January 13, 2013
MICHAEL MOORE’S POLITICS OF PREJUDICE.
MICHAEL MOORE’S POLITICS OF PREJUDICE.
HISTORY: Rare Photo of the Mushroom Cloud Over Hiroshima Discovered in a Former Japanese Elementary School. “The person who took this photo would have been among the first to look out there and realize that this wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill bomb. It wasn’t the air raid that the citizens of Hiroshima had been anticipating for months. This was the beginning of a new world, one with a bomb unlike anything anyone had ever experienced before, something so new and fearsome that at first no one could understand what it was.”
A POLITICAL LIE FROM A CLINTON? Bill Clinton Fibs About Gun Control:
At a speech before the Conusmer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 9, Bill Clinton stated: “Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapon ban expired in 2005, half in the history of the country.” But that statement is untrue, as Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post demonstrates.
Asked by Kessler about his statement, Clinton’s spokesman declined to comment or to say where Clinton got his numbers. As Kessler, a professional fact-checker, says, “this always makes us suspicous.”
Well, that and the fact that Bill’s lips were moving. They can’t sell their gun policies without lying. So they lie.
LATE: MIT president orders review of Aaron Swartz episode. “The president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Sunday that he has ordered a top-to-bottom review of the university’s actions in a computer hacking case that led to the federal prosecution of renowed programmer and web activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself last week as he awaited a federal trial on 13 felony counts. . . . Swartz’s suicide at the age of 26 has led to an outpourting of sadness as well as anger directed at the Obama Administration, federal prosecutors, and MIT over a prosecution that critics regard as either unjustified or heavy-handed.”
HOW MUCH CAN YOU TELL ABOUT PEOPLE FROM THEIR HANDWRITING?
GUN OWNER ON LOWER HUDSON JOURNAL NEWS LIST victimized by burglar who may have used list to target home. “At least two burglars broke into a home on Davis Avenue at 9:30 p.m. Saturday but were unsuccessful in an attempt to open the safe, which contained legally owned weapons, according to a law enforcement source. One suspect was taken into custody, the source said.”
JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: Is The Computer Revolution Already Over?
Well, to be fair, they’ve already constructed their own gigantic destructive device:
NEWS FROM AMERICA’S OBESITY FRONTIER: Woman Crashes Through Sidewalk. “A heavyset woman caved through an Upper East Side sidewalk last night — dropping six feet into a huge hole where she was eventually pulled out by emergency crews using a crane-like rescue unit, authorities said.”
Takeaway: “The woman was enormous. . . . She is a very large person, but we were able to secure her and stabilize her and lift her out of the hole.”
ED DRISCOLL INTERVIEWS WALTER CARTER ON GUITAR HISTORY. Carter has a book out, The Epiphone Guitar Book: A Complete History of Epiphone Guitars.
ROGER KIMBALL: Piers Morgan, Filleted.
Ben Shapiro’s satisfying dismantling of Piers Morgan on CNN over the issue of gun control has been getting some of the plaudits it deserves. . . .
Others have celebrated Ben’s performance. Here I’d like to underscore two points.
One concerns Morgan’s attitude towards the Constitution. At one point in the interview, Ben handed Morgan a copy of the Constitution and invited him to ponder the language of the Second Amendment. A few minutes later, Morgan’s handed it back to him dismissively: Here’s “your little book.” The Constitution of the United States is “your little book”?
The other point concerns the point Ben made toward the end of the interview. One of the reasons the Founders framed the Second Amendment, he pointed out, was to arm citizens against the possibility of a tyrannous government.
Read the whole thing.
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David Hardy calls it “an amazingly impartial article.” It’s also a model for other reformers.
Plus, the essence of gun control: “Again, it’s an expression of contempt for Middle America. They don’t like you and yours and don’t think you should be in charge of the capacity to take care of yourself. They know they can’t do this for you, but they’ve hired these nice people to draw chalk outlines of your kids, and that’s supposed to make you feel better.”
