Social media update

In an effort to keep up with the cool kids, this blog now has something of a social media strategy. There are extensions of GOPLifer available now on Facebook and Twitter.


Twitter: @GOPLifer

Maybe someone can cook up a Pinterest angle for the blog at some point, “cocktail ideas for a government shutdown,” or “tips for decorating your Obama Pinata.” Recipe ideas inspired by the Food4Patriots 25-year food storage packs being sold using Mike Huckabee’s mailing list could be a hit. Stay tuned for future developments.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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158 comments on “Social media update
  1. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Greetings from Mother Russia comrades!

    Always fun to be in a country who’s leader is having a pissing match with our President.

    Can you guys cool your jets a bit back home until I can get out of here tomorrow and head to Korea (South, not North despite what some of my more conservative brethren might assume)?

    Interesting to see the international news about Syria, Russia, and the US compared to the US news. Listening to the US news, Obama is weak and Putin is “taking action” while Obama talks and talks. The take from international news is a bit different, with maybe a touch more appreciation for a posture that doesn’t escalate tension.

    With that said, there is something of a penis measuring content going on, and citizens of the various countries get caught up in “my dad can beat up your dad” thinking.

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, this is a pretty interesting challenge for Pres. Obama re: gun violence executive action(s).

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Interesting link Mime. Can you imagine the uproar if Obama issues an XO on gun control?

        The “Barrack Hussein Obama wants to take our guns!!!” crowd would be whipped into a frenzy.

    • 1mime says:

      This letter needs to be sent to every elected official in our state and national legislative bodies.
      There was so much of substance within the letter, but these thoughts resonated most to me:

      “Why have we allowed our schools to become a place where children must hide, and teachers must fight to survive?”

      “The next time you have an opportunity to sponsor or vote on common-sense gun legislation, instead of fearing the attack ads the gun lobby will undoubtedly launch against you, the lost campaign revenue, or the threat to your job, I hope that you think of me and my students, of the rest of the educators and students across the country, who have been asked to stand up to gunmen because you are too scared to stand up to a handful of lobbyists.”

      Wow. Just wow.

      I have already contacted my senators (U.S.), now I will hit their offices and those of our Representatives with a mailed copy of this letter. I can’t express my thoughts on this issue nearly as well as she did. In TX, that’s lots of stamps and time. But, it will be worth it.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Good work Mime. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

        Make no mistake, at the end if the day, the cowardice of reps is solely because they feel opposing guns hurts them politically. If they feel the opposite: that opposing gun control hurts them politically, they’ll change in a moment.

        And the only way they’ll feel that way is if ppl call in and let them know

      • 1mime says:

        Letters and phone calls do work. I can attest to that from experience. If nothing else, it shows how motivated people are that they would individually take the time and effort to express their views. Get enough feedback and it gets attention. Now, competent officials still have to weigh the facts, but, at least they know people are watching and expecting some response.

      • 1mime says:

        Another thing, Rob. This problem is not so simple as to just change gun laws. It is complex, difficult and will require a multi-faceted effort and will take time. But, we have to get the process started. “Stuff happens” is the most stupid, irresponsible, insensitive response I could ever imagine from one of the primary candidates for President of the United States. If one can be so callous about something so painful and horrible, what will their core values be about other issues that impact people’s lives?

        That comment is going to hurt Jeb Bush, and, it should.

  2. 1mime says:

    Ta-Nehisi Coates will be interviewed on the Diane Rehm Show Thursday, Oct 8th for those who are interested.

  3. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    I’ve generally assumed it would be Jeb! that emerges from all this GOP mess in the end, but I’m starting to come to the conclusion that he is very bad at running for President.

    When asked about the shooting in Oregon, Jeb! responds with:

    “It’s a—we’re in a difficult time in our country, and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s very sad to see, but I resist the notion—and I had this challenge as governor, because we had—look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis, and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

    When later asked about the “stuff happens” comment and how it was being perceived, Jeb! doubles down to say “things” might have been more appropriate than “stuff”, and “Explain to me what I said wrong. Things happen all the time.”

    There ya have it. Our new bumper sticker: “Jeb! 2016: Things happen all the time”

    • 1mime says:

      Huh? I guess we should be glad he wasn’t asked about something substantive…..(course he probably has talking points for what “he” considers important)

  4. Turtles Run says:

    It seems the anti-safe abortion crowd has picked a new target. The state legislators in Wisconsin and Ohio are considering bills that would ban research on fetal tissue. It is outrageous that these people feel that their warped sense of morality should justify the halting of scientific research. These state legislators are allowing political gain to override the type of research that would save so many live.

    Republicans when people point out the GOP war on women and that you people do not believe in science, these type of stories are the reason why.

    • 1mime says:

      Once again, it pays to listen to NPR. The day after the Congressional hearings on PP, there was a panel discussion on the topic on the Diane Rehm show. It dealt with the issue of fetal tissue, its use in research, and its bipartisan history of support over time. I encourage all who are interested in a broader look at the issue to listen and learn. As is always the case on DR, there was representation from different viewpoints, all are scholarly.

      • vikinghou says:

        I’ve always enjoyed Diane’s show.

      • 1mime says:

        This one was especially timely and informative. I hope everyone who has an opinion on PP and more importantly, fetal tissue research, will spend the time to hear from those who are involved in critical research an development of new health initiatives.

        Diane Rehm and Charlie Rose are my ideal commentators. Fair, intuitive, smart, interesting, broad in knowledge and topics.

      • texan5142 says:

        Agreed, love NPR , if that makes me a commie liberal pinko, so let it be written, so let it be done. Thought radio not hate radio!

      • 1mime says:

        I’m just gonna double down here and confess I’m a PBS junkie as well (-: So guess that makes me really pink !

    • johngalt says:

      I have spent this week reading grants for the NIH in preparation for a review panel in a couple of weeks. If you think fetal tissue research is abstract, one of them (a quite good one in fact), studying an infectious agent that causes meningitis and kills 600,000 people a year worldwide, uses fetal cells in a series of experiments to better understand how this bug gets into the brain. It is better than animal experiments because it uses human cells. It was justified precisely because this tissue was otherwise going to be incinerated as medical waste and was donated for the purpose with informed consent.

      But, hey, it’s only 600,000 actual, living, breathing people we’re talking about.

      • flypusher says:

        “This is a debate about abortion — not fetal tissue research. That’s just an excuse,” she said. “If you were to show pictures of cadavers — of what we do when we take out their bones, take out their organs, it would be equally hard. These images are just hard … But [fetal tissue research] is no different than working with another deceased human, whether murdered or dead of natural causes. And we do that as a matter of course.”

        As others have said, what this is really about is opposition to abortion, and the radical pro-lifers trying a new angle. You can ban the research, but that will have zero effect on all the individual decisions made by individual women.

  5. 1mime says:

    Back on topic here…(whatever it is)….Just heard on NPR that Bernie Sanders raised $24 million dollars to Hillary Clinton’s $26 million in last reporting cycle. What is so significant is not just the sheer dollars raised by Sanders, but that it represents all small donations. He accepts no PAC money. Hillary does. What that should say to us is that he is seriously reaching a lot of voters and he is a serious threat to Hillary for the Dem nomination.

    Many of us have stated we believe in the most of the positions that Sanders supports but are concerned that he can’t “run” the country. What we better be thinking about is how this fundraising report impacts the Clinton campaign.

    • vikinghou says:

      Forgive the cliché, but Hillary seems to be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I am very angry at her for the stupidity of keeping both personal and work related e-mails on a private server. Yes, it was “allowed,” but that doesn’t make it sensible. Anyone with half a brain should know to keep personal and work information separate.

