I usually think well of Garance Franke-Ruta’s work over at The Atlantic, so what follows isn’t so much a “pox-upon-her-house” screed as it is a cautionary tale.
Vice President Joe Biden came to my patch yesterday, MIT, to play his familiar role as consoler-in-chief at the memorial service for Sean Collier, the MIT police officer murdered last week.
His speech was vintage Joe, powerful, direct, colored by emotion expressed bluntly, clearly, without (seeming)* artifice. It was aimed carefully — if you actually listened — towards at least two audiences: not just the sea of police and students spread out before him, but also the Republican party, and the American people beyond.
That’s what Franke-Ruta missed as she chased a tired meme. Hers is the artless Joe, who genuinely, if perhaps a little embarassingly, is all raw heat, no reflection — the administration’s “id” as her headline would have it. The comparison to be drawn is obvious, and Franke-Ruta does so in her first sentence: Joe’s the man with real-people responses, which his boss, the President is too cool (read, not quite human) to deliver. From there, her analysis dives even deeper into conventional wisdom:
Today’s example was Biden unleashing a stream of wholly warranted invective at the Boston Marathon bombers. Speaking at memorial services for slain M.I.T. police officer Sean Collier, he called bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev “two twisted, perverted, cowardly knock-off jihadis.”…
Some asserted he was insensitively diminishing the attack by calling the attackers “knock-off.” But there was no question that in repeatedly calling the suspects “perverted jihadis,” Biden was once again taking on his designated role as senior administration official who gets to sling it.
Fortunately, Franke-Ruta posted a video of part of Biden’s speech, so her readers could check her exegesis. Listen, and you’ll certainly hear Biden excoriate the Tsarnaevs. But the guts of his argument are to be found in what Biden said next, about the right — and wrong — ways to respond to the acts of terrorists, hard core or mere knock-offs:
The truth is on every frontier, terrorism as a weapon is losing…and what galls them the most is that America does remain that shining city on a hill. We are a symbol of the hopes and the dreams, the aspirations of people all around the world…our very existence makes the lie of their perverted ideology.
So the only way they can gain ground is to instill fear that causes us to jettison our values, our way of life, for us to change. The moment we change, the moment we look inward, the moment we get in a crouch and are defensive, that’s the moment they win. What makes me so proud of this great state, and the city of Boston and Cambridge and all those involved and the students on this campus, what makes me so proud to be an American is that we have not yielded to our fears; we have not compromised our values, we have not weakened our constitutional guarantees. We have not closed our borders.
I can surely argue that some of that is more aspirational than hard fact. Post-9/11 and continuing into this decade, we have yielded some guarantees. We have allowed our fears to legitimize laws like the Patriot Act, to allow torturers to thrive in our dark rooms, to sink to force feeding prisoners starving themselves to escape the legal purgatory that incarcerates without providing any avenue for either exoneration or certain punishment.
But Biden did limn a present realit as well, in that we still live in a country where a ruling like Hamdan v. Rumsfeld can be both heard and decided against the government. I live in a town where police officers tackled a cop-killer in the midst of a gun battle, in the hopes of keeping him alive long enough to face a court. Here in Boston, Dzokhar Tsarnaev was charged as a common criminal, read his rights (not fast enough for some, but still) and will in fact face civilian charges. This country are so far from perfect it sometimes feels like we’re can only approachperfection the long way round — but that’s in the nature of cities on hills. I’m pretty sure Joe had something like this in mind when he spoke yesterday.
And I have next to no doubt at all that he was scolding that claque of Republican leaders who seem to have lost all courage, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and all the rest. They’ve been up on their hind legs since Friday, bellowing the urgency of making sure Tsarnaev face a jury-rigged military tribunal system, and damned be the American constitutional system and any faith in the power of a jury of Americans to do and be seen to have done justice.
That rebuke is what this speech was about, beyond the pure duty of comfort that Biden handled so well in the first, longer section of his remarks. He was telling a failed Republican party that America is something other than hollow republic the Bush-Cheney regime sought to build. He was as well talking to the broader audience through the TV set, making the case (again!) that there is an alternative to a government based on authority granted out of fear. He was reminding everyone in earshot that the way the Republicans ran the republic — and would do again, if they get the chance — is not just an error; it’s un-American. This was powerful stuff, and inside the political ring, it was had the power to hurt, a nut-cutting blow.
That is to say: who cares if Biden used the phrase “knock-off,” or uttered in public the word “perverted?” Franke-Ruta’s gnawing away on those old bones is a failure of reportorial nose, a misjudgment that obscured the real story right in front of her.
As I said at the top of this post, I don’t think Franke-Ruta’s a bad journalist, not at all. So I take her whiff as an indication of what it costs when you live inside a thought/media/opinion bubble, at the heart or even the outskirts of the Village. Our Village elders have focused on atmospherics so long (who’d you like to have a beer with, or did he say “terrorist” and such nonsense) that it becomes harder and harder for them — or their juniors, wallowing in the same mire — to hear, actually to notice, what’s happening right in front of them.
One last thought: it doesn’t even take malice, nor is it a mark of stupidity, sloth or professional incompetence to fall into this trap. Group-think happens not because (or not only because) Roger Ailes sends down a memo. It’s a natural human trait to pay attention to those who do what you do, or hope to. Reporters read other reporters. They — we, for I sometimes commit acts of journalism — drink at the same bars. We talk — just like everyone else. We’ve all, I think, experienced us doing this to ourselves in some context or other. The failure comes in the inability to acknowledge the risk, and to take conscious action to challenge it. There’s a lot of that going round these days.
