CNN’s Claim That AR15 Protester Carries Legally Is Demonstrably False.


This man, who would only give his first name, “Chris,” stood outside an Presidential town hall appearance with (what may have been) a loaded AR15 military assault rifle. The creepiness of this, given the history of political assassinations and right-wing violence, will go without further comment here.

I’d like to discuss the facts.

Consider this article from CNN.

One would assume they had done their research into the claim of legality, and on first glance, everything appears in order. In a previous iteration of the same story they spelled out that in Arizona it is legal to carry a weapon without a permit as long as the weapon is legal itself (not a banned weapon, purchased legally, etc) and legally owned (see below).

Since this man never gave an ID or his full name, CNN’s claim that “it’s legal,” REALLY means it WOULD be if they had properly vetted this man and his weapon. By all indications they did neither.

Looking at the long list of prohibitions in the Arizona open carry law, this man could fall into many of these categories without CNN (or us) having any way of knowing.

Is he under 18? Probably not, but we can’t know without a name or ID check.

Is he an ex-felon, or on parole? There’s no way to know.

Does he have a history of being institutionalized for being a danger to himself or others? We can’t possibly know.

Is he a US citizen? We, guess what, don’t know.

This guy faces tougher scrutiny when he buys a brewski at the local deli. Bad CNN!

More importantly, CNN’s claim that he was carrying the weapon legally is false. They (and we) can’t know that objectively or with any certainty. But wait kids, there’s more…

The weapon itself could be illegal. I am not a gun expert by any means and haven’t found AR15 regulations for AZ … I’ll leave that to the REAL reporters (as if); but if it’s anything like the law in California, this particular weapon has to be configured a certain way and can NOT, legally, have certain features like a pistol grip, telescoping barrel, certain ammo capacity, etc.

Now if I WAS a real reporter I might show these pictures to someone who IS a gun expert and figure it out. But that would take time, and let’s face it, the CURIOSITY to get the friggin’ facts.

We might know one day if this man, who suspiciously withheld his name, was actually protesting legally. I doubt that information will come from people in the media who put sensationalism over research.


AP, CNN: Sarah Palin is A Twit. (But So Are We)

Here’s my tribute the the late (and great) Walter Cronkite.

It’s a small “scoop;” maybe just a stone left unturned, but the media seems busy with other things … like parroting Sarah Palin’s talking points without the slightest hint of (even trivial or noodling) scrutiny and investigation.

Let’s get right into it:

Consider this “news” update from the AP (similar stories were in other outlets).

OK, let’s put aside our feelings about if this is news and concentrate on presentation. For better or worse, people want to know about this stuff… so what challenges face our intrepid (and let me remind you again, REAL) reporters & editors?

This is what it looks like they focused on:

1) Sourcing.
VERY important in a story like this (really, it is). When you have twittered word-salad nonsense of the sort that comes from Palin’s feed as source material, it’s good if the people reading it know it’s HER, not YOU. I’m happy to report the editors and reporters ACED this effort, with common-sense constructions like:

Palin’s tweet said, “elected is replaceable; Ak WILL progress! + side benefits10 dys til less politically correct twitters fly frm my fingertps outside State site.”


The governor says in another message that in the meantime, “it’s a pleasure to update interested folks on State biz!”

So far so good, but what’s to come left me wondering if they phoned this one in (or tweeted it).

2. Capitalization.
Looks like the AP, being true professionals, has come up with a style sheet for if and when the annoyingly lower-case brand “twitter” gets the royal treatment. Here’s what our intrepid editors have come up with (it might explain why they didn’t bother with what’s next):

a) Mentions of twitter, alone, as a brand, are upper-case, like this: “Twitter.”

b) “Tweet,” as a noun (“I read Palin’s tweets”), is lower-case.

c) Now with verbs, apparently there are two styles—or they just screwed it up.

Seems that if it’s a verb in a HEADLINE it’s lower-case, as in:

Palin promises to keep on tweeting

BUT, if it’s within the article it gets an oddly jarring UPPER-CASE, as in:

Parnell, whose style is much more low-profile than Palin, isn’t expected to Tweet much…

Perhaps it has something to do with the future tense? I’m sure AP will provide me with their rules.

3. Don’t catch “The Stupid”
This is always a treacherous area for reporters, especially those covering Sarah Palin … and Mary Pemberton, Matthew Daly and thier editors are no strangers to the POWER of “The Stupid”:

She said it would be a “travesty” if lawmaker don’t reform the process.

Yes, after reading and re-reading Palin’s inane tweets, they lost the power to write the simplest of English sentences. It should read lawmakers, with an “s”.

Please don’t catch “The Stupid”!

4. The facts.
It’s all well and good to have a few fussy, hopefully entertaining, observations about the construction of stories like this, but what about the CONTENT? What does this story really provide us with?

Well, if we don’t have twitter (I know, MY style sheet), it tells us what Palin said on hers. It also tells us what twitter is, and that the incoming Governor doesn’t like it as much as her. It presents Palin’s message REGARDING twitter. Hmm… what is missing?

