Alabama Senate Race Free Fire Zone

As many of you know, today there’s a special election in Alabama today for a US Senate seat. The candidates are Republican Roy Moore, a hard-core creationist endorsed by Trump, and Democrat Doug Jones.

Here’s Wikipedia’s write-up on Roy Moore. They say:

Moore attended West Point and served as a military police company commander in the Vietnam War. After graduating from the University of Alabama Law School, he joined the Etowah County district attorney’s office, and later became a circuit judge. Moore was elected to the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama in 2001, but was removed from his position in November 2003 by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for refusing a federal court’s order to remove a marble monument of the Ten Commandments he had installed in the lobby of the Alabama Judicial Building.

Moore was again elected Chief Justice in 2013, but was suspended in May 2016, for directing probate judges to continue to enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriage despite the fact that this had been deemed unconstitutional. . Following an unsuccessful appeal, Moore resigned in April 2017, and announced that he would run for the United States Senate seat that was vacated by Jeff Sessions upon Sessions’s confirmation as Attorney General of the United States.

They also say:

Moore rejects the theory of evolution, saying “There is no such thing as evolution. That we came from a snake? No, I don’t believe that.” … In a 1997 speech, Roy Moore claimed that teaching evolution in schools led to an increase in drive-by shootings, arguing that “they’re acting like animals because we’ve taught them they come from animals.

That’s bad enough, but then there are the Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations, which are too grotesque to describe here.

This is Wikipedia’s write-up on Moore’s Democrat opponent, Doug Jones. They describe his career and his views — which are, shall we say, a bit less spectacular than Moore’s.

Because today’s the election, we have a few websites that say they’ll give up-to-date election results as they are available. If one fails, another should work. They are:

• CBS News: Live results: Alabama Senate race and exit polls

• New York Times: Live Alabama Election Results: Roy Moore and Doug Jones Compete for Senate Seat

• Washington Post: Moore vs. Jones: Alabama Senate race live results

The polls close at 8:00, Eastern time. That’s less than fifteen minutes away.

If that isn’t enough excitement, we’re declaring another Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. You know the rules. We’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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54 responses to “Alabama Senate Race Free Fire Zone

  1. There’s another somewhat similar story, of less significance, brewing in Alabama.

    Some anti-child welfare, anti-vax, conspiracy theorists are try to “get” Alabama State Representative Steve Hurst as a result of what happened after an alleged assault on his granddaughter.

    I won’t bore folks here with the multitude of details. In this case, I am persuaded Rep. Hurst has the better story and his wacko opposition is just looking for someone with deep pockets and, supposedly, someone they can put behind bars and use to make a name for themselves amongst their special interest anti-child welfare, anti-vax, conspiracy groups.

    If you are interested, I have a thread in my FaceBook venues. Here’s one of the public locations:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/kenthovindsworstnightmare/permalink/881137295388734/

    ——————————————————————–

  2. Holding The Line In Florida

    Hey it’s Alabama, I fully expect the Judge will become the next proud Senator from the glorious God Fearing State of Alabama. Can you expect anything less?

  3. Thanks for the links, SC!

  4. WaPo is currently showing that 6 7 counties that had gone Trump last year have gone Jones today.

  5. 10 counties have switched from red to blue so far, 10 have remained blue and 0 have switched from blue to red.

  6. Michael Fugate

    Jones won, Moore lost with 91% counted.

  7. I bet Donald Trump blames it all on Jeff Sessions — Trump would never have named him as Attorney General if he’d known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russian investigation, and Jeff Sessions would still be Senator, and not Doug Jones.

  8. Moore is not yet conceding — he’s “waiting on God”.

    Trump has already tweeted congrats to Jones.

  9. Reports are that the mood at Moores “after party” is dismal.

    Well of course it is, it’s past the bedtime for his cheerleaders!

  10. Moore refuses to concede. Someone needs to explain to him that “no” means “no”.

  11. Moore said in his non-concession speech that “god is in charge”. Apparently his god has told him to go stuff it.

  12. I also love the Onion article titled “Roy Moore retires from politics so he can spend more quality time with someone’s kid”.

