But How Do You Really Feel?

There’s a lot to absorb from this Missoulian article about a bad local man who either stomped on or threw his recently adopted kitten before attempting to flush it down the toilet (he had also shaved its head at some point), but this quote from Animal Control Officer Judy Vernier is what jumped out at me:

“They asked us years ago if we wanted to carry guns, and I turned it down. It’d just be too tempting.”

The alleged perpetrator could be charged with “felony aggravated animal cruelty,” which I assume could result in jail time. I hope it does, if only to provide the appropriate venue for a conversation between him and some kitten-loving biker[1] that starts like this:

“So, what are you in for?”

1. If you follow only one hyperlink today, make it this one!

I Did Not Know That

Apparently, “it is an ascertained fact that Jesuits are prowling about all parts of the United States in every possible disguise, expressly to ascertain the advantageous situations and modes to disseminate Popery…. [T]he western country swarms with them under the names of puppet show men, dancing masters, music teachers, peddlers of images and ornaments, barrel organ players, and similar practitioners.”

Even barrel organ players? IS NOTHING SACRED?

(Quoted from The Paranoid Style in American Politics, which quotes it from an 1835 tract by S.F.B. Morse, who probably should have stuck to dots and dashes.)

Reality Check

Nate Silver reminds us of the political knowledge gaps in this country. (Sources are linked in the original post.)

“We’ve repeatedly highlighted Kaiser’s health care polling, which revealed that only about half of the public knows about many of the key provisions that are in the Democrats’ bill, such as coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Meanwhile, a Pew poll this week found that only 26 percent of Americans know that it takes 60 votes to overcome a Senate filibuster — and only 32 percent know that Senate GOPers voted unanimously against the Democrats’ health care plan. And a Rasmussen poll of likely voters found that only 21 percent of them believe that the Democrats have cut taxes for “95% of working families”, a fact which is probably true.

I don’t particularly blame the public for this. The number of politics “fans” probably numbers somewhere on the order of 10 or 20 million out of a country of 250 million adults. Most people have lives and have better things to do than to follow politics all the time. They pay quite a bit of attention during Presidential elections and, I would argue, make reasonably sophisticated decisions. But outside of that, most people aren’t watching MSNBC or Fox News every evening or logging onto the Washington Post or FiveThirtyEight. They’re developing impressions based on limited information, often gleaned from partisan news sources and politicians who have an incentive to tell them anything but the truth.”

One possible reaction to this is self-righteous anger about the willful ignorance of the electorate, blah, blah, blah. Another one is to find hope in the fact that many of these people don’t actually disagree with what’s on the table and so they can be reached.