Political committment

Yeah, I care about politics and my country, but never so much that I could rise at 4am everyday (so much for that co-hosting gig on Good Morning America, too).  Anyway, the Times has a story today about the armies of young, dedicated political aides who get up before everybody else to start understanding and shaping the day’s news:

Mr. Maldonado, 25, is one of the dozens of young aides throughout the city who rise before dawn to pore over the news to synthesize it, summarize it and spin it, so their bosses start the day well-prepared. Washington is a city that traffics in information, and as these 20-something staff members are learning, who knows what — and when they know it — can be the difference between professional advancement and barely scraping by.

“Information is the capital market of Washington, so you know something that other people don’t know and you know something earlier than other people know it, is a formulation for increasing your status and power,” said David Perlmutter, the director of the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “So any edge you can use to get stuff faster, earlier, better or exclusively is very important.”

For Mr. Maldonado, who said that “the information wars are won before work,” that means rising early to browse all of the major newspapers, new polling data, ideological Web sites and dozens of news alerts needed to equip his bosses with the best, most up-to-date nuggets.

I bring this article up, though, as in addition to the aforementioned Mr. Moldonado, one of the aides profiled is my former student and academic advisee:

Andrew Bates, a media monitor in the White House communications office, is up by 4 a.m. to look over 30 to 40 Web sites and blogs, as well as watch the morning television news and talk shows, and send out relevant news clips to the top ranks of the administration. He has even been known — with the help of Google Translator — to translate articles from other languages. Mr. Bates could “give anyone in this town a run for their money on ‘Jeopardy,’ ” joked Jen Psaki, the deputy White House communications director.

Mr. Bates, 24, said his early-morning search was aimed at harvesting “something that’s very strong, that advances an argument well, or anything that could be jeopardizing or damaging, like criticism.”

Pretty cool to see one’s own student in the Times.  Andrew’s a very smart young man, but I’m still pretty sure I could take him on Jeopardy.

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The Gun Nuts

So frustrating listening to an NPR story over the weekend about the woeful prospects for even the most obvious gun control, i.e., doing away with 30 bullet clips.  While those in favor had the reasoned arguments you would expect, those opposed to such reasonable restrictions offered little more than “the 2nd amendment!” or “it’s not the right time.”  Right, because 2011 is just a bad year to limit the amount of ammo a crazed maniac can go through without reloading.  I’ve yet to hear a rational and/or reasonable argument against these common-sense limitations, but politically they are dead in the water.  We literally get nonsense like this pointed out by commenter MIke Barr (the always capital “I” in Mike is an intersting and unexplained affectation):

What if clips were limited to 10 bullets? What about the scenario where a non-professional who was defending his family from a criminal popped off the entire clip without getting a kill shot against the perp. This allows the criminal to kill the entire family. But, what if the 11th bullet that would have been the one that stopped the assailant? Well? Your restriction just killed a family!

Such was the argument put forth by Alan Gura today on the Diane Rehm Show. This was his response to the argument that no hunter or marksmen needs 30 rounds in a clip.

Further evidence that the gun nuts are truly nuts, is the fact that they are buying up guns like crazy.  Now they’re really afraid that the durn libruls are going to take their guns away.  Get a clue?!  How completely divorced from political reality are these people?!  Anybody so damn stupid that they truly think the federal government is anywhere near taking their gun, is much, much too stupid to own a gun.

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