Link roundup, 10/7/15

Episode #457 of “robots will take your job”: Today, journalists.

Scientists are looking for effective regulation of their genetic research.

Human evolution is continuing, perhaps even accelerating. Where is it heading?

Dispatches from the fringes of Europe’s first failed state.

Ben Bernanke explains his quiet split from the GOP.

Is the Marxist far-left a trap for minorities? A critical look at Cornel West.

How much power will it take to support quantum computing?

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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264 comments on “Link roundup, 10/7/15
  1. texan5142 says:

    Grovin on a Sunday afternoon.

  2. 1mime says:

    Tom Cole has been mentioned as a rational Republican member of the House who should be considered for Speaker. He certainly echos my thoughts on what elected officials to Congress should be all about.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/us/politics/after-boehner-house-hard-liners-aim-to-weaken-speakers-clout.html?rref=national&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&pgtype=Multimedia

  3. flypusher says:

    Uh-oh, things could get really nasty here:

    http://theweek.com/speedreads/582593/outside-experts-called-fatal-shooting-12yearold-tamir-rice-justified

    I’m no “expert”, but even I know it a bad tactical move to drive right up beside an armed suspect. I really want to hear, in a lot of detail, why someone would think that is a good idea.

    • 1mime says:

      There is no justification that I would believe.

      • flypusher says:

        There really needs to be an indictment and trial here. I don’t suspect any malice on the part of the 2 policemen, but there is such gross incompetence here that trying to sweep it under the rug would be an outrage and and insult to people’s intelligence. I’m no lawyer, but I could see negligent homicide at the very least based on both the stupid tactics going in, and the alleged delay in first aid.

      • 1mime says:

        At this point, it’s safe to say that local law enforcement is not capable of rendering an impartial decision. It’s time for the Justice Division to step in. This is a crime, alright, but the criminal was not Tamir Rice.

    • 1mime says:

      Anyone who has any doubts about whether the policeman who shot Rice gave him any chance should watch the video linked for your convenience. There is No way I believe Rice was given any chance.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/27/us/video-shows-cleveland-officer-shot-tamir-rice-2-seconds-after-pulling-up-next-to-him.html?action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

      • flypusher says:

        “The police said the officer yelled at Tamir three times to show his hands, but the boy instead reached to his waistband for the object, which turned out to be a fake gun.”

        3 times within 2 seconds?? And even if the cops really did talk that fast, how intelligible would their commands be?

      • 1mime says:

        And, imagine the shock and fear of a young Black kids, playing alone in a park when a police cruiser pulls up with officers yelling at him….No, this kid was slaughtered. Any verdict other than this is an atrocity. The fact that it has taken so long to pursue this case makes one wonder about the validity of the two people whose statements support police action. I’m not believing it and I don’t blame Black people for thinking this is more police injustice. It’s wrong. The police just don’t want to accept responsibility for horrible judgement and hold the policeman/men involved accountable under the law.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fly, its ridiculous on so many levels.

        A) no, you didn’t tell him to “show your hands” three times in two seconds. Its literally impossible to do so with any possible intelligible function.

        B)Even if the timeframe allowed it, barreling onto the suspect with the engine roaring and tires screeching clearly made it impossible to be heard.

        C) he “reached for his gun”? Seriously? Why would anyone reach A FAKE GUN? Even ifbthe kid was a hardened criminal itching to kill cops, why would you reach for a weapon you know won’t be effective in any way? Did he also reach for invisible sword, just in case that magically became a real weapon in the past few seconds?

        Nothing about their story makes even the least bit if sense.

        I’d be interested in seeing their dash cam. I don’t think these guys knew they were running up on a kid. But it wouldn’t surprise me if they thought it was a black ” thug” with a gun and decided to execute him before they even got there

    • flypusher says:

      Some more details:

      http://news.yahoo.com/outside-reviews-shooting-tamir-rice-151000980.html

      ‘Here’s what those reports, conducted by a retired FBI agent and a Denver prosecutor found, via The Associated Press:

      The officer, (the former FBI agent) wrote, “had no information to suggest the weapon was anything but a real handgun, and the speed with which the confrontation progressed would not give the officer time to focus on the weapon.”
      “It is my conclusion that Officer Loehmann’s use of deadly force falls within the realm of reasonableness under the dictates of the Fourth Amendment.”
      The Denver prosecutor came to a similar conclusion

      “The officers did not create the violent situation,” he wrote. “They were responding to a situation fraught with the potential for violence to citizens.” ‘

      You have zero integrity when you don’t acknowledge that “the speed with which the confrontation progressed” and the creation of “the violent situation” had a whole lot to do the the cops’ decision to drive up right next to someone they believe to be armed and dangerous, rather then set up with cover at a much longer and safer distance, and actually give Rice a realistic chance to put up his hands. Granted this link quotes just a excerpt, but if these “experts” really didn’t ignore how the cops contributed to this, I expect them to speak out and clarify this point.

      • 1mime says:

        Humph – it’s been how long since this killing happened? And, you think the police will speak out? Sorry Fly, but the length of time this has invovled is a clear indicator they’re guilty and hoping more time will remove the death from public conciousness. This is why the Justice Dept must come in now. They’ve dragged their feet, now come up with two friendly opinions, and things are starting to smell really bad.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        If they are successful in splitting the driving up to the scene as separate from the shooting, then they will have a shot at getting this dismissed.

        They could argue that the cops made a mistake in approaching the situation too quickly, but once in that situation, they shooting was reasonable given that they thought he was armed with a real weapon and that he was reaching for it.

        Approaching the situation incorrectly by driving right up next to Rice is a “mistake”, but it would be argued that it was not murder. It was an error in judgment or tactic, but once the officers are in that position, they have the right to defend themselves.

        Now, that is some pretty serious bullshit, but I suspect that will be the argument.

        Not unlikely Zimmerman shouldn’t have followed Martin, but once Zimmerman was getting his ass kicked, he had the right to defend himself.

      • flypusher says:

        “Now, that is some pretty serious bullshit, but I suspect that will be the argument.”

        I think you totally nailed it. The question is whether the investigators have enough chutzpah to use that BS as their reason for not indicting (assuming that they press no charges). If they do so they are utterly tone deaf. 2 years ago, they might pull it off, even with that damning video. But not today.

      • 1mime says:

        I continue to maintain that there will be no justice done in Tamir Rice’s death unless competent, outside counsel is brought in. I hope that happens but it will probably have to be the Justice Dept and I am not sure that will happen. If this defense (of the police) is allowed to stand, a great injustice will have been perpetrated.

        There were TWO seconds before the police raced up and slammed on their brakes and purportedly shouted their command to a lone individual. Two policemen, one lone individual in a park. This injustice cannot be allowed. It just can’t.

        Again, that white woman firing her personal weapon in a HD lot at a fleeing vehicle has not been arrested. IF she had been a Black male, what do you think would have happened?

      • 1mime says:

        I guess we’ll find out for certain if BLM.

  4. flypusher says:

    Wow. With friends like this, Carson will be the next GOP Presidential flameout:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/10/10/9493975/keith-ablow-jews-holocaust

  5. 1mime says:

    I am encouraged to read the following story about some moderate House Republicans who just recently joined ranks with Democrats to force a parliamentary vote using a “discharge petition”, which is rarely used, to force a vote on the floor of the House regarding the EX-IM Bank. As you may recall, this bank has been in the cross-hairs of the hard right in the House, especially Jeb Hensarling. The Bank’s approval was allowed to lapse and it has caused a great deal of disruption and loss of business for business small and large who do business overseas. (I guess it’s only OK to go overseas when you want to play war with someone or park money to avoid taxes….certainly not for legitimate business activity.)

    I had not read anything about this probably because of all the brouhaha going on with the Speaker issue. It’s important and hopeful that some Republicans are figuring out that their jobs are to govern, that there are areas of compromise and agreement, and that requires working across the aisle in this toxic political environment. It’s the way our form of government was designed and it’s the only way Democracy can be protected.

    Please enjoy reading about democracy in action. I am so proud of these moderate Republicans.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/republican-moderates-democrats-revive-export-import-bank/409966/?utm_source=yahoo&ref=yfp

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      What is the hard rights issue with the EX-IM bank? Not sure what the reasoning is.

      • 1mime says:

        The opponents feel the functions of the EX-IM Bank compete with private banking services by financing low interest loans to large and small companies. Supposedly, they are concerned about taxpayer risk, but the Bank has been operating for 81 years. A quick glance at the donors to the Congressman leading the charge, (Jeb Hensarling from Dallas) is enough to make me suspicious of the motivations. Also, most of the Republicans who oppose the bank are members of the TP and the FC. The vast majority of Democrats support it. Bernie Sanders wants to limit its use to small businesses only, which I think is a good compromise but the opponents want it D.E.A.D. through and through. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports continuation of the bank as do many other significant parties.

        Here’s a couple of links that may help explain the situation. The reason a discharge petition had to be filed in the House is that the committee chairman (Hensarling) refused to bring it up for a vote and let the bank’s renewal die in committee. It has always been said that there are sufficient votes to pass it in the House and Senate if it would just be scheduled for a vote. Now, that vote will have to be held. In the Senate, McConnell is opposed to it and is not expected to bring it forward, so it’s status there is not positive.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/30/opinion/congress-should-reauthorize-the-export-import-bank.html
        http://www.bloombergview.com/quicktake/u-s-export-import-bank

  6. flypusher says:

    Possible outcomes for the Speaker of the House impass:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/10/10/9489319/house-gop-path-foward

    I think 1 or 2 will be the most likely. I’d love to see 3 or 4 happen, but don’t expect either. As for 7, totally impossible.

      • 1mime says:

        Duh – I hardly see any difference in his plan from that of the FC and TP…..who are already working their magic. The dude’s credentials are interesting for the action he advocates – very partisan which one wouldn’t expect.

        There is NO hope that Dems will retake the House due to gerrymandering. That will take a very long time to achieve. There is hope, however, for Dems to take the Presidency and either re-take the Senate or make huge gains there.

        Do you wonder what the “silent” majority of Americans are thinking about all this about now? They aren’t hearing any noise from Democratic ranks, they are seeing lots of positive vibes from the candidacy of Bernie Sanders (he out-gained all including the GOP in contributions and he doesn’t take PAC money), they are hearing lots of anger and bullishness from elements within the Republican Party. Heck, I’m wondering if anyone even knows there is going to be a Democratic debate in a few days! Does all of this quiet help the Dems or hurt them? I would hope it would make them appear to be the “sensible” Party, but – is the American public engaged enough to even understand what is going on and who the bullies are? Are they able to perceive who the best leader is within the fray, or, have most simply tuned the whole mess out?

      • rightonrush says:

        Bet he even believes in the tooth fairy. He also doesn’t live in the USA according to his bio.

    • 1mime says:

      Courage and pragmatism should guide the choice. I’d hope for 3 or 6. In reading through some of the rules changes wanted by the FCaucus, they don’t “sound” unreasonable; however, knowing the FC antics as we do, who trusts them to promote rule changes that would benefit the House membership, generally, or the nation, collectively?

    • 1mime says:

      I love Gail Collins of the NYT. Here’s an excerpt of her take on the Speaker debacle and the “inferred affair” that led McCarthy to drop out of the race:

      “Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina — the guy who made his name by demanding that French fries in the House cafeteria be renamed “freedom fries” — sent a letter to what’s left of the party leadership, saying nobody should run for speaker “if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself … if they become public.”

      “We will now stop to estimate what percentage of the members of Congress have done something in private that they would not like the world to know. No wonder nobody wants the job.”

      Just sayin’……………She’s got a point!

  7. 1mime says:

    Lifer, I’m interested in your view about the selection of Speaker by Republicans. The GOP has seemingly settled on Paul Ryan as the only remaining member of the House who is acceptable to enough to gain a majority vote of the party. He maintains he doesn’t want it. He is smart enough to not want to jeopardize future political ambition for a controversial, difficult, thankless position.

