A Tiny Jolt Of Humanity (UPDATE: Well, No)

While listening to the droning, self-important, sonorous, dolorous thrum of National Public Radio news the other day, a brief, almost strobe-light-like flash of levity, of playfulness, of fun leaked through, as refreshing as the first shoot of springtime flowers jutting out from beneath the thawing ground; one of NPR’s newscasters, one of their weekend female anchors, has apparently chosen the air name “Whizzer Johnston”.  Like some kind of starting pitcher for the Red Sox from the fifties.

I’m still smiling, thinking about it. What a wonderful choice!

The world is not such a bad place, after all.

UPDATE: I’m told her name is Windsor Johnston. Good Lord – we’ve gone from the best NPR name ever to the worst inside of two paragraphs.   Why not “Shoshonna Gaia-Cohen”, for crying out loud?

Oh, well. And so we trudge on.

Shot In The Dark: Banned By The Man!

Apparently I’m a one-person trigger warning!

A longtime friend of this blog emailed:

Mitch,

I thought you might find this interesting. For the mornings this week, I’m camped out on the second floor of the MacPhail Center for Music, while my kiddo attends a harp class. (I’m hoping she takes an interest in something much less expensive, such as ukulele, for which she has a class in July.)

After a while, kids’ music all sounds the same.

I digress:

Sometimes I’ve used my cell phone service for an Internet connection, sometimes I use the MacPhail Wi-fi. I just tried to go to SITD, and got this message instead: Redirecting you to Barracuda Web Filter.

I was able to get to National Review and Powerline, so it’s not an anti-conservative thing. I didn’t see any “bans guns on these premises” sign when I have entered, but perhaps “shot” is just too … violent, ya know?

[Name Redacted]

I suspect it’s mostly my music reviews.

Stasis

Change is all around us.
Some things – technology, reality TV, the Dow – change very quickly.

Others – glaciers, the cityscape or landscape around you – change so slowly as to be imperceptible, until you look at a time lapse photograph or think back over 20 years in a place, and go “wow –  that snuck up on me”.

Indeed, the “expanding universe” model of astrophysics says that literally every single thing in the universe is changing, all the time.

There is only one thing in all of the known universe that is not changing. And that is…: 

… Oliver Willis will always be Oliver Willis.

Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste

Call me a cynic…

chanting_points_200px

…no.  Call Barack Obama a Cynic.

Our Ghoulish President:  The bodies were literally not cold from the Charleston shooting when the President started trying to politicize the incident:

“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,” he continued. “Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

Tell it to Charlie Hebdo.

Sure it happens in other countries.  A sickening amount of it.  The US doesn’t even top the list on most categories of “rampage killing”. Not even the “religious or hate crimes” category, where the US isn’t even in the top five (Roof is tied for seventh).  And who’da thunk it; car-crazy Americans barely make the top ten in vehicular spree-killings.   [1]

The US is not uniquely violent – indeed, the left’s constant claim that we’re the most violent country in the world is  wishful thinking.  While the rate is a fraction of what it was 20 years ago, it is higher than European countries – whose populations tend to be small, homogenous and very orderly.  Among large, populous, heterogenous industrial states, Russia and Argentina and Brazil, among others, all have much higher murder rates.

The President is not talking fact.

Continue reading

Dear Entire Twin Cities Media

Congrats!

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

After a couple of years of diligent reporting about the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s coverup of priests’ involvement in sexual abuse of minors (especially by MPR), you have convinced the Vatican to completely toss the Archdioce’s leadership.

Bully.

Now, when the scent of that glorious celebration (at the Amsterdam?  WA Frost?  The Lex?) has faded from your journalistic nostrils, we’ve got a couple more stories for you to cover.

Bill Clinton, beloved of our cultural elites (including most of you in the media, whom he treated like the old pals you longed to be), has been linked at the hip with an industrial-grade pedophile.

And the AP found that 2,500 teachers have have been punished for one degree of sexual abuse of students or another in the past five years.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve not heard of any time at which 500 priests per year were being rung up on sexual abuse charges.  Have you?

You’ve spent the past couple years investigating the tolerance of tolerance of sexual abuse in high places within a major institution.  Well, we’ve got another major institution for you to look into, and involvement in still more in some very high places to dig into.

