Friday, February 28, 2014
Thought of the Day
Pete Du Pont
Labels: Pete Du Pont quote
Thursday, February 27, 2014
These Things Don't Exist
The fact that has become inescapable for those who have indeed followed the research, who may have even read at least a few of the scientific papers (and not just the abstracts of those papers—that’s cheating—the whole thing, beginning to end, intro to data-crunching to conclusion) is that virtually no legitimate climate scientists ever claim to know exactly what will happen in 20 or 30 or 50 years. For a long time, in fact, climate science has been built on two core truths: that the climate is changing, driven in meaningful ways by human greenhouse emissions; and that the climate system as a whole is far, far too complex to be modeled or understood with anything like absolute certainty. (Emphasis added).
Monday, February 24, 2014
Not the Best Idea
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Labels: Progress; No Hope
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Let's start with the basics. CO2, the beneficial trace gas, does very little of the actual 'greenhouse' warming of our atmosphere. H2O does almost all of it. Furthermore, the curve of how increased atmospheric CO2 warms the atmosphere is asymptotic, that is, it flattens out quickly, so that the first doubling of CO2, from 140 to 280 ppmv, increases temperature about two degrees but after that doubling again of CO2, from 280 to 560 ppmv, has ever diminishing returns and from 370 to 740 ppmv, the increase is just over one degree. Since we won't get to 740 ppmv until deep into the 22nd Century, that's not very scary. To get to an alarming increase in global temperature, the true believers have to rely on an amplification theory--the little bit of more heat from CO2 causes more water to evaporate and that increased water vapor increases the temperature even more. Without water vapor amplification, there is no alarming rise in temperature possible, and the alarming part of the
So the burning of fossil fuel necessarily results in more water in the atmosphere, according to the alarmist. Which makes Mr. Egan's title a little ironic--Days of Dessication. Shouldn't it be ever wetter in the atmosphere? He's talking about the current drought in California. He talks about our 'fevered' planet like a good little alarmist, but then he stumbles into this truthful statement.
The drought itself may not be a result of climate change...That's true, there were droughts in California that lasted over a century in the past 1500 years, back when there was no fossil fuel burning. It seems very unlikely that this two year drought is anything outside the normal ebb and flow of the clouds above California. Unfortunately, then Egan adds this nonsense to his true statement:
...but it is made worse by all the meteorological complications.
Oh, by the way, here are the long term Palmer drought indices for the middle of this month. Most of the United States is in good shape as far as drought is concerned. So much for the Permanent Southwestern Drought. My state is going like gangbusters hydrologically speaking
Egan seems to prefers to go ad hominem, a lot, rather than respond to the 'denier' arguments with rational counter arguments. This preference makes him come across as a smug asshole. Examples:
No surprise, some of the worst deniers of the obvious come from places where it pays to look the other way. Let me introduce Representative Devin Nunes, Republican from Fresno. Like most elected members of his party, Nunes apparently skipped out of science class.
I can't find out what Mr. Egan studied at U. Wash, while I was down the coast at Stanford, four decades ago. He certainly does not mention his vast and superior scientific studies anywhere on his little used website (We share an admiration for the sci fi writer Vernor Vinge, but that's about all we share, it seems). Perhaps he is a scientific genius who is modest. However, modest humans, secure in themselves, don't often go out of their way to insult others. I put his belligerence down to a hidden realization that he actually has little in the way of real scientific knowledge and has to put down people who don't share his faith in the invisible Sky God Seeohtu in order to make himself feel better about his own suppressed inadequacies. It's a valid theory, at least. Here's more snark.
But Nunes prefers the myth, firmly planting himself with the fact-denial majority of Republican lawmakers.And more:
As for stupid, the fish yields its time to the congressman from California.