ARE “SEX TIPS FOR GIRLS” RUINING ACTUAL SEX? “Women’s magazines are especially to blame in this regard. . . . There’s a crucial difference between encouraging sexual experimentation amongst women as a form of empowerment, and telling us that we should be re-enacting a strip club in our bedrooms every night. The former involves an element of truth-seeking, of body confidence building and laying positive foundations for relationships in the future – what is it that I want, and, equally, what doesn’t work for me at all? – while the latter is basically a group of mainly female journalists trying desperately to second guess what men want.”
THE CNN CLOWN SHOW CONTINUES: Piers Morgan exposes Dana Loesch’s lack of gun knowledge by making up models, calibers, deleting tweets.
ASSOCIATED PRESS LOOKING A LITTLE DESPERATE. “The AP rolled out two unconventional money-generating strategies this week: it sold its Twitter feed and cut a restaurant receipt ad deal. Just 22 percent of the AP’s revenue come from American newspapers, and that number that should sink lower in the new year with the loss of high-profile member papers such as Tribune Co.’s Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, the Hartford Courant, and the Orlando Sentinel, all of whom replaced AP content with the cheaper Reuters America wire service.”
WANT TO CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMEMBERS ABOUT GUN CONTROL? Ruger Makes It Easy.
SLIM WAISTS AS NATURE’S VIAGRA: Slimmer Women’s Waist is Associated with Better Erectile Function in Men Independent of Age. Maybe the fattening of America accounts for the success of all those new ED drugs . . . .
ABC NEWS: Sen. Corker Says There Are Questions About Chuck Hagel’s ‘Temperament.’ Among other things.
IN THE MAIL: From Ken Anderson, Living with the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order.
SOMETHING THAT CAN’T GO ON FOREVER, WON’T: Michael Barone: History Suggests That Era Of Entitlements Is Nearly Over.
Yesterday we noted the distressing anti-immigrant policies in Greece that have led to violent treatment of foreigners. We’ve also noted how another stressed EU member – Hungary – has gone even further down the road of xenophobic extremism (see here, here, and here).
But even by Hungarian standards things are getting ugly. . . . When thinly veiled calls for mass murder are uttered by prominent political and cultural figures tied to a ruling party, and a country fails to rise up in horror and drive these wicked people to the fringes of political life, that country has gone hideously off the track. Hungarian politicians, academics, journalists, religious leaders and artists and writers need to make it plain to the world that Mr. Bayer does not speak for them.
Europe’s leaders also need to take a look at the poisonous weeds sprouting up in their garden. The hatreds that the European Union was intended to quell are returning. It is not clear that beyond muddling through and hoping vaguely for the best Europe has any idea what to do.
European political leadership is up to its usual standards.
CAN A DNA DATABASE PREVENT CRIME? Well, that’s one of the things it might do.
CHARLIE MARTIN: 13 Weeks: Week 10 — In Which We Scheme. “Thirty pounds gone. Post-diabetic. Up next: Crossfit with PJM’s David Steinberg, alternative therapies, and plain ol’ self-esteem.”
There is, as Matthew Continetti notes, a certain irony in the idea that “an association of organizations with combined revenue of more than a billion dollars is launching a campaign to get ‘big money out of politics.’” In truth, no one wants to get money out of politics, but a lot of people want to get their opponents’ money out of politics.
This is what happened when they astroturfed the “grassroots” pressure for campaign finance “reform” last time. More here.
GAIL HERIOT: The Sad Irony of Affirmative Action.
CULTURE-JAMMING: President Obama’s Sandy Hook speech turned into a pro-life video.
HARRY REID named in bribery case.
I’m not saying I want Gregory prosecuted. I only want people to see how unfair it is to have a law that seems ridiculous to enforce against him, when that law is used against others. And Gregory richly deserves to be slapped around on the blogs, because he’s making the argument — that’s why he was waving that thing around — that there ought to be more invasive gun laws. He wants the government to reach more deeply into the ordinary lives of private citizens, and he’s entirely reckless about what these laws would really mean to ordinary people, and it[']s a recklessness that thrives in the mind of someone who easily and instinctively believed — correctly! — that the law did not apply to him.