Never let it be said I’m not here to help.

Our Lazy Biased Media Overlords

Last week, the MSM and its greek chorus in the lefty noise machine were all a’-chortle over Marco Rubio’s driving records.

Such as they were; two dismissed tickets and two trivial moving violations in 18 years.  No innocent women drowned; he apparently paid the fines, unlike a certain sitting celebrity Minnesota congressman.

And how did that happen (emphasis added)?

A couple of Times reporters spent Friday morning basking in praise for their “nice scoop” — the less-than-remarkable public knowledge that Marco Rubio was written four traffic tickets over the course of two decades — but, as Brent Scher of the Washington Free Beacon pointed out, neither of the reporters in the byline — Alan Rappeport and Steve Eder — nor the researcher also credited by the Times for the piece — Kitty Bennett — ever accessed the traffic records in question. But somebody did: American Bridge, a left-wing activist group, had pulled the records just before the Times piece appeared, and the Times employed some cagey language, with the relevant sentence beginning: “According to a search of the Miami-Dade and Duval County court dockets. . . . ” A search? Yes. Whose search? A piece of the news that apparently is not fit to print.

It’s not just national politics, of course; for a decade and a half, the vast majority of “reporting” on Michele Bachmann was done by her stalkers in the lefty alt-media, with few questions asked other than “how fast can I type my byline on this pre-written story?”

Settled Science

The NYTimes sloooooowly backs away from the “Settled Science” of 47 years ago:

The New York Times just published an extraordinary “retro report”—a short video paired with an article—looking back at Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” theory, the fear that an uncontrolled human population would outstrip the ability of the Earth to support it.
The Times lays out some of the evidence for the theory’s failure, including the fact that the world’s population was about 3.5 billion when Ehrlich first made his apocalyptic prognostications in 1968. It’s 7 billion now, and we haven’t starved, we haven’t run out of resources, and we’re better off than we’ve ever been.

Although they never really admit wrongdoing:

And the Times is still committed to an outgrowth of the same apocalyptic theory. It cites British journalist Fred Pearce: “In Mr. Pearce’s view, the villain is not overpopulation but, rather, overconsumption. ‘We can survive massive demographic change,’ he said in 2011. But he is less sanguine about the overuse of available resources and its effects on climate change.” Perhaps some day they’ll do a look back on the failure of the global warming hysteria—though at this rate, we should expect to see that some time around 2062.

Or not.  The existence of billions of people who weren’t supposed to be alive is pretty easy to prove.  The climate is nice and nebulous and ambiguous.  It’s the perfect lefty crisis-not-to-be-wasted.

The Bulletin Factory Releases A Bulletin

News Flash from our “Elite” Media:  people who grow up realizing, via their own precocious cognition or through family tradition, pressure or persuasion, that attending an “elite” school gives one a disproportionate shot at “elite” jobs, have a vastly disproportionate shot at getting “elite jobs”:

Lauren A. Rivera, an associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, has been looking at investment banks, consulting firms and law firms for the last decade for her upcoming book “Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs.”

Rivera spent nine months as an ethnographer in one of these top firms, observing every aspect of the hiring process. She points out the firms may be missing out on top talent.

Well, duh.

In fact, the 99.99% of America that didn’t attend an Ivy League school knows that. The main benefit of going to an Ivy isn’t so much the education – Matt Yglesias went to Harvard, and with that I rest my case.

No – the main benefit is access to the most important benefit; the alumni directory.

“If you want the best and the brightest regardless of social background, if you’re not systematically looking at over half the best and brightest because they don’t qualify in terms of social background, that is not necessarily an equitable or open process,” she says.

Now, I bring this up not because it’s a revelation – please – but because it’s a product of National Public Radio’s “Marketplace” program.

Which is a bit of irony – since getting a job at any level of National Public Radio (or any other big Public Radio system) is entirely about having the right alma mater, the right connections, and at times the right politics.

The Problem With Ryan Winkler…

…was, paradoxically, only incidentally about Ryan Winkler.

Our Big Game of Telephone:  From the mid-nineties on, when Michele Bachmann was still organizing the Maple River Education Coalition, before she even ran for the State Senate, the late Karl Bremer was dinging on the future Presidential candidate and conservative lighting rod.

