Great piece over at Hullabaloo by Digby. Great piece!
‘It’s the guns’
‘Following up on David’s post earlier, with which I fully
agree, I just want to add that the fundamental problem
here isn’t only this radical interpretation of the
concept of self defense. It’s about the guns’.
‘People are going to get into beefs. I heard one on my
street the other night about the very same issue that
precipitated the one in Florida: loud “thug” music that
some older white guy didn’t want to hear. This was coming
from a party, not a car, but it was loud and it was late
and this fellow was hopping mad. Angry older white guys
tend to be short tempered — and, sure, young males can
be mouthy. An argument ensued. Harsh words were
exchanged. Just as it looked as if it might come to
blows, the police arrived and that was the end of it’.
‘This happens. Humans get into arguments, they get in
each others faces and they sometimes come to blows. There
is no way to ensure that will not happen’.
‘But these minor beefs — like texting in a movie theater — would
very rarely be deadly if people weren’t packing heat!
‘That’s the real issue here’.
‘The gun nuts like to say that an armed society is a
polite society. That’s just another way of saying that
if you are carrying a gun you can make people do what you
want them to do — stop texting, stop playing music you
don’t like, stop walking through the night with with some
candy and a drink from 7-11, even “that’s my parking
“During an argument over the parking spot, witnesses said
a security guard, whose name has not been released, shot
the owner of the barber shop, 37-year old Gerson Mieses”.
“Miami Police Officer Frederica Burden said when one of
their officers arrived on the scene, he tried to separate
“The security guard then took a step back and shot the
employee of the barber shop, which in turn the officer
stepped back and asked him to drop his weapon and then he
shot the security guard,” Burden said”.
“Both the guard and Mieses died”.
“The security guard flipped his lid and pushed someone
aside and shot the barber,” said Martin Cole who saw it
all go down. “The security guard came out from behind
someone and then shot the barber in the chest area. I
didn’t see any weapon on the barber. He was just mad and
waving his hands a little bit, but I didn’t see any
This is a‘bout about power’,
‘which is probably why we see so many cases of unarmed black kids being shot. And it’shaving a desired effect, I’d guess’.
A European friend told me that it’s common advice for
travelers to the US to avoid confrontation at all costs
because so many Americans are armed and have a hair
trigger. That’s just horrifying’.
‘There are just too many guns around and apparently
there’s nothing we can do about it’.
‘So, most of us will
keep our heads down and our mouths shut and let these
bullies call it freedom’.
From : http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2014/02/its-
A teabagger working in a Union……….
Can Joe The Plumber say Karma?
‘Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher – a.k.a., “Joe the Plumber” – announced today on Facebook and earlier on his Web site that he has landed a union job with Chrysler Group LLC’.
‘He became famous in 2008 because of a chance encounter on his street with then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, and has become a popular figure on the Tea Party right. Mr. Wurzelbacher and Mr. Obama engaged in a spirited debate about Mr. Obama’s plans to raise taxes on incomes over $250,000, prompting Mr. Obama to say that his plan would help everyone because it would “spread the wealth around.”
‘Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was concerned about taxes because he was thinking of buying a plumbing business. That prompted criticism because Mr. Wurzelbacher did not hold a plumbing license, though he was working legally for a plumber contractor’.
‘In 2012, Mr. Wurzelbacher unsuccessfully ran for the 9th Congressional District as the Republican nominee against U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo)’.
From : http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2014/02/17/Joe-the-Plumber-Wurzelbacher-hired-by-Chrysler-Corporation.html#HLrwoUK91rPfYB2L.99
‘Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released a statement taking credit for $35 million dollars in stimulus highway money. The House GOP website featured the McMorris Rodgers release on the one year anniversary of the stimulus. “I am pleased The U.S. Department of Transportation has chosen to award $35 million for the North Spokane Corridor,” she wrote in a press release. “This is precisely the type of project the government should be funding.”
‘McMorris Rodgers repeatedly voted against the stimulus’.
‘Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery Act, President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus stimulus package that invested in everything from infrastructure projects to electronic medical health care records and alternative energy sources’.
‘Every single Republican in the House and almost every Republican in the Senate — with the exception of Former Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — voted against the measure and today the GOP continues to deride the law as wasteful an ineffective’.
