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.

Stampeding The Herd

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin – who currently resides atop my short list for 2016 – paid a visit to the Minnesota state capitol yesterday.

He spent some time visiting with lawmakers.

GOP ones, anyway.  A DFL linked Twitter account noted that Democrat lawmakers stayed away from the Governor.

I can see why.  Every Democrat who crosses his path gets defeated.

We need to bring him to Minnesota in 2016.

Trulbert: The Final Installment (V)

 - 7AM, November 10, 2015:  1725 Slough Avenue, Scranton, PA

“You see yourself as a sort of Hendrickson figure?” Schrute said with an air of contempt to his longtime nemesis and recent Bestische Mensch, Jim Halpert.

“Well, yeah”.

“That’s stupid”, Schrute harrumphed.  ”I’d be Myron Ilktost”.

“Dwight, in so many ways, I think you’re right”.

Is that how Trulbert ends?  

That’s what she said!  

Check back June 15!

Our Brahmins

Even in the wake of Heller and McDonald, Washington DC’s old-boy-and-girl network clamps down hard on civilian ownership of firearms.

Except for celebrities, and members of the political class:

By confirming that “members of Congress may maintain firearms within the confines of their office” and that they may transport otherwise illegal guns through the city — without any of the requisite checks, natch — the Metropolitan Police Department is effectively admitting that the standard rules do not apply to the political class. This, I suppose, should not be too surprising — this is the same police department, recall, that revealed earlier this year that it is happy to apply the city’s strict firearms laws to everybody except celebrities — but it grates nevertheless. Clearly, had Representative Buck not been a member of Congress, his behavior would have rendered him in violation of a broad array of harsh regulations — many of which carry felony charges.

It’s reminiscent of the eighties and nineties in New York City, when the average schnook couldn’t get a permit to carry a gun – but celebrities (Bill Cosby, William F. Buckley), government officials, and even media figures like the radical anti-gun NYTimes publisher Arthur Sulzberger, could; it was all in the connections.

But tying it directly to membership in the political class?  As Charles CW Cooke notes:

“No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States,” the Constitution promises. Do tell.

Indeed.

With all the good news for gun owners lately, it’s hard – but essential – to keep in mind that the Orcs still hold sway in much of the country, and our freedom to defend our freedom is only incrementally safer than it was 30 years ago, and not until the last orc is wiped from public life will that change.

Let’s Try Some Free Association

If you were to learn about the United States entirely from media – news, movies, music, radio, television entertainment, newspapers – what are some of the erroneous things you would believe about this country and our society?

Leave them in the comments. No idea is too dumb – in fact, the farther out they are, the more I may like them.

Trulbert: The Final Installment (IV)

 - 7AM, November 10, 2015:  Holsten’s Restauraunt, Newark, NJ

“But what was it all about?” Carmela asked, as the sound of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” warbled on the jukebox in the background.

Tony and AJ focused on the menu.

“What was what all about?” Tony grunted as AJ compared the Sicilian and German style pork chops.

“The whole thing about the Methodists?”

“Jeez, mom.  They’re a generic yet absurdist enemy figure, selected to avoid bogging the story down in actual current events that would distract from the real theme”, AJ snapped, impatient with his mom.

“Yeah”, Tony grunted.  ”What the f*** ya gonna do?”

“Yeah, but why?” Carmela insisted.

Tony started to answer, but noted the dinging of the bell on the door as Meadow walked into the diner, just as the voice of Steve Perry sang the final…

Is this, in fact, how “Trulbert” really ends?  

Check back this summer, when “Trulbert:  A Comic Novella About the End of the World As We Know It” comes out on E-Book!

Featuring new material not found in the blog serial (including, like, an actual ending and a regulation denouement!)

From Buffalo Microchip Publishing

Can’t Swing A Cat

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Wildcat Wednesday . . . are you doing your part to stop wild animals from killing birds?

Best of all, you get the feral cat back to release into the wild!

You know, when I was a lad, every kid in the neighborhood had the equipment to handle a problem like stray cats, and the willingness to use it. And we never put anybody’s eye out, either. Too bad the obvious solution is a misdemeanor in St. Paul.