    What are the options that you feel are possible if Ryan digs in and won’t serve? In the event that the House is unable to elect a Speaker, the Senate Pro Tempore can serve, who would be Orrin Hatch. The long shot, of course, would be that enough in the GOP would get so disgusted they would side with a less desirable Republican or (shudder) Nancy Pelosi. I think that’s highly unlikely but do you have any feeling for this at this point? And, is this the first fissure in the Party that you see that supports your opinion about the party’s demise?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Its a poison pill. Anybody who has intentions of climbing the political ladder wouldn’t touch that job with a 10 ft pole.

      What a f’n mess the GOP have turned this into.

      • 1mime says:

        But you have to admit, it’s intriguing to ponder the possibility of a “Speaker stalemate” reaching its conclusion with no agreement and the Constitutionally designed succession kicking in….with a Senator as Speaker of the House…..even if he is 81 years old. From all that I hear about the job of Speaker, it is grueling….

        Meanwhile, Cruz is all over the news trumpeting how much he raised this quarter ($12 mil) and that when the Don pulls out, he will pick up his voters….and, he’s probably correct. I’ll give Lifer credit for seeing this possibility months ago (Cruz being the nominee). Of course this means I’ll have to move to Costa Rica, but, what the hay, what’s one less mouthy Democrat (-:

    • flypusher says:

      Boehner has said that he would stay until his successor if picked, so Congress will limp on. Not a bad deal for Boehner, since he’s now free from that fear of being deposed.

      An explanation of the voting process for Speaker and how it compares with electing people to other Congressional positions:

      http://www.vox.com/2015/10/9/9483463/kevin-mccarthy-john-boehner

      So given that the Dems haven’t been voting for any GOPers for speaker recently, 218 votes (out of 247 total GOP members) is the magic number. It would be intriguing (not to mention good for the country), if some sort of bipartisan deal could be struck here. But not likely, as I can’t see enough Dems stepping forward to counter those GOPers who won’t deal for fear of being primaried from the right. That’s a breakdown I’d like to see-which GOP members are the least likely to have RWNJs breathing down their necks.

  8. unarmedandunafraid says:

    First time I have seen this. Organized appeal to responsible gun owners. I’m wondering what pro-gun commenters think of this guy.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/10/08/1429424/-His-plea-to-responsible-gun-owners-went-mega-viral-and-he-s-using-it-to-launch-a-movement-watch?detail=email#

    • 1mime says:

      Unarmed, this is terrific! Now if people will also contact their members of Congress, we will get action.

    • Doug says:

      “I’m wondering what pro-gun commenters think of this guy.”

      No, you’re not. 🙂

    • vikinghou says:

      Love this guy! His recitation of questions on the Federal gun purchase form is both hilarious and pathetic.

      • 1mime says:

        No, I disagree, viking. I think this guy’s presentation and commitment is exactly what it is going to take to mobilize and motivate ordinary Americans who want change in gun violence. It is going to take a grassroots effort to move the issue of gun violence forward. Consider this:

        “http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/world/europe/germany-faces-few-mass-shootings-amid-tough-gun-laws.html?ref=topics ”

        In essence, following TWO mass shootings over SEVEN years, Germany tightened their already tough gun laws along with the European Union guidelines already in effect. Germany ranks 4th in the world in guns per capita but there is a distinct difference with the U.S.: in Germany, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right. Note that the 28 member nations of the EU, must record and report to a CENTRAL Gun Registry, any gun purchase. Crimes involving guns are rare and declining. New laws implemented by Germany in 2009 focused on gun storage, random checks on weapons owners, and all guns must be registered.

        The U.S. has a problem, alright. It is the NRA and hard core gun proponents who will accept no changes even if it saves lives, which the organization falsely disputes. The Youtube video is just what we need. I hope all noted that the man is a former policeman and a gun owner. Nope, I am not buying any of the arguments by those who refuse to help us reduce gun violence.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/world/europe/germany-faces-few-mass-shootings-amid-tough-gun-laws.html?ref=topics

      • vikinghou says:

        Hey, don’t get me wrong mime! I’m in total agreement with him. I was just saying that I had to laugh when he read some of the questions. “Are you a fugitive from justice?” “Have you been judged to be insane?” Like he said, who’s going to answer “yes?” What a joke!

  9. 1mime says:

    Tutta,
    Hard choices are ahead. The problems associated with gun violence won’t be easy to solve but they can not be ignored, which is what Congress is doing. Those who are empowered to make the decisions are doing nothing. Are you OK with that? People are dying.

    Mental Illness – Agree, Dysfunctional people are not necessarily mentally ill. Either category of individual, however, should not be permitted for a gun. I don’t know if gun permits require renewal, but IF we had a national database for gun registry that the LAW allowed specific, appropriate entities to access, there would at least be an opportunity to know who some of these people are. Right now, if law enforcement even ATTEMPTS to access this information, it is punishable by jail time.

    The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Traffic, Firearms) has been the target of Republicans who will not allow this government agency to function. They are not allowed to keep any firearm registration information intact, in fact, it has to be destroyed. More BS about the 2nd AMendment. So, what about the rights of the hundreds of millions of other people who want this agency to be able to do their job?

    There has been a lot of hard, meaningful work done to identify ways existing laws can be better enforced and new laws enacted that will plug gaps. These suggestions have been thoroughly ignored.

    We all want kindness and peace in our lives, but the hard reality of existence is that tough problems demand tough solutions. At this point, nothing is being done other than speeches and condolences. I am definitely NOT OK with the status quo and I do not buy the arguments from gun proponents that I have read so far – here or in other journals. This problem can be addressed, it can be helped, and it is not.

    I am mad but but not dysfunctional. I am one motivated broad who is gonna keep writing and calling until I make a difference. If everyone who cared about this problem took that one step, do you really think Congress could ignore millions of people who are calling about loved ones being massacred? People can choose their own response. I have decided upon mine. Just because it is not my children and grandchildren who have been mowed down doesn’t exempt me from my responsibility as a citizen of the United States to speak up and to expect attention to this problem.

    • BigWilly says:

      It’s becoming almost trendy, these days, to mass murder. No longer the vocation of loners gone over the edge like Ted Bundy, these days the serial killer basks in a different sort of fame. It must be very attractive.

      Since Boehner and the President are effectively lame ducks why not get together and give the Congress a bill that it must pass. The party needs to look towards the center. This is the time and place to do it.

      Though I think it is more appropriately a state issue (guns) in this case it could prove to be an effective strategy towards retrenchment.

      • 1mime says:

        Might work, BW. After all, Repubs are toying with the idea of appointing a lame duck member of the House to run for Speaker until they can get their you know what together. Better idea might be to make em all lame ducks.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      My latest followup posting on the Oregon shooter:

      I recently posted a series of questions I had about the shooter in Oregon. I have searched frequently for any scrap of info about this incident to answer these lingering questions.

      One question about the shooter’s background was this:

      “Why was he discharged from boot camp in the Army after little more than a month.” I now have the answer which I think is quite stunning even if it is not surprising.

      excerpts from from Wall Street Journal:

      “The alleged gunman who killed nine people and wounded nine others at a rural community college in Oregon last Thursday had been discharged from the Army after attempting to commit suicide, according to law-enforcement officials familiar with the case.”

      “Christopher Harper-Mercer, who was 26 years old at the time of the shooting, was discharged from basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., after just one month in 2008.”

      “The Army said it couldn’t confirm details of his discharge due to privacy regulations. But law-enforcement officials familiar with the investigation into last week’s mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg said the discharge occurred after Mr. Harper-Mercer tried to take his own life.”

      2008.
      That is a huge 7 year old warning sign of the tragedy yet to come.

      Imagine if everyone in his life were aware of this, especially those who sold guns to him or his mother or those who ran the firing ranges where they practiced.

      He once tried to enroll at a firearms academy but his application was rejected by the president and lead instructor of the school. Did that instructor have contacts in the military that gave him a heads up about this young man?

      How is it even legal for person to have guns who once tried to kill themselves, especially in an Army training camp of all places?!

      Wouldn’t that be strong evidence that this future mass murder should have been ruled “mentally incompetent” in regards to ownership and access to guns?

      A young man who is suicidal, with a history of banging his head against the wall as a child, socially isolated in part because of the symptoms of his autistic condition and without guidance or meaningful contact with his father for years should never had access to an arsenal of guns… to a single gun.

      Doesn’t that seem like common sense?

      I think that bears repeating over and over again, because I know there are fathers, mothers and other families right now that are making the same tragic mistakes Laurel Harper and Nancy Lanza made by exposing their children to the tools of their destruction.

      Even the United States Army had enough common sense to know the potential danger of having him in their ranks. That is why he was discharged.

      Irony… this important piece of information is causing me yet again to ask even more questions.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        More details on the warped/flawed logic of our legal system that would allow someone like this to legally acquire weapons…

        “The Army discharge didn’t affect Mr. Harper-Mercer’s ability to legally purchase the weapons. He didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, which would have required a court-martial, according to an Army spokesman. Because he didn’t have that type of discharge, often deemed equivalent to a felony, he wasn’t precluded from buying guns under federal law.”

        “The nature of his administrative separation is protected by privacy laws, and an Army spokesman said it could have been for a variety of reasons.”

        Unbelievable. So even if you try to kill yourself while in the military you can still get guns after the incident, so long as you don’t get a dishonorable discharge. Call me an idiot if you will, but I imagine a suicidal person (regardless if they are honorably or dishonorably removed from the military) are still a danger to themselves and to the rest of society… and should not have access to a gun!

        Am I wrong????

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Not to run this story into the ground, but why didn’t any of the Army instructors (in 2008 who worked with the future Oregon shooter) think to say something like this to their superiors…

        “Hey this kid who just tried to kill himself, he is now even more competent with firearms than when he came in. He needs serious, serious help and I think he could be a continuing danger not just to himself, but to civilians once he is discharged. After all this is South Carolina, and not too far away in Virginia we had that massacre of 32 people on a college campus last year. I’m really worried. Is there anyway to make sure he can’t get access to guns after he leaves camp?”

        …or am I being too optimistic that hypothetical conversations like that occur frequently at training facilities in the military?

      • 1mime says:

        Of course, that is logical Crow. But, the system has been so truncated that information that would logically be shared, can’t – by design, and later, by law. The thing about this is that the guy didn’t get the help he needed. That is something that you have to wonder about from a discharge standpoint, altho Harper-Mercer was an adult so I guess they couldn’t “make” him seek counseling. Worse of all, is that his childhood leading up to his young adult years his mother knew he had problems. We don’t know all the facts about the decisions made by family at a point in his life when help might have made a difference for him. The Tiahrt Rule has basically shut down the flow of information between critical agencies who might have been able to intervene and prevent the shooting. We’ll never know now.

      • 1mime says:

        Sir Magpie – You’re skilled at digging for details, I wonder if you have seen any follow-up to the Home Depot event where a woman bystander pulled her gun and shot at a fleeing shoplifter? I’m curious as to how this use of weaponry has been handled by law enforcement and haven’t been able to find anything more on it other than she has not been arrested and is cooperating with authorities. Really?

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      Ah, to be young again… when the world is bright and full of life and nothing seems impossible! But alas, the storm clouds of adulthood intrude… and that wonderous dream ends.

      C’est la vie.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        … and those three men now are all good for nothing RINO’s, traitors and weaklings who should sleep with the fishes.

        Disgusting liberal fishes. Who just might be gay, and muslim.

        At least that is what the inspiring Freedom Caucus tells me. Meet the New, New Young Guns!

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Yeah! Freedom Caucus. Hunky aren’t they?