5. Scoop?
Wouldn’t it be more interesting if the reporters from the AP (and other outlets) discussed the content of the tweets, not just recording them for posterity? Not in an editorial sense, but factually.

The FIRST thing I observed was that Palin seems to be unaware that she can KEEP her twitter account (and its 100,000+ subscribers).

She mistakenly refers to her twitter account as a “State site” when it’s a page on a private company’s web site.

We could go further with our reporting here to suggest that since her replacement doesn’t like to tweet, she isn’t under much obligation to give up her account when she is no longer Governor. Framing our discoveries as a news scoop, we can report quite objectively that:

Palin Is Unaware Twitter Account Can Be Re-Used After Resignation

Now that’s a story I WANNA READ!

We can add great factual information, too. Here’s HOW you can KEEP your twitter feed active, but change the account name! YOU, Joe Public, are more on the ball than Palin and her whole staff! NOW the story has a human-interest angle, “news you can use,” and debunks Palin’s twitter maven status … all with OLD SCHOOL get-the-facts journalism!

Now, since I’m not a REAL reporter, I’ll take this opportunity to SHOW Palin how she can do this, so when her super-exciting “NonPC” tweets start “flying from her fingertips” not a SINGLE one of her followers will lose the precious connection. Here’s all she needs to do:

Here I just type the new account name I want (changing “igotmyreasons” to “SarahsRealTwits”), the system sees if it is available (don’t worry Sarah, I left it for you), and if I want to change it I just enter my password and I’m done.

All my followers are still intact, I can change my graphics to reflect being ex-Governor, and maybe, FINALLY, the press will start to scrutinize what I say in a meaningful way.

RIP Walter Cronkite.*

*In another interesting Palin tweet story, Cronkite’s oft-quoted (out of context) utterance that reporters “need to be liberal” was used by Palin less than two weeks ago to show the media’s “liberal bias.”

She hasn’t mentioned Mr. Cronkite since. It is COMPLETELY objective to point out the obvious right-wing bias in ignoring this great man’s death. CLASSY.

My consulting bill is in the mail.

Who’s Tagging Your ‘Hood Now?

This is one of those woolly posts about something not too many people care about.

I’m not against corporations or capitalism; I just feel that if we don’t pay attention to what they are doing, we get unintended consequences: like lethal food or very deep “recessions.”

Corporate promotion, marketing, and advertising is a super-fast-growing ivy that promises to cover every surface if left unpruned. Many of the zoning laws we now take for granted are a direct result of this actually happening in the mid to late 1800’s, when cheap printing technologies made wall-to-wall advertising possible.

In many contexts we may even admire its beauty or at least its cleverness, boldness, and – if nothing else – its dogged determination to direct our eyes and our dollars.

But there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

One of the most obvious would seem to be the commons (I said this would get woolly): public areas we all share that are historically and by law (in most cases) free of such distractions. In my city, these rules are codified and rather strict… for example, if you have a banner for a public event the sponsor of that event can only occupy 20% or less of it; the city determines the size of your logo in public areas.

As technology and innovation progress, these questions will become more important.

The holographic fashion model that greets me by name at The Gap (ala Minority Report), would, hopefully, be an unwelcome addition to a walk in Central Park. Unfortunately, I think the responsibility for keeping the slope less slippery belongs to us.

Case in point: the new Domino’s “American Legends” promotion.

Here’s a video I took with my celly right around the way from me:

An entire city block (it’s hard to see in the crappy video, sorry) now has the Domino’s logos stenciled on it, in an offhand, supposedly “underground,” done-in-in-dark-of-night “bombing” (that’s graf-speak) of public space by a major corporation.

Judging from Domino’s own promotion of this, these “tags” now grace the public real estate of several major cities and are linked into a promotion of a new product.

But wait, it gets even more complicated that that!

Dominos has (according to its official twitter feed @dominos) “covered its bases” by the fact that this isn’t graffiti at all… it’s REVERSE graffiti!

Say what?

Yep … take a look one at of the guys they are stealing this from:


Oh, you don’t get it yet?

He’s CLEANING the surface… the “graf” is the part where there is less soot.

A great innovation… great for graf artists (VERY difficult to prosecute, for obvious reasons). How creative and challenging is that? Cool riiight!!?

I’m not so fussy that I think these guys “own” the new technique, but it does raise interesting issues about our visual environment.

So back to Dominos. They have found a clever and novel (albeit stolen from real street artists) way to “bomb” our cities with big-ass logos promoting their new pizzas. They are doing it in the public commons.

In response to my questions about this, @dominos said that if they “get complaints” (and they supposedly haven’t yet) they will “wash the entire sidewalk.”

Personally, I’d like to see that.

I also wondered what the city thought of their “potentially controversial” (Domino’s own description) promotion.

So I complained.

Not to them, but to the city. As most things go with city government, it will take them a while to get back to me … but they will.

