This via Q&O:
Earlier today, New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff opined on Twitter about cuts in government services. It’s not every day that you see such stupidity displayed so confidently…except from the Left:
Imagine John Boehner home in OH, seeing an escaped tiger–and getting a msg that help is unavailable due to govt cutbacks.
Well, I don’t know about John Boehner. But I do know that if I received such a message, it’d be because I was trying to call up a government flunky to haul a tiger carcass away. And if I did get such a message, my very next call would be to a good taxidermist.
It’s an interesting glimpse into the worldview though. The unspoken assumption is that, without government tiger hunters, we’re all doomed to be mauled by wild beasts. Presumably, this is because we are all tiny, little children, utterly incapable of solving our problems without the intervention of our benevolent government overlords. It’s a worldview that operates on the assumption that the government is the only adult in the room.
A great example of this sort of mentality was the Bruce Willis action filmLive Free or Die Hard. The movie was a decent thriller, falling into the unlikely-buddy-movie genre (including also 48 Hours and most of the Lethal Weapon movies).
Like most modern techno-thrillers, it required a lot of technical suspension of belief, but what really struck me was the premise -- that somehow, if terrorists were able to really shut down the government, people would go into a panic and be totally lost and forlorn. Even the strong male hero buys into the premise. Can you even imagine a Clint Eastwood movie where Clint laments how scared Americans will be if they were to call the FDA to inquire if a certain product is truly organic and no one answered the phone? It makes for a sort of irony in the movie because in fact the government is completely useless in the face of the terrorists, who are brought down essentially by a few private individuals.
The title is from a quote by Representative Peter King, lamenting that the Feds might actually have the gall to Mirandize an American citizen who has been arrested.
Miranda warnings are not actually required per se, but statements by un-Mirandized suspects will generally be tossed out of court. So I think the whole Miranda thing is overblown, but Representative King's words tend to summarize for me the slippery slope of civil rights exceptions. Someday, you too may be the "but still."
On top of Mr. King's statement and our local Sheriff's continuing proclivity to walk into businesses and zip-tie everyone with brown skin until they can produce birth certifications (yes, he did it again last month and again the other day) comes Joe Lieberman's new bit of law and order paranoia. Apparently, after watching a 24-hour festival of 1970's Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson crime dramas, Lieberman proposed:
Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA), joined on the House side by Reps. Jason Altmire (D-PA) and Charlie Dent (R-PA), today introduced a little publicity stunt in legislative form called the Terrorist Expatriation Act, making good on Lieberman's pledge to find a way to strip the citizenship of Americans"”whether naturalized or native born"”who are suspected of aiding terrorist groups. It does so by amending the Immigration and Nationality Act, which lays out the various conditions under which a person may renounce or be deprived of citizenship....
Finally, note that the bill's definition of "material support" for terrorist groups explicitly invokes the criminal statute covering such actions. Which is to say, revocation of citizenship under the new bill is triggered by committing a particular federal crime. Except that the Immigration and Nationality Act only requires that one of the predicates for revocation be established by a "preponderance of the evidence." So in effect, the bill takes what is already a crime and says: Proof of guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" is no longer a prerequisite for the imposition of punishment for this crime.
"Preponderance of the evidence" is the same standard under which McDonald's lost several million dollars because its coffee was too hot.
Yeah, I watched the Oscars, though I seldom find them entertaining any more. My wife and I were able to attend about 20 years ago (the year Clint Eastwood won for Unforgiven) and go to the Governor's Ball afterward so we have a certain nostalgia for the event. Only one image really sticks with me, and it was before the show. It was an image of George Clooney high-fiving his fans, but doing it separated by a chain link fence. Even the President still greets the public in person from time to time. To me, it was a brutal caricature of a Hollywood actor trying to pretend he is engaging with the common man but utterly failing to do so.
It used to be said that it was the young who distrusted police and authority, while as people aged they became more conservative and comfortable with authority and the police, ostensibly because they had more wealth and position to protect. Al Franken had a sketch on SNL where he explicitly poked fun at this, saying something like "when I was young, I opposed the draft, but now that I am over draft age, I support the draft to protect me, Al Franken... etc. etc."
Oddly enough, I have had exactly the opposite progression. In high school I was a police-loving, authority trusting, border-closing little conservative, cheering on Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson in 1970's movies where loan heroes fight against the degradation of police departments by civil libertarian pinko bleeding hearts.
The older I get, and the more experience I gain, the less I trust any authority and in particular the less I trust police officers who are given the power to use force and the authority to cover up its misuse. Yet another good example. So Dirty Harry and Death Wish have been replaced in my favorites list by the Wire.
Maybe it was just having really low expectations, but I thought Rock was OK last night, though conservative bloggers seemed to have hated the broadcast. Sure some of the stuff they did flopped (the skit with Adam Sandler comes to mind) but he was moderately funny and while he made fun of a number of people, he was pretty equal-opportunity about it. And anyone who gets Sean Penn all huffy can't be all bad. Sure the show may have less gravitas than when Carson hosted it, but compare it to where shows like the Grammy's have gone and it looks like Masterpiece Theater. And if people want to talk about whether Rock was "serious" enough for the event, they should focus some attention on Al Pacino showing up looking like a homeless person or on Dustin Hoffman trying to present the Best Picture award drunk off his ass.
- Was the show producer sleeping with BeyoncÃ©, or was she the only singer available? Why did we see her three times? And did all of the songs seem to be totally unmemorable or what?
- The women's dresses were generally awsome, while their hair generally looked awful (or at least just dull, which is the same for a Hollywood-type). I loved the return of those sort-of mermaid-shaped dresses.
- Jamie Foxx was the highlight
- Seeing Clint Eastwood with his young wife was an inspiration for all of us over-40 males. Seeing his mom there was even more of an inspiration.