  13. Moore: ‘Moore said in his non-concession speech that god is in charge’.
    Suicide bomber:’Allah will reward me with 72 virgins’.
    Both delusional.

  14. It would be wonderful to declare here something like, “Sic semper Creationistis“, but that would be unrealistic and wide of the mark.

    And although our Curmudgeon is unlikely to agree, I’d like to think that a defeat for a Bannonite extremist gives some hope that the GOP may yet shed some of its more egregious culture warriors find its way back toward its more rational conservatism.

    And if nothing else, everyone here should savour the sound of gnashing teeth from the dingy HQ of the Discoveroids…

  15. I just discovered that while the polls were open, Franklin Graham tweeted “Praying for Roy Moore”

  16. Megalonyx says: “And although our Curmudgeon is unlikely to agree …”

    Wrong again! Your confusion may be due to my preference for free enterprise economics and my revulsion for socialism (i.e., un-free enterprise). But I’ve always thought Moore was a theocratic nut-job, right out of the Dark Ages. Alas, he’s not the only one in the Republican party these days.

  17. I didn’t know Roy Moore was a creationist before reading this, but it’s the least surprising thing I’ve learned all year.

    And, indeed, it would be very encouraging if the result in Alabama means that the GOP will Roy Less in the near future.

    You’re welcome.

  18. Darn shame Moore lost, I mean he looked so cute in his cowboy hat and his tiny gun photo op. And then his wife proudly proclaims that their lawyer is a “Jew”! I just can’t imagine what he could have brought to the national stage to top his Ten Commandments stunt. Maybe a flaming cross?

    Have the Repubs gained their sanity? Too early to tell but this country needs some serious alternatives to the status quo of both the Dems and Repubs.

  19. Moore’s mind was labelled “fruit salad” by one of his law school professors
    very early in his first year of law school. His colleagues in general were not impressed and thought him an attention seeker. Seeing him ride into a rural polling station to vote on a horse and then seeing him canter away after voting, I thought him a throwback to a 19th century world view , of confederates and of self aggrandizing no nothingness. It seems his voter base, unable to vote for a man who prosecuted racist bombers in Alabama during the 1960’s, unable to support so fraudulent and ignorant a man as Moore, simply stayed away from the polls. And democratic voters and black voters demonstrated an ability to overcome the voter suppression (voter ID) laws Alabama put in place immediately after the 1965 Voting Rights Act was withdrawn in 2013.
    If I were a high school football star in Alabama of african american descent, I’d find another state to play college football in. As for Moore’s creationism, his populist stance on evolution is in line with his other world views. He is a true son of the rural Alabama countryside. And his adherents were cowed by having their duplicity and hypocrisy highlighted by a free american press.
    Sometimes the american system of government works.
    Now. Up the Scots !

  20. Holding The Line In Florida

    Well, hush my mouth!!

  21. Moore lost…ho hum…the real news is that Trump knew Moore would lose. Of COURSE you did, Donnie. You’re always six moves ahead of us.

  22. Our Curmudgeon re-affirms “preference for free enterprise economics” and his “revulsion for socialism (i.e., un-free enterprise)”. Fair enough; such is rational Conservatism, which is an honourable and arguable school of political thought.

    So I’ll presume he descries that pinko Trump’s calling for state funding of NASA for fresh missions to the moon, and pioneering journeys to Mars, when such matters should be left instead to Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and other entrepreneurs…. 🙂

  23. Megalonyx dares to imagine that he presents a challenge to the Curmudgeon: “So I’ll presume he descries that pinko Trump’s calling for state funding of NASA for fresh missions to the moon, and pioneering journeys to Mars, when such matters should be left instead to Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and other entrepreneurs….”

    First, and most importantly, he doesn’t try to suppress private entrepreneurship. As for NASA, a load of what they do involves developing technology that has obvious national defense utility. I have no objection to that.

  24. Michael Fugate

    or offense, as the case may be.

    This reaction is comic:
    “[triumphant tweets about Moore’s loss prove] the left is completely obsessed with disparaging white people to the extent that this is becoming more of a serious hate movement than just a handful of demented idiots on social media.”
    Infowars Paul Joseph Watson

  25. Do yu have any reason to believe that Trump has any interest in “free enterprise”? For example, he will let coal mining or ship building or real estates or farmers or ranchers not be given government subsidies?

