the most expensive pair of feet apparel I own are cycling shoes which can run $200-300 per pair, but since you rarely walk on them on pavement last quite a while.

  11. You’ve noted the $200k salary range, which is very close to the (combined) salary of our other commenter JA and his intended.

    Wait, what? I wish. My “intended” is a teacher, which brings many rewards, but few of them are material (largely because of Republicans and other conservatives who value teachers less than any other professionals, but that’s a different story.)

    I do quite well compared to the median income, but our combined incomes are not near $200k. Not sure why you pulled us into this discussion, though.

  12. Golly, a Democrat (once the populist party) offers an apologetic for Marie-Antoinette

    This might have some traction if Democrats really fit the sterotype of wild eyed radicals that wanted flat, fixed incomes for everyone. It is a fact of life that people who make a lot of income will spend more and will often buy things that many of us would consider too pricey.

    You continually make the claim that $500 sneakers are not an extravagance. You’ve noted the $200k salary range, which is very close to the (combined) salary of our other commenter JA and his intended. How many pairs of $500 sneakers to they own … and for what occasions might they wear them? Just asking.

    I do know people who, with incomes of less than $75K a year own pocketbooks that exceed the $1,000 range. Glasses can quite easily blow past $500 too. Now consider a middle class person or even a lower middle class person could easily be seen laying out $200 for sneakers without raising an eyebrow….quite frankly a $500 pair does not seem totally crazy just outside the taste range for most of us. AS for flaunting wealth, which I think would be a more sensible objection, $500 sneakers don’t really do much. Like above, if that’s your goal a pocketbook would be more noticeable.

    To be frank, this is not much different than running into a person who has a $500 brand new Wii system or who…say….happens to have an expensive bike! Unlike, say, million dollar items that someone like Paris Hilton might wear the sneakers are hardly unavailable to most people. Most people simply are not into clothes enough to layout that much money for sneakers….but that’s a very soft ‘most’. If you could scan retail price tags of the people you run into every day I wouldn’t be surprised if you find quite a few (esp. better dressed women friends) who do, in fact, have very expensive sneakers and other foot items in their closet.

    You seem to care a lot about those clothes, you keep bringing that question up. Why don’t you find out?

    I keep bringing it up because the last thing I heard about them was that they were going to all be accounted for, returned to the GOP and then sold off to benefit charity. Every now and then I try my best to find out and there seems to be no information out there. I suspect now that the attention has died down a lot of those clothes are still with the Palin clan and while some on the right will try to bring up new clothing based accusations on others, she is going to get away with skipping town with the goods ;)

    If I’m mistaken please let me know where such info exists. I find it very surprising such a charity auction could have happened with no publicity…and if it has yet to happen…well the clothes aren’t getting any younger.

  13. Marie Antoinette spent the country’s money, exorbitantly. Michelle Obama spent her own money. On a pair of shoes.

  14. Boonton,
    Wild-eyed radical == populist? Hmm. William Jennings Bryant would be insulted.

    It seems to me the case against Ms Palin an accusation of being color blind to the public perception of price … the same case is being made about Ms Obama. That is it. You are free to disagree.

    JA,
    What evidence do you have that Marie Antoinette was money not derived from her own rents and estates?

  15. What evidence do you have that Marie Antoinette was money not derived from her own rents and estates?

    LOL, who cares? The point is Mrs. Obama is using her own money while Palin used the contributors’. It’s a distinction with a big difference.

  16. JA,
    Well my remark regarding Ms Antoinette referred to this which alleges that her reputation is not well deserved.

    Ms Palin used the money of contributors for a campaign. What’s the problem. As I see it the problem is color blindness (and in Ms Palin’s case a certain amount of will-full ignorance about what clothing budgets in a Hi-def TV world on the national stage assumes).

  17. It seems to me the case against Ms Palin an accusation of being color blind to the public perception of price

    Dude, she’s basically shoplifting clothes and committing tax fraud. If she had been honest, if the thousand dollar outfits were returned after the campaign rallies or given to a charity to auction the problem wouldn’t exist. She’s basically made off with the crap and its not like taking a few pasteries from a cocktail party, this is some serious loot!

    Ms Palin used the money of contributors for a campaign. What’s the problem.

    Well because it’s basically illegal. This isn’t 1910 anymore. You don’t get to take home the unused contributions and this smells a lot like trying to skirt that law by using the funds to buy a lot of personal consumption that technically may have a legit. campaign use as a cover.

    And, of course, there’s the honesty factor. Palin asserted that the clothes would be returned and donated to charity so they would not become personal income for herself. A good test of her character is to ask whether she kept that promise now that most people have stopped watching.

    the same case is being made about Ms Obama. That is it. You are free to disagree.

