Now, another politician's famous and controversial...er,... accessory is blogging.
Cool mash-up featuring the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" set to scenes from "The Empire Strikes Back." (Via Ace of Spades.)
Here's Saturday Night Live's take on the Obama trip to China this week.
(Hat tip: Exurban Jon.)
Matthew Whalen, the Lansingburgh, NY, Eagle Scout and aspiring West Point cadet who was suspended from school for 20 days last month for having a small knife in his car, will not have his punishment expunged from his permanent record, the Troy Record reports.
The news, although disappointing, is not surprising. The Record reported last week that the board had made a decision but neither side would discuss the outcome. That was a bad sign.
Whalen's parents say they plan to appeal the local school board's decision to the state board of education. But it's unlikely that young Whalen will have any satisfaction before he heads off to college. From the Troy Record story:
"This could take up to one year, so it may be a moot point by time a decision is made by the state, but it’s about the principle of the matter," said Bryan Whalen, Matthew’s father, regarding the appeals process with the state Education Department. The family plans to file the appeal by next week.
About 170 appeals cases were decided on by the state last year on various topics, though there were 30 related to knives from the past 17 years, said spokesman Tom Dunn.
"It is not uncommon for the commissioner to receive appeals regarding the appropriateness of a school district’s actions," he said, adding that many are thrown out.
The Whalen story is stranger and somewhat less clear-cut than that of Zachary Christie, the Delaware first-grader who was suspended and nearly sent to reform school for bringing a Cub Scout camping tool to school. That was clearly a dumb decision by school officials, and the school board was right to change district policy to ensure such a farce wouldn't be repeated.
I think the Whalen case as reported should lead one to essentially the same conclusion. (Here's the Albany Times-Union's story about the board's decision.) One interpretation of the Lansingburgh board's decision might be that members didn't want to appear to cave to public or media pressure -- Fox News flogged the story for a couple of weeks, don't forget. Rules are rules and zero tolerance means just that. And it doesn't matter whether Whalen is a good kid or if he wants to go to West Point; we need to maintain order, by God! George Goodwin, Lansingburgh's mindless bureaucratic automaton of a superintendent, made noises along those lines to the press before retreating into his office, barring the door and shuttering the windows.
As it happens, another Lansingburgh High School student, a 14-year-old girl, was arrested Monday and charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon for bringing a knife to school. There are significant differences between her story and Whalen's. From the Record story:
The 14-year-old female student, whose name was not released, allegedly brought a folding knife blade in her jeans pocket "in anticipation of a fight," according to a police incident report.
The blade, which was not attached to a handle, was found in her pocket after she was involved in an altercation around 1:20 p.m. Monday, according to the report. It does not appear that anyone was injured.
Sounds reasonable. By contrast, Whalen's knife was smaller, he wasn't carrying it and he was not involved in a fight at the time; it was in his car and he seems to have been minding his own business when confronted by his vice principal. And although school officials did call the police, Whalen wasn't arrested or charged with any crime because New York State law doesn't consider a knife under 2-1/2 inches to be a weapon.
But one odd, recent detail about Whalen's story gives me pause and begs for further explanation: "One of his schoolmates, an alleged gang member with the Goonies, was purportedly the one who notified school security about the knife..." I made fun of the gang's name in a previous post. But what I don't understand is what precipitated this so-called gangster's revelation to school officials. Did Whalen have a run in with this gang, assuming it really is a gang and not a bunch of goofballs screwing around? Did that play a role in the superintendent's decision to extend Whalen's punishment from five days to 20 and the board's vote to affirm the suspension?
I still believe that Whalen likely got rolled by an idiotic bureaucracy divorced from common sense. But nobody should confuse opposing mindless, insipid zero-tolerance policies with opposing order and discipline in schools. As I wrote in my Sacramento Bee op-ed about the Whalen case and the idiocy of zero-tolerance policies in general, "students and teachers shouldn't have to wonder whether the kid in the back of the class is packing heat.... But zero-tolerance rules shouldn't serve as an excuse for officials to absolve themselves from using their intelligence. If nothing else, it's a terrible lesson and a poor example for kids."
