Saturday, October 31, 2015

Republicans Take Ball, Go Home

In a not very surprising move, the GOP has suspended its relationship with NBC due to the poor questioning at last Wednesday night's debate. In short, they are taking their ball and going home.

Although, home ain't what it used to be. Similar complaints were aired about Megyn Kelly and Fox News after the first debate. CNN also received a a laundry list of beefs. Essentially, if it's not Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin, Republicans don't have the balls to face anyone who is even remotely contrary to them.

Once again, we see The Adolescent in full play. Whining about fairness...blaming others (the media, liberals) for their problems...tantrums...shutting out reality. They don't want any sort of pesky facts like...oh, the fact that the USA ranks #1 in the world in terms of economic competitiveness...getting out there.

Perhaps they should have a debate exclusively run by conservative media. I think the United States should get unfettered access to life inside the bubble.

I don't have much else to say about the debate. No one really "won" or "lost" in my opinion. All I heard was the same wacky, ideological nonsense combined with fevered predictions of doom and gloom. The media is saying Rubio, Cruz and Christie won and Bush lost. Who really cares?

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Flea on the Tail Wagging the Dog

When the "Freedom Caucus" ousted John Boehner they claimed to represent "the will of the American people."

So, exactly how representative of America are the 38 Republicans who make up the group that made John Boehner go home crying?

That's something we can figure out with a ballpark estimate: how many people actually voted for these 38 guys (and they're all guys but one) as a percentage of the population of the United States?

The average size of a congressional district is 710,767. The average turnout nationwide in 2014 was 36.6%. The population of the United States is about 322 million.

The final number we need to know is the average margin of victory. Of the Republican seats, most (192) were won by 20% or more, so we'll assume on average that 60% of the votes were cast for the "Freedom Caucus" winner.

If we multiply all this out, we get
38 "Freedom Caucus" members ˟ 710,767 people per congressional district ˟ 36.6% voter turnout ˟ 60% victory margin = 5.9 million people who voted for a Freedom Caucus member
How representative is that of the population of the United States?
5.9 million "Freedom Caucus" voters / 322 million Americans = 1.8%
The "Freedom Caucus" represents the will of less than 2% of the population of the United States. Yet they somehow think that they should be able to control every policy detail for the rest of the country and dictate who the speaker of the House should be.

The "Freedom Caucus" and the Tea Party represent a tiny percentage of the American population. Because they stay inside the bubble 24/7, associating only with themselves, and only watching Fox News and listening to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, they have fooled themselves into thinking they are in the majority.

But in their hearts they know the truth: the reason they're so hysterical is that they are drastically outnumbered, and with each passing year more and more of them are dying off.

The Republican Party barely escaped total implosion with the Boehner resignation. The old saw about the tail wagging the dog doesn't even apply: the "Freedom Caucus" is the flea on the tail of the dog.

The House and Senate just passed a budget bill that will fund the government for the next two years, freeing us from the tyranny of the "Free Dumb Caucus" threatening to trash the economy every couple of weeks.

The "Free Dumb Caucus" wailed bitterly about the unfairness of "the process." But that process is representative democracy. In a democracy majority rules. And the majority of the House and Senate voted for the measure. (If they want to talk about patently undemocratic unfairness in Congress, they should start with the Hastert Rule.)

Now that the "Free Dumb Caucus" is finding themselves in the same situation that Hispanics and African Americans have been in for centuries, you'd think they'd have a little more sympathy for the historical plight of minorities.

The Gun Free Zone Lie (Again)

The Gun Cult has apparently gotten to Donald Trump. In Wednesday night's debate (more to follow this weekend), Trump had the following to say.

I feel that the gun-free zones and, you know, when you say that, that's target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill. That's target [practice]. They look around for gun-free zones.

We've heard this giant pile of shit before. Thankfully, the Washington Post today put up a piece how there is zero evidence for this. They link all current studies which show that this claim is FALSE. 

We all have to realize that the Gun Cult is largely made up of old, fat white men with tits who were picked on in high school. Having a gun (or 8 guns, as we have recently learned) makes them feel empowered over all past and future bullies. They likely spend hours fantasizing about being Jack Bauer or ___________________ (insert Michael Bay action hero here) and taking down spree shooters should they every come across one.

Yet both the recent shooting at Umpqua Community College and at the Gabby Giffords shooting had good guys with guns who didn't do anything. So WTF are they talking about?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tell Me Again About the NRA

The NRA Is Making Sure Scientists Can't Tell You the Truth About Guns

But since the mid-1990s, the federal government has done exceptionally little to investigate the threat posed by firearms, thanks largely to successful efforts by the National Rifle Association to intimidate, threaten and harass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

This, Too, Shall Pass...

