Obama’s taking all our guns away! Wait… what?

punt-gun-banned-1860sWhat Obama did:

  1. Strengthened background checks by requiring that all gun dealers are licensed and conduct background checks (apparently closing the gun show loophole). Added jobs for over 200 more FBI examiners to make the background check process faster.
  2. Proposed (yes, not actually real yet) 200 more ATF employees, and basically acknowledged a new ATF internet investigative unit to track and prevent illegal internet weapons trafficking. Also had the Attorney General send a memo “encouraging” US Attorneys to conduct more domestic violence outreach.
  3. Proposed (yes, not actually real yet) $500 million for better access to mental health care. Informed us that Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration are trying to make it easier in background checks to report specific mental health reasons an individual has that should prevent them from purchasing a firearm.
  4. Encouraged departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct research into gun safety technology.

So that’s like, one real thing and a bunch of not real things, or already existing things, or things that might help down the road if there is a Congress that will actually make them real things. That one real thing is a big deal, but it’s nothing that will prevent any law-abiding American citizen from purchasing a legal firearm.

Regardless…

What gun nuts think Obama did:

  1. Banned all guns forever and ever, amen.
  2. Ordered nationwide confiscation of all privately-owned guns.
  3. Named Bill Ayers new ATF Director and replaced all ATF agents with the Black Panthers.
  4. Directed the ATF to round up (mostly white) people with too many guns and put them and their families into FEMA camps. Wolverines!

I wonder, if we had smarter wingnuts, would that make them more dangerous, or would it make them less likely to be wingnuts? And I must say, blast it! Once again, Obama passes on his opportunity to subvert the Constitution, throw the nation into crisis, and begin his reign of tyranny!

I suppose there is still time.


of course they did: scalia & thomas dine w/ ppaca challengers

It’s a glaring example of not even caring to present the façade of impartiality:

The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.

No big deal, right? Just a friendly, non-controversial dinner/fundraiser sponsored by Pfizer, the law firm Jones Day (representing the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade association challenging the PPACA), and the law firm that will argue the case against PPACA, Bancroft PLLC. Actually, I’m not sure which is the bigger concern — that it is effectively a yawner story in our society that justices sitting on the top court of the land regularly wine and dine with those that have a direct interest in the cases they will hear, or that the Supreme Court justices don’t have to answer to the same Code of Conduct that all other federal judges do.

These two justices, specifically, are an embarrassment to our legal system and society. One (Scalia) has continually thumbed his nose at the mere concept of performing his duties ethically, while the other (Thomas) has been a paragon of ignorance and the lack of any kind of notable achievements in his time on the court, unless you count his historically notable record of non-participation in Supreme Court hearings.

And yet they’ll both be there for life. Two more examples of conservatives turning our government into a farce.


associated press apparently believes you can only file one complaint in your lifetime

Seriously, AP:

A woman who settled a sexual harassment complaint against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain in 1999 complained three years later at her next job about unfair treatment, saying she should be allowed to work from home after a serious car accident and accusing a manager of circulating a sexually charged email, The Associated Press has learned.

This is the new media “balance”. There would actually be something to this story, if perhaps the accuser displayed a disturbing trend of bouncing from job to job, filing sexual harassment complaints. But one complaint, three years later, isn’t a trend or even a pattern. It’s merely another complaint.

It isn’t, say, five different women accusing one man over the course of his employment at the National Restaurant Association. It isn’t two of the women now public and one known to have received what amounts to a full annual salary as a payout resulting from the alleged incident. It isn’t an allegation of the expectation of sexual favors in exchange for giving someone a job.

Now that, AP, would truly be disturbing.


it must be said…

The following groups say the danger of human-caused climate change is a … FACT:

