Is it possible to be a football atheist? Plus Easterbrookian ignorance about guns and stealing jokes from FARK. All in this week’s TMQ after the jump…
Noteworthy this week is that TMQ has removed within the column links. We are unclear as to the reasons for this; perhaps because the columns are getting shorter (and Leon is getting larger), perhaps to make commentary more difficult, or perhaps it was an oversight on ESPN’s part.
“The football gods are not yet finished punishing Bill Belichick for Spygate.” You are now free to skip the first 995 words of this week’s column.
Missy…well, she has more going on behind the eyes than TMQ’s average blond, and we applaud her major in science education.
“Sweet Play of the Divisionals”: Steelers – Baltimore. “Sweet Coaching of the Divisionals”: Chicago – Seattle. “Sour Coaching of the Divisionals”: Atlanta – Green Bay. “Sweet ‘N’ Sour Play of the Divisionals”: New England – Jets.
“Two weeks ago, Facebook, which is privately held, sold 2 percent of its equity for $1 billion, a transaction that values the company at $50 billion. (Two percent of $50 billion is $1 billion.)” Thanks for breaking the math down for us there, Gregg.
“Baltimore at Pittsburgh Analysis”: excessive use of the three man rush, poor offensive play by the Ravens (“What I’d feature if I were John Harbaugh, is Houshmandzadeh’s cab fare to the airport.”), and “legit complaints about officiating”. Shocked, shocked we are to read those words in a TMQ column.
“800 Americans Killed by Guns Since the Arizona Shootings”: Or, TMQ addresses events in Arizona. Because the country has been waiting eagerly for the thoughts of a football columnist on the subject. Oh, wait, that’s Peter King, not a football columnist. Never mind. Carry on, Gregg.
Easterbrook spends much of his time banging on a recurring TMQ trope, ridiculous security measures for relatively unimportant people. TMQ quotes Eric Zorn on “the absurdity of a system in which genuinely controversial figures — Congressman, judges and so on — go without bodyguards in most circumstances, while self-important functionaries who are never in the headlines for anything controversial demand protection at taxpayer expense.” While Zorn and TMQ may have a point, WCD wishes to point out that the last time a Congressperson was wounded in office by a hostile actor was 1954. The last time a Congressperson was killed in office by a hostile actor was 1978, and, in that case, noble as Congressman Ryan’s actions were, he did travel to a foreign country and place himself in danger. (We are excluding Larry McDonald from our consideration here, as we do not consider his death the result of a hostile actor; we consider it the result of a state-sponsored attack by an enemy of the United States.) Events like Arizona are few and far between; perhaps it makes sense to TMQ (who is notorious for his advocacy of global asteroid countermeasures) to make plans based on rare events. We suggest that it does not.
“It is a sign of the state of U.S. discourse that the Arizona tragedy led immediately to political finger-pointing.” This would be as opposed to…any other time in history, perhaps? “Perhaps Jared Loughner was influenced in some way by Tea Party commentary, but there’s no proof of this;” Taking lessons from Peter King again, Gregg?
“”More important is that Loughner, with a record of mental instability,” What legal record is this that TMQ refers to? Loughner may have had unusual – indeed, eccentric – beliefs. He may even be insane. But there is no established legal record of mental instability.
“legally purchased not just a concealed weapon but a high-rate-of-fire Glock”. Given a hacksaw and time, pretty much all weapons are concealable. As far as “a high-rate-of-fire Glock”, the Glock has the same rate of fire as any other semi-automatic weapon: one round every time the trigger is pulled. This is the same rate of fire as a revolver, many shotguns, and a large number of rifles. “same gun used in the Virginia Tech massacre” Does Easterbrook have a point with that reference, or is he dragging in strawmen? “plus a 33-round combat magazine. Combat magazines have no relevance to hunting, marksmanship or self-defense.” Wrong, TMQ, but thanks for playing; many marksmen, such as those who participate in USPSA and IDPA competitions, use standard-capacity magazines. (You have to admire the way in which Easterbrook works in that phrase “combat magazines”. Because a 33-round magazine is suitable for “combat”, while in his mind, a reduced capacity ten round magazine isn’t?) “In what self-defense situation would a law-abiding person fire 33 times?” Here’s one example, Gregg. We are sure we could come up with some others. Perhaps the files of the NYPD would be useful here. “Combat magazines are useful for two purposes, infantry battle and mass murder.” Objection! Already disproven. “In Arizona, anyone can buy them.” And also in the vast majority of other states. Your point?
Easterbrook’s logic here is sadly typical of so much of today’s liberal thought. They are unable to understand why anyone “needs” something, especially things that they have a personal dislike for – normal capacity magazines, guns in general, sport utility vehicles, etc. – and believe that their lack of understanding gives them the right to dictate to others what they can and cannot have. Because liberals are the enlightened ones, damnit! Pay attention when your betters are talking to you!