The lesson still holds.
Earlier posts on Matthew Whalen and zero-tolerance:
• Vindication for Zachary Christie
• No vindication for Matthew Whalen... yet
• Who is George Goodwin?
• Where is the school board on Lansingburgh's insipid, mindless zero-tolerance policy?
• Well, OF COURSE Lansingburgh school administrators overreacted
• Vindication for Matthew Whalen... maybe soon
"Is Eric Holder attorney general of the United States or some unctuous motivational speaker?"
James Taranto raises a question or two about Eric Holder's Senate testimony this week.
I like these dumb bits -- I guess they're called "wedgies" -- that Cartoon Network runs between shows. Oink! Oink! Oink!
In response to some provocation by the Phlegms, The Telegraph of London offers "10 reasons to dislike the Belgians." But, really, all they had to do was post this...
Murray hammers Beck at AEI's American blog:
So here’s the unbearable paradox. Beck really has had important effects on the way the Obama administration and its legislation is perceived. It is conceivable that if healthcare goes down to a razor-thin defeat, Beck will have made the difference. If that turns out to be the case, he will have made a far greater contribution to the survival of the American project than ink-stained wretches like me can dream of having. And I want to shut him up?
I don’t really want to shut him up. I want him to change. Take those enormous talents and make all the arguments that he can legitimately make. Keep the cutesy gimmicks (I understand that we’re talking entertainment here), but have an iceberg of evidence beneath the surface. Fox is making so much money from the show that it can afford the staff to do the homework.
Absent that change, and I’m not holding my breath, let me suggest to my colleagues who want a better public policy debate that we’ve got to avoid the if-I-were-God fallacy. It’s not in our power to decide whether Glenn Beck’s show continues. He will save the Republic or fail to save it whatever we do. All we can do is be honest about what we think. I’ll go first. I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it. What Beck does is propaganda. Maybe propaganda has its place, but let’s not kid ourselves. Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann are brothers.
I don't care if Beck changes or not, honestly. I can't stand him or his show, and his opinions don't speak for me or influence my thinking one iota. But recall that Murray's colleague at AEI, our friend Steve Hayward, had a somewhat different take on Beck in the Washington Post last month.
(Hat tip: Ramesh Ponnuru at the Corner.)
... you "import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken in violation of the laws of a U.S. State." (Update: "...or any foreign law that protects plants." See comments.)
Today, FOX News host Gregg Jarrett was talking about Republican Sarah Palin's book tour and the crowd she is drawing at the start of it -- no small turnout, with some 1,500 people lining up early this morning for a chance to get into this evening's premier book-signing for Going Rogue in Grand Rapids.
"Sarah Palin continuing to draw huge crowds while she's promoting her brand new book,'' FOX's Jarrett told his viewers. "Take a look at -- these are some of the pictures just coming into us... The lines earlier had formed this morning.''
But it turns out that Happening Now had pulled some video of something that happened last year: Displaying video today from Palin's campaign for the vice presidency, on the ticket with the GOP's Sen. John McCain -- which also drew considerable crowds, as shown today in video of a smiling Palin before an adoring campaign crowd.
Recall that last week, as Joel noted here, The Daily Show pointed out how Sean Hannity's program used old B-roll to apparently distort the crowd size of the Nov. 5 "Kill the Bill" tea party event on the Washington Mall. Hannity apologized (more or less). I didn't quite believe Fox's excuses, but I didn't quite see malice aforethought, either.
This, however, is embarrassing and beyond sloppy, even if sloppiness turns out to be the root cause. Shenanigans of this sort lend credence to Fox News' conspiracy-minded critics, of course. It also further validates the Bradbury Rule.
Update: Fox News explains the different footage was a control room gaffe. As much as it pains me to link to Think Progress, you can watch the video of the on-air apology there.
The White House is a real meat grinder when it comes to personnel. You might have heard about the departure last week of White House Counsel Gregory Craig. Craig was in charge of the failed effort to close Gitmo by President Obama's January deadline.
