Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Arrested Developments

Wolf Blitzer is not in custody. John King is apprehensive but not apprehended. As a matter of fact, he made a significant breakthrough in a dramatic shift, falsely alerting the public to a dark-skinned man in a hoodie and backwards baseball cap. Homeland Security maven Fran Townsend is still at large after getting out ahead of herself with her trusted sources. Chris Cuomo is conflicted, simultaneously applying the brakes and "accelerating incredibly quickly".  

An arrest has been made, no arrest has been made, an arrest has been made.

In case you missed the afternoon's adventures in comedically inept journalism, you can watch a recap right here.

In other news, Capitol Police mistakenly removed the wrong people from the Senate chamber this afternoon, for the offense of publicly shaming public officials who are psychopathically incapable of feeling any. Joe Biden, wiping away some eye liquid, outrageously admonished the Tucson heroes to observe the proper decorum instead of properly directing his wrath toward his colleagues.

He continued weeping as President Obama strained to simulate anger in a Rose Garden gun control defeat ceremony. Earlier in the day, Majority Leader Harry Reid had delivered a self-absolving whine-a-thon in order to let advocates of gun reform know that they can't blame him when the next slaughter goes down, simply because he simulated bucking the NRA at the last minute, when it was far, far too late to make a damn's worth of difference. He's a grandpa, you see.

Since Harry Reid failed to reform the filibuster when he had the chance, his zero-hour crocodile tears were just an obvious effort to save face, to place all the blame on the other side of the Money Party, to maintain the illusion that the Democrats are still the party of the people, and to give the president the cover to display some righteous public indignation. (without having to mention that it was only a few months ago that he had heartily congratulated Reid on his pretend filibuster reform efforts)

What Obama did get right, though, was his statement that our elected officials pay no attention to the will of the people they allegedly serve. (Whether he saw himself reflected in the camera lens, thinking about his own grand betrayals as he delivered his remarks, is up for debate.)

 Just a few more justifications today for a huge, long-overdue outpouring of public dissent and protest, flying shoes and rotten tomatoes.


Suzan said...

Well, at least they've added "humor" to their inept display of public representation.

Thanks, K!

You're are all over the news. As usual.

We need a cable channel of your reporting. You could even invite a few friends to comment.

Should get loads of subscribers in these nefarious political times.

I'd sign up pronto.


in comedically inept journalism

Denis Neville said...

I couldn’t help comparing the travesty of yesterday, CNN, the most trusted name in news, strikes again…

with the three hours I watched on Sunday, CSPAN’s In Depth interview with Amy Goodman…

“We need a media that covers power, not covers for power. We need a media that is the Fourth Estate, not for the State. Instead of learning from the media what is actually going on in the world, we get static – a veil of distortion, lies, omission, and half-truths that obscure reality. We need a media that creates static of another kind: what the dictionary defines as ‘criticism, opposition, or unwanted interference.’ Instead of a media that covers for power, we need a media that covers the movements that create static—and make history.”

Why are the Boston bombings labeled terrorism, but mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. are not? Why isn’t the person with the high-capacity assault weapon and high-capacity magazine a terrorist?

Our political system has zero tolerance for terrorism fatalities (about 3,400 since 1970), but is fine with 30,000 gun deaths a year (more than 900,000 gun deaths since 1900). They treat acts of terror with an understanding that they will do anything and spare no expense to stop it, but they continue to do nothing to control gun violence.

When will we start blaming the people who keep voting for these elected officials despite what we citizens would consider their repeated failures?

James F Traynor said...

Watch what happens if the bomber, or bombers, turn out to be right wingers. They'll immediately morph into disgruntled ex-employees, employees or voters driven mad by the 'libruls'.

Will said...

Slightly OT, but did anyone see some footage of the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas last night? I saw this video this morning and it scared the living daylights out of me. What seems at first like a pretty big fire viewed from a safe distance instantly turns into an in-your-face, enormous earth-shattering explosion. Brace yourselves, my friends. And pray for all those people, if you're so inclined.