Just remember, those who are above the law are in a poor position to hide behind it. Plus, from the comments:
What the decision to not prosecute Gregory while simultaneously insisting that the magazine ban law that he violated is important means is that there is absolutely no moral component to our legal system.
The only reason to not violate the law is from a reasonable fear of getting caught if you don’t have enough juice to get out of it. This also has interesting implications for the jury system.
Let’s see how well this new way of organizing society works out.
If those who enforce the law are amoral, they can expect to exercise little in the way of moral authority. Yes, I’m talking to you, Irvin Nathan.
UPDATE: Compare David Gregory’s free pass with the prosecutorial bullying aimed at Aaron Swartz.
HYPOCRISY: Top Dems urging Obama to raise debt ceiling all voted against increase in ’06. “Declaring themselves outraged by such spending, Reid, Durbin, Schumer, and Murray all voted against raising the debt limit. So did every other Democrat — including Sen. Barack Obama. But on Friday, the four lawmakers urged now-President Obama not only to raise the ceiling but to do it in a constitutionally risky fashion by going over the head of Congress.”
IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE.
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WANT TO CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMEMBERS ABOUT GUN CONTROL? Ruger Makes It Easy.
BARACK OBAMA: Best Gun Salesman In The History Of The World! “People were crowded five deep at the tiny counter of a gun shop near Atlanta, where a pastor from Knoxville, Tenn., was among the customers who showed up in person after the store’s Web site halted sales because of low inventory. . . . December set a record for the criminal background checks performed before many gun purchases, a strong indication of a big increase in sales, according to an analysis of federal data by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group.”
UPDATE: Reader Ron Oglesby writes from Illinois:
Stopped at the local shop in Plainfield, Illinois today. Its so crazy in there they have had to create new rules. New hours are 9am-2pm for purchases and looking at guns. 2pm-6pm for picking up ONLY. If you are not picking up you can’t come in!
They have a good selection of ammo but you can only buy 5 boxes for any given caliber and. . . When I left there were 17 people waiting to talk to a rifle sales rep and a waiting list for a 12 lane range that was in double digits!!! I have been coming to this store for 10 years and have never seen it like this. All of this in one of the most un-friendly states for guns in the US!!! Change!!!
Best gun salesman in history.
WASHINGTON, DC: America’s Porn-Watching Capital?
ANN ALTHOUSE: This gun control controversy is a real gift to Republicans. “It got them out of the morose election postmortem. Now, they’re in their zone.”
UPDATE: Reader Jim Addison writes: “If all you knew of the US was the Hollywood movie industry, you might think us the most corrupt country in the world, too.” Fair point! Also, Repeal The Hollywood Tax Cuts!
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PAINKILLERS ARE FOR PEOPLE WITH CLOUT: SkyDaddy Bloomberg Takes a Liking to Playing Deity. I think he’s had that liking all along.
FROM FRANK J. FLEMING, AN IDEA SO CRAZY IT JUST MIGHT WORK: Pretend Gun Control: Gun control advocates won’t know the difference if we pass laws banning a bunch of made-up things that sound scary.
For instance, I read a column in which Howard Kurtz mentioned a ban on high-magazine clips — we can certainly do without something that nonsensical. And I’ve heard the press before mention armor-piercing hollow points and plastic guns (actually, I think we already banned that made-up weapon in the ’80s). And as long as the NRA and Wayne LaPierre go apoplectic about it (“This ban on sorcerer-enchanted guns is just a slippery slope toward eliminating all witch-hexed weaponry!”), gun control proponents won’t know the difference between this and actual gun control. And this will help protect our most vulnerable people out there: politicians. Because long after the gun control advocates move on to other things, like who they want to tax next, gun owners will still be annoyed by any actual gun control legislation. One of the greatest fears politicians have is seeing an angry guy with lots of guns charging down the street, because they know he’s probably on his way to commit an act of voting.