Joe Doakes

If we went with the obvious solutions, what would the dues-paying city employee do?

Our Passive-Aggressive Overlords

The IRS, beset by scandals over the agency’s politicization under Chairman President Obama, slashes its customer-service budget even as it rolls in taxpayer revenue:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has blamed the IRS’s “abysmal” customer service on congressional budget cuts–funding is down $1.2 billion from its 2010 peak–but a new congressional report points the finger back at the IRS. While congressional funding for the IRS remained flat from 2014 to 2015, the IRS diverted $134 million away from customer service to other activities.

In addition to the $11 billion appropriated by Congress, the IRS takes in more than $400 million in user fees and may allocate that money as it sees fit. In 2014, the IRS allocated $183 million in user fees to its customer service budget, but allocated just $49 million in 2015–a 76 percent cut.

John Koskinen may be the biggest weasel in all of “public service”.

Trigger Warning

A New York judge has cleared the way for the following bus advertisement:

“Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” reads one such ad next to the image of a young man in a checkered headscarf. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”

Mine is the struggle (the English word for one translation of “Jihad”) to keep a relatively free society relatively free, despite the depravity of some of its citizens.

Apropos not much.

Trulbert: The Final Installment (III)

 - 7AM, November 10, 2015:  22nd Precinct Jail, Manhattan, New York, NY

Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer sat in the holding cell, silently pondering the events of the past day.

Finally, Jerry broke the silence.

“What’s up with all the beard references, anyway?”

Don’t tell me this is how “Trulbert” really ends?  

Check back this summer, when “Trulbert:  A Comic Novella About the End of the World As We Know It” comes out on E-Book!

Featuring new material not found in the blog serial (including the untangling of at least two character arcs that were written on the fly and are in dire need of editing!)

From Buffalo Microchip Publishing

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.

Haber’s Rule

The sun was setting on the trenches of Ypres on the evening of April 22nd, 1915.  The Allied battlefield, a mixture of British regulars and French colonial troops, had been quiet for months following the First Battle of Ypres in November of the previous year.  The men of the French 45th and 87th divisions were acclimating to the routine of the trenches – a far cry from their prior lives in Morocco and Algeria.

On the darkening horizon a cloud began to form from the German line.  It moved slowly, practically crawling on the ground towards the French colonial troops.  Eyes began to itch and water; mouths filled with a distinct metallic taste.  And as the cloud enveloped the trenches, lungs seized and eyes felt like they were melting…because they were.  It was 168 tons of chlorine gas.

Science had brought another new horror to the Great War.

Clouds of Death – the use of chemical weapons at the Second Battle of Ypres contributed to nearly 70,000 Allied casualties over the course of one month

The use of new technology as new tools of terror had already been well-established in the Great War. Continue reading

Open Letter To Governor Scott Walker

To:  Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconson and current #1 on my short list for President in 2016
From:  Mitch Berg, Irate Peasant
Re:  The Evil In Your State

Governor Walker,

As you are aware – since it’s been used against you – your state has a cranny in its law that allows prosecutors (inevitably “progressives”) to use the police to simultaneously harass and gag the subjects of their politically-motivated “investigations” (inevitably conservatives and tea-partiers).

For the family of “Rachel” (not her real name), the ordeal began before dawn — with the same loud, insistent knocking. Still in her pajamas, Rachel answered the door and saw uniformed police, poised to enter her home. When Rachel asked to wake her children herself, the officer insisted on walking into their rooms. The kids woke to an armed officer, standing near their beds. TOP STORY: Ted Cruz Defends His Defense of the Second Amendment The entire family was herded into one room, and there they watched as the police carried off their personal possessions, including items that had nothing to do with the subject of the search warrant — even her daughter’s computer.

And for a  nice, Stalinist tinge to the whole thing?

And, yes, there were the warnings. Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t talk to anyone about this. Don’t tell your friends. The kids watched — alarmed — as the school bus drove by, with the students inside watching the spectacle of uniformed police surrounding the house, carrying out the family’s belongings. Yet they were told they couldn’t tell anyone at school. They, too, had to remain silent.

