Link Roundup, 3/10/2016

From Rolling Stone: Part one of a series on the accelerating development of artificial intelligence.

From Eater: West Virginia lawmakers fall ill from drinking raw milk, right after legalizing the sale of raw milk.

From Slate: In a reminder that karma can be horribly cruel, a particularly obnoxious gun nut was shot by her 4 year-old.

From the Washington Post: Just a reminder that thanks to our lax gun laws, toddlers kill more Americans every year than terrorists.

From Wired: Great for the title alone: Mutant Yeast Are Cranking Out Pharma’s Next Superdrug.

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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169 comments on “Link Roundup, 3/10/2016
  1. Rob Ambrose says:

    For those wondering why so many Millenials don’t like HRC, here are some reasons. Not that these things alone are THE reason if course, just that they form a pattern if general sleaziness, cronyism and corruption, mixed with a healthy dose of WTF?

    Like this thing.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2016/03/11/larry_kramer_responds_to_hillary_clinton_s_nancy_reagan_aids_advocacy_comments.html

    What was her point in saying the Reagen/AIDS thing? Nobody asked a question. She didn’t “misspeak”, she’s too smart for that. She said it for a reason. To praise Nancy Reagen for ” starting the conversation” on AIDS or her “low key advocacy” is wrong to the part of sheer absurdity. That’s like praising police unions for their “low key advocacy” of police brutality among unarmed minorities.

    The only “conversation” either of the Reagens started re: AIDS would have gone something like “holy shit Mr President, Americans are dying horrible deaths by the thousands, when the F are you going to do anything about it, or even acknowledge it?!?!”

    I guess ignoring the sheer scale of the disaster so much that activist groups were forced to mobilize means that, in a very indirect way, the Reagens WERE responsible in some part for finally making things better for AIDS patients. But it’s pretty grotesque to call that “advocacy”, however low key.

    I can’t understand why she said that. She could have been respectful and dignified in her remarks without mentioning AIDS at all and no one would have thought twice.

    Exhibit B:

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/hillarys-emails-reveal-lucrative-ties-to-for-profit-colleges/

    These sleazy as hell for profit ” unkversities” paid $14 million (!) to Bill over the past few years. That’s a lot of scratch, and I reaaaaaaaaly dont think they did this out of the goodness of their heart. I’m.not sure how you’re going to reform the system, or fight against special interests (as both candidates say they will) when you ARE part of the system and you’re taking money from special interests.

    In not saying these two examples are in and of themselves deal breakers. But they fit perfectly in a pattern of general sleaziness and being compromised by lobby money that tends to follow HRC around.

    That said, HRC is still light years better then anyone on the other side. But I get the impression from some commenters here that they’re can’t seem to fathom why these naive Millenials would possibly prefer Bernie to Hillary.

    This is why.

    • Griffin says:

      According to polls 70% of Democrats would be fine with either HRC or Sanders being the nominee. I agree with their sentiments. Either is preferable to the GOP, both would govern similaraly due to a GOP House, neither are Cruz/Trump styled authoritarians.

      Clinton, in my view, made a gaffe. It surprisingly easy to misremember old policies and she didn’t have anything to gain by saying it. Her habit for unforced errors is a bit worrying to me for pragmatic reasons, along with her abysmal campaigining. However she will still beat the GOP, especially with Sanders campaiging with her. As long as Hillary’s supporters remember not to alienate Sanders’ supporters, and as long as Sanders’ supporters are smart enough to turn out to vote.

      • 1mime says:

        In addition to all you stated, Griffin, H will bring a broader perspective to the job than Sanders. This, I believe, is critical to effectiveness for the POTUS especially for the times. The position is grueling, requires someone who is able to multi-task like crazy, and understands how the political process works. She does. Her “gaffes” when they occur (just like Bernie with “ghetto” and other slips) are signs of being tired and trying to appeal to too many issues and people at the same time – forgivable errors but not death blows. Critical will be her choice of VP. HRC is, as you and others have noted, imperfect (aren’t we all?) but is the best for the times and in the field we have before us.

        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/who-would-hillary-clintons-vice-president-be-20160303)

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “According to polls 70% of Democrats would be fine with either HRC or Sanders being the nominee. ”

        Count me as in that 70%. My post was more as a response to what comes across as bewilderment for how anyone could prefer HRC to Sanders.

        To your comment though, I don’t think the Reagen thing was a gaffe. I think it was a calculated move. The apology was pretty tepid afterwards. I think she was looking toward the general and thought maybe praising St Ronnie (the patron saint of small government) would help her with moderate Republicans. I can’t think how it could possibly be a gaffe because it wasn’t just a little wrong, or its not like there was some nuance or ambiguity to the Reagens position on AIDS victims. Hills comment was as opposite of the actual truth as you can get. So she either flat out lied to curry favor with GOP moderates. Or she simply has no clue wtf she’s talking about w/r to the Reagens and AIDS, and if that’s the case, she should have just not said anything. But this was not a “gaffe”.

        And there’s nothing wrong with trying to appeal to Republicans. But you don’t try to appeal to a broader base by throwing your own coalition under the bus and white washing an incredibly ugly and disgusting aspect of the Reagen presidency.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, but regardless of her “intention”, it was inaccurate and if nothing else, inappropriate. I call that a gaffe but you are probably more correct in calling it a mistake – for whatever reason she did it. Hopefully she will learn from this as the campaign goes forward as she will not be able to recover from mistakes like this when she’s head to head with her GOP opponent. It is disappointing to find our Presidents have flaws and do dumb things, but they do. I will never forget O’s arrogant, terrible performance in the debate with Romney where he wouldn’t do the work necessary to prepare. He looked awful and I was so angry at him for his failure to prepare. It spoke of arrogance which I found most unappealing and unpresidential. He learned from his mistake, and nailed it the next time. He was fortunate there was a “next” time. If that performance was the last time the general voters got to see him in action against Romney, they would have been justified in walking away. Campaigning is so difficult and there are a million decisions to be made every minute of every day and people pulling you in every direction. It’s good prep for being President, because the job only gets harder.

      • 1mime says:

        The GOP is circling the wagons around the likelihood that Drumpf is their likely nominee. They WILL support him for all the reasons we all know. Anytime you get frustrated with Hillary or Bernie, think about life under Pres. Drumpf which I still maintain is imminently possible. The one thing that Republicans do with certainty is vote – in large numbers and the 2016 election looks like it is going to break records. It has already broken monetary records, which is pretty disgusting, but with Citizens United, expected.

        http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/272729-key-gop-fundraiser-donors-will-fall-in-line-behind-trump

      • Griffin says:

        Oh yes they will support Trump. For a perfect example of this check out this column from religious right activist and talk radio host Dennis Prager saying that Trump is basically morally bankrupt and a total subversion of his values but then concludes by saying:

        “Nevertheless, I will vote for Trump if he is nominated — because I do not believe he will do nearly as much damage as another Democratic president.”

        http://www.dennisprager.com/national-review-donald-trump-moral-bank-accounts/

        To understand how this could be remember that “talk-radio conservatism” (I prefer the term “radical rightism” or “right-wing nationalism”) has little more behind it than a fanatical anti-leftism and obsession with liberals “destroying” the nation. Beyond that actual policies matter relatively little.

      • 1mime says:

        Of course we’re right about them and they’re wrong about us, right? There is no question they will fall in line – they have been doing what they’ve been told for a very long time regardless how insane it seemed to us….and, they VOTE. Dems have a real GOTV challenge here and so far they’ve been pretty lackluster. As noted, they usually do turn out for the General, but we have a lot of unknowns this year….a front-runner that is competent but a poor campaigner and her opponent who beat her in spades in this department. I can’t see H making B her VP, but no one would have predicted a Kennedy/Johnson ticket either, but it worked like it needed to for them to win.

        Hope you’re watching the Sun evening “Race to the White House” documentaries by Keven Spacey on CNN. They are only one hour and packed with vintage video and commentary. Here’s a link to the 6-part series. This is so relevant to what we are experiencing today. BTW, Dems used some pretty dirty tricks of their own to win elections. And, flawed candidates? You betcha! Be forewarned.

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5194802/

      • Griffin says:

        Yes Dems used pretty dirty tricks such as political machines, but most of the political machines have and are collapsing. Illinois has one of the last ones, New Jersey too.

        Hillary shouldn’t make B her vice-president, what she should do is announce ahead of time that he will be made Secretary of Labor (if he wants it). That will get out the Democratic working class and youth vote.

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, I believe Dems have cleaned up their act but I ‘m not sure Republicans have. Until we get C.U. overturned and clean up the campaign process, it will continue to be a compromised, rotten system. I totally agree with Bernie on that.