He then reveals his utter lack of historical knowledge (even though he wrote a well reviewed book on the Dust Bowl) in calling the current two years of dessication a "drought for the age." I have to think the actual, centuries-long mega-droughts of the medieval period might have been bigger deals while this little one is of no real consequence or would be of no consequence if others of Mr. Egan's ilk hadn't demanded that all that water, which would be very useful to the central valley just about now, be flushed out to the ocean rather than pumped into storage for just this sort of normal California weather, for the sole benefit of small fry.
Every time there is a weather event that harms people, the alarmist true believers all start chanting: Seeohtu, global warming, climate change, the end is near, the planet is fevered and the like; but these events are absolutely normal--not more deadly, destructive, powerful, or frequent than in the past. The real issue here is the government interference in the sound hydrological plans, ruined by the delta smelt ruling. Egan is having none of that. Pity.
And his name calling is so off-putting that I had to respond in kind.
UPDATE: A single swallow does not make a Summer but here is the first of several storms lined up to bring water to California. Headline: Big storm brings heavy rain, snow to dry California.
Certainly not the end of the drought but perhaps the beginning of the end of the drought of the ages.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Perpetual Childish Outrage
Not good enough for the guardians of the slightest slight. Jamelle Bouie, who is pretty much an idiot, is up in arms that the jury (with two black women on it) did not convict on all counts. He stops short of calling the black jurors racist, but just barely.
First, let's look at the trial. Yes, assuming a tough judge, the 47-year-old Dunn will go to prison for the rest of his life. But he won't be going to prison for Davis's death.Unless another jury convicts in the retrial and then Dunn will be going to prison for Davis's death and all your apparent outrage will be for nothing.
If Dunn had killed Davis and his friends—or if he had killed Davis without shooting afterwards—then, by to the logic of the jury, he would have escaped punishment altogether.Again, he has not escaped punishment for murdering Davis, it has only been delayed by failure of the first jury to agree on the verdict. If it was 11-1 or 10-2 for conviction, Bouie has pretty much wasted everyone's time with his pouting, as usual. Had the other victims been killed rather than shot at and missed, the results of the trial would have likely been the same. Bouie is apparently too blind to see that. But then he goes completely off the rails.
Which, you know, is insane, both in what it says about Florida's “Stand Your Ground” law—your best bet for getting away with murder is to shoot first and kill everyone—and what it says about the value of black lives vis-à-vis the state's legal system. According to the criminal justice system of Florida, you are right to fear African-American men, and if you decide to act on that fear with violence, then you stand a good chance of avoiding conviction, on account of a jury that—more likely than not—will sympathize with your fear.
First, 'stand your ground' had nothing to do with this case. It was standard self defense, the same that exists in every state in the union. It also says nothing at all about the 'value of black lives' as the jury necessarily rejected the self defense claim against the other young black men Mr. Dunn shot at and missed. Self defense does require fear but it is a special fear, fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury, and not only must it be subjectively in the mind of the would be self defender but the fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury must be reasonable, that is, any reasonable person in the same situation would have felt it and acted accordingly.
The facts back this up. In states with “Stand Your Ground,” homicides with a white perpetrator and a black victim are most likely to be ruled "justifiable." By contrast, it is least likely—by a factor of ten—for black on white homicides to receive the same designation.
Mr. Bouie would do well to examine the reliable stats on self defense case convictions where the defender is white and the attacker is black, versus the cases where the attacker is white and the defender is black, before he shoots off his stupid mouth about how the legal system is racist. The Urban Institute, to which he links, is not looking at the FBI stats available online, as far as I can tell. And here is a healthy dose of truth against the poisonous lies Bouie and his ilk perpetually use. In Florida, there is no significant difference between how blacks and whites alleging self defense fare in the criminal justice system there. Unfortunately for his argument, the number of cases where the white attacker is killed and the black defender is acquitted are very few in number. The reason such cases are so rare is not because they are never brought to trial; it's just just an unrepresentative-to-the-racial-proportion-of-the-society number of those attacks occur. What's up with that, Jamalle?
