Musical interlude

So, this piano version of the Pixie’s “Where is my mind” was prominently featured in a great scene in Mr. Robot (one of my new favorite shows).  I had to go and find it on-line.  Haunting and awesome.

Why the NRA matters

Nice column from James Surowiecki that looks at the success of the NRA.  It’s not the money.  It’s the intensity of the followers (I regularly emphasize to my classes the advantages of an intense minority over an apathetic majority).  And how successfully the NRA has framed the issue:

The N.R.A.’s biggest asset isn’t cash but the devotion of its members. Adam Winkler, a law professor at U.C.L.A. and the author of the 2011 book “Gunfight,” told me, “N.R.A. members are politically engaged and politically active. They call and write elected officials, they show up to vote, and they vote based on the gun issue.” In one revealing study, people who were in favor of permits for gun owners described themselves as more invested in the issue than gun-rights supporters did. Yet people in the latter group were four times as likely to have donated money and written a politician about the issue.

The N.R.A.’s ability to mobilize is a classic example of what the advertising guru David Ogilvy called the power of one “big idea.” Beginning in the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. relentlessly promoted the view that the right to own a gun is sacrosanct. Playing on fear of rising crime rates and distrust of government, it transformed the terms of the debate. As Ladd Everitt, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told me, “Gun-control people were rattling off public-health statistics to make their case, while the N.R.A. was connecting gun rights to core American values like individualism and personal liberty.” The success of this strategy explains things that otherwise look anomalous, such as the refusal to be conciliatory even after killings that you’d think would be P.R. disasters. After the massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, the N.R.A.’s C.E.O. sent a series of e-mails to his members warning them that anti-gun forces were going to use it to “ban your guns” and “destroy the Second Amendment.”

Yep.  The NRA has done this really well.  Liberals and gun control advocates need to do a better job also connecting gun control to core American values.  Sadly, “less little kids will get shot” does not seem to be much of a core American value.

Raising your child right

Of course, everybody knows those Baby Einstein/Mozart videos are a joke all the more reason to love this New Yorker cartoon from a little web slideshow of cartoons about children’s books.

Check that: Hillary really  won

Okay, so now I’ve had a chance to digest the morning’s post-debate coverage.  She really won.  Sure all the liberal persons and organizations in my newsfeed were positive, but that’s definitely no given.  Meanwhile, even over at the National Review they all pretty much grudgingly admitted she had done really well.  And Fox News website didn’t really have anything bad to say (that’s a definite win).

So, does this matter?  Actually, yes, some.  Hillary has been stuck in a cycle of lots of negative media attention.  Last night’s performance, especially combined with the fact that the Benghazi and email scandals have been exposed as Republican over-reach, should really (maybe) turn things around for her as far as media coverage goes.  And that matters.

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