And conservatives, in turn, dinged on the irascible Bremer.  I’m not one to speak ill of the dead – but it’s a simple fact that the guy was prone to using imagination when the facts didn’t give him the story he wanted.   For years, finding and pointing out all the logical and factual holes in his peevish tirades was for conservative bloggers what “mending nets” is for Spanish fishermen.  In short – he was like a blogger, only more so.

But if you ask a left-leaning member of the Minnesota Media “elite”, you got a different story; Bremer was lauded as a hero, treated as one of the club, given the secret handshake.  He won an award from the “Society of Professional Journalists” – something like “best digger of documents”.

It was all, every bit of it, related to Bremer’s nearly two-decade-long mania for “covering” / writing about / stalking Michele Bachmann.  The enemy of the Twin Cities’ media’s enemy is the Twin Cities media’s friend.

And had Bremer turned all of that manic energy on Paul Wellstone or Keith Ellison?  Not a single member of the Twin Cities media would have acknowledged his existence, much less pissed on his grave.

Warm, Fuzzy:  With that in mind, take a good read through Doug Grow’s profile of the retiring Representative Ryan Winkler.

Entitled “Why the Legislature will miss Ryan Winkler”, it’s full of assurances, via Pat Garofalo, that Winkler’s big and rapidly-moving mouth was “all business, nothing personal” – which is a fine thing, and mildly reassuring (although mere nonelected proles who encountered Winkler on Twitter had mixed experiences with the lad)…

…and maybe even true, as far as it goes.

But read the article.

You’ll scan it in vain for any mention of Winkler’s “Uncle Tom” jape.  And that’s fine; people make mistakes; to err is human and to forgive divine, yadda yadda.  If every political “opposition researcher” in the world suddenly broke their femurs and spent six months in traction, and the world could forgive politicians their past oopses, the world would be a happier place, and maybe a  little bit better one too.

That might actually be a wonderful thing.

But as I – and quite a few other people – noted when Winkler announced his retirement, Winkler was only the symptom.  The disease?  The Minnesota Media’s double-standard.

Because if Winkler’d been a Republican, you can bet “Uncle Tom” would have popped up in Grow’s epitaph; it’d be carved large on the media’s collective memory of the guy for all eternity.

Winkler has painstakingly avoided ruling out a return to Minnesota politics.  Five will get you twenty that when he does, “Uncle Thomas” will not rate a single inch of copy.

Anywhere.

“Sharp-Tongued”

Ryan Winkler is leaving the House of Representatives.

Winkler spent nine sessions in the Legislature.  During the last five or six of them, his job, coming from an utterly safe seat in Golden Valley, seemed to be “the DFL’s Costco version of Sidney Blumenthal”; to say and do the things that no DFLer in a contested district – or human with an education and a conscience – would dare to say.

Winkler racked up a long, storied history:

…enough that he seemed to be well on the way to becoming Minnesota’s Joe Biden.

Of course, Paul Thissen said what caucus leaders are supposed to say about their hatchet men:

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he’ll miss Winkler’s “impatience with injustice. He is always willing to take on the tough fights and not back down. He drove the discussion forward about how to make our economy work better for people. His work to raise the minimum wage and improve opportunity for average Minnesotans is a tremendous legacy.”

Um yeah.  When a Minnesotan loses a job to pay for his precious minimum wage hike, we need to say they’ve been “Winklered”.

But this isn’t about my observations.  Look at the adjectives the media uses in describing Winkler’s career; “outspoken” (as in “outspoken advocate on behalf of…” yadda yadda), “sharp-tongued”, “Harvard-Educated”, and the like.

If he’d been a Republican, I’d have looked for adjectives more like “Controversial”, “stridently partisan”, and maybe “gaffe-prone”.   More to the point?  A “sharp-tongued” Republican would be “contibuting to the nasty partisanship” around the Capitol.

But he’s a DFLer in Minnesota.   He was just a character, one that the reporters could always get a cutesy quote from.

Ryan Winkler is the poster child for the Minnesota media’s double standard.

Everything You Need To Know…

…not only about the shootout (not “riot”) between rival outlaw biker gangs in Waco over the weekend, but about the idiot left’s race-baiting response?  Yep – Kevin Williamson already has it, in this piece from NRO.

