Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

17 Things That I Don't The Tiniest Bit Mind Being Legally Prohibited From Owning

  1. Sarin gas
  2. Anthrax
  3. A rocket launcher
  4. An adult blue whale
  5. Cufflinks made from highly enriched uranium
  6. A smartphone app that makes bicycles and bicyclists explode remotely
  7. A nuclear submarine
  8. Israel
  9. Human slaves
  10. An exploding front lawn
  11. One metric ton of methamphetamine
  12. Any amount of methamphetamine
  13. A living person's thigh 
  14. A CD of the music my 18-year-old neighbor plays (I wish)
  15. Dolly Parton
  16. An Easter Island head (okay, I sorta do mind that one)
  17. A Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle (I live in Australia)

Monday, December 17, 2012

The U.S. National Conversation on Guns

"We need to do something about gun violence in this country."

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"Hold on - I didn't say I wanted to 'take your guns away.' I simply said we need to do something about gun violence in..."

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"Would you please stop? I don't want to take your guns away. I don't think all guns should be banned. I'm just saying that there are things we can do to that could greatly cut down on..."

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"Wo. Okay, let's try this: what if I said that I personally believed that shotguns and hunting rifles should be legal, and handguns should be too, but with strong restrictions regarding clip-size and repeat capability, and that all guns should require background checks?"

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"It's like you don't even speak English."

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"What If I said all guns should be legal - except automatic weapons?"

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"You're why we suck."

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

[blank stare]

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"Did the parents of the children killed in Connecticut have the right to protect their kids from guns?"

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"I'm going to leave now."

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"You're why we suck."

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!" 

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS AWAY! CONSTITUTION! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT MY KIDS!"

[infinity symbol]

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Titanic and Right-to-Float Laws

I have finally figured out how to explain to myself exactly what in the hell is going on with the whole "Right to Work" thing. (Background if you need it.)

Thom, I say to myself, to understand "Right to Work" laws, like the one just signed into law by Governor Snyder in Michigan, and already law in twenty-three other U.S. states, pretend you are a passenger on a modern day Titanic.

The ship has struck an iceberg. It's sunk. It's all lifeboats and people in the cold night ocean.

Small groups of first class passengers have commandeered the life rafts. They have food, water, blankets...

When lower-class passengers make desperate attempts to board a lifeboat, first class passengers smash their skulls with champagne bottles, sending them adrift, bleeding in the freezing water.

"We passed a 'Right to Float' law!" the first class passengers shout. "You've now got the right to float!," their guffaws quickly lost in the wind, in the rain.

The End

Bonus: Right-to-Work gets the Jon Stewart treatment.

Image from here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Too Big To Indict": What Crimes Count?

Read this story's first paragraph:
State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.
Now substitute "international child-pornography" for "money-laundering."

How's that work for you?

Much more - and, most significantly, more about the crimes being waved off here - at Marcy Wheeler's. Just one piece of an example:
HSBC had ties to a crime that DOJ currently has someone sitting in prison for, and is still pursuing at the appellate level. Yet not only didn’t DOJ indict HSBC for that crime, but they don’t even think HSBC’s role in it is worth a mention.
More here, too. And here. And make sure you see the update at that last one.

Image from here.

Matt Drudge Wants to Call Somebody - Anybody - a Ni**er

A thought: If you ever find yourself thinking, "Why can't I say ni**ger?," or anything remotely resembling, you are in need of a long walk in a desert. I mean like an eleven years long walk.

This has been "A thought."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Report: U.S. Targeting Children in Afghanistan


Good God:
 US military is facing fresh questions over its targeting policy in Afghanistan after a senior army officer suggested that troops were on the lookout for "children with potential hostile intent". 
In comments which legal experts and campaigners described as "deeply troubling", army Lt Col Marion Carrington told the Marine Corp [sic]* Times that children, as well as "military-age males", had been identified as a potential threat because some were being used by the Taliban to assist in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
"It kind of opens our aperture," said Carrington, whose unit, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was assisting the Afghan police. "In addition to looking for military-age males, it's looking for children with potential hostile intent."
"Opens our aperture." Wow. All very mechanical, isn't it?

More:
The piece also quoted an unnamed marine corps official who questioned the "innocence" of Afghan children, particularly three who were killed in a US rocket strike in October. Last month, the New York Times quoted local officials who said Borjan, 12, Sardar Wali, 10, and Khan Bibi, eight, from Helmand's Nawa district had been killed while gathering dung for fuel.
* The Marine Corp Military Times article.

Photo credit

Friday, December 7, 2012

Childhood Memory, Current Malady: The Shotgun Wad

 

One day when I was about twelve years old I was walking my paper route in the suburban/rural outskirts of Buffalo, New York, when I came to the house of a schoolmate I'll call J.B. (Haven't heard a thing about him in decades.) We'd known each other since kindergarten. I remember him being a nice enough guy, but we weren't close friends.

J.B. was standing at the front door of his house as I walked up. I think we exchanged a few words, maybe I handed him his family's newspaper. I walked on, paper bag over my shoulder.

When I was maybe fifteen, maybe twenty feet away, I was suddenly hit in the center of my back by...something. At the same time a huge sound (or maybe just a "bang") exploded. I was thrown several feet forward, face first to the ground, with a feeling like I'd been kicked in the back by a moose.

I got to my knees and turned around. J.B. was standing at his front door, shotgun (20-gauge, pretty sure) in his hand.

I don't remember how the information was conveyed (I think he just told me; I don't think I was saying much) but I somehow found out that he'd taken the shot out a shotgun shell and shot me with the shell's plastic wad. Like he figured that might be a fun thing to do.

I left. Feeling hurt, feeling scared, feeling dumb. I don't think I ever told my parents. Hurt like hell.

I've got a back problem now, 13 years and counting - unfortunately worsening these days - surrounding a spot in the center of my back. Related? Who knows? One wonders, though. Or at least I do.

I also wonder if J.B. became a serial killer.

The pic up top (from here) shows the parts of a shotgun shell. J.B. took the shot (the BBs) out of the shell he used to shoot me. That plastic thing you see, which they call a "shot cup" (we always called it a "wad"), was what hit me. May not seem like much; maybe you can try it yourself if you think so.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jack Frost: Buffalo, NY

Winter on a window, my Mom and Dad's house, Akron (outside of Bflo.), New York, 1996:


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Former Afghan Refugee Invents 40€ Wind-Powered Bamboo Landmine Detonator

An Afghan designer and former refugee has developed a low-cost, wind-powered mine detonating device inspired by the toys he played with as a child.  
Massoud Hassani's Mine Kafon is composed almost entirely from bamboo and biodegradable plastics, with a skeletal structure of spiky plungers that resembles a giant spherical tumbleweed from another planet.  
At 70 kilograms, Hassani says his invention is light enough to be propelled by a normal breeze, while still being heavy and big enough - 190cm in diameter - to activate mines as it rolls over them.
From Hassani's own blog:



That is ispiring.