In fairness to Florida, it's not as if this—white fear as an adjudicating factor for black life—is a new thing. It's the force behind the lynching epidemic of the early 20th century, the racial terrorism of the 1920s, and the economic assaults—riots and redlining—of the post-war period. And for all of the real problems of the current moment, there was a belief that we had put that behind us. Which is one reason why this case is so jarring. No, “Stand Your Ground” isn't as egregious as the worst of Jim Crow, but there's no denying that it harkens to a time when you could shoot first and never ask questions, as long as the victim was a black person.
I agree the Democrat controlled Jim Crow South and the Democrat terrorist wing, KKK lynchings were a disgraceful period in our history. But whatever 'white fear as an adjudicating factor for black life" is, it would appear misplaced in today's reality where a black male 15-25 years old is 18 time more likely to die at the hands of another black than he is likely to die at the hands of a person of any other race. That's a sad fact that should terrify Mr. Bouie and his brothers and sisters but rarely, if ever, gets mentioned. Bouie and his ilk lie to their brothers and sisters and say they should fear only whites.
UPDATE: An old friend, local property law professor Paul Campos throws in his two cents here. To call the piece breathless with outrage is to use too faint praise. This is a howling mess. Paul soberly opines.
The failure to convict Michael Dunn for shooting Jordan Davis to death in the course of an argument over whether the 17-year-old and his friends were playing their car stereo too loudly illustrates that, as a practical matter, hot-blooded murder is often perfectly legal under Florida law – and that of many other states as well.
Well maybe not perfectly legal as Dunn's up for retrial on the single count undecided and off to prison for the 7 shots he took after killing Mr. Davis. I admit that I would have been outraged if Dunn had walked but that's not what happened and it is extremely likely that he'll go down for murder. Patience, my liberal banshees, is a virtue.
Unlike the George Zimmerman trial, the Dunn case featured a straightforward application of Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law. That law works like this: If Dunn had a reasonable fear that he was about to suffer “great bodily harm,” then he had a legal right to shoot Davis to death, rather than, for example, choosing to protect himself by driving away, even if Dunn knew that driving away would have protected him from harm.Nope, Paul, there was no stand your ground element at all. Straight self defense, just like we have here in Colorado. Thank God you don't teach criminal law.
If you think that sounds crazy, you haven’t heard the half of it. Because the “stand your ground” law creates an affirmative defense for criminal defendants, the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dunn’s claim that he had a reasonable fear he was about to suffer great bodily harm was false. Such laws, in effect, put the victim rather than the killer on trial, which is exactly what happened in this case.I hate to break this too you, esteemed law professor, but in every state, self defense must be disproved, beyond a reasonable doubt, by the prosecution. Whenever it is alleged, one must always look at the actions of the victim before he or she was killed. But the burden never shifts from the prosecution, both for going forward and for persuading the jury. There is no trial of the victim.
Sheesh. This level of ignorance of basic criminal law and procedure by Prof. Campos is actually really sad.
But because this is America, Dunn has a trump card: the nine-millimeter handgun in his glove compartment, with 10 bullets in the clip, which he has every legal right to bring to the confrontation he chose to start.
In no state can the initial aggressor claim self defense. That was why who started the fight between Trayvon and George was so important to what defenses were allowed to be considered by the jury. Here there was no fight at all, and no evidence of any fear of death or serious bodily injury except from the defendant, who has a seriously major reason to lie. Oh, and the proper designation is box magazine, not clip. Some guns use a clip, but not Mr. Dunn's. Big finish.
As a practical matter, Florida’s laws give people like Dunn a license to kill anyone they are “reasonably” afraid of. This means that, since the prosecution could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jordan Davis was not guilty of the crime of being a black teenage boy playing loud music in a convenience store parking lot on a Friday night, Davis’ murder will, at least for now, go unpunished.I think self defense is a God given right, one of the ones that was not mentioned "among" the others actually mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. I do not have to give up my life because someone wants to kill me; and no government can take that right away. Campos, besides being a complete ignoramus about the criminal law he criticizes so ineffectually, seems to think that perhaps it would be better not to be able to defend oneself. But of course if we reasonably believe that we will suffer imminent death or serious bodily injury from another, we can use deadly force to prevent that. Duh? That's the practical matter of all self defense law. It's the essential element.
