Friday, October 30, 2009

Why Am I Not Surprised...

That the Deciderator's NASA allowed the one satellite monitoring global warming to slowly die?

Step 1: Deny there's a problem, based on lack of data.
Step 2: Claim the science is muddled.
Step 3: Deny funding to any hardware or studies that might unmuddle the science.
Step 4: Deny there's a problem, based on lack of data.

They do this with medical marijuana as well.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Because Some Things Should Be Offered With No Further Comment

Officials Warn Against Hoarding Manure.

I've Blogged Before, And I'll Blog Again...

About guns.

Full Disclosure, I own, but am not currently in possession of, a 9mm Handgun, a .30-30 Rifle and a 12 Ga Shotgun (the Wee Pedant being who she is, I'm inclined to require unlocking procedures akin to nuclear weapons release before I bring them into my home). Having said that, I am highly ambivalent about unlimited gun rights.

Maybe I've run too many ranges, but the vast majority of my fellow citizens have no more business possessing firearms than they do possessing crystal meth. Too much potential for misuse. Allow a liberal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and eventually someone's kid blows his own head off. And now this.

Apparently open carry leads to, shall we say, serious consequences.

Soccer mom in Pennsylvania horrified fellow soccer moms by openly carrying a holstered pistol to a soccer game. She had her carry permit revoked then reinstated 8 days later. She's dead now, in an apparent murder/suicide at which her three children (now orphans) were present. Domestic dispute.

Which leads to my point. I will emphasize this for the "Guns don't kill people, people kill people," folks out there. The presence of a gun in any highly emotional situation immediately raises the stakes to life and death. Instantly. Am I saying that the gun in this caused the violence? No. Did the gun make it lethal? You are fucking-A right it did. Were her fellow soccer game attendees unreasonable in being worried (batshit upset, more like) at someone carrying a gun to events that time and again in this country devolve into shouting matches or violence between coaches, refs and parents? Abso-fucking-lutely not.

So let's be honest about the bargain we make when we interpret the 2nd Amendment the way we've decided to. We are arguing for MORE accidental or spur of the moment homicides. Look at that chart again (or for the first time). Other than the District of Columbia (a special case...if you carved out any poverty stricken zone that compact in this country, you'd get that result), the top ten per capita (corrected for population size, in other words) firearms death states you get in order are Alaska, Louisiana, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Alabama.

(Bitter Sarcasm) Clearly the strong gun control laws in those states has led to poor defenseless citizens gunned down by rampant crime. (/Bitter Sarcasm)

As it turns out there's a high correlation between a shitload of guns, and a shitload of gun deaths. As Eddie Izzard says, "And the National Rifle Association says that, 'Guns don't kill people, people do,' but I think the gun helps, you know? I think it helps. I just think just standing there going, 'Bang!' That's not going to kill too many people, is it? You'd have to be really dodgy on the heart to have that…”.

So I own guns. I enjoy firing guns. I am comfortable around guns (the Army saw to that). But I DON'T FUCKING KID MYSELF about the implications of the firearms culture in this country. More people die because of it. Period. Either own up to it, or give up your guns, damnit. Quit blowing sunshine up your own ass about what you're doing...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This Caught My Eye

Matt Ygelsias on the limits of the bully pulpit:

The arrow is "The Speech"...

Apparently, this is pretty much what happens everytime a President talks up an issue. Matt's claim is that it is pernicious to maintain the fiction that Presidential will alone determines this...the Green Lantern Theory.


It’s not just that media commentary overemphasizing the president’s ability to shape opinion is inaccurate, it has a really detrimental impact on people’s ability to organize and effect political change. People are strongly encouraged to believe that the key to achieving policy change is to elect a president who’s friendly to their views. Then when that turns out to be insufficient they don’t move on and do additional organizing in House and Senate races. Instead, they tend to become frustrated with the president they worked to elect. But why blame the victim of congressional obstruction rather than the perpetrator? Well, people always seem to find a way to tell themselves, if only the president had fought harder he would have gotten it. He must have lost because he didn’t really care.