Governor Walker – if you want to seize the “liberty” high ground from Rand Paul, I urge you to use the full weight of your office against the public officials responsible for these Stalinist atrocities.

Your state’s “progressive” thugs in suits are doing Orwell proud:

  For dozens of conservatives, the years since Scott Walker’s first election as governor of Wisconsin transformed the state — known for pro-football championships, good cheese, and a population with a reputation for being unfailingly polite — into a place where conservatives have faced early-morning raids, multi-year secretive criminal investigations, slanderous and selective leaks to sympathetic media, and intrusive electronic snooping. Yes, Wisconsin…was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.

Oh, the court system is wending its leisurely way toward a decision, surely enough:

The first ruling, from the Wisconsin supreme court, could halt the investigations for good, in part by declaring that the “misconduct” being investigated isn’t misconduct at all but the simple exercise of First Amendment rights. The second ruling, from the United States Supreme Court, could grant review on a federal lawsuit brought by Wisconsin political activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth, the first conservatives to challenge the investigations head-on. If the Court grants review, it could not only halt the investigations but also begin the process of holding accountable those public officials who have so abused their powers. 

I’m going to hope and pray – and maybe find something more tangible to do – that the courts involved haven’t given in to complete madness, and that this whole criminal enterprise is exposed, humiliated and obliterated.

And so, Governor Walker, I’ll ask you this:  if the courts rule against the scumbag prosecutors (and if they don’t, I truly despair for the Republic), I’d like to urge you to make examples of these pieces of human garbage.  Arrest them in no-knock raids early in the morning; haul them out of their houses, in their underwear, in front of news cameras (and if Wisconsin’s chickensh*t liberal major media won’t cover it, give the conservative alt-media a call).  Have the trials on camera.   If they’re found guilty – and they’d best be – then stick them in the most maximum of maximum security.

Because if there’s anything worse than breaking the law, it’s perverting it.  And the sooner America’s Brahmins, the Prosecutor class in “progressive” cities, get the message – and the more brutally it’s rammed home until they do – the sooner this country can maybe start achieving some of that “Freedom” and “Liberty” mumbo jumbo.

That is all.

I Gazed Upon The Chimes Of Freedom Crashing

Back in the seventies and eighties – the nadir of gun rights in the US – the antis used to cite a statistic; “85% of Americans support gun control”.

It was misleading and out of context, of course; the question asked if people supported any form of gun control.  By that metric, “wanting to keep guns out of the hands of felons” is “supporting gun control”.

But the fact remained; a significant number of Americans, deluded by two decades of anti-gun propaganda in the media, had come not to appreciate their Second Amendment rights.

And that has changed.

According to Pew, a decisive majority of Americans oppose gun control.

Exactly two years after President Obama’s bid for gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died in Congress, a new poll has discovered a huge shift in public opinion to backing Second Amendment gun rights and away from controlling gun ownership.

The reason: Americans now believe having a gun is the best way to protect against crime, 63 percent to 30 percent.

Pew Research Center found that while support for gun control once reached 66 percent, it has dropped to 46 percent while support for gun rights has jumped 52 percent, the highest ever in the past 25 years.

Despite years of the media and educational/industrial complexes best efforts, and hundreds of millions in “progressive” plutocrat money, Americans have figured out what our self-appointed “elites” can’t seem to; more guns in the hands of the law-abiding equals less crime.

You know what’s the most glorious thing about this effort?  The whole thing, nationwide, is entirely grass roots.

Perhaps the GOP should outsource its messaging effort to the shooters.

Trulbert: The Final Installment (II)

 - 7AM, November 10, 2015:  South Fork Ranch, Dallas, TX

Pamela Ewing sat on the bed, reading an e-book.

Suddenly, she was visibly perplexed to note the sound of running water in the attached bathroom.

She laid her iPad on the nightstand, got out of bed, and walked to the bathroom in a gait that suggested valium addiction.

The water was running – and through the pebbled glass partition, she noticed the figure of a naked man inside.