Donald Trump, as is his wont, has stirred up another hornet's nest by ridiculing Ben Carson's Seventh-Day Adventist religion and refusing to apologize. It started at a rally in Florida when Trump said:
I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about.

When asked about this comment on This Week, Trump said:
I would certainly give an apology if I said something bad about it. But I didn't. All I said was I don't know about it.
Yeah, right. It's the old Fox News trick of condemning something by asking leading questions about it.

But this was after Carson questioned Trump's religiousness, saying,
By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life and that's a very big part of who I am. I don't get that impression with [Trump]. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't get that.
And this is also after Carson made lots of political hay among conservative voters by claiming that Muslims cannot be president because Islam is incompatible with the Constitution.

Now, I'm sure Carson is right about Trump: Trump doesn't give a crap about religion; he never has and never will, because it doesn't make him any richer, and money is the only thing Trump cares about.

But Trump is also right about Seventh-Day Adventism: it's a kooky apocalyptic annihilationistic religion. It shares many features with conservative Islam: they insist on an absolutist and "literal" (i.e., their own) interpretation of the Bible. They have a self-proclaimed prophet (more than one, actually) who claimed intimate knowledge of God's holy plan. Their holy day of rest is not on Sunday, in opposition to most of Christianity. They anticipate the world will end soon in a conflagration between the true believers (them) and mainstream Christianity, which they believe is in league with Satan. And this global conflagration will be caused by Christians trying to force the Sabbath to be on Sundays, persecuting Adventists who celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday.

This is Adventist's major concern, and it's totally ridiculous: with each passing year we are getting further and further from forcing the Sabbath to be observed on Sundays, with almost every state eliminating mandatory Sunday closing laws and allowing the sale of everything from automobile to alcohol sales.

But more importantly, why would the creator of the universe care how humans set up their calendar? Which day is the seventh day of rest comes down to whether you define the first day of the week as Sunday or Monday. And that depends on the date when you start the cycle of days of the week.

Adam never wrote a damned thing down: no one did for thousands of years. Moses didn't get the tablets from God telling him to to keep the Sabbath holy until some time between 1600 and 1200 BC. Given that writing didn't exist when the world was created, and arithmetic and calendars wouldn't be created for three or four millennia after the ostensible day of creation, we have absolutely no way of knowing what day should be the first day of the week. Thus, the exact day on which the Sabbath is celebrated is totally arbitrary and essentially random.

Christians have switched calendars four times since the time of Christ: from the Hebrew, to the Roman Julian calendar, to the Christian Julian calendar, to the Gregorian calendar. So how can know really know anything about what the right day is to celebrate the Sabbath?

William Miller, the founder of Carson's religion, predicted the Second Coming would occur on various dates in 1843 and 1844, recalculating the End Times several times. Adventists called it "The Great Disappointment" when Christ failed to appear. Yeah, it's so disappointing that the world didn't end and millions of Christians who weren't Adventists didn't die because they honor Sunday as the Sabbath.

Most Adventists also revere Ellen White as a prophet, even though the Bible is supposed to be God's last word and the Bible warns against false prophets.

Carson himself believes literally that the world was created in six days just a few thousand years ago, and that evolution is the work of Satan.

Like Trump, the average Republican voter knows nothing about Adventism. If they did, they would lump Carson and his religion in with the Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, Muslims and Wiccans.

The Republican race is beginning to look a lot like the last Republican primary, when they cycled through nuts like Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum, and Cain before finally deciding on boring Mitt Romney. This time they started out the the boring guys like Bush and Christie, then flirted with Trump because of his big mouth. They're getting tired of the bombast, and already they're toying with Carson because they find his somnolent droning a soothing change of pace.

Carson, too, shall pass, probably when Ted Cruz goes bananas because he's bored and running out of cash.

Fucking. Brilliant.

Start Shittin' Yo Self

Backed by moms and money, gun-safety group expands its clout

Everytown for Gun Safety and its subsidiary, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, have helped push six states since 2013 to adopt more background checks on gun sales — what they consider the single most important measure to prevent shootings. They have also helped thwart legislation in several states that would make it easier to obtain firearms and carry them in more places such as schools.

The biggest weapon the Gun Cult has is fear. They use it every effectively and illogical people fall for it every time. Yet the Gun Cult also has a very big Achilles heel-their own hubris. They think they are invincible and this ever growing group of sensible people proved that they are not.