      • 1mime says:

        Griffin, who do you think CA will go for? That’s your home state, isn’t it?

      • Griffin says:

        I honestly have no clue. The rural areas up north LOVE Trump, but the surbaban areas might be better for Rubio. As purely anecdotal evidence the suburbia my Uncle lives in is radically conservative (I’ve actually heard a women ask “Why are people getting free things?”) and hate Democrats for rasing their taxes but there is no concensus among them on who to vote for. I met a guy who wanted a Trump/Huckabee ticket, but most of them seem to prefer Rubio.

      • 1mime says:

        Wow….liberal (or used to be) California! What about the Dem preference?

    • 1mime says:

      I understand, Rob, and she simply must find a way to communicate better and be more forthright. She evidently is a fairly private person by preference (as I suspect O is as well) and campaigning for her is really hard. I have known extremely competent people in various positions over my life and I assure you, they weren’t all easy to be around, but they were very capable at their jobs. That’s what has to be foremost or we will be looking at Pres. Drumpf. That is reason enough to accept the BS and try to focus on her strengths, which are considerable. If I had to live my life with as much scrutiny as she has, I would probably carry a gun (hear that Tracy?) and you know how I love guns.

    • johngalt says:

      I’m going to dispute that the Reagan’s were not early and public advocates of AIDS victims, but let me offer a counterpoint. HIV is a retrovirus (a virus whose genome is made of RNA, not DNA), a class of virus only discovered in the late 1970s (in part by Robert Gallo at the NIH). It was 1981 when the CDC started reporting on unusual afflictions in young, generally homosexual men in Los Angeles (and later SF and NY). Gallo and French virologist Luc Montagnier identified HIV in 1983-84.

      In 1987, I was a high school student lucky enough to get a summer job with the CDC’s Malaria Branch. They were working in WWII-era quonset huts on a satellite campus and were having their budget squeezed badly by the Division of HIV/AIDS. By 1989 they literally did not have the budget to pay a (now college) student $1,500 for a summer, so I went to work for the AIDS program (which was in rather more posh facilities). They had more money than they could spend wisely.

      The Reagan’s may not have been vocal activists and there is plenty of room to suggest they could have been more effective, but his administration did oversee a significant scientific spending to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic that resulted in gradually improving drugs as soon as the early 1990s.

      The early 1990s, by the way,was about when Millennials were in kindergarten. They don’t give a damn about HRC’s missteps about events that took place before they were born.

      • 1mime says:

        That is an interesting tale, JG. I wondered how someone who hailed from the acting genre could be as indifferent to a disease like HIV AIDS, and glad to know he was not. It may have been easier for him as a conservative to support funding than to deal with the cultural aspects of the problem, which were very significant and very badly managed.

        A very interesting book on the subject is “My Own Country”, which is a biographical account of a young infectious disease specialist, Dr. Abraham Verghese. (Most are more familiar with his tremendously successful novel “Cutting for Stone”). Dr. Verghese relates the struggle of doctors in the early years of dealing with HIV AIDS when there was so little knowledge and so much fear of the disease both within the medical arena and society at large. A lot of mistakes were made.

        http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/161121.My_Own_Country

    • Creigh says:

      From my POV, it’s more interesting to consider why so many people are pushing back on the establishment on both sides, rather than why they are noticing personal flaws in any particular candidate. That, to me, is the big story of this campaign. With the strength that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and even Ted Cruz have shown, I expect to see more politicians jumping on the populist bandwagon.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, Creigh. It speaks to the outright disregard of those in government to the needs of working people, and, as important, it shows how uninformed voters are. That Republicans have been able to ignore their constituency in such a blatantly arrogant manner and get away with it for so long, which is amazing. Democrats though they have at least tried, have been so ineffective (which Republicans can take some measure of credit for) that their working base is also speaking out.

        The real question is, what can they expect to happen as a result of this tsunami of outrage? Are the politicians listening and will they respond with concrete action that will address the specific problems of unemployment, under employment, wages, and other basic needs? Or, will the GOP continue to milk their base with hyperbole? To some extent, the people themselves have to accept responsibility for voting for people who used them badly and did nothing to help them. That conservatives could so blatantly deprive the working class while continuing to pander to the donor class with tax cuts and narrow policies, is amazing to me, but they have gotten away with it, plain and simple.

        I really think this is a watershed moment – where the populace has to take a hard look at what is most important to them and vote accordingly. No more voting against one’s own interests? When you see fairly average people who are educated (in addition to the scores of uneducated) buying into Trump’s empty rhetoric for a position as critical as the office of President of the United States, what can you say? Do they not realize the emptiness of the taunts? The shallowness of their platform? This is yet another politician who is using them and has offered little of specific substance and will be terribly destructive for our country.

        Democracy means all people are entitled to a vote. The political class is responsible for taking advantage of the working class, but I also believe the working class is getting what they’ve voted for. Hopefully, they will learn some lessons this time, but at the expense of a Donald Trump? Or, a Ted Cruz? What a price to pay for the “greatest country in the world”.

  2. 1mime says:

    Lifer, thank you for linking the Rolling Stones article on AI. I see that the second installment was just released (3/9) and look forward to reading it as well. Even with my limited ability to understand everything that was being discussed, I could appreciate the beauty and potential. The statement that meant the most to me was this:

    “the question is, what kind of low-level drives and behaviors do we build into machines so they become an extension of our intelligence and power, and not a replacement for it?”

    The fact that common sense and reasoning haven’t yet been integrated into AI is likely just a matter of time. It was a fascinating read. So many exciting new developments in the wings!

  3. 1mime says:

    The link roundup includes pharmaceuticals, thus I want to share an article about an interesting pilot program that is being implemented through the authority in the ACA. Pilot program testing is allowed as a means of increasing savings while achieving good medical outcomes. It is noteworthy that Pres. Obama included this concept in his previous budget proposals, but he got no traction with Congressional Republicans. Thus, he authorized the pilot through an E.O. Bully for him. For all the criticism that Medicare receives by Republicans for its cost, it would seem that they would support well thought out pilots that could potentially curb costs. Naturally, the pharmaceutical industry as well as many doctors who prescribe expensive drugs through their practices, are up in arms. Could that have something to do with Republican indifference?

    The pilot incentivizes physician reimbursement for recommending less expensive drugs if as effective to treat the medical condition. The change will have positive and negative impacts, but we should support creative, intelligent ideas to help Medicare better control costs without sacrificing quality. Those who complain of fraud, waste and abuse of social safety net programs ought to be all over this as a positive step. That is where this new pilot program comes in and I say “bravo”. It”s also worth noting that the huge Medicare program operates at a 2% administrative cost. Sounds like someone is doing their job, plus!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/10/upshot/medicare-tries-an-experiment-to-fight-perverse-incentives.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_up_20160311&nl=upshot&nl_art=2&nlid=41048410&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      The whole concept of drug companies paying doctors to write prescriptions is so rife with potential for abuse and corruption I’m shocked its even allowed. I don’t know how the end result could be anything OTHER then sky high drug costs and opiate epidemics like we’re seeing now.

      I’m pretty sure none of the countries that have universal healthcare (so pretty much every rich country not America).
      Yet another way that America is “exceptional”, bit not in the good way.

      • 1mime says:

        You may recall (or not as a Canadian), that a key provision within the original Bush RX plan for seniors, in order to avoid a fight with the pharmaceutical lobby (and probably others) was that Medicare COULD NOT negotiate prices for drugs in the program, unlike what is done in the VA and Medicaid programs. Thus, the RX lobby has had a very sweet deal that has cost the American taxpayer billions (with a B) of dollars over the fourteen years or so of its existence. Yet one never hears a “peep” from Republican critics of cost overruns in Medicare. It has become an easy whipping post for those who want to slash Medicare while they have shown absolutely no interest or support for fair reforms as their donor base would be impacted. That is so sad.

      • 1mime says:

        Medicine has been more and more profit driven and less and less service driven for a very long time now. There are lots of pros and cons for this (note – Several members of my family are medical practitioners so I hear a lot about “their” side of the issue, though all are living an enviable lifestyle even with the frustrations they describe.)

        Some iteration of socialized medicine obviously removes it from the high income jobs category therefore the natural repugnance of American doctors whose training runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course, they fairly quickly recoup this investment but still, they invest years of their lives into acquiring the knowledge necessary to practice.

        I have no problem with doctors prescribing medication, in fact, I think it highly appropriate. The problem lies with any potential conflicts of interest arising from incentives from either the pharmaceutical companies or government reimbursement programs. There are simply some areas of service which should not have a profit motive from those who dispense them other than to cover their costs. RX are one, another are student loans. It is usury to charge students excessive interest rates especially for government loans. They shoudl be revenue-neutral. I hope this area gets “fixed” as a result of the election, but fear that nothing will change unless a Dem is elected. Oh, well. So much riding on this election………..

