Category: Dumb Statements

Maybe Saul Had This Guy In Mind

By , June 22, 2020 11:38 am

Saul Steinberg was a cartoonist whose work frequently appeared in The New Yorker. My guess is most people know of him because of The New Yorker cover above, dated March 29, 1976. (I’ve always thought it interesting that Utah was one of just four states noted on the map.)

The map came to mind this morning as I was reading a Robert A. George piece in the New York Daily News. In it, George tells the story of a 1983 interview of David Bowie on MTV to illustrate his case that there still is systemic or institutional racism. According to George, “Bowie asks VJ Mark Goodman why the station didn’t play more videos by black artists. Defensively, Goodman tries to explain programming”:

We have to try and do not just what we think New York and Los Angeles will appreciate, but also Poughkeepsie or the Midwest, pick some town in the Midwest that will be scared to death by Prince (who we’re playing) or a string of black faces and black music.

Said who? White fans of Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Four Tops? Fans of Tina Tuner, the Supremes, the Isley Brothers, Shuggie Otis, Buddy Miles, James Brown, and the list goes on? But beyond that, what balderdash is this that Goodman casually blames middle America in order to excuse corporate America’s–corporate rock’s, no less–inability to see anything but its own projection on the west side of the Hudson? Kudos to Bowie, by the way.

I’m not sure how far we’ve come since that 1983 interview; far I think, but not far enough. And I’m not sure how far we have to go; not as far as some think, but far enough to require some effort on everyone’s part.

More on Assault Rifle Lingo

By , January 20, 2013 8:27 pm

I posted on assault rifles a few weeks ago. This post goes into much more detail. Whatever side of the gun control debate you’re on, being in possession of some facts is always good.

Key grafs:

The military defines an assault rifle as a lightweight, intermediate caliber select fire rifle. Quite the mouthful isn’t it. Broken down into everyday terms, it means you can carry it for a long time because it is light weight. Intermediate caliber refers to a cartridge between the full power rifle and the pistol, and you get more ammunition for the same weight compared to full power rifles.

. . .

The second correct definition of an assault rifle is based on cosmetic features set by politicians. These rifles are all semi-automatic, or self-loading in old school firearm terms. Every time you press the trigger, one round is fired, and one round only. The action cycles, replacing the now expended case with a fresh round from the magazine. While this can be accomplished very rapidly, it is still one shot per trigger press.

What makes one rifle an assault weapon, and a rifle that works exactly the same way and looks very much the same not an assault weapon? The politicians that set the cosmetic features of a rifle they deem to be an assault weapon. So this second definition is slippery and can be very broad, but boils down to some group of politicians decided that the rifles with X features are “scary”, and thus “assault weapons”. This also means that it varies by state. California has a very wide definition of what an assault rifle is with a list of specific firearms for good measure. Free markets being what they are, there have been many creative ways found to manufacture rifles that work exactly like, or very close to, the CA definition, without crossing those legal lines.

But what does this mean to the current hue and cry spewing forth from the likes of Piers Morgan and Senator Diane Feinstein? It means that through ignorance or malice, they are lying. The CT school massacre was an act of pure evil, and a Bushmaster rifle may have been used. It was NOT however, an “assault rifle” either in true (military) terms, nor in the made up terms of the CT assault weapons ban. (Sec. 53-202a. Assault weapons: Definition) The rifle was semi automatic, but lacked some cosmetic features deemed “scary” or “evil” by some know nothing politicians and wasn’t included in the specifically named list of weapons.

And here’s something I didn’t know (among many things, mind you): the AR in the name AR-15 stands for Armalite, the first manufacturer of such rifles, NOT “assault rifle.”

The More Things Change . . .

By , January 11, 2013 5:21 pm

The conduct of the republican [sic] party in this nomination is a remarkable indication of a small intellect, growing smaller.

Guess who wrote that and when?

The abuse continues:

[Rather than choose “statesmen and able men” as their candidate] They take up a fourth rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar [and whose speeches are] illiterate compositions . . . interlarded with coarse and clumsy jokes.

Nope, that was not The New York Times pining for Jon Huntsman to be the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. Nor was it any of those who routinely bashed George W. Bush as dumb and inarticulate or Ronald Reagan as just plain dumb.

No, according to Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her book Team of Rivals, that was the Democratic New York Hearald taking aim at newly nominated Abraham Lincoln, and, she says, that paper was not alone in ridiculing him and the new Republican Party–the party that opposed slavery by the way.

So campers, if it seems to you that the Republican Party can never field a candidate who is not stupid and inarticulate–according to the Democrats–take heart and give it a little time. One hundred and fifty three years later, they’ll be making Oscar-nominated movies about the alleged dunces.

Pete, Don’t Let the Door Hit You in the Butt

By , January 2, 2013 1:45 pm

I have never cared for Congressman Pete Stark (Dem.-Calif.). He was a demagogue of the worst sort, illustrated here by his parting comments on Morning Edition today. (I can give you more evidence if you want, but this will do.)

And what will Stark miss most when he leaves Congress?

“It’s one of the areas in which you get up … in the morning and look at the mirror … and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to do something today that’s going to make life better for somebody.’ And that’s pretty neat,” Stark says. “When I was a banker I’d get up and say, ‘Whose car am I going to repossess?’ or ‘Whose house am I going to foreclose?’ and that didn’t start you out on a very nice approach for the rest of the day.”

Because that’s all bankers do, you know, repossess and foreclose. Nothing else. And no mention that much of what Stark did to make “life better for somebody” almost certainly made life worse for somebody else.

