Signs Of The Times

The New York Times today did something it had not done since the Harding administration: it published an editorial on the front page. It did so not because it had a rational argument to make, or a useful policy to advance — it had neither of those things. Why, then, would the Times make such an extraordinary gesture? It can best be understood as an act of purely religious defiance, no different from the jihadi’s cry Allahu Akbar! It is meant to rally the faithful, and to embolden the Gray Lady’s mujahedeen for the wet-work lying just ahead. And that’s what it will be, because in the editorial the Times makes an outright call for the confiscation of guns — something that simply will not happen in the United States without an application of state power that would almost surely lead to blood.

We read (my emphasis):

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.

Why is this neither a rational argument nor a useful policy prescription? Writing at Reason, Brian Doherty explains. I thank him for saving me the trouble.

This is not the only leftist lunacy in the mainstream New York press today. At the Daily News, one Linda Stasi has written a despicable article in which she bitterly reviles one of the people murdered in San Bernardino for his conservative opinions. So dark is her hatred that she refuses to count him among the victims.

I will not link to it. That a major New York newspaper would be so reckless as to print such a thing — more importantly, that the editors of the Daily News feel that the political climate in New York is such that it could publish such filth to the general approval of its readers — shows how dangerously charged the atmosphere is getting.

Finally, as long as we are on the subject of guns: a little while ago a commenter here posted an oft-repeated claim about the frequency of mass shootings. There had, he said, been “337 mass shootings in America so far this year, with a combined death toll of 431”. I meant to debunk this at the time, but never got around to doing so — so it is with particular satisfaction, given today’s front-page eructation by America’s “newspaper of record”, that I am able to refer you all to none other than the New York Times for a rebuttal.


  1. Oy; it’s back to the future all over again …

    Cue that maudlin hippie anthem:

    Where Have All the Flowers Gone

    (Where has all their hair gone?)

    Posted December 6, 2015 at 2:04 am | Permalink
  2. Whitewall says

    With a last name like “Stasi”, the irony must be dripping. I understand our Comrade President will speak to us tonight on tv. Maybe he is finally overtaken with a bit of Nixonian integrity and is going to announce his resignation. Failing that, I know he will talk about terrorism and guns and what to do. Step one…he leaves office and takes his AG with him. He has said in the last few days, “this isn’t normal”. He’s right. He is the nucleus of abnormal. It all revolves around him. I think all Democrats should run on a gun control-turn in platform.

    Posted December 6, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink
  3. djf says

    I read that the last NY Times front-page editorial was in 1920, which was the last year of the Wilson administration (Harding was elected that year). I hasten to note that this comment is not based on my personal memories, as I was not around at that time.

    Sorry to be so pedantic, but I just couldn’t resist. Great post, BTW.

    Posted December 6, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says


    RIght you are: I ought to have written “the Harding nomination” (which was the topic of the 1920 editorial).

    Posted December 6, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink
  5. Musey says

    I notice that a fruitcake set upon the good folks traveling through a London tube station. He had a knife. Two were injured, and one poor person was “seriously injured”. That man would have liked to have a gun. The numbers would have been different.

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 3:40 am | Permalink
  6. Whitewall says

    Hey Musey, I liked your post on the other thread by the way. You seem like quite an interesting lady from the back ground you mentioned. This fruitcake in London accomplished what he set out to do. He used a knife maybe the next one will be a pipe bomb or something. A gun is not needed. The result is the same…fear.

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  7. Whitewall says

    After the mentally deranged media coverage of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, after the floundering word clouds from Obama before and after…this piece is simply delicious..

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink
  8. Thanx for that link, Robert. Here is the money quote:

    How long until the Left wake up? The answer is: NEVER.

    The Left will never wake up to reality for precisely the reason that Leftism is a mental system of excuses and psychological tricks and traps meant to allow the Leftist to escape from reality.

    That is what all their rigmarole, jabberwocky, lies and evasions, all their complex obfuscations, and penning endless tomes of endless nonsense from Marx to Keynes to Al Gore, all their riots, marches, protests, sit-ins, think-tanks, media moguls, money laundering, awards shows, convulsions, antics, stunts, clamor, libel, slander, and cacophony is for: Reality avoidance.

    That is all that it is for.

    I have said it before, but IMHO it is worth saying over and over again:

    F*ck the f*cking Leftist motherf*ckers!


    Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  9. Whitewall says

    Henry, your skilful use of the language would put the Bard himself to shame. Old “Will Shakeshaft” is no match!