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Mime, it’s stories like this, with their bureaucracy, gridlock, and special interests — that make a person want to say, screw this, I will just have to take matters into my own hands and find other alternatives — either get the medication from Mexico, or try homeopathic remedies, or just go without, instead of being at the mercy of all the above.

      • 1mime says:

        And, I have done just that. In the early stages of my husbands Parkinson’s Disease, his doctors were prescribing brand name drugs “first”, rather than trying the generic version first (which is what we are presently using with no deleterious affect that we can discern.) Our out of pocket for just meds was running between $700-$1000/month, and this, of course, didn’t include any of the other expenses germane to his condition. I ordered from Canada for years to cut costs until I finally got smart and demanded the doctor at least try the generic drugs where appropriate and possible. Our RX costs (hubby’s) now are under control and his health has not been negatively impacted at all. It ‘s very frustrating to try to manage costs with a chronic disease, which I am certain you experienced. I feel sorry for those who lack the sophistication to challenge doctors and to locate affordable alternatives. It’s one more challenge to managing diseases that linger for years. I am not alone in this, I know.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Homeopathic “remedies”? C’mon, Tutt. You’re smarter that. Sheesh. Don’t say that shite.

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, I don’t know, Fifty, everytime I watch bread rise I’m reminded of forces that are bigger than I am (-:

      • fiftyohm says:

        Well, I do know, and homeopathy is pure quackery, full stop.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Look – Every silly idea, (like water having a memory of what used to be in it), does not deserve credence. Some richly deserve scorn. Like homeopathy.

        What do think JG, or FP, or Tracy will have to say? I know what they’ll say without asking…

      • 1mime says:

        Not that you think strongly on this subject, eh Fifty (-? I know how you feel about “soft” science, and you’re a smart guy, so you’re probably right. But I will say that lots of old remedies as well as prescriptions have their origin in natural living things. We may just not be smart enough or have been lucky enough to figure them out yet! Then, of course were those awful “bleeders” who thought that fixed whatever ailed you….Turns out that leeches actually have benefit today. Who would have believed it?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Leeches are very rarely used in modern medicine. And when they are, the actual physics of it are well understood. Homeopathy is 100% unadulterated BS, based on the most unbelievable nonsense you can imagine. Quackery like this makes millions for the unscrupulous, and can kill the credulous, as they use it in preference to actual medicine.. It is not simply a harmless foolishness.

      • 1mime says:

        I know, Fifty. As repugnant as the thought of leeches are, they have been hugely beneficial to people with certain health conditions. I realize what you are saying and frankly don’t take any supplements myself, but my husband does take one that is homeopathic for a specific condition and I have to say he has benefited. The placebo effect is well established. My philosophy has always been to eat right, exercise as possible and genetics and luck will determine the rest. Who knows if I am correct, but, I’m still standing (-:

      • Griffin says:

        Fifty I think tutt was just saying that people do crazy things when they’re desperate, I don’t think he/she was actually saying it was effective.

        Everyone knows homeopathy is nonsense (under the logic of homeopathy drinking a drop of bleach is more dangerous than drinking a galloon). I prefer real medical solutions by leaving offerings and prayers to the ancient Celtic Goddess of healing Bridget and waiting for her to make me better (:

      • johngalt says:

        Good morning from the UK. 50 asked for an opinion on homeopathy as therapy. Since homeopathy is basically diluting something out until it is no longer there, it is a chemically impossible remedy for anything. Some may find some placebo value in it, but I’m a lot more inclined to see that working to alleviate aches and pains than for leukemia.

        Mime finds “forces bigger than I” in watching bread rise. Forces smaller than her, more likely – as in the same yeast cells that another (fascinating) link discussed. The yeast rapidly convert the carbohydrates (sugars) in the flour to energy and carbon dioxide (pretty much like our cells do). It is the generation of CO2 that causes the dough to rise. Chemistry meets biology meets baking.

      • 1mime says:

        JG, will look forward to your report on how the Brits are seeing the political carnival over her in the colonies…..I shudder to think how the world is viewing the self-proclaimed leader of the continent! Hope you’re having good weather there….Give us a report if you have time.
        Loved your chemistry explanation. That process has always fascinated me, as have many other simple acts of nature which we all take for granted.

        Cheers!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Griffin – I’ve always liked Tutt. That’s why I reacted as I did. Perhaps you’re right. But millions of people actually do subscribe to such BS. The prospect of Tutt being one of them was…well…y’know.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, you are not wrong in your view of Tutta. I can tell that she is a smart, fine woman. After all, each of us probably do things that viewed through the lens of reason, are questionable. I, of course, am the exception (-;

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG – The land of Flowers, Pedigree, Old Speckled Hen, Owd Rodger, and so many other delights! Stay thirsty, my friend!

      • johngalt says:

        Had a couple of pints and bangers and mash for lunch. How English!

        Took my kids on the obligatory Tower of London tour today. One of the Yeoman Warders prefaced the tour by warning that it was a gruesome and violent, and then told his English listeners to revel in their history. He then said, “And to you Americans, this could have been yours too, if you’d only paid your taxes!”

        The weather has been remarkable – cool (not unseasonably so) but no rain at all. We’ve crossed the Thames on foot three times in just over 24 hours (my son is obsessed with his new fitbit and keeps calling out how far we’ve walked).

        The Brits think us Yanks are crazy. But that has not changed in decades.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s hard to argue with the Brit’s impression of America’s craziness right now! So happy the weather cooperated…England can be cold and wet at this time of year. Have fun!

      • goplifer says:

        If you happen to make it Docklands, visit a pub near the Mudchute station called The George. I used to work there. Miss it like hell.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        “We’ve crossed the Thames on foot three times in just over 24 hours”

        JG, Sainthood requires two distinct miracles. Walking on water three times only really counts as one miracle.

      • 1mime says:

        Unless you’ve got kids in tow, as well! Then, you have to admit, the miracle factor becomes much larger (-;

      • johngalt says:

        The Thames has been cleaned up significantly, but I believe it still might be possible to walk across it – no miracles necessary – but in our case we were dry-footing it across bridges. The true miracle, as 1mime predicted, is in waking 7.5 miles (according to the older son’s new fitbit) with his 6 year old sister and without complaint.

      • 1mime says:

        Just think, JG, if robots were available, you could have programmed the destination, put the kids in the robot’s custody, and had a nice pint of ale on the porch all by your lonesome or with your significant other, while they did the 7.5 mile hike (-;

        I can just envision futuristic family tour packages: one for the adults; a separate one for the kids, guided by robots. No fuss, no worry, all within the same window of time, except….. for that errant chance that the robot takes a wrong turn……………which, we adults in foreign places never do, but wonder how the “bot” would handle the crisis, or, the kids under “its” care and custody…..Yikes!

  4. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Last night’s GOP debate reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “First they ignore you.
    Then they laugh at you.
    Then they fight you.
    Then you win.”

    Donald Trump’s ascendancy within the Republican Party in a nutshell.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      The odds were a hundred to one against me
      The world thought the heights were too high to climb
      But people from Missouri never incensed me
      Oh, I wasn’t a bit concerned
      For from hist’ry I had learned
      How many, many times the worm had turned – GERSHWIN’S “They All Laughed”

  5. 1mime says:

    Pew released a study on the future of our workforce involving robotics, etc. As many here have noted, we’re not that far from seeing this happen. What a wonderful thing it would be if a robot could be designed to assist handicap people and the frail elderly. After all, what is an electric wheelchair that does everything but fly, but a robot with wheels and a seat!

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        It’s concerning that so many people think that automation won’t affect them, and not just for the obvious reasons. We need a real debate in this country about the future of work and how we perceive it.

        “Jobs are for machines and life is for people.” Words to build a future on.

    • MassDem says:

      Robots could replace everything except that critical human dimension that is a part of many jobs, such as teaching or working with the elderly or sick. My dad was in hospice last summer (cancer), and although a robot could have helped move him out of bed etc., the human attendant who did these tasks was a huge source of support to him and especially my mom. I foresee teams: robots to do hard physical work along with humans to provide companionship and support.

      On the teaching side, it isn’t enough to transmit information, you need to connect with your students on a personal level, and technology can’t do that part of the job. I’m not convinced that it ever will at the K-12 level.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifting, transferring, helping people walk – are basic to the care of most elderly and handicapped people. If it weren’t for these aspects of my husband’s care, for example, I could greatly reduce the number of hours I had to hire caregivers. It is sort of amusing to think of a robot performing a shower….that is going to take a specially designed water-proof robot (-:

        The challenge with automation in education is the human touch, and the sensitivity (how do you program that!) and the intuitiveness and the strength that caring teachers provide to our children young and old, every day. I have such deep respect for the profession and the importance of what they offer that it is difficult for me to see technological development as anything but a tool to be administered by caring adults.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        >] “The challenge with automation in education is the human touch, and the sensitivity (how do you program that!)”