What’s your opinion of all this?

Does the novelty excuse this (clearly if they had used spray paint they’d be in deep trouble)? Are you personally bothered by attempts to invade areas that are traditionally “ad free” by corporations, or am I just a big hippy? Does merely WRITING a blog like this break the unspoken fidelity we are supposed to have to our wonderful corporations in America in 2009?

And most importantly (to me at least), if we don’t care… why not?

PS. This page will be updated when my complaint to NYC is replied to. Feel free to use the link above or call 311 to do the same if you agree with my position. If you are interested in seeing more REAL “green” graffiti please see the beautiful images and videos here.

“Word Salad” My New Song For Sarah Palin

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin

Dear Sarah:

Please do better, you’re an American.

There’s aren’t any legal “remedies” to free speech, and just because you got David Letterman to buckle down to your tabloid-only style of bullying doesn’t mean the rest of us will. You can’t rewrite the laws to suit your whim any more than you can quit your job and make it look smart. We are not stupid … or at least most of us aren’t stupid.

So, Sarah, it is with the utmost respect and urgency that I ask you … nay, IMPLORE YOU, to read this:

Sarah Palin, on behalf of the thousands who haven’t spoken yet, the thousands who say these words to themselves every day, and the perhaps millions of lovers of free speech and the American way around the globe… allow me (with humility) to speak for all of us something that surely has gone far too long without being said:

Sarah Palin, fuck off.

You see, Sarah, how and what we say isn’t fucking up to you. In fact, as Americans, we get to say what the fuck we like – all day, every day.

There’s no sign-up sheet and we sure as hell don’t have to run it by your half-literate, anti-American ass.

How do you like them apples?

Sucks to be you, doesn’t it.

I’d ask you to read the Bill of Rights or even check with your fellow conservatives about THEIR recent attempts to tell us how we may use free fucking speech… like when Bill O’Reilly got his sorry ass laughed outta court trying to get Al Franken to take “Fair and Balanced” off his book cover because O’Numbnuts thought those words were Fox New’s PROPERTY.

Let me think… what did the judge say in that case say? Oh right. “This is a court of law, it’s satire, dumbasses…

Then I believe he added:

“So, fuck off.”

But hey, knock yourself out. Perhaps you missed that day in Civics class or you got confused because of Todd’s membership to a political party that wants to LEAVE America. Did I mention that was in the past? You know I would add that disclaimer but you know what?

NOW you are catchin’ on.

Fuck off.

And, Sarah, since you guys aren’t leaving our beautiful Union anytime soon, I feel it is my personal duty to teach you about our glorious American Way (and perhaps inspire some of our friends in places like Iran, North Korea, and the Sudan). Don’t worry, you don’t have to do much.

I’m going to ask my fellow Twitterers to use a new “hashtag” called #Palinrumors. I will ask these same folks to come up with the most outrageous stories they can about you, and post them to Twitter (ask your assistant to explain what it is to you); and give, finally, public voice to this clarion call that can join us ALL in PERFECT UNITY:

You guessed it.

Sarah Palin, fuck off.

Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you see them by adding @AKGovSarahPalin. That should be good for at least a few more weeks, right?

And please remember folks, you don’t need to add any sort of disclaimers to your tweets.

This is AMERICA. If I want to say “Sarah Palin had my love child” I can Goddamn well do it, and PROUDLY (I’m pretty sure I used protection back then, but who knows … it’s just an example).

I would urge the Alaskan blogger Shannyn Moore to join me in my simple quest to teach Sarah about our most basic American rights and freedoms by reprinting this on her blog and tweeting whatever she likes to #Palinrumors.

In fact, let’s see what she has said about all this, Sarah, since you have targeted her (for some politically tone-deaf reason known only to you):

“I haven’t defamed the governor, I reported on speculation and rumor in Alaska. … It’s not my rumor; it’s been out there for 10 months and the First Amendment protects me,” she told the paper. “Even if I didn’t say it’s ‘rumors and speculation,’ I’m still protected …”

Sound familiar?

There’s some big word in there, Sarah, so let me make it more clear to you what she is saying.

I’ll paraphrase it into one easy sentence:

Sarah Palin, fuck off.

Now you are getting the hang of it. While you are at it, could you please issue this simple warning to your legal team? … or, more accurately, a request:

Sue me.

No, seriously, I mean it. Do it loudly and publicly. Do me the greatest PR favor anyone has EVER done me … please, PLEASE … PLEASE sue me.

You may fuck off now.

Lefties Ride Harder Too, Mitch.

This is the usual way I ride my (mountain) bike to the woods in NJ! It’s 12 miles each way, not including the detours into Central Park and the off-road stuff in The Palisades (I go half and half, there’s a paved road through Palisades Park). After you cross the George Washington bridge from Harlem, you are literally IN THE WOODS. I love this damn city!! I’ll be doing this again on Saturday, most likely.

NOTE: You need to click on the minus sign to see full route.

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