If I were the Gun Cult, I'd be shitting my self right about now. Pissing off a large group of women who are about to put the first woman in the White House is never a good idea.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Fallacy of the Hot Hand Fallacy

In sports there's this thing called the "hot hand." This is where a player gets on a roll and feels he can do no wrong. The Mets' Daniel Murphy is the latest person to be pegged as having a hot hand, hitting a bunch of home runs recently, after having a recent slump and being rather average for most of his career.

Statisticians claim there's no such thing as as a "hot hand," calling it a fallacious belief:
The "hot-hand fallacy" (also known as the "hot hand phenomenon" or "hot hand") is the fallacious belief that a person who has experienced success with a random event has a greater chance of further success in additional attempts. The concept has been applied to gambling and sports, such as basketball.
With random events, such as tossing coins and rolling dice, each toss or roll is independent of all others. If you roll two six-sided die the chance of a rolling a 7 is 16.7% every time, even if you just rolled a 7 the time before. If you roll 10 7s in row, the chance of rolling a 7 is still only 16.7% the 11th time.

In gambling statistical fallacies take two forms: first is the idea that if you're losing, you're eventually "due" a success. Second is the idea that if you're on a roll, your odds of success are increased. Both are wrong in games of chance like craps and roulette, where each event is random and independent of other events.

Some studies have indicated that success in sports like baseball and basketball has the same characteristic of randomness. This has lead statisticians to believe that one play has no bearing on the probability of success on the next play. That is, if a batter has a record of hitting home runs 16.7% of the time and hits a home run in the first inning, he still only has a 16.7% chance of hitting a home in third inning.

But plays in sports are not random and independent events. They are dependent on the individuals and conditions involved. During a single game, it's the same day, the same stadium, the same batter, the same pitcher, the same defensive lineup, the same weather conditions. Some days batters won't get a good night's sleep. Sometimes the pitcher had and argument with his wife and his mind's not really on the game. On a particular day, a player can play better than he ever has in his life, and his chances of success are better than his career average that whole day.

Thus, a batter hitting a ball is not a totally random independent event, like rolling dice. Many of the conditions are under the batter's or the pitcher's control.

For example, the pitcher can guarantee the batter won't get a home run by walking him intentionally. (This comes at a cost, of course.)

Similarly, if you take a professional baseball player and put him on the plate facing a 9-year-old little league pitcher, he would probably hit a home run every time the kid put the ball over the plate.

Thus, hitting a baseball is not totally random.

The "randomness" in sports comes from two sources: external and internal. External sources of randomness arise from things like air pressure, wind and lighting that may affect the flight of the ball or the player's perception of it. Internal sources of randomness arise from human beings' inability to repeat tasks identically: a pitcher cannot throw a ball at exactly the same speed along the same trajectory every time.

Finally, the player's mental state has a huge impact on performance. People who are wracked with doubts don't usually perform very well. Success breeds success by inspiring confidence and eliminating hesitation and second guessing oneself.

Having said all that, however, any hot hand effects are going to be fairly small, because human beings cannot repeatedly execute physical actions with extreme precision.

The epitome of randomness is flipping a coin. But this is random only because humans cannot consistently apply all the same forces to a coin each time it is flipped, or even flip it from the same height and location.

But if we built a device that flipped a coin in a vacuum, applying exactly the same forces each time with extremely high precision, we could increase the probability of getting the same result by reducing the variation in each iteration. We could potentially build a machine that could make a coin come up heads 9 out of 10 times, or 99 out of 100 times. (100% certainty is unlikely due to quantum effects.)

In gambling the hot hand fallacy still applies to games of chance like roulette and craps (but not necessarily to poker or blackjack, where skill matters).

But in sports where human is pitted against human and most of the factors are controlled by the actors, it is a fallacy to think that the outcome is completely random.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Republican Brain Part Six: Political Personalities

Getting back to Chris Mooney's book, The Republican Brain, we now turn to "Political Personalities." Recall that Mooney has now firmly established that when people, especially conservatives, here something that causes cognitive dissonance, they feel like they are being physically attacked. So, they experience dis-confirmation bias and furiously hunt for "evidence" that proves that what is causing them physical discomfort simply can't be true. In short, they tell themselves a nice story.

There are many studies to back this up and they are detailed extensively in the first 50+ pages of the book. Now, however, Mooney details the study that blew it all open: The American Psychological Association's study from 2003 that found links between political ideology and personality traits. The psychologists sought patterns among 88 samples, involving 22,818 participants, taken from journal articles, books and conference papers. The material originating from 12 countries included speeches and interviews given by politicians, opinions and verdicts rendered by judges, as well as experimental, field and survey studies.

