Friday, June 19, 2015

Short Takes

Dylann Roof, the suspect in the Charleston shooting, has been extradited from North Carolina.

Haitians in the Dominican Republic face deportation.

F.C.C. says phone companies can ban robocalls.

Supreme Court upholds Texas ruling against Confederate license plate.

The Tigers and Reds were rained out.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

And Again

Here we are again with another mass shooting.

This time it’s a church in Charleston, South Carolina.  I’ve already provided links for the details.  Now comes the inevitable introspection, the ready-for-soundbite releases from the gun lobby and the politicians who keep them happy and the guns on the street.  Now comes the “now is not the time to talk about gun control” and the excuses that it’s too soon.  It’s always too soon until it’s too late.

Look, there I go, launching into my own cliches.  All right then, here’s Charlie Pierce who outdoes me and most other people armed with a keyboard.

What happened in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is “unthinkable.” Somebody thought long and hard about it. Somebody thought to load the weapon. Somebody thought to pick the church. Somebody thought to sit, quietly, through some of Wednesday night bible study. Somebody thought to stand up and open fire, killing nine people, including the pastor. Somebody reportedly thought to leave one woman alive so she could tell his story to the world. Somebody thought enough to flee. What happened in that church was a lot of things, but unthinkable is not one of them.

What happened in a Charleston church on Wednesday night is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is “unspeakable.” We should speak of it often. We should speak of it loudly. We should speak of it as terrorism, which is what it was. We should speak of it as racial violence, which is what it was.

We should speak of it as an attack on history, which it was. This was the church founded by Denmark Vesey, who planned a slave revolt in 1822. Vesey was convicted in a secret trial in which many of the witnesses testified after being tortured. After they hung him, a mob burned down the church he built. His sons rebuilt it. On Wednesday night, someone turned it into a slaughter pen.

[…]

This was not an unspeakable act. Sylvia Johnson, one of only three survivors of the massacre, is speaking about it.

“She said that he had reloaded five different times… and he just said ‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.'”

There is a timidity that the country can no longer afford. This was not an unthinkable act. A man may have had a rat’s nest for a mind, but it was well thought out. It was a cool, considered crime, as well planned as any bank robbery or any computer fraud. If people do not want to speak of it, or think about it, it’s because they do not want to follow the story where it inevitably leads. It’s because they do not want to follow this crime all the way back to the mother of all American crimes, the one that Denmark Vesey gave his life to avenge. What happened on Wednesday night was a lot of things. A massacre was only one of them.

And they will keep happening.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Short Takes

Secretary of State Kerry made an unannounced visit to Somalia.

Twitter Trail: Police follow the moves of the Texas shooters via social media.

Attorney General Lynch went to Baltimore.

President Obama is nominating Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr. as the new head of the Joint Chiefs.

Hillary Clinton promises to go “even further” on immigration.

The Tigers lost to the White Sox 5-2.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Short Takes

Nepal asks foreign rescuers to leave as hope fades for finding more earthquake survivors.

Second gunman identified in attack in Texas.

NYPD officer shot over the weekend died from his injuries.

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to New Jersey ban on “gay repair” therapy.

Americans like their drones.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Short Takes

The Saudis like the Iran nuclear framework.

California agriculture is exempt from water restrictions.

Closing arguments in the Boston bombing trial.

Carbon monoxide kills eight in Maryland family.

Duke beat Wisconsin.

The Tigers won their Opening Day game against the Twins 4-0.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Short Takes

U.S. ambassador to South Korea attacked.

The Senate tried and failed to override the veto of the Keystone XL pipeline bill.

Iran official says we are “very close” to a deal on nukes.

Boston bomber’s lawyer says he did it in opening statement.

Man burned by fajitas while praying can’t sue.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Short Takes

Ukraine cease-fire not exactly going as planned.

President Obama hosts a summit on terrorism.

Clean-up began at the site of the crude oil train derailment in West Virginia.

Appeals court rules that birth control coverage can be required under Obamacare.

Cuba cuts the cost of internet access.

Friday, January 16, 2015

In Their Sights

Digby notes an interesting phenomenon: certain people get hysterical when there’s an attack that is labeled as terrorism (i.e. Charlie Hebdo).  They want to declare war against international Islam and shred up the Constitution to protect us.  Yet when there’s a school shooting (i.e. Sandy Hook) these same people get all cautious about a rush to judgment and very protective of civil liberties.

Why is that?