I’ll let you read the whole thing.  With Williamson, it’s always worth it; he bludgeons the incendiary mythmongering of the left’s activists and media (ptr) wings.

I’ll cut to the big pullquote:

The Waco police did not follow the lead of the Baltimore police; the mayor of Waco did not follow the lead of the mayor of Baltimore and declare an outlaw-biker free-fire zone. Instead, the police swooped in, arrested the better part of 200 people, started booking them, and peace was restored.

And nobody in Waco gave any press conferences about the need to understand the legitimate rage of the poor white peckerwood dumbass class.

And that’s as it should be.

For Heaven’s Sake…

…don’t you dare claim the media is biased to the left.

That Gorgeous George – let’s not forget, a former Clinton chief of staff and lifelong Democrat apparatchik – is a “journo” who’s in the bag for the left should surprise nobody who had been paying attention for this past twenty-odd years.

The real question, to me?  What percentage of other movers and shakers at the Big Three, the big Newspapers, and NPR/CPB are, if not in the same fiscal weight class as Stephanopoulos, at least intellectually just as far in the bag?

My educated guess is “just short of all of them”, but I can be convinced either way.

Ask Not What You Can Do From Another Country…

…rather, ask why you’re doing it, and others can/will not.

MPR’s Bob Collins ran a piece earlier this week about “How MPR is able to Broadcast from Cuba“.

And just to be clear – he was focusing on how they dealt with the technical hurdles of broadcasting from a country that is the Northwestern Quatrosphere’s little enclave of the Third World.  And I’ll cop to it; the former radio producer in me geeks out at that part:

…when [MPR technical geek Rob Byers] and his team sat down and examined the map of undersea cables in the Caribbean, they found almost no connectivity to the rest of the world, save for two connections to Venezuela. But because both MPR’s sibling company American Public Media and Cuban state radio (ICRT) are associate members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), it was possible to make a satellite connection from Cuban radio in Havana to a downlink in Geneva, Switzerland, and from there to a site in London that could connect to MPR in St. Paul.

Collins adds:

They found a better way. A direct satellite uplink from Havana to St. Paul, using a downlink at the Fitzgerald Theater and a backup site at Twin Cities Public Television.

Geek vibes.

But Collins also hastens (or hastened, after the subject came up in the comments):

…people asked about political and legal hurdles. I checked back with Rob and Brian. Brian says they’ve asked from the start whether there would be any editorial oversight of the broadcasts by Cuban authorities and they have been assured there would not be.

Rob says he has not encountered legal hurdles.

Right – but MPR is apparently going to Cuba to broadcast the Minnesota Orchestra concert – a fairly uncontroversial-looking program of Beethoven, Bernstein, Prokofiev, and Cuban composer Alejandro García Caturla.

Is it especially controversial to note that there’s a reason they didn’t ask (and I’m going to skip past the cliches here) Michael Medved or Dennis Prager or, um, yours truly to broadcast from Cuba.   The Castro regime isn’t looking for a challenge, and MPR will be the last media outlet to deliver one.

And on the one hand, that’s fine – challenging the authoritarian status quo isn’t MPR Classical’s mission.

On the other hand – Cuba is a human rights offender on a massive scale.  The plight of Cuban dissendent journalists – or any dissidents, really – is the sort of thing that makes anyone who thinks freedom is a good thing a little queasy.

And I have to wonder – from what other authoritarian basket case would MPR pursue a broadcast?

“World Ends: Blacks And Women Most Affected”

Back in 2008, I went without a car for ten months, opting to save gas money and walk, bike, or (as a last resort) use transit to get around.

After ten months, I was in the best shape I’d been since college (thanks, biking!) – and agog at the amount of time I’d wasted waiting for late/absent buses, and sitting on buses clanking their stately, sluggish way down backstreets.

Transit – unless one is lucky enough to live, work, socialize, go to a doctor and churches that are all within a quarter-mile of train stops – is slooooooooow,  Wanting to get places fast on transit is like trying to shoot the weather along.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; the bus is slow, unreliable and annoying for everyone.

But don’t tell the Strib.  They’re on a roll.