So what did they find?

Conservatives are dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, fear death, less open to new experiences, less "integrative complexity" in thinking and have more need for closure. Essentially, everything I have been saying on here for backed up by peer reviewed science.

The reaction from conservatives was not surprising. The denounced and condemned the study as "left wing rhetoric." They deluged lead researcher, Stanford's John Jost, with emails that were "incredibly aggressive, obnoxious and threatening." Jost remarked, "Ironically, they epitomized all the things they were trying to deny."

Since their report was released over a decade ago, there have been a myriad of studies which have affirmed the report. So, this report, which was  based on 88 different peer reviewed studies, now has just about as many studies, according to Jost. His study has been cited over 800 times since its publication. The science is solid: conservatives have different brains than liberals. It's not merely a matter of philosophy or environment. The way their brains are wired lead them to be dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, fear death, less open to new experiences, less "integrative complexity" in thinking and have more need for closure.

In a great number of ways, this explains why we have so much trouble progressing in this country. We certainly have made great strides since Barack Obama took office but we could be so much farther if it weren't for this brain type holding us back. Perhaps we could start by helping conservatives deal with uncertainty and ambiguity in a better fashion. As Mooney notes, dealing with the grays of reality depends on how you fall in the "Big Five" traits of human personality.

He goes on to describe how open minded people (mostly liberals) tend to congregate together. Close minded people (mostly conservatives) do the same thing. So, what tends to happen is that patterns are reinforced that strengthen a person's resistance to objective reality. And the places where each group hangs out is also different with open minded people and close minded people with the latter going to the same, comfortable places all the time. Open minded people tend to try new places to go and are more open to new experiences. It's no wonder conservatives react like they are being physically attacked when they are confronted by new facts. They are likely also in some sort of new environment that makes their cognitive dissonance even worse.

In putting all of this stuff together, it's easy to see that conservatives are in a great need for cognitive closure whereas liberals have a need for cognition. We want more complex problems and don't necessarily see open ended and ongoing issues as the end of the fucking universe. As I tell my teenagers (children and students), that's life. Deal with it. Money offers the example of abortion as a great example of this dichotomy between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives see this issue as very black and white. It's a child life and it's murder. They don't take into the complexity of child birth from an evolutionary standpoint nor do they consider the rights of the mother. Liberals, however, see that there are many factors to consider and the ultimate conclusion, while most definitely not perfect, is that abortion should be safe and legal.

Near the end of the chapter Mooney states

Authoritarians are very intolerant of ambiguity, are very inclined toward group think and are distrustful of outsiders. They have a need for order.

This really sums up today's conservative. They look at our changing culture and are completely horrified. In five years, white people will not be in the majority. Gay marriage is legal in all fifty states. A black man has served as president for the last two terms and a woman is likely to win the next term.

Their entire world is falling apart.

Thank God.

I Agree With Donald Trump!!

I have been saying this since this site started.

And conservatives can't let go of the Benghazi Frisbee?

Even Conservatives Are Calling It A TKO

Benghazi bust

So a hearing billed as an epic, High Noon-style confrontation — granted, the hype came from the media, not Republican committee members themselves — instead turned out to be a somewhat interesting look at a few limited aspects of the Benghazi affair. In other words, no big deal. And that is very, very good news for Hillary Clinton.

Even the New Yorker's Andy Borowitz had this to say...

Clinton Thanks Benghazi Committee for Invaluable Service to Her Campaign


Sitting there for 11 hours looking calm, cool and collected (see also: presidential), the Hilz took everything they had to dish out. And the Republicans looked like the children I have always said they are:)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Testimony Analysis

The post testimony analysis is in and it sure makes the Republicans look like fools. Other than Cult news outlets, the rest of the media was mighty impressed that the Hilz stood up to the SS the way she did. If there was ever any doubt that conservatives in this country have authoritarian fantasies (even though they CONSTANTLY complain about authoritarian governments), it was erased yesterday after their Gestapo tactics were revealed in yesterday's 11 hour hearing.

Hillary Rodham Clinton turned an 11-hour congressional grilling into a campaign call to action on foreign policy, using a make-or-break appearance before the Republican-led Benghazi committee to display a commanding, presidential presence under a barrage of questions. For months, Clinton's campaign had circled Thursday's hearing on the calendar as a key hurdle for a candidate who has struggled to fend off a flood of criticism over her use of a private email system as secretary of state. 