Most people on the right were pulling for the prosecution here as we, aware of the facts (and the law), thought Mr. Dunn murdered Mr. Davis. I guess people on the left, that is, of Mr. Campos' ilk, were also pulling for conviction but are now whining like babies that the murder conviction is delayed a little while. We on the right are acting like adults instead. We're certainly not having a hissy fit about race here. Race did not cause the murder, as far s we can tell, nor did it prevent justice from being done. (I still want to know the split for conviction the jurors had regarding Mr. Dunn and murder one.)
There is nothing wrong with self defense law in Florida or here in Colorado; nothing wrong or racist about the Florida criminal justice system. The system worked well and the only slight miscarriage of justice was that they have to try Dunn once more because (I believe) one or two jurors couldn't pull the proverbial trigger. That happens from time to time.
The murder here is just as tragic as the justified homicide of young Mr. Martin. But there is no reason to complain about the system and certainly no reason to call it racist or insane. That last appears to be pure projection by Prof. Campos.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Thought of the Day
Thus, all weather--rain, snow, sunshine, flood, drought, dreary or nice--only happens because we are burning fossil fuels and the stuff that was happening in the atmosphere before there was any burning of fossil fuels, say, 300 years ago--the same rain, snow, sunshine, flood, drought, dreary or nice--that was something else entirely.
Really, do these people ever hear themselves?
Labels: John Holdren quote
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Labels: President Obama
Saturday, February 08, 2014
In Iran, homosexuals are slowly suffocated when hoisted by the neck by cranes. Their crime was being homosexual, which Muslim religious law makes punishable by death.
Which of these is worthy of more outrage? Which one is getting it?
When a civil rights push is successful, it tends to lose all sense of proportion.
Friday, February 07, 2014
Those Ignorant of History...Think Communism is Sweet
He lists several "huge misconceptions" we supposedly have about Communism and then fails to refute any of them, even though most are straw men arguments no sober thinker has ever made. I'll just take the one "nonsense" statement about political murders by Communists. Here is how Mr. Myerson titles it: Communism killed 110 million* people for resisting dispossession.
But no one thinks the murders on that scale were just of people resisting the transfer of ownership from individuals (them) to the collective masses. Those who know history say that during the 20th Century around 100,000,000 political murders were committed by Communists. It is a sad historical fact. I'll give evidentiary support below, But let's look how Mr. Myerson tries to justify his calling the figure a huge misconception and nonsense:
Greg Gutfeld, one of the hosts of Fox News’ “The Five” and a historical scholar of zero renown, recently advanced the position that “only the threat of death can prop up a left-wing dream, because no one in their right mind would volunteer for this crap. Hence, 110 million dead.” In declaring this, Gutfeld and his ilk insult the suffering of the millions of people who died under Stalin, Mao, and other 20th Century Communist dictators. Making up a big-sounding number of people and chalking their deaths up to some abstract “communism” is no way to enact a humanistic commitment to victims of human rights atrocities.Mr. Gutfield did say the words in quotes but that's not all he said, as he spoke for over 6 minutes--the video is at the link Myerson, to his credit, provides. Greg Gutfeld did not limit the numbers killed to only those murdered in the act of defying collectivisation, as Mr. Myerson implies, but he did speak out against the murderous totalitarians of Communists and there are many (see below). "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun." Who said that? Mr. Gutfeld? I wonder if Myerson knows. It's Chairman Mao. Is Mr. Gutfeld wrong to think the murders were a means of coercion to the ideals of Marx and Lenin? Of course not. The Communists weren't murdering millions for fun.