Given that he (as a former banker, no less) reduces banking to repossession and foreclosure, it’s no surprise that he doesn’t understand the law of unintended consequences. For example, we have a stock market that has climbed to great heights under Mr. Obama–who gets lots of credit for that. But why is the market climbing? Well, it’s due in no small part to the almost-free money policies of the Fed. And who does that hurt, who does that “make life” worse for? Well, among others, people on fixed income, especially retirees who find themselves with nest eggs unable to generate enough interest income to sustain them in their golden years.

How low are the rates? Here’s a chart from the Treasury showing short-term and long-term rates on Treasuries over the last year. The second chart shows those same rates, starting back in January 2008.

Treasury Rates_2013-01-02_1305

Treasuries_Longer Period_2013-01-02_1309

Note the steady decline in rates since 2008, until 10-year rates hover around 1.5% and 1-year rates are around 0.25%–that’s 1/4 of 1%, for the decimally challenged. Now imagine that you’re living on a fixed income at those rates. Yes, Pete, when you help someone to a better life, you often impact the life of another for the worse. How many of those on fixed income have lost their homes or cars to the bank.

Constitutional Howlers

By , December 27, 2012 3:49 pm

Piers Morgan, the British ex pat currently lecturing the USA on its guns laws, is a sometimes Constitutional scholar, or at least he plays on on TV–and on Twitter. To wit:

Piers Morgan_Twitter_2012-12-27_1539

When our elites are this dense, is there any hope for the rest of us? Jim Treacher thinks not . . . kind of. I mean, after all, David Gregory is a member of the lecturing, hectoring elite class, no? Where will we go for guidance? Oh the humanity. Etc. etc. etc.

Talking Tough?

By , December 10, 2012 5:33 pm

Okay, you’re going to have to help me. What exactly are “tough spending cuts on things we don’t need“? That’s your president speaking during a visit to an auto plant in Redford, Michigan, mind you. Here’s the quote in context:

What you need is a package that keeps taxes where they are for middle-class families, we make some tough spending cuts on things that we don’t need, and then we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a slightly higher tax rate, and that’s a principle I won’t compromise on.

If we don’t need something, it’s not hard to get rid of it, right? Unless you’re a hoarder. President Obama’s not a hoarder is he?

Not So Subliminal Anti-Mormonism on a Sunny Saturday Morning

By , November 3, 2012 10:41 am

So this morning, I followed a link on Twitter to a story in Politico and learned something about Mitt Romney (and therefore me) that I had never supposed. Apparently journalist and WSJ contributor Paul Levy doesn’t think much of Mitt Romney (and therefore me):

“It’s very simple: I think Romney [and therefore me] is a dangerous religious freak whose election [not mine] will cripple America,” said Levy, who has donated $225 to Obama this year.

In the early morning–I was still in bed, reading on my smartphone–that was bad enough. But then I realized that Levy’s was the only quote in the story wherein any of the people quoted gave a reason for their contribution. Worse still, that quote appeared in the 4th paragraph–just 14 short lines in even shorter paragraphs–into the story, with no similarly outrageous reference to President Obama being a closet Muslim to balance the tale. An in-kind campaign contribution to the Obama campaign if you will–in an article about journalists contributing actual dollars to campaigns. (I wonder if they can spell IRONY at Politico.)

Well, you can imagine how I felt. I immediately sought refuge among my friends on Facebook. Wrong move that. Quicker than a Mormon man jumping from one polygamous bed to the next, I stumbled upon the following gem on Joanna Brooks’s wall:

It seems that Lisa, apparently and entirely unaware of her audience, decided it would be nice to establish her street creds as one who can separate the wheat from the chaff. Speaking for those in Lisa’s version of chaff (I live in Utah Country), I’ll report that thresher she is not.

Anyway, I’m now awake, and even though I was awaken rudely, I am fine. I’m sure Paul and Lisa would want to know that.

Is Something Racist When The Initial Thought Was Not Racist?

By , August 31, 2012 1:51 pm

Okay, so it turns out that Romney is leaving Tampa and heading to Louisiana to tour the hurricane-ravaged area with Gov. Jindal–a move that caused President Obama to suddenly change his plans.

The trip is a late addition to the president’s schedule, released just hours after GOP rival Mitt Romney announced he was scrambling his Friday campaign plans to visit victims of the storm.

Obama was slated to host campaign rallies in Ohio on Monday. A rally in Cleveland has been canceled.

When I heard of President Obama’s last minute change of plans, apparently in response to Romney’s visit to Bayou Country, the first words that came mind were “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” The thought had nothing to do with the President’s race, nothing to do with his color. The thought only came to mind because of the obvious connection between hurricanes, disaster, Louisiana, and the President’s relative inaction–after all, Romney obviously beat him to the Pelican State.

And then the connection between “Brownie” and the President’s race and color hit me, which prompts me to ask: Am I racist for thinking my initial thought? Am I racist for posting this after having the second thought? What if President Obama ends up doing a lousy job responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac; is Bush’s infamous compliment off limits?

I pretty sure what Lawrence O’Donnell would think. I’m more interested in what you think.

Just Where Does the Buck Stop?

By , July 15, 2012 12:25 am

I follow David Burge, aka Iowahawk, on Twitter. He’s rather funny. Regularly so. To wit:

There Go Those Racist Republi . . . er Democrats Again

By , June 28, 2012 1:13 pm

Apparently, the N-word is only offensive and racist if someone on the Right uses it.

Racist, tax, right, wrong. Words just don’t mean what they used to.

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