What’s In A Headline?  The headline in of this Strib story, unlike the hed of this posting, is not intended to be satire:

Report says transit times extra long for commuters of color

I saw the headline, and thought “What?  Does Metro Transit sandbag black and Latino commuters?  Do lines from North Minneapolis and the West Side and Frogtown run slower than white people buses?  Doesn’t #BlackTimeMatter?

So I read further (and added emphasis):

Twin Cities transit users of color spend almost 160 additional hours a year commuting when compared to whites who drive to work solo. That’s according to a report out Tuesday from four advocacy groups opposing cuts to public transportation funding. 

The report “It’s About Time: The Transit Time Penalty and Its Racial Implications” cited infrequent service, indirect routes, delays, overcrowded vehicles, and insufficient shelter at bus stops as factors that contribute to a transit time penalty that adds time and stress to each commute. For Blacks and Asians who used public transit, that totaled an extra 3.5 weeks a year and for Latinos it was 4 hours a year of additional time required to travel between two points by public transportation, compared with going by car.

That’s the lede.

You have to get to the final graf of the story to also see that “5 percent of whites and Minnesotans of Asian descent commute by public transit, 8 percent of Latinos, 10 percent of Blacks, and 29 percent of American Indians” use transit as their primary means of getting to work.

So why doesn’t the Strib report lead with “A Transit-Centered Life Wastes A Lot Of Time?” or “Cars Are More Time-Efficient?”  Do they think a white person who commutes doesn’t waste the same exact amount of time?  Because I’m here to testify.

It’s too much to expect the Strib to note that the report was gurgitated by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, TakeAction Minnesota, ISAIAH and the Center for Popular Democracy – four groups that have been working for decades to make sure that poor people are warehoused in the inner city and forced to be even more dependent on the arrogant vagaries of transit than the rest of us – and the report seeks funding to provide cars to black families.

Just kidding.  They want more funding to spread more slow, unreliable transit to everyone else.

Tone Sharks

If I ever need to describe the term “laborious”, I merely refer my listener to “any time public radio tries to prove that it isn’t biased to the left”.

A few years ago, I heard “Weekend All Things Considered”‘s anchor, Bob Simon, carry on an extended conversation with that noted champion of media balance, Ira Glass, on the sheer preposterousness of the idea that National Public Radio was biased to the left.  Glass referred to a series of studies that NPR had carried out, which included a process of “tone analysis”.

Now, I’ve found no evidence on way or another of what was or wasn’t covered by this “tone analysis”.

And the reason the concern isn’t entirely idle came roaring back at me this morning while listening to an NPR newscast referring to a Milwaukee woman who set up a group representing families of, as the newscaster put it, “black men killed by police and vigilantes“.

They’re referring, of course, to armed citizens – many of them also black, by the way – who used lethal force in self-defense, and then overcame the serious legal hurdles involved in defending their own lives from immediate threats of death, as judged by courts that are frequently deeply unfriendly to self-defense.

And of course, “Vigilante” is a bad thing, to “progressives”.

And then I looked further; to National Public Radio, pretty much every citizen that uses lethal force in self-defense, especially when government a can’t or won’t defend them, is a “vigilante”.

Just wondering if the “tone analysis” missed this bit?

In The Interest Of Investigation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats keep telling me how easy it is to buy guns, easier than buying fresh vegetables.

I have cash. I’m a willing buyer. How do I find one of those sellers?

I’m not worried about the background check – I could pass – I just want to buy one of those “off-the-street” pistols all the cool kids have.

I presume the sellers are mostly criminals. Sadly, I spend all my time around bureaucrats. I’m like those guys in “Office Space” trying to find a money-launderer . . . I don’t know any criminals, or even where to look for them.

Any SITD readers know any criminals looking to make a quick buck selling me a pistol for cash? Or I’d take an assault rifle, if that’s more convenient. Either one.

Joe Doakes

I wish some of the puling lower vertebrates that make these claims – like Heather Martens – would actually go out with a video camera and try to prove it.

That would be pretty interesting.

Cue Captain Renault

The big news in the alt-media world in the Twin Cities last week was the MinnPost’s profile of Michael Brodkorb.

Michael has been rhetorical catnip for both sides of the aisle for the past decade or so.  When he was “Minnesota Democrats Exposed”, especially in his pseudonymous phase before 2006, he was the Minnesota left’s Public Enemy #1.