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
  10. Malcolm, I came across this John Derbyshire piece:

    He perfectly explains “hatefacts” and “stupidfacts”, which abound when it comes to Islamic terror.

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
  11. pangur says

    Always good to now what the boomers’ vanity rag (underwritten by Carlos Salim) brings in the way of fresh perspective.

    I can’t imagine anyone under the age of 60 reading this paper, except for a laugh.

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  12. “I can’t imagine anyone under the age of 60 reading this paper, except for a laugh”

    I make reading all sorts of domestic and foreign papers a habit, one which gives a much wider perspective, on more than just the articles. You learn to discern patterns and trends this way, rather than reinforce ivy tower beliefs. I’d encourage anyone to read news this way, but the insult is duly noted. The piece I mentioned was written by John Derbyshire, whom I take seriously, wherever his work is printed. I happen to like his Radio Derb podcasts.

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  13. Robert,

    I am humbled by your comparison of me with Big Bill the Bard, who was also fond of wordplay based on “f*ck” and on “Her C’s, her U’s, and her T’s.”

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink
  14. @pangur

    To paraphrase Niger Powers, “There are only two things I hate in this world: people who are intolerant of other people’s sources of information and the Huffington Post.”

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink
  15. Malcolm says

    Or, as we programmers say, there are only 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  16. Malcolm says

    Hi Libertybelle,

    Yes, I just listened earlier today to the podcast that was taken from.

    I suggest that “stupid facts” be “stupefacts”. It makes a nice orthographic tie-in to “stupefaction”, and even, come to think of it, to “hate facts”.

    Derb also wondered, in that podcast, why politicians are so uncharacteristically willing to look at long-term trends when it comes to global warming, when they aren’t with, say, immigration. (I think the answer’s pretty obvious, but might put up a post about it in a bit.)

    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink
  17. Malcolm,

    I used to do a lot of programming back in the day (does IBM 360 ring a bell?). Anyway, one of my colleagues back then was a very sharp guy. One day (I don’t remember what we were discussing) I asked him what was the correct wording for that old Chinese saying — was it “The journey of ten thousand kilometers begins with one step” or was it “The journey of a thousand …)? He answered immediately, “It makes no difference in hex”.

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:19 am | Permalink
  18. Musey says

    Thank you, Whitewall! I actually was prepared for a tide of abuse re my last comment, but you’re a tolerant lot. So thank you all for holding back.

    So, now I’ve taken off my body armour.

    It’s funny the way you all lay into OEM. He’s the original wind-up merchant and you give him exactly what he wants. This guy is clever, writes really well, and justifies his position with facts that you don’t want to listen to.

    I recognise that we can all pick and choose our “facts”, we can profoundly disagree, but there has to be reasonable discussion. So when Malcolm puts me in my place I take it, because he does it with grace, and a touch of levity. This guy, OEM, seems to scare you. A powerful intellect putting forward a different view. And all Henry can say is “fuck”. Give up with the asterisk H, it’s pointless.

    Whitewall, you’re such a lovely, gentle, polite man. If you’re ever around this way, come over for dinner. I’m a good cook.

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 3:44 am | Permalink
  19. Whitewall says

    Musey, you are very kind and if I find myself over there, I would love to come for dinner…I will even wear a neck tie!

    Re the “other” contributor on this forum, a lot of what you say is true about smart, well spoken and capable. No doubt. I don’t know him but Malcolm of course does so I usually leave them to it. Those capabilities you mentioned remind me of a retired congressman from Massachusetts who served for many years. He was brilliant, well reasoned, capable and could hold his ground until pressed by someone with equal abilities. That congressman’s name is Barney Frank. He was and is formidable about what he believed. Trouble was, so much of what he believed turned out to be wrong, failed or just didn’t live up to billing. But he held his ground nonetheless, though with more combativeness and testiness until he retired.

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink
  20. the one eyed man says

    Thank you, Musey! Very kind of you. I’m a good cook too! Yesterday’s dinner was salmon and artichokes BBQ’ed in the Pit Barrel Cooker (, as well as spaghetti with anchovies, bread crumbs, and black olives. The previous night’s dinner was oxtail cooked in a 36 hour sous vide bath, mashed potatoes, and a soufflé. Of music, Duke Ellington said: if it sounds good, it is good. Of food, One Eye says: if it tastes good, it is good.