        Same way a human does. You teach the robot to learn and experience it. That’s what Artificial Intelligence is all about.

      • 1mime says:

        That will have to be proven to me, Ryan. Can’t accept that substitution just yet.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, this may sound silly, but when I was caring for my mom, who had dementia, I had to keep an eye on her so she wouldn’t wander off, so sometimes I would let the kitty sleep on her lap, because I knew that would keep my mom still, because she didn’t want to disturb the kitty.

        Also, on one occasion during winter, our gas was off for a few hours so there was no heat in the house, and luckily, the kitty went and lay on my mom the whole time, and they kept each other warm.

        Sometime you have to be creative, and it helps when your pets sense too how they can be of help.

      • 1mime says:

        Pets are wonderful for older people – loneliness, companionship are great benefits. When someone has a balance issue, pets can be a hazard, but usually the pet knows to stay out of the way of the human they accompany (-:

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Education is also important for people with dementia. I did my best to keep my mom’s mind stimulated (but not overly stimulated) by reading to her from the paper, telling her stories, encouraging her to tell me stories from her youth, testing her with the occasional question about who the president was, singing with her, even letting her watch foreign films with me for a few minutes at a time, all in her own home.

        That kind of exchange is best left to humans, preferably family, at home.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        What was interesting about my mom’s dementia is that even though she was very forgetful and couldn’t perform her usual everyday tasks, she became incredibly eloquent, and her vocabulary became very advanced (in Spanish, of course).

        Instead of saying, “I’m leaving tomorrow,” she would say, “I shall depart tomorrow.” And she was constantly cracking jokes, incredibly witty jokes with double-entendres, a side of her I had never seen. I don’t know if a certain side of her brain was enhanced by her dementia, or if there was this side of her that she kept hidden most of her life, and now with her dementia she was less inhibited.

      • 1mime says:

        From episode 2 on AI, Rolling Stone, this observation about its impact on people/professions:

        ” Last month’s White House economic report predicted that if a job pays less than $20 an hour, there’s an 83 percent chance it will eventually be eliminated by automation. ”

        “…the economic transformation will be brutal for many less-skilled workers. The best way to tackle the big upheavals that are coming, Thrun has argued, is not by trying to rein in technology, but by improving education. “We are still living with an educational system that was developed in the 1800s and 1900s…. We have a situation where the gap between well-skilled people and unskilled people is widening…The mission I have to educate everybody is really an attempt to delay what AI will eventually do to us, because I honestly believe people should have a chance.”

        Another super article expanding upon the first as posted in lifer’s link round up. A great read, for anyone who thinks beyond the noise of today to much bigger things, yes, even “bigger” than Drumpf’s biggest (-;

  6. Griffin says:

    This is why good guys need guns AND bullet-proof vests. OF COURSE sometimes you’ll be shot in a near-perfect world where everyone’s armed to the teeth and on edge, but that’s what Kevlar is for. You would know this if you had been a good patriot and read “Soldier of Fortune” instead of reading “The New York Times” like a typical liberal.

    • 1mime says:

      Just read this and it explains why this Presidential campaign is such a loser. Media have been lapping at Trump’s feet, ignoring other candidates, because it evidently increases ratings. Then, they comment to infinity about the sad state of American politics and how Trump has dragged everyone down to his level.

      They are guilty of pandering to Trump and they share some responsibility for his rise, just as the GOP does.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-networks_us_56df9346e4b0860f99d72720?cps=gravity_5059_-1229600113736874785

      • 1mime says:

        Thank you Senator Bernie Sanders. Good for you!! Sanders challenged a horrid AG ruling that prohibited teens from registering to vote in the general who would be of age at that time. Husted has been a real A.H. on any number of issues in OH, but Sanders challenged him, got an injunction to challenge the change in the voting laws, and won his case. Husted says he will appeal. What a loser. Look this guy up. You will not believe how horrible he is. Here’s the blip on Sanders win: (he’s a fighter – no wonder the kids love him! course he benefits but at least he made time to test the ruling and won.)

        CNN news flash: “In a victory for Bernie Sanders’ campaign, a judge in Ohio has ruled that some 17-year-olds can vote in Tuesday’s primaries.

        Franklin County Judge Richard Frye determined that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, erred when he ordered that Ohioans who are 17 but will be 18 on Election Day in November not be allowed to vote in the presidential primaries.

        Husted’s office said he would appeal the ruling, which applies to all election boards in the state.”

        Husted is one of the worst examples of extremism in the GOP, IMO.

  7. moslerfan says:

    OT warning, but this is fascinating. This morning Asher Edelman, (Wall Street investment banker, money manager, derivatives trader and partial inspiration for the character Gordon Gekko in The movie Wall Street) unhesitatingly named Bernie Sanders when asked who he thought would be the best candidate for the economy. In about 60 seconds, he gives as clear an explanation of economics as you’re ever likely to see.

    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000500281

    • 1mime says:

      I missed that interview this afternoon, but, here’s my question about that endorsement. We all know that if you increase income levels for those living in the bottom quadrant of society, they will improve their lives by virtue of having more spending power. This also stimulates the economy. What Adelman doesn’t address is the cost of Sanders’programs and how the benefits of putting more money into circulation is offset by an increased deficit. I’m not buying it. Also, Hillary has a plan to increase wages and her budget has been vetted by the Tax Policy Center as being very responsible. What gives?

      • Griffin says:

        I wish the user Mosler was here because he could explain this better but I’m not sure what you mean by the deficit “offsetting” purchasing power for lower-income people? Do you mean that it would increase inflation if the government spends more money?

        Anyways I do think Sanders’ plan causes some unneccesarry inefficiences that might impede GDP growth, but I’m not sure how large the deficits would be from his plans or if most people would even “feel it”, so to speak.

      • 1mime says:

        Mosler would likely say that the government can simply print “more” money, which is true, but which does cause inflation over time. At present, inflation is not a problem, in fact, the lack of inflation is a problem because it means people are not spending. My point dealt with the double edged sword of Sanders plan, in which he proposes to raise the minimum wage to $15, everywhere, at once – no phasing in, and also implement free public college, universal health care and several other expensive but important programs (expanding VA services, student debt assistance, etc.). They are all great ideas but there simply isn’t enough money without making huge cuts and generating huge new revenue sources. His plan makes his supporters happy but is not good for our national economy unless the nation and the Congress (!!) works with him to reorder fiscal priorities. Our federal deficit is approaching $18T – which would double under Sander’s single payer (insurance) plan alone. He does an admirable job of identifying offsets but most economists say that his goals will be very expensive and require increased taxes both during our lives and the new death taxes on capital gains he is proposing. And, to accomplish this herculean task, Sanders would have to get Congress to go along. The President proposes a budget, but the House initiates appropriations bills.

        What Sanders gets right, IMO, are his priorities. He weights the budget heavily towards meeting basic needs, which is what this electorate is screaming is most important. But, there is a cost, and it is extremely expensive, and paying for it looks dubious.

        Am I clearer or more confusing?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Griffin: As far as Sanders’ tax plans are concerned, the Tax Policy Center – http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/2000639-an-analysis-of-senator-bernie-sanderss-tax-proposals.pdf – estimates that the overwhelming majority of his new taxes, if fully enacted, would go to finance his plans and not to reduce the federal deficit. Frankly, I’ve never even heard Sen. Sanders talk about the debt and/or deficit on the campaign trail.

        That said, one’s left to assume that if it is a focus of his, he’s betting on stronger economic growth to give him the necessary revenue; which, needless to say, is magical thinking on par with Republicans’ nonsensical belief that tax cuts pay for themselves via imagined economic growth. Boundless optimism isn’t a plan.

      • Griffin says:

        You are clearer. Yes the $15 dollar minimum wage and single-payer and so on was what I mean by “unneccessary ineffiecencies” that could make GDP climb at a slower rate than it would otherwise.

        From what I can tell if you are lower-class or a student in debt you would generally benefit, even accounting for the tax increases. Most lower-class people don’t notice government debt in their private lives. However as you go above the lowest classes the “trade-off” to “gain” ration starts to increase, it’s just a question of when you generally hit the mark that the direct trade-offs are more than the gains, which is sooner than most people are comfortable with.

        As to the deficit it depends on how large it will be after the tax-increases and potential cuts to the military and so one, a small deficit is often fine (18T is the debt not the deficit BTW) and so long as output is increasing you really can print more money up to a certain point.