Anyway, Craig is yesterday's news. His replacement is attorney Robert Bauer. Or, as he's been called in the news stories, Bob Bauer. Bauer is the husband of Anita Dunn, the White House communications chief who led the clumsy effort to stigmatize Fox News and who named Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa as two of her inspirations in a very bad speech.
The name "Bob Bauer" rang bells with me, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. Then I saw this item at The Corner today:
No one should forget that it was Bauer, as the general counsel for the Obama presidential campaign, who wrote a letter to the Justice Department on October 17, 2008, asking that a special prosecutor investigate Republicans like John McCain for talking publicly about voter fraud. According to Bauer, such talk was not only evidence of a “partisan political agenda,” but supposedly intended to “suppress voting” by harassing voters and impeding “their exercise of their rights.”
The spurious claims made in the letter were pretty outrageous at the time, but what is even scarier is that we now have a White House counsel who has asserted that anyone who talks about voter fraud, including the type of massive voter-registration fraud committed by ACORN, should be investigated and prosecuted by the Justice Department for voter intimidation.
AHA! That Bob Bauer. He was one of the inspirations for the headline on this occasional series of posts. The ACORN business was just one of his efforts to use the hammer of government to stifle Obama campaign critics. Here is what I wrote about him last year concerning an earlier incident: "The censorious antics by Obama campaign attorney Robert Bauer deserve further scrutiny and perhaps even official sanction." Read the entire post for more background and context. Suffice to say, no sanction or scrutiny was forthcoming, and it appears that Bauer's thuggish perfidy has been rewarded with a plum White House job -- or a place at the front of the meat grinder conveyor belt, take your pick.
Keep an eye on this man and this administration's worrisome posture toward the First Amendment.
I like Jules Crittenden's take:
Mocking pols is not only a fine American journalistic tradition, it’s an important part of our nation’s political discourse. My own newspaper put an Elmer Fudd hat on Mitt Romney when he claimed to be a hunter, a party hat on Deval Patrick for living large, had steam coming out of Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s ears, and periodically culls the photo archives for pol shots that will illustrate the tone of the story. Hillary looking like she’s about to claw your eyeballs out and the other where she looks like she just sat on a whoopie cushion are perennial favorites. My newspaper has a Bozo lookalike on the front page today to represent teachers unions that are … behaving like Bozos. But political mockery has become a (selective) minefield largely thanks to the kind of people who are now unexpectedly leaping to Palin’s defense.
There’s a saying in my business. Tabloid journalism is like rough sex. You need to know when to hold back. There’s always a risk of a little good clean fun going badly wrong, though Newsweek may have been caught off guard by the friendly fire in this case.
In this case, Newsweek is trying to make Palin look like a vapid, chirpy cheerleader. Did anyone think Newsweek was playing down the middle in this fight in the first place? I’d put this in the category of “they spelled her name right.” She looks great. They might think they look clever. But Newsweek might want to rent “Legally Blonde” for a simple, easy-to-understand allegory on the dangers of underestimating perky. Also, look up all the B-movie cowboy hits on Reagan. Apparently a lot of lefty feminists just woke up to the fact that Sarah Palin has been unfairly disparaged. Nothing new about that. A whole lot of other professional women and moms out there, if they didn’t know it already, will be able to do the math pretty quickly when they see it on the newsstands. Keep it up, Newsweek. You might even get her elected.
(Update: I changed the headline. It didn't quite fit with the previous two posts on "California's coming dark age.")
It's at once too late and too early for coherent commentary on the lead story in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, but the headline is enough to give you nightmares: "California faces a projected deficit of $21 billion."
According to Shane Goldmacher's story:
Less than four months after California leaders stitched together a patchwork budget, a projected deficit of nearly $21 billion already looms over Sacramento, according to a report to be released today by the chief budget analyst.
The new figure -- the nonpartisan analyst's first projection for the coming budget -- threatens to send Sacramento back into budgetary gridlock and force more across-the-board cuts in state programs.