*Biden — and his speech writers, of course — are not amateurs. He’s a pro, and a much better master of rhetoric than often given credit for (see above). His speeches are what they seem — expressions of his thought and feeling. That doesn’t mean they aren’t crafted — which is no bad thing. As John Kenneth Galbraith is rumored to have said “the treasured note of spontaneity critics find in my work usually enters between the sixth and seventh draft.”)
Image: Édouard Manet, The Funeral, ca. 1860.
Hind legs? Nah. They’ve been rolling around on their backs, batting their paws and baring their fangs so we don’t notice their soft exposed belly fur.
To become a Villager in good standing you have to accept the Villager conventional wisdom.
The Repubs want Bengazi 2.0
Bengazi 1.0 went nowhere, so they keep on doing the same thing. Anything to get Obama and to make Bush the Younger look better.
ETA, can’t spell.
I think there is something else going on here, too. Our Villagers and many in their core audience are just about the most materially comfortable and coddled, and the safest class of Upper Middle Class people ever, in the entire history of humanity. By any objective standard they want not, but more importantly they live lives protected from almost every sort of danger imaginable, aside from purely random events (struck by lightning on the golf course!) or perils they deliberately seek out for entertainment’s sake (let’s go skydiving!).
When your life is that comfortable and coddled and that safe, your mortality anxiety naturally tends to gravite towards threats which are largely imaginary, because frankly there isn’t much else left. And when that happens, the dramatic aspect of the threat comes to play a large role in how important it seems, which is why they focus on terrorism and not say slipping and falling in the shower.
Good post. Franke-Ruta’s interpretation is a good measure of how effective Biden is at what he does. Here’s her bio:
I’m sure she’s a brilliant woman with a sterling resume, but I kind of doubt she has the understanding of political theater to match a guy that got elected to the Senate against all odds at age 30 and has been in DC ever since.
Conservatives are pissed that the same dodge they like to use—–“he was a lone wolf” style excuses—–to disassociate their movement from the violent outbursts it can provoke it can also be applied to jihadis. Frankly many terrorist actions seem to be committed by the same sorts that shoot up schools, theaters or whatever. Mostly they are disaffected losers who long to lash out at society. Some, like Mcveigh and the Tsarnaev brothers prefer to ascribe special significance to their actions by claiming to be motivated by some “noble” cause or other.
When public outrage forces the cause or movement to repudiate the action of their violent members, we should not be quick to let the movements off too easily. Sure, the Tsarnaev brothers acted on their own (it appears) and many Muslim leaders have condemned their actions. But they must also continue to condemn fiery Islamic rhetoric and leaders that promote such violence.
By the same token, it is not enough for right wing organizations to condemn shootings, bombings and attacks motivated by their ideology. They must also condemn language and imagery from right wing organizations that demonize others and encourage violence. If they are unwilling to stand up to the violent renegades on their side, they deserve to be tarred with the same brush.
Sorry to go OT, but this is hilarious. Jeb Bush can’t even get his own mom to support him for president: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/barbara-bush-no-room-for-jeb.php?ref=fpb
@Spaghetti Lee: Jeb is the Edith of the Bush brothers.
“I live in a town where police officers tackled a cop-killer in the midst of a gun battle, in the hopes of keeping him alive long enough to face a court.”
Agreed–that really was a credit to the cops there. As contrasted with the cops out in California who intentionally threw incendiary devices into Dorner’s shed, to burn it down and make sure he wouldn’t talk.
You know my only beef with Biden’s speech? It’s a really pedantic one: he misuses an idiom.
“…our very existence makes the lie of their perverted ideology.”
He has confused “this makes a lie of that” with “this gives the lie to that”. There’s an old and slightly weird idiom “to give the lie to”, which uses the definite article “the lie” roughly for the reason that we say “to give the finger to”–it’s an abbreviated reference to a standard public action.
You can see it in Shakespeare (AYL V.4.):
I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier’s beard; he sent me word, if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the mind it was. This is call’d “the Retort Courteous”. If I sent him word again it was not well cut, he would send me word he cut it to please himself. This is call’d “the Quip Modest”. If again it was not well cut, he disabled my judgment. This is call’d “the Reply Churlish”. If again it was not well cut, he would answer I spake not true. This is call’d “the Reproof Valiant”. If again it was not well cut, he would say I lie. This is call’d “the Countercheck Quarrelsome”. And so to “the Lie Circumstantial” and “the Lie Direct”.
So that’s why we talk about “giving the lie” to something. But “making a lie” of something is totally different. And “making *the* lie” is just confused.
I agree that the speech was carefully written. But I wish they’d been just slightly *more* careful.
I have to challenge the notion that Franke-Ruta is some sort of great thinker undermined by DC mores. Back in the days when she wrote for The American Prospect, their writers weren’t identified till the bottom of their posts, but I could always tell hers after about a sentence or two, because of the creeping Villagerism expressed. She always seemed to have an eye on that Fred Hyatt position.
We’ve lost the concept that a critic needs to criticize the ideas with a level of fairness and not substitute armchair psychoanalysis. These days, it feels like people are being critical just to be critical.