Our friend Tam makes a very good point about restrictions on normal capacity magazines:
So by saying you’re in favor of magazines that hold no more than X rounds, you’re publicly stating that it’s only X+1 bodies that bother you. If that’s not what you mean to say, then come out and state your real intentions.
(This is, of course, also ignoring the detail that it takes a normal person somewhere around two seconds to change magazines. Are 30 shots at once worse than 30 shots with two-second pauses in between them?)
“TMQ is a gun owner,” Well, that’s the biggest shock we’ve had today. We suspect that TMQ’s gun is probably a multi-thousand dollar engraved over and under that he uses to shoot skeet down at the club with Biff and Muffy. But we digress. “and agrees with this 2010 Supreme Court decision, which made clear that firearm possession is an individual, not a collective, right.” Good on TMQ, for agreeing with the clear wording of the Constitution. “The same decision further states that government may impose ‘reasonable’ regulation of weapons. No serious person can maintain that allowing a man with mental health problems ready access to a concealed semiautomatic weapon with a combat clip is ‘reasonable.'” Absolutely! Instead, let’s allow him access to cars that he can drive into crowds! Or propane tanks that he can use to create a car bomb! Seems like the problem here isn’t the tool, it is the mental illness. If TMQ wants to show his concern, why doesn’t he discuss the flaws in our current system of dealing with mental health issues? Or the total botch the local sheriff made of handling Loughner before his crime? “But acquiring the means of mass murder shouldn’t be easy!” So, again, Gregg, what are you planning to do about cars, propane tanks, hydrogen peroxide and acetone, or any number of other devices a motivated and crazy person can use to take out a bunch of folks?
“In a free society, the lone nut with a gun will always be a menace. The framers of the Constitution debated security versus liberty, and chose to err on the side of liberty. Their choice was wise: the kind of social order that would have imprisoned Loughner for posting weird comments on the Internet is not the social order many among us would want.” In fairness to Easterbrook, this is actually a smart and reasonable comment. But it does bring us back to the question of how TMQ proposes to handle mental health issues? Does Easterbrook want to lower the standards for involuntary commitment? How does he propose to guard against abuse of the power?
“As Nicholas Kristof notes, the United States regulates toys more strictly than guns.” Oh, really? Last time I checked, Toys’R’Us didn’t need a special Federal license to sell toys. Last time I bought something at Toy Joy, I didn’t have to show an ID, fill out a Form 4473, and wait for the clerk to call my information in for a background check.
“State legislatures, and Congress, should stop kneeling before the far fringe of the gun lobby — most gun owners don’t want firearms in the hands of the irresponsible — and enact reasonable regulation.” No, Gregg. Screw you, and screw your “reasonable regulation”. It isn’t just the “far fringes of the gun lobby” any longer; people know that gun control doesn’t work. The polls show it. No “reasonable regulation”, where people like you get to decide what’s “reasonable”. No compromise. No surrender. Ever.
“Green Bay at Atlanta Analysis”: Rogers, smart coaching, and variation by the Packers.
“I’d certainly rather have nuggets with BBQ sauce.” Funny line, Gregg. At least it was when it appeared on FARK last Friday.
“Jets at Patriots Analysis”: poor clock management by New England, non-existent blitzes by the Jets, poor play in general by New England, good defensive play by the Jets, and some luck.
“It seems obvious at this point that Spider-Man producers know they have a woofer on their hands, and want to drag previews out as long as possible — perhaps for years? — until the show officially opens and then promptly closes.” WCD understands the idea that you don’t review a show in previews, and the reasons critics have for that tradition. But it is a tradition, not an ironclad law of the theater, and not something that can be easily enforced. When the producers of a show are clearly dragging out the preview process, for exactly the reasons TMQ gives, isn’t that a breach of the agreement between critics and producers? Which critic will be the first to decide this handshake arrangement is no longer valid, and review “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” in previews? It seems rather clear to us that this informal arrangement, no matter how long lasting it has been, is ethically questionable; in what other areas of artistic endeavor are subjects allowed to dictate coverage?
“Wacky Wine of the Week”: You know, Gregg, isn’t mocking the vocabulary of serious wine snobs kind of…oh, I don’t know, picking low hanging fruit, maybe? (Thank you. We’ll be here all week.)
Reader comments: Donald Driver, Nobel Prize winners at UC Berkeley get free (and choice!) parking, Jim Caldwell struggles on game day, and Oregon had 58 players with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
That’s it for this week. Tune in next week, when we hope to have at least 75% less gun related commentary and 25% lower blood pressure.