I recommend banning phased plasma rifles in the 40-watt range. No one needs more than 25 watts for home defense.
LESLIE EASTMAN: A “social media militia” can preserve our liberties today.
SHOCKINGLY, NOT ABOUT MIKE BLOOMBERG: “The ordinary people were not happy. They loathed the Emperor’s interference in every detail of their daily lives.”
A WHITE HOUSE PETITION TO Eliminate armed guards for the President, Vice-President, and their families, and establish Gun Free Zones around them. “Gun Free Zones are supposed to protect our children, and some politicians wish to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms. Those same politicians and their families are currently under the protection of armed Secret Service agents. If Gun Free Zones are sufficient protection for our children, then Gun Free Zones should be good enough for politicians.”
#WARONWOMEN: IN JOE BIDEN’S HOME STATE, A GROSS INTERFERENCE WITH SEXUAL PRIVACY: Doggy Style: Delaware Couple Arrested, Now Facing Felony Bestiality Charges.
REMEMBER WHEN OBAMA WAS GOING TO SAVE US FROM THE EVIL BANKERS WHO WRECKED THE ECONOMY? NOW HE WANTS TO HAND OVER THE TREASURY TO ONE: WaPo: Jack Lew had major role at Citigroup when it nearly imploded. “In early 2008, he became a top executive in the Citigroup unit that housed many of the bank’s riskiest operations, including its hedge funds and private equity investments. Massive losses in that unit helped drive Citigroup into the arms of the federal government, which bailed out the bank with $45 billion in taxpayer money that year.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Bohemians Do Not Age Well.
WHEN BLACK FRIDAY COMES, I’ll stand outside the door. . . .
THE PERILS OF SCIENCE IN THE SEVENTIES: “It was a source of lasting dismay to Calhoun that his research primarily served as encouragement to pessimists and reactionaries, rather than stimulating the kind of hopeful approach to mankind’s problems that he preferred.”
PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH ON THE “HEARTLESS” MICHAEL BLOOMBERG.
SEE, I DON’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT ALL CULTURES ARE EQUALLY VALID. And neither do anthropologists, actually. Just get them talking about Republican gun-owners from the south. . . .
MARILYN MONROE: EARLY PHOTOS.
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: My Ex Posted “Revenge Porn” Photos Of Me.
A PALPABLE LACK OF ENTHUSIASM: Dem Senator Mark Begich: I’m “not interested” in a new assault-weapons ban. “Other red-state Democrats up for reelection: Mary Landrieu, Max Baucus, Tim Johnson, Kay Hagan, and Mark Pryor. Landrieu and Baucus voted no when the last AWB came up for renewal in 2004, and although Pryor voted yes, Arkansas wasn’t quite as red then as it is now. There’s no chance Reid will get to 60 in the Senate for a new ban; there’s a very slim chance that he won’t even get to 50. If you’re Pryor and you’re facing a tough campaign on unfavorable terrain, what’s your incentive for voting for a new AWB that hasn’t a prayer of passing?” Especially when it’s not going to get through the House.
NEW YORK SUN: Lower The Debt Ceiling.
I was actually kind of shocked today when I went online to register to vote and had to answer a race question–i.e. what was my “Ethnicity/Race”?–in order to finish the process. I would have thought race questions and voting registration don’t mix. I get to vote whichever way I answer, right?
The question wasn’t marked as optional–though other questions were, leaving the strong implication that if I declined to answer this one my registration wouldn’t go through. Nor was “decline to answer” one of the choices offered–only “Multi-racial” or “Other.”
Isn’t this arguably an excessive burden on a fundamental right–voting? You can’t tax me $10 to vote, but you can force me to answer a noxious question? What if they asked my religion? Where are Ward Connerly’s lawyers when we need them?