      Her campaign staff isn’t serving her well either. Unlike her husband, Hillary is not the most charismatic person. But she is extremely capable and has the experience to be President. Rather than letting Hillary be herself, they’re trying out different personas for her to portray. People see right through this and she seems more and more phony. I will vote for her should she become the nominee, but my enthusiasm level has declined significantly.

      Sanders is definitely not phony and it’s clear voters appreciate this. I’m amazed at how articulate and unflappable he is.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I’m always the Debbie Downer with regard to Bernie, but this too shall pass.

      It might possibly be Biden, but it won’t be Bernie.

      • 1mime says:

        I know, Homer, but simply from an analytical perspective, it is interesting and an indicator of Hil’s problems and Bernie’s messaging. I agree on Biden. He is a fine man and is certainly experienced. I think the Democratic Debates will be useful as will the final debates between the nominees for both parties.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        We are still 13 months away from the general and several months away from any primaries. Hillary doesn’t have a “problem” any more so than would any nominee. Ask any GOP candidate right now if he/she would change places with Hillary, and they would all jump at the chance.

        Hillary is in a negative story loop with the email servers, but unless there is a major shoe to drop, it is not going to change anything. Were it not the email thing, it would be something else to keep the media occupied. There was never any illusion (or any history to suggest it was possible) for anyone other than an incumbent President to breeze through the primary and nomination process without some level of challenge and set back.

        Heck, even Gore as the sitting VP had to work his way through the primaries and a set of challengers. Why would we expect any different for Hillary. Hillary could even lose Iowa and New Hampshire to Bernie because White liberals vote in those two state primaries/cauci (sp?), and Bernie is very popular with White liberals. He’s not so popular with the rest of the Democrat base, and he would fall off quickly after Iowa and New Hampshire.

        I cannot recall an election cycle where one side or the other gets excited by a candidate early in the process (e.g., Pat Buchanon, Bill Bradley, etc), and then that candidate falls off as we go along.

        I like Bernie, but the country is not ready to feel the Bern, and frankly, I cannot imagine him being a successful President managing over the complexity of the country and the dysfunction of congress.

      • 1mime says:

        Truth be told, one only has to look at the Dem candidate that Republicans are targeting to know who THEY think is their biggest threat. We need to take a deep breath, and “chill”. Hillary is still Democrat’s “best” choice for nominee. I applaud Bernie Sanders’ effort and passion. He has done more to invigorate the Democratic base than anyone since Barack Obama in 2008. But we know the job requires more than passion and a platform, and Hillary will fill in the rest with her experience, intelligence and competence.

      • 1mime says:

        This article from Politico underscores your thoughts about Hillary.

      • vikinghou says:

        You’re probably right, Homer. But it would be entertaining to see Bernie debate any of current GOP candidates. He’d bite their heads off.

  6. Anse says:

    I see the shooting in Oregon is under discussion. If this has already been posted, my apologies. But here’s an interesting tidbit:

    What’s interesting is that this Good Guy had his gun, but when the cops showed up, he was afraid of being pegged as a suspect. Which ought to highlight an inherent problem with the idea of armed citizens providing a secure environment.

    • 1mime says:

      The NYT did a couple of pieces on the massacre. (that was what it was)

      FYI, shooter had a total of 6 guns on him, and 7 more at home. ALL were purchased legally. He was 26. What does anyone who is not in the military and is 26 years old need with 13 guns? And, how can someone that young purchase so many guns without raising suspicion?
      Also, OR is one of seven states which allow concealed guns on college campuses.

      BTW, the OR Douglas County sheriff, John Hanlin, has an interesting history regarding gun control.
      “He also posted on his Facebook page a widely circulated video that claimed Sandy Hook was perhaps launched by the government wanting to take away guns from citizens: “That makes me wonder who we can trust anymore.”

    • flypusher says:

      The massacre at a Luby’s some years back is often the genesis of many “what if I were there and had a gun….” speculations. I see that as break even in the best possible scenario. Sometime the good guy does take out the bad guy, but other times, cops mistake good guy for bad guy.

      • 1mime says:

        Which is doubtless what went through the mind of the young male student who was carrying on the OR campus and didn’t engage.

    • Doug says:

      From the article:
      “By the time he became aware of the shooting, a SWAT team had already responded.”

      • 1mime says:

        Just curious, Doug, what do you think this young man and others there with concealed guns should have done if the SWAT team hadn’t arrived? What happens if any of their shots hurt or killed people while they were attempting to take out the shooter? What is the legal ramification of armed but not authorized law enforcement people engaging in cross fire with a perpetrator?

      • Doug says:

        It’s not for me to say what anyone *should* do in that situation. One brave but unarmed guy rushed the shooter, and was shot five times. My guess is he would have preferred to be armed. Personally, I’d rather fight back than die like a sheep.

        In Texas, you are within the law to kill to protect others. But you better know where the bullets are going. If you hit an innocent, you are liable.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Doug. That was helpful. I think the problem would be that well intending, legally carrying, non-law enforcement bystanders (whew, that was a mouthful!) with initiating vs defending. I think all of us would like to be able to fight back although I doubt any of us (except maybe TThor and yourself) feel comfortable or desire to carry a gun in normal shopping and entertainment venues “just in case”. That’s what makes massacres like this so horrible — these people were totally innocent, bothering no one, and they were mowed down.

        I really think people like you and TThor can be constructive in helping guide rational changes. We all know guns in themselves aren’t inherently “bad”, but there simply are too many, and access is too easy. I genuinely believe there is no desire to take guns away unless the individual shouldn’t have them to begin with. I do object to assault weapons and for the life of me, I cannot understand the necessity of 13 guns for a young man of 26. Blows my mind.

  7. BigWilly says:

    How many more…need to die before…we get the results we want?

    It had never occurred to me that these could be ritual murders. I did not realize they served any purpose other than evil.

    Regarding the 2nd Amendment I’ll remain happily irrational, and unconvinced that there is a need for any change in the current law (Federal and State) regarding my right to keep and bare arms.

    • Crogged says:

      Why are you bringing Sharia into this-my arms are never bare.

      • 1mime says:

        Clever (-:

      • Doug says:

        “Def not an AR 15

        It’s not for hunting.”

        I have a short barreled, suppressed AR in 300 BLK. It is short, light, handy, and quiet. It’s not a burden to carry around all day, it’s dependable, and it’s a pleasure to shoot. An awesome hunting rifle for game up to deer. You should try one.

      • texan5142 says:

        A 30/30 lever action works just as well, but hey, if you are that bad a shot that you need a weapon that shoots multiple shots as fast as you can pull the trigger, so be it. Do you stoke it and call it my precious?

      • texan5142 says:

        stroke not stoke

      • texan5142 says:

        When I did hunt it was with a bolt action or a lever action, that is all you need. I know hard core hunters who laugh at guys like you. They may own an AR15, or some other semi-automatic, but they leave that shit at home when they hunt. Got a friend who would bring his semi-auto 12 gage to my place for shooting clay targets and could not hit shit. I was knocking them out of the sky with my single shot .410. With a single shot one is more apt to take better aim.

      • 1mime says:

        Hey, you want to try something seriously hard for hunting? Try using a bow to hunt wild turkeys! (brother in law does, not me (-;

      • Doug says:

        Sorry…got my reply above the post it was in response to…

        “I know hard core hunters who laugh at guys like you.”

