April 27, 2013

THIS is Gun culture

And it is completely fucked up to raffle off the same kind of gun used in Newtown just because you want to stand up to the president.  Who, btw, has done precious little to change your gun ownership.  But to elevate this particular gun is a "fuck you" to the Newtown families, and to anyone effected by gun violence--as well as a giant "fuck you" to those of us nervous about guns.

Grownup gun owners need better PR. This does not make me respect any of you.

April 25, 2013

Dumb conservatives at Fox

And not just Fox.  I listened to Stephen Moore on NPR yesterday assert that the President had all sorts of flexibility during the sequester.  Several other people noted that the entire purpose of the sequester had been to impose an asinine and unreasonable budget cuts that would be so politically unpalatable that even Republicans would never go for it.  Of course, this underestimated Republican craziness and stupidity.  As we are seeing every day, they have no idea what government does and seem to, as their Tea Party base does, not realize that government is involved in many of the programs and daily activities that they support.  Yes, "keep your government out of my Medicare," indeed.

Jon Stewart, as usual, has a keen eye on their stupidity--this time their unbelievable flexibility with the Constitution.  When talking about gun rights, the Constitution is clear and unambiguous.  When talking about terror suspect rights, or even Muslim rights, the constitution becomes a Etch-a-Sketch.

April 23, 2013

Republicans hate government, until they realize what it actually does

I seriously question the intelligence of the current Republican party.  Historically, Republicans hated theory, but loved facts.  Now, they hate anything that doesn't support their ideology--especially facts.

So, after complaining and complaining about evil Government, here comes the Republican calls for an end an end to furloughs of air traffic controllers.  You know, "cut the budget, cut the budget, cut the budget, until, oh crap, do you mean that government actually does stuff that we need?  I had no idea."

Not just Rick Scott.  Republicans from Kansas also want the evil government to return to their jobs.  And then there is the idiot from Texas.  After last week's fertilizer explosion, Rick Perry asked for a quick federal response to help West, Texas.  Of course, at one point, Governor Idiot was talking about secession. Now he is begging for a quick turnaround.  And of course, Texas' senators both voted against aid for Hurricane Victims in New Jersey.

I really would like just a touch of consistency, but that isn't going to happen as long as the Republican party elects the dumbest people they can find.

April 21, 2013

The effectiveness of guns to reduce violence

Ok, here is a very biased and liberal link.  It is openly anti-gun.  So here is what I would like, Steve.  I am certainly open to critiquing the facts in this letter.  By all means, show me where the sources are incorrect.  But I don't want screeching angry bitching here.  I don't want snark about Mother Jones and I don't want to hear what "an idiot this person is."  Ok?

I also post this because the ABC news story on concealed carry (in admittedly one very particular scenario) was very interesting.  The huge difference between shooting on a range and shooting under duress strikes me as really worth thinking about.

So, let's keep this factual.  I am seriously not in the mood for condescending snark.

An Open Letter To Gun-Toting, Tyranny Fighting, 'Kindergarteners Need To Carry Guns To School' Preaching Americans | Liberals Unite

April 19, 2013

Conservatives agree that constitution is very important

Some parts, of course, are very VERY important. The right to bear arms is critical and cannot be even questioned. Can't even make gun owners uncomfortable or say bad things about them. But as we just saw from Senator Lindsey Graham, other parts of the Constitution are not so important.


The 5th, 6th, and assumably 8th amendments are more suggestions.  But don't you dare touch my guns!

The Onion’s Tips For Passing Gun Control Legislation | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

• Write gun control legislation. Pass gun control legislation.
• Before voting on gun control bill, try, if you can, to remember any recent examples in which guns have been used to kill innocent people.
• Acknowledge that it’s going to be hard to buck the pressure of the high-powered gun lobby, but not that fucking hard, dumbass.
• Consider if overwhelming public support for a particular measure is something you want to be associated with or not.
• Inform your decision by researching whether guns are good or bad when placed in the wrong hands.
• Muster everything that’s left in your black, desiccated heart to do something that might actually be of service to someone other than yourself.
• Carefully assess the other side of the argument wherein mentally unstable people can buy weapons at a gun show with no problem whatsoever, and then realize there is no other side of this argument.
• Put on your stupid little suit, run a comb through your greasy hair, go to the U.S Capitol building, pick up your fancy little gold pen, and pass a fucking gun control bill.

April 18, 2013

I am not the only one who thinks the NRA has lost its way

Adolphus Busch IV Resigns From NRA After Gun Control Defeat In Senate

Small Glimpses: Sheltered

SOF wrote this thoughtful post the other day as she is dealing with the grief of losing her mother this past February and facing her father's declining health today.