        The problem is how hypothetic the costs are right now. However it’s worth noting that he would HAVE to moderate his plans to get through even a Democratic controlled Congress, unlike the GOP which may actually pass insane plans.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct. I get debt and deficit mixed up…One point, however, about lower income people not feeling tax consequences as much. They could feel it if the programs that were helping subsidize the Sanders initiatives were cut, or if Congress refused to pass Sanders proposals. I realize you are speaking about pure income taxes, but there is a limit to how much working people can contribute without jeopardizing their security. That’s where things would get political.

      • Griffin says:

        @Ryan Good link that’s what I’ve heard before.

      • Griffin says:

        However it’s worth noting that Sanders probably does not care much about deficits or debt, which up to a point is perfectly justifiable as it’s not like a household debt. It’s just a quesiton of whether the amount he accumulates is too much for the economy to handle.

      • moslerfan says:

        Edelman’s point was not so much about putting more money in circulation as much it was putting the money in the hands of people who would spend it rather than in the hands of those who would save it, or more likely who would put it to other uses that don’t create new economic activity. The best examples would be bidding up prices on high end real estate (Manhattan, San Francisco, London…) or Old Masters paintings. No jobs are created by that kind of spending, those things already exist, they’re just trading at higher prices. Additional income for low income people on the other hand gets quickly recycled into spending on consumer goods and services. That was the basis for his comment on the ‘velocity of money.’

        Basically, there are two ways to give lower income folks more money. One is to give them money, the other is to cut their taxes. And of course, if you’re going to give money to people, you’d like to get something in return. Like repaired bridges and upgraded school buildings and having lead pipes removed and abandoned crack houses torn down, etc.

        Sanders talks about taxing upper income people to pay for his programs, but some of his programs could also be paid for by “printing money,” i.e. deficit spending. You seem to be thinking that deficit spending somehow ‘offsets’ additional money being put into circulation. Clearly, “printing money” (real economists hate that term, but lay people understand perfectly what it means) and then spending it adds money to the economy.

        It would have been interesting to get Edelman’s opinion on Hillary Clinton’s plan. He was very clear that cutting taxes for rich people (the Republican approach) has not worked, but that’s as far as he got when asked whose plan he thought would work.

      • 1mime says:

        I fault the moderators for not asking him to compare both Dem plans. Surely he’s seen them. Other than the earned income tax, what other taxes could be cut for low income people? They usually don’t pay any if much income tax. The big problem right now is trying to keep these people insured so they don’t cost the taxpayers at large more money through ER care, days lost on the job due to illness, and all the attendant health related expenses.

        Sanders focus is on priorities that impact the majority of Americans, which is good. I question whether the isolation of meeting these important needs without consideration of other needs – defense, education, infrastructure maintenance – is advisable if not unrealistic. As much as I support paring our defense allocation, that is not going to be easy for a candidate like Sanders to pursue. His priorities are clearly domestic but the role of the President who represents a world leader encompasses a much broader set of considerations. This is principally why I believe HRC will be more effective. She understands the world view better. To his everlasting credit, Sanders has shifted her attention to national priorities but the job still requires broad-based thinking.

        Of course, if Trump wins the Presidency, how will any of these concerns matter?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “he’s betting on stronger economic growth to give him the necessary revenue; which, needless to say, is magical thinking on par with Republicans’ nonsensical belief that tax cuts pay for themselves via imagined economic growth.”

        They both rely on growth to oay for themselves, for sure, but let’s not pretend that Sanders plan relying on growth is the same as Republicans, for the very simple reason that there is absolutely nonwvidence that giving more momey to the rich causes growth.

        Onbthe other hand, there is ample evidence that giving money to the poor does. THATS the difference, and that difference makes all the difference in the world.

      • 1mime says:

        I so agree, Rob. That is what I find so reprehensible about the Republican insistence on more tax cuts for the wealthy. It’s pure selfishness AND it doesn’t make economic sense. But when your mindset is fixated on your benefits alone, who cares about those “other” people? America needs a gut check. Sanders and Trump have elevated this need – the question is, what will be done by whoever gets elected? If it’s a Republican, as noted many times, they will continue to do what they have been doing. The only chance for real change is to retake the Presidency and the Senate because Democrats, while imperfect, do care about the working man and I believe they will deliver. We all know that at his core, Trump is a 1%er and a fake.

        Trickle down has never worked.

      • Creigh says:

        “(Sanders) would HAVE to modify his plans to get them through even a Democratic controlled Congress.”

        I worked for the DoD, which is fanatical about plans, for many years. They understand two things about plans: 1. Planning is absolutely essential. 2. No plan survives contact with the enemy.

  8. fiftyohm says:

    On AI, I wrote the following in a tech rag a while back:

    “We should be careful not to conflate so-called “smart systems” of today with true machine intelligence. While we’ve constructed systems with the rudiments of intelligence like pattern recognition, data base searching, logic, and the like, we really can’t even define the term “intelligence” in a succinct and unambiguous manner. Human ‘intelligence’ evolved over time by a selective process molded by environmental factors. The environment in which that occurred obviously had no stated ‘goal’ of developing intelligence, per se. (It, in and of itself, could hardly be considered ‘intelligent’!) But therein lies the rub, for in sleep who knows what dreams may come? My bad Shakespeare aside, the fact is that machine intelligence could arise inadvertently. It has before, on this planet, given certain rudiments as I enumerated above. And yes, it took a very long time. But consider the fact that we’ve developed and assembled a pretty decent toolkit of those same basic functions in a single generation! Were true machine intelligence to arise, in some manner or another, we have absolutely no idea what could happen. It could evolve so quickly, in some sort of Moore’s-Law-on-steroids fashion, we couldn’t even react. It would be completely new territory, and a force never seen before – at least on Earth. I used to be completely dismissive of a concept so fanciful and sci-fi. On review, I think I was entirely too hasty in that conclusion. The fact is that the problem has been defined in too narrow a scenario – some nerd coding a super-program in some lab in a concerted attempt to create an intelligent machine. That is not how it happened before, and there is no reason to believe that’s how it might happen the next time. The results would be completely unpredictable. I’d advise anyone believing they have that answer to think about it a bit harder. And a bit more.”

    Noam Chomsky doesn’t agree, but who the hell cares?

    • Creigh says:

      Before we can solve the problem of true machine intelligence, we’d have to understand consciousness. I suppose that could happen tomorrow, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Yes. Assuming it’s a problem awaiting our solution. I can think of no reason this is the case. If AI is an emergent property, our understanding it is of no particular importance.

    • Crogged says:

      Cool thought Fitty.

    • fifty, I’m relatively confident the singularity will occur accidentally, not as the result of “some nerd coding a super-program in some lab in a concerted attempt to create an intelligent machine.” In my view, the likely prospect will be some commercial, distributed, networked, adaptive SW application initially developed to process unstructured data. Something like Palantir Metropolis generation next, perhaps, that one day just slips its leash. Won’t that be fun? 🙂

      • And yeah, definitely emergent. Meaning that we likely won’t even initially recognize it for what it is.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Yup. Not a pleasant prospect. And there is really not a thing that can be done but hope we’re wrong. Of course worrying about something over which you [can] have no influence is a complete waste of time and mental energy. Think I’ll have another Rodeo Clown!

        Fermi Paradox?

  9. fiftyohm says:

    Hey JG! Did you see the last link? I know it’s not your genus, but what do you think?

  10. With respect to Ms. Gilt, stupid is a stupid does; Darwin will not be denied.

    As most of you are aware, I am a practicing CHL holder. There are a variety of places I frequent (e.g., MFAH) that post 30.06 signs barring me from legal carry. Additionally, traditional strong side carry, particularly in an Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) holster, can be decidedly uncomfortable while driving. Accordingly, I make use of a Hornady RFID technology vault to store my weapon in my vehicle when I can’t carry, or don’t want to deal with discomfort while driving:

    http://www.hornady.com/store/RAPiD-Safe-and-Accessories-New

    This small safe is only one of a wide variety of choices available on the market; it’s great for vehicle use. Like many competitive offerings, it can be accessed in mere *seconds*. Nobody with any shred of situational awareness is going to have any trouble getting to their weapon in timely fashion in their vehicle should it be needed, if they use a device like this.

    My friends, there is simply *NO* excuse for not safely securing a weapon that is not being carried directly on your person. This goes double when children are a part of the equation. Liberty unaccompanied by personal responsibility is an ugly thing. If you choose to own a firearm, be part of the gun safety solution, not part of the problem.