        Whatever. My dad was the same way. If it wasn’t blue and walnut, preferably built on a Mauser action, it wasn’t a hunting rifle. But times change. Personally, I’ve used everything from a wrist rocket (squirrels and rabbits) to a .454 revolver for elk. Bows, muzzleloaders, AR’s, lever actions…all fun. I would never laugh at a good hunter’s choice of arm, although it’s fun to laugh at idiots.

        “I was knocking them out of the sky with my single shot .410. With a single shot one is more apt to take better aim.”

        Man, I hate to criticize your shooting, but you’re supposed to point, not aim, a shotgun when shooting flying things, with your focus on the target. Swing through or constant lead, there are various opinions, but you never aim a shotgun. I prefer the swing through method, as taught by the late great Bob Brister.

        “Hey, you want to try something seriously hard for hunting? Try using a bow to hunt wild turkeys! ”
        No doubt. They are a small, fast, very alert target.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      The thing is, what’s the point?

      It’s not for home protection. Maybe a handgun. Def not an AR 15

      It’s not for hunting. You don’t need semi auto and 30 rounds.

      It’s certainly not “to keep a tyrannical government in check”. Back when the 2nd Am was written, the field was pretty level. The government had muskets. The People had muskets.

      Today, unless The People can buy and maintain drones, armored vehicles, fghter jets, and a navy battle group or two, I’m not liking their odds against the most powerful military on Earth.

      Not to mention, these morons who think that’s even a possibility have no clue. As mentioned below, I served 6 years in a professional infantry unit. We were citizens first, with wives and kids that lived in the community. If we ever got an order to use arms against Canadian citizens, there would have been desertion en masse.

      Its no longer 1939. People aren’t drones anymore. You can’t take a regular kid growing up in a modern, Western democracy and throw them in boot camp for a few months and they’re willing to murder fellow citizens. This whole premise that the People need to be worried about Gub’mint is absolutely absurd.

      Do you really think American soldiers would even obey such orders? Even if they were given (which they never would be)?

      • BigWilly says:

        Ah, but you see I listen to Steve Quayle. So I’m not only informed about the multiple creation events in Genesis, and giants, and all that cool stuff, I’m also paying close attention to the emerging global state (NWO). It’s real. I ain’t jivin’ you. Mitt Romney made the 47% remark and he was rightly taken to task for it, however the President’s Bible and Guns remark was as bad, if not worse, and I’ve always suspected his motives regarding my faith and freedom since then.

        I thought liberals and conservatives had a mutual suspicion of the Gubbermint.

      • 1mime says:

        Every citizen should be respectful of government and wary. That is totally different from those who want government to be the size of a walnut, think it does no good, and those who think government is coming to get them (Jade Helm).

        No, BW, most liberals don’t have the problem with government that conservatives do. It’s a matter of scale. Conservatives are carrying the majority of the water on this issue.

        As for me, personally, I trust government but I also verify. I do not do so with arms, I do so with common sense and research and I believe that is all a citizen of a Democracy should have to do. If one feels their government is irresponsible or unresponsive to their needs, they should leave and go to another country where they will be happier and feel more secure.

      • BigWilly says:

        Why would I leave Texas? You’re a nutter!

  8. texan5142 says:

    Doug says:
    October 1, 2015 at 11:23 pm
    “How bad would it have been if he had been able to purchase military grade assault weapons?”

    Those have been heavily restricted here since 1934 and essentially banned (no new civilian production) since 1986. A “military grade assault weapon” will set you back a minimum of $30K, plus a bunch of federal paperwork and about a six month wait for approval. Or were you talking about something else?

    Doug, why do you obfuscate, I can go down the street at Fleet & Farm and buy a “modern sporting rifle” for under $1000.00 that is the same basic weapon as the military uses. You keep putting lipstick on that pig. Why does anyone need thirty rounds to hunt.

    Here is the page from Fleet.

    • Doug says:

      Can you name any military in the world that uses semi-auto rifles like that? I’m not the one obfuscating.

      • texan5142 says:

        Semi-auto that can be converted very easily, you forgot that part. Why does one need thirty rounds to hunt?You that bad a shoot bro?

      • texan5142 says:

        And on top of that, the military does use semi-auto that can be switched to full auto, one again you are obfuscating.

        The M4 is capable of firing in semi-automatic and three-round burst (like the M16A2 and M16A4), while the M4A1 is capable of firing in semi-auto and full automatic (like the M16A1 and M16A3).

      • texan5142 says:
      • Turtles Run says:

        Can you name any military in the world that uses semi-auto rifles like that?

        Can you name any military that trains its soldiers mainly on full auto? Most training is done on semi-auto mode. That is because it is easier to aim and control fire in semi. Plus at 900 RPM a thirty round magazine goes real fast in a gun fight. Full auto is mainly for suppressive fire where getting rounds down the range is wanted not accuracy.

        So you are obfuscating when you claim that AR-15 you buy down the street is any different from a military rifle. Semi-auto is the way soldiers fight and a great way to commit a mass killing.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      50, you’re wrong. If mass shooting aren’t about public health then nothing is.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Just for accuracy, I was in an infantry unit in the Royal Canadian Regiment for 6 years.

      We used C7 (basically M16 with a maple leaf stamped in the side). The trigger control went from safe to semi, to full auto.

      Full auto is literally never used. Ever. With the possible exception of on the range for fun.

      On full auto, accuracy goes out the window and the rifle will invariably fire up and to the rght.

      No modern military infantry soldier is ever trained to fire on full auto. They are deadlier on semi automatic, as you can actually hit what your aiming for

  9. EJ says:

    I’d be interested in the opinions of the people here – especially the Americans – on the following piece:

    Is it likely that this is going to change? Will it get worse now that Boehner’s lost his job? Is there enough sanity left within firearms culture to avoid a slow, painful kamikaze?

    (The Umpqua massacre really affected me. I don’t know why it felt worse than the others but it did. RIP, everyone who died.)

    • fiftyohm says:

      EJ – I can’t speak for the congress, but the CDC has the critical mandate of studying disease and its mechanisms in the strict and scientific sense of the word. It’s not the appropriate place for social “science”.

      • flypusher says:

        Do we have an agency equivalent to the CDC for studying/figuring out solutions to non-disease fatalities? If so, then fine, let them crunch the numbers rather than the CDC. But if not, then the CDC ought to do it. But I suspect these people want to suppress regardless of who would do it.

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, we do. It’s called the Alcohol, Traffic, Firearms Bureau, or ATF. Another sad commentary on the conservative fight against any “potential” intrustion into their 2nd amendment rights, is their refusal to give this bureau the ability to do their job effectively. Congress has cut their budget severely, the bureau waited YEARS for a “permanent” head, there is no national gun registry permitted, and other limitations.

        This is the problem. An agency exists, isn’t allowed to do their complete job through legislative and budgetary control of Congress. My finger points directly at Republicans. They are part of the problem and, as long as they are in the majority, part of the solution. Change has to happen. The people have to demand it. There is NO excuse to make this “just another tragic event”. I am not going to ignore this. My Congressmen and women will hear from me as should everyone who cares about gun violence. It has to stop and the best way to make that happen is for the nation to demand it. As Homer said, when Sandy Hook occurred, I hoped this abject tragedy would finally stir the conscience of our Republican officials. It didn’t. The NRA doubled down with their usual “more guns” solution. BS!


      • 1mime says:

        Fly, I realized my link to the ATF wasn’t active, so here is another link. Not as good as the first but it appeared in PDF format and I don’t know how to convert that to link form.