The grim forecast, described by people who were briefed on the report by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, comes courtesy of California's recession-wracked economy, unrealistic budgeting assumptions, spending cuts tied up in the courts and disappearing federal stimulus funds.
"Economic recovery will not take away the very severe budget problems for this year, next year and the year after," said Steve Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.
In fact, after two years of precipitous revenue declines, the new report projects relatively stable tax collections for the state, said those who were briefed. But that won't stop the deficit from climbing to nearly $21 billion.
And it gets worse from there.
Dan Weintraub spoke ominously in our podcast about the coming budget reckoning in the Golden State. Truth is, there must be more cuts. But there might be tax increases on top of cuts. In a over-regulated state such as California, with one of the highest unemployment rates and worst business climates in the nation, tax hikes would be another body blow to a battered economy. It's well past time that the state government scaled back its ambitions.
But about that, more anon.
Looks like Republican Chris Norby is headed into a runoff in January with Democrat John MacMurray to take over the contemptible Mike Duvall's former seat in the 72nd Assembly District. Official results are here.
I don't want to say Norby has it in the bag -- because he doesn't -- but, according to the Orange County Register: "The north Orange County district's voter registration is 43 percent Republican and 34 percent Democrat. Beside that advantage, Norby has better name recognition and is a better fundraiser than MacMurray."
I guess we're supposed to conclude that President Obama's bow to Japan's emperor was no big deal. I conclude that good, old-fashioned American anti-monarchical republicanism went by the boards a long time ago. Pity.
UC Berkeley economist and former Clinton Treasury Department official Brad DeLong suggests that the economy could get a lot more depressing before Happy Days Are Here Again:
For 2 1/4 years now I have been saying that there is no chance of a repeat of the Great Depression or anything like it--that we know what to do and how to do it and will do it if things turn south.
I don't think I can say that anymore. In my estimation the chances of another big downward shock to the U.S. economy--a shock that would carry us from the 1/3-of-a-Great-Depression we have now to 2/3 or more--are about 5%. And it now looks very much as if if such a shock hits the U.S. government will be unable to do a d----- thing about it. (Bowdlerization in the original.)
Click "read more" below for the rest of this post.
We love elections in California. The more special the election, the better. The SacBee reminds us:
The battleground du jour is the 72nd Assembly District, where several candidates are vying to replace ex-Assemblyman Mike Duvall. That would be the Duvall who stepped down in September after a tape surfaced of him describing dirty details of sexual flings with two women (the married Republican has since said his resignation isn't an admission that he had an affair).
There's been no shortage of mudslinging and money spending by supporters of the two frontrunners for the seat, GOP rivals Chris Norby, an Orange County supervisor, and Linda Ackerman, a Republican National Committeewoman who's married to former Senate GOP leader Dick Ackerman.
Democrat John MacMurray, Green Party candidate Jane Rands and GOP newcomer Richard Faher round out the cast of pols competing in this "old-fashioned Orange County family feud."
Assuming no candidate is able to snag more than 50 percent of the vote, the top vote-getter from each party moves on to a January 12 runoff election, meaning either Ackerman or Norby will likely face MacMurray and Rands.
Norby has earned the love and respect of property rights advocates -- and the undying enmity of many of his peers -- for his outspoken opposition to eminent domain abuse. If I lived in Anaheim, Fullerton, Yorba Linda or thereabouts, I have a pretty good idea of how I'd vote today.
On Twitter, Dave Weigel says the L.A. Times' Andrew Malcolm "doesn't really know anything about Japan." I don't know about that, but it's fairly clear Dave Weigel doesn't really know anything about America.
A decision regarding the appeal of 17-year-old Matthew Whalen’s school suspension and the expunging of his record has been made but family members were mum on the outcome.
Tuesday marked the end of the 14-day period the Lansingburgh Central School District’s Board of Education said it would need to make a decision and a family member Thursday confirmed the family and school had come to an agreement but declined to specify details.