This kind of thing is just one of the reasons to <3 Joe Biden. (Mr WereBear treasures his Cup o' Joe mug we got for donating to the campaign.)
But I don't know ANY establishment outlets who could tell the truth about such eternal verities. Nor think of any who actually DO.
Dr. Mantis Toboggan
Remember when Joe Biden guaranteed there would be no changes to Social Security?
OT: It’s starting to look like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was unarmed while in that boat.
The inevitable Fox News response:
But Biden didn’t describe the Tsarnaevs as Terror Terrists of Terrism, so he hates America.
@oldster: Not sure if calling upon Shakespeare in an appeal to hew exclusively and comprehensively to the bournes of the smallest of conventional linguistic ruts aids or detracts from the effort. No matter, it’s just an attempt at the Reply, Pedantish.
@Dr. Mantis Toboggan:
Nor have there been, little firebagger.
watch out, or I shall give you the Rebuff Trollish!
Someone really should update that whole speech for the internet age. He was making fun of a very similar phenomenon in any case.
And the quote is not meant to say that Shakespeare’s usage is the law (god knows it would be a very permissive law!) but rather to indicate why the current idiom has the shape that it has, i.e. why *do* we say “the lie” in the phrase “give the lie”, when we don’t use “the” in any of the neighboring idioms?
I do wonder if Mr. Vice President would be talking the same “we have not weakened our constitutional guarantees” kind of talk if these twisted, perverted, cowardly, knock-off jihadis had opened fire with a couple of semi-auto pistols or rifles… Nah he would be once again calling for us to strip the second amendment from the Constitution and most of the people on this blog would be braying in unison.
The Republican response reminds me of the Soviet Union. ‘Let’s just have a show trial’
Bush is back in the news? Oh nos! Time for #throwbackthursday. Let’s party like it’s 2008.
Have you ever given a speech? You do realize that you can trip over things, especially very common (and yes, we all know that phrase “give the lie to” you don’t have to be a dog damned shakespeare scholar to know it) phrases and expressions. Second of all, and obviously, there are regional differences in the way spoken phrases get thrown around. This isn’t one of them but there are lots and lots of them. Appealing to Shakespeare isn’t really relevant when you are talking about a modern speech that is not directly quoting him. Language, idoms, and phrases slip and have always slipped.
@D. Mason: I would be braying in unison since there is no right to semi-auto pistols or rifles in the 2nd amendment.
There’s nothing wrong with calling for a change in the constitution, or in an interpretation of the constitution–its done every fucking day in cases brought to the Supreme Court. The current state of interpretation of the Second Amendment is an interpretation of the Second Amendment. One among many. Fairly recent. New cases and a new court could easily give us a new interpretation. Its not a sin or even a surprise if citizens and political actors want to push their interpretation of the constitution. Its always been done. That’s what we have Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court *for.*
“Joe’s the man with real-people responses, which his boss, the President is too cool (read, not quite human) to deliver.”
President Obama has given rousing speeches such as the one he gave at a University after the Giffords shooting. I don’t get this criticism of Obama.
From the various things I’ve heard about her over the years, Mrs. Bush will never be nominated for Mom-of-the-Year.
@oldster: Not the Rebuff Trollish! um um um, stagger, The Flailing Thrust International! Can you clean up some people going To Hospital while others go to The Hospital while you’re at it? Thes, worse than sheep.
On the other hand, looking at her spawn, you can see why she’s never going to eat her own young either.
Strictly anecdotal, but have known a handful of people who have undergone the same type of brain surgery as Biden did, end every one of them afterwards showed the lack of some inhibitions and apparent loss of some filtering between brain and mouth as he so often exhibits.
Teeny tiny correction: Biden was still 29 when he won that first senatorial election. His 30th birthday was several weeks later.
Aimai, did you read this as a criticism of Biden, that required you to come to his defense? I *love* that dude! You don’t need to defend him from me. In my book, Joe has been an excellent VP and an excellent representative for the party. He’s a stand-up guy.
Yup, I give lots of extemporaneous speeches. I wish I could work from scripts more often, but I can’t. I’m sure a transcript of my extemporaneous speeches would make for embarrassing reading. But I also suspect that this speech was not extemporaneous–it went through many drafts, as the OP said.
I told you this was pedantic, right? He just misused an idiom. It’s a common idiom, as you say, and we all know it, as you say, so I wonder why his writers messed it up. The quote was only intended to explain what is otherwise odd about the idiom, which comes from its historical origins. (Why are “the breaks” plural when we say “them’s the breaks”? I don’t know. But I know someone would be messing up the idiom if they said “them’s a break.” Beats me why that idiom has the shape it does–them’s the breaks!)
Well, for the same reason that we instruct our favorites in the ring to “Give him the chair”.
I’m just popping in to say if anyone sees jebediah or possibly it’s jedidiah, please tell him/her that I said thanks for donating to rescue doggies in NC. I’ve been keeping an eye out but our paths haven’t crossed.
@D. Mason: Shorter D. Mason: Those joggers in Boston would still have their limbs if only they were armed. And that cop also too.
@scav: The, plural, If I ever wanted to abuse an apostrophe, it was right there. Please tell me the correct plural of The is The. If, like Goose, it’s These, I will do myself a damage.
Yah. We here in Boston were moved to standing and to tears by the President’s speech after the bombing. GF must not have been paying attention.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@D. Mason: Well, considering the fact that eventheconservative-Supreme Court has ruled that regulations on guns do not violate the 2nd amendment, no more than regulations on speech do not violate the first amendment, your statement is full of shit.