But let's look at the greater nonsense in Myerson's paragraph above. First, we're not "making up" a big number, it is a big number--we on the right are just reporting a historical fact by giving the huge number. Attributing the political murders to Communism is another historical fact. However, Mr. Myerson alleges that repeating actual history does not "enact a humanistic commitment to victims of human rights atrocities." Sifting through this pablum it seems that Jesse the Genius is admitting there were murdered victims. So much for showing the statement to be nonsense and a huge misconception. It would seem to me to be more anti-humanistic to deny the number of victims so clearly documented, especially since the huge numbers are what makes Communism so worthy of opposition. To mimic Uncle Joe, a single political murder is a tragedy, a million murders is statistical proof that Communism is evil and wrong. Moving on. Jesse the Genius then writes:
For one thing, a large number of the people killed under Soviet communism weren’t the kulaks everyone pretends to care about but themselves communists. Stalin, in his paranoid cruelty, not only had Russian revolutionary leaders assassinated and executed, but indeed exterminated entire communist parties. These people weren’t resisting having their property collectivized; they were committed to collectivizing property. It is also worth remembering that the Soviets had to fight a revolutionary war – against, among others, the US – which, as the American Revolution is enough to show, doesn’t mainly consist of group hugs. They also faced (and heroically defeated) the Nazis, who were not an ocean away, but right on their doorstep.So, to paraphrase, many of the humans murdered were not kulaks but, oh my God, other Communists. They're all still victims of political murder by Communists, including the kulaks. I'm not seeing refutation here. There is none there. And Stalin murdered many of these humans because of paranoid cruelty. Right. Is Jesse even trying to refute the vast number of political murders?
But then Mr. Myerson talks about the Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War which followed. So, during those conflicts, people were or were not being killed by Communists? Again, not really refutation. And we who know history are not counting the war dead (tens of millions) and the millions of political murders of Soviets by other socialists, national socialists, during the Great Patriotic War. The tens of millions of political murders we're counting are on top of the millions of WWII dead. Yet again, a complete absence of refutation. Last paragraph.
So much for the USSR. The most horrifying episode in 20th Century official Communism was the Great Chinese Famine, its death toll difficult to identify, but surely in the tens of millions. Several factors evidently contributed to this atrocity, but central to it was Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” a disastrous combination of applied pseudoscience, stat-juking, and political persecution designed to transform China into an industrial superpower in the blink of an eye. The experiment’s results were extremely grim, but to claim that the victims died because they, in their right minds, would not volunteer for “a left-wing dream” is ludicrous. Famine is not a uniquely “left-wing” problem.So much for the USSR? Is Myerson so delusional that he thinks he has caused a tiny instant of doubt that Lenin and Stalin murdered, for political reasons, nearly 30,000,000 humans during the first three dozen years of Russian Communism? But he quickly pivots to Chinese Communism, where he admits the "atrocity" Mao perpetrated that killed tens of millions of Chinese. Does he think this is refutation to the huge numbers of political murders by the ChiComs? I'd call it support. He seems to cling to the hope that human engineered famines are not murder, more like negligent homicide. Still just as dead though, huh Jesse? He ends with the triumphant banality that famine is not uniquely "left-wing." True, but human engineered famine is indeed uniquely Socialist, overwhelmingly the result of international socialism.
Let's look at the numbers, my synthesis, of political murders by just 6 Communist dictators in the 20th Century.
Lenin 2 Million
Stalin 34 Million
Kim Il Sung 2.5 Million (not counting casualties of his invasion of South Korea)
Mao Zedung 48.5 Million
Ho Chi Minh 900 Thousand (not counting casualties of his war against the French and South Viet Nam)
Pol Pot 2.2 Million
Total 89.2 Million (I think that more Soviets survived the political prisons of the Gulags than others think survived, which is why my number is not 110 Million).