Notwithstanding the fact that she was as certain as she ever was that there hadn’t been a man in the house the night before, she walked to the shower stall and opened the door.

Inside, a nude, wet Bobby Ewing stood, rinsing off.

“Hey”, he said.  ”I saw you reading Trulbert!   A Comic Novella About the End of the World As We Know It” . What the hell is a “trulbert”, anyway?”

Wait – is this how “Trulbert” really ends?  

Check back this summer, when “Trulbert:  A Comic Novella About the End of the World As We Know It” comes out on E-Book!

Featuring new material not found in the blog serial (including answers to many age-old philosohical conundra)

From Buffalo Microchip Publishing

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?

Trulbert: The Final Installment

 - 7AM, November 10, 3715:  Somewhere In What Was Minneapolis, MN

George Taylor looked warily, scanning the jagged, geometric landscape around him, as Zira, the gorgeous blonde, clung to him on the back of the white stallion.

Suddenly, he pulled up short, his face wrinkling with alarm.

“No!”, he yelled, the anguish palpable in his voice.

He climbed off the horse.  ”Oh, no, no, no”, he repeated, louder, his voice taking on an air of panic that started to alarm Zira.

Taylor jogged a few steps.  ”Noooooooo!”

Zira climbed off the horse, and wariliy stepped toward Taylor.

“You blew the whole thing up!”, Taylor bellowed, falling to his knees, as Zira, sliding into panic herself, ran to him.

“You maniacs.  You did it!”

Zira looked at the shape in the rubble ahead of them.

“You blew the whole thing up!”

Ahead of them, a statue of Mary Tyler Moore, throwing her stocking cap into the air, sat, cockeyed and tilted backwards, amid a pile of long-weathered rubble.

“Damn you!  Damn you all!  Damn you all to hell!”

Is this how “Trulbert” really ends?  

Check back this summer, when “Trulbert:  A Comic Novella About the End of the World As We Know It” comes out on E-Book!

Featuring new material not found in the blog serial (including, like, an ending!)

From Buffalo Microchip Publishing

Waste Not…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My Dad did some Spring Cleaning. “Here, you shoot .45, don’t you? Been saving this box a while.”

IMG_3583.JPG

Eight bucks a box for .45′s at Monkey Wards? Geez, Dad, how old ARE these? Do I dare set them off?

Joe Doakes

Cue the raft of “oldest ammunition I shot” stories.

The Anti-Williams

On April 18, 1945, the war in Europe was almost over.

But the war in the Pacific was rising to a bloody climax – and to most observers, the worst looked to be yet to come.

On Okinawa, the largest amphibious operation of the Pacific War was raging, as the Japanese – finally pushed back to a piece of land that was (and is) considered part of the home islands – fought like hell against US soldiers and Marines, and gave the US Navy the bloodiest slog in its history, raining down kamikaze attacks that sank nearly fifty US and Canadian ships and killed nearly 5,000 US Navy sailors.

And on an island near Okinawa, Ie Shima, a small observation post located astride a route that would be vital to the upcoming invasion of Japan, a jeep attached the US 77th Infantry division, which had landed a few days earlier, probed the island for the small, isolated, doomed Japanese garrison.

In the jeep rode a colonel and another man, a 44 year old war correspondent.  A concealed Japanese machine gun opened fire.  The men dove into ditches on both sides of the trail, unharmed.

The correspondent poked his head out of the ditch to check on the welfare of his companion (and, apparently, Brian Williams).  He asked the colonel if he was OK – a shaved second before a followup burst that caught him in the head, killing him instantly.

The reporter, of course, was Ernie Pyle.  And he may have been that last journalist in American whose death was mourned outside America’s newsrooms and journalist bars.

Another Time:  If I’d had my way in high school, I’d have spent my life as some sort of news reporter; preferably in broadcast, but at that point I didn’t care much.  I was drawn to the idea of storytelling, especially telling real peoples’ real stories.  Just like Ernie Pyle.

These days, used car salesmen are generally regarded as more trustworthy than news reporters.