@Patricia Kayden: @aimai: So I’ll take your answers to mean you believe he wouldn’t be talking this “we have not weakened our constitutional guarantees” talk. In other words, the guts of his speech wasn’t about “the right — and wrong — ways to respond to the acts of terrorists, hard core or mere knock-offs” at all, it was just lip service to ideals he would scatter to the wind if it served his political notions. A greasy politician who talks out of both sides of his mouth. I voted for Obama twice and I’m starting to wonder if this is how John Cole felt circa 2005.
The villagers can’t accept that the President is just not that into them therefore he must be cold and aloof.
Dude, your spittle is spraying everywhere. Please, wipe your mouth before proceeding.
You know, if you didn’t mean it as a stupidly pedantic criticism of Biden and his speechwriters I wish you’d stop talking about it as a stupidly pedantic failure on their part. I didn’t listen to the speech and I didn’t read it–are you complaining that the text of the speech as prepared contained a typo or an error? Because it may have. Are you complaining that the text of the speech as prepared is not identical to the way he gave it? Because that could also be true. Do you know for a fact that neither Biden nor his speechwriters know the actual idiom and that he didn’t muff it in delivery? Because I don’t. I just don’t get what you think you are even bothering to say, here. Whatever your motives or your feelings about Biden (and perhaps all the more so if you think you like Biden and liked the speech) its, well, beyond stupidly pedantic and right over the border into moronic.
Oh give it up. No one believes you voted at all. And no one cares if you pretend to be dissapointed now. If this is your understanding of politics, posts, comments, constitutionalism and everything else no one even gives a fuck if you keep breathing.
The one that bugs me is when people say difficult/tough/hard “road to hoe”. Nails on chalkboard for me.
@Morzer: Oh yeah, I’m a lunatic for disagreeing, I forgot.
You guys are SO much different than right wingers. Really.
Relatedly, I noticed that NYT has a nice mythbusting piece that explains the chronology of the marathon bomber manhunt. Something that grabbed my eye, in light of what conservatives have been saying lately:
They hate us for our freedoms, indeed.
But the wingnuts seem to confuse who “they” and “us” are.
@Patricia Kayden:Quite right. The 2nd amendment also mentions a well regulated militia. Rather prominently.
Wow! I clearly hit a nerve that I did not mean to hit. But you have made one point very clear:
“I wish you’d stop talking”
Okay. I can talk somewhere else, some other time.
@MomSense: Eggcorns: welcome to a living language. Free Rein / Reign gets ever so slightly on mine and at least both make sense!
Davis X. Machina
@oldster: The proletariat, Lenin reminds us, can always vote with its feet…
No, you are a crackpot and a fool if you think anyone believes your ludicrous claims. Save them for your child-murdering fuckbuddies in the NRA and Megan McArdle.
Biden has never spoken og “stripping the second amendment from the constitution” liar.
@scav: I, for one, would rather rein in a horse than reign in a horse.
@oldster: I can’t believe you would let yourself be shouted down by that cunning stunt.
I see your inner Limbaugh is now on full crude display. That pretence of being an Obama voter didn’t last too long, did it?
@D. Mason: Disagree all you want. That’s fine. It’s your utter failure to make your case, followed by childish whining, that earns you such well deserved scorn.
thread getting confusing with stomping tantrums. slowly backing out to play with These.
@Morzer: What claims have I made? The posts I made are mostly questions or opinions which differ from claims. I did claim I voted for Obama twice, I didn’t get a receipt to show you but I am surprised you find the idea of voting for Obama twice so ludicrous.
Sure, sure. Now you try and back away from your own utterances. I don’t find the idea of voting twice for Obama ludicrous – but I find your claim to have done so abso-fucking-lutely hilarious.
@Haydnseek: I wasn’t trying to make a case per se. I just asked a question, got a couple of replies and responded. Apparently now I’m a spittle spraying fuckbuddy of some kind? I dunno.
No, you are a lunatic for inserting your personal fetish (which in this case is guns) into the discussion regardless of whether it is germaine or not. If somebody insisted on derailing the topic at hand to obsess over the constitutionally protected status of toe-sucking (with or without the Elvis costume) I’d be just as inclined to treat their opinions as worthless.
Please point out where the Constitution guarantees unfettered access to guns. I keep getting hung up on that “well-regulated militia” language that certainly seems to indicate that regulating guns was A-OK with the Founders.
“cunning stunt?” Really? Now I know you didn’t vote for anyone. You must be about 12.
@D. Mason: Please look at comment #21. It’s yours. No question was asked, but a rather broad assertion was made. You dunno. At least you show the beginning of some sort of self awareness.
“Chet”? Izzaat you, boy?
@D. Mason: The only part of ‘well regulated militia’ that you do not accept is all of it.
ETA: Excellent troll, got responses from almost everyone.
Republican troll is a Republican troll.
@ThatLeftTurnInABQ: If I have a personal fetish here it’s rights. I only own 2 guns, both hunting rifles with small magazines, one is a 3 round internal the other is 8, but I believe we should hold on to our values and our rights regardless of who a terrorist is or how they go about their killing. I actually agree with Joe Bidens words but I know they’re not sincere because of his stance on other aspects of the Constitution, i.e. guns. That’s not a gun fetish it’s just common sense from my view. I don’t like it when the right chips away at abortion rights and I also don’t like it when the left chips away at gun rights. I don’t like having those kinds of guarantees brought into question by mealy mouthed politicians who have no real stake.
