Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Lawyers, Guns, And Money Edition
Let’s kick off today’s NYT review with some chit-chat about guns, because there is never going to be a shortage of Second Amendment harpies shrieking that if they cannot carry a gun everywhere, all our freedoms will disappear. Today, let’s learn about Kansas’s fun new requirement where public buildings actually can’t ban guns anymore unless they’re willing to pay extra money for security screening out of their own stretched-thin municipal budgets.
Reasoning that more guns mean greater safety, Kansas lawmakers voted last year to require cities and counties to make public buildings accessible to people legally carrying concealed weapons.
But for communities that remained wary of such open access to city halls, libraries, museums and courthouses, the Legislature provided an exemption: Guns can be banned as long as local governments pay for protections like metal detectors and security guards, ensuring the safety of those they have disarmed.
OK, let’s try to work out this tortured logic. If you have no security measures and just let everyone in, guns-a-packing, willy-nilly, then it will be super safe because even though bad people will bring guns to — oh, let’s just say to shoot judges — the magic good people will just shoot them dead. On the other hand, if you disarm everyone, that’s less safe because…ummmm, we have no idea why. So now you can have your guns in places where little kids routinely engage in little kid type public activities, like the library. That’s fine, of course, because there are never any accidental shootings. We’re feeling full of safety already.
Speaking of safe, we’re also grateful as can be to America’s banks, who are by and large refusing to let those filthy yet entirely legal pot shops deposit their drug-fueled money there, because everyone knows that the banks are only interested in money that has been washed in the blood of the poor thanks to the incredible scumminess that is the American financial system.
Though 20 states and the District of Columbia allow either medical or recreational marijuana use — with more likely to follow suit — the drug remains illegal under federal law. The Controlled Substances Act, enacted in 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous category, which also includes heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
As a result, banks, including state-chartered ones, are reluctant to provide traditional services to marijuana businesses. They fear that federal regulators and law enforcement authorities might punish them, with measures like large fines, for violating prohibitions on money-laundering, among other federal laws and regulations.
Yes, you’re reading that right. These banks were the underpinning of the toxic mix of under-regulation and over-rapacious financial institutions that basically collapsed your economy a few years ago and probably stoled your house too, but they’re now afraid of the Big Bad Government cracking down because they let people deposit their completely legally earned weed money.
So, what are marijuana dispensary owners doing with all that money? Basically stashing it in their mattresses.
The limitations have created unique burdens for legal marijuana business owners. They pay employees with envelopes of cash. They haul Chipotle and Nordstrom bags containing thousands of dollars in $10 and $20 bills to supermarkets to buy money orders. When they are able to open bank accounts — often under false pretenses — many have taken to storing money in Tupperware containers filled with air fresheners to mask the smell of marijuana.
Hmmm. We can’t think of any safety issues that will arise from people having to keep huge stacks of cash at their home or their businesses, stacks they can never get rid of because no bank will take it. Maybe if Colorado and Washington state just mandated that everyone everywhere carry a gun into every possible location, that money would be magically enveloped in the cloud of safety emitted by guns. We can only hope.
Forgive us. We wandered off from talking about what a soul-sucking vortex of criminality the modern financial system is, but then we remembered that there is an enormous article in this week’s NYT about McKinsey and Company trying to shake off its reputation as the suckest, most crime-y vortex.
Remember McKinsey? It was their bright young things who went to Enron and turned that energy company into a company that didn’t actually do anything except hoover up your life savings and then peace out. Remember McKinsey? One of their directors, Anil Kumar, pleaded guilty to insider training and completely owned up to the fact that he shoveled insider info over to a buddy’s hedge fund in exchange for sweet ass cash. Remember McKinsey? Their three-time managing director Rajat Gupta was also full of crime for the very same reason.
Now some poor sucker is stuck with trying to clean this all up, but the McKinsey employees are being whiny ass titty babies about how they used to totally be able to do things like trade in stocks of their client companies because although people keep exploiting that for personal gain and going to prison, they would never ever do that cross their hearts and hope to die and why can’t you just treat them — and trust them — like adults? Sadly, we have no doubt that these people will reinvent themselves as someone you totally trust to manage your money, while the poor dude that runs the marijuana store just stacks tens and twenties under his bed.
Another long read you should check out today is a belated but critical story about an Alabama legal blogger, Roger Shuler, who has many bad and perhaps entirely spurious things to say about local politicians and judges, and is now in prison after a few quick-and-dirty little hearings. He’s been ordered to pull down some posts that may or may not be defamatory, or sit in jail. He’s sitting in jail even though he hasn’t been given anything even remotely resembling the process due in this sort of matter.
But Mr. White and others say that before a judge can take the step of banning speech, libel must be proved at trial, or at least over a litigation process more involved than a quick succession of hearings, with the only evidence presented by the plaintiffs.
