Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘proportionality’

Rated R for graphic smoking

Posted by Richard on May 11, 2007

The Motion Picture Association of America is going to consider smoking (by adults) as a factor, along with sex, violence, and language, in determining whether a film gets a restricted rating. Critics are complaining that the MPAA isn't going far enough. They want any image of tobacco use to automatically get an R rating, so that no child under 17 can see on the screen what they can see just outside the door on their way out of the theater:

"I'm glad it's finally an issue they're taking up, but what they're proposing does not go far enough and is not going to make a difference," said Kori Titus, spokeswoman for Breathe California, which opposes film images of tobacco use that might encourage young people to start smoking.

Titus said film raters should be as tough on smoking as they are on bad language to minimize the effects of on-screen smoking on children, including her own 5-year-old daughter.

"I don't want her using that language, but last time I checked, she's probably not going to die from that," Titus said. "If she starts smoking from these images she sees in movies, chances are she's probably going to die early from that."

Apparently in anticipation of such criticism, the MPAA had already lined up defenders to argue that their level of nannyism is sufficient:

While Titus' group wants tougher ratings restrictions, the MPAA released statements of support for its plan from John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and filmmaker Rob Reiner, among others.

"By placing smoking on a par with considerations of violence and sex, the rating board has acknowledged the public-health dangers to children associated with glamorized images of a toxic and lethal addiction to tobacco," Barry Bloom, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement.

So, the public debate is whether images of people lighting cigarettes are worse than or merely as bad as images of rape or disembowelment.

How long do you suppose it will be before some group of nanny-state nazis calls for restricted ratings on films that depict the consumption of doughnuts or french fries? 

UPDATE: A caller to Rush had a brilliant idea. He pointed out that the MPAA's statements and actions amount to an acknowledgement of culpability by the film industry. How many millions of us watched Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and others smoking on the silver screen in film after film, and thought they looked oh-so-cool, and decided to emulate them? Could we perhaps get John Edwards or one of his law partners to file a class action suit on our behalf? Or do Edwards and his pals only go after industries that aren't dominated by leftist Democrats?

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A subtle distinction

Posted by Richard on July 28, 2006

Gil Milbauer, A Reasonable Man, posted a cartoon that he said has been around for a long time. I haven’t seen it before, but I like the stark simplicity of it. It illustrates perfectly the subtle difference between Israel and its enemies:

UPDATE:  I’ve noted before that it’s difficult to satirize the left nowadays because they’re such moonbats that you can’t exaggerate them. Likewise, I think it’s becoming hard to demonize the Palestinian terrorists. When this cartoon was created, it was undoubtedly intended to be hyperbole — an exaggeration for effect, not a literal depiction of how Palestinians fight.

Reality may have caught up with the exaggeration. Yoni Tidi posted the following update on the shooting that took place yesterday at an entrance to Jerusalem:

An Arab man approached the check point holding an infant in one hand, when he came to the Police Officers that were checking peoples identification this “gentleman” that was holding an infant in his one arm pulled a handgun out from it’s position of concealment and opened fire hitting two Police Officers.

The Police returned fire killing the man without hurting the infant.

We’ve already seen Palestinian boys and girls — teenage kids as young as 12 — turned into suicide bombers. In Iraq, a retarded youth was outfitted with a bomb and sent toward a polling place. What will the Islamofascists come up with next — exploding babies?

[Note: Tidi didn’t cite a source, and his account is unconfirmed. But his information generally seems to be pretty reliable. An IDF reserve officer currently living in the U.S., he has extensive personal contacts in the Israeli government and military, and frequently posts information obtained from those sources.]
 

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Phoning the targets to warn them

Posted by Richard on July 27, 2006

The other day I noted that Hezbollah was not just launching attacks from civilian homes, apartments, schools, and hospitals, in some cases it was preventing the residents from leaving, holding them hostage to its desire to maximize civilian casualties for public relations purposes. Hamas has long used the same strategy of surrounding its attackers with civilians, preferably role-playing, brainwashed "human shield" children eager to fulfill their destiny and become martyrs.

Contrast the tactics of those groups with how the Israelis prepare for attacks on nominally civilian targets (and note the source for this report):

Shin Bet security service agents have begun telephoning members of Palestinian terrorist organizations and warning them to leave their houses, so that they and their families will not be hurt when Israel bombs them, Palestinian sources said yesterday.

According to the sources, Shin Bet agents have contacted members of various armed organizations over the last few days and warned them that Israel plans to attack their houses. The houses in question are being targeted because Israel believes that they are being used to store or manufacture weapons, including Qassam rockets and rocket-propelled grenades.