U.S. Agency for International Development
United States Department of Agriculture
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
National Institute of Standards and Technology
United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Energy
National Institutes of Health
United States Department of State
United States Department of Transportation
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Aeronautics & Space Administration
National Science Foundation
Smithsonian Institution
International Arctic Science Committee
Arctic Council
African Academy of Sciences
Australian Academy of Sciences
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias
Cameroon Academy of Sciences
Royal Society of Canada
Caribbean Academy of Sciences
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Académie des Sciences, France
Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences
Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina of Germany
Indonesian Academy of Sciences
Royal Irish Academy
Accademia nazionale delle scienze of Italy
Indian National Science Academy
Science Council of Japan
Kenya National Academy of Sciences
Madagascar’s National Academy of Arts, Letters and Sciences
Academy of Sciences Malaysia
Academia Mexicana de Ciencias
Nigerian Academy of Sciences
Royal Society of New Zealand
Polish Academy of Sciences
Russian Academy of Sciences
l’Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal
Academy of Science of South Africa
Sudan Academy of Sciences
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Tanzania Academy of Sciences
Turkish Academy of Sciences
Uganda National Academy of Sciences
The Royal Society of the United Kingdom
National Academy of Sciences, United States
Zambia Academy of Sciences
Zimbabwe Academy of Science
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians
American Astronomical Society
American Chemical Society
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Physics
American Medical Association
American Meteorological Society
American Physical Society
American Public Health Association
American Quaternary Association
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Society of Agronomy
American Society for Microbiology
American Society of Plant Biologists
American Statistical Association
Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
Botanical Society of America
Crop Science Society of America
Ecological Society of America
Federation of American Scientists
Geological Society of America
National Association of Geoscience Teachers
Natural Science Collections Alliance
Organization of Biological Field Stations
Society of American Foresters
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society of Systematic Biologists
Soil Science Society of America
Australian Coral Reef Society
Australian Medical Association
Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
Engineers Australia
Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies
Geological Society of Australia
British Antarctic Survey
Institute of Biology, UK
Royal Meteorological Society, UK
Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
European Federation of Geologists
European Geosciences Union
European Physical Society
European Science Foundation
International Association for Great Lakes Research
International Union for Quaternary Research
International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
World Federation of Public Health Associations
World Health Organization
World Meteorological Organization

The following groups say the danger of human-caused climate change is a … FRAUD:

American Petroleum Institute
US Chamber of Commerce
National Association of Manufacturers
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Industrial Minerals Association
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Great Northern Project Development
Rosebud Mining
Massey Energy
Alpha Natural Resources
Southeastern Legal Foundation
Georgia Agribusiness Council
Georgia Motor Trucking Association
Corn Refiners Association
National Association of Home Builders
National Oilseed Processors Association
National Petrochemical and Refiners Association
Western States Petroleum Association

So… where do you stand – with science or with the profiteers?

Source: Daily Kos and Skeptical Science.


Voluntary Segregation

Segregation has been the cause of a lot of civil unrest in this country. So it should be no surprise that it could cause more. What is surprising is that this time it’s basically segregation by choice; this is a group of people convinced that they are being dangerously repressed, though they are not. And a large part of the convincing would have been achieved by a systematic campaign by conservative media outlets to pound the meta message that the plurality of America, the “Real Americans” – the white, Christian, rural, small town and suburban-dwelling caricatures of what America really looks like on TV™ – are under attack by an unholy, America-hating hydra whose heads are, to name a few: illegals, gays, the government, abortionists, Muslims, socialists (or fascists, because apparently there is no need for a distinction in the realm of irrational ad hominimism). And now, though not for the first time of course, another head of the hydra is the President.

“As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education — it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality,” said Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Steve Russell. “This is something you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

It appears that the far right have officially decided to voluntarily segregate themselves from the rest of the country. This is an ideological manifestation that is causing a segment of our populace to distrust anyone who doesn’t look like them. It can be as benign as a steadfast, damn-the-facts, science-denying, government is bad, give or take a dash of “values voter” indignance. Or it can be a more threatening version: Armed to the teeth, sometimes fundamentalist but definitely militarist, waiting for the day the government comes and tries to take their weapons; convinced that day is soon.

Either way, these are “voters subject to non-rational persuasion.” And they have their own media to do the persuading. And the traditional media aren’t helping, either. This isn’t a problem that will fade away quickly or easily, and the signs that we have crossed a threshold are evident: People showing up to presidential events openly carrying weapons; fistfights and other outright violence regularly breaking out at congressional town hall meetings; a dauntingly steady stream of right wing domestic terrorism; and most importantly, the simultaneously indifferent and sensationalist coverage of it all by almost every facet of the traditional media. Read this AP article. notice the tone – just a regular news story about normal, concerned Americans who think the president is trying to brainwash their children. With one speech. Because now even listening once to someone with whom you don’t agree could cause permanent brain damage. Think of the children! You see how America really is? This is just normal! It’s normal for a state senator to accuse the president of the kind of despotism “you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq,” without the news outlet attempting to put that into perspective.