These are tough times in the Streak household.  Not unique, by any stretch.  We all have to face these issues, but as much as we like to think we are ready for them, they are harder than we can imagine.  As my mother said the other day, "there is no way to make this easy."

I am so proud of my wife for writing about this in an open and thoughtful manner.  I know this helps her, but have to think that her words are also helpful for others.

April 17, 2013

Gun culture

Don't ask me to respect these people.  Just don't.

McConnell's Facebook Page Mocks Reid Moments After Gun Bill Fails | TPM LiveWire

Gun people run the country

Senate To Vote On Gun Background Checks Wednesday | TPMDC

Can't even have reasoned background checks.  Can't even do that.  And meanwhile John Cornyn wants a bill that would require all states to allow concealed carry if you have a permit from a state like Arizona.  As David Frum noted, conservatives love state's rights until, well, they don't.

More guns.  More guns.  More guns.  Fuck it.  You guys win.  But this is where you will be on the hot seat.  The next shooting will be on the NRA, because they wouldn't even budge on reasoned responses.  So fuck them.

April 12, 2013

Gun culture and the conservative reliance on the false specter of the "slippery slope"

GOP Congressman Duncan offers us a great example of "gun culture" when he compared a possible gun registry to genocide.  Of course, a gun registry is not up for debate now, but the NRA and gun culture people are warning that more background checks will result in one.  It is a "slippery slope," in this case leading us to genocide, evidently, with a stop in a national registry of gun owners.

I am not suggesting that there are no slippery slopes in politics, mind you.  But I believe that conservatives have used that in a very cynical and dishonest way over the past 10 years.  Raising taxes is a good one.  Once you raise taxes, we are told, then the government will just raise more and spend more.

Except that nothing has proven politically easier than cutting taxes.  Raising taxes is the hard thing to do.  Cutting taxes is actually the slippery slope, because it has led us to the place where any tax increase is tantamount to tyranny.  Or have we forgotten the origins of the modern Idiot Party--oops, that is supposed to read Tea Party.

Likewise, since the heyday of modern gun control in the 1990s, the slippery slope has been to move away from control toward freer access to guns--giving us the Arizona's of the world where access to guns is much easier than access to healthcare or reason.  But those Arizona idiots aside, the general tenor of the American public has been less supportive of gun control over those years.  As a result, it has been much easier to ease restrictions on guns than to restrict them.  And here we are a few months after Newtown when the initial response was going to be AWB and other restrictions to the now where we might get universal background checks, but probably won't get anything.

But somehow, in the gun culture mindset, even this minor move forward is a step on a slippery slope to registration and then, of course, genocide.  

April 9, 2013

And btw, but this is gun culture

Senator To Newtown Families: The Gun Debate Has Nothing To Do With You | ThinkProgress

When the NRA and their Senator tell people who lost their children in a massacre that they have nothing to do with this debate--that they have no voice here--that is gun culture.  Is it all about those families?  Nope.  but good god.  Their young children were butchered by guns.  They get a voice here.

Pro-Gun Absolutism: or the move to privatize law and order

Always nice when a journalist echoes almost exactly what I said last December about this attack on our basic sense of community.  Take away the basic arguments about the second amendment, and replete through all the pro-gun rhetoric is this basic idea:  government can't (or won't) protect you, so you have to do it yourself.

This piece echoes that sentiment:

In the gun lobby’s dystopic view, Americans can no longer rely on government to keep them safe, so they have to do the job themselves. When everybody is armed and dangerous, the predators among us won’t be able to find any victims. Banning assault weapons and high-capacity clips is tantamount to unilateral disarmament, since it would leave law-abiding citizens outgunned in their confrontation with thugs and criminals.  
By this warped logic, it’s better to outsource public safety and law enforcement to private vigilantes than to curb public access to weapons of war. Conceived in paranoia, this mad project will make all of us more vulnerable to sociopaths with unlimited firepower. It would make America a less civilized country.
And this very good point that for the NRA, government is both all powerful and will take your guns, and equally powerless and incapable of law and order.
The NRA has a schizoid attitude toward government. In fundraising appeals to members, it fans fears that jackbooted feds are coming for your guns. In the political arena, it depicts government as pathetically weak, overwhelmed by the orgy of violent criminality and insanity engulfing our society.   

This, ultimately, is my biggest complaint with the gun culture argument.  I don't want to kill, and I don't want bars on my home.  I want to pay for police and good governance and good community that eases tensions and crime.  I understand that none of that guarantees that I won't be a crime victim (though me having a gun has no guarantee either).  As I have noted repeatedly, it is the height of cynicism to go out of your way to gut government programs and then claim that as a justification for self-arming.

Let's make this very clear.  The pro-gun lobby didn't used to make this their centerpiece, but every but of lobbying I have seen from that side suggests that Obama or some Diane Feinstein-led raid will join a UN raid to take away your guns. Or make you get healthcare.  I am not exactly sure which.  (And I can't reiterate enough that many of the people paranoid about government tyranny are crying foul because of getting healthcare to poor people.)

