Friday, September 12, 2014

Cheap shots and wonk Chucks

Carlson in Snuggie. Image by Politico.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested over the weekend that laws regulating military-style semiautomatic rifles did not make sense ..."We should be clear for our viewers, assault weapon is a made up term," Carlson replied. "And there really is no such thing as an assault weapon." (Crooks & Liars)
The thing is, as a number of people were quick to point out, all terms are made-up terms. The question is whether it finds something coherent to apply itself to. For example, as the ngram below shows, "assault weapon" has been pretty successful since it was introduced in 1917, while "sniveling weasel", first showing up in 1989, has been somewhat iffy:

But that may be because nobody thought to apply "sniveling weasel" to Tucker Carlson until last February. I expect it to take off in a big way soon.

Robert Pittenger respecting everyone and loving people. Photo by Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer.
After assuring ThinkProgress that he “respects everyone” and “loves people,” [North Carolina Republican state assemblymember Robert]  Pittenger said he believes companies should have the right to fire or refuse to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“You need to respect the autonomy of somebody running their business,” he said. “It’s like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property. In public spaces, absolutely, we can have smoking bans. But we don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses. If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?” (ThinkProgress)
And by the same token you don't need to respect the autonomy of somebody not running their business because they're such worms they have to be employees instead. What business do they have being gay, or having sex in any form, for heaven's sake, or imposing on the freedoms we enjoy by enjoying freedoms of their own? They don't have any business at all!

Why, just last April Kurtz had a day where fully 23% of his audience was under 55!

Mediaite complains to MediaBuzz about how that Mr. Chuck Todd overintellectualizes everything. Or something:
Mediaite columnist Joe Concha told MediaBuzz’Howard Kurtz that Chuck Todd missed some crucial opportunities to challenge President Barack Obama during his inaugural interview on Meet the Press Sunday morning, and wondered whether Todd was too much of a “wonk” to reach the lay viewer.
In other opinion news, Concha asks whether John Wayne's expressive range as an actor made it hard for the general public to recognize him from movie to movie, and whether the complexity of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich will prevent the preparation from reaching a mass audience.

But it's far from true that Todd didn't challenge the president. Indeed he did even when the opportunity was imaginary. I loved the story about how he called out Obama for failing to say the word "Syria" ten seconds after Obama said the word "Syria" for the fourth time in the interview. He must have gotten distracted while he was doing something wonky, like checking out Noam Chomsky's Twitter TL.

Wonk Chuck. Via Democratic Underground.
What Georgie Bush said on July 12 2007, which is getting a lot of play from Fox and friends, as his solemn prophecy of the disaster that would occur if US troops withdrew from Iraq too soon:
I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we're ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaida. It'd mean that we'd be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It'd mean we'd allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It'd mean we'd be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.
What he also said on July 12, about when the time would be right:
we're working to defeat Al Qaida and other extremists, and aid the rise of an Iraqi government that can protect its people, deliver basic services, and be an ally in the war against these extremists and radicals. By doing this, we'll create the conditions that will allow our troops to begin coming home, while securing our long-term national interests in Iraq and in the region. When we start drawing down our forces in Iraq, it will because (sic) our military commanders say the conditions on the ground are right, not because pollsters say it'll be good politics.
And what Georgie said on December 14 2008 about what he had learned from our military commanders, just a month after signing the agreement with the Iraqi government requiring the US to withdraw all its forces by the end of 2011:
With these agreements, Mr. Prime Minister, we're honoring the sacrifices that I just described in the best possible way -- by building a freer, safer, and more hopeful world. By signing these agreements we're showing the people of Iraq the United States of America keeps its word. And we are showing the people of the Middle East that America stands firmly for liberty and justice and peace. And we are leaving the next President with a stable foundation for the future, and an approach that can enjoy broad bipartisan support at home.

There is still more work to be done. The war is not yet over -- but with the conclusion of these agreements and the courage of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi troops and American troops and civilian personnel, it is decisively on its way to being won.
That's when they threw a shoe at him.

Ducking a shoe from Muntadhar al-Zaidi. Image from White House Video via Wikipedia.

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