It’s normal for people to hide behind a wall of ignorance and spew falsehoods for the press to blithely repeat to the public as if it’s fact. It appears that the voluntary segregators are an integral part of the grand traditional media created reality show that is America™. Sure, there will be some yelling, maybe a little violence – it’s great for ratings. But this pot probably can’t take too much more stirring until it boils over, and that’s when things truly, and disturbingly, get real.


you can’t spell WORST without W!

interesting. and not in a good way.

last night in wimpy chimpy’s acceptance speech for winning the 2007 Incompetence Award™ (that’s 7 years running- way to go, george!), he unceremoniously mentioned that patriot missile defense units were being sent to iraq.

these units are used as defense against long-range missile threats. there has yet to be a single attack by iraqi insurgents that employs the use of long-range missiles, nor is there any intelligence that would suggest that any insurgents — not al qaeda, the sadrists, the sunnis in anbar province, etc. — possess long-range missiles.

so let’s consider this “surge” soft drink strategy (like the pepsi challenge — 7 out of 10 people prefer surge to escalation!): it would appear to involve sending units that, one would assume, serve no purpose, given what we know about the threats on the ground.

so why send patriot missile defense units to iraq?

I just had a revelation! maybe we’ll all have one this year!
who has long-range missiles?


it’s official: bush supporters are psychos

no, really. according to a new study, it turns out that there’s a direct link between mental illness and support for bush. part of the conclusion:

“Our study shows that psychotic patients prefer an authoritative leader,” [social work graduate student at Southern Connecticut State University Christopher] Lohse says. “If your world is very mixed up, there’s something very comforting about someone telling you, ‘This is how it’s going to be.'”

a previous study found similar results for a republican candidate, with psychiatric patients preferring nixon over mcgovern in the 1972 election. but this is hardly news, as studies have shown that many conservatives seek authoritarian leadership — ie. as long as they’re told everything’s going to be fine, they’re happy to take orders (and happy to call those who question the authority “traitors”, happy to support journalists being thrown in jail for embarrassing der führer with such trifles as revelations of his lawbreaking, happy to support massive foreign policy blunders, and so forth). just so long as there’s order.

perhaps the ideal conservative candidate for 2008 would be the stepfather. ORDER, damn it! what we need around here is some ORDER!


shorter conservatives: IT’S ALL ABOUT US!

you, charles krauthammer, are a silly man and a hopeless partisan.

montana will have made no difference; conrad burns is set to be indicted. had he won, once he was forced to step down the democratic governor of his state would have appointed tester, anyway.

this election wasn’t about dem/rep or lib/con, it was the year of the INDEPENDENT, and the great repudiation of karl rove’s belief that there is no longer a center.

this was a major earthquake for the center, who firmly declared their belief that the ship of state was listing to starboard.

ideologues like krauthammer really want to believe americans love the right’s radical ideas. well, radical ideas are fine — when they move the country forward, and not sideways.

americans want “full speed ahead”…republicans lost because they had revealed their true intent: FULL SPEED TO THE RIGHT!

here’s a hint for you and the republicans, charlie — get rid of that social conservative, culture war baggage you’re carrying. you’re losing sensible conservatives to the libertarian party; one more “minor earthquake” like this, and all you’ll have left are the snake-charmers and rapture-seekers.

believe me, charlie, if the last six years have taught me anything, it’s that you don’t want the rapture-seekers in charge.


critical thinking: which war do we fight?

does anyone else find it ironic that the many of the same people that dismiss global warming are the same ones that bought the rationale for the iraq war?

let’s compare global warming (present tense) and the iraq war (past tense):

both are (were) based on the same premise that something bad might happen that we could stop by taking preventative measures now.

both have (had) “experts” that support the reasoning behind the need to act, and “experts” that deny there is (was) a need to act.

pursuing the iraq war was clearly going to lead to death and destruction, the threat of disrupting the entire volatile middle east region, and alienating many of our allies. being wrong, or lying, about the rationale for war is at least gross incompetence and at most a crime against humanity.

yet that was an easy decision for many to embrace. $300 billion later, iraq is a mess, thousands are dead, terrorists have a new playground, oil prices are through the roof, leaders are dissembling or claiming they didn’t actually say what they actually said, and there’s no end in sight.

pursuing global warming will not lead to death and destruction. it will hopefully lead to lower pollution, cleaner air and water, a vast new renewable energy industry, energy independence (which, as we all should know, makes for better national security) and will have the added effect of weakening the oil companies that have a death grip on our country that adversely affects our foreign policy, economy, and political process.

yet this is heresy to some. instead, they’d prefer to protect the oil industry, which continually chooses profit over american well-being and security. they’d prefer to demonize the scientists that contend there is a problem, which is exactly what the oil industry would have them do. they prefer to demonize the media while failing to address the clear interest the oil and coal industries have in the status quo.

so the reality is there are those that willingly accept the path of death and destruction with unverifiable proof and shaky reasoning, but when it comes to making a positive change that is better for our communities, our country, our political process and our future, no matter what proof exists…well that’s too hard to accept, more proof is necessary.

that, my friends, is almost literally the definition of hypocrisy.