Archive for May, 2014

If you’re like me, many of your friends took to Facebook to express themselves regarding last week’s tragedy at Isla Vista, California. Some posts expressed outrage, but none expressed surprise. There was a pervading sense of resignation, that this is just the way things are in America. It’s as though we feel powerless to do anything to prevent future occurrences.

Like virtually every other mass killing in the United States, this one involved guns. I realize that the first victims at Isla Vista were stabbed to death, but after that, Elliot Rodgers used his arsenal of semi-automatic weapons to kill, injure and inflict terror in his community.

Let’s be clear: Semi-automatic weapons are designed and manufactured for a single purpose, to kill human beings as efficiently as possible. The primary reason this country can’t impose reason controls on such devices is the National Rifle Association. The NRA is generally considered to be the most effective lobbying organization in America.

According to a 2012 article, the NRA spends ten times more money to lobby Congress than all of the anti-gun violence organizations combined. As a consequence, Congress does the bidding of the NRA rather than Americans as a whole. Nine of every ten Americans support expanding background checks on all firearms sales–something that even the majority of NRA members support. And yet, because the NRA as a lobbying organization opposes such efforts, Congress fails to act.

So, what to do? Those of us in favor of sensible and reasonable gun laws need to put our money where our mouths are. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, I began making a monthly donation to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. There are other similar organizations, but the Brady Campaign is one of the older ones. It’s unfortunate that these organizations are not united because we need them all working in concert in order to effectively countering the NRA.

The NRA claims that the way to counter gun violence is with more guns, but the United States already has more guns per capita than any other country, and far more shootings per capita than any other country. Why should we think that even more guns will produce a different result?

The NRA perpetuates the culture of gun violence that Rodgers found so intoxicating. After he brought home his first handgun, he wrote:

After I picked up the handgun, I brought it back to my room and felt a new sense of power. I was now armed. Who’s the alpha male now, bitches? I thought to myself, regarding all of the girls who’ve looked down on me in the past.

The NRA stands for this kind of gun culture. It represents the gun manufacturers who profit from it. We need to counter the NRA in the only way Congress understands: with money and power. We need to honor the victims of these shootings.

We need to start now.

Tweet Of The Day

Posted: May 27, 2014 by watsonthethird in Current Events, Guns, Tweet Of The Day
Tags: , , , ,

Most of us call guys like these “assholes.” Certainly not “men.”

Besides, what could go wrong? Oh, right. Someone could get shot.

A woman suffered a minor injury to her arm after a holstered handgun fell from a man’s pants, causing the weapon to discharge inside a business on the west side of Columbus.

At 8:03 p.m. Saturday, Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde was inside Walmart, 2025 Merchants Mile, when he heard a gunshot inside the store. He located the man and woman involved and called for additional patrol units to assist, said Lt. Matt Myers, spokesman for Columbus Police Department.

Tony E. Ward, 56, of Columbus, told police that a .22-caliber handgun, for which he has a permit and was in a holster, fell from his waistband while he was shopping and discharged, Myers said.

More sub-human brilliance from a teaist.

New polling data from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire shows:

“A growing left-right split over the validity of scientific information. This “science gap” is apparent most of all on the issue of climate change, but the problem is much broader, encompassing topics ranging from evolution to the safety and effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

This is pretty striking: The first three political groups—Democrats, independents, and non-tea party Republicans—all trust scientists on the environment. But then you come to tea party members, and suddenly, distrust in scientists soars. The numbers are stark: 60 percent of traditional Republicans trust scientists on the environment, versus only 28 percent of tea partiers.

Is anyone surprised? Go here for the rest of the article.

On Wednesday, Sen Rockefeller held a hearing of the Senate Commerce committee and some sparks flew. Rockefeller made this statement in a hearing about the ACA:

“It’s very important to take a long view at what’s going on here. And I’ll be able to dig up some emails that make part of the Affordable Care Act that doesn’t look good, especially from people who have made up their mind that they don’t want it to work. Because they don’t like the president, maybe he’s of the wrong color. Something of that sort,” Rockefeller said. “I’ve seen a lot of that and I know a lot of that to be true. It’s not something you’re meant to talk about in public, but it’s something I’m talking about in public because that is very true.”

