If Press Corps is Any Measure, Our Nation is Screwed

Huff_HeadlineThis afternoon I tuned in to see President Obama’s press conference on the aftermath of the slaughter in Newtown, Connecticut. He’s putting Joe Biden in charge of  a group of interested politicians and stakeholders to assemble some policy recommendations, hopefully in time for the President’s State of the Union. I was pleased to see Obama putting some focus on this as he promised he would last Friday when he tearfully addressed the nation.

Then it came time for the White House press corps to ask questions. I had several I could have asked. The first question was on what opposition he might get from the gun lobby … eh no … actually it was on the fiscal cliff. My jaw dropped. After a ten or so minute statement on trying to prevent another Newtown, the first question was about the fiscal cliff. I got my composure as Obama called on the next reporter, who asked about the 2nd amendment …. eh no … he asked a follow-up question on the fiscal cliff. At this point I was really starting to lose it. My poor wife stood helpless as I yelled at the TV.

OK, time for question number three. The third question would surely be about something related to Newtown or gun control. Nope. A third question about the damn fiscal cliff.  I nearly popped a blood vessel. To make matters worse, Obama seemed genuinely pleased not to have to answer any questions on the topic du jour. His answers on the fiscal cliff rambled on and on. Finally, David Jackson of USA Today asked about gun control legislation. Jake Tapper ended the presser by asking Obama why it has taken so long for him to focus on gun violence in America.

I returned to my afternoon routine thoroughly disgusted at the press corps. Then late this evening, my wife informed me I was not alone. Apparently Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree with folks who reacted just as I did. In the Media section of the Huffington Post, the headline read “Dear White House Press Corps: WTH?!?” with the following opening paragraph:

The White House press corps came under searing criticism for asking about the fiscal cliff immediately after President Obama’s statement about gun control on Wednesday. – “White House Reporters Hammered For Fiscal Cliff Questions At Obama Gun Control Press Conference”

CNN personality Piers Morgan tweeted my thoughts exactly first here:

and a few minutes later here:

Folks, if the priorities of the White House press corps reflect those of the average American, we will have learned nothing from the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut and many more of our precious family members are destined to be cut down by madmen with access to military grade weapons.


Screen capture from Huffington Post headline 12/19/2012

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44 thoughts on “If Press Corps is Any Measure, Our Nation is Screwed

  1. Rutherford, just a friendly word of advice…

    If you and your likeminded folk want to be taken seriously in this discussion on guns the first thing you need to learn is that military grade weapons are fully automatic. They have been illegal since 1932. A Bushmaster is a semi-automatic, which is not military grade.

    And Piers Morgan has been acting like a douche the last few days. If what he has been dishing out is what we can expect as discourse on this issue, then you can expect the discussion to end pretty quickly.

    I think you are being too hard on the press corps on this one. The gun debate isn’t going to take precedence over the fiscal cliff issue. One will be debated for many weeks or months after the new year, the other is set to go off in less than 2 weeks. And Boehner just laid the smack down today on that, saying they are going to vote on “Plan B” tomorrow and then send it to Harry Reid and Obama, and if they don’t pass it then the resulting tax hikes are on them. That’s big news and people are concerned.

  2. I have a few words for Piers Morgan:

    Yes, we get it. You essentially don’t have the private ownership of firearms in Britain and we do here in America.

    That is why they call Americans “citizens” and British-ers “subjects.”

  3. BTW I should have added, the above video is, for me, the best articulated argument for the second amendment and what it means.

  4. If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet (1807-1882)

    I find this to be true and usually when an adversary of mine reveals things to me that show his humanity, it changes my approach to him. But sometimes, no matter how miserable a life a person may have or may have had, a prick is still a prick.

  5. Piers Morgan makes only one mistake … he gets over emotional when the times call for moderate reasoned debate. I agree with Huck that we won’t get anywhere if we are too caustic … and yes I confess I fall prey to it now and then. It’s hard not to get emotional about dead kids.

    But may I remind PF and Poolman that Mr. Pratt did not reveal his real agenda in this interview with Morgan. Pratt is one of these nutjobs who thinks the government is the enemy against which he needs a strong defense. To that, here is his interview with Chris Matthews where he shows his cards at 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

  6. Well it’s official. There were no demonstrations in Lybia. Props to Fox News….the only news organization to call bull shit.

    Hillary fainted. Lol.

  7. “It was a reference to your 1.5 second clip exchange skill” -Rutherford

    It’s not a skill. It takes no skill. None.