        For those who are interested in the work of the ATF.

      • Crogged says:

        This is really SO f__g hard, so many rights, so many constitutions. What if we made it really hard and really expensive to have a gun-like having a pony to play polo. Who would be hurt? You (all sexes here) would still have the ‘right’ to view the world as a battlefield and walk around with a stupid fucking implement for mass destruction under your mansized trench coat or in your trendy damn purse-if you can pay for it. The cottage industry supporting the only 99 billion existing guns would finally die off in several decades, fewer people would get shot, and the ones getting shot would be rich assholes anyway.

    • flypusher says:

      Speaking as someone in the scientific profession, this sort of censorship is wrong. It’s obvious that the people who suppress this are afraid of what it might reveal. As the author says, if you’re so convinced that there really isn’t anything here to see, you shouldn’t be afraid of the science. Do the studies, and the opposing side is free to critique and do their own. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

      Car accidents aren’t a disease any more than guns are, but would anyone oppose the CDC crunching auto fatality/injury data?

      • fiftyohm says:

        The CDC is not a university, with all the “academic freedom” that entails. They are to work on what they are funded to do. They can do the rest on their own time, just like the rest of us.

        And car safety is science. Making cars safer is science. Keeping stupid drivers off the road is not.

        These are other, more appropriate agencies for the studies you mention.

      • 1mime says:

        “Keeping stupid drivers off the road is not (science)”

        I understand where you’re going with this but science is being used in some interesting new ways to keep at least some stupid drivers off the road: cars that shut down automatically when BAC (Breath Alcohol Concentration) indicates the driver is over the limit and self driving cars are a couple.

        This is a people problem but reasonable gun control is part of the solution. It is going to take a comprehensive effort to impact change in gun violence but it is so worth it. Mental health needs to be expanded and given the budget to reach more people more effectively; more substance abuse programs should be part of the adjudication process when DUI sentencing occurs; more programs are needed to reach out to our young people who are gateway users.

        There is plenty that could be done and should be done. It’s just not being done comprehensively and it is not being funded sufficiently to be effective. Instead of expanding our Defense budget, why not allocate some of the money to prevention programs to reduce violence at home? I haven’t looked at statistics, but deaths due to gun violence must be approaching deaths due to military involvement. It’s time.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I saw an interesting device demonstrated (and funded) on Shark Tank. It is a small device (size of domino) that is a portable breathalyzer with incredible accuracy. It slides into the recharge slot of I-phones and can be used by individuals, bar managers, and friends “who don’t let friends drive drunk”, to accurately determine intoxication levels. The device is carried now in national electronics chains. I’m sorry I can’t recall the marketing name.

        Of course, drinking isn’t the only act of stupidity on the road that causes horrific accidents, texting/talking on phones is another (which we all do even a little if we’re honest). I do think the device that shuts down a vehicle’s ability to start if the driver is intoxicated is pretty slick, and it certainly could be part of the adjudication process, much like electronic ankle monitors are.

        Gun violence is in a whole different category, especially when people use weapons to hurt and kill defenseless people through premeditated acts of violence.

      • flypusher says:

        It’s not impossible to fund for that purpose. Or to charge another entity with the task. But I’m suspecting a semantics smoke screen on the part of Congress here.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Fifty – The article asks a really good question. If the CDC is not the right agency to study gun violence then why do not these objectors in Congress should appropriate money to the correct institution? It seems to me they simply do not want to know the real answer because then they would have to act on the results or admit they do not give a sh*t how many people die.

      • johngalt says:

        The CDC may not be a university, but it runs like an academic institution (disclaimer: I worked there for four summers in high school and college). Its scientists submit and publish top notch research papers and it runs an academic journal itself: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, which, despite (or maybe because of) the forboding name, is charged with understanding the causes of disease and death in this country. Deaths caused by mentally ill individuals with access to firearms is most certainly within their purview. TR is right: Congress forbids this research because they do not want to know the answer.

      • EJ says:

        Thank you for that, johngalt – I’m glad to have heard the view of someone who has some real familiarity with the CDC.

      • Crogged says:

        Does salt always dissolve in water? When doesn’t it? People might drink water and not know there’s any salt in it and die. We need a study, since people don’t realize other people think differently, react differently and have a semi-automatic under their shirt when reality collides with the abstractions in our heads.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        50 – “And car safety is science. Making cars safer is science. Keeping stupid drivers off the road is not.”

        Part of car safety though is making sure everyone on the road (as much as possible) is responsible and sane. That’s why we have licensing, registration and mandatory insurance.

        Because cars can kill people, especially when operated by someone inexperienced or dangerous or flat out insane.

        Why not guns?

    • 1mime says:

      I believe this study should be done cooperatively between the CDC (who can better analyze human behavior) and the ATF (whose expertise – among others – is firearms). This joint effort would bring together those who have practical and scientific knowledge.

      EJ, the problem is so complex. Those who charge that gun violence is a “people problem” are correct. But, it is not the only factor, and, the solution is multi-faceted. Surely, a nation that is as inventive and knowledgeable as the United States has the creative genius to ferret out a way to more effectively deal with this slaughter of innocent people. It takes will, determination, commitment, and cooperation. Therein lies the problem. Egos are so ensnared by Second Amendment paranoia that these people have completely distanced themselves from any responsibility or opportunity to address the problem.

      As an American, it saddens me that we hold our nation up to the world as a beacon of hope and freedom yet have the world’s highest number of deaths from gun violence in the world. We think that we do everything better than any other nation in the world yet suffer tragedy after tragedy and simply shrug our collective shoulders with ” there is nothing that can be done”. I emphatically disagree.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “As an American, it saddens me that we hold our nation up to the world as a beacon of hope and freedom”

        Mime, this was once true, but currebrly exists only in Americans minds, this idea that America is a beacon of hope for the world.

        The general consensus among every other major Western country is that America is a terrifying and dangerous place. You wouldn’t find too many Canadians or Germans or Norweigiens or Brits who would willing move to America.

  10. 1mime says:

    The Deep South does.not.want.more.Black.voters. Here Is what the old, white, Republican party machine does to shut out Democratic voting registrations for 2016.

    Vox reports: “Shut out in the Black Belt”

    Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty
    The state of Alabama is closing down all but four DMVs throughout the state — leaving 29 counties without a place to get an ID. [WIAT]
    That happens to include every county where over 75 percent of residents are black. [ / John Archibald]

    In a state where government-issued ID is required to vote — and which is overhauling its state IDs for early 2016 — that means a lot of black voters are going to need to travel a very long way to get the documentation they need to cast ballots. [ / Kyle Whitmire]
    One of the most common criticisms of voter-ID laws is that black residents are less likely to have IDs to begin with. Some recent studies have estimated up to 20 percent of black registered voters don’t have ID. [Government Accountability Office]

    It’s also harder for such voters to get ID. 1.2 million black eligible voters live more than 10 miles from the nearest ID-issuing office (that’s open more than 2 days a week). [Brennan Center for Justice / Keesha Gaskins and Sundeep Iyer]

    The federal government is currently arguing lawsuits against several voter-ID laws, including a particularly aggressive one in North Carolina. [Vox / German Lopez]
    But Alabama pundit John Archibald thinks the DMV closures are practically an “invitation” for the DOJ to take on Alabama next. [ / Kyle Whitmire]

    I guess when you can’t win on your policies, you have to resort to crap like this.