Instead, amid questioning that often bordered on a courtroom-style interrogation, Clinton avoided any major gaffes, and sought to portray herself above the partisan fray as committee members bickered. At points, she dipped into her campaign arguments, declaring that the U.S. must promote American exceptionalism around the globe.


Clinton — who famously fumed last time she testified on Benghazi — didn’t lose her cool this time. But she didn’t look happy either, passing much of the marathon session with an impatient hand on puckered chin, as Republicans droned on like a traffic court judge with a pending dinner reservation. Anti-Clinton conservatives outside the room fumed at how upstanding Clinton looked in comparison to her inquisitors. “Why doesn't Pompeo just go over and swear her in for president now—if he goes on like this, he'll practically get her elected,” tweeted John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine.

I think they just did get her elected, especially given this simple fact.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Enter: The Gestapo!!

If there were any doubts about how low the Republicans are these days, the ELEVEN HOURS they spent today grilling Hillary Clinton pretty much illustrated how sadistic they are. They treated her like some sort of evil traitor to our country and why?

Because Obama got bin Laden and made them look bad. What a bunch of fucking assholes!!

Seriously, why didn't they just put on the rack and shine a spotlight on her face while water boarding her.

Sign Me Up!

Government To Confiscate One Person’s Guns Just To Make Rest Of Them Squirm

In a massive, highly coordinated raid, 50 armed agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives will reportedly storm the home of a randomly selected law-abiding gun owner in the dead of night and seize every weapon on the premises. According to sources, the surprise operation has been several months in the planning stages and is being conducted entirely for the sake of watching the individual gun owner—and subsequently, the nation’s gun-rights activists as a whole—completely freak out over it.

I say we expand this program to cover all gun bloggers and commenters on gun blog sites:)

What Part Of Infringed Did She Not Understand?

Four-Year-Old Fatally Shot in Head in Albuquerque Road Rage Incident: Police

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Gallup: More Americans Favor Stricter Gun Laws

Tired of being held hostage by the American Taliban? Well, you're not the only one.  More Americans favor stricter gun laws and it's not just them. More gun owners want stricter laws as well. Perhaps some are beginning to see the writing on the wall...

The greatest threat to our national security right now is the fucking Gun Cult. As we have done with international extremists, our own local nutjobs need to be taken out. In many ways, this is a form of sedition and they need to be held accountable for their actions.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Responsible Gun Owners?

*10/11, SC: grandmother shot by 2-year-old grandson
*10/10, NV: 8-year-old boy fatally shot self
*10/10, MD: 75-year-old man fatally shot by 14-year-old boy 
*10/07, CA: 13-year-old girl shot self in hand
*10/02, OH: 12-year-old boy fatally shot 11-year-old brother
*9/26, IN: 18-year-old boy fatally shot by 15-year-old boy
*9/24, OR: 2-year-old boy shot self in leg
*9/24, MI: 6-year-old boy shot self in hand
*9/22, NY 24-year-old mother shot by 3-year-old son
*9/20, UT: 13-year-old girl shot by 11-year-old sister
*9/18, IN: 3-year-old girl shot by 13-year-old boy
*9/14, OK: 16-year-old boy shot self in leg
*9/11, NY: 15-year-old girl fatally shot by 15-year-old boy
*9/08, IL: 15-year-old boy shot self in head

And that's just in the last month...

Get Them Laid?

Last week, both Bill Maher and The Christian Science Monitor laid the blame for spree shooters at the foot of a heretofore unmentioned culprit: the male libido. Consider that all spree shooters are young men and nearly all of them have complained about a lack of sex in their lives. Both Maher and the Monitor posit that if these guys got laid more often...or at all...there wouldn't be as many spree shooters.

Of course, that translate into our society becoming massively less uptight about sex, including the legalization of prostitution. Honestly, our culture needs to unclench about sex and many other problems would go away as well.

Here's the Maher clip. It's the last new rule.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Hilz and NH

Check out Hillary's poll numbers in New Hampshire. She was trailing Bernie pretty badly until the debate and now it looks like she's basically even with him.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lights Out!

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Other Gun Lobby

If I were the Gun Lobby, I'd start shitting myself now.

You may laugh and not see it right away but you've already lost. We're coming for you, assholes.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Crushing It

Hillary wasn't the only one who absolutely crushed it last night at the debate. All five candidates showed exactly why the Democrats are the party that should run the federal government. They actually (gasp!) talked about the issues, showed what a team looks like, and offered valid and comprehensive solutions to our nation's problems. In short, the behaved like adults. Not only would any one of those candidates be a decent president but each of them completely buries all of the rest of the GOP field in terms of both substance and style.