  8. Poolman used to be pro gun control. I can find it on here. Very interesting…..Alex Jones isn’t. Now poolman isn’t.

  9. Harry Reid basically says “its my way or the highway” regarding fiscal cliff plans. He has said that the only option is for the House to pass the Senate plan.

    He is not interested in negotiations, and Democrats are now set to become The Party of No and be responsible for the largest tax hike in American history.

  10. “Arming teachers is not the answer to school safety, IMO.” Huck

    No….but arming a few specially trained teachers or security guards would be huge.

    Numerous districts by me were closed due to gun threats today. Between the anxiety and grief stemming from the shootings and the asinine end of the world garbage…..the Christmas spirit seems pretty tainted this year.

  11. “arming a few specially trained teachers or security guards would be huge. ”

    I wouldn’t be opposed to exploring that.

  12. Poolman used to be pro gun control.

    I thought gun control was using 2 hands. lol. I am still for certain gun control regulation. It isn’t all or nothing. Have my views changed over time? Certainly, but not as radically as you infer. Some of us are still able to change opinion and tweak our ideology when understanding and experience warrant those changes. I have seen you stray somewhat from many of your own stated beliefs. Now it appears you actually listen to Alex Jones. I don’t trust Alex, but do agree with plenty of what he puts out there.

  13. Benghazi Report has been out for 2 days and I still can’t find an official statement from Barack Obama. Anyone seen or heard one?

    Buehler….. Buehler….. Buehler…..

  14. Pratt is one of these nutjobs who thinks the government is the enemy against which he needs a strong defense.

    In that way he is as nutty as most of our founding fathers were.

  15. Man…it’s funny watching Obama and Boehner argue over how much we will increase spending.

    Don’t worry though…..Thor says GDP growth will save us.

  16. Rutherford thinks the US government serves as protector and ally. Too bad that doesn’t line up with most of the known historical facts.

  17. And in the meantime our financial world becomes more global

    The announced sale Thursday of NYSE Euronext to ICE, an Atlanta-based derivatives exchange, may be rattling some Wall Street traders and market pros. But what does the $8.2 billion deal mean for Main Street investors?

    “It has been widely reported that ICE’s interest in the NYSE had little to do with equities trading, with ICE focused primarily on commodity derivatives. This means the most valuable part of NYSE to ICE might be NYSE’s London-based derivatives arm, Liffe.
    Another possible advantage: The sale could help lengthen global trading hours, especially for big online trading houses, says Mark Grant, managing director at Southwest Securities in Dallas. “For instance, more investors in Europe could be encouraged to trade stocks that are also listed on the U.S. market when their market is closed,” he says. “Ultimately, this should create a more homogenous, global marketplace for stocks.”

  18. As the investigation of the CT shootings continues, the issue of drug use is coming into play. After 40 years we still do not know the ramifications of the drugs used in controlling ADHD/ASD and other mental disorders nor do we know the ramifications when the drug is discontinued. If no drugs were found in the shooter’s home that does not mean he wasn’t transitioning to “off”.
    “Our system of mental health care requires that for someone to be committed they have to be a threat to themselves or others. I think that if there were proceedings underway there certainly was probable cause to disarm that is no different than what happens in cases of domestic violence and stalking. I’m perhaps going further than that in taking a position that medication with known side effects of suicide, delusions and strong anti-social behavior also constitute probable cause. I think this is worth some consideration irrelevant of anyones position on firearms and their regulation. Who wants to see a repeat of this event with the perpetrator having a samurai sword either?”



  19. First to those who took the time to answer my questions – Thank You. Whether I agree or not I find your responses to be thoughtful and reasonable.

    Pfesser – I listen to talk radio. My questions related to the opinions and suggestions of the callers. Including one gentleman who believed it was his “God given right” to carry a weapon even thought it was pointed out to him it is actually a law that allows him to do so. He refused to acknowledge that point.

    I have heard a number of intelligent interpretations of the 2nd Amendment as what the founders were concerned about at the time and whether it still applies today. If we need to have an armed rebellion against our government then WE FAILED to protect our freedoms and democracy.

    I do not wish to take away your right to owning guns or the ability to protect yourself or family. Not because I agree with it but because it is a RIGHT. Just as it is my RIGHT to vote without jumping through unnecessary hoops or to be represented by a Union for instance.

    Stand Your Ground law was initiated by ALEC not by a movement of the majority of the people who felt there was justification for such a law. I question the motive behind this law and resent being manipulated by the NRA and gun corporations motivated by profit.
    I believe it may lead to people being too quick to reach for their gun rather than avoiding a confrontation and walking away or finding another solution.