@Mnemosyne: You’re getting hung up because regulated did not carry the same context in the 18th century that it does today and had no relation to authoritative control. Lots of words had different meanings throughout linguistic history, ladies always love hearing nautical ancestry of everyones favorite “c” word.
All you resident ballistics experts must have enjoyed your Crowlunch, yesterday.
What is even a front page? ALL the rounds were fired by Jahar, amirite?
@Haydnseek: Yes I made the mistake of phrasing my question in the form of a statement, starting it with “I do wonder”. Common practice but I should know better than to give anyone here a chance to split hairs. Shame on me.
I should know better than to give anyone here a chance to split hairs
Just be glad it’s too early Mnemosyne (sp?) She’s a rat terrier who loves dem ankles.
No, you’re a lunatic for thinking the Second Amendment means the government isn’t allowed to regulate guns in any way. You’re defending an imaginary Second Amendment you’ve created in your head, not the actual one.
Are you also a First Amendment absolutist who thinks that shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater is protected speech and anyone who gets trampled in the panicked rush to get out should just accept their fate in the name of freedom?
@D. Mason: Questions are questions. Statements are statements. We all make mistakes. You do know what yours is, don’t you?
What’s funny is that you didn’t bother to read the whole thread before you posted that.
Ouch ! Medic, please tape up my ankle.
Uh huh. I see someone’s been hanging around gun nuts for a while.
So every other amendment has limits except for the Second Amendment? That’s the only one in the entire Constitution that has no limits at all? Fascinating.
@Mnemosyne: That’s correct. Because in MasonMind ™ even to suggest the idea of any limit whatsoever represents a “chipping away of gun rights.” The slope is slippery with this one……..
Jim, Foolish Literalist
IIRC, GFR was one of those who ran Charlie Pierce off of TAPPED in his first foray in the blogosphere for saying that the Beltway “got the vapors” over this or that unpleasantly fitting thing somebody said or did. TAPPED was given over to this controversy for a period of several days.
In the ‘thankful for small favors’ file, at least we’re not polluted with the level of spittle-flecked bile sent to columnist Leonard Pitts re: his (rather garden variety) column on seeking commonality with those impacted in Boston.
(Seriously, click the link – it has to be read to be believed – and I have no doubt Pitts is printing verbatim invective he actually received.)
@Mnemosyne: I would note that the word “arms” also meant quite a different thing back then as well. But no one seems to have a problem with allowing that definition to change with the times…
Guns only lets people in this country because they couldn’t shoot themselves. Might explain their alliance with the Corporation overlords, who can’t quite manage to empty their own bins yet without fingers.
Anyhoo, only came back because this seems to be a possible goal of how to deal with attacks a few years on. Plus, I rather enjoyed the trailers as examples of the genre. Film-makers, what has London ever done to you?
@Dr. Mantis Toboggan:
Name every change to Social Security that has actually happened.
Oh, that’s right, there are none.
Feel free to come back when you actually have a point.
So do you have any take on the 2 essential points in Tom’s post at top, which is that:
(A) Biden made a potentially damaging political attack on the Republicans in his speech, pointing out that they would very much like to sell off our birthrights, and cheaply at that, which makes them not only fools but cowards to boot.
(B) Villagers in general, and Garance Franke-Ruta in particular, are tone-deaf to this argument, because why? Well who knows exactly, let’s speculate as to why.
This was an open invitation to speculate on a great many things, but not guns in particular, seeing as how they were not mentioned specifically, neither in Biden’s speech, nor in Franke-Ruta’s commentary re: Biden’s speech, nor in Tom’s commentory re: all of the above. Yet for some reason you honed right in on guns in particular and no other peripheral issue. Why is that? It creates the impression that this particular topic is something you just can’t help but bring up, to the exclusion of other issues.
Hey wot? You could shoot out an eye. And the suicide vest was more like a gawd awful fashion statement. Which makes him guilty of bad taste, like the Elvis impersonator.
That’s all we need to convict.
I refuse to respond to the troll directly. I will notice he made a claim (not a question) that Biden has already called in the past for the stripping of the 2nd amendment from the Constitution. He has been challenged on it and refused to provide any evidence to back up that assertion.
I see he also has decided to not only define the amendment in his own terms but to focus on the word regulated and give it his own meaning. That reminds me of a long twitter discussion I was having yesterday with someone who said that capitalism has only recently, in last 150 year, existed and did not do so before that. I pointed out that the term may not have existed before then but the activities defined by the term did. After much going back and forth, he finally decided that his way out of the argument was to define capitalism as a “social system” and not an economic system.
At that point I gave up. When people start defining terms on their own, and the definition does not relate to reality, there is no sense in pursuing it further.
It was amazing seeing 5 Presidents bury the hatchet and come together to rekindle the nostalgia. It’s a good thing current POTUS and Bush don’t actually, physically resemble each other. It’s hard enough to tell them apart.
BTW; The cops owe that guy a new boat….
Obama is the one who got health care reform, the Ledbetter Act, and the end of don’t ask, don’t tell done. Bush is the one who destroyed the economy and trampled on the Bill of Rights.
Does that help?