  26. I am bemused by the Curmudgeon’s adherence to the religion of “free enterprise”. The classical economic theory on which it is based depends on assuming that there is no such thing as inequality of power, and that externalities (including little things like global warming) can be ignored.

    Sophisticated practitioners of 21st-century capitalism do everything they can to ensure that enterprise, especially enterprise that competes with them, is not free. If like me you have ever manage your own pension fund with the help of Morningstar, you will be aware of the enormous importance that Morningstar places on a company’s “moat”, meaning the extent to which it can shield itself from competition.

    And nothing but dogmatic fear of anything that might be called “socialism” can account for the United States’ reliance on a system for healthcare provision that costs twice as much as a proportion of GDP, and delivers poorer results, than the publicly financed systems that are universal elsewhere in the developed world.

    Disclosure: I have lived and worked in both the UK and the US, and while in the US my family and I benefited from excellent health insurance. The UK system is better.

  27. Paul Braterman says: I am bemused by the Curmudgeon’s adherence to the religion of ‘free enterprise’. The classical economic theory on which it is based depends on assuming that there is no such thing as inequality of power …”

    It would take a crushing government indeed to eliminate differences in economic power. But I would prefer power that is lawfully gained in the marketplace to power in the political sphere that is currently wielded by some industries.

  28. I’m still wondering why one would think that Trump is an advocate for free enterprise. Or against “power in the political sphere that is wielded by some industries”.

  29. Michael Fugate

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/12/roy-moore-loses-alabama-senate-race-doug-jones-wins

    Cal Zastrow, a friend of Moore who had come down from Michigan to volunteer for the campaign, tried to frame the results within a bigger picture. “I was cheering for him and supporting him but Jesus is wonderful whether Roy Moore wins or loses,” he said. “I’m not distressed. I’m not discouraged. Jesus is wonderful.”

  30. Trump is an economic nationalist. He is a free trade skeptic and is against the free movement of labor. It has been nearly a decade since I took a course on economic theory, but I seem to remember Adam Smith thought both necessary for a properly functioning market.

  31. Curmudgeon says: “It would take a crushing government indeed to eliminate differences in economic power. But I would prefer power that is lawfully gained in the marketplace to power in the political sphere that is currently wielded by some industries.”

    I think that it is neither possible nor desirable “to eliminate differences in economic power”, but that public policy should recognise the effects of such differences, as free-market economics does not. Minimum wage, health and safety, and anti-trust legislation are among things that come to mind.

    However, I agree with the Curmudgeon in his mistrust of the power wielded by some industries in the political sphere. High on my list here would be the insurance industry (sole beneficiary of the United States’ dysfunctional health system), the real estate financial industry (beneficiary of the subsidy, in the form of tax relief, for loans backed by residential property), and the arms industry whose enormously expensive products bear no relationship to the United States’ actual policy needs.

  32. Paul Braterman says: “public policy should recognise the effects of such differences, as free-market economics does not. Minimum wage, health and safety, and anti-trust legislation are among things that come to mind.”

    I agree about anti-trust legislation, when it applies to unlawful exercise of power to suppress competition. But there’s a lot of evidence that minimum wage laws actually discourage employment by making it too expensive to hire untrained people who are just entering the labor market. You didn’t mention child-labor laws, but I those don’t bother me either. It should be remembered, however, that in the early days of industrialization, impoverished farm workers voluntarily flocked to the cities for jobs in industry, and children had been exploited on farms long before they got better wages in those “satanic mills.” Anyway, today there’s no reason for child labor these days, so I’m not bothered if it’s outlawed. Ditto for reasonable health and safety laws.

  33. While you are arguing about economics, what I want to know is why you think that Trump is apt to promote anti-socialist polocies.
    For example, it seems that he has convinced coal miners that he will use the power of the state to help coal miners, despite the free-market economics of hiring coal miners.

  34. “[T]here’s a lot of evidence that minimum wage laws actually discourage employment by making it too expensive to hire untrained people who are just entering the labor market.” Indeed, a much discussed issue, and one _conservative_ argument for minimum wage laws is that they encourage the development of automation and hence boost productivity and growth.