    We have always had the right to defend ourselves. We have rights but not unlimited rights.

    Do you think Stand Your Ground Law is appropriate?
    Great law. Everyone should be able to defend himself if needed. Of course, the current travesty being perpetrated in Florida makes the laws useless, since the President himself sticks his jib in when there is some politicking to do.

    I am aware of your thoughts on this from past comments. If I understand your meaning in the above comment we have a difference of opinion. Zimmerman’s actions before and after leads me to believe he bit off more than he could chew, in part because he had a weapon. As Noah said – A firearm is the ultimate equalizer. But we will never know exactly what happened and will only have one side to that story.

    Do you think the average gun owner would respond accurately if confronted with an armed gunman in a public place?
    Many have so far. Some would freeze. Some would pee their pants. Some would shoot wildly and miss. Most, I think would draw, fire, and kill the man.

    You and the others here have more faith in the average person responding in a positive manner. In my 70 years, I have heard too many times – I know what to do. I can handle the situation if it should occur – only to have them fall apart when that very situation does happen.

    “Who judges what is sensible? And where does that sensibility end? If we limit clip size to 10 and some shooter kills a bunch of people, will we then go back to revolvers? When a revolver is used to kill some people, then what? What is the end game when gun violence continues?” – Huck

    My concern is that it will go the other way. Bigger and more powerful weapons and becoming more obsessed with guns and violence that will result from it.

    “3. I do carry. Because I want to be able to defend myself or someone else when another person decides to cause harm to another. I can never be physically prepared to defend or stop all individuals. A firearm is the ultimate equalizer.” – Noah

    Yes a firearm is the ultimate equalizer… and that is the problem.

    “Do you think the solution is more guns?
    The solution to what?”

    There were those who felt if the principal or teachers in CT had been armed it could have been prevented as well as in other mass murders that were brought up.

    “What affect will this have on young children seeing armed guards or teachers daily?
    Bad, bad, bad. That’s why there shouldn’t be any”

    I agree. Other than perhaps situations like inner cities I do not think schools should be under lock down (as my grandson’s school is) or with armed teachers or guards. The guard who I would feel qualified in defending a school would cost too much if such a person would want the job. Any thing less than that would be a false sense of security…..just like the screeners at airports or taking off your shoes.

    Do you believe it is working fine and there nothing we can do to change things?
    Again since the “it” in question isn’t the only part of the full question set that needs to be addressed your smugness reeks. – Alfie

    No smugness intended. A bit of frustration putting my thoughts into words while doing three things in limited time. Think what you wish.

    “Do you believe it is working fine and there nothing we can do to change things?
    Not that there is nothing we can do: nothing we SHOULD do.”

    I believe somewhere you mentioned (my words) shit happens, deal with it. I agree shit happens and always will no matter what we do. But there are ways to minimize the amount of shit that happens.

    To give up our freedom to feel secure is neither being free nor secure. To fear there is “evil lurking around every corner” is no way to live.

    We do have a culture of violence and too many fearful paranoid people. And someone/something is pushing those buttons these days. Why?

    We need to be proactive not reactive which we tend to do now.

  20. JAL – I have to say, a real pleasure conversing with you. Appreciate the thoughtful approach. Can I sic you on Tex, if we can find him? LOL

    I hope I didn’t say shit happens, although God only knows…LOL. That’s not really my approach, anyway. I think that every right and privilege has an up-side and a down-side. The right to keep and bear arms has some down-sides, no doubt. But in my mind the up-sides are so compelling that I don’t see any need to “do something-anything!” because a nut case killed some kids.

    My wife and I have been discussing this shooting spree on our walks lately, and she wonders about what drugs the shooter was on. I am quite familiar with autism-spectrum disorders and have done a bit of research on same. I am also aware of some of the really dangerous occasional side effects of psychoactive drugs like Prozac and some of the other modern pills. The problem is that they are not consistent in their side effects; people have done some bad things on these drugs, including offing themselves and OTHERS. Having said that, I don’t know what drugs, if any, the shooter was on, but to my eye, that is where the investigating needs to be done.

  21. I am also aware of some of the really dangerous occasional side effects of psychoactive drugs like Prozac and some of the other modern pills.

    I had just heard that Prozac users are 10 times more likely to commit suicide than those on other antidepressants, let alone those that are not on any drugs at all. I say we wean ourselves off these dangerous substances and in addition hold the pharma companies liable for any related violence and deaths.