You are probably not surprised to learn that we are not down with jailing bloggers simply because some object of their bloggerly ire says a post is not true. If you care more about this — LIKE YOU SHOULD — head on over to Popehat, run by the Mr. White quoted above. Ken White has been on this story since the start and is honestly your go-to source for discourse on unfettered First Amendment rights.
Enough seriousness. Let’s get our entertainment news on before we deal with the columnists. The Times has not one but two roundups of the teevee shows that kick off in the next couple weeks. The Times is ON IT when it comes to noticing that Sundays are cray if you are trying to watch your big-name favorites, as this season Sundays will have The Good Wife and Downton Abbey and True Detective and Girls all on the same night. Do you people realize how much this sucks when you are trying to run an entertainment blog and assign teevee recaps? DO YOU??
The Times also has a handy guide you maybe want to check out if you want a rundown of shows debuting or returning in the next few weeks. Try to control your excitement about the fifth season of Duck Dynasty starting Wednesday.
Whatever you do, if you are a smug owner of a toddler, do not let your children watch any of this bountiful cornucopia of television, because then you wouldn’t be able to write pissy little letters to the poor social etiquette guy and explain how your little Ashton is just too precious to expose to media.
Unlike almost everyone we know, my husband and I do not allow our 3-year-old to watch TV or movies, or use smartphones, tablets or other devices. We feel that “screen time” is unhealthy, and so far, the policy has worked for our family. I avoid this topic with other parents because our choice implies a negative judgment about their choices. If the TV comes on at someone else’s house, we quietly excuse ourselves
Nice little Luddite you’ve got there. School is going to SUCK for this kid, because he will be the kid that does not know how to use the widely available and widely used iPad and he will probably be an arrogant little twerp like his parents. Good luck with that. Oh, who are we kidding. That kid will probably grow up to be an arrogant spectacularly rich person and will buy Annie Leibovitz’s house or a place with two guest suites that are bigger than your entire hovel. Also marble baths. That guy is going to have a palatial Roman god type of bath while you have that tub you can’t lay all the way down in even though you’re only five feet tall, and all because he never got to see a television set as a child.
We regret to inform you that none of the terrible trio of columnists took this Sunday off. Maureen Dowd covers Chris Christie, and the bulk of the column is what everyone else has already said a million times this week. Chris Christie is a bully! Chris Christie threw his aides under the bus! The emails have some really bad stuff in them!
Dowd wasn’t going to really be able to write about Christie, though, unless she could somehow also too write about Maureen Dowd.
It’s tough to wrap your head around a stunning level of duplicity.
I learned this lesson the hard way covering Paul Tsongas’s presidential surge in 1992. When The Times’s Dr. Larry Altman came on the campaign trail to interview Tsongas, he was skeptical about the candidate’s claim that his lymphoma had not recurred. I told Altman it was impossible for me to believe that Tsongas, who prided himself on his honesty and who was so straightforward he was mocked as “Saint Paul” by Clinton aides, could lie about that — especially given the profound political consequences.
Dr. Altman was right, as Tsongas later admitted.
Nobody cares about Paul Tsongas anymore, MoDo, and we are damn certain no one cares about your insights into his truthiness from 20 years ago.
Thomas Friedman’s column is a paean to the digital hyperconnected age where average is over (he really says that) combined with a seventh-grade level utterly uncritical book review of Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s new book, The Second Machine Age. It’s the usual fantasy world Friedman dwells in, where we’re all just getting bigger and better and richer. Somehow this will happen because software will replace people doing jobs, but that will magically make new jobs because the world is flat. Shut up, Thomas Friedman.
Ross Douthat has finally learned that it is kind of tough for women to write on the internet, thanks to the fact that they get the supercalifragilistic fun time of men threatening to rape and murder them because they disagree with something they said. Douthat spends all of the words in the known universe somehow trying to make this the fault of more liberalized sexual mores.
[T]here is the phenomenon of intraliberal misogyny — like the flood of abuse, cited by Hess, that greeted the atheist writer Rebecca Watson when she wrote about sexism and harassment at a skeptics’ convention.
Cases like Watson’s suggest that there’s a chauvinist attitude in play here, a kind of crypto-ideology of sex and gender, that doesn’t map neatly onto what we usually think of as culture-war divides. This attitude is “liberal” in that it regards sexual license as an unalloyed good, and treats any kind of social or religious conservatism as a dead letter. But at the same time it wants to rebel and lash out against the strictures it feels that feminism and political correctness have placed on male liberty, male rights.
We don’t even know what he is talking about here, honestly. To his credit, he doesn’t try to turn this around and say that ladies have to fix their nasty tendency to get threatened, and acknowledges that this is kind of a dude problem, but somehow, somewhere, Ross Douthat is certain that if we would all just keep it in our pants, the Internet would be a better place to live. Sure, whatever. You are less annoying than Thomas Friedman this week, so congratulations and please feel free to proudly display your ribbon until next week, when you will suck the most again.