‘But as ThinkProgress reported throughout 2009, over half of the GOP caucus praised the effects of the stimulus or took credit for the federal dollars in their home districts and states — despite repeatedly voting against it in Washington D.C. Below is a list of the top 13 stimulus hypocrites’:
From : http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/02/17/3298561/stimulus-hypocrites/
‘There’s trouble brewing in Kentucky for Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. The Tea Party Frankenstein the GOP used to try to kill Obamacare in 2010 is coming back to bite their Senate Minority Leader in the behind’.
‘The United Kentucky Tea Party called on McConnell to drop out of the race so Matt Bevin, the Tea Party candidate, can rally the base, according to Tom Howell Jr. at the Washington Times’.
‘The Washington Times reported, “The tea party group cited Mr. McConnell’s dramatic vote last week to extend the nation’s debt limit and polling that suggests he could lose to the eventual Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, in the general election.”
‘It got worse — the Tea Party group said, “Senator McConnell’s recent vote with (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid to hand President Obama a blank check for the next year has further degraded his support in Kentucky.”
‘Yes, Kentucky, where the Republican voters already think that Mitch McConnell is too friendly with Obama, so it’s not a stretch really for the Tea Party to demand that Mitch McConnell step down before he loses to Alison Grimes’.
‘But the Tea Party is wrong about why he is at risk of losing to Alison Grimes’.
‘The problem is that not everyone in Kentucky is sold on McConnell’s failure to have a jobs plan for going on 30 years’.
‘He even refused to extend unemployment benefits all because his number one mission is to obstruct President Obama, rather than help his people’.
‘Mitch is not exactly a man of the people, and the people of Kentucky seem to be growing weary of him. They really don’t like Mitch McConnell’.
From : http://www.politicususa.com/2014/02/17/tea-party-demands-mitch-mcconnell.html
Here in Spokane, a man was shot and killed (murdered) for stealing a truck.
In Florida, 1 kid was shot and killed (murdered) and 3 others shot for playing music too loud.
But we need more guns out there.
‘Shortly before 1:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, Little Rock Police responded to the Kum & Go gas station after a call about a shooting, according to KARK. Officers found a white Hyundai Sonata with bullet holes, broken glass, and four teens between the ages of 14 and 18’.
‘A 15-year-old girl who was inside the car was identified as Adrian Broadway. She later died from a gunshot wound after being taken to nearby hospital. The car’s 18-year-old driver, Dshone Nelson, suffered minor injuries from broken glass’.
‘The surviving teen victims reportedly told police that they had attempted to prank 48-year-old Willie Noble’s son by covering his car in eggs and leaves, KTHV reported’.
“Apparently Mr. Noble’s teenage son had done a prank on some of the kids that were inside the vehicle on Halloween Night,” Lieutenant Sidney Allen explained. “As a result they were doing a retaliation prank and it ultimately had deadly results.”
‘After the shooting, the driver attempted to flee the scene to get help’.
‘Researchers from Johns Hopkins University’s Center For Gun Policy and Research did a study of Missouri, where a background check law was repealed in 2007’.
‘They found that since the repeal, there was an increase of between 55 to 63 murders by gun per year from 2008 to 2012. Daniel Webster, lead author of the study, says’:
“This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence’.
‘There is strong evidence to support the idea that the repeal of Missouri’s handgun purchaser licensing law contributed to dozens of additional murders in Missouri each year since the law was changed”.
Should the investigation into Chris Christie be delayed until after the 2016 Presidential election?
Should all of Darrell Issa’s investigations be delayed until after the 2014 and 2016 and 2018…elections?
Should justice just stop until after elections?
‘Claiming key GOP campaign strategies could be “exposed” before this year’s gubernatorial and legislative races, a Queens Republican operative wants his federal corruption trial delayed until after November’s elections’.
‘Former Queens Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone — who is accused of pocketing $25,000 as part of a failed scheme to get state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) on the 2012 GOP line for mayor — has filed papers asking White Plains federal Judge Kenneth Karas to delay a June 2 trial set for Tabone, Smith and other co-defendants until at least December’.
‘He claims state GOP candidates seeking office could be “unfairly” undermined if the request isn’t granted by Karas, a Republican appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by George W. Bush’.
“The necessary witnesses to such a trial may include the Republican Party chairmen of the state and county Republican committees in New York,” Tabone’s lawyer, Deborah Misir, wrote Saturday in a letter to Karas’.
“Subjecting the Republican Party, its officials and internal political strategies to intense scrutiny, while sparing the Democratic Party, would unfairly undermine Republican Party candidates in the general election”.