Steve suggested that I was naive about our system, and that I should not believe it works all the time.  I disagree with the charge of naivete and would suggest that I am probably more informed on the history of our country than he suggests--but at the end of the day, we are left with this suggestion that we should be planning for a potential armed revolution where we shoot at our fellow Americans in the Armed forces or Reserve--or at our community's cops, or at government agents (Americans) trying to enforce the law.

Smitty, in his fine Tyranny of the Lunatics, notes that this paranoid fantasy also disparages our military and military leadership:

Also, that fails to take into account that our troops are A) sworn to uphold the constitution; and 2) sworn to obey lawful orders.  So for your delusion to come true, that means American troops would have no problem at all firing on....other fellow Americans.  No.  That's just fucking stupid.
I want good government.  I want competent and trained police.  I am not trying to take away your gun, but don't tell me that my only choice for safety for my community and neighborhood and household is to buy an AR and hunker down.  Don't tell my neighbors that the only thing you will support to help secure their kids during the school day is to arm their teachers.  And don't tell me that people who constantly rant about tyranny are patriotic.

Why southern heritage is just code for racism

I have friends who defend the "southern heritage" argument and who talk about the fact that most rebel soldiers didn't own slaves, that the flag was "battle flag," and of course, that the Civil War wasn't really about slavery.

The buzz is now about a duet between Brad Paisley and LL Cool J with the line:  "if you don't judge my do-rag, I won't judge your red flag" and "if you don't judge my gold chains, I'll forget the iron chains."

Sigh.  As Time's James Poniewozik notes, this may be the worst song on race relations since GOB Bluth wrote "It ain't easy being white or brown."

Ta-Nehisi Coates has the best take on why 'Accidental Racist' Is actually just racist.  His main point is that picking LL Cool J to represent all of black America is exactly what racism is, not what it isn't.  But his best point is one that seems so damn obvious, but not one I had noticed before:
Paisley wants to know how he can express his Southern Pride. Here are some ways. He could hold a huge party on Martin Luther King's birthday, to celebrate a Southerner's contribution to the world of democracy. He could rock a T-shirt emblazoned with Faulkner's Light In August, and celebrate the South's immense contribution to American literature. He could preach about the contributions of unknown Southern soldiers like Andrew Jackson Smith. He could tell the world about the original Cassius Clay. He could insist that Tennessee raise a statue to Ida B. Wells.
Every one of these people are Southerners. And every one of them contributed to this great country. But to do that Paisley would have to be more interested in a challenging conversation and less interested in a comforting lecture.
Exactly.  When all your Southern heritage is white you don't really get to claim that it isn't racist.

April 8, 2013


This has been one of those Mondays. To be fair, the last few days have been rough around here. The weekend was the two year anniversary of losing Streak, and on top of all the loss in SOF's family, it has just been a downer time. This morning, I learned that one of my employers will no longer employ me for online classes. I had kind of expected something like this, but the sheer stupidity of their decision angered me almost more than the loss of a section. That is the adjunct's lot, of course. We are the migrant worker of academia--taking only what the tenured class doesn't want to teach, and doing it for pennies. Yeah, it has been one of those Mondays. As you all know (probably) we have a fish pond in our backyard. Over the last year and a half, a blue heron has made our pond one of his stops, and we have significantly fewer fish than we used to. For a while, that seemed ok. The heron is huge and beautiful and just so amazing to see when he lands in our yard, and our fish have never been anything other than fish. We don't feed them and we don't name them. They are just there. But we have one exception--or partial exception to that rule. We bought a koi several years ago at Petsmart for a couple of bucks. They are colorful and pretty and we thought it would be nice. (Part of the reason we don't feed them, btw, is that I have seen huge koi in ponds with feeding and they come to the surface in a really creepy begging style. Ugh.) So our koi has made it through this last year and a half of heron visits. But on Saturday, I was kicking the ball with the dogs and saw something orange near the pond where there should be no orange. I went over there to find our koi gasping and twitching about two feet from the pond. I quickly grabbed him and put him back in the water, thinking that he was probably done for, but it was worth a shot. He moved down, then started to float. I was sure he was done. But as I neared, I realized he was just gasping for air. His gills were going crazy. After a few minutes of that, he swam off and is still doing ok. I am not sure why, but this incident has bothered me a lot. Obviously, I am glad I was there in time. I must have interrupted the heron. The koi could not have lasted much longer out of the water. I have heard of herons grabbing koi that are too big for them, but still either killing them or throwing them out of the water. But I found myself very sad. Perhaps it was the anniversary of Streak's loss. Perhaps it is all the loss in our family. Perhaps it is my own fear of losing those I love. Perhaps it was the sense of complete vulnerability that I saw in the koi. But I went from not caring if the koi was there or not to feeling a connection with him, and kind of pissed at the heron. Mondays happen. I will move on. And I will work to give the koi as many hiding places as I can to protect him from the heron. And I will try to make peace with the academic world. Eventually. In the meantime, I am going to get a beer and make some dinner.

