Wednesday, February 15

Wednesday Olio: Don't Forget Yer Helmet Edition

That's not grooming, it's a martial art.

• Maybe If We Tried Explaining The Problem Accurately, Pt. 1 (via Weigel):
SCHEIFFER: And Senator Blunt from Missouri, one of your Republican colleagues, he wants an amendment now that would allow any group that had a moral objection to this, to not have to pay for birth control pills. Are you willing to go as far as Senator Blunt wants to go on this?

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: Yeah, it's not a moral objection. This is about the free exercise of religion. And under our constitution, you don't take a poll to find out how people feel about a constitutional freedom...

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I-- I guess what I'm asking you though is-- is are you willing to go as far as Senator Blunt now wants to go and just write in legislation that would ban any group that had just a, quote, "moral objection," not just a religious group but just any group that had a moral objection to that? Would-- would you be willing to push that in the Senate?

"As far as Blunt wants to go…" is inside baseball. "Moral, not just religious objections" is an attempt to shame a Republican with evidence of Constitutional misfeasance and religious pandering, and whaddya you think the reaction's gonna be, Bob? Access to abortion, let alone contraception, is a Constitutionally-protected right, same as free exercise. Why do these guys always get a free pass? (Because you're too cowardly to ask the question, that's why.)

• Maybe If We Tried Explaining The Problem Accurately, Pt. 2. I appreciate, really, the fact that Fred Kaplan even raises the issue. But “addressing the problem” and “tiptoeing around anything that might ruffle the script” are mutually exclusive:
Today the attention is leaning more heavily on the rest of the budget, which is where the fate of the economy—and the election—is more likely to be decided. But after the economy gets better and we’re out of Afghanistan and it’s a little bit politically safe to talk about these things, a serious discussion needs to be had on what the military should be doing, what kinds of weapons it really needs, and how much it needs to spend for them.

Th' fuck? “Once the economy gets better?” One way to improve the economy is to spend our money on anything but the military, which has the worst return record in the entire budget. “Once we're not at war”? The United States has been involved in a major conflict 30 of the past 60 years, and we've got one foot in Iran at present. Those wars--Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I and II, and Afghanistan--meant a combined total of nothing to US security. “When it's politically safe to raise the issue”? Heaven help us all.

The point isn't "we're spending too much on carrier groups". The point is we've got no mission for carriers at all, save intimidating tenth-rate powers, and we would be a lot better off if we were required to do that, if at all, by using smarts first. A five-carrier navy is probably sufficient, given a sane, rational, and an honest admission of what our role is. That would be--lemme do the math real quick--approximately five more carriers than anyone else in the world has, excluding Britain, and theirs are docked somewhere with For Sale signs hanging to leeward. Yeah, I said "given a sane, rational, and an honest admission of what our role is." You wanna cut the military budget, just a little, in some safe and friendly rhetorical environment easily obtainable by anyone who cares to pull one out of his ass? Then start overcoming the sixty years of Defense budgets so irrational they'd be involuntarily committed, if corporations were people. We've spent that money--the Atomic Powered Bomber! the B1! the B2! the twelve carrier navy!--just to placate the screaming irrational militarists on the Right, and so that everyone involved in Defense procurement could get well. A rational reduction in the US Defense spending? Right. Wake me when the conversation starts, Fred.

And by the way, “why are there as many as 552,100 troops?” is a peculiar question coming as it does from one of Slate's many Iraq war floggers. Investment in troops is practically the only military expenditure that pays off to the general economy.

• So last Sunday, afternoon or after dark, depending on which story you get, IMPD arrested Timothy Wolf, the 65-year-old who's coached basketball at Martinsville (IN) High School for 64 years. Wolf was arrested in Eagle Creek Park; he was charged with indecent exposure.

That's what we know. What we don't know is the identity of the 17-year-old girl (not charged) who was in the car/ out of the car/ somewhere in the park at the same time, and whether she was a Martinsville student.

Here's another thing we don't know: whether any of the locals reporting on the story bothered to ask.

Now, this is their favorite sort of story, for the opportunity it gives them and the audience to be prurient and moral scolds at the same time. (Okay, so it's their third favorite sort of story, after: “Would you like to know what's happened in the Super Bowl Village in the five minutes since we last reported on it?” and “Here's what somebody twitted about a dead celebrity.” )

Okay, so, confusion reigns a lot of the time, at first, with police reports, but it's not as if Sexual Perversion, Especially Involving Someone Student-Aged coupled with Perp Could Be Described As a Teacher/ School Staffer hasn't been automatic box office for decades now. The guy's a 65-year-old schlub employed on the taxpayer dime (before he suddenly retired), and in loco parentis. Where, besides his school, is he meeting 17 year olds? If you're protecting her identity so be it, but the question is a real one. No one even acted as if it had occurred to 'em.

Channel 8 originally reported that he'd been discovered in his car "with his pants unzipped". Which was either a euphemism, or else half the 65-year-old men in Marion county should be locked up.

• That'd be the same Channel 8--listen, I think the "news" is biased, but generally towards the status quo, and to the extent that the status quo resonates with people in the news producer-on-air-talent tax bracket. But 8's political reporting has been hinky for years now, and Jim Shella, the David Broder of Local Political Pundits, ought to be made to wear a CO detector if he's gonna stovepipe so many Republican talking points.

Yesterday around 5:30 I happened to walk through the room as one of their anchors said this about the House Republican cave on the Payroll Tax Cut extension (mind you, now, the debate has been news all year): "The House is set to vote on the Republican bill to extend payroll tax cuts. Some Democrats may object…" I don't know how you out-FAUX FOX any plainer than that.


Anonymous said...

Hey Riley, I'm there with you. I can't stand to watch Indiana Week in Review anymore. Part of it is missing Rex Early because he was such a good old boy but basically everyone tries to out Republican the Republicans INCLUDING Shella. He's tiresome.

Not Enough Rope Not Enough Trees said...

"...and we’re out of Afghanistan and..."

As if. Does Korea, Europe or, ida know, the Philippines ring a bell?

KWillow said...

The News Shows aren't news any more, not that they ever were very good. Any time that I've had inside info on a "news story", or talked to someone who did, they said and I agree, that the story was "all wrong". A story in fact, printed up (or broadcast) to sell advertisements in newspapers.

Flashback to the "news story" from the early 70s I was ranting about in your last comments, about how shocking it was, how not right that factory-workers could send their kids to college and purchase -gasp!- swimming pools!

Not anymore!

My husband, BTW, visited a factory in China a few years ago, as his company was considering making some type of electronic house-key gadget that could be opened with an iphone... he was sickened.

Mara said...

I don't know much about nothin'. But I've gotta say, I've never seen a forty-five year old woman try harder to make herself look fifty-five.