    I could spend my days correcting errors on this site (e.g., the Times did not rebut the other report, which defines mass shootings as instances where four or more people are killed and/or injured. The FBI statistics, which more properly should be called the mass killing report, use four or more deaths as the criterion. There is no conflict here. These are two different metrics.) But who wants to spend their time as a fact checker?

    Or I could spill digital ink explaining, for the umpteenth time, that the earth actually is warming at an unprecedented pace, and the tons of effluvia which are spewed into the atmosphere every year has a lot to do with it; that there isn’t a vast conspiracy of scientists to falsify data; that President Obama is Christian, was born in Hawaii, and does not view his mission in life as the destruction of America; that the world is not being dominated by godless liberals intent on crushing the last flickering light of liberty in our once-proud nation; and so forth. But what’s the point? I would rather listen to a Haydn string quartet. For that matter, I would rather listen to the Zager and Evans songbook.

    Let’s face it, Musey: coming here can be a real buzzkill. It’s all gloom, doom, and the world ending next Tuesday. Instead of the great gusts of miasmatic vapor emanating from the right wing fever swamps, why not the smell of garlic, cinnamon, and cardamom? The site would be a lot more pleasant, not to mention livelier, if readers would submit their favorite recipes. Wacko Wacko Wacko will become the Wok Wok Wiki. In that spirit, I would like to offer a truly excellent recipe for barbecued short ribs of beef.

    One rack of beef short ribs (four ribs, about 4.5 pounds)

    1½ cups packed dark brown sugar
    1 cup kosher salt
    1 cup ground espresso beans
    ¼ cup freshly ground black pepper
    ¼ cup garlic powder
    2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    2 tablespoons ground cumin
    2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

    1. Mix spice rub ingredients.
    2. One hour before cooking, rub the rack generously with the spice rub. Put another layer on immediately before cooking
    3. Light the Pit Barrel Cooker per the manufacturer’s instructions
    4. Place the hook through the rack and hang.
    5. Cook for three hours, or until meat falls off the bone.

    Spice rub recipe from “Feeding the Fire,” an excellent cookbook by Joe Carroll and Nick Fauchald.

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  21. There are only 11 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary; those who are prejudiced against asterisks; and those who wouldn’t know a fact if it f*ct them in the ass.

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink
  22. “Give up with the asterisk H, it’s pointless.”

    My asterisk has 101 points (though your f*nts may vary).

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  23. “And all Henry can say is ‘fuck’.”

    That is false. I can also say c*nt and tw*t.

    I do, however, try to write my comments succinctly, unlike certain tw*ts who like to blather on …

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  24. Malcolm says

    Ah, yes, Peter, all so blithe and sensible. You could spend your days “correcting errors”, but Haydn! Dry rub!

    You could “correct” us, so that we’d know that “that the earth actually is warming at an unprecedented pace”, despite there having been, according to the most accurate measurements we have, no significant warming for nearly two decades — in sharp contrast to what all the vaunted models had predicted. “Unprecedented”? Just to pick one example, 55 million years ago the Earth — which at the time was already far warmer than it is today — warmed as much as 5 °C in as little as 13 years. Sure, the Earth may be in a gradual warming phase now, and we may well be part of the reason. But is that the great “crisis” of our times? Not even close.

    Or, you could jigger your numbers to make it look like we face an epidemic of mass murder, at a time when all forms of violent crime had been steadily declining for many years, even as Americans buy more and more guns. Or you could tell us how blacks face relentless interracial violence from whites, when the truth is exactly the opposite.

    As always, up is down, true is false, black is white — but gee, why all the “doom and gloom”? I thought that was supposed to be our department, over here in the “fever swamps”. What’s the common denominator here?

    I’ll tell you: power. Every time the Left siezes upon an issue, the solution is the same: increase the control of the State over some aspect of our lives, or disrupt some aspect of traditional culture in such a way as to break down the civil society.

    For example: one problem that actually has tangible consequences right now is mass Third World immigration, and particularly Muslim immigration (just look at the destructively transformative effect the latter is having in Europe). And in contrast to modeling complex and chaotic physical systems, it’s easy to make accurate projections of long-term trends when it comes to demographics. This is one area where the State could really do its job, namely securing borders and preserving national stability. But instead, here in the Left-run U.S., we get sanctuary cities and complete disregard for the law. Why is that, I wonder?

    Again: control and power. As the civil society splinters, and formerly happy, organically cohesive nations fragment into sullen, squabbling, and culturally incompatible factions, who is left to impose order? Only the State. Fancy that.