Before dawn yesterday, the Israel Defense Forces bombed two such houses – one belonging to an Islamic Jihad operative in Gaza City and one belonging to a Hamas operative in Rafah, on the Gazan-Egyptian border. According to the army, both houses served as weapons factories.

In addition, the IDF has interrupted local radio broadcasts in several parts of Gaza in recent days, overriding the scheduled programing with warnings about planned attacks on houses that serve as arms caches. The interrupted broadcasts have included some by Hamas’ Radio Al-Aqsa.

I’m simply astonished — and of two minds. On the one hand, it warms my heart that the Israelis are — despite many years of unspeakable barbarism and provocation by their enemies — so goddamned civilized, honorable, and decent.

On the other hand, a part of me wonders if they’re too civilized, honorable, and decent. As I said the other day, "It’s not only unwise, it’s downright wrong to stay your hand so much that the aggressor might win — or survive to prey on more victims in the future." Isn’t that what this level of solicitude leads to?

There aren’t any easy answers here. War is at best a terrible thing that inevitably kills innocents, so one ought to favor actions intended to minimize the number of innocents killed. But what if those spared by these warnings aren’t innocent? And the warnings enable them to move their rockets to another location, and kill some Israeli teens in a pizza parlor a few hours later?

No easy answers, that’s for sure…

But I do know this: I know which side I admire and which I despise. I know which culture and community I’m proud to share the planet with.

If you’ve served in the IDF, or IAF, or Shin Bet, or any other part of the government of Israel — heck, if you’re one of the 99% of Israelis who support the fight against these Jew-hating 7th-century barbarians — and you’re ever in Denver, look me up. I’ll buy you a beer. Or two or three…
 

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Justice requires a disproportionate response

Posted by Richard on July 19, 2006

On Tuesday, I mentioned Neo-neocon’s post about the danger of proportionality. Well, Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna wrote brilliantly about this nonsense of proportionality on Monday:

If you could cut through all the Kofi-speak to the heart of the matter, what do you think would be a “proportionate” response to the provocations Israel has endured? Do the Israelis have to fire Qassam rockets into Gaza at Hamas? Do Jewish kids have to strap on bomb belts and blow themselves up in Ramallah?

As someone recently said, it’s like a bank robbery — when the call comes in that three men are robbing a bank, then the cops can only send in three patrolmen to stop them.

Or imagine that you’re woken up in the middle of the night by a burglar in the living room. You grab your twelve-gauge and creep down the stairs very quietly. But when you flip on the light and surprise the burglar, he’s armed with only a knife! What do you do? Why, you drop the shotgun, rush to the kitchen, and rummage through the drawers for a knife. And not just any knife — it has to be no longer or sharper than the one the burglar has!

The contemptible blather about "disproportionate response" comes from people who refuse to distinguish between the aggressor and the victim — who remain morally neutral as to which one ought to prevail, and thus believe that "fairness" requires each to have an equal chance.

I'm a fan of disproportionate responseFor those of us who insist that there is no right to rape, mug, burgle — or murder (again!) six million Jews — the concept of proportionality of response is a moral abomination. The correct response to aggression is whatever is necessary to stop it, to punish the aggressor, and to prevent repetition of the aggression in the future. The correct response to Islamofascism is to wipe it out.

Decent people, of course, do their best to minimize harm to innocent bystanders — and the extremely low number of deaths, given the number of air strikes and artillery bombardments, makes it clear that Israel is taking extraordinary measures in this regard. Perhaps too much so.

It’s not only unwise, it’s downright wrong to stay your hand so much that the aggressor might win — or survive to prey on more victims in the future. Don’t those future victims have just as much claim on your concern as the bystanders today? More so, in my opinion, if the bystanders aren’t so innocent — and that’s certainly the case for most of the "civilian casualties" counted up by the media in southern Lebanon. These are the people who support Hezbollah, store Hezbollah weapons in their houses, and cheer on and resupply the Hezbollah fighters — likely, their brothers and sons — firing rockets from their doorsteps.

I’m joining the good Baron, and saying to our friends in Israel, "Bring on the Disproportionate Response!"

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from The Atheist Jew — please have a look around. You may see some post titles in the left sidebar that interest you.

UPDATE 2: The latest version of the proportionality complaint, blathered about endlessly on MSM outlets on Thursday, is the disparity between the number of Israeli deaths and Lebanese deaths (which are almost all Hezbollah deaths). The morally neutral "fairness" advocates object to the fact that Israel wages war more effectively than Hezbollah!

Would these asshats like to see an international Handicapper General, a la Harrison Bergeron, reduce the effectiveness of Israel’s weapons, tactics, and troops so that they don’t have an unfair advantage over the genocidal maniacs on the other side?

If you’re not familiar with Kurt Vonnegut’s short story masterpiece, Harrison Bergeron, click that link and read it right now.
 

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