@Mnemosyne: I didn’t say it’s off limits, I just disagree with where they’re going with this new batch of laws, something I’m allowed to do. As for the word regulated, either you’re part of the fact based world or you aren’t, in Heller the Supreme Court – American gold standard for legal definitions says ” ‘well-regulated’ implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training” as it relates to the constitution. I’m terribly sorry that things change, and that it somehow seems to vex you, but I’m not in control of linguistic shifts.
But the BULLHORN>>>>>>>>
@NotMax: On the bright side, the guy who wrote that crap to Pitts is far more likely to blow his own head off than he is to ever crawl out of his skeered-hole and attack anyone else.
@burnspbesq: Also, Bush is the one who started two fucked-up wars, and Obama is the one who ended one and is in the process of ending the other. A MINOR DIFFERENCE but if you squint you can see it.
Poor grammar: check
Punctuation misuse: check
RanDOM CAPITALIZATION: triple-CHECK
Truly a blessed harvest from the holy twenty-seven percent.
Onlyiest problem is a .223 round can pass through a whole lot of single-wides.
I’m sure the cops were thinking of their mortality as they carried out their duties and
scorched the Earth around that boat. He could’ve had another bomb and they just wanted the firecracker to go off before they got fragged. I understand that. I just wonder about the occupants they told to stay inside, and their response if they set off a bouncin’-Betty
That sheetrock is sturdy stuff.
I was reading the 2nd amendment to our local gun nut (who did vote for Obama, btw). He interrupted me from reading it halfway through and insisted that it wasn’t right, and that I was misinterpreting it. I was stumped at that, I know better than to interpret anything to a gun nut and was just reading the text without commentary. We have a tough road to hoe, that’s for sure
Meanwhile Franklin Roosevelt literally set up prison camps for people who were the wrong ethnicity, but he gets the Pure Progressive seal of approval because shut up that’s why.
@ThatLeftTurnInABQ: The reason I homed in on guns is because it is a very valid and also timely juxtaposition vis-a-vis rights as a broad topic, and I won’t lie I knew it would push a couple of buttons and that’s a reward all it’s own.
To answer your questions:
A) I agree it is a damaging attack to Republicans and lord knows they are pretty far gone on the topic of giving away rights for a few warm fuzzies. Kudos to Joe on carrying out a productive attack with class and unexpected rhetorical savvy. Nonetheless if the terrorist attack in Boston had went down slightly differently I can’t help but think, based on past instances, that he would be asking us to give up some different rights and I just don’t see enough distinction to overlook the hypocrisy. Not even if I voted for the guy.
B I don’t really keep up with the village, based mostly on their cluelessness. I speculate that they are tone-deaf second because they are clueless first? Now we’re gettign into causality…
the Pure Progressive seal of approval because shut up that’s why.
FDR’s progressive skin was as thin as Obama’s on civil rights. The true progressives were/are Eleanor, and Michelle.
After all, behind every great man is a woman; conversely every failure, come to think of it.
@cckids: I didn’t choose the word regulated to misunderstand here, someone else did. If they had misunderstood the word “arms” or “militia” I would have addressed those incorrect understandings as needed, but they didn’t, they choose regulated and I don’t control that any more than the changing of linguistic tides.
Go ahead and disagree. The point that you seem to be confused on is that we have an equal right to disagree with your disagreement.
So the Supreme Court agrees that we can insist that people be properly trained before they’re allowed to buy a gun? Good to know.
You seem not to realize that “arms” in the 18th century were single-shot muskets, not high-powered automatic rifles. I guess that linguistic shift is A-OK with you since you seem to have no problem letting people have “arms” that the Founders never anticipated.
Given that linguistic and cultural shifts allow so many wimminz and melanin-enhanced ‘n’ non-property owning riff-raff to vote now, clear to see why the sudden desperate clutching to Only what strict dictionaries meantThen!</strong>!! We Must stay Frozen in the Past and adhere to Text Only, not principles or ethos or will of currently living people! Forfend! Our national greatness crystallized on a single day and to blench or blink or move a muscle would jeopardize it!
It’s also easy to be Dove Pure when you have little means or authority to do much in the sub-lunar world, and don’t even have to compromise with the other voices in your own head.
You would have to know literally nothing about the 18th century and even the words “well regulated” to believe that the Founders didn’t have in mind an actual well regulated–as in under supervision and control–militia. Individual ownership of guns was understood to be in subsevience to that role. In fact you might look at it a bit differently and grasp that the same amendment was meant to enable the state (gasp, the government!) to comandeer you and your gun as needed if your community were under attack. When it came to actual revolt against the government? The government was all over that shit in a heartbeat and see also Shay’s Rebellion.
I’ve no need to pretend that some anonymous character on a blog accusing me of fucking child murderers is good faith disagreement, so I don’t. That shouldn’t imply that either one bothers me in the slightest.
@aimai: Also, have you seen the recent items on ‘well regulated militia’ being code for slave patrol militia? I thought that was interesting.
I am not sure how that understanding changes the 2nd amendment, except to make it even more popular with people who would have liked to join a slave patrol militia.
@aimai: I, just like you, know literally nothing of the 18th century, aside from what I glean from scholars. The foremost authority on Constitutional meanings in this country is the Supreme Court, flawed as it may be. I based my understanding on that, be it correct or incorrect it is as well grounded as anything written by whatever authors you choose to believe in contradiction to modern convention.