The Nation has a great piece up about why the GOP is doing so poorly these days.

The GOP finds itself trapped in a marriage that has not only gone bad but is coming apart in full public view. After five decades of shrewd strategy, the Republican coalition Richard Nixon put together in 1968—welcoming the segregationist white South into the Party of Lincoln—is now devouring itself in ugly, spiteful recriminations. "...  At the heart of this intramural conflict is the fact that society has changed dramatically in recent decades, but the GOP has refused to change with it. 

Americans are rapidly shifting toward more tolerant understandings of personal behavior and social values, but the Republican Party sticks with retrograde social taboos and hard-edged prejudices about race, gender, sexual freedom, immigration, and religion. 

This contrast was massively on display last night. The Democrats understand the shift that has been occurring since President Obama took office. The Republicans don't and are hilariously going in the opposite direction. Conservatives can't even govern themselves for pete's sake.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Her Own Worst Enemy?

Politico has a great piece up about Hillary Clinton's email woes. It's a very balanced look at what has transpired thus far. Check this out.

“I am having two problems,” she bluntly told the supporter at a social event. “On the one hand, I feel like I’m rolling out a lot of substantive programs on issues that people care about. We’re getting one day’s news coverage. But there’s nothing larger knitting it together. We’re not breaking through. … And my team needs to get their act together on the email response.”

Clinton’s frustration with her own campaign staff was striking. So was her refusal for much of the year to characterize the escalating email controversy as anything other than a failure of communications, messaging or the vast right-wing-and-media conspiracy. Both complaints were consistent with what other campaign advisers told us in dozens of interviews for this story—except some of them laid equal blame on the candidate herself. 

I said the same thing two months ago.

Tonight at the debate she has to answer questions using her own voice and not some obviously prepared talking point. If she speaks her mind and from the heart, she is going to rock it. If she doesn't, more people are going to turn off from her.

Good Words

The justification for guns on campuses — or in elementary schools or churches or wherever else gun-related mayhem has recently struck — is usually some variation on the famous line by the NRA's LaPierre: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." If only the real world were as simple as an old-timey Western film, or a game of cops and robbers. In reality, good guys with guns accidentally kill people a lot of the time. The guns that belong to "good guys" accidentally or purposely kill people. 

The good guys lose their cool or get into a fight or get drunk or become overwhelmed by depression, and someone dies, or the good guy himself does. The reality of gun violence isn't usually good guys versus bad guys. It's a chaotic world in which people fight and disagree and forget and stumble and err, a world populated by fallible human beings and made infinitely bloodier by easy access to deadly weapons.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Yet Another Gun Cult Lie Exposed

The Gun Cult often likes to trot out the lie about how states with stricter gun laws have higher deaths. As is usually the case with them, they are lying to avoid the reality which is the opposite.

Check out all that red...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dedicated To Right Wing Blog Commenters Everywhere...

I Don't Think They Understand That They Are In The Tiny Minority

Today's piece in the Times on the mess in the House has made me wonder....does the Freedom Caucus understand that they are in the tiny minority? I get that they want to have more power (who doesn't?) but if they are able to get the committee assignments they desire, that means they drive the agenda. This translates into moonbat crazy on display nationally and I don't think their brains are ready for the cognitive dissonance.

There's a reason why Boehner did what he did. He knows that if the wingnuts get unleashed so more than just the political junkies like me get to hear and see them, their party's demise will be hastened.

Here's another eye opener from AP that shows just how rudderless the GOP is at present. Just like a blog comments section, all they are capable of are personal attacks. They have no real position of their own...other than the trifecta of hate, anger and fear.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

More Good Words

Good Words

My mother was an elementary school principal, not a Marine who signed up to be on the frontlines of a shootout. 

--Erica Lafferty, daughter of Dawn Hochsprung, principal of Sandy Hook elementary school.

And Erica? They are beyond morally bankrupt. They are criminally responsible for what's happening in this country in terms gun violence and they need to be taken out.

We've done it in the past with previous totalitarian and ideological instransigent groups. The time is now to do it again.

Friday, October 09, 2015

How This Came to Pass

House Republicans are so screwed up that they're seriously considering electing a "caretaker" speaker, John Kline from Minnesota, to serve until they can get their act together.

How did this come to pass?

It's not just that Republicans are prone to adolescent temper tantrums. It's their doctrinaire attitude about ideological purity, which fractures them into smaller and smaller subgroups that are always at war with each other.

This boils down to one thing: their inability to compromise.

They like to compare themselves to the Founding Fathers. But they're nothing like the men who built this country.