Here are others numbers from other scholars studying the history of this vast evil:
Zbignew Brzezinski 60 Million
Stéphane Courtois et al.(Black Book) 85-100 Million
Milton Leitenberg 81 Million (just for USSR and Communist China)
Rudolph Rummler 110.286 Million plus 49.275 from Chinese famines and 5.833 Million from Soviet famines (he seems to ignore the horror of Kazakhstan; and he's not counting the casualties from later wars Communists started in Korea, Viet Nam and Afghanistan.
Rummler's numbers for Commie political murders is juxtaposed by his count of 2.028 Million political murders in the 20th Century in democracies. That's a ration of 55 to 1. The left says the right is scary--they are projecting.
Anyone who thinks Communism is a good thing is either an idiot or an evil person, or both.
UPDATE: The Other McCain weighs in on The Worst Idea in the World. What he said.
UPDATE 2: OK, I can't resist the false comparison between Communism and Capitalism. Jesse the Genius writes:
The 100 million deaths that are perhaps most important to focus on right now are the ones that international human rights organization DARA projected will die climate-borne deaths between 2012 and 2030. 100 million more will follow those, and they will not take 18 years to die. Famine like the human species has never known is in the offing because the free market does not price carbon and oil-extracting capitalist firms have, since the collapse of the USSR, become sovereigns of their own. The most virulent anti-communists have a very handy, if morally disgraceful, way of treating this mass extinction event: they deny that it’s happening.This is a stupid Tu Quoque fallacy that seeks to compare the 100 Million political murders by Communists to the deaths by famine the Capitalists might cause through
But if 100 Million are to die in the 18 year period between 2012 and 2030, then over 5.5 Million must die on average each year. We're a full 2 years into the predicted die off. How many people have died because of the change in temperature caused by additional atmospheric CO2 from burning fossil fuel? 11 Million? How about none? Even the alarmist true believers in the World Health Organization put their largely specious figure at 150,000/yr, a mere 5,405,555 short of the DARA projection. We on the right are treating the "mass extinction event" properly, because it's not happening, at least with the human animals on the planet, whose numbers continue to increase.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Not Telling Us What We Already Know
Far less noticed but no less horrific is the unending toll from the more routine bursts of gunfire that each day send an average of 20 American children and adolescents to hospitals, many of them for long-term treatment.
Notice that the editorial lumps together 19 year olds with toddlers, as if the toddlers suffered the same sort of gun casualty as the full adults aged 18 and 19. If you follow the link to the Pediatric study, this is what you find about gunshot wounds in 2009.This grim statistic is found in a new study that focuses on the lasting damage suffered by young victims who survive. Of 7,391 hospitalizations of youths ages 19 and under shot in 2009, 6 percent ended in death; the rest joined the growing casualty list of gun victims, many needing lengthy and costly treatment, according to the study published in Pediatrics magazine. An estimated 3,000 additional youngsters died before reaching emergency rooms.
Gunshot wounds to ages 0-4, 175
Gunshot wounds to ages 5-9, 205
Gunshot wounds to ages 10-14, 699
Gunshot wounds to ages 15-19, 6,201
Oh, so the full adults and older teens are receiving six times the bullet wounds as all the real children, from birth through age 14, combined. Tragic, but not that surprising.
Black Americans aged 15-19 are 13 times more likely to be shot than white Americans of the same age sample.
So we have a problem of older teen and young adult blacks shooting each other in Democrat run cities over the illegal drug trade.
True that, as Omar would say.
But that's not how the liberal press sees it.
Where that old threat was external to America, the new threat is internal, spawned by the easy access to firearms that Congress refuses to adequately control.Handguns, which do almost all the wounding of these young men, are prohibited for those under 21. Does the NYT editorial board not know this? What is it that the liberals think that Congress can do that Congress and the states haven't already done? Banning gun possession is unconstitutional. Banning assault weapons, which are rarely used to commit gun mayhem, is not solving the problem.
Limiting magazine size just makes the shooter change out magazines, in a few seconds, more often. Since this age group cannot legally obtain handguns under any circumstances, broadening or toughening the backround check system will also do nothing about this problem.