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t think any of these three would enter a “noodling” contest with Paul Ryan (-:

        What’s amusing is the insistence by members of the Freedom Caucus to elect someone who will change the rules of the House so that it will be a “members-up” format. Odd, in that they are being so dominating from the top down insisting on the bottoms up plan ?%&? I mean, they want it both ways! Oh well, guess he who has the key to the gold, rules….Who knew 40 people could be such a pain in the ass!

  10. Bobo Amerigo says:

    For some good news, how ’bout those Tunisians?

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/09/447110303/2015-nobel-peace-prize-goes-to-tunisian-quartet-of-mediators

    A couple of union leaders, human rightists, and lawyers kept their country together.

    …asked if the group has a leader; she replied, “No, it’s a collaboration. We did it together, the four of us.”

    I find this a reason for optimism.

  11. 1mime says:

    This just announced on television: (CNBC) shooting on two college campuses today. One occurred in AZ (no details yet) and another at TX Southern, 1 confirmed dead, 1 wounded.

    I guess we’re not into the twice weekly gun violence scene as the public and Congress were tolerating the periodic massacres too easily.

    • rightonrush says:

      Damn mime, this is beginning to the daily norm.

      • 1mime says:

        Damn right it is and it is sickening. The question is, what are each of us going to do about it?

      • easyfortytwo says:

        Just keep saying “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.” This has proven effective so far.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s a link to members of Congress courtesy of People Magazine. Find your state and make your calls. I doubt you’ll find anyone in the office today through the Columbus Day weekend, but start calling Monday/Tuesday and ask to speak to a senior member of the staff.
        Believe me, if the staff sees a trend, they will make certain their Congressman is informed. That’s part of their job.

        *Cite your name, that you are a constituent (or live in TX)

        *Provide any information they request (phone/cell/address)

        *Tell them you are calling in regards to gun violence. Prepare your basic comment in writing so that it is succinct and logical. Ask that they copy it down. Offer to follow up with more detail if they encourage it or you are motivated to do so. Prepare to answer questions from them which means you will need to do your homework. (Hint: make a copy of any article that has been posted on this blog and use it and feel free to print out my list of suggestions gleaned from EveryTown posted on this site and on the Don’t Tread on Me post. I assume Lifer wouldn’t mind you making comments taken from his post on the subject since they are in the public domain.)

        *Thank them for their time and ask for a response from the member of Congress.

        Let your voice be heard. Speak out! Use YOUR First Amendment right.

        http://www.people.com/article/preventing-gun-violence-people-call-to-action-jess-cagle

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      4 dead at the AZ shooting

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      There’s actually about a shooting on a school campus every week or so, perhaps even more frequent.

      Most of these aren’t spree killings, though – they’re just garden-variety violence that happens to take place at schools.

      The problem is that people conflate these things. They’re not the same thing.

      Some punk kid walking up to someone else and shooting them at school isn’t the same thing as someone walking into their classroom and shooting at people indiscriminately.

      The overall murder rate in the US has actually been going DOWN. We have much better reporting these days, though.

      • 1mime says:

        I feel so much better…….

        Violence will always be with us. Anyone who watches TV or reads newsprint knows that. Random violent gun violence where the shooter doesn’t usually know the victims is on the increase. That’s a good situation to focus on trying to prevent, IMO. Report all the violence you wish, when you mow down innocent people indiscriminately, that is different. We are not using tools that could help because gun proponents are obsessed with second amendment rights. Well, I say that there are other rights out there that are more important – the right to live without fear.

  12. 1mime says:

    Here’s an interesting recap of a weary and wary mood regarding gun control that touches upon so much of what we have all discussed and lamented.

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/us/article/As-Obama-visits-Oregon-shooting-site-weary-6559636.php

    • Tuttabella says:

      Morning, Miss Mime. I couldn’t open the link because I’m no longer a paying customer of the Houston Chronicle.

      I tried looking for it on chron.com but couldn’t find it.

      • 1mime says:

        It is an excellent article but too long for a cut and paste. Lifer would not be happy with me! If you have a friend who takes the H.Chronicle, ask them to save today’s first section, “A”. The same article in the Chronicle is entitled “Futility Pervades Debate on Guns”. Possibly this is the problem as the author entitled it: “Weary Gun Control Advocates Look for a New Way Forward”. It is quite good and worth a little effort to find it, IMO. It’s on the front page, bottom right and extended on A13. Long, thoughtful article.

        Try this: http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HoustonChronicle/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=SEhDLzIwMTUvMTAvMDk.&pageno=MQ..&entity=QXIwMDEwMg..&view=ZW50aXR5

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thanks. I will buy a copy of the Chronicle on the way home today. I’m trying to make a habit of reading the “real” paper again these days. It’s a totally different experience — quiet, calm, more thoughtful.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I found this site called Press Reader that contains the article:

        http://www.pressreader.com/usa/houston-chronicle/20151009/281513634982499/TextView

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Tut, it’s funny but I’ve been buying the physical paper, too.
        Reading the paper was once a quiet, thoughtful time for me. I’d like to reclaim some of that.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bobo, right now I have paper subscriptions with the WSJ (daily plus weekend) and the NY Times (Sunday only). I’d considered getting a paper subscription to the Chronicle again, but I’m kind of disgusted with the the Chron website, with their trashy ads, stupid headlines, and repetitive comments section. I have lost respect for the entire Chronicle as a result. I will pick up the occasional newspaper from the store.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Mime, I read the article. The problem seems to be that there’s an impasse, a stalemate. Most people agree there’s a problem, but everyone has a different solution to the problem, or sees a different reason for the problem. There may also be some who would say there is no problem, that things are not particularly worse than at other times in history, and that it’s all about perception, or something just played up by the media.

        (More to follow.)

      • vikinghou says:

        Speaking of chron.com, is anyone else having problems loading certain articles? For me, most articles get hung up and I can’t scroll down to read the entire thing. I’ve tried different browsers on my computer (a Mac) and my iPhone. Same problems.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Yes, I’ve had the same problem, which is another reason I’ve given up on that site. I think it’s all the heavy ads. I do notice I have better success when I use my iPhone in cellular mode, instead of WiFi.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I think the main problem is mental illness, combined with alienation and isolation.

        I tend to be against the idea of locking up the mentally ill, unless they have a history of violence.

        I think it’s up to families and friends to be supportive of their mentally ill loved ones — talk to them, check in with them if they live alone, take the pressure off them by offering to help with household tasks, tell them you’re there for them if they want to talk, and if they want to talk, don’t brush them off. Things like that, so they don’t feel the urge to go and do something desperate.

        The worst thing to do for these people is to give them a firearm, not for “self-confidence,” nor as a “hobby.” if they already have a firearm, ask them for it, tell them it’s for their own protection and the protection of others, and they may agree with you and give it to you for safekeeping.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I also think that in general we should all strive to be kinder and nicer to our fellow man, smile at everyone we meet, be less judgmental. I think that would go a long way in making the world a better place, and maybe even keep someone from doing something desperate. At least, it wouldn’t hurt.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        viking, I have the same problem. It’s like they don’t even know their software is broken.

      • 1mime says:

        Might I suggest as the Queen of activism that all of us who are subscribers call the Chronicle and let them know the problem? 713.362.7211, or 888.220.7211.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Secretly, mime, I suspect they’re trying to drive readers to their paid site. Why else make it so bad? 🙂

      • johngalt says:

        I have emailed the Chron.com tech support people. They are aware of the problem, but don’t seem to be interested in solving it. Oddly, the problem is worst in the morning, and seems to get better as the day goes on. Perhaps it is not a morning person.

    • vikinghou says:

      I’m curious to know if the chron.com problem is platform specific. As I said before I’m an Apple person (Mac + iPhone). Do any of you experiencing this issue use a different platform?

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s an email I received in response to my call to customer service/HC, from their “sole” tech person. (note: HC just increased monthly subscription cost by $6 for full delivery. You’d think they would invest some of the $$ in improving their tech support.)

        (Digital Support) “Digital Support

        Thank you for contacting the Houston Chronicle.

        We are sorry to hear you are having trouble with the online sites. The system was updated to a new one password sign up requirement on all sites which will require you to go through a re-validation.

        If the site is saved to your browser’s favorite or bookmarked, please remove and establish a new connection. You may also need to clear all browser history and cookies and the cookies must be enabled. If your system is setup with a Password Manager App or Ad Blocker App, please adjust to accept this new setup.”

        So, for $6 more a month, I get a single password sign up and spend lots of time clearing browser history, cookies, and enabling the cookies (whatever that means) if my system was set up with a password manager app (huh? Who can remember? How can you tell?).

        It’s enough to make you cancel your subscription. Good luck!

      • Tuttabella says:

        My S.O. has been having the same problem with his Windows computers. He’s tried using different web browsers. Nothing helps.

        I’ve had the same problem on my Android tablet.

        The only thing that seems to help me is to be in cellular mode instead of WiFi.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, the reply from the Chronicle to you implies that you’re trying to post comments, for which you do need a password. That’s a separate problem. I know that people who want to post comments have had to re-register, and other day I tried to register but the registration system was temporarily down.

        HOWEVER, the system is just as bogged down even if you’re not trying to post comments. Sometimes i just want to go on the site to read an article and then maybe scroll down to read the comments, and that’s where the freezing happens.

        I think they’re basically suggesting you get rid of excess stuff like your browser history, that would slow down your computer, to start anew with a clean slate.

        I think the problem may be with the ad blockers, now that there are so many ads trying to come up.

      • 1mime says:

        Give “Judith” a call, Tutta.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Or maybe they won’t let you scroll to the bottom of the page to read the comments just to keep you at the top of the page looking at their ads. Captive audience.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        You should not need a password just to read articles and comments.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I use a macbook at home.

        At work, we use windows. Same problem.

  13. rightonrush says:

    I wish Tom Cole would step up to the plate and run for speaker.

    Moderate GOPer: Conservatives ‘Just Fragged Kevin McCarthy’ (VIDEO)
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/charlie-dent-conservatives-fragged-mccarthy

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      It is quite obvious who will be able to heal the fractured House and Republican Party to be the new Speaker… We need another high school gym coach child molester.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        I really hate to pile on to such a beleaguered party… but Ben Carson is using words again.

        “Ben Carson Says Holocaust Would Have Been ‘Greatly Diminished’ if Jews Had Guns”
        http://time.com/4067501/ben-carson-holocaust-popeyes/

      • I have just read a most elegant repudiation of Ben Carson’s recent comments on the Holocaust by a writer on the widely distributed/liberal magazine… The American Spectator.

        Aaron Goldstein:

        “So Ben Carson thinks if only European Jews had armed themselves the Holocaust wouldn’t have been so bad.

        Carson told Wolf Blitzer in an interview on CNN, “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.”

        Has Carson ever heard of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising?

        The good doctor should cease talking of things about which he knows nothing.

        If Carson had uttered any of this garbage at my synagogue which had a congregation with many Holocaust survivors, he would have been shown the door.

        And what exactly does any of this have to do with getting elected President of the United States?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Carson has a fetish for referencing Nazis and Hitler. Even his campaign chief wants him to stop doing it, but Carson just can’t.

        I don’t say this lightly, but I’m coming quickly to the position that Carson is not a good person.

      • 1mime says:

        About the best I can say about the good doc is that he has some very strange ideas and seemingly resonates with a base who shares them. THAT is more scary than he is, UNLESS, he were to be elected President.

        One thing seems obvious, he’s not going to get the Jewish vote.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Here is a little Ben Carson comedy flashback. It was scathing, profane and hilarious exchange. It really presages the near daily word defecations Carson has been making during his presidential bid… and the complaints of his growing hordes of critics.

        If it frustrates you I can’t show you the video, please complain to Rupert Murdoch (Ben Carson fanboy/Aussie judge of who is really black in America).