    I do. Basically the sneakers were not flaunting of wealth and clearly the only way to have even been aware of their cost is to be very up on fashion. As Marc admits, he himself owns sneakers that are in the $300 range.

    Mrs. Obama is clearly a woman who takes clothes very seriously. I know some women who do (and others who don’t) and I can tell you the ones that do will drop a lot of money on clothing and a $500 item would not be shocking….(and not to be sterotypical but I’ve noticed many black professional women take clothing very seriously….much more so than many white women who are more comfortable with the ‘frumpy’ look even if they happen to have money….just a generalization, though, that’s by no means universal).

    As for what is and isn’t in the bounds of good taste. Well you got an issue here because many notable people do the charity racket. When Princess Di, for example, showed up at shelters, soup kitchens etc., I doubt the there was any item on her body that could be had for less than a grand. If you look like you are flaunting your wealth, I’d say that’s in bad taste. That’s kind of tricky these days because the most expensive clothes are made to look non-wealthy (see the book I recommended a while ago, David Brooks’ Bobos in Paradise). I don’t see Mrs. Obama flaunting wealth here, which would be in bad taste.

  18. Boonton,
    Three quick remarks … if it is tax fraud one would expect the press to be all over that. They weren’t so I don’t think you’re right on that regard.

    Second, you, I and many other probably wouldn’t recognize the value of her sneakers. I submit that is not the case in many urban settings in which cost and brand of sneaker is a status symbol.

    Third, the cycling shoes I mentioned do not in any way shape or form fit into a category of “sneaker”. For one, you can barely walk in them, the sole has a large metal cleat and is one solid piece carbon fiber made specifically to be as stiff as possible while retaining light weight. One of the main engineering points of a cycling shoe is to remove energy loss between your Achilles tendon and the contact point (the cleat). My point in mentioning the shoes is they are specialized athletic equipment … and would be out of place anywhere but an athletic environment.

  19. Three quick remarks … if it is tax fraud one would expect the press to be all over that. They weren’t so I don’t think you’re right on that regard.

    To make the case for tax fraud you would need to have:

    1. Know the final disposition of the clothes – are they sitting in Palin’s closet or in a dusty warehouse in the RNC basement.

    2. Know how Palin filed her tax returns in 2009. It’s possible she hasn’t even filed yet, getting an extension.

    Either way, saying this couldn’t be so because the media would have told us if it is is putting way too much faith in the media.

    “I submit that is not the case in many urban settings in which cost and brand of sneaker is a status symbol. ”

    True but from the article it sounds like these sneaker’s are from a small designer, I’m not sure they would be easily recognized even by trendy footlocker devotees…. But you’ve implied a ‘status symbol’ is the sin where I didn’t say that. I said ‘flaunting wealth’ would be in poor taste. A ‘status symbol’ would not necessarily be so provided it is not gaudy…which is why Princess Di could show up in very expensive outfits but still be considered classy.

    Wild-eyed radical == populist? Hmm. William Jennings Bryant would be insulted.

    Don’t be so sure, Bryant, when he ran against imperialism, found himself allied with millionaires like Andrew Carnegie. I doubt a first spouse showing up to a function in well to do attire would have been seen as objectionable.

  20. Third, the cycling shoes I mentioned do not in any way shape or form fit into a category of “sneaker”.

    True but you don’t think some women might look at the money you spend on your ‘biking hobby’ as an unnecessary extravagance in itself? (Assume for a moment you’re not a professional) At least, they will say, being able to dress well will help you in all aspects of your ‘real life’ business.

  21. Boonton,
    Ah, which is why Princess Di could show up in very expensive outfits the royalty comparison. Do you want to go there?

  22. Sure, Princess Di shows up in expensive outfits not just because she is royality but because she is expected to serve the role of a status symbol. If she shows up in a Wal-Mart t-shirt and jeans she wouldn’t be applauded for showing her solidarity with the ‘common man’. She’d be criticized for showing disrespect for the cause, even insulting it.

    The Royal Family in England has made a fetish out of manners and the role of the status symbol because for the last few hundred years or so they had little else they could do. The US did not fight the Revolutionary War, though, for the cause of slackerhood. Even Bryan would probably be comfortable with the idea of status symbols…although he would probably find it perplexing that our culture makes status symbols out of things that are available to almost everyone. I’m sure in his day an ‘active’ event for charity would feature something like cricket or other activity that could only be engaged in by the upper class.

  23. BTW, I don’t think you really addressed JA’s side point on McCain. Why is it ok for McCain to tote $500 shoes but Mrs. Obama must cap her shoe budget at $300? ?

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