    • goplifer says:

      You know, that’s why I’d prefer that we scrap most gun restrictions and just revert to an insurance requirement. People who know what they’re doing and have the competence to handle a weapon safely are not a problem. Insurers would make those kind of safety measures ubiquitous. Morons who are sporting guns to meet some bizarre psychiatric drive would get their rates jacked up till they couldn’t carry anymore. Seems like an obvious solution that would save lives and make gun ownership far easier for everyone else.

      http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2013/04/gun-control-in-the-ownership-society/

      • 1mime says:

        Hmm I wonder how the insurance actuaries would price a gun permit for four year olds?

      • Will criminals purchase that insurance, Chris? Will the poor be able to afford that insurance, Chris? What you have proposed is simply a “poll tax” on gun owners. Solve the right problem, my friend.

        BTW, just clear the air, the rate and total number of accidental shootings are steadily declining every year, even though the total number of guns legally owned in this country is steadily increasing. In other words, the problem you are attempting to solve is already being effectively addressed via other means, namely ongoing (and effective) education program by the NRA and NSSF (and state education programs), not to mention commercial efforts by innovative companies like Hornady.

        If you really want to make a positive difference, instead of proposing further encumbrances on gun owners, why don’t you do something actually useful and promote and financially support programs like Project ChildSafe?

        http://www.projectchildsafe.org

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Tracy – An ernest question. On Hornady’s site, this warning. “*IMPORTANT: Do not store loaded firearms in any safe or lock box.”

      Why do they give this warning?

      • Liability concerns, unarmed.

        Many older firearms do not have mechanisms that prevent the firing pin from impacting the cartridge primer if the gun is dropped. So, for instance, if you had your Colt Peacemaker (or for that matter, a Series-70 1911) in the safe with a round under the hammer/in the chamber, and dropped it in just the right (er, wrong) way, it could possibly fire. As these small safes are not bullet proof, that would be a *very bad* thing. This problem is not an issue for more modern designs, but Hornady can’t know what kind of gun it is that you are going to store in the safe.

    • MassDem says:

      Speaking as someone from the gun control side, I have no problem with CHL permits as long as the individual shows the level of responsibility you’ve outlined above Tracy. To that I would add gun safety classes for new permit holders.

      I also wish that the technology that allows only the legally permitted gun owner to use their weapon was installed on all new guns. I’m sure some clever criminal would figure out a way around it on stolen weapons, but at least it would prevent someone else from taking and immediately using it, especially one of those bloodthirsty toddlers we’re always hearing about.

      • texan5142 says:

        Glad I am not a chicken little that feels the need to be armed all the time. Did carry, don’t anymore, the odds of needing that WMD are not worth the trouble. I feel more free without then I ever did with. To each his or her own. Boo!

      • texan5142 says:

        If you are that paranoid better off carrying something to test your food with when you go out to eat, much better odds of dying from a food born illness that ever needing that phallic symbol.

      • 1mime says:

        I think just about all rational gun control advocates share your view, MassDem. But I also favor expanding laws that make are more effective at screening those who shouldn’t access guns. Once we have done the common sense things, then it’s down to the really hard stuff – the sociological and cultural challenges there are immense.

      • MassDem, the CHL class *is* primarily a gun safety course / confrontation avoidance course, as well as a bit of a primer on the pertinent legal issues.

        Actually, every course that I’ve ever taken the touched even tangentially on firearms handling always begins with safe handling and storage. Firearms are a lot like power tools – casual handling / operation and uncontrolled access are a recipe for disaster.

      • 1mime says:

        Safety training aside, how do responsible gun proponents like yourself explain people that seemingly flunked the course but still got to keep the gun? And, we all know who they are.

      • And MassDem, I find the technology aspect quite interesting. All my carry guns are equipped with laser sights (see http://www.crimsontrace.com). In my youth, the notion that an effective, accurate laser sight could be shrunk down small enough to fit in a handgun grip (or recoil guide) would have been deemed science fiction. Yet here we are.

        The RFID technology used in my Hornady safe is pretty dang compact, but not so compact as to facilitate its installation in a gun grip. But one can easily foresee that time coming. My guess is that (as with most things pertaining to firearms) we’ll see military applications first – maybe an effective small arms IFF system that prevents an enemy from using our weapons captured on on the battlefield. It may be a ways off, but I predict we will see it eventually.

      • “…how do responsible gun proponents like yourself explain people that seemingly flunked the course but still got to keep the gun?”

        1mime, that’s a specious question. How do you explain the drunk that passes the driving test, and then gets sauced and goes out and slaughters an innocent family with his/her car? How do you explain the pilot error that kills a planeload of passengers, when the pilot is professionally trained and certified and has thousands of flight hours? How do you explain the school bus driver that gets into an accident and kills a busload of children?

        The long history of jurisprudence in western civilization is based on a very simple concept: we punish wrongdoers for the wrong they have done. We do not preemptively punish people for the wrong they *might* do. We also employ the concept of mens rea, so that accidents are treated differently than intentional violations of the law. If it turns out that a Negligent Discharge (ND) results in felony conviction, then the convict becomes a prohibited person and can no longer legally own a firearm. That’s how it works, 1mime.

        Certain levels of risk are inherent in a free society, 1mime. You can attempt to mitigate some of that risk by making yourself and your neighbors a whole lot less free, but the dirty little secret is that end of the day it doesn’t work; all you’ve done is make yourself less free.

      • goplifer says:

        Whoa whoa whoa, you ducked a very important phrase:

        ***but still got to keep the gun***

        Drunk drivers get their license yanked. Irresponsible pilots don’t get to fly anymore. A school bus driver who kills a busload of kids will not be greeting students on Monday morning.

        ***Certain levels of risk are inherent in a free society*** yup. and responsible adults find ways to mitigate those risks. One obvious way to mitigate the very substantial risk of mass mayhem from gun ownership is to remove that right from people who fail to exercise it responsibly – just like we do everywhere else.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Lifer. You entirely got my point. Whether it’s the woman at the Home Depot who pulled her firearm and shot at the fleeing shoplifters, or the woman whose gun fired from her purse, or the child who shot mommy – these people doubtless passed “some kind” of firearm instruction but obviously are clueless and irresponsible with their weapons. I am not advocating against responsible gun owners like Tracey; rather, I am pointing out that there are many people whose right to their firearm is not accompanied by responsible handling and good judgement. Thankfully, they are the minority, but they’re part of a group who feel they must have a gun to be safe yet those around them are definitely at risk.

        Tracey, please consider this my response to your remarks as well. I just got home and saw your email and then Lifer’s reply. I probably was too cryptic in my shorthand prose. My fault, but Lifer wasn’t quite so defensive in his reading of it. If we can’t honestly and objectively discuss the problem of irresponsible gun ownership, we deny it exists, and that would be wrong.

      • And again, you two, if the accident results in a felony conviction (or in some cases a misdemeanor conviction), the gun owner doesn’t get to keep the gun. Q.E.D.

      • goplifer says:

        A bus driver doesn’t need a felony conviction to get fired. A doctor doesn’t need specific intent toward harm (mens rea) to lose his license. You’re applying a standard for the loss of access to a deadly weapon that we don’t apply in other scenarios, even for matters that are regarded as rights. Frankly, the standard for losing access to a gun should be a lot lower than for a reckless driver, in keeping the “well-regulated” clause so often ignored in the 2nd Amendment.

      • Chris, I’ll simply refer you Heller, where you will perhaps *learn* the meaning of the prefatory clause of the 2nd Amendment. See section 2.a., pages 22-24. “Well regulated” has nothing to do with legal regulation. You know, I honestly though an individual as erudite as yourself would know better than accept (or float) the “well regulated” canard of the gun grabber crowd. Frankly, sir, you disappoint me. 😦

        https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/554/570/opinion.html

      • goplifer says:

        Heller is amusing. I’m familiar with it. Enjoy it while it lasts. You’ve got maybe 5-7 years.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Tracy – We had some militia members shoot up a picnic a few days back. Killed 5 people including a pregnant woman. One militia member used a weapon that has proved itself useful to militia purposes, that is an AK-47.

        In my opinion, Heller is Scalia at his wrongest. The second does have the prefatory clause. It must mean something. It doesn’t say anything about self defense. Or the right to feed your family by hunting. Or shooting clay pigeons because it feels good.

        And the toddler that put a cap in his mommy’s ass. Not old enough to be in the militia. From Heller, “That is what Congress did in the first militia Act, which specified that “each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia.” Are you enrolled? How old are you?

        That is my opinion, but my opinion does not count.

      • unarmed, you are most certainly entitled to your opinion, and it does count. Vote for Hillary; her views on guns are entirely consistent with your own. I will of course be voting in a manner consistent with my views and opinions. That’s what makes democracy so grand. 🙂

      • Well, Chris, at least you are out in the open now on gun control, and we can evaluate your suggestions on guns accordingly. Frankly, it would be quite a bit less disingenuous if you would simply state that you don’t view gun ownership as an individual right, and be done with it.