        The video is from late 2013 and was originally on the canceled FXX show “Totally Biased with host W. Kamau Bell” and regrettably is not readily available on the internet.

        How mysterious…

        “Dr. Ben Carson’s assertion at last week’s Values Voter Summit that Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery” was widely seen as a bit of an overreach by the new Fox News contributor. But no one has taken Carson to task quite as harshly as Totally Biased host W. Kamau Bell.”

        “That was the moment he went from Dr. Ben to Uncle Ben,” Bell said after playing the clip for his audience. In an effort to give Carson the “benefit of the doubt,” Bell “fact-checked” Carson’s statement by asking his version of Apple’s Siri if Obamacare really is the “worst thing” since slavery.

        Siri was not amused with the question, suggesting, among other things, that Carson should “stop saying stupid sh*t just to get attention.” and that “he should go eat a d***.”

    • vikinghou says:

      Let’s bring back Nancy Pelosi. She has experience!

      • flypusher says:

        That thought has occurred to me too! The speakership is very much the hot potato right now- I don’t think any sensible person would want the job in these currently dysfunctional and toxic circumstances. Pelosi taking the job would probably be good for the country, but can anyone realistically expect the Dems to help save the GOPers from themselves? Probably the first rule of politics is: if your opposition is in the process of self destructing, don’t get in their way!

  14. 1mime says:

    Uh, oh, John Boehner has just cancelled his appearance on the Tonight Show.

    The GOP is circling the wagons…. “loose lips sink ships”

    Anybody want to guess if the Nations business is being taken care of? Or are all repubs behind closed doors or in closets, or wherever they go when they have to work their magic. More asparagus, TX! That’s what’s needed!

    • rightonrush says:

      That’s what happens when you tell the truth. McCarthy told the truth about the Bengazi bullshit and they were gonna nail him to the cross…if they can find one that isn’t too charred from the KKK rallies.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Ironic isn’t it, that it was only when he told the obvious truth that he got hurt.

        I guess Benghazi sunk a politician after all.

        This feels like the GOPs implode moment. If you thought congress was dysfunctional before, hold on to your hats.

      • BigWilly says:

        Wonder what the Clinton’s blackmailed him with. You know they’re behind a lot of this.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Its far likelier that he doesn’t want to become captain of the Titanic just when they’ve spoteed an iceberg.

        The Speaker position is a lose-lose situation.

        You can either govern and be hated, or bring up bill after bill of impassable legislation.

      • BigWilly says:

        I think the GOP will get it straight, and that there is a need for this discussion within the party. Obviously, the ineffable juggernaut of public opinion must be considered. Or is it managed?

        The conservative course is the best one to follow. That’s just my opinion, based on my understanding. We need the Freedom Caucus in the GOP. They need to know they need us just as bad. The concept of a center-right coalition will not work unless the right acknowledges the center.

        Judge, get me a wheeler-dealer Speaker.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      The current House Republican plea: Help us, Paul Ryan. You’re our only hope!

      • Political pundit and occasional super villain of Gotham City, Two-Face, had this to say about the chaotic GOP race for the Speakership on Fox and Friends. “It’s like I always say…you can either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

        He then proceeded (after giving his political analysis) to take a crying Steve Doocy hostage and threaten his life while flipping a coin.

      • rightonrush says:

        If Paul Ryan takes the speakership he can kiss whatever aspirations he had for higher office good-bye.

      • 1mime says:

        You are sooo correct, RR. Ryan has big plans for 2020….that should be obvious from the number of opportunities he has had within his party and refused. He is carefully plotting his timing. Even though I emphatically disagree with his hard right positions, he has been one of the more thoughtful, serious Republicans. We don’t know how the run for VP affected him either, although I don’t think he can be faulted for losing that race. It was all Mitt. Undoubtedly, Ryan is more important to Repubs in Appropriations right now even if they don’t know it.

        I had suggested a long time ago when the news of Boehner’s departure was announced, that there would be a struggle to replace him and that possibly the easiest thing might be would be to agree upon a competent member who could garner agreement who was not seeking office again. There is talk of just that happening in order to calm the chaos within the party. After all, the pubs have a Debt Ceiling to crash along with PP and the ACA. What priority could be greater than these? They have simply got to get their s*&! together in time to get the deeds done!

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      Rumored mistress or paramour of Kevin McCarthy (and possible factor in his dropping out of speakership race): Congresswomen Renee Ellmers (R-NC)

      Here is some of the scuttlebutt on their rumored affair from gotnews.com (never heard of that site ill today)

      “House leadership also knows about the affair. Speaker John Boehner reportedly told McCarthy to stop the affair once McCarthy was elected Majority Leader says a well placed congressional staffer. At least one leadership staffer doesn’t think the affair ended. “They are unusually close,” says the staffer who insists that the affair is going on. “It’s weird if he’s not f***ing her.”

      Well, this is where we are at now folks. Whispered gossip among congressional functionaries about “who is f***ing who” that may decide the fate of our republic or at least our economy.

      Just to remind everyone in the wake of this palace intrigue, there is that possible government shutdown and that nasty little debt ceiling fight that will have to be resolved… all in time for Christmas.

      This looks like an apparent case of the Bob Livingston Redux Syndrome. A disease apparently caused by a dastardly pathogen that is dangerous to Republican political aspirations… A Clinton Scandal.

      GOP Speakers of the House are frankly a cursed lot. Just look at Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy and lastly Mr. That Poor Bastard Who is Next.

      • 1mime says:

        Republicans are leading the race on infidelity right now but Dems also have a long history there….including several Presidents. I guess it goes with the egos and type A personalities. Of course, it has nothing to do with their religious beliefs.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Of course 1mine. I am aware of this phenomenon has a history on the Democratic side. Sex is apparently a perennial favorite past time of the rich and powerful.

        Not to get too off track, but sexual intimacy can sometimes go very wrong at times, and sometimes religion makes it so much worse. Infinitely worse. Below is my religious/secularist rant for the day.

        Case in point: FLDS leader Warren Jeffs

        Warren Jeffs, and others like him, often remind me of this quote by Voltaire.
        “Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

        Excerpts from New York Daily News (read at your own risk):

        “The polygamist Mormon sect led by an imprisoned child rapist banned its men from fathering children and instead forced them to watch as their wives were raped by “seed bearers” — church members with “worthy bloodlines.”

        “Sam Brower — a private investigator who wrote “Prophet’s Prey,” a best-selling book about the church — said the no-contact rule was so strict, a couple wasn’t even allowed to shake hands. Any form of contact, from sex to a hug, could be considered adultery under church rules, he told CNN.”

        “Jeff’s estranged sister-in-law Charlene Jeffs first described the roles of FLDS “seed bearers” and the sect’s ceremonial rape in a child custody petition earlier this year. Church elders selected each “bearer,” who is deemed to have “a worthy bloodline,” she wrote.”

        “It is the husband’s responsibility to hold the hands of their wives while the seed bearer ‘spreads his seed.’ In layman terms, the husband is required to sit in the room while the chosen seed bearer, or a couple of them, rape his wife or wives,” she wrote.”

        “The seeded bearers were selected after the church banned its men from fathering their own children with their wives, she said.”

        “FLDS men are no longer permitted to have children with their multiple wives. That privilege belongs to the seed bearer alone” the document said.”

        “Brower also confirmed the highly choreographed intercourse.”

        “It’s ritualistic procreation,” he said, adding that the rapes were “performed on a ritualistic bed-slash-altar.”

        Wow.
        I suppose one can call describe this perverse spectacle as ‘Fifty Shades of a Handmaid’s Tale’ or perhaps ‘A Handmaid’s Tale at the Mountains of Madness’.

        This kind of horrible info does help keep certain things in perspective. If a GOP candidate says he has the strength of will to set things straight easily in the Middle East (in regards to ISIS, Al-Qaeda, The Taliban, etc.) unlike that wimp Obama, perhaps we should first address some of our homegrown religious fanatics here in the states (who apparently have had free autonomy for decades).

        Mitt Romney (LDS, not FLDS like Warren Jeffs) once said that “without religion, freedom cannot exist”. I would argue (contrary to the views of a lot of conservatives) that religion can sometimes very easily repress and deny freedom. Religion (esp. led by the likes of Warren Jeffs or Al-Baghdadi) can often guarantee tyranny.

      • 1mime says:

        Congress certainly has its share of miscreants. It is the worst kind of hypocrisy to stand for public “purity” yet live by a totally different personal conduct. I’d have more respect for them if they just admitted their preferences and actions rather than spout religious piety while screwing someone in the office. And, that goes for all parties. I had a good friend who was a page at Congress. She was super intelligent and very nice, but not attractive facially or in figure. Yet, she told me that didn’t seem to matter to the men in the Congress, and her experience was replicated many times over. Somehow, things never change.

  15. 1mime says:

    Regarding Ben Bernanke’s split from the GOP – I watched an hour long interview of Bernanke by Charlie Rose last night. It was most revealing about the fear and close call America had in 2008. I learned some new things and have a greater sense of appreciation for the efforts of he, Geithner, and Paulson in controlling the markets and the economy. I must say he looked much more rested and at peace. I cannot fathom how stressful that time must have been for him. Yet, instead of gratitude, he and the Federal Reserve, were subjected to scorn by the far right of the Republican Party.

    One has to wonder if the dynamics within the GOP will impact the election when you see people of Bernanke’s intelligence distancing themselves from the party. Larry Sabato had an interesting “what if” post on how this could happen. I wonder if the public affirms the Republicans in 2016, what this could mean for the future direction of our country.

    http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/house-2016-is-it-possible-for-republicans-to-kick-away-their-majority/

  16. flypusher says:

    An interesting piece about a bill that would deal with the mental health aspect of our recurring mass shootings:

    https://www.yahoo.com/politics/guns-congress-and-murphys-law-090049362.html

    Finding the right balance is always the tricky thing- here it’s patient confidentiality vs public safety. I think we have swung the pendulum too far towards the confidentiality side, and need a readjustment. I don’t think this bill is the complete solution, but it’s definitely part of one, and it’s a pity that it’s in limbo.

    • 1mime says:

      I had just posted the same link on the “Don’t Tread on Me” blog. It deserves multiple postings and it certainly addresses the most frequent comment by pro-gun activists….who assert that it’s not the gun it’s the person. Well, here is legislation that exactly speaks to this problem in a very knowledgeable and specific way. You’d think the Republican Party would jump all over it if for no other reason than to show a little empathy on the issue and gain a few more votes.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Fly, and it’s not just about confidentiality versus public safety, it’s about the rights of the potential shooter versus the rights of the potential victim.

      The word “potential” is key. There are a lot of people out there (and in here) who could be labeled as “crazy” or “angry” or “strange.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to go on a crime spree.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, if you read the full article, it was clear that this legislation is primarily focused on those who are bonified mentally ill. Other than myself, I don’t see anyone else on this blog who might qualify as nuts.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Just you and me, kid. 🙂

      • texan5142 says:

        Nuts and proud of it.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I just read the Yahoo link provided by Fly, and what most got my attention were the 2 alternatives presented for those deemed to be seriously, mentally ill — keep firearms away from them, or put them in a psychiatric hospital involuntarily for their own protection and for the protection of others.

        I have to think more about this. I think we would have to be very careful about who we lock up in a hospital, based only on the possibility of what they might do, if they have no previous history of violent behavior. That is way worse than taking their guns.

      • 1mime says:

        Absolutely, Tutta. There are always those who abuse. If the right safeguards are part of the legislation, one would have an expectation that people will be treated appropriately. But, we know exceptions occur and the law and law enforcement will have to work these problems out. I don’t think it is realistic to not try because you fear what “might” go wrong. A lot is already going wrong. Let’s try some of these ideas even if in a selective environment to see if it can work.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, we don’t always see eye-to-eye, but I do appreciate your good intentions.