So, was Whalen's suspension expunged from his Permanent Record? We don't know. Will the Lansingburgh board of education amend the district's discipline policies in the wake of this fiasco? We don't know. Will soulless bureaucratic automaton George Goodwin keep his job? Probably -- but we don't know. I guess if Whalen gets his wish and earns admission to West Point, that would count as vindication of some kind. But it would be better if the district changed its "zero-tolerance" rules to avoid repeating the Whalen farce as a tragedy.
The story does add one tantalizing detail that hadn't been reported earlier: "One of (Whalen's) schoolmates, an alleged gang member with the Goonies, was purportedly the one who notified school security about the knife, which was given to Whalen by his grandfather, Robert Whalen, the former police chief in Hoosick Falls."
The Goonies? What the hell kind of gang name is that? Are the Fratellis involved? In any event: Zero-tolerance for idiot gangster wannabes, not Eagle Scouts with harmless keychain knives. I hope the Record reporter follows up, because this is a real anti-climax.
Some pages of Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" leaked ahead of next week's publication date and pundits are in a frenzy. The excerpt deals with Palin's interview with Katie Couric and efforts by the McCain campaign to keep her out of the media spotlight. Of the critiques I've read so far, Ann Althouse is perhaps the most unsparing. A sample:
"I really didn’t have a say in which press I was going to talk to, but for some reason Nicolle seemed compelled to get me on the Katie bandwagon."
Why didn't you have a say? There's that "really" hedging: You didn't really have a say. You're pleading passivity and impotence but you want us to think you have what it takes to be President of the United States?
Bottom line: "If these 2 pages of 'Going Rogue' are any evidence, she is displaying her weaknesses all over again, and she is still too dumb to be President. And, most scarily, she doesn't know how dumb she still is."
Ouch. There is plenty more where that came from -- including some interesting reader comments. The book lands in stores on Tuesday.
Joel and I tackle the Fort Hood massacre in this week's Scripps-Howard column, specifically this notion that Major Nidal Hasan's killing-spree could inspire a backlash against Muslims in the military and in society. Joel thinks there might be something to it (so does Montel Williams, although I don't think Joel is worried about concentration camps). But I think it's all hooey. We need to confront facts, not phony fears.
Have you ordered your copy of Sarah Palin's memoir yet? I wasn't planning to, but with Amazon selling the $28 book for nine bucks plus shipping, I really couldn't pass it up. (By the way, how can HarperCollins possibly afford that deep of a discount?) In any case, I'm sure the book will provide fodder for the column, the podcast and, well, this here blog.
Time's Mark Halperin clues curious readers to what is and isn't in store for them. My favorite detail:
Once source who has seen “Going Rogue” says it does not include an index. That would give Palin a subtle revenge on the party's Washington establishment, whose members tend to flip to the back pages and scan for their own names. If they want to know what Sarah Palin has to say about them, they will have to buy the book—and read the whole thing.
I'm not head over heels for Palin, but I'm looking forward to reading the book, which is scheduled to land in stores -- and on my front porch -- on Tuesday.
I have an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee today about the mindless insipidity -- or is it the insipid mindlessness? -- of school zero-tolerance policies. It's sort of a saner, soberer, shorter version of the series of posts I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the Matthew Whalen case in upstate New York, with a California twist.
Coincidentally, the Lansingburgh, NY, Board of Education is scheduled to hand down its decision as early as today on whether to repeal Whalen's suspension and expunge his record. I hope the board does the right thing, for the reasons I lay out in the piece.
Duncan Black, who writes under the nom-de-plume "Atrios," once remarked on a subject he didn't understand: "Our discourse is so stupid."
That quip has made me smile for almost two years, and I enjoy linking to it -- not least because he was commenting on a project near and dear to Joel Mathis and me. Black was wrong about the particulars, but the line nicely encapsulated just about every cliché you've read about blogging and bloggers. Hence, "Atrios was right," even though he wasn't.
Lately though, it occurs to me that Black's observation accurately describes some of the comments here on Infinite Monkeys.