If the president spends as much as Congress has made available, and that sum falls short of what Congress has mandated be spent, he is not usurping legislative power. To the contrary, he is carrying out the will of Congress to the best of his ability.
The president would be obliged to comply with any laws governing which expenditures take priority under such circumstances, including the 14th Amendment’s mandate that servicing of existing debt is at the very top of the list. But in the absence of such laws, it seems reasonable to assume the president would have administrative discretion. (An alternative would be for judges to decide, but they really aren’t supposed to make policy.)
By contrast, if the president were to raise taxes or borrow money without congressional authorization, that would be a direct usurpation of legislative authority. Because of that, the Buchanan-Dorf proposal would be impracticable as well.
The duo want Obama to issue bonds without legal authorization. But without legal authorization, that debt would not be legally binding. Investors who bought such bonds would have no assurance of being paid back.
The U.S. is able to borrow money cheaply because of the 14th Amendment’s ironclad guarantee of repayment. U.S. bonds are the safest investment going because they will pay their promised rate of return barring a complete financial or constitutional collapse. Since the legally unauthorized Obama bonds would lack that guarantee, investors would demand a significant risk premium, assuming they were willing to buy the debt at all.
Plus, like the trillion-dollar-coin idea, it bespeaks an unseriousness about the whole thing that is unlike to instill confidence.
CRIME WRITER PATRICIA CORNWELL has her own legal drama.
LOOKING FOR WAR ON TERROR NEWS? Check out Fred Pruitt’s Rantburg. If you like what you see, hit his tipjar. I do.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): US Q4 GDP: From 2.5% To Sub 1% in Under Six Months.
MORE ON BLOOMBERG’S PLAN TO LET PEOPLE “SUFFER A BIT,” from Megan McArdle.
Of course, I assume that this will also make it harder for addicts to get the prescription drugs with which they are currently screwing up their lives. But it’s hard for me to view this as a worthwhile tradeoff. It seems fairly horrible to keep people in bad pain, incurred through no fault of their own, in order to protect other people from themselves. I’m not minimizing the problem of prescription drug abuse, mind you; I’ve known a few people who’ve had a hard time with it. But I’ve also known a few people who were in chronic pain, and I know which one I’d choose.
And we know which Bloomberg has chosen.
UPDATE: Reader Gail Rampke writes: “More despicably, we know what he will choose when he is in pain: private clinic, private doctor, private medication for he, but not for thee.”
Suffering — like laws, and taxes — is for the little people.
IN BRITAIN, CHANGE: Imperial measurements ‘to make comeback’ in schools. Somewhere, James Taranto is smiling.
UPDATE: Reader David Moelling writes: “Years ago I got the English edition of the ‘Dangerous Book for Boys’ in Heathrow Airport. I’ve passed it along to a young nephew, but I recall it had a suggestion the boys learn Imperial Units. I remember the authors comment that the USA got to the moon using inches and lbs rather than a system invented by French Revolutionaries! (by the way how is that 10 hour metric day working out for you?)”
I’ll get back to you around the 5th of Thermidor.
ANN ALTHOUSE ON DAVID GREGORY’S FREE PASS:
Why is the law important? If Gregory clearly violated the law, but there is no interest to be served in prosecuting him, doesn’t that prove that the law is not important? If the precise thing that he did — which is clearly what is defined as a crime — raises no interest in prosecution, how can we be satisfied by letting this one nice famous man go? Rewrite the law so that it only covers the activity that the government believes deserves prosecution, so there is equal justice under the law.
If there were equal justice under the law, what would be the point of being a Very Important Person?
Related: Prosecutor who gave David Gregory a pass was family friend. “What’s important is that the connection reinforces public perception, as Emily Miller put it, of one law for ‘the rich and powerful and one for everyone else.’”