Jay - Ottawa said...


Hey, Reidie, Bidey, O’Bromide ….

No need to cry. Your weak-wristed gun control bill actually passed! The vote was 54-46.

Oh, yeah, the filibuster.

Well, don’t look now, but you have one more big card in your hands. How come you don’t force the bastards to filibuster around the clock, 24/7, unto eternity? Play it. Let Americans and the world see them day after day in all their glory making their pitch for more Newtowns.

How come you don’t make them pay the price, in full, for their insistence on a supermajority? Puzzles me no end.

Denis Neville said...

@ Will – WOW!!!
Map showing the close proximity of the plant in relation to the schools, the nursing home, and residential homes:

Does Texas have any regulations?

Denis Neville said...

McClatchy reporter Amina Ismail’s exchange with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:

“President Obama said that what happened in Boston was an act of terrorism. I would like to ask, Do you consider the U.S. bombing on civilians in Afghanistan earlier this month that left 11 children and a woman killed a form of terrorism? Why or why not?”

Of course not!

“We take great care [photo of lifeless bodies of Afghan children before their funeral ceremony] in the prosecution of this war.”

Zee said...

In the wake of the horrible Newtown mass-slaying, I, too, expected all sorts of new gun control legislation to sail through both houses of Congress and to be signed quickly into law by Obama.

Frankly, I didn't see anything in the various new controls that would affect me much, if at all.

The assault weapons ban was dead on arrival, and didn't really matter anyway. A limitation on the capacity of ammunition magazines is the key, if it can be pulled off. Without high capacity magazines, so-called assault weapons are just ugly—but otherwise quite ordinary—rifles, and I just do not see a limitation on the availability of high capacity magazines as being too onerous to legitimate, law-abiding gun owners. And as I have said previously, “universal background checks” are a “no-brainer.”

Still, one of the many correllaries to Murphy's Law is “Nothing is as easy as it seems.”

First, gun control advocates had the misfortune to seek this new legislation at a time when more than a few senators were up for re-election in 2014 who are from largely rural, and mostly western and southern states where guns are a big part of our culture. Rightly or wrongly, the first duty of any member of our Permanent Political Class as he or she sees it is to get him/herself re-elected once in office. So what would anyone expect these senators to do but view this legislation with skepticism and concern from the git-go?

Second, the “universal background check” requirement is just not as easy to write or enforce as it sounds. Think about it: Some 280-310 million guns in private hands in this country, very few of which are on any governmental registration lists. Yes, one can pass a law requiring a background check before any type of gun transfer can take place, but how to enforce it for a parent passing a gun along to a child, or a direct trade between friends, etc. if they don't care to be troubled by the time and/or cost, or are just plain suspicious about the process? Who bears the cost of a background check, and how much will it be? Who guarantees that the cost will never become prohibitive? And the list goes on just regarding the logistics.

I know that the NRA has been accused of falsely claiming that the “universal background check” would lead to a de facto national gun registration list and thus falsely making that portion of the bill unpalatable to the public and politicians alike. But as I tried to point out some time ago in this forum, the ACLU had concerns about the very same thing, so was the NRA completely wrong?

I don't know that the ACLU ever decided that the final legislation addressed their right-to-privacy concerns. If they are worried, well, then so am I.

As with so-called health care reform, liberals have had literally decades to think about, construct, and have at the ready, gun control legislation that is both effective and addresses the legitimate privacy concerns of law-abiding gun owners.

But as with health care “reform,” the “libruls” waited until they saw an opportunity for new gun control measures, and, in their haste not to let a crisis go to waste, trotted out only the warmed-over assault weapons ban, and ill-thought-out, Rube Goldberg-type legislation for universal background checks that just couldn't stand up to close scrutiny by the NRA or the ACLU.

It's impossible to take our federal legislators seriously.

Zee said...