  11. 1mime says:

    Every now and then, Congress works. Justice reform has finally achieve bi-partisan support amid a great deal of time and effort. Sen. Grassley announced the new Senate bill to begin reform in how justice is meted out in America. Good for all members of this team, and take a long, happy look at how much can be achieved when the parties work together. It’s called: governing. My hat is off to all who helped put this legislation together.

    • vikinghou says:

      Reasonable gun control laws are certainly needed; however, this will not address the root cause of the problem. There’s a sickness in American society wherein we resort to gun violence for the resolution of all sorts of problems. We have a psychosis with respect to guns.

      • 1mime says:

        I couldn’t agree more, Viking, but when are we going to come together as a nation to address this terrible violence? Mental health treatment, check; gun registry, check; earlier identification of troubled young people, check; stronger gun purchase rules, check.

        Whatever it takes, it has to start somewhere. We can’t keep fighting about this issue when it’s taking innocent lives, we have to figure it out and work together to take reasonable, effective steps that addresses the problem from all angles, just as Turtles and BW said. One day, it might be one of our children or grandchildren, or, us. Will we be more motivated to resolve the problem then?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Viking, I would posit that America is not inherently “sick” as any other developed nation. The cultures are almost interchangeable between many of them.

        The issue is not that more ppl are sick. It’s that more ppl are sick that have easy access to guns.

        Put another way, give Candadians the same access the same types of weapons and you’d probably have a similar gun death rate. There was a terrorist attack at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa last year. And Islamist shot and killed the solider on guard, then rushed into the parliament building where MP’s were in session, where he was killed by the Sgt at Arms of the Canadian Parliament (seriously).

        The point is, its tough to kill lots of ppl with a bolt action huntng rifle.

        How bad would it have been if he had been able to purchase military grade assault weapons? Dozens dead probably. In Canada all such weapons are highly restricted. As it should be. What possible need does a citizen have with those? Not hunting. Certainly not “home security”. The only point of such weapons are to kill as many ppl as possible. That’s the way they were designed by the military…. A group whose pretty good at killing lots of ppl

        Of course gun crime will always happen. That’s a poor reason to not try to reduce it as much as possible.

      • 1mime says:

        Defeatist. As long as good people accept gun violence as an unavoidable part of daily life, it will be.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        No, I’m advocating action.

        All out ban on assault weapons. Heavily restrict handguns. Make sure all gun owners are licensed.

        It’s really not rocket science, it worked perfectly in Australia

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, when I said “defeatist” I wasn’t referring to your ideas – they are sound. I was referring to an attitude of “we can’t do anything about this problem”. That becomes a bigger problem when everyday people feel that mass killings can somehow just be rolled into the column of “these things happen and we can’t prevent them”. That is the problem.

      • Doug says:

        “How bad would it have been if he had been able to purchase military grade assault weapons?”

        Those have been heavily restricted here since 1934 and essentially banned (no new civilian production) since 1986. A “military grade assault weapon” will set you back a minimum of $30K, plus a bunch of federal paperwork and about a six month wait for approval. Or were you talking about something else?

      • Crogged says:

        We could put “Blessed is the Second Amendment” on the tombstones?

      • Turtles Run says:

        Doug – Military spec weapons are for sale for much lower than $30K. But an assault type rifle does not need to be military-grade or spec to be deadly in the hands of somebody. This penchant of ammosexuals to focus on details like “its not a real assault rifle” or military grade” weapons is just a sad attempt to shift the focus of the argument.

        There is a serious issue with mass shootings in this country and far too many loud people and politicians rather stick their heads in the sand and pretend nothing is wrong.

        You want to lose your right to weapons then continue to ignore the problem because eventually the public will get tired of people like the open carry crowd and other gun nuts that strict restrictions will be demanded and enacted.

  12. Rob Ambrose says:

    Mass shooting at a college in Oregon. 10 dead so far.

    Remember folks: Now is not the time to politicize these deaths.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      It’s a shame, because I feel like the GOP was alllllmost ready to talk about serious and sane gun control. /at least for f’n military grade assault weapons.

      But, not it’s too soon again. Imagine that.

      • 1mime says:

        If not now, when?

        “The scope of gun violence in America is shocking. Here are a few facts gathered by Think Progress on just how widespread it is:

        According to Everytown for Gun Safety, this is the 45th school shooting in 2015 alone.
        There have been a total of 142 school shootings since Sandy Hook.
        Mass shootings are becoming more frequent in the United States. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that the rate of mass shootings in the U.S. has tripled since 2011”

        And, another shocking statistic: “Gun violence is particularly devastating to young people. This year is the year when gun violence passes motor vehicle accidents as the leading killer of young people under 26 years old”

        Those who say “don’t politicize” these mass killings need to realize – Politicization is the only thing we haven’t tried. Why not? When?

      • Turtles Run says:

        1mime – Oh it is highly politicized. Every politician on the GOP side knows he better have his ammosexual street cred in order and Democrats are still too scared from the last assault weapons bill to try to force a real conversation.

      • 1mime says:

        This is not a partisan problem. I don’t believe gun violence prevention has been politicized enough. If there is a groundswell from the public, sensible, effective gun control legislation, I believe change can happen. Politics is not one-sided and neither is the solution. It will require compromise and cooperation. But, you are correct, if politicians refuse to keep it at the forefront, more lives will be lost to gun violence.

      • BigWilly says:

        I don’t think you’re addressing the essence of the problem. It goes far beyond mere weaponry. The weapon was the end, not the beginning.

        If you start the argument from the other end, behavior, you might be able to come to a middle.

      • Doug says:

        “Research from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that the rate of mass shootings in the U.S. has tripled since 2011”

        I just love “studies” that skew data to “prove” a political point. Three glaring things wrong with this one:
        1. It’s dishonest to say “Rate of Mass Shootings Has Tripled” when it hasn’t. As the authors mention in their publication, the conclusion is true only if you narrow down the data to *public* mass shootings (4 or more people murdered), where the shooter generally didn’t know the victims. Taken as a whole, mass shootings have not increased. The authors criticize criminologist James Fox for using *all* homicide data in his calculations! huh?
        2. There is no control for population. The U.S. population has increased 37% since 1982, the start of the data. All else being equal, one would expect this type of shooting to increase.
        3. Their claim that since 2011 mass shooting occur on average every 64 days does not include the 237 days between the last shooting and their publication date (10/15/2014). In fact there were only two mass shootings (by their definition) in 2014.

        Also, I would argue that the number of events is less important than the number of people killed. Over the past decade, there is very little trend in the number of deaths in this type of shooting. And public mass shootings represent less than 1/3 of 1% of firearm homicides, about 1/10 of 1% of all firearm deaths. They’re tragic, no doubt, but if you’re planning to expend resources to stop gun deaths, it may be more productive to focus on the other 99.9%.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, twist the numbers any way you wish, this is what is absolute:

        45th school shooting in 2015 alone.

        142 school shootings since Sandy Hook.

        THIS is what matters. This is what we need to address – together. Whatever it takes.
        The problem is not just guns, it is what sick people who have access to guns do with guns. If there is anything, anything, we can do to control access, help those who are mentally ill, and protect innocent children and people from being slaughtered, we must do it.

        It’s that simple. Be a part of the solution. I know you care and are a good person. Help.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      If the shooting of twenty elementary school students, 6 year olds who were literally tore apart with bullets, did not move the needle, this most recent shooting is not going to make a bit of difference.

      This could happen once a week (rather than the once a month it happens now), and it won’t do anything other than the collective, “welp, not much we can do about it” response we have now

      • 1mime says:

        That was exactly Pres. Obama’s message – everyone is just accepting the horror with an “oh, well”. This problem is not going away. Have we all given up belief that change is possible? Sandy Hook was heart-breaking; 45 school shootings later, mass gun killing is still happening and we are saddened each time. Enough!