ETA: I also accept the definition of “arms” and “militia” for the record, even though those terms were not part of the original misunderstanding in question.
Unlikely to be true. He shot himself in the throat, through the mouth. It is VERY unlikely that he did that before crawling into the boat.
Discussion was had about whether or not shots were fired in both directions. Can you point out a post where somebody asserted strongly that he was the only one who fired?
Or are you just trolling?
Because, of course, a gun could NEVER be thrown from a boat, amirite?
It’s one of the biggest signs that you’re dealing with a libertarian — they love to proof text everything and insist that there’s no such thing as a common meaning of a word, only the meaning they’ve made up in their heads.
I’m pretty sure no one accused you of having sex with child murderers. We’re just pointing out that you enable child murderers, and lots of adult murderers, too.
If you don’t like that you’re enabling the murder of children (and adults), then stop enabling those murders rather than throwing a hissy fit when people point out that the policies that you support enabled those murders.
Good thing all gun owners are properly disciplined and trained.
I enable who and how? By commenting on this blog? By voting for Obama? I would say people who give so much power to gun toting killers who pick the most sensitive targets are enablers. They enable them to tally up a lot of power over America.
Also, being “pretty sure” is sometimes like assuming.
Another Halocene Human
@kerFuFFler: Serial killer Pee Wee Gaskin told the police he raped and killed a mother and baby (yep, raped the baby) for the crime of race-mixing, perhaps thinking the SC cracker cops would approve of his actions. They didn’t seem particularly disgusted at it.
Another Halocene Human
@schrodinger’s cat: Or the Edsel.
Another Halocene Human
@oldster: Who knows, maybe Joe misspoke, he’s kind of known for that. He may have mixed up “give the lie to” and “make a liar of”.
Well, it starts here….https://balloon-juice.com/2013/04/21/open-thread-1605/#comment-4382501
Another Halocene Human
@Hill Dweller: So the cops were exchanging friendly fire when they found him? (Something I suspected, but was hoping wasn’t true.)
Naaah, that would NEVER happen!
I hate to continue the derail about guns, but wanted to share this important link: http://www.upworthy.com/you-know-what-the-founding-fathers-said-about-your-right-to-bear-arms-this
Yes, I find it very important since we don’t wear three-corner hats or powder our wigs any longer.
BTW; Wasn’t it black powder in the pressure cookers? From fireworks?
The 4th of July will never be the same.
I don’t know why they had to get it out of fireworks, you can just go to the store and buy a big box of it for reloading.
Good job on taking the word “important” the wrong way, derp.
Fair enough. I suspect that if the brothers had used guns rather than bombs to kill and maim their victims, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion because the news media never would have labeled it as a “terrorist incident” rather than YAMS (Yet Another Mass Shooting) and the whole thing would have gone out in the wash of our normal media cycle.
You enable them by opposing any and all gun regulation because FREEDOM!
So you are now claiming that you don’t oppose sensible gun regulation despite the things you’ve said here about the Second Amendment being absolute? Maybe you should try to figure out what your argument is before presenting it and getting yourself tied up in knots as you try to explain what you really meant.
Though I am fascinated to hear that you’re Megan McArdle’s and the entire NRA’s fuckbuddy. Is this something that all of you have discussed with your respective spouses? How often do you meet? There are a couple million purported members of the NRA — do you meet up with several of them a day? How do you work McMegan in there since you must have to spend so much of your time traveling around the country to meet up with all of your NRA fuckbuddies?
Mebbe important means something different in your lexicon.
Another way to look at it is to imagine the death toll if the bombers had been able to pop down to Bombs-R-Us and pick up a dozen bricks of plastic explosive, some shrapnel kits, and a Diet Coke, instead of kludging together a couple of IEDs. That’s the current situation with guns.
So because you were blithering strawmen into every post, and martin stated “from the reports I’ve read” somebody needs to eat crow?
I showed the fucker a video with the conflagration, but like rest of you pukes, he can never admit when he’s wrong. I hope you read the rest of the lashings I received for correctly interpreting what I saw.
Get a hearing aid and some coke-bottle glasses, y’all
Tone In DC
This post brought out some truly hyperactive trolling. Maybe some techie commenter can suss out some IP addresses and “accidentally” disable some of this tripe slinging.
On the actual subject, Garance hopefully knows better. That bubble we speak of isn’t actually a bubble; it’s more like a titanium sphere with a very small, rose-colored window.
It was my pleasure! – I wish I could have afforded more.
ETA: Not that it matters much at all, but I am a he.
@Mnemosyne: I never said anything about the 2nd being absolute, I just don’t agree with the regulations being proposed, not the same thing. I also see hypocrisy in Biden puffing up about how we wont surrender our rights to terrorists when he is the chief mouthpiece for just that, when it comes to guns of course.
As for some other comments about trolling… I do know it’s pointless to try and have any kind of discussion here because this is the red state of the left but I do try in earnest most of the time. Still, I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy when it devolves into yanking ya’lls hyper-yankable collective chain.
So what new regulations would you be willing to accept? Be specific. “Enforcing the laws that are already on the books” doesn’t mean shit since it means that all of the loopholes on the books stay in place and nothing at all changes. If you don’t want anything to change and think that our current system is working just fine, then say so.