So the whole point of this seems to be an emotional cry to do something about children being shot even though most of the children are actually adults and there is nothing left to do legislatively. This is what passes for journalism in the liberal bubble.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
Wonkette to the Rescue
Ana Marie Cox, the Wonkette, all grown up now and writing for the far left British paper The Guardian, has a brilliant solution to our dread. She thinks the President should give speeches nearly every day about gun control. Really. What a wonderful idea!
To put it in Obama-moved-to-speak math (18 speeches for each Newtown-sized group of deaths): would Obama be willing to give a speech on gun control 250 times a year, just about every day?Wouldn't that be effective.
I don't doubt Ms. Cox's sincerety, but her math is a little fuzzy. First, she says 10,950 people in America have been "lost to gun violence." (30 x 365). She later says the real figure is 12,000 people. The FBI, which is reputed to be a competent federal agency, says that in 2012 there were 8,855 firearm homicides. That's down from 2008 and steady with 2011. It's a lot less (nearly 2000 people less than the 30/day figure and 3,145 less) than Ms. Cox's second number). Where did she get 12,000? She tells us with a link.
Over 12,000 people, adults and children, died from gun violence in 2013 – about 30 a day.
She got her figures from Slate. But here's the thing, Slate lists some suicides and some righteous shootings along with the crimes, the murders. How do I know that? They include, for example, the death of Sonny Archuleta in Aurora, CO on 1/5/13. Mr. Archuleta shot three other people to death and then he was shot dead by Aurora police. His shooting other people to death is a problem. His being shot by police to prevent him shooting others is not a problem. Similarly, Stephen Harper, killed by a gun in Jacksonville on 11/26/13 was a suicide (he shot his old lady down, shot her down, and then self executed). Suicides are tragic events, clearly a shame and a sin, but they are different from murder. Lately suicides by guns have run in the low 19,000s more than double the FBI's count of gun murders. Salon has a count too, but it's no more reliable: They say over 33,000 have been killed by guns in America since Newtown, including murders, suicides and accidents (deadly gun accidents run in the mid three figures).
So other than exaggerating and conflating gun death numbers, what does the Wonkette have to say, what sort of solution, other than more dreary speeches by the President, does she present?
She ultimately gives up any hope of preventing gun murders and focuses, if that's the right word, on suicides and writes:
The math is easy: if you somehow (a waiting period, sophisticated gun locks) kept guns out of 10% of the over 19,000 in 2010 that died from a firearm suicide – if you forced the determined to use next most effective method – then about almost 600 of them would get another chance at life. And 76%, over 400 of them, would decide they'd stick around.Let's look at her helpful, suicide prevention suggestions (which "somehow" might keep guns out of 1,900 men contemplating suicide--women don't use guns to kill themselves, perhaps they are too effective). She proposes a "waiting period." Well, if we knew that someone was suicidal, then I guess we could put off selling them a gun. But what if the potential suicide already owns a gun? Or he can borrow one? And how are we going to know, in the HIPPA era of medical information privacy protection, if the potential purchaser of a gun is a potential suicide? That one looks like a non-starter to me. What about a "sophisticated gun lock?"
Well it would have to be very sophisticated indeed to recognize, just from palm contact, that the human grasping it was suicidal. I guess if sufficiently sophisticated it could somehow (there's that word again) sense the brain chemistry of the human holding it from the nearby blood in the palm; but what if you were depressed and suicidal and someone broke into your house or apartment and was trying to kill you? Nothing less useful than a gun that won't fire because it wants to save you from yourself. So the home invader stabs you to death because your gun was useless. Well, the Wonkette would be happy that your death wasn't a new case of gun violence and at least you didn't kill yourself. No, I'm afraid that 'solution' to gun suicide might not work out either.
Then she proposes more speeches by the President. Why that's so crazy, it just might work. Nah, probably boring people nearly to death is not much of a solution to gun violence.