    So yes, Peter, by all means share with us your little barbecue recipes. But spare us, please, the smug condescension, and the grinning mask.

    Go and listen to your Haydn, while the only culture that ever could have produced him slowly dies.

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  25. Essential Eugenia says

    Oh, a recipe swap! Good fun. And a dinner party too? Delightful!

    Musey is hosting, Whitewall is wearing a tie, the OEM is serving up some manly BBQ. Maybe JK would share a tipple or two? If rumor runs true, Libertybelle bakes a beautiful pie.

    If we ask nicely, maybe Ms Liberty will make make whipped cream pie just for The Big Henry. I, for one (and the Ladies too, for many others), would love to see The Big Henry take a pie in the face and crack a smile.

    Henry, Henry. . .

    What do you say, The Big Henry?

    C’mon, c’mon!

    It’s the Festival of Light, so let’s light a candle against the darkness, shall we?

    @ the OEM: So, what kind of espresso do you use in your rub? Would a finely ground dark roast work just as well?

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  26. What do you say, TheBigHenry?

    My Dear Essential,

    I wish you a Happy Hanukkah and/or a Merry Christmas, too. How nice of you to think of me during the Holiday of Lights.

    In the spirit of concise commenting, I refer you to my preceding replies to the blathering tw*t (above). Other than that, and in the spirit of the holiday season, I must admit that pie in the face is very tempting though I prefer pie that isn’t too creamy (or too hairy, for that matter). I am cracking a smile even as I write, but I will refrain from punning about “cracking”.

    Confucious say, “Woman flying upside-down have big crack up”.

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  27. the one eyed man says

    The earth has had substantial warming over the past decade, two decades, three decades, and so forth; the false notion of a pause rests on cherry picking an unusually hot year and using it as the baseline. (There are plenty of data disproving this phony meme; the graph in

    is as good as any.) And, of course, this only reflects atmospheric temperature; the steady rise of ocean temperatures and sea levels do not lend themselves to cherry picking ideologues.

    There have been five mass shootings so far in 2015 (Charleston, Chattanooga, Umqua, Colorado Springs, and San Bernadino). If there has been another recent year with more than five mass shootings, I’m unaware of it.

    There is nothing about sanctuary cities which shows “disregard for the law,” complete or otherwise. State and local governments are under no obligation to enforce federal immigration law.

    But that’s just facts. Eugenia asks a much more important question. I use Lavazzo espresso. It is possible that you would get the same results from Peet’s coffee, but why mess with perfection?

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
  28. Malcolm says

    No, the slowdown appears to be quite real, for the seas as well. And it isn’t based on cherry-picking; even series that start later show no significant trend in recent years. (Amusing to see you talk about “cherry-picking”, by the way, after you totted up terrorist deaths for us the other day, starting in 2002.)

    But even if the Earth were warming rapidly, of course, that’s just the starting point. The question of how much is due to carbon forcing is still uncertain (here we are above 400 ppm, where, according to everything we were told to believe, we should already be roasting, with no icecaps left — while in the real world Antarctic is gaining, not losing, ice). And even if the official story had been completely true, none of it tells us what we ought to do; that’s a matter of balancing predictions with social and political interests, guessing at how effective any costly effort might be, and assessing the tradeoffs. (Nowhere do we hear about positive effects of higher CO2 and warmer temperatures; those are completely left out of the discussion.)

    The fact that the climate has always varied tells us that there are other, mighty, factors at work, which have nothing to do with us, yet we flatter ourselves that we can actually take control of the future temperature of the seas and skies — so long as we allow a globalist bureaucracy to take control of us. And you can dance around it all you like, but the fact is that the models have not made accurate predictions. We were given dire, sensational assurances of horrible things that simply have not come to pass. And on that flimsy basis you want us to hand over the keys to the world’s economy, and the to the sovereignty of nations.

    No, thanks. When it comes to early action to prevent irreversible, destructive changes, let’s start with something concrete and easily modeled: mass Third-World and Muslim immigration. Show me you are willing to do something about that, and then we can talk about what you think the temperature is going to be a century from now.

    There is nothing about sanctuary cities which shows “disregard for the law,” complete or otherwise. State and local governments are under no obligation to enforce federal immigration law.