And his role in the scandal that whipsawed the GOP’s majority in the Senate a few years back made him non grata in a lot of GOP circles.

I’m not one of the conservatives that tossed Michael under the bus; I’ve considered him a friend ever since I first met him – when he revealed on my show back in ’06 that he was MDE.  I’m not going to say that I agree with all his choices, but I’m not the one to cast the first stone.  I’m also not on board with his approach to politics these days – but that’s something I’ll tackle issue by issue.

And I have some questions over a lot of what he says in the MinnPost profile.   Which would make for an interesting conversation, on or off the air.

But to me, the interesting part of the MinnPost profile isn’t so much the unpacking of the past couple years of Brodkorb’s life; it doesn’t cover all that much new ground.

No – the interesting part for me is lines like…:

“Republicans couldn’t distance themselves fast enough. It was a vicious mix of schadenfreude and shunning.”

“You understand the tactic [of scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners PR]? Now you see it as having become counter­productive?

“Do you advise Republicans that [an aggressive, ideological approach to the media] only marginalizes them among general voters?”

“The “fringe of the fringe” of course is great fodder for the media. Every experienced reporter knows they’re fringe people saying fringe things”

“Well, the obvious irony is that for a lot of people around here they look at you and see the guy who kind of invented the partisan bomb-­thrower game”

And especially this one:

“But the tone and traffic you generated with [your writing] certainly helped … in establishing your bona fides within the party and achieving the post you held with the Senate”

The writer, of course, is Brian Lambert.

Now, Lambert’s not a bad guy.  But while I laud his sudden commitment to civility and reason, it’s hard to separate the Lambo in this piece from the Brian Lambert who was throwing partisan rhetorical rocks and garbage at conservatives years before it became the fashion.  Literally – my first encounter with Lambert was on December 18, 1985 – my first day as a screener at KSTP.  And Lambo was sitting in for Geoff Charles.  And he was not an iota less disdainful of and condescending to conservatives then than he was in his years at the Pioneer Press (when the “tone and traffic he generated with his writing helped establish his bona fides” for a job with then-Senator Mark Dayton), his turn as the liberal id of the old “Janecek and Lambert” show, and pretty much everything he’s ever written at the Twin Cities Reader, the Rake, MinnPost, and whatever I’ve forgotten in between.

And I’m thinking his solicitousness toward Brodkorb is going to be a new corollary to Berg’s 11th Law (“The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected”); perhaps “the Republican that Democrats don’t pelt with rocks and garbage is the one that does their throwing for them”.

The LA Times Is To “Science” As Public Rest Rooms Are To “Rest”

I’ve been beating up media figures and their attempts to besmirch the Second Amendment and its defenders for most of the past thirty years, in one form of media or another; talk radio, newsletters, email list-servers, the blog, and talk radio again.

And I’ve noticed two major trends:

  • As the actual facts about guns and society get out to real people, and the pendulum swings ever-further in favor of human rights,  the true, die-hard orcs just get worse and worse, and sloppier and sloppier, at plying their dubious trade.  Example:  Heather Martens has never been one to fall back on fact in stating her case (she’s never once in her career made a substantial, factual original statement), but lately she’s sounded more and more like a banana-republic dictator protesting the health of her regime as things swirl down the drain.
  • On the other hand, the orcs continue to excel at their one useful skill; manipulating a biased, gullible and un-bright mainstream media.  And the latest tool toward that end is “science”.

No, really;  Harvard professor David Hemenway pretty much leads off his piece in the LATimes by not only trying to wrap himself in “science”, but admitting that it’s a tool for bludgeoning people into obeisance:

 

One of the reporters I complained to said that he had covered climate change for many years. He explained that journalists were able to stop their “balanced” reporting of that issue only when objective findings indicated that the overwhelming majority of scientists thought climate change was indeed happening, and that it was caused by humans.

So we’re off to a great start.

Hemenway’s goal; to do to coverage of the Second Amendment what politicized science has done for coverage of climate change.

And the method toward this “science” is the kind of intellectual clown car that might pass muster with leftybloggers, but not with anyone who can outthink sea monkeys:

So I decided to determine objectively, through polling, whether there was scientific consensus on firearms. What I found won’t please the National Rifle Assn.