“Questioning of party official witnesses will directly impact federal and state elections being held in New York by selectively exposing Republican Party strategy, the negotiation of cross-party endorsements for Republican candidates,” she added. “In short, it could devolve into a political circus aimed at the Republican Party and its federal and state candidates.”
From : http://nypost.com/2014/02/17/gop-operative-asks-judge-to-delay-trial-until-after-elections/
Fantastic peice over at the NYT.
‘Over the past decade, Elizabeth Kolbert has established herself as one of our very best science writers. She has developed a distinctive and eloquent voice of conscience on issues arising from the extraordinary assault on the ecosphere, and those who have enjoyed her previous works like “Field Notes From a Catastrophe” will not be disappointed by her powerful new book, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.”
‘Since the origin of life on earth 3.8 billion years ago, our planet has experienced five mass extinction events’.
‘The last of these events occurred some 66 million years ago when a six-mile-wide asteroid is thought to have collided with earth, wiping out the dinosaurs. The Cretaceous extinction event dramatically changed the composition of biodiversity on the planet’:
‘Marine ecosystems essentially collapsed, and about 75 percent of all plant and animal species disappeared’.
‘Today, Kolbert writes, we are witnessing a similar mass extinction event happening in the geologic blink of an eye. According to E. O. Wilson, the present extinction rate in the tropics is “on the order of 10,000 times greater than the naturally occurring background extinction rate” and will reduce biological diversity to its lowest level since the last great extinction’.
‘This time, however, a giant asteroid isn’t to blame — we are, by altering environmental conditions on our planet so swiftly and dramatically that a large proportion of other species cannot adapt’.
‘And we are risking our own future as well, by fundamentally altering the integrity of the climate balance that has persisted in more or less the same configuration since the end of the last ice age, and which has fostered the flourishing of human civilization’.
‘As early as the 1840s, scientists noticed large gaps in the fossil record — time periods in which earth’s biodiversity declined rapidly and could not be explained by a static system’.
‘Some scientists theorized that abrupt climate changes had caused past mass extinction events’.
‘But in the modern era, three factors have combined to radically disrupt the relationship between civilization and the earth’s ecosystem’:
“People change the world,” Kolbert writes’.
From : http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/books/review/the-sixth-extinction-by-elizabeth-kolbert.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
‘About six months ago, my 8-year-old asked whether fire was a solid, a liquid, or a gas. I am sad to confess that my answer at the time was: “A gas. … No, a solid. … No. A gas. … It depends. … Let’s check Google. Look! A squirrel!”
‘And those were the coherent parts’.
‘When actor Alan Alda was 11, he too asked a teacher what a flame was’.
‘And her one-word explanation—“oxidation”—wasn’t much more satisfying than mine’.
‘So in 2011, Alda—who is a longtime science enthusiast, PBS science sherpa, and founding member of the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York—developed the Flame Challenge, a competition in which scientists around the country are tasked with explaining a complicated scientific idea to the satisfaction of thousands of exacting 11-year-old judges’.
‘I asked Alda whether the impetus for the Flame Challenge was teaching kids to understand science or getting scientists to explain science clearly’.
“I thought we were doing this mainly to teach scientists how hard and interesting it is to say something complex so an 11-year-old could understand it—and, by the way, so that I could understand it,” Alda says, “but then I saw that we got kids more excited about science than they ever were before. And it’s something science teachers can grab on to, to make science more interesting for the kids.”
‘The real point of the Flame Challenge and the Center for Communicating Science, however, is to teach scientists to communicate their ideas clearly to laypeople, policymakers, and government officials’.
“Sometimes fancy words are used in an effort to be precise, but in fact precision can actually be lost through confusion.”
‘I asked him whether, three years into the challenge, he was more surprised by the sophistication of the 11-year-old student judges or the heroic communication efforts of the scientists’.
“I was surprised by Ben Ames’ video,” the winning flame explanation, he replies, “because it was so elaborate and so informative and fun.” But he says that more and more he is surprised by the complex questions the kids are coming up with for the experts. As last year’s question—“What is time?”—shows, the kids are so abstract and philosophical. But it also turns out that sometimes even seemingly simple questions are still the subject of scientific debate’.
“With all these questions, we vet the answers with experts,” Alda explains. “But it has happened that even the experts don’t agree on the answers. So that tells me that science is still in progress.”
From : http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/02/flame_challenge_2014_what_is_color_alan_alda_has_kids_judge_scientists.html