We never set out to have this blog be anything other than a place for this eclectic and changing group of people to spout off on any subject they like, whenever they like. I've always blanched at the idea that Infinite Monkeys is just another "libertarian/conservative" blog. The description is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. Our political outlook is broader and our interests are more varied.
When it comes to comments, we've always encouraged discussion and we never wanted to establish any onerous rules. I've been a moderator before -- I was paid to do it. I'm not paid to moderate this site. I don't want to moderate it. In general, we prefer to give people plenty of rope with which to hang themselves and we're not inclined to ban commenters. We're not Little Green Footballs here. (Would that we had the traffic!)
Yet I've closed two comment threads and deleted one comment within the past hour today. I may be wrong, but I don't think I've ever deleted a comment that wasn't spam. Maybe once before, but it's not like I keep track.
So, here's the deal: We're not going to countenance loose charges of treason in the comments. If I see stuff like that again, it's getting deleted. If a commenter insists on leveling that charge, that commenter is going to be banned.
I'm also getting bored with the lazy ad hominem arguments and personal attacks in the comments. If you don't know the difference, read this. And if you have any doubts about whether your comment includes an ad hominem or personal attack, do us all a favor: Don't post it.
Finally, I'm going to be a lot more... well, liberal about invoking what will be known henceforth as The Atrios Rule. If the discourse becomes too stupid, I'm going to close down the comments on the post.
Don't worry, you'll still have ample opportunity to make monkeys of yourselves. Lord knows, we do it every day. But we're going to keep the poo-flinging to a minimum.
Thanks for reading.
Ronald Reagan's chief presidential speechwriter Anthony Dolan writes in the Wall Street Journal today about the power and resonance of "four little words" that came true 20 years ago.
But Steve Hayward reminds us that Reagan wasn't convinced that the events of November 9 were inevitable and that the United States needed to be forceful and deliberate:
Mostly Reagan repeated some of his better known public themes from his Cold War diplomacy ("trust, but verify"), but he did take a mild shot at his critics: "Contrary to what some critics have said, I never believed that we should just assume that everything was going to be all right." Asked to revisit his "evil empire" comment, Reagan said," I have to tell you--I said that on purpose. . . I believe the Soviet Union needed to see and hear what we felt about them. They needed to be aware that we were realists." A nice turn, suggesting that it was the anti-Communist "ideologues" who were the true realists all along.
Bill Bennett argues that the Berlin Wall "did not fall — it was pushed."
But today isn't all about triumphalism. Far from it. Communism took a terrible toll on the lives of hundreds of millions of people. And Melanie Phillips admonishes that the end of Soviet tyranny in Eastern Europe did not signal the end of communism: "The Soviet Union was defeated and fell apart, for sure. But the communist ideology that fuelled it did not so much disintegrate as reconstitute itself into another, even more deadly form as the active enemy of western freedom."
On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a fitting tribute...
I noticed over the weekend a couple of stories that made passing reference to the weapons U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan used in his rampage at Ft. Hood last week. This AP dispatch is characteristic:
The most powerful type of ammunition for the FN 5.7 gun is available only to law enforcement and military personnel. Gun control advocates call it a "cop killer" weapon because that ammo can pierce bulletproof vests, and its use by Mexican drug cartels worries police.
It is not clear what kind of ammunition was used in the Fort Hood attack.
Although I don't know much about the FN 5.7, I've read enough bad reporting about guns to know the AP correspondents come off as typical know-nothings who went the predictable alarmist route. I also noticed the subtle shift in terminology. Years ago, we heard about "cop killer bullets" -- ammo usually coated with teflon that could supposedly penetrate body armor. Now it isn't the bullet, but the weapon. Except it isn't. I thought to myself, Maybe there's a post in this...*
Turns out, there is a post. Bob Owens wrote it and posted it over at Pajamas Media. Owens points out:
It may seem counterintuitive to many, but the high velocities that enable the Five-seveN’s .22 bullet to drive through soft body armor are thought to be mostly wasted on unarmored targets.