    Instead, we, as America, cater to them and do our best to conceal their sins, much like we do other mondo corporate entities.

  22. If Tex returns I am out of here. Thank you anyway. I don’t have a medical background but from what I have read some people have extreme reactions to “psychoactive drugs like Prozac and some of the other modern pills.” We (doctors and parents) are too quick to turn to a little pill to solve a behavior, emotional or learning problem without considering the side affects that may occure from the medication.

  23. Yeah, my wife has expressed interest in a “sleeping pill” on occasion, but I won’t let them in the house. I have been waking up at 3a.m. (which is why you see some late posts here from me) and I am wide awake, eventually falling back to sleep after a couple hours’ reading, but I won’t touch sleeping aids.

    It is amazing how many tons of pills go out the doors in these rural clinics. Sometimes I think “Justified” has it right. Interestingly, the Kentucky goober-legislature is reacting to that show and has passed some Draconian laws regulating doctors’ prescriptions in that state. I just got my KY license and it was a royal pain in the ass; never mind that I as a radiologist don’t write a dozen ‘scripts a decade. I took my brother to a clinic in WV to get his kidneys checked a couple of weeks ago and the parking lot was filled by 7:30, mostly by men on disability compensation, getting their bag of “pain pills” for the week.

    Man, we are on the downhill slide…

  24. I don’t like pills. I don’t trust them. I am not thrilled with even having to take zocor and blood pressure medicine but do so because the alternatives are not cool, either.

  25. Welp, looks like we’re going over the cliff. Too many on both sides want the “my way or the highway” approach to negotiating, which always results in a stalemate.

  26. I have to say I disagree with PF and JaL’s take on the negative impact on guns. Guns are not negative or positive, how they are used is. Growing up in a rural area all my life, guns were a tool just like a chainsaw, a shovel, or any number of things were. They were a dangerous tool and they had to be given the respect they were due.

    “Yes a firearm is the ultimate equalizer… and that is the problem.”

    I think you have this 180 degrees wrong, its not the problem it is the solution. People with issues of their own, take this tool and use it the wrong way. Responsible people, if they are to defend against it, need to have equal or superior tools. Bats kill far more people than do guns, why not ban bats? Not a rhetorical question.

    I also do not understand how going after the tool rather than the person can ever deal with the problem. We treat the war on drugs in much the same way and look at the results. We go after cocaine and meth and look at the booming black market business, and the utter failure to stop it in any meaningful way. Making it illegal solved next to nothing. Why do you think doing the same with guns will have any meaningful effect. You can never get them all out of circulation.

  27. Didn’t have much time for comments today. I end the day with the following from Mark Fiore. Believe what you like about the solution, this clip makes it clear we just ain’t making any progress. We have to do something. (See you all tomorrow, assuming the Mayans are full of sh*t. 🙂 )

  28. “What affect will this have on young children seeing armed guards or teachers daily?
    Bad, bad, bad. That’s why there shouldn’t be any”

    I was taking from this comment PF. Kids see police in public carrying weapons and I do not think this causes any measurable impact. Likewise I do not think kids seeing an armed guard would have any additional impact than having to walk through a metal detector coming into school or having their backpacks searched upon entering school, as many schools do now. This is already a part of a lot of kids reality. Personally I would rather deal with the few that this might bother than to deal with another early death(s).

  29. Jake Tapper asked Obama why he didn’t do anything about gun control when he had a majority in both houses of Congress. it was the sort of question the press should ask more often.

    They should have been asking as many questions about our Mid East policy which led to four deaths and many wounded or Fast and Furiious. That mistake killed even more people.

    Obama was not amused. Jake is moving to CNN from ABC.Probably no connection, but who knows?

    The blizzard gave us 8 inches of snow with over 54 MPH wind gusts and a power outage which lasted from 9:30 to 3;30PM. it came on as we shoveled snow on our driveway so we could take refuge in a motel The temperature inside our house was down to 39.

    We have to be in Omaha later today, and we have more digging to do. My focus on politics is scant right now.

  30. Noah – It is not just about seeing armed guards or teachers. It is about spending much of a young life being subjected to it that it becomes normal. Believing your daily world is so dangerous that you must have armed guards/teachers to be protected. It is about being learning to live in a controlled environment under the impression it for your security. Teach them when they are young. Great way to control a population.