TAX RATES AND POLITICAL IGNORANCE: “Why is it that large majorities simultaneously support increasing income taxes on people earning over $250,000 per year, but also believe that they should be taxed at a lower rate than existed even before the recent fiscal cliff deal raised it for individuals earning over $400,000, and families earning over $450,000? As The Hill points out, the most likely explanation is political ignorance. Most people probably don’t know what tax rates are currently in force, especially for people in income classes other than their own.”
LOOKING INTO WHY THE VIKINGS LEFT GREENLAND.
In the final phase, it was young people of child-bearing age in particular who saw no future for themselves on the island. The excavators found hardly any skeletons of young women on a cemetery from the late period.
“The situation was presumably similar to the way it is today, when young Greeks and Spaniards are leaving their countries to seek greener pastures in areas that are more promising economically,” Lynnerup says. “It’s always the young and the strong who go, leaving the old behind.”
ANOTHER BLOOMBERG GUN-CONTROL FAIL! Loaded Cannon Found In Central Park.
IT’S COME TO THIS: White House Does Damage Control on NYT Gun-Control Report. “The White House is already defining success downward.”
I mean, when the Obama White House has to do “damage control” on a New York Times gun-control report . . . .
WHAT COULD GO WRONG? France Sends Troops to Mali to Help Counter Islamist Advance.
AT AMAZON, New Year’s markdowns on fitness DVDs.
“THE OLDEST LEATHER SHOE AND SKIRT WERE FOUND IN ARMENIA.” They were then returned to their original owner, Helen Thomas.
Related: Coins are out, IOUs are in. Bottom line: The unseriousness of these dodges will do more harm than anything else.
DER SPIEGEL’S AMERICA PROBLEM.
THE FOUR HORSEMEN of the American Apocalypse.
DRUDGE DOES IT AGAIN:
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COMING: Toilet Paper Shortages?
PEOPLE MAY HAVE TO “SUFFER A BIT:” Bloomberg Slaps Down Criticism of Painkiller Restriction Plan.
I do agree that mortality isn’t everything; morbidity (poor health) matters too. But it is not true that we are living longer, more miserable lives. On the contrary, active life expectancy is increasing faster than life expectancy, according to the experts I interviewed for an article in the Atlantic. You can see this in the proportion of people on Medicare who have limitations in their ability to perform the tasks of daily living, which has been falling, not rising. . . .
To be sure, it’s possible that these statistics would be even more awesome if folks were thinner–being heavy is indisputably hell on the joints. But it is simply not the case that we are collectively living longer, unhealthier lives than we used to. And being thin can also be associated with morbidity problems–you’re more likely to hurt yourself when you fall, for example, because there’s no padding.
As for the last point, it seems a bit rich for public health experts and health journalists to suddenly be arguing that, well, of course, BMI doesn’t really tell you how fat people are. For twenty years, we’ve been reading about America’s obesity epidemic, which was going to kill us all in our beds, bankrupt the health care system, and Jesus Christ, have you seen how these people look in sweatpants? All of those articles were based on . . . rising BMI’s. That’s because we have no idea how much body fat has increased. It’s absolutely true that visceral fat predicts mortality better than many other measures, but visceral fat is really difficult and expensive to measure, so we mostly haven’t.
Read the whole thing.
Glenn Loury talks about people he’s known for 40 years who won’t say hello, who won’t look him in the eye because he USED TO BE a black conservative. USED TO BE! John McWhorter talks about those who think “it would be wrong to even print my name. They think of me as Satan. And that’s just how it’s been.”
THE RISE OF THE NBA NERD. Well, the NBA Thug thing is kind of played out at this point.
WASHINGTON, D.C. PROSECUTOR: Despite a “Clear Violation of the Law,” David Gregory Will Not Be Prosecuted.
Laws are for the little people. Gregory’s useful. But you can tell how proud they are of this decision by the fact that it came out on a Friday afternoon . . . .
HOOCH FOR THE POOCH: DOGGIE BEER? Bring beer for my doggies, and whiskey for my men . . . .