        What more could we ask for, right?

        Good night. 🙂

      • objv says:

        Tutt, isn’t the road to hell paved with good intentions? (I assume that asking this will not cause offense since not many here believe in a literal hell.) 🙂

    • BigWilly says:

      There simply have not been enough mass killings in public places to justify any changes in current law. If you want the bill they have to die in larger quantities, more frequently, and of course, be in the right places by the right people.

      Stampede! Panic! Anything to force the public to make such awful decisions.

    • Fly, Murphy’s bill ought to be passed, but while it will help improve access to mental health care, it’s probably not going to have that much effect on gun violence of the crazed-nutball-mass shooting variety. (And that flavor of violent crime, while headline making, is really only a small fraction of violent crime.)

      The thing is, persons who “have been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes a determination by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority that you are a danger to yourself or to others or are incompetent to manage your own affairs) OR have been committed to a mental institution” are *already* prohibited from owning or buying firearms. The key term is “adjudicated.” We are, all indications to the contrary notwithstanding, still more or less a free country. We have this thing called “due process,” and we don’t generally allow our citizens’ rights to be abrogated without a healthy dose of due process. Getting that adjudication is a heavy lift, and in all honesty that’s what it should be. To paraphrase, better that ten guilty miscreants go free, than one innocent be deprived of their freedom unjustly.

      • johngalt says:

        You’re willing to shed an awful lot of other people’s blood to maintain the status quo.

      • 1mime says:

        “we don’t generally allow our citizens’ rights to be abrogated without a healthy dose of due process.”

        Unless you’re black and poor and male. Read “Just Mercy” and see if you still think ALL “our” citizens’ rights receive a healthy dose of due process. I double-dare you.

      • texan5142 says:

        Have not read that . I will now.

      • jg, we already do. 1mime, no doubt that due process is not extended equally to all – that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be.

      • 1mime says:

        On second thought, Tracy, I don’t believe you would find the book to your liking. It’s all about “due process”, and the lack thereof. Stick with SF.

  17. Rob Ambrose says:

    Ben Carson taking the “personal responsibility” obsession to insane lengths.

    Readng between the lines a bit (and you don’t have to read very deeply) the answer to mass shootings ISNT making it slightly more difficult to obtain guns. Its for the victims to take responsibility for their own safety and “rush the shooter” (as Carson himself assures from the comfort of his office that he would do). If you’re too much of a pansy to do that, then I guess you deserve what you get.

    Don’t take away MY assault weapons because YOU don’t have the parts to attack armed maniacs.

    How can such a highly educated person be so incredibly stupid and naive to assume he knows what he would do in sch an extreme situation?

    • 1mime says:

      Well, even more stupid is the teacher’s manual in OR on protocol to be followed in the event of an attack: after getting the children down low, they should “arm” themselves with staplers and such.

    • flypusher says:

      “”Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” he had said Tuesday during an appearance on “Fox and Friends.” “I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’ ”

      Technically correct, but a whole lot of “ifs” there. IF there is a large enough group for some of them to have time to get to the shooter while the rest of the group took bullets, and IF they all decided to leap into action quickly. This is one of these situations where it’s all too easy to speculate, but most people can’t know what they’d of until they are actually I that situation. Anyone who as ever experienced the fight or flight response knows that it messes with your thinking at the beginning. A friend of mine put it very well- when the adrenaline hits your brain, you respond by unthinking instinct, or you respond by training. So if you want to take out that next mass shooter, start practicing.

      • flypusher says:

        Damn you autocorrect:
        “This is one of these situations where it’s all too easy to speculate, but most people can’t know what they’d do until they are actually in that situation. “

      • 1mime says:

        And, if the shooter is clad in flak jacket, etc, holding an assault weapon with multi-round clips hanging all around his waist, you can bet your bootie it will be a slaughter. Not disrespecting the good doc, but I would like to see how that situation would play out with him at the lead. He doesn’t strike me as the type to lead the charge. Any bets, folks?

      • texan5142 says:

        “He doesn’t strike me as the type to lead the charge. Any bets, folks?”

        This answers that question.

        http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/ben-carson-i-got-held-up-once-at-popeyes-but-i-told-the-gunman-to-rob-an-employee-instead/

      • Exactly correct, fly. We traditionally talk about flight or fight response, but in humans it’s actually the run / hide / fight response, in that order. If flight is not possible, hide is the next default. When a proper hiding place cannot be reached, “hide” turns into “freeze.” If the proper training has never taken place, chances are the untrained human will simply not make the transition from hide/freeze to fight (or at least not in the time frame needed to make a difference). Logically, rationally, Carson’s response make perfect sense. Physiologically, that’s not what’s likely to happen. Some level of training is necessary to break out of the biologically ingrained response loop.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Results from rushing a shooter would depend a lot on how may shots he could fire without reloading, yes? Hmmm, maybe smaller capacity magazines?

        If you are the 11th person rushing a shooter with a 10 round magazine, you win.

      • Who’s counting? But seriously, back in the day, when all anybody had was 5 or 6 shots (in revolvers) you just carried multiple guns. So don’t be silly.

    • Tuttabella says:

      I agree the timing was bad, since Dr. Carson made the comments right after the shooting, and it comes across as insensitive, and this is not about blaming victims . . . but isn’t this what self-defense classes, especially for ladies, are all about? What to do in case you’re about to be attacked — run, yell fire, hit below the belt, depending on the circumstances. And also for little kids — don’t talk to strangers, run way, etc. In other words, we are taught to do whatever is necessary to stay safe and alive.

      It does make sense to prepare for something that might occur, to you personally, as opposed to focusing only on restricting access to firearms for some people or tackling the mental heath problem or otherwise lowering crime rates.

      I think it makes sense for both to be done in tandem — working to lower crime, and preparing for the possibility that you could be the victim of a crime yourself. Not blaming past victims, because what’s done is done, but using examples of past crimes as lessons to see what can be done to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I do think there are moments that it’s best to say as little as possible, or maybe even nothing at all, especially from a political standpoint.

        I think that at a time like this, it’s best for public figures to simply express condolences and respect to the grieving families, instead of immediately announcing proposed gun control measures or saying what the victims should have done.

      • 1mime says:

        So far, Republicans are 0 for 2 on both condolences and supporting gun legislation. If not now, when? The point is that grieving families need to hear not only condolences but they also have to think that this problem will be addressed – because it can and should. The lives of their loved ones have to make a difference somehow. Several of us have shared legislative efforts by dedicated organizations who are trying to combat gun violence but get nowhere. PA Rep. Tim Murphy has worked for years trying to get his HB 2646 into play to deal with mental illness. Where is his support?

        It’s sad to use times like this but until people are personally affected by massacres like this, the only thing the rest of us can do is express our shock and condolences and try to light a fire under the butts of those who have the authority and means to make a real difference. Write or call your Congressman/woman. Do something. Members of the public can make a difference if we keep at it. That’s what we can do and must do.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        As has become the norm, it’s just the usual partisan bickering and snide remarks from the peanut gallery.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I am still haunted by the question of what I would answer if asked if I was a Christian in a similar circumstance.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I was reading an article in the New York Times that says that residents of the Oregon town in which the shooting occurred are actually more adamant now about wanting to be armed, to be better prepared in case something like this happens again.

        So promises of gun control are not necessarily what grieving people want to hear.

      • 1mime says:

        Then the NRA wins and America loses.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, here is the link to the NY Times article. In fact, it begins with the story of a survivor of the Oregon shooting who now wants to be armed:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/us/oregon-roseburg-shooting-umpqua-community-college.html?_r=0

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…it seems that one side has no qualms about taking an issue and immediately talking about a plan.

        We had a whole lot of post 9/11 “you are with us or against us” and “Let’s take (stupid) action” discussions.
        A white cop is killed in Houston, and lots of folks were happy to immediately talk about how bad BLM was.
        Our “politics stop at the water’s edge” seem to be disregarded when it comes to criticizing Obama.

        Aside from the perceived insensitivity of his comments, he is giving exactly the opposite advice from what professionals in this area suggest, which is if at all possible, run, run fast, get walls and doors between you on the shooter. At some point, rushing the shooter may be necessary because there is no place to run, but that is generally going to be the last resort.

        A heavily armed shooter with 30-40 feet of distance is going to view a rushing gang of five “action takers” as some pretty attractive targets, and I’m not sure the last two in that gang are going to continue to be so gung ho about rushing forward after the first three have been shot.

      • 1mime says:

        And, let me make the first politically incorrect observation, that the “gang of five” may charge, but the good doc will be at the back of the pack, not the front.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        HT, if that’s the case then Dr. Carson was also irresponsible in dispensing advice he is not qualified to give.

        I would be interested in learning more about that advice given by safety experts that you mention.

      • flypusher says:

        “At some point, rushing the shooter may be necessary because there is no place to run, but that is generally going to be the last resort.”

        Yep, that’s exactly what our every other year mandatory training sez. Escaping or hiding are your best bets if those options are available. Throwing staplers is much further down on the list.

      • Crogged says:

        Hmm, I don’t like guns, but I need to defend myself. So I’ll get some arsenic, and if someone invades my home, fix them a cup of tea. Since I may not be able to get to my kitchen, I’ll need some arsenic in my bedroom. n fact, I probably should just have a vial of arsenic in every room of my home. I will be safe, because I’m protecting myself against an event completely out of my control.

        http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

      • tuttabellamia says:

        “fix them a cup of tea”

        Kill them with kindness?

      • Crogged says:

        Someone owning a gun makes the same absurd calculations about his safety in an event out of his control. Until human evolution makes the brain aware of its logical failures, I suppose we will deal with the collateral damage of the illusion of the safety of guns, which may have its own evolutionary effect…..

      • “Then the NRA wins and America loses.”

        Uh, 1mime, I’m going to go way out on a limb and posit that nearly all NRA members are Americans. At least, I am. It is, after all, the National Rifle Association, where “National” refers to the good ol’ U.S. And hey, in case you missed it in the last post, here’s your blueprint for “supporting gun legislation,” courtesy those wild and crazy guys and gals at reason.com:

        Knock your lights out! 😉

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Ok, so if not guns or arsenic . . . then what WOULD you do, Crogged, in the (unlikely) event of a home invasion at your place of residence?

        I remember your story about finding your ex sitting in your living room when you came out of the shower, or something like that. Did you give her a cup of tea?

      • Crogged says:

        To her benefit I had neither tea or gun. Another alternative to the youtube above could be a different Supreme Court justice looking for evidence to prove his conclusion.

      • “…the illusion of the safety of guns…”

        Crogged, the more training you get (particularly if it happens to be force-on-force training), the more you come to understand that if you ever find yourself in a gunfight, chances are you are going to get shot. That leads you ineluctably to the first rule of gun fighting: 1) Do not get in a gun fight. This is why most legit trainers spend some quality time on situational awareness and avoidance. The best way to win a gunfight is to not get into a gunfight in the first place. If you find yourself in a situation where you must draw your weapon, you’ve already screwed the pooch.

        Given the above, the reason that (responsible, seriously minded) people carry is that if you unavoidably find yourself in a situation where a gun is needed, chances are that it is the *only* solution that will suffice. The gun does not guarantee your safety, let alone survival. What it gives you is the potential for some chance at survival. And some chance beats the living daylights out of no chance.

      • Clearly, we need a law restricting the number of bananas in a bunch… 😉

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Tracy – the video builds a strawman that would feed all the cows in west Texas. Eh, don’t think cows eat straw and I have no idea about west Texas cows.

        You always talk about training with guns, very particular training and knowledge that someone should have in situations that may or nor require using a weapon. I really would welcome you setting next to me in a classroom or theater or any situation when someone starts shooting randomly.