“Our political system has zero tolerance for terrorism fatalities (about 3,400 since 1970), but is fine with 30,000 gun deaths a year (more than 900,000 gun deaths since 1900). They treat acts of terror with an understanding that they will do anything and spare no expense to stop it, but they continue to do nothing to control gun violence.” —Denis Neville

Denis, we are both agreed, I think, that our government is busy abridging the civil liberties of all Americans both in the prevention of terrorism, and the pursuit of terrorists, and neither of us likes it.

So would you have the government also “do anything and spare no expense to stop [gun violence]” (my emphasis added) at whatever the cost to the rights of law-abiding gun owners?

After all, in for a penny, in for a pound on the wholesale sacrifice of our constitutional rights?

I'm just asking.

Also, it's a nit-picky point, but one that not only I, but, I think, Neil Gillespie has also brought up in the past.

Yes, there are “30,000[+] gun deaths a year” in this country, but “only” about 11,078 of them are actual homicides:

The remaining 19, 372 gun deaths (2010 data) were suicides.

I don't want to minimize the tragedy of suicide, but those bent on suicide will find other methods if firearms are not readily available.

I call your attention to suicide rates in Japan and the United Kingdom of 21.7 and 11.8 per hundred thousand of population, and where guns are largely unavailable, versus 12.0 per hundred thousand of population in the United States where there are between 280 and 310 million guns in civilian hands. Where there's a will, apparently there is a way.

So I think that it's quite simply wrong to conflate firearms homicides with firearm suicides, or to
suggest that any measure of gun control can be used to foil those who wish to kill themselves.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

part 1:

The fertilizer plant explosion prompts Denis Neville to ask "Does Texas have any regulations?"

An important question, but one that should also include the issue of federal regulations, and the further question of whether sanctions, state or federal, are sufficiently strong to motivate safe operating procedures. Zoning is a different matter, presumably entirely under local and state control, and apparently Texans don't want any intrusion, even by local gubmint, into where business can play with explosive materials, or where housing/schools/nursing homes can be built. If explosive materials detonate, well, the neighbors will simply experience the rapture sooner than they would otherwise. The ministers eulogizing will simply say that "they are in a better place" --- which, given the reality of life in Texas, might be true.

According to the New York Times, "Because it was built in 1962, the facility was grandfathered into state regulations, Mr. Covar said. The company was supposed to get reauthorized in 2004, but failed to do so." So it's possible that development grew up around the plant. That should never have been permitted. Nor should state reauthorization failure.

Also from the NYT, the plant's last federal OSHA inspection occurred 28 years ago. The five "serious" violations found resulted in a fine of $30 !!!!! No mention by the NYT whether that $30 was per violation, or the total. ($30 per violation would have been soooooo much stronger!)

In its occurrence and the lessons that should be drawn, this fertilizer plant explosion was little different from the implosion of the financial system. "Free range" capitalism, in its dedication to maximizing profit with no concern for the wider societal effects, endangers us all, and must be properly regulated to minimize the very real dangers to the broader society.

In other current matters:

I caught part of the broadcast of Obama's speech at the cathedral in Boston. I had to turn it off in disgust, his words and delivery reminding me of a campaign rally. Does the man have no sense of decency?

And as an example of how the mass media suppresses information about the control of protest, the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson's primary newspaper, in a front-page article today reporting the U.S. Senate defeat of gun curbs, mentioned Tucsonan Patricia Maisch's "shame on you" comment, but not that that she was escorted out by Capitol police. Since @Zee has in his comments above addressed some of the nuances of the attempted gun control legislation, I won't add anything now.

Lastly with regard to current matters, while typing this, out of the blue I got a telephone call that I would classify as apparent attempted consumer fraud. Since I was already online, I looked up the number for the Arizona Attorney General's office, after a wait got a live person who connected me to the consumer fraud division --- where I was informed via recording that I should leave my name and number and they would get back to me within two days! Apparently, they aren't particularly interested in a timely attempt to prevent consumer fraud. Yet one more example of regulatory insouciance.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

part 2:

In older matters:

Thanks, @Zee, for your end-of-March citation at Sardonicky of my ancient comment from RealityChex, and @Jay - Ottawa for referencing my more recent link to that week-long newspaper poverty series.