The NRA might not have been “pleased” by what Professor Hemenway had to say, but only because they, like all of us pro-human-rights media activists, are so un-freaking-Godly bored by refuting the same intellectual effluvium, over and over and over again.  Which, naturally, they have done.

But this is my article – and to paraphrase the great Dexter, it’s a wonderful day to throw rocks and garbage at BS that’s mislabeled “science”: 

My first step was to put together a list of relevant scientists. I decided that to qualify for the survey the researcher should have published on firearms in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and that he or she should be an active scientist — someone who had published an article in the last four years. I was interested in social science and policy issues, so I wanted the articles to be directly relevant. I was not interested in scientists doing research in forensics, history, medical treatment, psychiatric issues, engineering or non-firearms (for example, nail guns, electron guns).

Most of the scientists who were publishing relevant articles were from the fields of criminology, economics, public policy, political science and public health.

So let’s recap:

  • Hemenway sought “scientific consensus” – a term that is itself unscientific.
  • He sought it primarily from “researchers” in fields that are, except for public health, not really “sciences” at all, and are generally famous for their shoddy standards and politicized nature of their research.
  • He sought it from people working at institutions (and even moreso, academic departments) where Constitutionalist, Originalist, conservative/libertarian thought has been largely extinguished, where academics who exhibit same can find their tenure denied and careers threatened.
And his conclusion:

This result was not at all surprising because the scientific evidence is overwhelming. It includes a dozen individual-level studies that investigate why some people commit suicide and others do not, and an almost equal number of area-wide studies that try to explain differences in suicide rates across cities, states and regions. These area-wide studies find that differences in rates of suicide across the country are less explained by differences in mental health or suicide ideation than they are by differences in levels of household gun ownership.

I’ll let you read the entire thing at your own leisure; the howlers keep coming.

I’ll sum it up for you; Hemenway:

  • managed to find a stratum of academics who manage to generate “scientific” effluvium about the danger of guns that manages to ignore the statistical fact that while the number of guns has skyrocketed and the liberality of gun laws has vastly increased in the past 20 years, violent and gun-related crime has dropped by half
  • found “public health” researchers who claim – via “metastudies”, or studies of other studies – that suicide is related to the availability of guns rather than mental health, even though the suicide rates of many nations that strictly control or ban guns are vastly higher than ours.
There are times that I wish the orcs could at least come up with an advocate who’d make it interesting.

The Boogeygun Is Everywhere!

The night before the infamous “Saint Valentines’ Day Massacre” – in which Al Capone’s Italian mob rubbed out much of Bugs Moran’s Irish gang in Prohibition-era Chicago – the Italians spent a sleepless night assembling their Tommy Guns from parts they’d purchased around and about Chicago and its surrounding area.

And before going out to massacre innocent locals or groups of high school kids, Mexico’s loathsome narcotraficantes frequently spend days in machine shops, a patiently milling and drilling and cutting bits and pieces of metal into workable weapons.

Yeah, of course I made that up.

Criminals in America’s most crime-ridden cities – Chicago and Camden and DC and New Orleans – can get illegal firearms far easier than the law-abiding citizen can get legal ones, and there’s no assembly required.

But in the imagination of the American left’s ninny chorus in the media, criminals are real do-it-yourselfers.   Because you can get “assault weapon parts” on EBay; I’m going to add some emphasis:

Yet for as little as $500, anyone with an eBay account can purchase all but one of the dozen or so necessary parts.

The only missing piece of the gun – the lower receiver

Let’s stop right there.

If you know anything about guns, you know that “I got everything I need for an AR15 but the lower receiver” is a little like saying “I got an entire car – except the frame”.

can be bought secondhand from private sellers who post classified ads on other websites, such as Armslist.com. The receiver is the only regulated part of the gun, but there are workarounds for obtaining one, too. Partially complete receivers can be purchased privately without a background check or serial number and finished by buyers themselves, or they can be built from scratch at home to sidestep having to register the finished gun.