    We are learning it bit by bit to be controlled. Airports/public buildings security, voting IDs, the media in the hands of a few = one message, destroying Unions/Right to Work for Less, public education come to mind at the moment……. And some of them you are very much in favor of doing!

    Yes in the inner cities life is dangerous and guards and metal detectors maybe necessary. I live in a rural area. The school is a campus surrounded by open fields. People know one another. My grandson’s school is under lock. Why? There was a grant and they used it.

  31. What you are describing is the way we wish things were, not what they are. We either step up and do what is necessary given the current state of things, or we don’t and run the risk of more slayings. I agree with your ideals, and I wish having a guard in schools was not necessary. Unfortunately wishing wont save a single life.

    As long as this kind of evil is alive in the world, we have to protect against it. So for now lets put the guards in schools, then get about the business of identifying who these people are and making sure they cannot get the weapons necessary to commit these acts and get them them help they need. One day we can all hope together that we will get to the point where guarding our schools will no longer be necessary.

  32. JAL opined:
    “It is not just about seeing armed guards or teachers. It is about spending much of a young life being subjected to it that it becomes normal. Believing your daily world is so dangerous that you must have armed guards/teachers to be protected. It is about being learning to live in a controlled environment under the impression it for your security. Teach them when they are young. Great way to control a population.”


    “Yes in the inner cities life is dangerous and guards and metal detectors maybe necessary. I live in a rural area. The school is a campus surrounded by open fields. People know one another. My grandson’s school is under lock. Why? There was a grant and they used it.”

    Hear! Hear!

    One of humanity’s biggest failings is the inability to put large numbers in perspective. Good example: circumcision cuts your chance of penile cancer in half. Good thing, right? Yes, until you realize that the incidence in the US is 1:100,000. So, not having the end of your penis cut off gives you a 1:50,000 chance. Big deal.

    Another: My hospital just spent over $1M on a new “birthing center.” Much of that is in a complex security system to “keep people from stealing babies.” I’ve been in this business for thirty years, including some HUGE university hospitals; I have never worked anywhere or been near anywhere where a baby was stolen. A total waste of money.

    Now, about armed guards at schools…

  33. Noah – you can live in your world of fear…and I will live in mine but I will not live in yours. The world has always been a fearful place. There are things that are worthy of being fearful and others are only to people who allow themselves to be controlled by their fears. Once you put guards in schools it will become the accepted norm. I fear the control issue going on which you do not. IMO you are only looking at the smaller picture and I to what all this will lead to in the bigger picture. I will not be around to see if I am right. But my children maybe, my grandsons and their children will…..as will yours.

    There is nothing to say that a guard in a school will save a life. He could be shot first or hide in the closet.

  34. I get your point as well as PF, and I think it is a valid one. I am concerned about the direction our government has taken and straying from both our civil rights and the Constitution. I fear the police and would never befriend one or let them willingly into my home. Not because of who they are but because of the power they have to destroy my life should I ever run into a corrupt one.

  35. Pfesser – circumcision. I have come to regret having my son circumcised 42 years ago but I am not exactly sure why. I tried to talk my daughter into not circumcising her sons. Their thought was the boys would mocked since most boys are circumcised. I wonder if it has not taken some of the fun out of sex for both partners. And I think some men have never gotten over it and are afraid someone will come after the rest so to speak…..just my experience not looking for a fight.

  36. JAL: Nobody in my family was circumcised, nor were any of my sons, nor the son of my second wife. If you ever see it done, you will never have it done to anyone you love – the pediatricians say the babies don’t feel it…well, then why are they screaming at the tops of their lungs – exhilaration? Jesus – give me a break. When I was a med student on peds, I refused to participate in circumcisions; the staff thought I was out of my mind.

    Not to bring up anything touchy here, but Internet porn is a good place to see a lot of – well – anatomy. If you want to do some impromptu research, note that nearly all the male models are circumcised, and generally severely deformed when erect, due to the removal of too much foreskin, generally “pointing” at the ceiling, or their own navels. Not something worthy of the attention of, say, nuclear war, but a silly, unnecessary procedure.

    And by the way, nobody ever made fun of me or any of my family in the shower, and we all played sports. My wife’s son had somebody in his class ask him when he was about eight why he hadn’t had it done; his response was, “Why did you have the end of your d*ck cut off?” End of conversation, as you might expect. The idea that the kid will be teased is a parental psych problem, not the kids’.

  37. I was sort of laughing to myself about the direction this conversation has taken, and then it occurred to me that Rutherford essentially said that the White House Press Corps were a bunch of dicks, so I guess we’re still on topic.

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