    But what’s really important here is our degree of convergence; we agree that evidence is relevant in such matters, so that your libertarianism and my mixed market socialism are predispositions about where we expect the burden of proof to lie, rather than creeds providing answers.

  35. TomS, don’t we know better than to expect logical coherence from Trump?

  36. TomS says: “it seems that he [Trump] has convinced coal miners that he will use the power of the state to help coal miners, despite the free-market economics of hiring coal miners.”

    All I’m aware of is that Trump is removing regulatory impediments to coal mining, so that the free market will determine the viability of that industry. I favor letting the market (not bureaucrats) decide the source of our energy — and that includes nuclear energy, which is a lot cleaner than using coal.

  37. The Curmudgeon may be surprised to learn that I agree with him about the coal industry. And as a believer in free market economics, which requires correct pricing, I want to see coal, and fossil fuels in general, taxed to the degree appropriate to compensate the public for the external costs of pollution of all kinds, including contribution to global warming. The interventionist approach, seeking to reign in fossil fuel use by regulation, seems to me deeply misguided.

    I suspect that the Curmudgeon dislikes all taxes, and would be interested to hear if he has any alternative suggestions about how to ensure correct pricing in this case.

  38. Tax companies to compensate for pollution? Seriously?

    No Smoking laws are an impediment to my freedom. So I’m going to blow my cigarette smoke in your face. But don’t worry because I will pay you.

  39. Coal mining in the USA is famous for the strength of its socialist union. If you want to go back to the pre-socialist regulations on coal mining, you will have to be willing to accept the dangers: frequent deaths and eventual black-lung disease. Margret Thatcher, no socialist, realized that coal mining was not economic, some 30 years ago. It is clearer4 today that, even among the non-renewable energy resources, coal is the ikne with no future without subsidies.

  40. Is there really any such thing in today’s world as “free enterprise”, “free trade”, complete “freedom of expression”, or “freedom of movement”?

    We live in a world with over 7 billion other people. In order to maintain this Earth, some of our freedoms must necessarily be abridged. The trick is to do it in a way that maintains civilization, maintains a livable environment, and maintains enough of a feeling of freedom in order to avoid revolt.

    Ok. That said, let’s return to Roy Moore —
    “…then his wife proudly proclaims that their lawyer is a “Jew”!
    …and their gardener is most likely Hispanic.

  41. Paul Braterman says: “I want to see coal, and fossil fuels in general, taxed to the degree appropriate to compensate the public for the external costs of pollution of all kinds, including contribution to global warming. … I suspect that the Curmudgeon dislikes all taxes, and would be interested to hear if he has any alternative suggestions about how to ensure correct pricing in this case.”

    Look, we need energy. Until we have an affordable alternative source (i.e., nuclear) that can provide all the energy we want, we have to go with what we have. If you tax that one industry for all the problems caused by global warming, you’ll destroy it and leave us with no alternative — except chopping down trees to keep warm in winter. This is a problem that affects everyone, so I don’t see any way around it other than a general tax — and I’m a flat tax guy.

    I prefer that all Federal revenues come from sales taxes, ideally collected by the states, as they already have the machinery in place for this. As in Florida, food and medical care can be exempt. The richer you are, the more you’ll buy, and that means you’ll pay more taxes. There might also be a flat, uniform tax on all imports (without exceptions, except perhaps for food and medicine).

  42. And I go back to my original question: Why do you think that Trump is going to avoid socialism?
    Did the coal miners get the right impression that Trump will see to it that they will have a good job digging coal?

  43. If not for regulations companies would’ve had no reason to find cleaner ways to produce power. Financial penalties (taxes or fines) are seen as a cost of doing business and can be passed on to customers, and they don’t undo the damage already done. You’re dreaming if you trust a profit-driven company to do the right thing by the environment.

    Of course, the ultimate cause of all this pollution is all these people using their individual freedom to collectively pollute. The power plants and their pollution are far away and therefore invisible. Put a coal burning generator exhaust by Trump’s window and he won’t think coal is so clean and beautiful.