    What brazen nonsense. At best, what you are saying is that you think local officials ought to be allowed to disregard the law with impunity. But the fact is that state and local governments are sued by the DOJ when they try to do what Washington won’t. Washington not only disregards our immigration laws, but actively seeks to prevent their enforcement. This is more than mere negligence. It’s another of Mr. Obama’s deliberate violations of his Constitutional obligation to ensure that the nation’s laws be “faithfully executed”.

    Regarding mass shootings: as sensational as they are, they are an insignificant fraction of homicides. (There were 34 victims in the crimes you mentioned; last year there were almost 12,000 homicides in the U.S. And 2012, by the way, was much more deadly in terms of mass-shooting deaths than 2015 has been so far.) It is reasonable to wonder why these incidents should be what drives public policy (although if we’re going to “go there”, it’s worth noting that nearly 60% of the mass-shooting victims you mentioned were killed by jihadis, despite the tiny percentage of Muslims in the U.S. population).

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
  29. JK says

    (WordPress is simply gonna have to make it easier to mirror location data.) Hope all y’all are enjoying the holly-jollies. I am.

    Tnx Henry for pulling the moneyquote. LB, Musey … Robert [WW] good stuff. M, for sporting a place I can visit “to hear” OE’s opinion without hazarding a C-diff infection.

    & @ you OE – by my count all it took you so far was 331 words (I excluded recipes and counted the ‘and/or’ as a single word .. didn’t count the links as words etc)

    But anyway OE, I can only add to Musey’s accounting the word “thrift” – so thoroughly illuminating what a dumbfuck you are in a measley three hundred and one odd words is pretty doggone thrifty.

    In case I don’t make it back for awhile

    Merry Christmas Y’all!

    Posted December 8, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  30. Musey says

    Whitewall, you don’t need to wear a tie. It’s very humid in the summer here, and very casual all year round, whatever the weather. My husband owns about six ties. One is his university college tie, another is what he wore when we married, back in the dark ages. I think my sons probably purchased the others.

    Anyway, we have a dinner date. JK can sit next to Henry and ply him with drink. Malcolm is sitting next to me, with OEM on the other side. And you Mister Whitewall will sit opposite and we can play footsie. The lovely Nina will sit next to Martin, my husband, and on the other side of him will be Libertybelle.. They will get on well, I’m sure. He has a way with the ladies and still looks “boyish” even though he is now sixty years old!

    Happy Christmas to all.

    Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:07 am | Permalink
  31. Whitewall says

    Musey, that will be some interesting dinner. I appreciate attending without a tie.

    Posted December 9, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink
  32. antiquarian says

    OEM, when even The Economist and The New York Times say that there’s been a pause in global warming, just how far have you sunk in confirmation bias?

    The wildest thing is that you’re apparently incapable of seeing even a small part of your own bias. Sure makes a gargantuan laughingstock of your whole “oo, we’re so rational” shtick.

    Posted December 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  33. antiquarian says

    I might also point out the extremely sensible response that the Cato Institute made to that editorial:

    Posted December 10, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  34. Asher says

    If they want the most vicious civil war in human history then they are welcome to attempt gun confiscation. I simply tell such advocates that if they come for our guns we will kill their children.

    Posted December 11, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink
  35. Whitewall says

    Asher, are you sure about that last part?

    Posted December 12, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  36. Asher says

    Very much so. Gun confiscation in the US will necessarily involve the government targeting the families of gun owners. The goal would be to get large portions of the military to turn on the government.

    Posted December 12, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  37. antiquarian says

    Asher, you’re creeping me out.

    Posted December 12, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  38. Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin'” is a song written in and for the mid-1960s but is, even more, appropriate for today. People are rapidly ratcheting up their anger and their willingness to think what would have been unthinkable before Obama declared his intention to incorporate sweeping changes.

    Sometimes, I venture beyond the gentlemanly code of conduct here at Waka (which I admittedly violate occasionally) and see what’s up at websites that are more, shall we say free wheeling. I am sad to report that I have already seen the age old insidious accusations hurled at the world’s favorite scapegoats. It seems the Jews, AKA Jooooos or Juice, are mostly to blame for Obama’s evils. It is noted by one such accuser that prominent Jews, such as Barbra Streisand, et al., allowed Obama to get himself elected. I tried to point out that whereas the majority of Jewish Americans voted for Obama, the overwhelming majority of voters for Obama were not Jewish. Needless to say, “doing the math” is not something that is done routinely at such websites.


    Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:52 am | Permalink
  39. More on change:

    Posted December 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

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