Those guys sat around in meetings for weeks and months on end, hammering out the Constitution with compromise after compromise to make this country work. This is best illustrated by the the most ridiculous and outrageous compromise of all: the Three-Fifths Compromise. It read:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
Representation in the House (and presidential elections) is based on population, and Southerners -- who deemed slaves chattel with no more rights than livestock -- still wanted them to be counted as full human beings when it came to apportioning seats in the House. The compromise gave Southern states more political power to keep men enslaved, but it was the price that had to be paid to keep the country together.

It was doomed to fail, as it ultimately did less than a century later when slavery was abolished. But that's the nature of government. Nothing is forever. Times change. After a time you have to agree to something and move on, with the full knowledge that it will have to be revisited.

It is silly and petulant to pretend that you can make a decision once for the rest of eternity. Science, technology and social realities are in constant flux. A government -- or any organization, be it a company, philanthropic foundation or church -- has to adapt to new conditions.

Insisting that nothing can change and we have to do everything the way our great-great-great-grandfathers did won't just mire you in the past, it will doom you to failure.

A huge part of the problem is that Congress doesn't actually do the work of governing anymore. They work maybe three days a week, then they jet off to their home districts or some boondoggle to shmooze with big donors and PACs.

Unlike the Founders, who were stuck in the capitol for months at a time with nothing to do but the actual job of governing, modern congressmen spend all their time raising campaign cash, even when they're in DC supposedly doing their work.

If Congress actually stayed in DC and talked to each other, instead of spending all their time trying to appeal to megadonors and cranky "base voters," this country would run a hell of lot better.

Adolescent Temper Tantrums

Well, it looks like the GOP is in a complete state of disaster. Kevin McCarthy has withdrawn his bid for House Speaker. John Boehner will stay on until a replacement is found. The Tea Party and far right conservatives have thrown their tantrum, tearing down the house (literally:)) that gives them a home...just like the teenager rebelling against mom and dad who thinks that their adolescent dreams of anarchy are preferable to the status quo.

Does the conservative base, who has nothing but hate and bile for their leadership, understand exactly what they are doing?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Myth of the Good Guy With A Gun

Looks like someone else is spreading the good word...

Speaking Friday on CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, perennial gun rights advocate John Lott said, “My solution for these mass shootings is to look at the fact that every single time, these attacks occur where guns are banned. Every single time.” 

That’s neither true in general nor true in this instance. The FBI tells us that active-shooter scenarios occur in all sorts of environments where guns are allowed—homes, businesses, outdoor spaces. (In fact, there was another mass shooting the same day as the Oregon massacre, leaving three dead and one severely wounded in a home in North Florida.) And Umpqua Community College itself wasn’t a gun-free zone. Oregon is one of seven states that allow guns on college campuses—the consequence of a 2011 court decision that overturned a longstanding ban. In 2012, the state board of education introduced several limitations on campus carry, but those were not widely enforced. 

And yet they keep believing all this shit....

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

A New Way to Tackle Gun Deaths

Nicholas Kristof has a great piece up about how we need to start thinking outside of the box on tackling gun deaths in this country. The stark reality of more Americans dying from gun deaths since 1970 than in all the wars we have ever fought in needs to be addressed and his ideas are sound.

The best one is engaging the CDC more to deal with this problem. They do on a whole host of other major causes of death so why not guns? If Americans were being killed at the average of 92 a day by ISIL or Al Qaeda, we would be acting immediately.

The fact that we aren't makes this problem a national disgrace.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Yet Another Gun Cult Member Responsible For Murder

Looks like we have another Gun Cult member directly responsible for murder. Laurel Mercer cared deeply about guns and wrote a series of online posts about them. In the link above she complains about the "lame" limits imposed on her regarding lock and loaded weapons in her house. She also indicated that her son was well versed in gun training and usage.

Yes, he was.

How many more Nancy Lanzas and Laurel Mercers are there out there? These people are no different than the extremists that want to kill US citizens. They are clearly a threat to our nation.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Pass The Popcorn, Please...

At Least He Admits It

Check out Kevin McCarthy, currently in the running for Speaker of the House....

At least he admits what the Benghazi hearing is all about...

Sunday, October 04, 2015

End The Love Affair

Until the United States ends its love affair with guns (and the belief that they solve problems), we will continue to see regular mass shootings and thousands dead from gun violence.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

How Many More?