        In the same vein, I find your take on Heller interesting, particularly for a putative Republican. Regardless of one’s position on gun control, Heller is widely regarded as a type specimen of originalist legal analysis. Words have meaning, and while the meaning of individual words and phrases may be mutable over time, it’s generally possible to discern original meaning and original intent; that’s the whole point of legal formalism and textualism.

        The Constitution means what it says it means. If the Constitution has no meaning, then there is no need for an Arcticle 5. Nor is there any point in even having a Constitution, or for that matter a constitutional republic. Given your expressed disdain for constitutional governance, how would you have us govern ourselves?

      • goplifer says:

        I don’t view gun ownership as an individual right, like the law said until the court re-wrote it in Heller.

      • Heller didn’t rewrite the law, Chris; Heller reestablished a constitutional right, a natural right of humanity.

    • flypusher says:

      “My friends, there is simply *NO* excuse for not safely securing a weapon that is not being carried directly on your person. This goes double when children are a part of the equation. Liberty unaccompanied by personal responsibility is an ugly thing. If you choose to own a firearm, be part of the gun safety solution, not part of the problem.”

      Absolutely agree. I’m reminded of a similar situation, with a worse ending, in an Idaho Walmart, IIRC. A toddler grabbed a gun out of his mother’s purse and shot her dead. The internet commentariat had the sorts of childish comments that you would expect. But it was noteworthy to me that when her FIL complained about the comments, he specifically mentioned he was upset about people calling her irresponsible. Sorry dude, that’s harsh, but it’s also 100% true. If you leave your gun where a toddler can get it, by definition you are not being responsible with that gun.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Tracy, After posting my question, found this in the manual for your gun safe. Your response may be correct, but this is what they say.

      “**** is not liable for unauthorized access, including damage to, or loss of property, or personal injury. Again, NEVER store a loaded firearm in your ****** safe, as this may result in unauthorized access to the loaded firearm”

      This points to the schizophrenic nature of the gun industry. I assume most people who have a “quick to open” gun safe, put a loaded gun in it. After all, that is the point. To get at the gun and use it quickly when needed? Right? And, even if you removed the magazine, the magazine would have to be close by, so I’m not sure how it would be different when trying to prevent “unauthorized access to the loaded firearm”.

      For those wondering about smart guns or safer guns and why we don’t have them, this link.

      http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/smart-guns-mossberg-igun-venture-capital-conway

      But for those who weigh the odds and decide to have guns in your house, Taurus guns have a mechanical lock with keys. Assuming you also have other people in the house occasionally. Especially young people.

      • unarmed, you *really* need to grok the difference between legaleze and actual use. For obvious liability concerns, X is going to say don’t put a loaded gun in their safe. Just as obviously, just about everybody who buys the X safe is going to exactly that.

        There have already been several abortive attempts at “smartguns.” Guns are like parachutes; they have to work first time, every time. Those early attempts were actually pretty dismal from that standpoint. But technology marches on, and sooner or later we’ll get there. Just keep in mind that the problem is actually quite complicated; if it was easy it would have already been done. As much as I like my laser sights, they are an accessory. If they don’t work, I just revert to iron sights. If you smartgun tech doesn’t work, then you will find yourself fighting for your life with a paperweight. My take on it is pretty simple. If it’s good enough for the U.S. Army, and/or several major police departments, then it’ll be good enough for me.

        Both our armed forces and police have a vested interest in the development of firearms that work only for their designated user(s). In an alarming percentage of police shootings, officers are killed with their own weapon – a weapon that has been taken away from them during the course of a close-quarters physical confrontation. (Note this is very nearly what happened in the M. Brown case.) Just as soon as a workable, reliable implementation of smartgun technology is available, you can rest assured police forces will be on it like ducks on a june bug.

        BTW, every major gun manufacturer now includes some locking mechanism with their products. Taurus and S&W build locks directly into the weapon. Most people don’t use them, because the notion of trying to insert a tiny key into a tiny hole while under the duress of a life threatening situation doesn’t strike most people as particularly bright idea. Safes, vaults, and a variety of other options are much easier to deal with. Also, these tiny locks are subject to breakage and/or incidental locking under heavy recoil. The thought of the dreaded Internal Lock Failure (ILF) causes some to avoid guns with internal locks altogether. (I carry a S&W 360 PD with an internal lock. As discussed above, I don’t use the internal lock to secure the weapon. However, with thousands of rounds sent downrange with this gun, I’ve never had an ILF, so I don’t worry about it.)

      • texan5142 says:

        What are your feelings on the smart gun Tracy ?

      • Tex, see above. If it’s not already obvious, I tend to be pretty forward leaning on new technology. When it comes to things designed to save my life, I won’t necessarily be on the bleeding edge, but I’ll likely be an early adopter. When the military and/or major police departments adopt smart gun tech, I’ll be in line right behind them.

      • texan5142 says:

        Sorry Tracy, posted that without reading your last post. From what I have read anybody even trying to market and sell smart guns are threatened, but most of that has to do with some state laws that would make smart guns the only gun legal to sell once one is sold in said state.

      • texan5142 says:

        I might carry if I still lived in Texas, then again maybe not. I have lived in some rough places in the Houston area.

      • Texan, the innate appeal of a personal weapon that answers to your hand, and to your hand only, is powerful and undeniable. I’d go so far as to claim it’s archetypal. It’s the sword in the stone writ in real life, with every man or woman as Arthur. It’s Thor and Mjölnir. Aragorn and Anduril. Sigurd and Gram. The Weapon Shops of Isher. The individual or company that *actually* manages this feat is flat out going to make a *fortune*. So I wouldn’t put too much credence in the smart gun conspiracy theories.

        With respect to whether *you* own or carry a gun, I have no opinion in the matter. It’s *your* *personal* choice. And that’s as it should be. It’s just too darn bad that so many are so very intent on poking their snouts into the personal choices of others, eh?

  11. Rob Ambrose says:

    This is an interesting read, seems like a Q and A format. I disagree with Paglia on a lot of things, but she’s not a total look.

    What’s most interesting I think is this shows the link/train of thought of a voter who supports one of either Sanders or Trump as their first choice, and has the other as their second.

    This seems counterintuitive at first blush, but that’s because we are used to looking at things on the left vs right spectrum. There are an increasing number of voters who are looking at it as establishment vs Outsider spectrum, and don’t really care about traditional left/rght battlines. This could be a game changing dynamic in the general.

    There’s also a point in there about the Australian higher education system and how it could act as a model forbthe US to make college affordable.

    Worth the read

    http://www.salon.com/2016/03/10/i_was_wrong_about_donald_trump_camille_paglia_on_the_gop_front_runners_refreshing_candor_and_his_impetuousness_too/

    • antimule says:

      I think it is protectionism vs (more) free market spectrum that is most relevant. People are concerned about their jobs getting outsourced. Long term big picture might or might not favor free trade, but it sure as hell screws people short term.

      • goplifer says:

        Not so fast.

        Trade is the piece of this economic puzzle that has done the most to make life livable for lower income workers. Yes, some jobs were lost, but I promise you those jobs were already doomed. Trade at least helped slash the cost of everything while those jobs were dying.

        Consider this.

        Remember all those jobs destroyed by Netflix? Neither does anyone else, but there were a lot. The video rental business employed over 100,000 people in the US in the late ’90’s. More than 90% of those jobs disappeared in a decade.

        The main culprit was Netflix. Today, almost 3500 people work at Netflix. The death of the video industry and its replacement by streaming and other media has probably cost somewhere around 250,000 jobs in various media. It’s hard to get a solid number on the new jobs created, but it’s probably less than 10,000, mostly in new opportunities for media development (it is now easier to make and sell a movie) and in technology jobs.

        Average salary across the board for a Blockbuster employee working full-time, including positions in the corporate office was somewhere around $35,000/year adjusted for inflation.

        Average salary for a Netflix employee is about $150,000/yr, excluding stock and bonuses, which often more than double that amount. Software developers and IT professionals at Netflix can earn base salaries above $200,000/year.

        All added up, Blockbuster, Hollywood, and the other video rental giants were paying about $3.5bn in annual salaries spread across more than a 100,000 individual pockets.

        Netflix is paying about $525m/yr into very few pockets.

        That is the story of our era in a nutshell. If we had never signed NAFTA or our other trade agreements, everything you’ve seen happen to US manufacturing jobs would still have happened. US lawnmower manufacturers and car makers widget forgers would still have either moved operations overseas (in order to reach those markets – the US, for example, is only 15% of the global auto market) but your stuff would have cost a lot more. Whatever couldn’t be moved would still have been replaced. The higher labor premium would have hit the threshold for capital investment in automation. You just would have paid more for it on the purchasing side.