That set Sen. Ron Johnson off.

“I didn’t object to this because of the race of the president. I objected to this because it is an assault on our freedom. And Mr. Chairman, I have to admit, I have a great deal of respect for you, but I’m the only one in the room, and I found it very offensive that you would basically imply that I’m a racist because I oppose this health care law. That is outrageous.”

Did you catch that? Rockefeller said some people oppose the ACA because of racism and Johnson twisted his words to say that Rockefeller called him a racist. This is the reverse race card played by Republicans on a regular basis. They make the false claim that liberals call all opposition to Obama racist, so therefore, no opposition to Obama can ever be racist. The GOP even went so far as to say racism has ended. It’s a weak attempt to keep liberals from pointing out that racism is alive and well in our country.

Just recently, numerous stories have appeared that only serve to reinforce that point. We have Cliven Bundy saying, “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro.” Republicans will say he is just a singular nutcase, even though they were full-throated in support of him until he opened his mouth, but he isn’t a lone wolf and racism is alive and well in the Republican Party. A New Hampshire police commissioner unapologetically called Obama a n****r. A county Republican Committee in Illinois sent out a newsletter calling Obama a zebra; half black, half white, and all ass. A Republican Party official in California sent out a picture of Obama’s face pasted on a chimpanzee’s body. A Republican Precinct Chairman in North Carolina opened up about the real reason for passing photo ID voting laws when he said, “If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.”

It’s not just about Obama, though. Racism is still prevalent throughout the country and it is not restricted to the South, as demonstrated by Robert Keller in Utah.

“What Keller wrote down, in a letter to the family last December, was a direct threat. His hate-filled letter – which concluded with “Get this n****r out!” – explicitly warned the parents that he would kill either the boy or the parents if they did not remove him from the neighborhood.

By Keller’s own description the letter read, “If it was my daughter – I think I wrote that I’d slice his throat or something like that.”

Keller told KUTV that he was inspired to write the letter out of fear that the boy might try to date white girls. “I just said, ‘What’s gonna happen later on down the road, when this black kid starts chasing these girls? Which I’ve seen,” he said. “That’s what set me off. I saw him walking down the street with a white gal.”

When Republicans try to shield themselves and their constituents from any accusations of racism, liberals need to forcefully push back. Stating the obvious fact that some opposition to Obama is based on racism is not the same as saying ALL opposition is based on racism. We can’t let the Republicans get a free pass to say anything they want by denying racism exists.

From The Atlantic’s article describing “five predictions about the future of reproduction.”

4. Synthetic Sperm Will Save the Nuclear Family

As long as we’re entertaining far-out but technically feasible scenarios, the most radical revision in reproduction could be the creation of artificial gametes, a k a sperm and egg cells. Researchers may ultimately be able to take a cell from an adult man or woman, turn it into a stem cell, then change that stem cell into a sperm or an egg. Doctors have already succeeded in breeding same-sex laboratory animals in this way.

Timothy Murphy is a philosophy professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago whose work focuses on the bioethical implications of reproductive technologies for gay, lesbian, and transgender people. He points out that creating artificial sperm and eggs could, rather than leading to radical social change, actually preserve a normative family structure. “For gay and lesbian couples, the synthetic gametes would eliminate the need for a third party,” Murphy notes. This kind of assisted reproductive technology—“unnatural” as it might be—would allow same-sex couples to keep reproduction solely within the family.

Tweet Of The Day

Posted: May 23, 2014 by watsonthethird in Tweet Of The Day
Tags: , ,

I know, I know. It’s too easy to pick on Queen Sarah, but this was pretty funny. So that’s my Tweet Of The Day!

Wish Me Luck

Posted: May 23, 2014 by Marner in Open Thread

I’m about to install Wolfenstein: The New Order on my computer. The damn thing has 4 DVDs and from what I’ve read, an additional 90 minutes of updating through Steam. It better be worth it.