It wasn’t always that way, of course.  In the early seventies, reporters were lionized; Woodward and Bernstein and Seymour Hersh became heroes for “speaking truth to power” and other such conceits.

One of the things that brought the turnaround in journalists’ public esteem was public revulsion over their treatment of Vietnam; it was in Vietnam that the term “selective reporting” entered the lexicon; in covering the war, its aftermath, and its human cost among our veterans, the phrase “selective reporting” followed suit.

Within a decade of Walter Cronkite’s retirement, journalism toppled from being one of America’s most respected fields to one of the most reviled.

And most of that fall was utterly justified.

And even the apex, in the sixties and seventies, was a far cry from the thirties and forties, when the media were taken largely at face value, and even held in some esteem.

The modern American media as we know it today got its start during World War 2.  The war was the first great acid test of broadcast news, of live and nearly-live spot reporting, and of the celebrity journalist.  Edward R. Murrow was the prototype of the cool, detached anchor, who led to the sublime (Cronkite, himself a veteran of wartime spot reporting) and the ridiculous (Dan Rather, the entire staff at CNN).

And ahead of them all in public regard was Ernie Pyle.

The Wanderer:  Pyle, a native of Dana Indiana, had served three months as a Navy reservist in World War I.  Then he’d attended Indiana University, before dropping out to spend a brief career in Indiana media before moving to Washington DC.  There, he spent several years as a reporter and editor, while married to a deeply mentally ill woman.  +

Pyle as a college student.

Finally, in 1935, he went on the road, becoming a sort of roving syndicated columnist, picking up a tradition started by Heywood Broun, and which Charles Kuralt would eventually inherit.  He spent the waning years of the Depression roaming America’s small towns, writing “slice of life” pieces about ordinary Americans, becoming a C-list celeb in the process.

When the war started, he took those skills to war with him.  While most war correspondents stuck close to headquarters looking for the big picture, Pyle spend the war years in the field, in North Africa and Italy, including a stint trapped in the misbegotten beachhead at Anzio, and witnessing the Normandy invasion.  He was nearly killed in the same botched close-air-support bomber attack that killed General Leslie McNair and dozens of other GIs.

Throughout, he brought the same homespun style to covering America’s infantrymen and tankers and other grunts that he’d brought to covering hardware stores and custom combiners and shopkeepers in America’s hinterlands.  He’d been compared to Mark Twain before the war, and the comparison stuck while in action.

Pyle shares a cigarette and some stories with Marines on Okinawa, shortly before his death.

After the liberation of Paris, he’d taken some down time to recover from his own deep depression, before departing for the Pacific .

Not everyone was a fan; the Navy felt slighted by his coverage of the Navy’s war; Pyle for his part had always felt closer to the infantrymen and other foot-sloggers out in the mud and the weather, although he eventually learned more of the difficulties and horrors of the war at sea as well.

This led him to Ie Shima, seventy years ago today.

The news media has fallen a long way since the 1940s.  Some of it’s inevitable; there’s competition.  Some of it’s the media’s own doing; can anyone imagine the blow-dried hamsters that report today’s news slogging through the mud on an infantry patrol?

And part of it is that the major media is run by a self-appointed “elite” that doesn’t really care about mainstreet, or GI Joe, and hasn’t in forty years.

That didn’t die seventy years ago on Ie Shima, of course; but by the 1960 and 1970s, the idea of Ernie Pyle was more historical artifact than journalistic present tense.

The Pinball Wizard’s Got Such A Supple NARN

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air! I will be on from 1-3PM today!

Today on the show,

  • Senator Dave Osmek  will join us to talk about the Met Council’s new boss
  • A Time for Choosing…Litmus Tests

Don’t forget - King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1570, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 1-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

Open Letter To The LGBT Community

To:  Big Gay
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Silence Is Golden

Hi,

Save your stereotypes; I’ve done more to combat real physical hatred against real gay people than most of you will.  Long story.  Takeaway:  I’ve got no beef with gay people.

So don’t be phoning it in as a “hate crime” when I say I’ll support this in the public schools when you support open displays of crosses on Good Friday and Easter.

Deal?

That is all.