And with regard to the recent discussion here of inadequate regulation of poultry processors with respect to microbial contamination (Karen's April 12 "Salmonella Nation" post and associated comments), a couple of different but related matters:

So if fecal/microbial contamination isn't enough reason for Americans to cut back on meat consumption, perhaps the industry's animal cruelty and its moves to abrogate First Amendment and citizen journalist rights might be.

Not only is agribusiness opposing proper --- and proven necessary --- regulation of their own activities, they are attempting to impose regulation that will stifle fundamental democratic communication and organizing by the populace.

Zee said...


By way of an apology for the abrupt tone of my second post here, I have sometimes complained that some in this forum seem to forget what I have said in prior posts, and therefore tend to mischaracterize me on topics that are being discussed in the present merely by virtue of an unfortunate choice of words.

Please note that I have not forgotten your earlier remarks on the Second Amendment, and I'm not trying to accuse you of trying to take anyones' guns away when I know better.

"Most progressives, including myself, don’t want to ban guns. We recognize the Second Amendment right to own guns. We are not out to get people’s guns. There are common sense steps to protect public safety while not infringing on the Second Amendment. The context in which the Second Amendment was written could not have anticipated the way guns evolved in the ability to do harm today. The Constitution did not foresee assault weapons. The right to bear arms is constitutional, but the right to be safe should be too. Progressives are not attempting to create a gun free society, just set reasonable limits.” --Denis Neville, October 19, 2012

So I apologize for my “in for a penny, in for a pound” remark, which was wrong of me.

I'm just trying to understand where we go from here, given that our federal legislators are idiots.

Perhaps there is some hope with the states. I do not view the legislation that has passed in Colorado or Connecticut as extreme, though I think that the State of New York's new requirement to “register” so-called assault weapons—and, as in the past, handguns—just may be a bridge too far.

Registration in that state—specifically, in New York City—has already led to confiscation:

I doubt that that lesson will be quickly forgotten by citizens in other states. It won't be by me.

I will be out-of-country for the following week, and unable to communicate except via my tablet, which has limited “typing” capabilities. So please don't construe any silence on my part as disinterest in any discussion that may follow.

Zee said...


It has been my observation that neither state agencies nor--at least--credit card companies are particularly interested in consumer fraud.

Thankfully, Mrs. Zee watches our credit card charges like a hawk, and routinely finds small charges to one particular card that are spurious.

Contacting the credit card company, they equally routinely eliminate the spurious charges without question when she challenges them. They know who these fraudsters are.

Asked by Mrs. Zee whether or not we need to have new cards issued, the company inevitably replies that this is such a common occurrence for all card holders that they simply strike the charges when a consumer complains. (And, presumably, let them stand when they go unchallenged.)

Pity the poor cardholder who isn't as vigilant as Mrs. Zee.

And if credit card companies don't give a damn, why should a state agency?

It truly is "a jungle out there."

Zee said...


It would appear that the media are immune to any embarrassment over their major cock-up

(see definition at:
dictionary/british/cock-up )

regarding their assertions that various suspects had been apprehended at one time or another for the Boston Marathon bombings: praises Jon Stewart for calling the media's failings to public attention, but your similar condemnations have not gone overlooked here.

As you might guess, I have never been a huge fan of Amy Goodman, but Denis' quote from her regarding the proper role of the media today is quite accurate.

Kat said...

Well, Tom Friedman got it right after all!
And while we are at it, let’s schedule another Boston Marathon as soon as possible. Cave dwelling is for terrorists. Americans? We run in the open on our streets — men and women, young and old, new immigrants and foreigners, in shorts not armor, with abandon and never fear, eyes always on the prize, never on all those “suspicious” bundles on the curb.
No word on if they've "scheduled" another one of those marathon things. They just might!