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I wonder what would happen if someone shot up a gun show?

        The “friendly fire” incidents could go on for hours.

  13. objv says:

    Colin Powell: I will ‘continue to be a Republican because it annoys them’

    Lifer, I read the headline and had to laugh. Are you and Colin Powell kindred spirits?

    • goplifer says:

      I laughed too. I have hopes of doing more than annoying people, but I’d probably settle for that.

      • 1mime says:

        Hey, I’d settle for being compared to Colin Powell anyday!

      • Griffin says:

        To be honest I’m sort of amazed that none of the far-right pundits have gone on a rant against you yet. As this blog becomes better known I wonder if you’ll start to catch the attention of Michelle Malkin and fringe right sites (such as the American Thinker).

        On the other hand Free Republic hates your guts so there’s that.

        Don’t worry everytime a Freeper says somthing batshit crazy about you you get a gold star from the reality based community.

      • Doug says:

        If it helps, you annoy me quite frequently. 🙂

      • goplifer says:

        It does. Thank you.

      • objv says:

        Mime, I’ve been a fan of Colin Powell ever since I read his autobiography years ago. I admire his attitude and how he served his country no matter who was in charge.

      • 1mime says:

        I will forever hold in contempt those people in the G.W. Bush administration who gave this fine man fraudulent information to present at the United Nations. I have heard him interviewed at least twice on Charlie Rose (one hour interviews) and this devastated him. He was trying to be honorable, support his President, and he was badly, badly used. If it weren’t for this tragic abuse of him, I do believe Colin Powell would have been the first Black American President, and I would have voted for him. That his wife absolutely refused to support him as a candidate because she saw how bad people in politics used him, speaks volumes. She knew that he had already suffered enough and given everything for his country. His country didn’t give enough to him.

    • Crogged says:

      And a commenter used an image of Colonel Kurtz facepalm in one last attempt to eliminate irony in American life.

  14. 1mime says:

    An interesting article by Matt Bai on the present Speaker conundrum:

    “Note to Kevin McCarthy: The speaker of the House can do the job. Or he can keep it.”

    “Nobody running for the House or Senate tries persuading the voters of anything affirmative anymore; it’s all about stopping the other party from ruining America…”

  15. Rob Ambrose says:

    This is pretty f’n obscene.

    Leaving aside the racial implications, do people really want to live in a society when military grade swat teams are called in for suspected drug offenses?

    Jesus Christ.

  16. 1mime says:

    Lifer, here you go…young Republican + global warming + candidate for President = not much.
    But, at least he asked the question, and it proves your point about young conservatives as the hope for the GOP.

    • johngalt says:

      Consistent with Chris’s earlier post, it is notable that the environmental question in that link (would you support a limit on greenhouse gases if it raised your energy bill $20/month) got more yes answers than noes in every demographic category except Republicans over 65, where it was so close as to probably be within the margin of error.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, well, I’m still stuck on the dodge by Rubio. But, if the conservative base continues to passively support reasonable environmental controls, all the surveys in the world won’t change things. Don’t you get tired of the continuous dodge on questions like that? I don’t know if you watched any of the clip from the grilling of Cecil Richards by the House Committee today but how she kept her cool is amazing. These same members of Congress will duck and dodge questions from their own constituents on substantive issues, but would not allow Ms. Richards the courtesy of an uninterrupted response to their questions. Regardless how anyone feels on this issue, the lack of respect for someone/anyone appearing before any committee in Congress is inexcusable. And, just for the record, I expect respectful treatment of those called before committees from both parties.

      • johngalt says:

        I know Rubio dodged. I suppose my point is, given the poll numbers, why? Sure, the fanatics are slightly more likely to vote, but with much of the GOP field tripping over themselves to be conservativer-than-thou, where is the risk for someone to come out as a sensible, center-right politician? The numbers say there are plenty of GOP voters who would be happy to support that.

      • 1mime says:

        “where is the risk for someone to come out as a sensible, center-right politician?”

        More important, have they forgotten how to answer a simple, direct question without equivocating? I wonder, JG, if these conservatives have become so air-brushed that they aren’t capable of figuring out what a “sensible, center-right politician” really is.

        This is why Bernie Sanders is appealing to so many people. They trust the guy. He answers honestly, not with packaged answers, real Bernie beliefs. People are hungry for even a semblance of honesty and genuine conviction that is based in their needs, not the candidate’s election.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        But will they vote, in sufficient numbers, in the primary elections as well as the general one?

      • texan5142 says:

        I watched that 1mime, it was and/or is despicable how they treated her.

      • johngalt says:

        Sanders might give an honest answer, but the prevarication and dodging are not exclusive to the conservatives. Hillary does a fine job of it too.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, and it detracts from her as it does other candidates. It appears to be a characteristic of politics and that’s both understandable and regrettable. I mentioned Sanders because I really feel he has worked hardest at being honest and substantive. Would you agree?

      • Shiro17 says:

        One would think that these “reasonable Republicans” and Hillary would have taken to heart the message of “Be Yourself” that gets blasted through my Facebook feed twenty times a day. Yes, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of public opinion, but look at Trump! I think that anyone who gets caught up in percentages and poll statistics about whether Americans will support your position on an issue or not has it completely backwards. Don’t take a position just because it’s popular, take a position that you think is best for the country and MAKE it popular.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:


        Because they’ve learnt that they can distract and divide the base on social issues and they’ll vote for them anyway

      • EJ says:

        Remember the JC Penney’s effect: people may say that they prefer honesty and straight talk, but when you look at their behaviour they tend to punish uncomfortable truths and reward comfortable untruths.

        Sadly, this seems to be one of those problems of human behaviour like Callicles’s Hypothesis: it just isn’t going away, and we need to build our social and political structures with it in mind.

      • johngalt says:

        Yes, I think Sanders is basically honest and tells you what he wants to do in office (which is good and bad, because some of what he proposes is ridiculous). But Bernie has a huge advantage of representing a quirky rural state with a population 1/7th that of Harris County, Texas. When your state’s most notable company makes “Cherry Garcia,” you can be a bit more out there and still get elected.

      • 1mime says:

        Sounds like a fun place to live! (except for the snow)

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        JG what, specifically, of his ideas seem ridiculous?

        And are we talking just “regular” ridiculous, as in, something you don’t agree with?

        Or like, “way out there” ridiculous that is laughably radical?

      • johngalt says:

        Raising the minimum wage at a national level is problematic and he wants to basically double it to $15. This will accomplish a couple of things, the first of which is increasing the trend towards automation in low skill jobs. More importantly, though, a $15 minimum makes perfect sense in Seattle and San Francisco. It makes no sense in Natchez, MS. Places like that lure jobs by being low-cost environments and labor is one of the biggest costs of any business. Part of this is because the cost-of-living in the rural south is half what it is in the urban northeast. Remove this difference and you run the risk of losing jobs and worsening poverty in the places that can least afford it.

        Similarly, Sanders has never met a free trade agreement that he likes, despite these having a demonstrable positive economic impact.

        Imposing a financial transactions tax is counterproductive: it will drive portions of an industry that makes a lot of money and pays a lot in taxes offshore without doing anything to insulate us from the risks (arguably it makes them worse, since the oversight and regulations would be laxer). Using this money to eliminate university fees is also counterproductive (the Venn diagram of countries in which university education is free and the countries with excellent higher education systems does not have any overlap). If anything, we currently have too much financial aid available: it it one cause of the cost inflation in higher ed. A better targeted system would be much preferable.