The 5.7 is a relatively new cartridge with limited distribution and so actual “real world” ballistic performance is anecdotal at best, but high-velocity pistol bullets like the .38 Super noted earlier and the 7.62×25 Tokarev have been around almost 80 years. Their established track record is that of bullets with excellent penetration characteristics but with questionable stopping power. The 5.7 round uses a far lighter bullet at higher velocities and the high velocity gives the bullet the distinct possibility of fragmenting. But even then, a high-velocity bullet that only weighs 40 grains (as does the legal SS197SR bullet Hasan used) is at a distinct disadvantage when compared to other pistol cartridges. Instead of dumping the bullet’s energy into the body of the person shot, these high-velocity rounds typically stab a long narrow wound channel completely through a human-sized target, or they erupt into fragments that cause narrow wound channels.
Slower, heavier bullets such as those found in the .40 S&W and .45 ACP hollow point cartridges favored by American law enforcement dump most if not all of their energy in the human body. The difference between a wound from a 5.7 bullet and a .45 ACP is not dissimilar to the difference between the wound from an ice pick and the wound from a sledgehammer. The ice pick will penetrate far deeper, but the sledgehammer will cause far more traumatic injuries.
Most journalists wouldn't know any of that, and so their reporting reflects an ignorance underscored by the received wisdom of activist groups that peddle in nonsense like "cop killer guns" and "assault rifles that fit in your pocket."
Owens's kicker is spot-on: "The American media has a long and ignoble history of firearms ignorance often based upon the propaganda of anti-gun organizations. Finally, if but for once, that ignorance and fact-free hype may have served to actually save lives." Read the whole thing.
* An aside: A Google search led me to this post by "Orange County Conservative Examiner" Gregory Dail, whose hysterics make the Associated Press reporters sound like PR flacks for the NRA. Dail, like so many others, doesn't know what he's talking about and confuses means with ends.
(Hat tip: Instapundit)
Evidently, Rodriguez has been going wild with apples lately:
(W)e are talking about apples here – in all their splendor. We’ve turned apples into candy (or paste), we’re about to drink some, soon they’ll be in a fresh winter salad and I just ate a piece of raw apple cake with large bits of tart apples strewn about – I think you’ll like it.
Now let’s have that cocktail.
First things first – get yourself some apple brandy or Calvados...
Yes, by all means, please do. (And send me some while you're at it.) The Applejack Rabbit includes 2 oz. apple brandy, 1/2 oz. of lemon juice and a tablespoon maple syrup. Shake, strain and enjoy. And check out Rodriguez's photographs of the drink, too.
The House of Representatives on Saturday night passed the Pelosi-Obama health care bill, 220-215. One Republican congressman, Anh Cao of Louisiana, voted for the bill. Thirty-nine Democrats voted against.
Cao explains himself at his Web site:
“Tonight, I voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana.
Cao said: “I read the versions of the House [health reform] bill. I listened to the countless stories of Orleans and Jefferson Parish citizens whose health care costs are exploding – if they are able to obtain health care at all. Louisianans needs real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children.
Cao said: “Today, I obtained a commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals. And, I call on my constituents to support me as I work with him on these issues.
Cao said: “I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents."
Apart from Cao, who probably shouldn't get too comfortable in Washington, nobody seems to be satisfied with the outcome. Here is my round-up of reaction from around the conservative and liberal blogospheres.
Click "Read more" below for more reaction from Saturday night and Sunday morning
So the House today debated an amendment (Update: The amendment passed) to Nancy Pelosi's abominable 2,000-page health care bill that would bar federal funding of elective abortions. Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak offered the amendment as a compromise to protect Blue Dog Democrats from the wrath of their constituents after they vote for this legislative nightmare.
Here is an interesting response on Twitter from a certain Duncan Black:
Stupak (n) - The sepsis commonly experienced after unsafe back alley abortions
A new word! How charming.
(Earlier, Black tweeted that Stupak is "ripe for santoruming, dan savage style." What does that mean, you ask? Click here for an explanation and here for a definition, but be advised that neither is the least bit polite. Oh, no, not polite at all.)
All of this just goes to show -- yet again! -- that Atrios was right.