Again, you seem to think there is some kind of absolute right for you to own a gun unfettered by government regulation, so therefore Biden’s call for increased government regulation of guns is automatically hypocritical because he wants you to “surrender our rights.” If you accept that some government regulation is allowed — as stated by the Supreme Court — than what, exactly, is hypocritical about Biden’s stance that we need better regulation?
That stance by itself isn’t hypocritical, it’s when he comes along later and talks about how we won’t surrender our rights to terrorists that his rhetoric becomes hypocritical. Either we will or we won’t, is my point here I guess.
As for what regulation I would be ok with here goes:
thorough background checks required for sale possibly including ammo – open for discussion about how to get around the private sale thing but I agree it needs to be addressed.
Stop internet sales or sales through catalog, including parts, this hasn’t been talked about much but I think it’s worth looking at as fraud is much easier through those channels.
Gun education. Not like shooting class or something but the same way older students are taught to handle dangerous tools in shop class, home-ec and sex-ed there should be some DISCUSSION about how to safely deal with firearms as they are commonplace in our society.
licensing – this would be tricky but I would accept some type of generalized gun buyer permit that had a training requirement as long as it wasn’t part of some registration scheme. This could be tied to the background checks mentioned above regarding private sale.
Considerate removal of some weapons from the marketplace. This does not include most of the over-broad bans up for consideration at present.
I’ve been as good-faithy in my replies as possible here. It’s about time for someone to pop up to tell me how I fuck murderers for funsies again isn’t it?
The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
I don’t know how something as simple and clear as the second amendment can be so arcane to interpret for some people.
“Well-regulated” does not modify “arms”, it modifies “militia”. “Well-regulated” is a very specific term of art in 18th-century military parlance; for a military organization to be “well-regulated”, it must have an absolute and unbreakable rank hierarchy, rank to be bestowed by civilian authority (i.e.: no election of officers by the ranks), and have a system of discipline so savage that no one would ever think of running away, because they’re more afraid of their own officers than they are of the enemy.
They said “militia” because they didn’t think we could afford a standing army, and were opposed to them on principle—but that’s what we’ve got.
“Being essential to the security of a free state”—in other words this militia is intended to protect the state from foreign attacks and from internal sedition. The concept of “the people” rising up and overthrowing the government is nowhere to be found in the constitution—that’s strictly from the DoI, which is rhetoric, not law.
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms”—if they had meant “every man” (yes, it would have said “man”) that’s what they would have said. They say it in plenty of other places. They meant “the people” collectively, or they wouldn’t have said it.
“Arms”. All this being true, the “arms” that “the people” “keep and bear” to protect “the security” of the “state” are arms that would be decisive in any such endeavor. Handguns do not enter into the matter in any way, shape, or form. Dueling pistols or naval boarding pistols never entered their minds when talking about “arms”. The decisive weapons then would have been smoothbore muskets. Today they might very well be ICBMs with MIRVed warheads. To think that individuals are guaranteed the “right” to personally own such weapons which might be “essential to the security of a free state”, is just ludicrous.
And last, but not least, the words “self-defense” never occur anywhere in the constitution. The right to bear arms only guarantees the security of the state, not any particular individual.
@D. Mason: “regulated did not carry the same context in the 18th century that it does today and had no relation to authoritative control”
[sigh] I know troll feeding is frowned upon, but in case some lurker thinks that this is a compelling argument…
“14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”
Regulation, rules, discipline, authority, governing …
clearly “regulating” had some obscure meaning back then that had nothing to do with authoritative control
There’s been a meme lately amongst uneducated gun nuts that “well-regulated” really meant that your gun had to be in good working order. I’ve seen several versions of this trotted out.
@muddy: I’m sure I’ve seen the claim that it was actually a synonym for “armed”. So the 2A actually says, “A well-armed militia, being necessary…”
I am skeptical of this claim
@The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge: Even Scalia’s opinion in in Heller talks about limitations on the right to bear arms. The opinion concluded that a ban on all handguns and a requirement that any other gun in the house be disassembled or trigger-locked were too broad. That leaves a lot of room for regulation.
The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
I agree that for once, Scalia is not the nuttiest of the nuts. My contention is that laws on handguns can be as permissive or restrictive as the various legislatures decide, since handguns are not “arms” in the meaning of the second amendment. Imagine “the people” protecting “the security” of the state with dueling pistols against a “well-regulated” force carrying Brown Besses, and you’ll see how ridiculous the framers of that amendment would have found this whole discussion
@The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:
HolyChrist….The Pauls are redefining conservative with the zeal of zeitgeist.
What’s your excuse for redefining librulism?
I suspect the same genome propels you all.
@Ben Franklin: WTF are you talking about? FWIW I think Scalia’s opinion in Heller was abysmal. As the majority opinion in the case, however, it does pretty much set the parameters of current law. And, even under Scalia’s take, regulation and restriction of gun use and ownership is permissible.
@The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge: I would very much like to subscribe to your newsletter.
@The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge: “The right to bear arms only guarantees the security of the state, not any particular individual.”
“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”
“regulars” were trained, disciplined, squared-away soldiers.
“irregulars” were a fucking mob, a rag-tag bunch of insurgents and rebels.
the constitution specifically called for having a militia of “regulars”, one that is “well-regulated”.
it did not call for a bunch of undisciplined, untrained, conspiratoral yahoos running with guns shooting at people.
@D. Mason: Impressive. I can’t recall anyone ever settling in so quickly to talking exclusively about pie.