Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Cinch Review

Jeb Bush at the Republican National convention

Jeb Bush delivered a dynamite speech tonight at the RNC on providing parents with choice in education. I also appreciated how he opened.

Before I began my remarks, I have something personal I
would like to share with you. I’ve been so blessed to be part
of a family that has committed its life to public service.

My granddad and my father have been incredible role models
for me and served our country honorably. And my brother,
well, I love my brother.

He is a man of integrity, courage, and honor, and during
incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe.

So, Mr. President, it is time to stop blaming your
predecessor for your failed economic policies.

You were dealt a tough hand, but your policies have not
worked. In the fourth year of your presidency, a real leader
would accept responsibility for his actions, and you haven’t
done it.

Full video below:

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“If someone pointed a gun at you …?” – Mayor Bloomberg’s interesting question

In a press conference this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York was defending the actions of the police officers who shot the gunman outside of the Empire State Building last week, killing him but also wounding nine innocent bystanders.

Now, I don’t condemn the police for the wounding of those people, simply because I know how densely populated is that area with tourists/commuters/people-selling-things-to-tourists and you name it. Simply put, if you point a gun straight-away in any direction there and fire it the bullet is going to find someone’s body, whether within close-range or down the block. The choice of the gunman to point his gun at the police took away their option not to fire. Using semi-automatics, they fired 16 rounds between them. Yes, they should have been able to do the job with less, but it’s difficult to seriously fault them given the abrupt and terrifying circumstance. I’m assuming at that close-range that many of the bystanders who were hit were hit by bullets or fragments of bullets which had already passed through the killer’s body. The video doesn’t show the officers firing wildly all about. Again, given the density of human flesh in that neighborhood, injuries to bystanders were inevitable. Thank God no one else was killed.

But that’s not why I’m interested in what Mayor Mike Bloomberg said at this press conference. In response to some critical question about the actions of the police officers, the famously pro-gun-control mayor is quoted as saying the following: “Let me ask you this: If somebody pointed a gun at you, and you had a gun in your pocket, what would you do?” It’s a rhetorical question, of-course, meant to defend the actions of the police officers.

It is a funny question on more than one level, coming from him. Firstly, due to the strictness of New York City’s gun control regulations (which he would only be inclined to make stricter) it is almost impossible to conceive of a situation where that reporter would legally be able to have “a gun in [his] pocket.” Merely getting a permit to own a handgun and keep it locked up, unloaded, at home, is a matter of enormous difficulty in New York City, and the authorities are under no obligation to issue it to you at all, even if you jump through every hoop successfully. They can simply say, “Ah, we don’t like your face,” or, “We don’t feel like it today.” It is in their discretion.

And getting a permit to actually carry a loaded handgun on your person in the city is many times more difficult again, and the city actively discourages people from even attempting to do so. It’s long been a matter of contention among those who are interested that you pretty much need to be a Hollywood star, some other kind of super-celebrity or mega-wealthy character in order to be anointed with such a permit. No doubt there are exceptions, but the deck is heavily stacked against any Joe or Jane Schmo, and the Second Amendment be damned (as indeed it is in New York City).

So Mayor Bloomberg’s question —If somebody pointed a gun at you, and you had a gun in your pocket, what would you do?—is kind of ludicrous on the face of it. The answer is: “Mr. Mayor, I wouldn’t have a gun in my pocket, thanks to you and your ilk, so I guess what I would do in that situation is die.”

And indeed, many people have died and do die in this city and others like it for the want of being able to defend themselves against murdering thugs.

Mayor Bloomberg’s question is also funny because it presumes, you’ll notice, that there is a moral right to pull out a gun and defend yourself if someone is threatening your life with one. “If somebody pointed a gun at you, and you had a gun in your pocket, what would you do?” The question presumes not only that anyone would use their gun to defend themselves in that situation, but that it would also be the right thing to do. Continue reading “If someone pointed a gun at you …?” – Mayor Bloomberg’s interesting question

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The (snuff) video for “Duquesne Whistle” by Bob Dylan

The video for Bob Dylan’s new song “Duquesne Whistle” has been released today and is embedded below. A little commentary is below that.




(Via the Guardian.)

The video was directed by Nash Edgerton, and as you can see features a guy trying to woo a girl, having some misadventures and ending up beaten to a pulp. Dylan himself is in it but separate from the main action.

The video doesn’t appear to have been inspired by the song at all (although it’s never impossible for people to come up with massive interpretations). The thinking behind a video like this must be that the song and record stand up by themselves, so why not just create something completely independent? Then you splice them together and maybe you’ll have an interesting interplay. You can see Dylan being into this approach; he loves taking advantage of the accidental. However, I have to say I just don’t dig the fruits of it in this case. The song and the video seem to be fighting one another, and so the combined result is (for me) laborious to watch. I guess I’m old fashioned. I figure if you want to promote a record with a video then the video ought to complement the song rather than essentially relegate it to background music. But to each his own. Continue reading The (snuff) video for “Duquesne Whistle” by Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan and the McCrary Sisters

The other night (8/26) in Cincinnati, Bob Dylan was joined for his encore by the McCrary Sisters—Regina, Ann, Deborah and Alfreda—who supplied backing vocals for “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Regina McCrary has a long history with Dylan, as a backing singer in his shows and on his records during the 1979 to 1981 period.

She is also featured on the 2003 CD and DVD called Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs Bob Dylan, where a variety of gospel performers do cover versions of Bob Dylan’s songs. On the album she is the lead vocalist with the Chicago Mass Choir.

On the website dedicated to that project, Regina is quoted thusly:

When I got with Bob Dylan, I began to study his music before, to see who this man was. And I came to a realization that this man has been feeding people wisdom and words of encouragement.

And God has been using his hand and his heart and his mind to write music, to write lyrics, to keep people encouraged and keep them uplifted and keep them in the fight and keep them like soldiers, you know. Don’t sit down, don’t lay down. You gotta stand up, you gotta fight, you gotta believe!

And, since I’m not on Facebook, thanks to a friend for forwarding the text of Regina McCrary’s enthusiastic post there after going on stage with her sisters and Dylan the other night. It includes this:

I TRULY THANK GOD,FOR HIS FAVOR AND TRUST IN ME… AND BOB, I THANK YOU FOR HAVING THE KIND OF HEART TO KNOW HOW TO VALUE TRUE FRIENDSHIP… OVER 30YRS., OF FRIENDSHIP…TRUE LOVE FRIENDSHIP WEATHERS ALL KINDS OF STORMS… WE LOVE, FUSS, LAUGH, CRY, PRAY, FORGIVE, AND ASK TO BE FORGIVEN… BUT WE NEVER COUNT EACH OTHER OUT…I THANK GOD FOR LOVE AND FRIENDSHIPS IN MY LIFE LIKE THIS…

Now if that doesn’t warm your heart you’d better take a trip to the cardiologist.

Below via YouTube are the McCrary Sisters (Regina third from the left) doing their own version of “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Continue reading Bob Dylan and the McCrary Sisters