Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

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

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

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Disturbing On Every Level

My interest in professional football is now limited to occasionally watching a game on Sunday, less so since the stories about concussions came forward in the last few years.  Until the story broke last winter about Baltimore Raven Ray Rice being suspended for assaulting his fiance, I’d never heard of him.

The story originated with a grainy video showing Mr. Rice dragging the body of his unconscious fiance, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator after he allegedly struck her and knocked her out.  He was suspended for two games and given a stern talking-to by the NFL.

Now we’re all hearing more about the story.  Yesterday a video came out that showed the actual act.  It’s brutal, and while I’m not a lawyer or a police officer, they’d probably call it assault and battery, which is a felony.

But what’s more disturbing is the reaction by all quarters on this: the NFL, the sports community, and the fans have all been outraged, which of course they should be, but it seems like the only reason they are is because we now have the video that shows the actual act instead of the original video that showed the aftermath.  So the two-game suspension was based on the theory that it’s not nice to drag an unconscious person face-down out of an elevator, but how she got in that condition… well, that’s not relevant.

It’s also disturbing that the whole discussion seems to be about Mr. Rice and his actions, but Ms. Palmer, now his wife, is being ignored and in some quarters being vilified as the cause of all of this.  I don’t even want to get into that dark corner, but yes, there are those who are saying that she bears some responsibility for his actions.

And finally the whole idea of domestic violence somehow being a private matter between the parties and it’s none of our business; let them work it out.  No, hell no.  There are too many people who are damaged and destroyed by domestic violence to let it be something behind closed doors.  It goes far beyond a “women issue” and “men’s rights.”  It is a scourge and symptom of indifference in a society that should be looking out for the abused and the deprived.

The only good thing that comes out of this is that it’s out in the open.  The sad news is that like school shootings and police brutality, it will soon be wiped off the front pages by some other distraction until it happens yet again.  The cycle will repeat, the victims will still be suffering, and we’re basically back to where we started.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Start The Counter-Revolution

Another mass shooting in America, this time with some ugly overtones.

Two Las Vegas police officers were killed Sunday in what appears to be a politically motivated ambush in a pizza restaurant that spilled over to a nearby Wal-Mart, where the two shooters committed suicide after killing a woman in the store.

Details are sketchy, but Metropolitan Police Department sources close to the investigation say the shooters shouted that “this is the start of a revolution” before opening fire on the officers, and draped their bodies with cloth showing a Revolutionary War-era flag. Investigators have also found paraphernalia associated with white supremacists.


Witnesses told police one of the shooters yelled “This is the start of a revolution” before shooting the officers. Gillespie later said he could not confirm that.The shooters then stripped the officers of their weapons and ammunition and badges, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. They then covered the officers with something that featured the Gadsden flag, a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words, “Don’t tread on Me.”

The flag is named for Christopher Gadsden a Revolutionary War general who designed it. It has recently come back in vogue as an adopted symbol of the American tea party movement.

It comes two days after another “sovereign citizen” launched a one-man assault on a courthouse in Georgia.  Even though there’s no connection between the two incidents, these things don’t happen in a vacuum.  This kind of anti-government mentality is being pushed by people who know better but love the attention they get when they claim the president isn’t one of us and they want their country back, presumably back into the hands of the white men whom God decreed should be running the place.

Yes, of course there is the First Amendment and the guarantee of freedom of speech and press from government control, but there is also responsible speech, which means if you provoke people to do really horrible things, you might lose your gig on a reality TV show.  So Sarah Palin, shut the fuck up.

And then there’s the N.R.A. which has gotten our elected representatives so afraid of them that nothing gets done to end the carnage except a lot of hand-wringing and jowl-shaking until the next shiny object — oh look prisoner swap — comes along.  One deranged idiot tries to blow up an airliner with his shoe and we’re kicking off our Thom McAns at the TSA screening for the next ten years.  One deranged kid shoots up an elementary school and kills twenty-six kids and nothing gets done.  Meanwhile the body count continues.

So these losers want a revolution?  It’s time we had a revolution against the revolution.

HT to TPM.

Sunday, June 8, 2014