        This is what capitalism does. It’s what happened when powered looms replaced women in their cottages. What’s different now is the new speed and scale, on top of 200 years of steady elimination of labor.

        Trade is a complete red herring. It gets identified as a culprit for two reasons: 1) we fix causation to a proximate driver very easily. We aren’t good at identifying the difference between proximate and ultimate causes. I know my job was moved to Mexico. I don’t know that I was otherwise going to be replaced by a robot. 2) Foreign things are scary.

        Workers in England 200 years ago smashed looms to protest industrialization. All it did was make their socks cost more.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s a great explanation, Lifer. May I suggest that we (in America) have done a great job accelerating our innovation but a pitiful job in preparing those workers who have become expendable? That is the substance of the cry being demonstrated by Trump and Sanders supporters. We’ve not prepared these workers whose jobs have become obsolete to transition, and that is a real shame.

        A point that I think Sanders and Clinton have correct is that trade has to be fair. Clinton talked about how China is “dumping” cheap steel and Pres. Obama is not using existing means to control the situation. Trade, generally, is a fine thing, as long as it’s fair. At what point in your construct do tariffs or duties enter the picture? Or, are you a “pure” market guy who would oppose any leveling device to ensure “fair” competition?

      • 1mime says:

        Correct, antimule. And there is no one there to help them transition. That’s what is so tragic. That we have willingly, as a nation, ignored these people who have lost jobs through no fault of their own and have no plan to assist them. Unemployment compensation could be linked to job re-training so that they will be able to work at a position that has some security. It’s like no one cares about them.

      • Creigh says:

        Lifer, I’m thinking that the real benefit from advances in technology and productivity is not just reduced prices on stuff, it’s to enable people to go on to do more and better things, things which they didn’t have the time or know-how or something to do before. That is a more difficult and subtle benefit than simple cost reduction. Our current economic system seems to be successful at reducing costs, but is there a better way to reach the further objective?

      • goplifer says:

        I hate to keep harping, but…a basic income.

        Make everyone a shareholder.

      • Creigh says:

        From an economic standpoint, the basic income makes perfect sense, and I’d support it on that basis. But from a sociological standpoint, I can’t shake the feeling that it leaves something to be desired. People get so much more than a paycheck from their job, including status, social contacts, education and personal growth, the self-esteem of being able to provide for oneself and ones family, a well-deserved feeling of usefulness and accomplishment and contributing to the larger community. Maybe someday we’ll find another way to deliver these benefits (that future, as someone observed, is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed) but for a lot of people, jobs will still be important.

      • 1mime says:

        Rolling Stone really gets into the trade issue, with Robert Reich explaining it in very personal terms in a broader piece on Bernie Sanders elect-ability. Lifer is correct about the “forces of change” but that doesn’t alter real life consequences for those caught up in the aftermath, with no safety net intact and seemingly, no one in elected office doing anything to acknowledge or address their personal, very real problems.

        “”Trade policies have helped people at the top and taken out the middle rungs of the job ladder and pushed millions into the personal-service sector, where they’re getting paid very little,” Reich says. “When the median wage started to stagnate, the first thing a lot of families did is, the wives and mothers went into the workforce,” Reich goes on. “When wages continued to decline, the second thing they did was work longer hours. Then, when that coping mechanism was exhausted, the third thing was to go deep into debt, many people using home loans as collateral. And when that bubble burst, people woke up to what was happening, and you begin to get, starting with the bank bailouts, a surge of anger, the Tea Party on one side and Occupy on the other. And it doesn’t stop, because the political establishment doesn’t recognize it for what it is. They think it’s left versus right!”

        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/hillary-clinton-vs-bernie-sanders-the-good-fight-20160309?page=10

  12. Rob Ambrose says:

    Looks like they identified and charged this scumbag.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/trump-supporter-charged-with-assault-for-sucker-punching-black-man-in-face-at-nc-rally

    I wonder Drumpf will keep his promise and pay for the legal bills of his brownshirts?

  13. Rob Ambrose says:

    I think it’s time this whole raw milk debate be put out to Pasteur

  14. Stephen says:

    Culture (which also includes technology) is something that exists across generations and is evolving much faster than biological evolution. It is one of the main things that has helped us survive and thrive. If artificial intelligence is developed it would be part of our culture. Yes people think about scary AIs like terminator bots. But visionaries also though about the machine in a Star Trek movie that wanted union with it’s creators to evolve. That is more likely. Humans will become more and more cyborgs with new abilities and insights. But hopefully the Borgs of Star Trek though stay a work of fiction.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I don’t think artificial intelligence and technology are scary so much as the people who are behind them. I don’t trust the creators to have the best interests of society at heart. They are more interested in having us become dependent on them and their creations, especially as consumers, and they want to change the world according to their own view of how things should be.

      • 1mime says:

        The excellent movie, “Ex Machina” comes to mind as a perfect example of your concern.

      • fiftyohm says:

        The important thing about that film was the utter indifference to those left in the “house”. That, and the utter unpredictability of the creation itself.

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, I think it was a bit more complex than that, Fifty. The genius creator didn’t respect his own creations, he imbued them with human qualities than savaged them. The person left in the house wasn’t a computerized person, it was a real young man, which clearly supports Tutta’s point about responsible creation – which is true with just about everything, if you think about it.

  15. flypusher says:

    When I was taking microbiology as an undergrad, one of our lab assignments was to go take samples from somewhere, anywhere, and grow them up in the lab. I chose one of the cafeterias, and I found plenty. The milk sample gave me all sorts of little buggers. Of course this was the below safety threshold stuff, not dangerous if you handle/ store food properly, but it’s always there, because the food is not in a sterile environment. No way in hell would I drink raw milk.

  16. flypusher says:

    I’d only say that karma was cruel for the 4-yr old. He’s too young to know better, and there could be some heavy guilt issues in his future. But karma was totally fair in who took the bullet; far better the person who chose to be irresponsible get shot than someone’s else’s kid, which happens all too often. My reserves of sympathy are not limitless, so I have none to spare for fools.

  17. Glandu says:

    raw milk is a complicated stuff, because it has short-term risks with long-term rewards, and noone publishing studies about it is neutral enough to give a balanced view. I drank it for a few years, without any problems. I even went to the farm for that, at the time the milk was produced. Of course, I am not a statistical representative sample.Neither is my opinion balanced.

    Those IA things are beginning to get interesting, but the real development is far slower than implied in the article. Still, they are advancing, anf beginning to make cool things.

    And those gun stories are scary. When my mother was in Brazil, age 12, one of her friends was killed by her younger brother. Playing with a “non-working” gun. Until it actually worked.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      My mom and her family used to drink raw milk in Mexico from cows with no hormones straight from my grandfather’s farm and they had absolutely no problems.

      • rightonrush says:

        Raw milk was all the milk we had growing up. I hated the taste and wouldn’t drink it, but I did eat the butter that grandma churned from it. We either ate what we produced or did without.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        My mom loved the taste and preferred drinking it while it was still warm, right after it was milked from the cow.

      • rightonrush says:

        My sister and I had milk fights when we were milking the cows. You would be surprised as to how far you can squirt the milk from a cows teat. Grandma would have beat the living hell outta us if she had caught us doing that. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Right on, you need to teach Homer how to “teat-fight” so he can introduce the twins to one of mother nature’s “other” biological wonders (other than “dung”)! Of course, from the hilarious descriptions of Homer’s “day with the boys” outings, there is no way the kids will have nearly as much fun as he would!

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        The rodeo does have milking demonstrations, but they were a bit too complicated with the machinery for the boys to understand.

        In the little farm adventure area, they do get to “milk” a plastic cow with rubber teats that produce water, so I’m pretty sure that was not a completely educational experience for the boys.

        There were all breastfed for a bit, so maybe I could start the explanation with, “you know, a cow is like momma….” eh, maybe not.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know Homer. Where’s your sense of adventure? You could explain that whereas the cow has 4 legs, mom only has two, so there are differences (-:

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        With the brand new piglets sucking on the sow, I said, “awww, look, they are eating”, and in response I got, “they are eating their momma?”, and that was when I decided there was little chance I was going to have at explaining it.

  18. Chris D. says:

    I drank raw milk this morning, and…suddenly…everything Trump says seems compelling. I feel stronger, wiser,…greater! I’ve reached a state of Trumpian incomparability. Are those even words? I’m inventing words now!

  19. texan5142 says:

    Was the toddler the good guy with a gun or the bad guy with a gun? That is one stupid person who has been brainwashed by the NRA.

    Read the milk story yesterday, wish it would have killed every one of those stupid fuckers who drank the milk. You can’t fix stupid, it has to be eradicated like a noxious weed. Dog I weep for the future.

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