How Many More Mass Shootings Will It Take For Us to Act?
This is powerful. Pass it on.Shared by Occupy Democrats, LIKE our page for more!
Posted by Occupy Democrats on Friday, October 2, 2015

Kim Davis Is Not So Special

Conservatives have been crowing that Kim Davis met with the infamously liberal Pope Francis when he was in the United States spreading the gospel about our duties to protect the planet and the poor.

The reality is that the visit was arranged by the pope's political operatives in Washington (the nunciature), who usually set up papal meetings for "benefactors and donors." That is, if you pay the nuncio some money, you get to see the pope.

The Vatican has clarified the situation:
"The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:

"Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope's characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family. [Emphasis added]

"The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects." 
Who was that former student? A gay man, whose spouse and family the pope met with the day before Kim Davis.

Does that mean the pope endorses gay marriage?

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap...

The man currently in charge of the Umpqua Community College shooting massacre, Douglas County, Oregon, Sheriff John Hanlin, is a proud member of the Gun Cult. CNN has a story about how Hanlin wrote a letter to Vice President Biden saying he would never comply with any gun control law coming from the Obama administration. He also posted a conspiracy video to his Facebook page about Sandy Hook in early January 2013.

Hanlin is going to be a great example of what happens when a human being experiences cognitive dissonance. He is supposed to be a leader of safety and law in his community. Now his ideology has come home to roost. Will he change?

Friday, October 02, 2015

"We Are Answerable..."

"We are all answerable..."

The president summed up, in this one line, why I am not a conservative. We are indeed responsible for things that happen in our culture....ALL of us...especially something as horrendous as the now regular mass shootings.

Pretending that it's not our problem is incredibly adolescent.

Yes, We Are.

We're Sick of the Pro-Gun Arguments

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Internet Ads, Part II: How Internet Ad Servers Screw Companies

In a previous post I described why Internet ad servers are evil from the perspective of the end user: they are all too frequently vectors for spam, malware and invading user privacy.

Now the other side of the coin: Internet ad serving companies intentionally screw the customers whose ads they are paid to show to users. According to an article from Bloomberg:
[In l]ate [2013 Ron Amram, a marketing exec for Heineken,] and a half-dozen or so colleagues gathered in a New York conference room for a presentation on the performance of the online ads. They were stunned. Digital’s return on investment was around 2 to 1, a $2 increase in revenue for every $1 of ad spending, compared with at least 6 to 1 for TV. The most startling finding: Only 20 percent of the campaign’s “ad impressions”—ads that appear on a computer or smartphone screen—were even seen by actual people.

“The room basically stopped,” Amram recalls. The team was concerned about their jobs; someone asked, “Can they do that? Is it legal?” But mostly it was disbelief and outrage. “It was like we’d been throwing our money to the mob,” Amram says. “As an advertiser we were paying for eyeballs and thought that we were buying views. But in the digital world, you’re just paying for the ad to be served, and there’s no guarantee who will see it, or whether a human will see it at all.”
These ad serving companies pull all kinds of dirty tricks to make it look like ads are being seen by human beings. They'll bring up an ad in a popup behind real content and count that as a click. They hire botnets that take over computers, bring up virtual browsers that don't appear on the screens of unsuspecting users and "click" links to their ads, which get counted as real hits even though they're never seen.

Then there are the click-bait links that appear on so many websites: stories about Scarlett Johansson or Kim Kardashian or those idiotic "One Weird Weight Loss Trick" headlines. When people accidentally on purpose click those links the companies whose ads appear with those bogus stories get charged for a page view, even though real users will never look at those ads.

However, not all Internet ads are fraudulent: ads hosted by the content providers' web servers directly are usually honest. As with everything on the Net, it's shady third parties who commit most of the fraud.

And, Once Again, Another Fucking Mass Shooting

How much longer are we going to have to put up with this shit? Same bullshit, different day. The president has now delivered his 15TH address to the media on a mass shooting. For the general public, it's become routine. For the families who have lost loved ones, they get the to join the really, super special club of devastated people who got shit on by the Gun Cult.

There is one thing that is different about this case, though. Oregon has conceal carry and Umpqua Community College allows conceal carry on campus. MSNBC just interviewed a gentlemen by the name of John Parker Jr. who had a gun and did not draw it. So, plenty of good guys with guns and they didn't stop him. And the bad guy wasn't deterred. At the very least, we can now fully dispense with that bullshit lie.

I love my country but the fact that nothing is done while people are being slaughtered regularly makes me pretty fucking ashamed of it.

Another Bullshit Gun Cult Lie Exposed

Anyone seen this graphic making the rounds?

Yeah, it's a giant pile of shit.

I'm wondering why they continue to feel the need to lie.