    Coal power is only about 35% efficient turning the heat from combustion into electricity. Incandescent bulbs are about 5% efficient turning that power into light. In other words,
    5 watts for light
    95 watts waste heat from the bulb
    200 watts waste heat at the power plant
    (I’ve neglected transmission losses since they’re relatively small.)
    That’s 295 watts wasted, or less than 2% efficiency. Most people don’t know this and that’s why I support legislation to reduce waste, such as limiting sales of incandescent bulbs, limiting emissions, and cleaner fuels.

    It will only get worse as population increases and competition for resources increases. Isaac Asimov said:

    If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then both have what I call freedom of the bathroom, go to the bathroom any time you want, and stay as long as you want to for whatever you need. And this to my way is ideal. And everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the Constitution. But if you have 20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up, you have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door, aren’t you through yet, and so on. And in the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, but it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies.

  44. I just want to make it clear that I am not arguing for – or against – socialism. I just wonder why anyone thinks that Trump is particularly opposed to socialism – or whether he would rather be pragmatic about it. If socialism would seem to him to be favorable to his interests, would he nonetheless oppose reject a socialistic policy?

  45. TomS wonders: “I just wonder why anyone thinks that Trump is particularly opposed to socialism – or whether he would rather be pragmatic about it.”

    Have you ever listened to what he has to say about Venezuela? And Cuba too, for that matter. Besides, the voters were given a choice between him and Hillary — or Sanders. For a voter opposed to socialism, it wasn’t a difficult choice.

  46. What about what he has said about many countries. Including comparing the medical care system of the USA against the socialist systems of just about every other country – as I recall, he said USA is worst.

  47. BTW – this isn’t just ancient history. An intern just said that Moore tried hitting on her a few months back

    http://verifiedpolitics.com/an-intern-just-accused-roy-moore-making-move-months-ago/

  48. This from the Washington Post, regarding what expressions CDC scientists are now allowed to use:

    ‘Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes’

    If you regard socialism as the enemy of ‘the Enlightenment values of reason, liberty, science, and free enterprise’, you might want to reconsider which of the major parties in the US is now the most socialist

  49. @Paul Braterman

    If I understand correctly, the CDC’s language proscription is applicable only to specific documents — “official documents being prepared for next year’s budget” (per WaPo).

    Which is to say, funding requests — “[t]he ban is related to the budget and supporting materials that are to be given to the CDC’s partners and to Congress, the analyst said.”

    NOT studies, or reports, or research notes, or correspondence with other scientists, or any other “materials” which might result from the actual research which the CDC is asking the Congress and White House to fund.

    In other words, the CDC’s language “proscription” is merely an ordinary and rather elementary act of budgetary gamesmanship. (Imo.)

    I too would advise CDC researchers not to include any “red flag” terminology in their funding requests, and also to consider hinting that expected research results would include how to shave three strokes off one’s golf game.

    (And if Shakespeare were President, I would advise that all requests for funding be submitted in iambic pentameter.)

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cdc-gets-list-of-forbidden-words-fetus-transgender-diversity/2017/12/15/f503837a-e1cf-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?utm_term=.c1f7493e15f8

  50. I am not sure how far your tongue is into your cheek, but are you saying that it doesn’t really matter; it’s just that scientists are more likely to get funded by this Congress if they suggest that their science will respect community standards and wishes?

    And does that make things better, or worse?

  51. The Economist – an English Conservative magazine, which supported Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan – happens to have an article on coal mining in the USA in its current issue (Dec 16-22).
    “It is hard to think of many more misguided public policies than subsidising coal production.”

  52. @Paul Braterman

    No tongue, no cheek, and minimal lip.

    That’s exactly what I’m saying — it doesn’t really matter what language you use in a funding request as long as it maximizes your chances of getting required funding.

    AFAIK, we’re not talking about limiting the scope of proposed research or ideologically censoring or sanitizing research results here — just prettifying funding requests.

    “Kissing the hand that feeds you.” How were your research funding requests doctored or tailored for the funding authorities?

    You tell me — are things made better if the CDC gets required funding? Or worse?

    PS: “respect community standards”? No, consider “community standards and wishes”. Not “comply with”, not “conform to” — and exactly which polarity of consideration is not specified.