        Some of what he says makes sense, but European-style socialism is not going to work in this country. Arguably, it’s not working in Europe, either.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        johngalt, I agree that the minimum wage should be connected to local cost-of-living measurements — AND indexed to inflation for automatic increases over time. That said, it *still* won’t end the inevitable transition from human to mechanized labor for unskilled jobs.

        Likewise, a financial-transactions tax is probably too fiddly and annoying. Instead we should just tax capital-gains and other investment income at the same rate as salaries, thus ending the artificial elevation of investment over labor.

        I’d love to hear your perspective (as an academic researcher, if I recall correctly) on the prowess of various nations’ higher-education systems. For example, I’ve always heard that Germany has excellent universities, and they’ve made college tuition free to students recently.

        LIkewise, I have to ask about your statement that “Sanders has never met a free trade agreement that he likes, despite these having a demonstrable positive economic impact.” Sure, but a positive economic impact for whom? And how about everybody else?

      • johngalt says:

        First about free trade. There can be short-term disruptions to lower skilled jobs and these should be addressed through job retraining, skill development, etc. But most of benefits accrue to consumers thanks to lower costs and greater choice. Protectionism significantly exacerbated the Great Depression and continues to distort economic interests. Perhaps the Japanese enjoy paying $30/pound for a strip steak, but artificial barriers to keep textile workers in the south, family farmers in Japan, or lawyers in China immune from competition are worse than the labor disruptions.

        Shanghai University publishes a respected ranking (as much as these can be respected) of worldwide universities. Of the top 20, 17 are American, including the state universities of Washington and four UC schools. Two are British, one is Swiss. The British ones have 1,000 years of history and charge fees. The first French university is #36. The first (and only) German one is #46. This is a research university oriented ranking, but still – 35 of the top 50 are American. I have close ties to both UK and German universities and deeply respect their science and education, but the overall education systems in Germany, Italy, France, not to mention China, is way behind the innovation and creativity of the top tier of U.S. institutions.

      • 1mime says:

        That is interesting information JG, yet, one wonders why America has such lofty rankings for higher ed, yet, our lower ed results compare poorly with that of other industrialized nations. What do these other nations do differently in lower ed and why is their success in preparing students for higher education not carrying over to better higher education institutions? Is it tuition? Is it faculty? Is it the student base? What is the criteria for ranking institutions of higher education across the globe? A more narrow analysis of “best” research institutions may not be applicable to favorable comparison in other curricula areas.

        As someone who spent many years plumbing these questions, I can state that the answers are complex. The bottom line is that America is not graduating enough well prepared students from our high schools to meet current (and future) job needs. The good news is that high school graduation rates are better than they have ever been. It is poor solace when so many of those who graduate lack the skills to enter or be successful in college and enter an ever narrowing labor market. The changing world we share is requiring different skill sets. Business and educational leaders must combine forces to adapt education to real workplace needs. America shouldn’t have to import its math and science majors – we should be able to identify and meet our own jobs needs right here – not only for the sake of our children but also to ensure our nation’s economic future.

      • johngalt says:

        The rankings are a little deceptive on the education front, because the criteria used for that one is almost exclusively research based. You’ll see that #18 is the University of California at San Francisco. If you didn’t know, UCSF doesn’t have an undergraduate population – it’s a medical/graduate school only. It’s a fantastic place, in biomedical research probably one of the top 5 in the world. There have recently been some rankings based on return on investment (ROI) that basically ask whether a college is worth the price. The bottom line is that $60k a year for Princeton, Rice, Stanford is worth it. $25k a year for UT and A&M is worth it. $60k a year for Baylor? For TCU? That’s not as clear, and there are some lower tier universities where the ROI is negative. It’s also notable that many of the elite-tier universities charge little to nothing to students from poorer families, and for Rice, the cutoff for “poor” is an annual income of $80k.

        You’re entirely right that we need to do a better job of education at the secondary level. We’re in the middle of a remarkable revolution in information and our educational institutions are, like many other institutions, slow to adjust. We need to emphasize creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills over rote memorization. I don’t need to memorize the structure of adenosine, the losing general at Antietam, or the capital of Vermont to succeed today. I need to know how to find them when I need them and what to do with the information once I look it up. How do you solve problems? How do you formulate what the problem is? At the highest level, this is already happening, but it has not trickled down to the average school. The challenges to doing this at a good public school are serious. The challenges at an at-risk urban (or rural) school are nearly insurmountable.

      • 1mime says:

        You clearly understand the issue, JG. Let me add that vocational education is under-valued and under-utilized by the educational and business leadership. There is a need for skilled trades, but these positions now require a higher base knowledge of math due to technology. If there were more focus on helping students understand how to assess their abilities and training needs for jobs, even higher education would be enhanced. How? Students would enter the proper school per their abilities and interests. We have made attendance at higher education (i.e., colleges/universities vs trade schools) a rite of passage. Students are not adequately exposed to the opportunities that exist for, medical positions, plumbing, dental assistants, chefs, welding, production assembly, air conditioning or auto mechanics. These career choices regretably aren’t promoted by school counselors – their main focus is to point all students towards college. These vocational/technical jobs exist, they are needed, and they allow people to earn good living. A strong vocational arena would allow higher education to focus more on critical math and science majors. (Not law….we have an abundance of lawyers and too many of them end up in Congress (-: )

        We do our children a disservice by not counseling them earlier in their educations as to how to match their interest, abilities with appropriate jobs. Career counseling has almost disappeared from the high school experience. European countries do this better and they do it in a way that is not demeaning. Students always have the opportunity to change tracks from the vocational to the academic. We should recognize that not every student is a candidate for higher education. Those who are, should prepare for the opportunity and should not be faced with obscene debt for pursuing an education that is necessary for their future financial independence and, by the way, become contributors as well as participants in our economy. If we developed and funded community college curricula and trade school programs more extensively, we would not only provide students with viable choices, we would also give them opportunities where they can be successful. Isn’t this the bedrock of capitalism?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I’d be much happier with “free trade” agreements if they were *actually* on a level playing field.

        Why should we enable the export of jobs to countries that lack our worker protections, or human-rights guarantees (including the right to organize labor), or environmental standards?

        Basically, we’re just saying it’s fine to have Triangle Shirtwaist disasters somewhere *else*, so long as we don’t have to think about them *here*. And that seems like a rather less than moral stance, even for inexpensive steaks and cheap clothes.

      • 1mime says:

        And, why should we reward these jobs exporters with offers of tax rebates if they will just bring their profits from cheap, unprotected labor back to the U.S?

      • johngalt says:

        I mostly agree with you, 1mime. Better vocational training in schools would help prepare non-college bound kids for an immediate career. With all the current complaints about “high-stakes testing” today though, can you imagine what would happen if we had placement exams a la the UK or Germany that literally tracked kids into vocational training?

        Even with vo-tech, though, we have to teach people to be lifelong learners. Imagine being an auto mechanic. Twenty-five years ago you needed a good set of tools and a willingness to get your hands dirty. Today you need a degree in computer science. I recently had a problem with the brakes on my car and had to replace the module that controls the anti-lock brakes and traction control system. It took a week to solve a hardware-software incompatibility problem. In my car. Fortunately, the $3,200 repair was covered by a warranty (egad!).