        So I was wondering how you feel about several states that are relaxing their laws on training in order to buy a gun, carry, concealed or open. Would you prefer that others have some training? If so what would that be?

      • unarmed, I actually have very mixed emotions about relaxing CHL training standards (as has been done in Texas). I understand the desire to lower the barriers for entry to concealed carry. (The training requirements in one sense operate as a poll tax – Jim Crow-ish from that standpoint.) On the other hand, I’m just like anybody else walking the street, and I’d like to have reasonable assurance that some untrained CHL neophyte isn’t going to negligently discharge his/her weapon and accidentally end me. And you do see some cringe-worthy stories in the news, so it is a real problem.

        Also, if you look at the stats, CHL holders are among the most law abiding people around. Last time I checked, Texas CHL holders had an exceptionally low rate of criminal convictions, much lower than the general population and on the same order as law enforcement itself. That’s a pretty darn good record, and I suspect it results at least partly from the CHL requirements structure. I’d hate to see that good record fall by the wayside as a result of loosening requirements.

        I suppose it’s like anything else; some balancing of interests is required.

        Anyway, I think anybody who is going to carry a weapon should be a student of the same. CHL training is really aimed at making sure you are at least aware of conflict avoidance techniques, and that you know where you can and can’t legally carry, and your legal responsibilities when you do carry. A CHL class does not teach you how to shoot, nor more importantly, how to use a gun to fight. (Target shooting and gun fighting are two very different things.) So you should definitely seek additional training if you are going to carry. There are a number of very reputable trainers in this area as well as in Dallas. (I haven’t used any of them, but they’re easy to find on Google, or just ask the friendly folks at Carter’s Country.) Training is also available at several Houston ranges; Athena Gun Club and 360 Tactical Training spring immediately to mind. There are some very well known training outfits in Louisiana and Mississippi – VATA Group is one. The granddaddy of them all is Gunsite Academy, located in Paulden, AZ – about an hour from my folks old home.

        As an aside, my son and I re-upped our CHLs in 2013. There was one guy in our class who was very quiet, and looked kinda like a real tough guy, maybe even a gang banger – built like a fire plug, baggy pants falling off his butt, shaved head, tats, etc. Well, it turned out his reticence was probably due to the fact that he’d never really used his firearm before, and he was just plain uncertain and maybe just a bit overwhelmed. But nobody really figured that out until a bit later.

        We went down to the (indoor) range for the live fire portion to shoot what is, for anybody with any level of training, a ridiculously simple course of fire. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to an indoor range, but even with ear protection it’s very loud. (There’s no place for the sound to go.) This made it difficult to hear the range master’s instructions. This guy, after attempting to make his weapon ready, turned sideways in (I presume) an attempt to see what the range master was saying, and in so doing he swept the firing line with his muzzle. And much worse, he touched off a round which, thank goodness, simply went into the *side* wall of the range without doing any further harm. The instructor practically tackled him. (My son, who was a range instructor at the Naval Academy during his term there, had to do the same thing on several occasions.)

        The instructor, God bless him, after relieving this individual of his firearm, calmly escorted the guy off the range, and then came back and completed the required course of fire with the rest of us. The guy who had the “problem” of course failed the course, but the instructor was extraordinarily gracious and allowed the guy to complete the remainder of the classroom work and even take the written test. That way all this fellow would have to do was retake the live fire portion. The instructor (and several of us in the class) offered various sources of training, and following the instructor’s gracious example, did our best to make the poor guy feel welcome enough that he didn’t feel too uncomfortable to stay for the remainder of the course. All’s well that ends well, but in truth it could have been a very bad day.

        The bottom line is that were the (really very simple) shooting proficiency requirements of the Texas CHL eliminated, people like the guy in our class could be ‘legally’ carrying with a CHL in their wallet, but in doing so would be a danger to themselves and others. Nobody wants that.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Tracey – I asked a serious question and got serious and thoughtful answer.

        Your answer seems at odds with your usual stand but I won’t interpret or apply my own thoughts. I’ll let it stand.

        Thank you.

  18. n1cholas says:

    A couple of things about human evolution.

    1. We need to be able to get a “Mark I” copy of our DNA at birth, so that we can have a “best DNA sample” to start with, so that as we gain the ability to repair our DNA after countless environmental-caused mutations and inherent genetic errors in transposing/transcribing DNA, we can also get back to the original DNA. To some extent (not all), age is related to all of the combined screw ups with our DNA. Imagine having nanobots or bacteriophages that can go in and continually insert our “Mark I” DNA that we had at birth, without all of the errors. Think less cancer, less signs of aging, etc. We’re already starting to get there with the ability to precisely cut into DNA strands and insert/delete nucleotides and gene sequences. We just need to be able to do that in mass in all of the cells of our bodies. If I were a bit younger and wasn’t already close to maxed out on student loans, my dream profession would be a genetic engineer. Holy hell is that the ultimate in theory and applied biology.

    2. When discussing consciousness and whether it can be “transferred”, there are two important issues.

    A) Even if we could “download” our consciousness to a computer/robot, it wouldn’t be “us”, because like it or not, we’re biological brains and neuronal connections. At best, this would make a copy. This is important because at least for me (and you, and every individual), this means that we aren’t “immortal”, and we aren’t actually transferred to a machine. We’re just copied. While literally everyone else would be OK with that, since an exact replica in a computer/robot would still be “me” as far as they’re concerned, it certainly doesn’t mean this biological version of me gets to live forever. Which is interesting. Everyone else is happy that a copy of me will be around forever, but it sure as hell doesn’t mean the original copy (i.e. me) gets to live forever. So meh.

    B) The only way any of our consciousnesses will ever be able to “live forever” or at least indefinitely, is if we piecemeal replace as much of our organic selves with man-made technology that can easily be replaced. In essence, to completely “live forever”, either our brains need to be replaced slowly but surely with technology, or, we have to figure out how to keep the brain alive forever. And even if we can keep brains alive forever somehow, we’re still mortal in the sense that if our brains suffer enough injury, we’re dead, even if there is a backup brain.

    Think the “Ship of Theseus” Paradox ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus ).

    About robots taking our jobs…this article I think explains perfectly while capitalism as a secular religion is anachronistic in the modern world.

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2011/12/four-futures/

    I believe the article encapsulates where we need to go as a species. We have billions of people, and there are literally not 7 billion + jobs for everyone. And reflecting back on robots and technology, the amount of jobs available for humans will either be make-work, or less-than-efficient jobs that a machine+technology can do in the future.

    Now, I’m a lower-case l libertarian if and when the species has the ability to do two things:
    1: Assemble molecules so that we can make our own food/materials from the molecules around us.
    2. Travel space so that there is an infinite frontier.

    The first is basically the ability for every single human to have a molecular assembler that they can use to take the stuff around them to make things they need, whether food, shelter, whatever. The second allows every human being to go out and find those materials without necessarily impeding on someone else’s ability to do so. So we need space travel. Not interstellar travel, at least not yet. But at least the ability to go out and gather materials in our solar system.

    Both 1 and 2 allow for libertarianism and capitalism to exist forever and always. But today, right now, next month, and next year, we’re 7+ billion human beings stuck on the same rock with finite resources. This means that politics should be of the possible, always looking to the future. So, right now, political expediency means some type of social democracy where we are building towards the future. Max freedoms, while limiting the ability of one human being to own the entire planet, or a substantial portion of it. Then, once we’re rocking molecular assemblers and space travel, you have the choice of being a social democracy socialist on earth, or a “Spacer” (h/t to Asimov) out in space practicing…wait for it…actual Free Market capitalism and libertarianism!

    Until then, free market capitalism is a myth of the same caliber as the Greek Gods. It’s a great story and somewhat rooted in history, but not at all capable of being a modern form of thinking or governing.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      It seems to me that we need to fundamentally rethink what the terms “work” and “welfare” mean and how we think about them.

      Imagine a situation where robots have taken so many jobs, there’s 50% unemployment….. And yet productivity is at record highs, and overall GDP is the highest its been.

      The only moral, effective, and sustainable policy would be massive redistribution policies. Almost everyone would be on “welfare” (although they wouldn’t call it that and it wouldn’t have nearly the stigma it does now). It would be akin to a national salary. A minimum that every citizen gets, their “job” being a citizen.

      Its not hard to envision a future where people simply don’t need to work for a living. The only jobs that existed would likely be only the pleasurable ones, likely highly sought after. Having a “job” would likely be a status symbol.

      This would fundamentally change how we live our lives. With all the time on our hands (contrary to GOP obsession, most people are not satisfied in life if have no reason to get out of bed) society could see a renaissance in arts, culture, philosophy and science, as untold amounts of human brain power, free from the drudgery of work, are unleashed at whatever intellectual/creative/artistic endeavors they want.

      That could act as a rocket fuel on humanity’s progress forward

      This isn’t that crazy. It used to be not that long ago that the vast majority of us spent the vast majority of our time growing food. As technology allowed us to produce MORE food with LESS manual labor, that freed up a lot of labor to do other things: pursue the arts, science, technology etc and society became undoubtedly richer and more complex.

      The whole concept of “leisure time” (for the common man at least) is still relatively new, maybe a few dozen decades or so.

      I don’t expect this to happen for a while yet, almost certainly not within my lifetime. But as we become more and more automated, there just aren’t going to be many jobs, and in a democracy (provided we continue to be one) it is inevitable that the State will expand enormously and be responsible for redistributing wealth to everyone else.

      Itll be a republican nightmare lol. Massive “welfare state” government. But all that excess brain power devoted to causes people actually care about will probably be a great thing for humanity (provided we dont destroy ourselves first). Whenever technology has freed us from the drudgery of work throughout our history, it has been a boon for human progress.

      • EJ says:

        Ultimately, if the total amount of paid work in the world decreases, there are three ways that the remaining work can be distributed:

        a) Everyone works, but fewer hours per day.
        b) Everyone works, but fewer years per lifetime.
        c) Only some people work.

        To an extent all three of these are already in process. If you had told people in 1900 that they would only have to work eight hours a day, that they could retire at 65, and that it would be possible for the sick or disabled to live without labour or penury, they’d be amazed.

        It’ll be interesting to see how we manage the transition.

      • 1mime says:

        So, ya think maybe we should be a little more focused on population control? Knowing what’s coming? Encouraging family planning by making contraception affordable, accessible and acceptable to all? Republicans, I’m talking to you!!!

      • johngalt says:

        Population control is a 1970s Malthusian idea. At this stage the population is leveling off. We might add another 2-3 billion, but that will be it. Every advanced country is seeing it’s population stagnate and declines are a real problem in Europe, Japan, and China. The U.S. is only growing because of immigration. The best things we can do now are to (1) help developing nations, principally in Africa, keep getting wealthier and (2) promote education of girls throughout the world. Education of women empowers them to take greater control of their own fertility and that inevitably leads to drops in birth rates.

        If we are a little more careful with our environment, the planet can easily support 9-10 billion.

      • 1mime says:

        World population may be stabilizing, but it certainly isn’t because of any help from the Republican Party. They continue not only with their pro-life push, but also to make contraception an “undesirable, difficult and expensive” means of family planning. That is where my frustration comes in. There are families who can afford more children and those who can’t. The choice should be theirs and it should be easy.

      • n1cholas says:

        Exactly.

        Technology + Automation = Less jobs, unless we just pay people to dig ditches and fill them back up again.

        It’s why I look around at our current economics and politics and shake my head. It’s obvious that we need to be thinking about the future, and instead the powers that be are still talking about full employment and cutting the safety net.

        Idiots.

    • “…we’re 7+ billion human beings stuck on the same rock with finite resources.”

      Don’t fall into the Malthusian trap, n1cholas. We are nowhere near hitting the limits of the “finite resources” of this little rock; the entire history of humankind is but one long tale of learning how to take advantage of resources formerly unavailable due to preceding technology limits.

