06
Oct
09

### Still more birdshot

Apparently there’s a law against me getting enough sleep these days.

——

So over on another blog, TJIC wonders why “it’s not working; do it harder!” ought to apply to food labeling:

To wit:

nutrition and public health experts said the findings showed how hard it was to change behavior, but they said it was not a reason to abandon calorie posting.

“It’s totally ineffective, but we need to do more of it!”

Someone please explain that to me.

(And no fair saying “they’re all just full of bullshit, but want to keep their cushy sinecures” … I know that; I’m looking for the entertaining lie that the leftists tell themselves, not the real reason!)

So I gave it my best shot, but Brad Warbiany put me to shame:

“We know that not everyone is going to choose the healthy options. But if we just help ONE person modify their eating habits, it will be worth it!”

Quite so.

The question: “worth it to whom?” is perhaps better left unasked.

——

Next, I report with chagrin that a few of my friends have recommended that I watch Michael Moore’s latest triumph of confirmation bias: Capitalism: a Love Story.  Now, in their defence they’ve suggested that I pirate it, but (a) my bandwidth is better spent on other things,  and (b) you’d have to pay me to watch a Michael Moore film.

This digression amuses me, so we’ll go there.  How much would one have to pay me to watch a Michael Moore film?  “More than you can afford” is the obvious but unsatisfying first approximation.  I think you’d have to pay me in liquor, but it would be quite a balancing act to find precisely the right libation: it would have to be strong enough to make me not care that I’m watching a paean to Robert Mugabe, and interesting enough that I’d want to drink it despite the fact that I’m drinking it alongside a paean to Robert Mugabe, but not so tasty that I’d consider it wasted on a paean to Robert Mugabe.  Also, it oughtn’t incite bad hangovers.  I’m thinking a chilled bottle of Grey Goose would do the trick rather nicely.

The details of that contract are left to the interested reader.

But the gist of C:aLS is that “capitalism” (whatever that is) is evil, while “democracy” (whatever that is) is a noble and virtuous alternative.  Well, I’ve made snarky comparisons to Zimbabwe, and (previously) snarky comparisons to Venezuela, but in fact we can find in dear old America the triumph of noble virtuous democracy over grasping evil capitalism:

Noble virtuous democracy has decreed that orchids are subject to stringent trade regulation, and if grasping evil (elderly, disabled) capitalists dare to leave the proper paperwork off of their orchid shipments, well, noble virtuous democratic law enforcement agents will FUCK THEIR SHIT UP and refuse to tell them why:

“You don’t need to know. You can’t know.” That’s what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search.

[…]

Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

Oh.  Well, yeah, orchids must be pretty bad news.  And stuff.  I mean, the laws were enacted by due democratic process, and the people who sold the orchids (ILLEGALLY!!!!11oneoneeleven) were trying to make a filthy PROFIT!!!!11oneone$-\left(e^{\pi i}\right)$ which makes them automagically evil.  And stuff.

Fuckit.  Who am I kidding; I’m preaching to the goddamn choir.  My Che-loving friends stopped reading just before they’d be forced to hit the “confirmation bias” link.

——

Next, we note with approval Eugene Volokh’s carnassial approach to a dubious piece of social-science research:

Goodness.  So firearms aren’t talismans of protection any more than they’re fiendish totems of violence.  Can it be that those of us who’ve been tiredly reciting the mantra of “firearms are tools” have been right all this time?  Is that allowed?

Conspicuously missing from the press release and the news story were two critical limitations that were admitted in the original study. These qualifiers mean that the press release headline, as well as all the other statements and implications of causation, were quite mistaken. Perhaps defensive possession and carrying of guns helps protect the possessor and carrier, and perhaps it doesn’t. But the study sheds virtually no light on the subject.

Oh.  Well, maybe not; seems that the study is inconclusive, and the reporting is… well, let’s be charitable and call it enthusiastic.

To begin with, there’s the obvious causation/correlation problem. Maybe, as the authors speculate, carrying a gun increases your chances of being shot with a gun (as suggested by the framing of the issue as “whether guns are protective or perilous”), or at least fails to decrease them (”guns did not protect”). Or maybe a third source — perhaps some people’s being the targets of death threats, or being in a dangerous legal line of work, or being gang members or drug dealers — causes both higher gun carrying among those people and higher risk of being shot.

By way of analogy, we don’t suggest that pacemakers cause heart attacks, or don’t protect against heart attacks, just because we find a correlation between the presence of pacemaker and the incidence of heart attacks. Obviously, people might get pacemakers precisely because they’re at risk of heart attacks. Well, people might get guns precisely because they’re at risk of attack.

Since victim-disarmament laws target law-abiding citizens, it would be more useful to ask whether legal private carry of firearms is correlated with reduced chance of injury under violent assault.  It should be obvious to anyone with a semifunctional cerebellum that police officers — who tend to carry firearms — are obliged to march to the sound of the guns, while (as Mr. Volokh notes) criminals engaged in violent criminal enterprise also tend to carry firearms (whether legally or not).  But the results of this survey are specifically targeted at people who fall into neither group — law-abiding private citizens who might wish to carry to protect themselves.

Well, mistakes can be made, now can’t they?  Let’s get along to Mr. Volokh’s second point of contention:

But wait, there’s more. The research model works only to the extent that you actually know who possesses guns and who doesn’t. Both the cases (people who were shot) and the controls (people who were called on the phone) might want to conceal their gun possession. The cases might have thrown away their guns before the police arrive (sometimes easy, sometimes hard or dangerous). The controls might have lied to the stranger who calls them to ask them, “Where were you at 10:30 pm two nights ago?,” and “Were you possessing a gun at the time?” (always easy and safe).And both the cases and the controls might have plenty of reasons to lie. They might have been possessing guns in public without a concealed-carry license. They might have been felons who didn’t have the right to possess a gun even at home. (People with arrest records made up 53% of all cases and 37% of all controls; the study doesn’t tell us how many had felony conviction records, but I suspect that quite a few of those with arrest records did.) Or they might not be sure what the questioner is getting at. And that’s true even if the questioner claims that he’s just an academic researcher.

Never mind that, thanks to douchebag dipshits like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, a great many responsible gun-owners (many of whom have concealed-carry permits, no less) falsely equate “academic researcher” with “agenda-riddled socialist weasel”.

Of course, we may have won, so it would be churlish to deny the victim-disarmament advocates an opportunity to, uh, embarrass themselves.  Again.

——

Finally, one of my relatives is getting married to her “girlfriend” of twenty-seven years, this month, in Iowa.  They are the perfect counterexample to every odious implication and invidious comparison made by the fagbashers — up to and including the one in the White House.  Three cheers for states’ rights.

#### 2 Responses to “Still more birdshot”

1. October 6, 2009 at 22:00

The only time I’ll watch Michael Moore is if it’s a video of him in a car going over a 600′ cliff…..