In other words, if a crook wants an unregistered AR15, the options are to gather a bunch of parts – a barrel, a bolt and bolt carrier, a stock, a forearm, a couple of hundred bucks worth of goodies – and then either:

  • buy a complete lower receiver, which must be transferred through a Federal Firearms Licensed-dealer (with paper trail).
  • buy an unfinished lower reciever and, using non-trivial skills and tools – metal drills, a metal router and a few others – finish it.  And by finish it, we mean to a rather fussy level of tolerances; the AR15 is no zip gun.
  • Put all the parts in their junk drawer and buy a complete, stolen AR or AK from any number of sources; stolen guns, gangs, or Eric Holder.

It might be simplistic to say that “if criminals had the skills needed to assemble a complete, shootable AR, they wouldn’t need to be criminals.  But only barely.

It is, of course, the latest attempt by the US media to manufacture a gun crisis – which is easier than manufacturing the guns themselves; as a Mother Jones correspondent couldn’t very well conceal a couple years ago, back when the AK47 was still the left’s official boogeygun (again, emphasis is mine):

The hosts collect our paperwork without checking IDs. We don eye protection and gloves, and soon the garage is abuzz with the whir of grinders, cutters, and drills. Sales of receivers—which house the mechanical parts, making a gun a gun—are tightly regulated, so my kit comes with a pre-drilled flat steel platform. Legally, it’s just an American-made hunk of metal, but one bend in a vise later and, voilà, it’s a receiver, ready for trigger guards to be riveted on. Sparks fly as receiver rails to guide the bolt mechanism are cut, welded into place, and heat-treated. The front and rear trunnions, which will hold the barrel and stock, are attached to the receivers.

Sounds easy?

Well, I know there are machinists in my audience.  But to the less handy among us – say, Mojo writers – it’s a non-trivial exercise.   I love the illustration in the Mojo story:  “Making your own receiver – the part that holds the firing mechanism – requires no background check”.  Which may be true, but it also requires a non-trivial set of metalworking skills and tools.

You’re a crook.  What’s easier; spending an evening with a bunch of people painstakingly assembling  an AK (or the much fussier AR) from scratch, or buying one from a fellow crook in a tenth of the time?

It’s not confusing to anyone who’s not an NPR reporter.

The NYTimes: They Know What Matters

In the interest of telling all the news that fits (the narrative), the NYTimes has turned its crack Democrat party relations group political journalists loose on…

Scott Walker’s accent:

Out on the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Scott Walker has left “Wiscahnsin” back home in Wisconsin. He now wants to strengthen the economy, not the “ecahnahmy.” And while he once had the “ahnor” of meeting fellow Republicans, he told one group here this week that he simply enjoyed “talkin’ with y’all.”

 

The classic Upper Midwest accent — nasal and full of flat a’s — is one of several Walker trademarks to have fallen away this month after an intense period of strategizing and coaching designed to help Mr. Walker capitalize on his popularity in early polls and show that he is not some provincial politician out of his depth.

The Times also notes, for the aid of the brain damaged, that Walker, who is running for President, has changed his focus from Wisconsin to National issues.  Thanks, Times.

NPR at least had the intellectual honesty to talk with a linguist who noted that people tend to tailor their own accents to their audiences.

Which may the reason the Times hasn’t written about this:

Or this:

But I’m going to suggest “intellectual honesty” has nothing to do with it.

The Blonde Is Obviously Guilty

When the usual suspects – 99% of Twitter users – jumped on board in attacking ESPN correspondent Brett McHenry for her altercation with the folks at an impound lot, I thought to myself “let’s hold out for a moment here”.

Yes, sports “journalists” usually don’t rate much in the way of consideration. If Ancient Rome had had cable TV, ESPN would have made major bank covering gladiator fights.

But if there’s a group of people in the world that have not earned themselves much in the way of indulgence for their behavior, it’s the folks at tag and tow impound lots like “Advanced Towing”, where Ms. McHenry had her dustup.

Sure enough – a few days have past, and it looks entirely possible that Ms. McHenry’s outburst may have been rhetorical self-defense against a tag ‘n tow clerk who was, to put it politely, being a pig.

A review of the company’s Yelp page reveals many disgruntled customers who aren’t just griping over the fact they got towed.
According to NBC Washington, there have been incidents where the company towed cars with a golden retriever and even children inside.

Are you smelling what I’m cooking, “Mark’s” in Eagan, or Goebbels’ Towing in New Brighton?