      “Social Democracy” is a euphemism for pseudo-benevolent totalitarianism based on a false premise of scarcity. If you want to play the totalitarian game so you can tell your neighbors what they have to do and how they have to live, knock your lights out. But for heaven’s sake, don’t try to rationalize it in terms of ‘political expediency’ in the name of the greater good. Instead of playing “win-as-much-as-you-can” with a thin veil of civility, maybe you ought to concentrate on “win-win.” That what free markets and capitalism are all about.

      • n1cholas says:

        Ah, yes.

        The “we’re going to be able to continue squeezing oil from this stone forever” argument.

        Continue voting for the American Reactionary party.

      • Well, n1cholas, I was thinking more along the lines of vacuum energy, or maybe the NIF guys figuring the whole fusion thingy out, but yeah, shale goo will do in a pinch. I never thought we’d be producing directly from expelling source rocks in my lifetime, but there you go. Ain’t tech grand?

  19. 1mime says:

    The ultimate endorsement:

    “Murdoch: Ben Carson would be ‘real black president’
    By Hadas Gold
    10/07/2015 09:28 PM EDT
    Rupert Murdoch is a fan of Ben Carson.
    The News Corp chief has been tweeting for some time about the retired neurosurgeon, but on Wednesday he took it a step further.
    “Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black president who can properly address the racial divide?”

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      How incredibly arrogant and offensive for a rich, old WASP to be the decider of what constitutes a “real” black man.

      That’s an incredibly plantation mindset, that the white guys know the “real” way for black people to act.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, with Doc Carson’s comments and stances on issues surrounding the Black population, he totally “fits” the WASP concept of the perfect “Black”. Can’t have anyone be Black and independent thinking, now can we?

  20. Rob Ambrose says:

    And herein lies the inherent lunacy in the “good guy with a gun” foolishness.

    Do we really want the average citizen to be appointed judge jiry and executioner? Not to mention, the very real risk of shooting innocent bystanders.

    Do these NRA morons actually expect us to believe that untrained, armed civilians under high stress playing John Wayne is anything other then a complete disaster waiting to happen?

      • 1mime says:

        Ok, Rob, you’re catching up with me (-:

        Yeah, saw that in Daily Kos. Girl + gun + entitled = vigilante justice. It had to happen….down South we’d figure out some way to call that “stand your ground”….

        Not saying the shoplifter shouldn’t be charged, just that the fact one has a permitted gun doesn’t make them law enforcement. It’s (the gun) to protect themselves, not empower them to act out their wildest fantasies.

      • johngalt says:

        Yes, Rob. That is exactly what they want you to believe. Their worldview is based on westerns in which the good guy, preferably wearing a white hat, comes in, shoots the bad guy(s) and saves the day. Heck, they don’t even make westerns with storylines that childishly simple any more.

      • 1mime says:

        I’ve been thinking about the Home Depot incident and the fact that the woman was not arrested. She had a concealed carry permit. What if a black male with a concealed carry permit had pulled his gun and began firing at the people who were fleeing in their vehicle? I wonder if: he would have been arrested or shot? This woman took the law into her own hands and she could have killed an innocent bystander by her “vigilante, gun activism”. The fact that she only damaged the vehicle is insignificant to what could have happened. Is this behavior consistent with the threatening language that we have seen from those who are gun proponents?

        I still wonder what would have happened to the shooter had he been Black.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Now, if I were a bystander as she started shooting, would I be allowed to shoot her since I could reasonably assume she was shooting at random folks?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        And then when someone else with a gun sees you shooting, they assume your shooting, and so on

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Eventually, I think it cascades through town until TThor shows up to shoot us all.

      • 1mime says:

        With good doc Carson riding shotgun……….

      • 1mime says:

        I tried researching the Home Depot shooting by the white female in Michigan and there was a small story about a similar incident the prior week at a bank. When does a legal permit to carry a gun confer a right to use the gun in situations in which the gun owner is a bystander, not in personal danger, and not law enforcement, rather, they directly involve themselves in the incident by initiating the gunfire.

        “The shooting comes weeks after a bank customer in Warren, Mich., opened fire on an armed robber, causing the suspect to collapse from injuries. It’s not yet clear whether the bank customer will face charges.”

        Clearly, the practice of legally carrying a gun emboldens “some” to feel that they have special authority to use the gun offensively. Doesn’t this feed into the whole concept of “more guns lead to more violence? Self defense is one thing; offense is quite another. IMHO, this action should see charges and adjudication if not jail time. At the very least, they should be deprived of their gun(s) as they clearly lack good judgement and regard for safety of those around them.

  21. 1mime says:

    Wow! Breaking News on speaker for House. This is gonna be a tough vote tomorrow and as Homer stated, Dan Webster is really bad news for those who support rational governance. McCarthy has his work cut out for him. He had hoped to get the Freedom Caucus endorsement. If he can squeak out a win, this might be helpful to good governance, but it is going to be a very close call.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/house-freedom-caucus-endorses-rep-webster-for-speaker-214527

    • n1cholas says:

      I guess being honest about a political show trial instead of pretending it is about something else is better than the “Freedom Caucus” running things in the House.

      How anyone can continue calling themselves a Republican without vomiting in their mouth afterwards still puzzles me.

      Hint: if you’re a moderate Republican rooted firmly in observable reality, you’re really just a center-right Democrat voting for the wrong team out of tradition. No, seriously.

  22. Rob Ambrose says:

    Hm. It’s been talked about before, but for whatever reason, it does kinda seem like “this time its different” w/r to the Oregon shooting.

    Even this isn’t “the tipping point” it kinda feels like its close by.

    In this climate, if there’s anothwr major mass shooting soon, that might finally break the camels back.

  23. 1mime says:

    It is interesting as an “older” person, to think back to the “SF” movies of Jules Verne. Those submerged and flying vehicles, etc. Who knew he could see into the future? An inventor has just figured out a way to artificially replicate photosynthesis without real plants. Who needs ’em? I don’t fear these changes, I marvel at them. Maybe this is unwise, and maybe my lack of fear and amazement is predicated upon the unlikelihood that I will be around to see these changes. Right now I simply marvel at what the creative mind can achieve. It’s such an exciting time.

    There is a neat program produced for TV entitled: “How We Got To Now”, narrated and organized by Steven Johnson. It takes six common topics, “cold, glass, sound, clean, light, and time” and historically and cleverly presents their evolution. This is an amazing documentary that will encourage those who worry about change. I highly recommend it for your children and grandchildren who are inquisitive and their parents, too as a few more old folks like me. Captivating! You can view it online (good old technology), Netflix, Amazon and other venues. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. I promise you will find it worth your time.

    http://video.pbs.org/program/how-we-got-now/

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Amusingly enough, Steven Johnson and I took several classes together in high school. He’s a good guy; check out several of his other books, written before the PBS series (which I also whole-heartedly recommend).

      • 1mime says:

        No way! I haven’t read any of his books, only watched this particular series, which was really interesting to me. I’ll have to check his books out….so much to read…so little time (-:

        Did you see the series How We Got To Now? If so, what did you think of it?

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry Owl. I slid right over your reference to the PBS series. I hope others posting here will give it a shot. I love it for curious little minds….around 10. What an education in a few hours of how so many things came to be.

    • 1mime says:

      Yes, Kasich has tried to position himself as the grown up in the room. I have felt that he would be on teh GOP ticket, seconding Jeb, only because of money and organization. I don’t believe Kasich impresses Lifer tho I can’t recall exactly why. He certainly seems like the most reasonable, rational Republican candidate up there…..which probably means he doesn’t stand a chance.

  24. Actually, one suspects we are rapidly reaching a point where human evolution in response to external environmental stimuli is moot; humans will soon be directing their own evolution (the dire warnings of GATTACA notwithstanding). We’re already cyborging ourselves. And we’ll soon no doubt be constructing non-biologic sentient entities, so that will be kinda interesting, too. And probably “souping up” non-human species to sentience, as well.

    All of these trends have been the fodder of SF for decades, it’s kinda wild to see it playing out in real life. Makes me wish I could hang around and watch the show for another 100 years.

    • vikinghou says:

      One of the best film treatments concerning this subject is Steven Spielberg’s “AI: Artificial Intelligence.” Stanley Kubrick was originally set to direct this film but died before the cameras were scheduled to start rolling. Spielberg remained largely faithful to Kubrick’s vision, resulting in a haunting film that one wouldn’t readily recognize as being in the Spielberg oeuvre.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Viking. I’ve added it to my Netflix queue.

        A friend who enjoys SF recommended Extant, starring Halle Berry. Haven’t viewed it. Have you?

      • Yep, great flick. One of this summer’s treats, Ex Machina is very much worth taking in, if you haven’t already seen it.

      • 1mime says:

        Will put them both on my video list. Ex Machina got great reviews. I don’t think it’s out on TV yet but I’ll be watching for it. Thanks for reminding me about Ex M.

        Of historical interest, if you’re so inclined, is a movie entitled “Diplomacy”. It has subtitles but it doesn’t hurt the film’s movement at all. A documentary about how diplomacy saved Paris from being destroyed when the Germans pulled out. Watch the PBS series Owl and I were discussing above. Right up your alley. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/diplomatie/

    • flypusher says:

      So, if you could transfer your consciousness to a robot body, would you? What deficits in that robot body (such as not having the same sensation of touch) would be deal breakers? Which ones wouldn’t matter?

      Certailnly in my case sight, hearing, and at least close to human level mobility are the minimum standard.

      • 1mime says:

        So, how about if we could transfer consciousness to a robot who could do the heavy lifting involved with caring for those who cannot walk? I see all kinds of potential in the health industry as our population becomes much older. Bodies are wonderful machines but they do wear out over time. Chronic health conditions, accidents and war add to the list of those who could benefit. Right now, we have computer driven arms/hands that enable paralyzed people or amputees to manage life independently. These devices right now are exoskeletal in form…It is not inconceivable that in time science will develop an internal, skeletal/muscular functionality.

      • vikinghou says:

        The “mechas” in the AI film I mentioned above have all this and more: real emotions. And this is where they get into trouble. No more spoiler alerts.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Fly, I don’t know how else to describe it, but I guess I would want the total essence of ME to be in that robot. In other words, the robot would actually cease to be a robot, and it would be ME. Just like my body is me, the robot would also have to be part and parcel of me, and not just a vessel. My consciousness would be not just the driving force but the absolute essence of the robot. The robot cannot be the “other.”

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        One of the more interesting aspects of taking psychotropic meds after brain surgery (a long time ago) was the ability to faintly see the movement of air molecules. That might be an entertaining feature for my robot self to have.

        Maybe it was chi et al but I swear I could see the air move and shift as people walked through it. Lasted two years, the length of time I was taking the dratted drugs. Dratted because they were horrible in most other ways.

        I’d also like to retain sight, touch and the ability to interact with animals, especially Willy Bones Jr, the wonder dog.

      • Hmm. The earliest SF where I’ve seen the topic delved into was in the book, “Anton York: Immortal,” Eando Binder, 1965, basically a collection of shorts from the golden age of pulp woven into a novel; one of the Binder brothers’ last works. A secondary character is a super-scientist of Mu, who decants himself into an imperishable robot body. His Atlantean antagonists, unable to destroy him, instead incarcerate him in solid rock miles beneath the surface. After ages of imprisonment he is uncovered by… Anton York. The Muan super-scientist, deprived of *any* sensory input for thousands of years, has constructed and peopled an entire world in his imagination. His imaginary creatures, after so long a time, have become more real to him than the inhabitants of the real world, who to him are no more than pale shadows, intruding rudely on his endless dream…

    • n1cholas says:

      What is crazy is that the comedy “Idiocracy” is in some sense sci-fi that is occurring today. It takes place mostly 500 years from now, but I think, depending on how we proceed as a species, it could be here sooner.

