Archive for January, 2012

Monday Night Links

Here ya go:

Anything else?

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Ron Paul isn’t going to be leaving the race any time soon, despite what will likely be a poor showing in FL tomorrow. Paul’s strategy here is to essentially ignore the media, the pundits, and all the horse race nonsense, and focus on the delegates. Paul will rack up as many delegates as he can, preferring to ignore winner take all states like FL for states where he can take whatever percentage of the delegates he can get. He continues to be ignored, but as I’ve stated before his opponents ignore him at their peril.

He is in this thing for the long haul. He will stay in until the convention. And why wouldn’t he? This is his final moment in professional politics, so he has no future career to worry about positioning for. He is well funded, and has a very hardcore base of support.  There is an awful lot of voting that has yet to happen, and Paul will not be dropping out because “he has no momentum”.

And why would people do well to remember this? Well, Paul’s strategy is a smart one for an insurgent candidate fighting the party elite. Don’t believe me? Ask Hillary Clinton. This was Obama’s strategy before it was Paul’s.

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Flash Mobs

This weekend, another group of teens randomly attacked someone on the street in Philly. These random attacks have been making news in Philly since the flash mobs made headlines a few years ago, but I’m writing this post not to comment on the attacks themselves, but the community’s reaction to them afterwards.

Every time, either in the comments under the articles, subsequent columns (and their comments), or overhearing discussions on the street, I hear the exact same line over and over and over and over again. “Dude should have been carrying a gun”. But what, exactly, would this have accomplished? One of the victims of a flash mob attack this past summer, Emily Guendelsberger, wrote an excellent (and terrifying) account of her and her friends’ experiences. Read it in its entirety if you have the time, but I want to specifically point out Emily’s closing thoughts (bold mine, italics Emily’s):

“I’ve heard a lot of armchair quarterbacking about what we should have done, especially from people who are into concealed-carry and Bernie Goetz. I always carry pepper spray. But with the adrenaline going through my brain, if the thought, “Hey, I have pepper spray!” had squeezed through the wall of fight-or-flight—“SHIT FUCK SHIT FUCK SHIT!”—it would have done worse than no good. Unless you are literally Charles Bronson, you just don’t win fights where you’re outnumbered 20 to 1, even if you have a gun. Suggesting that shooting a gun into a crowd of crazed, violent teenagers would have somehow made them less crazed or violent I think means that you are drawing on imagination rather than memory. Just let me assure you: I was there. It wouldn’t have been a good scene.”
This is exactly the point I would like to make. Does anyone actually think these people are scared of guns? These are people that will assault a random person in the middle of a crowded intersection. And from a tactical standpoint, if you’re up against a crowd you’ve got one, maybe two, shots before they wrestle the gun out of your hands. Then a bad situation gets much worse.

Read the rest of her closing thoughts, if nothing else. They display a graciousness and clarity of mind that are nothing short of heroic after enduring something like this. And to Emily’s enduring credit, she finishes with a joke:

And, finally, I will not be moving in with my auntie and uncle in Bel-Air, but I appreciate the hundreds of suggestions.
This post is not meant to be anti-gun, pro-gun control, or any other thing. It is meant to be simply this: some common sense thought on what is being suggested. I simply have a hard time believing that, had any victims of these types of crimes been armed, they would have fared much better.

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Throw Away Your Television

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking to the SC Bar Association over the weekend, said the following, in regards to the massive amount of negative campaign ads that have resulted from the Citizen’s United decision:
“I don’t care who is doing the speech – the more the merrier… People are not stupid. If they don’t like it, they’ll shut it off.”
Got that? A SCOTUS Justice has just told you that if you don’t like the political process, you should ignore it.This is, of course, exactly the opposite of what you should do. Our system only functions when people participate in it. If you don’t like something that’s going on, do something about it. Tell people why you don’t like it. Annoy your facebook friends with it. Write a blog about it. Call your representatives. Call someone’s campaign headquarters. Basically do anything other than nothing.

And honestly, are campaign ads really more annoying than Dancing With the Stars?

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Some Thoughts on Politics

The other day I came across a piece called “12 Things I want Every Politically Opinionated Person to Take to Heart“. I don’t necessarily agree with it in its entirety, but there are a number of good points and its worth your reading. My favorites:

On the Constitution:

But please, respect the Constitution by familiarizing yourself with it in-depth, and when you dissent from someone’s interpretation, make sure your opinion is an informed one. Don’t just waive the Constitution around like it’s a crucifix or a string of garlic. It’s not magic.

On the phrase “real Americans”:

Every American is a real person and a real American. Wall Street executives are real Americans. College faculty are real Americans. Big-city elitists are real Americans. Gays are real Americans. Atheists are real Americans. Religious people are real Americans. Non-Christians are real Americans. Non-whites are real Americans. Naturalized citizens are real Americans. Ragingly vulgar country bumpkins who embarrass us in Paris are real Americans.

These are points that cannot be made often enough.



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Barack X

Bill Maher discusses the fictional Obama that the GOP candidates have created to run against:

The whole video is worth watching, but pick it up from the 2:50 mark for the part about the fake Obama.

Via The Dish

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The 9/11 Memorial

Beautiful, isn’t it?


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