So maybe she knows of no solution to the declining number of gun violence deaths each year here in America. Join the club, Wonkette. Crime is the price we have to pay for freedom. I still want freedom.
An Effective Big Lie, But a Lie Nonetheless
Wait, I argued, the Democrats were the slave owners and the very reason the Republicans came into being as a political party is that the Whigs refused to go anti-slavery (so that party rapidly went away) and the Republican policies on race were fervently and essentially pro-black, anti-slavery, pro-freedom. They still are. The first Republican elected to the Presidency ended slavery with unanimous Republican votes (the Northern Democrats overwhelmingly opposed it and the Southern Democrats were not in DC but in Richmond at the time, thank God). The 13th Amendment was followed by the 14th and 15th, which again got unanimous Republican votes and which were unanimously opposed by the Southern Democrats (recently returned to the House and Senate from the Confederacy. Fortunately, there were very few Democrats, from area, in Congress then, so the Constitutional Amendments passed and were ratified. All the blacks were Republicans for nearly a century after slavery ended (at least into the 1930s when Republicans suffered long term overwhelming defeats) and it was the Democrats who thwarted for a century the 14th and 15th Amendments with Jim Crow laws and an armed terrorist branch of the party, the KKK, all Democrats.
That's ancient history, the sports guy says, we're talking about the last 50 years. We're talking about now. Things changed.
What's the evidence you have, I ask, that the Democrats suddenly, after 350 years of racism, changed their collective minds about blacks; and the Republicans, who for 150 years had supported freedom and full civil rights for American blacks, just as suddenly decided to hate blacks and work to make them less than full citizens?
He was not sure how it happened, but the proof was that most blacks are Democrats and very few were Republicans any more, so there must have been a change.
Granted, I say, but you're ascribing to the Republicans a mind set change for the worse because of a change in the party allegiance made by other people. You can't use a decision by blacks, no matter how widespread, as evidence of a decision by Democrat whites to no longer hate and oppress blacks and by white Republicans to begin to hate and oppress blacks.
Things changed, he insists. The South used to be solidly Democrats and now it's solidly Republican, so the location of the racial hatred was the same and the parties merely switched belief systems in situ.
Democratic racism was not confined to the South, but how, tell me, did the switch take place? Proportionally more Republicans (sadly in the distinct minority in Congress then) voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and for the Voting Rights Act in 1965 than the overwhelming majority of Democrats; was that the change you're talking about?
No, after that. The Democrats all switched, somehow, to helping blacks and the Republicans took over the role of the former Democrats and hated and hindered the black Americans, like segregationist (and Dixiecrat) Strom Thurmond, who switched parties.
He was the only segregationist who did switch. The died-in-the-wool segregationist all were Democrats, not a Republican among them, and all but Strom died as Democrats. That's the change: The virulent racist Democrats died and we got better as a society and racism became a very real social taboo in every party. The party switch in the South only started in the '90s and had nothing to do with race or racial politics.
What did cause it, he asks? There were a host of reasons. For example, I say, the South is more pro-free market and more patriotic than the North and certainly more patriotic and pro-free market than the Democrats since 1968. The Democrats disappeared in the South more because of changes in the Democrat's foreign policy, becoming ever less anti-Communist, and moving ever more to Socialism (and Statism) domestically. It had nothing to do with race.
Yeah, he responds, but that doesn't account for the party switch by black Americans. Certainly they know what party welcomes them and which one doesn't like them.
I have an explanation for that which is on a par with your theory of switching each party's racial animus for no apparent reason. What's that, he asks?
Mass Stockholm Syndrome.
That's ridiculous, he responds.
No more ridiculous than your supposed, magic switching of the parties on race.
Then trivia started.
I hope to continue the conversation about the current racial animus of each party.
How Was Your Day?
Better than this home owners' day, I'd wager. At least it took out the garage and not the main house.
All Grown Up
Labels: Nevermind Baby