      It’s slapstick to some extent, but not impossible crazy slapstick. It was written and directed by Mike Judge.

  25. flypusher says:

    I’ve got some crisper/cas9 going on a few batches of fruit flies right now. Flies are quite easy in that one does not have those sticky bioethics issues or anywhere near the paper work. But any gene-editing methods developed in non-humans absolutely does have the potential to someday be used on human embryos so the sooner we set some universal boundaries, the better.

    • “Blood Music,” Greg Bear, 1983.

    • johngalt says:

      Fly, we’re using CRISPR/Cas9 in fungi too. Just getting started with it, but it’s pretty amazing.

      • flypusher says:

        I hope it someday earns a Nobel. I’ve made hundreds of transgenic fly lines, but there was always the caveat that you weren’t expressing your gene of interest in its exact “native environment”. It’s very exciting to be able to do such precise editing.

        The one downside of my particular engineering scheme is that I can’t tell the engineered flies apart just from their phenotype. So there will be lots of PCR screening of hundreds of lines. But that’s good news for some undergrads who want some molecular biology experience!

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        You guys are doing interesting work. Of which I understand next to nothing.

        The only reason I know what PCR is because researchers buy my employer’s portable clean rooms to carry it out.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      I once killed 5 with one blow.

  26. Tuttabella says:

    With respect to human evolution, I wonder how the presence of so many devices in our everyday lives and our dependence on them will affect our brain function. These devices have become our external brains, our “exoselves,” so our actual brains may suffer as a result.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Also, the feeling of being in a virtual reality and not rooted or grounded in physical space.

      It’s not the same as the escapist feeling that comes from watching a movie or reading a book, or the feeling that someone is with you when you talk on the phone with them. Those feelings are temporary. The new virtual reality is a constant presence that’s difficult to pull away from for many people.

      • 1mime says:

        I think a more significant factor in withdrawal from reality for kids is the lack of parental presence and involvement in their lives. The computer (of whatever kind) becomes the surrogate, and it is usually their peers. True, peer pressure has been a factor from time eternal, but at least there was a “balance” of sorts with home life. Not so much anymore with both parents working, activities requiring travel from school campuses, etc.

        As for adults, an interesting fairly recent movie by Joaquin Phoenix, entitled “Her” is set in a more advanced time in which computers are dominant in peoples’ lives. Fascinating and sad in the end when reality and fantasy collide.

        It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of the computer; however, as I commented earlier, we as individuals drive our lives and computers merely offer interesting opportunities to learn and engage with others. Again, I’m now 72 so my life has only been made more interesting by virtue of the computer. I can see where others whose lives may not be “balanced” might be unduly absorbed by the computer. Real life is much more interesting; computers simply add to the experience. (IMHO)

    • tuttabellamia says:

      And this is affecting us socially as well. Mime and I were debating on the previous thread how anger is getting out of control, and how the family and friends of the Oregon shooter should have done more to help him control his anger and/or see what was about to happen.

      This is just speculation, but I can see how Chris Mercer and each of his parents might have been wrapped up in their own personal, virtual little worlds. The mom might have wanted to talk to Chris, but he was glued to his computer. When he was ready to open up to her, she might very well have been on her phone. Maybe he tried to reach out to his dad, who might have been similarly distracted. A failure to communicate which can lead to alienation and isolation.

      As I said, this is just speculation.

    • goplifer says:

      We seem to be evolving into our machines. In a way, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Go back a few millennia and human adults couldn’t digest animal milk. We evolved into that capability as the need, and our technical capacity to harness animals, demanded it.

      Seems like we are doing something similar now as we develop a greater ability to merge with our technology.

      Next book in my queue: http://www.amazon.com/The-Singularity-Is-Near-Transcend-ebook/dp/B000QCSA7C/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

      • tuttabellamia says:

        But wouldn’t we be going backwards instead of forward? Our brains would DEvolve since there is less need for our own personal brainpower, now that we have all these gadgets to do our thinking for us.

      • goplifer says:

        A human brain enhanced with the power of a zillion petabytes of data and instant recall across it, along with renewable joints, cybernetic limbs, enhanced sensory inputs. Not sure that’s a step backward by any conventional definition.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, I feel my brain has expanded since I have started using a computer. I can research just about anything, find opposing viewpoints that challenge my positions, communicate with others (it has taken the place of letter writing, but I was never very good about that), see fascinating programs, watch movies, read newspapers and journals, and share this with others. It provokes action (gofundme for ND town effort); allows me to better assess candidates and issues, entertains me with clips from TV, and allows me to follow our grandchildren via FB. What it doesn’t do is replace my need for human interaction. It supplements it.

        Now, if you count dependence on technology as using our phones, computers , etc to simplify our lives, then count me in. Why not? If technology makes life easier, that’s great. I bank, trade equities, make purchases on line. I write to newspapers and post comments and generally get myself in all sorts of trouble, but I find this stimulating. I still get outside, dig in the dirt, walk, have lunch with buddies when I can, go “to” a movie theater for the outing, go to a concert for the shared experience, travel…all within limits, but for people who are older and possibly more house-bound due to family responsibilities, computers and telephones are wonderful tools – but that’s all they are. Tools. They don’t replace the personal benefit of human interaction. I do believe that as business becomes more technology driven that this area is prone to greater desensitization as a result. That is not good, nor is job loss a good thing. It is, however, the way the world changes and we simply adapt, or not. I choose the former.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Well, Mime, I choose the latter.

      • 1mime says:

        And, that’s ok, Tutta. Each of us has to go our own way. I am selectively “social”, but I am one hundred per cent sure that I would enjoy having a visit with you versus sitting at my computer. But, absent the opportunity, I’ll take what I can get or I don’t get to engage with you at all….and vice versa.

      • flypusher says:

        Lactase persistence is my mutant superpower.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Just yesterday I saw an art exhibit that attempts to turn Black Panther icons into superheroes. (not 100% successful).

        Anyhow, I see a FP poster in your future: Lactase persistence, with or without an exclamation point and in block letters.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Well, Mime, if you put it that way, I guess I will just have to put up with technology so I can continue chatting with nice people like you. 🙂

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Not sure if I saw something like this in some distant magazine or I conjured it. First panel of cartoon is a couple setting on the edge of a dock, holding hands, looking at the sunset. One looks at the other ad says, “Thank goodness those primitive plants produces oxygen so carbon based life could exist” Second panel: Two robots (think Bender of Futurama) holding hands on the same dock. One turns to the other and says “Thank goodness those carbon life forms invented silicon intelligence”.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know if any of you got to hear Walter O’Brien, inspiration and creator of “Scorpion” – the TV series AND the guy whose company Scorpion Computer Svcs – when he addressed the Houston Technology Center’s Innovation Conference & Showcase 2015 a couple of days ago.

        The article in the Chronicle (Business, pg one, Fri, 10/9/15), was fascinating. Turns out he claims he hacked into NASA at age 13 and then was contracted years later to invent A.I. engines to protect U.S. fighters in Afghanistan. He addressed cyber security threats of today, the future of A.I., how A.I. will affect humans’ downfall, the accuracy of the TV series “Scorpion”. The guy supposedly has an IQ of 197, which they tell me is pretty good (-: In fact, he could probably tell me how to link the article from the Chronicle to this blog ((-; Here goes nothin’!

        It was interesting on the subject of robots to note that it becomes cost-effective to do so when the numbers get to around $100K.

        For all the nerds….

        http://www.pressreader.com/usa/houston-chronicle/20151009/283064118176355/TextView

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I’ve thought about this often Tut (most often after smoking a joint to relax lol).

      One wonders if perhaps shedding carbon based bodies is the next stage. Obviously, like all evolutionary transitions, it would happen so incredibly slow that nobody would sense it.

      Let’s say someone invents a cheap, dependable corena transplant that gives every human super vision. Not a huge change, We’d still be “us” just with a tiny piece of electronics in our body.

      But maybe we keep getting incremental improvements added. A heart here, some lungs there. There’s a school of thought that thinks the mind (or sense of self) is simply binary 1’s and 0’s that someday can be downloaded into a comouter of some sort.

      If this happens unabated,eventually we may wake up one day and realize we are no longer carbon based life forms.

      This isn’t as crazy as it seems. Nobody today would recognize what we USED to look like (when I say “we” II don’t mean humans per se, just our ancestors) as human. I would say a non carbon based existence is no further away from where we are now as the first single celled organisms are far away from modern humans.

      The whole concept of “species” is just a man made construct that allows us to classify and understand life. But it doesn’t take too much mental gymnastics to imagine that there’s only one “species” out there, and that’s “life”. All of what we know as species are simply different manifestations of the same thing…..this species called ” life “.

      • flypusher says:

        The cyborg thing sounds better and better the older I get. My parts currently work fine, and I’m doing my best to keep them that way, but time runs down everyone sooner or later. Wouldn’t mind throwing a few bananas behind me Mario-kart style!

      • EJ says:

        There’s a passage in Accelerando by Charles Stross (which I highly recommend) in which the character Manfred Macx has his glasses stolen. This is a problem, because these are smart-glasses with a heads-up display and dictation notepad, and since they’re faster and more reliable than his normal human memory, he had been using them for everything. As a result, he’s booked into a hospital with almost total amnesia, unable to remember who he is or what he was doing.

        The next day, the thief who took Macx’s glasses turns up at his appointment and gives his speech for him.

        Which one of them is the real Manfred Macx?

      • 1mime says:

        Accelerando looks interesting, EJ. I’m trying to develop an interest in SF so it helps to have some highly regarded recs. I’ve ordered it and will put it on “le stack”.

    • “Burning Chrome,” William Gibson, 1982.
      “Neuromancer,” William Gibson, 1984.
      “Hardwired,” Walter Jon WIlliams, 1986.

    • When I was a much younger person, back in the days of dinosaurs and slide rules, I spent an inordinate amount of time memorizing datoids. Sine/cosine/tangent tables; pi to eight digits; e to eight digits; Planck’s constant to 8 digits; integral tables; Euler relations; English to metric unit conversions; ad nauseum; mineral formulas and properties. I was a walking Chemical Rubber Company Handbook. All that stuff has melted out of my brain; I have Google now (and the CRC Handbook is online, but I still have my Dad’s 42nd edition on my desk 🙂 ).

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Tthor, exactly! Or listing Liz Taylor’s husbands off the top of my head! 🙂 Google has taken the fun out of everything. 😦

        I have an excellent memory and I do my best to keep it fresh. For that reason I don’t program numbers into my phone. I make my credit card payments by phone and just punch in the string of card numbers, bank account number, etc, strictly from memory.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Tut, the Sisters of Notre Dame had an educational philosophy in opposition to yours. They didn’t make us memorize anything. They just wanted us to know where to find information and how to interpret it.

        Actually, a little memory training would have been nice. To be able to recite a longish poem or two is admirable.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, Bobo, I was never really made to memorize anything. It has always come naturally to me.

        Also, I refuse to engage in any memory training or tricks. Doing so would make me overly self-conscious of the process, and I would freeze and end up forgetting.

        The less conscious effort I put into it the better.

        I still remember the Fifty Nifty United States, all in alphabetical order, which I learned in song form in the Bicentennial year of 1976.

        I also tend to have photographic snapshots in my brain of numbers and words, and that’s how I’m often able to call up certain memories.

      • 1mime says:

        What’s funny for those of us that have an ability to recall numbers, etc. (mine is nowhere near as good as yours and Tracey’s), are the numbers you’d like to forget! We have lived in 3 states and had 4 different homes and 5 different phone numbers. For the life of me, I can’t purge the oldie goldies! I mean, as you age, you need to conserve your grey matter storage, and where I once lived at what house number and phone number hardly matter now, years and years later, yet ….. those numbers are stuck in there for posterity (-:

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