I can think of two reasons.  First, to them any connection to Islam — even if it’s tenuous or done by a fringe splinter offshoot of some tiny faction — makes it The Gravest Threat to America.  So the shooter could have dated a girl whose brother once bought a car from a guy who lived next door to a man named Mustaffah and all of a sudden he’s a jihadist.  Or he could claim allegiance to a radical group that is says it is rooted in Islam but is made up of three other guys who are holed up in a studio apartment in Niwot, Colorado, and making meth on the side.  It doesn’t matter; he’s a believer in Islam, therefore all Muslims are terrorists and they should be hunted down.  By that logic, all Christians should be hunted down because David Koresh at Waco claimed to be a Christian.

A school shooter, however, goes in with a gun he bought at a gun show and gets his ammo over the internet.  He shows up at a campus and slaughter ensues.  But it happens in America and he has a copy of American Rifleman sitting on his coffee table when the CSI team shows up to gather evidence.  Now he’s a lone wolf acting on his own using weapons he purchased legally, and while Wayne LaPierre says it’s a tragedy, there’s no reason to suggest that there’s any need to question his right to own thirty rifles, their barrels shined to a steely glow, and any attempt to prevent such future tragedies will destroy America’s dearly-won freedoms.  Just because he — and it’s always a he — was a card-carrying member of the NRA doesn’t mean that all gun owners are capable of mowing down school kids at thirty bullets per second.

So if it’s wrong to demonize an entire community based on the actions of one person or small group of believers, why does that apply to the NRA but not to Islam?  It shouldn’t, but then it’s a lot easier to demonize Other People than it is to piss off the base of a political party and the largest lobbying effort in Washington.

That’s the second reason.  If elected officials weren’t terrorized by the NRA, we’d have Newt Gingrich and the rest of the Chicken Hawks on cable TV demanding that Congress do something about the guns, and if the NRA doesn’t like it, well, they’d have to realize, just as Pope Francis says, that there are limits to freedom.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Short Takes

The post-attack run of 3 million copies of Charlie Hebdo sold out.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen claimed responsibility for the Paris attack.

Feds file charges against a man who plotted to blow up the U.S. Capitol.

Secret Service executives demoted after report on scandals.

Climbers reach the top of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall in Yosemite.

Friday, January 9, 2015

They’re Looking Into It

I noted this incident in the Short Takes when it happened, but it’s finally getting some notice by the authorities.

A homemade explosive Tuesday blew up outside the Colorado Springs, Colorado, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in what the FBI has called a deliberate incident, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The chapter’s offices, as well as Mr. G’s Hair Design Studios barber shop located inside the building, sustained minor damage from the explosion. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

Witnesses reported hearing a “loud boom” around 10:45 a.m. local time. “There was smoke everywhere, the building on the side was burnt,” one onlooker told local television station KDVR. The Los Angeles Times reports an improvised bomb appears to have been positioned against the outside wall of the building on South El Paso Street. It was placed right next to a gasoline can, but the latter didn’t burst during the explosion, according to FBI spokeswoman Amy Sanders.

[…]

The hashtag #NAACPBombing has been trending on social media since the attack on Tuesday morning. Media outlets were criticized on Twitter for not covering the event, as many users—including locals—reported only finding out about it on the rapid-fire social network.

The FBI’s primary suspect in the case is a balding white male about 40 years old, reports the Denver Post. The owner of Mr. G’s Hair Design Studio, Gene Southerland, was cutting someone’s hair at the time of the explosion. He said that several neighbors reported seeing a “Caucasian gentleman get into a white truck” following the incident.

The point is that if the national media went after stories like this the same way they go after missing white women or the marital difficulties of TV reality stars, they’d actually be reporting news.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Short Takes

The White House says President Obama will veto the Keystone XL pipeline bill if it passes.

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gets two years in prison for corruption.

Federal officials are investigating a small explosion near the NAACP offices in Colorado Springs.

John Boehner gets re-elected Speaker of the House.

Mexican President Nieto praises Obama administration on immigration.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Short Takes

The Taliban slaughter students in school in Pakistan.

Hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, ends with two of them and the gunman dead.

Newtown families plan to sue maker of the gun used in the massacre two years ago.

Supreme Court turns down Arizona abortion law case.

Senate finally approves Surgeon General nominee.

Greenland melting models may be wrong… and bad for Florida.

Frozen director apologizes for “Let It Go.”  (Too late.)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Short Takes

New York Gov. Cuomo changes Ebola quarantine rules to allow for home isolation.

Second victim dies from Washington school shooting.

Canadian shooter made video prior to attack on Parliament.

Michelle Obama campaigns for Democrats.

Lava inches closer to homes in Hawaii.

The Giants shut out KC to make the Series 3-2.