      • 1mime says:

        I was fortunate to monitor a tremendously successful pilot program that transitioned students from high school to college/vocational education. The vocational program was well funded, tremendously relevant to local employment opportunities, and closely coordinated between public education, vocational education, the business community and the local university.

        Counselors at the high schools worked to identify and support scheduling for students interested in trying the program. They obtained core curricula from the main high school campuses, then were bused to the vocational school campus for specific courses of their choosing. They continued this process during their junior and senior year of high school, then were given the opportunity to combine advanced vocational training in tandem with college attendance, if they were interested in the dual educational experience. At any time, the student could commit to one or the other program. The program is still in effect and should be a model everywhere, in my opinion.

        There is no reason why students at the middle school level could not be evaluated and informed about programs like this. They wouldn’t have to be locked in, as the flexibility of the program described above offered, but the middle school years could offer an opportunity to interest and appeal to students based upon their abilities and interests. One of the more interesting applications of this concept was developed by a teacher who offered a course in pool (billiards). Using the science of angles and repetitious practice, he taught students geometry in a way that achieved the same practical goal of the math, yet did so in a manner that interested and involved the students more creatively. The teacher then went on to have the students frame a small building – again, using angles, cuts, measurements, etc. as an educational tool while teaching a skill.

        There is so much we could do to interest our students in careers that are relevant to jobs and their abilities. There is still a place in the workplace for jobs that don’t require traditional higher education. There is absolutely a need for higher ed and advanced degrees for those with the interest and ability to attain them. We need both until science and advancement makes these other areas obsolete. That old adage about the plumber who was called by the doctor on the weekend wanting immediate service is still relevant. (Dr wouldn’t see plumber when he called…told him to take an aspirin and call back on Monday…Plumber told Dr to drop an aspirin in the commode, flush it, and if that didn’t work, to call him on Monday (-: )

        I know this is OT but it’s nice to discuss positive experiences with smart, interested people. Thanks, JG, for this opportunity to engage.

  17. 1mime says:

    First thing I’ve seen in print providing documentation of Firorina’s lie on the “alive aborted fetus” video. What an invasion of personal privacy! This tragic miscarriage was used without the permission or knowledge of the woman involved. For Fiorina to deliberately use something like this in a public forum, speaks to two possible scenarios: (1) she hadn’t checked out the story sufficiently; or (2) she didn’t care if what she said was a lie, she used it anyway for her own purposes.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Can we vote for “all of the above”?

      • 1mime says:

        One would think that once the lady who miscarried identified the video and clarified what happened, that Ms. Fiorina would have issued a correction. Guess the truth doesn’t serve her purpose as well as the lie.

      • flypusher says:

        Miscarriage is also called “spontaneous abortion”. So maybe they’re just leaving the “spontaneous” part out.

        Still makes them lying pack of liars.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Do you get discounts on lying liars if you buy them by the pack? (I suspect the Koch Brothers do….)

  18. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    I want a Reddit!
    Anonymity of twitter+the possibility of long form conversation of Facebook

  19. Griffin says:

    The wingnut base are such easy marks for affinity fraud (even by usual political standards) that I almost feel bad for them. Check out this gem from 2012.

  20. Rob Ambrose says:

    Interesting article on Sanders:

    A few things jump out at me. First, the surprising news that a similar socialist type politician (Jeremy Corbyn) is now leader of the Labour party in the UK. You also see the hard left Tom Mulcair leading the polls in the Canadian election later in October. Mulcairs NDP have never formed the government before. It would be unprecedented if he can pull it off next month.

    I point this out because Sanders is starting to not seem like some “only in the USA” kook. He’s starting to seem like merely the US face of a movement that is gaining traction in all Western countries.

    Which makes some sense. A minority (the rich) can get only push and exploit the majority (lower and middle class) so much before The People finally have enough and flex their political muscle. I know that the rich think the status quo will never change, as do many of the non rich.

    But how many French aristocrats thought that a major disruption in the status quo was unthinkable? Probably all of them. Until the Bastille was stormed, that is.

    I think (and hope) were witnessing the coalescng of a revolution, one thats badly needed. Occupy was mismanaged and run by idealistic kids. But it set the stage for what were seeing now: far more serious people with actual policy goals and a clear route to political power in order to enact them.

    I was also struck by reading the summary of Sanders positions. Not that any were a surprise, but seeing them laid out in the article, it struck me that when the debates happen, Sanders is going to become very, very popular.

    He’s got an incredible grassroots following already, and that’s WITHOUT any positive national coverage, or any large platform (I.e. a nationally televised debate).

    From the article:

    “He wants a raise in the minimum wage, universal health care, a reduction in the burden of student debt, the taxing of financial transactions to pay for the abolition of college and university tuition fees, expanded social security benefits, better rights for workers, radical action to reverse global warming with sustainability and energy efficiency a priority.

    He has also called for a reduction in the number of people in prison, a crackdown on police brutality and institutional racism and the abolition of private, for-profit prisons.

    Sanders favours financial reforms including breaking up “too big to fail” financial institutions. He is an advocate for LGBTI rights and is pro-choice when it comes to abortion.”

    Many of those things wouldn’t be considered “radical” at all some 50 years ago. They only appear so after several decades of scumbag 1%’ers manipulating and scaring low information voters who think unions are evil (even though they literally CREATED the middle class, through initiatives such as 8 hr work day, 5 hr work week, minimum wages, safety regulations, workers comp, EI, overtime etc) and that if we just lower taxes on the rich enough, somehow we’ll all benefit eventually.

    Most of his positions will appeal mightily to the general public, and not even the dreaded S word will be able to scare people anymore.

    And unlike, say, Trump (whose also tapping in to the same populist anger, only from a much different angle) Sanders is both experienced, and has been remarkably consistent from his first day in politics. Sanders is the anti politician politician.

    And this may sound silly, but if I had to handicap, I’d say he’s got a 50% chance to beat Hillary.

    Anecdotally, the buzz surrounding Sanders among my peer group is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, significantly more so then Obama in 2008, which was itself unlike anything I’d seen up til then.

    I predict you will see a very high voter turnout in 2016. Millenials are interested in politics like I’ve never seen.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      It’s high time we reformed the word “socialism.” (Along with “liberal”, “progressive”, and all the other terms to which squalid conservatives have tried to attach unwieldy amounts of mud.)

      Sure, socialism *can* still mean a philosophy of command-economy governance like the obviously failed example of the Soviet Union. But that’s such an obvious and predictable failure that no sensible person would presume to argue for it any more.

      Instead, “socialism” nowadays seems far more often to refer to the kinds of “democratic socialism” practiced in Europe, where the state attempts to blunt some of the excesses of a capitalist economy and ensure some minimum protections for citizens so they don’t get thrown into Victorian workhouses. It’s the wide, gray area between totally unregulated capitalism (which doesn’t work) and command-economy Soviet communism (which works even worse).

      In other words, the United States is a socialist nation right now, and has been for almost a century. And American voters *like* socialism; they keep voting for politicians who maintain Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, regulations on rapacious corporate practices, and so on.

      The question is not WHETHER we should all be socialists, but HOW MUCH.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Indeed Owl. Many of America’s most valued programs, even by the right (wasn’t it Huckster who said “hands off my medicare!”?) are socialist programs.

        Medicare, EI, workers comp. All socialist.

        Or, at least, the kind of socialist program that Sanders advocated.

  21. Bobo Amerigo says:

    You’ll likely find Pinterest to be surprisingly attractive. At least, I have, since I established an account for my employer.

    My experience: Facebook is a source of leads. Twitter increases views, which may or may not be actual reading.

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