David Kuo, RIP

Joe Klein has one of the nicest remembrances of his friend David Kuo, who passed away last week.  David Kuo | TIME.com  I read Kuo's book on his days in the Bush administration and, at the time, thought his words would spur christian conservatives to rethink their loyalty to the conservative movement.

Of course, that was folly.  The people who defended torture weren't really that concerned about "faith based" organizations and were not at all interested in the "compassionate" brand of conservatism that Bush supposedly pushed.

But Kuo was, and there are a lot of people out there who are.  It is my hope that his legacy will live on in those people of faith who work tirelessly to help the least of these.

April 3, 2013

Yeah, this is also Gun Culture.

Gun Freedom Is Behind Proposed Amendment to North Carolina Constitution, Lawmaker Says

Don't ask me to respect people pushing laws because they are readying themselves for a gun battle with the federal government.

Gun culture revisited

Yes, Steve, the NRA's suggestion that more guns in schools will make them safer is a part of gun culture.  I await your derision.  Perhaps you will suggest that I am not patriotic enough.  Or I hate the constitution.

Actually, the expert in this story agrees that national laws will probably not stop school shootings.  I get that.  Despite Steve's selective reading, I have been pretty open to the suggestion that gun regulations will have limited effectiveness.  What I have suggested is that we, as a culture start to stand up to this gun culture that deifies weapons.

Expert warns against ‘blindly’ implementing NRA’s ‘superficially simple solution’ to gun violence | The Raw Story

Perhaps a start is that we start shaming or pushing people who hoard weapons to stop doing that.  Perhaps we stop encouraging the paranoia of the right and somehow legitimizing it as reasonable. It would be nice if the grownup gun people would somehow differentiate themselves in the public sphere from LaPierre and Ted Nugent.  That, of course, would gut the entire idiot base of the Republican party, I am well aware, but it would be better for all of us.

I won't hold my breath.  In the meantime, be sure to take offense at this post.

Gun culture simplified

Since some of my readers have difficulty with the concept.  Here is how this works.

  1. Read this story.  
  2. See if this person's actions or opinions match yours.  
  3. If they don't, then don't be insulted by the story because it refers to the "gun culture" of which I speak.  
  4. See how simple that is?

Gohmert: Gun Control Somehow Leads to Bestiality -- Daily Intelligencer

April 2, 2013

NRA says more guns--and that is their entire argument

I post this not to just piss Steve off, but because I can't quite rap my mind around this.  We have had 20 school kids slaughtered and the NRA's best response is to say, let's just put an armed person in each building.  That is their entire approach  Hutchinson Recommends One Armed Person In Every School Building | TPM LiveWire

Well, not completely.  They don't want to do universal background checks.  They don't want any limitation on the people who like to play army on the weekends.  Or who fantasize about Obama coming in a Black Helicopter to take away all their guns.  Those people must be respected.  Their paranoia isn't bad, it is a good thing for the NRA--and something that should be stoked and encouraged.  Fear your government and get ready to die in a hail of bullets as you stand your ground and defend your castle.  Or perhaps, you just shoot an innocent person or yourself in a fit of suicidal depression.

Either way, the NRA don't care.

Until Adam Lanza went into that school building shooting, he was the poster child for the gun culture (again, not responsible and sober gun owners).  He had, as we now know, a virtual arsenal of guns and ammo (all helped by his mother, of course) and was ready for whatever came his way.

So Asa Hutchinson's response from the NRA is that we just need more armed people.  It don't matter if they occasionally fire their weapon accidentally in school, or even if they leave their loaded weapon in the bathroom.  No.  More guns are better.

Of course, if we think about this, the absolute lack of response here is unbelievable.  As I think John Oliver has quipped, one guy tried to blow up a plane with his shoe and we all have to take our shoes off.  People shoot up schools, movie theaters and political rallies and our only response is to have more guns.

5 minutes.  Reminds me of a great Gretchen Peters' song by the same name.  "In just five minutes, your whole life can change."  A shooter, possibly with body armor, and certainly armed with an arsenal (as they all are in these cases) moving quickly with purpose, and our response is one armed person--not in body armor, and not armed to the teeth.  One magical gun will stop those shooters.

It better, because according to the NRA we aren't going to do one thing more to stop or prevent these shootings.  Not one thing.  No gun owner should ever be inconvenienced at all.